to be annoyed with my friend for saying i set a bad example?

(140 Posts)
QueenofKelsingra Thu 23-Jan-14 11:53:41

Backstory: I went to uni, got a job, got married, got pregnant and left work to have DS1. I did not return to work after DS1, (now a pre-schooler), and now have DTs, (toddlers). I'm 29. DH earns good money at his job, with budgeting we can manage well on his salary alone - for example we 'own brand' shop but don't need to 'value' shop IYSWIM?

DH and I are both products of SAHM families, as adults we appreciate the importance of that and both of us decided that as long as we were financially able to do so, I would be a SAHM for our children. A present there are no plans for me to return to paid employment even when the kids are in school.

I do all the cleaning, shopping, washing, ironing, cooking, housework in general etc. I'm in charge of all our financial incomings and outgoings, savings etc. DH works 11 hour days but is very hands one when home, does bathtime/bedtime etc. at the weekends we both get some 'down time' to do our own hobbies.

DH and I are both 100% on the same page about all of this, we are very happy with this arrangement.

My 'friend' who I have been friends with since school, has now told me that I set a bad example to my children. apparently I am teaching my DSs that their future wives must be a 'domestic slave' (her words) and teaching my DD that she should aspire to be a 'lady that lunches' (again her words)

I actually had to leave and cried all the way home. I just feel so belittled by her comments, like me and DH choosing for me to be at home is some awful crime!

AIBU to be royally pissed off and considering dropping her as a friend? She is single with no children and a real career woman if that matters. I would never tell a working mother that she was 'wrong' for choosing that way, why is ok to do it to me?

QueenofKelsingra Thu 23-Jan-14 12:14:33

Thank you everyone. I feel better already just from the reassurance.

mim - I am certainly not judging other parents' choice to work or not. it comes down each family's own dynamic of what works for them.

somethingkindaood yes, likewise I plan that all my kids will be able to cook and wield a hammer as appropriate!

Natasha and floggingmolly - that's what my DH thinks about her, she has always liked to be the 'first' and 'best' at everything.

to be honest as our lives have gone off different routes I am finding her harder and harder to deal with, this isn't the first comment like this but it is the most direct and pointed one. but she's my oldest friend and its hard to let that go.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Thu 23-Jan-14 12:15:14

Apart from anything else, she really needs to decide whether you are a "domestic slave" or a "lady who lunches"; you can't really be both at once. Ask her to pick one set of lazy stereotypes of stay-at-home parents and stick to it when she's being deliberately offensive.

CreamSodaFloat Thu 23-Jan-14 12:18:11

OP, I've been a single career woman with no children and jet set around the world with my job in Armani suits. Now I am a SAHM. Right now I am sitting here with unwashed hair and mascara smudged down my cheek. The kids are in bed and my dinner is a glass of wine and some Babybell cheeses (I am GMT+8). I wear flat shoes and just grab the first thing I can see in my wardrobe.

I would never give up my life now, for my life back then.

Ignore, ignore, ignore. Feminism is about choices. I looked at the choices in front of me and I chose what I have now and am happy.

Ridiculous. My mum was a SAHM and then when I was 10 my mum went back to work and my dad became a SAHD (which he still is- just hanging out with the cats now! grin) and neither has given me any preconceived notions about either gender or their "jobs" in the home.

Your friend is talking out of her arse.

Calloh Thu 23-Jan-14 12:18:47

How can you be a domestic slave AND a lady that lunches anyway?

She speaks utter dross!

YANBU. It's what works for your family and it's weird if other people have very strong opinions about other people's family set-up if they're all happy!

QueenofKelsingra Thu 23-Jan-14 12:19:29

Mia it was just a general chat, I was just saying that it was a busy week for me as I had to get the house straightened out after DS1's birthday and I had let the ironing pile up so it would take me a couple of hours to do it and if I didn't get on with it DH wouldn't have a shirt for the morning - she cut me off and went on her little tirade.

I was too shocked and upset to say much back, I just said that I had to go now and left.

Kewcumber Thu 23-Jan-14 12:20:18

I have a friend who is a single career woman with no children (and no plans to have any children) and she isn't one bit jealous, she has been nothing but supportive of me as a single parent.

She doesn't sound like a very nice friend.

QueenofKelsingra Thu 23-Jan-14 12:21:22

actually a good point about the slave v lady thing - I'd missed that! Will remember to point this out to her if she starts up again.

I guess I'm torn as to whether I should actually tell her to sod off or just let it slide and cease contact from my side and let her take the hint?

AngelaDaviesHair Thu 23-Jan-14 12:23:57

Hmn. If you DH were the one at home, would she call him a domestic slave? Or is it only drudgery when the mother does it?

When I was single with no kids I never said things like this. Or thought them.

bellablot Thu 23-Jan-14 12:25:07

Look, she has no kids, forgive her ignorance. She's probably jealous of your life really and may be having troubles you don't know about.

Nothing has a meaning but the meaning you give it. She doesn't understand the position your in, hasn't a clue in fact so shouldn't really comment however you should understand and maybe ask if everything is okay in her life, does she have troubles you don't know about?

Man up, stop crying over something that doesn't actually mean anything and enjoy your lovely life.

Kewcumber Thu 23-Jan-14 12:26:24

The thing is - people will always disagree with your choices.

I chose to be a single mother, I chose to adopt a child from another country - you can't imagine the comments I've had form people who feel entitled to an opinion about it. But I did what I felt was right for me at the time and now for my son - but I've hardened up my attitude somewhat over the year.

"Its a free country, I can say what I think"
"Yes and thankfully I have the same right to totally disregard it. Bye"

Onesie Thu 23-Jan-14 12:29:10

The easy way of ensuring your kids don't think of you as a salve is to give them daily chores when they are old enough and for them to take some responsibility for domestic chores like cooking, laundry etc. You are all a team.

I'm really shocked she sees no benefit in you being a stay at home mum. Madness !

Kewcumber Thu 23-Jan-14 12:29:37

And she really might not be jealous <<sigh>>

And even if she is jealous (though why anyone feels jealous of having to tidy up the house and iron the shirts hasn't yet been explained!), friends aren't rude to you

She might well beleive totally that women should work outside the home in paid jobs to give their children a good role model of working women. She perfectly entitled to think that and I can;t say that her views are bizarre or wrong. But even if she thinks it, a friend wouldn;t discuss it with you in such a rude way.

She really isn;t a good friend, just an old one.

Mia4 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:34:25

Queen it sounds like she doesn't consider that all that busy tbh which is judgy. Is she stressed and resentful you think?

Im a ft worker but when I say im stressed and tired I get 'you don't know what tired is. Try being responsible for all these kid's and 'm job is so so stressful I.know others have hard work.but it just doesn't compare.' she's a teacher and does work hard but she was judgy because she was stressed and overworked and looked at my 8:30-6 job as more cushy. She was resentful over her.own work.and stress so for a while she was very annoying and judgy. She's a.lot happier at a.new place now and laughs at herself for those things.

Is your friend often this way to you- maybe toxic and putting down? Or is she usually lovely and could be being shitty because of something else?

bellablot Thu 23-Jan-14 12:38:41

I don't think it's a case of being jealous of the house work, why the hell would anyone be jealous of that. I was referring to the life her friend has chosen, a sahm, the said friend could be jealous of what sounds like a nice happy marriage and family or maybe she's secretly sad she feels a friend has been lost to something she can't relate to.

You do naturally lose some friends in life, maybe it's time to say goodbye to this one.

caketinrosie Thu 23-Jan-14 12:38:46

I work full time and went back to work after 4 months maternity leave and I was miserable for a long time. I've continued working and my dc's are now teens and frankly neither of them has berated me for my choices. You op are providing a fantastic example of how to multi task, maintain a family, maintain a budget and keep things moving. You are the family PA! And frankly a good PA is worth a fortune. It's very sad your "friend" can't see that. Hold your head up high, SAHMs are essential for the nations economy. Ultimately it's your family and your choice so tell her to keep her thoughts to herself fuck off frankly, I've been at home with my dc's and I've been at work, I know which ones easier! grin

Somersetlady Thu 23-Jan-14 12:43:13

Queen if you would consider 'ceasing contact from your side so she gets the hint' is the relationship worth pursuing anyway?

Surely if she is a longstanding friend who you are close to it would be easy to ask face to face or even via email does she realise how much she hurt you with those comments? Add that you are very happy with your life and as your friend she should be if you are - a friendship is as simple as that! You do not need to justify your choices to anyone. confused

WilsonFrickett Thu 23-Jan-14 12:47:58

A pp said, 'she's not a good friend, she's an old friend' and how true that is, I must remember that for future use.

I would be tempted to email her and say 'did you mean to be so rude' and then take your cue from there. There is nothing wrong with the choices you've made for your family, that's what feminism is - the right to chose the set-up that works best for you. She's a daft mare.

(As an aside, I love that CreamSoda felt she had to tell us the time where she was - it's MN, we won't judge you for eating babybell and wine at any time grin)

benid Thu 23-Jan-14 12:48:54

What Kewcumber said. She is just rude and not a friend at all. I would not live my life the way my friends live theirs and am certain they think the same about me. Because we are friends we would be likely to discuss the differences in our outlooks (? is that even a word?) but we would never never speak to each other in such a horrible way. YANBU at all. Just don't contact her again and if she contacts you, by all means tell her why.

kerala Thu 23-Jan-14 12:50:31

She is no friend of yours sorry. What you do is a red herring. We could all be criticised for our choices by somebody. She said some really hurtful things, so bad I cannot believe they were inadvertent.

i would drop her. You should come away from meeting up with a friend uplifted not in tears and questioning the whole basis of your home life.

summertimeandthelivingiseasy Thu 23-Jan-14 12:53:17

Do remember though, that when people are unkind like this it is more often about defending or acting out about their own choices and situation than it is about anything you are doing <<<<<<<THIS

minouminou Thu 23-Jan-14 12:53:48

Eesh - I work loads (freelancer) and really enjoy it. Two kids, both in school now (just). I went back to work at six months and nine months and while it was a slog for a while, it eased up. It was necessary for our household that I worked.

Aaaaaand....you have three children (incl twins!), you're comfortable....you could go back if you want at some point in the future....

So what are you, a skivvy or a pampered princess? Sounds like your friend is reading shite lifestyle magazines and is spouting cliches at you. Cliches she hasn't thought about.

Time for a bit o' distance.

Marylou2 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:54:57

Jealous, jealous, jealous! Ignore her completely. Staying at hope is much harder than working but she wouldn't know that.

nellieellie Thu 23-Jan-14 12:55:17

I can imagine how upsetting this would have been. I think the key thing here is - she has no children. Before I had kids, I worked and my intention was always to go back to work. My mum was a SAHM and it was a really unequal relationship - my dad handled the money - he had the bank account and my mum would need to ask if she needed anything above the usual "housekeeping" money. I swore I would never be in the same position.
I was lucky enough to have a choice when we had my 1st DC - I am now, still a SAHM with 2 children 8yrs later. I have, like you, a totally equal relationship; housework/childcare is shared when my husband gets bck from work and at weekends. it is hard not "earning" any money sometimes, but the advantages outweigh this for me.
My view is that as a parent you make the choices that work for you. A working mum with a good career is a great role model for her children. A SAHM gets to see more of her children generally and is always there for them at the time. An unhappy mum, in either category is problematic. PS - for SAHM, also include SAHD! and for working mum, working dad.
If you still value your friends friendship, I would contact her and tell her how upset she has made you feel, that you value her friendship, and would welcome the chance to discuss the choice you have made with her but be clear that it is not acceptable for her to imply that you are a bad mother. If this is a friend with whom you now consider you have little in common then maybe a parting of the ways is the best way forward.

Marylou2 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:56:13

Sorry meant to say working outside the home!

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