5 years SAH and now back at work

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2003
5 years SAH and now back at work
422
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 10:02pm
I used to frequent this board back in my militant SAH days and I learned a lot since then. I learned that being "militantly SAH" is dumb from the start. It's not important to me, really, what other people do with their time once they become parents. As long as children have the kind, caring guidance of care providers in their lives, *they turn out fine*. Really! They do!
Sure, when a mom has a baby it might be hard for said mom to leave said baby. So little, so helpless, so many things could go wrong. If you are that mom.....then don't leave that baby (if you can help it). But, if you SAH, honey, don't stay too long. It's tough to go back to work. Things change REALLY quickly.
I was home for 5 years and you know what? Time didn't stand still. Everyone at work is younger than me (and I'm only 33)....even the staplers are different! If you ever plan on working again (which I think every woman should, unless you are personally, self-sustainingly wealthy), the sooner out the door the better. My girls are 3 and 4. And they are FINE at DC. Fine! And I don't *need* to work, I choose to work.
What wouldn't be fine is if my dh died or left me and I was unemployed. SAH is not smart or wise or fiscally responsible for a long (ie: as long as the kids are in the house) period of time. SAH too long is just as bad as not saving for retirement. Anything can happen, ladies, anything at any time. The price of your children missing you a little during the week is a small one to pay for security.
Maybe WOH is not "for you". I think that's kind of funny. Even the SAHMs we grew up with worked a little here and there. This whole debate is a luxury, I hope everyone can see that.
I just wanted to check in. When I entered this debate 4.5 years ago, I was a different person. I'm kind of sad to see that this debate still rages on. It's so remarkably silly.
Meldi

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 10:10pm
You seem to have flipped from one side of militancy to the other.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2006
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 10:12pm

Welcome to the dark side....

I'm glad things are working out for you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2004
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 10:43pm

I think militants in either direction are remarkably silly...

Robin

Avatar for phyreblade
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 11:27pm
Well, the pendulum has swung in the other direction, for you.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2007
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 11:32pm

I work because I choose to, I don't need to. However, I still do not understand why it is that moms on either side of this decision have to drum it into other side that their's is the right and only way.
Sadly the OP has moved from being a militant SAHM to a militant WOHM and is still doing what she herself says she now knows is "dumb".

I personally want to contribute to the household finances, I like having financial freedom and being able to afford most things I want (yes WANT not NEED). I want to send the kids to private school and offer them the opportunity to see the world, I want to travel, and I LOVE shopping.
I have friends who are the opposite of me. They love being SAHMs, have no problem with not contributing to the household finances, and are happy to deny themselves in order to be home with the kids or have hubbies who earn enough so this is not an issue, and some who hate shopping (yes, I find that odd too - just joking!).

We all seem very happy with our choices and our work decisions seldom come up in conversation and we seem to accept each other's decisions with good grace.

Am I delusional and are all these friends secretly judging/envious of each other's choices? It seems from these boards, where there is the freedom to express views anonymously that most moms are not 100% happy with their choice to SAH or WOH and are making themselves feel better by criticizing others who have made and are benefitting in some way from a different choice. Is that really the reality? the debate gets so heated that I can't help but feel there is some real envy and "bad blood" involved.

I suppose that ideally we would all like to be financially secure/mentally challenged AND spend as much time as we possible with our kids and when we can't have all these things we envy those who we think are benefitting from one or more of what we think we are missing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 11:49pm
Yeah but you also hated being a sah. that makes a huge difference in perspective, imo.

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-08-2007 - 5:09am
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2007
Sat, 09-08-2007 - 7:09am

Thanks for contributing. You're absolutely right that this debate is "silly." But the issues are very real, and there are no easy answers for most parents. I do appreciate the perspective of a parent who has both SAH and WOH for years before the children are in school full-time. I always wonder why they switch gears.

<>

I just think anyone (man or woman, *parent or not*) who quits a decent job knows this. My SAHM friends and I have discussed this and we all knew, if you quit to SAH, better return to work within 2 and no more than 3 years if you want to return close to the same level you left. You sound like you've recently come across this important realization? When you quit to SAH, did you really expect that a 5 yr-hole in your resume wouldn't mean much? Now you have to start fresh and dazzle the right people and work your way up, similar to when most people first graduate from high school or college. I've known SAHMs who've returned to work and some seem to have worked their way up to enjoyable, family-friendly jobs. Just not overnight.

<>

That's great. It is easier to leave 2 siblings very close in age at dc, especially when they are not new, helpless babies. They can speak to you too and tell you if they are not getting their needs met at dc. Not exactly true for babies/toddlers, and I wonder if you've forgotten that most women returning to work don't have the luxury of waiting 3-4 years.

But not all children are always "fine, FINE!" in the care of others. Recently, we had a double playdate at my home and were waiting for the nanny to do the pick-up. When the nanny arrived, the siblings ran all the way across my big lawn to hug their nanny. It was lovely to see. OTOH, the previous day, I actually saw a nanny "tweak" the nose of a child who could not have been more than 18 months-old. She caused him to cry in pain. The baby had been upset about getting into the stroller and had innocently slapped the nanny twice - so she felt she had to punish him. So, you can't say that all children will be "fine, FINE!" in the care of another. That is the hope, isn't it? But DH and I wanted a 100% guarantee.

Unlike many women, I don't personally feel like I've sacrificed anything. And there are ways to protect oneself in the event of a husband's death or a divorce.

Good luck to you. I hope you get the dream job you want soon.




Edited 9/8/2007 7:11 am ET by sehorse
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2003
Sat, 09-08-2007 - 8:45am

Sorry if my OP came off as militantly on the other side, the WOH side. I re-read it and I realize that it did come off that way and I apologize.

It's true that I didn't enjoy my years AH, my kids are 16 months apart and being AH with 2 babies was just about the death of me. But sitting here fighting about what's "better" for the kids (because isn't that's what it's all about?) is a mistake. There are good DC situations and bad. There are good SAHMs and bad.

But as far as being a WOHM goes...

IMO, it's not a matter of being "comfortable" with contributing or not contributing to the household $$. I was comfortable with the financial end of it, myself. But staying out of the workforce for too long is a bad idea. Many SAHMs focus on the "now" once baby arrives. "Are we going to be able to pay our monthly bills without my income?" if the answer is yes, they SAH if they like. But what about 3,5,7 years from now? Before a SAHM SAH she should have a re-entry plan in place. Maybe that's just some serious advice.

Meldi
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2003
Sat, 09-08-2007 - 9:00am

I wouldn't say that I recently realized anything, really. Disliking SAH surprised me (though my friends and family members could see it coming a mile away, LOL). I didn't have a plan of re-entry and had to come up with one on the fly. I recently started working again in a great situation and I'm very happy about it.

There are plenty of women who enjoy SAH and I'm certainly not saying that it's impossible to enjoy SAH. I'm very happy for those women. BUT, I think, in this country, this economy, the divorce rate, etc etc, it's a mistake to start SAH without an exit plan. Irresponsible. I mean, I enjoy eating chocolate cake but it would be unhealthy to *only* eat chocolate cake, KWIM? In this debate everyone focuses on "But what about the children?" "Why did you have kids if you didn't want to SAH with them?" But what is truly better for the whole family? Is it the belief (in this debate) that the well-being of the entire family hinges only on Mom's working status? The children are going to grow, super fast. Faster than anything. Maybe that's not where the focus should lie.

Meldi

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