It sure did.
So it has!
I’ll be DAMNED. I even pre-viewed. Ha! Being the enterprising Doper, though, I copied and saved:
I’m sort of a stay at home mom, as some of you know. (I say “sort of” because I deliver papers at 4 a.m., a job I took so I could be home during the day with the kiddos.) And you know that thing that happens, the one that drives you crazy? It happened again.
I’m had occasion to hang out briefly with a soon-to-be mom. She works full-time right now, and will take some time off when the baby comes. She mentioned, several times, how much she would like to stay home with her baby, how nice it would be, etc, but she can’t because they’re building a new house and can’t make the payments without her income.
Okay, I’m so used to that level of this whole “wish it was me” issue (and I do sympathise with the cost of housing) that I don’t even grit my teeth anymore. But then, after reiterating how “lucky” I am, and how she wishes she could do what I’m doing, she hopped into her brand new, high-end SUV and drove off. I’m not talking about a ten year old minivan here–I’m talking about a $50,000 vehicle.
What is it that people don’t get? I’m not able to do this because I’m lucky. Our household income is probably less than hers AND we have 4 kids. It’s a matter of figuring out your priorities and comfort level and WORKING IT OUT.
Now, I have no problem with parents who work, parents who utilize daycare in order to keep their jobs, parents who want to stay active in their careers, or parents who genuinely HAVE to work in order to feed the flock. If I don’t completely understand their rationale, I at least agree with their right to make those decisions. But please PLEASE, do not tell me how LUCKY I am, and how you wish you were me, when it’s fairly obvious that you COULD do it if you were willing to make some changes.
I figure I have two choices: I can be sort of poor and stay home with my kids, or I can be closer to middle-class and work full-time. It ain’t luck that brought me here, y’know?
sigh I can’t decide if I’m ranting, a la Pit style, or asking for opinions. Thus, I’m shooting for rambling in the MPSIMS arena.
I was told this month by several friend who went back to work after just a few months that I was lucky. I had the same reaction, though I just gritted my teeth.
Ironically, in another conversation, they admitted that staying at home was much HARDER than working outside of the house, and sometimes on Sunday nights, they were looking forward to getting back to work the next morning. Oddly, one of these (my SIL) has a live in nanny/maid.
We are now deciding if it’s feasible for me to go to work parttime (three three/four hour days) and trying to find childcare to match that desire. Seems like a good compromise, financially at this point. Remains to be seen.
Yeah. We’re driving around a 1985 Tercel and living in a fairly nice but not huge 2-bedroom apartment, so please don’t tell me how lucky we are that I can afford to stay home with the baby. I mean, yeah, we are lucky, because if MrWhatsit made any less than he does, I’d have to work anyway, regardless of the size of our apartment and age of our car, but it just rankles hearing “You are so lucky” from someone who has a $350,000 house and two cars and buys all her clothes at pricey stores, etc. (Has actually happened to me.)
Bah. Right now I’m in a quandary about whether we should have more kids as we’d always planned, even though we’re living in the previously mentioned 2-br apartment and don’t have a whole crapload of money to go around. I know, I know, kids need love, not money, but I just feel like every other parent I know has better stuff than we do. A couple of the moms in my La Leche group drive Infiniti SUVs, for god’s sake. I guess I just sort of feel inadequate sometimes.
Excuse me, I seem to have hijacked your OP into my own petty bitch session, bodypoet. Oops.
I understand, MsWhatsit. There, there.
If it helps, we have four kids, three bedroom house (1800sf) and are driving an old van. But you know, I’ve never enjoyed my life more, so I guess it’s worth it. I would even consider throwing one more into the mix, if I didn’t have to go through that nasty pregnancy stuff…IF I wouldn’t have to go back to work full-time, because then my stress level would increase exponentially.
I don’t care much about “stuff”, but my husband does sometimes, and he’s kind of going through a tough time right now as well. He just was a groomsman in a $10,000+ wedding, and he definitely felt like the poor cousin. So I understand how you feel. Just hang in there and you’ll find the answer eventually. Like when you forget your Pills or something.
You all seem to have it pretty well together. You’ve weighed the options and understand your priorities. Yep, it’s rough at times - other folks seem to (or do) have more “stuff” than you have. It can be very frustrating.
My take is that the folks who say you’re “lucky” are envious that they don’t have the guts to try to give up some of their precious luxuries. From a purely selfish point of view, it is much easier to face the responsibilities of a career than to deal, day after day, with the truly awesome responsibility of rearing children. The decisions you make every day are the building blocks that will determine the adults your kids will become. It’s a lot easier to direct the nanny than to do it yourself. I tried it both ways.
They do wish they were you - that is, they wish they they were strong enough to make the decision to give up on chasing “stuff”. What they don’t realize is that everything is temporary. Kids grow up leaving their parents lots of time for all that. And it’s more fun accumulating the stuff that you’ve spent years planning for.
Good for you bodypoet! I don’t understand people who have kids who really have no intention of raising said children. These are the same people who blame Rap music and violence on TV for their children’s behavior. Maybe if they just spent five minutes a year with their children and taught them right from wrong there wouldn’t be any problem.
Children are not a status symbol. Children are not an obligation to somebody else. Children are human beings that know only what they are taught. These people are teaching their children that they aren’t even worth any attention. Children are our future.
<hops off of soap box to applause>
I know how you feel. I have a neighbor who works full time and she is always saying how nice it must be for me to be able to take it “easy” all day long and she wishes she could do it too.
After she’s finished complaining about her busy life, she gets into her brand new Mercedes and goes out for dinner with her family.
bodypoet and **anahita ** you both rule in my book!
SAHM with two kids here.
I have practically ground my teeth to powder over the flakes with the monster SUV’s & houses and kids in designer wear who take Gymboree and other uber yuppie kids stuff. Kids don’t need all the materialism to grow and thrive. If you give them everything they will never learn to have ambition, drive and goals. Those who cannot grasp the fact that “if you want to stay at home then you are going to have to give up a few things.” To them, giving up a few things meaning skipping a facial and manicurist appointment. God forbid if they miss " Survivor."
I am not talking about a career…BFD. *There will always be jobs. * And frankly, I do not want a job that I bring home with me, like stress, paper work or phone calls or an unholy collision of all three. I’d rather, when the time is right, get some brainless job that I can leave at the job when I punch out on the old time clock. (It is amazing how many people just do not grasp this at all.)
When I have encountered these flakes I have finally found the phrase that just is perfect ( YMMV): **When it’s important to you you will find the time and a way to make it happen. **
Shit, does that rankle their hackles.
Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.
Oh, and by the way, to those flakes, *every day is like sunday * except with more traffic. So take that.
I mostly agree with you guys. Aside from this:
We all know it takes more than five minutes of times to raise children, you’re lucky if you get five minutes with your husband much less by yourself. You know what though? I have found myself saying these very things to other people. “You are so lucky to be home, I wish I was home with the kids.” And I meant them everytime. I wish I could be home with the children taking care of their real needs instead of assuaging too big egos and adults who are acting like children that should know better. I really didn’t think I was aggravating anybody, and come to think of it, most of the one’s I’ve said it to have been better off than me anyway. But that’s just the way I feel, I’m not trying to say you have it easy or that you took the easy way out. I’m trying to say just that: “You are so lucky to be home with your children.”
I wish I didn’t feel guilty every time one of them gets a cavity or needs extra help at school. I wish 80% of my clothes weren’t hand-me-downs from my friends closets.
I know it’s harder to be home with the kids, I’ve been there. We did the both parents working thing for awhile, too. We were up at 6am, ran around dropping everyone off, get to work, come from work, run around picking everyone up again, cook, clean, pack for the next day, baths & bedtime. Maybe we had 15 minutes to talk before we both conked out at 10pm. Saturdays were for cleaning, Sunday was for errands. Lather, rinse, repeat. So that’s when we made the decision: He would stay home because I had the Health Insurance.
I really just hope this doesn’t turn into one of those I-am-home-so-I-love-my-kids-and-you-don’t-love-yours-because-you’re-not-home conversations. It would over simplify a lot of people’s lives when they are not.
Because when I hear things like:
“When it’s important to you you will find the time and a way to make it happen.”
It cuts pretty deep.
Good grief, that’s certainly not where I was coming from with my post. It’s just that when someone with a lot more money and very nice possessions makes a comment about how “lucky I am to be able to stay home,” it feels a little condescending. It makes me want to say, “No, it’s not luck, it’s hard work and a lot of sacrifices and it means that I can’t drive the kind of car you drive and I can’t buy the kind of clothes you wear and I can’t go out to nice restaurants like you do. There was no luck involved, dammit.”
I mean, if the money meant that much to me, I’d go back to work, but it doesn’t, so I don’t. It’s just that it does become somewhat tiresome when your well-to-do friends seem to think that being able to stay home is the result of winning some cosmic lottery, rather than the result of hard work and pinching pennies, and that sort of thing.
I have nothing against parents who work rather than stay home. I expect that most of them love and appreciate their kids just as much as I do. I just wish that they (OK, one of them in particular, my aforementioned friend with the $350K house) would stop carping on about how “lucky” I am.
Another stay at home/homeschooling mom throwing her meager pennies into the hat here
Mr. Adoptamom and I made a choice when we built our family through birth, foster, step and adopted children - one of us would stay at home to rear the lil’ darlins. We would do without the $40K vehicles and drive a standard Sentra … we would do without designer clothing and visit thrift shops often … we would do without convenience foods and shop for nutritious ::GASP:: home cooked meals (although around here, it’s more often home burned~lol). Our kids don’t have home video game systems, instead they have a 600+ book library of their very own. Our kids also don’t have televisions/vcr/dvd’s in their rooms, instead they watch television supervised by Mom and Dad in the main living areas.
This choice wasn’t “luck” - it’s been hard work, dedication to our dream, and filled with sacrifices. I resent women dressed to the nines who peer down their facialed (is that a word?) faces who describe me as “lucky” to stay at home. Most of the time, I’m just decadent enough to tell them that not only am I lucky, but I eat bon-bons by the truck full - said in the sweetest of sarcastic voice
The end results (so far- four over age 21 - two more to go) are our kids are very neat young folks! They are intelligent, well mannered, well rounded and hardworking. They appreciate what goes into making the financial dynamics of making our family work. When all is said and done - that is what matters most.
I don’t think that working = not loving your kiddos, miamouse, and I’m not annoyed at you. I also don’t think that either type of parenting is inherently better than the other–I’ve known SAHPs who did a dismal job raising their kids, and I’ve known working parents who did a great job.
And truthfully, I can understand the longing that can underlie the “wish it was me” comments. I just wish that sometimes folks were a little more self-aware, and could see the irony of saying something like that when they are speaking through the window of a hugely expensive vehicle, or from the doorstep of their incredibly expensive houses.
And although you aren’t the stay at home part of the equation, it sounds like you and your Mr made the same decisions that many of us did…it just made more sense for you to work while he stays home, right? That doesn’t make you a bad parent for not being the one staying home–both parents have to work at this one, and your role is just as important as his. I’m glad for you–my husband would never do this, I believe.
Just another point. I also agree, one can be a very good parent if one works. It’s not the working or the not working, IMHO.
It’s all about the priority. My SIL actually admitted to me it was more important for her to have two cars (an expensive SUV and an Acura), a nice big (4 bdrm) house in a rich area, expensive vacations (Disney two times a year) than it is for her to stay at home. Selfishly, she prefers to work because she finds staying at home boring and wants the ‘stuff.’ Not all women who work think like her, it goes without saying.
Also, our car only cost 400Euros (about $380, so I have you all beat! But what I’m trying to say is, our daughter and her needs are our priority. If earning more money becomes a higher priority some day for us, then I’ll go back to work. For now, we’re struggling financially, but it’s a choice we made, just like the SUV mom made the choice to work.
I don’t fault her for her choice, and I’d like to be respected for mine (ours, actually). So, telling me that life must be ‘so easy’ and ‘aren’t you so lucky’ isn’t really respectful.
I have to say that I was scared to death when I was a new SAHM. I was more frazzeled than my hardedest days at work. And yes we’re poor, but we’d be just as poor if I were to go back to work and had to pay for daycare. What I don’t like is when other mom’s who have everything new and drive nice vehicles and live in expensive houses and have every luxury in the world look at me as if my children and I have no place on their planet at all.
There are a lot of people around here that can have it both ways and that’s what I find disheartening. Especially when Leifsdad gets so frustrated with not being able to provide the way he’d like. We’ve never been able to take a vacation. Even if he could get the time off, we don’t have the money to go anywhere. Having two cars would be nice, even junkers, but it’s not possible. Poor guy feels like a failure too much of the time.
That’s hardest. I may be poor, but I am educated. Really, I am.
Leifsmama did you start carrying papers? I remember you mentioning it.
For the SAHP, I highly recommend it. I’m up to 220 papers/day now. I make over $200/week and work about 2.5-3hours/day. Of course, it’s EVERY day, but it’s great to be done by 6:30 a.m.!
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