Once and for all - do SAHMs "work"

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Once and for all - do SAHMs "work"
161
Mon, 07-21-2003 - 6:18pm
I have had two different conversations lately -

One with a younger woman that I know through DH's department. Her boyfriend does not want children - although he clearly gets along with them for short periods of time - and she does. She says she is ready and ready to "not work anymore". I just laughed at that. She said, "ok maybe part time". I laughed harder.

The second was with a friend who just happens to call at inopportune times. She said - for someone who quit their job, you sure work awfully hard.

I don't know if there is anything debatable...

SUS

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 07-21-2003 - 6:47pm
Shortly after I became a SAHM I ran into a former co-worker at the grocery store. He said, "Must be nice to be have your days to yourself to do what you want." I thought, yeah right, with a baby I was feeding every three hours round the clock.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 07-21-2003 - 6:56pm
I don't know if I'd call it "work" but it keeps me busy.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 07-21-2003 - 11:12pm
I'm with you. I'm not sure I'd classify what a sahm does as "work," since I don't get paid and what I do doesn't benefit anyone outside of my family (except maybe the volunteer stuff I do for parent's organizations and my son's preschool.) But man, I am sure not sitting here eating bon bons and watching soaps all day long.

I get a little annoyed when people tell me I am doing the "hardest job in the world." I feel like, huh, I am raising my children. They aren't exactly heathens. Isn't this what all parents are doing working or not?

I see the world's hardest job as a neurosurgeon or air traffic controller. Someone who is taking many lives in their hands each day. Of course lately I seem to have two lives in my hands with my baby's obsession with outlets and my older son's obsession with water.

Jill

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 07-21-2003 - 11:55pm
Not only do I work 24/7 BUT I do not get vacations/sick days or personal days. This became glaringly clear when we went on our annual camping trip...I was not on vacation, it was the "same thing" I do every other day but with a nicer backdrop!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 12:47am
Hi, lurker here.

I'm a SAHM and I know that I "work". Maybe my idea of how to calculate work is a bit different from others.

I don't think the only way to count work is to see what you are paid or how you benifit others. I see work being equal to accomplishments. We tell children the same thing, work hard in school and you'll go far.

Everyday I can tell how much I have accomplished by listening to my ds(2)say please and thank you without being prompted, My dd(9) ask me "did you enjoy yourself today Mom?", My other dd(8months)grin ear to ear and clap her hands when she finally get all the way in a chair or stands by herself, and finally when my Dh says thank you honey for all you do!

I know that some people would argue that all parents do these things, but I know as a SAHM I am soley responsible for these things. If my kids don't have manners, empathy, or pride I can't blame it on a daycare or nanny and say where did they learn that behaivior (have friends that have made comments just like this). On the flip side when they show these qualities I can take the credit because I know how hard I have worked to make it happen.



Lea

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 6:54am
I also have never understood the "hardest job in the world" when applied to SAHMs. Oprah uses the phrase a lot.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 7:08am
There is another phrase that I have never understood, SAHMs work 24/7. Do you really work 24/7? You never sleep or have any breaks? You may be on call 24/7 but that is different then working 24/7. If you are literally working 24/7 then it sounds like more of a issue with your family then a SAH issue. Your DH does absolutely none of the childcare? If you are sick then your DH will not take over the kids/house to let you rest?

Also wouldn't a WOHM also work 24/7. The only difference is they work some hours outside of the home and some in it. When they get done with one job the other one starts. But they are on call the same hours. Their vacations are spent taking care of their kids so I guess they don't get vacations either.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 7:48am
Heck, yeah, they do! I SAH for the first 5 months (that was all we could afford to do), and now I am back full time 2nd shift. SAH was a *ton* of work. First of all- it never ends. There are no coffee breaks or lunch breaks. Second, because I SAH, I felt it was my responsibility to do all the housework and child care, because it was my "job". Now, my DH cleans the kitchen, does dishes, gives her a bath and puts her to bed every night that I am working.

Erin

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 8:03am
WOHMs don't get paid vacations either. We get them from our paid job, but when we come home we work just like a SAHM does. If we go camping during our paid time off from our employment, we work just like you. I work 24/7 as much as you do ... I just do it for someone else 8 hours a day, and get a paycheck in return.

Incidentally, you CAN have days off if you want. Just do it. Everyone, mom, dad, working or not, deserves some time off. If you don't like doing all the work when camping, ask your husband to help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 8:10am
I have to take issue with your last paragraph.

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If my kids don't have manners, empathy or pride, I can't blame it on daycare either. They are my children. I teach them. I raise them. I simply have some assistance from others in their daily care. But *I AM STILL RESPONSIBLE* for grooming into the mature, responsible adults they will become.

I've never met a mother that blamed her children's behavior or negative qualities on daycare. And if I did, I'd have to say to that woman, "Take responsibility for your own children. YOU are raising them." My guess is, a woman that would blame that sort of thing on her child's caregiver, would look for someone to blame even if she SAH. Its a parenting style thing, not a work status thing.

My daughter is very empathetic and compassionate. She won't even choose a favorite color because the other colors might feel bad. And I can take pride in instilling that sense of empathy in her. I can't, won't and don't, give credit to her caregivers. They didn't raise her ... I did.

Hollie, who does, however, agree that SAHMs work .... more accurately, MOMS work

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