Burnt out on SAHMing - UPDATE - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 05-21-2005, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have two daughters, aged three and a half and twenty months. I adore them. We also have four dogs and six cats.

I used to love taking care of them all of the time. But now, I am thinking very seriously that my SAHM days are drawing to a close.

My dh has been working seven days a week for ten to fifteen hours a day (usually just ten hours a day on weekends) for the past SIX MONTHS. I have no help whatsoever of any kind. No babysitters, no housekeeper, nothing. I had two babysitters lined up during my dh's busy season, but both had problems that made it impossible to work out.

So right now I am totally burned out. I see my friends who have their children in part time or full time daycare while they go to work. And this is what I see: their kids are fine, the mothers look beautiful and groomed and are able to work out and take breaks, their husbands appreciate them and treat them as if they have value. They get their hair and nails done, they relax with friends over lunch, and they have fun.

I look at myself, and I see a frazzled, exhausted, woman, who has no social life whatsoever except for birthday parties and playgroups. I am not able to read books or have telephone conversations because I am interrupted constantly. Because I am the SAHM, and because he is busy, my dh shuffs all of the annoying gruntwork over to me. I am not able to pee by myself without interruption, and I brush my long, overgrown hair in the car on the way to the park.

My dh's busy season ends in less than two weeks, and this entire experience has made me rethink whether or not I even want to be a SAHM anymore.

Is anyone else thinking about getting out of the SAHM game and returning to the professional world, just because there is no support or breaks?''****

********

UPDATE: Even though the air conditioning and the phone went out of order on the last day of my husband's busy season, I already feel better just having a little bit of breathing room. DH is going to take a few days off work so we can try to catch up on life and enjoy our children. Thank you for all of your support.
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#2 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 11:19 AM
 
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Well, I have seriously considered it at times.... and I have recently interviewed for a few jobs because I sometimes think I need that adult contact so bad. But, at the same time, when I think about finding daycare for my little one (my older is going to K) I just want to throw up. I can't imagine it. She would be fine, but I am not sure I would. So... there is the battle... I can be fried and tired and all those things.. or I can be all of those things and work.... I can't decide.
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#3 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 11:37 AM
 
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If you worked part-time, could your husband work less. It sounds like, working that much, his kids are growing up without much contact with him. Is this a problem for your family? Does your husband have to work so much (for his career, for money?).

Or is this about you needing something. You could put your girls in a Montossori pre-school two or three days a week and wohm during that time, even if your salary just covered the preschool, it still might recharge you for the five days you spent with them without support/breaks.

Or maybe work isn't woh isn't what you need, maybe a mother's helper is the best bet. Or you could trading childcare with another sahm or ptsahm mom, using that time to recharge or to woh.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can try differnt things till you figure out a good balance.
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#4 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...83#post3170283

Part of my issue has to do with very limited down time. The rest can be seen in the thread above.

Thank you for your insight. My husband's busy season is for six months once every two years. I want him to get another job, it is just too hard on our family.
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#5 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 12:50 PM
 
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I can understand your feelings. My dh has worked 12 hour days for most of our married life (9.5 years). About 6 mos. ago he started working weekends to help pay bills for our medically needy child. It's *hard* especially with no outside support. He just quit that job a couple of weeks ago and is busy getting a family business off the ground. He was home, but spent most of the day in the computer room and went to bed at midnight.

In my case getting a job outside the home is impossible. It would not begin to pay for childcare even if I could find someone qualified to care for our youngest with her needs. I have found some things I can do from home. Being a mod here is very fulfilling to me. It is something I can do that is "adult" and not centered around my kids. I have recently thought about becoming a typist for dd's therapist, another thing I can do from home.

Having friendships is so very important. Getting out is also important. I have a couple of memberships to places around town where I can take the kids and they can make a mess that I don't have to clean up. :LOL

I hope you find an answer soon.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#6 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 01:02 PM
 
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Deleted because I am not here to debate.

Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven.   PROUD to be a Catholic! : winner.jpg familybed2.gifhomeschool.gif

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#7 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 01:10 PM
 
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I know it can be difficult to do it all alone, especially when your kids are young.

I wonder if working will really help? You'd be on a very specific schedule.....kids & you would HAVE to get up at a specific time and get dressed, eat be out the door etc. Then, while you're working, there are still housekeeping things that need to be done at home too but now there are fewer hours to do them in and then your kids may need more of your time or be even more clingy when you are all home because they've missed those hours away from you. I don't know, just offering a different point of view.

I'm also wondering if maybe there's a young girl in your neighborhood who could come over after school and "babysit" while you do other things. You could stay in the house while she entertains the kids and you could "pee" alone, do your nails, read a book, or something that really nurtures your soul.

I know the neighborhood kids where I live, charge less, especially when you're home too.

I know things got easier for me when my youngest was about 2-2.5 years. The two kids play well together now and I get a lot more time to myself.
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#8 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 01:14 PM
 
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Ok, me niether
(unless I have to in defense of my sisters - all the wonderfull mothers I know)
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#9 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 02:37 PM
 
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The happiest I ever was as a parent was when my oldest, and then only, was 3.5-4. I worked part-time out of my home as a writer. Ds went to daycare part-time, about five hours a day, and I worked for about three or four of those hours. The other time I spent doing housework, running errands, or taking naps. It was a great center and he loved it. My schedule was completely flexible, so on the days when he said he didn't want to go, which were rare, he just stayed home. On the days when I missed him, I went and picked him up a little early.

But, that was paradise and this is reality. Now I have three kids, I haven't been offered work in almost four months, and I'm struggling with staying at home. The idea of getting up every day and going to a job that I probably wouldn't enjoy, I love writing, and leaving my kids all day isn't an option for me right now. It helps that almost all of my neighbors at SAHM, too, so we can at least hang out and chat over the fence in the afternoon. The mornings are the worst for me. Getting my oldest off to school, figuring out what the two toddlers want for breakfast, trying to get everyone dressed, changing diaper after diaper-- the walls start closing in. My husband has been working crazy hours for the past few months, too. Usually he is able to take off whenver I have an appt. or if I'm just having a bad week but he hasn't been able to do that since about January. That makes such a huge difference. We've still got another month to go.

It sounds like your husband's job is a major source of stress. How feasible is it for him to get another job? My husband is in the military, so that isn't going to happen for us! Can you afford a few hours of childcare a week for the kids? When my oldest was two I had him enrolled in a daycare as a drop-in. I mostly used it for my doctor's appts., but I usually ended up putting him in for three or four hours every other week or so, just to give myself a break. It helped immensely. Something like that would depend on your kids' temperaments. My oldest was extremely flexible, he didn't mind the break in routine. I don't know if my middle child would handle that as well which is why I haven't done it with him yet.

My solution for myself is to stick it out for now. I'm putting my 3yo in half-day preschool for three or four days in the fall. I have a playgroup that we go to, just to get us out of the house, and I try to stay moving as much as possible. It is hard. I actually started browsing want ads a few months ago, I was so fed up. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, though. Maybe you can find an arrangement that will give you a bit of a break but still allow you to be at home with your kids most of the time.
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#10 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 02:54 PM
 
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I just want to offer some support. I am however on teh other side of the fence and would love to be a SAHM. I wouldn't expect it to be any easier and I'm sure it isn't but my heart just isn't in my job anymore, it is with my ds. I personally don't have any extra time for myself, I spend just about every free moment with my son. Anyway, my point is that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, not saying that you said it was. I do understand that the isolation of being a SAHM can be overwhelming, not from experience, just what I hear. Staying at home certainly isn't any easier. One suggestion that I hear works well is to find another mom in your area and take turns helping each other out. You watch hers and she watches yours, maybe if is is even for a few seconds so you can pee in peace
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#11 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 07:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inezyv
So right now I am totally burned out. I see my friends who have their children in part time or full time daycare while they go to work. And this is what I see: their kids are fine, the mothers look beautiful and groomed and are able to work out and take breaks, their husbands appreciate them and treat them as if they have value. They get their hair and nails done, they relax with friends over lunch, and they have fun.
If I knew that's what I'd be if I WO/AH, I would probably do it... I just know it wouldn't be the case for me. I'd be even more frazzled, tired, and unkempt. Maybe this is a case of "the grass is greener on the other side?"
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#12 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 07:14 PM
 
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I'm definitely not cut out for full-time out of the home work. I tried it for a while and I was miserable. There was just as much housework, I was exhausted, and I missed my son terribly. Of the two extremes, staying at home with no outside help or working full-time, I'd choose staying home every time. I think there are usually other solutions, though.
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#13 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 10:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meowee
If I knew that's what I'd be if I WO/AH, I would probably do it... I just know it wouldn't be the case for me. I'd be even more frazzled, tired, and unkempt. Maybe this is a case of "the grass is greener on the other side?"
Meowee, I think you hit the nail on the head with the "grass is always greener" thing. Some days I think that WOHMs who drop their kids off at daycare everyday have it so easy! I know that isn't the case and lots of WOHMs would love to be where I am. It really gets tough taking care of others all day and never having yourself taken care of! I know that it's the best thing for my family right now and I wouldn't have it any other way.
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#14 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For me, this is NOT a grass is always greener thing. I don't know about other people. I don't want to put my daughters in day care all day, but part time day care and a part time job, just enough to hire a maid, looks very appealing right now.

My dh's busy season has reached a crescendo that will end on Wednesday night. I think I will hold off making any big decisions about my life until I have had a few normal days. I had a few minutes to myself yesterday morning to take a bath alone and I felt like a new woman. So if less than ten minutes will make that big of a difference, I can't imagine what two hours will do for me.
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#15 of 22 Old 05-24-2005, 02:30 PM
 
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Inez, it truly may be what you need to do. If so, don't feel guilty about it. Some mamas are better mamas when they're working part or fulll-time. Full-time SAH isn't for everyone!
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#16 of 22 Old 05-24-2005, 04:10 PM
 
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I was going to add to the "grass is greener" idea, but you (the OP) have stated that it's not about that. But I do think that we look towards things that we are not experiencing and imagine that life might be different/better. I don't think that's always the case.
My dh and I are in the same boat--as far as the work situation.
Some of the things that I do to make life more interesting--I put the kids in the car, and get lost. We have only lived in our area for a year, so that's easy to do. Eventually, they fall asleep and I pull over somewhere and read a little. I always have a book in the car.

Maybe you could have some kids come over and walk your dogs?
Play with your cats?

Do you do a lot of creative projects with the kids? We make puppets out of paper bags, turn up music really loud and dance (all of us) or take baths in the middle of the day--not often, just when things feel stressful.
Sometimes a little bit of creativity helps to allieviate the stress and make things more bearable if even for a few minutes or an hour.
Sometimes we make cards for relatives and mail them. That's fun, too.

And here's the sad part--we live near family, but my family absolutely refuses to help out--even for a minute. I've never ever been away from my kids for more an afternoon, when my dh could watch them, and we've never had family or a sitter watch them. Not that we wouldn't want to, it just hasn't worked out for us.
So, I too, haven't had a hair cut in over a year, never wear make-up any more, etc. And I need to go the eye doctor soon, because I am long overdue for a new pair of contact lenses.

But I do exercise every day--with the kids--and play with them, and that helps a lot.

Sorry if it's not much help, but these things have helped me a lot.
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#17 of 22 Old 05-24-2005, 04:40 PM
 
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(((HUGS))) to you.

I just wanted to say to you that I think it is perfectly natural to feel burnt out if you've not had any sort of break for six months. No matter how attached we are to our children, it just really isn't natural for one woman to be all alone with young children all the time. For the vast majority of the history of humans, mothers have lived in small villages surrounded by other women (mothers, friends, aunts, cousins, in-laws, grandmothers, whatever) in the house or in the tiny hut next door. "It takes a village..." sounds so trite and cliche at this point, but there's reality behind the saying.

Basically, everybody needs a support system cobbled together somehow. I don't know if working is the answer, but there are definitely days when I've wished for some worthwhile part-time employment. For me, a mothers club, LLL, and a gym membership (with childcare while I go exercise & shower) help me keep my sanity.

: Deirdre & the boys ('02 & '06 vintage)
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#18 of 22 Old 05-24-2005, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Your ideas are great. I love Granolly girl's suggestions, because we used to do those things every day (especially the dancing) until I injured my back about two weeks ago. I really think that I am going through a transient burnout. This thread also helps me to realize that my dh just has to get another job. I cannot go through another one of his busy seasons. This busy season stuff has been hard on our marriage for years, but especially now it is hard on our daughters as well.

I would love to be able to put my daughters in a childcare at a gym, but my older daughter is very, very fearful about being left with anyone other than dh or me. We just accomplished having her stay at her grandmother's for nearly an hour before my MIL had to call my dh and work and get him to come and get her. (I was at the hospital getting tests for back injury).

It's down to the hours that my dh's busy season is over -- uh, 33 hours and ten minutes to be exact, but who's counting?

He left before the girls woke up yesterday and came home around midnight -- approximately a 17 hour day, and that is not unusual at this point in the busy season. And you can imagine how cheerful and goodnatured he is after six months of this. :LOL
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#19 of 22 Old 05-25-2005, 11:46 PM
 
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Inez, I know what your husband does for a living and I'm sure things are insane right now. Look on the bright side- no special session!

You just sound like you really need a good break. Tell your Dh to use some of that vacation time and give you a day off! I recently had the chance to go shopping by myself for a couple of hours and it was HEAVEN!! I never realized I could try on so many pairs of pants in 30 minutes! LOL Once things settle down take time to think about what you really need. Then make sure you ask for it!

The gym I go to (in Austin at the Hancock Center) has a big glassed in front in the Kid's area. When I started there I would just do one of the treadmills right in front of the door, so my dd (3 yo) could see me the whole time. Sometimes I'd only be on for 10 mins, but it got better quickly. It took a couple of weeks for her to get used to it, but now she runs inside and when I finish my workout she tells me to go take a shower b/c she is still playing. So now I get to take a long shower alone several days a week!
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#20 of 22 Old 05-26-2005, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Thistle! His hours should be down to mere 12-14 hours a day after tonight, then this will all be over by next Tuesday. The only problem is that both of us will be competing over who gets to go lie down in a dark room first! I'm gonna have to go take a look at that gym you mentioned.

Unfortunately, he really likes his job and it is a great fit for him -- and the eighteen month slow season is very nice, if you think forty hours a week with a few good vacations is "slow."

I read and considered each of your posts. I am so grateful to this community and I love the SAHM forum.

Thanks to the two posters who opted not to debate SAHM v. working mom in my thread. That was really cool of you to hold back, despite the temptation.

USAmma, what is your name? I have really enjoyed your posts about your dd for a long time now, and I just realized that I call YOU Nitara in my head, but that is not your name, that is your dd's name.

Thank you to all of you.
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#21 of 22 Old 05-26-2005, 12:23 AM
 
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[QUOTE=inezyv] I see my friends who have their children in part time or full time daycare while they go to work. And this is what I see: their kids are fine, the mothers look beautiful and groomed and are able to work out and take breaks, their husbands appreciate them and treat them as if they have value. They get their hair and nails done, they relax with friends over lunch, and they have fun.[QUOTE]

If I had only working friends with children in daycare I also would feel left out. Try to find at least one or two good friends who are in a similar place -- at home with small children -- and you will see that you are not alone. I do have working friends and people whose children are older and "easier" but to keep it in perspective I have friends who are right there to commiserate with me and boy does it help! Plus if you were working would the day to day chores get done by someone else or would you have them waiting for you at the end of the day? Hang in there!!
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#22 of 22 Old 05-26-2005, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Most of my friends are SAHMs, but most of them also have at least some childcare or housekeeping help.
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