This may come off as random

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
This may come off as random
18
Fri, 07-13-2007 - 3:12pm

I am new around here, but this is an issue that I spend quite a bit of time thinking about. I am getting married next year, so I do not at this time have children. We are going to try to get pregnant almost immediately after we are married due to my fiance's age and some other factors.


With that said this subject is so interesting to me. My mother and most of her friends all worked while raising their children. Throught their divorces, parents aging, children with drug problems, all of the crazy stuff of life, they worked. Now interestingly, my mother had one husband (my father) walk out on her, and her second husband died unexpectedly. She was very careful to instill the idea of "men are unreliable, do not be dependant on a man" etc etc.


Some of the women I grew up with have already had children, each of them is a SAHM! I grew up with these women, they all had career and educational goals. They all met at least the educational goals they had set for themselves, but most made the decision to leave their jobs and take care of their children at home.


As for myself, My fiance has told me that if I wish to work I can, and if I want to stay home I can do that too. He said it is totally my decision. My biggest problem with staying home is not giving up anything in terms of career, it's fear. Fear that he will get bored and leave me, fear that he will lose his job and we will be destitute, fear he will die in a terrible accident and leave me unemployed with children. This is just the short list. BUT and this is a big but, I am leaning toward staying home.


Do you think society has shifted in such a way that we as women feel competitive as mothers? As in, the SAHM's think they are superior to the WOHM's and vice versa.


Why is that happening?


And why do you think that my generation is opting to stay home, when our mothers opted, no demanded, to work?


Like I said from a sociological perspective, I think it's really interesting.


Sorry this was long...




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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2003
Fri, 07-13-2007 - 11:56pm

Well not sure what generation you are from, but in my generation and I am 38 years old the Mother mostly stayed at home. It was the June Cleaver mentality. Maybe it just happened to be where I grew up. I think it really depends on where you live. I don't think Mothers feel that way where I live. I do however know some of the other larger cities here in California there is major competition going on. I have heard it.

I do think you should not be stressing over whether or not you will stay at home or work right now. Yes it is important to have some idea, but there is no reason why you can't try the stay at home and if you don't like it then go to work. There is no right or wrong. You just do whatever feels right for your family and yourself. I think we often worry too much about the future. Live for today. Trish

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Sun, 07-15-2007 - 11:48am

I think earlier generations demanded to work because being a SAHM automatically meant having less control over one's family life, money, etc. If my husband believed he was my boss, I'd want to work to ensure my independence too. This isn't the case in my house- we are a team and my husband values the work I do here. I make more than 50% of the household and family decisions because I'm the one who is here more. I also think a lot of women who grew up with working mothers saw how hard their mothers worked and how little help they had. I know I was proud of my own mother when she worked, but those were not easy years for her.

I read about competition between WOHMs and SAHMs and I certainly see it here, but I rarely notice it IRL. I certainly don't feel superior to WOHMs. I admire most of them very much because they do most of what I do for my family and they do it in a lot less time. What I don't do is envy them. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to stay home with my children. And I hope one of today's WOHM's will be a good boss for me one day if I ever go back to work!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-2004
Sun, 07-15-2007 - 12:43pm

There isn't really a trend of moms SAH; far more moms WOH now than 10 or 20 years ago, so watch out for these so-called trends. Besides, what do you care what the trend is? You have to do what you need to do.

So your mom and most of her friends used to WOH. Did they do it because they had a choice, or did they do it because they had to WOH? Whatever their reasons were at the time, I'll bet most of them feel they were much better off as WOHM's, and they have years of experience to convince them.

But now you think it's worth paying attention to younger people, SAHM friends and acquaintances of yours, who are gambling that SAH won't become a trap for them? And who are actually in the minority wrt to young moms as a group? I'd say the older people you know have more of a track record.

The whole question of competition among moms and WOHMs and SAHMs having attitudes about each other; who knows, but it is certainly something you can afford to ignore. As I said, you have to do what best suits your situation, not whatever seems based on social trends or pop psychology.

Good luck!

Avatar for myshkamouse
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 07-15-2007 - 6:00pm

Like another poster has noted, I'm not sure what generation you are. I'm 38, my mother was a SAHM and so were most my friends mothers. About 1/2 my friends WOH and another 1/2 are SAHM's. My friends who SAH don't look down on those of us who WOH or vise versa.
Personally I think its totally up to the family dynamics, financials, etc.
For us, I decided to pursue my career further after my twins were born 4 years ago. DH has been a SAHD since the kids were 14 months old and I went back to work.
I'm now a bit over 5.5 months pregnant with our third child. I'll go back to work when I'm ready, part time, after this baby is born.
The thing you didnt mention is how much you like, or don't like your career. I love what I do and want to continue doing it regardless of being a mom. If I ever felt it interfered with my ability to parent I'd quit. But it doesnt, so I don't.
As for the fear of your DH dying -- seriously -- life insurance.
As for the fear of him leaving you, that's valid. Its in reality usually a real part of the risk to putting your career on hold to SAN. But its no reason not to SAH is you want to and have a good marriage.

MM

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2003
Sun, 07-15-2007 - 7:17pm

I agree that these issues are interesting from a sociological perspective. I do have a few opinions on the questions you've noted.

I see a lot more emphasis on issues of parenthood in general, not just SAH and WOH, such as breastfeeding, attachment parenting, co-sleeping, etc. I think that part of it can be attributed to the increase in the sharing of information and opinions more than in past years -- due in no small part to the internet. It also seems that in my mother's and grandmother's generations, people were more concerned about doing what worked or what was needed for their own families, and worrying less about what other families were doing in regards to these issues. I'm sure there always were some judgemental people (aren't there always?) but it wasn't discussed as openly (such as in forums like this one).

I see mothers choosing to SAH more frequently with younger mothers (in their 20s and early 30s) in recent years, too. I think there are a variety of reasons that the rate of SAH is increasing. People in general are working longer hours than ever, and some may feel that it would be too difficult to balance home and work life, or that their husbands may not be able to contribute much time to the home and family due to their careers and work schedules. Some may have unpleasant associations with growing up with WOH mothers (which may or may not have had anything to do with her work status and could have been due to other factors), and are choosing the opposite work status in the hopes that they can provide their children with happier childhoods. I also think that being a SAHM has become somewhat fashionable in some circles. But for the most part, SAH just works better for some individuals, their families and their circumstances, just like WOH, WAH, or part-time employment works better for others.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Mon, 07-16-2007 - 10:29am

thank you all for the responses!


I think the reason I have spent so much time thinking about it is because a couple months ago I mentioned to my mother that we had basically been planning for me to stay home with the children. Her response was very negative, basically calling me "lazy" and then telling me that I am going to end up alone and poor. She also told my grandmother, who called me and said the same thing. I was shocked.


I also started to notice so many of the girls I grew up with are at home now, and I never would have expected that 10 years ago. (I am 28) But then again, we have all changed so much in 10 years. Over the weekend another friend just gave her notice at work. Her baby is only 5 weeks old, but she has decided she is not going back. This was another shocker, she has been ultra career focused and actually holds a higher position on the health care industry than her husband. She said the money is not important to her.





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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Mon, 07-16-2007 - 11:12am
I think its great that you and your fiance are both open to either option. You may find sah to be best, or you may want to go back to work. Or you may like one for awhile and then change your mind. If I've learned nothing else about having children is that good ideas change over time. As to the shift in attitude, I'm not sure. Societal views tend to swing from one extreme to the other, give or take a generation, and the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle. The women in my family have worked as far back as I can remember so I've never known differently. Sah is not looked down on, but it isn't considered necessary either. More like a nice thing to have if you can swing it. To each their own. Its good that you and your fiance are discussing things now, but keep in mind that things may change there as well.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-2004
Mon, 07-16-2007 - 1:22pm
Somewhat OT I suppose, but you need to get a spine wrt your mother. Now that you're a parent, you want to think about managing your relationship wrt your mom and grandmother so your kids don't grow up thinking the way they treat you is correct and proper. How on earth did your mom and grandmother get to be so free with the things you tell them, so quick to judge you, so sure you want their opinion?
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Mon, 07-16-2007 - 4:00pm

It's so funny you would say that.


I have actually become quite good at defending myself. My mother sort of feels that "she is the mother" and can say whatever she wants. I mean she has actually said that to me. She tends to see being a mother as an absolute, giving her all sorts of rights and privileges. I am not all that concerned with her opinion, more curious why she felt so strongly on the subject. My grandmother just doesn't like men but that is no secret.


They both have an innate distrust of men so I guess that was the point.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-2004
Mon, 07-16-2007 - 6:24pm

It's great that you're good at defending yourself against your mom's off the wall comments and lack of social skills. She's completely wrong, of course, that just because someone's your offspring you can mouth off to them as you would to no one else. I've BTDT myself, and I've had to explain to my kids that "grandma's a little different when it comes to manners", etc.

You'd think they'd try to cool it a little with the distrust of men bit, since you're now married to one and presumably trying to stay that way ;-)

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