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-   -   Criticism from Former Colleagues (https://www.mothering.com/forum/329-stay-home-parents/1609563-criticism-former-colleagues.html)

Redmom 12-17-2018 06:56 AM

Criticism from Former Colleagues
 
I've been a SAHM for 8 years now and feel good about what I do but a dinner last week with former colleagues (who are employed mothers) has left me rattled.

The person sitting on one side of me made a comment about "these SAHMs at my school" in a disparaging tone how the SAHMs at her school volunteer, bake cupcakes for the bake sales, attend field trips, join the PTA etc and that her child asks her why she doesn't do these things.

She leant over me to tell the person seated on my other side - who then sympathized "yeah the SAHMs at my kid's school do that too" whilst rolling her eyes.

I understand she probably felt some underlying sadness/guilt about not being able to do all these things for her child, but the anger was vented towards the SAHMs for simply participating in school activities. It annoyed me that she made these comments in front of me, as though I wasn't there.

I thought these women were my friends but instead of showing support for me, it seemed that my mere existence as a SAHM of extended tenure created hostility. Anyway the whole experience has left me feeling quite rattled.

weliveintheforest 12-17-2018 10:52 PM

I'm sorry they said that in front of you.
I hope they're also thankful that the SAHMs are making these things happen at the school... what happens if there are no parents available to volunteer, right?

head4thehills 12-21-2018 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by weliveintheforest (Post 19744153)
I'm sorry they said that in front of you.
I hope they're also thankful that the SAHMs are making these things happen at the school... what happens if there are no parents available to volunteer, right?

Good point!
When you choose to be a SAHM (assuming it was a choice), you are giving up something. Opportunities at work, possible promotions, not to mention the added income from employment. Those who choose to be working moms (again, assuming they have a choice), also have to make sacrifices, like less time available to volunteer at their kids' schools and so on. Point being, it would be nice if you could have heard these moms honouring and respecting those parents whose choices and circumstances are different from their own, rather than being snarky (and maybe a little jealous?) of them.
I'm a homeschooling mom, and being with my kids all day makes it very difficult for me to contribute or volunteer. Sometimes I sigh wistfully when I think of what it would be like if I could have those school hours to keep house, bake, run my own business or do some work in the community. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be at a job and deal with adults all day. But it was just plain rude of them to complain about "these SAHM's" as though you weren't there. They could have included you in the conversation, and expanded their own perspectives a little.

Jenna_Dular 01-07-2019 03:16 AM

Sorry, you heard it but ask yourself do you have any regret? If there no then don't allow the people to destroy your inner peace.

Turquesa 02-06-2019 10:43 PM

Yea, I might make light of it, wave frenetically, and say, "Um, hello? Evil, cookie-baking SAHM here!"

Seriously, though, it there any chance that they were making those comments while thinking about themselves and not you? Working moms are under constant pressure, as the saying goes, to work like they don't have a family and raise a family like they don't have a job. So they may admire, envy, or even resent the SAHMs for being able to accomplish with their families what they cannot with full-time jobs. That doesn't make the cattiness right, and it doesn't mean that they understand how you work your butt off as a SAHM. But the strongest likelihood is that they weren't saying these things as a stab to you personally.

Redmom 04-30-2019 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turquesa (Post 19746591)
Yea, I might make light of it, wave frenetically, and say, "Um, hello? Evil, cookie-baking SAHM here!"

Seriously, though, it there any chance that they were making those comments while thinking about themselves and not you? Working moms are under constant pressure, as the saying goes, to work like they don't have a family and raise a family like they don't have a job. So they may admire, envy, or even resent the SAHMs for being able to accomplish with their families what they cannot with full-time jobs. That doesn't make the cattiness right, and it doesn't mean that they understand how you work your butt off as a SAHM. But the strongest likelihood is that they weren't saying these things as a stab to you personally.

Thankyou for your reply. Yes I am sure you have hit the nail on the head, nothing anyone does is personal (usually) though I guess I'm very sensitive about the whole thing and I often find it challenging to be not take things personally. But I had worked with these ladies previously and thought we had a friendship, and I wonder why they wouldn't have considered my feelings before saying someone very pointed towards SAHMs.

I really admire and am in awe of people who can see bigger picture and shrug things like this off.

Redmom 04-30-2019 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenna_Dular (Post 19744929)
Sorry, you heard it but ask yourself do you have any regret? If there no then don't allow the people to destroy your inner peace.

No, no regrets for me, I appreciate the choice I made to be a SAHM and value what I do and how it helps my family.

I think it was the powerlessness of being caught off guard with a rude comment, and feeling speechless (kind of like when you're in a dream and you can't speak or run), and then overwhelmed with dealing with the anxiety of it in the actual moment. Then after the fact thinking how I could have responded assertively - without feeling like I had "let" someone upset me.

Thanks for your words of wisdom.

Redmom 04-30-2019 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by head4thehills (Post 19744315)
Good point!
When you choose to be a SAHM (assuming it was a choice), you are giving up something. Opportunities at work, possible promotions, not to mention the added income from employment. Those who choose to be working moms (again, assuming they have a choice), also have to make sacrifices, like less time available to volunteer at their kids' schools and so on. Point being, it would be nice if you could have heard these moms honouring and respecting those parents whose choices and circumstances are different from their own, rather than being snarky (and maybe a little jealous?) of them.
I'm a homeschooling mom, and being with my kids all day makes it very difficult for me to contribute or volunteer. Sometimes I sigh wistfully when I think of what it would be like if I could have those school hours to keep house, bake, run my own business or do some work in the community. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be at a job and deal with adults all day. But it was just plain rude of them to complain about "these SAHM's" as though you weren't there. They could have included you in the conversation, and expanded their own perspectives a little.

Thankyou, yes good points.

I used to work with these ladies and enjoyed their friendship and working relationships with them. So I genuinely enjoyed the rare occasions where we came together. I had been looking forward to this dinner and catching up.

So I was very caught off guard with the rude comments, and it let me feeling quite powerless (that in the moment I couldn't find my voice) and I felt quite vulnerable.

Later, when I reflected on the situation I was able to understand, that yes this woman was expressing her pressures, her frustrations, her vulnerabilities - and I was able to see how coming from that perspective (rather than taking it personally as I did in the moment) I could have been more empathetic. At the same time though, it bothers me that I was a lightning rod for her frustrations - as opposed to her simply being honest and saying "as a working mom, sometimes I feel guilty/sad/frustrated/judged etc that I can't participate in every school event".


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