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I love staying home with my kids: almost 4yo twin boys, and a 1.5yo girl. I'm involved in MOMS Club, I spend a lot of time doing outdoors stuff with them, and we have a great time. However, I'm thinking of putting the boys in preschool (and then when it's time, kindergarten) and I feel really guilty about it.

My mom was a wohm (by her own choice; we didn't need it) and I was an only child and very lonely. I totally missed my mom. She worked until I was a senior in hs, and I remember that year as the best year of living with my parents because my mom was actually AROUND. (No disrespect to wohm; it's just MY MOM was not home much.)

Anyway, because of how I felt abandonned and sad, I feel totally guilty if I don't have them with me all the time. I'm fine with the gym every day (and they're in the daycare there for an hour or 90 min) but I feel like if I send them to preschool, or I don't homeschool them, I'm less of a sahm. (And then, to extrapolate further, I feel like if they go to school I should start working out of the home full-time.)

On the flip side, the kids haven't left my side in almost 4 years and I'm really starting to lose my mind a bit. My patience is NOT endless.

Any suggestions? Advice? I know it's relatively irrational guilt, but I'm feeling it deeply.
 

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ask yourself which is more beneficial to the kiddos and which you'd rather have had--a stressed-out mama around all the time, or a more relaxed mama around most of the time while they have fun things to do when she's not?

I know it's hard to not feel guilty, but remember you have to take care of yourself too! If you have a nervous breakdown, you *really* won't be there to take care of them!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by krisw View Post
ask yourself which is more beneficial to the kiddos and which you'd rather have had--a stressed-out mama around all the time, or a more relaxed mama around most of the time while they have fun things to do when she's not?

I know it's hard to not feel guilty, but remember you have to take care of yourself too! If you have a nervous breakdown, you *really* won't be there to take care of them!
:
 

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Also, try to focus on things that will enable you to stay involved even if they are in school; if you choose a co-op, or charter school, you will be asked, most likely, to be a teacher helper, etc; this also helps save on tuition in some programs. As they mature and advance thru school, make sure you're on committees and involved in projects; chaparone field trips, help with fund-raisers... there's a TON of work to be found for the SAHM with school-aged kids...
 

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I have been a SAHM for almost three years. In that time, both of my children attended preschool (DD just started this year) and DS went from pre-K to K to 1st grade (this year).

I feel no guilt about sending them to school. DD asked to go and was very excited to be like her brother, and they both love school. She only goes for five hours a week, which is not really a lot of time. I love to hear about her day, her friends, and listen to what she learns.

I'm of a belief that the more people my children have to love and cherish and teach them, the better. I too am involved in MOMS Club, we do playgroups, and do lots of activities together, so I don't worry that she doesn't feel I don't want her around or anything. No one can replace me, but preschool teachers (and school teachers in general) can (and do) enrich my children's lives too.

Don't feel guilty!
 

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I don't have any of the history that you have (my mom SAH until I was in junior high or so), and I still sometimes feel guilty leaving my son at a preschool three times a week. I wonder if everything they're doing is a good influence for him. I beat myself up about it. But I haven't removed him from the class yet because a) I need the time to do other things alone, and b) he gets to learn new things and play in ways that I don't give him. Overall, I think it's positive for everyone. I may, however, decide at some point to cut it down to one or two times per week. I haven't decided yet.

You are giving so much more time to your children than your mom did. They don't feel abandoned! (At least, I assume they don't, based on what you've said). There is absolutely nothing wrong with a few hours of time for yourself. Look at the positive. Look at how much time you spend with them. Consider the other things that you do for them. Look at the big picture.
 

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I think a mom who feels better about herself and her parenting can be a much better parent all-around. That said, I think that you should throw the guilt out. Do you think your kids enjoy it when you are stressed-out? I think not. They will probably enjoy being around other kids at school, too! No matter what you decide, it does not take away from you being a wonderful mom.

J
 

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I'm a SAHM who homeschools without going crazy (most of the time), so...

I know (and previous posters have reminded you) that you AREN"T a failure if you send your kids to school or preschool, if it's right for your family! You need to take care of you before you can take care of them, for sure.

In any case, I know what it feels like to have grown up with an absent, work all the time, I-can-have-it-all kind of mom-- it played a BIG part in my decision to always have one parent or the other with the kids most of the time staying home. However, the guilt is going to be there no matter how you rearrange the mechanics of your life-- homeschool or not, social time or not, good partner or not-- until you address it. So, I believe that coming to terms with what your ideals are, how they compare to what you know you can realistically offer, and how all of that can play out in your everyday life is the first step, before making any huge decisions or changes. The problem may be more internal than external... It usually is with me when I'm going through a tough time.

Take care, mama, and you'll be in my thoughts.
 

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Please, lose the guilt.

Sending your kids to preschool, then regular school in no way makes you "less" of a sahm, or mom in any way. At least to me. You absolutely deserve a few hours to yourself. You are not abandoning your kids.

And as far as pressure/guilt to work if you arent homeschooling and are sending your kids to regualr school. Dont even go there. You have earned a few hours to yourself, and there is so much that will take up your time once they are gone a few hours everyday. I couldnt believe how much I got done during the day. And the school will most certainly need your help if you want to give your time.

And school age kids need moms as much as they did when they were babies. I know mine did (and do, which is why I work at night so I am home during the day).

It sounds like you are doing a great job.
 

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I just wanted to say that just because children attend preschool/elementary school, learning at home does not end! My oldest son attended both preschool (a few days a week) and is now in kindergarten. But this doesn't stop us from reading, writing, drawing, singing, playing, exploring at home together.

I think that children learn a lot about themselves in school-away from mom and dad. My son is EXTREMELY extroverted; loves people and the structure of school. Some children do better at home, some kids really love school. I wouldn't feel guilty if you try school for your kids--if it isn't right for you then you will know and they will know what school is like. But you don't have to be totally homeschooled or totally school schooled...

I feel what you feel about working--I don't know if it is just our culture, but it is like we have to be working all the time and if children aren't around, then you'd better bring home some bacon. I really struggle with this.

But these is a lot to do with a child in school--volunteering, being a room parent (this is a really big job, esp. if you have more than one child). My child's school requires 20 hours of volunteer service per family--as my dh works fulltime and is in school, this is up to me. It is a challenge with a toddler and another baby due next month!

Do what you want and what is best for your family--whether you live up to this idea of SAHM or if it evolves into just MOM;
 

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Ironically, the very fact that you worry about this makes you a GREAT mom! I felt abandoned by my mother at a young age (even though she was living in our house), so I can relate to your desire to be present for your children -- I feel that way, too. Take heart -- the fact that you are aware and taking advange of every opportunity is what makes you an awesome mom!

Besides, this is an opportunity for your sons to learn new things -- knowing how aware you are, I am sure you will pick a great preschool where they can learn and explore. You aren't exiling them to a far-away place. And if it just isn't working, you can pull them out any time you want to. Think of it as a test drive.

Good luck and go easier on yourself -- you're doing fabulous!
 

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I agree with what everyone said about losing the guilt and just listening to your heart and your kids. They'll make it clear if school's not for them. You're a great mom just to be so concerned, and I agree with the others who said you're still a full-time mama even if your kids are in school; they still need you and there are so many ways you can be involved.
 

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I think there is a HUGE difference between never being around and sending your kids to preschool a few hours a day. I think we all need to be careful where we have senstivities from our own childhoods and then overcompensate in that area. My son started preschool at 2.5 and I felt so guilty...then when I saw that he absolutely thrived there I felt bad that he might have missed out on that experience because I was too overprotective. Also, there is nothing wrong with wanting to get a break - its healthy and normal and will only make you a better mom!
 

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The only reason to feel guilty about this would be if having other people interact with/care for your child were a bad thing. And it is not. You're doing nothing wrong, and your mother did nothing wrong either - just 2 different amounts of time to spend w/kids. (Don't let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that the only reason mothers are allowed to leave their children's sides is if family finances decree it - you mentioned that your mother worked "by her own choice; we didn't need it." It's always possible that a wohm works for needed personal fulfillment, or to save money for the family, etc - keeping the wolf from the door isn't the only acceptable reason to woh, but if you fall into the trap of thinking that it is, yes you'll be consumed with guilt.)

Maybe you're also feeling guilty because you believe your children will feel exactly as you did in your memories? They may, they may not, and if you keep in communication with them you may have a good idea. Also, don't kids miss their fathers when fathers are away at work too? I know my kid does - we do work at trying to have both of us home as much as we can.

Hope you're feeling better about this soon.
 

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The only reason to feel guilty about this would be if having other people interact with/care for your child were a bad thing. And it is not. You're doing nothing wrong, and your mother did nothing wrong either - just 2 different amounts of time to spend w/kids. (Don't let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that the only reason mothers are allowed to leave their children's sides is if family finances decree it - you mentioned that your mother worked "by her own choice; we didn't need it." It's always possible that a wohm works for needed personal fulfillment, or to save money for the family, etc - keeping the wolf from the door isn't the only acceptable reason to woh, but if you fall into the trap of thinking that it is, yes you'll be consumed with guilt.)

Maybe you're also feeling guilty because you believe your children will feel exactly as you did in your memories? They may, they may not, and if you keep in communication with them you may have a good idea. Also, don't kids miss their fathers when fathers are away at work too? I know my kid does - we do work at trying to have both of us home as much as we can.

Hope you're feeling better about this soon.
 
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