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#1 of 21 Old 06-30-2010, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi wise mamas,

I'm in a pickle - I'd made up my mind to stay home another year with DS1 (almost 4) and DS2 (8 mos.). I just got a call from a great school in the area - I had been on a waiting list there for 3 years... so I wasn't holding my breath. Turns out they have a full-time preschool spot for DS1 come September, with 80% subsidy, as well as a spot for DS2 (siblings get to jump the queue). That means that my financial argument for wanting to stay home no longer holds any water; the cost of full-time care for both kids would be very affordable. I love my job, but I love being home as well. Taking this spot also means that DS1 (and DS2) gets to go to that school for the next 12 years - they have a great reputation and it's quite hard to get in. I asked DS1 if he wanted to go, and he went to get his backpack ready right now. I hate, hate, hate, hate the idea of having someone else raise my children (no matter what their credentials...) - I guess I should flat out say that I dislike the idea of childcare, and we can afford to live on one salary (albeit with some cuts). So wwyd?

Mommy to The Boy (August 2006) and Another Boy (November 2009)
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#2 of 21 Old 06-30-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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Can you send DS1 now but wait a year to send DS2? When you say "full day" do you mean until 3 (normal school day) or until 6 or later (work day)? Can you pick up early regularly/on occasion?

For me, it would be an easy choice to send the older kid for a full school day, provided I liked the teachers and the curriculum. Group care for a baby makes me more nervous, but wouldn't be the end of the world -- you would still be raising your child and making all the important decisions and you would still be number 1 in his world.

Sarah, mama to Miriam 9/26/2006 and Isaac 2/12/2010
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#3 of 21 Old 07-01-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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. I hate, hate, hate, hate the idea of having someone else raise my children (no matter what their credentials...) - I guess I should flat out say that I dislike the idea of childcare, and we can afford to live on one salary (albeit with some cuts). So wwyd?
Our kids are 4.5 and 22 months. We will be homeschooling them. (Actually, I guess you can say I am already homeschooling them as our activities now reflect what our activities will be during typical school age years, they're just age appropriate.)

The first 3 years of life are so important for brain development. Kids that age do best when they have one to three consistent caregivers. You and your husband are caregivers one and two. I doubt if your baby will only have one other caregiver if you put him in childcare at this age.

Since you can live on one income and you don't like the idea of someone else raising your child, have you considered homeschooling? The first argument people have against homeschooling is usually socialization. The irony being homeschooled kids are typically better socialized than schooled kids. Here's an article: http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html

We're getting by on one income. Our life isn't as luxurious as when we had two incomes. However, I am home with my kids. I am the one who is teaching them. All those great experiences that schooled kids don't get to share with their parents my kids get to share with me. When they are grown, I will get to look back at their childhoods and I won't have missed a minute of it. (And they will be better educated than most kids who go to school.)

Here is a fun video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIOogqa-5GA

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#4 of 21 Old 07-01-2010, 02:05 AM
 
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Visit the school. Picture your kids there, meet some of the parents. Having a school that you love for the next 12 years would be really lovely--the kids would have stable friends, etc. Affordable sounds good, too (would it just be for the preschool years, or all of school?)

Can you work 1/2 time? That sounds ideal! If you can work 1/2 and pick the kids up after school. My kids love that they don't have to go to aftercare.

If you were going to go back after another year, I would consider it. It sounds like you would be home with baby for another year, anyway, right? So if you can afford it, and your son wants to go, do it!

Home school isn't for everyone. And if you love the idea of a school community, and love this school, then don't delay. You can also pick your son up early--it is preschool, after all.

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#5 of 21 Old 07-01-2010, 10:09 AM
 
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I'd be tempted to see if you could send your older son, but hold off on a year or so before your send the younger-- and maybe then start out with having the younger there only half-time, if that's an option.
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#6 of 21 Old 07-01-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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I think a good school is important and you should take the spot, especially if you the schools around you are not very good. If you have a good public school system then I don't think the choice you make matters very much because they will get a good education no matter what choice you make. That kind of financial aid in a good school with such a long waiting list isn't something to pass on if you can help it. They may allow your youngest to hold off for a while. Once the older children are in many schools make giving a spot to the younger siblings a priority.
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#7 of 21 Old 07-01-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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I just want to say that day care and schooling (even in play schooling and pre schooling) are NOT child rearing. They aren't. The teachers and facilitators will not be "rasing" your kids. They will simply be keeping them safe in a fun social atmosphere until you get back from making sure your livelihood and your future career is maintained.

Now hopefully you will be blissfully partnered forever, but just to play Devil's Advocate what if you're not? What if something happens to your partner? What if you are out of the workforce for the next ten years and then something happens and you are left to fend for the family? Do you think you can just jump back into your field at the drop of a hat? Unlikely. Why do you have to be the only one making career sacrifices to make sure your kids stay out of daycare if that is something important to you and your husband? Why can't you BOTH take a step back from the careers and SPLIT the difference? Why can't you BOTH spend a little less time at work EACH and EACH take a pay cut to live on a little less, and still maintain the one parent in the home model you think would be best for your family? Why does it have to be YOUR responsibility to take the career blow that will follow you for the rest of your life and YES make no mistake will mark you as subservient and weak in the job force for the rest of your life? Why does it have to be YOU if you love your job, too? Why does the onus have to fall on entirely on you to put your goals as an individual to the side for the next five years until your littlest goes to public school, or longer? That's not really fair. For that matter why does your partner have to be the one giving up time with the kids to be the worker drone? Why can't HE/SHE be able to give up some hours at work and take over half the child care, eh? My husband would probably hate to spend all day at work while I got to stay home with the baby...hence why he prefers to work from home as much as possible. He'd eventually grow to resent me something awful if I expected him to do that.

I'm just putting that out there. There may be more than one way to skin this cat, KWIM?

And a good Pre-k - 12 is priceless. If you live in a good school district this might not make too much of a difference, but look at the universities their graduates attend. The rate of scholarships received by their students, the careers they tend to go on to.

As long as you're asking for opinions, I think you should go for it. I think only a parents can raise a child, everyone else just makes up a part of the social circle they grow up in. The question is how you want to raise them, do you want your son's to grow up thinking of you as a sucessful professional in your own right and an amazing mom who was full of self purpose and confidence, or as the kind of mom who put her own dreams last in life?

Now if your ultimate dream IS to be a stay-at-home-mom and take care of your home and family and your partner is behind that, then there's no discussion. That is a perfectly valid goal and life decision to be respected above and beyond the most influential careers, especially if done properly and withh all your heart and soul. The kids stay home and you follow your dream 110%, but if you think you have to make a sacrifice here...is that really fair? Didn't you carry them in your womb for 9 months each and nurse them through infancy? Is it also solely your responsibility to look after them throughout their childhoods as well, leaving your partner free to flourish in their career while yours atrophies before your eyes?

If it were me, I would grow to resent dh more and more everyday that passed and as I mentioned earlier he would resent me, too, and eventually it would no doubt eat away at our relationship to such a degree that my deepest fears would be no doubt become a reality leaving me to sing Alanis Morrisette in the shower as I prepared to go to my 9-5 minimum wage job to make up the difference in the child support checks, KWIM?

But it's just one point of view (heavily influenced by the high rate of stay-at-home-moms in my family who got dumped by their single income husbands about ten years into the children thing and who wound up having to play MAJOR catch up in the business field, some of whom are in their late fifties and still working minimum wage jobs because they never could afford to go back to school or work as hard as they needed to in order to excel.)

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#8 of 21 Old 07-01-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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YES make no mistake will mark you as subservient and weak in the job force for the rest of your life?

The question is how you want to raise them, do you want your son's to grow up thinking of you as a sucessful professional in your own right and an amazing mom who was full of self purpose and confidence, or as the kind of mom who put her own dreams last in life?

Is it also solely your responsibility to look after them throughout their childhoods as well, leaving your partner free to flourish in their career while yours atrophies before your eyes?
Wow, hakeber, I'm glad you put some qualifiers in your post because you put some heavy duty judgments in there.

Y'know some of us think the absolute most important, crucial thing we can do is raise our children. Some of us ENJOY raising our kids more than any career. Prior to giving birth I was laid off from the most awesome job I ever had. I was really bummed until my son was born. I am now so grateful that I was laid off because being a SAHM is so much more rewarding than ANY job I ever had (and I had a respected career for 22 years before my son was born.) And some of our husbands love our kids but don't want to stay home with them. They just don't enjoy one more verse of "Wheels on the bus." My husband often says, "I am so glad you do this for them because I couldn't."

Also, some of us do think that putting our kids in childcare and/or school is having other people raise our kids. Maybe you don't and I understand your argument, but I do feel that way. As a matter of fact, a teacher friend of mine stated, "I am letting other people raise my kids so I can raise other people's kids." It is a commonly held attitude.

By the way, no one would EVER consider me subservient. If that's how you think of SAHM, YOU need an attitude adjustment. This attitude of yours is belittling and only reinforces the patriarchal idea that the only valuable careers are those not related to raising children. You have joined the anti-women movement and probably aren't aware of it.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#9 of 21 Old 07-01-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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By the way, no one would EVER consider me subservient. If that's how you think of SAHM, YOU need an attitude adjustment. This attitude of yours is belittling and only reinforces the patriarchal idea that the only valuable careers are those not related to raising children. You have joined the anti-women movement and probably aren't aware of it.
I don't feel that way, HR executives do. I have heard it time and time again. Women are judged by the business world for staying at home and it is used as a reason not to hire them. I only report what I have heard across conferences tables while considering hiring women who have children and who stayed home with them for more than a basic maternity leave. It is NOT my point of view...not in the LEAST.

I swear to you I think being a stay at home parent is an amazing awesome thing to do. I for one could never do it. I'm just not cut out for it. That's why said if it IS your dream, go for it, but if you LOVE your job...I don't know why you'd give it up in light of an awesome solution such as the Op has been presented with.

Teachers don't raise children. I know, I am one. Teachers only add to what the parents or gaurdians already put there. I don't feed them, I don't put them to bed, I don't give them moral values or show them the meaning of love. I don't make them feel safe or kiss their knees when they scrape them. I don't celebrate their birthdays. I don't go to their recitals, or take photos of precious moments. I don't stay up with them and wipe their brow when they are sick or hold them when they have nightmares or spend sleepless nights worrying about their futures, or their present. That's not the teacher or day care provider's job, and it is just that for them...a JOB.

When you're a mom, your children are your heart. It's different, that's all. And I don't think anyone should HAVE to choose between following their career and feeling like they are raising their kids...If they love staying home then it's not even a choice, is it? But men in our society almost never feel pressured to make that choice, and for that matter often feel it's not a valid choice for them to make even if they want to which is EQUALLY unfair. That's all I was trying to say.

I have nothing but admiration for those who CHOOSE their path. I feel deep sadness for women who are forced to make choices they are not comfortable with and it happens all the time.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#10 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 03:58 AM
 
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Well put.

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#11 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Always an interesting discussion, for sure. I've been feeling so sick with making this decision that I've decided to stay home. I cannot part with DS2 yet, and DS1 can (hopefully) get another shot at that school next year. Both boys have to start at the same time in order to get the subsidy.

hakeber, you make some good points, although you assume some things that are simply not true, in my case at least. I don't love my job, even though it is a very respected one (one I studied 7 years at university for...) and DH cannot cut back on his work hours - his job requires him to work erratic hours and travel internationally quite a lot. He loves it, and I love the fact that he loves it, because he's a happy person. He is a great dad, and very involved, just not every day.
And in my work culture, women who have stayed home are actually quite valued - employers see them as dedicated and committed (and also unlikely to have another baby and thus be off again if they have already ''been there, done that''). So I have no qualms about what potential future employers will think. And I do have plenty of work opportunities, so finding work when I'm ready will not be a problem, and in the event that it is, we can survive.

Thanks all, this is immensely helpful.

Mommy to The Boy (August 2006) and Another Boy (November 2009)
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#12 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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OP- I'm glad that you've made a decision that you feel good about. Sometimes it takes the 'perfect" opprotunity being presented to help us discover what we really value the most afterall. (I feel for you-- I recently interviewed for the "perfect" job after being home with dd for 4.5 years. I expected to be over the moon about getting back to my career, but instead all of the self-examination that took place helped me discover how much I still want to have one more child. Wil be working very part time to get my resume more current, but after feeling so conflicted am amazed at the sense of relief that has come from having this uncovered. Enjoy your babies!)
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#13 of 21 Old 07-02-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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Always an interesting discussion, for sure. I've been feeling so sick with making this decision that I've decided to stay home. I cannot part with DS2 yet, and DS1 can (hopefully) get another shot at that school next year. Both boys have to start at the same time in order to get the subsidy.

hakeber, you make some good points, although you assume some things that are simply not true, in my case at least. I don't love my job, even though it is a very respected one (one I studied 7 years at university for...) and DH cannot cut back on his work hours - his job requires him to work erratic hours and travel internationally quite a lot. He loves it, and I love the fact that he loves it, because he's a happy person. He is a great dad, and very involved, just not every day.
And in my work culture, women who have stayed home are actually quite valued - employers see them as dedicated and committed (and also unlikely to have another baby and thus be off again if they have already ''been there, done that''). So I have no qualms about what potential future employers will think. And I do have plenty of work opportunities, so finding work when I'm ready will not be a problem, and in the event that it is, we can survive.

Thanks all, this is immensely helpful.
Well that's great, though to be fair, you did SAY you love your job in your original post, "I love my job, but I love being home as well. " which is why I thought that and was fighting in your corner, so to speak.

I am glad you came to a decision that you both feel comfortable with.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#14 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Indeed hakeber, indeed... I love my job (or did) but don't love it, as I ''OMG this is the best thing that's even happened to me'' kinda way. Anyway, just to show you how confused I am right now, I decided to stay home, then had a 2 hour conversation with my mom extolling the benefits of my decision to go back to work. Now I'm back to square one... I feel like my life will never be the same if I leave my babies. And then DH throws me this curveball: he wants another baby. Soon. So now he thinks I should go back to work for 6 months so I can be eligible for another mat leave. We had decided this would likely be our last because of our age, and I was at peace with that, but deep down, I do want another (heck, I want 5 more!) and I knew he did too. These decisions are so hard! OK, rant over... I'm so grateful for MDC at times like these.

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#15 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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Asparagus, I really don't envy you. That's an awful decision to have to make, and one you shouldn't be asked to do alone.

I have to say think it seems strange (ethically grey maybe?) to go back to work solely to take advantage of a maternity leave. I could never do that to myself. It would stress me out too much. When I work, I give so much of myself to it. I could never fully devote myself if I knew I was just doing it until I was eligible for coverage for another baby. I would feel so phony, and I wouldn't really be able to get into it knowing I would have to give it up. For me there is nothign worse than doing a half-assed job. But I guess you don't see it like that...

Just hypothetically, if the roles were reversed, and there were paternity leave in your country like they have in some Scandinavian countries, would he be willing to do what he is suggesting YOU do? Even if you are sort of on the fence about working, it's still not just a hobby to pick up and drop off like a long novel. It's a career. A woman's career takes just as much (actually no doubt several times as much) work and devotion to maintain and build as a man's does.

Unless it's not really a career per se, and you DO think it is sort of just something to make some cash and pass the time, and you think of being a SAHM as your career, in which case that's perfectly valid and wonderful, too. But in that case, why are you stressing?

Maybe though there could be a compromise. My SIL for example negotiated with her third daughter to have six extra months unpaid leave and since then has arranged to work only four days a week and has negotiated for extra weeks of vacation in the summer to be able to spend more time with her kids in exhange for higher productivity during her working hours. Perhaps your employer would be open to something like that.

Or maybe you could put your degree to work for yourself (no mat leave, of course, but you could make your own hours and all the profit is YOURS). My SIL husband decided to do this so that he could be home more and make his own schedules. He still travels several weeks out of the year, and goes to the office some days of the week, but he can rearrange things to help suit SIL's schedule...they worked TOGETHER to make arrangements where they both sacrificed a little and both changed things, to make it work for them both, so neither felt cheated out of their own future.

I think you might want to talk to your husband about your doubts. It's all well and good to plan a big family, but if you are the one left behind to put your degrees on wall as memories while he galavants around the world fulfilling his work goals, that just doesn't seem fair to me. I am sure he is really happy. I wish I had a wife like you to stay home and look after my kids and my house while I travelled the world for my job. You are very, very sweet and giving and wonderful to help him make that happen. I hope he appreciates you. I know count myself extremely lucky that I have a husband who is happy to stay at home so I can fulfill my career goals. It's what HE wants to do, and when he finds work that he loves or needs time off we find a way to make it work...together.

That being said...no your life won't be the same if you leave your children with another person during the day...but that is not to say that different is necessarily bad. Just because it will be different doesn't mean it will be different for the worse. When my husband decided to go back to work and our part time nanny/babysitter was unable to cover it we put ds into daycare (he was about 18 months). He absolutely FLOURISHED. Completely came into his own. This does not mean that all kids are suited to this, we got lucky in many ways, but you never know until you try. His verbal skills were almost non-existant and suddenly he was talking in full sentences. He ate meals better, started using the toilet by himself, and when we were home together we really appreciated the time together and HONESTLY I spent way more time with him when he was at daycare than when we were home full time and I was so sick of the sight of him I was forever trying to entertain him with other things that didn't involve me, or that required minimal mental energy on my part.

When I was doing my own thing and DH his and DS was in pre-school when we were together (from 3pm to 7am and all weekends and holidays -- as a teacher that's 3.5 months out of the year in all) I didn't want to take my eyes off of him. We cuddled and read,and went camping and spent days at the park and were a FAMILY in that sort of picture book wonderful family sort of way. It was so much better for us all. I had more energy as a mom not being a SAHM than I did when I was on maternity leave and around him all day long. I have found this maternity leave that bled into my summer vacation, exhausting. I am so looking forward to going back to work so I can truly appreciate and have the energy to engage in my relationship with my children again. At the moment I just feel so lost and so detached from who I am that I don't even like who I am around my kids most of the time. I too studied a long time to be where I am and have worked really hard to get where I am in my career. I'm a better, happier, more focused person when I am working.

I have always envied moms who make being a SAHM look so easy. I wish I could be like that...but not all of us can do that and it doesn't make you a bad mom, it just makes you a different kind of mom...ya know?

I'm trying not to make too many assumptions...but it's just a message board, ya know? It's hard not to fill in the blanks with your own displacements.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#16 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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In 10 years, will you regret the moments you missed or the money you didn't make? Money can always be made, but you can never go back and recapture those moments. They're gone. Other people stand in your place in your child's mind. You still have a place, but it's just smaller.
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#17 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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In 10 years, will you regret the moments you missed or the money you didn't make? Money can always be made, but you can never go back and recapture those moments. They're gone.
If your career is just about making money, than I totally agree with this statement. For me, my job is my calling, and that's a different story. If I could afford to do it for free, I would still keep doing it, I need it that much. And maybe that should be the litmus test for you, Asparagus. Is your career, regardless of all the years you have put in so far, your calling? Would you feel less complete without it? Would you ache for the years lost if asked to put it aside?

If the answer is yes, then you might be a BETTER mom when you have the ability to answer the call, I know it's true for me. If it's not, then you should definitely consider staying home carefully. Listen to your heart.

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Other people stand in your place in your child's mind. You still have a place, but it's just smaller.
I respectfully disagree with this. I think people are bigger, bolder, more vibrant parents when they are true to themselves. If that means staying at home, great. If it means working outside the home, great. Just follow your heart. Believe me, I'm still number one to my kid even though he has spent all his school days with dh or a nanny or in preschool/kindergarten since he was four months old bar a few months here or there. I'm still the one he calls for when he's sick, sad or scared or when he has a seceret or a new idea. I am his best friend and his only mother figure. No amount of babysitters, nannies, daycare providers, or teachers could ever replace my role or give him what I give him, but I can ONLY give him that when I have the confidence of knowing my self-worth and the pride of following my calling, to be the proud and strong mama he needs me to be.

I know that when I have had to put it aside for family in the past (and I did for about 8 months when DS was about 2.5), I shrivelled into a shell of myself. I was not the mom he deserves to have.

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#18 of 21 Old 07-04-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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"Other people stand in your place in your child's mind. You still have a place, but it's just smaller."

I guess I should further clarify this. I mean, literally, other people will be in your place in your child's mind. When the preschool class enjoys a book together, the child will remember the teacher reading it, not you. When the preschool class paints a picture, the child will remember the teacher giving them the supplies and washing their hands, not you. When your child falls on the playground, the child will remember their teacher hugging them and cleaning them up, not you.

Those are places that were filled by the teacher that could have been filled by the parent. Some people can handle that. I can't. My calling is my kids, and I realize that is not the case for everyone. It would be a boring world if we were all just alike.
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#19 of 21 Old 07-04-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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I Other people stand in your place in your child's mind. You still have a place, but it's just smaller.
I'm a sahm and I don't understand why this is being said as if it's a bad thing.

I don't want to be the only person in my child's mind. I want him to think about the preschool teacher reading him a story or the puppet theater guy showing him mask-making. I want the neighbor who watches him while I run to the store to be there in his mind, and the mother's helper who comes for a couple of hours while I write.

It doesn't diminish my place in my child's mind or heart to have other interesting, caring adults there, too. To think otherwise strikes me as terribly fearful and rather unhealthy.
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#20 of 21 Old 07-04-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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I'm a sahm and I don't understand why this is being said as if it's a bad thing.

I don't want to be the only person in my child's mind. I want him to think about the preschool teacher reading him a story or the puppet theater guy showing him mask-making. I want the neighbor who watches him while I run to the store to be there in his mind, and the mother's helper who comes for a couple of hours while I write.

It doesn't diminish my place in my child's mind or heart to have other interesting, caring adults there, too. To think otherwise strikes me as terribly fearful and rather unhealthy.
I don't want to be the only one, of course. That's completely ridiculous. At a preschool age though, I don't think that someone other than a parent should have such a HUGE percentage of the time. A preschool teacher in a full-day program gets WAY too much time -- again, my opinion.
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#21 of 21 Old 07-04-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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In 10 years, will you regret the moments you missed or the money you didn't make? Money can always be made, but you can never go back and recapture those moments. They're gone. Other people stand in your place in your child's mind. You still have a place, but it's just smaller.
I think back to when I was kindergarten age. I do have a lot more memories of what we did in school than what we did at home.

I don't get the idea of working for maternity leave money. How much could that be? Is it worth putting your current little baby in childcare just to get a little money?

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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