What to say when people say, "You're so LUCKY you can be a SAHM!" - Page 6 - Mothering Forums

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#151 of 164 Old 01-09-2007, 05:31 PM
 
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As a WOHM I would never tell a SAHM she was "lucky". It insinuates that her situation was the product of luck and not hard effort.
Being a SAHM is grossly underestimated, it's difficulty it's challenge...and that is a bitter shame.

I saw some inquiry regarding effects of care situation on child development.

For a living I do research on development (phd psychology); for now the research suggests that in terms of social-emotional adjustment children across care situations (home with parent or with non-relative; or in center with many children or just a few children) do equally well.

The latest longitudinal study by the National Institutes of Child Health and development suggest that there are two key factors
(1) quality of care
(2) maternal sensitivity

Thus, it's not type of care per se, but quality.

Everyone on these boards is a proactive, highly involved parent. This strongly suggests that all here are capable of securing quality care and are highly senstive to their childs' needs.

I have the pdf's of the original research articles on this very important topic, but not sure how to share it, or even if I could.
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#152 of 164 Old 01-09-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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Not everyone that stays home has a choice. I can't afford to work because of the cost of daycare and also I don't have a vehicle.
Ditto. I enjoy being home, but now that dd is older, if child care wasn't such an expense, I might like to work out of the home... for now, my little home based biz keeps me happy...
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#153 of 164 Old 01-09-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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what do i say to, "you're so lucky!"?

i say, "yeah, in some ways i am."

(or was-- i'm currently woh full-time, so we can arrange our lives for me to sah again later on. )

it's a party, and i barely know the person i'm talking to, so i see no need to detail the patchwork of planning, work, and good and bad luck that got us to where someone staying home full-time was a feasible option.

christina

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#154 of 164 Old 01-27-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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If you are a SAHM, you are lucky.

Take for example these situations:

Me:

My husband earns an average income. It does not cover our bills and probably never will. To stay home for 1-3 years (our deal) I saved money from my salary when I worked for several years before I had kids. This savings now supplements my husbands income. Eventually, I have to go back to work, just based on pure math.

Am I lucky to stay at home? Sometimes I think yes and sometimes I think, hell no!, I worked hard and sacrificed to save that money! But, really, if my husband didn't have a job or earned less, I could NOT stay at home, even temporarily. So, I'm lucky my husband does have a job. Am I upset that he doesn't try to earn more? Sometimes. But that's not important to him. Am I upset that he won't be a stay at home parent himself? Yes, but that gets me nowhere. Before we married, we did talk about these things, and he said having a stay at home parent was important to him, if we could afford it. Now, he just says, well, we can't afford it. And he doesn't want to change that so I'm lucky that I can stay home for a little while. Sometimes I think my husband is a jerk in this regard, but all the hand wringing in the world will not change him.

An acquaintance:

She is a lawyer. Her husband is a teacher. She has a ton of experience. He's never gotten his career off the ground and has only subsitute taught or taught in temporary positions. Her husband is not career oriented at all.

She would LOVE to stay home. But she can not rely on her husband to bring in a salary that is 1) consistent or 2) enough to cover the bills no matter how much they cut back.

As a lawyer, she can work and save quite a bit of money. But she will never be able to save enough money to stay home for more than a job-protected maternity leave of 3 months.

She isn't that lucky.

So, yes, in my opinion, there is some amount of luck in being able to stay at home. The luck involves who you married or partnered with and what their income potential is, what their spending habits are, and what their beliefs are when it comes to childrearing. And these variables can change over the marriage. You may think you are marrying someone who agrees with your beliefs, but then be surprised when they don't.
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#155 of 164 Old 01-28-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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I was at a party the weekend before last (woo! yay to baby-friendly parties! ) and struck up a conversation with a nice woman who was also there with her son. We had a great chat about BFing...she BFs her 11-month old, which I don't often encounter outside of la Leche League meetings! Anyway, at some point she asked if I am going back to work, and I told her that I'm staying home. Her whole tone changed, and she said, "You're so LUCKY you can do that." I just sort of smiled and shrugged and felt awkward. Then as we talked, I learned that she and her husband have a big apartment in an expensive neighborhood in the city, and I started getting annoyed about her earlier comment.

The thing is, I fully support a woman's right to choose whether to work after having kids, and to make the decision that's right for her family. But I don't like it when people act as though my being a SAHM is some kind of luxury that's only possible because we must be filthy rich. We are not. We've made a lot of sacrifices in order to do this....we have a condo in an area where most people have single-family houses, we have one modest car while most families we know have two (with at least one of them a huge SUV), we cook at home and rarely eat out, etc. In other words, luck has nothing to do with it- it's something we carefully planned for and continue to make sacrifices for. We're not financing it through a trust fund or a lottery win.

It bugs me to be treated as though when I say I'm a SAHM, it's like I'm bragging about having a summer home in Florence or a sportscar or something. It isn't a luxury, and it doesn't happen through "luck." I know that for many, it truly is impossible...obviously single parents don't usually have the option to SAHM, and if DH worked in a different industry where he made a lot less money it might be hard to support a family on despite "living skinny." But so far, it seems like most of the people who sigh "you're so LUCKY you can afford to do that" are simply choosing to live a different lifestyle. One woman said mournfully to me, "We could never afford our mortgage on one salary." We couldn't afford her mortgage on one salary either....that's why we chose a place with a smaller mortgage payment.

Nothing wrong with making different choices, but don't try to make me feel guilty about my choice, you know? Anyone else get this? And what do you say? I'm starting to feel like I want to have some response, but I don't want to start a rumble at every social occasion either.
My MIL says this to me all the time and it irritates the he** out of me! I mean, it's a choice, it's not just "luck". We have no money, our house is too small, I could go on and on about all the sacrifices we've made for me to stay home. As I said, it's not luck, it's a choice. Sheesh.

Sara Mama to DS (6) and DS (4)
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#156 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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I just smile and say that we have made a lot of sacrifices to make it happen.

We routinely do without things some of our friends consider "essential" like high speed internet, cable or satelite TV, dinners out, babysitters, new clothes, the latest anything. I cook from scratch for the most part and we don't drink soda etc. It is all about choices and trade offs. If I went to work outside our home we could eat out, but we would eat out... because I would not have time and energy to cook!

I wish folks that think I am so "lucky" felt empowered to make the same kinds of choices, to consciously examine their situation and decide if the bigger house/cable/new car is worth it to them if they have to work full time etc. If they think I am lucky, it says to me that they are drifting and not examining their own choices. (unless they are mobbed with old debt or something and are trapped by past choices, I totally understand that.)
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#157 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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We routinely do without things some of our friends consider "essential" like high speed internet, cable or satelite TV, dinners out, babysitters, new clothes, the latest anything. I cook from scratch for the most part and we don't drink soda etc. It is all about choices and trade offs. If I went to work outside our home we could eat out, but we would eat out... because I would not have time and energy to cook!

I wish folks that think I am so "lucky" felt empowered to make the same kinds of choices, to consciously examine their situation and decide if the bigger house/cable/new car is worth it to them if they have to work full time etc. If they think I am lucky, it says to me that they are drifting and not examining their own choices.
:

Yes, because if all of those working mamas with their fabulous career-driven jobs at McDonalds, Starbucks, Walmart, customer service call centers, preschools, etc. could just cut the huge houses they live in, the Cadillacs they drive, or the high speed cable packages they subscribe to out of their extravagent budgets then they could stay home and be good mamas like us. I think I need to go bang my head against the wall a little more.

Some mothers work because they have no choice at all economically, just like some mothers stay home because they have no choice at all economically. Some mothers work because they would go completely nutty staying home all day with their children and want to work. Some mothers work so that their children's other parent can stay home with their children all day. Some mothers work because they have jobs they love and trained for and they kick ass at what they do and I for one am glad to have them out there. We need more mother's voices in the public sphere. Oh, and some mothers work part-time, from home, or second/third shift jobs and stay home with their children during daylight hours.

None of this matters even one whit in regards to what kind of mama/parent you are. It just does not. God, I am so sick of this judgemental nonsense!!!! Will I actually live to see it end because I am really appalled at passing this stuff on to my sons and daughters?

"There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death." -Isaac Asimov read.gif

 
 
 
 

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#158 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 03:13 PM
 
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Hi Happy and Cheerful,

it still isn't luck. It still comes down to choices: the choice to marry a particular guy, the choice to stay with him and have kids etc.

My first husband made about $15,000/year the last few years of our marriage. This was the pinnacle of his earning and we live in an expensive state for housing. (Massachusetts) Our rent was literally half his take home pay. I was a SAHM then too which we were able to do because we had never amassed any debt. We drove cluncker cars, wore secondhand clothes, hung all the laundry, etc. We made many, many choices large and small that meant I could stay home.

I feel deeply blessed to stay home with my kids, but I made a lot of choices to get here to this spot. The second man I married is also committed to having a parent at home, willing to make all the necessary sacrifices and has total respect for all that I do to conserve our money and make our lives pleasant and make us all feel a sense of "enoughness." You know, back in September, we discovered that despite all my efforts, our bills were getting too high; the rate for electricity had doubled, our taxes went up, gas prices, food prices etc. I told him I had done my best, but that the only way we could save money on food would be to start sacrificing quality. (not acceptable) We were already down to the bone on driving anywhere etc...

My getting a job outside the home would be limited to weekends, in that case we would have virtually no time together and after 10 years we are still like kids in love, so that isn't much of an option either. (it could happen, but we don't want it to) We looked at ways I could make money from home and I started selling books on the internet. It helps a little, but it save us gas, daycare costs, work attire and so on, so really it helps more than it seems.

I guess my beef with the "lucky" thing is that I hate feeling powerless. I let myself feel trapped in bad/abusive relationships my whole life. I would see my choices and reject them for various reasons... I considered them "not choices" not acceptable choices for me... finally I realized that I was making a choice; the choice to be powerless, the choice to be trapped, to be paralyzed by all my past choices. It sunk in and I decided I wasn't going to live that way anymore; I always had a choice. I could stay or leave, I could stick up for me or remain passive, I could press charges or not etc. It was up to me. There were trade offs and a lot of factors to consider, but this is my life and I am not going to feel trapped in it, I want to live it!
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#159 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nicole77 View Post
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Yes, because if all of those working mamas with their fabulous career-driven jobs at McDonalds, Starbucks, Walmart, customer service call centers, preschools, etc. could just cut the huge houses they live in, the Cadillacs they drive, or the high speed cable packages they subscribe to out of their extravagent budgets then they could stay home and be good mamas like us. I think I need to go bang my head against the wall a little more.

Some mothers work because they have no choice at all economically, just like some mothers stay home because they have no choice at all economically. Some mothers work because they would go completely nutty staying home all day with their children and want to work. Some mothers work so that their children's other parent can stay home with their children all day. Some mothers work because they have jobs they love and trained for and they kick ass at what they do and I for one am glad to have them out there. We need more mother's voices in the public sphere. Oh, and some mothers work part-time, from home, or second/third shift jobs and stay home with their children during daylight hours.

None of this matters even one whit in regards to what kind of mama/parent you are. It just does not. God, I am so sick of this judgemental nonsense!!!! Will I actually live to see it end because I am really appalled at passing this stuff on to my sons and daughters?
No no no! Oh Nicole, I am so sorry if that is how this came out! Not at all am I saying this!!!! I can see how it reads that way... drat. Not what I was getting at at ALL.

Lots of mamas, fantastic GREAT mamas, work for many many reasons. I just hate the word "luck." It strips power from us and makes us just little bits of flotsam in the stream of life. I spent years feeling helpless and hopeless and I just hate seeing others feeling that same way.

I am in no way judging working moms, I swear to Goddess I am not.
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#160 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 04:05 PM
 
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By the same token... one is not "lucky" to have a career outside the home..

If someone has an interesting job it is very likely the result of some sort of planning and hard work to get there. That person made choices to get to that place.

I just hate the word luck.
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#161 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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I just smile and say yes, the sacrafices are worth it. When I'm cranky I just look at the person and say "take her for a few hours without a nap and then tell me I'm lucky."
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#162 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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When I'm cranky I just look at the person and say "take her for a few hours without a nap and then tell me I'm lucky."


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Originally Posted by gargirl
No no no! Oh Nicole, I am so sorry if that is how this came out! Not at all am I saying this!!!! I can see how it reads that way... drat. Not what I was getting at at ALL.
That is cool. I am sorry that I assumed the worst. I think I was responding to several posts along those lines while singling out yours. Peace.

I get the frustration with the word luck, really I do. And when people use it in a snide manner or imply that it is only luck which allows someone to be at home I can see why that would be really annoying. I just wonder why we (collectively in this board) can't seem to agree that a certain amount of luck is involved in our choice to be at home parents. Yes, choosing to be an at home parent does sometimes require sacrifices and hard work (well, always hard work but then again all parenting requires that! ). However, some of that choice is also influenced by luck. The luck to be born into a socio-economic class that afforded us choices long before we had children. The luck to be partnered with someone in a socio-economic class that affords us choices today. And so on and so on. That does not mean it is all luck, but luck is a factor nonetheless.

"There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death." -Isaac Asimov read.gif

 
 
 
 

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#163 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 07:46 PM
 
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I agree that it is luck. I am married to a great guy that works long hours so I can be a sahm. He does jobs on the side too. I am very lucky. But it is also very hard. I was just barely over 29 when I had my dd. I was very used to the work world and college. Going from social to a sahm is a very big change. I love it and would not change it for anything but most people don't realize how hard it is. Those are the ones I get snippy with.
I've had lots of working mom's tell me that they look up to me because they tried it and couldn't do it. They didn't have the patience.

I think we sahm are a special breed of women and we all deserve a big pat on the back!
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#164 of 164 Old 01-29-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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I would agree that there are elements of luck at work. Luck is definately who/what economic class you are born into for sure. I just get a little bonkers when it seems like people are using the idea of luck in this weird magical way, like all life comes down to luck.

If I thought that way I would still be stuck in a very unhappy life. I don't like to think of other women feeling stuck like I used to.
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