What is a SAHM's "Job" and would you trade? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There was a long thread about this back in the spring

http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...sahm+housework

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and wanted to get some more insight from you all.

I don't yet have kids, but when I do I am planning to stay home with them, maybe work outisde the home a bit, but until they are five or so, I expect to be at home. My DH and I have basically decided that this means that I wil be doing all the housework and cooking as well, since he will be working outside the home, and probably working long hours.

I go through phases about this. sometimes I feel resentful like I am getting taken advantage of, othertimes I feel so lucky that this is a real option for us.

But something DH said really got me thinking. Once, when I was comlpaining about cooking or vacuuming or something, he asked if I would be willing to trade. Meaning, if I though that staying at home and doing all the cooking and cleaning will be so bad, why not trade? He said he was totally willing to be the SAHP, and i could work. We both have the same earning potential (in fact, I might even have more) so that isn't an issue.

I didn't even hesitate to say, He!! no, I would't trade... If I am so unwilling to switch future jobs, then really what am I feeling resentful about. I work now in a very stressful, high-stakes job. It has its perks, but it is hard, hard work. I know that being at home with my children would be so much more fun, so much more rewarding, and make me so much happier, personally, even though it would be hard work. Once I realized that I really do have a choice, and that without question I would choose to be the one at home, even with the chores and housework, it made me feel better about our decision.

I can't say I am totally over the resentment, and once I am actually knee-depp in kids and laundry and cooking it will be hard not to get resentful...but I am getting a lot closer.

Does anyone who has been there have thoughts?
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#2 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 07:35 PM
 
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I guess the operative word is "choice." If you can go into something knowing it's your choice and that you can get out of it if you're unhappy then it makes being a SAHM much easier.

I too chose to be a SAHM, but had my first baby straight out of college and never really had a career to fall back on if I became unhappy as a SAHM. Now, 12 years later, I'm stuck and resentful as hell about it. I'm completely unhireable due to the long gap in my employment history and the fact that no job I get could ever pay for childcare for my 4 children. I hate being a SAHM sometimes! Dh, during this time has been to graduate school and got a second bachelors--and I was there caring for the kids and all housework so that he was free to do what he wanted with his life. I am teaching my dds to never become dependent on a man.

Would I trade with dh? Only if I were guarenteed an income equal to his (impossible at this point) *and* if he took over 100% of the housework, errands, child chaufferring, etc and did those jobs competantly which is *highly* unlikely.
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#3 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 08:11 PM
 
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To me, being a mom is a life choice. It is what I've chosen to do with my life, and it is my career. So though DH may be out in the world doing his life choice stuff (grad school, soon to be post-grad), I'm at home involving myself completely in my decision to be a mom. I'm integrating that choice into what I plan to do with my "life" (as though those are even separate). Before DS I'd been struggling to decide where my life was going, but since him, I've found that my life is happening NOW, and that I'm satisfied with where that's at. Maybe it's different when your kids are older and you're still at home. Maybe once there's a huge gap in my employment history, I'll feel differently, but although I don't plan on ever going back to work, per se, I'm sure I'll be doing something in the meantime that will keep me moving forward. It may also be easier (at least in idea, right now my child is still young, so I haven't been exactly pursuing a career) because my "career" outside of Mom is art. Aside from art, I'm hoping to one day maybe become a midwife, which is also fairly flexible. To integrate motherhood into life, I do motherly activities. I started an AP group for instance, and view midwifery as being an advocate for mothers.

Right now, I know what I can do to earn a living if DH took off tomorrow. I'm sure that might change as time goes on, but even though I'm "dependent" on him, I don't feel that way. We split chores fairly evenly (I do more because I'm at home more, but I sure as hell don't do everything). If anything, DH is very much dependent on me. We view our life as a partnership, so just because he makes the money, he doesn't automatically have say over what we do with that money or what we do with our time.

It breaks down like this: DH goes to school, teaches, works on his thesis, does most cooking, and is expected to pitch in as needed, so he'll wash diapers, clean dishes, help with grocery shopping, vaccum, pick up toys, dress or bathe DS, sometimes put DS to bed, etc. I care for DS during the day, do laundry, dust, clean the bathrooms, do most dishes, cook occassionally, pay the bills, balance the checkbook, run errands, buy home supplies (stamps, food, toilet paper, etc.), do most picking up, dress & bathe DS most, and organize everything else (so I'm in charge of getting rid of old clothes, cleaning out closets, and sending out Christmas cards, etc.). Now a lot of what I do, I've always done most of just because a big part of me doesn't trust DH to do it, primarily because I've seen him try in the earlier years of our marriage. Over time, it just became easier to clean the bathroom myself than to be upset that he did it wrong. (Even though I feel that we're pretty even, and I know a lot of women may even be envious of how much DH participates, I still find myself resentful at times! - I get over it, though.)

I guess it's really a matter of perspective and also what actual demands need to be met. From my perspective, I would recommend asking your DH to retain some flexibility, and to retain some yourself (God knows mothering requires it!) because you may find that life is going to take over and there may be great disparities between how it breaks down in reality as opposed to theory.

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#4 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 08:21 PM
 
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Oh my! I just realized that I didn't actually answer the question directly at all!

SAHM job description - staying at home, taking care of child (hence the "mom" part), anything outside of that is to be negotiated between partners.

Would I trade? - Well, that's where I was going with the choosing to be a mom point - no, I wouldn't trade because I already chose a career. If I wanted a career while my kids were little, I wouldn't have had the kids, IYKWIM.

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#5 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 08:27 PM
 
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WOO HOO Annakiss, exactly!!

I'm home raising a child. I'm not home to do all the cooking and cleaning. ITA that anything other childcare is negociable between the couple.
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#6 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by SvadhisthanaMama
I'm home raising a child. I'm not home to do all the cooking and cleaning. ITA that anything other childcare is negociable between the couple.
this is what I always used to think too, but now, i don't know.

I mean, of couse I would love to say, "I want to be home with the kids while you are at work AND I don't want to have to do the "yucky" stuff like housework." But isn't that kind of asking to have my cake and eat it too.

It all boils down to that trade thing again. If I wouldn't be willing to trade than that by definition suggests that I am getting the better "deal". If I though that his "job" was really better, then I would want to trade. He wishes he could be the one at home too. he would much rather stay at home and play with the kids and hang out with them and watch them develop (AND do all the other un-funstuff) than go to work everyday... So even with the chores, I feel like I am the lucky one... (or at least that's what I try to tell myself...) :
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#7 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 08:51 PM
 
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I am a mostly SAHM. I have three young'uns 3.5 and under, pg with number 5, and am often tired. I also go to school 3 days a week to become a nurse (one day, then a lactation consultant). On the weekends, DH is the SAHD, watches the kids while I go to work. During the week, I do cook, clean, take care of the munchkins, etc. But, DH does the dishes, takes over the kids in the evening so I can decompress, folds the laundry, feeds our dog, gives the kids baths, puts them to bed. I feel I am blessed because we seem to have an even split. Even though DH doesn't always do the "chores" to my specs, I do know that I need to understand that not everyone is as anal retentive as I am and he would be just as happy with macaroni and cheese for dinner every night as he is with a roast, homemade bread and veggies. So, I often do more work, but feel better about it.

So, to recap, I agree with the ladies who say that SAHMs are there to raise the kids, and if they get a little housework done, well, more power to ya
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#8 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 08:57 PM
 
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I mean, of couse I would love to say, "I want to be home with the kids while you are at work AND I don't want to have to do the "yucky" stuff like housework." But isn't that kind of asking to have my cake and eat it too.

It all boils down to that trade thing again. If I wouldn't be willing to trade than that by definition suggests that I am getting the better "deal". If I though that his "job" was really better, then I would want to trade. He wishes he could be the one at home too. he would much rather stay at home and play with the kids and hang out with them and watch them develop (AND do all the other un-funstuff) than go to work everyday... So even with the chores, I feel like I am the lucky one... (or at least that's what I try to tell myself...) : [/B]
I don't really consider housework to be "yucky", I'm totally fine with doing it, but that doesn't mean that it's my "job". Being a mom is my job. period. DH has a job, and I have a job. The rest is negotiated. Sure, I do more housework, which is part of our negotiation, but that doesn't mean that I'm a maid. I'm half of a partnership, and when DS is old enough, he will have responsibilities in the house as well. Housework is outside of the realm of jobs for us. Whether or not my job is more "enjoyable" is beside the point - and BTW, DH is doing something he really loves too, so I think we're even. I don't think that wanting to trade or not wanting to trade is a measure of the value of my work. Working outside of the home is hard work and working inside the home is hard work. If anything, my job is a heck of a lot more emotionally demanding and stressful than DH's, as well as a lot more physically demanding, so I think at the end of the day I deserve to have my feet rubbed more than he does.

Also - if I wanted to trade with DH, why on earth would I have children?

Maybe you could arrange for a time at some point where you go back to work for a small amount of hours & your DH gets to cut back at work to spend more time at home? Because it sounds like he'd like to have that option. But as it is now, your theory sounds like he's sticking you with the housekeeping because the fact that you get to stay at home is "not fair", which I personally think is bull because you're the mom, so you have to breastfeed and most likely get up in the middle of the night (in order to breastfeed), so you staying home makes way more logical sense than vice-versa. You can't get stuck with something just because your job is supposedly not stressful or more fun. Didn't your DH choose his career? Does he not enjoy his job? If he doesn't, then maybe it's time for him to switch careers, before you have kids...

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#9 of 29 Old 10-09-2003, 09:56 PM
 
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I mean, of couse I would love to say, "I want to be home with the kids while you are at work AND I don't want to have to do the "yucky" stuff like housework." But isn't that kind of asking to have my cake and eat it too.
Let's approach the position of SAHM in this way. Being an at home mom is a job, and not one with starting or quitting times. Our days are not filled with leisurely chat, tea parties with friends, or carefree days playing with our children.

Our days are full of educating, keeping our children safe, healthy, and stimulated. Most of us I am sure take on some household responsibilities, but those are not out main objectives for staying home. It is to RAISE OUR CHILDREN like no other can. If I am cleaning who is caring for my child?

My husband works 8 hours outside of the home..I work 24 hours inside of the home. Does that seem fair?

So, when we are both home, we SHARE the household/parenting responsibilities, because afterall this is a partnership, and his responsibilities in life to not stop once he walks through the door at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Would I trade? Oh heck no. Only because our household would not run as smoothly. He is better at what he does, and I am better at what I do.

Does that mean I don't have a say in what responsiblities I share? No it doesn't.

I am a little worried that both your husuband and yourself see SAHM's as 'weekenders' who are riding the coat tails of their huusbands, and thus minimizing the importance of raising children.

I'm a tad frustrated by this, but am hoping my post does not convey anything but that...no anger..just head shaking frustration.
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#10 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 12:16 AM
 
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Potty Diva hit the nail on the head:

Quote:
My husband works 8 hours outside of the home..I work 24 hours inside of the home. Does that seem fair?
Do not repeat do NOT sign up for all the housework, shopping, chores, etc. just because you are the one home with the kids. What do you think will happen when you go back to work when they go off to school? After five-plus years of being waited on hand and foot when he gets home from work, do you think your dh is magically going to start doing his share of housework?

ITA with all the wise women above. Being the SAHM is all about being the mom, not about the dishes and the laundry and keeping the bathrooms halfway habitable.

My dh does all of the outside yard work, the garbage, a fair amount of cooking and cleaning up, folding laundry, etc. From his perspective, he thinks he does way more than half. From my perspective, I'm the "on" parent for 23 hours a day (theoretically I get a guaranteed hour to myself every day to work out or whatever - doesn't always happen but it's part of our deal).

I do the nighttime parenting, since dh has to get up early for work. I make sure ds has appropriate clothes that fit him, gets fed several times a day, goes to the doctor periodically, doesn't get vaxes (my area to research), gets lots of books read to him, goes to the playground when the weather's nice, has playdates (OK, so those are more for my sanity right now, but ds does like to be around other kids), gets to nurse pretty much when he wants, and so forth. If I can get the grocery shopping, the laundry, some cooking, and some minimal cleaning done in there, especially when velcro baby is at his clingiest - great! Bonus! If not - I signed up to be the mom, not the mom-cook-cleaning lady-personal-shopper-chauffeur.

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#11 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 12:54 AM
 
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I've been doing it for almost 14 years.

We are currently homeschooling. Yes, I have free time during the day because my dd is a teen and doesn't require quite the supervision of a infant or toddler. Regardless, the shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry I do is not part of my SAHM job discription. I agree with the previous posters. You are setting yourself up for a big mess if you accept the 1950's role of the little homemaker who's job it is to make sure the kids are clean, all the toys picked up and a beautiful hot meal on the stove when dh gets home from his stressful job BECAUSE your a SAHM.

I do the things I do when I have time and if I want to, not because it's part of the job title. I rarely do dh laundry, we both share in the cooking and cleaning. It's both of our home, and family. We are both responsable for meeting the needs of our family. He doesn't "babysit" a term I HATE seeing used in reference to fathers.

But hey, we each have the freedom to choose how we want to define our job as SAHMs. You've read what ours is, I prefer to live in 2003.
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#12 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 01:15 AM
 
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I may have hit this particular nail on the head, but only after several bruised thumbs

I also wanted to add that the acronym SAHM stands for Stay At Home MOMS not stay at home MAIDS

LIke I mentioned above we share our household/parental responsibilities in a way that doesn't leave one of us feeling resentful(most of the time). We alternate who does inside and outside chores. Sometimes I mow the lawn and he does laundry. I'll change the oil and he'll scrub the floors. Either way. it's understood that as an ADULT he is responsible for far more t han his 8-5 job. He has a family he MUST contribute to.

I don't think I can emphasis enough that we BOTH work, and I don't think the importtance or substance of the job should be based on locale or income.

In the long run who contrribues more to the family? And by this I mean the emotional/physical aspects of t he family unit.

Ok, well, I think I'm going off topic and losing my point.

Just don't sell yourself short, you are every bit as important and valuable as your WOHP.
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#13 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 12:11 PM
 
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Well, to me a SAHMs job varies greatly from family to family, and season to season. When I have a newborn to learn how to nurse with, and am suffering that severe lack of sleep, I do very very little housework, dh does a lot.

Right now however, I am a second trimester (going great) pregnant SAHM to a 3.5 y.o. and 2 y.o. who play beautifully together most of the day, and dh currently has a very sucky job where he does not get any breaks at all (not even lunch away fromt he computer) can't socialize without being "yelled at" and can't even make a personal phone call home or write an e-mail, so--- when he gets home, I make dinner while he spends time with the kids (which he wants to- why do I need to say that- I agree with a pp that being with one's children is not babysitting). During the day and throughout the evening, I do laundry dishes vaccuming, pretty much all the housework (the only thing I do not do is put his clothes away for him). Dh still does the dog walking and the lawn mowing (although the kids and I do weeding and raking, etc.), he also does the garbage.

So, I think the idea is balance and caring about the other person more than yourself, which is only the ideal arrangement if there is a dance of sorts where both partners care most about the other and not just a one way thing.

There are definitely seasons in being a SAHM, in how much you can get done (and much of my housework and cooking directly involves my children, and they LOVE it) at that given point, and you both have to be willing to realize when you can be the one to be doing more, and when you are the one who needs a break.

Let your dh read through this thread and see other's opinions on this, and how helpful other husbands are to their wives, and what wonderful partnerships can be had.

PS_ My dh became all the more understanding of the sometimes insane state of our house during a period where he was laid off and I was working while he was the SAHP, he told me at the end of every day- "I have no idea how you do it!"

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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#14 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 05:03 PM
 
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I really believe that it's harder to be a SAHM than a WOHM (work outta the home mom), judging by conversations with my friends who have jobs.

Although rewarding, it is really hard to be home with a babe/toddler all day. It was never really negotiated (between dh and I) that I would be a sahm, just assumed. Daycare wasn't an option we wanted to consider, and the job I used to have (and hate) was a high-paying, high pressure tech sales job with a long commute. I don't want to ever do that again, and it's not worth the money. DH makes plenty of money and I don't 'need' to work, financially anyway. Most of my girlfriends have a part-time job (ex: veterinarian, pharmacist, office mgr, insurance claims processor etc). I envy the time away talking to adults about things other than babies.

DH GETS to leave for 8-10 hrs/day, and often can work from his home office. He agrees that he has the easier job. I HATE cleaning and picking up. It's terribly mundane and thankless, I feel. And never ending. Actually, we're interviewing house cleaning services to help us out. And I look for super-easy meals to prepare. There's no gourmet meals to be prepped with a child underfoot or needing to be fed right this second. My house always needs to be vacuumed, the kitchen floor is always sticky somewhere, the cat always needs to be brushed, the sink always has tooth paste in it, there is always laundry to do. It really gets overwhelming to never have a task finished. You can't just close up your office, drive home, and not worry about it till the next day... your work is always around you. I certainly don't want to get a wohm job.. don't get me wrong!! The pay I'd receive for a parttime job wouldn't cover the expenses of having it (child care, gas, clothes, lunches, etc). And I believe that (most days) my child benefits from me being with him all day.

The challenge of being a sahm is in organizing your time. Sometimes it can be tricky to arrange the days so that you can get groceries bought, drycleaning dropped off, errands run, gymboree, playgroup, library time, park time, etc in (never more than one or 2 activities per day) remembering to be home before melt-downs, lunch, naps, etc. It's tiring. Today I feel burned out. My house is a mess, I'm overwhelmed, my kid is whiney and doesn't want a nap. I have a hard time getting a sitter (mom) so I can get my teeth cleaned or hair cut. We never go out at night anymore either (dinner without paper placemats would be sooo nice!).

In short, it's not all bon bons and soap operas. There are days that the dishes sit till the next day (often actually), I don't want to read another story or stack one more block, I don't want to visit my friend who has a kid my son's age.... I just wish I could get a meaningless job at the library or coffee shop and enjoy the quiet. SAHMs certainly aren't getting a 'free ride'.

DH does a lot around the house (if I ask him to). He has his jobs, but won't hesitate to put baby to bed, do the dishes, clean the animal cages, take ds for a trip to the park to give me a few minutes of peace, etc. He recognizes how tiring it can be to be with a child (or more) all day, and he's grateful that I do it.

Still though, I wouldn't have it any other way.
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#15 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 07:21 PM
 
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There's a lot of wise mamas posting on this thread. ITA with what they are saying. I'd just like to add. Being a SAHM is the hardest most challenging thing I have ever done, but it is also the most rewarding and I wouldn't trade in a second. But I also wouldn,t be caught doing all the house work or child rearing.

Dh rushed home from work today because I am exhausted. He walked into a completely trashed house. He started tidying up immediately. Changed a diaper, got the kids ready to go to the park and to take them somewhere for dinner and said "SEe you in a few hours." And off they went. And I'd do the same for him if he was having a rough day or week or whatever. It's all a give and take. Right now, I am taking a bit more, because I have a sick toddler (who is up half of the night), a three year old and I am beginning to feel tired from my pregnancy. Last week, he had an extememly busy week at work in addition to helping me with night time parenting, so I sucked it up and did some of the extras.

DandelionCrown, we are also going to hire someone to come in to clean soon. It's a bit challenging to cook and clean AND keep my boys stimulated and engaged and I'd rather have more time with them and with my dh as a family then to spend evenings splitting the chores. Also, when the new babe arrives, I know any time that is not devoted to her will be for my boys.

Edited for spelling.
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#16 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 08:25 PM
 
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Ok i didnt get a chance to read all through the post so if i repeat something im sorry with that said

BEING A STAY AT HOME MOM IS A FULL TIME JOB !
I am staying home with my kids. My dh works. He is a state cop. he works all kinda of hours. As do I . When dd'd are sick IM Up . There is always something to do. Never a dull day! I think being a SAHM you have way better benfits. At least I think so.
This is how we do things around our house. We split everything down the middle 50/50 he has a full time job I have a full time job ( staying with the kids molding them to the little people they are today) Now granted my jobis more fun! We read and color and play and learn things all day long. What a better job!! dh cooks and We clean the house together. we split things evenly It works for us. Noone is resentful towards one another for we each understand that we both have very important jobs. I hope that helps I could go on for days
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#17 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 09:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by DandelionCrown
I really believe that it's harder to be a SAHM than a WOHM (work outta the home mom), judging by conversations with my friends who have jobs.
I disagree, although I understand the sentiment. My DH is the SAHP, because I have more earning potential than he does, and when we married (three years ago this December!) we agreed that he would stay home and I would work outside the home.

I believe it is equally as hard to be a SAHM as it is to be a WOHM. While my DH does most of the child-care related activities, as well as the cooking (mainly because we'd starve if I had to cook, 'cause I can't), he is not "stuck" with the housework. I refuse to allow him to do it all, even though he continually states that it is his job. For example, he washes the laundry during the day while I'm at work, and when I come home I fold it and put it away. He cleans the downstairs (two rooms) and the stairs, I clean the upstairs (two rooms) and the bathroom.

I very often work a 10 hour day outside of the house, and then come home to take on the responsibility of making sure homework is correct (DH oversees the completion aspect), studying with DS, and then taking care of the housework I've taken on as my responsibility. DH, being the SAHP of a fifth grader, can spread any housework out across the day, while I cannot.

It is different, I'll admit, if one is an SAHP with pre-schooled or homeschooled children, with partners who don't take on a share of the housework. I also agree that SAHM doesn't stand for stay-at-home-maid.

Sure, being an SAHP means that the pressures and responsibilities are different. But, both in-home and out-of-home jobs have pressures, and just because they differ in manner doesn't mean they differ in difficulty, KWIM?
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#18 of 29 Old 10-10-2003, 09:39 PM
 
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i just wanted to say how interesting and helpful it was for me to read this thread and the original discussion from the link in the first post here.

i'm not a mom yet but we are ttc and this is the single issue that concerns me the most in terms of minor day to day stress that can be taxing on a relationship.

my dh has done computer work out of the house for the last several years. by the time we have a baby i suspect his weekly hours of non-parenting, non-house work will be very small - probably less than 5. i will be a WOHM and he will be a SAHD. i am very happy with this arrangement - my job is great and he will be a wonderful father. when the time comes, i hope with all my heart that when i get home after working a full day i will be able to give a lot of undivided mothering attention to our future dc without having to live in a disaster area, though i'd be very happy living with a bit of mess.

the current state of affairs does not bode well for this, it does seem very likely we'll be living in a disaster area, but i guess we'll just see when the time comes.

me dh ds1 (11/04) ds2 (7/10) and
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#19 of 29 Old 10-11-2003, 08:01 AM
 
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I don't think it is fair to compare SAHM vs WOHM/WAHM. I think every situation is different. I think it is best on this thread to offer up your own experience and opinions about your own situation and leave it at that. I am hoping that this thread will not turn into a SAHP vs working parent discussion. I believe the OP was asking what it was like being a SAHM and would you trade. Not who do you think has it harder?
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#20 of 29 Old 10-12-2003, 12:48 AM
 
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I wanted to post that I LOVE being a SAHM. I'm glad I am the one raising my dd full-time, and getting to know her so well inside and out. It's been a growing-up experience for me, putting off my own needs at times, learning to take a deep breath sometimes. I am my own boss (well my dd too! lol!). Lots of spontaneous moments. Like hey, it's a great day, lets go to the park and pack a picnic lunch. No real busy schedule other than toddler activities at the library, etc.

I had to struggle with lonliness and lack of intellectual stimulation, that has been my greatest challenge. Lonliness has been solved by connecting to moms on the net, and through long phone chats with friends. Every month or so dh will watch dd so I can go out with friends. We also trade babysitting favors with someone so dh and I can have dates, but when new baby comes that will probably end, or at least baby will be coming with us.

I have totally used my library membership to the fullest. Not only for dd's books and videos but for my own. I love to read and I make time for it. It's important to me to have that time. I bought a booklight so I can read while putting dd to sleep. I used to listen to books on tape when she was younger, so I could work in the kitchen while I followed along with a novel. Or sometimes when we had the family bed going and booklight would bother dd and dh, I'd put on the walkman and listen to my books at night on tape.

I want to be something again someday. Either a doula or something related to the medical field, maybe a nursing assistant or something. But doula would be my top choice, it's just going to be hard when the children are young to be on call and find someone who can watch them at quick notice. I plan to homeschool too, so the second career will come only when kids are older probably. But I don't mind putting that off. I really do love being a SAHM. I can't cook worth a darn, am not very crafty, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

As far as jobs-- dh and I share a lot of tasks. We trade off cooking dinner and cleaning up the kitchen. He takes care of dd a lot in the evening, esp. since I'm pg and tired. We are both willing to do the work of the other person if needed. But basically he has his job, and is in charge of the yardwork, pest control, and air filter, as well as the cars. I do the everyday stuff of housework, laundry, and most of dd's upbringing. I read the childcare books and make most of of the parenting decisions, and he respects me enough to back me up on it.

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7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#21 of 29 Old 10-12-2003, 01:21 AM
 
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I would like to trade and be a sahm. I am a wohm and was previously a sahm. Having done them both, being a sahm is easier for me, and I am happier. I think you can't categorically say one is easier than another for all people. It depends on the job. And, no, I don't have leisurely lunches or talks at the water cooler - I wish!

When I was a sahm, I figured my job was to take care of our daughter and to move the housework along a little. We both did housework, though.
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#22 of 29 Old 10-12-2003, 01:35 AM
 
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Do not repeat do NOT sign up for all the housework, shopping, chores, etc. just because you are the one home with the kids. What do you think will happen when you go back to work when they go off to school? After five-plus years of being waited on hand and foot when he gets home from work, do you think your dh is magically going to start doing his share of housework?
I just would like to second this! I have been a SAHM since dd was born, and loved every second of it. Dh was working several jobs to make ends meet so I could be home. So I did ALL of the house work. Well now dd is 4.5 yr old, and started preschool this year. I fell into my DREAM career, that enable me to work only when dd is a preschool, and when dh is home. So dh's hours cut to about 7-3pm every day. I work daily from 8-11:45, pick up dd, and we are home together till about 4pm. I go to work till about 9pm, and dh does bedtime etc. I also work some on the weekends. But somehow, when dh comes home from work at 3pm, he is stumped as to why I do not have the house clean from 12-3pm when I am home!!!! I asked him why he doesn't have it clean when I get home at 9pm. His response????? He is taking care of dd!! UMMMMM, what am I doing all afternoon??? Eating bonbons and watching Oprah?? Well, needless to say, we have renegotiated everything. Once I pointed out how rediculous this all was, he was happy to help. But before that, he really didn't get it. Amazing. But on the other hand, he is really feeling capable as a parent, doing bedtime,etc, since he was at work from sun up till sun down for soooo long.

WoW!! That was a long post, and I realize that nowhere in it did I even answer to OP!
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#23 of 29 Old 10-12-2003, 12:18 PM
 
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had to struggle with lonliness and lack of intellectual stimulation, that has been my greatest challenge.
After the birth of ds#1, I struggled with this as well. I attached a big chunk of self worth to being able to financilly provide for myself and I took a great deal of pride in my work ethic. I missed the adult interaction that I got from a work environment. It took me months to establish a support system of other mothers. I used to enjoy my solitude a great deal, but I find it helps to have the company and intellectual stimulation of other adults when you are a sleep deprived mama whose only company is a babe who doesn't speak a word. For me, I usually need to filter out the news of the day at the end of my pregnancies and during the newborn stage and that makes me less aware of what is going on in the world and less able to converse with other adults.

I also go through fits and starts of being able to read, to get down time, and to meet some of my own needs. It all depends on where I am at with the stages of my children and my relationship with my dh and his needs.

My biggest complaint about being a SAHM is that I'd love to be able to go to bathroom when I NEED to for once.
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#24 of 29 Old 10-13-2003, 11:57 PM
 
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The shoe for me is on the other foot. I am the working parent and dh is the SAH.

I'd say it is important to remember that the SAH is not assigned sole responsibility to be the parent. That ought to be the job of both parents.

Since I'm at work all day it just drives me nuts to come home and find a second shift of cooking, laundry and dishwashing waiting for me. It drives me even more nuts to spend my whole weekend cleaning up the debris that my SAH partner leaves after a week of doing no housework.

It feels radically unfair to me to be supporting dh financially and yet not to get back the support of having someone help take care of the house and family. The way I look at it, the SAH isn't the only one who ever does child care and so child care is no excuse for dumping all the unpleasant chores on the other person.

I think the Tightwad Gazette lady has the right idea to assign the SAH the job of managing the home economy. That is to say one person earns money and the other maximizes the spending power of the money. Yes, that actually does mean that the SAH is responisble to do some housework.

--AmyB
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#25 of 29 Old 10-14-2003, 12:11 AM
 
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BUT, just because you work, doesn't mean you have no further responsiblities when you get home. It's all part of being an adult and having a family. For people who just want to come home and be done with 'work' I say, stay single. Sometimes a SAHP doesn't get time to do the laundry or cleaning because they are taking care of their number one JOB, their kids.

A stay at home parent is home to PARENT, not be a maid service.

When both parents are home responsibility for the household should be shared.
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#26 of 29 Old 02-06-2004, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally posted by AmyB
Since I'm at work all day it just drives me nuts to come home and find a second shift of cooking, laundry and dishwashing waiting for me. It drives me even more nuts to spend my whole weekend cleaning up the debris that my SAH partner leaves after a week of doing no housework.

It feels radically unfair to me to be supporting dh financially and yet not to get back the support of having someone help take care of the house and family. The way I look at it, the SAH isn't the only one who ever does child care and so child care is no excuse for dumping all the unpleasant chores on the other person.
I think that this is exactly the way my DH feels about the subject. He feels like he is sacraficing a lot having to go to work everyday (which I agree with) and that he is missing out on a lot of the benefits that SAH parents get (in terms of the time and relationship development with the child). He doesn't feel like it would be fair for him to get home from work and for me to dump more work on him. He does want to "parent" when he gets home -- the fun stuff, play with the kids, etc. but not the "yucky" stuff -- dishes, vacuuming, laundry, etc. I think the analogy is that he will be doing "yucky" stuff from 7:30 - 7:00 every day, whereas I will have a mix of yucky stuff and amazing, blissful, wonderful stuff. (he'll have good stuff at work too, stimulation, friednships, perople to talk to, feeling useful, etc., but I don't think they compare to the joys that will come from being with my babies)
So when he gets home he shouldn't have to odo more yucky stuff -- that would leave his good to youck ratio out of whack. lol.

any more thoughts on this topic? Its a big one for me!


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#27 of 29 Old 02-06-2004, 05:57 PM
 
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Having your cake and eating it too? Not really.

A new mom whose nursing baby is having a growth spurt and wants to nurse every 45 minutes, who poops every couple hours, who screams when mom puts her down to go and pee....such a mom cannot get the dishes done. She is doing other important work.

Small children, depending on their temperament, their age, how many of them you have, etc. can be quite a rude shock in terms of how much energy they suck out of you. It is the most rewarding job on the planet, but it can be incredibly demanding. When the baby takes a nap, you might get some work done. Or you might have one of those babies who will only nap in your arms. Or you might be so bone-tired from being up all night the night before during a baby's normal nighttime feedings that you are physically incapable of washing or dusting a single thing.

Some of the best moms I know have hired housecleaning help (and I envy them that they can afford it!) so they can be more emotionally present for their children. And when the children are tiny, not having time for housework is not just about giving them a high quality interaction with you. Its also about safety, about constant supervision, about keeping them away from the sharp kitchen tools and sticking their finger up the dog's butt and getting salmonella from the raw eggs they are cracking on the floor or playing with the contents of the diaper pail....someone once said cleaning up while the children are small is like shoveling during a snowstorm while it's still snowing.

Which is not to say that even while you are gently removing the toddler's finger from inside the dog's anus or the egg cartoon, you won't be having the time of your life. Because you will.



The only reason I am on here right now is dd is old enough to play a game with ds and they are content at the moment. Flash back a few years, and she would be nursing constantly and crying jealously at the computer because I was looking at IT.

Babies are messy and both parents should take responsibility for the mess and be realistic and open minded about their expectations. SOME stay home parents are able to do the bulk of the housework. Others are not. The parent who spends less time at home and has unrealistic demands is setting the family up for conflict.

Really this is something a couple has to work out for themselves. Each family is unique and things change constantly in the early years of having children. Flexibility is key.

And there is a certain zen joy in the mess. The parent who comes home and only wants fun stuff is not being realistic in my opinion. There can be just as many giggles over kissing a foot on the diaper changing table or the suds in the tub as there are in Disney movies. Maybe more.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#28 of 29 Old 02-06-2004, 07:03 PM
 
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I wouldn't trade because I love being with my dd and she is nursing. But I think dh's job is far easier than mine. He can set his own schedule and sleep in when he wants. He gets breaks and a lunch. He talks to adults. Not a bad deal.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#29 of 29 Old 02-06-2004, 07:16 PM
 
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Staying home is cake compared to my "paid" job.

That said, my husbands job is much more difficult than staying at home. I work weekends, so i consider myself mostly a sahm. would i trade with my husband? no.

I like being with my kids. I love my job as a nurse in an ER. I feel like i have the best of both.

as far as housework and the division of chores, when my kids were babies and i was nursing 24/7, my husband did more than his fair share of chores. however, now that my kids are older (16, 13 & 5), i do more around the house. I cook, grocery shop, pay bills. he does most of the laundry and instead of being aggravated about the housework, i have a service come in and do the big stuff. However, i do run alot of errands, i do pick up the dry cleaners and go to the bank far more than he does.I clean the bathrooms. call in the prescriptions. he works about 60-70 hours a week. so i do it. its no big deal.
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