another reason I'm thankful to be a stay at home mom

budge1October 21, 2006

I just had one of those revelation moments.

I am an older mom (had one at 35 one at 40) and my 2nd was a huge trial for me from the beginning. Crying 17 hrs a day for the 1st 6 weeks and I was too tired to really ask for help until I was really in trouble (found out it was a breast feeding problem easily fixed). And then turned into the most active baby I have ever run across (walking at 8 months and an extreme risk taker, absolutely no fear). My DH is legendary for his hyperactivity as a child so I guess it comes from there.

To sum up, it was the hardest 2 years of my life and while I loved #2, it was a crazy time. I really debated about going back to work full time this year (just to give myself a break) but decided to just continue what I've been doing (substitute teaching at older dd's school 1 or 2 days a week). Well, this has been the most wonderful 2 months. She is really coming into her own and we are having so much FUN together I can not believe it!

If I had gone back to work, I would have completely missed this and just had such hard memories of her as a little one. I'm so lucky to be able to do this and have a DH who supports me completely.

Just had to share.

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Oh gosh, I know just what you're talking about! We have a lot in common--I had my 3 little ones after a second marriage, all in my 40s. I'm a teacher but have only worked 1 semester since #1 came along.

Anyway, all 3 girls were/are pretty labor-intensive, something that caught me by surprise. My older 2 (24 and 26) were so easy going and I really thought it was because I was so good at parenting :) Obviously, a little humble pie came into my diet. I quit my job (teacher) recently after having been on leave for most of the past 6 years. I have finally reached the point at which I'm truly enjoying all of the duties of motherhood and the antics of my children. They are blossoming into such fun children that I, like you, am so grateful that I am around to enjoy this wonderful time. I must admit that I'm relieved to be past the baby days. I really like the burgeoning independence but complete devotion of 3-year-olds :) I was torn for a while about going back to work because I was frazzled and feeling out of it, but felt a lot of peace once I'd finalized my resignation in June.

Congratulations on your epiphany and enjoy your new career!!


    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 11:13PM
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Hi- I also feel so thankful to stay home with my kids. I'm an "older Mom" too. I had mine at age 37, 40, and 42. Isn't it weird when some of the mom's from your kid's class could actually be your daughters? The teachers too! I feel like our kids are keeping us young! I love every minute after it... okay, well ALMOST every minute of it!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 7:51AM
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I quit work when my first was born, seventeen years ago, and never looked back.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 8:39AM
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Well, I can't stay home altogether, but I'm working this insane schedule where I get to work at 6am and am home by 2:30 when DS gets home from school. So it's almost as good. DH gets the insane "HURRY UP!!!!" routine in the morning to catch the school bus. He's WAY better at it than I am. I get to spend the whole afternoon and evening with my precious boy.

I tell ya, I hope to go partime soon so I can spend the crazy morning hour with him too, but we'll see. It is a wonderful thing to be lucky enough to be able to make it work to stay home. I have three girlfriends who are are stay at home moms and it's really great.

What's weird is being kind of in the middle like me. I've gotten a few odd looks from colleagues who think I'm insane to give up management and promotions to keep this schedule. I guess it's just not that important to me. I'd rather be home. But when you don't do ONE or the OTHER, you do get some funny looks. At least I have. But the "good for you"s definitely outnumber the "uhhhhh, but what about getting promoted?"s


    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 8:33PM
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Ivette, some people just don't get that you *were* promoted!!!!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 12:08AM
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I love that, seeking advice. I will have to remember to tell people who ask where I'm teaching now that I've been promoted to a better job :-)

And that is so hilarious about the good parent thing. I have to admit I thought the same thing. I am much more sympathetic now when I see someone's child having a tantrum in public.

Sam i am- for some reason, most of my kids friends also have older parents. But once one of the mom's was telling me about her father's b-day and when I asked if it was a big one she said"yes, he's turning 50". I couldn't believe it -I'm almost the same age as the grandparents!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 1:02PM
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seeking: you are RIGHT!!!!


    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 6:02AM
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Another older "SAH" mom here, left the academic/professional world at 37. Sometimes I miss my work, to be sure, but making the decision to parent full-time is the only way I could sleep at night. We need to also thank the fates that we're able to do this; granted, for many of us it entails a commitment to a lesser lifestyle than we'd anticipated (maybe not for all), but we are able to parent while our SO makes it financially possible.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 1:15PM
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I quit work to stay home when my twins were born. I was in my 40s as well and already had two dds that I raised while working full time. Not working while raising kids is definitely less stressful (at least for me). I feel lucky that we are finally in a position where I can stay home with these guys.

I have an MS in nursing and when I quit work I eventually lost my certification due to a reuirement to work part time.

I occasionally get a twinge of pain but honestly most of the time I have no regrets.

Yesterday, youngest dd was completing an online application to one of the colleges she is interested in. One of the questions requested the occupation of her father and her mother.

She asked me what to put for myself. Since I am not employed despite the fact that I have a good education, I felt that I had to tell her "homemaker", which bothered me just the tiniest bit.

What would you all have put on this application??? Is homemaker your occupation?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 6:50PM
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blsdgal, this bothers me, too. I still do pro bono work but I haven't practiced law with pay for 20 years. Part of me still wants the recognition for my education and hard work.

I honestly don't mind putting down homemaker because I know what it means to me and my family but it is clear that the title is often ridiculed or completely misunderstood.

For example, time for the I'm Turning 50 Gotta Do the Colonoscopy Thing. The form required by the Gastro group was just insulting. Of course, many stomach problems are stress- induced and at least a page and a half related to 'employed' individuals- do you work at home, do you feel isolated, do you have a long commute, do you like your boss/co-workers, much overtime, are you paid for overtime, feel as if your contribution is valued, etc.- very detailed and probing.

If you checked the box next to "Housewife"- the questions were as follows- I swear!
1. Do you find your housework difficult?
2. Are you pleased with your housework?
...and that was it!

I expressed my displeasure in the mail-in response card I was given at the end of the initial visit and I have yet to schedule the colonoscopy. I got a pretty good mad on. Still do.

I wouldn't change a thing, though. Best job in the world.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 9:20PM
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pecanpie--that's hilarious. If they want to know what stress is all about, they should come to my house and spend the day with my twins when they are beating the he** out of eachother ;-)

I agree, that is insulting. It is as if they think that stress only exist in the workplace. (BTW--I am also looking at the colonoscopy thing--need to get it scheduled soon.)

Just to share a funny story, that may even show a little prejudice in my own thinking---my neighbor is an ophthalmologist. His wife is a SAHM with four little ones. She is about as down to earth as they come, and her daily wardrobe looks pretty much like mine. By the time she and I see each other at the occasional high school basketball game in the evening, we are both looking pretty "fried and frazzled" and we are both usually sporting finger paint and/ various types of child food on our blouses.

I always thought she was just a SAHM that was always lucky enough to have the financial resources to not have to work. One day she was giving me a tour of her just completed new house while we were still building. The topic of work came up. I mentioned that I had quit work when I had the twins. Imagine my surprise when she told me that she had a law degree and hadn't worked since the birth of her first child. Here I thought she was just a "plain old housewife" like me, lol.

Great thread--to the OP--thanks for starting it.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 10:17PM
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blsdgal, that's a tough one for me, too! I find that I also have biases about the term, but that's not surprising for us when you consider how we were raised. I mean, look at how housewives were portrayed on TV and in advertisements! They were usually rather stupid. Conniving, but stupid. Jeez, those gals would NEVER have been able to get Joe's collar clean if a Genie hadn't popped up out of the washing machine to show them how.

Here's what happened to me over the summer. I went to a new doctor and had to fill out the requisite questionnaire. When I got to the part about occupation, I hesitated and decided to come back to it. I had turned in my letter of resignation but was still officially employed until the next board meeting. Well, I forgot to put anything down so the receptionist asked me what she should put there. I told her I had just resigned and so she got a big smile and said, "Oh! No problem," and wrote down 'Retired.' I decided I would rather put down Homemaker, LOL. I have a much worse mental image triggered by the term Retired.

The main sticking point for me is the idea that the moniker does not give any indication of intelligence or education. If you tell someone you teach literature or are a lawyer or nurse, they are then able to deduce that you are a college graduate with a degree of intellectual ability. It probably doesn't occur to most people now, when they know me as Homemaker, that I have multiple degrees. Ack! I guess it's all about my ego, *blush.*

pecan, that's crazy!! I put off my big 50 colonoscopy. My doctor sent a referral and that doctor sent me a letter to call and make the appointment, but I managed to let it go. That was 6 months ago. I guess I will have to do it now just so I can see what the paperwork looks like :)

Here are my little princesses. The twins are 3; their sister (in the middle) is 6.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 12:31AM
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Frankly, the education/former employment shouldn't have anything to do with it, and I'm a smidge hypocritical since apparently it does matter to me.

A mother, regardless of her education or lack thereof (my mom was not a college graduate) who is rearing children to be law-abiding adults who are aware of the consequences of their actions and who are politically, socially and personally responsible AND who will be able to support themselves and contribute positively to their community is capable of impacting society for the better in ways unimaginable.

Unfortunately, we equate power and status with earning potential, and responsibility with a paycheck. Let's swing the pendulum back the other direction.

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world...

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 11:26AM
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pecan, I'm SO with you on all your points in your last post; and that questionnaire is hilarious...

A great new book I can recommend to everyone here (and everyone in general): _Hold On To Your Kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers_ by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate. (Link below) It's logical, compelling, and wide-ranging in implications for our society.

Here is a link that might be useful: get this book!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 1:55PM
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meant to add, seeking: that picture would be such a great candidate for that posterization program that someone posted about on the HD forum where you take photos and can make Warhol-ish posters of them. Not that it's not perfect as it is, but the posterization kicks the archetype quotient up a notch :)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 2:02PM
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seeking--you girls are beautiful. How lucky are you!!?

I miss my girls being small--my boys are fun but they are so totally different than raising girls.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 2:41PM
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pecan, that was beautiful and I quite agree with everything you said. It is one reason I was blushing at what I realized, while writing my post, was my own silly egotism. It really isn't about formal education, degrees, or earning potential, just as you said! It's all about raising the future. So why does it still seem to matter to me that I get no recognition? Allow me to amend that last statement; I DO get recognition--from my husband, children, and other family members. But I am not a fabulous homemaker/mother/wife. I'm average. I was always above average academically and so on, so I guess I'm still looking to fill the admiration craving that I developed early on. I guess it's kind of like the middle-aged car salesman that constantly relives his high school football glory days, LOL.

Thanks for the book recommendation, fly! I'll pick it up (or order it). And about the posterization--I'd not read about that, so I don't quite know what you mean. I guess I can sort of surmise, but is there a link to the topic to which you refer? Sounds fun!

blsdgal, I DO love having little girls again! I need to tell you, though, that I also very much miss having a little boy. My little boy is now 26 and I sure do miss having a little guy around. We could use the gender balance, too :) My girls aren't quite as frilly as they appear in the picture above, but they do love dress-up. If it tells you anything about how un-princessy they truly are, I bought those dresses they're wearing when they went on sale for half price. It took forever to get them to try them on because they fought and sniped the whole time about who got which dress. I snapped a couple of pictures but the fighting escalated so I simply had them remove the dresses and back they went to the store. We had them for about an hour.

Also, I don't know if it's because I got back here so late or what, but I can't access your pirate picture! I would love to see your swashbucklers!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 12:18AM
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Someone, I can't remember who, said that there are few things that most of us will do that will make as much difference one hundred years from now as the attitudes and values we instill in our children.

Raising our children ourselves allows us to make that difference.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 7:07AM
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I have a question for the SAHMs. My mother was always telling my sister and I, "never put yourself in a position where you are dependent on a man". My parents had a very happy marriage (my mother passed away several years ago). My mother was college educated at basically a rich girl's private school. She had a several friends who didn't work after marriage or kids, and then found themselves left by husbands who went for younger women. Or friends that just basically were dependent on their husbands for survival and ended up "stuck". She wanted us to always be independent enough to not have to stay if we didn't want to, and to be ok if a husband left or died.

Fast forward, I became a lawyer and am the primary breadwinner in my marriage (it's been a fight and a struggle, DH is chronically under-employed). My sister never finished college, had two kids, and now has a husband that threatens to kick her out of the house every time they have a fight (the house was his before they got married, he is probably bipolar and has untreated depression). I tell her she would be entitled to child support and some of the house, but the pure stress of the situation is horrible for her. She has no way to support herself.

I could never live like that. I could never quit work unless I was basically independently wealthy and didn't need to rely on someone else to pay my bills, etc. I admit to being a bit of a control freak. I was married before (when I was in law school) and I found out my x-H (who was my high school sweetheart, and I thought my best friend) was hiding assets out of state and in other ways to shield it from me - exactly the type of thing my mother worried about (I am pretty sure his parents urged him to do it, they were a big reason behind our divorce. They were convinved I was going to meet some trust-fund guy in law school and leave their precious son). We divorced, and I swore I would never let someone else be the one to manage the money again.

I am just wondering how you all handle this? Do you ever worry? I know I didn't worry about x-H until it happened (thank God I went to law school, as a plannned, even though he discouraged it). I know many women expect the courts to help them (alimony, child support, half the assets, etc.), but every study shows that a woman's standard of living drops after a divorce and a man's rises. Every woman I know who is supposed to be getting child support never gets it on time (I have one friend whose x-H should be on a most-wanted list he owes so much). I know I will never recover financially from my divorce (we paid for his grad school, but borrowed for mine, so I had massive loans and he had none) - I will always be behind where I would have been.

I have several friends who feel the same way about working. They will never quit work, even if they could live of their husband's salary. Just wondering what you all think.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 12:26PM
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I am a SAHM too. The one thing that surprised me the most was how much I fell into the life of being home and really how much I love, love, love it. Before I had my triplets, I was on the career fast track. I actually aspired to be a university president in my lifetime. When I found out I was having triplets, I was almost done with my PhD and working as a professor and a program director at an university. But everything change. I now find myself covered in flour from baking cookies, wiping tushies, and getting kisses all day. I tell my girls all the time how lucky we are to have a papa who works hard so that mommy can stay home, I truly feel that way. My husband works overtime when he can, promotes and does whatever he can to cut back on stuff so I can be here.

My mom told me not to depend on a man, my father left her and us, but there is a difference between having to depend and making a choice. I have a choice. If anything happened I could support myself and my children finacially and probably double what my husband makes.

I have had moments when I felt a little weird writing homemaker on something, but I know everything that it means to my daughters and my husband. I could have been anything I wanted, but I choose to be a mommy to my identical triplet daughters. I am still owking on my PhD and will be done this June, it is funny almost none of my sAHM friends know I do this. Whenever I tell them I am tired they just natually assume that it is because I have triplets. I can't wait to tell them once I graduate.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 1:35PM
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This is the picture I was trying to post above of my daughters. I hope this works.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 1:51PM
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Sue, that is a very valid point and I agree completely that it is extremely important for a woman to have the means to provide for herself should something happen, whether it be divorce, death, incapacitation, or something else. As everyone knows, there simply is no way to guarantee everything, so you can never completely protect yourself from all contingencies, but it is very unwise to simply trust in the fates (or whatever) to see you through. It is imperative to have some sort of plan in mind for securing an income should something happen. My parents were adamant about all of us kids getting an education, regardless of career plans. I'm very glad about that. I had a degree when I was married to my first husband but didn't use it. I worked part-time managing a clothing store, a fun but low-paying job. When it became apparent that I had to get out of my marriage, I realized that my husband would make it extremely difficult, would do whatever he could to avoid paying anything, and that my job would never provide for my family. So, I stayed married an extra year and a half while I got another degree with better income potential and a teaching credential. It was somewhat underhanded but it was literally my life and the well being of my children at stake. I had a good job when I was finally able to get out of my marriage. It was still very tough.

When I remarried (stayed single for 15 years by choice), I wished to retain my own accounts and my name. I have good insurance should anything happen to dh, a good prenup that sees to my needs and those of my children from my first marriage, and also protects dh's property for him and our children together. Sure, no one thinks divorce will happen to them, but it CAN happen. Even if your feelings never change, you cannot guarantee your partner's feelings. It also is not a sign that you don't trust the person to simply get a legal definition of what belongs to whom and protect it.

I have a lot of autonomy with financial matters as I kept my own accounts, separate from dh. We have a system for paying bills that works well for us and provides me some security with how the money is disbursed. There is a whole area of finances that I have no clue about, but it is dh's trust fund and not my money unless he puts it into joint tenancy areas, such as the house, family purchases, etc. The same is true for me. I put the money from the sale of my house into an account that has nothing to do with dh, and he does not feel he needs to know what I do or don't do with it.

I have insurance to cover death or disability so I wouldn't be compelled to sell the house or immediately find a job. I have a nest egg to see me through as well.

When we married, I chose to take my dh's name because I liked our family all having the same last name. However, I studied the options carefully and found that if I added my own last name as a second middle name, it gave me the flexibility of using that sometimes, too. There is no legal way to have both last names as last names without using both, if you know what I mean. If you're Cheri Jones Smith, you can't sometimes go by Jones and sometimes Smith, you always have to be Jones Smith. I wanted to be able to use one for some things and one for another. For instance, I liked using my "own" last name for work and on my credit cards. I didn't want a hyphenated name nor did I want a double last name, so using my own last name as a second middle name suited me well. On documents, including my ID, it looks like two last names, which allows me to use my maiden name when I choose, but also gives me my husband's name as my legal last name so when you look me up somewhere, you can find me. Do you know what I mean? Say my maiden name was Jones and my married name was Smith. I am Cheri Ann Jones Smith on my ID. My first name is Cheri, my middle name is Ann Jones, and my last name is Smith. If my legal last name was Jones Smith, you would have to look me up under Jones and I would have to use both when signing checks, etc. I don't know that keeping my credit cards in my maiden name is exactly legal, but no one has ever questioned it. They simply look at my ID and say ok.

Sorry for that long ramble! But yes, it's very important to have backup plans in anything you do. You just never know. I have the advantage of age and experience; a young woman would likely have much less protection than I, and I would urge that she get a good education or job certification in a field that would allow her to find a job if the need arose.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 1:54PM
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sdtriplets, I didn't see your post when I posted--ours must have crossed. You girls are beautiful!!! How very blessed you are, and you must also be an amazing individual.

I forgot to add that I got excellent advice once from a college instructor. He wasn't a professor, he was from the magazine industry. The class was in writing and editing and produced the campus literary magazine. His advice was never put all your eggs in one basket, but diversify your experience and expertise. He said that everything you do and study may one day have a place, however unanticipated, in what you become, use, and need. The broader your experience base, the more options you will have. That speech really changed my thinking, and I've found that he was right. Many things I did that seemed like they would never have any part of my future did indeed come back later as things I was able to tap into.

I think things like taking classes, learning new skills, volunteering, working in the community, expanding her social base, and participating in her children's education/school/activities are all things that a homemaker can do in lieu of outside work that will translate into desirable job skills should she need to find outside employment at some point.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 10:47PM
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sue36, my mom always said 'Keep your pention going, because that's your 'walking money'' ( She was a stay at home mom til I was in 5th grade, then only part time)
I was very lucky that I could quit my job when I had twins. But I was going nuts after about 3 months (I also had a 20 month old)
Then, the job I had quit offered me part time, I could keep my pention, name my hours and keep my resume 'fresh'.
My husband worked late when I worked the few days a week so childcare was not an issue.
I did that for 14 years until 2003 when I got 'an offer I couldn't refuse' for full time. The twins were 14 yo and in 8th grade, just the time when boys don't want their mother around (they want to know where you are and that you are available, but not within arms reach)
I'm going to have 3, maybe 4 in college next fall, I'm glad I maintained my "earning power'
I wish every Mom had the oportunity that I had, I consider myself very lucky.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 3:54PM
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To all you SAHM/domestic engineer's I admire anyone that can and does decide to stay home and raise your children. I certainly know there are situations where there is no choice but I don't think anyone should let society dictate. My feelings you will never live to regret the time you spend with your family. Some people live to regret the time they missed (by choice).
Sue36, your sister sounds like she is in a lousy marriage and the only difference would be she would have a faster way out if she decided to get out. It sounds like her husb. wouldn't be supportive no matter what.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 4:26PM
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I agree she has a problem marriage. But she can't leave unless she wants to live with me or our father because she can't support herself and her kids and she would never get enough from him. She is stuck. In my case, I have more education so I wouldn't be stuck. But if I quit work and then wanted/needed to go back later I would always be behind. As someone said above, if you keep working you have a fresh resume.

Believe me, I would love to quit work for 5-10 years to raise babies and then go back to work (or not). I just couldn't handle the psychological aspect of it. I need to be in control, to know that my fate is in my own hands and not someone else's (well, as much as our fate is ever in our own hands). I know (or know of) too many women whose standard of living plummeted after a divorce or death. Some have xHs who basically took under the table jobs to avoid child collection from the state (my SIL is going through this). I worked on a divorce case (the appeal, actually) where the wife helped the husband build the business during the early years and then stayed home with their many kids later on. They hit middle age and he leaves her and she got something like $22k a year in alimony. They guy was a millionaire. "Coincidentally" his income skyrocketed after the divorce. His monthly clothing allowance to himself was more than she got in alimony. It was despicable.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 5:59PM
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