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Is SAHM/W no longer a valid life choice?


Moxie
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I am sensitive to the idea (from no particular person in this thread, but it's implied here and there) that women need to justify their jobs as things they don't want but their families need the money.

 

There are a lot of women as well as men who feel much more fulfilled in the workforce than at home, and I think that we should be able to say and own that as a valid way of thinking.

 

Personally I would have felt that way in my 20s.  I would have been an absolutely terrible SAHM then, because I would have felt frantic and useless at home.  Thankfully I did not feel that way when I actually did stay home.  

 

I've often thought that God's timing was very good for me, though it was hard to wait so long to have a child.  

 

But I have never thought that every mother should work outside the home or that every mother should stay home with her children.

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I'm a first generation SAHM as well.  My grandmother on my mother's side had to work.  Her husband left her when my mom was 5 so there was no choice.  

 

My mom stayed home with us for about seven years and absolutely loved it.  She was wonderful.  She sewed our Halloween costumes and took us to the zoo and the library and to different parks.  She baked cookies.  She had hot lunches waiting for us when we came home for lunch from school.  

 

Then my parents split up and my mom decided to go back to school to become a registered nurse.  I remember babysitters and being dropped off at the day-home at 5 in the morning because my mom had training at the hospital.  I remember her being busy with books and studying.  She was still a great mother, she just didn't have the same time as before.  As we got older, depending on her shifts, we'd come home to an empty house.  I still remember a lot of home-cooked dinners.  My mom is a great cook.  I also remember "suffer supper", which meant my sister and I were on our own to open a can of Chunky soup or put a meat pie in the microwave.  

 

I know my mom wishes things had been different.  She wanted to be home.  I think that definitely factored into my decision to stay home with my kids.  And, frankly, it was always comforting to know that my mother would rather have been home than at work.  That if she could have chosen to be there everyday after school she would have.  

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They leave their kids at home all summer to fend for themselves. At least that is what our neighbor upstairs did.

No youth center, teen center for the kids to have fun for free? Ours have paid activities of course but kids can do stuff for free too as there are volunteers and donations to fund free summer stuff.

 

The YMCA also raise funds to provide summer camp scholarships for kids. They managed to raise a generous amount every year. I know a lady who managed to get a summer camp scholarship for her child to attend free. The camp runs 7:30am to 6pm and a few staff would stay with the kids until 6:30pm if needed.

 

Free meals for summer too. I get the list of where to go through email and flyers.

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I just wonder how people pull off having two full time working spouses. How do you even do stuff like doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, summer vacation with daycare rates nearly at $300 a week? I actually wondered HOW I was going to remain working. And I couldn't justify part time because I couldn't earn enough to pay for day care. I have almost no family on top of that. So no calling up grandma when I've got a problem. That obviously gets easier and more affordable when they go to school, but there are still sick days, holidays, vacation days, shelping to appointments, helping with homework, etc. Again, how would I have done all that and remained employed? Obviously some people do it, but how do they remain sane?

 

Sure I would have had more money so I would have had to hire people to do those things I couldn't. And that would have negated a good chunk of the reason I might have considered staying employed (for the money). Certainly it would not have been for the love of the job because I hated the job.

This is a separate thread. We split the time, though. We work late on days when there are appointments. Kids go to camp on break, we coordinate family vacations. We don't watch TV. We also earn enough to pay for some child care and activities. We are just very active people. I also volunteer and we do sports!

 

Nobody in our family has a chronic illness or disability, either, knock on wood. So the whole care element is out. If we had one SN child our lives would be different. Part of this is just six extraverts under one roof.

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I would be interested in a possible spinoff from this. I wonder how many of us are first or second generation SAHMs or working outside the home Moms.

 

There are shades of grey between "SAHM" and "WOHM" - many women are each for different seasons of their lives.

 

My mom worked when I was little. She was an opera singer at a theatre in a different city. My grandma lived with us and took care of me and then my younger sister.

When I was 7, my brother was born. He is mentally disabled, and my mom retired from the stage and stayed home for a number of years.

When we were older, mom started working a few hours as a voice coach for a choir. Then she began teaching part-time at the conservatory, then full time; at some point, she became dean.

My grandmother lived with us all those years. That must have been a huge help for my parents.

 

I stayed home when my kids were little. After four years, I started teaching part-time. As they grew older, I increased my hours. When DD went to college, I became full time.

 

Seasons.

 

ETA: When I was growing up, over 90% of mothers worked.

Edited by regentrude
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 I came home to an empty apartment and watched TV for hours. Dinner was often non-existent. I often went many days without so much as exchanging a few words with my mom. 

Growing up (I am 58) the kids I knew who had mothers who WOTH mostly lived like this--in most cases the mother worked because the father was gone, and the kids came home to watch TV and eat junk food.  The moms were exhausted when they got home, and there wasn't any interaction to speak of in the households.

 

But  the mothers that were home, although they made happier, cozier homes for their kids, generally complained about being stuck and about doing repetitive, boring stuff over and over, never being finished but also never feeling like they did anything important.  Secretaries sounded exactly the same.

 

I grew up thinking that being a SAHM or a secretary would be horrible.  I picked my major mostly to avoid being bored.  It was a genuine and complete surprise to me that I liked being home and did not get depressed from it.  So there you have it.  You just never know.

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As far as free or low cost activities, free meals and enriching things for kids, those are great if you have a parent who cares enough to sign the child up. I would have benefited from some of those things but I didn't know how to sign myself up as a kid and no adult in my life cared enough to help. I guess working or not, financially struggling or not, a parent who actually cares and parents makes a big difference. 

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I am sensitive to the idea (from no particular person in this thread, but it's implied here and there) that women need to justify their jobs as things they don't want but their families need the money.

 

I went back to school to train for a new profession not because we need the money (although it will allow us to help pay a higher amount towards our kids' college) but because I feel it is what God is calling me to do with my life. As a Christian, I believe that I have a moral obligation to try to make this world a better place.

 

I could continue to volunteer but I have discovered there is a real need for speech & language pathologists with specialized training & expertise in working with the deaf & hard-of-hearing. There are only 800 certified auditory-verbal therapists in the entire U.S. and I'm having to drive 1 hour into the city and 1.5 to 2 hours out every single week because that's the closest clinic that offers AVT.

 

I don't know if I will have a FT or PT caseload after I (fingers crossed) finish grad school and get my SLP certification. Ideally I would like to work PT but some of the grad school scholarships require 2 years' worth of FT employment for every year of the scholarship.

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I would be interested in a possible spinoff from this. I wonder how many of us are first or second generation SAHMs or working outside the home Moms.

I would be the first gen SAHM if we don't count close cousins and my cousins' daughters who are my age. However I do intend to go back to work either WAHM or WOHM as my kids are very independent which means I am very bored. I could of course do volunteer work to pass my time instead of income generating work.

 

However I do come from generations of females who work because they want to and their spouses' income are more than adequate for food and shelter. I also come from generations of afterschoolers and my kids classes are mostly outsourced even though we are technically homeschooling.

 

My mom worked on and off because she enjoys working. Her entire income went to paying down the mortage which means they pay off the mortgage while I was under 5. Then her income went to fund our college expenses, retirement expenses and fun money. My dad's income was enough to fund extracurriculars costs and annual vacations and he is on a pension scheme.

 

My maternal grandma let out rooms because why leave rooms empty when she can be a landlord. The rent went into financing a bigger home so she own two homes mortgage free by the time my mom finished her diploma. So maybe she counts as a SAHM that collects rents.

 

My paternal grandma helped in the family business and it is a shophouse so the family residence is just above the shop. So my dad and his siblings come home from school and just head upstairs to eat and get homework done, then come downstairs to help out. So grandma would be a WOHM or WAHM depending on where the line is drawn but she isn't paid for helping out which means she could be classified as a SAHM.

Edited by Arcadia
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My mom worked full time my whole life.  Her mom was the very stereotypical farmer's wife - always working, cooking, canning, raising 6 kids, helping on the farm, so SAH, but WAH too - just not for outside pay.  But then again, my grandfather being a farmer WAH too!

 

My dad's mom started working at nine years of age - washing dishes at a restaurant.  She kept working until she died really.  She was a hairdresser throughout my dad's young life, a shoe factory worker before he was born, and a thrift shop manager in her "retirement" years.

 

I have oodles of working genes coming at me from both sides.  It's no surprise I want to be active, but just in my own special way I suppose.  What I do certainly isn't for the money.  I make about a tenth of what hubby does...

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I'm a ?-generation W_HM.

 

My mom was a happily employed mom in the days when that was unusual.  My parents were together, but my dad was dyslexic and his earning power was limited, so my mom worked to help pay for school tuition mainly.  Plus, it was more fun than washing baseboards.  :p

 

I have only good memories of how my mom's career affected me.  From age 1-6, my folks were in business together, with my mom running the books and phones side of it.  Some of this was done at home, some at their "shop."  From age 5-6 I walked to school and then walked to my parents' shop which was less than a block from home.  My mom also attended community college courses at night, and I remember happily greeting her at the door in the evening.  :)  When I was 6, my parents closed the business and got regular jobs.  My sibs and I became "latchkey kids" when our ages ranged from 5-11.  We enjoyed the freedom and responsibility.  I wouldn't recommend all the activities we engaged in, but let's face it, the kids of SAHPs weren't angels either.  :p  We had babysitters in the summer at first, but began to look after ourselves when I was about 8.  The city had good programs at the playground where adults taught sports, games, and crafts all day.  You didn't have to sign up, you simply showed up.  We could also go to the public pools, the zoo, the library, community gardens, VBS, etc., so our summers were great.  My mom taught us how to cook, so we were never stuck with gross, unhealthy food.  When my mom had a 5th child, she first hired a SAHM and then my granny to take care of him until he entered a church daycare/preschool at 2 (had to be potty-trained first).  Years later when my sister was born, my mom was off work to care for my oldest brother who'd broken his femur, and then we moved.  She went back to work when my sister was about 1 and she hired a family friend to clean and take care of the baby while I was in high school.  I took over care of the kids when they were 3 & 7 as I finished high school and could schedule my college courses in the evenings.

 

So, my mom was generally in good moods when she worked, had lots to talk about, made sure we ate well, cared for our education.  We ate together and enjoyed quiet evenings together.  I for my part enjoyed both the autonomy of a free-range childhood and the opportunity to play nanny/tutor to my younger siblings.  When my mom was home all day, she was not the type to sit comfortably and enjoy; she would want to train us to be better at cleaning etc., and it felt naggy.  I preferred her working.

 

I find it interesting in retrospect that I followed my mom's footsteps in being a business owner and WAHM.  Unlike my mom, though, I have continued that and expect to continue it until I retire.  I love working at home most of the time.  As far as my kids, I think they benefit from having me home, able to come get them if they puke at school, ready to check in with them when they arrive home, able to keep the house mostly liveable by doing light cleaning on my work breaks.  I think they enjoy hearing and seeing a bit of my work day, and being able to go play outside in the neighborhood before the sun goes down.  Evenings are pretty much what they would be regardless of whether I was a WOHM or SAHM or whatever.  I finish my day's work after tucking the girls into bed.

 

I hear some of the comments about a single WOHM and not connecting with the kids because of prioritizing boyfriends.  That wasn't an issue for my mom and it isn't for me.  When I'm not working, it's all about my kids.  So maybe that is a reason why I think it works for us where it didn't work so well for some others.

Edited by SKL
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Growing up (I am 58) the kids I knew who had mothers who WOTH mostly lived like this--in most cases the mother worked because the father was gone, and the kids came home to watch TV and eat junk food.  The moms were exhausted when they got home, and there wasn't any interaction to speak of in the households.

 

But  the mothers that were home, although they made happier, cozier homes for their kids, generally complained about being stuck and about doing repetitive, boring stuff over and over, never being finished but also never feeling like they did anything important.  Secretaries sounded exactly the same.

 

I grew up thinking that being a SAHM or a secretary would be horrible.  I picked my major mostly to avoid being bored.  It was a genuine and complete surprise to me that I liked being home and did not get depressed from it.  So there you have it.  You just never know.

 

My mother (who would be turning 100 next month!) was a homemaker after we 3 kids were born.  Well, she had a brief stint as the milk lady at my elementary school at some point.  :-)  I am turning 60 soon. So she was an "older mom" as I am.

 

She never gave me any sort of guidance or indication if she thought I should be a "career girl" (as she would have said) or a homemaker. But entering college in 1974, the messages were all that being a homemaker was oppression and horrible and letting down the sisterhood.  Well, I had no opportunities to test that, and worked till I finally had a child at age 41 (after marrying at 39, which was a second marriage).  It took me by surprise, as I'd spent the 12 years between my divorce and meeting my 2nd husband preparing myself for life as a single working person.

 

I loved being at home.  I loved being with my kids.  But I also had a large circle of friends with kids the same ages, and the ability to go out and do stuff - membership to the science museum, park days, inexpensive swim lessons and public pools, stuff like that.  I was never bored and never felt that I was letting anyone down.  My husband had a demanding career in high tech and he appreciated my being able to take care of everything at home.  There have been times when one of our kids had to have a lot of medical appointments and if I'd been working, even part time, it would have been very hard if not impossible.  My husband has never thought my contribution was less than his. Truth be told, though he loves his kids, he would be a terrible SAHP.  I turned out to be pretty good at it despite my late start.

 

Agreeing wholeheartedly that you never know.

 

(Just as an aside: people tend to think of kids' medical appointments as happening once a year (if that), and dentist appointments twice a year; throw in a few more with orthodontia and maybe there's an ER visit here and there.   But there are a lot of people who go to the doctor far more often than is typical, and not always able to go during off or after-work hours.) 

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Haven't read the thread yet.

 

Right there withya. I assumed I would be a stay-at-home wife/mom. I thought I would have more kids than I did, and I assumed that when the kids were grown I would fill my days with awesome volunteering. Stuff like helping at a crisis center and running the children's Sunday School program.

 

The reality is that higher education just costs too much. I must work, because I do not want my kids to start adulthood with crushing school debt. Makes me kinda sad, but I enjoy my work as a writing instructor, so it's all good. I will volunteer a little less for now, and then kick it up for my awesome retirement. 

 

This seems to be the reality for more and more women. 

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Regardless of working status, I don't know any females in my extended family who prefer to stay home. Even the SAHMs are out and about. Probably why all of us end up staying in densely populated areas with good public transport and good walkability by choice.

 

So SAHM would be kind of inaccurate. We are more like seldom at home moms.

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No youth center, teen center for the kids to have fun for free? Ours have paid activities of course but kids can do stuff for free too as there are volunteers and donations to fund free summer stuff.

 

The YMCA also raise funds to provide summer camp scholarships for kids. They managed to raise a generous amount every year. I know a lady who managed to get a summer camp scholarship for her child to attend free. The camp runs 7:30am to 6pm and a few staff would stay with the kids until 6:30pm if needed.

 

Free meals for summer too. I get the list of where to go through email and flyers.

 

Not where I lived growing up, no.  No public transport either.  There were some low cost options she may have been able to manage, but there was no way for her kids to get to those things.

 

Where I live now, there are more options and there is some public transportation. 

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No youth center, teen center for the kids to have fun for free? Ours have paid activities of course but kids can do stuff for free too as there are volunteers and donations to fund free summer stuff.

 

The YMCA also raise funds to provide summer camp scholarships for kids. They managed to raise a generous amount every year. I know a lady who managed to get a summer camp scholarship for her child to attend free. The camp runs 7:30am to 6pm and a few staff would stay with the kids until 6:30pm if needed.

 

Free meals for summer too. I get the list of where to go through email and flyers.

 

Something I have noticed with the Y here - scholarships and reduced membership rates are not helpful for a large segment of the population who could really benefit from them.

 

For example, I know quite a few people whose income is just over the line for getting reduced membership or scholarships.  But their house payments and other expenses are such that they still can't afford to pay the fee.  I'm not talking about lavish houses and lifestyles, but people whose expenses are high because of the cost of living in the area.  It's as if the scholarships don't line up with the cost of living.   I'm probably not explaining that well.  In any case, some of those programs are still out of reach for people who have low-income lives but not low-enough-income paychecks, if that makes sense.

 

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I am sensitive to the idea (from no particular person in this thread, but it's implied here and there) that women need to justify their jobs as things they don't want but their families need the money.

 

There are a lot of women as well as men who feel much more fulfilled in the workforce than at home, and I think that we should be able to say and own that as a valid way of thinking.

 

Personally I would have felt that way in my 20s.  I would have been an absolutely terrible SAHM then, because I would have felt frantic and useless at home.  Thankfully I did not feel that way when I actually did stay home.  

 

I've often thought that God's timing was very good for me, though it was hard to wait so long to have a child.  

 

But I have never thought that every mother should work outside the home or that every mother should stay home with her children.

 

I also feel as if some are saying I can never have enough money. 

 

Definitely I never imagined staying home.  In my 20s I swore up and down I'd never do it.  Then I was nearly 30 and it felt like a good idea compared with the alternative of living my life barely managing to hold things together doing a job I hated anyway.  

 

What I'll end up doing in the future, who knows. 

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Something I have noticed with the Y here - scholarships and reduced membership rates are not helpful for a large segment of the population who could really benefit from them.

 

For example, I know quite a few people whose income is just over the line for getting reduced membership or scholarships.  But their house payments and other expenses are such that they still can't afford to pay the fee.  I'm not talking about lavish houses and lifestyles, but people whose expenses are high because of the cost of living in the area.  It's as if the scholarships don't line up with the cost of living.   I'm probably not explaining that well.  In any case, some of those programs are still out of reach for people who have low-income lives but not low-enough-income paychecks, if that makes sense.

 

 

Yeah our Y is very expensive.  For infants it is $290 a week.  For ages 3-4 it is $270 a week.  That is no small chunk of change. 

 

That's for daycare.

 

 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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In any case, some of those programs are still out of reach for people who have low-income lives but not low-enough-income paychecks, if that makes sense.

 

Cost of housing is an issue in high housing cost areas. I know scholarship priority does go to families in section 8 housing. When we look at rentals ten years ago, $56k annual income qualifies a family of four as low income for subsidised rent.

 

For reduced fees, I know families who have applied based on high medical bills even if the family income are higher than the unofficial cutoff. It is a case by case basis.

 

Even the free Head Start program can't help everyone who might need it based on how needy a location's population is relative to vacancies available.

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I don't think the idea is that all did things like canning. More that a homemaker really could save money that way. Good hem along skills were a very viable way to contribute to the financial well-being of the family

 

That is not totally untrue now but is more limited.

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I don't think the idea is that all did things like canning. More that a homemaker really could save money that way. Good hem along skills were a very viable way to contribute to the financial well-being of the family

 

That is not totally untrue now but is more limited.

 

I don't know.  I've gotten pretty creative in this department.  For example, I periodically check all insurance rates to make sure I'm getting the best deal.  I do the taxes (saving money on fees).  I've "found" money in interesting places.  Anything from being charged for services not actually rendered because I bothered to comb through bills in detail to buying large pieces of meat to grind it myself at home (ground pork costs about $4.99 a pound, I can buy whole boneless loin for under $1.50 a pound and have bought it for as little as 99 cents a pound).

 

I wouldn't do ANY of that if I worked full time.  I wouldn't have time or the energy. My husband doesn't do any of that.  He never looks at bills, insurance rates, and he doesn't food shop.  He has no clue what any of that stuff even costs.  That has freed him up to take on some extra money here or there on various odd freelance jobs.  Which he prefers over food shopping or combing through the details of bills and insurance policies.  I actually enjoy food shopping most of the time.

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But  the mothers that were home, although they made happier, cozier homes for their kids, generally complained about being stuck and about doing repetitive, boring stuff over and over, never being finished but also never feeling like they did anything important.  Secretaries sounded exactly the same.

I'm just riffing off of this idea, not directing this at you, Carol.

 

I have always wanted to be home with my kids, so I know not about this struggle personally, but I have a couple good friends in this spot:

 

I know women who are staying at home with their kids when they would really, really rather be in a c-level job or something like that (and they could do it, too!), but they just don't believe it's best for the family.  So they stay home.  And, in that capacity, they work towards contentment.  Is it a struggle for them?  Yes.  But they believe the struggle toward being content is part of growing as a person, even if that means that, yeah, they are in a position or vocation they do not prefer.

 

And before anyone gets started on martyrdom, it's not that at all.

 

Honestly, I think this struggle for "self-fulfillment" or whatever we want to call it is a very first-world, middle/upper-middle-class thing.  Oh, you don't get fulfillment cleaning toilets?  Well, who does?  But damn near everyone I know appreciates a clean toilet and certainly doesn't want a filthy one in their house or at their office.  So, do we think the cleaning people we pay to clean toilets are somehow getting their life fulfillment from cleaning other people's toilets?  Or that the moms who prefer to SAH are actually thinking about fulfilling themselves by scrubbing a toilet or doing laundry or dusting?  That's sort of insulting.  Oh, I could never stay at home because I feel depressed doing all this housework.  First of all, housework and domestic tasks making people depressed is just...decadence, I think.  We have robots that do most of the hard labor.  Most housework results from us having so much nice stuff to care for anyway.  Secondly, if you're basing staying at home with your kids on the fact that housework is drudgery, I think that is a misplaced position to decide from.

 

But certainly I don't think people should stay home and complain about it and work themselves into a funk because the are wiping butts instead of handling corporate mergers or adjudicating tough cases or seeing patients.  The little butts don't deserve that kind of attitude.  I also, generally, feel that it's better for the little butts to have a full-time caregiver that loves them instead of someone who is paid to manage them (not necessarily mom).  And, yeah, that's a judgement I've made.

 

ETA: I should say that I did feel much more personally fulfilled when someone in the higher up of the food chain gave me an 'atta boy for a project than I ever did trying to get my 1st grader to just do the next problem already.  So that's not something I'm debating.

Edited by JodiSue
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Honestly, I think this struggle for "self-fulfillment" or whatever we want to call it is a very first-world, middle/upper-middle-class thing.  Oh, you don't get fulfillment cleaning toilets?  Well, who does?  But damn near everyone I know appreciates a clean toilet and certainly doesn't want a filthy one in their house or at their office.  So, do we think the cleaning people we pay to clean toilets are somehow getting their life fulfillment from cleaning other people's toilets?  Or that the moms who prefer to SAH are actually thinking about fulfilling themselves by scrubbing a toilet or doing laundry or dusting?  That's sort of insulting.  Oh, I could never stay at home because I feel depressed doing all this housework.  First of all, housework and domestic tasks making people depressed is just...decadence, I think.  We have robots that do most of the hard labor.  Most housework results from us having so much nice stuff to care for anyway.  Secondly, if you're basing staying at home with your kids on the fact that housework is drudgery, I think that is a misplaced position to decide from.

 

But certainly I don't think people should stay home and complain about it and work themselves into a funk because the are wiping butts instead of handling corporate mergers or adjudicating tough cases or seeing patients.  The little butts don't deserve that kind of attitude.  I also, generally, feel that it's better for the little butts to have a full-time caregiver that loves them instead of someone who is paid to manage them.  And, yeah, that's a judgement I've made.

 

I have never heard anybody say the bolded. I don't know anybody who works outside the home in order to avoid taking care of domestic tasks.

I know, however, that staying home can lead to depression. Not because of housework - the same housework is still there when the mother comes home from work - but because of isolation and loneliness. There is nothing decadent about that.

 

I believe the struggle for fulfillment is at the core of human existence. Without it, humanity would not have great achievements in art, music, science - those are the fruit of people not being content in just existing, but searching for more meaning and striving to make a contribution beyond their immediate family. I can see nothing decadent about this yearning, either.

Some women feel this deep sense of fulfillment from having large families and caring for them at home. Or in homeschooling. I would not presume to belittle their choice and tell them that they are wrong in drawing fulfillment from it.

 

Edited by regentrude
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I have not read the 200 something responses but just wanted to say that it's easier when I view life in stages. The homeschooling years were a stage of my life during which I sought to provide the best possible education to my child. I knew it would end and I knew a new phase would begin. During those years, I was a SAHM. Now I am back at full time work, getting another degree. I am no longer a SAHM, I now pursue different goals. It's all possible - just not at the same time. I have absolutely no regrets - sometimes wish I could go back to more relaxed days, but am mostly happy where I am now, and also happy that we provided a good education for ds on which he can build.

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(Just as an aside: people tend to think of kids' medical appointments as happening once a year (if that), and dentist appointments twice a year; throw in a few more with orthodontia and maybe there's an ER visit here and there. But there are a lot of people who go to the doctor far more often than is typical, and not always able to go during off or after-work hours.)

Even if they do go just the suggested amounts, that adds up quickly for several children! Just for my family, that's ten dental visits, four eye doctor visits (youngest doesn't need eye doctor yet), and five regular doctor visits. Nineteen appointments. Plus anything extra, plus my own appointments. Even if I schedule multiple children at once, there's only so much of that I can do because most places will only book two or three from the same family at the same time. And my DD14 doesn't want to go to the doctor with the boys around, which I totally understand. So that's three visits to the regular doctor, three eye doctor visits (because I'll schedule myself with one of the boys), and four dental visits (the big two go together, and the little three go together). It's bad enough to kill a half day of school for those appointments (because we live far from stuff), but if I had to arrange time off from work, that'd be a huge hassle. Not to mention making time to call for appointments during business hours. My hat is definitely off to families with two fulltime working parents!

 

I always say I need a wife take care of all the little details for me.

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I believe the struggle for fulfillment is at the core of human existence. Without it, humanity would not have great achievements in art, music, science - those are the fruit of people not being content in just existing, but searching for more meaning and striving to make a contribution beyond their immediate family. I can see nothing decadent about this yearning, either.

 

 

I think that can come in many forms.  Admittedly I'm pretty selfish these days (other than taking care of my family).  But I grew up taking care of my parents.  It was pretty difficult.  I'm burnt.  I also suspect I have some limitations (psychologically) that go largely unnoticed and don't interfere with my functioning because my life is lower key.  Not surprising given the fact a good number of people in my family have some form of mental illness.  And you don't grow up in that kind of environment without walking away a bit less than whole. 

 

You wouldn't know that about me, but it does hurt my feelings that you basically are saying that anyone who can't manage something bigger doesn't have much worth.  I've managed a lot.  But again, most people wouldn't know that or understand that.

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I only know 1 person IRL that stays home with her only child in school. I do know a couple more that don't work but they homeschool. I haven't worked since my first was born but I'm currently looking for a part-time job. At this point I would definitely need to get a job if I sent the kids to school. I think money is probably the main reason it's not as common for moms to stay home after the kids are in school. Single income can be very hard to get by on. 

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I have never heard anybody say the bolded. I don't know anybody who works outside the home in order to avoid taking care of domestic tasks.

I know, however, that staying home can lead to depression. Not because of housework - the same housework is still there when the mother comes home from work - but because of isolation and loneliness. There is nothing decadent about that.

 

I believe the struggle for fulfillment is at the core of human existence. Without it, humanity would not have great achievements in art, music, science - those are the fruit of people not being content in just existing, but searching for more meaning and striving to make a contribution beyond their immediate family. I can see nothing decadent about this yearning, either.

Some women feel this deep sense of fulfillment from having large families and caring for them at home. Or in homeschooling. I would not presume to belittle their choice and tell them that they are wrong in drawing fulfillment from it.

 

 

Ditto.  I've gotten some fulfillment today via a school e-mail from one of my Bio students last semester.  She sent me a quick "Hey, wanted to let you know I passed my Bio Keystone test!  Thank you!"  (paraphrased)  She worked hard for it, and was a pleasure in class.

 

Honestly, my kids don't feel any less loved because their mom chose to work part time.  They don't feel any less loved that their mom doesn't keep a sparkling clean house.  (Their friends don't care either.)  Their "little butts" grew up just fine physically and their minds did the same mentally.  I suspect/hope they'll also have their dad's personality of accepting any decision about working that their wives choose to make.

 

We have a closer knit family than most we know regardless of what their parents do.

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I would be interested in a possible spinoff from this. I wonder how many of us are first or second generation SAHMs or working outside the home Moms.

 

Both of my grandmothers worked as sales clerks in departments stores until they retired. My maternal grandmother started after she got married so she's always worked. I have no clue about my paternal grandmother. And I don't know anything about great-grandparents.

 

My mom worked on and off when I was a kid but only because she wanted something extra like a new piece of furniture. She told me she always wanted to be a housewife and mother. Unfortunately she and my dad got divorced and mom had to go back to work. She worked until she got remarried when she was in her mid-50s.

 

As for me, since I was a teen, all I wanted to do was get married, have kids, and stay home. I didn't really want a career. I went to college when I was 20 and already married but only because my then husband wanted me to. I ended up being a really good student and would be happy to do that for years more. I've worked a little here and there but I don't enjoy it. I am totally content being a homemaker. I like that term.

 

My oldest dd enjoys working but I know she wants to get married and have kids and stay home, at least when they are very young. My younger dd wants a career and doesn't like the idea of having kids. I told her she might change her mind later but whatever she wanted would be just right for her.

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And why is it decadent for a woman to yearn for something fulfilling, and not decadent for a man to do the same?

 

FTR I like cleaning and laundry.  It would be decadent of me to spend a lot of time doing those all week.  :P

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I think that can come in many forms.  Admittedly I'm pretty selfish these days (other than taking care of my family).  But I grew up taking care of my parents.  It was pretty difficult.  I'm burnt.  I also suspect I have some limitations (psychologically) that go largely unnoticed and don't interfere with my functioning because my life is lower key.  Not surprising given the fact a good number of people in my family have some form of mental illness.  And you don't grow up in that kind of environment without walking away a bit less than whole. 

 

You wouldn't know that about me, but it does hurt my feelings that you basically are saying that anyone who can't manage something bigger doesn't have much worth.  I've managed a lot.  But again, most people wouldn't know that or understand that.

 

I didn't get that from her post.  I got your first sentence - that fulfillment can come in many forms.  For some, it's staying home and taking care of their kids/volunteering/etc, yet for others of us it's something different.

 

It's not a judgment saying anyone's kids "deserve better."  It's a "we're all created for our own niche" type of thing.

 

Our world honestly does best when we're all doing what we do best.  Our kids do best when their parents are in their niche - regardless of what that niche might be.

 

Different does not = better or worse.  Different is what makes our world work and is a pro, not a con.

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You wouldn't know that about me, but it does hurt my feelings that you basically are saying that anyone who can't manage something bigger doesn't have much worth.  I've managed a lot.  But again, most people wouldn't know that or understand that.

 

Oh, you completely misunderstood what I said!

I am not saying that "anyone who cannot manage something bigger doesn't have much worth". I was responding to a poster who called the search for self-fulfillment decadent and a modern upper middle class phenomenon. I merely pointed out that humans have always tried to seek out fulfillment, and that this is an innermost human earning: to feel fulfilled in what we do with our lives. Finding fulfillment in caring for a family is equally valid as finding fulfillment in the pursuit of art - but the latter is in no way decadent compared to the former.

you omitted the second half of my post in which I stated:

 

Some women feel this deep sense of fulfillment from having large families and caring for them at home. Or in homeschooling. I would not presume to belittle their choice and tell them that they are wrong in drawing fulfillment from it.
Edited by regentrude
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I grew up in a barely scraping the bottom of middle class family.  My mom always worked somewhere, at least part time, but usually full time.  I'm actually glad for that because she wasn't in good enough mental health to stay home alone with us 24/7.  We lived out in the boonies, and there were no activities to tote us to.  We were latch key kids and probably better off for it.

 

Her mom also worked off and on at a factory, in addition to the tobacco farm the family had.  So even when her mom was officially unemployed, she worked her behind off.  My paternal grandmother was a SAHM, but they were military and moved all over the world.  She was NOT a good housekeeper, but had mad skills with needle and thread.  After grandpa retired from the military, she also raised chickens and sold eggs to help support the family.  

 

Dh on the other hand, came from a family in which almost all the moms stayed home with the kids and helped with the farm.  His mom stayed at home with them and baby-sat for extra money.  They weren't well off by any means, but they made do so she could raise the kids at home.  When the boys were grown, she worked part time for a little while, but has been a SAHW for most of our 23 year marriage.  

Anyway, he had the expectation that I would stay home with the kids.  I struggled with that a bit, and I did work off and on when they were small.  SAHMs were valued in his family, and not seen as less than.  My struggle was personal, and stemmed partially from a lack of help.  I also just really like working.  

For my own girls, we have tried to instill that being a mom is a valuable job, and that SAHM is very much a worthy thing to do.  But we've also balanced that with pursuing your own interests, and developing your own identity beyond just being a mom/wife.  I hope we've done a decent job.  And I hope that I can be around to support them in motherhood, no matter their choices, because it can be a lonely job.  

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I didn't get that from her post.  I got your first sentence - that fulfillment can come in many forms.  For some, it's staying home and taking care of their kids/volunteering/etc, yet for others of us it's something different.

 

It's not a judgment saying anyone's kids "deserve better."  It's a "we're all created for our own niche" type of thing.

 

Our world honestly does best when we're all doing what we do best.  Our kids do best when their parents are in their niche - regardless of what that niche might be.

 

Different does not = better or worse.  Different is what makes our world work and is a pro, not a con.

 

Yeah this topic upsets me every time.  It feels unfair to me to essentially say one's situation works for them so that's proof it will work for me and if it doesn't then something must be wrong with me.

 

Probably all "my" thinking, but geesh cut a little slack for the fact not everyone is the freaking same.

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Yeah this topic upsets me every time.  It feels unfair to me to essentially say one's situation works for them so that's proof it will work for me and if it doesn't then something must be wrong with me.

Probably all "my" thinking, but geesh cut a little slack for the fact not everyone is the freaking same.

 

Nobody is saying this. In fact, many posters have been very careful to point out that being an SAHM is a perfectly valid choice if that is what is best for YOUR family.

Just because people choose different lives does not mean they think you should, too.

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I have never heard anybody say the bolded. I don't know anybody who works outside the home in order to avoid taking care of domestic tasks.

I know, however, that staying home can lead to depression. Not because of housework - the same housework is still there when the mother comes home from work - but because of isolation and loneliness. There is nothing decadent about that.

 

I believe the struggle for fulfillment is at the core of human existence. Without it, humanity would not have great achievements in art, music, science - those are the fruit of people not being content in just existing, but searching for more meaning and striving to make a contribution beyond their immediate family. I can see nothing decadent about this yearning, either.

Some women feel this deep sense of fulfillment from having large families and caring for them at home. Or in homeschooling. I would not presume to belittle their choice and tell them that they are wrong in drawing fulfillment from it.

 

 

To your first sentence, I was responding to the sentiment from this very thread that the person couldn't stay home because of housework.  Now I can't find the post, but it was outright stated at one point.  And it's not the first time I've heard it.  And it is subtly stated in many other ways, "I couldn't do it because I need interaction with people" or "I couldn't do it because I need to be very active" or "I couldn't do it because I need a more stimulating environment".  And again in your post -- the converse of what you're saying is the SAHMs are okay with isolation and loneliness somehow?  Or, if they are not striving for great achievements in art, music, science then they must be "content in just existing"?   I'm not sure.  But it's this subtle condescension that people who do SAH must not be extroverted, must not need stimulation, must not want friends or something, or must just be these people who can "just" be satisfied with their families.

 

As for belittling, it's not about that.  To your last sentence, that may be true.  But it doesn't mean that if someone can't homeschool or have a large familiy or whatever then that means they can't find contentment or fulfillment in other areas.  I mean, imagine if one thought they could only be content doing those things and for whatever reason they didn't find a spouse, weren't able to have kids, weren't able to homeschool. 

 

I think it's much of the same with career and family.  What if someone's family circumstances make it so they can't or shouldn't pursue a career outside the home?  Does that mean they will never find this "fulfillment" you're speaking of because they don't get to do what they think they would like best?  That because they are an extrovert and end up needing to stay at home that they should then not work towards contentment in that role?

 

I'm not saying people are wrong for getting fulfillment from something that they enjoy doing, that's not it at all.  But I do think sometimes people put a higher priority on "personal fulfillment" than, say, what is best for their kids.  And the excuse is that, "I couldn't possibly stay at home with them because I can't find fulfillment there."  I think that's the wrong place to make the judgement from.

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Oh, I could never stay at home because I feel depressed doing all this housework.

 

I have never heard anyone said that in real life.  Most of my extended family gets cabin fever easily.  There are a few guys in my extended family who enjoys staying home when they are not at their desk bound jobs.  My mom could afford cleaning help even when she wasn't working and my dad does most of the housework anyway but it makes her antsy to stay home so she roam with us (me, sibling, close age cousins).  My hubby can score an A for housework if there is grading while I am an F.  My hubby does not want to stay home either so our weekends and his off work days are always spent outside the house. My kids are already looking forward to being out all weekend and started planning what they want to do.

 

Considering the recent homeschooling personality thread, some of us are just not great at staying home regardless of who does the housework and/or who brings in the income.

 

I have never heard anybody say the bolded. I don't know anybody who works outside the home in order to avoid taking care of domestic tasks.

I know, however, that staying home can lead to depression. Not because of housework - the same housework is still there when the mother comes home from work - but because of isolation and loneliness. There is nothing decadent about that.

 

I believe the struggle for fulfillment is at the core of human existence. Without it, humanity would not have great achievements in art, music, science - those are the fruit of people not being content in just existing, but searching for more meaning and striving to make a contribution beyond their immediate family. I can see nothing decadent about this yearning, either.

 

:iagree:

 

When I wasn't working and my kids weren't born yet, I was a full time volunteer. Now that my kids don't need me much, I am looking for something fulfilling on top of volunteer work.

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To your first sentence, I was responding to the sentiment from this very thread that the person couldn't stay home because of housework.  Now I can't find the post, but it was outright stated at one point.  And it's not the first time I've heard it.  And it is subtly stated in many other ways, "I couldn't do it because I need interaction with people" or "I couldn't do it because I need to be very active" or "I couldn't do it because I need a more stimulating environment".  And again in your post -- the converse of what you're saying is the SAHMs are okay with isolation and loneliness somehow?  Or, if they are not striving for great achievements in art, music, science then they must be "content in just existing"?   I'm not sure.  But it's this subtle condescension that people who do SAH must not be extroverted, must not need stimulation, must not want friends or something, or must just be these people who can "just" be satisfied with their families.

 

As for belittling, it's not about that.  To your last sentence, that may be true.  But it doesn't mean that if someone can't homeschool or have a large familiy or whatever then that means they can't find contentment or fulfillment in other areas.  I mean, imagine if one thought they could only be content doing those things and for whatever reason they didn't find a spouse, weren't able to have kids, weren't able to homeschool. 

 

I think it's much of the same with career and family.  What if someone's family circumstances make it so they can't or shouldn't pursue a career outside the home?  Does that mean they will never find this "fulfillment" you're speaking of because they don't get to do what they think they would like best?  That because they are an extrovert and end up needing to stay at home that they should then not work towards contentment in that role?

 

I'm not saying people are wrong for getting fulfillment from something that they enjoy doing, that's not it at all.  But I do think sometimes people put a higher priority on "personal fulfillment" than, say, what is best for their kids.  And the excuse is that, "I couldn't possibly stay at home with them because I can't find fulfillment there."  I think that's the wrong place to make the judgement from.

 

Yes, this might not have been the intention, but this is what I heard. 

 

I actually think I'd potentially be more isolated if I worked.  At least going by what I did prior to staying home.  I sat in a cubical never talking to people for 12 hours a day.  How is this getting out there in the world and not being isolated?  Yuck.  Talk about not fulfilling. 

 

 

 

 

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Ditto.  I've gotten some fulfillment today via a school e-mail from one of my Bio students last semester.  She sent me a quick "Hey, wanted to let you know I passed my Bio Keystone test!  Thank you!"  (paraphrased)  She worked hard for it, and was a pleasure in class.

 

Honestly, my kids don't feel any less loved because their mom chose to work part time.  They don't feel any less loved that their mom doesn't keep a sparkling clean house.  (Their friends don't care either.)  Their "little butts" grew up just fine physically and their minds did the same mentally.  I suspect/hope they'll also have their dad's personality of accepting any decision about working that their wives choose to make.

 

We have a closer knit family than most we know regardless of what their parents do.

 

 

I should hope not.  I don't work out of the home currently  I don't keep a sparkling clean house, either.  I have held part time jobs.  This seems to be an attempt to deliberately miss my point.  My point was exactly that staying at home isn't about cleaning.

 

And this isn't just about a mom or a wife staying home.

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I should hope not.  I don't work out of the home currently  I don't keep a sparkling clean house, either.  I have held part time jobs.  This seems to be an attempt to deliberately miss my point.  My point was exactly that staying at home isn't about cleaning.

 

And this isn't just about a mom or a wife staying home.

 

LMAO...it is definitely not about cleaning.

 

Either that or I'm really flunking out here. 

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Nobody is saying this. In fact, many posters have been very careful to point out that being an SAHM is a perfectly valid choice if that is what is best for YOUR family.

Just because people choose different lives does not mean they think you should, too.

 

I am talking about something different entirely.  I was talking about people who grumble and complain about staying at home (see the post I referenced) or claim they simply can't do it because it's not personally fulfilling.  I acknowledge there are many other factors that go into the decision, but I wasn't talking about those things.

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I actually think I'd potentially be more isolated if I worked.  At least going by what I did prior to staying home.  I sat in a cubical never talking to people for 12 hours a day.  How is this getting out there in the world and not being isolated?  Yuck.  Talk about not fulfilling. 

 

Past experiences shape our choices :)

 

I was rarely in a deskbound job and I choose to work only for MNC's HQs just because I love interaction on work related stuff but hate small talk.  It was nice to be paid to fly internationally, stay at nice hotels, eat out with clients on the company's dime and be a tourist on weekends.  My hubby's job is supposedly desk bound but he gets to fly and he does a lot of talking for his job even though it is mostly tech talk. He also gets to bring us along for his work trips.   

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I haven't even begun to read all this. I have become accustomed to being viewed as dim or somehow repressed or lazy. Not using my degree? Lazy, stupid woman! I had no dream of not working and would go back tomorrow if the carefully orchestrated schedule would bear it. It won't and I won't put them in school or stick the olders with running the house so here I am. If people not approving my choices mattered I wouldn't have married dh, had seven kids, homeschooled or dyed my hair.🤓

Edited by joyofsix
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I am talking about something different entirely.  I was talking about people who grumble and complain about staying at home (see the post I referenced) or claim they simply can't do it because it's not personally fulfilling.  I acknowledge there are many other factors that go into the decision, but I wasn't talking about those things.

 

If it's not personally fulfilling to be a SAHM (as it wasn't for me), then why not change?  I did and it made both my life and my family's life considerably better.

 

As said before, when one is in their niche, the world benefits.  Perhaps I should add the family usually benefits too.

 

It's the same thing for anyone working and not finding fulfillment.  If they can change, do it!  If they think they can't, try looking at it from all angles and perhaps getting others to look at it too - perhaps it can be done somehow.  It's worth trying.

 

None of this is being judgmental.  It's trying to encourage round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes.  Any type of peg can be terrific (or bad) at raising children.

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I am talking about something different entirely.  I was talking about people who grumble and complain about staying at home (see the post I referenced) or claim they simply can't do it because it's not personally fulfilling.  I acknowledge there are many other factors that go into the decision, but I wasn't talking about those things.

 

Well I don't think anyone really "couldn't" do it, but yeah, there are people who believe they would be relatively miserable in that life.

 

Nobody is saying "I don't like it so you shouldn't either."  Where does that thought process even come from?

 

The only mildly judgmental comment I have seen on this thread was the one that said "kids deserve better" than a mom who declines to personally wipe her own child's hiney each and every time.  :P  Which, to each her own.  :P

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 I have become accustomed to being viewed as dim or somehow repressed or lazy. Not using my degree? Lazy, stupid woman!

 

This is the pits and unfortunately is all too common in our society. Too many people judge others' worth by job titles and salaries.

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To your first sentence, I was responding to the sentiment from this very thread that the person couldn't stay home because of housework.  Now I can't find the post, but it was outright stated at one point.  And it's not the first time I've heard it.  And it is subtly stated in many other ways, "I couldn't do it because I need interaction with people" or "I couldn't do it because I need to be very active" or "I couldn't do it because I need a more stimulating environment".  And again in your post -- the converse of what you're saying is the SAHMs are okay with isolation and loneliness somehow?

 

I don't know how other SAHMs feel and did not make an assumption about it. I know that *I* felt lonely and isolated and developed depression because of that. I was missing adult interaction and could not handle being home for many years with my kids. I tried it and got very ill. So, I am saying that some women cannot be SAHMs because they cannot deal with certain aspects of it. Why should that experience be invalid??? Why am I not allowed to say that I needed a more stimulating environment and that being home did not cut it for me?

 

Or, if they are not striving for great achievements in art, music, science then they must be "content in just existing"?   I'm not sure.  But it's this subtle condescension that people who do SAH must not be extroverted, must not need stimulation, must not want friends or something, or must just be these people who can "just" be satisfied with their families.

 

You are putting words into my mouth that I did not say. I specifically said that fulfillment can also come from caring for a family. To me, that is not "just existing" - that is way, way more.

My point was that striving for fulfillment is not a modern decadent phenomenon, but rather a deep human yearning.

 

I also did not assume anything about other SAHMs not being extroverted or not having friends. I don't know where you get this from.

 

 

I think it's much of the same with career and family.  What if someone's family circumstances make it so they can't or shouldn't pursue a career outside the home?  Does that mean they will never find this "fulfillment" you're speaking of because they don't get to do what they think they would like best?  That because they are an extrovert and end up needing to stay at home that they should then not work towards contentment in that role?

I'm not saying people are wrong for getting fulfillment from something that they enjoy doing, that's not it at all.  But I do think sometimes people put a higher priority on "personal fulfillment" than, say, what is best for their kids.  And the excuse is that, "I couldn't possibly stay at home with them because I can't find fulfillment there."  I think that's the wrong place to make the judgement from.

 

My personal opinion: it is best for children to have a mother who is mentally well. A mother who is happy and content and at peace with herself. Whatever that takes is the best choice for this family.

Edited by regentrude
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