Am I setting a bad example? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 22 Old 02-19-2002, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
Nankay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am a college educated SAHM of 2--one girl and one boy. I always knew I would stay at home and have done so gladly. Now that my daughter is older (nearly 7) I worry what kind of message I'm sending. I have the education and yet I'm not using it. As the woman of the house, I do all the cooking, cleaning, childcare etc. Am I setting the example I want to for my daughter AND son--that of the traditional housewife? What sort of expectations am I setting up for my son and his wife? The woman does all the cooking and cleaning? I don't want to sound bitter..I'm not. I just don't like being the type of female role model I seem to be. To present a fair "balance" I take my children to a female pediatrician and dentist. Even our veternarian is a woman. Grrr...this is sounding all muddled! Does anyone have any thoughts?:

(Just edited the title so it would be more clear for the archives - Sierra)
Nankay is offline  
#2 of 22 Old 02-19-2002, 07:33 PM
 
sleepies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: illinois
Posts: 2,302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i understand your question.

i would be sure you discuss with her that you stay home, but you could work. point out the wonderful exciting things about working and the wonderful exciting things about staying home.

let her know there are options and she can do whatever she wants in life! let her see the great things she can become!

and also the great things you are.
sleepies is offline  
#3 of 22 Old 02-19-2002, 07:51 PM
 
Elphaba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,482
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There's lots of us in the same boat!
First, who says you aren't using your education? College shouldn't be looked at as a job training center. College is for expanding your mind, broadening your horizons, etc. Your children benefit from having an educated mother. Just because you aren't doing paid work in your degree field, doesn't mean you are wasting your education. That line of reasoning was used to keep us out of colleges, heck, out of schools period. You are using your mind to care for your kids, to protect them, to provide for their best interests. What greater use for your talents is there than your family? Your children can see firsthand that you choose to focus your gifts on them, and not an employer. It's not a situation where you have been denied opportunnites and so are stuck with being "just" a wife and mother. You freely chose this path.
As long as the children see that mommy and daddy respect each other, and no one is doing something BECAUSE they are male or female, it'll be alright.
Elphaba is offline  
#4 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 01:33 AM
 
Jish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: in a constant state of chaos
Posts: 5,264
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When you start to feel this way, ask yourself this question. Would you rather your children remember all the times you were late to dinner, or missed dinner altogether because you were busy at work. Or would you rather your children remember you fixing a homecooked meal with a smile on your face because you are doing your dream job -- raising your family. Your children wouldn't remember all the time that you spent at work to try to get them more "things," but they are sure to remember all the special moments that you missed because you were at work. Even if it was something as simple as one of your children earning 100% on their spelling test and wanting to come home to your loving arms and tell you.

If you are concerned with your children seeing you as a housewife (a term that I loath, and resent when my dh puts that as my employment on our taxes) ask you dh to do the occasional load of laundry, and to cook once or twice a week. I do think that it would set a good example, especially for your son. Besides, raising your children is job enough WITHOUT all the housework. My dh is great about pitching in around the house. There is nothing that I can't do that he can't do nearly as well (okay, except cleaning the bathrooms ) He actually prefers to do the laundry.

My mom stayed home with us and "did it all" so to speak. When we started school she took on a number of jobs over the years that allowed her to be with us when we got home from school, or very nearly thereafter. All my opinions of her "sacrifices" for us are positive. I am glad that I had such a great roll model who enjoyed her responsibilities of raising her children. It is probably because of her that I stay home with my own children.

Someday I will re-enter the working world (do I have to???) and there will be plenty of time for my kids to see me as the wonderful, responsible working mother. Of course, teaching will allow me to keep hours somewhat like my kids and to still be there for them.

Cut yourself some slack. You have the best job in the world.
Jish is offline  
#5 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 02:21 AM
 
Lisashepp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Mountain Home, ID
Posts: 486
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it says a lot to your daughter that education is still important even though you chose to stay at home to do a very important job-- rasing children.

I don't think that putting your children in front of your career is a bad example at all, on the contrary I think it is a very good message.
Lisashepp is offline  
#6 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 12:40 PM
 
leafylady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Southeastern Illinois
Posts: 1,965
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Do you also manage the household money, budget, pay bills, organize and/or file the taxes, design a nutritious and cost effective meal plan each week, do basic doctoring for most simple family illnesses, teach character/moral values, and provide psychological counseling to your kids and partner? Are you the family's computer or techno guru? Do you do any creative work or crafting? Do you tend a garden? Do you read and research when you want to learn something new or improve an existing skill?
You might want to let your children see how all of these processes work. You may have it down to an almost intuitive routine, but in truth, these skills are very important and not easily learned. You use them in the home at this point in your life. They are also valuable in the professional world.
You should let your kids know that you are highly educated, highly skilled, home professional. Let them know how you got that way- what you learned from your own family, what you learned in school and college, etc... Explain the processes as you do them, especially the organizational thought behind the processes.
leafylady is offline  
#7 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 01:20 PM
 
daylily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Virginia
Posts: 4,053
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My own mom was a SAHM and a feminst. No way did I learn from her that women belong in the home. She was quite active with social causes while being a SAHM. She started a grass roots organization to save our town's library when it was going to be closed and I remember having to go door to door with her while she canvassed for her favorite local liberal politicians. She went back to work when I was 10, and it was hard for her, starting as a lowly secretary for a realtor and working her way up to being the administrator for a law firm.

I worry about the same thing, Nankay. I especially don't want my sons to learn that women exist to clean up after them. I wish that SAHMs got the same respect that career women do. Have you ever met someone at a party and told them you were a SAHM? When this happens to me, they flee from me to find someone more interesting to talk to.
daylily is offline  
#8 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
Nankay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
daylily...LOL!! I know what you mean about the conversation dying. When I managed a bookstore all sorts of folks would talk to me..about books, censorship, small business..etc. Now..I'm lucky if i get, "Oh you're really lucky you can stay at home." and then they go. Helllllllloooo!!!! I still read books! LOL and, by the way "LUCK" had NOTHING to do with me staying home.

I am trying hard not to raise my son to the level of 'learned helplessness' that my hubby has. His mom did EVERYHTHING for him (and his dad and sis) joyfully. As a result, he has/had no clue how to run a washer, sew on a button, or scramble an egg.
Nankay is offline  
#9 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 03:00 PM
 
kama'aina mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Watching Top Chef, eating Top Ramen
Posts: 21,139
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I struggle with this too. My daughter is only 18 months, so there is still lots of time, of course. Some of the things that my husband and I do already include talking a lot about what we are doing and why. We make a point of him doing some housework pretty regularly so she doesn't see that as strictly my realm. We talk aloud, to her and to each other about how we both take care of the house because we both want it to be nice. We will discuss extra burdens the other is carrying to explain why the housework load may be shifting (or foundering!), ie "Mama worked so hard in the garden today, we are going to be quiet while she takes a nap, and we will get dinner started, too", or "Daddy had to go in to work on Saturday, so we will rake the yard while he is gone... that way we can all go to the park when he gets home."

Now here's one for you... the person I commiserate with about this the most is a man I know from college who is in almost the same boat. His SO works a lot of hours and brings home most of the money. He has a small business he runs mostly in the summer and he has primary care for their 2 y/o son and her 7 y/o daughter. We remind each other often that we stepped off the path of measuring our success by $ and other societal standards long before we had kids, now we just have to share our values with them!
kama'aina mama is offline  
#10 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 03:25 PM
 
Linda in Arizona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Posts: 619
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I hope that when my girls are grown they choose to make parenting a priority. I feel that I am setting a great example by being a stay at home mom.

I went to college and grad school. I had a great career. I was president of my professional society and I've traveled all over the world. But there isn't anything that I would rather do that curl up with a good book with my kids, or play with them at the park.

If this is such a great life for us and for our kids while they are little, why would it be a horrid thing for our kids to choose when they are raising our grandbabies?

I think it would be great if my kids choose a similar path to mine -- doing all the very fun things first and then focusing on their kids when the time it right. They know that we are saving money for them to go to university and they know a few professional women. I want to start taking them to women university sports, too, so that they see that girls can do ANYTHING they want.

(I don't have any boys so I don't have to deal with that one)
Linda in Arizona is offline  
#11 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 04:22 PM
 
CatDeliaS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Delmarva area
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is a very interesting topic...thanks for posting it! I, too, have a daughter and a son, and am concerned about their views on the roles of men and women. I am not "working" full-time right now, so that I can be home with my children each day. If "mom" can carve out some space in her life for her own interests, she is less at risk of being viewed in only "one way". I believe it is in the best interest of my children for them to see that I have other pursuits besides loving them. (which I do!) I have found a number of ways to strike this balance in my life...For me, writing is an outlet that I have pursued through various workshops, which I now facilitate on a flexible "part-time" basis. Whatever it is that mom enjoys, she should try to define that space. My mother raised four children full-time, and though she did an amazing job with us, I have often worried about her as an adult b/c she seems lost (in many ways) now that we have grown. I don't ever want my children to have those fears for me. I feel so fortunate to have the chance to "mother" these two that I am not willing to be away from them on a full-time basis. But, by rediscovering oneself through art, writing, music, sculpture, or WHATEVER interests lie latent w/in, children are really given a great opportunity to see people as the complex creatures they are! Besides, someday my children will be grown and on adventures of their own...
CatDeliaS is offline  
#12 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 06:44 PM
 
Teresa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 591
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Linda in Arizona
I hope that when my girls are grown they choose to make parenting a priority. I feel that I am setting a great example by being a stay at home mom.

I went to college and grad school. I had a great career. I was president of my professional society and I've traveled all over the world. But there isn't anything that I would rather do that curl up with a good book with my kids, or play with them at the park.

If this is such a great life for us and for our kids while they are little, why would it be a horrid thing for our kids to choose when they are raising our grandbabies?

I think it would be great if my kids choose a similar path to mine -- doing all the very fun things first and then focusing on their kids when the time it right. They know that we are saving money for them to go to university and they know a few professional women. I want to start taking them to women university sports, too, so that they see that girls can do ANYTHING they want.

Well said! Although I consider myself a Full-Time Parent (not just a stay at home mother). We took the same approach--working and playing (just the two of us) for quite a while so that we could have the lifestyle that we do! Our education and work history make it possible for me to be a FT parent and for DH to have the wonderful, flexible mostly self-determined work schedule that he does!
More soon. . . gotta go!
T.
Teresa is offline  
#13 of 22 Old 02-20-2002, 11:28 PM
 
Linda in Arizona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Posts: 619
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by CatDeliaS
But, by rediscovering oneself through art, writing, music, sculpture, or WHATEVER interests lie latent w/in, children are really given a great opportunity to see people as the complex creatures they are! Besides, someday my children will be grown and on adventures of their own...
I'm reaching that stage now that my youngest is nearly 4. The reality of APing 2 closely spaced children was that there wasn't much time for me for several years. And babies don't give a hoot about us as complex people, they just want to nurse

I don't have any regrets for putting my interests on hold for those years, but I do think it is the right time for me to be moving toward a more balanced life. It is easier now because they are old enough to play on their own for a while I do something else AND they are old enough to do really cool things with me, like go to museums, go hiking etc. I'm really liking being able to share some of my passions with my kids.
Linda in Arizona is offline  
#14 of 22 Old 02-21-2002, 01:57 AM
 
Mommy22B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Colorado
Posts: 262
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
WHat is so wrong with being a "traditional housewife"? I know in myheart that the best thing we can do for our children is to be there for them and raise them. And one of the most wonderful things we can do for our family as a whole is to keep the place we live clean and organized and to prepare good food to eat. Why is this seen as a shameful thing in this society? I will be so very proud of my daughters if they choose to stay home and raise their children and care for their home, and proud of my boys, if I ever have any, should they marry a woman who does these things and support her in that. I think I am setting a fine example of a strong woman to my girls. I know what is impoprtant in my life and what is not and I focus on the important. Money is not that important to us so we don't focus on getting much, and i hope my girls are raised to feel that money isn't important, that love and family are what really matter. Even education isn't important when compared to family.
anyway, I am just confused when I see women who are SAHM's and worried about setting a bad example for their daughters. Its like they have guilt and think that they are doing a bad thing. If you are unsure about what you are doing your children will pick up on that. If you are sure than they will know that too.
Mommy22B is offline  
#15 of 22 Old 02-21-2002, 02:18 AM
 
Maribel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 649
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I work full-time, not by choice. What example am I setting? Mornings suck because we're always rushing through breakfast, I never have dinner ready at a decent hour, my house is a mess, the laundry is always piled high, I rush through dinner so that I can squeeze in a story before my DD has to go to bed. Then, we wake up the next morning and start all over again. You sound like a dam good mother right about now in comparison to me.

Bottom line, we're all doing our best. We may always doubt some things we do, but all in all, it's always with our children's best interest in mind. So pat yourself in the back once in a while....you're doing great.
Maribel is offline  
#16 of 22 Old 02-21-2002, 04:01 AM
 
Alexander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Just moved to Framingham, MA
Posts: 1,547
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Nankay
I have the education and yet I'm not using it. As the woman of the house, I do all the cooking, cleaning, childcare etc. Am I setting the example I want to for my daughter AND son--that of the traditional housewife?
Do you show your children that you love them. Do you show generosity, sympathy, charity?

Where you are doing right has less import than that you are doing right.

Your children, when solid in spirit, upright and selfassured will become what they should become.

a

The anti-Ezzo king
Alexander is offline  
#17 of 22 Old 02-23-2002, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
Nankay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"...anyway, I am just confused when I see women who are SAHM's and worried about setting a bad example for their daughters. Its like they have guilt and think that they are doing a bad thing. If you are unsure about what you are doing your children will pick up on that. If you are sure than they will know that too."



But that is precisely my point...I AM unsure about what I am doing! Yeah yeah..I know FAMILY is more important than anything..of course...but I feel odd pushing for education, stressing how as a woman with an education you can do ANYTHING-- and yet, I am doing nothing with mine. I know I will offend many here, and I'm sorry, but I feel Nothing I do at home--from cooking to paying bills, to laundry, requires much in the way of higher thinking.
I have begun to read the book Sequencing"-- and that may help. It stresses a woman "can have it all", but just not all at one time. Raise the kids, THEN go out into the world..etc. I've just started so I can't go more into detail.
Nankay is offline  
#18 of 22 Old 02-23-2002, 05:11 PM
 
daylily's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Virginia
Posts: 4,053
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You certainly are not offending me, Nankay. I feel like I'm spending the best years of my life scrubbing floors for people. I'm a SAHM because I believe that my children are better off when cared for by a parent, and more importantly, because I couldn't bear to be away from them for 8 hours a day. At the moment, I'm using my education to help my children become better educated. (I'm not homeschooling, but I feel that I enrich their educations by telling them about different things and by encouraging study in various subjects that interest them, etc.)

Among the mothers of my aquaintance: a couple of doctors, several university professors, 2 architects, 2 nurse pratitioners, a lawyer, a nutritionist, a Yale graduate who is a successful writer, one who's finishing her doctoral dissertation,and a physicist, for God's sake. Most of these women aren't friends, just the mothers of my children's friends. I feel like they look down on me for being a SAHM. In a way, I can't blame them. While the physicist is doing whatever it is that physicists do, I'm crawling around on my hands and knees looking for all the pieces to Mr. Potato Head.
daylily is offline  
#19 of 22 Old 02-24-2002, 12:32 AM
 
Profmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have enjoyed reading all of these posts -- this is a subject that interests me very much. It is a given that all of us here are seeking to do what is best for our children. I am and always have been a 24-hour parent, along with my husband who is also a 24-hour parent. My children are my top priority, but not my only priority. I have chosen to pursue my academic career while raising my children, moving from being at home with the babies to working part time, to working full time. This has meant careful orchestration between my husband and me -- our children (6 and 8) come home from school every day to a parent. Our life is full and busy, as well as happy and organized (usually!!) too. This is a balance that seems to work for all of us. I guess I get feeling defensive when I read that one way is "best" when "best" for one family isn't "best" for all of us. This probably isn't the most neutral way for me (a devoted lurker here) to introduce myself to the group, but there it is!
Profmom is offline  
#20 of 22 Old 02-24-2002, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
Nankay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
daylily, you crack me up!

profmom...welcome! You sound like you DO have it all..and boy am I jealous!!! LOL
Nankay is offline  
#21 of 22 Old 02-24-2002, 12:52 AM
 
Profmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Posts: 104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for the welcome -- I really enjoy reading these bulletin boards but have never really had the nerve to join in! It seems like such a nice and supportive community!

I hope I didn't give the impression that we "have it all" -- I just wanted to add my voice to the conversation! I *hope* that the message I am sending to my kids is that I love them totally and fiercely, AND that I love being an historian. One of the really great things about being a prof is that we have very flexible hours and can work at home as long as we are not in class. We also live 5 minutes from campus. We are really super lucky logistically. And also really tired!
Profmom is offline  
#22 of 22 Old 02-25-2002, 01:05 PM
 
fishy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Nankay
I am a college educated SAHM of 2--one girl and one boy. I always knew I would stay at home and have done so gladly. Now that my daughter is older (nearly 7) I worry what kind of message I'm sending.
i think you are sending the most improtant message! you are letting her know that she is the most important job there is and that nothing is more important than helping her become a woman.

i think its a sad day when mothers have to feel bad about 'not using their education'. raising children is the most important education. you are gaining education, not wasting it. and you are educating. the children are the future and deserve the world. and they certainly deserve your time.
fishy is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off