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#61 of 213 Old 10-27-2013, 12:10 AM
 
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I was terrified to write the truth of how I feel in my post. I prefer to say nothing or say the nice thing. I'm relieved that some other moms can relate to my deepest feelings.

We just can not allow other people to tell us what we are worth.
We know what we are worth or we would not be doing what we do.
Remember the day you knew you would stay home like PP said. The day you fell in love. Let's let nothing assault that moment.
Let's let no one convince us, ever, that we saw something less beautiful in that moment, when we chose to be just a mother... The good, the bad, the ugly. And the good.

My youngest went to kinder this fall. It rocked my world. I had legit empty nester syndrome. No one needs me (until 3 o'clock) to help them find something to do or to take them to a park. No one is around to tell me stories or help them solve problems. No one is in the kitchen with me. (now that's really eerie). No one is fighting. No one is distracting me from something that needs to be done.
No one is grocery shopping with me, sneaking Cheetos and weird goo in a baby bottle from the candy aisle into my cart and making it hard for me to read labels or see which tomatoes were grown in Mexico.
I can go to TJ freakin Maxx if I WANTED to.

They are out. In the world. Taking flight. I'm not there to watch.

But I was. I was in the front row baby.
And I wouldn't trade that for the world.

There were times I wanted to. For sure. Because it became wildly under stimulating and lonely. Because i had no status and my non-mom self slipped away. But I just always felt this was their birth right. And mine too. I didn't want to miss a thing. I wanted to KNOW how my kids were put together, piece by piece, so that when a wheel comes loose I have the best chance of helping them fix it. We wrote their little owners manual together...through blood sweat and tears. Oh, the tears. Theres and mine. So far I'm finding it's much easier when they blow a tire or some circuitry gets loose to know which page in the manual to turn to. Because I was there as it was written.

Staying at home now that they are in school has given me space and quiet to see
...........Um........... That i have no idea who I am without them. (I'm laughing). It's terrifying and funny and I don't care who thinks its sad or wrong or pathetic. I could never be on the cover of Modern Woman. Im dependent.
But "I" slipped away for a time for a good freakin cause. I'm excited to get to know me again. I think it's gonna be awesome getting to know her. Because all the while, when she was up on that shelf, quietly waiting for her turn, she was actually growing mighty strong and wise learning the best things in life staying at home with kids.
I'm not rushing to work, because I just worked, really hard. Now I'm taking time off (from 9 to 3) to stare at a wall.
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#62 of 213 Old 10-27-2013, 12:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marge&rooter View Post

I am so angry. That the OP even has to ask this question. That we have to defend ourselves at all for choosing to raise our children by hand, ourselves. I feel angry. Mostly at a faceless thing called our society, sometimes at feminism going too far, and on bad days I take it out on working moms who have choices. (But then slap my own wrist knowing that's misplaced).

Staying at home for 8 years HAS turned my brain to mush. So please excuse any disorganized thoughts here...
(It has turned my soul into something much more solid and no mushy and so I will accept the trade as I can not take my brain or an eloquently written essay with me when I go.)
My ability to write intelligently has lessened. I look way more stupid talking to people about smart thing. But, seriously, what has been strengthensd as a result of being ONLY a mom for 8 years. Oh my gosh! The coolest, greatest stuff I didn't even know I had inside of me!!!!
Aw, who cares about THAT stuff.

Being a mom who stays with her kids....
Why?? Why do we end up having to defend THIS??? Why are we insecure???

One question. And this goes out to all the mothers in my neighborhood who work and drive beautiful cars and have great furniture, have coach purses and tell me they cant afford to stay home, "lucky!", or more often... i could never stay home because it would drive me nuts!". Why/how is this up for being a CHOICE? Why do you get to look so brave and strong and important to the world? Okay I guess that question is for the world then. Not a question, really, but more of a HELLO???!!!!! Am I in the twilight zone? What's happening?!!
I think I know how we got here. I guess I'm way more disgusted that so many of us are having to struggle with negative feelings for doing something that is so NORMAL!!!!
Do I sound jealous, am I jealous? Um. Yes. Honestly, maybe I do feel a little jealous of the status you have in the eyes of our culture. Jealous or maybe just angry. Angry that my status has dropped to that of a peasant farmer. Angry? Or maybe afraid. Afraid that what I'm placing my bets on...our children and their being nurtured... Putting that first.... Is not important to the society I live in, the one in which they will become an integral part of.

I'm really talking about those with choices here. And I know there a lot. Like I could drive a used car, but I want the Taho. Like, it's too boring. Like, I need the world to see how many gold stars I have. Like, it's not enough to just be a mom. I'm talking about this group because I feel like this is the group that has us to have to ask this question in the first place. It's certainly not happening as a result of women working because they have NO choice. Doesn't that make sense. Someone with a brain help me here!!!

Again, don't like that I'm lashing out at these women. I'm working on this. I just don't understand. No. I do understand. I just feel angry about it.

To those who must work and want to be home. I have seen the sadness in your eyes and there are no words for it. These women seem to raise such incredible children. The example they present each day is the highest love. Their children are watching and see and learn true sacrifice, true strength, and real love. I mean that in all sincerity and can see many faces right now for examples. I love these women.

And I love all women.
And I love that we have choices.
But I LOATHE what we have allowed our culture and focuses of our cultures to do to motherhood and children.

I am bitter that this thing is glorified for being strong, powerful, important, beautiful, and courageous. This THING. This thing that is certainly NOT staying at home parenting. Maybe it's not necessarily about working vs sahm but just "I want/deserve MORE than THIS!!!! Moms". That could be any of us. Uh, I've thought it. I'll say it.

But in the end, my true North beckons me back. I see an older version of myself wondering if I did it right. I feel at peace. Because I chose to be there. I chose that over other things because somewhere I knew it mattered. Somewhere in that place where I(!!!!!) define what is courageous, important, and beautiful and powerful. Not my neighbor.




But, back to my question. What IS more than this? Where is it? Am I missing something?

 

I get what you're saying about being angry. I think it's something that's way, way bigger than SAHM vs. WOHM though. Society is changing, and it's getting a lot worse.My mom uses real estate as an example. When I was a baby, her and my dad bought their first house and their mortgage amount was about equal to what my dad would earn in 2 years (of course not all your money goes to your mortgage so the house takes much longer to pay off) Now, the amount a small house here would sell for it equivalent to 12 years of income. There is NO WAY we can afford to buy a home. Wages haven't kept up with the cost of living, and the quality of a lot of jobs are going down. There are many, many jobs that people do now with no benefits, and not making a living wage, that a man used to be able to support his family and buy a home with. I don't know why things have gone that way, but I'm sure it's not 'mommy wars' making businesses decide to screw over their employees. 

 

Peoples idea of why they need is changing, like your example of a new vehicle. Or having only one vehicle. Other things are, how many of us shared a rooms with our siblings growing up? And now that is much less common, people pay more for bigger houses. How many activities were we enrolled in, if any at all? My sisters and I got swim lessons and whatever team sports were offered at the school. People's choices do make a difference in whether they think they can afford to stay home or not. I can understand how some people feel it isn't a choice... some of the things you have to do in order to stay home have become unconventional.

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#63 of 213 Old 10-27-2013, 06:13 AM
 
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Right on Samalama!
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#64 of 213 Old 10-27-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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Not to continue off the topic of this thread... but since it has gone there I would like to list all the things I plan to do when my LO goes to school, and I don't feel guilty about a single one!

1. Sew my heart out.

2. Meditate whenever I want!

3. return to my beloved and dearly missed yoga practice

4. garden

5. spend time watching my lovely hens peck in the yard

6. hang out with my awesome old dog who had taken a back seat to baby chaos

7. do nothing for a change (if I can sit still LOL)

8. read as much as I possibly can

9. write as much as I possibly can

10. paint

11. take a day to watch movies in bed (oh the thought!)

12. enjoy the freedom of having my own space again!!

 

Hey ladies, in all seriousness, being a SAHM is HARD, and only a SAHM knows that.  Be proud of what you do, and though it can be lonely at times, and people will judge you, remember that you are doing an amazing thing for your children by being there.  I had a SAHM Mom and I am so grateful I did.  Honestly, who freaking cares what you do while the kids are in school?!  You are there when they get home!  How comforting for them!  When a child grows up, they remember LOVE and the comforts of a safe home, not money, not possessions, not how much "society" valued their mother.  As long as my child values me, "society" can take a leap.

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#65 of 213 Old 10-27-2013, 11:08 AM
 
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That sounds awesome!!!

The first two weeks I pretty much did just stare at a wall. I was sad, reflecting and pretty confused. Just being honest. It was like....POOF...massive massive change overnight.

I stumbled a bit, learning to walk, but I'm finding my way.
I test out new recipes.
Organize the clutter.
Work at school 1.5 hours a day.
Exercise.
Became active in PTO.
Went to the dentist!!

These were all huge steps......for me.
And my day is very busy. Too busy in fact.

I love this saying I came across. It goes with this thread perfectly, but will seem random. I think it was from Oprah mag. Brene brown maybe?

If you want to know if you are doing something for the "right" reasons, imagine doing the things and no one will ever see that you did it. It will be private.
If you need it to be known, you might consider that you are doing it to be validated or for approval. (paraphrased)

I took the 1.5 hour thing at the school partly so I could tell people I was doing SOMETHING...it was measurable and could be noticed. Also for private important reasons... To challenge myself in areas I need it most. But I do regret making the commitment partially to earn a gold star in a few people's eyes. I think in a weak moment I caved and needed to prove I wasn't at home watching tv all day. That I was doing more than housework.
I'm learning......
That little slice, 1.5 hours makes it harder for me to get the important things done...the ones no one will ever know about.
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#66 of 213 Old 10-27-2013, 12:49 PM
 
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I have been a SAHM for 3 .5 years.  I left my teaching job 4 months into my pregnancy when my gyno said I was at risk of losing the baby.  We had tried for 4 years to have a baby and after the 4th IUI I got pregnant.  After the first year fof TTC , and before we went down the ART road, I knew Iwanted to take perhaps 1 year maximum off from work.  But after struggling with infertility year after year and when the possibility of being childless became something my doctors said I should prepare myself for I promised myself that if I ever did get pregnant I would do whatever it took to stay home with my child until they entered kindergarten.  Due to my infertility, what I had once taken for granted ( time my pregnancy just so, have the baby, go back to work ) became the all encompassing focus of my life.  I had waited until I was 35 to TTC and had my baby at 39.  My career was established,loved my work and my co-workers but I ditched it all when the Dr. said I could lose the baby.  I didn't think about the financial implications of staying home.  Then my dad died and I found myself with an inheritance.  Now, really, there was no doubt, I was staying home with the baby.  The choie was mine and the knowledge of just how lucky, blessed, whatever you want to call it I was to have a baby strengthened my resolve to be a SAHM.  Noone in my circle of friends ever even questioned me about it because they had been there for me at the end of every failed cycle, crying in the bathroom when my period came. Obviously, I was going to be a SAHM.   When strangers ask me what I do, I must say it with  a certain amount of wonder because  the mere fact to be a mother and be able to stay home is something I still can't believe I'm doing!  I don't get any 'vibes' because I am blind to them.  In any case, I don't see how I could do all that I do as a SAHM and work.  For me, it wouldn't be possible.

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#67 of 213 Old 10-27-2013, 10:06 PM
 
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Things I do that I couldn't do if I had a "real job:"

lead a Brownie troop

play music at the Sr. Center

hold an office in a philanthropical organization

volunteer at a thrift shop

bake

freeze surplus organic produce

inform myself about what is happening in the world outside my little life

write and self-publish a novel

give my venerable, needy cat lots of attention

volunteer at the food pantry

design and make Halloween costumes

walk my kids home from school

 

Some of those things I don't do a lot of, but when the need arises, I can say yes. Moms who work full-time don't get asked. I sometimes wonder if they ever notice what the unpaid moms do for their kids and their community.

 

And no, I can't clean my whole house in 2 hours. My house is a rat's nest. I'm lazy and inefficient and a poor manager of my time, my life, and my money.

 

But I sure as heck don't get bored.

 

I blogged about this, follow the link in my profile if you want to read more.

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#68 of 213 Old 10-28-2013, 06:12 AM
 
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This has been a really interesting discussion! I was just going to scroll through it quickly but ended up taking 3 days to read through each response!

First, I heard it at least once up thread & maybe more: There is no such thing as "just a mom." It makes me sad to hear women say that. But I think it gets to the OP's question. Society (whatever that really means) makes it seem like that.

Our culture's mother imagery is messed up. On the one hand, moms are martyrs & so important to individual families & society.

But no one is willing to put their money where their mouth is (is that really a saying?!). Childcare providers are severely under paid. There is no tax subsidy to help a parent stay home to raise a small child.

If we value child rearing so little (in terms of $), it is simply an indication of how little respect our culture really gives to child rearing (& a parent staying home to do the child rearing work).

So, yes, I do think that society is negative (even hostile?) toward SAHPs.

And it goes for moms as well as dads (our situation--- I WOH & DH does most of the child rearing). Moms have no "ambitions". Dads can't hold down a job. Etc.

But as a WOHM, I can't do right either. I don't love my child. I'm too ambitious. Etc.

Working dads are the only ones, really, who aren't harshly judged (by society as a whole) for their "choices."

I think we just have to shut out those voices & be confident in our own decisions & situations. If we internalize all the outside pressures & judgment, we're screwed.

I'm a decently paid lawyer (definitely not big $) & yet we have one car & it's from 1996. Why? So that we can basically live on one salary & my son can have parental care as much as possible.

Without SAHPs our schools wouldn't function. Many families wouldn't function.

I think it's jealousy & ignorance that fuels the negativity. Who WOULDN'T want to spen more time with her family?! Most jobs just down allow the flexibility for most dads (& WOHMs) to spend more time with family & to be engaged in household work. It's important & yet (sadly) many people don't know what it's all about.

Hopefully those of us who are willing & able to concoct plans to make it possible to SAH will continue to grow in numbers & make it possible for others to join & for society to really recognize the value of a SAHP!
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#69 of 213 Old 10-28-2013, 08:06 AM
 
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I have never met a working parent who LOVES their kids LESS than I love mine.

We would All be there at the train track at the same time, throwing ourselves in front of them.

I feel sad than any working mom would feel that THAT is ever up for debate.
No way. NO way!!!
I know working moms who actually do feel awful...because they miss things, because they have no brain space left to listen to a story, because they don't stay home and don't want to and couldn't or wouldn't.
I feel that way too. I miss things because my mind is elsewhere ( a lot). I pretend to listen to stories because I can't slow down and focus and the stumbling and bumbling is just too much to wait around on. I have days where I want to run...and keep on running and running and running. But I can't so I walk around my house until I can calm down enough to not spew venom.

I stay at home, and my kids have probably felt UNloved and UNimportant more days than id ever want to admit. I get distracted and I get tired. Often.

We are human. Period.

We ALL are growing up and learning along with our children.

All moms WANT kids to feel loved. All moms WANT to enjoy their children.
I cringe t think I've ever said anything to imply anything different.
Because we all want that, and because it can be hard to reach our mark, we think we're failures.
We are mothers.
There is mostly sameness.
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#70 of 213 Old 10-28-2013, 08:43 AM
 
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I have never met a working parent who LOVES their kids LESS than I love mine.

We would All be there at the train track at the same time, throwing ourselves in front of them.

I feel sad than any working mom would feel that THAT is ever up for debate.
No way. NO way!!!
I know working moms who actually do feel awful...because they miss things, because they have no brain space left to listen to a story, because they don't stay home and don't want to and couldn't or wouldn't.
I feel that way too. I miss things because my mind is elsewhere ( a lot). I pretend to listen to stories because I can't slow down and focus and the stumbling and bumbling is just too much to wait around on. I have days where I want to run...and keep on running and running and running. But I can't so I walk around my house until I can calm down enough to not spew venom.

I stay at home, and my kids have probably felt UNloved and UNimportant more days than id ever want to admit. I get distracted and I get tired. Often.

We are human. Period.

We ALL are growing up and learning along with our children.

All moms WANT kids to feel loved. All moms WANT to enjoy their children.
I cringe t think I've ever said anything to imply anything different.
Because we all want that, and because it can be hard to reach our mark, we think we're failures.
We are mothers.
There is mostly sameness.

thumbs up

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#71 of 213 Old 10-28-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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Ladies, because my initial response to this thread was so involved, I forgot to mention something important.

 

There is a book in the world which I highly recommend to any mom to read. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it is amazing. Truly speaks to the heart of many of the issues here, and many there are heretofore no words to describe.

 

What Mothers Do (especially when it looks like nothing)  by Naomi Stadlen, I believe she's a British psychologist Well worth a read!

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#72 of 213 Old 10-28-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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Ill look up that book,thanks.

 

Ive always worked for myself. Ive always been my own boss, with odd exceptions. Im still my own boss, except now i am not earning any money.

 

Nothing has changed. I am  giving my heart and soul to what is most important to me. At the moment, that is my kids, and their well being.

 

So really, im just the same person.

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#73 of 213 Old 10-29-2013, 08:47 AM
 
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On the issue of childcare, it is only provided between 8-6pm. What about those who work outside those hours? Its a bad joke really.

As for being an sahm while children are at school-what does one do all day? Take care of the baby/toddler.

 

However, even when she gets older, i am not sure how i am going  to find a job that is between 9-3 when the kids are at school, unless i become a school teacher myself. (which is what my mother did)

 

Also, theres an aweful lot of unpaid labor involved in picking up children, giving them  hugs, reconnecting, making them  something nourishing for when they get home, getting their bath ready, school clothes and supplies and lunches ready for the next day, supervising homework...and then its bedtime...

 

That work- as their mother, i should be doing it....

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#74 of 213 Old 10-29-2013, 09:07 AM
 
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A friend of mine was detailing the challenge in finding a job that she could just do during working hours with her kids' staggered school schedules. I guess the middle school doesn't start until 9:30 and the high school gets out at 2, or something like that... Good luck finding a job during those hours! She started a direct sales business, which she can do during the hours that work for her. 


WOHM to a girl jog.gif (6-11) and a new baby boy stork-boy.gif (2-14) and adjusting to the full-time life and husband being a SAHD. 
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#75 of 213 Old 10-29-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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Erigeron, you raise an important point.

 

I was calculating the hours i work as an SAHM,  and that is without interruption or break.  I am not including taking care of/breastfeeding/ pottying/cleaning up messes of my 20mth old. I am only including the work that i put into taking care of my 2  elementary school aged kids, 5 and 8.

 

615-830am-laundry, breakfast ( preparing a proper nutritious breakfast keeping in mind that kids cant have a proper meal the whole school day, and  have certain food intolerances), making sure school supplies are ready, getting them out and dressed, rushing them to the bus or school.

 

2 hours and 15minutes.

 

330-830- pickup, giving them another proper meal, supervising homework, bath, activities,  piano practice, playdates(theres usually no time for that), preparing lunch for the next day (the bane of my existence) sleeptime routine/stories, then bed. I go to bed with them so i can get up early the next morning.

 

Thats 7hours and 15minutes total-no break.

 

Between 8h30-3h30- my day is spent supervising  my 20 mth old, taking her to the playground, classes, playing with her etc. I  dont get time to do much housework. Preparing more food for kids so that its ready when they get home.(thats another hour) Since i have already clocked in an almost full work day anyway, i try to get a little break here and there in this time-not much though, since my toddler doesnt nap for long.

 

Any spare time i do have,  i usually spend on the internet researching health issues  regarding my  sons. One has gluten intolerance, the other has auditory processing disorder. Without my research, these kids would be doomed. Noone else is advocating for them. You would be amazed how easily a kid gets medicated. Lucky for them, they have a university educated mother who is not afraid of a bit (alot) of research.

 

Oh thats right, i spend alot of time on the phone or emailing with teachers, administrators, bureaucrats, regarding my sons' particular interests.  Lots of lots of calls, left messages, sent emails etc etc. Had to make a few bus complaints too. Oh thats right, time spent waiting for the bus which is often late. If not its too early and leaves without leaving my kids....

 

In that time, i guard my very active toddler against darting out in the traffic-that is truly exhausting in itself, plus, a complete waste of time for everyone (this girl likes efficiency and abhores time wasting)

 

Before kids, i went to bed later-i had time to watch a movie maybe, go out with friends,  pursue interests of mine, on top of working to earn a living.

 

Now i go to bed early, so i dont have an evening anymore. So thats another couple of hours that go into taking care of my kids-ie the extra sleep needed because of how draining it is on my physical, psychological  and spiritual self. It uses  about 99% of my self....

 

So at a bare minimum, i am clocking in  7hours 15minutes, plus another 2 hours, thats 9 hours15minutes a day. (not counting taking care of the toddler  of course, just school aged kids) Then that extra hour  preparing the meal for them during the day-10hours 15minutes. Cleaning up after them, another hour in total i guess-

 

11hours 15minutes.

 

Im not counting shopping.

 

On the weekend, i spend the whole day taking kids out somewhere. On Saturdays, i spend 2hours supervising them in shul ( i never go to adult services anymore, im basically a babysitter)

 

 But hey, its a labor of love. No complaints here.

 

Are SAHM's undervalued, viewed badly in  western society at large? Of course! Am i going to go back to my  highschool reunuion boasting that im an SAHM?  It doesnt have kudos. Alot of jobs are like that. SAHM'ing is in its own category of low status.

 

Actually, it probably most closely resembles that of an artist/musician. These people arent accorded much respect unless they are wealthy and famous...

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#76 of 213 Old 10-29-2013, 11:54 AM
 
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I have the impression most of the negativity is directed at low- or middle-income SAHM's, where the underlying message is that you are not doing enough to add to the family income and provide the family with more. No-one is ever negative towards the wives of higher (or stratospheric :D) income earners who have quit a high-profile job to stay home and supervise the nanny, dabble in charities or other similar activities and use their extensive network of well-placed acquaintances to get into an equally high-profile part time job that pays well. These are considered lucky and involved ;)

 

Also, one thing that has always been a source of amusement for me is the comments we get, when me and other SAHM's in the area do our fitness class in the park. They predominantly come from men (I wonder, would they do the same to ladies exercising without strollers, or is it due to the fact that we are mothers - and therefore considered asexual sacred cows?) and are almost always positive, but what they imply is that it is rare for SAHM's to still want to exercise, remain fit and retain a good-looking body, it's almost like we're supposed to stay home in bathrobe, curlers and dirty slippers and watch our kids and girth grow!

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#77 of 213 Old 10-29-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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I have the impression most of the negativity is directed at low- or middle-income SAHM's, where the underlying message is that you are not doing enough to add to the family income and provide the family with more. No-one is ever negative towards the wives of higher (or stratospheric :D) income earners who have quit a high-profile job to stay home and supervise the nanny, dabble in charities or other similar activities and use their extensive network of well-placed acquaintances to get into an equally high-profile part time job that pays well. These are considered lucky and involved ;)

 

Also, one thing that has always been a source of amusement for me is the comments we get, when me and other SAHM's in the area do our fitness class in the park. They predominantly come from men (I wonder, would they do the same to ladies exercising without strollers, or is it due to the fact that we are mothers - and therefore considered asexual sacred cows?) and are almost always positive, but what they imply is that it is rare for SAHM's to still want to exercise, remain fit and retain a good-looking body, it's almost like we're supposed to stay home in bathrobe, curlers and dirty slippers and watch our kids and girth grow!


I totally judge (not proud of it!) moms who have help, nanny's/cleaning ladies ect, but only when they compare their lives to mine.  Mom's with no help don't get sick days/personal days.  


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#78 of 213 Old 10-29-2013, 12:38 PM
 
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Wow! Such an enlightening thread... I want to quote so many women's responses, but I'm limited by my phone and the sleeping babe on my chest.

I'm so grateful that each previous poster shared her thoughts on this topic. I can feel the passion in each of your posts! As a SAHM to my 1 year old, I've had to think and re-think my goals, stance, and, ultimately, calling. Some days, I've felt pressured by friends and family to work more and bring in more money. Other days, I've felt stuck where I'm at. This thread has really helped me to firm up my stance. I'm a SAHM who couldn't imagine living any other way and who shouldn't have to justify my choice to ANYONE. I'm literally beaming at this...

And, yes, I think as a whole, SAHMs aren't respected/valued the same as working moms. Of course, some communities will be outliers on one end of the spectrum or the other. But, in general, I think it's a fact. I don't know why exactly this happens... Probably because of a couple things:1) bad habit of comparing to every other mom/kid/husband/family, and 2) individuals who think their opinions are too valuable to keep to themselves. Those are my thoughts on that.

Fascinating point brought up by previous poster about the lack of financial support for SAHMs vs. working moms. Working or schooling moms have the option of qualifying for money to offset childcare cost or subsidized childcare. But SAHMs don't (that I'm aware of) have the option to qualify for living expense stipends and we don't get the $3/hour that basic childcare providers make. We also don't qualify for unemployment and don't get to count our "hours worked" to social security compensation later. So there's absolutely an inaccurate/stereotypical view of what being a SAHM entails. It's not even considered a "job"!

At the end of the day, I feel like SAHMs have to lead by example. If we want other to respect us, we have to make it clear that we respect them. If we want to be seen as the strong, intelligent, worthy women we are, we have to carry ourselves with that fierce confidence! We are women, partners, and mothers--each of us is filling a necessary role and we should be proud!! The simple fact that childcare exists should serve as a constant reminder that our role in our children's lives is critical; and if we aren't filling it, someone else will!

Ok, I'll get off the soap box now. :-D

ETA: accidentally submitted response before I was finished.
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#79 of 213 Old 10-29-2013, 02:51 PM
 
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I totally judge (not proud of it!) moms who have help, nanny's/cleaning ladies ect, but only when they compare their lives to mine.  Mom's with no help don't get sick days/personal days.  

 

Having been one of those moms who has had absolutely no help for the past 3+ years, I too try not to judge moms who do have it. I say all the better for them that they have someone to give a helping hand when they feel overwhelmed and offer them the luxury of leisure. I wouldn't want anyone else to have to go through all those tough days that I sometimes have to deal with and I think that's one of the sad things about being a SAHM, that so few people realise that we too need support sometimes, as do the working moms. I don't think one group has it better over the other, I believe we just face different sets of problems (along with many many joys) in the great journey that is parenting.

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@marge&rooter --

 

for someone whose brain turned to "mush" - woman, you can still write, and well!  you definitely wrote what we all think at times, as far as the anger over society's norms and what has become acceptable vs. not acceptable.....I think the screwed up priorities are a sad, sad state of the country where we praise the almighty dollar before the gentle relationship between a mother and child....my one sister is a banking executive who works very long hours and maybe sees her 2 daughters for 2 maybe 3 hours a day mon-fri and on weekends is so busy playing catchup with housework, errands, etc, she has no fun time for the girls......my oldest niece has severe ADHD and other behavioral issues which I firmly think are rooted in the lack of attention from her parents (don't get me started on my BIL) and being raised by a nanny and then daycare.....yet, they take at least 2 extravagant vacations a year plus are constantly looking for sitters on the weekend evenings so they can go out to dinner and "get away from the kids"....what?! you've been away all week! am I missing something here?   they have a nice house in the suburbs and new cars in the driveway and a fridge full of food that's processed and junk but "quick on the go" snacks between shuttling around.  

 

then there's me.

 

I didn't finish college....not because i'm stupid.  even sister above admits how smart I am.  I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, despite many major changes and "eureka" moments......i'm now 31 with an almost 4 year old, and I finally figured out what I wanted to be.....it wasn't anything studying or a degree would get me....it was being a mother.  in all her crunchy, AP, whole living form :)  the antithesis of my family.  i'm the only one to WANT to stay at home and raise a family.....all the other mamas in my family, including other siblings and cousins, work outside the home and have zero interest in it otherwise.  they look at me like i'm nuts half the time with my "crazy" ideas about bedsharing, homeschooling, organic way of life.....they can't, especially the sister mentioned, figure out WHY we would want to head to the farmers market and support local businesses and have a house with barely any furniture in it.....why we would make or repurpose something instead of buying new.......why we like open ended toys as opposed to leapsters and other plastic-y, gadgety stuff.......why I would homeschool as opposed to sending him to public like all the "other normal kids".....why would I want to have him in our bed because dont'cha know he'll be in the bed when he's 25 and married!....why don't I want to take a cruise and put it on the credit card.......why do I have the same clothes from 3 years ago and shop thrift......and the list goes on.........it gets tiresome.  and hurtful.  and annoying.  and it makes me......

 

ANGRY.

 

but, then I let it go.  the proof is in the pudding.  when I am constantly told how well mannered my son is, I beam with pride.   when other kids gravitate towards him, I smile with how friendly and approachable he is.  when he tells me he doesn't want a particular toy because he has one like it and we should save it for other kids who don't have a toy like it at all, my heart smiles at his compassion and generosity..........now, he has his moments.  oh yes he does.  but the good far outweighs the bad.  I know that if I weren't home with him, teaching him these invaluable lessons on life, friendship, and basic humanity, he might not get them, or if he did through other care givers or the scant time he would have with me, then I would MISS THOSE MOMENTS.  and that is the point of why we stay at home.......to love and nurture our children, to see them develop as intricate human beings, to cheer them on and lift them up.

 

priceless.

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#81 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 05:57 AM
 
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You know, the more I think about & read this thread, the more I believe we need to find a way to talk about the work of raising children in a positive way to counteract the negative social view for our children.

My mom stayed home with me but I never appreciated what she did. I got myself on a career path that (right now) requires full-time work & I'm stuck with a lot of school-related debt. But I wish that I had understood a little bit the importance of SAH before I got pregnant. I just assumed it'd be easy to drop my child with a babysitter, nanny, or daycare. WRONG! Then we scrambled to avoid outside care as much as possible!! (And I scrambled a TON since I was the one nursing.) If I could have planned more, we may have found a way where DH & I could both work part time. I want to raise my son so that he WANTS to pursue his outside passions & his family. I really hope it's easier for him to do both. I think the fundamental unfairness is that even when there's a SAHP the WOHP misses so much.
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#82 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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OP, I think part of the reason you're getting more flack now that your kids are older is because it seems the only reason a mother would stay home is to save money on child care.  Once your kids are in school people don't see what other reason there would be for you to stay home.

 

There are so many modern day conveniences, dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer, that the previous generation didn't have, that other than child care they don't see what takes up so much time every day that you can't do when you get home from work.   Not trying to give you a hard time here, but really, I'm able to clean my whole house in a couple hours, and I do that once a week, and it takes me on average 30 minutes to cook dinner every night.  Granted, I don't have to time to cook everything from scratch, and I don't can and freeze vegetables, but I think we still manage to eat pretty healthy. 

 

Spending time with your kids of course is very important, but you can't spend any time with them if they're in school.  And housework doesn't take all day, especially if the biggest mess makers are at school all day, so what's the point of being at home while your kids are in school?  Again, not trying to attack SAHMs, just trying to help you see their perspective.

 

Gooseberry, maybe you'd like to start a thread in the working parent's forum to discuss how to handle housework/child rearing while working full time.  I think I could offer a few tips I've picked up over the years.


Hmm. I do work outside the home part time. But, I've been a SAHM and have no desire to work full time outside the home. My kids are in school.... for about 6 hours a day, usually at least one weekday off per month, plus two or three half days per month. Plus, I like to be able to be HOME when my kids are sick. I can think of nothing worse than shoving a sick child out the door to school because I have "better things to do" than to care for them. Plus, there's 3 months in the summer nearly a month at Christmas, close to a week off in November, and a week for Easter (Spring, whatever people call it.)  My kids are home in the middle of the afternoon, they don't go to school from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM  (and I make my own hours so I CAN be home nearly every day when they get home) and evening, the LAST thing I want to be doing when my kids are home and want to see me is to be "too busy" with laundry and cleaning to even SEE or talk to my kids and my husband.

 

30 minutes to make dinner?!?!   Not unless we're having frozen... stuff. We try if we can to cook healthy fresh food, and maybe you're a better cook than I am, but I can rarely get dinner prepared, much less cooked and served in 30 minutes. Two hours is par for the course for a good meal. My home made Italian Pasta sauce takes an hour to prepare, at least, and 3-5 hours to cook. If I'm making home made pasta, that's an other hour or two. Then, there's the days I made bread. Or cakes or pies or cookies. I personally spend a lot more time in the kitchen (as does my husband) than 30 minutes a day.

 

We're not even mentioning errands and shopping. I prefer to not be running around doing my errands after dark when my kids are at home, thus less time with me. Doctor appointments? I avoid "Day Care Kid Hours" at our doctor's office like the plague (our Ped has Thurs evenings and Sat mornings open, and God help you if you take your kid in then. You end up with something worse than what you came IN with.

 

Plus the things you can't know are going to happen. A child waking in the night or early in the morning with a sky high fever, the 10 weeks we spent fighting Pertussis and the resulting pneumonia myself and 2 of my 3 kids got, (I was a WAHM, so I didn't owe anybody and "I'm sorry, it's going to be a while.") or that phone call from the School Nurse that your child just threw up, (I usually catch that ahead of time, my kids have a "peaked look" that I usually don't miss, but I did miss it once last year... a day I was supposed to work... if that means anything) or that Sage has an other migraine and I have to be there ASAP with her Fioracet and be ready to take her home.

 

The hardest days on my kids are when I have to stay late with a client because of an emergency (for me, "staying late" is anything after 2:30 or 3:00 PM) and it throws us all off, my youngest may take a few days to regulate to my being gone and not being able to help with homework, or just BE there for her,  because I can't do an entire day's house work, laundry, cooking AND help with homework, too, at least I can't do all these things WELL.


I could rush around like a chicken without a head, and it probably would all get "done." But, how well, and at what cost to our family? My husband knows I'm much more likely to want to make love with him if I'm not working the next morning early and I'm not exhausted. 

 

What kind of life would that be for me, my husband or my children if I gave everything short shrift just to "get it all done" so I could fall exhausted into bed at 10:30 only to start the whole running around like mad again the next morning? Every day? No thank you. I know my children, my husband and mySELF do better when I have time in MY home to do the things I need to do with my children, and with my home and with my husband when I can give these things my best effort and as much time as I can. I'd probably end up taking a LOT of short cuts if I were not home as much, I know I would. Once in a while, that's OK, but all the time? I'd rather have the time to do what I need to do properly and then have TIME for my children and my husband when they are home.

 

That's just me. Your mileage may vary.

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#83 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 09:44 AM
 
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From my experience, I feel like I get a negative reaction from WOHM and others because childcare in general is not highly valued.  The WOHMs I know pay around $3/hr for full-time childcare, and think it is wildly over-priced.  I understand wanting to save money, but if you think education is a occupation worthy of pouring good money into, surely the care and raising of younger children is too?  I never hear these moms saying "teachers are paid way too much; we should pay them less!"  But they literally expect daycare should involve learning, organized play, healthy food, constantly engaging the child, in caregiver to child ratios of 1:4 or less, and should all be done for bargain-basement prices.  So, I imagine, that even if I explain that this is what I do all day (not just for 8 hours), if their mindset is that that is worth $3/hr, than they MUST think less of me than a WOHM making $15/hr or $25/hr or $50/hr.  In this society, our personal worth is very much tied to what someone is willing to pay you for your time.  Now I am only referring to WOHM that I actually know - I don't know about other areas.  But if you think a professional caregiver's time is worth so little money, than you can't think much of me as an "amateur!"


Most people I know who work in the City pay well over than $3.00 an hour to park their cars. I hear very little complaining. Hmm. It does irk me that (as a former child care provider) some people seem to be less unhappy to have to put money out for their cars....

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#84 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 10:48 AM
 
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I think society in general is negative toward women in general. We are told we can "have it all" but that is a LIE.

-Professional Childcare workers earn poverty level wages, or slightly more than poverty level wages.
-Women still earn only about $0.75 for every $1.00 men make, for the exact same work.

-Motherhood affects a woman's earning power for the rest of her life, while fatherhood does not have the same impact for men.

-Women are not guaranteed paid maternity leave in the US.

-Childcare costs more per year than the average woman working in your local grocery or drug store will make in a year.

People need to wake up to the fact that for a significant number of SAHMs, it isn't a choice at all. I would love to work part time, but between the cost& difficulty of finding a sitter I trust, and the lack of available employment opportunities, I can't. We'd love to start a home-based business, but that is impossible when you're barely scraping by to begin with. (I feel it's necessary to mention the only reason we have internet access is so hubby can work from home, spend more time with our daughter, and save money on transportation).  I'd gesture a guess that most SAHMs who aren't on mothering are SAHMs due to financial issues and lack of employment opportunities. You don't hear many of us on here, because most moms in a similar situation can't afford internet access in their homes.

There is not a single response to my earlier posts on this thread, which is not at all shocking. Society just doesn't seem ready to discuss the fact that the negativity toward SAHMs has nothing to do with how "antiquated" the notion of homemaking is, but everything to do with society's negativity toward women. A single mom has no choice but to go back to work 2 weeks after her child is born; people judge her for it. A high school sophomore gets pregnant; people judge her for it. A woman is raped and chooses to terminate the pregnancy; people judge her for it. A woman has an incredibly large bust because that's just what nature gave her; people judge her for it. A mom chooses to quit her career as a lawyer to stay home with her little ones; people judge her for it. I personally know women who found themselves in each of these aforementioned situations. Men don't get nearly the same heaps of judgment for their choices, except maybe being a SAHD, although opinions on that are finally shifting.


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#85 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 11:06 AM
 
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I totally agree with preemieprincess.  And, really, you just can't live your life caring what others think of you.  So some folks look down on me for being at home with my kids?  Oh well, I like being home with my kids.  I hope they work towards whatever they like too.  Our mothers and grandmothers fought hard for our freedoms, and I am going to carry that torch and pass it on to my kids too!

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#86 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 11:23 AM
 
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Spot on preemieprincess and bellyfruit! Women get the raw end of the deal no matter the choice. It astounds me at times just how harsh people view me because I chose to leave my private practice to stay at home with my littles. The fact of the matter is becoming a mom doesn't take away the fact I have my Master's degree and that I'm a licensed psychotherapist. My degree is still hanging on the wall. No one stamped invalid on it the day I decided to be SAHM.  I'm well aware that I could stay in practice and manage it all with my husband, but I choose not to. Does that give someone the right to question my choices or degrade what I do? Not at all. The naysaying is on both sides because I'm met more than one SAHM that is quick to spew negativity towards working moms. At the end of the day life is about choices. Period. Circumstances influence those choices yes, but no one gets a medal at the end of it all because of the choice they made. I commend working moms, I know I could do but I choose not to. I'm not interested in multi-tasking to that level. Does that make me better than them? No. Same for single moms. During times when my 3 yr old is having a "moment" and my 6 month old is doing what babies do and all I'm trying to go is get the groceries in the truck, I'm thankful my husband is there so we can tag team. But again, I'm not better than any single mom out there. I live my life and do what works for my family as a whole. When my kids are older I may go back in my field, I may not. Looking down your nose at others doesn't make your life any better. SAHM's and working mom's all have to take that lesson to heart.

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#87 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 11:46 AM
 
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More important than daycare vs. stay at home, is the child's home life.  Better 10 hours per day in a daycare with a loving parent(s), than 10 hours at home with an emotionally unattached, lousy mom.  Most moms are good moms, no matter the choices (working vs. SAH, breastmilk vs. formula ect. ect.)  BUT there ARE truly bad moms out there (in the minority), who just don't care about raising their kids.  I'd venture to guess everyone commenting here is a good mom, because you care enough to argue about the little things. 


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#88 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 02:58 PM
 
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More important than daycare vs. stay at home, is the child's home life.  Better 10 hours per day in a daycare with a loving parent(s), than 10 hours at home with an emotionally unattached, lousy mom.  Most moms are good moms, no matter the choices (working vs. SAH, breastmilk vs. formula ect. ect.)  BUT there ARE truly bad moms out there (in the minority), who just don't care about raising their kids.  I'd venture to guess everyone commenting here is a good mom, because you care enough to argue about the little things. 


Spot on!


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#89 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 03:10 PM
 
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I am technically a SAHM but our situation is a bit different in that we have two special needs kids, a disabled husband, and an infant.  I guess the various doctor's appointments and therapies and everything are just about a full job.  However, I guess I don't... I don't know.  I don't feel like I have to be defensive about the fact that I don't have a career at the moment.  I'm not going to hide that I stay at home primarily if it comes up in conversation.  But that's not what really dominates our conversations.  I have a lot of interests and keep up on current events.  I guess now that I'm analyzing it for this thread, I also tend to dress business-casual most of the time, unlike a lot of the SAHM's I see at kindergarten drop-off, etc.  I also mention my various (non-paying) projects when people are talking about what they're doing.  I'm trying to organize a neighborhood social networking site, and I'm an avid reader, and I enjoy writing and translating, etc.  No one tends to ask "what do you do for a paycheck".  Sometimes when asked what I do I say I'm a writer (if I'm particularly prolific at that point, ha).  I don't feel it is deceiving anyone, and I don't fabricate anything, but sometimes I just don't feel like talking about the ins and outs of how we put food on the table and a roof over our heads.

 

Granted, we don't really have a social life.  So it's not like we go to DH's work parties and all of the sudden I'm left speechless because all the "jobsy" folks don't respect me.  I haven't faced that, and I can imagine how awkward that could get.  But I've never experienced a SAHM stigma in any general area either.  (For example, like the aforementioned car shopping example.)  I've never had anyone accuse me of being lazy - and no one ever said they envied me either.  Well, one friend did... but without a whole lot of feeling behind it, almost like it was a line she felt she was expected to say.  And I had one really good former best friend tell me (after we connected after a bunch of years over FB) that she was shocked that I was "just" a SAHM.  We had been head to head in all our classes growing up, and she went on to become a successful veternarian (no kids) whereas I chose a different path.  Unfortunately that friendship never really re-kindled, she kept saying she was "too busy to talk" but I think for her our life paths really did change our statuses in life, and that kind of stung.

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#90 of 213 Old 10-30-2013, 04:03 PM
 
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More important than daycare vs. stay at home, is the child's home life.  Better 10 hours per day in a daycare with a loving parent(s), than 10 hours at home with an emotionally unattached, lousy mom.  Most moms are good moms, no matter the choices (working vs. SAH, breastmilk vs. formula ect. ect.)  BUT there ARE truly bad moms out there (in the minority), who just don't care about raising their kids.  I'd venture to guess everyone commenting here is a good mom, because you care enough to argue about the little things. 

 

I am a better mom when I get a break from my kids.  Not my infants, but I guess 3 years and up.  I have very needy kids and I have a lot more patience for them and fun with them if I have some grown-up time (work or not) while they're having fun in a child-centric setting - preschool, day camp, etc.  If I'm around them 24/7 I get burnt out and irritable.  I don't think I'm a bad mom for not wanting to be with them **all** the time - whether or not I have a job outside the home.  ;)

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