Ohhhhhh, the guilt! (spin off from what do you miss most?) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so I noticed something in the "what do you miss most" thread. Only a couple of us (myself included) actually posted only things that we miss most, but most of us followed our list of what we miss with a list of all the things we love about our kids. I found myself thinking as I was reading, are we as moms that wracked with guilt that we can't simply make a list of things we miss without feeling like we have to qualify it by then saying how much we love our kids? This is SO NOT a criticism of what anyone wrote - please don't take it that way. Rather, I'm interested in discussing this issue of guilt and how much we do or do not allow ourselves to want for things our children can not provide. It's something I struggle with (and am currently addressing with my therapist ), so I'm curious how others feel about it.

As I mentioned, I didn't do it in my post, but I am totally guilty of doing it when I talk to people. If I find myself talking about missing something, or any of the challenges of being a SAHM (especially lately, I've been feeling super bored and in a bit of a rut) I feel bad for saying it and then fall all over myself to explain that I wouldn't have it any other way, I love it so much, Why don't I feel like it's okay for me to have complaints? Or to miss things about my old life? Or to sometimes envy WOHM? Am I the only one who feels like this?
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#2 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 03:44 PM
 
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I agree with you and know exactly what you mean.

I think sometimes I forget I am still me, I am still a person too. Not just a mom and wife. I feel like I get lost in the shuffle. I can't really remember the last time I did something just for me.

I also feel bad complaining or talking about my day to people - without adding the disclaimers. I don't know why. My DH complains about his job and co-workers all the time and never adds - "But, I wouldn't give up my job for anything" or any comment like that.

Now, I guess I am rambleing. Sorry.

Christi
DS1(12), DD(7)blessed with T21, DS2(2), and DD2 - newly arrived 1/28/11
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#3 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 03:50 PM
 
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I agree, I end up telling my friends over and over how I wouldn't trade it for the world, while we're out somewhere and I'm telling them that i miss hanging out with them. I constantly feel like I have to qualify "not working" to people who do. Like being a sahm, isn't "working"!
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#4 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg
If I find myself talking about missing something, or any of the challenges of being a SAHM (especially lately, I've been feeling super bored and in a bit of a rut) I feel bad for saying it and then fall all over myself to explain that I wouldn't have it any other way, I love it so much, Why don't I feel like it's okay for me to have complaints? Or to miss things about my old life? Or to sometimes envy WOHM? Am I the only one who feels like this?
I didn't respond to the "what I miss most thread" but I did read it and after reading your above thoughts I just had to talk this through. I think women do have a tendency to feel like they need to keep it all together all the time. And being a stay at home mother in a society that feels rather comfortable with women leaving their children in the care of others, SAHM's may feel the need to justify their emotions to those who aren't in their shoes because overall most SAHM's DO love their job and DO want to be with their children and don't want the people they are talking to to walk away with the taste in their mouth that being a SAHM sucks.

Being able to express your feelings, concerns, and complaints is paramount no matter what your job is and SAHM's are no exception. It's ok to miss your former life, just like you may miss an old car or a town you used to live in, or traits of a former boyfriend, but just because you miss those things doesn't mean you'd trade your current state for the former AND I think that's why people emphasize what they love about their current life after expressing what they miss. They just want to make sure that people understand that those *longings* are in no way strong enough to take away their love for what they have now. My two cents. I just don't think GUILT is the right word. I don't see that expressing what you miss as something to feel guilty about. I see it as just plain healthy to talk honestly about little or big things that you miss from your pre-kid life.
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#5 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 06:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dswmom
IAnd being a stay at home mother in a society that feels rather comfortable with women leaving their children in the care of others,
Except that this isn't true. Our society isn't comfortable with mothers' choosing career over daily childcare - we call these women names (selfish, materialistic, neglectful . . .).

I do agree that society doesn't allow us to complain about being mothers - we can compalin about our husbands and our families and our jobs and our country, but not about how being a mother has changed our life for the worse in some ways. Our culture needs this ideal of the happy self-sacrificing mother. We feel this needed ideal and comply to it by qualifying our complaints by stating the blatently obvious (that the good changes outweigh the bad).

And actually I do think there is an element of guilt too. Guilt that we aren't living up to the ideal of teh happy self-sacrificing mother, guilt that we are pretty unhappy about some of the things we are giving up to be "Mom."
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#6 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 08:24 PM
 
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I don't feel guilty for talking about the things that I miss. I am human after all. I don't need to explan myself to others, but I also don't usally complain about my life either.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#7 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 09:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe
Except that this isn't true. Our society isn't comfortable with mothers' choosing career over daily childcare - we call these women names (selfish, materialistic, neglectful . . .).
You think? I often wonder if this is considered the opinion of the SAHM versus society at large. I often feel like women who stay home are in the minority and often wish more women would feel the urge to stay with their babies, but that overall more women work for whatever reason. I have no statistics to back me up, just basing off news stories and personal experiences, etc.

You're right though..there is the angelic picture that was created somewhere along the way of a women raising her kids with no worries or problems. However, in an ideal world, most women would feel this way if the support from government, community, and family were readily available. People are just too isolated now and tend to feel alone more than they should and this is why I believe issues arise that plague mothers. The sort of, all alone with no place to go because if I complain or express myself I may be ostracized. I say, speak your mind, get your worries off your chest and you'll be better off.
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#8 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 10:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dswmom
You think? I often wonder if this is considered the opinion of the SAHM versus society at large. I often feel like women who stay home are in the minority and often wish more women would feel the urge to stay with their babies, but that overall more women work for whatever reason. I have no statistics to back me up, just basing off news stories and personal experiences, etc.
Yes there are more wohms than sahm. Doesn't mean society goes easy on wohms. I think because sahms are in the minority, they often feel persecuted for their choice rather than seeing that the crap they take is similar in kind (though different in message) to the crap wohms take. I really do think our mysogynistic society picks on moms as a way to keep women down (we are so full of guilt and self-rightous about our choices and other people's choices that we'll can't fight for the revolution ).

You're right that speaking our minds is a good start.
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#9 of 14 Old 10-12-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dswmom
You think? I often wonder if this is considered the opinion of the SAHM versus society at large. I often feel like women who stay home are in the minority and often wish more women would feel the urge to stay with their babies, but that overall more women work for whatever reason. I have no statistics to back me up, just basing off news stories and personal experiences, etc.
Oh, I see what you are saying. No, I do think the general population, not just sahms, are deeply ambivalent woking moms. I don't have statistics to back me up either - just TV watching and personal experieces, a general sense of what our culture believes. Off the top of my head: I remember the nanny-gate stuff during Clinton - the gleeful way we took down those high power career mothers. Some of that had to do with class, but some of it was that our ambivalence for powerfull women found an acceptable outlet - the accusation of bad selfish, neglectful mother. Same thing with the prosecuter of OJ. I imagine if you watch the various CSI and Law and Order shows (I always think of those shows as our cultural unconscious) and started keeping track of how many negative portrayls you had of ambitous career mothers who rely on nannies and housekeepers to "raise" their kids, you'd have quite a list.

Oh, and I do think that mothers who woh because they love what they do feel the urge to stay home with their babies (just as hopefully their partners do). But they also feel an urge to continue doing the work that they love (just as their partners do).
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#10 of 14 Old 10-13-2005, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, this is just the conversation I was hoping would start from this! I have read all the responses, and I have lots to say in return, but I don't have time right now. Will try to address everything later on this afternoon! Thanks for all the feddback!
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#11 of 14 Old 10-13-2005, 04:47 PM
 
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For me it's sort of a way to avoid the "well you should go back to work" conversation. Like if I don't love every minute of everything being a SAH than I should ditch it and go back to work. That I'm somehow being "ungrateful" for everything we do have and my opportunitiy to be home with and raise my children.

Mom to ds 9 dd 7 : and dd 3/08 : if I can I go to
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#12 of 14 Old 10-13-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Eman'smom
For me it's sort of a way to avoid the "well you should go back to work" conversation. Like if I don't love every minute of everything being a SAH than I should ditch it and go back to work. That I'm somehow being "ungrateful" for everything we do have and my opportunitiy to be home with and raise my children.
Yeah that.

I didn't respond to the aforementioned post either but I did read it.

All of my close friends were SUPER wary about my sudden pregnancy and decision to be a SAHM. Although none of them have children, they are all sure that staying at home with the kids is too boring. So anytime I complain, I feel I have to justify my SAHM-ness.
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#13 of 14 Old 10-14-2005, 12:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Vivianna
Although none of them have children, they are all sure that staying at home with the kids is too boring. .
yep. except add to that "and those who DO have kids". at least some of them. I'm just not a person who ever gets bored. (okay, if I'm forced to watch golf, or stuck in traffic, or whatever). I don't like being accused of "not getting out enough" wherever that elusive "out" is. Sigh.

Then again- I know there is a flipside for WOHMs, because I've been told point black "I hope you're staying home with the baby, it's really the best experience"....well, yes, I am, but what if I wasn't? and this is from ppl who had no idea of my financial situation etc.

Back to the original point, I think we as mothers tend to think "If I don't love and appreciate every single second of what I'm doing, does it mean I'm not good enough or something is wrong with me?" Logically we know of course it doesn't, human nature means we are all going to have moments of exhaustion, frustration, sadness, etc. It's a complex thing. Life isn't black and white.

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#14 of 14 Old 10-14-2005, 11:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamawanabe
Guilt that we aren't living up to the ideal of teh happy self-sacrificing mother, guilt that we are pretty unhappy about some of the things we are giving up to be "Mom."
I really identifiy with that! I have guilt because I DO complain about the toughness of being at home, and I don't appreciate ENOUGH the opportunity I have, then I feel massive guilt about why I'm not enjoying it more, why am I not this ideal mother earth mommy It drives me nuts!!

I think full time work would probably suit me better as a person, but I have too much guilt about that too

So, part-time is my happy(ish) compromise
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