question about sah vs. working

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
question about sah vs. working
22
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 4:24pm
I am wondering - what age (under 5) do you think is the easiest transition on the child for a mom to go back to work?

I am asking because I have always been adamant about *me* being a SAHM. But lately, something inside of me is changing that opinion and I am thinking about going back. I am now starting to question my motives for wanting to SAH exclusively. Is it just because my mom did it, and I thought it was expected, and because I wanted to please my parents by doing what they did? Would it be better to show my children that mom's have a life outside the home too, that moms can go out to work and that they do come back and it's not the end of the world...that women don't have to give up everything they've worked for just because we're women and bear the children...I don't know...I am babbling here, but these things and so much more have been going thru my head lately.

I want what is best for my children, no doubt about it. But, I really don't know what is best for them anymore...a mom at home who does puzzles with them and plays with them and reads to them, or a nanny who would do the same things with them, while I could go out and make big bucks to help pay off our house and provide alot of extra income for our family so my kids can participate in so many more activities as they get older. Would it really be hard on them if I was gone 8-9 hours per day? My dd is 7 months and my son is 28 months and they are both very attached to me. I am thinking about going back to work when my dd is 1 and my ds is almost 3. I know that my dd would cry alot while I was gone...and my ds might wonder where I am and why I'm not with him. I want what's best for them, and I don't HAVE to work...my dh makes enough money for us to pay our bills and do a bit of saving, but not a lot. Where is the line drawn between doing what is best for your children and between what is good for you and your husband? My kids would have a hard time at first if I left them with a nanny during the day. But how would they adapt? Experiences please, if you have any, would be helpful for me to hear.

If I went back to work, I could pay off all our debts in 3 months (excluding our house) and pay off our house in 5 years. It's something I need to consider. Otherwise, we'll be paying off our debts for 3-5 years and our house for 20.

Plus, lately I feel unappreciated at home and like a maid/slave to my children. I hate it when I don't accomplish anything in the day except changing diapers and cleaning up spills and messes my son makes. I feel like I am not good at managing my household...like I can only handle taking care of my kids and nothing else gets done...I just feel useless a lot of the time because there is so much to do, and I can never get all the housework done. Never. I know this isn't healthy for me to feel this way. I find that I am frustrated with my son fairly often (he is very high-needs and high-energy) instead of appreciating him. Maybe I just need a change or a break...I know the grass is always greener and maybe if I do go back to work, I will hate it. I might not like the rat race, having to juggle everything...I am so confused.

Please, if any of you have high-needs, very attached children - what was it like putting them in daycare or using a nanny? If I do it, what can I expect? How can I expect my children to react/adjust? If you were in my shoes, would you continue to SAH, or would you go back to work and give it a shot? Is age 1 too young or should I wait until my dd is 18 months or 2?

Every day I go back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes I wish I was a man. They don't have these kinds of decisions or the guilt associated with these decisions. They just know that they go to work and bring home the money and they are happy. I feel like no matter what I do, I will be making the wrong decision.

Man, I sound resentful and grouchy today! I am usually not like this, but it is raining here and the weather is getting me down. Blah! Thanks for reading through this big long depressing post! I am looking forward to hearing everyone's replies and opinions....

Thank you!

Stacy

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 4:31pm
I think that hardest time would be when they are going through stanger anxiety stage (I think generally sometime between about 8-15 months). I would make the transistion either before or after that stage.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 5:56pm
I don't think that there is an *easy* time for this transition, but I agree with one of the other posts that the period of "stranger anxiety" may be especially difficult for your dd.

I went back to WOH when my dd was about 2 mo old. She was a fussy, attached (really liked to be on the boob for comfort) baby, so we decided to go with a nanny (vs. daycare center where the teacher to baby ration was 1:4). Even though she was pretty attached, she adjusted pretty well to having the nanny. I stayed at home for about a week after our nanny started so we can see if our dd was OK with being with just her (and with drinking from a bottle).

My opinion is that children do well if the mom SAH or WOH, that it's the quality of time spent and not the quantity that matters. You should do what will make you the happiest. Unfortunately, the guilt will be there. I've talked to numerous WOH moms and we all have the guilt. My mom still feels guilty about leaving me with the nanny while she WOH, and I (as well as my sisters and brothers) tell her that I don't recall her being "absent" because she was always there when I needed her.

Also, whatever decision you make, you have the choice to change your mind if it doesn't work out. Can you go part time? That may give you some time out of the house and to fulfill your career desires and still be home with your kids.

Good luck.

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 7:54pm
From what I've seen over the years at my dd's dc's, anything over about 6 months is tough. Between 6 months and 18 months is the worst. IMO, once you get a child good and used to mom being there for them 24 x 7, there really isn't a good age to pull the wool out from under them and change the rules. Some will react worse than others but you can pretty much bet on them reacting since they won't have what their used to (aka most comfortable with). Fortunately, most kids make the transition in short order. Personally, I wouldn't start one between 6 and 18 months though. They need time to adjust before separation anxiety sets in or to start after it's over.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 11:27pm
Honestly, I don't think my older ds would have handled being away from me 8-9 hours a day until he was 3. My baby (15 months) would have a tough adjustment.

But adjust they must, if this is what you want to do. Your feelings may be temporary. Your lifestyle change may not be so fleeting.

Jill

Avatar for tickmich
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:10am
I agree with one of the other posters that maybe you should look into something part-time at night when your DH is at home or maybe somethinduring the day if you can get a part time sitter. The kids will adjust. also, have you tried any playgroups, mom groups, etc./ good luck/

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 1:10am
thanks everyone....you have all cemented my original feelings on this; that my dd won't be able to handle me working full time until she is at least 18 months to 2 yrs old. My ds is 2.5 and has been good about being away from me since he was about 2, but not younger than that.

I am OK with this...I want what's best for them, and I can wait until they are older...maybe even until they are in school before I work again.

I think I get confused because lately I have been questioning most of the values my parents taught me. It's so hard to know what to do anymore...I try to see both sides (WOH, SAH) and I just get overwhelmed with all the pros and cons to each. I guess I have to do what feels right, and I know it won't feel right for me to work full time when my baby is only one. It's easy to say now, that I could do it, but when the time comes I think it would be really really hard to go through with it. I am going to wait.

Thanks everyone!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 5:16am
My kids went into daycare early. They've always been attached to me, but never so 'attached' to me that they couldn't separate and have a good time. They might miss you a bit, but don't you think that they might get so involved in whatever is being done (whether with the nanny or daycare) that they just might "forget" about you and play and have fun?

Even my niece, who was the ULTIMATE in "velcro-baby/child" would only cry for the first 1-2 minutes -- and then she was off happily playing with her friends, with 'nary a thought about her mom.

As for whether working or sah is what "you" want...only you can decide that. For me, it was working, hands-down and i have never regretted continuing in my job. For my best friend, it was wah/sah, run a home daycare and she has generally never regretted sah (she does regret her lost income-earning potential).

Good luck with your decision. Either way, you'll make the right one. And once the decision is made, it doesn't mean you can't revisit it from time to time. Maybe working part time is the answer?

Eileen

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 5:18am
Not all moms have guilt. Why should we? LOL! No guilt here.
Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 5:51am
They're all different. One of the worst transition cases I ever saw was when my dd was in the 3yo room. This poor little girl was crying in the corner when I visited my dd at lunch time and still crying in the corner when I picked my dd up. The teachers told me that's all she did. I don't know how long that went on as this was right about the time I took my dd out of dc when I had her sister. IMO, if you're going to return to work, ther's no sense getting baby good and used to you being home first. Watching some of these kids go through transition made me glad I had started my girls early on. To them, dc was part of their normal from the get to. There was no getting used to one lifestyle and then changing it on them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 4:56pm
You're stronger than I am.

I don't think we *should* feel guilty, but I sure do sometimes. ( I know, I should hop to the support board. LOL!)

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