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to think working parents don't 'do all the things SAHPs do plus work'?

(604 Posts)
Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 15:12:15

I've heard this response an awful lot, particularly to that awful 'being a SAHM is the hardest job in the world' advert. I have worked outside the home and been a SAHM and I do not feel that working meant I did all the parenting plus work on top. For example, as a SAHM parent I'd deal with squabbling, tantrums, discipline, naps, take them to parks/soft play etc and help them to play nicely with other children, cook with them, do painting and play doh and so on.

As a working parent I had an hour of getting them ready in the morning, dropped them off at childcare, then an hour of winding them down and putting them to bed at night. I could eat and go to the toilet in peace during the day, the house was tidy and needed little cleaning as we were rarely in it and I had very little to do with discipline etc.

I'm not trying to say working parents don't parent, because obviously they do but AIBU to think parents who work fulltime don't 'work and do all the parenting as well'? I don't get why working mums respond that way and think they're right but if a working husband came home and said to his stay at home wife that he does just as much parenting as her then I'm sure mumsnet would not agree.

BluebellTuesday Wed 23-Apr-14 08:04:06

In fact, if I won the lottery, I probably wouldn't go to work at all. As it is, I feel fortunate to have a job which allows me to support us and I mostly enjoy.

BluebellTuesday Wed 23-Apr-14 08:02:36

Though I don't think I would want to be at work for nine hours, I start to miss DC after about five.

BluebellTuesday Wed 23-Apr-14 08:00:59

retro, your DH sounds lovely. I do think one of the issues, WOH or SAM, is how much support you have and whether you feel part of a team. That half hour at lunch time gave him time with DC and a break from his job.

fid, I very rarely do a 9 hour day, because DC2 can't cope with nursery for that long, and there are extra curricular activities etc to get to. I usually do 7 hours flat and a couple of hours when they are asleep. I have arranged things so that the commute is half an hour each way rather than an hour, though this means our house is tiny. I figure a bigger house would just mean more mess, anyway, though maybe you can contain the mess in one room, I don't know. My whole house is a playroom, it feels. My office is my own space but it, like the house, needs a good clear out.

Not sure what that adds, I guess 9 hours to do my job seems an impossible luxury, but at the same time, flexibility means I can better manage home life.

You're knackered if you're a WOHP and you're knackered if you're a SAHP grin

Possibly for different specific reasons. I'm a WOHP (as is DH), both full time. The house is a mess, we don't see enough of DD and don't feed her any meals during the week as she goes to breakfast club, has hot school lunches and dinner at the CM! I feel sad about that.

I'm about to become a SAHM and my days will be busy with sorting out the house, budgeting, cooking, cleaning, DD and school stuff. If we have another DC, I'll be dealing with them all day too. Just as busy and just as knackered... just different.

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 22-Apr-14 21:56:48

Yes janey
In fact as a pt WOHP I have both.
But I know that some ppl say looking after kids is easy. And it isn't really. At least not for me.
Frankly, I think we could all do with a rest.

unlucky83 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:54:43

red it is a build up rather than instant ...and I am far from house proud...
So for instance the walls on my stairs - when I worked FT I wiped my way down the stairs - including a brief swipe over the wall with a damp cloth - once a week...
As a SAHM I carried on doing it once a week - then noticed that I actually needed to scrub it more - use soap/magic eraser that once a week - so then I started doing it twice a week...
Mopping the kitchen floor - used to brush it daily (had a mat under high chair which got washed more) and mop once a week...as a SAHM I need to mop at least twice a week...especially when DCs were in and out the garden all the time...
And it is really monotonous...you get fed up of another day another floor to mop...no appreciation, no pay...just drudgery.
Another thing is you notice more stuff - I remember as a WOHM (FT) I realised I had never washed DDs bedroom curtains for 4 years! blush - they were dusty at the top etc. As a SAHM I notice stuff like that more and so they get washed more often ...
WOHM the windows got cleaned inside and out every 6 months year looking out of them all the time makes you wash them more often...
Also you do more DIY etc ...feel like you shouldn't really pay someone to do it ...so WOHM I paid someone to decorate the hall and living room after I had stripped the paper and walls had been bare for 6 months...
But remember as a SAHM and 6 months pregnant nearly falling off a step ladder as I boxed in the top of the doors (used to have glass panels with a gap underneath). I should say when I was a WOHM and at first as a SAHM my DP was working 90+ hr weeks...
Garden as a WOHM - my mum was visiting (I live a long way away from family) my mum told me she'd strimmed the grass in my front garden for me - except I didn't have grass ...it was weeds blush. I actually started paying for a gardener - as a SAHM I do it myself - have less disposable income to pay for stuff like that ...
And I used to take the DCs out for Sunday lunch etc - I don't feel like I can afford to do that now - or that I should do that...
Like I said it isn't a competition ....as a WOHM I was jealous of SAHM - then having been a SAHM I realise the grass isn't really greener...

fidelineish Tue 22-Apr-14 21:49:26

Yes exactly. Real 'grass is greener' stuff. Wheras the truth is most parents of preschoolers are knackered one way or t'other.

janey68 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:46:28

Yes but equally the WOHP has 9 hours of having to meet deadlines, be sharp and alert (sometimes after a broken night as Amanda described above) and use all sorts of other skills which you don't need to at home ... I wouldn't have it any other way, because ive always wanted that balance od difference, but it's ridiculously competitive to start thinking that either party has '9 hours off!'

fidelineish Tue 22-Apr-14 21:43:13

(other situation-specific comparisons are available, children's ages may go up but never down etc etec)

fidelineish Tue 22-Apr-14 21:41:59

Well maybe that's one of the sources of the disagreement then. Because when I hear/read assertions like the "everything a SAHM does plus 9hrs work & commute" one, I suppose what flashes through my mind is " but you get nine hours OFF the constant supervision, and hot beverages that you get to drink, and adult chit-chat" so it is quite a specific comparison I am subconsciously making.

janey68 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:36:59

Oh god yes, the constant watching... Especially the boy!

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 22-Apr-14 21:35:33

Yes. Dd, at a year, and walking, requires an astonishing level of supervision. Her ability for near- misses is extraordinary.

fidelineish Tue 22-Apr-14 21:29:37

I think it is the need for constant vigilance and presence and supervision that doesn't properly abate until around 8 Amanda <peers a long way back through the fog of war> but self-care skills and self-reliance etc get going much sooner. Don't cry smile

Which maybe is the thing that is hard to convey about the exhaustion of 24/7 SAHPing; the relentlessness of being 'on duty' to very small people constantly who could hurt themselves in myriad ways is far more tiring than any of the constituent tasks IYSWIM. It would be quite illegal for a power-station operator or an HGV driver to be required to work those hours without breaks or solo loo visites for e.g..

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 22-Apr-14 21:17:33

They are utterly adorable and scrummy. Very true.

janey68 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:03:16

Young children are messy, that's just how it is! They're also adorable and wonderful and that's why we have them smile

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 22-Apr-14 20:31:13

under 8s?!
<faints>
I was expecting ignificant improvements by age five <weep>

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 22-Apr-14 20:29:30

Oh I agree that it is hard with small DCs. It's exhausting and relentless. Playing with them, dressing and changing them, messy play. Mealtimes run one into the next with preparing, feeding, picking up, cleaning highchairs, preparing the next one.
I still struggle to leave the house on time for anything with all that I need without getting stressed. blush
I've just put DS to bed. Bathing and pjs and story are lovely but still challenging tbh. Still feeding dd (separate issue grin) and shell be up durin the night of course.
My Having a career has been useful for us. It helps our family income and I do quite like having an interest outside the home. Although the broken nights are making work harder too.
I'm still not sure whether or not it's better or my DCs to be with me all the time or to have their mum working and stay with CM 3 days a week. I really don't k ow.
I can't say my way is better than sahm. Or tougher.
But I still think op was BU. in my case anyway.

jasminemai Tue 22-Apr-14 19:03:35

Fourforks - Your coming from the angle that one career has to go slower than the other but I dont think thats inevitable in todays marriages. Men can take maternity from 20 weeks and soon can take it from birth. Things are much more interchangeable now.

Retropear Tue 22-Apr-14 18:44:44

School kids maybe not but under 8s sorry it's endless and I'm by no means house proud.

Well it is if they're allowed to play,create,draw,stick,paint,eat,run in and out.....

Maybe I just have messy kids.That said when I was childminding it was the same.

redskyatnight Tue 22-Apr-14 18:33:42

unlucky83 I'm not sure I believe that a house really gets that much grubbier if people are at home more of the day (obviously if you are say potty training a toddler, there is more mess, but talking about generally). At least my DC have just been off school for 2 weeks and DH and I did precisely no more housework than we do when we are all out at work and school (actually I have a suspicion we did less). We probably did a bit more miscellaneous picking up of things, but that tends to get left to the end of the day, and as DC are capable of trashing the house within 10 minutes, the fact they've not been in all day hardly signifies.

janey68 Tue 22-Apr-14 18:02:11

That's in response to sunny btw

janey68 Tue 22-Apr-14 18:01:37

But surely you would aim for a satisfying career anyway? There are no guarantees in life... No one knows when/ if they will meet a partner or when/ if they will have children... I'm certainly encouraging my dd and ds to aim for careers they will find fulfilling as well as enabling them to pay the bills... That way whatever your decisions, you're at least making them from a position of strength. Some people give up work because their job isn't a particularly attractive option, which (even if it turns out they like being at home) isn't the best of reasons

FourForksAche Tue 22-Apr-14 18:00:56

jasminemai its not about whether or not the particular tasks are hard work ffs! Its about inequality.

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Tue 22-Apr-14 17:51:13

I haven't noticed anyone factoring in the changing way of relationships? For instance, most women marrying are at least 27. Never used to be. Used to be much younger. Also average age of FIRST baby is now 28. In my group of friends I was first - at 34! 34!!!

If you meet the one at 21 great. But if you don't....? If you try to get a career? Then take time out your backwards further. I'll be over forty when I return. I didn't earn big then. Lots of my friends are degree and doing things this way. But society really really isn't set up to work like that.

Retropear Tue 22-Apr-14 17:40:22

I had 3 under 15 months.I also tended to limit screen time and do all the p quality play stuff,masses of reading,cooked from scratch to save money,no car etc.

I found it so hard that dp used to drive back at lunch time to take them out off half an hour to give me a break.blushHe used to really pity me and felt he had the easier deal.I know many who have/do find looking after kids hard.

Now his job has upped a gear I try to make sure stressful shite is kept to a minimum/done when he is at home.

As I said we're a team and take turns in supporting each other.When I return to work it will change again.

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