Can you afford to SAH? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 119 Old 05-20-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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1. Exciting career, don't want to jeopardize re-entry into field.
2. I think it will be easier to negotiate a flexible schedule (I want to be home when DS gets out of school when the time comes) than find part-time work to accomodate me down the road
3. I also have to factor retirement savings into the account, also SAHMing would put an end to college saving and probably our personal savings as well.
4. We would be stuck in our 2BR condo for longer than planned
5. DS loves his DCP and I think he would miss playing with the other kids, he's pretty extroverted and DH and I are not.
6. DS has just never had a problem with DC, there are other kids there who seem to have a harder time with it--if he cried EVERY TIME I left, as this one boy did for 2+ years, I would want to stay home. But DS NEVER has.
7. DH is actually pretty down on people who "don't work". I know this is pretty ignorant to a large extent, it's probably akin to his views on BFing before we had kids (he used to think it was gross and should be hidden, he changed his mind in one day when DS was born).
8. I am afraid I would go nuts. I am not always patient and I worry I would lose my patience more easily with DS if I didn't get breaks from him. I'm not proud of that.
9. I like being financially independent. Though we merge our finances, I know the money is mine and I feel I can spend it without asking DH about every little thing. I would not like our relationship dynamic to change.
10. I also wouldn't like our dynamic to change at home, DH is very hands-on both around the house and with DS, he cooks, he cleans, he changes dipes, we totally split responsibilities. I would not like to become the person solely responsible for household chores (or maybe I would?).
we have been crunching the numbers. i am pregnant and during my first trimester i became deeply attached to the notion of staying home for dc's first year, as opposed to the 6 months we had settled on pre-ttc. we did more spreadsheets than i ever imagined. basically dh was unwilling to sacrifice future income (retirement contributions i wouldn't be making, and god knows what that would mean for reentry into my field). these are your points #1 and #3. i was pushing that sentiment so often espoused on mdc -- that we could just sacrifice, but dh was not willing to give up certain "entertainment" -- date nights and a vacation -- and now that i am in a better place i have to admit i would like an annual vacation, and if date nights are what it is going to take to reconnect as a couple post-baby, i want to be able to give our baby a happy marriage, yk? i am not so passionate about retirement savings, i do it because i "should" but not because i really care, but i do care deeply about our children's college educations. nothing to muck around with.

as a feminist i hate that the reentry thing is such a big barrier, but i agree with the pps that it can be. i spent a lot of energy and $ building up my career (my law school loans were the most regrettable part of that spreadsheet) and to be locked out of meaningful work over the long-term would be bad for my mental health and happiness and ultimately my mothering. i need it as a source of self-esteem... Sort of like your point #8.

our biggest problem was your point #7, combined with DH's ideals of gender equity. he worries about unequal bonding if one parent stays home all the time and one works ft -- he wants us both to work pt after baby's first 6 months (plus rely on daycare). that is my feminist hero DH. The dark underbelly of it is that when I was out of work for a few months, DH kind of freaked about being the sole income for a baby on the way (like what if something went wrong with his job), and i felt like he respected me less, and he felt like i no longer cared about the world of "high politics" and ideas and his work and things that weren't related to parenting. our money on some level felt like "his money" to him (although he admitted this only once in a moment of anger). his feelings came as a huge shock to me -- it's not what he believes in in theory, but when push came to shove i felt like i was justifying my (very modest) extraneous expenditures, which made me feel dependent in a way I did not like at all. which goes to your point #9.

gotta go to bed, more later.
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#62 of 119 Old 05-20-2007, 10:57 PM
 
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My son is 6 and has never been in daycare. It really hurt him when he went to school and didn't really know how to interact with the other children or his teacher. I wouldn't brag about never using daycare.
How was that BRAGGING by saying my 4 years old has never been in daycare??!! It was just the facts. If I had said that he had been in daycare his whole life would I have been bragging about that?

I am sorry that your son had socialization issues. My son doesn't have anything like that. He has been around tons of kids his entire life. He has been doing gymnastics since he was 1, and has taken lots of sports classes, art classes ets. He has tons of friends, and he sees them all the time. We go to the Zoo, Children's Museums, libraries, parks, spontaneous vacations (just him and I...so fun!!) etc all the time.

We just took my son to a school the other day (he has been BEGGING to go to preschool for a year!) for a tour. We walked into the classroom and he immediately engaged with the other children.
His dad and I left the room (we were in the hallway) to talk with one of the teachers. We were gone for about 10 minutes and he never even noticed we were gone because he was in the middle of 6 other boys his age, playing cars.

HE cried when we left the school and that is all he has talked about since. He interacted so well with the teachers that they ALL commented on it several times...how outgoing and confident he was. That is just his personality. He is a very social kid and probably would be that way even if he had been living in a cave his whole life!!

Your child does not have to go to daycare to get socialized.
That is ridiculous!!!
It just takes a little more effort on the parents part if you SAH.

And please note that I have not said anything negative about daycare, or working or anything else. I only answered this thread because I was trying to help the OP, not to judge anyone's choices. I really don't see as a black and white issue that I have to be on one side of. We just do what works for us!!
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#63 of 119 Old 05-20-2007, 11:21 PM
 
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I have gained more skills and connections through being a SAHM than from any "Job" I have ever had. To imply that I have lost skills and connections as a result of staying home with my son is very insulting.:
To be fair, I don't think she was saying or implying that everyone lost skills or connections by being a SAHM. She said that SHE would have lost skills and connections. Whether anyone else would all depends on the career path, field, industry, educational requirements, etc etc etc etc.

In my field (international development and IT), yes, 100% I would have lost connections and skills. Of course I would have picked up new ones, but are those skills and connections that would serve me in my career of choice? Not likely.

I had a long chat with a friend who was in IT/application development/help desk support before she had kids 5 years ago (we talk tech with each other because she is a geek at heart). It was surprising that even though she tries to keep on top of things, she had never heard of some of the most common languages/application technologies used right now.

Yes, she could bring herself back up to speed again, And she broadened her skill set by helping run the preschool as well as doing other volunteer leadership roles - but if she wanted her old job back, it would take her time, money, and she would most likely not be able to jump back where she left.

Another friend left her company as an office manager and went back 6 years later as an administrative assistant. It takes a lot of humility to call the person who used to work for you boss.

This is reality for most women. We are already often discriminated against for not being able to work the long hours or travel at the drop of a hat - add on a substantial employment gap, and many women lose a tremendous amount in career potential.

It isn't fair. But it real. And we all make our choices based on our realities.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#64 of 119 Old 05-20-2007, 11:38 PM
 
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How was that BRAGGING by saying my 4 years old has never been in daycare??!! It was just the facts. If I had said that he had been in daycare his whole life would I have been bragging about that?
Please keep in mind that on MDC there are MANY snips about daycare made all over the place. There are moms here who firmly believe that daycare is an EEEEVVVVVVIIIIIILLLL place full of mainstream, child abusing, formula feeding, spanking, TV worshipers :

Okay, a little over the top, but please recognize that the reason why many working moms are sensitive to any comment about daycare is because we are inundated with media stories and little comments alike about how harmful daycare is to kids and the implication that only nasty, horrible, negligent mothers would ever want their kids to spend any time in such a place.

So I interpreted your comments about being at home with your child plus "my kid has never been in daycare" to mean "my child has never been put willingly in that horrible place, aren't I an awesome mom?" because THIS is what I read a lot on MDC and elsewhere. It gets very tiring after awhile.

This interpretation may not have been your intention. However it was certainly how I interpreted your statements, and it seems I am not alone. I find it useful when I find my words have been misunderstood - it helps me to know how to rephrase things to get my true meaning across.

btw, neither of my two kids has ever been in daycare (we have an au pair) - but we have explored the option on more than one occasion and if we needed daycare for childcare, we wouldn't hesitate to use it.

Hope this helps.

Siobhan

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#65 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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Thanks Siobhan
I see your point on the daycare thing. It wasn't meant like that in any way, but it is just like I took offense to the other posting. It's actually kinda funny...

We have also considered day care before, and if I had a fabulous career waiting for me I think I definitely would have let DH stay home with our son...but this is just how it worked out.

I certainly don't think that staying home with my son makes me a better mom than anyone else. Heck, I could be staying at home with him in front of the TV eating pop tarts all day! I know of day care facilities here in Portland that are AMAZING. I have seen several of my son's friends do wonderfully in these programs.

I think it all boils down to how much involvement you have in your child's life. Choosing a good child care center, knowing what goes on with your kid every day. planning activities regularly if you SAH. Just really being a prt of your kids life and making sure they get what they need. I really don;t think you have ot SAH to accomplish those things. I also know that there are lot's of people who SAH who aren't involved in their kids lives

I really just wish that there wasn't so much debate and sensitivity around this issue. But I am just as sensitive as the next I guess:
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#66 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 12:08 AM
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It just takes a little more effort on the parents part if you SAH.
Yeah, IF you SAH. I was working FT and my mother watched DS instead of me putting him in daycare.
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#67 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 12:17 AM
 
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To be fair, I don't think she was saying or implying that everyone lost skills or connections by being a SAHM. She said that SHE would have lost skills and connections. Whether anyone else would all depends on the career path, field, industry, educational requirements, etc etc etc etc.
and

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This is reality for most women. We are already often discriminated against for not being able to work the long hours or travel at the drop of a hat - add on a substantial employment gap, and many women lose a tremendous amount in career potential.

It isn't fair. But it real. And we all make our choices based on our realities.
:

This is certainly true in my field. I don't even have the option of consulting part time at the moment. If I leave, it would take me a loooong time to find a job. I would either have to go back to school to get a related degree or relocate my family. It would be an entry level position. I would be competing with new grads, usually childless, and most likely single, who are willing to work 60-70 hours per week. I would take a $30,000 pay cut. This is the reality of the field I choose. And it is the reality for the 19 (out of 24) other women in my graduate school class.
My field is traditionally white male and very competitive. It is undergoing a huge demographic change, but I am at the beginning of that change. If the women who entered the workforce with me the year I graduated decide to take a few years off to stay home, the demographics shift back to the white male picture and we lose our ground. I don't think that individual women should make family decisions based on someone's political agenda, but their decisions in the aggregate have a big impact on society. I have been reading more about momsrising.com (thanks SiobhanG!) and their message really resonates with me. Why is it so hard to keep working after kids, and even harder to opt out then opt in again? Why don't more women see the "Mommy Wars" for what they are - a media construct - and work together to make it easier for all women, and by extension families, to do the best for their families? [/RANT]

Sorry if I hijacked the post
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#68 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 12:18 AM
 
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I think it all boils down to how much involvement you have in your child's life. Choosing a good child care center, knowing what goes on with your kid every day. planning activities regularly if you SAH. Just really being a prt of your kids life and making sure they get what they need. I really don;t think you have ot SAH to accomplish those things. I also know that there are lot's of people who SAH who aren't involved in their kids lives
totally agree. I think this is where the attachment comes from. I think sometimes we interpret the word attachment too literally - as in if the child is not physically attached to us, then there won't be mental attachment. But I think that is a wrong assumption.

Yes, some physical proximity is required - if a mom literally spends *zero* time with her child, then yes, someone else is actually raising that child. However, we tend to overvalue the hours between 9 - 5 (the traditional working time) and undervalue weekends, evenings, nighttimes, mornings, etc. It is all about active engagement with your children - and there are many models to doing that.

hey, anyone read Mother Nature: A history of mothers, infants and Natural Selection by Sarah Hrdy? I just bought a used copy on Amazon. I hear it is awesome at looking at the role of success seeking behavior as a mothering benefit - basically in primates, higher status mothers are more successful at raising their infants to maturity and having those infants successfully reproduce. Her theory is that, unlike the current dialogue about how ambition/success seeking and mothering/nurturing behaviors are somehow opposing forces in each woman, instead both are part of successful evolutionary strategies for raising children.

I am looking forward to reading the book.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#69 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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I don't think that individual women should make family decisions based on someone's political agenda, but their decisions in the aggregate have a big impact on society. I have been reading more about momsrising.com (thanks SiobhanG!) and their message really resonates with me. Why is it so hard to keep working after kids, and even harder to opt out then opt in again? [/RANT]

Sorry if I hijacked the post
heh, I do it all the time :

I find it amazing that for some fields (like law), going "mommy track" means working ONLY 50 hours a week. You'll never make partner in most firms by working such short hours. But you are also still away from your kids a lot of the time.

The other issue is the huge cost of student debt. I think many women are either lied to or don't recognize the impact of their choices for education, career, industry, etc..
Since I suspect many young women are not interested in feminism because "we won that battle", they don't get how they are potentially getting screwed out of options in the long run.

IF they are going to take out $50K in loans for a graduate degree (let alone undergrad), what does that mean in terms of long term earning potential (if one is in heavy debt, taking a lower paying job in a more interesting area may be off limits) as well as taking time off for kids? If you are paying off that debt, you are less likely to be saving or buying a house, etc etc etc.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#70 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 12:46 AM
 
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heh, I do it all the time :

I find it amazing that for some fields (like law), going "mommy track" means working ONLY 50 hours a week. You'll never make partner in most firms by working such short hours. But you are also still away from your kids a lot of the time.
Funny Story - When I interviewed for my residency after grad school, the hospital had just been named a Working Mother 100 Best Company. They talked alot about work/life balance, which is why I chose them. Well when I started, I quickly realized that the Nursing Directors and VPs easily worked 12+ hours per day, 6 days a week. The work/life balance? There was on onsite daycare, the didn't work on Sunday, and there were a handful of female VPs. However, all but one were unmarried and childless. I passed on alot of choice assignments to be home with my family and was viewed as not having a strong work ethic because I wasn't in the office by 6am or on Saturdays. So I feel the pain of the "mommy track" lawyers here.

I also have an huge amount of student debt, and it does mean alot to me to repay it myself, hopefully within in 10 years. I will never be a CEO, so I knew going in to school that my debt would always be a large part of my income, and I would be sacrifing alot of nice things (big house, big retirement, etc) to work in my chosen field. But I'm not sure how many of my female classmates are prepared for that reality when they opt out, which many of them have told me they want to do.

I have loved reading this discussion. I love reading about the diversity of situations and they thought that so many of you have put in to your choices.

Erin
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#71 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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Kinda jumping in here but wanted to say that I'm a sahm. My husband made $30K last year. We live in a 2br 1 ba house the mortgage is $380/mo. It isn't in the best of neighboorhoods but not the worst. We definitley don't have a lot of extra money. The only things we are in debt on is our house and one car. We don't buy things if we can't afford them. We are pretty frugal but we still have our fun. Staying at home isn't for everyone, but in most cases CAN be done if you make it the priority. There would have to be a lot of monetary sacrifices. I'm not saying that any of you should change your priorities bc I an see the plus sides of being a working mom. I would like to live in a nicer house in a better neighboorhood. I think it's a personal decision that every individual has to make. And whatever decision that is made shouldn't be looked down on by either sides.
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#72 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 01:03 AM
 
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I feel lucky that my job - while entry level - pays extremely well and has the added benefit of set hours. I come in at 3 PM, I leave at 11:15 PM. Home by 11:35 PM. Very little variation, I mean, hell really has to break loose for me to stay late and that happens fairly rarely. I can't be dinged for not wanting to stay late or come in early and it provides a lot of stability for DS.

I completely agree with Siobhan regarding the tech gap. People who drop out of the tech world for longer than 6 months are facing a huge learning curve if/when they try to rejoin the workforce. Things change soooo quickly, and we are constantly getting new training and so forth.
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#73 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 03:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
I think this is where the attachment comes from. I think sometimes we interpret the word attachment too literally - as in if the child is not physically attached to us, then there won't be mental attachment. But I think that is a wrong assumption.

Yes, some physical proximity is required - if a mom literally spends *zero* time with her child, then yes, someone else is actually raising that child. However, we tend to overvalue the hours between 9 - 5 (the traditional working time) and undervalue weekends, evenings, nighttimes, mornings, etc. It is all about active engagement with your children - and there are many models to doing that.
ITA with that. One of my less favorite attitudes in the AP community is that, somehow, it's impossible to develop and maintain a bond with your children if you spend less than 24 hours a day with them. It just isn't true, as so many working moms will tell you. The attachment is built and sustained through so many different moments and dedicated focus over the course of a child's ENTIRE LIFE.... long after breast-feeding and co-sleeping and daycare are things of the past.
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#74 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here, just a follow-up, had a little talk with DH yesterday and he's totally supportive of my working PT. I was really surprised! We agree that unfortunately it will have to wait, being as I just started this job, and I'm more likely to be able to negotiate after maternity leave for DC#2 (not yet conceived) but that I should be in a strong position to negotiate that at that time, here or at another institution (my current employer is pretty prestigious--and that should certainly help in future job hunts). I feel so happy about this... when I wrote my OP I wasn't sure how I felt, or what my ideal situation would be, but now that we've discussed this, I realize that's what I really want, and I'm so happy DH is on board, and that I work in a field where what I want is very likely within reach.

Thanks for listening!

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
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OP here, just a follow-up, had a little talk with DH yesterday and he's totally supportive of my working PT. I was really surprised! We agree that unfortunately it will have to wait, being as I just started this job, and I'm more likely to be able to negotiate after maternity leave for DC#2 (not yet conceived) but that I should be in a strong position to negotiate that at that time, here or at another institution (my current employer is pretty prestigious--and that should certainly help in future job hunts). I feel so happy about this... when I wrote my OP I wasn't sure how I felt, or what my ideal situation would be, but now that we've discussed this, I realize that's what I really want, and I'm so happy DH is on board, and that I work in a field where what I want is very likely within reach.

Thanks for listening!
That's awesome! Congratulations!
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#76 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 10:02 PM
 
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Kinda jumping in here but wanted to say that I'm a sahm. My husband made $30K last year. We live in a 2br 1 ba house the mortgage is $380/mo. It isn't in the best of neighboorhoods but not the worst. We definitley don't have a lot of extra money. The only things we are in debt on is our house and one car. We don't buy things if we can't afford them. We are pretty frugal but we still have our fun. Staying at home isn't for everyone, but in most cases CAN be done if you make it the priority. There would have to be a lot of monetary sacrifices. I'm not saying that any of you should change your priorities bc I an see the plus sides of being a working mom. I would like to live in a nicer house in a better neighboorhood. I think it's a personal decision that every individual has to make. And whatever decision that is made shouldn't be looked down on by either sides.
Of all of the lines that I get from SAHM's, this one just sends me straight into the stratosphere as far as being PO'ed. And I think it pisses me off even more that every time a working mama cites her actual circumstances, the SAHM who really believes that "...in most cases it CAN be done if you make it the priority." backs down. We - both in the world and at MDC - represent a million different unique financial situations with a million different quirks. And to say something that amounts to 'you really could stay home if you tried hard enough' insults all our efforts to do the right thing for our families in unique circumstances. I'm sure there IS a way for every mother to say home (for instance, I'm sure we could come up with the extra $1200 a month we'd need if we won the lottery, robbed banks, or left the country and defaulted on our student loans, but making it a 'priority' by cutting discretionary spending isn't going to make the budget balance. 1/3 of our income is NOT discretionary!), we all know in our heart of hearts whether it is or is not practical and don't need to be told -- even by the best intentioned people.

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
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#77 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 10:15 PM
 
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And I think it pisses me off even more that every time a working mama cites her actual circumstances, the SAHM who really believes that "...in most cases it CAN be done if you make it the priority." backs down.
yup.

I usually respond in my head with "if I were to tell a SAHM who says she can't afford to work 'you could work if you really tried hard and making working a priority', my butt would be flamed to soot in 4 seconds flat - as it should be."

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#78 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 10:17 PM
 
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ITA with Belleweather. As I posted previously on this thread, no matter which way we skew the budget, no matter how many "extras" we drop, it is still not possible for us to give up the money I bring in - which right now is over half our income. If just giving up a car or moving to a lesser neighborhood would do it, we would. But for us to have a mortgage of $380/mo around where we live (and near where dh, who would then be the sole breadwinner, works) it would take us moving to either a studio apartment in an ok neighborhood, or buying a small home - likely even a one bedroom - in an unsafe, gang- and crime- laden area. I simply am not willing to expose my kids to nightly drive by shootings and drug deals on the corner, so this remains out of the question for us.

For many of us who work, it is not simply a matter of having the "nicer things in life," like an extra car, meals out, domestic help, etc., it is a matter of simply getting by month to month, with maybe a little added to the retirement account (and believe me, when you hit your 40's that becomes an essential expense) at the end of the month. So to tell any of us it CAN be done if we were just willing to make some sacrifices is insulting. If the sacrifice I ended up making got my child killed in a gang situation, or if I ended up on welfare to support my family so I could be a sahm, would you be just as supportive, or would you call me lazy, unmotivated, etc.?

Wife to Thomas, WAH mama to Sofia Rose 8/04, Ellen Marie 10/07, her twin sister Amalie Joy lost 7/07 , and Maya Grace and Hannah Miriam 4/10
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#79 of 119 Old 05-21-2007, 10:31 PM
 
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If just giving up a car or moving to a lesser neighborhood would do it, we would. But for us to have a mortgage of $380/mo around where we live (and near where dh, who would then be the sole breadwinner, works) it would take us moving to either a studio apartment in an ok neighborhood, or buying a small home - likely even a one bedroom - in an unsafe, gang- and crime- laden area.
WOW, $380 a month mortgage?

The cost of living in this area is so insane that I don't know anyone who pays that little for a studio rental - even in gangland central. Maybe renting a room in a private house. A friend turned down buying her one bedroom apartment in a pretty dodgy neighborhood (someone got shot in the parking lot) because it would have cost nearly $300K - and it is nowhere near the metro.

The rising cost of housing in this area is having a profound impact on the demographics of our neighborhood. I run our neighborhood babysitting coop - we are finding it very hard to find new members because there are fewer and fewer sahms (our traditional group). If moms move into this neighborhood, either their dh works a tremendous number of hours, they are older/have older kids and therefore not needing a babysitting coop, or they work at least part time, and her need for babysitting is not that great.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#80 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 12:35 AM
 
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OP here, just a follow-up, had a little talk with DH yesterday and he's totally supportive of my working PT. I was really surprised! We agree that unfortunately it will have to wait, being as I just started this job, and I'm more likely to be able to negotiate after maternity leave for DC#2 (not yet conceived) but that I should be in a strong position to negotiate that at that time, here or at another institution (my current employer is pretty prestigious--and that should certainly help in future job hunts). I feel so happy about this... when I wrote my OP I wasn't sure how I felt, or what my ideal situation would be, but now that we've discussed this, I realize that's what I really want, and I'm so happy DH is on board, and that I work in a field where what I want is very likely within reach.

Thanks for listening!
Awesome! That is so wonderful that you have a plan that will work for you and DH and is attainable.
Congratulations!

P.S. It sounds like you might be at a university...the prestigious employer really does help in the long run, I have gotten interviews based solely on the academic institution I worked at, not on the work I actually DID. Aren't people funny?
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#81 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 05:09 AM
 
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Of all of the lines that I get from SAHM's, this one just sends me straight into the stratosphere as far as being PO'ed. And I think it pisses me off even more that every time a working mama cites her actual circumstances, the SAHM who really believes that "...in most cases it CAN be done if you make it the priority." backs down. We - both in the world and at MDC - represent a million different unique financial situations with a million different quirks. And to say something that amounts to 'you really could stay home if you tried hard enough' insults all our efforts to do the right thing for our families in unique circumstances. I'm sure there IS a way for every mother to say home (for instance, I'm sure we could come up with the extra $1200 a month we'd need if we won the lottery, robbed banks, or left the country and defaulted on our student loans, but making it a 'priority' by cutting discretionary spending isn't going to make the budget balance. 1/3 of our income is NOT discretionary!), we all know in our heart of hearts whether it is or is not practical and don't need to be told -- even by the best intentioned people.
yep to all that.

furthermore, what I get tired of is feeling that I have to justify the fact that I woh financially. honestly, and very fortunately, in my situation it's more or less a wash as to whether or not, after other things are factored in, i bring in any extra money to the family budget monthly or not with my woh. that's not the point, though. for me, woh in my particular job is a part of who I am, just as being a mom is a part of who I am and both are more or less intrinsic to me. is my job as important as my DS? NO! But being able to be his mom and to be who I am apart from that is a blessing. I would simply not be as good a mom as I am now if I were a sahm. I don't feel that I need to justify that decision to anyone.

I feel that when we, as woh moms, start trying to justify ourselves to others based on finances we inevitably run into the "but you could really do it if you wanted to." with lots of commentary on cutting back on discretionary spending and etc. I'm not having a go at anyone who honestly believes that, but I'm saying that I simply don't care. I also think that, by engaging in these arguments, we basically, implicitly state that sahing is the best, unless other factors, such as finances, intervene. I don't believe that sahing is the best *for me* or for a lot of women or for their kids and their families. I think it's great for some families. But I don't work for the money. I work for my self-esteem, my self-respect, my love for my profession, in addition to maintaining my sanity. That's best for me and my family and I refuse to implicitly buy into the sahming is the best unless you *have* to work mentality . . .
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#82 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hey, anyone read Mother Nature: A history of mothers, infants and Natural Selection by Sarah Hrdy? I just bought a used copy on Amazon. I hear it is awesome at looking at the role of success seeking behavior as a mothering benefit - basically in primates, higher status mothers are more successful at raising their infants to maturity and having those infants successfully reproduce. Her theory is that, unlike the current dialogue about how ambition/success seeking and mothering/nurturing behaviors are somehow opposing forces in each woman, instead both are part of successful evolutionary strategies for raising children.

I am looking forward to reading the book.
you inspired me and I checked it out yesterday and started reading it last night--it rocks! It's as you said, she says the "best" mothers, from an evolutionary standpoint, have been those with a wide skill set--not just the best nurturers, but those best at collecting food, fighting off threats, etc. etc. She takes a lot of examples from the animal world, it's fascinating stuff.

----

In other news the $380/month mortgage statement had me rolling in the aisles, there is nothing here for that, not even close, not within 4x that, and then we're talking small place in dodgy neighborhood in need of total rehab. But still... I suppose if SAHM-ing was really important to me we would move back to the midwest or someplace where we could live on $30k/yr. But I started this thread to find out other reasons--besides financial--for WOHMing. And there are plenty.

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
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#83 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 10:23 AM
 
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Of all of the lines that I get from SAHM's, this one just sends me straight into the stratosphere as far as being PO'ed. And I think it pisses me off even more that every time a working mama cites her actual circumstances, the SAHM who really believes that "...in most cases it CAN be done if you make it the priority." backs down. We - both in the world and at MDC - represent a million different unique financial situations with a million different quirks. And to say something that amounts to 'you really could stay home if you tried hard enough' insults all our efforts to do the right thing for our families in unique circumstances. I'm sure there IS a way for every mother to say home (for instance, I'm sure we could come up with the extra $1200 a month we'd need if we won the lottery, robbed banks, or left the country and defaulted on our student loans, but making it a 'priority' by cutting discretionary spending isn't going to make the budget balance. 1/3 of our income is NOT discretionary!), we all know in our heart of hearts whether it is or is not practical and don't need to be told -- even by the best intentioned people.
ITA with that. Preach it sister.

I've have been both a SAHM and a WOHM. I"m always amazed at how there is this pervasive attitude that if you have to work it's because you aren't frugal enough, you are consumerist, greedy, whatever, that we work for expensive vacations, nice cars, etc. This is simply not true. It can also be a very short sighted view. There are definite advantages both ways, but the reality is that most families are dual income for a reason: financial, emotional, mental health, whatever. All reasons are valid.
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#84 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 11:02 AM
 
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To answer the OP - yes, we could afford for me to stay home.

It would put a roof over our head and food on the table. However, that's not how we're choosing to live our lives.

I'm in Canada, so with 600 hours of work I am entitled to a year of maternity benefits/leave. It's actually 15 weeks of mat leave, and 35 weeks of parental leave (plus 15 weeks of sick leave before the birth of the baby if I can convince my doc )

I'll be taking approx. 18 mnths off with this new babe that's coming. My school schedule works out that way. I have one year left of my nursing degree, and then I will be working part time.

My dh has good benefits, which helps, but as things stand - it would be very uncomfortable to live on his salary alone.

I absolutely love my field of work (nursing) and intend to pursue my masters after graduating with my BScN.

The interaction with patients, and getting to be part of saving someone's life, or caring for them in their darkest time... Well, that's irreplaceable to me.

Besides - I owe the Cdn. gov't $60,000 in student loans.

So yeah, I'll be working - for love of the career, and so my house isn't repoed.

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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#85 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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I really wanted to stay home with my children. Strangely enough, my husband and I did not discuss this before or after having children. Our mothers were SAHM's, so I guess we both assumed I'd be a SAHM as well. We certainly were not rich when our first child was born. We just made it work.

If it is something you want to do, I believe that you can make it work, somehow. You will have to sacrifice certain things, and may have to get use to a different sort of lifestyle (less eating out, fewer shopping sprees, etc).

I just couldn't handle (or even imagine) someone else raising my children- especially since I'm very particular about what values and morals I want to instill in their lives.

It's not all cookies and cream, but I'm thankful to be home with my children- and I really can't imagine it any other way.

When I've wanted some extra money for myself (guilt free spending), I've sold paintings and such.

So, if it's something you want- go for it- you can do it.
Oh great, this again: "Anyone could afford it if they just stopped eating out and went on fewer shopping sprees." :

Not everyone, honey. Well, I guess I could afford to SAH if I stopped paying my student loans, stopped paying for health insurance, let our life insurance lapse, stopped saving, and put my children's future in a precarious position. My husband is a mostly SAHD, but works most weekends. You are very naive and/or judgmental to assume you know what people could do.

Frankly, the SAHMs and others who presume to know that so-and-so could easily afford to stay home get on my every last nerve. I'm surrounded by SAHMs who are wonderful and supportive IRL, but then there are those few who really make me :

I'll leave it at that before I get myself banned.
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#86 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 12:20 PM
 
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Oh great, this again: "Anyone could afford it if they just stopped eating out and went on fewer shopping sprees." :

Not everyone, honey. Well, I guess I could afford to SAH if I stopped paying my student loans, stopped paying for health insurance, let our life insurance lapse, stopped saving, and put my children's future in a precarious position. My husband is a mostly SAHD, but works most weekends. You are very naive and/or judgmental to assume you know what people could do.

Frankly, the SAHMs and others who presume to know that so-and-so could easily afford to stay home get on my every last nerve. I'm surrounded by SAHMs who are wonderful and supportive IRL, but then there are those few who really make me :

I'll leave it at that before I get myself banned.
Um, you actually said what I was thinking.

I have said before on these boards, its not so easy to just stop working and a lot of it depends on what happened before you even had kids in the case of those of us with student loans. I am 105K in the hole plus we have another 100K or so in bills, I most certainly am not working for a shopping spree and if I didn't work whhich I did gor dd's 1st year we would be in even worse shape.

Anyway that's my two cents.

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#87 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 12:30 PM
 
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Shay - I also incurred my student loans waaaay before I even thought about the implications on having kids. And I was going to law school, I'd make plenty of money to repay my loans, right? Except that I found that working 80 hours a week is not conducive to any sort of lifestyle I'd ever want, kids or no. And that I really enjoy working in a job that makes a difference (for me - and my school has given me loan repayment assistance grants for the last several years to pay my loans!).

I actually love what I do and would most likely work at least part time even if I didn't "have" to. I love the fact that I can help people get disability or Medicaid if they're turned down. .... I have represented domestic violence victims obtain protective orders when they couldn't afford to hire an attorney because they were SAHMs and their partners completely isolated them and hurt them or threatened them. This job rocks!

Most of the female lawyers I know who become moms work in some capacity after kids because of their student loans or benefits. But then you'll see people say, oh she could afford to stay home, her husband makes plenty, they live in a huge house and drive nice cars. The thing is, they probably *couldn't* make it on just one salary, but her earning potential is so great that she makes enough to afford all the extras. People really don't know what's going on in someone else's finances. Acting like you do only makes you look silly.
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#88 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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Oh great, this again: "Anyone could afford it if they just stopped eating out and went on fewer shopping sprees." :

Not everyone, honey. Well, I guess I could afford to SAH if I stopped paying my student loans, stopped paying for health insurance, let our life insurance lapse, stopped saving, and put my children's future in a precarious position. My husband is a mostly SAHD, but works most weekends. You are very naive and/or judgmental to assume you know what people could do.

Frankly, the SAHMs and others who presume to know that so-and-so could easily afford to stay home get on my every last nerve. I'm surrounded by SAHMs who are wonderful and supportive IRL, but then there are those few who really make me :

I'll leave it at that before I get myself banned.

I have to agree. When I saw that posting my hackles went up! I am a WAHM, but it is more like SAHM because I work very few hours and I do It when DS is sleeping, having "Daddy Time" etc...so I feel like I identify more with SAHM's just as far as my day to day life plays out.

When we got pregnant I was working in a Call Center and my whole pregnancy all I could think about was that I didn't want to go back to work because I hated it, and it made me sick to think about being away from my child so that I could go to a job that was horrible.

I had 4 months off after my son was born, and the whole time I dreaded going back to work. But I had too. There was NO WAY we could have made it on my DH's income. We were barely scraping by with both of our incomes. SO I had ot go back to work PT while I continued to figure out something else. I was starting work at 4am so that DS could stay with dad. That meant getting up at 2:30 in the morning, bfing, pumping and going to work. I stopped producing milk shorty after going back to work and after trying everything, I finally had to give up BFing because I COULD NOT AFFORD TO QUIT MY JOB!!!! We were barely able to pay our bills each month (rent on a crappy house, utilities...no credit cards or anything)

I finally found a way to make money from home and I was able to quit my job 4 months after returning. I consider myself VERY blessed. Most people like me are still at the crappy job because they can't find a way out.

There are many parents who really would like to be home with their kids more than anything in the world but they cannot afford to. I know because I was one of them!!
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#89 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 01:54 PM
 
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To the OP: Congrats on the PT prospects!

RE: "If you just make some lifestyle changes" type of comments...

: Count me in the it bugs me camp. We have made so many lifestyle changes. We are blessed that we rent a tiny cottage house for only $625/ month (we've lived here for 7 years now and thankfully the landlord has only raised the rent once. Most places are more than double the cost near us.) But as house prices go up in our neighborhood, I'm sure rent will or worse, we'll have to move because the landlord decides to finally sell the lot.

I'm not sure about some of the other mamas here, but without loans, I'd either never gone to school or probably still be in school, slowly working my way as I could afford classes. If that were the case, I wouldn't be helping out or family situation at all and chances are I'd be only working.

Without schooling, I wouln't have left the country to study abroad. First person on either side of my family to do that. Guess what? That costs too. Oh, and then I pick a profession where I feel doing good is more than my earnings -- not to mention the hours allow me to see my family. ()

Plus we have debt. I was a stupid college student with a credit card. Then we got married and well, even with all the DIY we did for it, weddings still cost a lot. So there is a hole that both dh and I contributed to and both us are working to fill it in.

So no, I'm sorry to say that the long term, ideas for family and what not were not on my radar during college/ grad school. There are so many things you can't plan for or be prepared for that will screw you over in the long run. But we're finally at a place where we are working it out some that perhaps when our children are ready, there will at least be something to pass on financially rather than a bunch of zeros on a FAFSA form.

But if I were to simply make more "frugal" changes? There goes the healthcare, there goes our natural living, there goes heat, electric, food, retirement, dh's schooling... It's just not going to happen for us right now. Who knows in the future?
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#90 of 119 Old 05-22-2007, 04:36 PM
 
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Shay - I also incurred my student loans waaaay before I even thought about the implications on having kids. And I was going to law school, I'd make plenty of money to repay my loans, right? Except that I found that working 80 hours a week is not conducive to any sort of lifestyle I'd ever want, kids or no. And that I really enjoy working in a job that makes a difference (Legal Aid for me - and my school has given me loan repayment assistance grants for the last several years to pay my loans!).

I actually love what I do and would most likely work at least part time even if I didn't "have" to. I love the fact that I can help people get disability or Medicaid if they're turned down. I can help a crime victim obtain crime victims compensation when she was turned down because she "contributed" to her rape because she was drinking when she was sexually assaulted. I have represented domestic violence victims obtain protective orders when they couldn't afford to hire an attorney because they were SAHMs and their partners completely isolated them and hurt them or threatened them. This job rocks!

Most of the female lawyers I know who become moms work in some capacity after kids because of their student loans or benefits. But then you'll see people say, oh she could afford to stay home, her husband makes plenty, they live in a huge house and drive nice cars. The thing is, they probably *couldn't* make it on just one salary, but her earning potential is so great that she makes enough to afford all the extras. People really don't know what's going on in someone else's finances. Acting like you do only makes you look silly.
You're my hero!

No seriously, as a just-graduated law student, I agree with everything you've said. From making the rounds interviewing with public interest firms, it seems like a huge number of the people working there are women with small children.

My 'dream job' (who will hire me, if they'd frickin' call me back already! : ) is to work where I clerked my 1L summer: at a small public interest firm that does Medicaid advocacy for children with special needs. Other than our director and our IT guy, every full-time staff member was a mother with kids at home. EVERY ONE. The summer I worked there, I had a couple of mamas who we helped who admitted that they were so glad that we were there to help them -- even though they used to believe that working outside the home was bad for women with small children. Every time I get "holier-than-thou-ed" by someone who says I shouldn't be working, I pray they'll never need to show up in that office with a baby with Praeder-willi, or Down's, or Autism and no way to pay for treatment.

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
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