SAHMing--Do you think being a SAHM is a luxury? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you think being a SAHM is a luxury?

My personal answer is a convoluted yes and no. I'm very curious to hear what others in this forum think. Thanks so much!
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#2 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:31 PM
 
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If I could make a living (more than 7 bucks an hour) at a job, then yes i would consider it a luxury.
But I cant, so it would end up costing me money to even have a job, and so its not a huge luxury for us right now.
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#3 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:33 PM
 
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In my personal case, no. But that is because the expenses I would incure working negate the money I would earn. So I kind of feel like in my situation that working would be a luxury, since it is less expensive for me to stay home.
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#4 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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Not a financial luxury, but a personal luxury.
I have a few friends that really want to stay home but just can't make it happen. We are poor, but I feel I am living a real dream. I feel very blessed that we were able to swing this.
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#5 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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I agree it's a personal luxury. I couldn't imagine leaving him with someone all day although if I had to then my mil owns a daycare and she is so wonderful with kids!

Here in a few months I might have to leave him b/c dh's contract at work runs out and he doesn't know if he'll get rehired with the new one.
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#6 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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I think the same as some of the PP's, I feel like it is a luxury to be able to spend the time with DD and I know others who would love to, but are we leading some luxurious lifestyle where I can just lounge around and not worry, ummm no. I have had to become a financial wizard to figure out how it can be done, but really IF I were to work at my job, I have to pay rent which would be at least $300 for a decent salon spot, and then pay a baby sitter, and have to pay for all my supplies and such. A HUGE chunk of my profits would be gone, plus I would be missing out on DD's being a LO, so I guess for me the money is not worth it. Plus as my DH has said, WE could not be able to function well as a family if I wasn't at home with DD, he makes good money and enjoys his job and I enjoy being a SAHM(at least for now).

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#7 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#8 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by matey View Post
Not a financial luxury, but a personal luxury.
I have a few friends that really want to stay home but just can't make it happen. We are poor, but I feel I am living a real dream. I feel very blessed that we were able to swing this.
couldn't say it better!
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#9 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 02:18 PM
 
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If I could make a living (more than 7 bucks an hour) at a job, then yes i would consider it a luxury.
But I cant, so it would end up costing me money to even have a job, and so its not a huge luxury for us right now.
That's about how it is for us, except I could go back to my $10 an hour job 16 miles away and spend every penny I'd earn paying for daycare and gas. Totally not worth it.

But I do consider myself lucky and do think of it as both a luxury and a necessity. I feel very strongly that my children need to have me home with them. Especially my DD, she is very stranger anxious and I can't see forcing her to accept another person considering it's taken her 15 months to (somewhat) tolerate my mom despite seeing her almost every day.
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#10 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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Now it is a luxury for us. If I went back to work, I would make well enough to cover the costs and have money left over. BUT... like a number of pps, we have worked DARN HARD and sacrificed to get to this point. We've taken risks, we've given up... now we have the payoff.

Of course, we also get a lot of crap for where we live and what we drive... what we wear, that we didn't see Sopranos when it was still running because we didn't have HBO, etc. In our world, we're "behind" in the material things for sure, but I'm sure we get crap because those people wish they didn't care about what others thought so that they could be home, too (that's just what WE are surrounded with--not all the people in the world that do this)

But I wouldn't trade it. I'll take my WalMart and Salvation Army clothes to be home, tyvm.

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#11 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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It doesn't feel like one, but when I think of the relative wealth of everyone on the planet, I think yeah, definitely a luxury. Luxury/sacrifice, whatever.

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#12 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 02:38 PM
 
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We also worked hard and saved, got educations, and do without what a lot of people would consider necessities (although we don't, so I can't really say it's a sacrifice) in order for me to sah.

However. There are so many people who work harder than dh or I ever did and still don't make enough to allow one parent to be at home. I really take exception to the idea (not that anyone on this thread has said this) that having a sah parent is as easy as cancelling the cable, giving up one car, and not taking expensive vacations.

I consider myself privileged to have been born into a family that valued education and was able to provide it for me, enabling me to get a good job where I could save money. It was luck and timing that allowed dh and I to get into the housing market when we did, at a time when we could get a house that one modest income could pay for. And he is certainly fortunate to have a job. Plenty of qualified people in his field can't find work.

So when I look around at the current economic climate, the millions of hard-working parents out there who have so much less than I do, yeah, being able to be a sahm feels like a luxury to me.
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#13 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 02:49 PM
 
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I don't think of it as a luxury. For our family/values/beliefs, I see it as a necessity.

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#14 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 03:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
However. There are so many people who work harder than dh or I ever did and still don't make enough to allow one parent to be at home. I really take exception to the idea (not that anyone on this thread has said this) that having a sah parent is as easy as cancelling the cable, giving up one car, and not taking expensive vacations.

I consider myself privileged to have been born into a family that valued education and was able to provide it for me, enabling me to get a good job where I could save money. It was luck and timing that allowed dh and I to get into the housing market when we did, at a time when we could get a house that one modest income could pay for. And he is certainly fortunate to have a job. Plenty of qualified people in his field can't find work.

So when I look around at the current economic climate, the millions of hard-working parents out there who have so much less than I do, yeah, being able to be a sahm feels like a luxury to me.
I understand what you are saying and certainly I know a handful of people that fit that profile, but that's not the majority of them. And honestly--I don't begrudge anyone material things being important to them, but don't look at me like it was so easy... kwim?

I DIDN'T come from a family that valued education or even HAD any education. I DIDN'T come from a good place. As piss poor as we are, I can guarantee you that the less than $10k we have in savings is more than both my parents have combined. It took me 15 years to finish my bachelor's degree... but I did it. I was one of those people who lost their job (and 2/3 of our income) and couldn't get a job with a gun for quite a while. We bought our house and were without that income within 8 months of moving in. There was NEVER a thought that I'd be a SAHM--I made too much of our income. I "get" what you're talking about.

So while I agree that it's not always as easy as cutting the cable, giving up a car and vacations for many people; I also think that to say it's a matter of where you come from is equally inaccurate. I don't think it's as easy as either of those opinions. And it's not EASY... which is kinda my point. But it's not hopeless or impossible, either. It took us YEEEEARS to get to where we don't NEED my income. But it happened. With a lot of work that had WAY less to do with the cable bill. If it were as easy as that, more people would be doing it.

I don't mean to sound angry. I'm re-reading and I can see where someone might take it that way--but I'm not saying it in anger. Enthusiasm for the topic, yes. Anger, no.

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#15 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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It depends on each family really. For us, working would be a luxury because child care would eat up most, if not all, of my income. Some people cannot afford to stay home though.

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#16 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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Oh, hey Heather, I didn't mean to imply that it was easy for everyone. I certainly don't think so! I know there are folks out there like you who
go through way hard economic times to sah.

I'm saying that for *me* I see being able to sah as the direct result of a combination of privilege, hard work and a lot of luck. Not that this is the case for everyone. So when I look around at all the folks who will never be able to have a parent at home because both parents have to work like crazy just to keep a roof over their heads, yes, my situation feels like a luxury.

Of course not everyone is going to feel the same way.
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#17 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#18 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
However. There are so many people who work harder than dh or I ever did and still don't make enough to allow one parent to be at home. I really take exception to the idea (not that anyone on this thread has said this) that having a sah parent is as easy as cancelling the cable, giving up one car, and not taking expensive vacations.
Exactly.



This is very true.
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#19 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I consider myself privileged to have been born into a family that valued education and was able to provide it for me, enabling me to get a good job where I could save money. It was luck and timing...
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#20 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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In my personal case, no. But that is because the expenses I would incure working negate the money I would earn. So I kind of feel like in my situation that working would be a luxury, since it is less expensive for me to stay home.
: I worked for awhile after my first was born. After paying for daycare, gas, tolls (or take the long way and have it take twice as long and use way more gas), work attire, etc I was barely breaking even. Then my DD was getting sick every few weeks in daycare. I still had to pay them half price when she was out and that quickly ate away at my vacation and sick leave.

However, what is a luxury for us is that DH has a great job that pays very well. It allows us to live very comfortably in the kind of lifestyle we want.
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#21 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 04:30 PM
 
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It's a luxury for us.
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#22 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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Sometimes I think it would be a luxury for me to be working since I would likely be paying my entire paycheck for childcare for three children. And that cost would only get higher as the kids got older and they were still homeschooled. So, for us it makes sense for me to stay home and keep our life at a slower pace. At least until next year when I finish my degree and my earning potential goes up. And sometimes I get my guff up and feel like not having a job outside our home is not a luxury or even a choice for some people whose income cannot exceed childcare costs.

But then I remind myself that if we were truly in poverty (like some 40% or more of America) then I would be home during the day while dh worked and then going off to work an 8 hour shift when he got home at night. And we would probably have one of us working during the weekends too. After all, that is what a lot of families in this country have to do in order to make ends even come close to meeting. And we would never see each other and would both be exhausted just trying to keep our heads above water. And we would not have the option of homeschooling our children because we would need to put them in school so we could go to work. So, when I look at it that way it really is a middle class luxury for me to able to stay at home entirely. It just is.

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#23 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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Oh, hey Heather, I didn't mean to imply that it was easy for everyone. I certainly don't think so! I know there are folks out there like you who
go through way hard economic times to sah.

I'm saying that for *me* I see being able to sah as the direct result of a combination of privilege, hard work and a lot of luck. Not that this is the case for everyone. So when I look around at all the folks who will never be able to have a parent at home because both parents have to work like crazy just to keep a roof over their heads, yes, my situation feels like a luxury.

Of course not everyone is going to feel the same way.
I totally get you... I should note that I DO attribute some of my good fortune to luck as well.

I also take exception to people who minimalize it as if it were just "cut some stuff out". And I have relatives who, no matter how hard they try, are simply never going to dig out. Granted, a few of them are just making mistakes that keep them there and they're not going to hear about it otherwise; but I could've easily made mistakes that others could've seen long coming. I probably DID make them and just lucked out that they didn't impact me so badly that I couldn't get back up... kwim? And there's where I feel luck has shined on us... because I definitely see things we did that could've completely backfired.

I feel like the whole world makes it a black and white thing. Either you've "got it" or you don't... kwim? I think that it makes some people who (given great effort) COULD make it a sense of despair--that it's not possible. And they don't even try.

I'm rambling. Sorry...

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#24 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 04:49 PM
 
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For us yes.

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#25 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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Given my earing power, yes, I think it would be a luxury.
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#26 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But then I remind myself that if we were truly in poverty (like some 40% or more of America) then I would be home during the day while dh worked and then going off to work an 8 hour shift when he got home at night. And we would probably have one of us working during the weekends too. After all, that is what a lot of families in this country have to do in order to make ends even come close to meeting.
That is so very true. Thank you for bringing up that point, and putting some perspective on this issue.

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#27 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#28 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Reading these posts has been interesting. Thanks all!
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#29 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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Not a financial luxury, but a personal luxury.
I have a few friends that really want to stay home but just can't make it happen. We are poor, but I feel I am living a real dream. I feel very blessed that we were able to swing this.
I agree. My sister went to work when her newborn was 6 weeks and have to put him in daycareThey had just bought a brand new home and she could not afford to stay home and hated missing alot of his firsts that his teachers got. I'm glad we are fortunate enough that I don't have to work. Atleast not now, but I plan on it once our youngest is in school.

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#30 of 185 Old 05-02-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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In my case it's the same as other posters, I would never make enough to pay for daycare anyway so it's not like we have the choice, but yes we have small cars, a tiny house... I'm sure lots of couples could afford to have someone stay at home, but they have bigger houses, fancy mini vans, big TVs... so no, I don't think it's a luxury, but in most cases, a choice.
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