Mental sharpness and doing well in the work place - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-12-2010, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The whole thing about pinning down a time that he will be home is the same with my husband. His office is open 24 hours a day so he almost always sleeps in in the morning and then rushes off without spending any time with the kids and then he works late or goes to school and I put the kids to bed without him every night. Its tiring. And sad for the kids. They only see him on the weekends and even then he has homework/ work to do and barely spends any time with them. And when I point this out he only gets angry with me...
I haven't made dinner for him in ages. He goes out to eat every night and then goes back to work some more, if he doesn't go to school. As far as if he is working or not, I have no idea, but his job is highly technical and he wears many hats so I don't ever doubt that he's NOT working, ya know? He's the kind of guy that never says no.

My hope is that when he is done with school (which is his excuse for why he doesn't spend time with us) that he will be around more. And I think that he will respect me more once I start working again and I will put a lot of pressure on him to carry more weight around here with me working as well.
I almost want to go back to work so he can stop using my SAHM status as an excuse to not lift a finger... so we will see what happens when he finishes his Masters. I expect him to spend more time with the kids. But I am not holding my breath about the housework.

I also get up with the kids on the weekend and he sleeps in. I've just come to conclusion that this is my life and I just need to be thankful for a home and a husband. I am basically a single parent within my marriage at this point, and I am waiting to see if things will change when I go back to work.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do public speaking and presentations (often with short noftice) and also do a lot of networking and such. It is fun, but it all requires creative mental energy. I am soooo with you. I want to think in black and white...follow policies and such, that's why I got my degree in public admin, I am good with red tape and policy implementation and helping people navigate government programs! I am in my field but at the creative end, ironic.


I get what you are saying. I used to feel the same way, and it's why I got into a field similar to yours. There was a time when I really liked the end product of public speaking - reaching consensus, moving forward with a project, promoting the public good, doing something that mattered and impacted policies that improved people's lives.

Back then, public speaking and public presentations weren't so, well, daunting and challenging.

One baby, a very bad marriage, a few other turns and twists in life, and a new career direction in a slightly different field later, well, I feel all this change and it is overwhelming.

That is why I feel stretched so thin. It's not just that I have a baby now, and not just that my marriage is stressful and DH almost daily shocks and dismays me with his motives, his words, and his actions, it's also that I'm working in a field that is not directly what I worked in before or what I trained for, and my degree/background/knowledge is useful but not quite adequate for the work (legal/administrative/public policy).

So, I am faltering. Faltering is really the best word to describe it.

I have noticed that I'm not assigned as many presentations. I think my employer has quietly learned from my flubs, and realizes I'm better doing research and writing. And while that is a relief somewhat, I also feel really badly about this. I feel like I didn't quite cut it because, really, I didn't quite cut it. And I hate sort of giving up, but I know my limits at this point.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That Is Nice, you have written so many well-composed thoughts here that I am certain you have more ability than you give yourself credit for. I'm wondering whether the issue isn't partially fatigue. I know that there are days when I can see through tangled argument and other days when I can't even remember whether I am supposed to pick my daughter up after work.

I want to mention something that I experienced after I had my first baby - maybe it is not at all relevant to you, but the description you give of feeling stretched thin and frazzled reminds me of how I felt then. I had been a vegetarian for about 16 years before having my first baby, and during my pregnancy I had cut out soy, cheese and eggs, primarily because they made me want to vomit, so there was not a lot of protein in my diet. I put these back into my diet after the baby was born, but I felt so weak and almost like my blood had been watered down somehow, that I decided I would try to increase the protein in my diet without overdoing it on the soy. So I started eating organic grass-fed meat and I started to feel much better. I still eat meat, although not in large quantities and have never had that feeling again even though, with three children now, you can bet that I certainly do experience fatigue.

But if it is just the stress of your position that is making you feel this way, I really hope you can find a way to make it easier for you. Is there someone who can help mentor you at all, or who could at least listen to your concerns?
Thank you so much! What a spirit lifter! You wrote such a nice post, and thank you for the very thoughtful PM, too.

You are very perceptive in your thoughts above. I think you hit on some underlying issues and offered some good advice. Thank you very much. You are correct! I am vegetarian, and I know the protein and iron are off from the way I used to manage them with a vegetarian diet (pregnancy, extended breastfeeding, and stress have taken their toll). I can feel it in my body. I do not feel well. I don't sleep well.

I have an extremely good diet, and eat very healthfully, and I do manage to get in some exercise (through walking, etc) but not a concentrated exercise routine (which would probably help a great deal, I think) like through a gym or class because of well, DH's opposition to spending the money and also because of lack of time.

I do need to focus on better self-care, but finding the time with DH's offered support is nearly impossible. Add on work, family, all that - I often feel like I have taken care of everyone else physically, financially, and that has left nothing.

Do any of you have parent need issues? I have parents who need my help financially, and I have given generously year after year. I have parents who are cases of life mismanagement and addictions, and whose needs are constant and chronic emergencies. I have given, and given, and given and spent a lot of my reserves (financially, emotionally, physically) on them. So now that I am faltering myself and really need some help myself, I realize this is not possible in my family. There is no return available on what I expect myself to do for them because I feel sorry for them, and empathy, and I feel very guilty when I turn my back.

It would be a huge relief is they could take care of themselves for a while.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dh, who doesn't regularly take out the garbage, recently told me with a tone of shock in his voice that he read that women interpret their husband's taking out the garbage as a sign of affection. Apparently he didn't think of it that way!

And it sounds silly, but I wonder to what extent biological differences influence house-keeping desire. I'm going to mess this up, I know, but I recall reading a few years ago something to the effect that men do not react physiologically to the sound of babies "fussing" (women do); when babies are in distress men and women react equally. Could it be a similar mechanism with mess? Although I know there are many men who are very orderly, my husband not being one of them. We had a fight once because he was doing almost no housework at all, and I could not keep up - the fight ended when I had the revelation that he simply did not SEE the mess that so tortured me every day - I think if we ran completely out of clean dishes and laundry he might start to think that something should be done about the house, but anything less than that and he's happy as a clam. (There must be a grubbier analogy but I can't think of it at the moment.)
Yes! This is KEY to the issue.

OK, so admittedly, my husband is er...well, a slchum, for lack of a better word and also because I'm hindered by MDC rules.

But, in his defense, which pains me to have to come to, some of the issues between us probably are biological/physiological/gender based, as you said above.

I am CERTAIN that DH does not react to a baby's crying the way I do. I am certain of that. By the same extension, I have seen DH over and over again not be impacted by our toddler's whining, at least not in a parenting manner. He might be come annoyed if the whining is loud and continuous but DH can ignore the whining if, say, he's watching tv and wants to wait until commercial to tend to our child. I see this all the time.

A baby's crying and even a toddler's whining impact me much differently. Some of that is biological. Obviously, with a newborn cry, I felt a compulsion to assist, comfort, care. I still do, even if it's not my baby. I've been in a situation a few times at like doctor's offices where a very non-AP mom had a crying newborn and left the baby strapped in the car seat and put a pacifier or bottle in their mouth and rocked the car seat with her foot, while reading a magazine, when the baby so obviously needed/wanted to be held, and the baby just continued to wail. I don't want to judge a tired mom, but I did feel like offering to hold the baby myself and felt a very strong emotional need to do so. I highly doubt my husband would have had that same reaction!!

And when I heard my own baby cry? Usually I had let down of my milk! So, biologically, my reaction is much different than DH's.

DH doesn't mind if he misses our child's school events. If it's during the work day, or even in the evening, DH is OK with not going. I dragged him to a parents' night one time, and he was totally disengaged and said foolish things and when asked questions by the teacher, it was dreadfully apparent he hadn't be paying attention or listening to her. It's not that DH doesn't care, it's that he'd just rather do something else.

And then, finally, DH doesn't "see" things. The floor is dirty? Well, it would have to be really dirty before DH would notice. His senses are different. I have witnessed so many times in our marriage that DH just does not notice a lot in the environment around him. He's not one for details. They go wholly unnoticed. And a lot of parenting is in the details.

And, then, as I've mentioned before, my husband is an extremely linear thinking person. And has trouble, though he would deny it, with social connection, emotional reading, and understanding the feeling of others. He reads people wrong all the time. Especially women! Emotions to him make people "emotional wrecks," "insane," a "pain in the a**.," and "weak." This is what he's said about my girl friends who've called me with things going on in their lives. DH just doesn't connect emotionally to people. He also has the sensitivity of a neanderthal. And his sense of humor has gotten cruder as he ages and his language so much worse. Off note, I was watching the Real Housewives of Orange County (embarrassing I know! I don't know why I was watching that but I was sucked in!) and I felt really unnerved and really, really vulnerable when the women kept using the B word to describe themselves. Skinny b, crazy b, free b, whatever the adjective, they would describe themselves as a b rather than a woman, a lady, a person. Maybe it's become so common place to use that word, especially on tv, but I hate it. I shudder and it's because DH is so darn comfortable calling mainly me but my friends and other women the b word ALL THE TIME. And sometimes the c or the w word. It really, really bothers me. Again, DH says it doesn't mean anything. That it's basically PG in our society now. It doesn't feel PG to me and I've asked him to stop, and made emotional pleas, but they've fallen on deaf ears.

So, I don't know if it's a lack of sensitivity, or biological differences, or what, but I know there are big differences in how DH perceives the world and how I perceive the world. And that impacts our expectations, performance measures, and acceptance standards when it comes to marital partners and the all important debate about parenting, career, and household management.

I think DH doesn't do his fair share. DH would probably say I am difficult, I have too high expectations, and he does a lot. He probably thinks he does more than most husbands, and he does more than the model his dad showed him growing up (not an equal model and not relevant to us since his mom stayed at home with the kids).

Certainly, it does seem that biology and personality differences cause the discord.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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I found this thread really interesting to read. I am currently a part-time grad student, but I am thinking about my career & options open to me, alongside with having a family (I already have a 21 month old) & the impact of DP's career as a doctor.

Has anyone read "The Glass Ceiling & 100-Hour Couples?" by Shandy & Moe? It's an anthropological/economic analysis of the "opt-out' phenomenon in the States (apparently there is one). Interesting read, I thought, although my awareness of the situation in the US is essentially limited to what I read on MDC.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I found this thread really interesting to read. I am currently a part-time grad student, but I am thinking about my career & options open to me, alongside with having a family (I already have a 21 month old) & the impact of DP's career as a doctor.

Has anyone read "The Glass Ceiling & 100-Hour Couples?" by Shandy & Moe? It's an anthropological/economic analysis of the "opt-out' phenomenon in the States (apparently there is one). Interesting read, I thought, although my awareness of the situation in the US is essentially limited to what I read on MDC.
Yes, I know what you are talking about. I have not read that book, but I've seen it referenced (I believe) and I think one of the references was a series done by the New York Times on the opt-out phenonmenon. It is highly educated, degreed, highly skilled women who belong to upper middle and higher income economic classes, and who marry partners with powerful careers and who work long hours or travel and for whom the balance of two careers would be very difficult with a family and for whom the economic ability to live well on one income (debt free) is within their reach.

Of those women (and I doubt there is a large cross-section given the criteria), most "opt-out" of the high level careers they built prior to having kids. So, kids therein become the ultimate glass ceiling.

I believe the study and the New York Times article talked about how these women were academic all stars from high school and college, often Ivy League educated, and opted out of high powered, high paying jobs in medicine, law, business, etc, to then raise a child or two because juggling two careers with their husband while raising children was just impossible based on scheduling.

It is an interesting discussion to have, especially given this economy. What happened to these women who opted out and their family in the economy of 2008? Especially to MBA/stockbroker/finance industry families? What happens when the single earner becomes laid off or let go?

I would love to know if the women who had opted out of powerful and well paying positions were able to transition back into them if and when their families needed to. That is my real fear with family career (not that I fit the study's demographic, but their issues are my issues). If I opt-in, how do I manage family? And if I opt-out, I do I manage finances (long term) and my own career?

Good post! Thanks! I hope it generates a lot of response!
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:41 PM
 
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But the NYTimes also had an article-- I think in 2008-- saying that statistically speaking, women really are only out of the labor force for economic reasons, same as men. Most women who define themselves as SAHMs would be called "discouraged workers" or something of the sort if they were men. There are outliers (especially on a somewhat-countercultural site like MDC), but not enough to make it a "phenomenon" of anything other than media fantasy. Maybe I can find a link later.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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It is an interesting discussion to have, especially given this economy. What happened to these women who opted out and their family in the economy of 2008? Especially to MBA/stockbroker/finance industry families? What happens when the single earner becomes laid off or let go?
One of my good friends works for a non-profit serving battered women, and she told me that they are getting an increasing number of calls from the most affluent towns in our counties. Just speculation, but I'd imagine the stress of the monstrous mortgages+bad economy+family burden is making for some bad times in many marriages.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But the NYTimes also had an article-- I think in 2008-- saying that statistically speaking, women really are only out of the labor force for economic reasons, same as men. Most women who define themselves as SAHMs would be called "discouraged workers" or something of the sort if they were men. There are outliers (especially on a somewhat-countercultural site like MDC), but not enough to make it a "phenomenon" of anything other than media fantasy. Maybe I can find a link later.
I sort of see what you are saying. Yes, it would be wonderful if you can find that link because I'd really be interested in reading that.

The New York Times series I was talking about was in the NYT Magazine, I believe, and was a series. And while I thought it was interesting, it was a bit, well, classist.

It looked only at upper income ($100K or more) and it looked only at women with 4 year degrees or more from very good, very expensive schools.

It drew a distinction between these women, who by every expectation in their lives and by their access to education and jobs, should have continued working their successful careers and SAHMs from lower income brackets (me!!) or SAHMs who had no degrees or limited job options.

I hate to say this, and it is only my personal opinion, but many of the anecdotes in my life of SAHMs actually came to the role of SAHM, as you so aptly called it, discouraged workers.

My household and most of my friends' households are all, I would guess, $50k to $120k per year dual income households. So upper middle class to middle class.

All the women who had good jobs before they had kids still have those jobs after kids. Maybe they work part time, but they still work.

All of the women who didn't have good jobs before they had kids, or who never really did much working for a pay check and frequently left and moved on from one low paying job to another are SAHMs.

I think it's also a function of how much money you make, as well as job satisfaction.

The women who made decent money prior to kids and who could make at least a little more than day care costs still work. The women who were not making the amount it would take to pay for daycare are SAHMs. That's probably a no-brainer for most families.

I hate that these examples truly do exist because it gives my DH a very negative impression about SAHMs.

We know about 10 women or so who are doctors, lawyers, accountants, surgical nurses, engineers, advanced degree teachers with tenure, a professor, many advanced degree public policy workers and they all still work now that they have kids. All of them.

We also know unskilled, undegreed women, retail workers, low level/entry level professionals, and a couple of teachers with less than 3 years experience before they had kids, and they are all SAHMs.

DH is convinced the women we know who are SAHMs all had nothing much going on in their career before they had kids so they chose the career of mother.

I am sure, based on the New York Times article, and also from a few wealthier families I know of, but don't really know personally where the husband is a doctor or a lawyer and the wife an educated SAHM who previously worked, that these households do exist. I see these household's at my child's school. I don't know any in my own circle of friends, however.

So, the question is how much money does a husband have to make and/or how many hours does he have to work over 40 before it's worth it to an educated woman with a good career to opt out and SAH? Especially in this economy.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One of my good friends works for a non-profit serving battered women, and she told me that they are getting an increasing number of calls from the most affluent towns in our counties. Just speculation, but I'd imagine the stress of the monstrous mortgages+bad economy+family burden is making for some bad times in many marriages.
Sad, but it does make sense, I suppose, given this economy. I feel for them.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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So, the question is how much money does a husband have to make and/or how many hours does he have to work over 40 before it's worth it to an educated woman with a good career to opt out and SAH? Especially in this economy.
I think this implies an all-or-nothing view of SAH/WOH that doesn't fit with my experience. A lot of it depends on the age of the child(ren).

I completely understand the woman with the previously high-powered career who decides to stay home with her young child full time. (What I don't understand is women who don't dial back - eg Rachida Dati going back at 5 days pp - WHAT?? - but that's another story.)

I really wonder how many of these women are still SAH full time when their kids are in high school.

They likely are not at the level where they would have been professionally if they'd never had kids, but I bet few of them are still devoting all their energy to domestic activities.

On another semi-ranting note, it's a real waste of human capital to deny women flexible options and back-to-work tracks. My highly educated SIL left her high-powered, travel-intensive job after she had her first kid - not because she was set on being a full-time SAHM but because they couldn't offer her a schedule that was compatible with being a mom at all, really.
Six years later she is starting to think about going back but can't find her way there. Like I said, waste of human capital.

Me, DH, DD1 (5/2009) and DD2 (10/2011).
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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One of my good friends works for a non-profit serving battered women, and she told me that they are getting an increasing number of calls from the most affluent towns in our counties. Just speculation, but I'd imagine the stress of the monstrous mortgages+bad economy+family burden is making for some bad times in many marriages.
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Sad, but it does make sense, I suppose, given this economy. I feel for them.
Just speculation, but I wonder if it's also that these women might have been able to leave without help in better times, but need financial help to do so now.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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Do any of you have parent need issues?
My parents are self-sufficient, but they are looking after family with addiction issues and so are not very available to me.

It sounds like you are a rock in your family.

I would write more but it is bedtime for my LOs who are tired out from my day at work

busy mama of three
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think this implies an all-or-nothing view of SAH/WOH that doesn't fit with my experience. A lot of it depends on the age of the child(ren).

I completely understand the woman with the previously high-powered career who decides to stay home with her young child full time. (What I don't understand is women who don't dial back - eg Rachida Dati going back at 5 days pp - WHAT?? - but that's another story.)

I really wonder how many of these women are still SAH full time when their kids are in high school.

They likely are not at the level where they would have been professionally if they'd never had kids, but I bet few of them are still devoting all their energy to domestic activities.

On another semi-ranting note, it's a real waste of human capital to deny women flexible options and back-to-work tracks. My highly educated SIL left her high-powered, travel-intensive job after she had her first kid - not because she was set on being a full-time SAHM but because they couldn't offer her a schedule that was compatible with being a mom at all, really.
Six years later she is starting to think about going back but can't find her way there. Like I said, waste of human capital
.
Seriously, this is a GOOD post.

To your last paragraph which I bolded and italicized, yes! I completely agree. There is not a lot of flexibility to be found in professional positions save a couple of fields like nursing and perhaps teaching, and those represented by unions.

I looked for well over 3 years for a professional part time position in my field that came with benefits. And I found one! One. All the others were para-professional, outside my field, and mediocre in pay. The pickings were slim to non-existent.

Let's face it, there really aren't a lot of flexible professional part time jobs with benefits. And the really high paying professions are still, sadly, professions dominated by men, although women are making strides, and someday I hope things will change for parents.

And many employers are opposed to job sharing, and reduction of hours. Many parents have to bargain and sacrifice for it.

And even my needle in the haystack job that I am blessed to have found, well, it "ain't no picnic" working part time professionally and having to keep up with the full timers (hence the topic of this and so many of my posts) and many of you have agreed that you've found that to be the case in your own lives.

And that difficulty and challenge is probably a compelling reason that employers are not willing to be more flexible.

It's really sad.

And that is why I think many "career driven" women don't dial it back. It's not that they really, really are aching to leave their two day old child. One of the women I know who used up an insanely short amount of maternity leave (I think it was like a month or two weeks or something) was an accountant. And she had made an accounting error - she had given birth during tax season. She either had to go back to work or lose her client base for the year. She really didn't plan it out that way, it's just the way it worked out for her. So sad. That's an extreme case, but I think with the FMLA laws we have for which I am grateful but which I think stink compared to Canada and Europe and HUMAN NEED make it very hard to balance work and family.
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My parents are self-sufficient, but they are looking after family with addiction issues and so are not very available to me.

It sounds like you are a rock in your family.

I would write more but it is bedtime for my LOs who are tired out from my day at work
Thank you. I have to say that I bet your parents, given the addictions they are dealing with in other family members they are looking after, really appreciate your self-sufficiency, even if they don't or can't verbalize it. You should feel a sense of pride about that. And I feel for your parents because I have been in their shoes as provider and helper for those who can only help themselves but for whom you feel guilty being a bystander as their addictions take over and destroy their lives. It's a hard rock to be and one that is easily eroded over time.
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Old 03-13-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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I'm not a WOHM, but I couldn't stay away from this thread.

I, guess, in my circles, it's more unusual to not be educated than to be educated and SAH. For myself, I was a CNM before babies. I have a masters degree from a respected university in my region.

I have SAHM friends that were dieticians, health education professionals, RNs, teachers with 10+ years experience (and often masters' degrees), controllers, and project managers. Many of these women do plan on going back to work at some point, after their children get older. Some do not. All of these women could make money after paying for daycare. It is unusual for me to meet someone who describes their previous career as "just a job" or to mention that they wouldn't make money after daycare.

Most of the women that I know that work or worked lower paying jobs (especially thinking of retail, nursing assistants, and massage therapists) continue to work after babies, just in a nights and weekends sort of schedule. They balance childcare with their dhs. They may no longer work full time, but they seem to continue working.

My dh has an hour commute, and he works about 55 hours a week, so he's away from home about 65 hours a week. He considers himself "daddy tracked", because he chose to take a non-travel job for the years that our children are young. Before this, he worked a travel job that had him out of town 3 nights/4 days a week, with 1 work at home day that was usually 10-12 hours long.

I would say that both the travel job and the 65 hours a week away from home are common in my circle of friends, and I would estimate most people's yearly income at the $60-$100/year range (with mostly one wage earner). We live in the sunny south, though, so that's fairly middle class, and that can easily afford a decent sized house in a good school district, with some extras like private preschool and cars less than 5-7 years old. I have one acquaintance that brags about her dh's income , and he makes $200K a year. That is unusual (both in her bragging and the amount he makes).

So, definitely, the people that you are around on a day to day basic level really influences what you feel is "normal".
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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Slightly OT- Betsy, maybe I need to move to where you live When I was with my ex, it was challenging for me to stay home on 70k/year...but Southern CA is insanely overpriced.

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This thread has so many interesting and thoughtful posts.

I am a mom with 2 small kids (4 and 10 months) and am having a difficult time keeping up with everything. I am in a creative field, with a work load that varies, a schedule that changes constantly, there are surprises being constantly thrown at me, and there is a lot of wasted time waiting around. I work with a ton of moms and dads of young children and I don't find it to be a supportive environment. I feel like I am supposed to keep a smile on my face and say 'yes' to every project/extra work/travel with gusto. And if I don't, I am lectured about my work ethic. I have become very bitter and cynical about work and dread going in.

I think the hardest thing for me to deal with is the constant changes in my schedule. Right now, every minute away from my nursling is agonizing. I just got told this week that I would be going away for 9 days in June. (I am also going away for 5 days in a couple weeks and for 3 weeks in September, so a lot of traveling.) These trips are announced in front of a group of people (the 20 or so people that I work with day to day), so there is no privacy to process my emotions away from people. After the announcement 2 other mothers and I were discussing the situation, we were all in shock. I made a comment on how all this travel is really hard on our families. Then another [childless] woman (I used to consider this woman a friend) enters the conversation and proceeds to get snarky with me and lectured me about my 'bad' attitude and how I should be thankful for my job and how so many of her friends don't even have enough money to have a child. I was really hurt and angry about the situation. It made me feel more down about work.

Now that I have 2 children, and motherhood is affecting my work, I really get a sense of how there is a big rift in society: the people who value children and the people who do not. I felt it when I was pregnant (mostly as a positive energy that people payed to me) and then when my first baby came, I felt this whole world open up that I had never seen before. Most of what I perceived was positive, BUt, when I had my second child, I felt much more negative energy directed towards me:at work and in public places when out with my children.

BTW, my DH is extremely supportive, he does at least 50% of the housework, he has had a light year at work and does a lot of the child rearing. In fact, last summer he was the SAHD and after a couple of months he commented on how hard it was to stay at home and take care of the kids, they totally sucked the energy out of him. YES, HE TOTALLY GETS IT! I feel so lucky that our home situation has worked out like this. But, even so, work is really, really hard for me.

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I'm not a WOHM, but I couldn't stay away from this thread.

I, guess, in my circles, it's more unusual to not be educated than to be educated and SAH. For myself, I was a CNM before babies. I have a masters degree from a respected university in my region.

I have SAHM friends that were dieticians, health education professionals, RNs, teachers with 10+ years experience (and often masters' degrees), controllers, and project managers. Many of these women do plan on going back to work at some point, after their children get older. Some do not. All of these women could make money after paying for daycare. It is unusual for me to meet someone who describes their previous career as "just a job" or to mention that they wouldn't make money after daycare.

Most of the women that I know that work or worked lower paying jobs (especially thinking of retail, nursing assistants, and massage therapists) continue to work after babies, just in a nights and weekends sort of schedule. They balance childcare with their dhs. They may no longer work full time, but they seem to continue working.

My dh has an hour commute, and he works about 55 hours a week, so he's away from home about 65 hours a week. He considers himself "daddy tracked", because he chose to take a non-travel job for the years that our children are young. Before this, he worked a travel job that had him out of town 3 nights/4 days a week, with 1 work at home day that was usually 10-12 hours long.

I would say that both the travel job and the 65 hours a week away from home are common in my circle of friends, and I would estimate most people's yearly income at the $60-$100/year range (with mostly one wage earner). We live in the sunny south, though, so that's fairly middle class, and that can easily afford a decent sized house in a good school district, with some extras like private preschool and cars less than 5-7 years old. I have one acquaintance that brags about her dh's income , and he makes $200K a year. That is unusual (both in her bragging and the amount he makes).

So, definitely, the people that you are around on a day to day basic level really influences what you feel is "normal".
This is so interesting, and thank you for posting. As I said earlier, this has not been my personal experience.

I was thinking about why that is. Perhaps it comes down to regions and cost of living.

I'm not sure.

Do others have thoughts? I'm really interested in hearing what other people think.

Thank you.
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This thread has so many interesting and thoughtful posts.

I am a mom with 2 small kids (4 and 10 months) and am having a difficult time keeping up with everything. I am in a creative field, with a work load that varies, a schedule that changes constantly, there are surprises being constantly thrown at me, and there is a lot of wasted time waiting around. I work with a ton of moms and dads of young children and I don't find it to be a supportive environment. I feel like I am supposed to keep a smile on my face and say 'yes' to every project/extra work/travel with gusto. And if I don't, I am lectured about my work ethic. I have become very bitter and cynical about work and dread going in.

I think the hardest thing for me to deal with is the constant changes in my schedule. Right now, every minute away from my nursling is agonizing. I just got told this week that I would be going away for 9 days in June. (I am also going away for 5 days in a couple weeks and for 3 weeks in September, so a lot of traveling.) These trips are announced in front of a group of people (the 20 or so people that I work with day to day), so there is no privacy to process my emotions away from people. After the announcement 2 other mothers and I were discussing the situation, we were all in shock. I made a comment on how all this travel is really hard on our families. Then another [childless] woman (I used to consider this woman a friend) enters the conversation and proceeds to get snarky with me and lectured me about my 'bad' attitude and how I should be thankful for my job and how so many of her friends don't even have enough money to have a child. I was really hurt and angry about the situation. It made me feel more down about work.

Now that I have 2 children, and motherhood is affecting my work, I really get a sense of how there is a big rift in society: the people who value children and the people who do not. I felt it when I was pregnant (mostly as a positive energy that people payed to me) and then when my first baby came, I felt this whole world open up that I had never seen before. Most of what I perceived was positive, BUt, when I had my second child, I felt much more negative energy directed towards me:at work and in public places when out with my children.

BTW, my DH is extremely supportive, he does at least 50% of the housework, he has had a light year at work and does a lot of the child rearing. In fact, last summer he was the SAHD and after a couple of months he commented on how hard it was to stay at home and take care of the kids, they totally sucked the energy out of him. YES, HE TOTALLY GETS IT! I feel so lucky that our home situation has worked out like this. But, even so, work is really, really hard for me.
Oh, dear. You said everything that is on my mind lately. I feel the reality of everything you said.

Required travel for work is my nemesis. I have literally been in tears about it too and I don't have a nursling (anymore). I'm so sorry. I would say that woman who made that remark has a deep want to have a baby, but probably doesn't know how to make it work with her career. Just my guess.

On a totally different level that is counter to my own personal needs, I could see a younger co-worker who is childless not wanting to see employees with kids treated differently or let off the hook for travel.

I never felt that way as a childless worker...I always knew that the reason I could work long hours and get ahead was because I didn't have a family waiting on me at the dinner table. So, I actually saw it as a positive.

However, sometimes the people with families where they were the breadwinner got bigger raises than I did, and one of the explanations was that they had families to take care of and I didn't. I was a little upset about that (well, a lot) because I felt that was unfair.

Now that I have a family of my own, I'm not getting bigger raises for it, that's for sure! And I don't expect to!

I always admired the women who were in my career and had children, or the dads who made it a point to get into work at 6 a.m. so that they could be home in the afternoon when their kids came home from school. I'm sure as a childless worker, I didn't understand how tired they were or how much they were struggling for that balance.

But I do now!
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I was reading a book yesterday called Getting to 50/50, which asserted that mothers, at least professional mothers, are sometimes given more-difficult work or more-difficult workloads, because employers feel that mothers should prove their loyalty to the job. The assertion was based on some kind of study though I hadn't looked at the study, and I don't know how rigorous it was-- also it was from 2004, and who knows if it is still valid. It's at http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyT...405130482.html but I don't want to pay the $30! But anyway, if you returned to the same job after maternity leave and it seems harder now-- or if you are at a different job but you seem to be getting more-difficult assignments than you should or than the non-mothers in your workplace-- it's worth considering if maybe it's not "mommy brain" to blame.
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I was reading a book yesterday called Getting to 50/50, which asserted that mothers, at least professional mothers, are sometimes given more-difficult work or more-difficult workloads, because employers feel that mothers should prove their loyalty to the job. The assertion was based on some kind of study though I hadn't looked at the study, and I don't know how rigorous it was-- also it was from 2004, and who knows if it is still valid. It's at http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyT...405130482.html but I don't want to pay the $30! But anyway, if you returned to the same job after maternity leave and it seems harder now-- or if you are at a different job but you seem to be getting more-difficult assignments than you should or than the non-mothers in your workplace-- it's worth considering if maybe it's not "mommy brain" to blame.
Interesting! I would be so interested to hear if other women have encountered this.

How terrible for an employer to do this, even if unintentionally.

In my case, this is not happening. My employer(s) are actually fantastic about things, but obviously they can't change work load or deliverables. And I wouldn't want them to. They have goals and needs as an organization/system/business, right? And they mapped them out long before I arrived. If I can't do the work, then they shouldn't pay me. And if stay on staff, I need to do the work because otherwise I'm taking a spot and a line item in the overall budget that could go, theoretically, to a new employee who could meet the needs and goals of the organization/system/business.

That's not saying they don't have the responsibility to treat me fairly, ethically, and, hopefully, with work place compassion. And they do for the most part.

Also, for me, it's not so much "mommy brain" as it is fatigue and simply lack of time. Time to travel for work, time to prepare for presentations, time to read and do research before and between meetings.

And time for me in all that to care for my child. I can't take unpaid time or vacation for the school activities and still do my job. There simply aren't enough hours.

The mental sharpness is a function of the distractions of parenting, and the lack of time, and the lack of sleep (I think). That's my theory. It could just be that I'm aging or maybe I'm developing Alzheimers. Did I spell that correctly? I can't remember. Seriously. Five years ago I would not have spelled so many words incorrectly.

Like I said, it's not even just work related. I can't come up with the names of parks or other things that we've been to when talking to people in normal conversation.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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Do others have thoughts? I'm really interested in hearing what other people think.
Honestly I barely know any SAHMs IRL. Just a few women I've met at the park and I'm not sure what they did before kids or how long they are planning to stay home.

The women I know with small kids are mostly people I met through school or work and they all have professional jobs (one college professor, four doctors, a dentist, several computer/engineering people) and they all went back to work full time (except the dentist, her baby is 3 mo and she is still on mat leave right now but will go back part time soon, not sure if/when she will return to f/t).

We are in a very high COL area.

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Old 03-14-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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Yeah, you know, I'm a student so I work from home a lot-- so I'm in the MOMS Club locally, and at least half of us work or go to school at least part-time. And that's technically a SAHM club. SAH just isn't common among people I know.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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I am a mom with 2 small kids (4 and 10 months) .... Right now, every minute away from my nursling is agonizing. I just got told this week that I would be going away for 9 days in June. (I am also going away for 5 days in a couple weeks and for 3 weeks in September, so a lot of traveling.) These trips are announced in front of a group of people (the 20 or so people that I work with day to day), so there is no privacy to process my emotions away from people. After the announcement 2 other mothers and I were discussing the situation, we were all in shock. I made a comment on how all this travel is really hard on our families. Then another [childless] woman (I used to consider this woman a friend) enters the conversation and proceeds to get snarky with me and lectured me about my 'bad' attitude and how I should be thankful for my job and how so many of her friends don't even have enough money to have a child. I was really hurt and angry about the situation. It made me feel more down about work.
I am angry, too, on your behalf. It bothers me that people are not more compassionate. It's symbolic of a lack of respect for children in our society, I think. It's shameful that we ostensibly treasure children - we spoil them with material goods and make statements about how special childhood is - and yet we think it is perfectly alright, even laudable, to deprive a child who, according to a book I read by Dr. Sears, is not even old enough to have object permanence, of her nursing mother for 9 days. What hypocrisy.

(For the benefit of That is Nice, I'm not sure I spelled that work correctly )

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Old 03-14-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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I was reading a book yesterday called Getting to 50/50, which asserted that mothers, at least professional mothers, are sometimes given more-difficult work or more-difficult workloads, because employers feel that mothers should prove their loyalty to the job. The assertion was based on some kind of study though I hadn't looked at the study, and I don't know how rigorous it was-- also it was from 2004, and who knows if it is still valid. It's at http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyT...405130482.html but I don't want to pay the $30! But anyway, if you returned to the same job after maternity leave and it seems harder now-- or if you are at a different job but you seem to be getting more-difficult assignments than you should or than the non-mothers in your workplace-- it's worth considering if maybe it's not "mommy brain" to blame.
I have placed a hold on this book at my library. Thank you for this post.

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Old 03-14-2010, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly I barely know any SAHMs IRL. Just a few women I've met at the park and I'm not sure what they did before kids or how long they are planning to stay home.

The women I know with small kids are mostly people I met through school or work and they all have professional jobs (one college professor, four doctors, a dentist, several computer/engineering people) and they all went back to work full time (except the dentist, her baby is 3 mo and she is still on mat leave right now but will go back part time soon, not sure if/when she will return to f/t).

We are in a very high COL area.
This is my experience too. But, then again, I know these people because I met them mainly through work, and they have careers like mine. Or I met them through professional contacts. You get the picture.

When I was a stay-at-home mom for two years, I did join some clubs and I knew other stay-at-home moms who were married to men that my DH worked with. My DH works with many men who have stay at home mothers as wives. To my knowledge, none of these women had worked very long before having kids and/or they didn't make enough to cover the cost of day care or if they did, it wasn't much beyond that. I met them all when my newborn was an infant and they are still staying at home now when the kids are school age with no plans to go back to work in the near future from what they have said. They've all had another baby, or two.

It is interesting that the professional women I know who kept going in their careers after a maternity leave have one, maybe two children. Most have only one child and are in their 30s going on 40s. I can't think of any who have 3 or more children.

But all the SAHMs I know have 2 to 3 kids, some even more than that.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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It is interesting that the professional women I know who kept going in their careers after a maternity leave have one, maybe two children. Most have only one child and are in their 30s going on 40s. I can't think of any who have 3 or more children.
My mom has a successful career and raised 3 children. I guess I saw that as the norm and therefore didn't realize quite how tough it is. I've always had a lot of respect for my mom but I have even more now that I'm navigating this road myself.

Me, DH, DD1 (5/2009) and DD2 (10/2011).
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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I think whether an educated woman chooses to SAH depends on a lot of things. Her husband or partner's income, their debt, student loans, quality of life they are used to living, mortgage, and mainly their child-raising philosophies. Some women would rather go bankrupt, lose their home, and move in with family than go back to work. They are THAT committed to SAH because of their beliefs.

I agree that it is easier for non-professional women to SAH. I think the women who DO have an education are under a lot more pressure to USE their degrees, especially so if they have student debt. (That is my situation). And knowing that they could help provide a 'better' life for their families using their education is a big reason women choose to work. The question is what constitutes a better life- that is debatable.
And many women don't have a choice. They HAVE to work to make ends meet. And that is what makes me very upset about our society. We live in a 2-income society that (as a pp said) doesn't value children and sees them as burdens. We get very little Maternity leave in the US. And most women CANT have the choice to SAH anymore. There is little choice. Not with the housing costs, not in this economy.

It is only because my DH makes 100K that I was able to stay home for 5 years- and that wasn't even enough- I had to take on babysitting jobs and watched a neighbor's baby full time in order for me to stay at home (we also live in Southern CA). Now my kids are school age and I want to go back.
My cousin, who lives in Germany, is a very educated lawyer and she gets 1 year off and her employer must still hold her job for her if she decides to come back. 1 YEAR! And she did go back to work after 1 year (She gets to work part time.) She gets nursing breaks at work too where her nanny brings the baby to work and she nurses her. How awesome is that!
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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The mother/child maternity leave situation is so much better in every nation as wealthy as ours. It is pitiful in the US. Now that I am in the work force, 'own' a home, pay taxes and have mostly gotten over the continual need to buy things I realize that the big motivator in our economy is to BUY THINGS. The reason most of us have to work (2 incomes households) is because housing costs are driven up by other 2 income families. People, me included, want THINGS. I think back in the 50's-60's life was more simple, people did not have perfect homes that they remodeled to their desires, 4 TVs, 2 cars, computers, costly extra curricular activities for the kids, vacations, the list goes on and on.

I am starting to meet more SAHM now that DS has activities. A lot of these moms had careers before they had kids and quit. DH and I both work varying hours, but I consider his job 3/4 time. He usually has the summer off and several weeks here and there throughout the year. It has been wonderful having him home for the kids, they love it, we love it and I know the kids have a special bond with him. We feel extremely lucky to have this. DH does have plans to get another part time job when the baby is a little older so we can put away more money. Right now we are barely eeking by with our mortgage(we live in a high COL city as well) and day care costs, we have very little saved for retirement.

I love my career, but dislike my job. I feel cornered, like I have no choices.

That is Nice-have you considered taking nutritional supplements? If you are vegetarian you could be severely sufficient in amino acids, B 12, iron, all things that meat provides. Also, fish oil (DHA) is needed for brain development (and use ). I take fish oil everyday, it definitely helps my brain concentrate.

It sounds like you have some serious issues to consider in your personal life-your DH sounds like he wanted a room mate to share life expenses with, not have a life partner to love unconditionally. Will you ever feel safe and loved (and will your child) in this kind of environment?

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