Do you feel like being a SAHP is a job? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 61 Old 05-19-2011, 04:57 AM - Thread Starter
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??

I do, not in a bad way but it is still a job, I just don't get paid for it and frankly it's a lot longer than 8 hours a day...DH literally laughed in my face, not in a nice way, when I said this to him as he was leaving for work and moaning about his job which he hates to tears and once again he trivialized me staying with DD... "you stay home all day, I wish you would just get a job!" Then he backtracks and says "no no I like that you are with DD... I didn't mean it that way!" As I once again get defensive because whenever he is crabby about work he complains about me being a SAHM...

 

It is a job isn't it?? I'm not sitting and eating bon bons all day, I am watching DD, doing chores, cooking meals etc...

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#2 of 61 Old 05-19-2011, 05:18 AM
 
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Yes, and a very hard one!

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#3 of 61 Old 05-19-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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I don't know that I've felt the need to define it as a job. When I went into SAHMing, I felt determined to do it willingly and not fall into the martyr role - not to say I don't have my own pity party on a bad day, but I try to remain willful about why I'm doing this. Certainly, SAHMing (yes, I'm making SAHM a verb, forgive me) is demanding and challenging and exhausting, with few (if any) breaks. But the stresses are different from a "regular" job, and I've not found much value in comparing them.

Now, I also come at this from the mindset of having a partner who thanks me regularly for staying home, who listens to my complaints and sympathizes with my bad days, and who fully supports me (and would still do so tomorrow if I decided I'd had enough and wanted to be a WOHM). I've never felt the need to defend staying home to him, and if I did, hoo boy, I can't imagine it'd go well. I can understand saying something like, "geez, I wish I could stay home with DD all day instead of going to my stinky job!" But I wouldn't appreciate DH telling me to get a job.
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#4 of 61 Old 05-19-2011, 10:57 PM
 
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Definitely a job in my book!  I have 3 kids, plus I babysit all day Mon.-Fri.  So, during the week, I have ds7, ds3, ds1... and a 4yr old that I watch... plus I'm 16 weeks pregnant.

DH recently had 4 days in a row of vacation, and he was dying to go back to his "real" job...lol!  He fully admitted it to me, and says he doesn't know how I do it.  He gets a one hour lunch break... he gets to potty alone, without his boss barging in the room asking for something... he can step away from his desk to grab some coffe... etc.  As a SAHM with 4 kids, I don't get any of those luxuries.  Even if ds3 is taking a nap (he's the only one who still does), I still have 3 kids awake, and plenty of chores to keep me busy.  

 

I don't think I'm being the "martyr" at all though. As stressful as it can be, I love what I do.  I enjoy the luxury of being able to stay home and raise my babies.  I try to never take that for granted, even though there are days where I literally want to open the front door, and just run... 

I think the only thing that DH is jealous of is the fact that I don't have to wear uncomfortable clothes to my "job".  orngbiggrin.gif  


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#5 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Addie View Post

I don't know that I've felt the need to define it as a job. When I went into SAHMing, I felt determined to do it willingly and not fall into the martyr role - not to say I don't have my own pity party on a bad day, but I try to remain willful about why I'm doing this. Certainly, SAHMing (yes, I'm making SAHM a verb, forgive me) is demanding and challenging and exhausting, with few (if any) breaks. But the stresses are different from a "regular" job, and I've not found much value in comparing them.

Now, I also come at this from the mindset of having a partner who thanks me regularly for staying home, who listens to my complaints and sympathizes with my bad days, and who fully supports me (and would still do so tomorrow if I decided I'd had enough and wanted to be a WOHM). I've never felt the need to defend staying home to him, and if I did, hoo boy, I can't imagine it'd go well. I can understand saying something like, "geez, I wish I could stay home with DD all day instead of going to my stinky job!" But I wouldn't appreciate DH telling me to get a job.


What she said nod.gif If I had to use one word to describe it then I guess I would use the word lifestyle rather than job. 

 

But I certainly don't think there is any justification for trivialising the value of SAHMing (it's definitely a verb thumb.gif ). It is extremely valuable to individuals, families and societies. I doubt the same can be said for sitting on the couch eating bon bons all day .

 

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#6 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm I wasn't trying to equate it as a job in order to be a martyr..

 

I was getting pissed at DH because when he is really annoyed about his own job he lashes out about me staying at home and while he can insist he is so glad I stay with DD and she doesn't have to be in daycare or whatever...he will periodically when he is peeved or we are bickering come up with some statement about how he wishes I would get a job or how I "just stay home all day"...To which I'm like, "dude this is a job, a 24/7 job with no breaks and lunch times! I am working, it's fun but it's not like I'm just sitting around (well I am at the moment but DD is currently coloring) and doing nothing all day!"

 

Sometimes he thinks me being a SAHM is just hte greatest and then others times his true, slightly bitter feelings come out about me being a SAHM..it drives me nuts!

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#7 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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Totally agree.  I have been a SAHM for a little over a year now and I never imagined how rewarding or difficult it would be.  I laugh because sometime I feel like a maid, pre-school teacher, order taker and cook but I wouldn't change it because I truly feel that it is best for our little ones.

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#8 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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I don't really feel like it's a job. But, I am a "working SAHM" (I WAH 20 hours a week) so in my mind, that is my job, even though I'm also taking care of DS full-time.

To me, a job is something you do to get paid. You also get breaks from a job...

SAHMing is like... I don't know. I don't even have a word for it. I guess lifestyle is as good as any but it doesn't quite fit to me. It's more consuming and more personal than any job I've ever had...

I guess the bottom line is, it doesn't matter what you call it, it deserves respect and appreciation. I'm really sorry you're not consistently getting either from your DH. Has he looked for a job he enjoys more?? Maybe that's just his (kind of mean greensad.gif) way of expressing his dissatisfaction? As in, it's not about you and what you do, it's about him not wanting to go to work, not wanting to have the burden of breadwinning on him, something like that? The unsaid part of, "I wish you'd get a job," I think, is, "because I wish I didn't have to go to work."
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#9 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't really feel like it's a job. But, I am a "working SAHM" (I WAH 20 hours a week) so in my mind, that is my job, even though I'm also taking care of DS full-time.

To me, a job is something you do to get paid. You also get breaks from a job...

SAHMing is like... I don't know. I don't even have a word for it. I guess lifestyle is as good as any but it doesn't quite fit to me. It's more consuming and more personal than any job I've ever had...

I guess the bottom line is, it doesn't matter what you call it, it deserves respect and appreciation. I'm really sorry you're not consistently getting either from your DH. Has he looked for a job he enjoys more?? Maybe that's just his (kind of mean greensad.gif) way of expressing his dissatisfaction? As in, it's not about you and what you do, it's about him not wanting to go to work, not wanting to have the burden of breadwinning on him, something like that? The unsaid part of, "I wish you'd get a job," I think, is, "because I wish I didn't have to go to work."

you got it mama in a nutshell..he hates his job but feels like it's the only one he can make good money in...so trapped..

He also hates working in general, he's never had a great work ethic, it used to be a major issue with us but at least he works now. I always tell him I don't care if he doesn't make as much money he can find a job he prefers to the one he has... It's not even about me being a SAHM really, it's about him and his issues with his job but of course it's easy to take your frustration out on your spouse...

It just drives me crazy because I DO feel guilty about not working when he says things like that. I did enjoy having a job, I have always had a job it seems like, since I was 16 and I have a good work ethic...DD being home with me is just so much more important that this point in our lives though. I keep trying to tell him I am going to get a job eventually, unless we really do the farming thing like I want but right now DD needs to be with mama. She is not a kid who would take well to daycare or preschool or anything like that.
 

 

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#10 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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I totally agree - being a SAHM is a job in its own way!  I don't look at myself as a martyr... but I do reserve the right to have a bad day, to get stressed out, to complain about how hard/frustrating it can be, and to get some time to myself sans children.

 

Just last week DH complained that the house was a wreck, the dirty laundry was threatening to take over our laundry room, and dinner was late.  I asked him, if we had a nanny come to the house to watch the kids, would we expect her to do all the housework, cooking, laundry, errands, AND watch the children?  Nope!  So I believe that parents who work outside the house don't get to have a "get out of any and all household duties" card!

 

On mother's day DH took care of our 3 kids (DS - 5, DD - 26 mos, DS - 6 mos) for 2 hours by himself.  He was about ready to pull his hair out and couldn't WAIT to get back to his cushy desk job!

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#11 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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hehe DH watched DD for about 2 hours while I slaughtered some chickens (yum yum) and he was begging me to hurry up and finish because DD was driving him crazy...At the same time he INSISTS he could be a SAHD if he had too...Well yeah we all can do anything if we had to but that does't mean he could just pick it up tomorrow and not have a really really rough transition...I like the analogy about being a nanny because I was one!!

 

Although the last boy I watched was older, like 13 (SN, thats why his parents wanted to him to have a nanny) and I was able to get a few household chores done for them..If it was a toddler, forget about it!

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#12 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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Haven't read all the posts yet, so sorry if this has already been said: unpaid labour is an integral part of the economy, both on a national/global scale as well as within a family. Just imagine if you had to hire and PAY everyone for all the things you do. People have done calculations for the amount of money the average SAHM (and I say "M" because it really is a feminist issue) would make if she were being paid, and it's in excess of a hundred grand/year. It is a job, and it is a job with financial value, although in the negative rather than the positive -- you SAVE your family money by being at home. Sure, you don't have a paycheque, but it's money in your pocket all the same.

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#13 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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hmm interesting and excellent points Annie Mac..

I think if DH ever gets snarky about it again I will mention something to that effect.

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#14 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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It totally is a job!  DH and I treat it as such so that when he gets home we make sure to both pull our weight equally in terms of watching the kid and doing chores.  I totally don't understand the connection being made between seeing SAHMing as a job and being a martyr.  I think you are much more likely to be martyred if you don't see it as a job because then the expectation is that you are always the responsible one even when your partner is around.  And that wouldn't fly in this house for one flat moment.

 

And of course I would trade with DH in a heartbeat so that probably colors my view.  If SAHMing is a "lifestyle" it is one that was I was unwillingly thrust into.

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#15 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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I was getting pissed at DH because when he is really annoyed about his own job he lashes out about me staying at home

 

 

Yes, I have experience with this -- although not DH, but a former friend of mine that I eventually drifted away from. We both worked similar academic-setting jobs for years before I made the switch to very PT work from home after my son was born. Her support for my decision to be at home "mysteriously" waxed and waned depending on her outlook on HER job. When she was having a stressful time at work, I started hearing snarky comments about how it must be "nice for me" to watch tv all day (which couldn't be further from the truth) or that I had a DH that "gets paid so well" (again, clearly, she has no idea our our degree of frugality). But, when things are going well for her at work, she's all "I think it's great that you're a SAHM!!" and then she's all smiles. I remember just how weak-stomached I would feel when I was hit with a criticism out of left field...soley because she was disliking her job at the moment. I'm really sorry, I can only imagine how hurtful a comment like that can be coming from a partner. It's frustrating, but when other people don't really have a clear picture of what goes into SAHMing (she and her husband made the decision to not have children, so there's a lot of misunderstanding about life with a baby, in general), I guess there's a natural tendency to assume that it's better than their current job situation.

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#16 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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Quote:

 

I was getting pissed at DH because when he is really annoyed about his own job he lashes out about me staying at home

 

 

 

 

Yes, I have experience with this -- although not DH, but a former friend of mine that I eventually drifted away from. We both worked similar academic-setting jobs for years before I made the switch to very PT work from home after my son was born. Her support for my decision to be at home "mysteriously" waxed and waned depending on her outlook on HER job. When she was having a stressful time at work, I started hearing snarky comments about how it must be "nice for me" to watch tv all day (which couldn't be further from the truth) or that I had a DH that "gets paid so well" (again, clearly, she has no idea our our degree of frugality). But, when things are going well for her at work, she's all "I think it's great that you're a SAHM!!" and then she's all smiles. I remember just how weak-stomached I would feel when I was hit with a criticism out of left field...soley because she was disliking her job at the moment. I'm really sorry, I can only imagine how hurtful a comment like that can be coming from a partner. It's frustrating, but when other people don't really have a clear picture of what goes into SAHMing (she and her husband made the decision to not have children, so there's a lot of misunderstanding about life with a baby, in general), I guess there's a natural tendency to assume that it's better than their current job situation.

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#17 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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double post

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#18 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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Of course. And dh considers it one, too and gives me the respect I deserve for doing it.
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#19 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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Being a mom isn't a job, but the daily stuff I do is definitely a job, and I'd have to pay someone else to do it and it would become that person's job if I didn't do it.
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#20 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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you got it mama in a nutshell..he hates his job but feels like it's the only one he can make good money in...so trapped..

He also hates working in general, he's never had a great work ethic, it used to be a major issue with us but at least he works now. I always tell him I don't care if he doesn't make as much money he can find a job he prefers to the one he has... It's not even about me being a SAHM really, it's about him and his issues with his job but of course it's easy to take your frustration out on your spouse...

It just drives me crazy because I DO feel guilty about not working when he says things like that. I did enjoy having a job, I have always had a job it seems like, since I was 16 and I have a good work ethic...DD being home with me is just so much more important that this point in our lives though. I keep trying to tell him I am going to get a job eventually, unless we really do the farming thing like I want but right now DD needs to be with mama. She is not a kid who would take well to daycare or preschool or anything like that.
 

 


A book you might want to check out is Equally Shared Parenting. Maybe it will be too 'out there' for you guys (or simply not something you're interested in) and it wasn't quite perfect for us but it gave me & DH a lot of ideas about making things feel balanced, doing the things we each enjoy, avoiding childcare for DS, etc. We are incorporating some of the strategies into our life and it really made me think differently about my own job (which I despise!) and other aspects of parenting. The premise of it is that each of the 4 realms of parenting are split 50/50 -- breadwinning, childcare, housework, and fun. Well, I think those were the 4 areas, now I'm not positive! lol.gif

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#21 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 03:00 PM
 
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i define "job" as a way to make money, but i define what i do as my "career"...the work that i devote my life to.

dh and i actually figured it out and to be able to aford childcare and the extra gas and lunches for me to work, i would have to work full time. if i worked part time it would cost us, and full time would just break even.

since i do see homemaking as my career, i do put conscious effort into managing the house well. if i can meal plan wisely, then my husband can be less stressed about money. part of my home career is making my own soap, cloth diapering, cooking from scratch, and doing whatever i can to maximize dh's paycheck and minimize his stress. and i tell him when i do something that saves us money like "man, making our laundry soap has saved us xx$ per month"...not to brag to him, but to let him know that i am thinking of him and putting in effort to keeping the family going. that way, when he thinks about me staying home, he thinks about the money he doesn't have to spend on disposable diapers, and the extra hours he won't have to work.

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#22 of 61 Old 05-20-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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I believe being a SAHM is definitely a job! It's more enjoyable than jobs I've had away from home because there's no workplace drama, no bosses to impress, no rules except for the ones I make & enforce, and my kids are much better company than miserable coworkers. Sure, I don't get paid or get any real recognition for what I do but I'm so much happier doing what I do now. I was 8 months pregnant when I quit my job as an office manager after almost 6 years and I kept getting the same question from my coworkers (mostly men) which was, "What will you do after you stop working?" That question struck me as funny & not funny at the same time. I would answer, "I'll be working of course!" Some of them actually seemed uncomfortable with my response. I think it must have been hard for them to see how I could not be working there but still working. Maybe they imagined I'd be sitting at home all day with my Bon Bons and TV shows. My husband is grateful that I'm taking care of our kids and finding ways to save money but he also hates his job and I do get a weird vibe from him, like he is resentful that I get to stay at home and he doesn't. It's actually the same resentful vibe I got when I worked full-time & made more money than him. One thing I'm learning from this experience is that you have to make your own happiness, that you have to value your work as a SAHM even when it seems no one else does.
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#23 of 61 Old 05-21-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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yes it is a full time job we moms never really get a break.


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#24 of 61 Old 05-22-2011, 09:23 AM
 
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The worst thing about being a sahm mom is no sick days. That and not being taken seriously by alot of people bc we *just* stay at home. I see my job of being a sahm cleaning much of the house, cooking, taking care of business during the day that dh can't while at work, finances, shopping, and taking care of the kids/animals. That's all to do while dh is working, and when he is home everything is split. If I am sick or going through morning sickness I expect more help from him until I am able to do it again. And I do NOT subscribe to the old-fashioned theory of "women's work" and "man's work", but bc I am a sahm this is my part of taking care of the family, and dh's part is his employment, and then when we're together it's half/half. Last summer our central air broke down and I felt so useless and despondant bc we couldn't afford to have it repaired (finances were also low at the time) and my husband explained to me that he feels so good to know someone is taking care of his kids and he knows there's always something to eat when he gets home. We talked about the families we know where both parents work and there's not much time for family(not all families are like that, I know, but we know several who are). He doesn't want us to be that way. We have a very good relationship and I do realize not all couples are like this. My own parents and my in-laws were different.

 

If it helps, think of how much a weekly housecleaner would cost. How much restaurants would cost. Whatever you do yourself(hair cuts, your own nails,...) remember how much it would cost if you had someone else to do it.

 

I will say, my "baby" is almost 9 yrs old and I have 2 teenagers...when the kids are toddlers things are different and I need more help around the house and everything is more laid-back until it's time for a birthday party. I am pregnant now so I know once the baby is here, the only housework/cooking that will get done is whatever my older kids do and dh does. My job will be taking care of the baby and myself.


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#25 of 61 Old 05-23-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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Even if 'job' doesn't work semantically, it is *work*.  Often hard work.  Often with no end in sight.  So a sahm deserves the respect anyone who works hard deserves.

 

For me, the words I'd use are more along the lines of "calling" and "life's work".  I'm in it for the long haul (with dh's support) and we are open to more children, so there is a possibility that "Mom at home" will be my career in lieu of anything else.

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#26 of 61 Old 05-23-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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My DH said that to me a few days ago when we argued. Later that evening we met with our financial advisor who asked if I was ever going to get a job again so he could plan accordingly for our retirement.

 

I didnt say anything at first b/c I was wondering if I should get a job like he said. But then he immediately jumped in and said that it made no sense for me to work. He liked me being at home and it would make life alot more difficult if I worked. We woudl have to put my DD back into a school and limit our other kids extra currs.

 

I was so happy to hear this from him. I knew this wasnt what we had planned. But having 2 sn kids changed our plans dramtically. I used to have a career I loved. I was a bit resentful at having to stop working.

 

But I love it so much now. I would be happy never going back into work.

 

However Iw ould love to do foster care, or more volunteering. Things that being a SAHM allow me to do when my job didnt.

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#27 of 61 Old 05-23-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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No.  I'm a parent.  Parenting my children is not a job.  I chose to be a parent just as I chose to be a wife.  I'd never refer to my marriage as being a job, it's something I undertook out of love and a desire to be with my partner for life.  With that in mind, why would I ever refer to parenting my children as a job?  

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#28 of 61 Old 05-23-2011, 05:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crzycakes View Post

No.  I'm a parent.  Parenting my children is not a job.  I chose to be a parent just as I chose to be a wife.  I'd never refer to my marriage as being a job, it's something I undertook out of love and a desire to be with my partner for life.  With that in mind, why would I ever refer to parenting my children as a job?  

Maybe because often what is accomplished during the day of a SAHM involves much more than just 'parenting'; like housework, shopping, cooking, watering stuff...whatever. 
 

 

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#29 of 61 Old 05-23-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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The job part is what comes along with the sah part of sahm...the actual working part. This is why I specify when dh is home it's split.


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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#30 of 61 Old 05-23-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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You'd have to do all that even without kids.  It's just a basic part of life, no?


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