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#1 of 19 Old 09-17-2007, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe this has been brought on by all of the media Mommy Wars, but I'm struggling internally about my decision to be SAHM. It's such a double-edged sword.

I have toured daycare after daycare, and in my book, they're all substandard. If babies aren't crawling around on dirty floors where people don't have to remove their shoes, they're in rooms with TV's blaring all day as "background."DD is six months old, and my state requires only a 1:6 provider-to-infants ratio. Plus I get harassed on the delayed-vax issue. If I return to my old job, 3/4 of my paycheck will go toward this kind of "care."

On the other hand . . . I LOVE and miss my profession (social work). I also know that any "gaps" on a woman's resume are black marks; we're punished for leaving to care for our children. And if DH loses his job (he works for a major corporation with erratic lay-off patterns), how readily would I be able to secure one? To top off all of my confusion, I also skimmed this book at the bookstore about how condoning SAHMing is the great "feminist sell-out."

Yeesh! How can I NOT internalize the Mommy Wars???

Forgive if I'm just repeating cliches. But I guess that cliches become cliches precisely because they're true. OK, finished venting . . .

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
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#2 of 19 Old 09-17-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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I agree that the media's Mommy Wars have made it very tough for moms to feel good about their decision to SAH or work. Everyone is trying to justify their decisions to work or SAH, but in the process end up tossing around blame and/or guilt to the "other side."

Ultimately, you probably know in your heart what is best for your LO, yourself and your family as a whole. Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to come to peace with whatever decision you've made and tune out all the naysayers.

Personally, I stopped reading all that stuff about "selling out" when choosing to stay at home because the only purpose it serves is to make me feel bad or guilty about something I love and feel blessed to even have the option of doing. My choice to be a SAHM is the best thing for my family, so I try not to worry about what others are doing or saying.

If you're worried about your ability to transition back into the workplace in the future have you looked into doing some freelance/contract work to keep up your resume while you stay home? (This is what I'm doing... plus it helps bring in a little extra cash.) Are there ways for you to volunteer in your profession?

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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#3 of 19 Old 09-17-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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And if DH loses his job (he works for a major corporation with erratic lay-off patterns), how readily would I be able to secure one?
I would like to dispell a myth here:
Your working would only make you guys more secure if you stayed living off of only one income (which hardly anybody manages to do). Most people just increase their standard of living to meet their additional income. So, when one of them loses their job they're still broke. In fact, single-earner households are LESS likely to become bankrupt than dual-earner because they're used to living on less and have a "back-up" parent who could bring in income or take care of the sick, etc.
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#4 of 19 Old 09-17-2007, 05:58 PM
 
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I am new to the SAHM world. It is tough mentally, but I have to keep reminding myself that it is such a short time in my life when I will have this opportunity and totally just live in the moment enough to ignore everything else and get down on the floor and play. What a great job.
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#5 of 19 Old 09-17-2007, 06:12 PM
 
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I guess the decision was easier for me in part because I didn't love my job. I didn't mind it, but I only showed up for the money. And for me, the choice between money and my daughter was a no-brainer. I totally want to go back to work eventually, hopefully doing something I do love, but for these first couple of years, I wouldn't trade my time with my kiddo for anything. If that makes me a bad feminist, then to hell with feminism. There's nothing liberating about a movement that tells me what I'm allowed to want. I don't think that's real feminism at all. If dh were to lose his job, one or both of us would find something. If we go into some debt, so be it. It's all temporary. I went into debt for grad school a tiny bit but I was okay with it because I knew I could make money later, and I did.

I do think that if you really want to be working, then you should go for it and not feel bad about it. A sahm who resents staying home is not doing what's best for her family.
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#6 of 19 Old 09-17-2007, 06:15 PM
 
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i waited until my ds was ready for preschool. I cannot IMAGINE leaving an infant/toddler w/o mama all day long!
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#7 of 19 Old 09-18-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post
. If I return to my old job, 3/4 of my paycheck will go toward this kind of "care."
.
Just factoring in what you will give this care, also factor in- work clothing, lunches, gas to and from daycare and work, Dr bills because your child will be sick in this care very quickly, time off to take dd to the Dr, take out food....


I dont recall hearing about the amount of social workers pounding the pavement to get a job. In fact most burn out so I am so glad you love your job. This will also make you a great parent! Can you somehow do some consulting or part time or somehow keep in it while you spend some time raising your new family? I already have a 5 year gap in my career time since I have sah for that long. There will always be jobs to do and as a parent, you may find a new path for your social working skills you just dont know about yet. I already know I wont be going back to do what I used to do, but I also know that I will use my skills from before I was a parent and what I have picked up to do something else later. HTH

Also, the book you are speaking of and the term mommy wars is all invented by the media to sell more books and reak havoc. Only you know what is best for you and your family.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#8 of 19 Old 09-18-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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I don't think SAHMing is a "feminist sell-out". Feminists fought for us to have the *choice* to work. We can also choose to stay home if we think that is best for us and our families. But it is our choice to make, and we have both options available to us instead of being forced into staying home.

Would you be able to work part-time? Maybe if you were only working a few days a week and found some smaller, in-home daycare it might be a better option than full time work and a big, crowded daycare? I can understand how conflicting it would be to be leaving behind a career that you loved.
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#9 of 19 Old 09-18-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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Hugs to you!

I am a part time WOH mom who is home with three little ones the majority of the time. I have been feeling conflicted myself this week and it is so funny that I have finally realized I am going to feel conflicted whether I WOH or not, whether or not it is full or part time. Conflicted is just me!

I don't know if social work is like dentistry. I truly can't leave for a few years and come back. But if I could in any way shape or form, then I would. And it sounds like that might work for you if you could find a way to do it. For me, the best I can do is to WOH 2 days a week and SAH the other 5. It is a good fit, it keeps me with the kids which is where I want to be most of the time, and it keeps me sane and appreciating being home the rest of the time. Most of the time I feel like I have the best of both worlds in working just 2 days. Sometimes I feel like I have the worst of both worlds too!

Do what is in your heart. If you are happy and loving your little ones, then you are doing what is right for all of you! And remember that it is not all black and white, there are a lot of in betweens that might be a good fit for you!
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#10 of 19 Old 09-18-2007, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[/QUOTE] Personally, I stopped reading all that stuff about "selling out" when choosing to stay at home because the only purpose it serves is to make me feel bad or guilty about something I love and feel blessed to even have the option of doing. My choice to be a SAHM is the best thing for my family, so I try not to worry about what others are doing or saying. [/QUOTE]

That's a good attitude to take. Whether I aggravate Kim Gandy or Dr. Laura is completely moot!

[/QUOTE] If you're worried about your ability to transition back into the workplace in the future have you looked into doing some freelance/contract work to keep up your resume while you stay home? (This is what I'm doing... plus it helps bring in a little extra cash.) Are there ways for you to volunteer in your profession?[/QUOTE]

Social workers can do "micro" (one-on-one with clients) or "macro" practice (political activism, lobbying, etc). I was doing the former when I got pregnant. But there's no way I can tote DD with me to work. I'm thinking of doing some macro, even if it's on a voluntary basis. This way, I could tote DD to the state capitol with me while lobbying for health care coverage for children! Now you got my brain wheels rolling....

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
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#11 of 19 Old 09-18-2007, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some wonderful points from all, btw. Hopefully I'll get a chance to respond to more in detail. (DH is booting me off the computer!) Still haven't decided what to do long-term, but the encouragement has been priceless!

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
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#12 of 19 Old 09-19-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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For me, feminism is about CHOICE. I feel very strongly that the feminists who came before me fought for the freedom to choose their own paths and not have society and people in power impose choices upon them.

I choose to be home with my children and educate and love them. I chose to have a full-time career that utilized my MA when my DS was school-aged, but then we realized that it wasn't in his best interests and I chose to come home.

Yes, I made a re-entry very difficult for myself and would need to start my career over again at an entry level position (I left as a Department Head).

But for me and my family it was absolutely the right choice. It is probably not the right choice for other families.

Look deep inside yourself and listen to your heart.
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#13 of 19 Old 09-19-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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I was actually in tears this morning over the same thing. I've been conflicted too. DH had a great point-- at some point in your adult life, you have to make a choice about who you want to be, and just go with it. Surround yourself with people who validate your choice and not people that make you feel guilty about it.

As far as I'm concerned, I figure I've made the choice (I think if I truly wanted to WOH I would be doing that), so I need to avoid all the media and people who like to make me second-guess my decision, as much as possible.

I think it is something we all go through. There are so many people out there who want to bombard SAHMs with negativity.

I agree that feminism should be about choice, and it should not be about making women feel guilty for their decision to do what is best for their family. The role of the SAHM is important, and people who disagree lack the maturity to see the big picture, in my opinion.
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#14 of 19 Old 09-19-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by puddle View Post
If that makes me a bad feminist, then to hell with feminism. There's nothing liberating about a movement that tells me what I'm allowed to want. I don't think that's real feminism at all.
Yeah that.
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#15 of 19 Old 09-20-2007, 04:24 PM
 
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I would like to dispell a myth here:
Your working would only make you guys more secure if you stayed living off of only one income (which hardly anybody manages to do). Most people just increase their standard of living to meet their additional income. So, when one of them loses their job they're still broke. In fact, single-earner households are LESS likely to become bankrupt than dual-earner because they're used to living on less and have a "back-up" parent who could bring in income or take care of the sick, etc.

Very good point Vanessa. My dh was laid off this for most of this year and we made it work. It was very tough, but we did it.

As for missing gaps in your resume......I just decided that I was not going to let "future fears" get in the way of how I wanted to parent (stay home).
What if I worked all those years and then regretted the time w/ my children? I'd have some great job, but missed out on those years. I am a very hard worker, and any company that will not hire me bc I stayed home w/ my children, is not a company that deserves my hard work. Does that make sense? The company I left really appreciated me and the pres said I could come back anytime I wanted. Sure, I'll miss those years there, but at the end of my life, I will not miss that company, but will be grateful I had the time w/ my kids.
Also, social work is high demand (at least in my area) and maybe you could work very part time around your dh's hours. I know nursing homes are always looking for people and will take whatever hours they can get. Dd and I were "companions" for 2 years to an elderly man. THey paid me great money and I took him to the park, grocery store etc. It was a lovely mini-job and a win/win for everyone. There might be something for you like that out there. PM me if you want more details. There are always ways to make a little money.

And for me, if 3/4 of my paycheck would go for childcare....that would not be worth it at all. That would mean (for my previous job), that I would be working for $5 per hour. I'm not getting off my couch for $5.
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#16 of 19 Old 09-24-2007, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The good news AND bad news is that I have my Master's. (We cost too much for a lot of agencies to employ!) My strategy for now is to beef up the volunteer work, toting DD along with me, and to put in on my resume with all of the rest of my jobs. After all, work experience is just that, regardless of whether you're getting mulah for it. The same applies to SAHM, of course, but it will be a miraculous day when the rest of society realizes that . . .

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
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#17 of 19 Old 09-24-2007, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was actually in tears this morning over the same thing. I've been conflicted too. DH had a great point-- at some point in your adult life, you have to make a choice about who you want to be, and just go with it. Surround yourself with people who validate your choice and not people that make you feel guilty about it.
:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
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#18 of 19 Old 09-25-2007, 09:07 AM
 
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You shouldn't return to work because of social pressure, but if you love your job, wait till your DC can go to preschool, find a great preschool, and maybe work part time, gradually going back to full time if you want. But honestly, who cares what some lady wrote in a book (and I think I know the book you're talking about-- I heard an interview with her and was just blown away by how condescending and dismissive she was about SAHMing)-- listen to your heart.
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#19 of 19 Old 09-25-2007, 12:05 PM
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Well, I think feminism is based on the principle of valuing all human lives equally. Many misinterpret this as treating all people as if they are the same, when it actually means valuing an individual's unique gifts and talents. I think that my life is just as valuable as my child's and we enrich each other's lives. That is the reason I am a SAHM.

BTW, I also have a Master's. I left my Ph.D. program when I had a sudden change of life priorities.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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