A word about "Full Time Mothers" - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 05:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mama2mygirl
In real life I have heard, after saying, "oh, I'm tired" , "Yeah I'm tired too and I WORKED today" from moms with jobs. And it makes me feel so incredibly unvalued. I work hard all day, too.
Thank you for putting this so succinctly. I think this is why this sort of discussion rubs so many SAHMs the way it does. Because it inherently implies that because we DON'T work outside the home that we're not really doing anything very valuable at all. We would never say daycare workers (or family members who watch children while moms are at work or whomever) don't do valuable work, in fact, we laud their patience and willingness, but on the other side, we kind of sneer at stay at home moms that their work isn't real work.

I'd never deny that a WOHM wasn't a mother, but I do take issue if they say that they parent 100% of the time. Can you parent while your child is in the care of someone else? Possibly on some level, but not to the degree that a SAHM is parenting, at least IMHO. And with those statements, again, SAHMs are being unvalued and denied true understanding of what they do, which like WOH, is very hard.

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#62 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 05:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by anniej
I'd never deny that a WOHM wasn't a mother, but I do take issue if they say that they parent 100% of the time. Can you parent while your child is in the care of someone else?
So I guess once kids go off to school that makes those formerly "full time moms" now "part time moms"?

And yes, for your edification, I CAN parent while my child is in the care of someone else:
--I think about her and pray for her;
--I have found the best child care setting for her
--I work a job that has some flexibility of hours (that is NOT particularly advancing my career so no Gucci or Prada for me);
--I earn money so I can put a roof over her head, food on her table, have health insurance for her, save to send her to a good school and college, and provide her with what I believe to be life's necessities
--she's only 3 now, but as she gets older I believe my work will model things I want her to learn
--my work contributes to our community and tries to make it a better place

And the list could go on and is certainly not unique to me. No, it ain't sitting on the floor squishing playdough through our toes in the afternoon (which we also do, but in the evening) or going to the playground on Tuesdays (which we also do, but on Saturdays). But I believe it's all part and parcel of what constitutes Parenting. Definitions will vary. Why can't that be ok?

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#63 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 09:54 AM
 
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My DH will always be a parent - but he is not parenting when he's at work. Our son is not with him, so there is no possible way for him to be actively engaged in the actual act of parenting. He is not tending to DS's needs, he's not changing diapers, he's not fixing booboos, he's not keeping DS safe and out of trouble, he's not helping him to explore, he's not singing nursery rhymes and he's not reading that book for the hundredth time.

Is he any less of a parent? Absolutely not - he's doing something very important, he's providing for us and that in and of itself is meritous.

So, I'm not sure why there can't be credit given the other way, that as SAHMs we're working for those 8 or 12 hours or whatever and that our efforts too deserve some credit. Instead what I'm getting is that WOHMs want it all, they want to say that they parent 100% of the time plus they work and it's said to be derisive to those of us who do stay home, that we aren't doing it all, that we aren't working hard in our own way. I keep seeing you asking for your decisions to be respected and not ridiculed and whatnot, so why not afford the other side the same courtesy?

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#64 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by anniej
Instead what I'm getting is that WOHMs want it all, they want to say that they parent 100% of the time plus they work and it's said to be derisive to those of us who do stay home, that we aren't doing it all, that we aren't working hard in our own way. I keep seeing you asking for your decisions to be respected and not ridiculed and whatnot, so why not afford the other side the same courtesy?
It's interesting to hear your interpretation of how this sounds to you, because that would never once have occurred to me. I wouldn't think that any mom here believes that there's no hard work involved in taking care of children all day! I work part-time, and I'm definitely more exhausted at the end of my days at home with my 9-month-old than at the end of my days at the office. Hey, at the office I get to eat lunch whenever I want to, and I don't have to swoop down and remove suspect objects from anyone's mouth.

But when I'm at the office and our nanny is with Alex, is the nanny "parenting?" No. She's taking care of Alex, and she does fantastic work at a hard job. She's in charge of all the minute-to-minute tasks and responsibilities that go into keeping Alex happy and healthy, but she doesn't have the overall connection, the overarching responsibilities, the long-term commitment of being Alex's *parent.* That's still mine, even when I'm analyzing data instead of changing diapers.

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#65 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 11:05 AM
 
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I challenge anyone to find anyone on this Board who has put down the act of being a SAHM or suggested it's not worthwhile, valuable and hard work-- all of the criticism I've seen is just as to what some SAHMs have said about WOHMs. I think all of the posts here have always shown respect for parents who stay at home (and indeed, no small number of us WOHMs have stay at home husbands). What society does or doesn't do, or what some insensitive WOHMs say who are not here I think is neither here nor there nor a reason to have to say, well, since I don't feel valued by x, y, or z people (who pretty much aren't here on this board), then I'm going to devalue you by saying you're not 100% a parent or parenting 100% of the time -- there is no distinction between the two (and how many husbands of SAHMs I wonder would appreciate being told they aren't full time dads? I would suspect they also would argue that the act of providing financially is also parenting).

At any rate the percentage thing is a bit silly because according to that logic almost no one, unless you get absolutely no help from anyone else (something I find hard to believe could happen through a child's entire childhood) -- be it spouse, partner, ex, other relative, babysitter etc-- could possibly be parenting 100% of the time. We all have times when we are doing something else in our lives, every week if not every day.

I thought I'd do a little number thing to see how funny it is...let's say my DS is awake an average of 12 hours a day (of course, one can do parenting activities while a child is sleeping, including providing, including cooking, including washing the child's clothes, but for the sake of simplicity we'll leave it to actual awake hours). When I'm at home I pretty am the parent on call. The rest of the time DH is. So on weeks I work five days a week I'm parenting for 46% of DS's awake time and on the next week when I work four days a week I'm parenting for 57% of DS's awake time. So according to this logic I get to call myself 46% of a mother one week and 57% a mother the next. Conversely DH (whom one would normally label a SAHD) is 54% and 43% fathering from one week to the next (hmm, I could let him know that he's not really being a father on the weekends or evenings, but somehow I don't think he'd appreciate that).

The point is, what difference does it make? There are people no doubt who do not think about their children's interests and comfort as much as their own, but I really doubt those people are here on this board. All of us make choices balancing out a number of many competing factors and in the end only we know what is best for our families (or what seems best-- I suppose "knowing" for sure is never really possible or we wouldn't ever stress about it). Anyone else looking in at our families are only seeing part of the picture and therefore is not in a position to know whether it is right or not. And for some of us, choices are limited due to material circumstances, sorry but it's true (that's one reason I really hate the materialism argument-- also because it suggests that any degree of materialism is bad whereas I would argue that wanting to financially provide for one's family is a deep and positive parental instinct of both males and females)-- and for those whom it's not, there are other compelling reasons why both parents may work. While I personally would prefer (and think it's generally better if in the circumstances of a particular family it causes less stress on the family as a whole-- and recognize there are many circumstances in which it is less stressful on the family as a whole to have both parents working, material considerations being only one factor) to have one of us at home most of the time for our children until schoolage at least (which will be DH, because the fact is I can provide us with a middle class lifestyle and enough money to be able to see both of our extended families (which is important to us) and he can't, at least not for the immediate future) I recognize that circumstances could shift and the balance could go toward making it better for the family as a whole to have a different situation. Things change, people change, and to impose an ideology on everyone about what a parent is supposed to be like, and then suggest that anyone not living up to that ideology is supposedly less of a parent is ridiculous, IMHO because no one is ever going to live up to any ideology and all it does is drive a wedge between the person imposing it and those that person is trying to impose it on.

In the end this constantly quantifying and labellin is meaningless anyway since no one calculation or label fits most parents. Most mothers are home some of their children's lives and work some of their children's lives, and the way the employment market works, a substantial minority if not majority of fathers are too-- and all I can say to that is, so what? That's because people pretty much are stuck with taking life as it comes and making the best of it, the good thing is that generally (in the industralized world anyhow) we have increasing flexibility and choice in trying to make the best of it.
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#66 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 11:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aprilushka
I challenge anyone to find anyone on this Board who has put down the act of being a SAHM or suggested it's not worthwhile, valuable and hard work-- all of the criticism I've seen is just as to what some SAHMs have said about WOHMs. I think all of the posts here have always shown respect for parents who stay at home (and indeed, no small number of us WOHMs have stay at home husbands). What society does or doesn't do, or what some insensitive WOHMs say who are not here I think is neither here nor there nor a reason to have to say, well, since I don't feel valued by x, y, or z people (who pretty much aren't here on this board), then I'm going to devalue you by saying you're not 100% a parent or parenting 100% of the time -- there is no distinction between the two (and how many husbands of SAHMs I wonder would appreciate being told they aren't full time dads? I would suspect they also would argue that the act of providing financially is also parenting).
Thank you - I think you are 100% correct with this & the rest of your post. I wish I could have said it first, but I wouldn't have said it so nicely or with such grace.

And candiland - LOVE your siggy quote. I think it's very applicable in this situation.

and I am *STILL* trying to work on keeping my mouth shut. (It's not going so well here lately... )
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#67 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 11:26 AM
 
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Well said april
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#68 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by trinket23us
Sacrifice of material items that I would like to have but have chosen that my child is way more important. Most of them could make the same choices if they really wanted too.
I totally disagree with this statement. I have been a mostly SAHM for two years, and it's not "material items" per se. for many/most of us. It is basic necessities of life. Right now I work two PT jobs along with my Dp's full time job, so that we can pay heat/lights, and have a decent roof over our heads, as well as heathy food (and yes, a few nice things too). We don't value our Dc any less because we WOHM.
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#69 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 11:57 AM
 
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Anniej wrote: So, I'm not sure why there can't be credit given the other way, that as SAHMs we're working for those 8 or 12 hours or whatever and that our efforts too deserve some credit. Instead what I'm getting is that WOHMs want it all, they want to say that they parent 100% of the time plus they work and it's said to be derisive to those of us who do stay home, that we aren't doing it all, that we aren't working hard in our own way. I keep seeing you asking for your decisions to be respected and not ridiculed and whatnot, so why not afford the other side the same courtesy?
Of course there can be credit given the other way! No one is saying there isn't. (I always say that every mom is a working mom, as have many other posters on this thread expressed similar views.) There's not a limited amount of "credit" in the world; it's not as if my saying 'I'm a WOHM and I parent full-time' means that I am ALSO saying, "anyone who doesn't do it my way is not a full-time parent'. C'mon! There's enough "credit" to go around for everyone. It's this kind of thing that really irritates me; the idea that one 'side' of any debate gets 'points' and therefore the other side loses 'points'. We all get points! We all respect each other; even though we choose to do things differently. It's all to the same, justified end of doing our very best for our kids.
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#70 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 02:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by griffin2004
And yes, for your edification, I CAN parent while my child is in the care of someone else:
--I think about her and pray for her;
--I have found the best child care setting for her
--I work a job that has some flexibility of hours (that is NOT particularly advancing my career so no Gucci or Prada for me);
--I earn money so I can put a roof over her head, food on her table, have health insurance for her, save to send her to a good school and college, and provide her with what I believe to be life's necessities
--she's only 3 now, but as she gets older I believe my work will model things I want her to learn
--my work contributes to our community and tries to make it a better place
Well said! And can I add that even when parents work outside the home, children grow, thrive, and become independent little people who feel loved. Isn't THAT the point of parenting? If that's happening, how can anyone say that someone isn't a full-time parent?
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#71 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 02:33 PM
 
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I'm nakking, so excuse the shorthand.

It really makes me sad that any mom (or dad) should feel defensive about her role in her child's life. I understand why she feels defensive, of course, it just makes me incredibly sad.

So a twist on what a pp wrote: what does "full time" or "part time" actually mean? In the Netherlands, full time work is 32 hours a week (a lot more sustainable, if you ask me). I would like to work. I would like to have more flexibility around being a mom and working. I would like to have my retirement structured in such a way that it's not tied to my dollar value as a paid worker. I would like day care that I can afford so I don't have to make "choices" that are agonizing, and so that my net gain is more than a couple bucks an hour. I would like health insurance that doesn't depend on how many hours a week I work or whether I or my partner change paid jobs or take a (temporary or permanent) hiatus from paid work. None of these things is going to happen any time soon, particularly since it's so deeply ingrained in the American psyche that "choices" (which aren't always) around childrearing are "individual." And so moms and dads understandably feel the bind of trying to provide financially for their children and participate (or not) in the paid workforce and raise their children in the way they'd like to... and lash out at other moms and dads or feel judged by other moms and dads, and not much changes.

But perhaps I'm just pessimistic today.

At any rate, I'm a grad student. My husband's a grad student. I'm a mom. He's a dad. When asked, we say "I'm a student and a mom/dad" (or "I'm a mom/dad and a student"). I don't qualify with how much time I spend doing each, or which I feel is my primary role. It feels, to me, like an unwinnable game sometimes (depending on who's asking), one I don't want to play.
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#72 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 06:19 PM
 
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I'm glad and thankful that this thread has taken a turn for the positive - thank you to all you ladies for having a kind, honest discussion.

I have certainly learned something from everyone and don't feel quite as attacked as I did when I first happened upon this board.

Again, I'm pleasantly surprised by the depth of caring, concern and intellect on these boards.

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#73 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 10:22 PM
 
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#74 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 11:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by trinket23us
I It is a choice that I made that came with many years of going without certain things. Sacrifice of material items that I would like to have but have chosen that my child is way more important. Most of them could make the same choices if they really wanted too.
Wow. I am glad that many other women responded to this comment. I hate that we as mothers criticize each other like this. The reality is that many of use could not afford to stay at home. I happen to be married to a student, which means that if I do not work we don't have a house, med insurance, food, etc. And, I also enjoy working most of the time. That is something I wish I could make others understand. I also think it is a lot easier to criticize the "choices" of WOHM moms when you don't have to worry about how your bills are going to be paid if you are not in the workforce. And just cause one is at home and not in a paid job does not make her a better mother. I know lots of dymanic SAHM and WOHM and, sadly, some not so great women who belong to both categories. Whether or not they get paid for the work they do and whether or not that job is inside or outside of their homes has little impact on whether or not they are good mothers.

My daughter is more important to me than any material item I could ever have and to insinuate otherwise is beyond insulting. My world revolves around her and every choice I make is made with her best interest in mind.

If anything we should try to be more suportive of what other women are doing and realize that we alll do what works best for our own families.
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#75 of 130 Old 01-12-2006, 11:57 PM
 
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I'm a sahm who is looking for work right now. I've lived the UBER frugal life for 2 years and have lived on the brink for the whole time. A few little things happened and we're no longer making it. I can't downsize from my 1 bedroom apt. I make most of our food from scratch. I can't cut much from our groceries unless we go to a rice and eggs only diet. It's not greed that is motivating my return to work, it's necessity. That said I've had to grapple with my former self-righteousness about the whole SAHM issue. I've had to humble myself and read and learn that there is another side to the issue. I love my days with my dd but homelessness and no food is not being a good mom for me when I have the capabilities of providing those things. And honestly I may find a moderately good income.

It could put us into a decent income bracket and I won't have to spend so many hours cooking and doing frugal stuff while my dd plays by herself. It could mean we can do some stuff together that she would love that I can't afford right now. It could mean I can buy her all natural toys rather than having her be stuck with the plastic character toys relatives give her. It could mean we could afford more than a one bedroom apt. I may be able to put money in a retirement account so that we aren't trying to mooch off our kids the way my parents are trying to do me. I'm not going back to work for those things but my resume may be enough to get me a modest income. I'd love to work part time and make less but I haven't found a position like that yet in my field. If I do I'll quit and go part time as long as it is enough to keep us afloat financially.

We're uber frugal and really not consumerist at all. I have made this work for 2 years spending 85% of our income on housing alone. But a little mini-crisis pushed us over the edge and I have to find real income. We're not short a few hundred. It's a number of thousand. I am VERY creative. I have a WAHM business but I don't have the capital to fund it and I can't afford to take out a loan in the event it doesn't pay off. I have to find some income and I have to find something consistent to start filling in the gap.

So how does this tie in with the OP? I use to have "full-time parent" in my sig line. I removed it when I learned it was offensive. I had no idea it would bother anyone. I was so caught up in defending my role as a SAHM from all the attacking attitudes I'd encountered IRL that I didn't have a clue it was a slight against WOHMs. But you know there is a difference between childcare and parenting. Just because she may stay with my MIL for a few hours one evening does not mean I have relenquished my parental role. Caregivers do not "parent". They do provide guidance and care and if a parent does none of these things then a parental role is assumed. But most WOHMs do not relinquish all instruction/guidance/parenting to caregivers. Sure they share some of those things but just as my dh and I share parenting, neither is 40% parent and the other 60% - we just are. Just like I am 100% wife and 100% friend. I am 100% mom. I will always be. And part of me being a mom right now includes chipping in to provide food and shelter.

I think the mommy wars really boil down to trying to prove that you care about your kids more than others. That's just not true. And we don't know all the factors that cause women to work/sahm and we aren't right to judge. I will always be a huge fan of sahms and be very supportive. But I have found a new admiration for the wohm and I finally understand what that 'side' of mothering is about as well a little.
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#76 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 12:11 AM
 
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I think there a very few women who either SAH forever or work full-time in traditional jobs (9-5) during all of their child's growing up years. All families choose, to the extent that that is possible, what works for their families. Sometime the decision is taken away from you. I was happy being a SAHM, but dh lost his job. I was able to get a job fairly easily, so now I WAH part-time. In years past, I've worked full-time outside the home and worked as a daycare provider in my home. If dh continues to have trouble finding a job, I'll probably go back to full-time employment and be the primary breadwinner. None of these decisions diminishes my mothering. I am a mother. That can't change just because I'm not present 24/7. In fact, I think that making the tough choice to work again means that I can better parent my children by giving them the necessities and some "extras" like dance.

Because being a mother is so important to us, it's so easy to feel attacked by other women's comments. We all want to think we are doing it the best way we know how. Unfortunately, some women need to feel that they are doing it best. I know I've been presumptuous myself, thinking "oh, that mom works just so she can have [insert luxury item]" only to find out later that she dresses nicely for her corporate job that pays for the therapies for her dd with special needs. That her nice hair and makeup are part of her job "uniform", not a reflection of her lifestyle necessarily. (I hope that example doesn't offend anyone. I enjoy nice hair and makeup as much as the next person!)
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#77 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 11:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sophmama
I've had to humble myself and read and learn that there is another side to the issue. I love my days with my dd but homelessness and no food is not being a good mom for me when I have the capabilities of providing those things. And honestly I may find a moderately good income.
You're exactly the kind of person I would want to be friends with. Thank you for your perspective!
Suzy

Mother of two. : 4/05 and 1/07 Wife of one. : 7/01
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#78 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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Can I ask a serious question?

What ARE those mothers who are not employed in a position that generates an income, but instead spending time with their children supposed to call themselves?

"Full time mother" pisses off the WOHMs.

"Unemployed" indicates that they want a job, and currently don't have one, and carries with it the cultural baggage that they SHOULD be working, and "contributing" and AREN'T. It does NOT really define what the woman *IS* doing.

"Housewife" puts the emphasis on the house, which is NOT the primary focus of many women who are home with their kids- raising the children is the focus, with household duties falling primarily in their jurisdiction by default of overall number of hours logged inside of the residence. And if you really want an education- go look up the synonyms for housewife- nope they don't cut it either.

"SAHM" is a misnomer also, because many SAHMs don't STAY AT HOME. They are out and about, doing the shopping, taking their children to events/activities, going to the park, volunteering, etc.

"Primary caregiver" doesn't cover it, because ANYONE can do that- not everyone can be a *MOM*, and all of the special emotions and bonds that that implies.

WHY are we as human beings, as women allowing ourselves to be defined by our employment status, or our duties in the home?

Doesn't that bother anyone? Why are the main distinctions among women with children SAHM, WAHM, or WOHM? Does that really define who and what we are? Why are we buying into these sterotypes?

Why are we griping at, and cutting down each other? Don't we really have enough problems to deal with- all of those men vs. women, childless vs. having children, step/foster/adoptive vs. biological, married vs. unmarried, AP vs. whatever...

I do not get it!!!

Why can't we manage to talk to one another without it becoming a war?

Is it that we truly can not see each other's point of view?
Is it that we are constantly on the defensive, for whatever reason, and always looking for a slight?
Is it that our language is deficient?
Is our scope of imagination limited?
Have the cultural expectations become too ingrained?
Our empathy lacking?

WHAT is the problem, and what are we doing about it, other than fighting amongst ourselves!?!?!?!?!

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#79 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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I am a SAHM, but I hate the term "full time mothers". ALL mothers are FULL TIME. Just because you may be at work doesn't make you less of a mom. I am sure other have said this but I just wanted to show my support.
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#80 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 02:08 PM
 
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This discussion has gone way beyond what I want to add, but here goes... I'm a stay at home mom, and I've used the term "full time mother". : I never meant it as a slam to work-outside-the-home moms. I was trying to define myself, and wasn't thinking about WOHMs when I used it. Now I can see how obnoxious that term is, and I won't be using it again. WOHMs are also full time moms, and are making the right choices for their families. As moms, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. It sucks.
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#81 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 02:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nurturing Mama
This discussion has gone way beyond what I want to add, but here goes... I'm a stay at home mom, and I've used the term "full time mother". : I never meant it as a slam to work-outside-the-home moms. I was trying to define myself, and wasn't thinking about WOHMs when I used it. Now I can see how obnoxious that term is, and I won't be using it again. WOHMs are also full time moms, and are making the right choices for their families. As moms, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. It sucks.
I didn't read ALL the posts when I put mine up. I had no idea it was such a I want to be called this issue, yuo should be called that issue. Call yourself what you want and who cares what others think. Your life your children and your job description are YOUR business. Splitting hairs over a title does not join mamas in the fight against things that can harm your DC. Aren't we here for the support of being naturally minded parents? Why then are we fighting over titles when there are bigger things to deal with. Sorry here I go again.
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#82 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 02:41 PM
 
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I think it is so sad that we are not able to define ourselves or explain "what we do to others" without people taking that on as a judgment.

If we all felt good about our decisions, no one would care what anyone else says. Those who are confident in their choices, don't feel the need to justify or explain and they don't feel judged.

I have used the term being with my children full time because I am on-the-job 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I do everything in their day to day lives, all day, everyday. It is my full time work how else am I supposed to describe it? Just like, if I were a lawyer working "full time hours" I would call myself a full time lawyer. It would not make me more or less of a lawyer if I were working full time or part time, it is merely a description of how the majority of my time is spent.

When I use the word "full time mom" I mean it in the same sense of a "full time job" -- it is what I spend the majority of my time doing. I do not use the phrase to feel good about myself or my choices, I do not use the phrase to belittle others and their decisions it is merely a descriptive term. Every parent makes the choices that they need to make for themselves and their families and no one is more or less of a parent because of it. I use those phrases because parenting is my "full time" work (meaning, almost all of my time is spent hands-on parenting my child).

I think the problem lies in the use of the word mother. Yes, once we give birth, adopt or take a child into our heart, we are a mother for life. A full time mother and all the time mother. It is something we become. It is one of the titles we take on in our lives. But that is very different than using the term, full time mom when it comes to explaining what someone does for work.
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#83 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 03:37 PM
 
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I think the thing we need to explore with this issue is why are we, as mothers, so quick to look for insults? My husband would never in a million years take offense if one of his SAHD friends called himself a "full-time dad." He just would not see his friends choice of job title as having anything to do with him (and he's usually pretty self-centered ). When my oldest was a baby I would bring her with me to a friend's house to care for the friend's daughter while she worked. I did not stay home with my baby, so stay-at-home-mom didn't feel like an accurate title. I did sometimes call myself a full-time-mom, but it absolutely was not meant to insult anyone. It just seemed like the most accurate answer when someone asked me what my job was, without having to go into an exlpination of all that I do. Just a pretty good short answer.
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#84 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 03:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by griffin2004
So I guess once kids go off to school that makes those formerly "full time moms" now "part time moms"?

And yes, for your edification, I CAN parent while my child is in the care of someone else:
--I think about her and pray for her;
--I have found the best child care setting for her
--I work a job that has some flexibility of hours (that is NOT particularly advancing my career so no Gucci or Prada for me);
--I earn money so I can put a roof over her head, food on her table, have health insurance for her, save to send her to a good school and college, and provide her with what I believe to be life's necessities
--she's only 3 now, but as she gets older I believe my work will model things I want her to learn
--my work contributes to our community and tries to make it a better place

And the list could go on and is certainly not unique to me. No, it ain't sitting on the floor squishing playdough through our toes in the afternoon (which we also do, but in the evening) or going to the playground on Tuesdays (which we also do, but on Saturdays). But I believe it's all part and parcel of what constitutes Parenting. Definitions will vary. Why can't that be ok?
She didn't say it wasn't OK, but she was relaying (as far as I can tell) her own interpretation of this term and the reaction to it, and I had the same initial reaction, to some extent. I'm not defending the term, but can't some of us currently on the other side of the fence relay our feelings about it as well? Can't that be OK? I visit this forum because I do work, but only part-time and at home, so for all practical purposes I'm more of a SAHM I guess.

I think "parenting" in general extends well and beyond when the parent isn't there, but when one is discussing careers and occupations or a lack thereof, I've felt a bit slighted when someone who said she was a full-time parent, just like me. I felt like it was diminishing what I was doing all day, because I was no longer working full-time outside of the home. I hadn't thought of her as part-time, or less of a parent than me. But when I wasn't working for pay because I spent all day caring for my child, and she asserted that she was doing everything I was, while working full-time, it bothered me. I'm not saying that was a correct reaction. But it was one I had, nonetheless. Can you not see that? People here seem to respect SAHMs, but in real life they sure don't, IME.

And I brought it up not to contribute to the back and forth argument, but to point out how this can be perceived as another helping of it. And to point out how pointless it is to even compare. I do realize that language can reflect and perpetuate prejudice, and so I can understand why the whole full-time thing can be problematic. But I believe the term is often used not to slight WOHMs, but to validate the work of SAHMs. That doesn't mean I think you're a part-time mom and that the moniker is fabulous.

And on another spin, I think the whole materialism argument is stupid. Aside from the obvious things people have stated, I sometimes would like to work more for things. Yes, things. I would love a nice family vacation once in awhile, a fence around our yard for my child, and a dishwasher for my sanity. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting some upgrades once in awhile. It's all a balance. It doesn't mean I'd go back to work full-time so I can procure some Prada handbags, or that I value a dishwasher over my child. I will mostly return because I will need the money, want some other job fulfillment, and want to save money. But when I do go back, I will also be quite happy to be able to afford some things thight might improve my quality of life or reduce my stress levels.
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#85 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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Hazelnut, I'm not really sure how to reply to your post. I think we may be saying similar things but in different ways.

I certainly don't, and would challenge anyone who did, in any way discount the incredible value, contribution, etc. etc. made by a woman who chooses to be with her children all day and not to work outside the home.

In a similar way, I don't, and would challenge anyone who did, discount the dedication, love, sacrifice, etc. etc. that a woman has for her children simply because she is employed outside the home (for whatever reason: necessity, choice, or some combination).

I think we're on the same page so far.

But we all have to acknowledge that words can be weapons. Many of the women who have posted here find the phrase "full-time mother" as used to describe what we shorthandedly refer to as SAHMs to be offensive to what we shorthandedly refer to as WOHMs. That's really the only point.

Just as you feel it denigrates what you do when I want to be included in the definition of "full time mother", I feel denigrated when you do not want me included in the definition.

I think we're still agreeing, yes?

wild.gif  kickin' it old school
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#86 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 05:56 PM
 
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yes, I think we agree mostly. I'm not intending to discredit the vent about the term, nor the power of biased language, nor am I trying to praise the term "full-time mother" or imply that WOHMs are somehow less loving or dedicated mothers. In my first post I mentioned my different reaction because I wanted to point out how we can, on all sides, wind up quite defensive. And while we've been given good reason to bristle, it seems rather pointless. I posted again because I just felt sad and upset that when another poster essentially expressed sentiments similar to mine- she wasn't judging working moms I didn't think- and she was, imho, responded to as if she had. It just seemed to perpetuate the cyle to me.

Okay, edited to to finally be succinct. I think I was just repeating my last post. I have editing issues.
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#87 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 06:28 PM
 
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How about MRPFTPSFSOGR vs MNRPFTPSFSOGR.

Okay, that's Moms Receiving Payment from Third Party Sources for Services or Goods Rendered vs. Moms Not Receiving Payment from Third Party Sources for Services or Goods Rendered. Or better yet substitute P for M at the beginning and make it "Parent".

Sorry, labels are stupid although we use them all the time and it's hard not to use some shorthand. I think most can agree that generally speaking SAHM vs. WAHM vs. WOHM and SAHD vs. WAHD vs. WOHD will probably cause the least heartburn and conflict generally (I honestly think most WOH fathers would be offended if they were told they are not "full time dads").

I generally don't IRL refer to DH as a SAHD per se, just when people ask me what he does I say, he's a remodeler but he mostly he's at home with our son and when they ask who's with our son I say, "his dad". Generally, that pretty much takes care of it.
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#88 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 07:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5
But when I'm at the office and our nanny is with Alex, is the nanny "parenting?" No. She's taking care of Alex, and she does fantastic work at a hard job. She's in charge of all the minute-to-minute tasks and responsibilities that go into keeping Alex happy and healthy, but she doesn't have the overall connection, the overarching responsibilities, the long-term commitment of being Alex's *parent.* That's still mine, even when I'm analyzing data instead of changing diapers.
What she said!




- proud mother, employed by choice

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#89 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 08:34 PM
 
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It really saddens me to realize that as women we feel we must label and compare ourselves to each other. Maybe since I've been a mom I havent fit into any neat category (as a student, etc.) I have felt that labels dont really matter.

I love this board for the support in so many ways and I just say away from the baiting and the categorizations that are meant to say that "I'm a more natural/attached mama than you are "

My mom fell into the trap of believing that she would be a better mother if she did not become employed outside of the home until all of her children were in school. (thanks LLL : ) She was bitter, fustrated, lonley and bored. It took her a decade to recover her career.

I do what I do to be the woman I want my daughter to have for a mother. That is someone who is at peace with herself and happy with her life. If that means I am currently working my rear end off to get my license to practice law, than thats it. If a few years from now it means I am "wasting" my education to homeschool, than thats it, too.
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#90 of 130 Old 01-13-2006, 08:36 PM
 
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I think the issue boils back to there not being a respectful term that describes what "sahm"'s do. Most of the terms seem degrading and in the search to find something that is respectful of what they do, the term "full-time mom" is conversely disrespectful. If some genious would please coin a new term for "sahm" we'd all be a lot happier I think. You'd be the shiznit!
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