How prevelant is this attitude?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
How prevelant is this attitude?
222
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 11:29am
A post below peeked my interest, as I have run into this a few times IRL, and alot online. How prevelant is the thinking that SAHP's are just home because they expect someone else to support them. Or because they are too lazy to get a job or keep a job. I didn't really keep up on the story of that governor who had twins while in office, but if I remember, her husband was a SAHP and it was constantly rumored that he wasn't a SAHD, he just couldn't keep a job. That may be true, I don't know, but I found it interesting that it even came up.

In the past, I have run into alot of people (alot in my own disfunctional family) who view the SAHP (me at the time) as someone who either cannot or won't hold down a job. They (in a general sense) tend to overlook the SAHP as someone who is not worthwhile of their time and attention. I know that there are judgements made on both sides of this, and I think we hear alot of the SAHP's judgements here because it tends to ruffle feathers. But I'm wondering how many other people have run into the WOHP's judgements or even to hear from WOHPs here who have the same judgements because I really don't understand this way of thinking.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 8:07pm
the general consensus on this board imo is, if you dont have a formal education, you're pretty much SOL if you want to sah. most people with this attitude are older parents, and just dont see how it can be done. as a bride at 22yo, we bought our first house before i turned 23. dh and i have no degrees. we had two children while living in that house, and then moved into a larger home, and had another baby. i sah until i was 33 yo, working little part time jobs here and there. i then worked a steady pt/5day a week job while ds2 was in nursery school and have been at my ft job with a large banking corp. for the past 6 1/2 years. we are not rolling in money, we dont have gobs of retirement saved, but we do own two homes, and two condos, along with two mercedes. they are older but run very well. we still dont have degrees and we are more comfortable than we ever have been.

i dont recommend this for everyone, and some people would never tolerate the struggles we have had, but we wanted to get married and have babies, and were completely naive to even begin to know how to plan. rather than gobs of savings, we have real estate as our "retirement" and of course 401k's, but this is what we chose. we are not ignorant, we just took a different path and yes it is possible to be a sahm young without college, for a greater percent of married people than you think. when my children were little most of my friends were sah, without college. i dont see how you can make such a claim. and we dont live in a dump. my sister can vouch for me, my home is very comfortable, as is our rental and our two condos.

actually, my plan is to go to art school when my kids are all settled, which isnt too far off. my baby will be 18 when im 48 and is currently the only one living home, so we are still young enough to go after degrees, we are just doing it in reverse order.

i truly believe, if you have kids ever, you pay now, or you pay later. we paid now, and will make up for it later. personally, i dont know if i could handle teenagers in my fifties. btdt, wont *ever* go back.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 8:13pm
dh and i were both 22 when we were married, 25 when we had ds1, 26yo for dd, and 30yo with ds2. by the time we had our third child, we were living in our second home, 4br/2000 sq ft, and had no financial help or degrees. i sah from 25-33, not easy, but very do-able. this is not an uncommon thing.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 8:18pm
EXACTLY!!!!!!!!! and while i sah, i cared for his *half* of the kids!!! you bet we're in this together!

good post.

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 8:33pm
I agree but that's all the more reason to push for two parents working together. Just becuase we have some biological urge to reproduce doesn't mean we have to opt out and SAH. One does not follow the other. That is by choice not by design. IMO, a big part of the reason we make 74 cents on the dollar is that men are not equal parents. Why should they be when mom is oh so willing to do it all. Kids need two parents. The level of a fathers involvement is linked to frequency of teen pregnancies and drug usage. I think the way to fix the wage discrepency between men and women is to get men to become more involved as parents.

When dads are just as likely as moms to quit and SAH or take time off of work for doctors appointments, maybe we'll get paid for the work we do instead of being paid a lesser salary as some kind of insurance policy for the company. They pay us less becuase the risk of losing us and having to replace us with someone who has to be trained is greater than it is for men.

BTW, I make about half again as much as my dh but I don't make what a male engineer makes and I know it. I also know why I don't make it. Where I work, it's rare to see a man take off for a sick child, take an extended mat leave or go part time to spend more time with the kids but these things are common for women. What we really need is more SAHD's, dads taking maternity leaves and dads taking off for school activies and dr's appointments!!! That would do more to even the playing field than anything else.

Unfortunately, when it comes to wages, we are our own worst enemy. Every time a woman leaves the work world she reinforces the antiquated notion that you can't mix motherhood and a career. If more moms stayed in the work force, the work force would have no choice but to become more mom friendly and dads would have no choice but to become more involved with their kids. I really do think what we need is mom and dad working together to BOTH can spend time with and enjoy their kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 8:35pm
I think many can sah and still plan well for the future. Our original "plan" was to get into a position where I could "afford" to take a few years off. Then when my children reached school age I would return to work.

It was very easy for us...we only ever used dh's income. So when I started working we banked my salary for years. Then we had our daughter and I sah...our situation changed after I had my daughter and there was no need for me to return to work. So I am and will be for quite a while a sahp. We have a college fund set up, we also have a nice nest egg for retirement.

If my dh's career hadn't taken off, I would've returned to work when the youngest reached kindergarten...again my salary would be "extra" so I could bank it, if we needed to sock away money for college, retirement or private school. It can be done, not by everyone...but with planning I think most could "plan" to at least take a few years off.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 9:31pm
You've made some good points. I have a feeling our daughters will experience more equality in pay and our granddaughters even more, but such a transition is going to take time. I'm fortunate in that I work in a pretty progressive company that has a lot of women at the top, so I think having that estrogen surge up there helps with equality for us down below. It also probably has helped with my feelings of empowerment. But I still feel women sometimes simple "settle" for their job status. Because it takes a lot of work to get promoted these days and the competition is tougher than ever. Maybe we're just to wiped out from doing it all to try.

For now I take the stance that I am doing my part in helping balance the earnings scales for future generations of women by setting a good example for daughters. My husband participates equally in my childrens lives. I wouldn't have it any other way. I take time off work for field trips, doctors appointments, etc., and so does he. This is really great for my girls and it's also great for my DH, and believe it or not for our relationship. I feel my children are getting a much better perspective of what a true partnership means and that Dad plays just as important role in their lives as mom. And Dad is forming a more precious bond than if he were letting the little woman handle all the kid stuff. I see the traditional mindset of women doing the lion's share of child rearing slowly being torn down. I see it where I work and in talking to others I find it is becoming more "accepted" for men to miss a meeting or two to take care of home responsibilities. Hopefully as time goes by more and more men will feel committed to doing 50/50 at home. But we need to do are part in getting our husbands to be more 50/50. I'm not saying rock your domestic boat but gradually trying to encourage more equal participation. Even when I was a SAHM I urged my husband to leave work early for school functions because he owes it to our children to be involved. If I hadn't pushed him a little he would have missed out on some great memories which he thanks me for now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 6:16am
I so totally agree with you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 7:49am
"Most people wouldn't tolerate the struggles" you and your DH put up with. Very true! The difference to me is that if you have kids young, you have kid-related expenses up until they are out of college. Then you have to save for your own retirement! When is the time you can just spend money on yourselves? We did that in our twenties and early thirties. But you're right, when I turn 50 I'll have a 16 year old and a 14 year old. And we are way more physically drained than we'd be if we were 30 and 27 now instead of ten years older.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 9:13am
I think a lot of the issue is energy level and drive. You can be lower energy and/or not interested in investing as much of it in a job/career, and decide that SAH is best for your family because you don't have the energy to be a great employee AND a great mom without being lazy. It's not really fair for women who have more energy and/or drive to criticize those moms who can't work a 10 hour day and then come home and be top notch parents. There are a lot of shades of gray in there.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 9:54am
Right on! I had ds when I was barely 21. I plan on having a couple more ASAP, and I SAH, my dh supports me. He wants to. That's fine. I supported him for a year, and neither has been a point of contention. While many people see some huge merit in being well to do before having kids, having enough to live comfortably is fine with me. And I see huge merit in my kids being grown and out of the house by the time I'm in my mid 40s. Some people want to "broaden their horizons" before they get married and have kids... well I'm going to do it while I have kids, with my dh, and after the kids are out, with my dh.

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