"I don't know how you do it"

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
"I don't know how you do it"
56
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 11:56am
This is one of my pet peeves, although I'm sure people telling me "I don't know how you do it" in referring to my sah is well-intentioned. But I don't get it and it annoys me. I mean, these are my kids, do people really wonder how I can stand to spend my days with my kids???

Sorry, I just needed to vent and profess that I don't get this statement. One of my dearest friends just said this to me last night. She works full-time and came home to a crabby baby.

Jill

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 11:59am
Jill, I get the same response when I say my husband & I are working towards both WAH full-time in the future. We've done it in the past & its been wonderful! Some folks just don't seem to understand that some people really enjoy each others' company. I mean, DH & I wouldn't have gotten married if we couldn't stand to be around each other! So, I understand where you're coming from!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 12:26pm
Some years ago, when I was dealing with a boss from hell, I decided that I would no longer feel responsible for other peoples' perceptions of remarks I might have made to them. I say what I mean with good intent, and if the hearer reads some unintended hidden meaning into that, then so be it. Along with this resolution went a parallel resolution NOT to read hidden negative intent into any remark made to me. I really recommend adopting this attitude with regard to this remark or anything similar. (Yes, I know all that rot about body language, but I suggest just ignoring it.)

It's a benign remark, and it is usually meant as a compliment, actually. Most people mean to say that they admire your patience and ability to deal with children all day without losing your temper.

To answer your question, yes, some of us prefer to regularly put some distance between ourselves and our loved ones. I love my child very much, but I really don't WANT to be with him 24/7 on a regular basis. This does not just apply to children, but also to spouses. Have you never met the SAH spouse of a recent retiree?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 12:29pm
>>>I love my child very much, but I really don't WANT to be with him 24/7 on a regular basis. This does not just apply to children, but also to spouses. Have you never met the SAH spouse of a recent retiree?

----------------

And on the other side of the coin are those of us who DO want to be with our spouses (and they with us) 24/7. It truly does take all kinds of folks! :)

I like your philosophy of saying what you mean & not reading into remarks made to you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:01pm
Is the society norm for parents to want to put distance between them and their children? I'm not talking school-age kids here, I'm talking babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

It just seems so much more acceptable for people to say "I don't know how you do it," meaning spending all day with the kids, to a sahm than it is for someone to say the same thing to a wohp.

I know it is a compliment and acknowledgement that I am doing something very difficult. It just bothers me. It is almost like asking my how I can stand to be a mom to my kids.

Jill

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:02pm
I get this statement in a different context. It is always made in regards to DH's cancer and it is always followed by "You handle it so well" I always say thank you but I feel like gritting my teeth and ranting. I have no choice but to handle it. What else can I do? It is meant to be a compliment but to me, its not.

I don't get it either.

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:04pm
I used to get "I don't know how you do it" when I WOH in reference to being able to work and having happy kids and having the house clean. I used to just laugh, because I certainly didn't think I was doing a fantastic job of it. (Please don't read into that - *I* was horrible at WOH, not everyone is *me*)
Avatar for tickmich
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:25pm
Actually a friend of mine who is a SAHM recently made the same comment to me. I am a WOHM. I think there can be difficult aspects to both. Personally, Id love to be home with my DS but we just cant afford for me to stay home
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:26pm
I've gotten the comment before too and it is one that is hard to answer--it usually makes the conversation a liitle awkward. I've been told here that it's supposed to be a compliment, but I've also been told it in real life & the other mother followed up with "I wouldn't want to be around my kids all day." What are you supposed to say to that? Sorry to hear that, I have pretty great kids that I don't mind having around?

Vickie

VickiSiggy.jpg picture by mamalahk

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:38pm
i wouldn't necessarily assume that she was talking about spending time with your child(ren), unless she said something specifically to that effect. i'd assume that she was talking about something related to your conversation or attitude. for example, if you were soothing her with humorous stories about your children's crabby moments, like a true "dear" friend would, while she was still feeling frazzled by the demands her baby just put on her, she was probably talking about your cheerful demeanor--not detesting the company of her own child. certainly, since you were there you would know better than i, but i think it telling that people jump to the conclusion that others can't stand to be around their own children so quickly, when that is something that i'd consider rather extreme--a sign of depression or psychopathy.

ime, most of the time these things said among friends don't mean "i don't know how you could enjoy the company of your children, because i loathe spending time with mine" but "i admire your ." and most of the time these things are said among strangers they mean "i'm grasping at straws here, trying to find some common point of interest between us"--like talking about the weather. if i were you i'd be wondering whether my "dear" friend was crying out for help if she *was* saying she detested spending time with her baby, or whether i was being a little bit self-righteous assuming that because she works ft she must be fixating on how you spend more time with your children rather than talking about how you respond to the crabby baby-type challenges that all mothers face.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:45pm
I am a working mother who struggles with the guilt of NOT being home with my little girl. I have had this conversation with a ton of women (working, stay-at-home, part-timers,etc.), and I have come to some conclusions. First of all, women have different needs and wants. Some mothers do not want to spend 24/7 with their children, but it's not that they don't love them. Many of today's women already began their careers and had very full independent (pre-mommy) lives. It's a difficult thing to suddenly shift gears in such a drastic way. On the other hand, there are those who really want to stay home but cannot due to financial demands (that's me). The list of different women goes on and on. After much discussion with my husband, and after agreeing to work full-time for a couple of years (my daughter is now three and I worked part-time during her first year), I am now expecting Baby Girl #2 and plan to work-part time from now on. We had to do a lot of saving these past couple of years and stick to a budget. I'm lucky in that we are both educators and have managed to work out a nice schedule. I had to change positions in order to alleviate some of the daily paper work I was bringing home (English teacher syndrome!). Anyway, I think this is a good plan. It allows me to contribute to our income, which we really need, but I can still spend quality time with my daughter. I come home happy and excited to be with her. Most of my stay-at-home friends tell me that they wish they had some kind of an outlet because, as much as they love and adore their children, they also need something of their own, some grown-up, personal time. That's why they go to the gym or go do something for a couple of hours when their husbands come home. I, on the other hand, very rarely go out to "get away from the kids" because I already get away to work and miss them during that time. Anyway, I hope this helps.

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