If you could only SAH for 3 years of your kid's life.... - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-23-2010, 02:39 AM
 
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I think what's bugging me is the implication that WOHPs can't focus on their kids. Or that SAHPs should trail around after their teens noting every move.

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Old 11-23-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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i don't think that was the question, it was what do you feel is the most important. i do remember being a teen and i knew alot of kids who could have used a parent home a bit more just to be checking in.

personally i think ALL the years are important. yes breastfeeding is important, so is being 4 and 8 and 10 and 16. all those years are important to have a parent there to listen to you and being present. not that a WOHP isn't there. i know when i am working i am present with my kids, BUT if we are talking about picking three years to be home... well how the heck can you even say if you have never had anything but a baby? or a toddler? i mean those seem like the most important years cuz your there living it. but who is to say that 10 won't be one of those years you should be home for? or 14 or 18 or 6? i mean really how can you say when all you have is a 3 month old. lol you can't, unless you can see the future. right now i am a SAHP with kids ranging in age from 3-16 and a new one on the way. i would say they all need me right now. for different reasons, not one of those is less important then any other. my 16 year old needs me as an anchor. my three year old needs guidance on how to be in society, my 12 year old needs other things, so do the 9 and 6 year olds. and when the baby comes it will be yet another thing. i don't think  there is a magic age where your three years will do the best good. and NO you don't need to be a SAHP to do it, but the question was which three to stay home for. so everyone needs to decide for themselves which three. and it is helpful to know that the first three aren't always the most important, like i said it seems that way cuz your there living it, but i think kids need us there all the time. and NO i do not shadow my teen around, but i darn well know who her friends and and where she is and we do a heck of a lot of talking which is easier cuz i am here to do it when she needs to do it. not all teens hang at home reading and watching tv when mom and dad are out. some are drinking, having sex, doing drugs and they look at sweet and "normal" on the outside and mom and dad have no clue until the drug bust at school. (which happened at dd's high school). 

so i guess until you have lived thru a kid going thru all the stages it is sorta hard to pick, lol , because how would you even know? and then each child is different and each one will need something different from you then the last.

 

h


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Old 11-23-2010, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is an interesting question/suggestion. (I'm sort of afraid to ask, because I can't imagine it being harder than what I'm doing now! lol).
 

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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

Where I would ask this question, is in the forum for the WOHMs. And I'd ask "what three years were the hardest to be away from your kids?" Not which years are most important to be home, but which will give you the least stress and thus the most chance to optimize your time home.

 

I hope that everyone who is saying to save up those three years for the teen years where they might or might not be needed were working outside the home themselves during all the previous years for their kids.




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Old 11-23-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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Thanks for the perspective, moms of teens.  It's good to read and think about.  However, I still feel like the first 3 years are the most important to stay home for all the reasons listed.  Also, I don't think it has to be all or nothing.  I mean, when they are 0-3, they aren't in school - so they are home full-time (unless in daycare). 

 

So, to me, that's the most important time if I could only not work for three years.  Any other time, they could be in preschool-highschool.  Which makes me think that it's still possible to be a working mom - even full-time - and still 'be there' for your kids after the first few years of life.  School here runs 9-4, so working 7-3 or similar would still mean being home when they get home.  When I was a teen, I worked after school M-F, so I wasn't home most afternoons for my mom to watch over me.  Other teens I knew were in sports, clubs, etc., afterschool activities that usually kept them busy until 5-6 pm.  Especially in two-parent households, I think working doesn't have to stand in the way of being a connected, there for them, kind of parent to school age and teenage kids.  My DH could do mornings, and I could be here after school, yk? 

 

I have been a SAHM for 10 years now (my kids range in age from 3-10) so while I haven't experienced the teen years yet, I am pretty sure being a full-time SAHM in the beginning is more valuable (and economical many times) than any other years. 


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Old 11-23-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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I was a kid with a SAHM and didn't need that during my teen years. What with one thing and another, I spent more time with my dad--who was a full-time WOHP--during those years (middle and high school). He's the one who went on field trips, drove me to classes, helped with homework, all those things that people are saying it's more important to stay home then.

 

Most of my friends did not have a SAHP in the teen years, and it made no difference I could see between us.

 

And as for the friend's who have teens, some SAHP (because of younger siblings), some WOHP, and none of the teens really need that.

 

I'm just not seeing why it could possibly be more important to be with your kids an extra 15-20 hours a week, during a time when they're destressing from school, 13 years from now than to be there 45 more hours a week during the time they are most alert and engaged.

 

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Old 11-23-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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I just don't see how it makes a difference to be SAH for a teen unless they are homeschooled.  If they are off at school all day, wouldn't I just be hanging out cleaning the house?


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Old 11-23-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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well again speaking as an actual parent of a teen (almost two teens now) i have to nicely disagree. but hey to each their own. i know that my dd actually does need me, and i have to say that we have an amazing relationship because i am here with her. BUT as i said you need to do what works for your family. until you have teens i don't think you can say it isn't needed. 

i really don't like the snottiness though. i have had to work off and on thru out my children's lives and sometimes YES i have had to pump, but then you know whatever. i love my kids beyond measure and you know what else... we all actually LIKE each other. my teen wants to be around me, and when she has serious questions about things like sex and drugs and drinking and friendship guess who is there to actually talk to her? me. she doesn't get weird backwards info from her friends. she has a mom who talks to her when she is picked up from school. and i have yet to have a 7-3 job, i usually work 7-7 so i wouldn't be home when she got out of school.

i also breast fed her and slept with her and did that with her brothers also... FOR YEARS! and i still have an open door, and my kids know it. but that is how i choose to run my house. 

i have not said even ONCE that being there for a baby is unimportant, i know how important it is, BUT i also know how important it is to be there when they are older. maybe when you all get to that point this will all make more sense. i mean if someone would have asked me 13 years ago which 3 years were most important i would have said "duuh, the first three", now i know that really they ALL matter and you need to be there for all the years. and teens need their parents to actually parent them too, just as much as a baby does.

 

h


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Old 11-23-2010, 07:13 PM
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And we have another LIKE!   You know - I'm with you mamaofthree - I stated that for me, teen years are the best.  And since it seems like a couple of folks want to actually argue with my experience....I guess I have to just say that I can't really listen to someone's opinion who hasn't had a teen.   So there!  nut.gif
 

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well again speaking as an actual parent of a teen (almost two teens now) i have to nicely disagree. but hey to each their own. i know that my dd actually does need me, and i have to say that we have an amazing relationship because i am here with her. BUT as i said you need to do what works for your family. until you have teens i don't think you can say it isn't needed. 

i really don't like the snottiness though. i have had to work off and on thru out my children's lives and sometimes YES i have had to pump, but then you know whatever. i love my kids beyond measure and you know what else... we all actually LIKE each other. my teen wants to be around me, and when she has serious questions about things like sex and drugs and drinking and friendship guess who is there to actually talk to her? me. she doesn't get weird backwards info from her friends. she has a mom who talks to her when she is picked up from school. and i have yet to have a 7-3 job, i usually work 7-7 so i wouldn't be home when she got out of school.

i also breast fed her and slept with her and did that with her brothers also... FOR YEARS! and i still have an open door, and my kids know it. but that is how i choose to run my house. 

i have not said even ONCE that being there for a baby is unimportant, i know how important it is, BUT i also know how important it is to be there when they are older. maybe when you all get to that point this will all make more sense. i mean if someone would have asked me 13 years ago which 3 years were most important i would have said "duuh, the first three", now i know that really they ALL matter and you need to be there for all the years. and teens need their parents to actually parent them too, just as much as a baby does.

 

h




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Old 11-24-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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Are you feeling pressure from society to "go back to work" because you have older kids in school? It must be tough facing that pressure for a decade or more, if it were put on me, I know I'd feel obliged to fight for the importance of what I was doing--even to the extent of exaggerating the importance of being home with teens over being home with toddlers.

 

As a teen, I still needed my parents, but, unlike a toddler, I could get my needs met in considerably less time and I had far far far fewer immediate needs. Heck, I still "need" my parents, but now I can get those needs met with a 30 minute phone call twice a week or so and no problem if I just get voicemail.

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Old 11-29-2010, 08:35 AM
 
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Well, I'm hoping to be back around the time D potty trains, and hoping that's less than 3 yrs.  But my mom once told me "If I could do it again, I still wouldv'e put ya'll in daycare as babies, but I would've quit my job when you were 10 and stayed home for the teenage years, because that's when you need parenting the most."

 

My mom is a wise woman and I've seriously thought about those words many, many, times.  And she's right.

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Old 11-30-2010, 09:57 AM
 
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I would stay home whenever I was able to stay home.  Life is too uncertain to say "I'm going to put my baby in daycare so I can stay home in 12 years when he is a teenager".  I might not still be alive in ten years.  My child might not still be alive in ten years  My spouse might not still be alive in ten years.  Or he might not have a job.  Or he may have taken a large pay cut and I need to work.  Or maybe a parent got very ill and I need to take care of them or work to pay for them to go into round the clock care.  Or we could have accumulated major medical expenses or other debt that needs to be paid off.   Or...or...or...or.   There are so many things that can happen in the future that could mess up plans like that.   Or maybe we will be in a better place financially and I can stay home now and and in 10 years. 

 

I think we just need to live our lives for what's best for our family in the present. The future is too unpredictable IMO to make major plans like working now with the intent of staying home later.


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Old 11-30-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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Ages 2-5 or 3-6. Now to attempt to articulate my reasoning on this less popular perspective :)

 

I find that caring for an infant/ toddler the way I'd want mine cared for is pretty intuitive and it was not that hard to find kind, caring childcare providers willing to pick up a crying baby, wear in a sling, interact with baby etc. and generally provide kind, nurturing care and even indulge my requests. There's some anthropologist whose name I can't recall who writes about how we are wired to feel empathy for other human's young (google the word alloparent) and the little I read about her a couple years back really resonated with me as both a mom and a day care provider.

 

However, as they get older and you start teaching your kids all about the world around them and instilling values it is harder to find someone who will do it the way you want. The basic instinct to nurture is not enough anymore... and sometimes the best action for the child is not intuitive. I want someone who will encourage curiousity, spend time outside, jump in puddles,and teach my kids to be joyful, open minded, and responsible. I want them to pick up the trash others leave on the sidewalk, and leave each place they go better than they found it. Other mothers may want something else, but schools and daycares cannot tailor programs to every single parents values.

 

It is also a super fun age... you get to go for hikes, play with clay, color, bake, tell jokes, read books in bed, curl up for movies on rainy days and create your own rhythm with only optional interference from the world :) And kids this age are old enough to remember you were there.

 

Also, it is an age you would still be paying for childcare, so economically it has advantages, and also allows for mom to prep for return to work by taking on contract work, caring for self, or getting some volunteer gigs for references while kid is in preschool or Kindergarten a few hours per week.

Plus if you do public school half day kindergarten can wreak havoc on work schedule and childcare set up. The transition to school was huge for us so it has been really nice to be able to be involved as a school volunteer in K and 1 since it is the first time I do not have much control over classroom setting (ie we picked a preschool that worked for our family, but in a public school setting you get what you get for the most part).

 

Bonus aside: It can be nice to hold onto career a while instead of transitioning to motherhood in general and SAH mothering at the same time. I know it was for me. 

 

One final caveat: my oldest is 7, so I don't have the perspective that a mom of older kids would have on the tween and teen years. My hope is that even after I return to work my husband and I can swing schedules so one of us is usually around and available after school.


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Old 11-30-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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Definitely the first three years. They are critical!


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Old 11-30-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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oh for the love of pete. NO i do not feel pressured at all to go back to work. if you had taken the time to read anything i wrote i have said i have worked off and on all 16 years UNTIL recently when i can now be home full time. dh supports it and i am happy and the kids are happy and honestly i do not do anything because society thinks i should or shouldn't do it. are you trying to pick a fight? i mean really?

the question was which 3 years are most important to you. so i am saying that i think they all are. that no 3 years is more important and coming from someone who has actually raised a child past 3 i think i can speak from some sort of experience.  MY teen needs me, just as much and at times if not MORE then when she was 2. it is just different. no she doesn't need me to nurse her at night or co-sleep with her, or play with her... but she still needs me in ways that are hard to explain to someone who is all certain they know what a child will need at 12, 14, 16, 18.  i am sorry some of you are all upset by the fact that a teen might need their parents. i don't know what else to say.

i have said YES the first three are important. i truly believe that, BUT so are all the others and it is hard to pick because they all need different things at different times. just because they can wipe their own butts and get a glass of milk for themselves doesn't mean they no longer need you, their needs are just different. until you have actually done it, i can't explain it.

it is like saying you know everything about parenting before you even have a child. you have no idea until WHAM you have a kid or two or 5. then suddenly all the stuff you thought you knew... lol you had no clue! i would have said, like i did, that the first three were the most important before i had one older then 5. now i have 4 older then 5. and now know that they all need me, it is just different.

if you can not see that, then... well wait. you will be blessed with a teen at some point. and hopefully they will want to be with you and need you there. 

and you might be lucky enough to be there for them. i feel blessed every single day that i am doing what i am doing.

 

h


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Old 11-30-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbuko View Post

Ages 2-5 or 3-6. Now to attempt to articulate my reasoning on this less popular perspective :)

 

I find that caring for an infant/ toddler the way I'd want mine cared for is pretty intuitive and it was not that hard to find kind, caring childcare providers willing to pick up a crying baby, wear in a sling, interact with baby etc. and generally provide kind, nurturing care and even indulge my requests. There's some anthropologist whose name I can't recall who writes about how we are wired to feel empathy for other human's young (google the word alloparent) and the little I read about her a couple years back really resonating with me as both a mom and a day care provider.

 

However, as they get older and you start teaching your kids all about the world around them and instilling values it is harder to find someone who will do it the way you want. The basic instinct to nurture is not enough anymore... and sometimes the best action for the child is not intuitive. I want someone who will encourage curiousity, spend time outside, jump in puddles,and teach my kids to be joyful, open minded, and responsible. I want them to pick up the trash others leave on the sidewalk, and leave each place they go better than they found it. Other mothers may want something else, but schools and daycares cannot tailor programs to every single parents values.

 

It is also a super fun age... you get to go for hikes, play with clay, color, bake, tell jokes, read books in bed, curl up for movies on rainy days and create your own rhythm with only optional interference from the world :) And kids this age are old enough to remember you were there.

 

Also, it is an age you would still be paying for childcare, so economically it has advantages, and also allows for mom to prep for return to work by taking on contract work, caring for self, or getting some volunteer gigs for references while kid is in preschool or Kindergarten a few hours per week.

Plus if you do public school half day kindergarten can wreak havoc on work schedule and childcare set up. The transition to school was huge for us so it has been really nice to be able to be involved as a school volunteer in K and 1 since it is the first time I do not have much control over classroom setting (ie we picked a preschool that worked for our family, but in a public school setting you get what you get for the most part).

 

Bonus aside: It can be nice to hold onto career a while instead of transitioning to motherhood in general and SAH mothering at the same time. I know it was for me. 

 

One final caveat: my oldest is 7, so I don't have the perspective that a mom of older kids would have on the tween and teen years. My hope is that even after I return to work my husband and I can swing schedules so one of us is usually around and available after school.

 



YES! this is important too. i think until you have lived it it is so hard to explain. when you are looking into your babies eyes YES the first three seem most important, but then suddenly they are 5 or 10 or 17. and you know what, those are just as important, just different.


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Old 12-01-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree View Post

well again speaking as an actual parent of a teen (almost two teens now) i have to nicely disagree. but hey to each their own. i know that my dd actually does need me, and i have to say that we have an amazing relationship because i am here with her. BUT as i said you need to do what works for your family. until you have teens i don't think you can say it isn't needed. 

i really don't like the snottiness though. i have had to work off and on thru out my children's lives and sometimes YES i have had to pump, but then you know whatever. i love my kids beyond measure and you know what else... we all actually LIKE each other. my teen wants to be around me, and when she has serious questions about things like sex and drugs and drinking and friendship guess who is there to actually talk to her? me. she doesn't get weird backwards info from her friends. she has a mom who talks to her when she is picked up from school. and i have yet to have a 7-3 job, i usually work 7-7 so i wouldn't be home when she got out of school.

i also breast fed her and slept with her and did that with her brothers also... FOR YEARS! and i still have an open door, and my kids know it. but that is how i choose to run my house. 

i have not said even ONCE that being there for a baby is unimportant, i know how important it is, BUT i also know how important it is to be there when they are older. maybe when you all get to that point this will all make more sense. i mean if someone would have asked me 13 years ago which 3 years were most important i would have said "duuh, the first three", now i know that really they ALL matter and you need to be there for all the years. and teens need their parents to actually parent them too, just as much as a baby does.

 

h



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Old 12-01-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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Quote:
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I would stay home whenever I was able to stay home.  Life is too uncertain to say "I'm going to put my baby in daycare so I can stay home in 12 years when he is a teenager".  I might not still be alive in ten years.  My child might not still be alive in ten years  My spouse might not still be alive in ten years.  Or he might not have a job.  Or he may have taken a large pay cut and I need to work.  Or maybe a parent got very ill and I need to take care of them or work to pay for them to go into round the clock care.  Or we could have accumulated major medical expenses or other debt that needs to be paid off.   Or...or...or...or.   There are so many things that can happen in the future that could mess up plans like that.   Or maybe we will be in a better place financially and I can stay home now and and in 10 years. 

 

I think we just need to live our lives for what's best for our family in the present. The future is too unpredictable IMO to make major plans like working now with the intent of staying home later.


yeahthat.gif This is exactly how I feel. Who the heck knows what tomorrow will bring? I'd like to be home for both the infant and teen years, God willing.

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