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Is SAHM/W no longer a valid life choice?


Moxie
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Oh sure my knitting is a luxury. I freely admit that. If it ever came down to food or knitting, I'd sadly have to say goodbye to my knitting.

 

But the majority who ask me these things are people who can easily afford it and usually have far more income than I do.

 

Most of my knitting expenses come from my dh to be honest.

 

I would not have any stash if it wasn't for him enabling.

 

We go into a store and I think, "I need one skein of blue DK weight yarn for this project I want to do." I go in and I get it. And I turn around to head to the register and dh is standing there with a cart full of yarn that he is sure I can use and like. God help me if he also saw a clearance sign or there's some kind of sale. No matter how much I tell him no sale is cheaper than not buying it. And yeah sure I like it, but dang man show some restraint. I don't need all that. And then we dicker for a few minutes and we end up getting about 1/4 of what he had in the cart and me forgetting to put the one skein I needed in it and not noticing until I get home, but darned if I'm taking him with me to go back for it. 🙄

 

Luxury is a stretch I think.  You aren't being demanding and self entitled here.  You NEED to have something enjoyable that's just for you.  I really do think this is a need for many people. 

 

 

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God help me if he also saw a clearance sign or there's some kind of sale. No matter how much I tell him no sale is cheaper than not buying it

:lol: my hubby will say there is a 90 day return policy usually or 180 days in the case of Macys. If he doesn't buy for me, it would be gone if I decided I might want it a few days later.

 

The store closing sign is another enabler for hubby taking a look.

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Growing up my parents never did anything other than work. My dad would read sometimes. But nope, no hobbies and apparently no interests. Although something I only learned recently, that is probably a result of their mental illnesses (especially my mother).

 

But me? Geesh I have a zillion hobbies and interests. My husband too.

My mother never had any. She didn't sew, can or anything house wifey either. She didn't volunteer. She worked waitressing until her feet bled into her high heels, came home and asked dad if she could keep $20 for her cigarettes, drank her instant coffee and otherwise slept and went back to work. Yes, I suspect she suffered severe depression too.

 

My dad did but he was always making money off them. He never did anything that wouldn't make money. He went to work at 4 am and got off home at 4 and mom made him dinner before he either watched Dallas or went out to do his side jobs. He still has that attitude.

 

He is always saying that if we do anything for our kids it's a waste of money because they aren't ever going to profit us from it. He is always asking if they are "any good" at whatever we are paying for them to do. And they will never be "any good" in his eyes unless they make money off it.

 

So ice skating is a waste unless they are going to the Olympics.

 

Art is a waste unless she is selling her finished pieces.

 

Chess was a waste.

 

Knitting is a waste.

 

Dh's beer brewing is a waste.

 

Poetry is a waste.

 

Gardening is a waste unless they make enough to sell or get hired to do other people's landscaping.

 

Church is a waste, it's just a bunch of people thinking their tithe is going to get them to heaven. (His words.)

 

Basicly our entire lives are a waste I guess.

Edited by Murphy101
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Interesting thoughts.

 

OF COURSE being at at home mom is a valid choice. To be honest, I haven't seen criticism of that choice since I stopped looking/being sensitive. I seen people and the media in general supportive of it.

 

I have another slant to the discussion: Being a WOH mom is a valid mothering choice.

 

Some pet peeves:

 

1) It is not more virtuous should a mom "have" to work.

2) It is not more virtuous should a mom "give up a lucrative career" to stay home.

3) We should not (as at home advocates) give grace only to women who enter/return to the workforce to "help their family."

4) We should have (as working moms) make any assumption about the abilities, interests, and skills of at home moms.

5) It is valid and perfectly fine if a mom wants to work just to work.

 

PERSONALLY, I have been both. I am a better human, including a better mom, when I WOH. I believe that self-actualization need not be put on hold because I birthed some humans and the process of gaining and using skills in the workplace is valuable to me.

 

Contrary to a poster above (a poster I often agree with), I could not "find fulfillment" as a full time mom. I have the skill set to build some contentment, but ultimately, I'd be less of a woman and therefore less of a mom.

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then I consider myself fortunate not to know these people ;-)

Seriously, I can't think of anybody in my circle of acquaintances who does not have an outside interest - even the most workaholic among my physics prof friends.

 

 

Oh yes, I agree about that. It's the guilt thing. I admit that I have for a long time felt guilty for spending money on myself, and to a certain degree still do - which is ridiculous, especially since I also earn income (NOTE: Before this gets misinterpreted, I feel it necessary to point out that I am NOT saying a women who does not earn income does not deserve to spend money on herself! I merely want to point out how particularly ridiculous it is when the women even earns money). But yes, spending money on myself feels like a frivolous luxury and I have to make a conscious effort to do that - where I'd not bat an eyelash spending it on a kid activity. My DH is very supportive and encourages me; even when I was SAHM there was never any feeling of "his" money - it was "ours". Still. I am working on that.

 

But I see this as a bit different from pursuing interests and passions; even when finances are tight or she feels not worthy to spend money on herself, I can't see why a woman would not pursue an interest (of course, in the very chaotic thick of infants and babies the only valid interest may be sleep and a shower)

I don't get why either. I'd have lost my ever lovin mind. At the very worst of our finances, I was at least a voracious reader. It probably made me a crappy even more exhausted mother, but even with 3 in diapers, I read anything I could get my hands on. And once we got a computer? Oh wow. The things I could research and try and learn!

 

I actually avoid mentioning how many kids I have in public bc then conversations with other people dissolve to birthing and child raising. Ugh. Been there and doing that for 21 years now and another 18 or so to go. Ready for a different conversation topic already.

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Oh sure my knitting is a luxury. I freely admit that. If it ever came down to food or knitting, I'd sadly have to say goodbye to my knitting.

 

But the majority who ask me these things are people who can easily afford it and usually have far more income than I do.

 

Most of my knitting expenses come from my dh to be honest.

 

I would not have any stash if it wasn't for him enabling.

 

We go into a store and I think, "I need one skein of blue DK weight yarn for this project I want to do." I go in and I get it. And I turn around to head to the register and dh is standing there with a cart full of yarn that he is sure I can use and like. God help me if he also saw a clearance sign or there's some kind of sale. No matter how much I tell him no sale is cheaper than not buying it. And yeah sure I like it, but dang man show some restraint. I don't need all that. And then we dicker for a few minutes and we end up getting about 1/4 of what he had in the cart and me forgetting to put the one skein I needed in it and not noticing until I get home, but darned if I'm taking him with me to go back for it. 🙄

 

Aww, your DH sounds like mine :)

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Luxury is a stretch I think. You aren't being demanding and self entitled here. You NEED to have something enjoyable that's just for you. I really do think this is a need for many people.

 

 

Well no, it is a luxury. Or at least it is not a need on par with life and family sustaining needs.

 

There's nothing wrong with knowing that. It doesn't make me feel guilty for doing it. It probably would have when I was a much younger mother bc our finances were also much tighter then and it literally would have taken food off the table to do something like knitting back then.

 

I don't remember what I did back then for enjoyment. But I don't remember it as being all sad and depressing either. I did what I need to do and mostly I was okay with that hard as it might have been.

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I don't think it's jealousy. I don't think it's fair to someone else to boil their comments or objections down to sour grapes. Maybe it's true in some cases, but it's awfully dismissive of an entire conversation.

 

If you look at the context of the quote I quoted you will see that I was referring to judgemental nasty comments people make about either SAHM's or Working mom's, not this conversation. When someone says, "I could not be a leech on my husband" or "Don't you care about your children?" or "Your wasting your degree."

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I have seen the implication that educated women who SAH are somehow wasting their education, but not directed to individuals. It's usually talking more in terms of social trends. I read a book recently on "the new domesticity" that seemed to have some of that.

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I do think we view higher education as something that is supposed to eventually pay for itself.  We hear a lot about the troubles of paying off student loans etc.  I consider myself a lifelong learner, but I don't pay to learn (other than required continuing professional education).  I study at home and stuff.

 

I can see why it's a great idea to go to college if you can afford the time and money.  But I do understand why people's knee jerk reaction is to wonder how that's going to pay off.

 

Not saying that some of those rude comments are acceptable, though.

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Might some of it come from the old attitude that an education is a material desire?  That was the reason my mom was encouraged to quit school on her 16th birthday.  Of course that was long ago, but does that attitude still live on?

 

Just for the record, I think moms who get educated benefit their children and themselves immensely.

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I was a live in nanny before I got married. To me that is a stay at home mom that a family pays for. I continued to work for the first 15 months of our marriage, then I stopped. We were trying to have a baby and we knew once I got pregnant I would have to stop working, so when my husband finished his post doc, it made sense. My oldest living child is 7.5 and I have been married for 12 years. So you can do the math. Over the years I was VERY glad I was a stay at home wife and mom. When the triplets were born and even the month prior, it was hard enough for us to do everything with DH working, I can't imagine the stress of me working too during that time. Also is true with when I had cancer. It hasn't always been easy for me to stay at home, but I am glad we made this choice.

 

You know it is funny, I always thought I would have lots of time to do this or that when I stopped working but I have really never stopped doing things in the last 11 years. I have no plans to go back to work. My mother in law stopped working when my husband was in high school I think. She stopped mainly because she has an autistic child and he wasn't getting the services that he needed back then (different time for sure), so she stopped working to focus more on him. She never went back to working. 

 

Around here it is fairly uncommon to be a SAHW. The homeschooling community is rather large though. I do look at the $500,000+ single family homes (VERY common around here) and wonder how people afford them, but then I remember they don't really live in them. They just sleep in them. I can't see the value in that. I know every inch of my house and while it isn't perfect, I can't think of a better place for me to be. 

 

I am going to encourage my boys, should the eventually want children (my oldest says he wants children already, my youngest is enjoying being a baby himself), to set themselves up to be the sole breadwinner of the family. I believe that is what my husband did. When I met him, he was looking for someone that would either homeschool or put children in private school, and was prepared to be a sole breadwinner. I want that for my children and more importantly my grandchildren. 

 

How would you feel if one of your sons opted to be a stay at home dad after his wife set herself up to be the sole breadwinner of the family? How would you feel if one of your sons figured out how to work around his wife's schedule so one of them could be home with the children at all times?

 

Edited by LMV
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How would you feel if one of your sons opted to be a stay at home dad after his wife set herself up to be the sole breadwinner of the family? How would you feel if one of your sons figured out how to work around his wife's schedule so one of them could be home with the children at all times?

 

 

That is what my husband and I do. I tell people that together we make one SAHP. One of the bonuses is that I think it's a good model for both my sons and my daughter. 

 

And no, I'm not saying that people who do something different are bad models. Just had to put that out there because the way this thread is going I'm sure someone would read it that way. 

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Honestly, I think if it works for a particular couple to have one half of the couple/ or one parent at home then it is valid. What works for one couple/family may not work for another. Ideally we are focusing on what works for our family, adapting to make things work better for our family, and not wasting time thinking about or judging the choices others make for their families. Usually we are in a pretty poor position to effectively evaluate others' choices because there is so much about their situation that is just none of our business.

 

If you're asking about common or popular more than valid, I will say that most families in our neighborhood are comprised of dual career parents. In some cases one parent may work less than full time or perhaps may be able to do a lot of work from home. DH and I have tried to adapt and do what worked for us and our kids and what that has been has changed over time. We've had periods when we've both worked full time, we've had periods when one of us has worked full time and the other part time, and scenarios where we both approach full time (and perhaps maybe even both hit it) but work around each other's schedules. We are fortunate that I'm a physician in a field where shift work is the rule and employed by hospital and medical director who want to make things work for me. DH currently owns his own law firm in a rather well compensated branch of law. He is able to  adjust his work load over time based on what else is going on in our/our children's lives.  A chunk of his work is also a bit geographically transportable (or at least much more than mine) so he can do things at home around court appearances and meetings. It works for us.  We hope that all of our children will find spouses who will work with them to figure out what works for any families they may create.

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That is what my husband and I do. I tell people that together we make one SAHP. One of the bonuses is that I think it's a good model for both my sons and my daughter. 

 

And no, I'm not saying that people who do something different are bad models. Just had to put that out there because the way this thread is going I'm sure someone would read it that way. 

 

Yes, as you will see below it is very much what we do now.  We've had times when although we were both working the balance was shifted towards one of us working very little (ie I did one ED shift a week or something like that) because that was how things settled out. I also agree that it sends a good message to all of our children. 

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I do think we view higher education as something that is supposed to eventually pay for itself. We hear a lot about the troubles of paying off student loans etc. I consider myself a lifelong learner, but I don't pay to learn (other than required continuing professional education). I study at home and stuff.

 

I can see why it's a great idea to go to college if you can afford the time and money. But I do understand why people's knee jerk reaction is to wonder how that's going to pay off.

 

Not saying that some of those rude comments are acceptable, though.

Yeah I tend to think of taking an outside class as a luxury unless you plan to earn.' Otherwise there's library books and open university which can give you the education without the bill. Yes you don't get the class environment but then I learn better alone anyway. Though I guess maybe your learning style plays into this.

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I know you didn't mean this statement the way it sounds, Quill, but ouch! I've encountered some of this feeling in real life, and it strikes me as so odd. I'm a very responsible woman even if I'm currently not in the workforce. I think mothers cannot win no matter what they choose. I prefer to assume we're all doing the best we can with our specific circumstances. I bet we all feel conflicted at time when we can't do something because job or family demands preclude it. We probably all feel the grass is greener on the other side at times. I just hate to see moms feeling they have to defend their choices from each other.

No, I don't have a dog in this fight and I don't really side with anyone over this whole issue. I do miss the well-look-at-me,being-an-earner-and-working-like-a-real-grown-up satisfaction I once had long, long ago, before kids. I mean, I think I do a bang-up job of being a HS/SAH/WAH/M, but in the end, I don't contribute much to the financial aspect of our lives (except that I am DH's secretary, so in a sense, his businesses run because of me, but he could also hire someone else to do that, so it's not like I am the only person who could) and I do feel some sense of one-down because of it, if I'm fully honest about it. My husband has been working his a$$ off since before we met; never a break, never a reprieve, and yes, a part of me feels like, "Well, la-di-dah, how nice for me! I just run the household and he can sweat and worry about bringing in sufficient business to pay all this tuition."

 

So yes, oftentimes, I do feel like one more dependant he has to provide for, when it is in fact possible for me to earn an income, too. I just feel like a shirking taker at this point; it's not as though I have these fragile little babies who really need their mom handy.

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How would you feel if one of your sons opted to be a stay at home dad after his wife set herself up to be the sole breadwinner of the family? How would you feel if one of your sons figured out how to work around his wife's schedule so one of them could be home with the children at all times?

 

 

I actually hope this for my ds. He has a career path in mind at this point, but I'm not sure with his disabilities he will ever be successful in the workplace. I hope he is, but I'm not confident. I think he would make a wonderful homeschool teacher and a wonderful SAHD. Although his cooking skills would need to ramp up. :)

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It's not even just about going to college.

 

I've had people ask me about my knitting and why I do it. Um. Because I enjoy it and find it interesting and satisfying?

 

But do you sell your finished object? Do you make money off it?

 

No. And given the ecomonic state of textiles in America right now, I probably never will.

 

Then why do you waste time making that stuff if you can just go buy something cheaper at wackomart?

 

*sigh*. Just no where polite to begin responding so I usually just smile at them in my best dumb blonde imitation of just being too confused to understand them.

Mmm-hmmm. I have heard this about gardening and canning vegetables. "Is it worth it? I mean, how much does a can of tomatoes cost?" I have said, "I know it seems that way, but it's not just a matter of nickles and dimes. I have other reasons."

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Yep. Several people over the years. It's not unusual.

 

I have friends with degrees, even doctorates, who get versions of the same thing for staying home. "What a waste to get all that education just to stay home and have kids?"

 

No, learning something is always of value, even if we never make a dime off the knowledge.

 

And of course again, should only the ignorant have children or give their primary care?

 

But I have learned this perspective is very much in the minority in society.

 

I never thought that it wasn't worth it for a SAHM to get all the education she could. Still...

 

I do think that for many, education is a huge sacrifice and afforded to precious few. In some families in the not-so-distant past, only one kid got to go to college: the best student. The idea was that there would be a financial return on investment, which was precisely why girls were rarely chosen, no matter how smart they were.

 

I wrote a much longer post, but I think it is worth trying to understand that for some people, education and hobbies are about money because they are not far removed from working class.

 

If you can have non-money-making hobbies or a non-job-related education, you are enjoying a luxury that for most of the world's history has been afforded only to the most elite of the elite, the richest, the most privileged individuals. For every one who got an education for the sake of education, tens of thousands starved, and many families had four or five working to put another through an apprenticeship or a trade school to make it.

 

Now, many people making these comments may seem well-off, may be well-off. But they may be less far removed from workers than you think.

 

It's a frugality ethic, not a value judgment on education.

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Mmm-hmmm. I have heard this about gardening and canning vegetables. "Is it worth it? I mean, how much does a can of tomatoes cost?" I have said, "I know it seems that way, but it's not just a matter of nickles and dimes. I have other reasons."

Same here. I can get canned veggies cheap. I don't "need" to dehydrate, can, or freeze them. However, my straight from the Amish farmer's garden instantly processed veggies and fruits so out shine commercial ones for taste, texture, and quality that though I would prefer not do the work, I can't help myself!

 

I will say this though. Since I have all of the stuff and have processed many a harvest with it, it probably does come out dirt cheap given that my bushels of produce are very reasonably priced at my favorite farmer's stand.

 

Environmentally, I also like that all winter long we eat veggies and fruits that haven't been trucked long distance or imported from somewhere with a lot looser EPA standards than ours. It also eliminates packaging. I've started using tattler lids and rings which are guaranteed for life and reusable. My freezer containers have held out for years, and my dehydrated stuff is stored in glass jars with lids and rings.

 

But, in terms of hobbies in general, the worth is in the stress relief and joy we get that offsets the cortisol and high blood pressure we produce at other times. I with everyone had a hobby they loved. Healthy hobby, not like the old geezer we lived next to as a kid who loved to shoot squirrels, cats, etc. "just because".

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  So I'm pretty confident most any reasonably intelligent healthy adult woman can learn to knit if she wants to do it.

 

Needle knitting is beyond my woeful fine motor skills. But loom knitting I can handle and did for a while as a hobby until my SN child decided she liked playing with my yarn as a hobby :tongue_smilie:

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It's a frugality ethic, not a value judgment on education.

I get the frugality angle, but most of the sentiment I perceived was more of a "why bother?".

 

Interestingly, the people who really thought the degree was worth my time were my grandparents who really were actually poor when my dad was growing up. They were the ones who were/are most proud of having grandkids with college degrees because they feel like it means something about their own legacy or hard work. I think they also feel as though it's a worthwhile expense as a safety net for me.

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To each her own. I, personally, *HATE* the term "housewife" and much prefer the term SAHM. I'm not home to be a maid but a mother. Anybody can do menial housecleaning tasks like scrubbing toilets but not everyone can do a good job raising a child.

 

I don't care if other women choose to prioritize housework over being a mom and/or holding paid employment. Knock yourself out maintaining a Martha Stewart-worthy home. Just don't expect me to embrace the "housewife" label for myself.

 

So, if you are at home to be a mother, obviously bathrooms need scrubbing, and not everyone can afford to have others clean up after them. Anyone can be a house"keeper" but not everyone can be a house"wife. What is a house wife anyways? A woman without children, or whose children are grown?  

 

Besides with technology, women are able to work in new ways, and earn a wage from home. What I find interesting though is that I notice people saying things like "so what does your husband do" and women will do the exchange, but not often do they ask each other "so what do you do".

 

I know many women who work from home but are the primary caretakers of their kids, or they work split schedules as gym instructors, nurses, daycare providers, virtual assistants, writers, photographers, ect. When out in public with the kids though, you would never know. 

Edited by angelica
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I am going to encourage my boys, should the eventually want children (my oldest says he wants children already, my youngest is enjoying being a baby himself), to set themselves up to be the sole breadwinner of the family. I believe that is what my husband did. When I met him, he was looking for someone that would either homeschool or put children in private school, and was prepared to be a sole breadwinner. I want that for my children and more importantly my grandchildren.

I can't say that I see the gender of a SAHP as all that important. Lots of different arrangements work for different families.

 

If SAHMs hear negativity, believe me it's nothing compared to SAHDs. I've heard so much derision for them from all sorts of different people, even from people I otherwise like a respect. It's sad.

 

Regardless, I just want my children and their possible future spouses to be happy with whatever they decide floats their boat.

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I don't think I am the best person to answer this question.  I enjoy working.  I stayed home because of a special needs child.  I didn't like it and still don't.

 

I am finally looking to go back to work after 11 years at home.

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My mother never had any. She didn't sew, can or anything house wifey either. She didn't volunteer. She worked waitressing until her feet bled into her high heels, came home and asked dad if she could keep $20 for her cigarettes, drank her instant coffee and otherwise slept and went back to work. Yes, I suspect she suffered severe depression too.

 

My dad did but he was always making money off them. He never did anything that wouldn't make money. He went to work at 4 am and got off home at 4 and mom made him dinner before he either watched Dallas or went out to do his side jobs. He still has that attitude.

 

He is always saying that if we do anything for our kids it's a waste of money because they aren't ever going to profit us from it. He is always asking if they are "any good" at whatever we are paying for them to do. And they will never be "any good" in his eyes unless they make money off it.

 

So ice skating is a waste unless they are going to the Olympics.

 

Art is a waste unless she is selling her finished pieces.

 

Chess was a waste.

 

Knitting is a waste.

 

Dh's beer brewing is a waste.

 

Poetry is a waste.

 

Gardening is a waste unless they make enough to sell or get hired to do other people's landscaping.

 

Church is a waste, it's just a bunch of people thinking their tithe is going to get them to heaven. (His words.)

 

Basicly our entire lives are a waste I guess.

 

The best thing to do with this is the same thing I do with my incredibly racist in-laws.  I hold my tongue about it in their presence (after decades of trying to get them to see things differently) and I remind myself that at least the cycle ends with their generation (in that family).  From hubby and his brother on, life is different.

 

Some things need to end.  We celebrate when they do.

 

I still despise hearing it all from them, so reminders that it's ending with them need to come to mind every single visit.

 

How would you feel if one of your sons opted to be a stay at home dad after his wife set herself up to be the sole breadwinner of the family? How would you feel if one of your sons figured out how to work around his wife's schedule so one of them could be home with the children at all times?

 

 

Once I started working, 90% of our "need to work around" schedule was taken care of by hubby, not me.  He still earns far, far more than I do, but once I commit to teaching at school for certain days, his schedule was far more flexible when things came up.  If he had "must go to" meetings, then I wouldn't work that day, but those were rare.

 

When our youngest was still in elementary school and on a different schedule than the other two, there were times when hubby would take him to school late with a picture of a newborn foal as his "excuse."  Fortunately, the admin and staff at our school oohed and aahed over the pics, so it was never a problem.   :coolgleamA:   Foals are unpredictable and tend to come in the early morning hours.  I couldn't cancel late - well, I could, but I never did.  He could adjust his schedule easily.

 

 

Mmm-hmmm. I have heard this about gardening and canning vegetables. "Is it worth it? I mean, how much does a can of tomatoes cost?" I have said, "I know it seems that way, but it's not just a matter of nickles and dimes. I have other reasons."

 

My mom feels this way.  This past Christmas we brought out some of our frozen garden peas to have with our dinner.  She openly remarked at how GOOD they tasted!

 

Saving money isn't everything - though for us, it is FAR less expensive to grow most things in our garden than to buy from a grocery store.  That only changes in a bad year weather-wise.  I can't count the quarts of frozen tomatoes we have in our freezer, but there are many (at least, in the fall - not so many now).  Buying the plants cost us $6.  There's a little bit of expense for gas for the rototiller.  The rest is free (we have well water and pony/chicken fertilizer, so no cost for those).

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We have had a rough time with bad squirrels for the last 2-3 years (enough that we are considering taking a break from gardening, though we probably won't).  We joke that we enjoy tomatoes that are worth $75 each.  My dh and his father used to go on these duck hunts and come home and feast on birds that were worth about $500 each.  My jam is tasty and fantastic, but probably pricier than Smucker's.

 

And yet...We keep gardening.  We keep hunting.  We keep canning. Something about it stirs the soul. 

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When I have heard talk about women wasting degrees, it isn't typically about thir individual waste.  As I said, it tends to be social trend commentary, and it seem more the idea that "smart women" are being wasted when they could be doing something more important for society, and particularly "for women."  There is a bit of a sense that, while of course women should be supported in their individual desires, they are letting down feminism somehow. 

 

There is, I think, underlying this some rather classest feelings that the people involved would probably be rather uncomfortable with.  But I think it is more an argument about power than return on investment.

 

I agree that dads can be great stay at home parents, but I don't think childbearing and childcare affect both sexes equally - no matter how you slice it women have a unique biolgical role that has practical consequences, and I think also there are hormonal differences that affect choices and behaviors on a population level.  When most the most intense childcare issues for us are around younger kids, I don't think it is unlikely that it will more often fall to mothers.

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With gardening, knitting, and so on - it's not just the cost factor.  It's the self-sufficiency aspect.  My garden has costs associated, but many could be reduced if necessary, and I could provide food even with very little cash-flow for our family.  They didn't encourage Victory Gardens in the war because it was a cheap way to grow veg, but because it was the best way to ensure variety for everyone across the country when food availability was restricted.

 

With the lack of availability and high costs of some veg and fruit over the last while, home gardening may look like a very viable way to grow some things, even economically.

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Oh sure my knitting is a luxury. I freely admit that. If it ever came down to food or knitting, I'd sadly have to say goodbye to my knitting.

 

But the majority who ask me these things are people who can easily afford it and usually have far more income than I do.

 

Most of my knitting expenses come from my dh to be honest.

 

I would not have any stash if it wasn't for him enabling.

 

We go into a store and I think, "I need one skein of blue DK weight yarn for this project I want to do." I go in and I get it. And I turn around to head to the register and dh is standing there with a cart full of yarn that he is sure I can use and like. God help me if he also saw a clearance sign or there's some kind of sale. No matter how much I tell him no sale is cheaper than not buying it. And yeah sure I like it, but dang man show some restraint. I don't need all that. And then we dicker for a few minutes and we end up getting about 1/4 of what he had in the cart and me forgetting to put the one skein I needed in it and not noticing until I get home, but darned if I'm taking him with me to go back for it. 🙄

 

I totally hear you about not wanting to spend unnecessarily, but your DH is awfully sweet. He probably enjoys seeing you enjoy your hobby.

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I'm not sure if my contribution to this thread is worthwhile or not, but, hey, I've a couple of minutes to kill. I am a WOH mother and dh is a SAHD & primary teacher for the kids. When we married and started having kids both of us worked FT. We used in-home daycare for the first nine years. We joked that we paid two mortgages.

 

Shortly after my fourth dc was born we sat down and had a long talk about economics, family goals, etc. After hashing out all the variables (and polishing off a bottle of wine or two) we decided that dh would retire from his job & stay home with the kids. At the time he made more money; but, I had the better total compensation package plus the family was already on my health insurance as it provided better coverage for less cost than his insurance.

 

Honestly, six or seven years later, I think we made the right choice. We've had two more children since then and, of course, finances are tight. What has helped is that we live in a low COL area (property taxes notwithstanding { <ahem> LISD, I'm looking at you!}). What gets me is the guilt, I guess, that I experience when I don't come home from work and start cleaning house, etc. I really shouldn't feel guilty because I work between 70-90 hours per week and am usually exhausted when I am home. But there it is; it's silly, really.

 

I assume everyone does what is best for their family and that simply isn't going to look the same for every family. I've also heard variations on "you must not love your children", "what's wrong with your dh that he's not working", etc. The idiotic things people say don't bother me because, well, they're idiotic.

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I've spoken to familis from time to time whereI wondered why they didn't consider more seriously the idea of having a parent at home full or part time.  But that was based mostly on the things they were saying about how they were not enjoying their lifestyle.  Of course I didn't know their particular financial situations intimatly enough to do more than wonder, but an impression I've had from those people was not typically that they were really unwilling to give up extras like vacations for their kids and their own sanity, but more that they had a hard time imagining what that would be like.

 

I think that is pretty normal for people - it is hard to change to a new kind of lifestyle you have no experience with, it can be hard to even think about whether it would be a good idea because your frame of reference isn't that broad.

 

I think that is one of the effects of one or one and a half income families becomeing less common - people have less of a model of what that might look like. 

 

I have also met people who I did wonder why they had kids.  I have a friend in whose family social circle it was common for kids to be in boarding school and then in camp all summer.  I think there is a strong element of cultural expectation there and I don't think it means those people don't love their kids, but it does seem quite odd to me.

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<snip>

 

I assume everyone does what is best for their family and that simply isn't going to look the same for every family. I've also heard variations on "you must not love your children", "what's wrong with your dh that he's not working", etc. The idiotic things people say don't bother me because, well, they're idiotic.

 

If only everyone could think this way! 

 

(Said by a SAHM who has been called a parasite, living off both my husband and the taxpayer.  Since I homeschool and get zero personal benefit from our public schools, yet pay high property taxes, I don't think the taxpayers have a claim on me.  So far, my husband has not complained.)

 

:lol:

 

BTW glad you found what works for your family!

 

 

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If only everyone could think this way!

 

(Said by a SAHM who has been called a parasite, living off both my husband and the taxpayer. Since I homeschool and get zero personal benefit from our public schools, yet pay high property taxes, I don't think the taxpayers have a claim on me. So far, my husband has not complained.)

 

:lol:

 

BTW glad you found what works for your family!

Oh, ugh!!! Really, what is wrong with people? (That's rhetorical, by the way. A goodly portion of my pay packets come from people who don't think before they talk/act.)

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If only everyone could think this way!

 

(Said by a SAHM who has been called a parasite, living off both my husband and the taxpayer. Since I homeschool and get zero personal benefit from our public schools, yet pay high property taxes, I don't think the taxpayers have a claim on me. So far, my husband has not complained.)

 

:lol:

 

BTW glad you found what works for your family!

People are stupid. Or clueless. Or both.

 

Yep, I am a parasite, living off my husband. Since I buy the groceries with the paycheck he brings home, I think it's more lik he's living off of me.

 

And we won't even talk about property taxes. I bought an old house, partly because the taxes were lower than for a newer house. Then a few years ago, they decided that that wasn't fair, so they redid all of the property taxes. They still collected the same amount of money but they made it more even, so that families with newer homes had their taxes go down, while people like me had theirs go up. I don't mind for a second the county and township taxes, and it seemed like a fair thing to make them more even. But my school taxes went up a lot, for a district whose test scores are not that all spectacular. It ranks in the middle of the state rankings, which at least isn't the bottom, but everything time I pay my mortgage, I think, "You know what I could do for MY kids educationally with that money??" I support at least a portion of per pupil expenditure being allowed to be used for school choice, including homeschoolers. Since we have yearly evaluations, it'd be harder for that money to be wasted. They'll happily pay that money if I want to send my children to the charter school, including a bus, but they can't give me a fifth of it back to buy music lessons or computers or to fund my SWB stash?? It's very frustrating.

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Where I live, typically the only women who are SAHMs are either homeschooling or have preschoolers. There's almost a taboo about being any other kind of SAHer. It's viewed as unfair to the spouse as he would have to carry the financial burden single handedly and decrease his lifestyle.  But the homeschool group is growing exponentially and these women are influencing others to re-think the double income lifestyle and replace it with something simpler whether or not they homeschool so I'm hopeful change is coming. I know that I was a very lonely SAHM for a while there - it seemed nobody else I knew was doing it. Would love to see an upsurge in it again. My kids are all in school now and I'm still mostly at home, though dh and I have a small business so I fill in here and there, but prefer my life at home - so much to do here.

Edited by Indian summer
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I think whether you have local people telling you education is a waste for SAHM depends on locality.

 

There is a local SAHM with postgrad degrees and her kids in public school from kindergarten who is also a library board trustee and a city council member. There are many SAHMs here with kids in schools who are very active in volunteer work of all kinds. The library chess club is run by a SAHM whose kids attend a private K-8 school.

 

There are also many WAHDs as we are near to Google, Yahoo (which was pro work from home) and Cisco. With WAHDs, WAHMs, SAHDs, SAHMs, people locally tend not to assume anything.

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Where I live, typically the only women who are SAHMs are either homeschooling or have preschoolers. There's almost a taboo about being any other kind of SAHer. It's viewed as unfair to the spouse as he would have to carry the financial burden single handedly and decrease his lifestyle.  But the homeschool group is growing exponentially and these women are influencing others to re-think the double income lifestyle and replace it with something simpler whether or not they homeschool so I'm hopeful change is coming. I know that I was a very lonely SAHM for a while there - it seemed nobody else I knew was doing it. Would love to see an upsurge in it again. My kids are all in school now and I'm still mostly at home, though dh and I have a small business so I fill in here and there, but prefer my life at home - so much to do here.

 

That is interesting to me, that assumption.

 

I am very sensitive to the fact that my husband carries the entire financial burden for our family.  But it's a decision we made together; he accepted it!  And a "decrease" in lifestyle would affect the whole family, not just the husband.  So, that is a very presumptuous view.   (Indian Summer, I know you were not promoting that view, just reporting it, so I'm not disagreeing with you.)

 

That said, I did know a few women who wanted to quit working but their husbands would not allow* it for those reasons.  I am not sure that's the majority of people, though. 

 

*I probably shouldn't say "would not allow" but rather "would not support the wife giving up her income."  Same thing, functionally, but I doubt these men said "I forbid you to work!"  Suppose it's possible though. 

 

Don't people assume that couples make decisions together?

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Don't people assume that couples make decisions together?

Nope. The assumption is not there. For example, my hubby ask my opinion when he wants to change companies but that is rare in my area. Many girlfriends know after their husbands have already started work at a new company.

 

I have a few friends whose husbands do not want them to work, as in heavily discouraged. One of them is because the husband wants his wife to go along on all business trips. All of them have no mortgages though either paid up before marriage or during the first few years.

 

I also have friends who are strongly encouraged to keep working and I don't know why as they didn't say. Different family issues.

 

ETA:

I do know one family has elderly parents (non-pensioners, both maternal and paternal) who needs financial help so she works as well else it is tough to help in four elderly people's medical bills.

Edited by Arcadia
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Nope. The assumption is not there. For example, my hubby ask my opinion when he wants to change companies but that is rare in my area. Many girlfriends know after their husbands have already started work at a new company.

 

I have a few friends whose husbands do not want them to work, as in heavily discouraged. One of them is because the husband wants his wife to go along on all business trips. All of them have no mortgages though either paid up before marriage of during the first few years.

 

I also have friends who are strongly encouraged to keep working and I don't know why as they didn't say. Different family issues.

 

Whoa.  You just blew my mind.  I can't imagine my husband not telling me he was contemplating a job change and having a discussion about it. 

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To each her own. I, personally, *HATE* the term "housewife" and much prefer the term SAHM. I'm not home to be a maid but a mother. Anybody can do menial housecleaning tasks like scrubbing toilets but not everyone can do a good job raising a child.

 

I don't care if other women choose to prioritize housework over being a mom and/or holding paid employment. Knock yourself out maintaining a Martha Stewart-worthy home. Just don't expect me to embrace the "housewife" label for myself.

 

It's always bothered me too.  I've had numerous occasions when I had to fill out my career (medical, customs/immigrations, etc.).  I usually put "homemaker" because I just don't know what else to put.  But that seems like such an outdated term too.  A few times I've put "teacher."  

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Whoa. You just blew my mind. I can't imagine my husband not telling me he was contemplating a job change and having a discussion about it.

From what I gather from their husbands replies, as long as there is no decrease in pay, it would not matter to the family which tech giants they are working for.

 

It can be embarrassing for their wives though when chatting and the husband pipe in to say they are no longer working there.

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Whoa. You just blew my mind. I can't imagine my husband not telling me he was contemplating a job change and having a discussion about it.

Yeah. Me too. Everytime.

 

But dh and I are told all the time that we are too involved in each other and he or I must be very controlling if we "have" to talk about everything.

 

Uh. Okay. Or we are just a normal married couple?

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It's always bothered me too.  I've had numerous occasions when I had to fill out my career (medical, customs/immigrations, etc.).  I usually put "homemaker" because I just don't know what else to put.  But that seems like such an outdated term too.  A few times I've put "teacher."  

 

The handful of years I stayed home I put "mom" on those forms - even our tax forms.

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I've had numerous occasions when I had to fill out my career (medical, customs/immigrations, etc.).

USCIS accepts not applicable when applying for H4 and green card. I never had to fill out occupation for customs unless applying for a short term work/business visa instead of a tourist visa.

 

For medical forms, I just put a dash for that question. Same goes for school forms.

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Yeah. Me too. Everytime.

 

But dh and I are told all the time that we are too involved in each other and he or I must be very controlling if we "have" to talk about everything.

 

Uh. Okay. Or we are just a normal married couple?

Uh, I think you're more normal. Or maybe we are weird with you.

 

I'd definitely know if DH changed jobs. He works in a very specialized field, so he really can't just pick up and change to a different company easily. The last time he changed jobs. . . I happened to get the mail one day, and it had the monthly journal for his professional organization it, and so I flipped through it because I know a few of the people, and it sometimes has interesting projects that people have done. We weren't necessarily looking to change jobs. But there was a job offer in it from a company up this way, so when he got home, I said, "Hey, you should check this out!" He looked at it, said he vaguely knew of the owner from professional circles, sent off his info, and the rest is history. But who knows when he might have gotten around to reading it himself?

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From what I gather from their husbands replies, as long as there is no decrease in pay, it would not matter to the family which tech giants they are working for.

 

It can be embarrassing for their wives though when chatting and the husband pipe in to say they are no longer working there.

 

So, I get that not everyone does life the same way, and my way isn't the universal right way, but aren't there practical matters that would affect the family?

 

Such as, health insurance. There would likely be a different plan, different cards.  The wife would have to know, unless the husband took care of all medical stuff? 

 

Direct deposit - paycheck coming from a different place?  Different profit-sharing plans, different 401K stuff?   Is that all invisible to the wife? 

 

I could imagine myself seeing, say, a deposit from a different place and questioning it.  I'd be so strange for my husband to say "oh yeah, I quit Intel and am at Cisco now." 

 

Different worlds! 

 

 

 

 

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