clementine / 874 posts
In a romantic sense? Yes. In actuality? No.
I stayed home with my son for 6 months and was pretty darn miserable. I'm sure it would have gotten better after he got out of the super fussy stage but I felt so lonely and my mind goes crazy if I don't have complex tasks to figure out. It's just the way I am wired.
I am a teacher, though, so I love that I can pick up my kid at 3pm and have summer breaks and other vacations. I honestly almost NEVER bring work home with me because I have an hour and a half each day to plan in my schedule. My husband is a teacher, too, so it's pretty awesome. There are times when I go to Target during my lunch break, see mamas with their kids, and get a little sad. Ultimately, this is working for us.
pomegranate / 3674 posts
@mrskansas: No. I would be the worst stay at home parent on the face of the planet. If I am craving some quality time with my son, I will take half a day off and do a morning outing before daycare drop off. Maybe if you have that option (or PTO or similar) you could do it once a month for the summer?
@Coral: I bet the mamas with their kids at Target see YOU ALONE and feel envious!
eggplant / 11981 posts
@mrskansas: I would love to work a 4 day week and have fridays off with the kiddos to do fun things. During the times that I have been a SAHM whilst on maternity leave I struggled to find balance. Being at home full time is hard and just not for me
@MrsSCB: I do agree with this. The daycare pickup/dinner/bath rush is not ideal. If only everyone could leave work at 3:00??
hostess / papaya / 10531 posts
I'm a SAHM, but it's one of those things where the grass always seems greener on the other side! I love my kids and I've enjoyed staying home the last 6 years, but I'm jealous of people who get to work part time, especially really flexible jobs and work from him.
@Anagram: Very well said!!
persimmon / 1234 posts
I am a mostly SAHM (PT evening hours) and every time I stroll Target I have to constantly wrestle my baby back into the seat and try to get my preschooler to not hit him or beg for things. "Browsing" doesn't really happen. I would love to work a few more regular hours just to talk to someone about anything other than trains and trucks.
@wrkbrk: Good point!
clementine / 930 posts
All. The. Time.
pomegranate / 3978 posts
@Mrs. Goose: I thought that too at first, that I wouldn't need that much time to do chores. But the thing is, if I'm home then the kids are home and creating way more messes and thus requiring way more cleaning. Not to mention I'm tending to them, and if they're home you can't think "oh well they'll get to do x y z at preschool." Nope, you need to provide the opportunities for x y and z. It's just a different animal I think! Not to say working doesn't have its hang ups too.
I wish we could all be PT or leave work at 3.
I always thought a 4 day week would be the absolute best!
grapefruit / 4260 posts
Everything @truthbombs said...to a T
pear / 1622 posts
I mostly SAH (work 1 day a week) and I mostly enjoy it but I think it has a lot to do with where we live. We live in a very urban area with 10 playgrounds within a 10 min walk, lots of stuff to walk to, errands that are walkable. Toting around my 2 yo is mostly fun most days. Monotonous at times, but generally fun. However I think that is mainly dependent on our location. If I lived in the burbs, had to drive everywhere, really had to work hard to seek out adult interaction or playmates for my kid, i think I would struggle and feel really isolated. And hate staying at home completely. I do know that during the depths of winter, staying at home isn't all fun and games.
GOLD / pear / 1695 posts
@Truth Bombs: THIS. Exactly.
blogger / eggplant / 11457 posts
@Truth Bombs: NAILED it.
pomelo / 5093 posts
I was just reading the 'how do you structure your weekends' thread, and it gave me a severe case of gratitude for my ability to be a SAHM. Yeah, I don't feel especially fulfilled or intellectually stimulated, but damn - that sounds hard. I do the house work during the week, and on the weekends we have so much fun. It's an enormous privilege.
I remember when that 'Having a Stay At Home Spouse is a Huge Privilege' article went around a few years ago, and so many people were offended - like, no, certainly my life is not glamorous or easy. But I do the laundry and cook the food! I grocery shop and make doctor's appointments. I run our household, and because of that, we get to have a ton of fun on the weekends. As someone else said, people who work have to do all the same house work that SAH parents do, but they have to do it nights and weekends. I don't love that my job is literally housework, but I sure as heck appreciate it when the weekend comes, and we spend it doing fun things, and NOT housework.
hostess / wonderful grape / 20760 posts
Grass is always greener! I SAH for 2 years and during that time felt like I never got a break from my kids and it was really hard! I do have times (like summer, mostly) where i want to SAH or get jealous of SAH parents....lately it's been so much work juggling work demands, demands of the kids and house and being pregnant.....I often just wish I had to worry about the house and kids. Right now, I have to do it ALL - all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, errands, planning, kid stuff, primary line of defense for child care when sick, etc...plus work 30 hours a week and if someone is sick have to work at night or on weekends. But then I remember how hard it is to be at home with a 2 year old all day, LOL. I always say I'll make a great SAHM when my kids are in school all day
persimmon / 1017 posts
I get jealous but try to remind myself of how crazy I feel when I'm home all day with two kiddos. But man...I'm so with you, it stinks trying to find time to clean/run errands/have fun in two short days.
@sarac: But see. That's what makes WOH parents so badass. Because we DO have fun weekends. We figure out how to get shit done. I don't sacrifice family weekends for cleaning. I just stay on my grind. And I do it because I want to. Not because I have to.
GOLD / nectarine / 2684 posts
GOLD / grapefruit / 4216 posts
@pwnstar: Agree! We have tons of fun on the weekends (And during the week, Monday night we had dinner with 3 other families who we love, and last night I had a mom's night out while the kids had a fun night in with Daddy, tonight we're doing swimming and dinner at our country club with friends). I have to manage the household, which is mentally exhausting, but I don't physically do it all. I outsource things like cleaning to paid help and I'm able to do that because of the salary my career provides our family. I do things late at night because I'd rather sacrifice sleep, than fun with my kids. I make it happen and my kids don't miss a beat. I'm just really tired most of the time. But not being fulfilled or intellectually stimulated is not what I want for myself.
pomegranate / 3590 posts
@pwnstar: Agreed. I love what I do and consider it incredibly fulfilling and stimulating. Working also allows me to outsource a lot of tasks (financial flexibility for our family particularly) and the time I spend with my son is very focused on fun. I also am able to have lunch time dates with my husband / friends and do a lot of things that wouldn't be an option if my full-time job was staying at home with my son. I think that the days the OP are describing are probably special days, not the norm and there is no reason that a working mom can't take the day off and enjoy that.
wonderful persimmon / 25502 posts
I think we're all incredibly lucky, we have real choice. We weren't kept from attending school or told that we would have a job in a factory for 50 cents an hour with no weekends, etc.
We're all in a real position of privilege that a lot of women in the world don't have, let's not forget that.
GOLD / pomegranate / 3211 posts
I have the opposite fantasy! I'm a SAHM for financial reasons, but am actively looking for work now even though it will cost us more money in childcare than if I were to SAH. I fantasize about missing my children being my big problem as opposed to resenting them as I do now. (Don't hate me) DH works a gjillion hours a week and I see how painful it is for him to miss the kids, but... I would still rather go through that than what I'm going through now.. Maybe it's different for folks who love SAH...
@looch: Very good reminder!
nectarine / 2612 posts
I personally wouldn't want to be a full time sahm. I love my job, and luckily I have summers off. My kids go part time to school year round (mostly because daycare makes us hold their space) and my summers feel like a perfect balance of quality time with my kids and me time!
GOLD / eggplant / 11895 posts
@looch: agreed. i'm a PT WAHM, the default parent (DH works shift work as a firefighter, so when he's gone, he's gone for 24-72 hours and cannot do any sick days) and while i struggle with a lot of this, when i think of other options, i'm glad i do have the choice to do this at the moment. and the option to change it up as the years pass if needed.
coffee bean / 42 posts
This comment has been deleted by the original poster.
cherry / 178 posts
@sarac: Yes. This is how I feel about my summers off. I have more choice on balancing my time and I really appreciate it.
@mrskansas: YUP. I was on maternity leave with #2 last summer, and by the end it was exactly the fantasy you describe. I kept DD home from daycare for most of August (she went part time when I was on leave) because there were so many fun things for us to do! Plus we had such great quality time together on the weekends because I got errands and cleaning done during the week. I'm devastated that this summer won't be the same
GOLD / nectarine / 2819 posts
I've done many different configurations FT SAHM, PT WOHM, FT student, FT WOHM, PT student/PT WOHM. What happened as all of this went down is that I slowly lost any sense of identity stemming from any of the above roles. When I was a FT SAHM I threw myself into being perfect mom/food maker/costume maker, and that eventually drained me and left me frustrated, because the ratio of successful playtimes to frustrated long afternoons was about even. Once I had two it was literally impossible to do a fun outing without screwing up a sleep schedule so any time I got out I felt like I was going to have to "pay for it" later. So I decided to go back to work and school and decided to dive into that completely. That was intellectually energizing and gave me a new identity but I made some massive mistakes due to poor time management and I felt like I was just grazing the surface of every task I did. But I also had a greater appreciation for down time and how to let things go that are really not important. My husband and I had a lot more in common and similar priorities, and money wasn't as tight. I felt like I had more 'wins' on a daily basis, and I could see tasks through to completion. I came out of that time feeling very accomplished but like time was flying by in a way that scared me. Right now I work PT and I get frustrated when I'm treated like a FT employee when in reality I can only work in small slivers of time, and my pay reflects that, so why are people hassling me like I'm a FT employee? So I've had to put boundaries down around my workplace, which makes me feel guilty. And I'm stunned again at how dirty my house is now that two people are at home full time. Tuesday I swear I spent every minute of the day in the kitchen making three meals, plus breakfast for the week and grocery shopping with a two year old at my heels who watched way too much TV. I miss popping by the store on the way to pick up the kids, and worrying less about the grocery budget. And I'm dreading adding another full time inhabitant when my 4 yo comes home from pre-k next week. I've basically stopped investing "meaning" in my ability to do anything perfectly, or even to completely enjoy any particular setup. I'm just an imperfect person who is doing the best I can, and it seems like no matter how I try to balance everything, there's always something that is "off." Now that my kid is almost in kinder I'm amazed at all the different configuration I tried but mostly just amazed at how fast it went. I have a two year old and am thisclose to having total flexibility (well as much as you can with two kids), and all the managing of times before feels like last night's dream-- sort of hazy.
If I reflect even further I have to admit sometimes I was really the problem. When I was an SAHM I would get irrationally frustrated by how messy my house was. When I was WOHM I would get irrationally frustrated by my 80 minute afternoon commute to daycare and pre-ks. In reality the situation changed but my propensity for irrational frustration never changed...
I will admit of all the configs, current config of one kid at home FT, one kid 5 day pre K and working two nights a week is really pretty nice.
Doing all the different configs is the only way I have peace with my decisions. I have been so lucky to be able to try so many different ways of making it work and as looch said, being able to make the choice is ultimately the most meaningful thing.
I hope this post is not offensive to anyone! Just my thoughts.
pear / 1607 posts
I WOH full time and I would love to work 6 hour days but I would never cut it as a sahm. I do take time to run errands and clean on the weekends with DS. I think it's important for us to have fun together but also to see that running a household takes teamwork. I would never stay up until all hours just to do housework so my kid can have undivided attention all day. We have a good balance now but i definitely think it would be easier if I was able to work less.
cantaloupe / 6869 posts
Not jealous at all. Summer is a much slower pace at work so it's almost like a break for me to go. I also get more me time since I have half days on Fridays that I can use to run errands or just go to the movies by myself. It's heaven.
@knittylady: I was in your shoes for a long time. I HAD to SAH for awhile. I actually resented dh for it because it wasn't the plan but his work took over. When I quit my FT job I insisted I would work PT because it's just not good for my mental health to be a FT SAHM. I love working, I've always been that way since I was a teenager. I get it!! Good luck finding something that works for your family.
apricot / 474 posts
I'm a SAHM and I mostly love it.
BUT.. As others have said it is a NOT a dream most days- they mess up the house and my house is *never* clean. Cooking for cleaning them entertaining them takes up most hours and I have very little left to do "real" housework and cooking that I do it at the hours that working moms would- after the kids are down!
It's a financial sacrifice for me to be home and we live in a very high cost of living area so I'd love to go out for lunch with them and go liesure target shopping .. but does it happen? No almost never because we are on one income I can't just spend freely.
Also because we don't have extra funds I don't send them to the babysitter/school so I am always expending time and energy teaching/crafting/etc whatever they would be doing in school. By all means I don't do this everyday but it's just another thing that takes up my mental and physical energy.
This is unique to me but recently I've been having bad chronic arm and shoulder pain- I think taking care of two kids 100% of the time and doing all the housework/etc has taken a toll on me.
I have no complaints as a SAHM because as others have mentioned it's a privilege to have the choice to be home! But at least in our family me being home is a sacrifice and we give up a lot (financial freedom mostly) so that I can be home with them. I do sometimes envy WOHMs when I see them shopping for groceries on their lunch break with a coffee in hand (ALONE!) and how they're able to maximize their fewer hours with their kids (vacations and fun stuff) but really I know they're sacrificing something to do what they do too.
@mrskansas: so actually even though those amazing splash pad days are few and far between nestled in with the hard and tantrumy days for me personally yes I love that I can be home for the good and the ugly haha
I do hope u can plan a couple days in the summer to enjoy with ur girl!!
blogger / wonderful cherry / 21616 posts
@Truth Bombs: this.
It's been so hard for me to feel like there's no time for the life I want to have... because with full time work, meals, cleaning, grocery shopping, all that normal life stuff - there's so little time to do the family stuff we want to have time for.
@sarac: I remember that article. It's very hard with two working parents who both bring their work home with them and put in 10-12 hour days. DH is off for the summer and I feel like I'll be able to breathe because I will just have to focus on work and school and know he'll do most of the basic cleaning and meals.
@mediagirl: i would love summers off DH is off this summer and I find myself getting very jealous. But I know that taking a job at a school would mean a huge pay cut for me. I already make a bit more than DH so it'd be so tight
grapefruit / 4418 posts
I have the best of both worlds since I only work 3 days a week and I personally consider going back another day all the time. SAHM life isn't for me but I try to be grateful for the opportunity to be with my kids despite the challenges!
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