Let's be honest.....

Avatar for cl_annieb67
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Let's be honest.....
14
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 10:22pm
I will be, even though I feel like I'm on stage, naked, singing "I will always love you" Karaoke style. :O)


I overheard two women talking today. Both with newborns. They were, ironically, discussing returning to work. (I'm presuming they were co-workers)

One declared with a flip of her hair "Well THIS is MY career for the next 18 years."

Please don't misunderstand me. If someone wants to be a SAHM, then that's fine. But to me, the underlying *tone* with this attitude, is that it will pay off, in the end. That at the end of the 18 years, they will have a tangible "reward" of sorts. Will they? Oh, they will have memories, and so will the kids, but is it a guarantee? Is there any guarantee? I will go on record as saying I believe the answer is "no".

Most of the "militant" SAHM's that post here, will also say they have no guarantees, and aren't looking for guarantees. They are living for the here and now. I also wonder how much of this is the very newness of motherhood speaking. NOT the reality of wanting to be seperated from a bratty toddler. :O) And I also can appreciate, the very valid reasons for wanting to SAH. Abhorent DC experiences is, at least, imo, a very valid reason. The girl I work with, who is shelling out 50.00 a day for DC is a very valid reason to SAH.

I will be honest, and say when I SAH for the first few years of my kids lives, I did expect more. I expected to see the benefits. Oh, with the first one, I walked around with a puffed out chest. My second one, was reality. Although, she is a darling now, and outshines her sister in many areas.

Now that they are older (13, 11 and 6) for the newbies. Life is so much easier. Work is work, and home is home. I go to school functions, and don't waste time worrying if mine is smarter, or more well behaved than the others. That doesn't mean, I don't care. It means that life is much easier. I no longer worry when they are away from me. I know they are polite well behaved children. I know our values are with them. Am I ditching my motherhood? Not at all. I've shut one door, and opened another. Behind door number 2, are the kids who NEED all that we can afford. And, I'm willing to work for it. Doing these things on one income, would really dampen our lifestyle. (The ole' take-out pizza once a week, lol!)

I also would like to go on record as saying that there are posters here, who just say, "you know what? I WANT to be with my child." What is wrong with that? Why must we hide, or justify the fact that we are doing something for US? Just as, why should we be ashamed to say, "I want to WORK to get a break from my child?"

Can anyone, besides me, weigh both decisions, and the result of that decision, and honestly see the difference in a child? I can't. 2 were in DC, one wasn't. And there is absolutely no difference in how they think, act, or relate to me.

I missed a lot of firsts. I have YET to shed a tear over missing them. I've volleyed back and forth, between whatever worked for my family at that given moment. If I needed to work, I work. If it was 'ok' to SAH, I did. It's never been a one size fits all argument for me.

So, my question is. How can one say HOW they will feel about this issue in 2, 3 or 5 years? Can you honestly say that? Will you SAH or return to work simply out of a belief? I can HONESTLY say, I felt 'betrayed' when after SAH for most of Donny's younger years, he hoppped on that bus for the first day of Kindergarten, and without so much as a backward glance, waved "BYE MOM!".

What is the end product you expect of your decision? What do you want to see? What are your hopes? And do you BELIEVE your decision is a guarantee?

"There in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I close my eyes, feel their beauty and follow where they lead."

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 10:41pm
My views on this issue change almost daily - at least for me personally. In the global sense, I think that people should do what works best for their families. Our second child was born in December, and I just extended my leave through the end of May. If you had asked me five years ago whether I would consider being a sahm, I'd have laughed in your face, but I'm considering it now. Honestly, I just didn't realize how hard it would be to leave those babies (and it was easier the first time around because my mom was watching her, which isn't possible this time). I also didn't realize how crazy our lives would become with both of us working in very demanding jobs. I didn't realize how much my 3 1/2 yo would *not* be a morning person and what a chore would be to get her up and out the door in the morning. There are a lot of things I didn't anticipate.

<<>

I just want a healthy, happy family.

<<>>

Not for a second. We're just going with the flow.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 5:51am
I was a SAHM for 12 1/2 years, the thing that most surprised me was that the bond that the kids have with DH has always been just as strong as with me. I kind of felt that I should have gotten extra "bonding points" for the hours I put in, but it didn't happen.

My DDS are 13, 18 and 20 so I am even further along the journey then you are. I have done both based on what was best at that time.

What I hope is to have happy productive adults and I am starting to see that result. I don't think that there are any guarentees in life and parenting. I think that a whole lot has to do with what you are given, children aren't blank canvases to shape any way that we want, they already come to us with personalities and the best that we can do is try to guild those personalities. I have had a fairly easy time with parenting because I have kids that have been fairly easy to parent. Other paresnt have had to deal with harder issues.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:44am
Wow that was well written. I have none of my own childrend so I can not answer your question. I am a step mom who at times does not like how c.s. is handled. But that is neither her nor there. Just wanted to say you wrote that well.
Avatar for laurenmom2boys
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:49am
<>

For me, in a nutshell, I want happy, healthy kids who are nice to everyone and who are compassionate. I want a generally happy family. I want a comfortable lifestyle devoid of financial worry.

The only guarantees in life are taxes and death. I can do my best to be loving and kind and to raise loving, kind children. But they have individual personalities. You can't mold them into what you want them to be. But you can guide them along the way and hope they grasp the things you feel are important in life. My DH and I believe that kindness, compassion and good manners are way up at the top of the list. And so far, I think my boys are grasping those concepts.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 10:07am
Me thinks the lady doth protest to much . . .

You seem a little too worked up over an overhead remark from a hair flipping new mother, who apparently is a total stranger to you. You also seem to be reading waaaaaaaay to much into her remarks. I suspect that maybe you aren't quite at peace with how you've balanced your family life, why would you care about the perceived "tone" of the remark of a total stranger ?

I've noticed that when people disagree with someone's choice, a stock argument seems to be, well there's NO GAURANTEES. Well DUH !!! I don't think anyone makes any decision based on some mythical 100% guarantee. All anyone does, is weigh their options, and make the decision that's best for them, based on what they think will give them a reasonable chance of achieving their goals . Notice I said, "reasonable chance" not 100 % guarantee, because as everyone (or almost everyone) knows, in life there are NO Guarantees. So you went on the record as saying "no" to the big question of "Are their guarantees ?" As I said before, most people know that, so you aren't exactly naked on stage. You admit that when you stayed at home, you walked around with a "puffed up chest", maybe you are projecting that attitude on this hair flipping stranger. You also say that you expected more. Welcome to the human race, most people do have expectations (weather they admit it or not) but of course, life is full of unexpected surprises, good & bad. I really don't have much to say about other people's choices of how they balance work, family, kids, etc. It's a personal choice for each family, and I don't thinks it my place to make anyone feel ashamed of how they arrange their work & family. Besides, I am not clearly in one camp or the other. I've been SAHM, WOHM, and flat out unemployed (as I am at the moment) When I was expecting, I planned on SAHM for awhile, but I had no hard & fast plans, I took it on a "wait & see" basis. When I was in my late teens, I had made an adamant vow to never have children. When I found myself happily & deliberately pregnant at 34, I learned my lesson on making decisions & setting them in stone, so now I live my life day to day, & leave myself some "wiggle room" in regards to my life options. What is the "end product" I expect of my "decision" you ask. Well, I don't consider my child to be some manufactured product that I can mold at will into some "end product",

and my "decision" is really a series of day to day choices, but I, like every mother I know, hopes to raise a child who will grow up to be happy, well adjusted & able to take care of himself, but, in answer to your question, do I "BELIEVE" my "decision" is a guarantee ? Well, I don't think anyone does, and I don't think there is any ONE decision that anyone is hanging any guarantees on to begin with. So, no, I don't think there is any GUARANTEE that my son will grow up to be generally, emotionally & socially well adjusted and capable, however, I think there's a reasonable chance that he will be, but that has more to do with the loving relationship between the 3 of us, not on how many hours I spent out of the home earning a paycheck, vs. the amount of time I spent as a "SAHM"

BTW, I hope I'm not coming across as snotty, because that's not my intention, and I DO appreciate your honesty in your post. ( I just love naked Karaorke :) ) Maybe you really aren't so much worked up over the "hair flipping new mother", but are just using that as a springboard for discussion. If you are happy with your family life & how you are balancing it, than that is all that counts. Not the opinions of "militant SAHMs", not the opinions of nosy neighbors, and not the opinions of ANYONE else.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 10:46am
I can't honestly say as a SAHM that it will be any easier going to work when my kids are in school than right now at this moment, or 3 years ago when they were infants. I simply do not know because I did not experience, have yet to, etc.

From my experience of having the kids so close in age, I can honestly say that I was very overwhelemed to begin with. When my ds was born, my dd was just 11 months old. As he got old enough to say, leave in a swing for ten minutes, she got to the age of wanting to grab his face to see how pliable it was. I had a bassinet inside of a playpen. I went through at least one mega-pack of diapers per week. And, though this is another arguement alltogether, I had one cupboard in my very small kitchen at the time full of nothing but bottles, similac powder, and the entire gamut of sippy cups. When dd began to spoon feed herself, ds was just getting baby cereal. I bottle broke ds at 14 months old because I really did not want dd to be on the bottle when she turned 2. I went through a year of potty training with dd before she caught on, and when she did, I spent the next 6 months helping ds. DC was out of question price-wise at the time. I know people who would have loved to watch my kids pt - but it took a great deal of my energy to adjust to dueling babies in their development. Though we could have used the extra money in those days, I really felt a sense of *duty* to my children full-time. During the time my children were under 2, my dh finally got a court order for visitation for his older two children who live 600 miles away. The court order gave us six months of monthly weekend visits in which we had to travel. To make it affordable, we had to drive, and we did attempt it once with the babies.. it did not work out well! My mother decided she would help out and take the kids for these weekends - she did, and to make it work for her, she not only needed to make sure that my dad was there to help, but also recruited her sister as well just to get through 3-4 days of my children. It was then when I decided that there was almost no way that I could impose on anyone else for outside help. Beyond those weekends, during that time in my parenthood, the only respite I ever saw was a nightly hour-long bath that my husband insisted that I have, no matter who was teething or had runny noses.

As they have gotten older, life is a lot less hectic. Something magical happened about a year ago. They play together. They enjoy each other. And though they still argue about who gets the larger section of my lap, they seem mostly satisfied with the attention I can give to both on their own terms. At that point, I found I had more *spare* time while they began to play on their own, and together than ever before. I just still was not ready to WOH. The years previous were a whirlwind of exhaustion. It seemed the time had actually come when my babies were no longer babies, and were more enjoyable and less *work*. About the same time, dh's job meant less hours with more pay. Somehow, everything fell into place with my family all at the same time. This was when I felt most secure and confident with SAH. The last year of my parenthood has been my most enjoyable, and yes, I dread the school bus showing up at my door in a few months. I feel like I just got started, really.

I also do not see any shame in admitting to wanting a break from the kids. I don't necessarily ever feel a great need to be away from them, but at the same time, I do find myself enjoying life doing things other than centering my life around the kids. Just this week, my father took my ds for the day, and my mother took my dd. I did not feel as *lost* as I expected I would, which makes me wonder if WOH would be as stressing as I once thought it could be.


As for the future, of course I don't know how I will feel. I think for me personally, I need to get over the hurdle of getting them into school first. With my WAH now, I find that the time I have to devote to work is limited and sporadic. I *think* that once my kids enter school, that I may find myself with the few hours a day I need to make my WAH more profitable. If I find that we have a larger financial need, so long as I can make WAH a possibility, I will do that.

*Guarantee* is just a sales gimmick, and *expectations* are only disappointing when you believe in the hype.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 11:04am
My only comment is that I can't believe that you had the energy to have sex when you had a two month old!

Seriously, kids 11 months apart when you were in your early 20s? You chose a very hard road, and you deserve a little easier life (WOH or SAH) from here on out.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 11:27am
Oh well, hey, I don't see my life being any harder than anyone elses. Just different challanges.

And as for the conception of my ds, I should tell you that one of the baby shower gifts I recieved was a tv for our bedroom from my MIL. My parents got us a satellite dish system. Their hint was well-taken :) LOL.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 11:31am
thanks for a Friday chuckle.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 1:39pm
Well dangit all. I thought I had a good debate I could sink my teeth into.


Then, I got to the end.

>>Maybe you really aren't so much worked up over the "hair flipping new mother", but are just using that as a springboard for discussion. If you are happy with your family life & how you are balancing it, than that is all that counts. Not the opinions of "militant SAHMs", not the opinions of nosy neighbors, and not the opinions of ANYONE else. >>

No, not worked up at all. I once, had the attitude that my children would be my be-all-and-end-all. But I do see the attitude, not just from the hair flippers, but from friends also. I find it admirable, but not realistic, in the long run. I am perfectly happy with the balance in my life. Although, it all may change Monday morning. (new job interview :O)





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