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#1 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been reviewing the boards here (SAHPs) and over at Working/Student Parents. I am contemplating how to find the right balance in my own life. On the one hand, before kids, I was a very career oriented person, and never thought I would ever sacrifice my career for children. I enrolled in a phd program before kids. Now, I have two beautiful children, 3.5 and almost one. I almost didn't make it back to school after my first was born, and probably wouldn't have if my husband hadn't practically forced me to. I made it work, and I finished. Now I have to make some decisions about work. I am contemplating whether to try to stay at home parent, or build a consulting business or something, but not take the expected academic track.

 

So, I come on here to see what major issues are for SAHMs, and I find a lot of postings about how HARD it is, how exhausted you are, how you don't always feel appreciated, still have a hard time meeting initial high standards, etc. Then, on the working parents board, the posts are about problems with child care, how to connect with your child when you work long hours, and how on earth to juggle it all. It's like we moms just have it so rough no matter what road we take!! Either you get very little appreciation and work the hardest job in the world -- staying home, or you stress yourself to the max and feel like you aren't quite present either at work, home, or both, by working! It seems like part-time might work might be a good solution, but so hard to find.

 

Anyway, I guess my question for you is how did you know it was for you? Did you give up a career? Are you out just temporarily?

 

 


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#2 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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I went through grad school and then for the last 10 years had a very demanding/successful career. Then we had an unplanned pregnancy.  I went back to work for a short while after maternity leave while DH was home with DD (unemployed). Once he found a new position I quit without any regrets. It has almost been a year and although it has been a rough one I don't regret it for a second. I complain and get so exhausted but honestly I can't think of a better use of my time. I am SLOWLY  building a business using my acquired knowledge that I will be able to maintain while being there for my DD. Once I untangled my identity from my career I was able to realize that I can do everything, just not at the same time.

 

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#3 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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I think you partly see a lot of complaints here because it is a safe place to complain to others who can understand. Personally I don't know a lot of other sahm irl & often feel judged for my choice by my working friends that I don't like to vent to them ever.

 

I did go to college & was working as an office manager. I will admit I was not particularly career driven - I never was one of those people who felt completed by work. I worked because it was what one did & so we could pay the bills.

 

I'm sure at some point in time I will work again but I don't know when or where & it really is in the distant, unplanned future.

 

Personally I know that being a sahm is the right fit for me & our family. It was something that was really important to dh & I both, that one of us could stay home with our children. For the first time in my life I really feel settled & like I'm doing what I should be doing. That doesn't mean every day is rosy & easy, just that I know I'm on the right path so there is at least a sense of peace in what I am doing.


Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#4 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 02:10 PM
 
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I think you hit the nail on the head--moms (or primary caregiving dads) have it really hard no matter what road we choose. Our society of nuclear families means there are few resources beyond outside childcare for moms that want to return to work, and those that stay home can easily end up feeling isolated, overwhelmed, and unappreciated. 

 

I finished my BA when my son was an infant and had planned to go straight to grad school, but couldn't fit it into my life at that point. It's still a dream but I imagine it won't happen for quite some time. I now run a small daycare center from my home, which allows me to stay home with my son and still bring in some money. It's not exciting or challenging work and I often miss being in the academic world, but I wouldn't give up this past year for anything in the world. There are definitely days when I'm bored and lonely and feel like my brain is atrophying, but the sense of fulfillment I get watching my son grow, day by day, is worth it. 

 

It takes some creativity to be able to work and stay home, but it's definitely possible. And it's also possible to be a SAHM now and launch your career later. As an academic/professional, I imagine you may feel a certain sense of hesitation straying from the traditional path. I felt myself explaining and justifying my choice to stay home and not put my degree "to work." I've made peace with my decision to stay home, knowing that I will eventually go to grad school and start a career, once my kiddos are in school. Like lovepickles said, I think there's plenty of time to be both a full time mom and have a successful career--but trying to do both at the same time can be overwhelming!


~may all beings be free from suffering~
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#5 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 03:38 PM
 
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I agree with the poster that said that you hear alot about complaining from SAHMs on this board simply because it's a safe place to vent. I have days where I feel like I'm contributing nothing to society by staying at home, but then I remember to tell myself that I'm raising children, if that's not contributing to society I don't know what is! What better person to raise and mold and teach a child than his own parent!? That said, I don't think that working moms are doing a bad job, I just think that there are pros and cons to both. But yes, moms can't win, either way. It's a lot of work staying at home, and it's a lot of work to work full time and raise children. I have decided for me, that staying at home, even when it's aggravating, not fullfilling, boring, tiring, frustrating and selfless, is still the best course of action for my family. I will go to school someday and pursue my own interests, but for now, my interests lie in my children. That doesn't mean I never do anything for myself, I do, but I don't make it a huge deal if I can't get as much "me" time as I would like. I know I'll get it back someday and I relish in these moments with my kids because I know it will be over before I know it!

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#6 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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I gave up a job/career I loved to stay at home. One I can't go back to. I was in the Marine Corps. I loved being a Marine, I loved my job. However I knew it was best if I got out and stayed at home with my children. I don't regret it one minute.

 

I did go to college before the military for Criminal Justice. I was originally planning on being a police officer if I didn't stay in. Again, not exactly a career I can just jump into when my kids have grown and moved out. I don't regret my decision there either. I love being home with my kids (well at least 99% of the time I love it).


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#7 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 05:32 PM
 
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I work FT out of the house now, but stayed at home with my son until he was 20 months old, so I've done both, and I totally 100% agree that BOTH ways are hard and both present their own unique set of challenges.

 

And honestly?  I'm still not sure where I want to be.  I'm expecting a second and while I don't want to go back to being a FT SAHM, which really just ran me down emotionally and mentally, I feel so uneasy about being away from a tiny baby for so long every day, not to mention that I miss the hell out of my two year old when I'm at work.  I'm thinking of asking my boss if I can drop down to 30 hrs/wk after maternity leave to try and hit that magical middle ground you talk about...

 

Which I'm sure will also be hard and have its own set of challenges. eyesroll.gif


Mother of two great little guys, G (9/28/09) and W (1/20/12)

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#8 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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I agree with what the other Moms have said.
I have two degrees and was on the career path prior to my first child. I even went back to work after mat.. Leave ( when she was 1). I resigned once my second child was born. My main deciding factor was that I could always go back to my career later, but would never get another chance to do this again. I don't regret it for a second! Sure it's super hard, but it is so worth it. Either choice is challenging, so i guess it depends on what you'd prefer your challenges to be.

And, FWIW, I did work PT in between my first two kids. It certainly was a nice option; however, I am the kind of person that puts110 % into all that I do, and I never felt like I could do either sufficiently...

There is no perfect solution, unfortunately. I say, follow your heart!

Good luck, Mama!
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#9 of 55 Old 09-15-2011, 07:37 PM
 
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Great thread. I received my doctorate last year and I'm currently studying for my state licensure exam. After I pass, I plan to return to work part time. I've been at home for a few years. This seems to be a win win solution for me.

My DD is 8. I've been happiest when I was at home part time and in school part time.

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#10 of 55 Old 09-17-2011, 04:47 AM
 
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I had a demanding career before DD was born, and I returned to work FT when she was 6 months. Her dad stayed home until she was 12 months, and then she went to daycare. It was too difficult to perform in my job FT and parent her the way I wanted, so I dropped to PT (which in my job was about 40 hours a week, working most evenings at home :P). It was a decent balance, but when DS was born, we decided that I should stay home even though that meant a huge drop in household income - I made more than my husband. We're hoping that I can stay home until DS goes to school at 4.5. I hope to pick up some contract work starting soon to supplement our income.

 

What it comes down to, for me, is that being an adult is hard work, no matter what you do. Frankly, with one little at home, I find being a SAHM easier than having a demanding career and parenting. Yes, it's hard work and I worry that I'm not contributing enough, and I miss my job sometimes. But I didn't like having my DD in daycare - it felt wrong to me even though she was happy (and still misses her dcp). But I'm pretty sure that life isn't supposed to be a free ride - I've seen all sides and what it comes down to is that there's nothing really easy. To me though, the freedom to raise my DS the way I want to in his first years, and to be fully available for DD when she needs me (she's in school) is worth the down side.


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#11 of 55 Old 09-17-2011, 06:02 AM
 
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It was hard for me the first year or two after dd #1 was born, but since then it has been easier than I think it would be to have kids AND work outside the home. All the stuff at home would still have to be done, and I'm afraid most of that would fall on me as my dh works a ton of hours. I mean having kids is work regardless of whether you are home with them or working AND taking care of their needs. Neither choice is as easy as life before kids.
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#12 of 55 Old 09-17-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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PhD turned SAHM here.Peace.gif

 

Yeah, being a SAHM is hard, but I have found it much more rewarding and better than working. However, it really depends on your kids, your DH, what your job is if you do work, childcare situation, ect.

 

I found being a working mom of one ok. A working mom of two WAY more stressful. Part of it is that my job was a demanding academic research position. My boss could have cared less that I had kids, he expected me to work long hours and weekends AND didn't understand why my DH with his own job didn't just do everything else for me. Even when I did put in the minimum work hours I could get away with, the shuttling kids to and from daycare, keeping up the house, and trying to spend quality time with my kids was too much. I felt like I never got to actually raise them, I felt more like they just slept at my house while at childcare and I had to run damage control from the daycare.

 

Keep in mind NOT every situation is like this. This was just mine. In the end I am glad I went back to work because now I KNOW I want to be a SAHM and this is where my heart is. Had I never gone back I probably would have thought what if, what if. Now that I am at home everybody is happier, myself included. I have time to feed my kids and family healthy homecooked foods, we do classes and activities, enjoy long summer days together and snuggle on rainy days. I don't have to worry about them while at work, or worry about work while I am with them. I don't have to stress when they or myself is sick, we can just take care of each other. Overall, it is a much slower and enjoyable pace of life.

 

On the flip side, our neighbors both work and have a great situtation. They found a wonderful nanny that comes to there house and also does little chores like laundry and some light cooking to make it a little easier. They are teachers so they have reasonable work hours, holidays and summers off. I think this is really nice for them and makes a huge difference. It works well for there family and they are able to enjoy both working and raising children without all the stress.

 

No it is NOT all sunshine and roses. We have our difficult days where I feel like I am dealing with one disaster after another but overall I love it. My DH is extremely supportive. After experiencing me working out of the home he is VERY appreciative with all that I do in the home now and that makes all the difference for me! He makes sure I get "me" time to pursue my interests and hobbies and helps when needed. HE knows that even though I am at home, I still WORK.


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#13 of 55 Old 09-17-2011, 10:21 AM
 
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I'm an attorney turned SAHM. When DH and I first got married I told him the fastest route to a divorce was making me a SAHM with a minivan. When DD was born, I knew I couldn't be away from her 80-100 hours each week. It wasn't the type of parent I wanted to be, and we didn't need my income. I know many moms who are excellent parents and who work full time. It just wasn't how I envisioned mothering my children so I made the choice to leave a successful practice (there's no such thing as a part time lawyer in corporate America). I missed it so much at first, but I realized I was grieving. I started a journal just about myself..no DH or DD thoughts or feelings allowed. 19 months later I go back and read it, and I'm amazed at the person I've become. First though I had to let go of my own desires and designs. I quickly found I didn't miss them anymore. Everyone has a path, I very happily found mine in the last place I expected. I hope you find your happiness too.

Forgot to add that I don't drive the minivan...yet. wink1.gif
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#14 of 55 Old 09-17-2011, 12:35 PM
 
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babylonghorn- totally off the subject but I never wanted to drive a minivan but I do now.. its awesome. It drives better than the sedan I had before kids. I love it..

 

Ok, back on subject :)

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#15 of 55 Old 09-19-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

I think you partly see a lot of complaints here because it is a safe place to complain to others who can understand. Personally I don't know a lot of other sahm irl & often feel judged for my choice by my working friends that I don't like to vent to them ever.

 



I agree with this. This board is often negative, but I assume it's because people don't choose to post when everything is going well and because there is enough judgement between WOH and SAH moms that complaining to them feels like it would bring up a sore subject. 

 

That said, I gave up a career to be a SAHM. I spent many years dreaming and working towards an international health and development career and as soon as I got pregnant I KNEW I couldn't do it and be the kind of mom I wanted to be. Too many hours, too much travel. I've never regretted my decision to quit (that was 7 years ago) because I know what I do is important and matters to our family, but I have always known I made a sacrifice to be a SAHM. 

 

In hindsight I wish I'd been more aware of what I'd want when I became a mother back when I was in college and graduate school. It just never entered my mind that I wouldn't want to go to developing countries for 6 weeks at a time once I had kids. If I'd known what I know now, I would have done something more flexible, but still in my field, like public health nursing. Something that I could do part-time while the kids were young. 

 

For me, this SAH gig won't last forever. My kids are still very young (6, 4 and 2 with another coming in 6 weeks) and I plan to be at home until my youngest reaches some age that I feel okay investing in something outside the family (maybe kindergarten age, not sure). I'd like to go back to school for nursing and start building a new career then. But until then, I try to enjoy it (and most days I do....although this pregnancy is seriously wearing me out) and realize that it won't last forever. And I am guilty of only posting when things are rough ... which isn't all that often.

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#16 of 55 Old 09-19-2011, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your very thoughtful replies. I am always so impressed with the MDC community -- everyone keeps it so real, so respectful. It's actually quite helpful to know that these SAHP boards are probably more negative since it's a safe place to post, and people on post when feeling down. But, also good to know that is sortof the risk -- feeling that way is a real possibility, though certainly not for everyone and not all the time.

 

Also prior to kids, I assumed SAHMs were women who didn't want/have a career. Maybe that was true to some extent when I was growing up, but it is so fascinating that these days, the "typical" SAHM worked prior to pregnancy, often in very high powered jobs. I love hearing all of your perspectives, what you went through, how you feel you have changed, etc.

 

I also like the idea of having both career and kids, but not necessarily at the same time.

 

berry987, I totally get what you're saying -- I also worked in international health before I went back to school! I always thought I wanted to travel, etc., and would have no problem doing it with kids. I watched my colleagues make it work. But, I had no idea how motherhood would affect me, and now I know there is no way I want the lifestyle of leaving my kids for weeks at a time, or simply having to put in that many hours, even with a domestic position (or international post for that matter).

 

babylonghorn, interesting approach with the journal. You said you've changed a lot -- in what way?

 

crunchymama - kinship! It is so rare to find people in the same/similar situation! Granted, right now, my advisor is very understanding, and for now, I'm doing okay and have a lot of flexibility. I also have a great babysitter for my 1-yr-old, and my 3.5 is loving preschool. I still leave pretty early, and am trying to cram a full-time gig into part-time hours.  But, I agree that 2 makes it a lot harder than one! So great to hear that you are very comfortable with your position, and don't second guess yourself. It's hard to say how I'll feel in 10 years, but for now, I think I'd be okay with doing it, as long as I could keep one foot in somehow with consulting or something from time to time. I really fear getting so far 'off-track' that later on, when I'm ready to restart the career, I will be seen as out of touch. And heaven knows, I already am -- before kids, I was so aware of current events, kept up with so much stuff. Now, I can barely find time to read the news (I guess I spend all my free time on MDC!).

 

bejeweled -- what kind of doctorate? You don't have to be too detailed if you don't want, just curious as to what kind of part-time work you might be able to pick up.

 

Okimom - I can see how being a marine corps member would be really hard to do while being a mom. But, people do it, right?? Are you in touch with anyone who has made that work? It seems really, really hard.


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#17 of 55 Old 09-20-2011, 06:23 AM
 
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Hello - coming in a little late to the thread here, but thought I'd respond nonetheless.  I have a law degree and practiced for almost 7 years, and now I'm home.  We can't afford it in the long term (when you picture "lawyer" please let me assure you this was no corporate job - I worked as a legal services attorney, representing low income people and as a result made very little money), so it's something I'm doing for now.  Having a time limit on my ability to stay home makes it all the more precious, I think, although I would love it if I could do this forever.

 

Like a PP, I never dreamed I would want to be home.  My own mother was a SAHM and her life seemed limited and absurdly unexciting.  The working mothers of my friends seemed very glamorous to me by contrast.  It was not until my first child was born that I realized why people stay home.  At that time we were unable to afford for me to remain out of work - DH's business had just collapsed - and returning to work to leave my baby was the most painful thing I ever had to do.  I would walk out of the day care with sunglasses on to hide the tears streaming from my eyes. I pumped for 15 months and cried, shut up in my office, every time I did it.  I was able to work part time for a few years, but then I took another job to be closer to home, and my new employer would not entertain a part-time request.  I was able, however, to negotiate a long 4-day work week with one precious day home with my child.  Fast forward a few more years to the birth of another DC, and now I am able to be at home for a while, although technically we still can't really afford it (and believe me, our life is quite modest).  I am actually planning to make a 180 degree career switch in a few years and go into teaching - partly for the family-friendly schedule and partly because I love working with kids in that capacity.  Mostly because I will have glorious summers off with my kids, and be home by 3:30 PM.

 

So, having done all variations of the WOHM part time, WOHM full time and SAHM, I can tell you that for *me*, the latter is bliss.  I get sometimes frustrated on these threads when a SAHM who has never worked outside the home comments that being at home with kids is so much harder than her life before kids when she worked.  Well, yeah, of course it is - I think all of our lives were simpler and easier before we had kids (is it possible I used to sleep in?  Come home from work and collapse on the couch and order take-out? Take a walk whenever I wanted to?).  Less joyous, missing something, perhaps - but certainly easier.  My point is that comparing a life of working pre-kids to SAHM-ing post kids is comparing apples and twinkies.

 

I know staying at home is not for everyone, nor would I suggest it is the best route.  But I'll tell you for *me*, it is vastly easier and I am miles happier.  It is impossible to describe the stress involved when a child is sick and you and your DH are having a fight at 5 in the morning over who has to be the one to stay home, when all your heart wants to do is take care of your sick child but there are pressing work obligations.  For years I juggled the craziness of trying to be there for every play, and every school concert, and leaving the office at noon to race home and retrieve a homemade ice cream cake from the freezer to bring into DD's school on her birthday, and then race back to the office.  Running out to grocery shop at 9:30 at night after the kids are asleep (with DH home, o' course).  Cleaning my house at 10:30 PM and making lunches at 11 PM for the next day.  Extracting myself from my DD's arms as she cried "don't leave me!" to go to work.  Thinking about my kids all day at work.  Dreading the occasional business trip.  Having weekend and evening commitments so that I missed out on soccer games, bedtimes, and so on.  Coming home and needing to focus on your kids, but simultaneously needing to put dinner on the table.  Oftentimes working late at night after everything is clean and kids are in bed, to make up for all the work left undone when I raced out of the office at 5 PM.  I just found it really, really difficult and painful.  Things are much easier and happier now for me, and I'm really grateful to be out of the rat race.  It feels like such a luxury to only have one area of focus, instead of being torn and always feeling like a bad mother and bad employee.

 

Having a choice is a luxury, period.  I know there are SAHMS on these boards who would like to work but whose salary would never cover the cost of day care.  I know there are WOHMS who are dying to quit but can't afford it.  I would say, since you asked, if you have a choice as to whether to SAHM or WOHM, congratulations!  I would also say that I doubt you will ever say "gee, I wish I had spent less time with the kids."  The early years in particular are precious and fly by.  I am highly educated and think there is nothing I would rather do than run my home and revel in the time spent with my children.  Just my own experience for what it's worth.

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#18 of 55 Old 09-20-2011, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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PennyRoo, Thanks for your very thoughtful response! You make very good points about how to think about this! Your post is very helpful in painting a picture of the reality of what it is to work out of the home and raise children. Your situation sounds so exhausting! I am currently in the middle of that race to get everything done, but am failing miserably. House is a mess and dinner is not always prepared at home. Then, when working, not able to focus.


While it would not be easy for us to make the decision, and it would take some planning, time, and possibly a move, I think we could work it out for me to stay home, with the plan of earning at least a little bit with some consulting here and there. Of course, then there are days when I am just exhausted being around my little ones too, as early as 9am...


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#19 of 55 Old 09-20-2011, 10:10 PM
 
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I knew SAHP was for me because I've always looked forward to doing it since I was a child. I wanted to be a SAHM like my classmates wanted to be teachers and cops. This remained through high school and college, even though I worked very hard to look within myself and find a niche in a career. It just wasn't happening. A career was not my desire, my passion. SAHPing was a no-brainer for us for practical reasons (mainly the amount of money I'd bring in wouldn't be worth it, and the time it took to do a job wouldn't be worth the money), but it was my sincere heart's desire to throw my full attention and effort into the domestic realm. I still struggle with myself, because part of me wonders if I *should* be feeling otherwise, if I *should* want to go out and work. It is, I guess, what our culture seems to expect of educated women. I LOVED college and if it weren't for kids, I'd be a lifetime student. But I just have no desire to have a career, and am learning to accept this in myself. 


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#20 of 55 Old 09-21-2011, 05:53 AM
 
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I enjoy being a stay at home mom. thumb.gif  It has it's pros and cons like everything in life, but for me it's very important that I be there with my kids in the early years. I think one of the "problems" with being a stay at home mom is it's not viewed as a job by society. I get the "oh you just stay home" all the time. It's a bit irritating. It is absolutely a job. If I wasn't home I would be paying someone else to raise my kids.  I think a lot of the depression with SAHM's comes from this mentality that they aren't doing anything. It can make them defensive or completely unprepared for the JOB, like "this is so hard, look what i did all day" or "i never expected it to be this hard" etc. etc. It's a job, it's a wonderful rewarding job, but still a job.  This  misconception  that SAHM's are just moms that are to "lazy" to work needs to get thrown out! My house is not always spotless, I am home with children all day! Or we are at various outings forthe children. I used to have a lot of guilt about it. "well, gee I only stay home how come my house isn't spotless??" The reality is, is that kids are messy. ROTFLMAO.gif and  going to park or playing puppets with them is much more important. I view the kids as my job and the housework just as some added nuisance I'm stuck with because I'm the one home. Can you tell I'm not a huge fan of housework?  lol.gif  It has helped put thing ins perspective for me though. Just because I'm home doesn't mean the house will be spotless, the kids 100% well behaved, and I will have a four course meal on the table every night. Life just isn't a 1960's tv show. lol.gif   

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#21 of 55 Old 09-21-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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I know staying at home is not for everyone, nor would I suggest it is the best route.  But I'll tell you for *me*, it is vastly easier and I am miles happier.  It is impossible to describe the stress involved when a child is sick and you and your DH are having a fight at 5 in the morning over who has to be the one to stay home, when all your heart wants to do is take care of your sick child but there are pressing work obligations.  For years I juggled the craziness of trying to be there for every play, and every school concert, and leaving the office at noon to race home and retrieve a homemade ice cream cake from the freezer to bring into DD's school on her birthday, and then race back to the office.  Running out to grocery shop at 9:30 at night after the kids are asleep (with DH home, o' course).  Cleaning my house at 10:30 PM and making lunches at 11 PM for the next day.  Extracting myself from my DD's arms as she cried "don't leave me!" to go to work.  Thinking about my kids all day at work.  Dreading the occasional business trip.  Having weekend and evening commitments so that I missed out on soccer games, bedtimes, and so on.  Coming home and needing to focus on your kids, but simultaneously needing to put dinner on the table.  Oftentimes working late at night after everything is clean and kids are in bed, to make up for all the work left undone when I raced out of the office at 5 PM.  I just found it really, really difficult and painful.  Things are much easier and happier now for me, and I'm really grateful to be out of the rat race.  It feels like such a luxury to only have one area of focus, instead of being torn and always feeling like a bad mother and bad employee.

 


Great post - you really paint a great picture of the hard part of WOH with kids. This is exactly why I quit my job. 

 

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#22 of 55 Old 09-21-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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I am new here, but I know I need a community of people who kind of understand the life I live.  I am an Army wife, a stay home mom, a homeschooling mom, AND a WAHM.  I must be crazy....but it works well for us.  When my husband and I first married, I tried to do it all.  I had been a single parent for 9 years, so I was kind of ready to be a wife and mother.  But I still wanted to work - because I thought that's what HE wanted me to do.  That whole communication thing was a doozy to start, but I finally gained the courage to share with him that I feel family is the most important thing for us - especially with the way he deploys every year.

 

I could not wait to get a job when we first married in 2006.  We lived overseas then, and finding work in the UK was dead easy.  In fact, I had work before I even moved there.  Then, the drive was too far for daily family and wife responsibilities...something I could not have known until I got into the day to day schedule.  I left that company for another.  The hours were too strenuous.  Then another job....and I stayed there a year until the economy fell apart worldwide in 2008.  They asked me to stay - for no salary but a higher commission.  NOT!  lol

 

My husband and I talked and he believed in me enough to let me try to work from home.  I started a search consultancy business.  It went well until we returned to the US...and I spent the next 2 years trying to find a way to make working from home work for me.  During all that time, even though we had more than enough income from his salary, he put pressure on me to make a lot of money.  Simultaneously, our daughter's academic life was disintegrating.  Her schools here in the US were horrible.  We even put her in private school and were dissatisfied.  Ultimately, we decided to homeschool and he told me to find a business I like and do that...which I did.

 

I didn't really try to "work work" until recently, though I have had my company for a year now.  All my focus has been on our DD who is 14 years old.  DH is deployed to Afghanistan.  The best decision I ever made was to homeschool.  It's not the smoothest schedule, but our daughter has peace and she is learning more in 5-6 weeks than she did all year previously.  The curriculum is challenging beyond words and I am grateful that I stay home with her.  Working gets fuzzy sometimes when the most important thing of the day is a science project or a research paper, but we make it work.

 

The only thing I am worried about is how well it will work when hubby gets back home from war.  We are ready for him to get here, but we have a schedule and a "flow" that works from day to day.  I just wonder how he will adjust to the new me.  By the time he returns, he will have been gone a bit over a year....

 

Great thread...I needed that!  whew!

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#23 of 55 Old 09-21-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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To answer your question, OP, I knew it was for me because I wanted to do it AND I had the education and career experience to go back to work if I wanted. I didn't think I'd want to (and I'm still very happy sah) but it would have been unthinkable for me to do it without the option of supporting myself should I want or need to.
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#24 of 55 Old 09-21-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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I knew it was for me because it felt right in my heart. Corny, but true. I'm a music teacher though, and I've kept working very part time throughout, teaching various classes and piano lessons.

 

My children are both in school now, and I'm thinking that I want to keep staying home. I may increase my classes a bit, but I think that unless the ideal full time school job comes along for me, I'll stay put.

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#25 of 55 Old 09-21-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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I just want to add that the involvement of your partner and how you split up the work can make a huge difference in how either a SAHM or WOHM situation works out.

 

I think it is incredibly hard for women who are expected to "do it all" without a partner who is an equal participant in parenting, housekeeping, etc.

 

I work full-time outside the home, and my partner works almost full-time from a home office. We both work very hard, and we share in the work of parenting & keeping our house in order (well, some semblance of order). I love my work & find my job very fulfilling, and I wouldn't have it any other way. DP isn't as enamoured of her work, but the work-from-home situation is very doable and it is so helpful that there is one of us who doesn't need to commute. And because we work together on everything, neither of us feels overburdened. We are constantly on the go, and there is little down time, but we carve out together time and family time that feels genuine. It's not just a grind.

 

So, I just want to point out that it's not just whether or not to work, but to look at the whole support system that's in place either way. It seems like the key to happiness is not necessarily about working or not working, but about having support to keep your life in balance no matter which path you take.

 

 


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#26 of 55 Old 09-22-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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[quote name="porcelina" url="bejeweled -- what kind of doctorate? You don't have to be too detailed if you don't want, just curious as to what kind of part-time work you might be able to pick up.

Hi Porcelina, I'm really enjoying this thread. I'm a clinical psychologist. I have no idea what kind of part time work I'm going to do. Right now I'm focusing on passing my state licensure exam, which I take October 1. Then I'll move on to step 2. One step at a time... smile.gif (This is my mantra).

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#27 of 55 Old 09-22-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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Great point Cl Mama---I think your partner and outside support system make all the difference in whether you enjoy your job ( in or outside the home) or whether you just feel exhausted and overwhelmed. 

 

I think this gets to the very root of the OP--we mamas often have a rough road because most of us don't have a strong support system and our partners generally are equally overwhelmed by work/parenting responsibilities.  In my opinion, our society of nuclear families makes it really difficult to parent without stress. Ideally, we would have extensive, multi-generational support systems that would allow us to share the responsibilities of raising our kiddos with other trusted adults. This scenario is almost unheard of in our "developed" country and as a result, it's often hard to find balance between mothering and pursuing other interests. I'm all about the village raising the child---although I'm still looking for that proverbial village in our life! 


~may all beings be free from suffering~
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#28 of 55 Old 09-22-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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I agree with others who say that the right choice is highly dependent on your personality, your desires, your financial situation, and your personal one. Since I am having my kids later than most others in my extended family, I've had a chance to observe what people did and how it worked for them.

 

Both my sisters are SAHM who left successful careers to parent their children. One was a chemical engineer, and the other was a CPA, both making about equal to their husbands at the time. I think neither of them liked their jobs. they had only gotten into their fields because they were good at the subjects, and the jobs were sufficiently prestigious. So having children was a good reason to leave work for them. Both started eBay shops. For a lot of reasons, I think the early years were rough on them and took its toll. I think switching from somewhat high-powered careers to being at home full time left their minds a bit fallow and unchallenged, and their competitive drive unfulfilled. At least, that's how I explain the energy that got redirected into a rather obsessive, consumer-oriented lifestyle justified by the idea that they were also shopping for their eBay store as well as the serious oneupmanship that they engaged in with each other when the kids were young. I remember hearing both sides of a big blowout about sippy cups that left one sister in tears and the other on a weeklong rant. Another big fight involved whose diapers belonged to which child.

 

My SIL has, for the most part, become a SAHM as well. She used to work part time at a hospital as a respiratory therapist, but she doesn't really take any hours anymore. Her child is now 12. She has said that all she wants to be is a SAHM, but I think she's not happy in her life in part because she is one. It makes her focus on the additional children that she's having trouble conceiving. It also makes her highly dependent on her husband, with whom she does not have the strongest relationship. But because she is so financially dependent on him, her choices are limited and she's intensely unhappy.

 

Anyway, these are my outsider perspectives on their situations. I'm sure if you talked to them, they'd have different things to say, like how fulfilling it is and what a big sacrifice it was. Honestly, I'm not really sure it was a total sacrifice as they portray. the children and the family overall benefitted, but so did they. And I think there were a lot of unforeseen consequences that they either don't acknowledge or aren't aware of.

 

Now that I'm pregnant myself, I find myself deciding to do what I had for so long been skeptical about--be a SAHM myself. I'm hoping that with the benefit of seeing other people's experiences, I can make it work better for me. And where I didn't understand their rationale for being a SAHM before, I do now. I think the kids do benefit from having the steady support of a parent, and having one in the home full time makes that more possible (though also possible with working moms too). I don't think the transition will be too bad for me because I had worked part-time for 6 years, and I really enjoy the domestic arts. And I feel good about my decision because I have a strong relationship with my partner and know that I won't be "stuck." I also love the things I can do with my degree and can likely find part-time work in it after the baby is born. Still, there was a period where I really struggled with my decision and all the changes it would bring.

 

Actually, now that I think about it, the most successful SAH situation I've seen was one where the dad stayed at home and worked full time as well by telecommuting to his computer job. the mom commuted daily downtown. they have two boys together. I think it helps in their situation that he still has a job and that he has a lot of other hobbies that don't involve the children necessarily, so he doesn't feel like his life has narrowed. He also hasn't become overly invested in his children as his sole means of identity. I'm thinking the transition into being a SAHM is easier when you retain parts of your non-parent self and have an outlet for your creative and competitive urges.

 

I didn't really mean to write so much, but I hope my rambling might help somebody figure out what works for them.

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#29 of 55 Old 09-22-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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I think the point about partner support is an excellent one, and the lack thereof may have been a major contributor to my burnout and to the intense difficulty I experienced trying to "do it all."  DH and I had a very equal partnership before we had kids.  After our 1st child was born things shifted radically.  Although he continued to do all the things he did before, as everyone with kids knows, there is suddenly 1000% more to do after the arrival of kids.  I would say conservatively that I do 70% of the parenting to DH's 30%.  Some of this was exacerbated at the outset by the fact that I was nursing, so I did *all* the nighttime parenting, but then that turned into the kids having a strong preference for me over DH.  The list of things I do relating to the kids - from making sure they have a present and have made a card for the b-day party they are attending tomorrow, to overseeing homework, from making lunches to knowing which food item I have to bring to the school harvest party, from organizing all the clothes and hand-me-downs to knowing who needs new shoes and when - - is just endless, and DH literally does NONE of it. (The resentment I have over this is a whole other issue . . and I won't hijack this thread to discuss it . . )  When I was working it was incredibly hard to juggle all of this.  Now that I am at home I still juggle it, but I have all day to fit it in and things are easier.

 

I think the one caveat I would throw out there in the whole to SAHM or not to SAHM question, is the big downside in the gendered nature of the division of labor that can occur if you SAHM.  I know I am not alone in this - I have many, many friends who have the same experience of things having been equal until after the arrival of the kids.  I know my DH is happy to let me do whatever I want, as long as the kids are with me.  It's another story when I want to do stuff for myself - exercise, see a friend, whatever (even take a shower!).  Sometimes it is easier to let this imbalance happen and just suck it up for the sake of family harmony, since the alternative (for me) is engaging in a constant battle to even out the imbalance. 

 

[I have to say, I notice that now that I am at home, my DH leaves his plate on the table and walks away about 50% of the time.  It used to happen about 10% of the time - so it makes me wonder if this shift is occurring in his mind where I am now in charge of all things domestic.]

 

I sincerely did not mean this to turn into a rant (OK, well, maybe a little) or a thread hijack, but more to suggest that you carefully approach the issue of gender roles, responsibilities, expectations and free time *before* you make the decision to SAHM.


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#30 of 55 Old 09-22-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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bigeyes.gif Wow. The behavior/attitude that you describe here would be totally unacceptable in this household (not "letting" me do things alone, walking away and leaving his plate for me to clean). DH wouldn't have a wife to come home to if he treated me like this. I couldn't suck it up for the sake of family harmony. No wonder you were burned out!


[quote name="PennyRoo" I would throw out there in the whole to SAHM or not to SAHM question, is the big downside in the gendered nature of the division of labor that can occur if you SAHM.  I know I am not alone in this - I have many, many friends who have the same experience of things having been equal until after the arrival of the kids.  I know my DH is happy to let me do whatever I want, as long as the kids are with me.  It's another story when I want to do stuff for myself - exercise, see a friend, whatever (even take a shower!).  Sometimes it is easier to let this imbalance happen and just suck it up for the sake of family harmony, since the alternative (for me) is engaging in a constant battle to even out the imbalance. 

 

[I have to say, I notice that now that I am at home, my DH leaves his plate on the table and walks away about 50% of the time.  It used to happen about 10% of the time - so it makes me wonder if this shift is occurring in his mind where I am now in charge of all things domestic.


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