Can one be a happy and rested SAHM without a support system? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 55 Old 07-10-2008, 02:22 AM
 
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I have to say its hard to be a SAHM when you have no family around. I live several thousand miles away from my closest relative. Its a 14-24 hour journey on a plane to get to anyones house. My husband works between 10-15 hours a day M-F and some Saturdays and Sundays. He gets deployed several times a year for anywhere between a couple of weeks to two months. I don't have very many friends, the last time I was away from my daughter was for 10 minutes for a doctors appointment, she was in the waiting room with my husband.

I just do it. Honestly, theres nothing else I can do. Its harder now since Im 21 weeks pregnant and exhausted/sick all the time. I think with us we never had the support of family so I dont' know what that would be like. I visited my inlaws with my DD in May and it drove me nuts at times because there was too many people trying to "help". I enjoy being able to raise her without interference. Would it be nice to have someone to babysit? Yes.. I don't even know who is going to watch her when I have our new LO. However, Ive learned to adapt to being on my own.

Things I do to keep my sanity: (1) I keep in contact with my family online. I email pretty much daily, (2) My DH is wonderful when he is home. He is willing to do just about anything to help out and doesnt' complain, (3) I try to do somethings that I just love. During DD's nap time, instead of cleaning, I read or knit or sew or scrapbook etc. (4) We go to church every week, we go to the playground practically every day, we try to do family activities at least twice a month (zoo, garden, beach etc), I do have a friend or two who I will go over to their house and talk for a while (they just can't babysit because they are too busy) (5) I try to look at what I have instead of what I dont. I don't have a family who is nearby or even very supportive of my parenting but I do have a family. To me that alone is a blessing, I know a lot who can't say the same.

When the new baby comes I do plan of hiring a maid to come in a couple times during the first month and do a deep cleaning. Some of the young men from church have already volunteered to come mow the yard and hose down the porch. The ladys in the church I know will help cook meals for the first week or so. After the first month though I know Ill be back to being on my own and thats ok. By then I should have a routine to stick to.. and if not please let my husband NOT be deployed until I do.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#32 of 55 Old 07-10-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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I hope it starts to get a little easier.
When it's that difficult in the beginning it has nowhere to go but up. I have 2 cousins who are autistic. They have their own special set of challenges, but the special joys that they inspire from us are remarkable. I the raw truth that they exude, they really wake me up to the beauty of variety in this world. I guess I shouldn't generalize all autistic kids this way, but this is my experience with the 2 that I dearly!

I hope you find the support you need, nobody can do it alone!!

Editing to change to "I couldn't do it alone". I suppose some people could.

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#33 of 55 Old 07-10-2008, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When it's that difficult in the beginning it has nowhere to go but up. I have 2 cousins who are autistic. They have their own special set of challenges, but the special joys that they inspire from us are remarkable. I the raw truth that they exude, they really wake me up to the beauty of variety in this world. I guess I shouldn't generalize all autistic kids this way, but this is my experience with the 2 that I dearly!
Thank you so much for this.



That is one of the nicest and kindest things I've ever read.
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#34 of 55 Old 07-10-2008, 01:44 PM
 
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i have learned to cope with no support. i have no family nearby and really no friends so there is no one to help me out my husband is gone to work 7 out of 12 days so i am on my own a lot. thankfully the kids are now older so it has gotten easier but it certainly hasn't been easy.

i envy my friends who have parents that take their kids for a week so the parents can have a break.

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#35 of 55 Old 07-10-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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Well, it can be done without a support system, but I wouldn't want to do it that way.

I'm a homeschooling mom of four who also does childcare from home. Between homeschooling and having almost a dozen kids around most days, I want help.

I have a ten year old boy who comes and cleans once a week. His mom has him taught well and I only have to pay him $8 an hour.

I make sure to have another mom over for tea and pie once a week. The kids hang out and I get to talk to an adult.

We have a friend who goes with us on homeschooling field trips and helps with the mob.

I have a mother's helper (15) that I call as needed.

Dh's mom comes over every two or three weeks.

My parents babysit for us once or twice a month.

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#36 of 55 Old 07-10-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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Is a support system vital to your happiness, vitality, and efficiency of being a SAHM? Do you have a support system that keeps fatigue and burn out at bay? What does your support system look like?

Spouse? Parents/grandparents? Aunts/Uncles? Friends? Hired help?

I'm curious to know because I find that play groups aren't enough of a support system for me. I feel tired and worn out, and while I do get a break away and alone time a few hours a week, it doesn't seem to be enough anymore (selfish, I don't know? unrealistic I don't know?).

Many of the people in the playgroups I go to seem to rely on grandparents and other relatives, but mostly on grandparents for a lot.

We don't have this as a resource at all on one side, and on the other side it's limited. Could you or do you do it without grandparents? How?

I'm feeling like I need to hire someone, but then I feel silly because the reason I quit my job and became a SAHM was so I could be the one to do all of this. I have friends (wonderful and caring friends) but they have their own families, jobs, etc so it's not really the same level as extended family.

I feel like I'm raising a child without my village. Does it really take a village to raise children?

Rested? No. But content and a loving mother? YEs.

I speak from experience.
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#37 of 55 Old 07-10-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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My dd has behavior challenges and if I didn't get a break from her I would loose my mind. During the school year I teach one day a week and her and my ds go to a great daycare. During the summer I have a mother's helper a few hours a week.

All of my family here also have kids(even my mom), but they do what they can. My mom is watching my kids for our anniversary coming up. They'll be spending the night there. I love having my family's support, and I feel a great deal of sympathy for anyone who doesn't have that.
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#38 of 55 Old 07-11-2008, 12:46 AM
 
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I was in a training class once where we discussed how support sytems are like stools, with the supports represented by the legs. It makes it much easier to sit on your stool if you have three legs or more.

My stool legs include DH (amazing man who does housework AND plays with the kids!), paid childcare (my sister, my friend, and my occasional mother's helper teen), and our little schedule of activities--it brings a rhythm to our day/week when we have a plan to follow. Other legs include friends I see maybe once a month, my volunteer work (200 hours per year), and my exercise.

It has taken a long time for me to find this rhythm. The first years I was home were okay, but I was isolated. I expected to be more connected with my family, but they were all busy busy busy at work and doing other things. I have some friends, but they aren't close confidants, we are just acquaintances who get our kids together to play. I find it very difficult to connect with a person while I am trying to supervise my children.

I feel now like I am living in another dimension because everything is so different than it was when I worked. Time feels different and there is a sense of urgency that is gone. Sometimes I feel energized and live 'in the moment', other times I feel dragged down by the lack of momentum.

FWIW, I had a pretty sucky support system before I got married. I knew I needed to work on it, and I tried, but I think personality plays into what kind of support system you need, and how easy it is for you to create one. The more social and willing to ask for help that you are, the easier your task. If you are introverted and have trust issues and poor connecting skills, your task is more difficult, especially when compounded by the constant distraction of your kids.
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#39 of 55 Old 07-11-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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To answer your question--No, a sahm cannot be happy and rested without a support system. I don't know how any woman can mother without some kind of support.

My parents live 5 minutes away. If I didn't have them, I don't know what I would do. I rely on them for alot, and I am not afraid to ask for help.

I also have a mothers helper. She comes twice a week, and takes the kids to the playground for a couple hours, or simply keeps them occupied while I catch up on laundry, or do any one of the neverending tasks required to maintain our household.

I hire a cleaning service every 2 weeks to do the major stuff (scrub floors, scrub bathroom, dusting) so that I have more time to spend with the kids.

It ABSOLUTELY takes a village.

WOW you are VERY blessed! I would give my left toe to have even one of those things lol
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#40 of 55 Old 07-11-2008, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was in a training class once where we discussed how support sytems are like stools, with the supports represented by the legs. It makes it much easier to sit on your stool if you have three legs or more.
That is a really good analogy.

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#41 of 55 Old 07-11-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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That is NICE..I keep bumping into you on different boards. You seem to be my soulmate, we have a lot in common...wow.

No, one cannot be happy without support. I have been suffering without support for 4 years. I am looking forward to school starting in August..I was going to homeschool, but for my sanity I cannot do it. My son is also special needs, he has PDD. One week after he was born, my hubby went back to work and worked nightshift. I lived 4000 miles away from anyone I knew and my hubby worked all night and slept all day. I developed PPD severely, it was in dead winter in England so you can imagine. I was so down and out. My hubby is a jerk and does not do anything but work, he had changed maybe 5 diapers in his life, he never feed ds, never puts him to bed, brushes his teeth, nothing. I have not had a moment to myself in over 4 years. I have had no life, cannot do anythign I want to do on my own, and cannot wait for ds to start prek. I will be alone for 6 hours a day. Sigh. Of relief. Dh talked about another baby and I said over my dead body I am not going through this again. Ever. ((HUGS)) I have no advice. I didnt mean to hijack, just wanted you to know..you are not alone.

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#42 of 55 Old 07-11-2008, 07:15 PM
 
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well i'm sinking here with no support. and its not really the SUPPORT that i feel is sinking me, its ME not being a person....

i can handle and love being a SAHM, we will be ttc in nov and would like to have more. BUT i am realizing that i just need to find myself although i haven't a clue how to do it.

i don't have support either. dh works alot and wonky schedule at that. my mom and sister, and FIL are our ONLY family..literally. my mom "moved" here on/off for the last 6 months...she may be leaving again. thats the only support we've had in the last 4- years. other than its been dh and me. mostly me. i get out to a moms night maybe every other month on average but its not that again. i find i want to be a person again.

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#43 of 55 Old 07-12-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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Wow. I can't believe how many of us are buckling under the weight of the responsibility of our lives. Add me to the list. It speaks to our culture of isolation. We need our tribes!
I've read many shades of my own story in this thread. High needs child, was planning to homeschool but don't know if I can handle it which devastates me because its VERY important, financial problems, ppd, health issues, mother semi close but works full time etc and so on...
I wish we could be each other's tribe IRL.
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#44 of 55 Old 07-12-2008, 10:09 PM
 
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Well, I feel oh so lucky with a VERY participatory DH who gets pulled away by his neverending job as a farmer...
tired, super isolated mother here in the high desert boonies trying to figure out how the pioneer women did it in the old days. And by did it I mean not go totally insane being alone with children all the time. I hear that if you are happy alone you are happy all the time. But I still find myself lonely for friends and companions. And honestly, grocery stores. and bars. and coffee shops/ stop signs/ decent schools/ newspapers/ library/ punkrock kids/ diversity...and everything else.
I really hope AF comes soon cause I sound down and out, overly emotional and a little nostalgic.
Oh yeah. About that village... got to give a shout out to my incredible and wonderful daughter- 11.5 - cause her and DH are my village: and damn if they ain't good lookin'!!!
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#45 of 55 Old 07-13-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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Well for me, I wish all I had to do was take care of my kids - dh and I are freaking taking care of the village! MIL lives with us and she has mental & physical health problems. I don't trust her around my kids so I have to follow my 2 year old wherever she goes to make sure any interaction w/MIL is supervised. My sis lives with us but while she said she loved the idea of living out here so she could work & save for getting a place of her own and giving me a hand with the house/kids - the reality is that the extent of her help has been to hold a baby while dh and I shovel dinner down our throats, or I run around trying to do five chores in fifteen minutes or less. And they make a lot more work for us. We have to do all sorts of special grocery shopping for MIL because she refuses to eat normal food, and she needs prescriptions filled and picked up for her three times a month, plus she can't be trusted with her medications so I have to dole them out to her every day, she makes a mess in the sink every night after it gets cleaned so I get to wake up to crusty crap and plates in the sink each morning. My sister also leaves her dishes around, leaves laundry in the washer and dryer when I need it for diapers, and offers to do things and then never does them so I wait around with a mess until I finally do it myself.

And to top it off, we had to buy this huge house to accommodate our family size (FIL was supposed to live with us too but he passed away unexpectedly while we were having it built) so dh has to commute farther to work so he's only home for 2 hours before bedtime and has to leave earlier in the morning, there is more to clean and it costs us more to run the house. It SUCKS. I want to kick everyone out and move back to our little house where we were before and have it "just" be me and dh and the babies. It would be like a vacation.

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#46 of 55 Old 07-13-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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Well, I feel oh so lucky with a VERY participatory DH who gets pulled away by his neverending job as a farmer...
tired, super isolated mother here in the high desert boonies trying to figure out how the pioneer women did it in the old days. And by did it I mean not go totally insane being alone with children all the time.
Many of them didn't make it through sane. There's a novel about someone who used to cart the women who totally buckled back to the East... I think settlements worked best when a whole community moved together, but the individual families out in the wilderness on their own really had a tough time. Remember how much Ma craved being close to a town in the Little House books? She did it, but you've got to wonder how happy she was, especially considering all the times Pa nearly didn't make it home after getting caught in a snowstorm or what have you.

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#47 of 55 Old 07-13-2008, 02:33 PM
 
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I do just fine without a support system, but I do realize this isn't normal at all. Seems to just be how all the women in my family are.

I hope you get something figured out so you can be well rested and have enough time to yourself. I remember when I was working full time I felt stretched so thin and it's such a crappy feeling!
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#48 of 55 Old 07-13-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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tired, super isolated mother here in the high desert boonies trying to figure out how the pioneer women did it in the old days. And by did it I mean not go totally insane being alone with children all the time. I hear that if you are happy alone you are happy all the time. But I still find myself lonely for friends and companions. And honestly, grocery stores. and bars. and coffee shops/ stop signs/ decent schools/ newspapers/ library/ punkrock kids/ diversity...and everything else.
Remember that the mortality rate of the solo pioneer families was incredibly high. In the solo homesteading families (those who got grants of land) something like 40% of the families never lived through a single winter. I can't remember the exact number but it was amazingly high.

We humans really do need a village.
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#49 of 55 Old 07-13-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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No. Almost everyone needs a support system. Even those who do really well on their own need usually need *someone* to offer emotional support, conversation, etc if nothing else. Like everything else in life it totally depends on you, your family & your circumstances.

I actually have pretty good support. DH works 4 day weeks. We live next door to my Mom. My best friend is a busy WOHM of 2, but we still manage to keep in touch via email & phone calls multiple times a week. I'm developing a good friendship with another SAHM from DD1's dance class. I work very PT as a BF Peer Counselor at WIC (DH watchs the kids on the weekday he's off while I go into the office). My IL's take DD1 for a few days at a time once or twice a year (they live 4 hrs away). I'm even in the process of getting a teenage girl who lives around the corner from us to watch the girls. First as a mother's helper while I'm home & eventually by herself so I can occasionally work an extra shift or DH & I can go out without having to ask my Mom to watch them.

Honestly, with all that there are still days where I feel like it's not enough!

Please hire yourself some help & don't waste a minute feeling guilty about it. ESPECIALLY having a special needs child. We're very blessed that we actually have two fairly laid back kids & they *still* run me ragged most days. I can't even imagine doing it all with high needs kiddos by myself! You deserve to have some time too. Burning yourself out isn't going to benefit anyone in the long run.
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#50 of 55 Old 07-14-2008, 07:31 PM
 
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Yes.

I'm a sahm to two daughters (2.5 and 3 months). We have no family nearby (luckily) and I don't really have any friends (I can't really be bothered with friends). I do have my husband though so I guess that counts as support.

I'm pretty damn happy and rested. I could be happy if we lived in the middle of nowhere and had no contact with the rest of civilization.
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#51 of 55 Old 07-14-2008, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Many of them didn't make it through sane. There's a novel about someone who used to cart the women who totally buckled back to the East... I think settlements worked best when a whole community moved together, but the individual families out in the wilderness on their own really had a tough time. Remember how much Ma craved being close to a town in the Little House books? She did it, but you've got to wonder how happy she was, especially considering all the times Pa nearly didn't make it home after getting caught in a snowstorm or what have you.
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Remember that the mortality rate of the solo pioneer families was incredibly high. In the solo homesteading families (those who got grants of land) something like 40% of the families never lived through a single winter. I can't remember the exact number but it was amazingly high.

We humans really do need a village.
:

Great point, Azuralea! When I read and re-read the Little House series, I always felt there was an expression on Ma's part that she didn't want to travel further and further out west. She did say numerous times she wished they lived closer to town, and to church, and to school. I think the concept of a village was very important to Ma.

It was the pioneering spirit of Pa that moved the family. Ma went along with it because she loved him, and loved her family. Given the cultural norms of that time, she did what she had to do, and did it well.

As an adult, I've read a few historical accounts of what the Ingalls family actually did and said, not just through Laura's perspective in the children's series. Historians agreed that Ma would have been happy settling closer to their family and staying put.

And the points about Pioneer women not doing well without a village are very accurate, I believe. Yes, they were spunky women who went through a lot and toiled and had it much, much harder than us modern women today.

But consider the life expectancy, all the ailments, etc.

I think a village is very important to balance and happiness.
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#52 of 55 Old 07-14-2008, 09:32 PM
 
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And the points about Pioneer women not doing well without a village are very accurate, I believe. Yes, they were spunky women who went through a lot and toiled and had it much, much harder than us modern women today.

But consider the life expectancy, all the ailments, etc.

I think a village is very important to balance and happiness.
I believe they all died before 40.

I know a lot of my problems stem from not having a support system.

If you have the means to hire one, do it.

Minor threadjack, I was all excited about my inlaws coming to live here, until I was trapped in a car the other day with my MIL driving, and she refused to turn at the street that would take us to my house so I could be dropped off while I had a pounding migraine. She insisted on taking me 4 miles out of my way twice because 'that's the way I know.'

Dh is trapped in a car with her today. I won't be going anywhere with her again unless I'm driving.

I gotta go buy me a support system.

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#53 of 55 Old 07-15-2008, 12:21 AM
 
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i guess i will point out that while i am struggling my mother didn't seem to. she raised me and my sis by herself. our father was suppoed to take us every other weekend but that only happened 1x a month or so and he lived 3+ hrs away for the most part. after about age 9 or so it was basically just her and a few live in BF's that helped. no family (all arses), no friends, no loved ones. shes going a little bonkers now but maybe she was always that way and i just never noticed so it can be done....
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#54 of 55 Old 07-15-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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i guess i will point out that while i am struggling my mother didn't seem to. she raised me and my sis by herself. our father was suppoed to take us every other weekend but that only happened 1x a month or so and he lived 3+ hrs away for the most part. after about age 9 or so it was basically just her and a few live in BF's that helped. no family (all arses), no friends, no loved ones. shes going a little bonkers now but maybe she was always that way and i just never noticed so it can be done....
Yeah, well most mothers probably try to keep that sort of stuff from their kids. It's not surprising that you wouldn't have noticed.
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#55 of 55 Old 07-15-2008, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, well most mothers probably try to keep that sort of stuff from their kids. It's not surprising that you wouldn't have noticed.
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I think most moms (parents) try to shelter their children from the harsh realities. To some extent, I think that is good parenting. You should teach your children, but not stress your children.
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