Gasp - Wanting to Work More ? - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 16 Old 11-01-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
mommyabroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was a SAHM with DS for several years and although he thrived, in retrospect, it was quite hard on me. Now, 7 years later with a baby girl, I am finding it even more difficult. Let me say that I am an older mom and had a full career before I had children -- a doctorate, good colleagues, and time for creative outlets. I also had an active yoga and meditation practice. Being at home with a baby feels so isolating to me. And I (gasp) find myself wanting to be at work. And when I am at work, I am happy there. The days at home with a baby go so slowly. And it's not a matter of needing more social outlets like playgroups and activities. I do miss my daily yoga classes though. I cosleep, breastfeed exclusively, and babywear and that's feeling ... well, good enough for me. With DS, I tried to be 24/7 -- I tried to be everything. And I can't seem to do it again. But I can't bring myself to change my circumstances. Financially, we can make it fine on my part time income and DH's income -- I just wonder, why can't I be happier working part-time? Has anyone felt this way? And how did you find more joy?
mommyabroad is offline  
#2 of 16 Old 11-01-2010, 02:09 PM
 
GuildJenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 4,776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I didn't like working part-time for a few reasons, some of which I may re-examine once I have my second. But FWIW here they are:

- I truly felt like I was never doing the 'right' thing - that because I was PT at work, I should be doing all kinds of neat things with my kid; because I was PT at home I should be focused on my work. It was like my mind was always on the thing I wasn't doing.

- Part time daycare was kind of hard to find - we did find a good nanny but it was $$, and I ended up having to work at night and on weekends, which frustrated our family's rhythm as it became "WHEN can you take DS???" instead of "what do we want to do this weekend." The expense of it and the lack of consistency for my son made it feel like I was working for very little, and we didn't get a sense of great community like we have now. (This is the piece I think I could fix in the future.)

- I didn't like being marginalized at work, which was part of that particular job but - I had no say, and I was used to being more in charge.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
GuildJenn is offline  
#3 of 16 Old 11-01-2010, 04:01 PM
 
AJHCFamily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I didn't like working part-time for a few reasons, some of which I may re-examine once I have my second. But FWIW here they are:

- I truly felt like I was never doing the 'right' thing - that because I was PT at work, I should be doing all kinds of neat things with my kid; because I was PT at home I should be focused on my work. It was like my mind was always on the thing I wasn't doing.

- Part time daycare was kind of hard to find - we did find a good nanny but it was $$, and I ended up having to work at night and on weekends, which frustrated our family's rhythm as it became "WHEN can you take DS???" instead of "what do we want to do this weekend." The expense of it and the lack of consistency for my son made it feel like I was working for very little, and we didn't get a sense of great community like we have now. (This is the piece I think I could fix in the future.)

- I didn't like being marginalized at work, which was part of that particular job but - I had no say, and I was used to being more in charge.
I don't want to steal this thread, but just had to say you put exactly how I've been feeling into words.

To mommyabroad, I am in a similar situation now with my son and I am finding it hard not wanting to be a SAHM full-time as a I was with DD. Although I know I need to honor my feelings and make my decisions based on our current situation, I'm finding it very hard not to compare and decide based on what I thought/did with the first child.
AJHCFamily is offline  
#4 of 16 Old 11-03-2010, 10:28 AM
 
1jooj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,593
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sounds like a question of vocation to me.

I'm in a similar boat, only my kids are both in school so the daycare issue is (+/-) solved (except for school days off and summers ).

When I started back to work (dd was 20mos), I started at PT, and within a year I had about the same reaction. I realized that, in my industry and in my position, in order to make any career advances, I needed to be FT. I worked FT a year before crashing--but that had to do with starting our little farm and my dh's work travel schedule, too.

I went back to PT after quitting altogether and taking 4 months off. I'm almost a year into the new PT arrangement, and I am still struggling to create a sense of balance and contentment in any facet of my life. For financial reasons, I feel the pressure to continue working for a wage. And at this point, that is the primary reason I continue. I enjoy many of my colleagues, I like some of the actual work I do, and I do draw some sense of identity from my work.

If you're passionate about your work, your career, if you have life goals associated with your work, if it feels like something you are called to do, that's a strong pull. If there is a way for you to feel like you are achieving the goals you're called to achieve in your life--working PT or FT--I think that's key.

For me, dh's income is the wild card. When he gets to the point where he earns enough to support our family and farm development plans, I can back out slowly and focus on home and farm. Because I am a farmer and writer, I don't necessarily need to work a wage job to honor my vocation, kwim? I can stay home and farm and write and feel fulfilled. Just need to get there financially.

So for you, financials aren't the big thing. But how can you feel like you're expressing the identity/vocational self that is tied into your chosen field?
1jooj is offline  
#5 of 16 Old 11-04-2010, 09:55 AM
 
Doodlebugsmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,900
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyabroad View Post
. But I can't bring myself to change my circumstances. Financially, we can make it fine on my part time income and DH's income -- I just wonder, why can't I be happier working part-time? Has anyone felt this way? And how did you find more joy?
Ah, yes. I'm very familiar with the "why can't I be happy" thing. I was a full-time SAHM for 7.5 years until both my kids were in school. I think it was the best thing for them, but not necessarily the best thing for me. There were many days that I thought, "We can live very well on dh's income. Why can't I just be happy staying home?" Well, because that just wasn't what made me happy. I wouldn't change anything about it now, but I don't think there is any way I could do it again. Now I'm in school full-time and starting graduate school in January. I really appreciate all the extra work that it involves after SAH for so many years. Crazy? Yes, but it's the truth. Find the work/family balance that makes you happy, and do it!
Doodlebugsmom is offline  
#6 of 16 Old 11-04-2010, 01:36 PM
 
madskye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,219
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think, if you have a career you like and find stimulating--it is very easy to be happy working and to want more and perhaps feel like you are missing out not at home, but at the office or in your profession! I get a lot of satisfaction and stimulation from my job. I know I'm lucky to feel that way--so many people hate their work or feel forced into it...I did work long and hard to get here and I think that contributes to my satisfaction when I am working.

I work 30 hours per week but I look at my business and can see things that I could do that would mean growth but more hours...and now that DD is in kindergarten, I have started thinking about going after some of those opportunities. But I know from past experience that I also crash and burn if I try to do too much...so it's back to that balancing act.
madskye is offline  
#7 of 16 Old 11-05-2010, 04:00 PM
 
JudiAU's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Where creepy facebook-featured threads can't find me
Posts: 3,586
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I think people are better parents when they are happier with the day to day. Your kids very well may feel your lack of fulfillment and they may very well thrive in another setting. Why not give it a try?

I've met a lot of bored, unfullfilled SAHP and I don't think there children were really benefiting from that 24/7 "attention." Maybe your restlessness shows or does not show- who knows? But why not try?
JudiAU is offline  
#8 of 16 Old 11-05-2010, 09:03 PM
 
lunarlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,330
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My mom was a SAHP, but always struggled finding personal fullfillment. She was in a lot of mom groups, volunteered, did tons of crafts, and took us everywhere to do all the things kids love to do. She went back to school when I was in high school, and back to work full time when I was a senior. Now, 15 years later, she is an executive, traveling worldwide for business and making more money than my dad ever did. And she loves it. Honestly her job gives her more personal fulfillment and joy than we kids ever did. My brother and I joke that if she had worked instead of being a SAHM, she would be CEO of Apple or something similarly high up. Instead she is still climbing higher at an age when many of her friends are retired. So it is a bitter joke. We know raising us handicapped our mom's career, and seeing her so happy and successful now makes us feel a little guilty about the years she spent 100% on us.

This is why as a mom myself now, I refuse to lay the things that make me happy on the alter of my children's happiness. My kids ARE happy, and they love the care they receive when I'm at work. We are ALL happy with me working.

Now I do have to say that not all parents are the same. My mom was not cut out to be a SAH parent, but did it anyway and did it very well. SAH was a sacrifice for her. My MIL is the most nurturing person I have ever met. She thrives on caring for kids. She ran a daycare center when DH was young to make ends meet, but I know she would have loved to just be a SAHM. It is the most fullfilling part of her life. WOH is her sacrifice for her family.

So in the end, my point is you need to follow your heart. I honestly feel the old saying is true; "if mama ain't happy then nobody happy.". Your child will pick up on your saddness at being SAH (even PT). They might not understand it now, but will when they are older. Show them the joy of life by living joyously. Follow your heart and work more. Use the money to get kick ass care for your child, so that you both can thrive.

CD'ing, homebirthing, milk making school teacher. Supporting my family on my income and trying to get out of debt in 2013!
lunarlady is offline  
#9 of 16 Old 11-06-2010, 11:55 PM
 
pregnant@40's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 585
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunarlady View Post
My mom was a SAHP, but always struggled finding personal fullfillment. She was in a lot of mom groups, volunteered, did tons of crafts, and took us everywhere to do all the things kids love to do. She went back to school when I was in high school, and back to work full time when I was a senior. Now, 15 years later, she is an executive, traveling worldwide for business and making more money than my dad ever did. And she loves it. Honestly her job gives her more personal fulfillment and joy than we kids ever did. My brother and I joke that if she had worked instead of being a SAHM, she would be CEO of Apple or something similarly high up. Instead she is still climbing higher at an age when many of her friends are retired. So it is a bitter joke. We know raising us handicapped our mom's career, and seeing her so happy and successful now makes us feel a little guilty about the years she spent 100% on us.

This is why as a mom myself now, I refuse to lay the things that make me happy on the alter of my children's happiness. My kids ARE happy, and they love the care they receive when I'm at work. We are ALL happy with me working.

Now I do have to say that not all parents are the same. My mom was not cut out to be a SAH parent, but did it anyway and did it very well. SAH was a sacrifice for her. My MIL is the most nurturing person I have ever met. She thrives on caring for kids. She ran a daycare center when DH was young to make ends meet, but I know she would have loved to just be a SAHM. It is the most fullfilling part of her life. WOH is her sacrifice for her family.

So in the end, my point is you need to follow your heart. I honestly feel the old saying is true; "if mama ain't happy then nobody happy.". Your child will pick up on your saddness at being SAH (even PT). They might not understand it now, but will when they are older. Show them the joy of life by living joyously. Follow your heart and work more. Use the money to get kick ass care for your child, so that you both can thrive.
I love your post. Thanks for sharing.
pregnant@40 is offline  
#10 of 16 Old 11-07-2010, 12:08 AM
 
annmartina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a theory that a lot of my personal desire (and that of others) to be fulfilled through career is because of a lack of community in our culture. Our ancestors largely worked in groups all day long, kids in tow, while doing projects vital to the survival of the tribe. Take us out of that environment, and we have a choice: being home with children in relative isolation or not isolated but not at home. It's an artificial and unnatural lifestyle either way compared to how eons of evolution prepared us to cooperate and interact.

Fast-forward to real life. Mothering is the most important thing I will ever do, but I don't choose to define myself solely as my child's mother and that's why work is very important to me. I totally agree with pp's who say it's better to model a fulfilled and happy life for your children then make sacrifices that really aren't in your best interest or theirs either.

After years of switching on and off who worked full time and who was primary caregiver (mostly entry-level jobs), my dh and I decided to start a home-based business so we could have it all. So far, it's not a perfect lifestyle but it's right for us. My goal is to work about 30 hours a week and share caregiving duties more or less equally, with dh doing a bit more than me. For me, my own business is a source of great inspiration and joy, oh and hard work sans dependable paycheck, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
annmartina is offline  
#11 of 16 Old 11-08-2010, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
mommyabroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow -- thank you for all of the thoughtful replies. I kept meaning to post sooner, but there was just so much to ponder -- the struggles of part-timing, the question of vocation, the importance of living and modeling a joy-filled life, our relative isolation in modern life, etc. etc. I've taken a lot of inspiration from your posts. I've been reading bits of Addicted to Perfection by Jungian analyst Marion Woodman this week. There's a part about mother energy, guilt, and joy -- what it means to have been denied that in childhood -- and I think that's part of my struggle. And how our children live close to our unconsious -- unfulfilled lives and all. I can see this in my own childhood -- my mother was very unhappy as a SAHP although she always said it was so great. The happiest I remember her (and our lives) was when she had a great job when I was 7. Otherwise, it was as if joy was the enemy ... I grew up feeling guilty whenever I felt joy. So lunarlady, your post really struck a chord with me. I think I've been afraid of finding a joyful balance for my life --feeling guilty when I am fulfilled and life is easy. But life isn't meant to be a continuous struggle is it? "Show them the joy of life by living joyously." Love it. I took on a special work event on Saturday and felt really challenged and empowered personally and professionally. I took breaks to pump and check in with my husband and DD nursed frequently when I got home and through the night -- a nice way for us to reconnect. And then Sunday I played ball with my son, took a long walk with my daughter, and had an at-home date night with DH ... our favorite foods, wine, and dessert. And the kids were home. Honestly, it was one of the best weekends I can recall since having a family.
mommyabroad is offline  
#12 of 16 Old 11-10-2010, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
mommyabroad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 399
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Would love for others to chime in as well -- this has been a valuable discussion for me.

mommyabroad is offline  
#13 of 16 Old 11-10-2010, 08:34 AM
 
nina_yyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 2,025
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

It is OK to want to work more, embrace it smile.gif  I'm not trying to influence your decision one way or another but just want to validate that it's OK to feel that way and figure out your solutions around that.  SAHMing has been on the table for me twice but I was never quite comfortable with that decision.  My own mom was an unhappy SAHM and stuck in a rocky marriage and I did not want her life!  Growing up I always knew I would work.  I went back part time 6 weeks ago and that definitely has its issues.  DH and I trade days working and being the SAHP and the kids are in a day home twice a week.  I really don't know if it works for anyone but financially it's our best option so I am giving it some time.

 

I have been doing some reading recently on equal parenting and when I look at these issues it helps me to think 'would this be reasonable if I were a man.'  Whether parents can or should truly be equals is a whole nother thread, but it does help me determine whether I'm feeling guilty about a personal/professional need because it's truly selfish or if it's the result of cultural pressure to be 'the perfect mom.'  Anyway gotta go, screaming 4yo but hope that made sense.

nina_yyc is offline  
#14 of 16 Old 11-10-2010, 10:41 AM
 
karaann07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

You know what, I hear ya. I just dropped from full time work to part time, because we couldn't afford daycare. I was TERRIFIED that I was going to have to be a full time SAHM, and that is NOT for me. The reasoning is that I need adult interaction each day, and the ability to use my brain for immediate gratification each day. Raising children definitely involves brain power- some days more than others- but it is hardly an instant gratification. I need to finish a report, balance an account, etc. to feel gratified. Can you pinpoint what it is that you need to feel satisfied?

karaann07 is offline  
#15 of 16 Old 11-10-2010, 04:28 PM
 
sanguine_speed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,644
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'll just add that I, too, long for my work outside of home more often than I'm able to do it.  I often think it's sort of sad that I could stay home each and every day with my several children and do whatever we want...but I don't want to.  And there are many moms who don't have the choice.  I work 2-3 times a week out of home.


4 kids under 10
sanguine_speed is offline  
#16 of 16 Old 11-10-2010, 09:11 PM
 
JElaineB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 848
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I worked part-time until DS was 3 and to me it was not really balanced. I wasn't fulfilled in either my job or by staying at home part-time with DS. I went back full-time when when he was 3 and have not regretted it for one minute. I love my job, DS thrived in his child care setting and now he loves the time he spends with his friends in his before and after school program every day.

JElaineB is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off