my Grandma said "don't just be a house wife" - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 12-21-2010, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As a kid my dads mom was very involved in our lives... and she drove me nuts even then. She now lives in another state, so most of our communication is via the phone a few times a year. My dc are 4 and 6 yrs old... I was telling her about how I help out in dd2 preschool and in dd1 st gr class. And that and the house keeps me pretty busy. She said she hopes I get out of the house and not just be a house wife. And she did not mean for walks and such..... but to work. She worked as a bank teller FT while raising her kids (grandpa left when dad was young). My aunt turned out well... or I should say married well... My dad not so well. I don't speak to him any more, he is a toxic person. Her comment really got to me... after the disaster my dad turned out to be as an adult, I don't really want her advice. But honestly I do feel torn that moms like me are seen as "just being a house wife". My dh works hard at a job he mostly enjoys, and makes enough income to support us as lower middle class. But his job is one in which he is not  available to help with kids issues during the week, such as pick up a sick kid from school. His busy time is in the summer, so he could not be home for them during break etc. What this means is that if I "did something with my life", I would also still have to be the one to be there 100% for the kids. Sure, I know there are parents out there that make the working parents life style work, but we don't have free childcare and I actually do want to be with my kids as much as possible. I honestly feel that I will be living with this guilt my entire life.... torn between wanting to be a present mom, but also want to live up to my greatest potential, use my college degree.....  Then when the kids are grown and I do have the time to work, I will be a 45 year old woman with a dusty college degree who has not worked in over 20 years! Yikes.

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#2 of 17 Old 12-21-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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I think it's a fairly common struggle, so you're not alone there.  I like to think about what I will believe was more important at the end of my life...raising my kids well...or having them be raised by someone else so that I can live up to others expectations. 

My mom made a similar comment once, and for a little while I felt bad, but after thinking about it....I don't think she was a very good mom.  She didn't put the kids first.  So why would I even value her opinion if I don't admire her mothering skills.  I would have much rather been raised by a stay at home mom.  My sister probably wouldn't be an alcoholic. 

 

It takes some time and effort, but really try to separate what you actually truly want (without other's judgment) and what you want to do because you think you're supposed to.  Some overall soul searching might good.

...and all that is not to say that sahm's can't has passions, interests, and projects that they spend time on.

 

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#3 of 17 Old 12-22-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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Your situation may be different but I know my grandmother's generation were often stay-at-home mothers and stigmatized working mothers, something your grandmother may have experienced.  Maybe she is doing the reverse in some defensive state?  

 

 


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#4 of 17 Old 12-23-2010, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GuavaGirl View Post

I think it's a fairly common struggle, so you're not alone there.  I like to think about what I will believe was more important at the end of my life...raising my kids well...or having them be raised by someone else so that I can live up to others expectations. 

My mom made a similar comment once, and for a little while I felt bad, but after thinking about it....I don't think she was a very good mom.  She didn't put the kids first.  So why would I even value her opinion if I don't admire her mothering skills.  I would have much rather been raised by a stay at home mom.  My sister probably wouldn't be an alcoholic. 

 

It takes some time and effort, but really try to separate what you actually truly want (without other's judgment) and what you want to do because you think you're supposed to.  Some overall soul searching might good.

...and all that is not to say that sahm's can't has passions, interests, and projects that they spend time on.

 



I agree with most of this.

 

I have been a sahm for 7 years and I have no idea what I am going to do when it's time to work again.

I have to say though, that I am so confident in my choice to stay home and raise my children, that I am completely unaffected by the people who frown down on me.

I wanted children, but I honestly only wanted them if I was going to be the one to take care of them.

Rice and beans every night maybe. What ever it takes. They are loved,well cared for,and have everything they need.

I guess looking into the future I feel the same way OP does.

As far as right now, this is the most important thing and I try not to worry about how I will feel later. I cant imagine having regrets on doing the best job I can with what I feel passionate about.

The question is, do you feel fullfilled? That answer will tell you how to be the best mom/person you can be - for yourself and for your kids.

 

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#5 of 17 Old 12-27-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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Well, I would be willing to bet that your grandmother did not expect your grandfather to abandon her. Maybe she just wants to make sure you have a backup plan, and she meant what she said in a loving, I'm-looking-out-for-you kind of way. It might not hurt to calmly tell her how you felt about what she said. You might be surprised to hear what her intentions were.

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#6 of 17 Old 12-27-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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My grandmother had the same concern about me.  She was a divorced/single mother in the 60's.  My aunts do as well.  They are fairly radical feminists who have been that way since the 60's. I think all three view SAHM as oppressive and valueless.  And also dangerous since men are absolutely not to be trusted. 

 

My mom worked.  I think a working mom absolutely can be a great mother.  It's not that which gets under my skin, but when there is an undercurrent (or even a blatant statement) that sah is an essentially worthless way to live and has no value to children or to the woman.

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#7 of 17 Old 12-27-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by abcdefg View Post

Well, I would be willing to bet that your grandmother did not expect your grandfather to abandon her. Maybe she just wants to make sure you have a backup plan, and she meant what she said in a loving, I'm-looking-out-for-you kind of way. It might not hurt to calmly tell her how you felt about what she said. You might be surprised to hear what her intentions were.



 this.

 

my mom loves my dh, and trusts him 100%, but every now and then she will drop a hint that i might want to "do"something because "you never know." she would love to leave my dad, and makes it very obvious that she wants to, but she would never survive without his income since the only work she has done is warehouse, and now that she is over 50, well, she cant do it anymore.

 

grandmas can sometimes talk pretty rudely while meaning to give you good advice. i bet she meant to be helpful :)


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#8 of 17 Old 12-27-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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Well, I would be willing to bet that your grandmother did not expect your grandfather to abandon her. Maybe she just wants to make sure you have a backup plan, and she meant what she said in a loving, I'm-looking-out-for-you kind of way. It might not hurt to calmly tell her how you felt about what she said. You might be surprised to hear what her intentions were.


I agree with this. You may be judging her too harshly too, about how your dad turned out. She was a single mom and her husband walked out on them--there is more at play there than just "she worked F/T."

That said, there is no reason why at some point you can't work P/T at something you enjoy while the kids are in school, or do volunteer work (in your field if possible). I think it is healthy to have outside interests and skills and talents besides being a SAHM. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I agree with the soul-searching comments above, but I also think some searching for things you would be interested in or have fun doing would be a good idea, too.
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#9 of 17 Old 12-28-2010, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was not upset at my GP. It was more about the issue that to "do something with my life", would effect my dc and dh. We hs, so the dc would have to go to school. Dh works long days, and has a job in which he can not leave mid day to pick up a sick kid etc, so if we both work, he would have to find another job, or I would have to find one with MAJOR flexibility. Oh, and this job would have to pay well enough to afford FT summer camp all summer long, plus before/after school care for the next 7 yrs. So its not so easy for me to just go to work. And I am in complete agreement that even in the best marriages, it would be nice for all sahp to have a back up plan. But I just need to take the risk of not having one to raise my dc the way I think best.

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#10 of 17 Old 12-28-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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I'm not sure if that post was directed at me? But I didn't say you were upset at her, just that you are judging her harshly by saying: "Her comment really got to me... after the disaster my dad turned out to be as an adult, I don't really want her advice. "

Also, I wasn't suggesting you go back to work FT and need daycare and summercamp. Believe me, I know how expensive those are, I have 3 kids and have been considering going back to work. What I was suggesting was that you consider looking for very P/T flexible work to see what's out there. Or look into volunteering while the kids are in school. If you want/need to work at some point, at least you'll have the volunteer work on your resume to show you've been active in a workplace setting.
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#11 of 17 Old 12-29-2010, 08:03 AM
 
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I would just ask her what she meant by her comment.Either she thinks a sahm is an unfufilling life choice,or she wants you to cover bases in case you find yourself on your own. I am in a similar situation where dh's job provides just enough for us.He is gone so any job I get needs to revolve around the kids needs.I did actually look last year,and I could not find any 9 to 5 jobs  where I could miss for sick kids/holidays. I am looking into alternative ways to make some cash.

 

I would think the best bet is to find ways to keep your degree from collecting too much dust.A class here or there or some extremely PT work.Shoot,even volunteer work in your field will help keep you in the loop when it comes time to return to work(if you ever want too!)

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#12 of 17 Old 01-02-2011, 11:43 PM
 
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My mom and my aunt have made that comment to me more than once in the time I've been married.  I worked for a few years before I had kids and haven't worked since.  It'll be 7 years come this spring.  By the time my kids are able to look after themselves to the point I could leave them for 8-10 hours, I'll be 48!

 

I think in my case my aunt and my mom were concerned that should anything happen to Dh where he either left or couldn't work for some reason, I would have to re-enter the workforce to be the breadwinner.  I'm fine with that reason but I also pointed out to them that in my field, I would have to be dealing with 12hr shifts, both day and night, and it would be almost impossible to find childcare that would be so flexible to accomodate Dh and my work schedules.  Plus, not to mention that childcare for 2 kids for such long hours (14 hrs straight by the time you include travel time) would eat up any wages I'd earn.

 

Once I pointed out the financial aspect of it all, they've stopped giving me advice.  In fact, I once heard my mom tell her friend that because of my kids school schedules and out of school activities, I'm actually a really busy person.  My jaw dropped at that.  If you could've heard her a couple of years ago, you'd think I was just sitting at home in front of the TV.


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#13 of 17 Old 01-03-2011, 01:05 AM
 
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Your kids are so young yet! You will see in the coming years that you will start to find yourself with a bit more time on your hands. The kids will be able to homeschool with less help from you, as well as be able to care for themselves (dressing, showering, grabbing snacks) without as much hands-on time from you. When that time comes, you may start to think about following your interests a bit, picking up hobbies, taking classes or volunteering, or maybe p/t or work-from-home jobs in your field. A woman's life doesn't have to be either/or for all eternity! But it is hard, when the kids are so little, to take on anything beyond child care and housework.


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#14 of 17 Old 01-03-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry about it. If she had been super career focused, she'd probably be telling you to stay home, they grow so fast, etc. I think her comment just reflects the reality that no one can have it all, and every choice leaves behind an opportunity missed.

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#15 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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My mom was a stay at home mom and was amazing, and now that I have my own she has always told me to do something outside of the home. For the longest time I didn't understand and was hurt by this comment, since i felt I had made the best decision for my children. I have finally realized what she met was to keep my brain active. She told me she wished that when we were a bit older she had taken a par time job or attended school or something to help teach us kids to be a bit more self-sufficient. My mom was directing me to show my kids that I love and adore them but that is also important for them to see their mother as a woman, with a life, not just as a mom. That way when they are older/ teens/ twentie they have a different kind of respect.

So maybe, just maybe that is what your Grandmother means. Do somethine outside of mothering so that your children see you as more then just their mom....because we are so much more then just Mom's!

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#16 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 12:46 PM
 
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PS...it also shows our DP/DH that we are still women and individuals after we become wives/partners and mothers. Which I think is sooooooo imortant

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#17 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 10:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abcdefg View Post

Well, I would be willing to bet that your grandmother did not expect your grandfather to abandon her. Maybe she just wants to make sure you have a backup plan, and she meant what she said in a loving, I'm-looking-out-for-you kind of way. It might not hurt to calmly tell her how you felt about what she said. You might be surprised to hear what her intentions were.


This is my thought.  She went through being a single mom at a time when women had even less standing in the workplace than we do.  Think we have it tough?  We've got it easy compared to older generations.  She did the best with what she had, and she may be worried for you.

 

But there is no such thing as "just a housewife".  Raising kids and running a home is a full-time job.  Think of the skills we use!  Everything from time management to referee to judge.  We have to be able to cook, multitask, take care of errands, plan ahead for every possible scenario.  We should be able to put this stuff on resumes, and in fact, I've heard of moms doing that with great success.  They're selling the skills they have rather than writing nothing.

 

If you're worried about your brain going mushy, take online classes in the field you love.  Your diploma will get dusty from not being used.  But if you add to it, you're building on it and using it.  Not to mention you're setting the example that life-long learning is good!

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