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#121 of 169 Old 01-13-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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Family is tough--but friends you can choose, or at least explain your feelings and if you lose their friendship, OH WELL. But really, with most people I think all you can do is try to feel secure (not superior!) in your choices, and know that what you are doing works for your specific family. I'm always flabbergasted by the generalities of what people "should" do--because no one knows another person's specifics.
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#122 of 169 Old 01-13-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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The attitude is, you chose to have children, so you lie in the bed that you made. The village theory just goes out the window because "why should others pay for your choice"?
First off, children are not a luxury. The right to reproduce - or not as one choses- is a fundamental human right that should not be denied based on income, race, creed, nationality, etc etc etc.

When we start making judgments about who has a "right" to reproduce, we quickly get into very hairy ethical territory. Frankly, long-term extermination of a group by not allowing it to reproduce itself is actually very effective form of genocide.

Secondly, reproductive choice is a relatively new - and not a universal - option. Reliable birth control has only been around less than one century, and it is still not widely available to all women.

And even with access to birth control, accidents happen. With the current state of power dynamics between men and women (where all women still do not have full sexual negotiation freedom), it is unfair to lay the responsibility for accidental pregnancy at the feet of women to "just say no".

Thirdly, even when a child is chosen, other factors in our lives - divorce, death, unemployment, disability, etc. can intervene to change our best laid plans. Most single mothers, for example, do not start out that way.

Fourthly, we need another generation. We need young people to be employees, tax payers, voters, neighbors, citizens, and so forth. Or as my dh quipped - we all need the next generation to wipe our assess in the nursing home. And we also need that generation to be socialized so that they do want to work, want to be part of community, aren't selfish or antagonistic to each other or the world.

When we focus on children as individual choices by individual people (mainly women), we conveniently forget how we all need and rely on those children FOR OUR OWN future. The cost that we bear today is nowhere near what the parents bear for raising those kids.

The "rugged" individualist ideal in the US is a falsehood. Pioneer families, colonists and pilgrims relied on each other, government assistance, and charity from native americans far more than we like to admit.

And those groups who didn't? Well, they didn't leave any decedents to tell their story.

Personally, I find a lot of the "why should I pay for your choices" to be cloaked misogyny and misanthropy. Many people who say these things may not understand that these concepts are behind their words - but unpeeling it a bit reveals it.

Siobhan

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#123 of 169 Old 01-13-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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Well said Siobhan. Shockingly enough, I don't just hear the judgments about choice and rights when it comes to children from the kid hating, childfree crowd, I also hear it from those who are parents.
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#124 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 04:47 AM
 
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I think attitudes like that come from fear -- fear that somebody else might have something you don't have, fear of the unknown, fear of strong women and their love for their kids.

It's pretty misogynist and hateful, and I deliberately distance myself from people in my life who keep such close tabs on the lives of others.
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#125 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 02:06 PM
 
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To the people who want to know why they should have to "pay" for my children -

Because you benefit from my work. Because you benefit from my children. Because by not paying taxes as a member of society to do things like funds schools, you will certainly put yourself and society in general at a serious disadvantage. Because you benefit from the laws, culture, roads, infrastructure, people around you EVERY SECOND of the day. To maintain that culture and the benefits you get from it, you need educated children.

The lack of THOUGHT that is behind that "pay for your children" thing is astoundingly ignorant and self-centered. But the very best thing about it, is that those people are the FIRST to complain that their culture/society is changing because of immigration etc. But we don't produce enough babies to maintain a cohesive culture/society without being propped up by mass media memes to maintain a large cohesive culture that spans three continents, one of them being tremendously large. So, they don't WANT change AND they don't want BABIES. That's just stupid.
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#126 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 02:59 PM
 
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That said, I'm currently debating becoming a SAHM--or at least a very part-time WAHM, and one of the things that makes me groan inwardly when I think about it are the smug comments I know I will get from those who will think I've finally found my way to the path of righteousness.
I'm in the same boat! I will be SAH this year, and I find myself qualifying it by saying something like, "Unfortunately, I will be SAH this year because of the stress of working and hauling kids to daycare." I also find ways to slip in the fact that I would NOT be "losing money" by working.
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#127 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 03:35 PM
 
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If I work to "afford" anything, it's flexibility. In a way I work to to be able to buy my kids more time with daddy. How that can be viewed as "selfish" or "materialistic" is beyond me
Yep.

I'm amazed when I hear SAHM aquaintances say "Oh, I could never leave my kids. I want to be there for all their firsts - first step, first word..." etc. Apparently they don't care that their husband working 70+ hours a week so Mom can SAHM doesn't get to see any firsts, or much of anything else.
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#128 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 03:42 PM
 
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I don't want this to turn into the mommy wars, so let's not do that, but what comments do people make to you about WOH that make you mad?

We visited the in-laws over the holidays and my FIL was describing a relative his age in the following way: "His mother went to work at a time when people didn't do that so he was essentially raised by his grandparents and didn't really have a relationship with his mother."

I just about fell over. The man, and his wife, my MIL, have never said one critical word about me working, but WOW. I was stunned silent and never did say anything about it, but I was so angry I dreamt about it that night. It's so ignorant on so many levels. Who knows, maybe the guy he was describing had a mom who worked in another country without telephones or visits home, because otherwise, WTF? He didn't even have a relationship with her? What does he think DS and I have? And what about this guy's father, presumably he worked. Did he not have a relationship with his children either?
You see, I would have asked for more of the story, for a lot of reasons. One has to do with family history; another, that the situation does seem so "out there" that you have to think there's more to it.

Mom of two girls.
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#129 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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I'm so glad I saw this thread.

I never, ever contemplated being a SAHM. Just didn't really have it on the radar, even though my mom was one. But I ended up with a VERY high-needs, premature baby and an unsupportive boss and employer. Didn't qualify for FMLA to extend my maternity leave because I was already on leave when my eligibility date rolled around- because my baby was nearly 2 months early. I actually had someone in HR accuse me of poor planning. I suppose I should've squeezed my knees a little harder, huh? Oh, and don't even get me started on the difficulty getting daycare for a preemie on meds. I sometimes wonder if my boss expected me to leave the baby behind the dog gate at home to fend for himself so I could get back to work.

Anyway, fast forward to now. We found out my always-sick baby actually has a genetic immunodeficiency and can't be in daycare. We live in the DC suburbs, and couldn't survive 2 weeks- let alone a month- without 2 incomes. So my husband took a job in a much cheaper state, and we're moving in a few weeks. I'm nervous about it, but more concerned with keeping my babe healthy and getting him treatment.

I've had many of the 'leaving your baby to be raised by strangers' -type comments, and lots of advice on how to sacrifice enough to stay home. But when I had to give notice at my job 2 weeks ago, I started getting snarky comments about how long I'll be able to 'take' staying at home! WTH? It's doubly insulting because it really doesn't matter how pleasant or unpleasant it will be- one of us has to stay home with him for now.

The 'goodbye and good luck' card my coworkers gave me is the best. Tons of 'have fun being a SAHM, you lucky dog' crap, and the note from my boss: 'hope things work out better with you being able to stay at home'. They all know WHY I'm leaving, and I'm sure there will be a reduction in lots of kinds of stress for me, but a token 'hope your kid stays healthy and doesn't need a bone marrow transplant' would be nice. :

Sorry- got a little OT. It just frustrates me so much that there's no support in *either* direction. Oh, and the day I gave notice? I got written up by HR for excessive absences last year due to all the trips to the hospital with my son.
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#130 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 06:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by preemiemamarach View Post
I'm so glad I saw this thread

Sorry- got a little OT. It just frustrates me so much that there's no support in *either* direction. Oh, and the day I gave notice? I got written up by HR for excessive absences last year due to all the trips to the hospital with my son.
I think it's evidence of the still-rampant misogyny in our culture that moms (and most working women!) are "damned if you do, damned if you don't". Here's hoping your new community will be supportive of you and healthier for your child!
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#131 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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Sorry- got a little OT. It just frustrates me so much that there's no support in *either* direction. Oh, and the day I gave notice? I got written up by HR for excessive absences last year due to all the trips to the hospital with my son.
Your post made me so mad I want to spit.

And you're right - why can't we all support each other?

I'm active on another forum in Canada. In the "Child care" forum (made up mostly of child care providers) there's a current thread about how dual-income parents could survive on one income if they wanted to. That they're happier sticking their child in care so that they can afford nicer cars - I'm paraphrasing a bit. These are the child care providers. I was stunned.

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#132 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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I'm active on another forum in Canada. In the "Child care" forum (made up mostly of child care providers) there's a current thread about how dual-income parents could survive on one income if they wanted to. That they're happier sticking their child in care so that they can afford nicer cars - I'm paraphrasing a bit. These are the child care providers. I was stunned.

They should be glad that someone is "sticking" their kids in care - otherwise those care providers wouldn't be able to afford to stay home themselves. Of course, if they are forced to go back to work, at least they will automatically get that gigantic expensive car that every working woman is alotted.
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#133 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 07:49 PM
 
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I hear you pre - when I was first pregnant with my first I was just squeeking into the one year mat leave being introduced. The snarky nasty comments about how "I could get a year "off" by getting pregnant all the time" etc drove me nuts. Still do.

Exactly what is it time off OF? Time off is backing packing Europe for a year. Time off is going to the resort. Time off ISN'T a year of sleep deprivation that contravenes the Geneva Convention, pissy DH's, fussy babies, cold coffee, etc. I am still waiting to find out EXACTLY what this amazing time off is supposed to be, because if it is what people are alluding to I think I was ripped off.
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#134 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 08:38 PM
 
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Oh boy. I have blocked out all the nasty comments I got about maternity leave from my colleagues. Which was particularly laughable as my old office had a sabbatical system--so people were eligible for 4-6 weeks off after a certain amount of service--so it's not like the pregnant people were the only ones getting time off.
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#135 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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I hear you pre - when I was first pregnant with my first I was just squeeking into the one year mat leave being introduced. The snarky nasty comments about how "I could get a year "off" by getting pregnant all the time" etc drove me nuts. Still do.
My DH wants me to comment that if you think the comments leveled at women for taking "time off" to have a baby, try being a Dad taking paternity leave... they're even less polite... along the lines of "oh, nice vacation" and "oh, you're taking time off to babysit, huh?"

Perdita - newly SAHM to DD July/05 & DS Feb/10 joy.gif
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#136 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 09:48 PM
 
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Exactly what is it time off OF? Time off is backing packing Europe for a year. Time off is going to the resort. Time off ISN'T a year of sleep deprivation that contravenes the Geneva Convention, pissy DH's, fussy babies, cold coffee, etc. I am still waiting to find out EXACTLY what this amazing time off is supposed to be, because if it is what people are alluding to I think I was ripped off.
Demeter9 Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying at the stupid comments people make.

I get those comments from co-workers a lot since I switched to PT. As if I'm sitting around at the spa the entire time I'm not at the office. I love being home with the boys and keeping up on the house stuff and having more time for me, but "time off"?.... uh, not really.

The last time I really had a "day off" was a couple weeks ago when I got to lay in bed in my PJs all day and drink tea and watch TV........ and I had to get pnemonia to earn that honor
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#137 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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Thanks for posting this

I will be a SAHM, but this made me realize to choose my words carefully around WOHM's, I really don't want to insinuate that the decision (or necessity) to WOH makes them a lesser mother.

I'm a modifiedartist.gif DH is a reading.gif we have 2 angel.gifs, and DS is a rainbow1284.gif baby.gif
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#138 of 169 Old 01-14-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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I'm active on another forum in Canada. In the "Child care" forum (made up mostly of child care providers) there's a current thread about how dual-income parents could survive on one income if they wanted to. That they're happier sticking their child in care so that they can afford nicer cars - I'm paraphrasing a bit. These are the child care providers. I was stunned.
Clearly these people are not from Calgary. Or if they are, they got into the real estate market five years ago or have some nice place to stay.
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#139 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 12:42 AM
 
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Clearly these people are not from Calgary. Or if they are, they got into the real estate market five years ago or have some nice place to stay.
I guess that comes back to "owning a nice house" LOL.

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#140 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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You know, this thread is interesting to me. I consider myself to be mostly a SAHM, though whenever I fill out a form that requests my occupation I always put SAHM/Actor. I was very, very active in theater as an actor/writer/director up until our recent move 3 months ago, even throughout 3 pregnancies (all three ds' have been on stage, in utero, in more than one production). I also regularly take classes, related to acting, journalism, or most recently, ESL teaching. The only reason that I'm not involved in anything theatrical at the moment is that I'm in a completely new state and don't feel comfortable exploring the theater community whilst I'm 5 1/2 months preggo (I did take an Improv class right after moving, and am taking a storytelling class next month).

Anyway, my point is, that I do these extra things both because I'm passionate about them, and because after my kiddos are older, I want to devote some very serious time to my theater career, for which I need to maintain a resume and keep and hone my skills. I don't get paid more than a small stipend for the acting and directing that I do.

So, during my last big production before the move, my mother, of all people, says to me, "I don't understand why you don't just get a job and make some money if you're going to be out of the house all the time anyway?"

I just can't get into all of the implications of a statement like this. I definitely believe that women are maligned no matter what choice(s) they make.

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#141 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 01:56 AM
 
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Thanks for posting this

I will be a SAHM, but this made me realize to choose my words carefully around WOHM's, I really don't want to insinuate that the decision (or necessity) to WOH makes them a lesser mother.
It's always good to choose your words carefully around everyone--it would seem there are offensive comments for all situations.
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#142 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 12:18 PM
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#143 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by waiflywaif
"I don't get a paycheck. But I get hugs and kisses!"
Well then I must have it really good. Cause I get LOTSA hugs n kisses, and the nice paycheck.
:

I LOVE it!

Well, I'm in my p.j.'s. I just finished my COLD coffee after marathon nursing. The baby is FINALLY asleep in the swing, and DH and I overslept because she was either awake or sleeping LOUDLY all night!

Oh, and we are actually going in the hole because DD1 and DD2 are in daycare this week, and I'm getting crap for short-term disability! But I MIGHT just get a nap today. . .

I just love having time "OFF"
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#144 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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I just can't get into all of the implications of a statement like this. I definitely believe that women are maligned no matter what choice(s) they make.
That is exactly so. If you need practice being WRONG all the time in any and every conceivable situation regardless of what decision you make, be a woman with children.
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#145 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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That is exactly so. If you need practice being WRONG all the time in any and every conceivable situation regardless of what decision you make, be a woman with children.
Yup, and if you decide to not have children, or heaven forbid, decide to be single without children, then everyone gives you grief over those choices as well. I do, though, think that the special scrutiny and criticism are reserved for those women who do procreate.

Perhaps mothers, rather than money, are the root of all evil?

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#146 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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Oh, yes, the snark definitely runs the other way as well. There's the "what do you do all day" line, or the classic "my brain would rot if I wasn't working; I just don't know how you do it without going crazy." I have one SAHM friend who got an incredibly nasty one the other day: "I could never be comfortable being a parasite on my husband."

I've had nastier comments about my WOH than when I was SAH, but because WOH is so much better for my family, and SAH was not good for us, the SAH ones probably stung me more. I suppose I was more vulnerable. Now I can roll my eyes, feel sorry for the person compelled to spit out nastiness, and move on.
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#147 of 169 Old 01-15-2008, 03:55 PM
 
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I'm so glad I saw this thread.

I never, ever contemplated being a SAHM. Just didn't really have it on the radar, even though my mom was one. But I ended up with a VERY high-needs, premature baby and an unsupportive boss and employer. Didn't qualify for FMLA to extend my maternity leave because I was already on leave when my eligibility date rolled around- because my baby was nearly 2 months early. I actually had someone in HR accuse me of poor planning. I suppose I should've squeezed my knees a little harder, huh? Oh, and don't even get me started on the difficulty getting daycare for a preemie on meds. I sometimes wonder if my boss expected me to leave the baby behind the dog gate at home to fend for himself so I could get back to work.

Anyway, fast forward to now. We found out my always-sick baby actually has a genetic immunodeficiency and can't be in daycare. We live in the DC suburbs, and couldn't survive 2 weeks- let alone a month- without 2 incomes. So my husband took a job in a much cheaper state, and we're moving in a few weeks. I'm nervous about it, but more concerned with keeping my babe healthy and getting him treatment.

I've had many of the 'leaving your baby to be raised by strangers' -type comments, and lots of advice on how to sacrifice enough to stay home. But when I had to give notice at my job 2 weeks ago, I started getting snarky comments about how long I'll be able to 'take' staying at home! WTH? It's doubly insulting because it really doesn't matter how pleasant or unpleasant it will be- one of us has to stay home with him for now.

The 'goodbye and good luck' card my coworkers gave me is the best. Tons of 'have fun being a SAHM, you lucky dog' crap, and the note from my boss: 'hope things work out better with you being able to stay at home'. They all know WHY I'm leaving, and I'm sure there will be a reduction in lots of kinds of stress for me, but a token 'hope your kid stays healthy and doesn't need a bone marrow transplant' would be nice. :

Sorry- got a little OT. It just frustrates me so much that there's no support in *either* direction. Oh, and the day I gave notice? I got written up by HR for excessive absences last year due to all the trips to the hospital with my son.
Couldn't read your post and not comment. Hugs to you - I hope your little guy gets better and thrives! Good luck with your move and all the changes.

Mama to 2 mopheaded rascals
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#148 of 169 Old 01-16-2008, 04:50 AM
 
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Couldn't read your post and not comment. Hugs to you - I hope your little guy gets better and thrives! Good luck with your move and all the changes.
Yes, thank you for pointing this out, this thread moved so fast I forgot to say the same thing. You're doing really awesome for doing what you need to do for your little one even though I know it must be really, really hard. This whole WOH/SAH is hard enough -- a special needs child makes the entire thing a zillion times harder, I think.
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#149 of 169 Old 01-16-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Yes, definitely. May your journey get smoother with time. It sounds like you have a plan, and that's definitely a big part of the solution.

It's unbelievable to me how you've gotten the nasty, mean comments coming and going in a such a difficult situation. Do people EVER think about the impact of their words, or about how they could make someone else's situation a mite easier, rather than much harder? (Okay, I know that many do, but why do the vicious ones have to be so darn vocal?) I don't always have the "right" words to say to people, but I seldom spew out the exact wrong ones, ya know?

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
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#150 of 169 Old 01-16-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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"You kow, if you don't make at least $30K ayear, it's not worth working because your paycheck gets eaten up by daycare, drycleaning, commuting, etc." Um, I think I've got that covered. I have an actual career here, not a paper route.
: Careful, there. I have an actual career, too, but they pay me like it's a paper route. (I work for the state.)

I've been a SAHM, a part-time WAHM, and a full-time WOHM. You know what? People say stupid things no matter what you do. I think the issue is less the mommy war thing of "working moms/stay-at-home moms get no respect" and more one of "WOMEN and mothers get no respect." No one ever seems to feel called to make comments to my husband about his career vs. family choices.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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