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I absolutely love homeschooling (we've homeschooled from the start and are currently in our fourth "official" year), but I'm suffering a lot of angst about the fact that I'm not also working professionally. It's a wholly internal pressure, to be sure--we're just getting by financially on one salary (with lots of the usual homeschooler sacrifices, like renting our tiny house and owning just one car, etc.) and my husband supports me being home to homeschool 100%. So, the pressure is in no way coming from my husband or close family. Mainly, I just feel conflicted about the fact that I'm a feminist who is currently raising two girls and I want to set a good example for them; I want them to know they can choose any life they want. But every time I've attempted to take on part-time work of some kind (volunteering, for example), it's been the straw that broke the camel's back and it's just too much on our family's schedule. Like, the minute I take on one more thing, everything else crumbles and suddenly our quality of life is terrible and everyone is rushing and frantic. I feel like, in order for me, personally to homeschool well--to get it right the way I hope to get it right, and do right by my kids (in my own eyes)--I have to commit myself to it fully. So, each week, I wake up, do school, keep house, take the kids to extracurriculars or co-op (where I teach two classes), make dinner, exercise (on a good day!), and...well, that easily fills all my time! Lather, rinse, and repeat. Plus, my open schedule makes it possible for my husband to take on extra side work at a moment's notice in his (far more lucrative) profession. So, me not working professionally really helps his career/our financial situation. We are completely a team--my husband helps a ton with household stuff and all that--so again, support from my husband is not the issue. I feel like it is a time/quality of life issue. I can "just" homeschool and live a well-balanced, happy family life, or I can take on a small amount of outside work and suddenly be crazy and frantic. Thus far, I've opted for the well-balanced life, but I fret so much about not working. (It doesn't help that I live in an area of the country where most people--both men and women--have high-powered careers, so I think I feel a lot of derision from peers.) 

 

I don't even know what I'm asking. Does anyone else feel this way or struggle with these issues? I guess I'm just finding how hard it is to go against the grain of society; I'm learning my self-worth really has to come from within because I'm not getting it from the outside world, that's for sure! Can parents of older kids light the way on this? That is, is some sort of outside work more likely to be possible when my kids are old enough to stay home alone for decent periods of time? Or will homeschooling the upper grades be that much more of a commitment and take up even more of my time? I keep trying to remind myself that my kids' childhoods are so fleeting, that homeschooling will pay huge dividends in the long run, and I will not regret this. I keep trying to remind myself that I am going to wake up one day soon, and our two girls will be grown, and then I will still have a good 20 years left to be a contributing member of the work force (I will be in my mid-40's when my kids go off to college). But...taking the long view is tough!

 

I guess I mostly wish I could just allow myself to love being home with my kids and homeschooling, without also feeling guilty about not working. Thoughts? Advice? Experience? Thanks, friends. 

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"Mainly, I just feel conflicted about the fact that I'm a feminist who is currently raising two girls and I want to set a good example for them; I want them to know they can choose any life they want."

 

You are choosing any life you want.   And that is a great example.

 

I've homeschooled for eight years and have worked no time, part-time, and full-time during those eight years.  I am currently working not at all (well, about one hour a week, so I don't really count it).  I have a master's degree.  I am currently pretty happy with the no work situation.  I was not as much when my kids were younger.  I needed to get outside the house and wear a different hat.  I will work again, likely, but I am fine with not working right now.

 

 

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I actually ditched my tablet to come respond on my computer. I will preface what I say with an apology; I am sorry if this seems harsh, because I do not mean to be.  Perhaps this problem is generational (I am 46), and my view of feminism is somewhat different.

 

Also, I homeschool my child, but I do work part time at a web-based job, so I am not in exactly the same position.  I will say, however, that I found your words disturbing.

 

You describe yourself as a feminist, but seem to value only those contributions to family life that are rewarded with a paycheck.  I'm sorry, but the situation that you describe sounds like a carefully considered, quality life for children. Why would you not consider your contributions as family executive as extremely valuable?  Even though the world will not reward your efforts monetarily, I have no doubt that your children are benefiting greatly.

 

I guess my biggest issue is with the assumption inherent in your post, that you have value only as "contributing member of the workforce."  I'm sorry, but I vehemently disagree.  You have infinitely more value as a person molding young human beings.  Paycheck or no.

 

ETA:  :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:  for you. Parenting is the hardest job of all, especially when the children are small.  I think it is much easier to get up every day, get dressed in nice clothes, and go off to a job where success is defined and specifically rewarded.  Good for you for doing the hardest (and best) work.

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How is it not feminist to stay home to homeschool? Choice means just that... you have chosen this lifestyle. Equal access and opportunity does not mean that all people need to follow the same path and find fulfillment in the same ways. Why is staying home "less than" or why do you perceive it as less than? Is that not inherently sexist to assume that a traditionally feminine idea of being in the home is the inferior contribution? Would you feel differntly about the role if your husband was the at-home/homeschooling parent?

 

I chose for myself and my husband and I chose jointly to put our family needs first in this way. I personally feel more personal satisfaction and mental, intellectual and emotional engagement now than I have ever felt in any job I have worked before. I think the message to your girls should be confidence in your choices and pride. Why is working for a paycheck for someone else more meaningful? I have done all variations, worked full-time outside of the home, worked from home, didn't work for several years and now back to working from home in the evening while I homeschool during the day. My job is the thing I do to make money to live our lives in the way we want. It is not who I am or suddenly make me worthy. My education has not been wasted, I use it every single day at home and it makes me a well rounded person and parent. My contributions are great to our family. My employer does not love me and I am not changing his life for the better by being present. Why do you have a responsibility to be a contributing member of the workforce? If you CHOOSE to do so and that meaningful contribution feeds you emotionally in some way then great, go for it.  It doesn't sound like that though. It sounds like you feel you need to justify it in some way and you don't. You don't need a job to show your daughters power, agency and autonomy. 

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Thus far, I've opted for the well-balanced life, but I fret so much about not working. (It doesn't help that I live in an area of the country where most people--both men and women--have high-powered careers, so I think I feel a lot of derision from peers.) 

 

Don't you think it's a FAR more healthy thing to model making a confident self-assertive choice and letting *that* be your confident feminism, rather than caving to peer pressure and the vibe of your community?  In our area, we have hundreds of homeschoolers.  Lots and lots of women don't work an outside job and instead put into their kids full-time.  I CERTAINLY put into my kids just like a full-time job, mercy.  My ds has SN, and I put all my energy into researching, learning new things to help him, etc.  

 

I don't think it matters what your choice is, in a sense, but I think you want to make it from a position of confidence.  After all, what's the point of being a feminist if all it means to you is that you have to be bowled by public opinion and peer pressure.  To me feminism is about being strong, about doing hard things, about doing what you know is right, going against the tide.  I come from a christian culture where strong, confident women aren't valued.  To be strong and do what you think is right is feminism there.  

 

Btw, just as a timeline observation, as your kids approach middle and high school, the answer to this might really change.  You might find things loosen up and you have some freedom to do some other things.  I've found what I wanted to do (my side interests) has shifted over the years.  You might find yourself and your interests evolving with your experiences.  When my dd was approaching middle school age, I looked into going back to grad school, thinking I'd prepare for a job for when she was in high school.  Then, surprise, I got pregnant with ds!  I had some fleeting thoughts of pursuing occupations related to his disabilities and what I'm learning with him, but reality is he requires SO much work, I'm not likely to have time for that.  By the time he graduates in 12 years, I will be just past 50.  (or 29 plus a couple decades, lol).  At this point, I've shifted to thinking about retirement and hobbies.  At 50+, as a woman, I don't think that's really going to be something I want to do.  And maybe that doesn't fit your narrative, and maybe you'll hit that stage and want to. I just find it interesting how my passions and things I *would* want to do have shifted.  You could hit that sooner, since your 6 yo would be 14 in just 8 years.  By that point many people could probably take on an extra something and be fine.  Most kids, sans disabilities, are really coming into their own and can work within structure, with just supervision instead of constant hand-holding.  

 

These 8 years are going to go by MUCH faster than you think.  

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I actually ditched my tablet to come respond on my computer. I will preface what I say with an apology; I am sorry if this seems harsh, because I do not mean to be.  Perhaps this problem is generational (I am 46), and my view of feminism is somewhat different.

 

Also, I homeschool my child, but I do work part time at a web-based job, so I am not in exactly the same position.  I will say, however, that I found your words disturbing.

 

You describe yourself as a feminist, but seem to value only those contributions to family life that are rewarded with a paycheck.  I'm sorry, but the situation that you describe sounds like a carefully considered, quality life for children. Why would you not consider your contributions as family executive as extremely valuable?  Even though the world will not reward your efforts monetarily, I have no doubt that your children are benefiting greatly.

 

I guess my biggest issue is with the assumption inherent in your post, that you have value only as "contributing member of the workforce."  I'm sorry, but I vehemently disagree.  You have infinitely more value as a person molding young human beings.  Paycheck or no.

 

ETA:  :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:  for you. Parenting is the hardest job of all, especially when the children are small.  I think it is much easier to get up every day, get dressed in nice clothes, and go off to a job where success is defined and specifically rewarded.  Good for you for doing the hardest (and best) work.

 

I so appreciate your thoughtful feedback! Thank you. I needed to be reminded of all the things you've said, because, of course, I agree with everything you've said--the bolded part, especially. (If I didn't, I wouldn't have chosen this life.) I think I'm just struggling mentally so much because:

 

(a) Other Women (on blogs, on this forum, SWB herself, etc.) seem to be able to both work and homeschool and somehow not be crazy and I am sort of baffled as to how this is possible, lol. I guess I am just not one of those people who excels at multitasking? It just seems like there are women out there who manage to both homeschool a bunch of kids AND run seemingly super successful side business of some sort and all I can think is, "No really, how do you do all that? How does homeschooling not take up all your time?!" I guess I just get to worrying that I'm not working hard enough in life--that I'm not Living Up to My Potential and that is what I fear my girls aren't seeing. I want them to know I CAN do other things, but am CHOOSING not to, for right now. Does that make sense? So, it's not so much that I don't value my work in our home (because I know what I'm doing is indeed valuable), but it's more like, How do I come to terms with the fact that I, personally, cannot do everything at once? That it feels hard and scary to make choices you truly think are good, but then at the same time know you have to accept the unknown future that will be a consequence of those choices? Which leads me to b....

 

(b) I have general fears that the workforce won't want me once I'm 45-ish; that there won't be a place for me when I'm ready to return. I do have professional goals for myself outside of homeschooling and I'm a little scared that either my talents or my opportunities will somehow vanish over time. So, homeschooling feels like a huge leap of faith in that regard, too. 

 

So, I posted with the hope that others might be able to share how they are dealing with all of this, if they happen to be facing the same conflicts and fears. Thanks again for your response and the hugs. :-)

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How is it not feminist to stay home to homeschool? Choice means just that... you have chosen this lifestyle. Equal access and opportunity does not mean that all people need to follow the same path and find fulfillment in the same ways. Why is staying home "less than" or why do you perceive it as less than? Is that not inherently sexist to assume that a traditionally feminine idea of being in the home is the inferior contribution? Would you feel differntly about the role if your husband was the at-home/homeschooling parent?

 

I chose for myself and my husband and I chose jointly to put our family needs first in this way. I personally feel more personal satisfaction and mental, intellectual and emotional engagement now than I have ever felt in any job I have worked before. I think the message to your girls should be confidence in your choices and pride. Why is working for a paycheck for someone else more meaningful? I have done all variations, worked full-time outside of the home, worked from home, didn't work for several years and now back to working from home in the evening while I homeschool during the day. My job is the thing I do to make money to live our lives in the way we want. It is not who I am or suddenly make me worthy. My education has not been wasted, I use it every single day at home and it makes me a well rounded person and parent. My contributions are great to our family. My employer does not love me and I am not changing his life for the better by being present. Why do you have a responsibility to be a contributing member of the workforce? If you CHOOSE to do so and that meaningful contribution feeds you emotionally in some way then great, go for it.  It doesn't sound like that though. It sounds like you feel you need to justify it in some way and you don't. You don't need a job to show your daughters power, agency and autonomy. 

 

I so agree with this! (The bolded has definitely been my experience with homeschooling.)

 

Thank you for all your thoughtful feedback; it's very helpful. 

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"Mainly, I just feel conflicted about the fact that I'm a feminist who is currently raising two girls and I want to set a good example for them; I want them to know they can choose any life they want."

 

You are choosing any life you want.   And that is a great example.

 

I've homeschooled for eight years and have worked no time, part-time, and full-time during those eight years.  I am currently working not at all (well, about one hour a week, so I don't really count it).  I have a master's degree.  I am currently pretty happy with the no work situation.  I was not as much when my kids were younger.  I needed to get outside the house and wear a different hat.  I will work again, likely, but I am fine with not working right now.

 

Thank you for pointing this out (and for your response in general). 

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I so appreciate your thoughtful feedback! Thank you. I needed to be reminded of all the things you've said, because, of course, I agree with everything you've said--the bolded part, especially. (If I didn't, I wouldn't have chosen this life.) I think I'm just struggling mentally so much because:

 

(a) Other Women (on blogs, on this forum, SWB herself, etc.) seem to be able to both work and homeschool and somehow not be crazy and I am sort of baffled as to how this is possible, lol. I guess I am just not one of those people who excels at multitasking? It just seems like there are women out there who manage to both homeschool a bunch of kids AND run seemingly super successful side business of some sort and all I can think is, "No really, how do you do all that? How does homeschooling not take up all your time?!" I guess I just get to worrying that I'm not working hard enough in life--that I'm not Living Up to My Potential and that is what I fear my girls aren't seeing. I want them to know I CAN do other things, but am CHOOSING not to, for right now. Does that make sense? So, it's not so much that I don't value my work in our home (because I know what I'm doing is indeed valuable), but it's more like, How do I come to terms with the fact that I, personally, cannot do everything at once? That it feels hard and scary to make choices you truly think are good, but then at the same time know you have to accept the unknown future that will be a consequence of those choices? Which leads me to b....

 

(b) I have general fears that the workforce won't want me once I'm 45-ish; that there won't be a place for me when I'm ready to return. I do have professional goals for myself outside of homeschooling and I'm a little scared that either my talents or my opportunities will somehow vanish over time. So, homeschooling feels like a huge leap of faith in that regard, too. 

 

So, I posted with the hope that others might be able to share how they are dealing with all of this, if they happen to be facing the same conflicts and fears. Thanks again for your response and the hugs. :-)

I work part time and homeschool our 5 and 7 year old. The grass is always greener on the other side. I think I can speak for many working-homeschool-moms.  We working homeschool moms may seem like we have it all together (the illusion of Living Up to Your Potential), but let me tell you, our lives are balanced on a very narrow ledge with very little buffer.  We often feel like we are failing horribly in some area, because there is never enough time or energy to accomplish all that you wish to accomplish.  There is ALWAYS a trade off.  The reality is that no one really can do it all.  What you read on blogs is only one facet of someone's life. If reading blogs / forums induces mommy guilt, I humbly suggest you stop reading blogs :) (I had to do that....)

 

What a wonderful example to show your daughters that you CHOOSE family and balance over the world's definition of success. You are living a THOUGHTFUL life for the sake of your family.

 

Homeschooling is definitely a leap of faith.  Yes, it is possible that you might be closing off certain professional doors through your choice to be home right now, however none of us can predict or control the future. Are there are ways you can keep your foot in the professional door that aren't too draining for you or your family?

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Modern feminism seems to push this idea that being a feminist means working and filling a traditional 'mans' role, rather than having the freedom to make choices. Staying home supposedly isn't 'filling your potential' as a woman, and if you choose to, you're criticized as holding feminism back, and reinforcing the old ideas and stereotypes. But if we all go out and work and live the traditional man's life, there's going to be a lot missing from our society. I can make any choice I want for any lifestyle I want. Being a stay at home mum isn't any less feministic just because it is traditional. 

 

"Feminism means all options are open to you, you can choose the life you want! But, obviously, you'd only want the life men used to have, because staying home is mind-numbing drudgery or worthless" - is the message I feel like I have heard most of my life. 

 

I am one of those people working part time running my own business and homeschooling. And it's not because I'm a feminist or my career fulfils me or I want to have it all. It's because my husband developed a chronic condition and was unemployed for medical reasons for 6 months. And the ONLY reason I continue, and am able to juggle both, is because my husband will only ever be able to work part time from now on, so he is able to pick up the slack that my working causes. He shares in the teaching and is solely responsible for housework, while I share the teaching, am solely responsible for school planning and shopping/meal prep. It looks like an awfully feminist lifestyle, the man is scrubbing the floors and reading to the children while I negotiate stock purchases and sales. It impresses certain types of people, I get more respect from some peers and family now. But it's an arrangement of necessity, this was NEVER the plan, and if anyone scratched beneath the surface they'd discover I'm far from a modern style feminist (though I agree with a lot the early feminists did and identify with them), I believe in patriarchy and am raising my girls to be mothers and wives (though, with the skillset and ability to have options open to them, since I don't believe a wife can be much of a 'helpmeet' if she is clueless and unskilled, and I of all people appreciate that the ability to work is vital, even if the desire and need to is optional)

 

Point is, people make judgments based on outward appearance, which means nothing. Staying home full time doesn't make you un-feministic any more than working while my husband cleans the house makes me a model for feminism. The core of feminism, which I do agree with, is that women should have CHOICES, and your choice to stay home is just as valid as anothers choice to work. The lie of feminism is that 'you can have it all', and maybe that's true for a mother who is happy with full day childcare, and with her career being limited by things like maternity leave or inability to work overtime. But once you throw in something like homeschooling (or a desire to move high up in your career path, or special needs/disability occuring, or many other things) the idea you can have it all, be a great involved mother, have a high achieving career, and be happy with lots of time for leisure and fun, doesn't work out so well. You're seeing that first hand. Right now, in this season, you don't feel like you can be the mother you want to be while working, and that is ok. 

 

When they get older, as to whether it gets easier or not depends on your teaching style. Some mothers of high schoolers sit by them the entire school day actively teaching, some essentially give them books at the beginning of the week and leave them to it, and most fall somewhere in the middle. But, I've known more than one homeschooler who did go back to work once her youngest hit middle school, so it's definitely a possibility. If you'd like to do that, focus on things like independence and work ethic and accountability now so that they come more naturally later on, model the skills they'll need to continue homeschooling with a more hands-off parent/teacher situation. By high school it's certainly possible and reasonable. 

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I only homeschool, and I feel so strongly about it being the best for our family that the idea of bringing in money doesn't daunt me too often. However, there are times when I question also if I should be getting some sort of job? Thankfully my dh always talks me out of it, he truly values what I do and thinks that the idea of adding more to my plate is just nuts. For a while I was considering getting a part time or weekend job, and he said he would take a second job before I did that. I was a single mom for a long time, so getting used to this type of life took some time. I love what I do though, and wouldn't change it for a bit. You are doing what is best for your family, give yourself some credit :)

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As long as you CAN earn a living, you can afford not to do so for a season, and that is perfectly justified.  You'd be very vulnerable if you couldn't, but you can.  So let this be your season to do something else that you value even more.  That's called choosing your life, and there is nothing that epitomizes feminism more perfectly than that.  I'm happy for you that you are in a position to make that choice!

 

 

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I so appreciate your thoughtful feedback! Thank you. I needed to be reminded of all the things you've said, because, of course, I agree with everything you've said--the bolded part, especially. (If I didn't, I wouldn't have chosen this life.) I think I'm just struggling mentally so much because:

 

(a) Other Women (on blogs, on this forum, SWB herself, etc.) seem to be able to both work and homeschool and somehow not be crazy and I am sort of baffled as to how this is possible, lol. I guess I am just not one of those people who excels at multitasking? It just seems like there are women out there who manage to both homeschool a bunch of kids AND run seemingly super successful side business of some sort and all I can think is, "No really, how do you do all that? How does homeschooling not take up all your time?!" I guess I just get to worrying that I'm not working hard enough in life--that I'm not Living Up to My Potential and that is what I fear my girls aren't seeing. I want them to know I CAN do other things, but am CHOOSING not to, for right now. Does that make sense? So, it's not so much that I don't value my work in our home (because I know what I'm doing is indeed valuable), but it's more like, How do I come to terms with the fact that I, personally, cannot do everything at once? That it feels hard and scary to make choices you truly think are good, but then at the same time know you have to accept the unknown future that will be a consequence of those choices? Which leads me to b....

 

(b) I have general fears that the workforce won't want me once I'm 45-ish; that there won't be a place for me when I'm ready to return. I do have professional goals for myself outside of homeschooling and I'm a little scared that either my talents or my opportunities will somehow vanish over time. So, homeschooling feels like a huge leap of faith in that regard, too. 

 

So, I posted with the hope that others might be able to share how they are dealing with all of this, if they happen to be facing the same conflicts and fears. Thanks again for your response and the hugs. :-)

 

I wondered this too.  But, I found out gradually that many (or some) of these women have husbands that homeschool the kids or at least they tag team it.  And/or they have flexible jobs where hours are not traditional 9-5 (which for the wage earner in our home is more like 8-6 or more hours per day).  Or they are doing some other type of outsourcing.  Or some of all of the above.  I don't know, maybe I'm just viewing it that way and some super mom will come tell me she does do it all and I'm just lazy (the latter part probably being pretty accurate in my case), but that's been my perspective over time.

 

And, honestly, the idea of going to work during this time does not even sound remotely personally fulfilling to me in any way, shape or form.  It sounds utterly exhausting.  But, I've always wanted to be able to be a wife and a mom and focus on the family, so I have no idea how to help with (b). 

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Homeschooling is my job.  It happens to have a very short commute but I do bring my work home with me all the time.  ;)  

 

Life is a trade off.  Because I do not work outside the home our family does not have as much discretionary income.  But because I do not work outside the home we do not need to spend money on certain things.  Because I do not work outside the home I am free to do certain things in the home.  But because I am working darn hard at homeschooling I am not all that free to do my own things.  But because I get to write some of the rules, I do have choices that I wouldn't have if I wasn't my own boss to some extent.  I could keep going but you get the idea.  

 

I am in my 50's.  I have nothing to prove to the world about me being a woman.  I do what works for my family.  

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But, I found out gradually that many (or some) of these women have husbands that homeschool the kids or at least they tag team it.  And/or they have flexible jobs where hours are not traditional 9-5 (which for the wage earner in our home is more like 8-6 or more hours per day).  Or they are doing some other type of outsourcing.  Or some of all of the above.

 

Definitely this. As I said in my above post. I homeschool and work part time, that's how I label it, but while I am solely responsible for homeschool planning, my husband teaches a couple of afternoons, plus one full day a week. And my job allows me completely flexible hours (which tonight will likely look like making dinner, finishing a school project, putting the kids to bed, then staying up till 2am working.)

 

I know a lady who works, but her husband is the full time homeschool teacher

I know a lady who works, but her two remaining students are high school age and mostly independent

I know a lady who works, but she works evenings once her husband comes home and he handles dinner and bedtime

I know a lady who works, but she has two teenage daughters who hold down the fort when she is away from home, including teaching some lessons

I know a lady who works, but she has family willing to watch and help homeschool the kids a couple of days a week.

I know a lady who works, but she makes clothes, and has young kids, so she generally puts them together on the dining table while supervising the kids playing after lunch/during quiet time, then does the fiddly bits one night a week after they go to bed.

 

I don't actually know of anyone personally who homeschools young, dependent children by themselves and also works a regular job. I'm sure they exist, there's probably a few on this forum, but I suspect those cases are out of necessity, not desire or fulfillment. 

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Does anyone else feel this way or struggle with these issues?

 

I don't.

 

Did you know SWB's DH helped with some of the homeschooling & her parents were also available during the day on a nearby property? (I don't know how much they actually helped, but they WERE nearby if needed.) Do you have that sort of arrangement?

 

I'm an engineer by schooling & license. I have to keep up my professional license with educational hours every year. That's tough enough to slip into my schedule. I do it mostly in case anything happens to my DH. I don't plan on going back 'to work' in that profession when all the kids are up & out. I plan to retire.  :coolgleamA:

 

I guess I'm also one of those people who don't care much what other people think of me or my choices.

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(a) Other Women (on blogs, on this forum, SWB herself, etc.) seem to be able to both work and homeschool and somehow not be crazy and I am sort of baffled as to how this is possible, lol. I guess I am just not one of those people who excels at multitasking? It just seems like there are women out there who manage to both homeschool a bunch of kids AND run seemingly super successful side business of some sort and all I can think is, "No really, how do you do all that? How does homeschooling not take up all your time?!"

I want to be careful here, because I don't keep up with all the intimate details of SWB's personal life.  I don't think, as of right now, she homeschools.  RootAnn is correct that even while her kids were home they had a group effort in their house, with JW (Jessie Wise) doing a significant amount of the work, and her dh pulling hours as well.  He's a minister, which allowed him to be flexible.  She kept a schedule/grid, with each person with assigned hours, a tight ship, so she could work on all her goals.  She also went on dramatically less sleep than you or I might want.  ;)

 

And, like RootAnn says, there's usually some context to the stories of women working on here.  Sometimes they have very high functioning kids who can do a lot themselves.  Sometimes they have a spouse on disability.  Sometimes they work part-time.  ALWAYS they're keeping very tight ships to make it happen.

 

Your children will reflect the work you put into them.  Even simple things like playing games together and doing puzzles together are building working memory (essential for attention and learning), perseverance, visual processing, language (because we TALK while we play!), and social skills!  Why outsource the most FUN portions of their development to someone else who won't care as much, won't be as highly educated, and won't bring as much fascination and character worth modeling to the table?  I think the most fascinating use of an educated woman's mind IS to decide to pour it into small humans, in an intimate nurturing relationship, to see what this could produce and how this could bless society.  

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I got into a conversation about this with some faculty spouses the other day. Both were much older, one a retired professor herself, the other a stay-at-home mom for many many years (apparently after an apparently disastrous nanny attempt). Finally, at the end, we came back to being happy to choose and not be forced into a choice. 

 

Emily

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I worked full time for almost a year while homeschooling.  My kids were 6, 9, and 11.  I hired a college student to come in two days a week, the kids went to my dad's house two days a week, and  a friend took them to co-op.  Four different adults took on pieces of the homeschooling.  Dh took over the laundry.  I worked 7 am-3 pm with no break, eating lunch at my desk.  I spent an hour on Sundays typing up the weekly schedule and leaving it for the other three adults who were involved in the schooling.  I came home every day at 3:30 and did math with all three kids, then made dinner.

 

I hated it.

 

I did not mind my part-time contract work, teaching one adjunct class a semester, and doing other small, at home side jobs like editing when my kids were little.

 

At this point, I am teaching a high school English class at co-op (with my two kids as students, plus seven others).  My dh works odd and long hours running the small business which is the sole support of our family.  We had a season of taking his grandmother into our home, and I cared for her until she died.  I am pushing 50, low energy, and I know from experience that the grass is not greener.  I am grateful for the time I have now with my kids, even though it is hard.  All choices have some "hard".  It is nice to be in a position to be able to choose my "hard".  At my age and stage of life, my self image is firmly rooted in things not dependent on work or following society or community mores.  And even though I have a master's degree, what I always really wanted to do is be a wife and mom, which is what I get to do now.  Cool.   :)

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I want to be careful here, because I don't keep up with all the intimate details of SWB's personal life.  I don't think, as of right now, she homeschools.  RootAnn is correct that even while her kids were home they had a group effort in their house, with JW (Jessie Wise) doing a significant amount of the work, and her dh pulling hours as well.  He's a minister, which allowed him to be flexible.  She kept a schedule/grid, with each person with assigned hours, a tight ship, so she could work on all her goals.  She also went on dramatically less sleep than you or I might want.   ;)

 

And, like RootAnn says, there's usually some context to the stories of women working on here.  Sometimes they have very high functioning kids who can do a lot themselves.  Sometimes they have a spouse on disability.  Sometimes they work part-time.  ALWAYS they're keeping very tight ships to make it happen.

 

Your children will reflect the work you put into them.  Even simple things like playing games together and doing puzzles together are building working memory (essential for attention and learning), perseverance, visual processing, language (because we TALK while we play!), and social skills!  Why outsource the most FUN portions of their development to someone else who won't care as much, won't be as highly educated, and won't bring as much fascination and character worth modeling to the table?  I think the most fascinating use of an educated woman's mind IS to decide to pour it into small humans, in an intimate nurturing relationship, to see what this could produce and how this could bless society.  

Fwiw if you read the day by day accouts SWB has on her blog her mom and husband were both active in helping in watching the kids and homeschooling. I'm certain there was something I read from her somewhere that it is unrealistic to expect to be able to do it all yourself without any help, not even counting an outside job.

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"Mainly, I just feel conflicted about the fact that I'm a feminist who is currently raising two girls and I want to set a good example for them; I want them to know they can choose any life they want."

 

You are choosing any life you want.   And that is a great example.

 

 

A million times yes!

 

Feminism isn't women working at a paid job.   Feminism should be about women having choices, and part of that is respecting the choice to be a SAHM just as much as the choice to work.

 

Completely respecting the choice you've made ASAP is the best example you can be for your daughters.  

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FWIW, I don't know what your definition of feminism is. I consider myself squarely in the camp of "Females are awesome." All three of my girls expose this belief, somewhat to the detriment of their younger brothers. 

 

All the kids know that I could get an outside-the-house job, put them in a brick-and-mortar school, and we could have a lot more money. Every one of my kids, even on their bad days, are grateful that I stay home with them. There is a lot of guts required in this job and not much (outside) glory. S'okay with DH. S'okay with kids. Despite occasional school-bus-envy on my part, it is fine by me.

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I'm just a homeschooler, a darn good one at that and I'm proud of the job I do and love it. It doesn't make me any less of a feminist or advocate for equal rights for women. I don't push being a SAHM as the only valid or good choice as a mother. I don't make assumptions one way or the other as to what my daughters will want to do. When they go through spells of daydreaming about being *just* a mom when they grow up that is well and good and when my daughter ponders out loud how will she be able to run her own business when she really wants to be a mom too I talk to her about her different women make it work and let her know she doesn't have to give up either dream. 

 

If you *want* to find a way to work and hs, fabulous, but don't do it out of guilt about what you are supposed to do. Keep in mind as well that there are always trade-offs and perhaps these trade-offs that wouldn't make it worth it for you (less sleep, less free time, less control, etc)- I know I'm quite busy enough as it is and I like the freedom to pursue various personal, physical, mental and spiritual pursuits as I want to and as of now that *is* enough, no matter what anyone else deems as worthy.

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I "just" homeschool. I like being a rebel and not doing what society thinks I should. :D My hope is that before too many more generations pass, we'll quit bouncing back and forth about where a woman's "proper" place is and accept that people do what makes them happy. 

 

I hear what you're saying, though. I once had a guy tell me when I said that I homeschool, "If my wife wanted to sit home all day and not work I'd kick her lazy a** out."  :001_rolleyes:  People are always going to judge you for your choices. The best thing you can demonstrate for your kids is not letting anyone shame you into making the wrong decision for your family.

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Well, not sure if anyone wants to hear from me because I have, in fact, been a homeschooling mom and working mom since the beginning, and I don't work because I have to. I make a lot more than DH, but we could live on his salary. But, we certainly enjoy the lifestyle we have with two salaries. I like being able to bring DD to shows, lectures, concerts, classes, etc.

 

I work as a manager for a large high tech company; I've always worked at large high tech companies. When DD was first born, DH was a SAHD, not me. He works full time too as a high tech manager for a local company. 

 

We both have tremendous flexibility. I am 100% telecommuting, and my direct reports are globally distributed. So, I sometimes work in the middle of the night, sometimes at 5am, sometimes on weekends. I do have core work hours during the week day, but I dedicate 6am-10am entirely to DD, plus time on weekends if necessary. We often do things as a family, like watch documentaries, read books together, play games in evenings and weekends too. I'm also available throughout the day if she has questions about her independent work. We are eclectic and quite academic in our approach; I am not an unschooler.

 

DH works among several local locations so he can drop her off at activities, which he does nearly every day. He also takes care of the daily cooking and pick up around the house (we do have a biweekly housecleaner).

 

We can't participate in regular activities that require parent involvement. That's less of a problem as she has gotten older. I've also helped start a social group that meets in evenings and arrange field trips that we want to do and DH and I take off work to participate.

 

So, yes, some homeschooling moms do work because they like to, not because they have to. In my case, I'm able to do it because DH and I share household duties quite uniquely, we have flexible (yet corporate and professional) jobs, and we have a single child.

 

My situation is not like anyone else's. The thing is none of our situations are like anyone else's. Figure out what works for your family. Who cares what anyone else is doing? Everyone has their own challenges, and the only way you're going to be successful and happy as a homeschooling family is to figure out what's the right balance for your family.

 

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Homeschooling moms are working moms.  Providing a quality K-12 education is a full time job.  It's an intellectual job.   We don't get paid but we contribute well educated, self-sufficient adults to society when we're done and we save the taxpayers on average $10,000 per school aged kid per year every year we homeschool.  (No tax breaks or vouchers for homeschooling here.) Every taxpayer in America should thanks us. All of that is very valuable to everyone affected-kids, mom, taxpayers and society.  I think there's a wing of the feminist camp that has corrupted people's thinking and you're letting them affect your thinking.  Stop giving that bunch credibility and instead listen to the feminists that are all about giving women choices. That was the root of issue when feminism started up-women choosing what they want for themselves instead of society deciding what women could do.

We don't expect women working for pay to add volunteering on top of their jobs, so why would we expect women working for free to do that?

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I think I can relate to your feelings but my situation was a little different.  I had been a SAHM for years and was planning on getting some sort of career when my youngest went to public school.  All of my friends went back to work at that point, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, what was my purpose, before I eventually came to embrace that continuing to be a SAHM was what was best for my family and me at that time.  

 

Then homeschooling happened and that, for me, is my full time job now.  I know there is no way I could do anything more and still be good at what I'm doing now.  I think you will come to terms with where you are at.  I understand your fear that you will not be marketable when you are older.  I get that.  But I don't think hope is lost at that point as you could still go to school and get a  decent paying medical job. 

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Coming late to this:

I homeschool and work, because I need my work to keep me happy and am a better mom if I work. So, if you want to work while homeschooling, it is possible to find ways.

But if you want to homeschool full time and that works fine for your family, that is perfectly fine. Feminism is about women being able to have choices - not about valuing a particular choice higher than an alternative one. In the end, every family has to decide what works best for them. It is not for anybody else to judge.

 

 

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I so appreciate your thoughtful feedback! Thank you. I needed to be reminded of all the things you've said, because, of course, I agree with everything you've said--the bolded part, especially. (If I didn't, I wouldn't have chosen this life.) I think I'm just struggling mentally so much because:

 

(a) Other Women (on blogs, on this forum, SWB herself, etc.) seem to be able to both work and homeschool and somehow not be crazy and I am sort of baffled as to how this is possible, lol. I guess I am just not one of those people who excels at multitasking? It just seems like there are women out there who manage to both homeschool a bunch of kids AND run seemingly super successful side business of some sort and all I can think is, "No really, how do you do all that? How does homeschooling not take up all your time?!" I guess I just get to worrying that I'm not working hard enough in life--that I'm not Living Up to My Potential and that is what I fear my girls aren't seeing. I want them to know I CAN do other things, but am CHOOSING not to, for right now. Does that make sense? So, it's not so much that I don't value my work in our home (because I know what I'm doing is indeed valuable), but it's more like, How do I come to terms with the fact that I, personally, cannot do everything at once? That it feels hard and scary to make choices you truly think are good, but then at the same time know you have to accept the unknown future that will be a consequence of those choices? Which leads me to b....

 

(b) I have general fears that the workforce won't want me once I'm 45-ish; that there won't be a place for me when I'm ready to return. I do have professional goals for myself outside of homeschooling and I'm a little scared that either my talents or my opportunities will somehow vanish over time. So, homeschooling feels like a huge leap of faith in that regard, too. 

 

So, I posted with the hope that others might be able to share how they are dealing with all of this, if they happen to be facing the same conflicts and fears. Thanks again for your response and the hugs. :-)

 

EKT, I saw your reply last night, but waited to respond until I had a rested and caffeinated brain.  I have no idea if any of this will be relevant/helpful, but I’ll throw it out there.

 

In reading your response, it seems almost like you are viewing homeschooling as a phase.  Like you’ve hit the career pause button and want to be able to “unpause†at the end.  And maybe some of the angst you feel is the realization that that expectation is not realistic. I do understand your fears and the confliction; pre-child, I was a raging workaholic. For me, though, I’ve accepted that that part of my life is over and I’m on a different road now.  I also think it helps to be old. :001_smile:

 

Mostly, I think you need to give yourself some grace.  It’s okay to grieve what you’ve had to give up in order to homeschool.  It doesn’t make you a bad mom.  It’s also okay not to do everything at once-that’s called being fallible (aka, human.)  And don’t compare yourself to others-that never works. 

 

More  :grouphug: for you.  Parenting is hard and cannot be done perfectly.  Just do your best.  I think that’s pretty much what we all do! :001_smile:

 

 

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Just last night I was reading Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads.  It had some pretty interesting observations of stay-at-home vs. working moms.  She said both could be really amazing moms, or really sucky moms.   She put it better.  With the stay-at-home moms, if they felt lesser and like their opinions didn't matter because were stay-at-home, then they made bad role models and the kids picked up on what the mom thought of herself and thought the same.  But, if they were strong emotionally and was clear that staying at home was what chose to do, then they were great role models.

 

I thought that was great observation.  

 

To me, feminism means that you have a choice.  
 

it just occurred to me to add her observations on working moms.   They were crappy role models when they were harried martyrs.  It might be that was you when you worked some.  

 

I also think a stay-at-home parent can contribute financially by avoiding expenses.  

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...

I hear what you're saying, though. I once had a guy tell me when I said that I homeschool, "If my wife wanted to sit home all day and not work I'd kick her lazy a** out."  :001_rolleyes:  People are always going to judge you for your choices. The best thing you can demonstrate for your kids is not letting anyone shame you into making the wrong decision for your family.

Not that my dh was ever nasty like that, but things really changed when he realized I was doing with ds things that cost $100+ an hour to do in therapy.  My dh doesn't quite make that much.  ;)  Sorta moved me up in the rankings of the world.   :lol: 

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I so appreciate your thoughtful feedback! Thank you. I needed to be reminded of all the things you've said, because, of course, I agree with everything you've said--the bolded part, especially. (If I didn't, I wouldn't have chosen this life.) I think I'm just struggling mentally so much because:

 

(a) Other Women (on blogs, on this forum, SWB herself, etc.) seem to be able to both work and homeschool and somehow not be crazy and I am sort of baffled as to how this is possible, lol.

 

How do you know they aren't crazy?  Because they didn't blog/post that they were?  People don't usually put that kind of thing in a blog.  And even if they're not crazy they're not you.  If doing more than you're doing now makes you crazy then it's a disservice to you and your family to do more.  I for one don't feel compelled to do more just because I could do more.  I could do other things in addition to what I do now, but why would I if what I have going on now is working for my family?  Where did we get this idea that more=better?  I do things because they match my goals that I spent time thinking about and discussing with my family, not competing for the busiest mom award.

 

I guess I am just not one of those people who excels at multitasking? It just seems like there are women out there who manage to both homeschool a bunch of kids AND run seemingly super successful side business of some sort and all I can think is, "No really, how do you do all that? How does homeschooling not take up all your time?!"

 

Everyone homeschools differently.  I have opted for a more hands on, mom intensive approach than some people.  Other people are more hands on, mom intensive than I am.  What other people do is none of my business.  I'm not looking outwardly to measure up by what I see others do.  My point of view as an outsider is very limited, so even what I think I know about other families, even those I'm closest to, is really very little.

 

Is there some side business you're passionate about starting?  Are you in a financial situation that requires you to bring in an income?  If not, then why do you think you need to match Suzy Homeschool Business Woman activity for activity?  Is this really the best time in your life for starting a business?

 

Americans as a whole are terrible at living life in chapters.  We make the mistake of talking about life as if it only has 3 chapters: childhood, adulthood and retirement.  There are many chapters of childhood, many chapters of adulthood and many chapters of retirement.  Just because you're in a new chapter of life doesn't mean you've somehow failed.  You've just moved on.  You'll move on again in the next chapter of homeschooling and when you're done with homeschooling you'll move to another chapter of adulthood.

 

I guess I just get to worrying that I'm not working hard enough in life--that I'm not Living Up to My Potential and that is what I fear my girls aren't seeing. I want them to know I CAN do other things, but am CHOOSING not to, for right now.

 

This is a lie that plagues a lot of the industrialized world. No one lives up to their potential-not really.  No one runs at 100% at all times.  Human beings are not designed to do that, so expecting it is unrealistic.  And why do people only count career potential when they do talk about this?  There are all different kinds of potential in each person's life.  Right now it sounds like you're focusing on your potential as a homeschooling mom.

 

Making choices is something that children need to see their mothers make hear them talk about.  "I'm choosing to ____________________________ at this chapter in my life because it matches my goals of ______________________________. At other chapters in my life I chose to _____________________________ because it matched these goals in my life_____________________________________________.  After I'm done with this chapter I may choose to ______________________________ or __________________________________ or maybe even _______________________________ because that matches my goals of _______________________________________."

 

Does that make sense? So, it's not so much that I don't value my work in our home (because I know what I'm doing is indeed valuable), but it's more like, How do I come to terms with the fact that I, personally, cannot do everything at once?

 

No one can do everything at once.  No one ever has been able to do everything at once.  When you choose A you give up B and C and D.  When you choose B you give up A and C and D.  When you choose C you give up A and B and D.  When you choose D you give up A and B and C.  That's how life works. 

 

Parents who do a lot of hands on in home with the kids give up lots of outside the home stuff.  Parents that choose some hands on at home with the kids give up some outside the home stuff.  Parents who choose a lot of outside the home give up a lot of hands on at home with the kids.  Make your choice for this chapter of your life. Weight the pros and cons of each against your goals. 

 

We each have an unknown number of days in our lives.  Those days are 24 hours long and are slipping away at a rate of 60 seconds per minute no matter what we do or don't do.  There is no way to get back a single minute once it's spent.  Spend your limited time on things you care the most about.

 

That it feels hard and scary to make choices you truly think are good, but then at the same time know you have to accept the unknown future that will be a consequence of those choices? Which leads me to b....

 

This is another lie that gets spread in our culture.  Everyone's future is unknown.  There are unintended, unforeseeable consequences (good, neutral and bad) for every decision we make.  It always has been and it always will be.  There are some general patterns that usually happen, but specifics are always unknown.  People who think they have certain futures are deluded.

 

(b) I have general fears that the workforce won't want me once I'm 45-ish; that there won't be a place for me when I'm ready to return. I do have professional goals for myself outside of homeschooling and I'm a little scared that either my talents or my opportunities will somehow vanish over time. So, homeschooling feels like a huge leap of faith in that regard, too. 

 

The economy is more challenging now than it was 30 years ago, but that's true for lots of people no matter when it's happening.   Men face this when they hit 50ish, so it's nothing new, it's just broadened to more people.  Plenty of people with newly minted degrees are struggling to find work.  Many people in industries that are phasing out are dealing with this too.  That's just part of life.  You can only try to minimize it, but know that you can never eliminate it. Finding a way to keep current on skills may be useful in your situation or you need to accept that you won't be as employable later and chalk it up to the price of admission for homeschooling your kids full time. Yes, leaving the workforce is a big risk because it may be hard to get back into it, but that's true of everyone who homeschools full time.  If you want to only do one thing at a time and that thing is homeschooling then you risk decreased employability later on and you live on one income. 

 

If you choose part time work along with homeschooling for increased income and increased employability, you risk fewer homeschooling options because you can't be as hands on and you'll  miss some time with your kids because you're working while you have to deal with the lifestyle of juggling work and homeschool.

 

If you choose full time work outside the home your homeschooling options shrink dramatically, your time with your kids is even less  and you have even more juggling to do but you have increased your income and employability even more.

 

You have to choose one of those.  Each is a packaged deal.

 

So, I posted with the hope that others might be able to share how they are dealing with all of this, if they happen to be facing the same conflicts and fears. Thanks again for your response and the hugs. :-)

 

We've been on 1 income and homeschooling since just before my oldest was born.  We made a conscious choice for me to be a full time, hands on, stay at home mom who homeschools the kids all the way through.  We consciously chose to give up some things to do other things until our youngest is graduated from high school because that lifestyle best supports our values and goals. 

 

When my husband started his own business it was scary.  We were without income for a while and then on a very tight budget for years until recently but other people deal with that too sometimes whether they homeschool or not and we're not without a support network if something catastrophic happens.  I also have faith is God. 

 

I'm perfectly content to live in a tiny house and eat oatmeal, veggies, and beans and rice. I could live contentedly never taking another vacation. I don't need expensive clothes, a large wardrobe, gadgets or any of the other piles of stuff most of us have.  Would I miss my lifestyle as it is now?  YES!  But I've thought about what I would be willing to live without for the sake of living the lifestyle I want. I'm at peace with that.  My lifestyle is very faith and hands-on-family oriented. 

 

Not everyone has to make the same choice I did, but I think it's important to think it through with some level of detail about what kind of packaged deal each choice is.  They should clearly articulate for themselves their goals and values.  They should sit down and actually prioritize those values and goals.  That's where many people get stumped.  As much as they don't want to face it, not everything has equal value.  Eventually there will be situations/decisions that make us sacrifice one goal/value for another goal/value. If you haven't got it clear in your mind which are more important than others, you'll be conflicted and or indecisive.

 

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Thanks so much for all the responses so far, friends! (I want so much to respond to each poster individually, but I don't want to be annoying by repeatedly bumping this thread to the top.) But everyone who has responded has been very thoughtful and helpful and I really appreciate it. 

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I think you have gotten good feedback regarding concern (a), that it is possible to homeschool and carry the feminist card, and what matters is finding a balance for your family regardless of what anyone else does.

 

It seems to me that concern (b) relates to workforce re-entry.  IMO this is something worthy of attention if you plan either to begin or return to a professional career in your 40's.  It can be done.  It is often not done.  I think the statistic is only like 20% of women who step out of professional careers end up going back to the career they left.  Some happily move on to other careers.  But that leaves a segment of women who end up frustrated and blindsided by the realities of workforce re-entry.

 

I have seen some moms who intentionally don't worry about the professional world at all for a period of time, but then expect there to be a long time period (2+ years) as they ramp back up.  For some professions this is a decent option.

 

Another option is to keep your foot in the door now, not necessarily by working but by joining professional organizations and attending networking opportunities, doing a few CEU's a year, reading up on the industry, participating on professional message boards, etc.  One of the hardest things to recreate from scratch is the network and people connections, and that is something that you can dip your toe in even without paid employment.

 

I wrote the above not knowing if you already have the education to meet your professional goals.  Obviously if you need more education, attending school yourself part time when the kids are older may be more manageable than you realize.

 

Work force re-entry is not for everyone but I think it is wise to map out options.  I ended up back in the workforce sooner than expected because of spouse health issues.  It happens.  I love my career so working is not a burden, but the honest truth is that getting back up to the point where I left off has proven challenging.

 

 

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I relate.

 

I reached a point a few years ago, deciding that I would start *now* building for the season of life when the kids don't need me at-elbow at all times.  It wasn't all out a feminist ideal, but much b/c *I* needed to do meaningful work that wasn't destroyed within 30 minutes.  Housework is demoralizing. kwim.  Yes, educating children lasts a lifetime, but when the big 3 outgrew the games & fun and began groaning about the responsibilities that I do require as they grow into young adults, educating them was less fulfilling for me.  Judge me if you will. :tongue_smilie:  I HS b/c it's best for them, not b/c it fills my tank...there are wonderful moments, don't get me wrong...but I just...needed something with MY name on it, something complete.

 

 

 

 

 

(b) I have general fears that the workforce won't want me once I'm 45-ish; that there won't be a place for me when I'm ready to return. I do have professional goals for myself outside of homeschooling and I'm a little scared that either my talents or my opportunities will somehow vanish over time. So, homeschooling feels like a huge leap of faith in that regard, too. 

 

So, I posted with the hope that others might be able to share how they are dealing with all of this, if they happen to be facing the same conflicts and fears. Thanks again for your response and the hugs. :-)

 

 

Ask yourself what you want to be doing at 45yo.  Write it down.  Then work backwards.  What do you need to be doing at 44yo to make it to that goal at 45yo?  What do you need to be doing at 43yo to be ready at 44yo to work towards that goal at 45yo?  Work all the way back to where you are today.

 

It may be that you can start by taking 30-60 minutes a day, while the kids are playing, to read/research in a field.  Maybe in a few years you can take a few college courses every year.  You can be building skills and making contacts.  You don't have to volunteer 20 hours a week to make contacts and gain experience. Make boundaries.  (Over an hour a day burns my family out, but less than 30min a day will not make progress....whatever works in your life.)

 

How can you build your homeschool around your goals?  I've known small business owners who set up a schoolroom at work, for example.  Sometimes families have to weigh out ideals vs balance.  Maybe outsourcing some subjects will allow you time for professional development.  Maybe that is not possible NOW, but can you make it possible in 3 years? Probably.

 

Work backwards, jotting down all needs - from yours to dh's to the kids...plot a few possible paths, and then give yourself the grace to make choices based upon life's circumstances AND future goals...edit the path to your goals regularly b/c life does change things, but that doesn't mean you can't meat your goals.  Sometimes just having that plan is the sanity-saver in and of itself. :grouphug:  

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Ask yourself what you want to be doing at 45yo.  Write it down.  Then work backwards.  What do you need to be doing at 44yo to make it to that goal at 45yo?  What do you need to be doing at 43yo to be ready at 44yo to work towards that goal at 45yo?  Work all the way back to where you are today.

 

It may be that you can start by taking 30-60 minutes a day, while the kids are playing, to read/research in a field.  Maybe in a few years you can take a few college courses every year.  You can be building skills and making contacts.  You don't have to volunteer 20 hours a week to make contacts and gain experience. Make boundaries.  (Over an hour a day burns my family out, but less than 30min a day will not make progress....whatever works in your life.)

 

How can you build your homeschool around your goals?  I've known small business owners who set up a schoolroom at work, for example.  Sometimes families have to weigh out ideals vs balance.  Maybe outsourcing some subjects will allow you time for professional development.  Maybe that is not possible NOW, but can you make it possible in 3 years? Probably.

 

Work backwards, jotting down all needs - from yours to dh's to the kids...plot a few possible paths, and then give yourself the grace to make choices based upon life's circumstances AND future goals...edit the path to your goals regularly b/c life does change things, but that doesn't mean you can't meat your goals.  Sometimes just having that plan is the sanity-saver in and of itself. :grouphug:  

 

Thank you so much for this piece of tangible advice. I really needed to hear this idea and it instantly made things a little less scary. 

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Thank you so much for this piece of tangible advice. I really needed to hear this idea and it instantly made things a little less scary. 

 

 

If you want someone to share your goals with, PM me.   :hurray:   We have to encourage each other as women and HS moms.

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Personally, homeschooling has become an all-encompassing lifestyle. This is our third year, and I have found each successive year, the scope has invaded and crowded out much of what was my personal life. Granted, I was a stay at home mom for several years before homeschooling (12 years this Halloween was my last day of paid professional work as a computer programmer). As my children entered public school (age 3 for LD youngest son, a kindy for oldest), I had plentiful free time to pursue my interests:  piano, reading, and World of Warcraft.  My first year was an easy adjustment to the predicted culture shock of limited 'alone' time, but teaching 2nd and 5th grades wasn't too demanding so my interests persisted. But, now, with lengthy read alouds, involved projects and field trips, I have dropped piano lessons due to limited practice time, list the read alouds on my goodreads list as my own books, and haven't touched WoW in months.  I feel like every spare minute is spent "doing" homeschool or Scouts. I am on the computer planning, researching, or reading blogs/message boards about homeschooling.  At night I am mentally spent, so I don't practice piano, or read, instead I idle away hours watching Netflix.  Weekends are consumed with Scout activities, planning the next week's homeschool schedule and blogging about the previous week's activities.  

I am not sure how I feel about this.  I don't feel bad or overwhelmed. I am enjoying the process, actually. I love planning and executing the new wonderous ideas I have researched and exploring all the interesting places.  Thanks to Scouts and homeschooling,  I spent a night at a nature preserve, visited the State Fair, and discovered a talent in painting, as well as had fun decorating the sugar skulls we made for Dias de los Muertos. It's fun being in 7th grade again as I am doing/learning with them. So, I don't feel like my life is 'on-hold' though to outsiders (whoever they may), I may seem a little cloistered.   I am wondering how the 'empty nest' will feel when my oldest enters public high school in two years.  I look forward to getting more well rounded, but will miss terribly all those books and business.  

Just my thoughts. 

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I struggle with this somewhat. We could actually use some supplemental income right now, but I am homeschooling and pregnant right now. I am highly educated, and feel guilt that I haven't started a successful side business or blog or something. My house is often a mess with three kids. We just moved and don't have all the funds I'd like to decorate, etc. I could go on and on.

 

I consider dumping them at school and working, but this is not what is best for me or our family. Maybe some financial benefits, but this is just a lean season. We do not have a lot of good private schools close by even. Every time we evaluate that, it isn't what is best for our family, and really not what I want. Maybe in a five years or so.

 

I do worry about returning to the workforce someday after being out, but my current plan is to either go into business for myself or go into education. I am thinking of teaching part time at a community college in a year or so.

 

However, if your situation works for you and your family, I would not worry about it at all. You are fulfilling what you have chosen for your life and pursuing your dreams and what makes you happy. If you do return to the workforce sometime, your daughters will see that you made great sacrifices for them and had the freedom to choose your life. The mantra of "You can have it all" really needs to be modified to "You can have it all, but not all at the same time." I am content that my children will see me pursuing my goals in different seasons of my life. I don't need to do every life goal in every single chapter of my life. As long as you don't lose yourself, I think it is perfectly fine to have homeschooling be your job. Heck, I know stay at home moms who don't even homeschool. You teach two different grades. You are doing a full time job and spending time with your family in the precious time you have. It is fleeting. Enjoy it without any guilt.

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I absolutely love homeschooling (we've homeschooled from the start and are currently in our fourth "official" year), but I'm suffering a lot of angst about the fact that I'm not also working professionally. It's a wholly internal pressure, to be sure--we're just getting by financially on one salary (with lots of the usual homeschooler sacrifices, like renting our tiny house and owning just one car, etc.) and my husband supports me being home to homeschool 100%. So, the pressure is in no way coming from my husband or close family. Mainly, I just feel conflicted about the fact that I'm a feminist who is currently raising two girls and I want to set a good example for them; I want them to know they can choose any life they want. But every time I've attempted to take on part-time work of some kind (volunteering, for example), it's been the straw that broke the camel's back and it's just too much on our family's schedule. Like, the minute I take on one more thing, everything else crumbles and suddenly our quality of life is terrible and everyone is rushing and frantic. I feel like, in order for me, personally to homeschool well--to get it right the way I hope to get it right, and do right by my kids (in my own eyes)--I have to commit myself to it fully. So, each week, I wake up, do school, keep house, take the kids to extracurriculars or co-op (where I teach two classes), make dinner, exercise (on a good day!), and...well, that easily fills all my time! Lather, rinse, and repeat. Plus, my open schedule makes it possible for my husband to take on extra side work at a moment's notice in his (far more lucrative) profession. So, me not working professionally really helps his career/our financial situation. We are completely a team--my husband helps a ton with household stuff and all that--so again, support from my husband is not the issue. I feel like it is a time/quality of life issue. I can "just" homeschool and live a well-balanced, happy family life, or I can take on a small amount of outside work and suddenly be crazy and frantic. Thus far, I've opted for the well-balanced life, but I fret so much about not working. (It doesn't help that I live in an area of the country where most people--both men and women--have high-powered careers, so I think I feel a lot of derision from peers.)

 

I don't even know what I'm asking. Does anyone else feel this way or struggle with these issues? I guess I'm just finding how hard it is to go against the grain of society; I'm learning my self-worth really has to come from within because I'm not getting it from the outside world, that's for sure! Can parents of older kids light the way on this? That is, is some sort of outside work more likely to be possible when my kids are old enough to stay home alone for decent periods of time? Or will homeschooling the upper grades be that much more of a commitment and take up even more of my time? I keep trying to remind myself that my kids' childhoods are so fleeting, that homeschooling will pay huge dividends in the long run, and I will not regret this. I keep trying to remind myself that I am going to wake up one day soon, and our two girls will be grown, and then I will still have a good 20 years left to be a contributing member of the work force (I will be in my mid-40's when my kids go off to college). But...taking the long view is tough!

 

I guess I mostly wish I could just allow myself to love being home with my kids and homeschooling, without also feeling guilty about not working. Thoughts? Advice? Experience? Thanks, friends.

I do understand how you're feeling. I've struggled with these feelings as well since leaving my full-time career to be home/homeschool.

 

My dc are in the middle grades and this year, our finances have required that I return to work part-time. I hate it and what it's done to our schedule and my stress level. I would love to quit but really can't currently. So, on that note, I would recommend continuing to not work if you can. As far as being an example to your dd's, I think you choosing to be home because it makes everyone's lifestyle better in your family is a fine example of a woman choosing what to do with her life, and choosing what is best for her particular situation. 😊

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I have the same thoughts quite often. That it's wrong to be 'only a housewife and mother' when  women have fought for my right to to 'have it all'. But then I remind myself that feminism is about women having choices, and that devoting most of my time to my kids is my choice right now. Also that they will become more independent over time (however unlikely this looks from my view here in the trenches) and if I am lucky enough to live an average to long life, there will be time later on to focus on other things. Also, I try not to devalue my work. I consider myself an educator, just as much as a teacher in school is an educator. That is my main profession at the moment (although I am also studying part time and doing a few hours a week of work for my husband).

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Also, I suggest we all try to avoid saying "just homeschooling", even mentally. Because other people don't say that. If you ask anyone what they do, you won't hear "I'm JUST a doctor / sales rep / web designer / whatever".

Amen! If women are truly supposed to have choices, then homeschooling should be as free, valuable, and legitimate a choice as any other career.

 

I like to use the term "home educator" in my mind... sounds more professional, if you will, or more accurate, since my focus is the education of my children, not recreating school. Either way, no 'just' about it.

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Also, I suggest we all try to avoid saying "just homeschooling", even mentally. Because other people don't say that. If you ask anyone what they do, you won't hear "I'm JUST a doctor / sales rep / web designer / whatever".

I cringed when I read the title of this thread but I'm fairly sure the OP meant the word "just" as meaning "only" as in "Anyone else only homeschooling?"

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I am so sorry you feel that way and do not want to trivialize your pain, but I would like to comment on how even just the thread title really drives home to me some of the observations Diane Flynn Keith made here:

 

http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog/guest-posts/homeschooling-then-and-now/

 

She is from my era, although I now have a very much planned, longed for, and waited for 7 year old miracle caboose baby, a foot in both worlds, and a bed in neither. I can't possibly give you comforting words of wisdom since you and I are coming from such very, very different places.

 

I am, however, reminded of this analogy about three men who were each carrying a rock:

 

http://www.johnhaydon.com/building/

 

When I first saw a man named John Holt on my mother's TV while she was watching Phil Donahue, I was a young teenager who started to question her decision that she never wanted to have any kids when she grew up. I knew and expected that going against the grain of mainstream society would have consequences and upset people.

 

I was never an English major who had to homeschool or an activist who had to cut back on her workload to homeschool or a grad student who had to drop out and give up her lifelong career goals to homeschool. I don't know how that feels so I have no advice or words of comfort for you.

 

All I have to offer you is the perspective of a homeschooling parent who had to make many sacrifices and give up so much that I never thought I could live without to stay the course and do the best I could for my children and the homeschooling community as a whole because I wanted to live a life that mattered and make the world a better place.

 

I have no regrets. I agree with Diane that, as different as you and I are, you and people like yourself, EKT, give me hope for the future.

 

You are very brave.

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I "just" homeschool. I like being a rebel and not doing what society thinks I should. :D My hope is that before too many more generations pass, we'll quit bouncing back and forth about where a woman's "proper" place is and accept that people do what makes them happy.

 

I hear what you're saying, though. I once had a guy tell me when I said that I homeschool, "If my wife wanted to sit home all day and not work I'd kick her lazy a** out." :001_rolleyes: People are always going to judge you for your choices. The best thing you can demonstrate for your kids is not letting anyone shame you into making the wrong decision for your family.

Agree! And, wow, that guy makes my husband look good, LOL.

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Also, I suggest we all try to avoid saying "just homeschooling", even mentally. Because other people don't say that. If you ask anyone what they do, you won't hear "I'm JUST a doctor / sales rep / web designer / whatever".

 

That's why I put the "just" in quotation marks in my post title!! To indicate that obviously, I know I am already doing a lot (!) by homeschooling. 

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