SAHMing to kids in school full-time - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a little early thinking about this, but it's been on my mind recently. I have been wondering about whether I'd go back to work when my youngest enters school full-time (i.e., kindergarten or maybe 1st grade since K is half-day only in my area).

Anyone SAHM to kids who are in school ? (obviously not talking about homeschooling here ) What made you decide to continue to stay home?

I for one have found my kids actually need me EVEN more the older they get. I did extended maternity leaves so never worked when my kids were teeny, but found it A LOT easier to work when they were say 15 months old than 4 years old and in nursery school. With the former, they nap a lot still, and my kids at least were pretty happy as long as they were creatively entertained - playground trips, arts & crafts etc - by our (very AP) babysitter. But as they got older, they had a bad day at school, they had "deep thoughts" (lol) they needed to share, plus there were playdates and school trips and school volunteer things etc. that needed to be scheduled around, which I found REALLY hard. Things like my kids having playdates with kids I didn't even know while I was at work... or my babysitter taking them to their classes or to the playground - things I rarely got to do. Ugh... brutal. Talk about being totally disconnected.

ANYWAY... add to that my thinking that wow, omg, if my kids were in school from 8:45 to 3:30 (or whatever) every single day, imagine what I could do:

* Gardening, glorious gardening! As much as I wanted!
* Paint, refinish furniture, and other projects that I love doing but rarely have time for
* Laundry is always DONE
* House is always CLEAN
* Volunteer more at church and at organizations I care about (but don't have enough time for these days)
* Have coffee with my girlfriends... oh the JOY of doing that even once a month! Bliss!
* Volunteer in the kids' classrooms regularly
* Have time to do a real work-out every day
* Cook! From scratch! Every day! (I do a good amount of this now, but the thought of playing Frenchwoman and planning the dinner menu that day based on whatever fresh ingredients I find that morning at the local co-op... ahhhhhh)
* Time to bake bread from scratch more than once a week!

Okay, so I wouldn't get to do these things every day, lol, but I can see already that a.) I would hardly be "bored", b.) I could be more meaningfully plugged-in to their lives, c.) I would probably be healthier, d.) our house would run like a well-oiled machine more often than not, and e.) I know from experience that our home life would be A LOT more pleasant if I weren't arriving home exhausted when the kids get home. (I seriously detested that "out of the frying pan into the fire" feeling of arriving home to squawking kids who deeply MISSED me all day and were so clingy but all I wanted was to decompress ).

Anyone thinking of doing this or doing it now?
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#2 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 04:01 PM
 
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I obviously have a long time before I have to think about it, but I was at home for a year before having the twins, and I got by. I'm sure that with kids to keep you busy after 3.30pm you'll have plenty of thing to entertain yourself.

That being said, extra money would help so I wouldn't mind working part time when the kids go to school - my problem has been finding a job though, and it probably won't be easier by then - but either way we would not be able to afford a babysitter or daycare so i would have to really schedule around it.

So, needless to say... I think I'll probably stay SAHM.
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#3 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 04:02 PM
 
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Your list sounds a lot like mine! I do plan on staying home even when ds2 is in school. My dh is fully supportive and is my biggest cheerleader for me staying home if that's what I want to do and right now it is. I plan on spending a lot more time devoted to my singing (including getting serious with a vocal coach) which I am excited about. My mom was a sahm when I was in high school and I think I needed her just as much as when I was younger.
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#4 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 06:11 PM
 
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When DS started kinder I didn't go back to work...didn't have a car anyway. Unfortunately I fell into the trap of not getting a lot done, spending too much time online, etc.

Now that I have DD who is 15 mos. I would kill to have the luxury of those days back.

Ultimately I don't have any definite plans to work, especially not full time when my kids are in school. My brother and I got into so much trouble as teenagers when my parents worked. My mother even jokes that she should have worked when we were little and stayed at home when we were teenagers instead of the other way around.
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#5 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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My youngest is in K, they go all day every other day.

Honestly I spend alot of time at the school. So much that they offered me the Noon Supervision job that I"m hoping will turn into a part-time to full-time TA job in the fall at either this school or another school(preferably this school so I don't miss assemblies & such).
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#6 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 10:17 PM
 
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We are homeschooling, but I wanted to say that your list looks like heaven. If my kids were in school, I would definitely be able to keep my self entertained and fullfilled. I just don't get bored. I say that if you can afford to do that, then do. This will give you the mindset and energy to be completely ON for your kids when they get home from school. My mom worked for a while when I was little and then started staying home when I was 8 or so and it really meant alot to me to have her at home when I got home from school-she did most of the stuff on your list (lots of volunteer work, dinners from scratch etc...) and had a very fullfilling life. Also, there are so many activities at school and right after school that working moms can't always get off to attend.

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#7 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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We currently homeschool, but for one whole year I had both kids in school and I didnt' work.

Here's how it went....

I had grand dreams of the well oiled home, but the reality of it was that I was doing so much running (and sitting on the puter) that my house didn't run much differently.

Anyhow, both kids are going back to school next year-I've already started my mental 'well oiled home' planning.
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#8 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 11:17 AM
 
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I used to homeschool, but sent my older kids to school a few months ago. Right now I'm home with my 4yo all day. Honestly, I'm unsure about what I'll do when my youngest goes to school full time in 2 years. I'm kicking around the idea of going back to school part time, but I might just stay home and enjoy life.

Your list sounds nice, and I do have time to do many of those things. My 4yo is really independent, is very good at finding things to do on her own, so I don't have to entertain her all day. Most days I jog/walk on the treadmill for an hour after I drop the kids off at school. I spend a good chunk of the morning on cleaning/laundry (and surfing online to break it up). I personally have found it HARDER to do more cooking from scratch now that my kids are in school. They come home right when it is time to start dinner, and when they're home I want to spend time with them. I can't cook a 4-course meal and listen to DS read me a story (part of his homework) at the same time, kwim?

Honestly, I am really enjoying this lifestyle right now. Our home seems less stressful than when the kids were home all day, and I do have time to pursue my own interests.

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#9 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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I am exactly like you, with every single same desire!! EXACTLY!!!

I want to SAHM when DS starts school in 2010, but DH would really like me to contribute financially, as he doesn't love his job. So if you get to SAHM I think that is a major blessing!! What a life!!

*Liz* : mountain mama to DS 12/04
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#10 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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I plan on SAHMing after they are in school. (I would like to homeschool, but DH is against it, so we are not making any real decisions for now on that-DD is only 16 mo now, lol). So if they DO go to school I would still SAH and probably do a couple of small freelance jobs (i'm an artist). Also I would want to do some supplementary learning type things with the kids even if we don't homeschool- educational trips and stuff- and I really don't think I would have the energy if I was WOH- I must be a wimp becaue WOH really drains me.

I think it is nice to be able to be there for sick days, kids' vacation days off from school, and stuff like that, and to take the time to prepare healthy meals for the family. Also I feel like the house would be in better order, nice and clean the way I like it. And I could spend time doing stuff for myself too like you mentioned, gardening, work out, volunteer, etc. I don't get bored being at home and I have no real desire to return to the workforce.
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#11 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 03:31 PM
 
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My kids are both in school, and I am (mostly) at home. I have a flexible part time job that works around their school hours, but only on some days. Right now it's only around 6 hours a week, and I could actually fit in more hours and still have plenty of time. I also teach online classes from time to time.

I have plenty to do with volunteering at their school, dealing with them on sick days, half days, conference days, etc. (We have a ton of days in our district when they are not in school!) I like being here when the kids get home from school, overseeing their homework before dinner, etc. I'm here in the summer also, of course.

I have an easier time fitting in housework and errands than when I worked outside the home. Still, there is no way I actually do all the things I *thought* I would when I left my job. I'm definitely more relaxed, and sometimes that leads to me being more inefficient. Like going to the grocery more times in a week than I should. Just because I have the time, it's not a huge deal to make another stop.

For us, it's been a calmer lifestyle. In the end, we may need to have more $$, for college funds and the like. So I'm not sure I'll be able to sah for the long run. I've really enjoyed it, though. It's funny how many people asked me about staying home after the kids were in school. It really seems to bug some people when you don't head off to work.
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#12 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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Even if your kids are in school, you'd still be shelling out for a lot of childcare. My neighbor's kid ends up here after school 2-4 days a week and they're having to pay me to watch him until they get home. Not to mention all the days that school is off.

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#13 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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I will continue to SAHM after the boys are in 1st grade (they'll be in K next year, but it's just a half day). For one thing, I hope to place all three of the kids (unless one or both boys aren't a good fit) in a magnet grade 1-6 program at one of the local public schools that runs almost (but not quite) like a co-op. Since I'll be expected to contribute daytime volunteer hours plus with the district budget shortfalls we will no longer have bus transportation and I'm very protected of my and my kids' downtime--I want to keep the schedule as simple as possible.

I toyed with the idea of going back to school or working, DH is supportive of whatever I'd like to do--but frankly I don't really care for school. I do well at it, but I've already had enough thanks.

I like being a homemaker. I'm satisfied with things now, so I don't feel that I should go do something else because I'm supposed to feel the need to. And from talking with other women at church and that I know in the neighborhood who have older kids, it seems like you aren't any less busy and don't have THAT much more time to yourself, it's just a different kind of busy and less under your control.
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#14 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 07:27 AM
 
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I'm satisfied with things now, so I don't feel that I should go do something else because I'm supposed to feel the need to. And from talking with other women at church and that I know in the neighborhood who have older kids, it seems like you aren't any less busy and don't have THAT much more time to yourself, it's just a different kind of busy and less under your control.
You summed up my internal debate on this topic. I think it is a valid point that children in school still have mothering needs that would make a mother busy. And also school schedules do not line up with most work schedules so, as a previous poster said, even with children in school full days, you would likely still have day care/after school care costs.

I am a little different in how I feel about this...

I feel pulled in both directions. I can see my child would still need me, and it would still be difficult to juggle mothering and career even with school aged children.

Also, I do feel "the need" to go back to work. Some is internal because I miss parts of having a career and because I worry about re-entrance from SAHM to vibrant, skilled worker. The more years in between will make it harder. I worry about financial independence, saving for college for my child, and my own retirement.

Much of the pull to return to work is external. My DH simply would NOT support being a SAHM with school aged children. He doesn't see the need and he believes working = pulling my weight. So, I'm pretty much sure the decision has already been made for me. It has been somewhat of a compromise to SAH at all.
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#15 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 02:18 AM
 
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I am currently a SAHM to 2 children in full time school. Actually, that's why my username is SAHDS; it means Stay-At-Home-Dog-Sitter

DD is in 3rd grade and DS is in 1st grade. From my experience, it is GREAT, but is a bit boring. There is only so much you can do; trust me. I love to cook, bake, clean, sew, go to the gym, walk the dog, volunteer at the kids' school etc. (and look forward to gardening in the new house), but there are still times that I am lonely and bored. Be careful of those times cause, for me, that's when I get the itch to shop, LOL.

DH told me a while back that I can stay at home forever (I've been doing so since right after I found out I was preggo w/ DD - 9.5 years ago), but I've decided that I'm going to start school in fall. I'll be taking Internet classes and 'classroom' classes while the kids are at school so it won't interfere with their schedules and my being a mommy; which is my #1 priority.

When I graduate in 4.5 years, DD will be 13 and DS will be almost 12. I plan on working at our friend's office (he's a dentist, I'm going to school to be a Hygienist) so I can still have those flexible hours. Although I may miss and hour or so a day after the kids get home, DH works graveyard so he'll wake up before they come home and prep dinner (BONUS!).

If it's an option, I'll definitely still SAH during their summer break, though.

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#16 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 07:04 AM
 
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My son is only two, but I have been a sahm for a year and a half and I do not plan on going back to work when he's in school (though I am strongly considering homeschooling anyway). DH has no desire for me to return to work and our home is so much more pleasant than it was when I was working. The fact that my son would be in school eight hours a day doesn't eliminate the need for a tidy home, healthy home cooked meals, and my full attention after school. I know from personal experience, no matter how good my intentions are I won't be able to give my family 100% of me if most of my time is spent working somewhere else. Let me add here that I'm not saying working moms can't give their families 100%, but I personally could not give my own family 100% when I was a working mom. We aren't wealthy by any means so I supplement our income with freelance writing and plan to increase the number of hours I spend on it if we send our son to school. Hopefully that will eliminate the need for me to ever woh again!
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#17 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 10:26 AM
 
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I've got a while to go before this applies to me, but I, too, have been thinking about it recently. It will depend on whether we decide to homeschool or not, and what our finances are like, but ideally I'd like to continue being a SAHM, maybe do some freelance work for extra money. The thought of having time to garden, quilt, sew, bake, cook, keep the house moderately clean, etc., is intoxicating! I like to think that if I have the opportunity during the day to accomplish all (or most) of the things I want to get done, I'll be a better and more attentive mama when my kids get home in the afternoon.
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#18 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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I am a SAHM to two in school--K and 2nd. We have no plans for me to go back to work anytime soon. Unless something WAH falls in my lap.

What do I do all day? I do get that workout almost every day. I garden, cook, shop (mostly for groceries), clean, and create. I make objects to sell at the school fairs, and I make lots of handmade gifts for family and friends (mostly baby and housewarming, just those keep me on my toes!). I do genealogy research (I am interested in becoming a certified genealogist). I also put in maybe 100 hours Sept-Jun volunteering for their school. I am rarely in the classroom. I work on the fairs, have answered phones in the office, and worked on the library catalog.

I try to get all shopping and gardening done during the week so we can _do_ stuff on the weekends--often scouts or visiting grandma or going to the beach. But they often help me garden and do the lawn

I honestly can't imagine going back to work. I am really busier now with them than when they were little. With cub scouts, music, school events, and just stuff like the beach or aquarium, I am busy! And only 1 is in scouts now. If they are sick, it's no biggie. If there is a field trip, I can chaperone.

And I doubt I could find a job that would either be flexible enough to let me stay home with a sick child or go on a field trip, or that would pay enough to hire an emergency nanny
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#19 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 07:38 PM
 
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This post is a bit jaded by the fact that I had a terrible day with a toddler, but, honestly there are some days where I can not go back to work fast enough.

The worst days at the office when I was working were nothing compared to the horrible days I have here and there as a SAHM.

I have some good days, too, but the frustrating days make me long for a return to a paid job using my degree and interacting with adults.

Edited to add: Of course, I want to have the option to make the choice myself when the times comes. My DH wants me to return to work as soon as possible (before school aged), but I believe strongly that being a SAHM right now and for the near future is in the best interest of our child.

I am just not comfortable saying I'll stay home forever or saying I'll go back to work, and work until retirement. Isn't it good to have flexibility for what life throws at us? As a SAHM, though, I certainly worry a lot about being able to have a career that supports myself and my obligation to my child. And I for sure worry about retirement. SAHMs aren't contributing to social security or most likely to a 401k or a pension. That is a scary thing to me.
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#20 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 06:13 AM
 
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My mother chose to retire and stay home when I was about 10-12 years old and I think having someone at home made life a lot simpler. In a lot of ways having someone available to pay attention to whats going on in the kid's lives only becomes more important as they get older. You might not have to wipe their bottoms anymore but their lives become more complicated and open up for all sorts of potential dangers beyond spitting up and brusied shins. We can't save them from everything, but I firmly belive that having someone around and invested in their day to day life is a big help.

I'm fairly sure I won't be going back to a full time career but I do want to find something for myself once the kids are away during the day and I've had my fill of sipping coffee and watching bad daytime TV (and oh yes, I do intend to enjoy a bit of that when the opportunity finally comes).

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#21 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 06:51 PM
 
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I am a SAHM to two in school--K and 2nd. We have no plans for me to go back to work anytime soon. Unless something WAH falls in my lap.

What do I do all day? I do get that workout almost every day. I garden, cook, shop (mostly for groceries), clean, and create. I make objects to sell at the school fairs, and I make lots of handmade gifts for family and friends (mostly baby and housewarming, just those keep me on my toes!). I do genealogy research (I am interested in becoming a certified genealogist). I also put in maybe 100 hours Sept-Jun volunteering for their school. I am rarely in the classroom. I work on the fairs, have answered phones in the office, and worked on the library catalog.

I try to get all shopping and gardening done during the week so we can _do_ stuff on the weekends--often scouts or visiting grandma or going to the beach. But they often help me garden and do the lawn

I honestly can't imagine going back to work. I am really busier now with them than when they were little. With cub scouts, music, school events, and just stuff like the beach or aquarium, I am busy! And only 1 is in scouts now. If they are sick, it's no biggie. If there is a field trip, I can chaperone.

And I doubt I could find a job that would either be flexible enough to let me stay home with a sick child or go on a field trip, or that would pay enough to hire an emergency nanny
That sounds heavenly.

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#22 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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My own mother had thought she might go to work, at least part-time, when her youngest child (of four) started kindergarten, but by then, I (the oldest) was in high school and had discovered boys, LOL. My parents decided it would be more important to have Mom at home for that reason, plus there was a fair amount of ferrying around, attending sports games, etc. for the four of us by then. My dad had a job where he was often home in the afternoons to help with some of that, but my mom was able to maintain a good family routine, with dinner every night at home and all. Even when I was really busy as a junior and senior in high school, it was very helpful and comforting to have that stable routine waiting, plus Mom kept housework and laundry and all running smoothly too so we were able to focus on our grades and outside activities. Also, when I was home in the early afternoons/evenings, I can remember spending a lot of time with Mom while she made dinner and such, just talking -- she loved hearing about our days, and she saw her listening ear as an investment in her children and our relationships (I'm in my early 30s now, soon to be a mom of three, and I still talk to my mother frequently on the phone, about anything and everything, as does at least one of my siblings, so I think she was right about the investment being worth it). Not one of the four of us ever had any problems that unfortunately get so many teens, and I do think it was because our parents were very much around and involved, and we knew how much we mattered to them. I don't think any amount of money would have been worth Mom not being home.

(I intend to homeschool my kids, but even if I didn't, I would probably be a SAHM, or possibly a part-time WAHM, when my kids were all in full-time school.)

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