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I'll try to make this short and sweet.


I am looking at getting my master's in counseling psychology to become a psychologist. I have found a terrific online program; the classes would take me about 2 years, but then I have a 1,000 hour in-person internship to do. Followed by 2 years (not sure of the hours for that) of paid internship before I can be a licensed counselor/therapist in my state.

I think that I could do the 1,000 hours super part time (possibly less than 20 hours per week) but the two years is at least real part time (20 - 30 hours per week).

We are not pregnant now but are "TTC by not TTA" and so are open to that whenever it happens.


It sounds good on paper, I suppose...hope to get PG soon/now, stay at home doing classes with the baby until I need to do the internship, at which point baby is 15 - 20 mos. old or so. Of course, as soon as that 1000 hr. internship is done, we'd prob. be wanting DC # 2, but I suppose that is a bridge we'll cross when we get to it. DH says he can't think about DC 2 when we don't even have a DC 1, but I am a long-range planner and it is on my radar, so to speak.

I guess my problem is that I always envisioned being a 100% SAHM, homeschooling, cooking absolutely everything from scratch the way I do now, etc.

DH and I got married right after college, and although I loved my degree program (forestry) it is not employable where he is, and he's active duty military so his location, schedule, and hours are not flexible. Fortuneately, he won't deploy for more than 2 weeks at at ime. I've cast around looking for a career that I can love, feel good about, work part time with, move with, and have just for myself...a part of me that is doing work that is not defined by a marriage or mothering relationship, if that makes sense.

I guess I'm thinking that I don't actually want to be a 100% SAHM, which is a bit of a shock to discover, but I also feel like I can't actually make a decision about this whole deal when I don't know how I'll feel about working once we do have kids!

Any advice, thoughts, etc. would be so very much appreciated! And sorry for the length!
 

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It sounds like you know what you want to do (be dedicated to a career you love and be a WOHM), you just need reassurance that it is the right thing to do, especially when homeschooling and SAHMing seems to be the ideal here on MDC. Becoming a counselor is such a noble profession, and I would do the same if I was more psychology-minded.

I'm only 20, still have years before being done with school or having kids, and short of a radical personality transplant, I will never be a SAHM past my child's infancy, nor will I homeschool. I get so much pleasure out of helping people, and I have dreamed of a career my entire life. My mom has always worked, and I have never been anything but grateful to her for setting that example for me. She and my dad managed to work full time AND be fantastic parents who split everything equally. I'm not sure I would think of them with the same high regard if my mom had always stayed home, with dad being only a part-time parent, which is what (not always) but commonly happens when one parent, mom OR dad, stays home for several years. Kids thrive when their parents are happy and involved with something, no matter how big or small, outside the realm of motherhood...whether that's a great job, charity work, etc.

I can see from your post how exciting this sounds to you. Go for it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to work, with wanting to have a career. There are crappy SAHMs, and there are phenomenal WOHMs. As I've never wanted to be a SAHM, I can only try and sympathize. I grew up military, and that makes me encourage you even more to do this. Women (or husbands, if it's the female in the military) can easily feel pushed around, or lost, just because it's hard to build up a career with your spouse's job meaning moving every few years. Many, many of the women I met who SAH and homeschool don't do it out of a deep conviction that it's the right choice, but out of convenience, and they aren't generally the happiest women (I should know, I babysat for dozens of them
). You have an amazing opportunity to build up a respectable career despite the moving.
 

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As long as you can afford the education, go for it. If you have a baby and find that you really don't want to be a WOHM, then it's not like having started the program and not finishing is going to hurt you. Many schools will let you defer for a semester or a year mid-program if that is what you want/need to do. As long as you are open to the idea that your path may change throughout time, it doesn't matter if the destination changes or you take a detour along the way. You don't need to have everything worked out up front.

To answer your question in general, I thought for almost all my life that I would choose to never have children. I'm 32 now and expecting my first (and likely only) in about 7 weeks or so. I don't do well if I'm not employed - my work is a HUGE part of who I am. My husband would love to be a SAHD if we could financially swing it (we can't - we could lose my salary, but not his) and we both know that he will probably bear the larger part of the child care responsibilities while our baby is young, as it is so much more a part of his personality. I will continue to bear more of the responsibility for the household chores/budgeting/maintenance and such, as that is more of my personality. But there was never any possiblity of me choosing to be a SAHM.

KaylaBeanie - I love your siggy.
 

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Deciding to stay at home isn't something that you can decide for sure until you have kids and even then your decision may change as your grows in ability and independence. I think you should plan for working so you have the ability to if you feel that you can't be a good parent if you are at home all the time, but wait and see how you feel once your baby has grown. Working gives me the energy I need to be a good mom.
 

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I think that either you know you want to work, or you don't. As pp's stated, I've never imagined myself NOT working.

I also have a unique situation, my MIL watched my kids, so that they never had to go to daycare. Also, I'm a teacher, so I have about 10 weeks off in the summer, and also a winter and spring break.

I love my kids more than anything, but I also love being me and being a teacher is a part of me I can't separate out, like being a mom. So, I work. Perhaps that is how you should think about this. Is being a psychologist a part of you that you have to be? If it is, then you probably will be happier if you work, at least part time.
 

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I had a rewarding, extremely well-paying career before DS came along. During my pregnancy, I didn't quite know what to do- it would have been STUPID to give up such a great job and all of my hard work to get that far, so we toyed with the idea of DH being a SAHD or maybe asking my MIL to help with childcare. I wanted to be a SAHM, but my job was just too good to leave.

DS had a different plan. He came early and after all of the awfulness of being so sick from his birth and the NICU stay, when it came time to return to work after 3 months of maternity leave, I just couldn't do it. I happily quit my job and became a SAHM.

But things have a way of working out. When DS was 11 months old, DH lost his job, so I needed to go back to work. I was given an awesome job that allowed me to work from home. That job lasted for nearly 2 years. Now that DS is almost 3, I'm just about ready to get an WOHM job to keep our finances flowing.

I never, ever thought it would be like this.... I was supposed to the a SAHM, but here I am, buying suits and heels and getting ready to start thinking like a manager again.

So I guess what I'm saying is that you can plan all you want, but be ready to go with the flow. If you feel like working, the by all means, work! If you decide to be a SAHM for awhile, your college will probably let you take some time away. Just allow life to take you where it may.
 

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I had just graduated nursing school when DS came along, and never considered once that I wanted to stay at home. I just assumed I would work. When my DS was born, everything changed, so really, I don't know if you could know what you want until you are actually in the thick of it. If you've had these ideas and have always pictured you staying at home, I would try to plan for stopping school in the middle if you do have a baby, and be OK financially, etc with that before proceeding. Just in case.
 

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You won't really know until your baby comes along. When DH and I first got married (over 8 years ago), I said that I would have liked to stay home when we had kids. But, back then I was in a job I didn't like at the time. I also travelled once or twice a month as did DH and knew that wouldn't quite work after kids came along. Now I'm in a much different field and right now I really enjoy what I do and couldn't imagine giving it up.
You sound like you found something you enjoy and since you like what you're doing, you'll be able to figure out a way to make it work.
 

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I personally believe both parents should be able to handle all the essential tasks of raising a family, because you never know what will happen.

So for me, at least having the ability to earn decent money is really essential for both adults. If you're not pregnant yet, I would definitely pursue the career you think you'll love as long as you're not going into massive debt to do so.

On a slightly different but related note, I think the other best thing you can do in order to position yourself to have a range of choices when you do have kids (because you may not know until then) is to keep your expenses down and build savings. With a healthy savings account you can either take some time off, hire help you need, or make moves. It's really the best thing.

I wish we'd saved a bit more when we didn't have a child, but we were frugal enough in terms of paying down debt and keeping our basic expenses (house etc.) in check and it's really been a comfort, especially in those weeks it seems like everything could be a mess.
 

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I always wanted to be a SAHM. couldn't picture anything else. But I am a WAHM - 3 days a week - and a WOHM 2 days a week. DH is a SAHD, but I still manage the majority of the childcare when I am at home. Would I still like to be a SAHM? absolutely! but we can't do without my income, and this arrangement works well for us; the main goal is to avoid daycare (costs) as much as possible, and to be full time parents, which we are.

I think pursuing your goals right now is great, and you should do that. but know that it might be possible that your goals may change when a LO arrives. If I weren't able to WAH most of the time, I would be less blase about working and being a mom. We hope to be in a position -somehow - when the kid(s) are school age - to homeschool.

even if you do want to SAH full time, eventually the kids will be in school, if you don't homeschool, and you might want a career of some sort then, and the education and training will come in handy.
 

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Didn't your other post in a different thread say you are going back to studying forestry? Or are you unsure whether forestry or counselling?

A friend of mine is sort of in that position, she knows she wants children in the future, but also wants to be able to work, and she's struggling with the thoughts that she can't be both or do both well together.

I would aim for the career right now, because you don't know when you'll have kids for sure. And aim for a career where you will get paid well enough that you can choose to work part-time if you want to once having your child, if you still don't want to be a sahm, or don't want to woh full-time maybe?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wholewheatchick View Post
I guess I'm thinking that I don't actually want to be a 100% SAHM, which is a bit of a shock to discover, but I also feel like I can't actually make a decision about this whole deal when I don't know how I'll feel about working once we do have kids!
My advice? You can't know how you will feel. Don't assume you won't want to be a 100% SAHM or work part time or work full time. You just can't really know how you will feel when you have an actual child in your arms whose care is your primary responsibility, at least while they are babies!

But here's my other piece of advice. I would never not plan to have a career and not plan to work. Not from the start.

Now, your situation is a little tricky because you are trying to get pregnant now and considering going back to school now at the same time.

Can you afford both? Or will they compete?

Can't you enter the program, and see where it goes? And if you get pregnant, have a baby, start planning from that point?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I personally believe both parents should be able to handle all the essential tasks of raising a family, because you never know what will happen.

So for me, at least having the ability to earn decent money is really essential for both adults. If you're not pregnant yet, I would definitely pursue the career you think you'll love as long as you're not going into massive debt to do so.

On a slightly different but related note, I think the other best thing you can do in order to position yourself to have a range of choices when you do have kids (because you may not know until then) is to keep your expenses down and build savings. With a healthy savings account you can either take some time off, hire help you need, or make moves. It's really the best thing.

I wish we'd saved a bit more when we didn't have a child, but we were frugal enough in terms of paying down debt and keeping our basic expenses (house etc.) in check and it's really been a comfort, especially in those weeks it seems like everything could be a mess.
Solid advice.

I think you, OP, should really think about the above.


 

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Well I almost did what you want to do...

I hated (still hate) my field & wanted to get into counseling psych so I started looking at Master's programs thinking I *might* start in Fall 08 (was more a possibility than a plan though). I got pg in May 08 and decided to wait.

OK so the whole time I was pregnant I was 100% convinced I would go back to work in the office after the baby was born. Maybe WAH a bit at first but not long, really I envisioned myself dropping the baby off at the daycare down the street from the office & rushing over on my lunch breaks to visit & cuddle. If that plan didn't work, I figured DH would be a SAHD -- never in a million years was being a SAHM even on my radar.

Toward the end (last month) of my pregnancy I started thinking of WAH more long-term... I was already getting attached to my baby! Sure enough, when DS was born I knew there was absolutely no way I would leave him at daycare, no way I'd go back to the office.

I'm now a WAHM (was full-time & just switched to part-time when DS was 13mos) and I can't believe I almost gave up this option for more years of school & a WOH job. Of course, WAH is the equivalent of working at least 2 full-time jobs
, especially with no childcare, but I am sooo glad I get to spend every minute with my amazing little boy!!

So... that's my experience as someone who never even WANTED to be a SAHM. You already want to do that... but of course you never know until the baby's here. I would say explore some different options. Set yourself up so that no matter what you want to do when the time comes (WOH, WAH, SAH), all the options will be open to you. That means being prepared financially as well as educationally etc. My other thought is that if you get a degree in the next few years, and then decide to SAH for X number of years before entering the workforce, your degree will be more outdated etc. -- If you are seriously hoping to conceive within the next 6mos or so, I would avoid making such a big change. I would keep doing what you're doing and make this decision in a year or two once you have a clearer view of motherhood & what you truly want.
 

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I had the same kind of experience, crunchy_mommy. It never even occurred to me that I might want to SAH. Then once I had my baby the thought of leaving her was just totally unbearable.

That said, everything is temporary. I don't see SAH/WOH as a binary, all-or-nothing kind of choice. You might want to SAH when your children are tiny, then work part-time when they are a little older, maybe even full-time once they are in school.

I do think it makes sense to plan to have a career. If you decide to step out of it for a few years, then at least you will have something to go back *to* if/when you decide to go back.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mambera View Post
I had the same kind of experience, crunchy_mommy. It never even occurred to me that I might want to SAH. Then once I had my baby the thought of leaving her was just totally unbearable.

That said, everything is temporary. I don't see SAH/WOH as a binary, all-or-nothing kind of choice. You might want to SAH when your children are tiny, then work part-time when they are a little older, maybe even full-time once they are in school.

I do think it makes sense to plan to have a career. If you decide to step out of it for a few years, then at least you will have something to go back *to* if/when you decide to go back.
Yes to all this.

This was my plan, personally, all along. Have a career, then determine how to approach motherhood when I became a mother. But have a career as a base that I could stay in, work part time in, or leave/return to.

For me, the hard part is figuring out how to leave temporarily/work part time and make ends meet.

I never want to leave permanently, but it would be nice to break away from it for a while without losing everything because I've found the first 5 years of parenting pretty intensive and not all that compatible with a career. For now.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mambera View Post
I had the same kind of experience, crunchy_mommy. It never even occurred to me that I might want to SAH. Then once I had my baby the thought of leaving her was just totally unbearable.

That said, everything is temporary. I don't see SAH/WOH as a binary, all-or-nothing kind of choice. You might want to SAH when your children are tiny, then work part-time when they are a little older, maybe even full-time once they are in school.

I do think it makes sense to plan to have a career. If you decide to step out of it for a few years, then at least you will have something to go back *to* if/when you decide to go back.
I agree. I never imagined that I would want to be a SAHM, but then, after DD was born (in the midst of nursing school), I found that it got harder and harder to leave her as she got older. It was especially hard when she was a toddler, moreso than when she was an infant. I did finish my degree anyway and am glad I did, as it is work I enjoy and DH's job is precarious at the moment, making my income necessary.

Currently I work very part-time, but it's definitely not all-or-nothing, it's fluid. I may eventually SAH completely for a while when the kiddos are a bit older, or I may go back to FT work and have DH be a SAHD. It's nice to have the option to go back and forth.
 
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