Extra Money and Extra Time

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Extra Money and Extra Time
452
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:31pm
A couple of boards back I asked, and cobaltblue2002 answered, this. I'd like input from everyone.

Why do some people think WOHMs are greedy and materialistic if the WOHMS want to work or work FT, partly to have a financial cushion (I know this does not apply to all WOHMS' financial situations), but the same people think nothing of SAHMs staying home, partly because the SAHMs like more time at home, with children, with hobbies, etc. than other people?

In other words, is more or "extra" time an honorable reason to SAH, but working to earn more than the basic necessities somehow not honorable?

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 3:44pm
You know, I still have a hard time with the SAHM being such an honorable thing. In my experience, I have found little kinship with my peers (aged 28) on the SAH thing. When I asked about this on one of my first posts here, it was pointed out to me that there simply was no stigma attached to SAH whatsoever, and from other recent like-wise posts, I see that the WOHMs answer is that if we feel that way, it is probably just our perception. Well, I have whirled it around in my head several times since then, and yet I still cannot see beyond the attitude of my peers.

Of everyone I know personally, family and friends, of my age group, I only know two other SAHMs. Obviously, I don't/can't live everywhere, perhaps I am in an odd corner in the world.

I also want to say too that when I first popped onto this board, I DID have some really bad preconcieved ideas about WOHMs and materialism. Now that I have been around for a few weeks, and read almost every post (Geez, becoming a little addicted to this board) I can say that this board alone has changed my entire outlook on the entire thing.

I think that probably one of the things that I find interesting, is that of the more experienced, older moms on this board - I feel that you have felt the need for having to justify WOH for a long time! For younger moms, I really think the tables have turned. I have to explain why I SAH several times to a lot of people IRL. (And honestly, I have so many reasons that I can give them a new one each and every time. Im sure they think I am a flake. :) While you all have the pressure on you to find a well-rounded daycare, we have to answer questions of our peers, like, "Hey, how ya doing.. find a job yet? So and so is hiring.."

And hey, the shift in attitude that I personally see, is not necessarily a bad one. I don't want my daughter growing up to think that all she is good for is breeding and feeding... I also do not want my son to have any extreme attitudes regarding women as well.

I think somewhere in the middle, being a parent is tough with so many choices, so much criticism... mothers especially. Depending on where you are, and who you are related to/friends with, parenting is almost a 'damned if ya do, damned if ya dont' kinda thing!


Avatar for cyndiluwho
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 4:30pm
Some of us older moms aren't here to justify their positions but rather to share their experiences and perceptions with the benefit of hind sight. Justifying my position has nothing to do with why I'm here. I post on these boards in the hope of helping out new WM's who feel pressured to justify their choices as I wish someone had done for me. SAH or WOH makes precious little difference. It's just a lifestyle choice. I have the advantage of looking BACK through 8 years of working and using dc and seeing that my kids have just thrived but I remember all too well the down right cruel things that were said to me because I "LEFT MY BABIES" to be "raised" by "strangers" as if being a WM somehow equates with abandonment. No, we're not hanging around to justify our choices. My youngest is 5. According to the mantra, I have nothing left to justify. WOH is perfectly acceptable when the kids are school aged. After all, they don't need parents any more once they're not little and cute anymore, lol. After all, if my dcp "raised" my dd's then the job has to be done because they're not with her anymore. So, with my kids already "raised" by our dcp, what do I have to justify??

Nope, no justification. Just the voice of experience.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 4:50pm
I agree somewhat. I don't think SAH is honorable. But then again, I don't think WOH is honorable. What is honorable is being a parent and raising children.

And even then, being a parent isn't the only way to lead an honorable life. There are thousands. So who really cares about the work status and honorability issue?

Hollie

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 4:54pm
And both sides tend to talk about the other in terms of what they *aren't* doing. So, though wohps are working hard to provide for their families, the sah camp focuses on the fact that they are't at home FT. The woh camp will look at sah with the idea that sah is about what they aren't doing, what they are avoiding doing by sah - working at a paid job.

The reality is that both roles are active. I think there is a fairer way to view both choices. SAH is choosing to sah, not choosing to avoid "real life". WOH is choosing to woh, not choosing to be out of the house to avoid the kids.

Avatar for cyndiluwho
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 5:06pm
I don't think parenting is honorable. I think parenting WELL is honorable. There are lots of parents out there who aren't doing anything that one would consider honorable.
Avatar for outside_the_box_mom
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 7:32pm
I don't know about being "honorable" but I do think SAH because one wants to be with one's children is a very good reason to want to SAH. You make it sound like it's just a choice -- like giving the dog a bath on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

When I chose to quit my job to become a SAH/WAHM, I had to consider a number of things. Reduced income. Reduced "status" in the eyes of my friends. Having my husband think I was home to run his errands (sorry, think again). Being semi-dependent on my husband was a very hard adjustment. I *know* without a doubt I can go out and get a job making triple what I pay myself now. And sometimes having that knowledge is tough to deal with. However, I choose to continue SAH/WAH simply because being home for my child is more important to me.

SAH isn't simply a "life style" choice as CLW keeps claiming. And it certainly isn't "honorable." It's a lot of hard work and alot of tough choices for little fame and glory.

outside_the_box_mom

Avatar for mygriffin
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 7:43pm
Well, if you're working for extras....

I think there's a big difference between wanting a new boat and wanting to spend time with your kids.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 8:04pm
Here's where we disagree. The two aren't mutually exclusive. That boat isn't why we work, it just is a side benefit ... a perk. Wanting a boat doesn't mean you don't want to spend time with your kids.

Cyndi and I have pointed out this scenario numerous times. Jane Doe *has* to work to provide medical insurance and retirement savings for her family. The financial differential she needs to make up by working is about $10K a year. In her town, and her field, (and other considerations) she *can't* work part-time to make that $10K. So she has to work FT. However, Jane is qualified and educated enough to make $50K a year. So she works FT at $50K a year. Only $10K of that is *needed* by her family, and they choose to splurge with the other $40K by driving luxury cars, or buying a boat, or making expensive overseas trips.

Those things she gets by working are simply a *perk*. Should the family not spend the $40K? Simply because they don't *need* to? Should she take a voluntary cut in pay so as not to offend some MSAHM's sensibilities? Should she work at a minimum wage job so that sh only makes the $10K she needs? That would be ridiculous. The amount of time with the kids isn't affected a bit by Jane fulfilling her *wants*.

These are the types of perks that I believe petey and cyndi were talking about in the original thread. If your working FT allows for perks like a housekeeper, then do it. But i don't think any of us here are working *for* those things.

There are, of course, exceptions. I'm sure there are mothers out there who are rolling in the dough simply on hubby's salary and work anyway so they can have a 5500 sf house, a gardener, a cook, and never have to get their hands dirty. But I think those are about as rare as the SAHM who sits on her ass and eats bon bons all day.

Hollie

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 8:05pm
See, this "extras" thing - why is being home 4.5 days a week instead of 2 days a week "better" than not having to worry about cleaning my house because I can pay someone to do it? Having a cleaning service is not an "extra" to me - being home an "extra" 2.5 days would be.

Why are my financial extras looked down upon in your eyes? If you want the more relaxed pace of being with your kids more of the time, I don't judge you poorly for that.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 8:06pm
I don't disagree with your post, but how is it responsive to my question?

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