Unappreciated as a SAHM - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 09-03-2007, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure there have been a few threads on this, but are there any solutions?

I know society as a whole can sometimes devalue SAHM-ing. If not society as a whole, then at least a lot of the people I live around. I get the "you're just a mom" thing from family who -haha- say they mean it as a joke, then when I start to talk about it, say "come on, it was just a joke, don't be so sensitive".

I guess the worst is that I feel like DH doesn't appreciate me. He'll say how glad he is that I'm home with DS (13 mos) and how glad he is we don't have to put him in daycare, but that doesn't stop him from pulling the "I work hard, you stay at home" card on me anytime we clash on who needs time.

I'm seeing someone for PPD, and we're working on these issues, but there are times when I just feel so fricking alone and unappreciated. I feel like I've given up so much to be at home with DS - I don't resent it - but I wish someone would give me some credit sometimes.

I have joined a local AP mom's group, and am trying to get out with them as much as possible. My family is very busy, DH is busy, it's easy to feel all alone. I hope some of you know the feeling I'm talking about, and maybe have some advice for me?

Please don't be too harsh with me, I'm really sensitive and hurting right now.
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#2 of 18 Old 09-03-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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awww, hugs mama. It's difficult when the people close to you can't appreciate what you are doing and how hard you work. My dh finally figured out what it takes to be a SAHM, but it took him a few months, and he pulled the "you get to stay home and do nothing" argument a few times.

Something I have considered doing (mostly to satisfy my own curiosity) is to contact a staffing agency on the pretense of getting a quote for domestic help, and giving them a description of what it would take to replace me. (Wet nurse/nanny, housekeeper, part-time personal chef, personal assistant to dh, etc.) I am fairly certain they would recommend multiple employees to do my job.

Is your family aware of the fact that, if payed for her time in wages comparable to those of other workers, the average American SAHM would be making around $135,000/year, according to Salary.com? (And that is a pretty conservative estimate- I did some math and came up with a figure closer to $200,00)

I don't come here anymore. MDC has become overgrown with ads & useless extra forums.
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#3 of 18 Old 09-03-2007, 02:48 PM
 
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s

I know that feeling of unappreciated. I think if you had appreciation from DH, you could better deal with cluelessness from others. Does he know exactly what you have to do? How willing is he to pitch in? Is he willing for you to hire help?

We had the "SAH" thing out waaaay before I was a mom.

DH was working full time and I went to college PT and then ran the house the rest of the time. It was early in our married life.

He once made some comment about how he didn't get why I couldn't do X since I was going to be home anyway and it wouldn't cost me anything to do it whereas he had to take off work and rearrange his whole schedule.

I said, "Oh? You don't think I have to rearrange MY schedule too? Yes, you earn and income for both of us. But I'm home doing things for both of us too. Maybe I should quit doing them so you see exactly what they are. This includes pet care so if they die on your watch because you forget to feed them it's on your soul. From today on, I only deal with my schoolwork."

And I did. I only dealt with my homework. I bought 30 pairs of panties from Walmart prepared to go the month on my strike if I had to. I did not do any laundry for either him NOR me, where usually I was doing both mine AND his as a courtesy. I just changed my underpants and wore stinky clothes when I ran out of clean. Let him figure out his own clothing problem.

I let the mail and bills pile up for him to deal with. I wondered if he'd ever get around to writing the checks out for bills. The money was there, but he didn't take the TIME to do it like I do. But I was prepared to endure having utilities and phone shut off. Or late fees on credit cards. The only bill I wrote that month was our rent bill.

Once all the clean dishes ran out? I didn't wash them. I just left my dirty dishes in the sink like he does. Because that was his excuse "Hey, at least I bring them to the kitchen!"

I did not take trash out and cahnge the bag. I jstu stacked on top of the trash like he does. It grew massive and stinky.

When groceries ran out, I did not buy them. I'd go out to eat for just me, and let him deal with his own meals. I let the hamster tanks go manky and did not change the litter.

It took him a while to notice and for things to build up to the point of crazy.
He asked me what happened -- and I said "Nothing. I'm just focusing on my school work and nothing else like I told you I would."

He attempted to clean just one room -- the kitchen -- and 3 hours later he came to me begging for guidance and help and apologies for not having appreciated my work more before. Because the bulk of what I do is invisible.

Nobody sees exactly where you have been working in the home until you quit doing it.

By the time DD hit, DH told me to focus on her and screw the house. If need be we'd get a housekeeper to help with that part. His eyes had been opened and never once did he make any kind of commentary or fuss.

He realized that I was tired, and I realized he was tired too. But that is what you sign up for when you have a kid. We started alternating nights. One night, he gets home and naps or does his own thing while I continue to care for DD. The next night, I get to rest or do my own thing while he takes her.

I tried to get out with DD when small. As soon as she hit 6 mos I put her in "Parent and Child" swim class. As much for her to learn to get used to water as for me to get OUT and see peers -- other moms with young babies. It was just 2x a week for 30 min, but it got us circulating. Library story times were good too.

I got tough with the house too. I figured with a baby to watch, my cleaning time was abbreviated. Anything I couldn't maintain with the time I had, had to go.

Pare the stuff down to what I can realitically maintain in the time I have or he gives up some of his free time to maintain it.

I started doing it at nap times while baby slept. I went to U-haul and bought 12 dozen small boxes and started filling them up at nap time and stacked them in the hallway. When I got 12 full, I called Salvation Army to come get my donation. Then I bought another 12 boxes. Would you believe I sent away 5 dozen boxes of clutter?!

Then I discovered www.freecycle.org, found my local list, and started offering things left and right. I didn't have to leave my home with the baby -- people came to take this junk away!

I'm still decluttering the back rooms, but some rooms have been completed and are totally manageable now. Just 1 little box at a time.

Hang in there!
A.
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#4 of 18 Old 09-03-2007, 07:33 PM
 
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I feel for you mama. I know just how you feel. Make time for yourself and dont feel bad about it. DH gets breaks when he is at work and then he gets to leave work and come home.

Your home is your work, and you need a break everyday! Even if is just a 20 minute bath or an hour long nap where you are not disturbed.

Just say to dh, watch him for a minute for me will you. And then just slip off But be sure to let him a few minutes alone as well. (just so you can avoid any resentment from him.)

Or you could offer to get a job and let him stay home and see how nice it is to "just stay at home all day"
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#5 of 18 Old 09-04-2007, 07:47 AM
 
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~sending support your way~ i'm frustrated with a similar situation. dp gets home from work tonight & asked if i did this one chore he wanted me to do, which did not happen b/c of rainy weather outside & a babe that decided to nurse almost continually all day (growth spurt maybe?)..i explained that & he huffed & i know in is mind he was thinking i did nothing all day b/c that's an on-going argument b/t us. so much of sahm stuff is just keeping the everyday stuff going- the stuff that is not appreciated b/c it's only noticable when it's NOT done. hmph. i completely share your frustration. :


mama to 2 busy boys (may 2007 & december 2008)
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#6 of 18 Old 09-04-2007, 09:34 AM
 
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Aw *hugs* to you Mama.

My first husband always wanted to be the one with the burdens, his lot in life had to be the worst and all I got was how lucky I was to be at home with a small very high-needs child. He would switch places with me in an instant if he could only breastfeed. ... THANKS! I cannot stand it when men take the attitude that its all beer and skittles taking care of a home and children. ...and this from a guy working maybe 35 hours a week!

Fortunately, I now have a husband who realizes what I do and appreciates it. I wasn't able to get that in my first marriage. He'd actually say he appreciated it and how hard it must be in front of our marriage counsellor but in the most patronizing tone imaginable. GAH!

Oh, but I seriously love the woman who went on strike! Apostrophe? WOW!!! I couldn't do it to the pets, or more importantly the kids but if those were not factors that would be hilarious. I would have to keep a video record of the steady decline and hubby's dawning comprehension... you made my day.
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#7 of 18 Old 09-04-2007, 09:40 AM
 
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I think many of us have those days (weeks? months?) - have you seen that commercial with the invisible mom? Here it is on YouTube - it really resonated with me, and even now I tear up when I see it if I'm having a feeling-ignored kind of day.

The best thing I have done to offset that ignored and invisible feeling is start a Bible study with other women. We found a church to host it, since we were all from different churches, and the church even offered us their nursery for childcare for free! We had an amazing time, and we studied the book Captivating, which is a really empowering book for women, and we had some kid-free, completely adult-focused, honest and raw "us" time. I also make sure to take enough time to take care of myself physically - I joined a gym with childcare so I can work out, I take the kids to the park and the coffee shop where I meet with other moms and we chat and have some special connection time while the kiddos play.

I think that while our kids are so young, there's obviously no one there thanking you and reflecting your hard work. I have to look for it in their behaviors, and in their adjusting so well to life. When they make good decisions, instead of running myself down and poo-pooing my involvement, I take pride in my contribution to these little lives and smile and give myself an invisible pat on the back that my kids are so awesome.

Mama to H (6) B (3) : A (1)
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#8 of 18 Old 09-04-2007, 11:14 AM
 
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I found decluttering really helped as well...I got rid of about 20 bags/boxes of stuff over the course of a few weeks...most went to goodwill, friends, and freecycle, but some was just pretty much trash...

It's a lot easier to keep organized when there's not so much to work with anyway. And I'm planning to do more decluttering this week. I finally came to the realization that while five years from now, I may need more t-shirts because I gave fifteen of them away, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. It's also a big incentive to cut spending...anything I buy is just going to add to the clutter, so I think more carefully about it.

Anyway, to the OP. I'm lucky in that my husband has been home alone with the child and is fully aware of how difficult it can be to get anything done, so, our standards are pretty low at this point...if there are clean clothes, and clean dishes, and food, we call it good....Honestly, I'm the person who has said, "Look, if you want every book shelf dusted, you go ahead and do it, because I worked all day as well. If you want to pay for daycare so I can clean the house, go for it."
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#9 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 12:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *Melissa* View Post
I guess the worst is that I feel like DH doesn't appreciate me. He'll say how glad he is that I'm home with DS (13 mos) and how glad he is we don't have to put him in daycare, but that doesn't stop him from pulling the "I work hard, you stay at home" card on me anytime we clash on who needs time.
Your DH is way out of line here. You stay home because you mutually agree that it's best for the family, so he is also responsible for the choice and has no right to use it against you. You also work hard while staying at home, but you don't need me to tell you that
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#10 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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I'm not sure this is a solution, but it might make you feel better!

I read this book: What Mothers Do: Especially when it looks like nothing.

It's wonderful! The author says that our culture and language don't really have words for the things that mothers do (nurturing,et)--

oops! Baby calling! Shortened to say: Just read this! It's great!

There is also one about the economic impact of women as mothers, but I can't remember the name!


kym
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#11 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 11:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *Melissa* View Post
I'm sure there have been a few threads on this, but are there any solutions?

I know society as a whole can sometimes devalue SAHM-ing. If not society as a whole, then at least a lot of the people I live around. I get the "you're just a mom" thing from family who -haha- say they mean it as a joke, then when I start to talk about it, say "come on, it was just a joke, don't be so sensitive".

I guess the worst is that I feel like DH doesn't appreciate me. He'll say how glad he is that I'm home with DS (13 mos) and how glad he is we don't have to put him in daycare, but that doesn't stop him from pulling the "I work hard, you stay at home" card on me anytime we clash on who needs time.

I'm seeing someone for PPD, and we're working on these issues, but there are times when I just feel so fricking alone and unappreciated. I feel like I've given up so much to be at home with DS - I don't resent it - but I wish someone would give me some credit sometimes.

I have joined a local AP mom's group, and am trying to get out with them as much as possible. My family is very busy, DH is busy, it's easy to feel all alone. I hope some of you know the feeling I'm talking about, and maybe have some advice for me?

Please don't be too harsh with me, I'm really sensitive and hurting right now.

I think what you've written in your post shows that you are searching for answers to the way you feel, and looking for guidance! Good for you for going in a positive direction! Feel proud that you are doing that. Good luck!
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#12 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 11:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *Melissa* View Post
I guess the worst is that I feel like DH doesn't appreciate me. He'll say how glad he is that I'm home with DS (13 mos) and how glad he is we don't have to put him in daycare, but that doesn't stop him from pulling the "I work hard, you stay at home" card on me anytime we clash on who needs time.
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He once made some comment about how he didn't get why I couldn't do X since I was going to be home anyway and it wouldn't cost me anything to do it whereas he had to take off work and rearrange his whole schedule.
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Or you could offer to get a job and let him stay home and see how nice it is to "just stay at home all day"
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Originally Posted by nina_yyc View Post
Your DH is way out of line here. You stay home because you mutually agree that it's best for the family, so he is also responsible for the choice and has no right to use it against you. You also work hard while staying at home, but you don't need me to tell you that
Wow, I feel like I've found a sisterhood of SAHM's who also feel unappreciated. Not that I'm happy that we're in the same boat, but at least we're in it together.

My husband also has said these kinds of things, like you said OP, it's most often when we clash on issues. He'll bring up the fact that I'm not working, he earns the money, he earns more money and always has, at least he has a job and isn't sitting on my butt at home like me, etc.

Even though I think he's full of baloney, it still stings when he says those things. I used to respond with "well, I'm earning at least the going rate for child care, which is x amount of money" but now I just ignore them as the ignorant and unfair comments that they are.

The more parenting I do and the more I learn, the more I realize my husband does not know what he is talking about, and that I am a valuable person for my child, so I feel valued in that regard.

Good luck to you all! I hope we start getting the appreciation we deserve.
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#13 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 11:47 AM
 
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I found decluttering really helped as well...I got rid of about 20 bags/boxes of stuff over the course of a few weeks...most went to goodwill, friends, and freecycle, but some was just pretty much trash...

It's a lot easier to keep organized when there's not so much to work with anyway. And I'm planning to do more decluttering this week. I finally came to the realization that while five years from now, I may need more t-shirts because I gave fifteen of them away, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. It's also a big incentive to cut spending...anything I buy is just going to add to the clutter, so I think more carefully about it.
Wow, I could have written your post, as well! Ditto! When I became a SAHM, I went through a phase where I felt the need to declutter and organize. I like how you said that it's a lot easier to keep organized when there's not much to work with.

Reflecting back on that time, I think I was using decluttering as a way to find order and organziation in a world of chaos, after the birth, my c-section, post partum lack of assistance, and my husband working long days.

I like to declutter anyway, but I finally had the time to do it and a real reason to get organized.
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#14 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *Melissa* View Post

I'm seeing someone for PPD, and we're working on these issues, but there are times when I just feel so fricking alone and unappreciated. I feel like I've given up so much to be at home with DS - I don't resent it - but I wish someone would give me some credit sometimes.


I'm so glad you are seeing someone for PPD. In my opinion, it may be helpful to see a professional for post partum issues, even if it's not specifically post partum depression.

I'll share my story. I was so down, frustrated, and overwhelmed after the birth of my child. I had very little help, I had an emergency c-section with excessive bleeding, my baby had been in intensive care and nothing about the birth or delivery or nursing went as I had hoped, planned, or read about.

On top of that, I had little to no assistance following the birth, my husband worked extremely long hours, it was winter and with large snow storms, it was hard to leave home, not that I would have been able to anyway with a little newborn and not fully healed from the c-section.

There were some other major issues, too, that contributed to my feelings of loss and hopelessness.

My husband was quick to judge me as PPD, and so were some other people.

But, I went to a therapist and that wasn't the professional's opinion at all. I felt so validated and supported in therapy, and it turns out it wasn't PPD, but something completely situational.

So, I fully believe that a therapist can help a post partum mom get the help she needs, even beyond depression.

Good luck! Don't listen to anyone but yourself and professionals you trust!!
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#15 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Spring Flower, we should move next door to each other.

I'm fortunate that I had a great birthing experience, but after that it all went downhill. DH also worked long hours, school at night. I had thought family would be excited to stop by and help, being the first grandbaby on both sides, but they all had drama in their lives that made them "too busy". Winter came here, -17 for a month, plus DS got on this schedule where he would sleep all day and was up all night, so I couldn't leave, couldn't call anyone, and was basically just all alone.

I had no idea it was PPD, and DH was really hard on me as to why I couldn't just "get it together". Although we've discussed that at length and we're both more educated on PPD, it still contributed to my feelings of being a crappy mother.

I finally went to see a professional when DS was 10 months (the best thing I ever did!) and she too, agreed that my PPD was situational, namely lack of support. I've never felt so alone in my life as I did those first 9 months of DS's life, and I still feel guilty about all the time I could've spent enjoying him when it was a struggle just to make it through a day.

***

Thanks to all the other posters, too. DH and I keep talking things out, even though sometimes it feels like the same discussion every week. He's decided to get counseling for himself for depression, after seeing how helpful a professional can be, as with me and my PPD.

I'm so grateful to be in contact with other people who can understand how I feel. I am thankful every day to be able to SAH, but - well, you all know how much appreciation can make things more enjoyable.

Someday I am going to build a big MOM center in the middle of every town where moms can come and hang out any hour of the day or night. Kind of like a physical MDC spot, lol! You all better come! :


***

BTW, also wanted to add that due to the decluttering suggestions, I've just joined FLY lady!!! And it's helping already!
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#16 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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Spring Flower, we should move next door to each other.

I'm fortunate that I had a great birthing experience, but after that it all went downhill. DH also worked long hours, school at night. I had thought family would be excited to stop by and help, being the first grandbaby on both sides, but they all had drama in their lives that made them "too busy". Winter came here, -17 for a month, plus DS got on this schedule where he would sleep all day and was up all night, so I couldn't leave, couldn't call anyone, and was basically just all alone.

I had no idea it was PPD, and DH was really hard on me as to why I couldn't just "get it together". Although we've discussed that at length and we're both more educated on PPD, it still contributed to my feelings of being a crappy mother.

I finally went to see a professional when DS was 10 months (the best thing I ever did!) and she too, agreed that my PPD was situational, namely lack of support. I've never felt so alone in my life as I did those first 9 months of DS's life, and I still feel guilty about all the time I could've spent enjoying him when it was a struggle just to make it through a day.

***

Thanks to all the other posters, too. DH and I keep talking things out, even though sometimes it feels like the same discussion every week. He's decided to get counseling for himself for depression, after seeing how helpful a professional can be, as with me and my PPD.

I'm so grateful to be in contact with other people who can understand how I feel. I am thankful every day to be able to SAH, but - well, you all know how much appreciation can make things more enjoyable.

Someday I am going to build a big MOM center in the middle of every town where moms can come and hang out any hour of the day or night. Kind of like a physical MDC spot, lol! You all better come! :


***

BTW, also wanted to add that due to the decluttering suggestions, I've just joined FLY lady!!! And it's helping already!



Yay to everything you said! Good luck! I hope every day gets better and easier for you.
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#17 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 07:25 PM
 
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Just wanted to give you a . It's so hard when you don't feel supported by those closest to you.

As far as the "jokes" from relatives, my favorite comeback when people say hurtful things followed by "Geez, I'm just kidding" comes from Ellen DeGeneres, who says, "Then you don't know how to kid properly, because we should both be laughing."

DH+Me 1994 heartbeat.gif DS 2004 heartbeat.gif DD 2008 heartbeat.gif DDog 2014
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#18 of 18 Old 09-05-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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You have my vote of confidence. I know I often feel alone and unappreciated. My husband tries really really hard but he takes for granted that he can pretty much do whatever he wants whenever he wants. When he gets up in the morning, he gets to take a shower. He gets alone time on his way to work. He gets 15 minute breaks in the morning and the afternoon. He gets an hour for lunch where he can eat and do whatever he wants. I get none of these things. He tries hard but I sometimes feel like he just doesn't quite get it.

The worst part is that that I have a master's degree so I get a lot of flack from outsiders. I have been told by tons of people that I need to go back to work because I have too much to offer to just be a stay at home mom. I need to get my Ph.D. and get out of the house. I am too intelligent to just stay at home. My dad and my sister are the worst culprits and they are the two people that have been my heroes most of my life so it really hurts to hear that what I am doing is not good enough or is a waste of my intelligence.
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