Mom, sacrifice and apple pie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mom, sacrifice and apple pie
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 11:38am
more from the mask of motherhood - I am starting to feel like a "qoute a day" calendar.

We often talk about the sacrifices we make for our children. This comes up most frequently in the SAHM realm - ie if only you made some sacrifices you could SAH, I sacrificed everything to SAH with my children - but WOHM have expressed that sentiment as well.

Here is the quote:

"One thing is certain: that we will never attain the goal of living comfortably with our choices as mothers until we acknowledge that we HAVE choices and, even more importantly, that we deserve to have them. Women who diminsh their own needs "for the sake of the family," by whatever meand however sterling their motives, are living a lie. If families do not begin with mothers, where do they begin? Even more to the point, where do they hope to go?"

Thought, comments, rotten garbage?



Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 3:14pm
I agree with this. The whole problem with this debate is there are those who don't believe in choices for mothers. Those who think that mothers should "sacrifice" (I hate that word) to SAH. Hence, WM's are greedy because they don't sacrifice. IMO, and I've said it a hundred times, SAH or WOH is just a lifestyle choice. It makes little difference in the big scheme of things with regard to our kids. 20 years from now, no one will be able to look at our kids and tell what our working status was when they were little. It, simply, doesn't matter and as such it is our choice and neither choice is superior in of itself. If you ignore the financial impacts of moms working, her working status results in little/no difference in the kids. Given that working status makes little if any difference and financial status can make a big difference, this shouldn't even be a debate. If your working won't help your family out and you want go SAH, go for it. If you want to work, go for that. If your working does help your family out then you work because part of being a responsible parent is seeing to your kids support.

As to where families begin, I don't think they have a beginning. I see them as a ring. Each part, intrinsically, connected to the next part such that you can't pull any part out without breaking the ring. My family is all of us. It doesn't begin with anyone or end with anyone but rather began with a timeline that starts with dh and I getting married and ends when we die.

Edited 3/28/2003 4:42:45 PM ET by cyndiluwho

Avatar for cl_annieb67
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 9:30am
This came up in a conversation with my dad the other day.

He asked me if I still think of grandma. I said yes, of course I do. I also expressed how much I admired her. I then said the *F* word. Ya know, the one that makes my parents cringe.

Yep. Feminist.

I said *she* was a feminist before the term existed. He looked offended. "No she wasn't!"

She had no choices. She was married to an alcoholic. SHE supported the family. SHE raised her son while her husband was drunk. SHE also kept house and cleaned up after him. He would go on drinking binges and sell everything they owned for money.

This was also during the 'marvelous' forties and fifties. She worked in a grocery store during the day, and cleaning houses at night. They lived in a Quansit (sp) hut on 8-mile road in Detroit.

Perhaps I'm making her sound noble. But to me, she is. My dad on the other hand, thinks that a LOT of the drinking was *her* fault for emasculating him. I see her as someone who just did what she had to do for her family. If that isn't a feminist, I guess i'm not sure what is.

Your post just brought to mind this conversation because I agree. We should be thankful that we do have a lot of the choices we have.

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

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 9:50am
It's all about choices....

Everything in life is about choices. I believe this with my whole heart. We can't always choose our circumstances but we can choose what we do about them.

My mother is extremely passive aggressive. I don't think she ever thought she had a choice about anything in life. Life happened to her. And I she never seems to have been a happy person. She didn't think she had choices, but in truth, she was making choices everyday. She was choosing to ignore her options and to take responsibility for her choices. I don't want that for myself or my family.

If you choose a certain path (SAH or WOH or WAH, whatever) because you have considered your circumstances and feel that path is best for everyone involved, then you are doing the right thing. If you choose a certain path because of outside pressures or because of some external sense of what you "should" do instead of what is best for you, then you need to re-evaluate your choice.

That is the difference between the "Mothers have a responsibility to SAH" set and the "Mothers have a responsibility to do what is best for their family" set.

So no rotten garbage from me. Read any self-help guru out there and that is the basic message. I like Steven Covey and his first Habit is "Be proactive". I just finished the book "Fish!" and it's first rule is "Choose your attitude".

Let's face it. In life, choice is about all we do have.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 1:03pm
Can you fill me in a little more. What "needs" is the author talking about? If the author thinks that choosing to sah "for the kids" is ignoring the mother's "needs", even if "for the kids" is a "sterling" motivation, what "needs" is she talking about?

Or is the author saying that those who don't want to sah shouldn't feel guilty about working, and those who don't want to work shouldn't feel quilty about not working?

It's hard to have an opinion on that statement without knowing what the author was talking about. "Needs" seems to have many definitions here. I don't think that anyone "needs" to sah or woh, in the sense that not having the opportunity to do either is equivalent to not having access to clean water.

I think "needs" and "sacrifice" have bizarre definitions in the sah/woh debate. :-)


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 11:48am
That is so true. The most unhappy people I know are the ones who, as you said, think that life happens to them. They don't seem to comprehend the impact that their choices have on their lives and families. In fact, in many cases, I think they don't even realize that they are making choices.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 11:58am
Choosing not to choose is still a choice. Don't know where I heard it, but it's so true.

Edited 4/2/2003 1:01:28 PM ET by indy_grl
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 7:32pm
That quote brings to mind something that Dr. Phil says a lot..."If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I think that whether a mom chooses to SAH or WOH, if she goes against her inherent desire she will not be happy, and it will negatively affect her relationship with her family. But, I agree with CLW (I believe) who said that a family is like a ring. The mom just happens to be the shining rock! :)


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 8:11pm
So, I have a question for you, since you brought up the term "feminist"... Do you believe that the fact that your grandmother WOH made her a feminist, and if so, would you label any woman who WOH as a feminist, or just from that era? And, in turn, would you say that any woman who SAH is old-fashioned? I ask because I have been labeled so many times by many different people as "old-fashioned" or "having family values" just because I choose to SAH. I am new to these boards, and the subject might have come up before, but I was just wondering if anyone else has encountered this.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Tue, 04-22-2003 - 10:34pm
Just another cop-out quote for selfish mothers who place themselves and a "real job" before their own children.

Certainly, women have choices.

But that's the key - they must choose - they cannot do it all.

Have a career outside the home and no children.

Or have a career at home as a full-time mother.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 9:41am
but men don't have to make that choice--they can have children and a career. is that because the are better able than women to balance work and parenting, or because they are unimportant to children (except, of course, in the sperm-and-a-paycheck sense)?

i know better than to feed the troll, but i'm always curious to see whether someone has it in them to backup their chum.