Mothering's position re: WOH/SAH - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently posted a thread in the Questions & Suggestions forum asking what Mothering's position was, re: WOH/SAH etc. I wanted to point it out here, to working mamas.

My thread is http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...1&page=1&pp=20

The answer is in post #25 (on page 2 of the thread).

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#2 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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For fear of violating the user agreement, I'll just say that I long ago stopped judging other mamas for the choices they make when I realized that the driving force behind my judgements was to validate my own choices.

--A PROUD WOHM who's kiddos are lovely, bright, well-adjusted and ATTACHED!

 DD1 (8yrs) + DD2 (6yrs) + DS1 (4/25/11) = one crazy adventure!
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#3 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 12:40 PM
 
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I replied to the other thread, but just wanted to mention in here that I was in the chat with Peggy on Tuesday, and I asked a question about being a working mama (pretty much just whined to her about how hard it's been for me sofar). I will post the question and response from Peggy in here when it becomes available in the transcripts of mommychats.com.

She was basically very respectful though, and mentioned reading Nursing Mother, Working Mother, and suggested that I try to work from home, etc. I wasn't offended at all by her response (though my mother guilt makes me feel like I deserve criticism).

And before reading this thread today I had no inkling that Mothering was possibly anti-working mama. Makes me kinda sad.
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#4 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 12:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almamiel
For fear of violating the user agreement, I'll just say that I long ago stopped judging other mamas for the choices they make when I realized that the driving force behind my judgements was to validate my own choices.

--A PROUD WOHM who's kiddos are lovely, bright, well-adjusted and ATTACHED!
very well said.
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#5 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 12:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons
The answer is in post #25 (on page 2 of the thread).
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#6 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 12:57 PM
 
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I posted on the other thread. I am all about supporting Mothers in the hard work that we do. I had always taken the pro-SAHM, WAHM stuff as an aspect of that. The only thing I can say is that I am so disappointed.
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#7 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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Well that's rather sad. That's part of the reason why I never joined LLL in my town either. The meetings are only during the work day and as I read more about LLL I realized their stance is the same. Frankly my husband would also be kind of saddened by the response since he'd be a SAHD in an heartbeat and practically is during the summer since he's a teacher. I hope he doesn't run into this attitude this summer going to story times and sing alongs.

Just looking through posts on these boards you can see no two children are the same. I guess I don't see why the diversity of children need a cookie cutter definition of what comprises a good, loving, attached mother.
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#8 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 02:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almamiel
For fear of violating the user agreement, I'll just say that I long ago stopped judging other mamas for the choices they make when I realized that the driving force behind my judgements was to validate my own choices.
--A PROUD WOHM who's kiddos are lovely, bright, well-adjusted and ATTACHED!
VERY well said. And bears repeating!


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#9 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 02:49 PM
 
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I have about a million things I want to say, yet am hesitant to for fear of violating the user agreement (I don't think anything would be that controvesial, but still...)

When I went back to work when Sam was 3 months old, my SAHM "friends" stopped speaking to me. Flat out. They would not invite me to see them on weekends, they would not call or return emails, nothing. It really broke my heart and shattered my perception that I had found a cool supportive group of mommies to hang with.

I am lucky because DH is a SAHD. And because both my boss and our publisher are WOHMs with SAHD husbands, so they understand what we are dealing with. Of course, my boss is more into my parenting style whereas my publisher thinks I am a bit of an alien (if I'M the resident earth mama of the group, we are seriously lacking in earthy people...I mean, I'm earthy, but not that earthy).

It's like someone once said to me: the only people who care if you have a tattoo are people who don't have tattoos. I'm not going to judge what someone does, and I think that all thinking, aware mamas can raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted, attached babes.

It is good that we are all here and can share with one another. I wasn't even going to come to these boards because I'm not totally a "mothering mag" mama, but when I got pg this time and tried to find somewhere else to chat, I could find nothing that felt right, except here.
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#10 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 03:27 PM
 
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I'm not a working mama, but I hope it's okay to offer my support here. It must feel crappy to be a working mother with securely attached children, and not be supported in your decision. I'm a SAHM, but I'm sad right along with all of you. Please remember that just because Mothering doesn't celebrate you in your decision to WOH, doesn't mean that you aren't making the right decision for you and your families (as I'm sure you all already know).
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#11 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nurturing Mama, I think truly attached folk are comfortable enough to celebrate and support others' different choices and recognize those choices as equally valid (as I do yours). My life choices may not be right for you, in your family, but you recognize that they are right for MY family, in MY circumstances. Thank you.

I mean, probably each of us questions ALL of our parenting decisions, including decisions regarding work, sometimes. (Heck, I question far more minor parenting decisions: "should I have double-diapered tonight? Could I have disciplined differently?") Probably each of us is ambivalent at times.

But those who have found some internal peace can more easily truly want a peaceful, exciting world of multiple viable choices, for ourselves, each other, and all of our children. We can aim at support, true information and true nurturing for our concerns. And such a world is the most "natural" aim of family life (including the recognition that we smaller families all live within one large, Earth's family) that I know.

(I really want to sing "Kum Ba Yah" now.)

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#12 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsmamma
When I went back to work when Sam was 3 months old, my SAHM "friends" stopped speaking to me. Flat out. They would not invite me to see them on weekends, they would not call or return emails, nothing. It really broke my heart and shattered my perception that I had found a cool supportive group of mommies to hang with.
Samsmamma: I am so sorry this happened to you! I always find this kind of behavior to be so disturbing, because this is so far from the way my reality is! I have a number of friends who are moms--some SAH full time, some are in school, some WAH, and others work longer and harder than I do. I never feel judged or slighted by them--we bond over the fact that mothering is intense, wonderful, indescribable sometimes, and just plain HARD other times.

It's only here that I come and feel judged for my choices. So why do I keep returning? Hard to say. I guess because I feel like I get more benefits from it than I do negatives. I've met some amazing people here who I don't think I ever would have met IRL. And I've learned a lot about different ways to do things and to think about things.

I do feel like it is a shame that some people seem to only be able to validate their own decisions by denegrating other's choices.

Sending support for all women and their families, regardless of what choices they make.

Mia
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#13 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 04:06 PM
 
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Do you think that if someone submitted an article on WOHM and AP, they'd publish it?

Not that I'm volunteering, but it seems like they've published articles on things much more controverial than this!
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#14 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 04:59 PM
 
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Good grief.

Honestly, being a PT WOHM feels like the very best choice for me. While I needed to concentrate on mothering 24/7 in the first months to get the hang of it and form a good bond w/my son, by the end of my maternity leave I often was finding it hard to be w/him all day. I feel that my working hours "recharge" me for mothering rather than tiring me. I know the experience is just the opposite for other people and would not presume to tell them that mine is the One Best Way. I am not trying to "prove something"; I genuinely feel that BOTH my baby and I are thriving in this arrangement.

I do understand that there are detectable differences in the quality of breastmilk refrigerated for 24 hours vs. straight from the tap, but these differences are tiny compared to the difference between breastmilk and formula. For MY OWN family, I feel that the advantages of continuing my career (recharging, feeling that I'm useful for more than one thing, contributing to the family income so that I feel justified in asking my partner to contribute to the childcare) far outweigh the disadvantage of slightly less nutritious milk. Other than the nursing issue, I don't see any important reason why a mother needs to be the only person who cares for her child.

If Mothering really believes bio moms are so magical, how can they accept adoption???

Many people, including on these boards, told me I'd change my mind about WOH when my baby was born. I haven't, and I don't think it means I'm a terrible person or my baby and I have a weak attachment. I think it means I've found a wonderful sitter whom I trust and my baby adores and I have a career in which I feel I am working toward a better society for my child AND everyone else.

I don't need Peggy O'Mara's approval to validate my life choices. I just hope she won't make WOHMs unwelcome here, because I think we have a lot to offer the community. After all, we too are AP mothers 24 hours a day!

Mama to a boy EnviroKid 10 years old and a little girl EnviroBaby !
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
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#15 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca
Good grief.

Honestly, being a PT WOHM feels like the very best choice for me. While I needed to concentrate on mothering 24/7 in the first months to get the hang of it and form a good bond w/my son, by the end of my maternity leave I often was finding it hard to be w/him all day. I feel that my working hours "recharge" me for mothering rather than tiring me. I know the experience is just the opposite for other people and would not presume to tell them that mine is the One Best Way. I am not trying to "prove something"; I genuinely feel that BOTH my baby and I are thriving in this arrangement.

I do understand that there are detectable differences in the quality of breastmilk refrigerated for 24 hours vs. straight from the tap, but these differences are tiny compared to the difference between breastmilk and formula. For MY OWN family, I feel that the advantages of continuing my career (recharging, feeling that I'm useful for more than one thing, contributing to the family income so that I feel justified in asking my partner to contribute to the childcare) far outweigh the disadvantage of slightly less nutritious milk. Other than the nursing issue, I don't see any important reason why a mother needs to be the only person who cares for her child.

If Mothering really believes bio moms are so magical, how can they accept adoption???

Many people, including on these boards, told me I'd change my mind about WOH when my baby was born. I haven't, and I don't think it means I'm a terrible person or my baby and I have a weak attachment. I think it means I've found a wonderful sitter whom I trust and my baby adores and I have a career in which I feel I am working toward a better society for my child AND everyone else.

I don't need Peggy O'Mara's approval to validate my life choices. I just hope she won't make WOHMs unwelcome here, because I think we have a lot to offer the community. After all, we too are AP mothers 24 hours a day!
Very well said!

Slightly OT - about the adoption issue: My friend and her DH adopted a 2 yo little boy. Her DH was able to be home with DS for a few months before going back to work to teach, while my friend worked FT. One of the family counselors they recently met with in preparation to adopt a second child told them they were all wrong and that it should always be the mother who stays home and develops the primary attachment and hoped they would consider doing it differently this time.
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#16 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Almamiel

--A PROUD WOHM who's kiddos are lovely, bright, well-adjusted and ATTACHED!
Check out my new sig!

Hope you don't mind Almamiel.
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#17 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 05:44 PM
 
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I'm at work now, and for the first time in months, i actually have 30 minutes.

Of course, i am saddened. But what can you do. All I have to do is read some of the threads in parents as partners, and single parenting to realize that my having a job and a means to support my family is in fact a good thing. This is not about me lurking in other forums (like some do in the wohm forum) to make myself feel better. But i will say that whenever i read threads about asshole husbands who hoard money, who buy pot instead of food, when i read about mamas left high and dry and with little earning potential, it does make me glad at least that i have chosen the career field that i have (I am a nurse).

And the irony is, is if right now every nurse that had children were to leave and be with them....there would not be a single nurse in the ER to care for the patients waiting, and the community at large. Every nurse on staff today has at least one child. I myself have 3 (and are in the care of my mom).

I have said this before, many times, and i will say it again. While the powers that be talk about how the mother at home is ideal, i have never in my entire career met a mother who after handing me her pulseless and breathless child, wished i was at home with my own that day.

And i'll bet you one other thing. If Peggy's child, grandchild, niece or nephew ever needed an emergency room, my bet is she would be grateful we were there.
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#18 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:09 PM
 
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sweetbaby3 - I, for one, am thankful for all the working moms out there who do amazing things. Every time I see someone here tell people to call legal services (I'm an attorney for legal services) for help with legal matters from custody to disability to landlord/tenant issues, I want to say the same thing! Many of the attorneys with legal services (at least ours) are WOHMs who are doing this because we care about the world and want to help people AND have a somewhat flexible work environment that allows us to take care of our kids. Thank you for doing the job you do!
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#19 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:09 PM
 
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Great post.

I started out wanting to write all about why I work, etc. But you know what, I don't feel like justifying things today.

I work.

It's good for us.
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#20 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:29 PM
 
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I am a SAHM (for now) and I just wanted to give a HUGE shout-out to all you WOHM! You are awesome, I have TOTAL respect for what you do and the choices you make for your family. I was really sorry to read the post that stated Motherings position.

I know how it feels to be shut out of Mothering. I am an adoptive mom who can't breastfeed, so really I don't fit in here at all (except on the adoption thread). The statement that to be an advocate for breastfeeding and then support use of formula is not possible for them hit me hard. What are my options? Not to feed my son? There is no other magazine that remotely reflect my parenting style, but I'm also not welcomed at Mothering. So sad. I guess I'll have to start my own, more inclusive magazine.

Cheers to you all!
: mama to Kai -b.12/30/03 - a.9/2/04 Kazakhstan
waiting for a referral for a baby girl from Kaz
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#21 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:35 PM
 
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So sad. I guess I'll have to start my own, more inclusive magazine.
And we'll all come work for you. And bring our babies.
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#22 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:37 PM
 
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I'm with sweetbaby. I'm a hs teacher, and I am really damn good one. I'm the nurturing, compassionate, individual-oriented teacher who really with all my heart cares for each of my kids, that everyone says we need more of in our schools. Some of my kiddos have done amazing things building on tools that I gave them. I've never once had one of their parents (many of whom were SAHMs), when they all came back to tell me thank you and what a great thing I did for their child, wish that I'd been at home with my kid.

My husband says the whole "mother at home is best for baby" line of thought is simply not true, and is just a way of inducing guilt to keep women under control. If and when our finances allow it, he is willing to let me stay home, but honestly believes it is a not only not a better choice, but actually a subpar choice in the realm of what's best for *our specific child.* And I'm not sure that he's wrong.

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#23 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:44 PM
 
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sweetbaby3,
your post was the best thing I've read all day!!

I am one of those SAHMs who are grateful everyday for what you and your fellow nurses do (and all the other WAHMs for that matter). All the caretakers in Kai's orphanage had kids of their own, but I am forever indebted to them for taking such good care of mine at the beginning of his life! Who would take care of the world's orphans if not WOHM moms?

I guess I am deeply tired of this debate. One is NOT better than the other. We all have the most fundamental things in common (Motherhood, love, wanting the best for our kids, exhaustion :LOL ......), I guess I am being naive when I expect both groups to see that.

This is making me very, very sad

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waiting for a referral for our baby girl from Kaz
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#24 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by UmmBnB
And we'll all come work for you. And bring our babies.
Semi off-topic, not directly in response to UmmBnB's comment (you're cool by me!) but prompted by it: while I *love* and will lobby for increased opportunities (choices) for women (and men) to bring children to work (or work from home or have flexible schedules), sometimes I see it espoused as a magical answer for everybody, when it's not. Many jobs, including jobs traditionally held by men and typically far higher paid, are in child-unfriendly workplaces (and/or on-call schedules) that CAN'T be made friendly to babes. Think of longshorepeople, OBs, construction workers, surgeons, congresspeople, ambulance EMTs. To espouse an attitude of "well, let's just open workplaces to kids - as a single suggestion for the 'right' way for moms to work" will ultimately further divide careers into lowpaying, women-and-child friendly ones, and higher-paid male jobs. And saying that more jobs should be part-time doesn't fix everything, either. It's ONE additional choice, and one employers should consider. But most professional jobs can't be job-shared. (Part-time accountant? doctor?) And many women don't want to have the reduced authority, client contacts, knowledge, money etc. that comes from "down-shifting" their career track. They shouldn't have to make that sacrifice, unless they so choose.

edited to add: wolfmama just made a really similar point, about WAHM not being the best solution in all cases, in the original thread at post #83. See http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...86#post3191186

Job alternatives are one tool, but without more, such alternatives imply that women shouldn't have jobs entirely separate from their children. We need these choices PLUS a full-force reduction in guilt and attacks. We need knowledgable parenting authorities explaining that WOH is *just as good but merely different* for kids and families than SAH, and we need backup with practical strategies for making our tough balance work better.
Quote:
the whole "mother at home is best for baby" line of thought is simply not true, and is just a way of inducing guilt to keep women under control.
I agree, PaganScribe.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#25 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 06:57 PM
 
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In B1's early days I longed to be a sahm. But now in retrospect I'm happy that things worked out the way they did. I would not be in the position that I'm in or earning what I am, had I quit working. I would not have the control and flexibility over my work hours that I do now. We wouldn't be in a place to have one stay at home parent today. When we found out I was pregnant with Bella, then soon after that Gabriel had three completely ruptured disks and would have to have surgery and totally change careers, if I wasn't were I
am career wise, we would have been totally screwed. Everything happens for a reason.

I don't feel like I missed Bilal's babyhood, or am missing Bella's very simply because of the very deliberate choices I've made about how I optimize our
time together.

When it comes to work or family..for me family always comes first. My work schedule revolves around my family schedule. Again, I wouldn't be able to do this had I left work when B1 was a baby.

HOnestly, I don't think B1 suffered at all from being in day care...and I absolutely don't think B2 is suffering in any way being home with dad. He is such a social kid that he really enjoyed being with others while I'm at work. He also has a fantastic imagination and truly enjoys solitary play so he's digging being at home with dad now. About once every couple of weeks he asks to go to his old sitters to play.

I sometimes feel guilty when I'm out for lunch with co-workers or on a business lunch. I try hard to make sure that he has adult time as well. It's truly a shame that their aren't more resources out there geared to the stay at home *parent* as opposed to just moms. He really feels isolated at times....but that's another thread.

Sometimes I do really feel like I'm being pulled in a thousand directions, but what parent in today's world doesn't, you know.

When I look back at my separation from B1 in the early years I can't see a single way that he has suffered. We are super attached, he is a bright, energetic, empathetic, social kid. He's healthy and happy. Really what more could any parent want?

The idea that being a sahm is *best* simply doesn't hold water for me. The idea that being a wohm is *best* simply doesn't hold water for me. I honestly
believe that the only *ideal* is that every parent do what is best for their situation and their family.

The idea that NFL and AP are laundry lists of things one must do or be is a crock if you ask me. Isn't it all about repsonding to the needs of our family...isn't it all about recognizing that we, the parents, are the best ones to make this decision....not a magazine, a book, a poster on a message board.
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#26 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 07:19 PM
 
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#27 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 10:22 PM
 
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Hi all-- just wanted to pipe in. I've been moderating the WOHM forum for a couple of months now. I probably should have properly introduced myself, but frankly, I've been too busy!! (I'm a WOHM mama with three children, one of whom is only 5 months).

What I would like to say in reference to this discussion is that members who are posting that they are afraid they will be shut out of MDC for being WOHM have nothing to be afraid of. The WOHM forum has been here awhile and there are no plans or discussions about taking it away. Although the choice to WOH is not necessarily promoted, neither is it put down in any way by MDC. If it were I am certain that there would not be a WOHM forum. The decisions about which forums to host on MDC are considered very carefully by Peggy, Cynthia and usually put up for discussion among all the mods. IF the forum exists, it is because MDC has already made a commitment to host it, and thereby support it conceptually. Does that make sense?

So, I don't think anything is going to change (in terms of WOHM forum shutting down or anything). At the same time, although this thread is not technically in violation of the UA, the tone is sliding a bit into open criticism of MDC outside of Q & A. If we keep the tone positive and perhaps offer suggestions (such as the one on perhaps writing an article for MOthering on WOHM issues) it will be more constructive.

I think many of the members are also on the right track when they affirm that what is working for their family is the right thing for their family. None of us can judge another family's choices. It is not constructive to debate WOHM versus SAHM (as the member in the Q & A thread discovered!) Let's affirm what is good and right about our own situations and how we integrate attachment parenting into our WOHM lifestyles in a way that is positive for our whole family!

 
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#28 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 10:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmBnB
The idea that being a sahm is *best* simply doesn't hold water for me. The idea that being a wohm is *best* simply doesn't hold water for me. I honestly
believe that the only *ideal* is that every parent do what is best for their situation and their family.

The idea that NFL and AP are laundry lists of things one must do or be is a crock if you ask me. Isn't it all about repsonding to the needs of our family...isn't it all about recognizing that we, the parents, are the best ones to make this decision....not a magazine, a book, a poster on a message board.

:

Totally with you, UmmBnB. That is what it is all about. And Sweetbaby, thank you again for that reminder about the good that you are able to do for other people.

Seasons, thank you so much for starting this discussion.

Mia
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#29 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 10:50 PM
 
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I think sweetbaby3 should be the one to write that article.
Seasons, thanks so much for starting this and the other thread. Your posts have been really insightful.

I'll sing kum-ba-ya with you anyday.
Kaly
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#30 of 73 Old 05-26-2005, 11:15 PM
 
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I really can't believe there are such strong feelings against working mom's here. I know that there are many wonderful attached children of working mom's. I myself work part-time and dh stays home with ds while I am at work. I know that I am in no way neglecting him or affecting our bond. I actually believe he has strengthened his relationship with dh because of this arrangement. Dh had to figure out his own way to put him down for naps, comfort him, etc., and I think that is great! I really don't understand the competition and negativity. We are all mom's after all.
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