Am I Alone Here? I SAH but I want to WOH

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Am I Alone Here? I SAH but I want to WOH
8
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 12:07am
I am a SAH mother of two. After my first daughter was born, I went back to work (after 3 months). It was hard, but I worked out a great arrangement with my boss, so it made it a little easier. I was laid off two months before my second daughter was born and I've been home ever since (she is now 14 months old). So here's the kicker . . . I don't love it. I feel isolated, frustrated and mentally stunted. I love my daughters and the time I spend with them, but I feel lost. I have tried to join mother's groups, but I always feel out of place because everyone else seems to be basking in the glow of motherhood, while I am just trying to remain sane. It just seems that this is not for me, not full-time. I have always worked and I come from a very long line of working mothers.

I have been away from this board for awhile and even then I mostly just lurked, but I was always struck by some of the extreme opinions. Women who had to work were given a little slack, but those choosing to work sometimes got a pretty hard time. I am here to say that were it not for the fact that this is a pretty bad time to look for a job, and even then I would have to make a significant amount to pay for childcare, I would definitely be doing some sort of work outside the home.

So, do I fall into the "selfish mother, only thinking about herself at the expense of her children" category or does it even matter how I feel? I feel I am on the other side of the choice issue, I am home, but wish I could be working. I don't resent my children or take my frustration out on them in any way, but this is not enough. But should it be?

There may be some out there who feel I am only thinking about myself (which is ridiculous), but where do people get the notion that once we become mothers how we feel and what we want doesn't matter anymore. Do I deserve some fulfillment for myself, not at the expense of my family, but for my own peace of mind?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 7:06am
I can so relate to what you're saying...when I SAH I felt the same way. I wasn't isolated...we were constantly out and about at medical appointments, etc. (which was the reason I SAH in the 1st place) but I felt completely isolated and, eventually, completely worthless. I'm a single parent and felt like a total failure as a mother because I wasn't able to WOH and provide for my son.

My point is, while my reasons were completely different, I understand your feelings and do not feel that you're being selfish at all. Of course you deserve fulfillment for yourself...and honestly, your children deserve a mother who is fulfilled, as well.

Good luck to you! This isn't a great time to look for a job (I'm doing it, too) but it can be done!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 9:55am
You know the saying "If momma ain't happy, no one is happy."

If you'd be happier with WOH, then by all means that is what you should do. I don't see how WOH and being a good mother are mutually exclusive, and your choosing to work would certainly not be at the expense of your family. I think there are a number of women on this board who have proven that it can be done, and done well, if that is what the mother wants.

You might want to take it slow though - I think someone mentioned before that the age of your youngest might make it difficult to transition to dc. (Correct me if I'm wrong)

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 11:08am
I think people get caught up in defending their views,and it kind of escalates sometimes.I also don't think it is just woh vs, sah-a lot of ftwoh can't stand pt wohms,a lot of well off sahms can't stand poor sahms,etc.

It may be a bad time to look for a job,but why not try anyway?Is it ever a really good time that often?Even if you are worried about paying for dc.you would still have a job.Soem cos offer on site dc or help paying for it.What is your field?Ilive north of Boston and dc for two kids runs over 20,000 ,but if I *really* wanted to work I would take that as an investment cost.

I know some moms teach classes at the rec center or Y.Childcare is free for them,if you are not able to find much else.

Have you tried looking,sending out resumes,monitering coonmpany websites,put out feelers?Does your are have a career center for laid off workers.

Do you really want a job,or are you just feeling isolated and off balance?

Avatar for natsmom98
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 12:14pm
I've always worked (part time, but still worked) so I can't say for sure if I'd be in your shoes, but I suspect I might be. Staying at home with such little children is VERY hard work, and I think you really need a whole support system and social network to stay happy. I would never call you selfish or think you are less of a mother because you would be more satisfied working. I think it is completely possible to WOH (reasonable hours) and be a wonderful mother. Good luck to you.
Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 12:17pm
I think if you are truly unhappy you should do something to change the situation. That would apply whether you are working and want to stay home or vice versa. Although everyone makes sacrifices for their children I do not feel that it is necessary to make yourself so unhappy that is consumes your life.

So what that there are others that love it? If you don't then you should do something to change it. If that means getting a job then go and do it.

Jenna

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 12:26pm
Welcome. I am a grouped as a horrible selfish mother who works but doesn't have to. It doesn't really bother me, lol. I have tried the sah thing, and it just isn't me...... I mean, even when I was technically not employed, I still had so much to keep me busy that required not being with my children 24/7. I think we're all wired a little differently by Him (or Her or It depending on your religion). And I get frustrated that not everyone can accept that. Some people are just happier than peaches to SAH full time and be with their kids 24/7. Some people are just happier than peaches to balance working full time and their families. And there are people like me, who are happiest right in the middle. I work part time and sometimes from home. My kids go to my parents house when I work. I volunteer with the kids or leave them home with daddy.... and I hire sitters just to go to lunch with a girlfriend. I have grown a lot in that aspect these past few months. I joined a healthclub/spa and enjoy leaving my youngest in "the nest" to work out in peace and quiet. We have a home gym and I would put him in the pack and play and try to work out and pick up toys and listen to squeals........ oh boy, I like it much better this new way, LOL, something I swore I'd never do...... use a daycare, ha ha ha! BUt he likes it, and it is from 45-90 minutes a day! I love my kids to pieces, but I don't want to be with them (or anyone for that matter) every minute of every day. I'm a very "selfish" person naturally. I was an only child, I think that has a lot to do with it. I got used to the world revolving around me. I established a sense of self that is very strong and I love that self. In order to be the best mother and the best wife I can be, I need to be the happiest SELF I can be. And that means that I work to maintain my professional self and have extra money to buy stupid things whenever wherever for myself or for our family. It means that I leave my kids in preschool or the gym daycare to take a Pilates class and make my body healthy and my mind happy. It means we hire a sitter twice a month and go out to dinner and a movie and be husband and wife, not mom and dad. It means I hire sitters now and again (especially now that it's summer and all the girls are not in school, LOL) so that I can go to lunch and shopping at Ann Taylor (somewhere I'd never take a double stroller, LOL) with a girlfriend (joint sitters) so that we can talk and eat real food, not something that comes in a sack with a toy..... and my food is HOT since I don't have to cut up someone else's, and I can try on a sundress without worrying that my four year old is crawling under the door and into the next dressing room. So although I don't work FT, I'm "away" from my kids....... and they are just fine. And so am I. If you feel that working is the key to your ultimate happiness, go for it girl! There are some militants in each camp that cast flames. But I think the most level headed of us on this board in both camps agree, it's a personal choice and you should do what makes you happy...... and to hell with what the rest of the board/the world thinks about your choice!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 12:28pm
And where have you been? Working again?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 1:05pm
SWAMPED........ but not with work, LOL. I'm actually at work now. I never have time to post at home anymore, I don't know why we pay for home internet.... well okay, when I do get on the internet at home, I'm addicted to ebay, he he he. Too busy, too crazy to spend everyday defending my "right/choice" to be a working mother. We've been hosting a little Polish girl, her mother, and translator for her treatment at the local Shriner's hospital. She left yesterday, but may be back inthe weeks/months to come. Hopefully the Ronald McDonald ouse will have an opening, it's hard! I am working less than ever before, only 10/week.... but yet I'm busier as a person. The youngest is now mobile which spells HELL. ANd it's summer. We spend every weekend (sometimes three day weekends) up at the lakes boating, so no 'puter, well okay, I take dh's laptop..... but no internet, LOL. I still hate the formats, but try to pop in once a week or two!