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Does anyone feel like a bad SAHM? Or inability to be a SAHM

  1. Bubbles

    persimmon / 1328 posts

    I have plenty of days where I feel like I am not doing it very well, but then I look at my thriving, sociable and happy DS and try to cut myself some slack! It is bloody hard work but I do enjoy it and feel more fullfiled by it than any job I've ever had. But I can so see how it would not be for everyone - it just so happens that it plays to my strengths. Also I have a cleaner every fortnight and almost all the classes and activities I take DS to are completely free, so those things make it a whole lot easier.

  2. cat620

    pear / 1809 posts

    I think people put too much pressure on themselves as stay at home moms. My priority is keeping my son happy and healthy, but I don't think I need to spend all day on Pinterest looking at crafts to do together or trying to teach him things that I think are frankly beyond his intellectual level at this point. He learns through simple things like playing with his blocks or watching other kids at the playground. And as far as cooking and cleaning, I tell my husband that my primary job is a stay at home mom, not a housekeeper. I try to stay on top of cleaning, and I do cook simple dinners, but I don't stress myself out trying to make everything look like a 1950's sitcom.

  3. BandDmommy

    pomelo / 5660 posts

    Thank you guys! I was feeling like a failure because I want to go back to work part time. I just think being a full time SAHM is not my thing and that's okay.

  4. lawbee11

    GOLD / watermelon / 14076 posts

    I fall under the inability to be a SAHM category. I had a 6-month maternity leave and while I was pregnant I was convinced I'd want to quit my job and become a SAHM once my maternity leave was over...nope! I was sad to leave LO at daycare but there was something so gratifying about going back to work. I was actually home with her yesterday and she watched SO much tv...it's probably best for both of us that I work!

  5. mrsjyw

    GOLD / wonderful apricot / 22646 posts

    I knew going into TTC that I wanted to be a WOHM. My maternity leave confirmed my need to be a WOHM. There was no way I could be a good mom by being a SAHM and I was okay with that; the transition to work was easy because of my flex schedule which allowed me to work remotely and be around DS. 2.5 years later, with #2 on the way next month, I am so so grateful for my flex schedule and my ability to keep my career going and there's no shame for me in not being able to be a good SAHM. I think they truly, truly have the toughest jobs in the world.

  6. Orchid

    clementine / 927 posts

    On rare occasions I feel like a bad SAHM. Most of the time I'm quite pleased with myself. My goal is to provide lots of free play opportunities for my son. The muddier he is at the end of the day, the better I feel. The only time I feel down is when I read about moms who take their kids to so many different activities when we've only been to a few playgroups. When I remind myself of my parenting philosophy, I am usually satisfied with my parenting. Our house is not particularly tidy but I'm ok with that.

  7. Mrs. Jacks

    blogger / pineapple / 12381 posts

    I'm a WOHM... When I stay home even for a week at a time I find myself getting apathetic, languid, and depressed. My kids are way better off when I work!

  8. honeybear

    nectarine / 2085 posts

    I think it's normal to feel like you're failing (or maybe just flailing) sometimes. Unless you grew up around a lot of small children or did a ton of babysitting, you probably never had much experience with them prior to having your own. The resulting transition can be pretty tough. But that just means that you're learning, not that you're not cut out to nurture your children. Everyone gets better with practice.

    ETA: Also, I'd recommend that if you're feeling bad about yourself (or even if you're not) that you stop referring to yourself as a "stay at home" mom. You're not required to stay anywhere--if you want to go for a walk at 2:13pm on a Wednesday, you can go for a walk. Want to hit the beach at 10:47am on a Friday? Go for it! How about read a good book on your deck at 8:36am on Monday? No problem (but you might need to set up the LO(s) with some Legos on the ground first and do it read-aloud style). Sure, you've got sidekicks in all these pursuits, but you're a free agent.

  9. Greentea

    pomelo / 5678 posts

    I think there are some major misconceptions- I don't do it because it is "fun" or because I am thriving- I doubt many, if any, do it for that reason- some of us do not have a choice, and some may do it because it is the right thing for their family right now. I don't do it because it is easy.

    What does it mean to have the ability? I'm just a person who has a kid I take care of. It may be easier on some people if they have more resources, but I think it is hard on (most) everyone.

  10. 2littlepumpkins

    grapefruit / 4455 posts

    @Greentea: Well said!

  11. BandDmommy

    pomelo / 5660 posts

    @honeybear: we go out a lot. I don't feel the need to stay inside the house.

  12. artsyfartsy

    cantaloupe / 6692 posts

    My job is seasonal and I spent the past off season as a SAHM. I was excited because I always thought I would be better as a SAHM, but I was super depressed most of the time. I thought it was just me, but when I went back to work, my quality of life improved so much. Staying at home isn't my thing, unfortunately. It's a lot of work and a lot to live up to! I felt like a failure every day.

    It was a sigh of relief to come to terms with the fact that I'm just not meant to be a SAHM. I love my job and I'm good at my job. We're all happier as a family now that I'm working again.

  13. sarac

    pomelo / 5093 posts

    @Greentea: I don't agree with that - I think lots of people choose to be SAHP because they enjoy it and they find themselves thriving in the roll. Thriving doesn't equal easy. It's absolutely fine to not feel that way, but many of us do.

    I personally don't even aspire to be a pinterest worthy stay at home mom. We don't do crafts and we don't really do organized activities or sports. What we do is spend a ton of time in museums, parks, fountains, local cafes, and with friends. It's heavenly, to be honest. I just love our life. I feel so privileged to have this life, and letting go of other people's expectations about how it ought to look has really helped.

  14. Truth Bombs

    grapefruit / 4321 posts

    I know being a SAHM isn't what's best for me or my daughter. She thrives in school and adores her friends and teachers. I get fulfillment from working and contributing financially for our family. Sometimes I dream of the freedom of being a SAHM (not being tied down to a daily grind/schedule, traveling to visit family whenever we feel like it, not stressing about who has to miss work for a sick kid, etc), but I know in the bigger picture it's not the best fit. And I'm ok with that.

    And I agree with @sarac I think that if a SAHM isn't thriving and happy in the role then it's not the best fit for her family.

  15. BandDmommy

    pomelo / 5660 posts

    @Truth Bombs: well said

  16. 2littlepumpkins

    grapefruit / 4455 posts

    @Truth Bombs: gotta disagree with that. You can be decent as a sahp, even if it's not the best for you personally, because it's temporarily the best thing for your family. I mean I guess yeah to an extent you should be thriving but not necessarily more than you would as a wohp. That has 100% been the case for me. Would I like adult time and working? Absolutely. But financially and due to DH's work schedule, the best thing for the family overall has been for me to be at home for now. That doesn't mean I chose it because it is where I thrive the most.

  17. SweetiePie

    honeydew / 7463 posts

    @hilsy85: your response is so perfect.

    Some days I feel like I have the best life and I'm a rock star. But For the most part I feel like I'm unsure of what I'm doing and really insecure. Is he sleeping too much? Not enough? I don't make him a lot of food I buy jars, so I feel guilty about that. But the times I've made food I'm doing it when he's awake (because naps are for me to do personal things like shower and use the bathroom in peace) so I feel like I'm neglecting him. I don't take him out on a lot of play dates or classes, so I feel guilt about that. But when I do take him out we miss or are late to a nap so I feel guilt about that.
    There is constant guilt and second guessing. But I know that if I was working I'd have guilt about that too. I just think that you can't win either way. All moms are just hard on themselves and doubt themselves regardless.

    I do plan/hope to go back to work when he's 1 in Sept. Its going to be so hard to leave him but I also really feel like I need to experience WOH and SAH. I can't really see myself doing either, but I know I have to choose. But can't make that decision without experiencing both.

  18. SweetiePie

    honeydew / 7463 posts

    @looch: my husband has definitely said this to me many times and I think I agree with him. Even though it's what I always thought I wanted and feel lucky to do it right now, I don't think I'm cut out for it in the long run.

  19. BandDmommy

    pomelo / 5660 posts

    @SweetiePie: I'm in the same boat. I think in long run working part time is the right answer for us.

  20. BandDmommy

    pomelo / 5660 posts

    @2littlepumpkins: I think if you are unhappy whether being a SAHM or WOHM you should do something about it. I'm actually returning to work part time because while I love my kids, I'm unhappy and bored being a SAHM.

  21. SweetiePie

    honeydew / 7463 posts

    @BandDmommy: My husband and I say all the time that part time for me would be amazing. Will you just tell a recruiter that you want part time and see what they find? I just don't see how my job could be part time, but maybe I should just ask a recruiter and see. It's not like I do anything earth shattering, but I can't see how it could be possible since my line of work is so deadline driven. I've never heard of a part time position, but maybe it's because I've never looked.

  22. daniellemybelle

    cantaloupe / 6669 posts

    I'm not a SAHM so I can't answer this question (yet). But I can honestly say that I thought I had "the best of both worlds" being a part-time WAHM. It has been really hard for me to balance everything and I feel like I am a full-time SAHM and a full-time working mom a lot of the time (even though that is obviously not the case - we have part-time childcare). Maybe it is my personality, but I don't "juggle" well and even though I enjoy my work, I am really looking forward to being able to SAH soon. For me, working part-time was not the magical solution I thought it would be.

    Another huge thing for me is that we have struggled majorly on the childcare front for a few reasons. We have a great daycare and we are fortunate to have help from family, but we have still had a lot of challenges. I think it is hard to feel fulfilled as a working mom when in your heart you feel like your child would be happiest with you. So, to relate it back to the original question, I don't know I will feel about my "job performance" as a SAHM but I am very confident that me SAH is the best thing for our daughter.

    @sarac: I really appreciate what you said about letting go of other people's expectations! I think that's huge.

  23. lamariniere

    pineapple / 12566 posts

    @daniellemybelle: I'm in a similar situation, I WAH/SAH, probably 60/40. While I do feel like it is ideal for our situation, and I don't want to change, there are definitely days that are harder than others. Some days I feel guilty about not devoting enough time and energy to my LOs and some days I feel stressed about putting work obligations on the back burner while I devote more time to my LOs.

  24. danda

    kiwi / 635 posts

    @BandDmommy: yes absolutely! I'm not cut out for full-time childcare and I find solo parenting stressful. I like my job and I love the stimulation that my daughter gets at her daycare!

  25. Truth Bombs

    grapefruit / 4321 posts

    @2littlepumpkins: I didn't say you couldn't be a "decent" sahp if you aren't thriving in the role. I just agree with what @BandDMommy said that if you aren't happy you should make a change. An unhappy mommy who is being the martyr and staying home despite being unhappy about it because it's "what's best for the family" really ISN'T what's best for the family in my opinion. Before we had kids my husband and I made sure we could make it work either way (WOHM or SAHM) so that once LO came along and we really knew what that would look and feel like, we had the freedom to make the right choices that really did make all of us happiest.

  26. Greentea

    pomelo / 5678 posts

    @2littlepumpkins: I'm with you. While that might be a nice ideal, to only do things that make you happy and thriving, that isn't always reality, and that's okay- it doesn't mean you aren't doing what is best for the family or even you. We all make sacrifices, and not everyone has the luxury to only do what makes us happy and thriving, or to even choose. Similarly, I'm sure not everyone going to work is happy and thriving, and that's okay.

  27. looch

    wonderful pear / 26210 posts

    I think there is a lot of pressure to be having the best day ever, every day. No matter what you're doing, some days are going to be awesome and some days are going to suck. Most days are probably going to be somewhere in the middle.

  28. Adira

    wonderful pomelo / 30692 posts

    @2littlepumpkins: @Greentea: I think in @BandDmommy:'s situation, she has the choice of being a SAHM or a WOHM. She doesn't have to be a SAHM because of their financial situation and she doesn't have to be a WOHM either. They can swing it both ways. She's currently a SAHM and it sounds like she's not loving it. I think she was kind of looking for support that it's totally valid for her to not love being a SAHM and that going back to work might be what's right for her family if it's what will make her happy. I don't think anyone is saying that everyone has the luxury to make this decision though. Sometimes people have to work to make ends meet. Sometimes people can't afford to work because of the costs of childcare. But when you have options, you should do what's right for your family, whether that's working or not.

  29. daniellemybelle

    cantaloupe / 6669 posts

    @Adira: "Sometimes people have to work to make ends meet. Sometimes people can't afford to work because of the costs of childcare. But when you have options, you should do what's right for your family, whether that's working or not."

    That is PERFECTLY put.

  30. 2littlepumpkins

    grapefruit / 4455 posts

    @Truth Bombs: I know you didn't say that and I'm sorry to have implied you did. I'm just saying happy isn't the only thing, and not even akways the most important, which is how it often feels when people talk about how they "can't" be a SAHP or a WOHP or whatever. I'm saying you can, and you can be good at it anyway and it can be the best for your family. In *my* opinion (and if we and everyone else disagree that's ok, I just am explaining it hopefully better than before) it can often be a more complex decision than "am I happy and thriving?" I don't think making sacrifices always equals mommy matyr. We all make sacrifices for our kids by some of us make different ones than others.

    @Adira: I actually don't disagree with you.

  31. 2littlepumpkins

    grapefruit / 4455 posts

    @Greentea: glad I'm not all alone on this.

  32. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24134 posts

    I could SAH if we had a million dollars and I could have some house cleaning help and could get fun craft supplies from Target and have gymobree memberships and could go to lunch with other mom friends. But sitting at home cleaning and going crazy with the kids, no way.

  33. LML

    cherry / 129 posts

    @daniellemybelle: I totally agree with you that being a part-time WAHM isn't the magical solution I thought it would be. Now I just feel like I'm a working mom AND a SAHM, and that I'm failing at both.

  34. daniellemybelle

    cantaloupe / 6669 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: Don't you still have to clean your house though? I am hopeful that once I am SAH I won't always be stressed about housework because I won't be squeezing it in after work!

    @LML: @lamariniere: Glad we are not alone

  35. Greentea

    pomelo / 5678 posts

    "I think that if a SAHM isn't thriving and happy in the role then it's not the best fit for her family." -TB

    I find this to be inaccurate and judgemental, it also sets a pretty unreachable standard, IMHO. What if this was said about a working parent?

    @Adira: I understand, and agree with your sentiments, but TB made a general judgement, not about BD.

    Anyone can think they have all their ducks in a row, but you never know when life and luck may strike. Saying what any parent is doing, working, caring for children, as "not the best fit for their family," is making a judgement. And it was, it was not simply support for BD.

    @BandDmommy: by all means, explore your options. I want to validate that yes, sahp is (fill in the blank). If you need something different, I understand.

  36. BandDmommy

    pomelo / 5660 posts

    @SweetiePie: I didn't think part time was an option until I talked to my friend (recruiter) and I literally had PT offers the same day. You never know until you ask.

  37. Mrs. Lion

    blogger / grapefruit / 4836 posts

    My chocolate today says it all.

  38. sarac

    pomelo / 5093 posts

    I mean, I wouldn't say that if someone wasn't thriving in their roll, that it isn't best. But if someone isn't happy? Man, that's sure not the best. If someone isn't happy as a stay at home parent, I believe that everyone would be happier with a different arrangement. Ideally we'd all get to work or not work or work part time exactly as we pleased - but obviously that is not reality for most people. I am thrilled to death to be a SAHM, but a small amount of work (one day a week?) would honestly make me even happier.

    I also totally agree with those who have said that there is a lot of external pressure to make every day SO AWESOME. I'm really lucky to live in a place where there are enough things to do to meet that goal fairly easily. There is this bright and shiny expectation of stay at home parents that we are providing these amazing educational entertaining lives for our children every single day, and it's a lot to live up to.

  39. hilsy85

    squash / 13764 posts

    @Truth Bombs: I think it really depends on whether you have the OPTION to work/stay home. If you have no choice and have to work, or have to stay home, then I think it's ok to complain about it but if you have the option, and choose to be unhappy in your situation and do nothing about it, then that is where the mommy martyr thing comes into play and the whole family would be better served if you make some different decisions. Being able to have the choice to work or stay home is a major privilege, and definitely one that I know I am grateful for every day!

  40. Andrea

    GOLD / wonderful coffee bean / 18478 posts

    I think we all have struggles no matter what our work/home situation. I think you're fortunate in that you have options and you can work towards doing what makes you feel happier. Best of luck!

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