to sometimes think that SAHMs are "living the dream" and really envy them

(462 Posts)
Fizzler99 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:54:29

Ok so I don't have kids yet.

I work ridiculously long hours (as in out the house 6.30am-8pm minimum and often work late nights and weekends too). I have a long commute each way (can't afford to live where I work as property so expensive) and the job is very, very high stress. I earn a decent wage, but I am quite junior so I'm not on mega-money despite what my friends and family seem to think

I don't intend to keep this job forever, but I need to establish myself in my choosen career then I can hopefully 'down-grade' to something less stressful.

One of my colleagues has just given up work to become a SAHM. It just sounds like living the dream. No more waiting on cold station platforms for delayed trains at 6.30am, no more hideous commute, no more stressful job and nagging boss and office politics, no more late night working and surviving on takeaway or the contents of the office vending machine for weeks at a time. I am so jealous! envy

Please give me a much-needed reality check. Please tell me the reality of being a SAHM. For those of you that have gone from having a quite high-flying career to SAHM, please tell me how the two compare. I think I really need a reality check!

mindosa Thu 24-Jan-13 10:55:43

For some women it is living the dream for others it is soul destroying. No point in looking for a definitive - it doesnt exist

"Ok so I don't have kids yet."


foreversunny Thu 24-Jan-13 10:58:45

I think it all swings in roundabouts, and tbh I don't think there is a "perfect" option.

As a SAHM, there are times DH is deeply envious. Other times, I get very envious of his life style (full time work).

You do what works for you and your family.

MrsBucketxx Thu 24-Jan-13 11:00:51

There are days I long to be at work especially whem ive had no sleep, been pooed on weed on and tantrums all day, I suppose its all relative.

HeathRobinson Thu 24-Jan-13 11:01:39

Well, for a start, as a SAHM with small children, your hours would massively increase!

As a SAHM I can say I am not living the dream! I miss earning my own money and the social aspect of work. I am a SAHM because I was only earning £20k (full-time) and if I went out to work I would simply be paying for childcare and petrol, then school holidays would be a problem. Yes, some days I love being there for my DCs, but others..... It's swings and roundabouts.

Bonsoir Thu 24-Jan-13 11:02:42

I love being a SAHM. My working life was much as you describe - very long hours, eating meals that someone else had prepared (and probably chosen - I wasn't ever junior enough to regularly do the team run to the delicatessen to buy those late night dinners), wearing clothes imposed by the job, being nice to people I despised. Now I get to choose what I do with my days, what I eat, what I where, what I think about. Much better!

shewhowines Thu 24-Jan-13 11:03:07

I loved it, especially now when the children are older but I know countless women who have said it is actually easier and less stressful to go to work than stay at home with small kids. They leave the house tidy, come back to a tidy house and it doesn't really get messy at night because it's tea, bath and bed. They also miss on the constant arguing and wearing down that young kids are prone too.

Now staying at home with no kids, well that a different matter...........

Booyhoo Thu 24-Jan-13 11:04:34

the reality is that being a SAHM is a choice available to you as much as it it to your friend. you say you have chosen to establish yourself in your career. well own that choice! you could choose to have a child now and SAH if you want to. it really is a massive waste of brain space and energy being jealous of someone else for making a choice that you didn't. if you aren't happy with the choices you have made then have a rethink and see if you could be doing something/everything different. but dont waste energy being jealous. no-one has a perfect life. no-one.

ThedementedPenguin Thu 24-Jan-13 11:04:41

no more stressful job and nagging boss

This made me giggle. My 19 week old ds is the most nagging boss I've ever had. Also way more stressful than any job I've ever had.

Although the not having to commute is great smile

sweetkitty Thu 24-Jan-13 11:05:13

The grass is always greener.

I gave up a career in London, moved house and became a SAHM. I see it as my job for now (albeit with crap hours and even worse pay). On the plus side I love being my own boss so to speak, doing what I want with the DC, love spending time with them etc on the other hand it can be soul destroying, housework is just utterly boring, even though DP is fantastic and regards all his money as family money I would love to earn my own money again. I would also love to do something just for me.

At least I don't have to juggle childcare/illnesses/school holidays etc

I think like any choice you make in life there's good points and bad points.

pjmama Thu 24-Jan-13 11:05:26

"No more waiting on cold station platforms for delayed trains at 6.30am, no more hideous commute, no more stressful job and nagging boss and office politics..."

No more adult conversation
No more respect for the job that you do
No more sick days
No more full night's sleep
No more clothing without snot/sick stains on it
And your job is NEVER finished

"no more late night working and surviving on takeaway"
Ha ha ha!

Seriously though, the grass can always look greener. What works for some doesn't work for others.

BreconBeBuggered Thu 24-Jan-13 11:06:38

I used to have a colleague with 3 young DC. She would deliberately engineer hours of unpaid overtime so that she could stay at work for a rest. I didn't have any DC at the time, but I'd met hers, and could totally see her point. She wouldn't have thought being a SAHM was living the dream, not for a second.

shagmundfreud Thu 24-Jan-13 11:06:43

SAHM (well - work very part-time). Sitting here now with my dressing gown over my clothes in a gloomy, freezing cold house. Can't afford to turn the heating on during the day when the kids are out. Worrying about money a lot at the moment (child benefit gone as DH just scrapes in as higher rate tax payer). Son with ASD who isn't amenable to group child care so pretty much stuck unless I get a school hours job.

It's not all coffee mornings and drifting around the shops. I do all the shitty, mundane jobs around the house, am disrespected by my teenage dd for not earning any money and LONG for some money of my own and an identity other than that of 'mum.

FeckOffCup Thu 24-Jan-13 11:07:22

I'm a SAHM and much prefer it to going to work, I hated the last job I had though and was happy not to go back after maternity leave. It's not always easy, a 2 year old can be hard work, but the pleasure I get from being around my DD every day outweighs any negative for me.

Lovecat Thu 24-Jan-13 11:07:37

I have become a SAHM through redundancy, and although I have got some part time work it's only 10 hours a week so effectively I'm at home while DD is at school.

I love it but I get bored (cue MNing) and then I don't do half the stuff I intend to do.

SAHMing with under-school-age kids = nightmare (to me, I appreciate that not everyone will feel like this!). No free time, very little adult conversation, no-one is around to make you a coffee and gossip about last night's crap tv, brain begins to feel like it's shrinking (or is that just me?), DH comes home and his work is 'over' whereas mine carries on for a good few hours..

MarshaBrady Thu 24-Jan-13 11:08:27

I sometimes have rose-tinted glasses on about work. Then I go in to chat about a project and I relish my freedom again.

I like some aspects about doing work for clients. But mostly I am so happy not to be sitting in an office looking at a Mac or doing meetings. If I do it I prefer to do it from home. Also do my own work. Which can be hard to carve out due to cc costs.

But anyway, I am a bit tired of the park in the cold if it makes waiting at the station feel any better.

Well, I have never had a high flying career grin But do not underestimate the joy of going to the loo on your own wink
Seriously though, I think you find things hard in whatever situation you're in. I know I tend to look back on my days at work with rose-tinted glasses, when I could go to the loo in peace, eat a relaxed lunch and decide on the spur of the moment to pop to the shops after work with just a small handbag shock In reality though, it wasn't all good even though I had a relatively stress-free job and I do consider myself very very lucky indeed to be able to spend all my time with my children, I would find it very hard to have to hand them over to someone else.
So, YANBU, but it is not all sitting in front of the tv with your feet up grin I know that I imagined pre-DC that I would carry on with my life and they would just follow on behind blush But working full-time without DC, I had a lot more time to myself to do hobbies or just 'be' than I do now.

Lovemy3kids Thu 24-Jan-13 11:08:47

I too was like you and envied my friends who were SAHM. Then I became a SAHM for 8 years and, whilst I enjoyed it when the DC were babies, as they got older I found myself climbing the walls and wanting to be out interacting with adults more! I found myself envying people who went out to work but at the time, I was not 'allowed' by my XH to get a job.

However, now having returned to work full time and being a single parent to 3 DC, I feel this has helped me so much more in coping with the daily stresses of life.....and I don't envy SAHM's at all!

constantnamechanger Thu 24-Jan-13 11:09:03

ok I got up at 6.45, loaded washing machine, put load in it in tumble dryern unloaded dishwasher, breastfed and changed baby, woke other 2, breakfast, dressed, school run, home 9.45, breast fed baby, tea, toast, brushed teeth, reloaded dishwasher, cleaned table, put clothes away, reloaded tumble dryer, swept, tidied dcs bedroom. have 10 mins mumsnetting, now I'm going to change and feed baby, try to tidy my room. leave to get DD at 11.45.

Work is easier than this.

I love it - but it is exhausting.

Fairylea Thu 24-Jan-13 11:09:58

smile @ 6.30 early !

Ds 7 months is currently up from 4.30 onwards (believe me I'm trying everything)... and then even if he falls asleep again if it's near to 8 he has to wake up again as I have school run to do.... in the snow, up a big hill, with a pram....

That's just one small snapshot.

MarshaBrady Thu 24-Jan-13 11:10:10

I do rather rely on a cleaner even though I am home, possibly more so.

I have worked from home, part time, for years and loved it. Recently I was forced to return to an office and it was so hideous I have asked for early retirement. I am old and a bit crippled, and the 6am starts (to do the horse and walk the dog) followed by a 50 minute drive through shite traffic to sit in an office that stank of every conceivable thing that could be cooked or warmed up in a microwave was just to much for my soul to cope with. If it had been to do some really exciting work then maybe that would be different, but to do something that I could be doing from home was just soul destroying.

There are many different chapters in our lives.

Startail Thu 24-Jan-13 11:10:29

When your DCs are toddlers it's unremitting hard work, unless you really love small DCs they do your head in.

Once they do some preschool, can talk and don't need watching every second it is dreamy. It's pretty nice when they are at primary if it's the sort of school you can get involved with things at.

Now they go on the bus to secondary and all my friends are working it's pretty depressing some times.

At 40 plus with no career to go back to I feel I've never quite had an adult life and I've got bugger all to talk about. I'm not one for soaps, xfactor or gossip. Although I've never used it, I'm a postgraduate scientist and i found the primary school mum's light gossipy chat about people I don't know (I'm not from these parts) very hard to join in with.

I wish I'd work part time as soon as the DDs started school and now school has attached child care I might well have done.

Back then SAH was by far and away the best option for our family, long term I think it was a mistake.

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 11:11:12

I hated my job. I stopped working before I got pregnant in agreement with DH but far prefer having DS to look after - it gives a purpose to my days that being just a housewife didn't. I was crap at domestic stuff anyway. If anything I'm far more efficient since I've had a baby - probably because I've less time to work with!

My baby is sweet-natured and very easy-going, and I suddenly have a social life that I've missed since I stopped working (my fellow NCT mums have become good friends in the last 6 months and we all live close by). For me it's living the dream. But getting sick in your hair just after you've washed it is a bit wearing. Also while he's getting more interactive and enchanting as he grows, he's also getting to be more of a handful, and we haven't even started teething yet!

Lovelygoldboots Thu 24-Jan-13 11:11:51

I am guessing you are quite young because this sounds pretty immature. All I will say is this. Life is hard, there is no Shangri la whatever you choose to do.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:12:12

Some SAHPs really enjoy it.

But even for them I'm sure every day isn't a whirl of joy and glamour. And I know lots of friends who SAH and wish they didn't. They're not unhappy but it's not as they would wish.

I work from home mostly and do a job that the world and his wife want to do...but it has its ups and downs.

I think the best thing is to make the absolute best of what you've got, change it for the better if you can and not to hanker after what you can't have.

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Jan-13 11:12:31

I wonder if the OP's job is an internet researcher? grin

PartTimeModel Thu 24-Jan-13 11:14:14

"Well, for a start, as a SAHM with small children, your hours would massively increase!"
I think this is actually the case for ANY Mum not just SAHM's. I work FT and am also a Mum - surprisingly I still have parenting responsibilities and demands outside of office hours.

namchan Thu 24-Jan-13 11:15:12

I was incredibly unhappy on mat leave with newborn and a 16 month old-no way i could be a sahm. No money, can't drive, no toddler groups, nobody around to talk to, lack of sleep, literally never having one moment when I was alone, even when I went the loo I had to have at least one of the kids with me; it was awful. I went back to work 3 days a week, very low paid admin job so not a career woman at all, when my mum retired and offered to have kids twice a week. I am so much happier, despite office politics, commute with a train packed with school children, etc

It's different for everyone and entirely dependant on your individual circumstances.

Thingiebob Thu 24-Jan-13 11:15:14

Ok so I don't have kids yet.

Then you have no concept of what being a SAHM entails and therefore cannot make an accurate assessment. In fact until you experience the utter relentlessness and exhaustion of parenting, you really have no idea.

Oh yes, forgot the housework part! Do not underestimate the sheer volume of extra housework that two small children and an adult create, it is relentless. I used to go weeks before having to clean the dining room floor, WEEKS! shock We would be up to our knees in it if I left it weeks now grin

ubik Thu 24-Jan-13 11:16:18


Forget about 'fair' or 'living the dream,' do your sums before you start ttc. Think hard about the future, discuss with your partner. Look at the cost of childcare. Look at your future earnings and prospects. Remember these are his children too and you are a team.

Life gets harder when you have children and suddenly it's time for big girl pants.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:29

startail that is the situation many of my friends are in.

They happily gave up big careers for their babies and enjoyed the early years. But now our DCs are teens they can't get back in to employment and they can see this is how it might be.

Don't get me wrong, they're mostly well off. Not miserable. Not at all. And not vulnerable financially. But many are bored and unfullfilled.

Crinkle77 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:36

I think there are positives and negatives to being a SAHM as there are positives and negatives to going back to work. The compromise might be working part time? Although some of my friends have dreaded going back to work after maternity leave because they want to be at home with their children whereas my sister said she came back to work part time to have a break from the kids (said tongue in cheek). The one thing I would hate about being a SAHM is not having my own money.

Annakin31 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rikalaily Thu 24-Jan-13 11:20:11

I've been a SAHM for ten years since my first child was born, I enjoyed it at first but another three children later, my future job prospects are now rubbish and I'm finding it soul destroying. No time off, no time to myself (literally haven't had a day (or night) child free in 2.5years since my last child was born) When I'm ill I have to carry on as usual, I miss chatting to colleagues and meeting new people, I miss job having job satisfaction. I don't drive so literally stuck in all day every day, don't bother with toddler groups etc as they are so unfriendly here unless you already know someone there. I clean the house and cook the meals and wash the clothes, turn around and it's all back to square one so feel like I'm losing a battle every day. I used to feel like I was contributing something positive to the household by staying home for the kids but now I just feel useless, the shine of being a SAHM wears off after a while when you realise you literally don't have a minute for yourself. By the time the kids are in bed I'm too knackered to enjoy the peace sad.

I'm applying for a pre access course this year to start the ball rolling on retraining so I can have a career when the kids are older, I'm excited but scared because my workload will be higher and life still has to go on at home as dp works long hours.

If I could do it over again, I'd return to work after having dc1. Working is hard but you feel like you still have your identity, you're not just 'mum'.

nokidshere Thu 24-Jan-13 11:20:24

I have been a wahm for 14 years now. When the children we babies it was knackering physically but lovely to be with them. When they were pre school age it was completely exhausting but quite fun. When they started school it was bliss. Now they are 14 and 11 with a whole new set of challenges.

Sometimes its good and sometimes it's crap.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 24-Jan-13 11:21:25

I am a lawyer, used to work for a BigLaw firm in the city. Long hours, weekends, the lot.

These days I work part time in a different so as to stay home with the v young DDs on the other days - and get home in time to share the dinner/bath/bath wrangle with my partner on the days I do work. I'm very lucky that I found the job I did; often it's all or nothing, so part time in a quasi legal job is the holy grail.


I watch my erstwhile colleagues climbing up the ladder; I left that firm because they couldn't accommodate my need for flexibility. I listen to people swapping war stories of court battles won and lost, and my stories of potty training battles fall short. I look at my bank balance and wince.

And I love my DDs. I love them to bits. I'm a great mum, I put a lot of effort into it and I have built a community of mums and family friendly volunteer work and enrich my life where I can.

But there are days where I wake up, and I think Am I seriously expected to entertain two small demanding children all day? On my own? And feeling sick, or just blech, doesn't affect that. There's no possibility of calling in sick. Or taking it easy. It is what it is, and what it is is relentless. Having had the high flying, high pressure career doesn't make motherhood feel easier by comparison. Honestly. It doesn't.

Annakin31 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:22:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 24-Jan-13 11:23:08

I worked for 18 years in a very stressful job in London before adopting my first DC and giving up work.

I'm now 6 years into my life as a SAHM.

I don't miss the office politics and the long hours but I didn't mind the commute and I really enjoyed the afterwork social side and the occasional boozy lunches!

For me the first few years looking after a baby and then later a toddler and a baby were very very tiring but lots of fun. I had the freedom to decide how I would spend my day. I met loads of other mums and built up a great social life and have made a few very good friends. I took up running , went to the gym more and had lots of coffee mornings. I threw myself into my new life and loved every minute.

Once they start school it becomes less relentlessly tiring but you suddenly start being a slave to the school run. I walk four miles a day doing the school run! Then there's the homework to organise ( I know all parents have to do this though) and the ferrying around to various after school clubs and having DCs friends kids over for tea. I always imagined life would get easier once they were both at school but if anything I'm more tired!

But it isn't stressful. I can stop at any point if things are getting too busy. I am in control of my life and can make it as busy or as easy as want it to be.

My main memory of my working days is the constant health damaging stress and for a little while the bullying boss I had the misfortune to work for.

I do occasionally get a bit down and a little bit bored but I did when I worked ( more so actually)

I have no plans to return to work unless something comes up that really appeals to me. I've been doing voluntary work and will increase that as the kids get older.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 24-Jan-13 11:23:54

I wasn't a sahm as such but I was at home all week with my dses, working weekend nights as a nurse while DH had the dses.

Work was my saviour, I wouldn't have given it up for the world despite it being a very stressful and demanding job.

Looking after children all day long is very demanding, relentless and can be slightly soul destroying. I love my dses and don't regret the time we had together but when they were tiny it was a relentless merry go round I couldn't get off. I used to envy people with childcare!

The grass is always greener.....

Mrs3chins Thu 24-Jan-13 11:24:05

Before I left my job to start mat leave I had no intention of going back, I imagined lazy days with no stress and fun filled coffee and lunch dates. Now I loved my mat leave but by 9 months I was itching to get back to work - something I never imagined!! Being a SAHM is incredibly hard work and sooo tiring and yes it can be stressful! I love my little boy so much but I needed time to be me again at work and I also needed a break for 3 days lol! I also now appreciate the time with my son so much more because ive missed him while at work. So although I'm not much better off financially by working, having the best of both worlds works perfectly for us.

Badvoc Thu 24-Jan-13 11:30:04

A sahm is 24/7.
No pensions, no sick pay, no holiday.
And as for 6.30 being early...purleeeze.
Ds1 woke at 4.30 am for months.
Add to that no respect and its not exactly a bed of roses.

FlatsInDagenham Thu 24-Jan-13 11:32:50

It's both rewarding and exhausting. I love being my own boss and I love being with my DC. But I work 24 hours a day, minus the 15 minutes it takes DH to bath the girls every other night, and the 1.5 hours I go to a slimming world group once a week. I don't get time to do any hobbies and I can count the evenings out I've had in the last 5 years on one hand.

Mind you, although I do sometimes feel envious of DHs life - adult interaction, respect, freedom of movement and the change from 'work' to 'home' every day - I wouldn't like to swap with him. In fact, he used to be the SAHP while I worked full time and we swapped last year. I miss certain aspects of working but I choose to be a SAHM because I want to be with my DC.

Timetoask Thu 24-Jan-13 11:40:50

Op, I start by saying that you are definitely doing the right thing, work really really hard whilst you are young and childless, climb up that ladder, get lots of experience, make contacts, save money, spend money, work hard and have fun.

When children arrive things change. There are lots of women who manage to keep up the same work level, but I honestly don't know how they do it.

When my DC were little, I found being a SAHM really boring. It was stressful as well because my eldest has special needs. Luckily my DH is a wonderful and supportive husband. I went back to work when eldest started school. AND I LOVED BEING BACK AT WORK.

However, three years later, I found it too difficult to manage being a good mum and being fully available at work (working in IT). I left my job, and I am now really enjoying being a SAHM.

The DC are a little older, more independent, much more interesting. I just love being able to collect DC from school, chat about their day, play a board game if we feel like it, or just read, or cook together. I have time to help with music practice, just love spending proper time with them and not cram it al at the weekend.

Having said that, if I could find a part time job, I would take it.

cory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:41:34

Your title reminds of that bit in the Narnia story where they come to the Island Where Dreams Come True- and then realise not all dreams are happy ones grin

I enjoyed many aspects of SAHM. But it's less hard work to be back at my old job.

Booboostoo Thu 24-Jan-13 11:50:54

Aspects of being a SAHM are wonderful, like being there for all the first moments, the bits where the baby/toddler is playing nicely with you, laughing, doing things together, etc.

On the downside:

- if your DC is a poor sleeper it's a 24/7 job and it's really tough to keep being patient, understanding and cheerful.
- at some point you get seriously fed up with building blocks, matching colours, etc and no adult conversation all day long.
- there is no room for sick days or taking time off
- often there is the assumption that you will take over all household chores
- everything takes longer to do because you are either being interrupted or the toddler wants to help or the DC is totally uncooperative.

and you get to change ALL the shitty diapers.

bedmonster Thu 24-Jan-13 11:54:00

I love being a sahm. Would never have imagined just how demanding, full on, thankless and exhausting it would be but now dc 3 is here it feels totally natural. I've got into my stride now!

But sometimes id love to be Dp, who will sometimes phone me from work and say he's going for drinks when he's finished.

For me, going out for drinks involves feeding 3dc, bathing the baby, trying to at least brush my hair without a drama happening in the house (straightners are out of the question!), homework with the dds while plucking my eyebrows, taxiing dds to and from a club, putting the baby to bed and then crossing my fingers dp will make it home reasonably on time grin

It's not always like this, and for the most part its enjoyable for me as I have a good social life but before you have dc its impossible to understand how much your life changes.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 24-Jan-13 11:55:32

I think it depends on where you are with you kids. Staying at home with multiple small children is hard work (although there are some who really love it). Staying at home with school age children has more of that dream quality to it IMO.

I have a great job, which I really enjoy - but if I could afford it I'd work part-time, because I think you get the best of both worlds that way.

nonpractisingVirgin Thu 24-Jan-13 11:58:57

You don't have to work where you do in those long hours with that long commute if it's so terrible, why don't you look for something else?

Weissbier Thu 24-Jan-13 12:03:13

I adore spending time with DD but at the same time I couldn't imagine giving up work. Plenty of women want to and that's fine - you can't make value judgements about all this, and the traditional model is great if both the woman and the man are happy with it. Personally though, I don't feel the taxpayer funded my education for me to become a SAHM. I can't cook, I can't sew, I can't garden. I was educated like a man and I want to work kind of like a man. I love my job: moreover, I'm damned if I'm shafting my pension because it was me who went part-time, and I'm not up for relying financially on my husband. This side of the traditional model belongs to an era where it was much harder for husbands to leave their wives.

The really intense part of child-rearing lasts a decade. What would I do with the other thirty-five years of my pre-retirement life? I'm with Elisabeth Badinter on this one.

I did change my career direction to be more family-friendly before DD was born - not part-time, but I went into a related field where I work a lot from home. DH made a similar decision and so all in all, we both work and we both spend a lot of time with DD and don't have to do things like give her loads of calpol and send her in to nursery when she's not well, or have her do really long days there, which is important to us. Also, when I'm not working, I'm with DD or scrubbing the lav, I don't really go out socially. That's the bit I don't eat of the impossible have-it-all cake. I did that before and I can do that again when she's older. We also both just stopped doing stuff like ironing and cleaning windows so our windows are a bit dirty and we're a bit rumpled.

So my point is, whether SAHM is a dream or not depends on what's important to you, and where you find your personal identity. What we do isn't better than what a family with a SAHM mum does, or what a family with two lawyers and a live-in nanny does. It's up to the individual to marry what they want with what they feel their children need and generally I think we're very lucky to have so much choice today. I just think you need to be both astute and assertive regarding the long-term implications of your choices - everyone does, but particularly women, because we tend more than men to subordinate our own position.

mrsjay Thu 24-Jan-13 12:04:23

For some women it is living the dream for others it is soul destroying. No point in looking for a definitive - it doesnt exist

^ ^ that I also have a medical problem but I wanted children also being a sahm was the only way I could manage

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 24-Jan-13 12:13:49

Ha - well if you have no kids then of course being a SAHM seems like living the dream, because to you all it means is just giving up work!

I'm a SAHM and I love it, for many of the reasons you have listed. But when you factor in the poo, the lack of sleep, the trying to keep a small child entertain all day without going mad then the scales are a lot more even than you might imagine.

I think many SAHMs do end up drudging for their families, doing all the housework, all the laundry, becoming the default childcare 24/7, treated as a 2nd class citizen by their husbands.

I am in the fortunate position of having a cleaner who also does our ironing, and a husband who does his share of getting up in the night with the DCs.

Eliza22 Thu 24-Jan-13 12:18:13

I love it. For different reasons. I was a nurse for 26 yrs doing shifts/weekends/Christmas/new Year.... All of it. For the past 6 yrs, I've been a SAHM. I'm in a lucky position I know and it means I'm there for ds when the school closes at short notice, with snow.... In the holidays.... In the morning, when he goes and at 3.30 when he comes home. The house is warm, lit, inviting and he has his tea at a reasonable time.

When I was little my mum had to work. Me and my big sis came home to a dark house (in winter) after hanging about for the bus home.... We had chores to do like preparing veg for tea, running the Hoover over (we had 3 dogs) emptying the ashtrays (!!) and trying to get the oil heater going!

I know which situation I'd rather be in, as a child. Also, I don't spend the weekend catching up on washing, ironing, shopping and bed changing, like I used to have to do, when I was totally knackered from working long shifts.

I LOVE and appreciate it, enormously! smile

MrsDoomsPatterson Thu 24-Jan-13 12:22:25

I work two and a half days a week....To me this is the best of both worlds, I have stayed at home, not sure I could do it again. Saying that I do more to fill my time with hobbies outside of work now so perhaps I'd be OK..But then I wouldn't be ale to aford to do them! Oh well...

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 12:23:16

I once read that when comparing yourself to friends you usually pick out small aspects of their life that you would like to have rather than looking at the whole picture. For example, you think "I wish I was as thin as my thinnest friend", or "as rich as my richest friend". And at the same time they could probably pick out aspects of your life they would quite like. I found it gave me an interesting perspective on things & might help you get around how you're feeling. You've picked out the things you don't like about your life at the moment (like standing on a cold train platform) & think how lovely it would be to be her, not doing those things. But what do you think she would envy about your life? Perhaps being able to go to sleep & not wake until morning? Perhaps having adult conversation through the day? Or having the freedom to spend your money however you feel like it (without having to consider the needs of little ones first)? Try to think not about teeny aspects but about your whole life compared to her whole life. It'll help you make a fairer comparison. X

fromparistoberlin Thu 24-Jan-13 12:23:27

not when their husbands leave them, and they have 3 kids, and nothing on their CV

its all relative......

HannahsSister40 Thu 24-Jan-13 12:24:39

I love being a sahm. I had my eldest dc's, was sahm for several years, then returned to work. When I was working again, embroiled in the office machine once more and aware that my time belonged to someone else (in a way which is infinitely less negotiable than time sharing is with the kids) I realized that those years of being a sahm really were the absolute best years of my life and will stay with him till my last hour. Obviously it wasn't all roses. It was often very difficult, a bit boring, a bit drudgy..but you could also list a whole page of negatives about working in an office! You have to:

1) really really want to do it (to enjoy it- if you're at home through no choice, that's a bit disempowering)
2) have a dh with a high salary who 100% supports your decision and pools all resources equally, including paying equally into a pension for you!

Katnisscupcake Thu 24-Jan-13 12:25:57

I guess I almost have the best of both worlds.

I work from 6.30am until 5pm working for a large corporation, but based from home. So no commute. DD is 3.5 and goes to Pre-school. I drop her at 8am and DH who works 5am-1.30pm, picks her up.

I do those hours Monday to Thursday which equate to full time hours and then get a Friday to spend time with DD, aswell as the weekend.

BUT I hate my job... but because the pay is good, I get to work from home and have a 3 day weekend, I can't really complain. It would make it VERY hard to get a new job though if I was made redundant (which is very possible atm).

Also, I had to go back to work when DD was only 4 months old because we were only on SMP which is rubbish and couldn't afford the bills... The company didn't offer anything extra.

Theicingontop Thu 24-Jan-13 12:26:40

I actually really enjoy being a SAHM. I worked for the first two years of my son's life and it was horrendous, the job I enjoyed turned sour for me because I would rather be with him, and I hated the thought of leaving him each night. I was exhausted.

No cons from me. But I'm ttc so check back when I'm pregnant with number two, and see how rosy everything is then grin

popcornpaws Thu 24-Jan-13 12:33:18

I couldn't wait to leave my work in the city when I found out i was pregnant, for all the reasons you stated.
It was the best 16 years of my life, so much freedom to do what you want when you want. I enjoyed and appreciated every day with my daughter.
Went back to work, got fed up with all the bullshit in my workplace, took a "gap year" to have some me time and am now back at work, different job, part time in a job i love.
So for me it was living the dream.

Librarina Thu 24-Jan-13 12:37:51

I'm 20 weeks PG and I've been thinking about this a lot recently. You don't say how old you are, but if you're under 30, I think there's time for both dreams.

I qualified in a profession I love over 10 years ago. So I've had 10 years of full time, stimulating, interesting work that challenges and delights me. I've been married to DH for 4 years so we've had plenty of good times together. When baby is born I'll have a year of Maternity Leave which will hopefully help us work out what sort of arrangement will work best for our little family when that ends. It's hard to predict these things but I imagine that me returning to work 3 days a week will suit us, especially if DH compresses his hours so that we only have to arrange 2 days childcare.

The thing is, while it is possible to have a lot, it's not possible to have it all. I think if either of us was a full time SAHP then not only would things will be financially tougher, either one of us might get bored/resentful/frustrated. If we both carried on working full time then we would be financially better off in the long run, but we wouldn't get to see our baby and a lot of our income would go on childcare.

For us the best solution is to try and find a balance. Cut and juggle hours, balancing work, childcare and domestic life. Try and find some time and money for fun but accept that the life of nice coffee, weekends away, croissants in bed after our morning run is over, we have a different life now.

If I don't go back to work full time then I will miss out on some elements of professional development in the short term however the pay off will be the time spent with our child and I'm hoping that I've built up enough professional credit to accomodate 5 years of part time working.

For me the secret to any kind of contentment is finding a balance that works for you and don't worry about other people's choices and arrangements.

Depends whether your dream includes

- being woken in the night by a screaming baby, feeding said baby. Repeat an hour later. Repeat. Repeat

- having trouble leaving the house, even to post a letter, while your tiny baby howls, screams, gets feed, poos

- being unable to eat hot food or have a hot coffee as the baby is clinging to you. Everything is consumed lukewarm

- vomit, poo, wee. Often all over you, not just the baby. Oh, and the sofa, or the carpet. Or someone else's carpet blush

- when they're a bit older, you might find you have been landed with all the cooking, cleaning, washing

- lack of adult stimulation

- having to read the same boring, boring story over and over. Play the same boring, boring game over and over

- having an audience when you go to the toilet

- not having time or energy for yourself, whether it's having a bath or doing evening classes or playing tennis

- all your money mysteriously disappears, spent on the child. But this is nothing compared to the loss of money due to giving up your salary

Have I put you off yet? grin Seriously, working is much easier!

Overreactionoftheweek Thu 24-Jan-13 12:41:25

I work two days a week while MIL has ds - I often think about being a full time SAHM when work is pissing me off, but threads like this always remind me that it's a good idea to keep a foothold in the working world just in case.

I can't wait until ds is at school and I have those lovely empty hours all to myself! <crappy mother alert> I do love spending time with him really!

sparkle12mar08 Thu 24-Jan-13 12:47:46

If I'm honest being a SAHM now both of mine are in school is living the dream. I love it and have an incredible amount of freedom to do whatever I like - some days I really do do nothing other than surf on the net for 6hrs! However those first 3-4 years are a pain in the arse to be frank. It's far more soul destroying and much more relentless than working, depending on the exact job. I worked in the public sector for 10 years pre kids and spent some of that in a high pressured lead role and it gave me a breakdown - it's why I didn't go back after dc2. Overall, I'd much rather be at home than working now. Extra money in the budget would be lovely - we halved our (considerable) family income for me to be able to stay home - but you cut your cloth accordingly.

JessieMcJessie Thu 24-Jan-13 12:51:56

OP, instead of fantasising about being a SAHM, why not reconsider your current situation and make some changes to improve it? The commute- is it REALLY true you can't afford to live nearer, or just that you won't compromise on the size of your home or the niceness of your area? Wouldn't having more sleep in a 1bed flat be preferable to leaving a bigger place at 6.30 am? If you're working late and at weekends you don't really need much stuff at home, and small places can still be made pretty and comfy. As you get more senior and earn more you can upgrade. Re the long hours, of course in junior positions it's a bit beyond your control, but are you REALLY focussing, or messing about on coffee runs and on the Internet as treats to help you through the day? Get a book on time management and model yourself not on SAHMs but on working mums who have to get it all done so they finish in time to see their kids.

SofaKing Thu 24-Jan-13 12:54:06

I am glad to have read this thread.

I've been a sahm for 5 years, 3 dc. I've been ill recently and was in hospital before Christmas and am on steroids.
I feel terrible and struggle to cope. I'm angry with myself because I feel I'm not coping and I should be able to.

Thank you for reminding me that looking after 3 children 5 and under is actually quite hard work, even with a supportive (but messy) DH, and that it is OK to be struggling. If I was in paid employment I would have been signed off by hospital for at least six weeks, as it is I did a 12 hour day with the DC the day after leaving hospital as DH could not get any more leave from work.

On the other hand my lovely mum takes two smallest DC every Thursday morning which is why I have time to be on MN!

whois Thu 24-Jan-13 12:54:37

Sometimes it would be amazing, other times I think the lack of adult stimulation, lack of cash, drudgery of day-in-day-out child care could be wearing. I'm sure it's not all long walk in the park, picnics and happy smiles.

Can you make some changes to how you love to improve things? A flat share nearer would would cut the commute and make life more fun.

Long commutes destroy your soul.

It can be living the dream but only if

Your h is completely supportive of you not working
You have a clear idea why you want to stay home to raise your kids
You can cope with the lack of status/respect from society.

Do you respect your friend and the job she will be doing raising her children, if not why the hell would you respect yourself?

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 12:55:48

I think it is a very personal choice and agree there is no best way. For me as soon as I had ds1 I knew I would never want to work again. We cut our cloth accordingly and until FTC came along struggled financially but it was worth it. Some people though need to work for their sanity because they need some sort of outside stimulation they can only find at work. Being a sahm doesn't mean you are tied to the house and that you have no life. For me it is very rewarding and I have many interests and hobbies which don't include the family. For me I am living my dream, but to someone else it would be their nightmare.

becsparkel Thu 24-Jan-13 13:01:27

I gave up my job to stay at home, it wasn't a difficult decision as my boss was (prob still is) a complete twonk.

So far today I have been screamed at, bitten, battled with nappy changes, had a 15 mo old almost permanently attached to my boob and not managed to leave the house yet. that's after fuck all sleep due to teething. On the upside I've also had cuddles, smiles and some lovely nonsensical chat... And I managed to have a shower today, albeit with a harassing toddler banging on the glass in disapproval! Right now he is napping and the house is a disaster area, I should be tidying, cleaning, laundry & making dinner but I'm going to have a HOT cup of tea and read Caitlin Moran.

impty Thu 24-Jan-13 13:01:28

Funny to be envied... I have often felt pitied.
Can be fabulous esp. once kids are at school. Can also be awful.
Like all things very careful what you wish for grin

TeenTwinsToddlerandTiaras Thu 24-Jan-13 13:02:20

No I've done SAHM with baby, WOHM with baby/todder, SAHM with twins from newborn to school age and a school age DC, WOHM with 3 DC all at school and NOW SAHM with single DC from newborn to current toddler age and 3 school age DC. PHEW!

WOHM with baby/toddler is invariably easier than any other connotation IMHO slightly harder, due to school events and actually getting them to school on time, with school age DC as well but none of the above are harder than being a SAHM with pre schoolers. Isolation, constant mess, constant work, constant washing, constant suicide missions, screaming, yelling, crying (that's just me!) etc, etc, everything much harder.

Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a mum <<ha ha>>.

namchan Thu 24-Jan-13 13:07:06

I would like to point out though, re sleepless nights or having to deal with kids with noro virus, that you have to do that when you work as well!

littlewhitebag Thu 24-Jan-13 13:07:13

I was a SAHM when my children were small and i absolutely loved it. It helped that i made friends with a bunch of other mums with children the same age so i was never lonely and we all had fun together. I work part time now as my DD are older. I do understand though it is not for everyone.

badguider Thu 24-Jan-13 13:13:44

I don't have children yet but am pregnant with hopefully my first (early days yet). I plan to 'live the dream' but my dream is not full-time SAH, I work freelance from home with some long travel/client meeting days.

Based on what a couple of my friends/colleagues do, I hope to take on about 3days a week work (mainly from home, travel about once a fortnight) and take my LO to a local nursery or CM to let me do that. I think that'll be great.... but I worked a LONG time and very hard to get to the stage I could set up freelance and make a decent living from it.

badguider Thu 24-Jan-13 13:17:35

I should say, I would SAHM if I had a child with additional needs, or a small-holding type home that required a lot more work than my wee flat does...

issimma Thu 24-Jan-13 13:19:07

It depends on the day. Sometimes I resent the drudgery, other days it feels like a complete doss. Actually this can change by the hour!

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 13:19:09

i lost the will to live at reading you don't have kids yet.

trust me love, when you do you will much prefer cold train platforms at 6.30 to 2 hourly feeds from a leech who will not leave you alone for the next 25 years ( at least)

and as your watching jezza kyle, whistfully thinking of those heady days when you were out there, in power suit, doing something called 'commuting' you will think back and think that you much prefer it to the frontal lobotomy which is SAHMdom

DragonMamma Thu 24-Jan-13 13:19:16

For me, being a SAHM (well, I work very very part time) is pretty much soul destroying. I can imagine it's not that bad if you have a rich partner who can bankroll you for endless days out and activities.

Mostly though, to be a SAHM means a drop in salary so swanning off to baby yoga is not an option because you need to heat the house/eat/cloth yourself/fix the car and all the crap that comes with it.

I didn't find it as bad on DC1 6 years ago because the cost of living wasn't nearly as high, petrol wasn't an issue and we did more. With DC2 who's 1, thinking about petrol to go places, drinks and food all come in the play.

I went back 3 days with DC1 and then slowly increased to FT again but 4 days was the nicest balance for me.

I wish childcare wasn't so costly, I'd love to work in the day again as opposed to at night when I'm shattered from doing a 12 hr shift with a toddler and all the hair pulling that comes with it.

issimma Thu 24-Jan-13 13:25:01

Would quite like it if my two were not under two years old, if I had unlimited funds, a nanny and other domestic help.
As it stands, I'm looking forward to going back to work! I love my job, and am v lucky to be able to do it PT from home, and for DH to earn enough to enable this. On bad days though, I long for a full time, office based job, at least an hour away so I could read and drink hot coffee on the train.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I worked until I gave birth at a week overdue, because it was easier than being home with a toddler. Does that answer your question?

moominmarvellous Thu 24-Jan-13 13:33:17

The title of this made me laugh, as I am a SAHM who thinks YOU are living the dream!

As one poster above said, the grass is always greener! You pretty much exchange one kind of routine (and the good and bad that come with it) for another and all that it entails.

I think maybe someone like Beyonce has the ideal set up :D

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Thu 24-Jan-13 13:38:42

I would much rather work than be a SAHM! Ive done both, and i find work much easier!

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 24-Jan-13 13:43:46

Yes, YABU - being a SAHP is different for each person. It sounds like it is completely irrelevant to you at the moment anywhere - why are you even thinking about it? There are lots of things you could be jealous of - someone with a better paid, low stress, flexible job, living next to their office for example.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 24-Jan-13 13:43:59


MummyPig24 Thu 24-Jan-13 13:45:44

I love being a sahm spending time with my lovely children. I wouldn't describe it as "living the dream". I have no identity of my own, no self esteem. I am shouted at. Whined at, puked on, snotted on, weed on, pooed on, moaned at on a daily basis.

I get massive amounts of joy from seeing everything my children do. But I'm worn out. The demands on on me are enormous and constant. There is so much pressure to do the right think, be the right kind of parent.

I have no career, no income of my own. I'm not sure what I will do when my children are older and I need to go back to work.

Op maybe if you have children in the future and possibly become a sahm you could come back and let us know if you are living the dream?

Abitwobblynow Thu 24-Jan-13 13:49:56

Loving this thread! SAHM for 20 years (lady wot lunches) and that was a mistake.

I remember part time mothers telling me they would go back to work for a rest! Babies/toddlers/small children are so precious but they have no off button, ever.

I am glad that my children take me for complete granted ie I have done my job properly, but it has left me dependent on a man which is a huge mistake. Don't do it!

Cherriesarelovely Thu 24-Jan-13 13:53:08

I agree with you to some extent. When I first had DD, even though I had PND and was horrible sleep deprived I remember thinking "no matter how bad this gets it will never be worse than teaching practice" that was so stressful it made my curly hair go straight!

I now work PT (LOVE my teaching job) and for me that is absolutely lovely.

Boobz Thu 24-Jan-13 13:54:50

I have been a SAHM for the past 3 years. I have a 3yr, 2yr and 10 month old.

I am DYING to go back to work. I am not a good SAHM (and I have lots of help). I have just had 2 job interviews (over the phone as am in Africa but returning to UK next week) and am walking on air as I have been asked back for second interviews (in person, when I get back next week) for both of them. Oh to commute, and talk to adults, and use my brain, and earn money! I CAN'T WAIT.

MrsKoala Thu 24-Jan-13 13:55:50

i know SAHMs (including me) who can't afford to work. They watch their skills stagnate and face the prospect of being virtually unemployable when the children go to school. If their relationship ended they/we'd be fucked. It's a choice yes, but it is a risk with the only real alternative to be not to have children at all.

I've also never worked so hard. At work you can go and have a cup of tea or lunch break. I envy DH's commute and lunch breaks - i would love 3 hours to snooze or read per day.

I adore ds and i love being home tho.

Longdistance Thu 24-Jan-13 13:58:16

I'm living the dream as a sahm.

I'm up at 6am, and the dd1 gets to bed at after 9pm. She's 3. Then I have to tidy, clean, wash up, and then I get to bed a 11pm. And it all starts again. I don't get paid, and it's very lonely at times.

If any of them wake I get up with them as dh is a lazy sod, and won't even do this at the weekend

I think for everyone including dh.

<beam me up Scotty>

spanky2 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:04:06

My biggest sacrifice is being a sahm . I spend most of my day tidying cleaning and running errands for everyone else. None of it is noticed or appreciated . I tutor my dyslexic ds1. Yes I get to spend time with my dss. We are having to remortgage our house to pay of the debts we have built up while I'mnot working and our new boiler . Me and dh have no money for ourselves . I work 13 hour days. I never get to leave work as it's at home. My role is ridiculed by working mums and taken for granted by my family .

FreudianLisp Thu 24-Jan-13 14:06:26

I've got toddler twins and I work two days per week.

I find my SAHM days much easier. No commute, no pressure, nobody else's expectations to deal with (except the kids, obviously), no feeling like I'm not good enough, no need to look smart, etc. And I say that as someone who has a very interesting, rewarding job.

I don't think people should be patronising you, OP. I could have written your post when I was younger (except for the long hours bit) and I still feel the same now. For me, managing a house of rampaging toddlers is much easier than performing in a demanding job.

Squitten Thu 24-Jan-13 14:07:01

I'm doing pretty well as a SAHM. DH works but mucks in with the kids when he's here and we have a cleaner once a fortnight so the house can never get beyond a certain point. We can also afford for me to study so that I can do something for myself and keep my brain occupied with what I like.

On the flipside, I have been doing this for 4 yrs now and there have been plenty of times when I have been exhausted beyond measure with babies who did not sleep, frustrated and stressed out with bratty toddlers (still going through that!) and quite lonely for adult company.

I'm not living a dream as such, just doing a job that suits me and that I enjoy. Like any other job it is demanding and there are moments where I hate it and wonder what the hell I'm up to. But they are few and far between - and that's how it should be, whatever you decide to do with yourself.

GirlOutNumbered Thu 24-Jan-13 14:11:02

I'm on fourth month of maternity. Some days I love it, like today both DS1 and DS2 having a nap at the same time and I am drinking coffee and cruising the web.
Other days I can not wait to go back to work, it's easier and I enjoy being around adults. Plus I spend soooooo much money being off work!

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:12:38

I've been a SAHM since DS was born two years ago and I absolutely love it. I work from home very part time but it fits in with DS so he doesn't go to childcare and we don't have family nearby to help. There are moments when I find it boring or stressful but I would say 95% of the time it's absolutely brilliant. But I think I only enjoy it so much because there is never ever a day when I don't leave the house (barring illness or very bad weather) and because DS isn't solely my responsibility - as soon as DH is in the house absolutely everything is 50/50.

The reason I love it is because I am in charge of my own days and I am a very sociable person so I spend most of my time seeing friends. DS plays with their children while I have a chat and a laugh - heaven! I do some housework, but no more than I'd have to do if I was working (exception being making and tidying up after lunch), DH does the rest. DS knows that if I am eating or drinking tea I am off limits - this was absolute rule from the moment he was able to understand. I am absolutely not at his beck and call. He is absolutely not allowed in the bathroom with me. I am very lucky that he really is a lovely good-natured child who I genuinely enjoy being with. He does annoy me at times (as I do him!) but mostly we rub along very well and have a lovely time together. It is so nice to wake up in the morning and think "what do I have to do today?" and the answer is to hang out with my son and my friends, as opposed to when I was working when it was a rush to get out the door to do a very stressful job (teaching) that left me exhausted.

I do think it's horses for courses. Enjoying being a SAHM takes a certain mindset. If you're going to stay in the house all day, or if you're married to someone who ends up seeing the children as being entirely your job, then it's going to be pretty hellish.

OP it sounds more to me like you are wasting precious years on a job that is draining the life out of you. You can change that without becoming a SAHM and I think you would be doing yourself a massive disservice if you didn't.

Ragwort Thu 24-Jan-13 14:16:02

There are just so many different ways of being a SAHM or being a WOHM - not all women who work are in high powered jobs where they have their own autonomy and get to meet interesting and stimulating people all day; equally being a SAHM to three under threes, living in a high rise flat with a lift that doesn't work, a DH who doesn't help out and a very low income is not going to be much fun at all.

I have had a very easy time as a SAHM - esp. now that my DS is at secondary school grin - we had our child late in life, mortgage paid off, DH is supportive and enjoys being a 'hands-on' Dad, never have any concerns about 'who' earns the money - it is all 'joint'. DS was a very 'easy' baby (ie: he slept a lot grin and was no problem to take out with me). I have had plenty of opportunities to use my (work) skills to do lots of interesting voluntary work so I am always out and about meeting stimulating people and using my brain - on my terms, ie: I don't have to do what someone else tells me grin.

So yes, for me its been great, but it won't be the same for lots of women.

KobayashiMaru Thu 24-Jan-13 14:16:17

It's not my bloody dream, I can tell you that. There is only so long you can play lego, pretend to be a horse, and spend most of your life cleaning, cooking, washing and following/ferrying kids around before you go out of your mind. For me anyway*

*I did long ago.

Being a sahm is probably a lot more fun if you have money for lots of activities/a cleaner/a bigger house etc, I'm guessing.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:16:50

BTW - SAHMs who say they "long for adult company" - surely a solution would be to go to groups and make friends? I have more company as a SAHM than I ever did when I was working, and it's genuine relaxed sociable company rather than the more rushed and obligatory sort you get at work. I've found the freedom of being at home has resulted in me making great friends with people, and spending a lot more time socialising.

Ragwort Thu 24-Jan-13 14:19:11

Cailin - you experience is very similar to mine smile - its such a key point to mention that you are 'in charge of your own days' - few people who go out to work have that luxury.

Good point about bathrooms, I never understand why so many mums say they can't go to the loo in peace, surely if you make it clear from day 1, (and close the door) - your DC will learn not to disturb you? (SN excepted).

My DS has never, ever disturbed me in the bathroom grin.

umiaisha Thu 24-Jan-13 14:20:38

I am a SAHM to 6 year old DD and 22 month old DS.

I went back to work when DD1 was 5 months and have worked full time up until last summer when we worked out that our childcare costs were meaning that I was working for £400 a month. Unlike most of the other posters I feel so privileged and fortunate to be at home and really enjoy the freedom of it. We go to a couple of classes and toddler groups a week and obviously have to do the school run, but other than that we can please ourselves. If we are at home, DS has a sleep from noon to 2.30 so I have my lunch in peace (this never happened at work!) and catch up on a few bits and bobs. I have found I have more time for my hobbies, friends/family and many people have commented on how much more relaxed I seem.

A few of the other posters have said that being a SAHM is a nightmare when you have been up all night with sick children etc. What other options do you think working parents have?! They still have to pick up parenting duties when they get home from work and have to function sometimes in paid employment on 0 hours sleep!

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:20:52

To add - I don't think enjoying being a SAHM takes any money at all. I spend about £1 a week - 50p for each playgroup session. Otherwise I am either in someone's house, at the Surestart centre, or going for a walk (not in this weather obviously!). I don't have a cleaner or a big house.

RobinSparkles Thu 24-Jan-13 14:21:06

I'm a SAHM (well I work very very part time about 6 hours a week) and I feel very fortunate that I am able to stay at home, it means we don't have to pay for child care and there is always someone here when DD1 is ill from school etc.

Sometimes there are good days but others I just want to take to my bed and stay there forever!

No, we might not have to stand at a cold train station but we have to walk to school every day at a snails pace because 2 yo DD2 won't go in the pushchair and wants to walk and can't walk any quicker. Then she whines because she's cold. Then she wants picking up because she's tired. I'm stressed because we're late because someone filled their nappy/needed a poo/tipped their juice all over the floor. Then we have to wait in the cold until the teachers let them in.

School always want things too - people to help make toast, fundraisers blah blah blah. Some days I feel like I might as well pitch up a bed there!

Housework is relentless! Children spill things all the bloody time and they're destructive and fiddle and touch.

Days are longer because even when everyone else is home from work or school you have to help the children with their homework, make tea, wash up, bath the children, read them a story, put them to bed. Even when the DC are in bed I usually have ironing to do and packed lunches to make etc.

I do realise that all the above is part of having children so I know that WOHMs do all this too. I take my hat off to parents who both work FT.

I think back to the days Pre DC, when DH and I both worked full time, I used to have to get the bus to work but it was a lot less hassle than getting the bus would be now. No one whining at me while waiting and I could just let the journey wash over me and spend 30 minutes thinking or reading before work. I would get home and only have to worry about getting my dinner. If I did a big house clean on a Saturday it would stay clean all week until the next Saturday. Dh and I could come and go as we pleased. "Shall we go to the cinema/pub/out for a meal?" "Yes, why not!" Now we can't go anywhere without planning weeks beforehand!

OP, would you like to swap? I have two DDs aged 5 and nearly 2. They are well behaved occassionally. wink

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:22:35

Ragwort - I tried to get DS to come into the bathroom with me so I could start to show him using the toilet, in preparation for potty training, and he said "Yuck!" and wouldn't! Luckily he will go in with DH though. If I have to take him to the loo with me in a restaurant he is not impressed!

KobayashiMaru Thu 24-Jan-13 14:22:54

We don't all have surestart centres though, or playgroups that cost as little as that (or indeed any playgroups at all).

thesnootyfox Thu 24-Jan-13 14:23:15

The grass is always greener... I've done both and I found the SAHM quite gruelling, I also found that I'm not good at it. Now self employed and working from home with limited childcare. On a good day I have the best of both worlds, on a bad day I have the worst of both worlds. When my youngest is in reception I think that the good days will definitely outweigh the bad and I will have the right balance for me.

RobinSparkles Thu 24-Jan-13 14:25:09

Meant to say:

No, I don't think that being a SAHM is "living the dream". Not all the time anyway.

Staying at home with no one to look after might be wink.

BeebiesQueen Thu 24-Jan-13 14:25:11

I loled at 'I dont have kids yet'!

I am a SAHM to a 2 year old and an almost 1 year old, and some days it is lovely. The kids follow routine exactly as tehy are ment to, the 2 year old doesnt have a tantrum and the 1 year old sleeps during the day.

Other days its really hard, ok so I dont have to stand on a cold platform at 6am waiting for a train, but I bet you dont get hit, kicked, punched, spat at and/or shouted at?

I do get a rude awakening at 5am by children shouting at me, I dont get to take a shower with out 2 people watching or get to use teh bathroom with out teh door open or the same 2 people watching.

I dont have late night office working but I dont get a lunch break to recoup, in fact some days I dont get lunch!

I dont have office politics but I do have playgroup politics and alfa mums who dont like what my children are wearing or who are shocked because I dared to give her a chocolate buscuit just to get her to stop nagging at me (you still have the nagging bosses, just the age thats diffrent!)

Parenting is one of teh most stressful jobs there is, you are suddenly in charge of a little persons LIFE, you have no idea what they want or need and most of teh time are guessing. at least with a stressful job you have a job description, instructions and an idea of how to get from a-b. with parenting your only instruction is 'bring them up as kind, polite, valuable members of the community' I mean come on HOW!!

and as for takeaways and surviving on the office vending machine, I am jealous you have a vending machiene, some days I dont get a chance to eat anything till the little ones have gone to bed. And takeaways? what are they? only having 1 income I dont have teh money to get a takeaway. I would love not to have to cook every evening and then have the loveable delights throw what I have made (quite literally in the case of the 1 year old) back in my face.

There are alot of upsides to being a sahm, I wouldnt have it any other way but at the end of teh day its a job, and there are good and bad points to every job.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:26:14

Kobayashi - is there really no Surestart centre within driving distance of you? And no playgroups? Do you live in quite a rural location?

There are other options for making friends - nethuns meet up section is really useful, I made some good friends in the last place I lived, we used to go to each other's houses a lot.

HeyHoHereWeGo Thu 24-Jan-13 14:27:21

OP are you a doctor?
I was/am and am now a SAHM and yes, I am living the dream!

(Missing the money and the "glamour" of heading out in a nice suit and not being covered in food though)

CheeseStrawWars Thu 24-Jan-13 14:28:59

No more waiting on cold station platforms for delayed trains at 6.30am

No, you swap that for being woken at 5.30 by a small person entirely dependent on you to meet his needs. You end up waiting around on cold pavements taking 20 mins to do a walk that takes an adult 5 mins as your toddler has to stop and look at everything/fight you/generally piss about the whole way

No more hideous commute

It's called the school-run/preschool drop-off... see above.

No more stressful job...

Trying to leave the house takes 30 mins, it's always touch and go whether you'll make appointments on time, toddler tantrums in Tesco make you feel out of control and judged by all and sundry, explosive nappies that leak everywhere... And the baby gets sick, and you have to work out if it's something you treat at home with Calpol or is it going to turn into something worse, and should you call the OOH doctor, or just keep checking his temperature, because his sister had a febrile convulsion at this age... Trying to get baby to have a nap as if they don't go to sleep that's it, that's your one chance to get a hot drink/something to eat gone til bedtime.

...nagging boss

You become the nagging boss: "It's time to go, let's get shoes on. Shoes on please. Shoes on. Shoes on, now. SHOES! SHOES ON!" Insert any job of choice, tidying up, getting up the stairs for bath...

...and office politics

You swap that for parenting politics, and who's doing it right/wrong. Little old ladies will come and tell you how you should be doing it. Politics of a different sort. And of course, the politics of housework. Do read that, by the way. Your domestic balance of power shifts in ways you can't imagine, til you're living it.

no more late night working and surviving on takeaway or the contents of the office vending machine for weeks at a time

Late night working? I was up five times last night with a poorly DC. As for food, the nights when they have screamed for 1.5 hours before going to sleep leave you so exhausted you either call out for takeaway, or just don't bother eating, as eating eats into time you could be asleep.

"The dream"? Not mine! At least at work there's a chance of a payrise or other recognition for the job you're doing. And the guilt! I love my kids, but I am seriously not designed to spend 24/7 around them... I'm a much better mummy when I have my own headspace/work to go out to and come back to them. The one lets me recharge for the other.

RobinSparkles Thu 24-Jan-13 14:29:11

Btw, I can go to the toilet in peace. Sometimes I pretend that I need to go just to get peace because they'll leave me alone. grin

rainrainandmorerain Thu 24-Jan-13 14:30:15

I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, to some degree.

OP, unless I have missed something, then it sounds as if you really don't like your job very much. I would warn against romanticising sahm alternative because of that. There really are all kinds of ways of being a sahp/wohp - there is no definitive experience.

FWIW, the mums I know who seem to be the unhappiest in terms of life choices/decisions are those who hated their jobs, saw motherhood as something that would being them a lot of fulfillment, but then found that very hard too.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:32:04

Beebies - I don't mean this rudely, but how can you not have time to eat? I know I only have one child (so far, DC2 on the way imminently!) but still DS has his bad days where he is very demanding. But if I want to eat he just has to wait. I am not his slave, if he wants to whinge then he can whinge but I'm going to eat come hell or high water! <mean mummy>

My friend was almost inconsolable with laughter when DS came looking for me one day, saw a cup in my hand and said "Oh tea," and walked off again smile I think it's necessary to assert your own needs too - a child has to understand (when old enough) that they might want your attention but they're not necessarily going to get it. I do wonder sometimes if SAHMs fall into the trap of running after their children too much, resulting in the child expecting attention straight away at all times. DS very much knows the meaning of the word "Wait!"

tomverlaine Thu 24-Jan-13 14:32:35

I think the thing to do is to make sure that you have the choice about what to do- you can end up forced down one route or the other by your financial situation rather than making a free choice.
I look at SAHM's and think they have little to complain about but thats partly because I never had the option so it looks idyllic.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 14:32:37

Totally agree it doesn't take a lot of money, big house or no privacy to go to the toilet.

I have never spent all day pretending to be a horse, playing with lego or cleaning a house for that matter, even without a cleaner or childcare.
I have always had lots of adult stimulation, time for hobbies and interests and enjoy the freedom that being a sahm provides.
Once the dc are at school it is even better as there is even more time and now with dd (9) the only one at home we have lots of fun. The freedom allowed me to deregister her from the education system and educate her at home. Now we do what we like and don't have a 9 to 3 time scale. I consider we are very fortunate but our situation could be the worst for others. Its each to their own.

MrsMushroom Thu 24-Jan-13 14:36:15

Without being patronizing, before I had kids I thought I knew what tired was. I travelled long journey's for work...I had long days....stressful job...BUT I could take a bath when I wanted...have a lunch break, buy clothes, pluck my eyebrows, put on makeup....once you have DC everything you do is for someone else.

That's fucking exhausting.

BeebiesQueen Thu 24-Jan-13 14:47:20

Callin, I think your experiences and my experiences are very diffrent, I wish my life were like yours!

dd2 is very demanding, very clingy and hates being put down. She screams practically from the moment she wakes to when she falls asleep, and increasingly thats getting less and less. I think that unless you've had a child like this its difficult to imagine what it would be like. Trust me I never imagined this is what my life would be like, I am very strict and not at all a push over, so its not because I'm weak.

any way, her crying upsets dd1 and when I stop to make lunch for us all, both girls are so upset when I finish, dd2 needs a cuddle, meaning I can have about 2 bites and dd1 needs constant reassuring. Making dinner in the evening is the same.

And if I dont stick to routine both girls cant cope and get upset. so after lunch we do xy and z which means i cant finish lunch as it needs to be packed away.

I am lucky in that the girls go to bed at 6pm and are asleep by 6.30 so I've accepted I eat around 7.30 and dont really bother any more.

having said that for the past 3 days <shh dont tell anyone> both girls have been having a nap at the same time giving me 2 whole hours to myself in the day. I'm so giddy with excitement! grin

I know that not having time to eat is a choice, but we all make choices in a job, for eg op chooses to have a long commute.

BeebiesQueen Thu 24-Jan-13 14:51:38

sorry I have about 2 bites because dd2 is grabbing at what I'm eating and wont be put down or in a high chair.
And just for further clarification, dd2 spent the first 7 months of her life in a lot of pain, shes suffering effects of that and leaving her to cry it out right now would do more damage than good as shes reassured the pain isnt comming back etc
(maybe that might explain a few things! grin I forget you cant see my life, just what i type!]

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 14:52:35


I'm not sure what your plans are for when your dds start school but I can assure you it gets better. I only had one like this and it was exhausting but you'll look back in years to come and it will be forgotten. I have to think hard to remember details. Probably little consolation I know.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:54:14

Ah - having a particularly clingy child is a whole other kettle of fish. You have my sympathy! DS for some reason is fine with me making lunch but goes a bit mental when I try to make dinner (probably due to tiredness) so I make his dinners at the weekend and freeze them then DH makes dinners for me and him when he gets in. Could you do something like that - quick lunch stuff for the girls during the week, pre-prepared, so you can bung it into them quickly and eat at the same time? I know I'm harping on a bit about this but I know that not eating makes me so miserable and makes everything harder and more stressful.

More than - like you, I don't actually play a huge amount with DS. I bring him out a lot and he plays with other children. I play a game with him now and again but most of our interaction involves him "helping" me with housework, chatting to me or reading a book with me. I don't think it's necessary for a SAHM to play a huge amount with children unless they really enjoy it. I find it dreadfully boring so I find ways out of it!

carabos Thu 24-Jan-13 14:55:39

Anyone whose dream is to be cooped up at home with small children for anything longer than a few hours needs to grow a better imagination IMHO. grin

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 14:55:54

I totally understand you not leaving her to cry Beebies, I wouldn't either, regardless of the pain issues. There's a difference between a child looking for attention and one who is especially clingy who gets distraught. You just have to motor through the tough times in that situation unfortunately!

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 14:59:25


Just by doing what you are, you are starting your ds on the road to independant learning. When he is a bit bigger if you do things like baking and letting him help to measure ingredients and count you are starting maths.
I am a qualified teacher (FE) and from what I have experienced here and as a home edder these skills in a child should not be under estimated. I had 16/18 year olds who were unable to complete a task independantely without fuss. grin

MrsKoala Thu 24-Jan-13 15:00:46

hhhm about the joining clubs bit. Depends where you live, what your expenses would be etc eg i can't drive so i need to get taxi's everywhere and a lot of clubs cost money (swimming and stuff). Everyone i meet at groups talk non stop about their babies - i'm already bored thinking about how many times i got up in the night without hearing about someone else too.

Also depends on DH's. if your works away/long hours then you don't get much respite or help with chores.

Days being your own is not quite my experience, i seem to spend my days attending an endless stream of hosp/dr apps (due to birth injuries), baby clinic, jabs etc.

On the plus side, i don't give a monkeys about going to the loo in peace and always left the door open anyway smile

BeebiesQueen Thu 24-Jan-13 15:01:13

Unfortunately dh commutes and works long hours, he leaves at 7am and gets home between 8-10pm and bedtime is a strict 6pm as I NEED some me time grin
Although as dd1 hasnt been sleeping these last few days, I'm goin gto try letting her stay up till 7pm. I feel slightly envious at giving up an hour blush

I know it will get better, I tell myself that daily. I look back over the past 12 months since dd2 was born and can see how much easier it is now (and often wonder how I got through it). I'm an avid follower of the mantra, this too will pass.

Bonsoir Thu 24-Jan-13 15:01:34

morethanpotatoprints - I so agree with you that the foundations of learning are set at home. As parents, we can teach our DC so many skills that school just won't have the time or resources to cover.

ohforfoxsake Thu 24-Jan-13 15:04:23

'living the dream'


CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 15:04:36

MrsKoala - it takes a while to get past the endless baby talk at groups. You have to persist and try to get to the point with a few people where you can talk about other things - it does happen! My playgroup friends and I barely mention our kids (unless there's something big going on) and have plenty to talk about. I don't go to clubs or swimming lessons or anything - they're expensive and not really worth it IMO.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 15:06:06

Beebies - I am lucky that DH is usually home by 6. It makes a huge difference, and I do find the days when he is out later harder. Once he gets in DS is all over him so I get peace until bedtime smile

BeebiesQueen Thu 24-Jan-13 15:10:55

oooh I just remembered, I do get 3 hours a week to myself! Its when I drop my girls off with my mum, drive to my psycho therapy appointment (1 hour) throw every thing at her (1 hour) then drive home again (1 hour)

I live for those 3 hours grin

ceeveebee Thu 24-Jan-13 15:12:02

I work part time. I am living the dream [GRIN]

Having worked full time in a stressful job sounding very much like the OPs, and had a year on maternity leave looking after baby twins, mostly alone as no family nearby, I can hand on heart say being an SAHM was much much easier for me. Probably because my babies slept well and are generally a pleasure to be around. I know its different for everyone.

The novelty of constant plagroups, coffee mornings and discussions about poo soon wore off though. I think part time is the way forward - I still get to spend time with my babies on Mondays and Fridays (and weekends) and I still hang on to my career.

By the way, most WOHM are still on duty 24/7. I get up at 6am so I can shower and get ready before they wake. I get in from work around 6.30, bath babies and put to bed, then start on cooking, laundry, housework, online supermarket shopping etc. If the babies wake in the night I don't have some supernanny waiting to deal with them - I am still a parent even though not there all day every day.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 15:13:10

smile Once a week as soon as DH gets in I go up for a loooooong bath and DH is under strict instructions not to let DS anywhere near me for the evening until it's time for a hug and kiss before bed. I read a book, it is just lovely. Simple things, eh smile

MrsKoala Thu 24-Jan-13 15:13:57

well ds is only 4mo so there aren't many groups to go to yet. i go to one but one person is a pain - very competitive and repetitive and even a bit unpleasant sometimes (but you get that everywhere i know - she's putting off the nice people tho and we don't want to exclude her as i hate that kind of hurtful exclusion). The other group near me is on at 9-11am and ds sleeps then - so as i've usually been up all night i take advantage of some sleep.

don't get me wrong it's the best job i've ever had, but if you don't have friends and fam near it can be lonely. DH works abroad a lot so there are weeks when i don't speak to another adult (apart from mn!).

" No matter how full on a job is, it could never be as RELENTLESS as being a SAHM. Recently we all had the norovirus. Can you imagine changing bed sheets eight times in one night whilst trying not to vomit yourself? "
Hope you're all better. I o take issue with this though. What do you think Peking parents do when they or their children are sick?

NaturalBaby Thu 24-Jan-13 15:16:22

I worked part time (up to 3 jobs at one point), spent my mornings off pottering around the shops or going to the gym etc etc meeting up with friends. I didn't have a fantastic career or earn a huge wage but it was good enough and for me, that was living the dream. We even had 2 holidays a year.

I'm now a sahm. Do not underestimate the enormous effect that hormones can have on a mother. Depths of despair, complete and utter exhaustion - sleep deprivation is a form of torture you know!

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 15:17:57

Ceevee - I do wonder a bit about SAHMs who complain about housework and night wakings - WOHMs have to do that too don't they? I suspect the issue is not actually the housework or night wakings but the fact that because they are SAHMs their partners view these things as entirely their job and so they never get any break from them, resulting in them feeling like a worn out drudge. I never understand why SAHMs put up with being up 5/6 times a night (with a non-bf child) while their working partner sleeps - that is totally unfair in my book. Staying at home doesn't mean you can suddenly do without sleep. DH has always shared nights with me, since DS was born plus he also does a reasonable share of housework. I am on duty 8-6 while DH is out of the house, but once he is in the house we are both on duty. I certainly don't work 24/7 or anywhere near it.

MrsKoala Thu 24-Jan-13 15:21:22

oh god. we got norovirus recently, and my pelvic floor is not what it used to be, so as well as everything else, every time i vomitted i peed too. All duvets had to be chucked and i had to shampoo the stinking carpets while wretching - oh the glamour! this would have happened had i been working tho so i can't blame being a sahm, i do however blame the fezzers at the doctors surgery spreading it about.

MrsKoala Thu 24-Jan-13 15:25:54

i agree Cailin, however, i think if someone has to drive or do something which needs a lot of attention, it is usual to expect the sahp to do nights. Altho i need sleep, i can function at home on zombie mode. it wouldn't be safe for some to go out to work like that.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 15:29:01

I agree to an extent MrsKoala, although I do think it's possible even for partners who are in demanding jobs to help with nights - most adults can function on 6 hours sleep easily enough, which means that the SAHM can go to bed for a few hours while the partner stays up till 12/1 with the child, then the SAHM takes over while the partner sleeps till 7 (depending on work patterns of course). It's madness for the SAHM to get 2 hours sleep while her partner gets 8. No one can function on months and months of never getting a full night's sleep - psychologically it's torturous.

JessieMcJessie Thu 24-Jan-13 15:29:08

142 very detailed and helpful replies and the OP has not come back to say thank you for the"reality check" she asked for. Bad form OP.

CailinDana Thu 24-Jan-13 15:29:53

There are plenty of men who are in office jobs and still claim to need a full night's sleep (as in 8 hours) - that's just bollocks IMO.

ceeveebee Thu 24-Jan-13 15:32:08

SPB and CailinDana - exactly! Not sure why SAHMs think that WOHMs can just sit around all evening and that our DCs won't get ill.
In fact probably more likely to pick up bugs from nursery/childminders whereever.
And I know it can be hard at home all day but I had 4.5 hrs sleep due to DTs teething, and I still had to be up at 6am, dressed and out of the door, be on the top of my game in a technically demanding job (can't afford to make mistakes and have people at work thinking I've lost my brain power) and then get home and start all over again. Roll on Friday!

ceeveebee Thu 24-Jan-13 15:32:54

I would imagine she's busy at work Jessie

PostBellumBugsy Thu 24-Jan-13 15:51:04

LOL - don't forget those working full-time with kids who are on their own like me! (Since we're getting a bit competitive. grin)

Doesn't matter how shit the nights are, or how shit everything is - like when the childminder says she is ill, or the after-school club has to close early, or you get a call in the middle of a meeting saying they think DC1 has broken his arm, there is just little old me to do ALL of it!

And yes, I really, really do envy SAHMs, because in my world it is a luxury to be a SAHM. Unless I win the lottery I will never work part-time or be a SAHM. I love my job, but I'd love to be at home a bit more too for the DCs but also for me!

SpanishLady Thu 24-Jan-13 15:56:25

I only skimmed read so sure others have said this already but being a SAHM is WORK! - I have been back at work (full time) after having my son about 1.5 years now - I had 7 months off work when he was first born and it was very tiring - I think it depends on the person/child perhaps but the key difference is that in the office I get to decide for yself what I want to do - eg if I want a cup of tea and a quick chat or surf on the internet I can - with a baby you cant always just do what you want when you want and a job finishes when you leave the office (ignoring the BB on the train home!) but a SAHM never stops her work.

If I could I would have taken more time off work wqith my son but it sounds the dream but long days cleaning and no one to talk to is NOT that exciting though would concede during warmer weather when your child is in a routine so that you can get out and about it can be nice.

SolomanDaisy Thu 24-Jan-13 15:59:43

Yes, it's jolly nice. I had to laugh at the idea of someone describing it as stressful. My blood pressure's now so low I sometimes fall over. I had a fairly high pressure job before. But it's not for everyone and it's not something you can realistically do forever.

Disclaimer - I only have one child (a toddler), i get plenty of sleep, my DH is supportive and helpful and I do a bit of freelance work and some study too.

SpanishLady Thu 24-Jan-13 16:04:15

im going to contradict myself now as just remembered a scenario from a few months back where a friend who is a SAHM (one child, cleaner) sent me a list of things and food she wanted me to do/cook for her child's birthday party - becuase she had no time - I was abit (hmm) about that! as having said I can do what I want at the office I do mean for 10 mins at a time and from 9-5.30 I am confined to that place!

did think cheeky mare - apparantly it was becuase Im so organised - well yes I have to be out of the house every day by 6.30!

valiumredhead Thu 24-Jan-13 16:04:18

cheeese's post is good!

And bless you OP thinking your hours are long - you'll be in for a shock once you realise that you can NEVER clock off grin

janey68 Thu 24-Jan-13 16:08:45

Not sure what the point of the op is. Some women love being SAHM and prefer it to being a WOHM. Some women love being a mum and working too. There is no one size fits all

maddening Thu 24-Jan-13 16:17:07

You could stop working and be a sap (stay at home person) as long as you can fund it.

Personally I think being a sahp or anyone not working through choice is a luxury.

Some sahp are there though not through choice but due to childcare costs.

I took vol redundancy as my package was a years wage so had a year with ds and now looking for work - would rather stay with ds but needs must.

sydlexic Thu 24-Jan-13 16:20:46

I put my DS on the bus at 7.30 this morning, went home had breakfast and went back to sleep. Woke at 11 and went to the gym, had lunch at the gym. Came home did housework and prepared evening meal.

Life of Riley

maddening Thu 24-Jan-13 16:25:21

Ps I was with my last employer for 11 years during which I had a 4 year period of working 7am till 9/10 at night and weekends at certain times - it's hard but you are being paid smile however I have definitely found having a baby far harder! I got landed with a (beautiful) non sleeping baby I haven't had more than a few hours sleep in single unbroken chunk in 2 years - seriously it's like some sort of endurance test. So while it has been lovely spending this time with him it hasn't been a breeze - I wanted to do it as he is only young once hey - bit stressed looking for a job now but it was worth it smile

ouryve Thu 24-Jan-13 16:26:35

Let's not forget that if you do decide to go for the parenting job, it might not turn out to be the parenting job you thought you were ready for. My life is unrecognisable from 10 years ago, with 2 boys with SN. Love them to bits, but it's hardly living the dream.

goldiehorn Thu 24-Jan-13 16:31:14

I felt exactly like you OP before I had DS. I worked pretty long hours and was quite stressed at work, although I loved my job. I was soooo jealous of SAHMs and always thought it was what I would want to do.

After a year of maternity I was gagging to get back to work! It really is not all its cracked up to be. Its not really all that stressful at all, but for me that was part of the problem, I felt my brain going dead! I think that I would find being a full time SAHM totally unfulling and boring. I suppose if I knew I would be doing it full time long term, I would probably start running a toddler group or something like that to keep me occupied but still, it can just be a bit soul destroying I think. Some people are great SAHMs but I am not! I now work 3 days a week and that is perfect for me.

I think if you are in a high flying career now, you may find the transition to full time SAHM a bit tricky, but everyone is different.

sammysaidso Thu 24-Jan-13 16:32:58

Hahahahaha <deep breath > ahahaha
living the dream?
Do you know anyone who's dream it is to be elbow deep in poo, rocking a colicy screaming baby?
Don't get me wrong I love being a sahm but its not living the life, I haven't slept for longer than 2hours at a time for 5months.

Mollydoggerson Thu 24-Jan-13 16:36:14

It depends on lots of things, to include: number of children, timeframe between each one, finances, special needs, wider support circle. SAH is very difficult.

Wow op gets to stand quietly while waiting for her train with no one running riot or embarassing her or screaming or whinging or rubbing snot on her clothes. Bliss!

Whocansay Thu 24-Jan-13 16:51:46

I am a SAHM. I love my dc and am glad to be here, but I would NEVER describe it as 'living the dream'.

Maybe if my husband was v rich and we could afford help and I could spend all day shopping and getting manicures, etc...

As it is, constant cleaning, feeding and playing is not very glamourous!

jellybeans Thu 24-Jan-13 16:54:53

I love being a SAHM. I can be there all the time for the DC and put them first most of the time and feel very close to them. I struggled when working full time juggling everything and felt I was missing out. I like going to all their school events and feel liberated from the competitiveness some of my friends have. I like that it is stress free if we have a snow day etc or kids are ill. Time is my own rather than someone elses. With 5 DC there is always plenty to do so i don't get bored ever. Plus I study 16 hours a week and volunteer also. Of course there is a downside such as loss of career etc and financial risks but I love it so it is worth the risks.

PoppyWearer Thu 24-Jan-13 16:58:17

<Wipes cat, dog not even my dog and toddler shit off coat>

This is not living the dream. Not today. angry

spanky2 Thu 24-Jan-13 17:04:14

Play groups are full of competitivemums and there is no conversation about anything except dc. Boring !

Viviennemary Thu 24-Jan-13 17:09:45

I hardly think being a SAHM would be living the dream. The very thought. It might be preferable to tearing round worrying about childminders nannies and nurseries and so on but living the dream. grin No.

reallyyummymummy Thu 24-Jan-13 17:11:46

I am a SAHM. At the moment it feels like living the dream as my DCs are turning into quite sweet little boys and entertain themselves a bit. However, I remember the sleepless nights; the tantrums of DS1 and how long the days felt when I didn't get a rest - more like a living nightmare than a dream.

Bonsoir Thu 24-Jan-13 17:12:53

Living the dream (IMVHO) is going back to school/university when you are in your late 20s or 30s. Nothing better than a second childhood when you are old enough to appreciate it!

reallyyummymummy Thu 24-Jan-13 17:13:51

spanky2 - agree about the competitive mums. Some of them are so competitive and not just about their DCs. At DCs school they compete over children, holidays, how busy they are and there is also a trend towards how thin. It is so tedious.

Dilidali Thu 24-Jan-13 17:28:04

At the moment, dear OP, everything is about YOU. YOU are tired, YOU are working hard, YOU, YOU, YOU.

Once you have kids, being YOU is a luxury, something you have to fight for....something you vaguely remember...if you envisage that staying at home would give YOU a better quality of life, please think pretty much becomes ME, ME, ME....yelled at top volume...with no off button, aged 0 to probably 18....oh, they don't give you lunch hour to do the shopping or emails.....6.30, you'll learn quickly, is a very reasonable hour...

I am not wired to be a stay at home mum. I cram a full time job (with commute) into four days, then I become a stay at home mum for the remaining 3 days of the week, for lunches, Boden online shopping, playdates and baking lol.

reallyyummymummy Thu 24-Jan-13 17:31:27

goldiehorn - I find it really weird when people say that they don't find being a SAHM fulfilling. Particularly as I found it exactly the opposite and I don't really understand how people don't find it fulfilling.

Before children start school you are their main source of education and everything they know about the world. I found this in itself a great opportunity to learn about things myself that I did not know about - I know all the trees that are in my local park, I have learnt all the planets and a little about the solar system, dinosaurs I could recite the names of and identify them in my sleep. We are now starting to learn about the human body.

Putting education aside, there is also emotional and social development. Everyone will probably mess up their children one way or another (by being over-controlling or not) but for me, I feel that if I make an effort to understand what children need then I will do a better job at not messing them up.

mylot Thu 24-Jan-13 17:41:07

Oh, for one moment of peace - my youngest is currently leaning over the screen demanding to be fed like a bird. They never sit still at the table. It's been years of repeating the same lines. Sit. On. Your. Chair. Use. A. Fork. Yes, yes I should get off the computer but am just ekeing out a little me time whilst they eat. Why aren't they just eating? SAH parenting is groundhog day hell. I would do it again but it probably aged me.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 24-Jan-13 18:11:40

Its easy to think that SAHM have a dream life, whilst not working sounds fab it does have its downsides. Being financially reliant on another adult for money, lack of adult company and being in the position that if things go wrong in the relationship then getting back into the job market can be very tough.

The grass always looks greener but rarely is.

Bonsoir Thu 24-Jan-13 18:15:14

Dilidali - your children are over-demanding of you on your days off because they don't see enough of you. When you are a FT SAHM, children don't demand all of you and you have plenty of me-time (much more than when working without DC).

Dilidali Thu 24-Jan-13 18:23:24

Really,* yummymummy*really? I agree I am her main source of education, but I am not a teacher. I decided to teach her what the school won't teach her....where I come from, kids don't go to school before 6-7, she's had the opportunity to learn about the solar system, maths etc, at school. I did not teach her to read, I taught her to love reading.
What I can't teach her here is how to interact with different ages, personalities, etc (very little family around, no millions of mustachoed aunties and mischivious cousins)...the nursery provided that for her, now the school, her friends, her clubs etc. I don't believe in helicopter parenting (I am not saying you do), I let her go, be puzzled, watch her trying to understand and then being there when she comes with the questions, dilemmas, scraped knees...that's where the emotional inteligence comes from. If she learnt all her social skills from me alone, I'd be a bit worried

mylot Thu 24-Jan-13 18:27:09

Yeah, I suspect this was a thread created to sit back and watch the competitive defensiveness...

bigbadbarry Thu 24-Jan-13 18:29:43

YANBU. As long as you acknowledge that IANBU to think that getting up, getting myself ready in peace, going on a train on my own, doing a satisfying, challenging, varied, rewarded job for which you are properly appreciated, then being able to go out in the evening at the drop of a hat, etc, is also living a dream.

YorkshireDeb Thu 24-Jan-13 18:29:58

Are you ever coming back op? I'm dying to know whether the 175 responses to your post have influenced your view at all. X

Dilidali Thu 24-Jan-13 18:31:08

bonsoir she is not over-demanding, but it is an interesting theory. There were times when she had to be fed, because she couldn't do it herself, learn to sleep, she still doesn't brush her teeth on her own, wash her clothes or cook...just a few examples....yelled at top voice used to be literally, now it is more figuratively, she's now old enough to 'argument' with you. Lol

GeorginaWorsley Thu 24-Jan-13 18:36:10

I think it depends on financial situation,or it does for me.
Have always worked very part time whilst having 4 DCs over 20plus years.
Now work one day per week,youngest DC at school,so have a lot of free time.
Am fortunate in being able to meet friends for coffee couple of times a week,do lunch,buy new c lothes,have hair done etc etc.
No financial need for me to work more hours,indeed DH prob wouldn't want me too as would make his life more difficult!
Also I like my job for the few hours that I do it,but no way could do more as involves long hours and alot of stress,am paediatric nurse on busy ward.

Bonsoir Thu 24-Jan-13 18:39:28

Dilidali - it's a theory based on a lot of observation and practice! When parents work FT (or almost FT) outside the home, they are mistaken when they think that their children would behave in the same way towards them 7/7 as they do 2/7 (or 3/7). They don't. We have both sorts of DC in our family (blended) as well as lots of examples around us. DC who are with a parent all the time are a lot more chilled.

extracrunchy Thu 24-Jan-13 18:41:12

"Ok so I don't have kids yet"
No sh*t.

shewhowines Thu 24-Jan-13 19:37:27

If nothing else, we've probably managed to put the Op and other people off ever having kids grin

stripyguys Thu 24-Jan-13 19:59:50

I love being a SAHM, I feel as if I am living my dream.
It's not easy at all and I treat it like a job in that if I'm sitting reading a magazine or book or sticking Peppa Pig on I feel as if I'm skiving.
The things I love most about it are -

Freedom to decide where we go and what we do every day

Not having to ask permission from someone else to be off ill or to stay home and look after my children when they are ill

Not having to sit and wonder what my children are doing right now and feeling sad that someone else is reading them a story or comforting them when they cry

Being there for older DCs when they get home from school rather than them letting themselves into an empty house/ going to after school club and watching all their friends be picked up and go home.

It's very hard work, I look a state half the time and our house is a often a bit of a bombsite. We're also a lot more skint than we were, obviously - no more sauntering along to Marks and spencers or Waitrose and casually tossing things in the trolley or buying some nice new clothes on pay day. But I get to spend every day with my favourite people - what could be better than that.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 20:03:04


I couldn't have said it better. smile

stripyguys Thu 24-Jan-13 20:12:18

Thanks morethan.

I also wonder at people who seem to think that SAHMdom is boring and unfulfilling and that you are not using your brain, when in fact you are very much doing a job - you are parenting your child. Protecting, teaching, nurturing, and socialising them - how is that not a job, and a very important one? It is so sad that because it's not something you get paid to do, and there are messy, dirty, exhausting parts, it's sneered at and seen as low status.

Many professions involve getting dirty, messy, and tired, but those people are awarded kudos and respect by the rest of society. Staying at home with your children? Mindless and boring work,as far as many people are concerned, even though if you were doing the same job for £60K your status in life would sky rocket.

FromHereToNextTuesday Thu 24-Jan-13 20:32:59

I hate it. 5am starts (when lucky), harassment until 8pm (when lucky), cleaning until 11pm.

No respect. No peace. No rest. No time. No money.

Commutes are replaced by nightmarish trips with uncooprative, exhausting individuals who make everything 100x harder.

Although not everyone feels this way. But if this is 'living the dream', I want reality back.

LuluMai Thu 24-Jan-13 20:36:47

I think they have it very very easy.

ceeveebee Thu 24-Jan-13 20:41:56

Actually thinking back, the two weeks before I returned to work when we had a settling in period for our nanny were definitely living the dream. Basically I could just go for clothes shopping, get coffee, hair, nails while our nanny got to know the DCs. How the other half live eh?

NomadsLand Thu 24-Jan-13 20:46:50

I thought I would share this amusing story.

A friend of mine was a SAHM in Qatar with a housemaid who lived in the house and did all the cleaning and all the babysitting.

The housemaid complained to the DH one day: "Sir, all madam does is smoke cigarettes, drink wine and look at Mumsnet all day, she really needs a hobby!"

True story. My friend was horrified. So was her DH!

I have lived both lives and I can tell you that being a housewife with all the money I wanted was boring and unfulfilling. I am now divorced, started a new life and have started my own company - I would never pay for the luxuries I once had. I do miss them but I love the fact that I'm working again and creating my own future. I miss having lots of money and booking holidays without a thought - of course I do - but I'd rather be the way I am now and I think my DD respects me more. More to the point, I respect myself more.

If I had one message to teach my DD it would be: never rely on someone else to provide for you. I thought being a SAHM would be fine and we'd be ok - I never thought I'd be divorced and facing financial uncertainty.
Good luck to everyone.

maddening Thu 24-Jan-13 20:57:51

It isn't "easy" to be any type of mum - whether sahm or wohm - whether you spend the bit in between teaching and looking after you baby/toddler or at work you still have to do it all in the morning and evening and sometimes all night. 7 days a week.

Once they go to school tk be a sahm then is definitely luxury <dreams>

Scheherezade Thu 24-Jan-13 21:08:54

I get up at 6am, and work till 9pm. I then have to be "on call" all night. Last night I was up at 1-3am. I'm out the house 8.30-4pm every single day.

I'm a SAHM. It is harder than any job I've done, including working on a yard in charge of 40 horses and walking 5 miles to and from uni including looking after two horses at the same time. With no car.


morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 21:21:15


They say the proof is in the pudding. My 2 older dss 21 and 18 really appreciate the fact I was a sahm for them and all the family show me immense respect. I have found that most of the disrespect if there has been any has come from other mums. biscuit. It is a shame that as women we fought to be able to have choices but we continue to put other womens choices down. I have never had a bad response from a male.

stripyguys Thu 24-Jan-13 21:34:55

I agree, there seems to be a determination amongst other mothers to totally disrespect and devalue the job a SAHM does - just on MN I've seen it sneered at, dismissed as mindless, and on this thread as 'the frontal lobotomy that is SAHMdom'. No other role seems to engender such total contempt.

Matildaduck Thu 24-Jan-13 21:37:08

I think sometimes one partner has to be a sahm otherwise family life would be unmanagable.

I like being home, we have great fun, we have a relaxed pace of life that sadly many children don't enjoy.

It takes time to adjust to this pace of life. It also takes time to build up a friendship network. You need a network.

The thing i miss...dressing up for work. It's not neccessary to wear a lovely suit and i loved wearing a suit for work.

MissBetseyTrotwood Thu 24-Jan-13 21:48:21

Being a SAHM broke my mental health. OK, I have a back story there but the days at home and the financial dependence on DH's salary made me very anxious and depressed. However, that I wasn't working made it possible for me to go to all my therapy, and I'm much better today for working hard at that.

My new, flexible job means I don't have to rely on child care - I take the DCs to school and pick them up. I'm at work all day while they're at school and for now, it suits us fine.

Horses for courses, naturally. I didn't check to see if this thread went bad but I expect it may have done.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 21:53:57

I think threads like this are fine as long as everybody respects other peoples opinions and views, to which we are all entitled. I have brought up/ bringing up 3 dc and I still learn from these threads.

An addition to my last post about women putting other womens choices down. I did mean from both sides. I hear just as many sahms calling wohm's.

goldiehorn Thu 24-Jan-13 21:58:00

I agree, there seems to be a determination amongst other mothers to totally disrespect and devalue the job a SAHM does - just on MN I've seen it sneered at, dismissed as mindless, and on this thread as 'the frontal lobotomy that is SAHMdom'. No other role seems to engender such total contempt.

But stripy that is just how being a SAHM makes those people feel. That is their experience of being a SAHM. They found it boring, you dont, so what?

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 22:00:49

morethan are you deliberately misreading this thread?

The women saying being a SAHM is hard/unpleasant are ...SAHMs. No one is putting them down. They're just not enjoying it!

Arisbottle Thu 24-Jan-13 22:13:49

I have been a SAHM for differing amounts of time for each of my my four children and each time it has felt like living the dream. I can get up later, go to bed earlier, better sleep in between, the house is calm, the children were happier and DH and I had a stronger relationship.

I would like at least one more child and this time I am determined to take as long as I can being a SAHM.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 24-Jan-13 22:18:24

"DC who are with a parent all the time are a lot more chilled. "
I'm looking forward to evidence being advanced in support of this proposition. In both of my childrens' classes, the most highly-strung, difficult and badly behaved children are both the products of full-time mothering. My poor neglected DD, on the other hand, walked off with the form prize last term for good behaviour, cleverness and all-round wonderfulness <smug emoticon>

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 22:19:47


I didn't say on this thread and I also added I have seen it both ways. But will give you benefit of doubt of not seeing my previous addition.

I think there is only a problem when a person states their preference as a fact like sahms are boring or wohm don't bring their kids up. I can see why people get the hump at this.

Arisbottle Thu 24-Jan-13 22:20:16

My children loved me being a SAHM and seemed more chilled, now I work it is so much harder to meet their needs never mind enable them to thrive.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 22:23:16


I am a sahm and my dcs were/are always with me and were more chilled than many of their peers but not saying this as a fact for all.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 24-Jan-13 22:26:09

Of course it isn't, potato prints. neither of my children would be particularly "chilled" because personality traits are to a large degree inherited, and both DH and I are highly-strung by nature; I very much doubt me staying at home would make the dc more relaxed, and it would give me a nervous breakdown, which would hardly be good for any of us.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 22:30:09

Having twins, I can assure posters that temperament is pretty inherent.

Obviously it can be exacerbated by divorce, bereavement etc indeed anyhting that causes stress.

stripyguys Thu 24-Jan-13 22:33:31

I think we can take from this thread that some people love being a SAHM and some hate it. Which is fine, but I just wish people would be a little more respectful and a little less derisory about what can be a very hard but very rewarding job.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 22:34:52

I think whether DC become stressed by having two working parents is very much linked to how those parents deal with it.

Some parents I know make it luck easy and as a result have relaxed high achieving DC.

Of course there is a genetic component too. Working parents who make it look easy are likley to be hard to stress types...who in turn have hard to stress kids, who live in a stress-free atmosphere.

BeanJuice Thu 24-Jan-13 22:39:12

hmm at the posters saying that SAHM is so hard because of waking at night, changing vomitty sheets etc. Do you think WOHMs don't have to do that too?!

maddening Thu 24-Jan-13 22:52:34

I don't think one is harder than the other - it helps especially if you are loving whichever one you do - being a parent is a 24 hr job whether you are a wohm or sahm.

There are many mums and dads working in jobs they hate who would love to be able to afford to be a sahp and sahp who don't enjoy being a sahp but are stuck there fiscally.

The harder aspect of being a household where all adults work is that you have an extra set of balls to juggle and free time is squeezed by the things that a sahp can get done while they are caring for their child.

WinkyWinkola Thu 24-Jan-13 22:57:09

What stripyguys said. Why feel the need to attack? Yuck.

"I think we can take from this thread that some people love being a SAHM and some hate it. Which is fine, but I just wish people would be a little more respectful and a little less derisory about what can be a very hard but very rewarding job."

DrCoconut Thu 24-Jan-13 22:58:47

I really wish we could afford for me to be a SAHM but I've always known it can't be that way. I especially feel it when I'm trudging through the ice with the pushchair at silly o'clock. It must be great to just not have to work. I love days off when I can take DS2 to a toddler group or catch up with things in the house. That said, at least I'm building up my occupational pension because I don't see a great state pension ahead.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 23:01:33


I totally agree with you being a parent is a 24 hour job whatever your circumstances.

However, I beg to differ about people working in jobs and not being able to afford to be a sahp. I think most if not all could afford it and take offence from those who say its a luxury.

We have brought up a family of 5 (3 dc) on one min wage, plus tax credits when they became available. This is not living in luxury but within our means

ImperialBlether Thu 24-Jan-13 23:06:52

BeanJuice, I just came on here to say that! All this, "Ohhh it's so hard being a SAHM because of the long hours" - wtf do you think women who go out to work have to do?

Arisbottle Thu 24-Jan-13 23:25:51

I love my job but know that my life would be much easier if I was a SAHP.

Annakin31 Thu 24-Jan-13 23:33:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 23:39:37


I think the posters who said that being a sahm were referring to being a sahm and not being a wohm. Of course you are not doing the work of a sahm if you are woh.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Thu 24-Jan-13 23:44:38

So - the OP threw the hand grenade in and ran - what a surprise!

Iaintdunnuffink Thu 24-Jan-13 23:45:38

I've worked full time with a young baby, full time SAHM with 2, part time work with 2, SAHM with 2 at school, full time and part time with 2 at school. Over the years when I go to the park to play on the swings and roundabouts I see patches of green grass, don't know where they are, feel a bit sick, dizzy and disorientated.

jellybeans Thu 24-Jan-13 23:58:19

'In both of my childrens' classes, the most highly-strung, difficult and badly behaved children are both the products of full-time mothering. '

That is probably different in every class. Bad parenting is bad parenting whether from WOHP or SAHP. In my DCs class the worst behaved kids are the children of dual income parents. But as I know many children of working parents who seem lovely I don't think you can conclude much from it.

redwallday Fri 25-Jan-13 00:11:41

I have two children under 4 and work part time. My days working are by far the easiest days of the week! Today I have had both kids at home with me and my day has gone a little something like this.

11:30pm last night - collapse in bed

Midnight - Little one wakes up, hysterical, get up, give cuddles, not working so get bottle, crawl back into bed

2:30am - little one wakes again, luckily settles after 5 minutes moaning, I am now wide awake

6am - get woken up by little one, get up, crawl into kitchen and make breakfast for both all the while fending off little one who now thinks its a great game to slap me, climb up onto the kitchen sides and try and swipe my boiling hot tea out of my hands. Argue with bigger one over what he's having for breakfast. Watch my own cuppa go cold.

8:30am - try and get little one dressed, try and stop massive paddy that is now in process. Shout at bigger one who is moaning that sock's don't match pants and trousers (that fitted perfectly yesterday) are now too big. Get slapped in face by little one who is refusing to put shoes on

9:30am - finish getting LO dressed

9:45 - try and get dressed myself all the while fending off LO who insists on brushing her teeth for the 400th time this morning. Try and wash armpits in sink but give up as LO is climbing on step and into sink at the same time

10:00 - after scraping hair back try and get kids in car. Bigger one is refusing as he's watching something on cbeebies. Wait for 15 minutes until its finished

10:15 - get punched in the face by LO while trying to get her rigid stiff body into car seat. Get deafened by Bigger one who has put stereo on so loud the neighbours are now staring

10:30 - arrive at shops, put LO in sling on my back as she is refusing to go in buggy and wants to walk (not going to happen!). Carry 2 stone 3lb toddler around 3 shops whilst all the while having my hair pulled. Walk down one aisle and realise she has hold something that is currently pulling everything off nearest shelf.

10:40 - finish picking up contents of shelf.

10:45 - try and get to checkout with at least some sanity left. BO has seen the toy aisle and has now decided he simply MUST have this piece of crap toy. I say no. Game over my friend!

11:00 - Leave shop with only half of what I went in for. Put kids in car and stand outside for few minutes taking in deep breaths and counting down from 100 to try and preserve the rest of my patience.

This is only up to 11am!!!!! It's now past midnight, I only sat down at 11:45 and have already been into LO twice after hysterical screaming fit, cleaned kitchen and walked the dog. Just realised I've had no tea.

Best thing is, I get to do it all again tomorrow! What fun!! envy

Scheherezade Fri 25-Jan-13 00:14:28

Beanjuice- no one said they didn't. The point was that parenthood is fucking hard work, and staying at home is not the easy life compared to someone who works but DOESN'T have kids.

SAHM is hard work, but I also bloody love it more than anything. Our days are busy, but fun. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Scheherezade Fri 25-Jan-13 00:17:21

The biggest thing for me is making sure we do at least one group a day, plus play dates, trips out, meeting friends and daddy for lunch.

At first I found it tough before I had other SAHM friends and knew what was on in our area. But now we're having a blast smile he's toddling so I can let him go off and play whilst I catch up with friends

Scheherezade Fri 25-Jan-13 00:20:39

Again Imperial, the reference about long hours as SAHM were in comparison to OP not having kids and working and assuming its like not working without kids.

maddening Fri 25-Jan-13 00:40:20

Morethan - the choice is the thing - that is a luxury whether you have a child or not - I am sorry if I have offended you
if money was no object then is would start my own business doing something I love and being able to work it around ds - so I would choose to work - but I don't feel I could pay for childcare while building up a business. I would also need to be bringing in money even if childcare was free so for now I will have to look for full time work in the same sector as a year ago. It is easy to feel trapped when you don't have so many choices. It doesn't make anyone elses choice right or wrong - you just play the cards you're dealt for now as nothing is fixed.

It is always going to be contentious as we all come from a different perspective and circumstance.

mixedupmary Fri 25-Jan-13 01:44:43

Im currently in my tenth month of maternity leave, absolutely loving being at home with my 9 month old dd every day, but cant stay I arent the teensiest bit excited by going back to work part time, adult conversation, a lunch time just dedicated to me with no worries.....seems like a luxury. But at the same time im also dreading it, feel like me and dd have got into a close little bubble which I dont want to burst confused

Mimishimi Fri 25-Jan-13 02:12:30

YABU. A lot of women are in that position because the wages they could earn working would only just cover childcare and working expenses. Then what would be the point? To be envious of the rich, working or not, is a universal condition but really has nothing to do with the SAHM/WOHM equation.

MidnightMasquerader Fri 25-Jan-13 02:27:09

Look at it this way...

Motherhood is the only occupation which comes with its very own brand of depression - post-natal depression.

I have found motherhood of be the hardest, most relentless, thankless, sloggish thing I have ever done in my life. And I've never even had PND!!

I've been a SAHM and WOHM and I have to say both are equally tough. Motherhood is tough, no matter what, to be honest. Being a parent is Hard Work.

<Disclaimer: it's also joyful, rewarding and wonderful in tiny amounts yada, yada, yada>

ZenNudist Fri 25-Jan-13 06:38:21

Marks place, will post on my commute into work smile

What are all these jobs that have an uninterrupted lunch hour?

clicketyclick66 Fri 25-Jan-13 06:56:50

OP, I was in a very stressful job working long hours and lots of on-call hours - I had a few breakdowns! When DC2 was born, I took unpaid leave to look after DS (then 2yo) and newborn DD1. It was bliss for a year, then got more and more tedious. I hate housework, I couldn't visit anywhere as DS took constant tantrums, and doing the shopping was like being in the military. But it was always better than work!
I went back to work on a part-time basis after 2 years (a lot of the services we once provided had gone, so work was less stressful) - and it was the best thing ever. I now have 3 DC, youngest is 6yo. I work 3 days per week, have 2 days to visit friends and have coffee catch up with the housework grin, and I earn my own money.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 07:14:08

Sounds Like the op doesnt like her job much. I enjoy my work life, and
I'm encouraging my daughter and son to aim for interesting work too, because the reality is that the vast majority of adults will need to work, so far better to find it fulfilling as well as paying the bills

If someone doesn't like their work much, then frankly it's stating the obvious to say they will prefer not working. That's not to say being a SAHM is easy - ok it doesn't bring the same pressures as work but it can be isolating, lead to depression as some women on here have testified, a lot of can feel monotonous and ultimately you have to really really wane to do it, because it's not going to make your children 'better' in any way. Just to make it clear, neither am I suggesting having working parents makes children 'better'. It's a personal decision for each family (if there is a choice available) but you have to go into it knowing that the reward is in itself, not in better outcomes.

Anyway, this is all a bit of a nonsense because the op is trying to compare life without children and life with them which are totally different things. Once you have children your life changes in all sorts of ways you can't begin to imagine. And if you are a WOHP then it's not like you aren't doing most of the stuff a SAHP does- IME of working 3 days a week until my children started school, my days off were far easier than the days when I was doing the nursery drop off before 8 am. Having said that, I might not have enjoyed my days off nearly as much if I had been a full time SAHM because for many people it's the balance of a home/work life which makes life fulfilling.

Actually looking over the thread, seems like the op just wanted to stir things up and then run !

ImperialBlether Fri 25-Jan-13 07:50:56

Redwallday, I'm sorry but I don't know why it takes you until 10 am to get out of the house; if you were working you'd be out in full make up by 7.45 with the kids clean and dressed and breakfasted, too.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 25-Jan-13 08:05:06

Good lord redwall!

I had 2 under 4, and they were and still are a handful but you need some discipline! I cannot believe that you actually waited for your child's TV program to finish before you left the house hmm
You pick up one child, carry them (screaming if they must) to the car and strap them in. Repeat. Get in and drive to wherever you need to be.

ballinacup Fri 25-Jan-13 08:12:43

I've done pretty much every scenario. I worked the ki.d of hours OP worked pre DCs, then had DS1 and went back to work full time when he was 6mo, had DS2 a year later and decided to try being a SAHM. It drove me demented. I adore my children, but just am not cut out to look after them 24/7.

I now work 3 days a week in a professional job, so am aware and very grateful that I am lucky enough to still earn a decent wage. For me, personally, I feel I've now hit the right balance. I get a break from the endless grind of poo, wee, sick and tantrums for three days which means I'm refreshed and ready to enjoy my children on my two days alone with them (DH works FT).

SAHMs are only "living the dream" if they actually want to be SAHMs.

ssd Fri 25-Jan-13 08:12:52

op, the grass is always greener

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 08:28:47

It seems to me that women who enjoy being SAHMs are the very self-disciplined ones, who know how to organise themselves and know how to manage their children's upbringing in order to instil the behaviours and values they wish them to acquire.

Women who don't enjoy being SAHMs seem to be the ones for whom the job of parenting is less clear cut. And therefore the externally imposed structure of work outside the home is more enjoyable.

OP hasn't been back, has she? Don't think she's really interested, just wanted to start a fight!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 25-Jan-13 08:42:49

Bonsoir there is also the choice aspect.

Women who can SAH through choice, generally have higher earning partners or very low outgoings or a combination of the above, which makes life in general much easier. When you then add in the reduced juggling of having one parent at home and able to deal with all the domestic and child-related stuff during 'office hours', there is much less stress all round and weekends really are free time to spend on enjoyable things rather than catching up with a week of chores.
Women who are forced to SAH because they as a family cannot afford the combination of tax credit loss/childcare bill/extra travel and commute costs and so on, naturally feel unhappy in their situation because they feel they have no control over it.

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 08:47:43

Up to a point... I don't really agree with the notion of people not having a choice about being a SAHM. We all have a choice whether or not to have children (and, mostly, how many we have - I know that twins and triplets sometimes happen!).

clicketyclick66 Fri 25-Jan-13 08:49:46

Actually, Redwall's post could have been mine 9 years ago! It's easy for AliBaba to tell you to carry child out screaming - there's only so many screams you can listen to in a day and stay sane! I'm so pleased I'm over that hurdle.

Redwall, my children who were once like those yours now help me with shopping, packing, and allow me to have a coffee while they bring it out to the car and order the goodies that have been promised to them! That will be you in a few years I promise!

PostBellumBugsy Fri 25-Jan-13 08:56:59

But some women genuinely don't have a choice Bonsoir.

I can't believe I am the only woman in the UK who's husband left her with small children. For me claiming benefits long-term was not an option, so I have to work full-time to keep the roof above our heads. As I said above, unless I win the lottery, I will not be able to work part-time or be a SAHM while I am still supporting the DCs. Not really sure I have a choice.

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 09:03:15

PostBellumBugsy - you are saying you don't have a choice about whether or not to be a WOHM. Fine - but that is a different point to mine!

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 09:06:02

The SAHMs who I know and are fed up with it are all well off.

And they all pretty well enjoyed it in the early years. For most of them it seems to be the case that it's just gone on too long! Too much of a good thing and all that. But now they feel a bit trapped.

A friend (who has been at home for 14 years) said to me on Wednesday that she feels like the only person in her home not carving out something for them.

The women we know who still very content years down the line fill their days very well. Gym. Lunch. Shopping. Cooking. Keeping an exquisite home. Bit of volunteering. It suits some very well indeed.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 25-Jan-13 09:06:46

Bonsoir - I think your point was about having children in the first place? I agree we do all have a choice about that, but sometimes live throws the curveballs after you've had the children. So your DH/DP dies, becomes terminally ill, leaves etc. Or you have a child with special needs / disabilities so you have to care for them. All of these things remove or seriously restrict choice.

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 09:16:24

Like any job, SAHMothering can go on too long and get repetitive.

prudencesmom Fri 25-Jan-13 09:21:33

BeanJuice the huge difference is that if you are a SAHM and you are up all night with sick kids you dont get a break from it AT ALL. The next day you are STILL dealing with all the fallout. At least at work you get a break from all the vomit/ poo/ snot/ mess/ crying and someone else is cleaning up everything.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 09:23:33

I think it's complete nonsense to suggest that people who work 'need'
the externally imposed structure of work because the job (?) of parenting is 'less clear cut'. It's perfectly possible to be the kind of person who can impose their own self discipline and enjoy parenting 100% - but also enjoy having a fulfilling work life too. It's not an either/ or scenario for many of us. We don't work because we lack something in the parenting role, or aren't able to create our own structures- its Because working can create another dimension to life and provide additional (not alternative) experiences. Of course, all this is more likely if you have an iteresting career rather than a mundane job- which is why I will always encourage my dd and ds to aim for something which will be fulfilling as well
As paying the bills

meadow2 Fri 25-Jan-13 09:26:50

I used to say this all the time on here as I didnt have any maternity leave with dc1.

When I was pregnant I was always moaning about it but I had 7 months off and it was easy and I enjoyed it,but forever it wouldnt seem like you had much going on or any kind of adult purpose.

I will never moan about having to work again because being at home you miss your life,your friends etc.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 25-Jan-13 09:29:51

Word - that kind of person will be fed up whatever though, if they are prone to the martyr role and don't just get on with doing something that is just for them. They are the ones in the office moaning about everyone else and doing the bare minimum.

<sweeping generalisation> grin

"At least at work you get a break from all the vomit/ poo/ snot/ mess/ crying and someone else is cleaning up everything."

Who is this mythical person that is at home doing all this while you're at work? You can't send a vomitty child to nursery or childminders!

AThingInYourLife Fri 25-Jan-13 09:31:16

"you have to really really wane to do it, because it's not going to make your children 'better' in any way."


That's a pretty bold claim to make.

And one that you can't possibly substantiate.

Just because studies don't show higher levels of attainment for the children of SAHPs in general doesn't mean individual families and the children within them won't benefit massively from having a parent at home.

People who decide to stay at home with their children might have very good reason to believe it will be better for them in terms of outcome.

MidnightMasquerader Fri 25-Jan-13 09:31:21

It seems to me that women who enjoy being SAHMs are much more go with the flow, un-rigid types who're happy to let their children take the lead as much as do it themselves. Women who don't need to stick to or follow a routine, but let one day follow the previous...

Actually, I don't necessarily think that, but I do recognise it way more than Bonsoir's description of women who enjoy stay-at-home-motherhood. Way more...

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 09:33:37

bonsoir yes indeed.

The problem seems to be that if one were bored with ones job one would would change it, but it aint always that simple after so long at home.

meadow2 Fri 25-Jan-13 09:35:05

Also the idea that if you have a sahm you children are more chilled is ridiculous.We have many children who are referred to childcare as they are 'out of control'.Its then our job to sort it out.

All depends on the family.

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 09:39:54

wordfactory - I know a lot of people in their 40s who are really bored with their jobs (their whole career field, in fact) but are unable to change. I don't think it's a SAHM exclusive at all!

"BonsoirFri 25-Jan-13 08:28:47

It seems to me that women who enjoy being SAHMs are the very self-disciplined ones, who know how to organise themselves and know how to manage their children's upbringing in order to instil the behaviours and values they wish them to acquire.

Women who don't enjoy being SAHMs seem to be the ones for whom the job of parenting is less clear cut. And therefore the externally imposed structure of work outside the home is more enjoyable."

As a WOHM I'm quite offended, but in my case do actually agree grin When I am at home, we struggle to get anywhere, kids still in pyjamas watching TV at 10am. the necessity of work gets me up and organised grin

prudence, when the kids are sick in the night, usually one WOH parent has to take the next day off as few childcarers will take sick children. In my case I tend to do as much work as I can from home in between vomit bowl cleaning and duvet washing. Or if you do get to go into work, the sick child is just something else to stress about IMO - work is not a break!

maisiejoe123 Fri 25-Jan-13 09:50:41

I havent read all of the replies. However as a working mum the list of things that the SAHM's state they need to do are also some of the things that a WM does. I have often gone to work with 2 hours sleep due to a wakeful child. I have been dressed and one of the children have smeared porridge over me.

When I was on maternity leave I found that if I had a bad nights sleep during nap time I could grab a hour or so - something I could never do when working....

jellybeans Fri 25-Jan-13 10:12:38

'"you have to really really wane to do it, because it's not going to make your children 'better' in any way."'

It can only be good for parents to spend more time with their children though can't it?

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 10:15:00

To suggest that parental presence is neutral in the parenting process is a form of denial.

However, parental presence is not enough on its own. Parents have to do all sorts of things (which do not necessarily imply engagement with DCs) in order to maximise the beneficial effects of their presence. Parental role-modelling is one of the most important facets of parenting. Role-modelling by other adults doesn't have the same effect.

ceeveebee Fri 25-Jan-13 10:19:13

And I personally prefer my DD to have a successful career woman as a role model

Scheherezade Fri 25-Jan-13 10:19:53

After all I just said its just hit me, I'm sat eating cake, drinking tea and watching pongwiffy with DS. When he goes for a nap I'll watch some desperate housewives. When he wakes we're making gingerbread, then going round to a friends. It's not all bad grin

Scheherezade Fri 25-Jan-13 10:22:55

My mum was a career woman, we don't get on. DPs mum was a SAHM, he and his sister are doing vvv well, are besotted with their mum, they all have a great, close, loving relationship. She's now a TA for SEN. She's my role model, not the woman who begrudged my existence.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 10:23:17

I am a sahm and for me,i am living the dream(nearly)

but its not like that for everyone and it depends on lots of things

I had my first child relatively young (21)and i was a nay before that so it didt take as much getting used to as someone who has spent years makig a career and only having to think of yourself.

We dont have family withi 3 hours but my dh does his fair share-and more-of the cooking cleaning and childcare,we have friends who dont have kids yet who seem to enjoy being around all of us and we dont have financial worries.

It all depends on your situation.I love being around my kids and would never change it.

Scheherezade Fri 25-Jan-13 10:25:12

I guess a lot of it is personality. Some people are maternal, some aren't. My mother wouldn't have a clue how or when to hug, cuddle, support. DPs mum was almost born to be a mum- her words. Her children are her life.

That's how I feel.

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 10:25:54

ceeveebee - does she like sitting by your desk all day? wink

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 10:30:39

here is an example of one of my days(we home educate so its ot like this for everyone)

sometime between 7.30 and 8.30 the kids -5,4 and 3-come and jump into bed with me and baby-3 months.We lie there for half an hour or so and dh brings me a cup of tea to wake up with.

we get up and have breakfast.dh goes to work about 9.30

get dressed and ready

go out-beach,nature walk,library,park,farm(all within walking distance,i cant drive yet but when i can we will go further afield)

have lunch either in a cafe if theres one where we are or i take a picnic/packed lunch

come home.3 and 4 yr old watch tv for a bit while 5 yr old plays on mario.i do some chores now.

we do painting/baking/playdough/reading

they play out in the garden or play in the playroom while i cook dinner

eat dinner

dh comes home,we turn all the lights off i the front room so it really dark and then put some music on the record player and have a "disco" (this has become a daily ritual now!)

chuck all of them in the bath

lie in bed and read stories and eventually go to sleep!

meadow2 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:31:08

I am a working mum but one always with my children,but most working mums I know are very maternal and live for their kids.Its what most people live for really whether at work or at home,mum or dad.

ceeveebee Fri 25-Jan-13 10:38:11

On the 3 days I work she and her brother have a wonderful nanny and go to lots of activities. So thats 4 days I care for them which is the right balance for me. I don't want her or her brother to grow up thinking a woman's place is in the home doing drudge work. I didn't do a masters and two professional qualifications to spend my time changing nappies and folding sheets.

trixymalixy Fri 25-Jan-13 10:41:21

I was a SAHM for a little bit after I was made redundant. The plan was for me to stay at home until the kids went to school. I didn't last long, I was climbing the walls. I went back to work full time and found that hard to cope with too, I was knackered. Now I work part time and that's what works best for me.

I'm jealous of people who enjoy being a SAHM, but it wasn't for me. What Bonsoir has said about not being disciplined and needing structure outside the home applies to me, unfortunately.

You can have no concept of how tiring and relentless being a parent is until you have kids. Being at work does seem like a rest sometimes.

WinkyWinkola Fri 25-Jan-13 10:43:54

"I didn't do a masters and two professional qualifications to spend my time changing nappies and folding sheets."

This kind of work is the drudge reality for nearly everyone, whether you work or not.

Gosh, it sounds all very snooty.

I too have an MSc and a professional qualification but I wouldn't regard myself as far too good to do some graft like nappies and sheet folding. I can and am qualified do other work in the paid sector but right now with a baby, I'm at home.

Scheherezade Fri 25-Jan-13 10:46:23

So you're accusing those of us who are happy and fulfilled SAHM as doing "drudge work" and apparently intelligent people with qualifications wouldn't do it as "changing nappies and folding sheets" is some kind of thing to be ashamed of, some indictment of a lower intellect?

What a shame you don't want pleasantries, good manners, open mindedness, kindness, consideration, feminism etc on the list of attributes to aspire to in a role model.

What a lovely person you sound, I hope they learn to be good people from the nanny.

valiumredhead Fri 25-Jan-13 10:47:54

Even when I worked I still had to fold sheets and clean etc.

ceeveebee Fri 25-Jan-13 10:48:35

I'm not too good to do it. I just prefer not to - there are people who are better at it, and am better at other things. By working part time I can afford to outsource these things as well as pursuing the career I worked so hard to achieve

WinkyWinkola Fri 25-Jan-13 10:48:37

Shehera, I was quoting another poster further down the thread. Just to clarify!

Fwiw though, I do think housework is drudgery. Dull and uninspiring and not requiring much intelligence. That doesn't mean it's done by unintelligent people. Nobody is too good to get their hands dirty and do some proper graft mind, whether it's in the house, in an office or in a surgery or somewhere.

meadow2 Fri 25-Jan-13 10:49:44

Ceeveebee sounds like she has a great balance.A job that fulfils her,her own wage and somethingfor her children to aspire to.As well as lots of time with her children and at home.

I dont see anything wrong with that, and I agree with what shes said.

atthewelles Fri 25-Jan-13 10:51:58

I agree that the grass is always greener. SAHM whose been stuck indoors all day with a whinging toddler and a teething baby waiting for the washing machine repair man to call probably thinks wistfully of the days when she got to dress up and put on make up every morning; meet friends for a proper sit down lunch; and have lots of grown up conversations about lots of serious stuff.
Working mum who has had to stand on train all the way into work; got frowned at by boss for being 5 minutes late; spent all afternoon reading boring report and wrestling with temperamental photocopier; and now faces long commute home in the rain imagines wistfully spending days baking cup cakes; taking DCs to the park; popping in to her mum's for coffee; and snuggling up on cold dark afternoons to watch Angelina Ballerina.

The reality is probably somewhere in between.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 11:42:12

I am not suggesting parental presence is neutral.
I am simply pointing out that ultimately it is impossible to say whether something is 'better' because every family is unique. The only way I could prove that not working was 'better' for my family is to be able to clone my children, and live a parallel existence where I didn't work, so as to be able to compare outcomes! Likewise with a SAHM- she could only make a true comparison if it was possible to replicate her family and raise them alongside working. In other words, it's impossible!
That's why I have never tried to claim that working is 'better' for my children (but neither could I say it's worse). All I can claim, is that for me, the balance of an interesting career (plus salary and pension!) with parenting is a fulfilling existence.
If there were problems in the family which I suspected might be linked to me working, or dh working, we would of course re think. Just as if a person becomes depressed, bored or frustrated not working, they would re think. But as my children are happy, emotionally in tune and doing well, then no problem.

JessieMcJessie Fri 25-Jan-13 11:47:30

The OP was probably a journalist. Very low of her to use and abuse MN posters' good nature.

NumericalMum Fri 25-Jan-13 12:14:20

Oddly enough I am a WoHM whose DC is her life too. I just realise that both of us benefit from me working! I get to use my brain, be financially independent, provide a good education for her and also do all the washing, cuddles, night waking a etc when I am home from work.

Ideally I would like more hours in the day so I could spend more time with my DC after work but I doubt anyone has it all.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 12:20:19

One thing i do wonder though,is why?why have children to not see them for the majority of the day?

I dont even mean it in a nasty way,i just dont get it?

PostBellumBugsy Fri 25-Jan-13 12:26:15

Because Amber, nobody knows how they are going to feel once they've had children or how circumstances may change.

You can see by reading this thread, how some women finding staying at home with small children nothing short of torture, whereas others love it.

You can also see that some women have very little choice about having to work full-time.

From a historical perspective, the notion of the SAHM is relatively new. For most of history women were not just at home playing with their children, they were helping to feed & clothe the family as well. From gathering roots & seeds & curing furs & skins in hunter gatherer times to planting crops, making clothes, gathering firewood, butchering animals, food preparing (which took a vast amount of time when you had to make all your own bread, jam, render fat etc etc etc). Women in the past largely had children because there was no contraception & they were hoping that if they had enough, their offspring would help look after them in old age. The idea of being at home to spend time with children is something from 1950s onwards.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 12:30:07

Amber- to answer your question, I know very very few working parents who literally see their children for less time than they dont see them. And I have to say that of the very few I do know of, the situation is that its the father working ridiculous hours and having frequent work trips abroad. So even though one parent might be home 24/7, the children are not getting to see the other (equally important) parent on a daily basis.

For us, one of the advantages of both working is that neither dh or I have had to work stupid hours to pay the bills. Often it can provide a great balance all round.

"why have children to not see them for the majority of the day?"

Why get married and go out to separate work places? People don't have to spend all day every day together, do they?

HazleNutt Fri 25-Jan-13 12:49:33

Amber, so why did your DH have children?

MrsDeVere Fri 25-Jan-13 13:01:35

I work part time.
That is my ideal.

Feelingood Fri 25-Jan-13 13:01:55

<ambles in late to threa> sorry watching this morning whilst playing with baby!

What janey said been in bother side of the fence ft/pt/sahp all have drawbacks. At moment sahp is what is best for our family and it works for us.

It does not always work me, for occasionally I miss getting dressed and going to work, but Im studying for a degree pt so I do get a lot from that.

Most days I'm very happy and content.

On the domestic front I used to take pride in doing housework and used to think if I had more time I would make, bake etc. it Hasn't worked quite like that for me now that I am the only one responsible mon to fri they daily chores just become a grind.

I'm still recovering from the towel thread tbh grin

meadow2 Fri 25-Jan-13 13:07:09

I think its much better for have both parents out some of the time rather than hardly ever seeing their dad or doing anything as a family.

Lafaminute Fri 25-Jan-13 13:23:41

i'm a sahm for the past 10 years. Years ago I was working long hours for a demanding, not-so-nice company in central London and my friend was a sahm with two small children. I was SOOOO envious of her. I think of that feeling often over the past ten years: Oh how I didn't have a clue!! I am happily a sahm as in we have the means and I believe (in my case) that it is the "right" thing to do for my children but there are downsides. My working friends do look down their noses at me, I have totally lost my place in the workplace and if I did want to go back working I would have to retrain or get an unskilled job (partly due to the fact that we moved to a -lovely- rural area in order to afford for me to be a sahm and there wouldn't be any call for my previous qualifications locally) I KNOW that I am privilaged - I am in awe of how working mothers manage - in my opinion they are doing two full time jobs. My sahm friends mostly agree and feel somewhat envious of those that manage it so gracefully. What I find working mums say often to me is: OH I could NEVER stay at home all day - too boring. Which I find immeasureably rude and insulting to both me and their children. I suppose bottom line OP is: the grass is always greener - as I tell myself often when I dream of solo loo trips and coffee breaks and going into shops alone (and other such luxuries!)

JudithOfThePeace Fri 25-Jan-13 13:32:47

I know I shouldn't click on SAHM v WOHM threads. I know the posters who say 'the grass is always greener' are totally right. I know that we are all different and what works for one, won't work for another etc etc.

But I am having a miserable fucking day and had to say that, for me, being a SAHM, is not living the fucking dream. And I'd say that on a good day, too.

okthen Fri 25-Jan-13 13:34:03

Ambersocks I assume you home school then?

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 14:02:03

hazlenutt-my dh works from home as much as possible,he works so that in a couple of years he wont need to work and we can all be together!

okthen-yes the kids are home educated,only one of them officially as the others aret school age yet.

notgoodnotbad-i dont see it as the same(although actually i would love to spend all day with my dh)i didt give birth to my dh or decide to bring him into this world.

Thanks for answering,still dont understand the point though.

BlingBubbles Fri 25-Jan-13 14:04:35

Ambersocks, I suppose you are not going to send your children to school then, a you won't see them for most of the day??

BlingBubbles Fri 25-Jan-13 14:05:36

Ambersocks, Oh sorry I just read that you don't send your children to school.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 14:05:51


I totally agree!it is not natural to be all alone with babies all day entertaining them,i wish it could be like it used tobe when we were hunter gatherers,but we dont live in commuities like that anymore,where we would have female family members and older children helping out while we all got on with important things.

I guess you have to make your own modern equivalent,and kind o make your own village,esp when you have no family near.

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 14:07:59

laf you really shouldn't be offended when people say they would find it too boring. People are different. You might very well find my work boring, but I wouldn't take that personally. I like it so that's all that counts no?

And nor should you feel offended for the DC. Their parents aren't saying they don't care or don't love them, just that they want to do other things too.

In much the same way as all the SAHMs on this thread who are not enjoying it still love their DC dearly. It's just the 24/7-ness of it that is driving them to distraction.

HazleNutt Fri 25-Jan-13 14:09:29

Amber that's very lucky for you, but reality is that most people will have to work most of their lives and would not have the option to retire when their DC is small. I would guess that most children have at least one parent working outside the home - so you are wondering why most families had children in the first place?

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 14:11:36

Blimey amber that sounds intense!
All of you togehter, all the time...

What will you do when your DC no longer want to be with you all the time?

PostBellumBugsy Fri 25-Jan-13 14:33:57

Amber, I have to work full-time. There is just me, ex-H bailed out 10 years ago.

I see my children every day in the morning & the evenings and I spend weekends & all of my holiday from work with them. We have a close, loving & happy relationship even though one of them is a teen now! I love them more than anyone else & I wouldn't be without them.

They are my family and very precious to me. Surely the fact that we are happy & functional is point enough! Why should a parent have to spend all day with their children for there to be a point to having them?

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 14:41:12

Word factory-dont know really,depends on the circumstances?spend time doing more of what i love and seeing people i love?(dh,family,friends)go on holiday,make stuff,sleep!
If i didnt have anymore then by the time dc4 is 18 i will be 44,i think that young enough to retrain to do something if i wanted to,my mum did the same to be a social worker and my mil to be a teacher,however i do want more,so most likely just enjoy life!

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 14:45:50

Amber- that's lovely that it all works for you, home schooling your children, your dh working at home and indeed retiring in 2 years so you can all be together all of the time.

The only negative coming across in your posts though is that you don't seem to be very open minded: you admit that you genuinely do not understand why men and women have children if they are going to continue working. That shows a quite staggering inability to imagine that other people live their lives a different way. I hope your children are being home schooled in a way which opens their minds a bit more. Especially as they might decide as adults that they want to have careers

ksrwr Fri 25-Jan-13 15:06:45

i work full time and have one DD.
i wouldn't consider being a SAHM as living my dream, i actually think its really hard work if you're going to do it properly.
i wish that my daughter grows up to be confident, happy, sociable, friendly, kind, and balanced. to that end, i send her to nursery.
she gets the most varied of education and experiences there. she interacts with kids and adults of varying ages.
she loves it and has blossomed during the past 15 months at nursery (she's nearly 2).
i enjoy my work, and i feel good during the day that i am giving my daughter the freedom to become her own little person, make her own friendships and have her own experiences.
this works for us.
i think if you're going to stay at home with your children, you have to be so much more than be just a parent, you have to facilitate their interaction with the outside world, and people outside the family unit, and prepare them for school, and give them experience of music, creativity, art, mess, playing, outdoor activity, the list is literally endless.
personally i would struggle, as i dont have the knowledge or ideas to ensure my dd experiences everything, I would struggle with motivation if i was doing this on my own at home with her all day.
i dont want my daughter to feel different in any way, i want her to go to primary school and fit in, and be normal. the worst thing for kids is to feel different to everyone else, and this is another factor that influences my decision.
along with this, i want to be a good role model to her. i want her to have a good work ethic. to know men and women are equal, and can both work full time.
i also want her to know that at weekends i'm all hers, and we can do everything together.
i dont know, for me being with her every day would be too much for both of us, and certainly wouldn't be living any dream i have! everyone is so different, my best friend is a SAHM of 3, i think she's mental, she think's i'm mental ;-) whatever works for you i say!

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 25-Jan-13 15:28:06

I wish my Mum had gone to work. She was a SAHM while my brother and I were young and clearly hated it and resented us as a result.

Amber, I found your post very sad. I want to have children because I want to be a parent. I'll be a parent for the rest of my life, it will last beyond babies, childhood and even adolescence. I'm not having a baby because I want "a baby"; I'm having a baby because I want a family. And I want to provide for that family, to house my children in a safe, warm, clean home I own, to clothe them nicely, to feed them healthy and nutritious food and to (in the future) pay for them to go to university, for weddings, cars and deposits on flats.

THAT'S why I'm (going to be) a WOHM.

CailinDana Fri 25-Jan-13 15:32:16

Porridge your goals are commendable but I notice you don't ever mention making your children feel loved or spending time with them - it's all about money. You might find when you become a parent that you place less importance on the material things like clothes, food and deposits on flats and just want to be with them and enjoy their company.

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 25-Jan-13 15:37:05

Cailin: I agree with you. I would love to wave a magic wand where I don't need to work and I can still provide a home, meals, clothes and funding for the future, but I can't. In order to provide those things, I need to work. That doesn't mean I don't want to spend time with my children - the opposite in fact - but when you boil it down to the options of "never have children" and "have children and go to work so they don't starve" it's fairly simple grin

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 15:40:07

I didn't read porridges post like that at all, I have to say. I think
most of us tend to not add ' I love my children' to posts because it kind of goes without saying. For the record, I love my children, they are the most important thing in my life, I love spending time with them... I'm
Sure that's equally true of WOHP and SAHP.

Gosh, must be nice to be a dad, because no one would ever question whether they love their kids just because they have a job grin

Greensleeves Fri 25-Jan-13 15:41:26

I agree with every word of the post by atthewelles Fri 25-Jan-13 10:51:58

Sums up beautifully everything I wanted to say smile

Skittish Fri 25-Jan-13 15:48:41

Much as I love my kids and husband, being together 24/ I would consider stifling and unhealthy for all of us.

I work, kids all at school, didn't when they weren't - couldn#t give a rats' arse what other people do or think about SAHM. Live your own life!

Amber - boy, can you tell all your kids are little grin

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 15:52:56

skittish whats that supposed to mean?you sound very patronising.

alsoi dont see how spending all your time together is unhealthy?they will naturally spend more time on their own as they get older,when they have more interests they can pursue on their own.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 15:54:54

and i am definitely open mined,i wasnt saying you shouldnt work,i was genuinely asking for reasons why,apart from finanial reasons i havnt heard a decent one yet.

Skittish Fri 25-Jan-13 15:55:10

And being a SAHM iin a lovely warm house with plenty of cash to go out and about and a car and a cleaner is, I suspect,a million miles form being a single SAHM in a tower block on benefits on a rough estate.

Skittish Fri 25-Jan-13 15:56:58

Amber, some people want to work because they have interesting and well paid careers, If you have never had one you simply have no idea how fulfilling that can be. Sorry if that sounds patronising but you sound worryingly daft naive.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 15:58:27

and i hate to say it but they are home educated not shooled,we are not "schooling" them.

Skittish Fri 25-Jan-13 15:59:41

That's good Amber. I'm glad they aren't being shooled grin

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 25-Jan-13 16:00:49

Amber, you say "apart from financial reasons" but really, that is why EVERYBODY works grin Certainly there is a social aspect but I imagine people who would carry on working after a significant Lottery win are few and far between.

People work to fund the lifestyle they want. I certainly don't have a fancy lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination but if i didn't work, I wouldn't have ANY money! I wouldn't be able to have somewhere to live, food to eat or to clothe myself.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:02:02

I was a nanny before i had the kids,i really enjoyed it but wouldnt leave my kids to go back to it,im also interested in midwifery but wouldnt do it til my kids are older.So i do have an idea how fulfilling it can be,but i am more fulfilled by being at home and being with the people i love most.

you ant say to someone "you only enjoy sah beause you never had a career" thats like saying "you ant be a veggie you obviously never had a nice leg of lamb" or something.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:03:21

do you know i went bak and correted shooled about 3 times and somehow it still came out wrong!

I still have pine needles under my keys!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 25-Jan-13 16:08:21

I have thought long and hard and decided that I if when I win the lottery I would still go to work. Maybe not full time, and maybe move to a different area of work where I wouldn't worry that the career ladder was pretty short, but even with £££££££s in the bank I would still go bonkers if I didn't have the intellectual stimulation and sense of accomplishment that I get from doing my job well

porridgewithalmondmilk Fri 25-Jan-13 16:08:25

I presume you WOULD though - be a nanny, a nursery nurse, or train as a midwife, in other words, work if you had no other form of income? Do you see what I mean? grin

It's always cake crumbs on mine, haha!

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:08:31

porridge i wish my mum had worked too,she was there for the practical things like making dinner and stuff but she never shown u any love,played with us,she now admits he hated it,she only had 2 8 years apart aswell!

if she had worked i wouldnt of missed out,i would of learnt some life skills aswell,we werent allowed in the kitchen unless we made a mess.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:09:37

yes,if i HAD to,of course i would.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:09:59

i mean in case we made a mess not unless!

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 16:28:47

Amber are you seriously saying that even n your wildest dreams you can't think of anything to equal being at home with pre schoolers 24/7? I guess the Booker is safe this yearm

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:30:14

nothing that i would want to do,no.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:31:40

Amber- you said you genuinely do not understand why anyone would work apart from financial reasons. IMO that is not the mark of someone broad minded, and it's a little worrying that someone is home educating their children if they genuinely can't get their heads around any other reasons.

Anyway... Let me start you off. Many many jobs are essential to the well being of humanity. We need doctors, surgeons, architects, builders, teachers, nannies... It seems strange to feel that these jobs ought only to be done by childless women and men. Also, many people enjoy their career, it adds an extra dimension to their life alongside the joys of parenting, hobbies etc. They realise that it's not a case of either being a parent or working- they can do both. They get fulfilment out of continuing their work life while being a mum/ dad

There are many other reasons too. How sad that you can't get your head Round that

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:36:16

You dont need to talk to me like im thick,i understand the practical reasons,but dont understand why someone would WANT to,its different.

Just like you can understand why i do what i do,that is fine,we are all different.


AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:39:30

anyway!dinner needs cooking,and i need to get the cow in.

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 16:40:44

Amber of course we can understand why people want to do different things even things we don't fancy ourselves. Its called empathy. But actually not being able to imagine someone elses that's kinda weird...

maisiejoe123 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:43:55

Amber - you sound complete nuts! If everyone had the same idea as you there would be no teachers, no one to build the house you are living in, no one to tend to you when you are sick....

Who on earth do you think does all these things so that you can lie around at home teaching your children that actually there is NO need to work...

Surely you can see that you work to allow yourself the lifestyle you want and to contribute to society

HazleNutt Fri 25-Jan-13 16:44:47

You can ask this about pretty much everything - "But why even do X, if you also want to do Y and don't want to do X all the time?" Because I want to do both?

Why do I WANT to work? Because I find my job really interesting. However, this is not even the relevant question here, as most people HAVE to work. But they still want to have a family too. You can't understand how people can want several things?

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:45:51

I didn't say you are thick- I said you are narrow minded, which is sad, particularly as you are home educating your children so they are going to be exposed to fewer opportunities to hear wider perspectives

If you had posted ' I stay at home, I home educated my kids, my husband works at home and will stop altogether in 2 years so we can all be together; we are very happy but I can understand that people are all different and many want to do things differently'- well, I could respect that. But to post about your situation and to admit that you genuinely do not understand how any adult can want to work once they have children shows a remarkable lack of capacity to think, quite frankly.

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:46:50

My sil has 6 kids,she is also a headteacher and does a phd at weekends,the youngest is 4 weeks old and she is going back full time i 2 weeks.

I dont see why anyone would want to do that,and i dont understand why she wants to keep having kids that she never sees.she sees them for about 15 minutes i the morning and maybe an hour and a half in the evenings.a couple of hours at the weekend.the kids are all suffering and she is never there when they need her,ad the older ones have too much responsiblity for the younger ones.

that is what i am talking you think that is right?

Im glad she has the choice to do this but i dont see what the point is,to keep popping them out,and then just not bother with them?its not for financial reasons either.I uderstad career is important but why not go part time,or just drop the phd til they are older?

AmberSocks Fri 25-Jan-13 16:47:28

my kids will be exposed to more opportunities than kids at school not start me.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:51:57

Gosh you sound such a lovely person amber. Im sure your children are benefiting hugely from being exposed to your opinions and judginess!

Amber, has your SIL managed to "pop out" these 6 kids without any help from her husband?

motherinferior Fri 25-Jan-13 16:56:42

FWIW, one of my huge, huge worries when I got pregnant was that I'd have to be a SAHM. My mum was one when I was little and was profoundly unhappy; I got the very clear message that having kids ruined your life (she would always say she 'chose to be at home' but frankly you could see how miserable she was).

For me, it would be living the nightmare.

HazleNutt Fri 25-Jan-13 16:56:44

Isn't that what your DH does Amber? You describe that he sees the DC briefly in the morning and then in the evening between dinner and bath - so why did he have them? Planning to see them more in a few years? Well SILs PhD won't take forever either. I don't see much of a difference.

mumat39 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:58:10

OP, not sure if someone's already mentioned it but there's a good thread about women keeping their financial independence by continuing to work after having kids. I am a stay at home mum. I'm lucky that we can cope with that. My dd at 6.5 months was found to have many serious allergies so I never could get my head around commuting and not being able to get back for her if there was an incident, so I stayed at home. I DP love it and don't miss the commute or the office politics. Recently though I've been thinking, mostly after reading that thread, that maybe I should have carried on with my career.

I used to earn really good money but was in the sort of job that meant I worked at the clients offices and often used to have to be away from home for lengthy periods. That wouldn't have worked for us. I don't regret not going back to work but sometimes when my dc won't listen or take ages getting ready in the morning I envy my DP who gets to leave at 8 and be out until 7.

The not earning my own money is the hardest thing.

There's no point in wondering about being a sahm until you have to. If you're really not happy in your work, then it sounds like you spend an woul lot of your waking life working and not being happy. You don't have to. You could leave and it might be better somewhere else.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 17:02:23

Amber - maybe your SIL looks at your family set up and thinks 'over my dead body, or even that your children are suffering!
(I am not suggesting they are btw- just pointing out how illogical you're being)
You know your children best, other people know theirs
Its really not that hard for most people to get their head round that concept.

Badvoc Fri 25-Jan-13 17:05:30

There is a huge lack of understanding of other people's situate in this thread, from both sides of the argument IMO.
I am a sahp and happy - most of the time! smile
My only issue with wohp is when they send their kids to school knowing they are ill because "they can't possibly miss xxx meeting".
That pisses me off no end and causes me to have The Rage.
But sahps do it too, so it's not solely a wohp thing
Generally speaking I dont like any Parent who feels their way of doing things is the "right way" and talks down to parents who parent a different way.
From a personal pov, I didn't want to be a wohp as I am the daughter of mother who had to work to make ends meet, I became the carer of my siblings at 11 which was very tough at times, really affected my childhood and mynrelationship with my siblings and I didn't want the same for my kids.
I do feel that children need a sole carer up to 3 years old. Not necessarily the mother, but a nanny, CM, other family member. Reliable, constant and 1-1 care.
As I have said more than once, he many of the govt or opposition use the sort of childcare they exort us to????

Matildaduck Fri 25-Jan-13 17:05:56

Amber what will they get at your house that they won't get at school?

I met a home 'un schooled'child a few months ago, aged 8 couldn't read or write. Apparently very good at riding his bike and climbing trees. Mum was lovely but really i'm not sure he was stretched like he would be at school. My four year old can read and is pretty good at writing. ( pre school taught that)

I'm a sahm and a very involved one at that but i can't for the lfe of me understand how you can teach specialist subjects to a child, never mind GCSE's.

Did you not enjoy school?

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 17:15:31

Ooh Matilda - you're opening up a whole new debate!

FWIW I have - occasionally - met people who were home educated and i think it can in some circumstances work well, BUT only where the educator has been intelligent and open minded, and able to get their head round the fact that there is a big wide world out there where not everyone is the same.

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 17:19:01

I am a huge supporter of HE. Have repped many a home edder.

The ones that do a good job are vastly open minded and educated (in the broadest sense)...those that are not do their DC a diservice.

janey68 Fri 25-Jan-13 17:20:18

And -oh! the irony (if it's true) of amber having had a successful career as a nanny before she had children!
I hope she was upfront with her employer and told them that while she was happy to take their money, she thoroughly disapproved of them continuing to work after becoming parents!

MrsKoala Fri 25-Jan-13 17:22:36

I remember reading some studies a few years ago which said that children and parents thrive better if the main care giver works part time. That would be my 'living the dream'. Sadly those great p/t jobs are few and far between.

Also, i am always surprised on these threads when people say they can't afford the luxury of staying at home - but everyone i know can't afford the luxury of working. The childcare costs outweigh their salary and would lose the family money. Perhaps we are all particularly low paid but i just don't know how anyone can go back to work without a job paying more than 30k, help with tax credits/benefits or free childcare.

Badvoc Fri 25-Jan-13 17:23:27

I home schooled ds1 for year in 2010 due to awful bullying at his old school.
We loved it.
We did so much he would never have got to do in school...forest school, wildlife club, pottery, NASA day at raf cosford, trips to London....I could go on.
He is back in school now but HE is neither odd nor difficult as some would imagine.
Wrt GCSEs, he kids can do igcses and some do OU courses from 16.

Badvoc Fri 25-Jan-13 17:26:07

Depends mrs koala.
If the mother becomes depressed by being at home then obv work is the right choice for her.
But what if a mother becomes depressed from working?
I also don't understand the concept of not being able to afford not to work...when 90% of their wage goes on childcare...?

Rockdoctor Fri 25-Jan-13 17:35:11

It is soul destroying. By the end of the week I am so exhausted I can't even be bothered to name change. In my case, it was not a choice as I was made redundant after DC2 - however, at that stage I should have got straight back into work mode rather than sitting around thinking I'd enjoy a year out with the kids.

I personally am profoundly unhappy with it and am conscious that I am communicating that to my DCs - now old enough to understand/pick up the vibes.

I am trying to re-establish my career but the commute is too far for any new employer to take me seriously (like the OP, we can't afford to live closer to London - which is where our work is). Locally, I have applied for jobs at a third of my previous salary and those employers don't take you seriously either.

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 17:37:03

But Badvoc for some families that 10 percent is needed! And once the DC are in school child care costs often become doable. Giving if a career because you don't make huge financial gain right now I very short sighted no? Many women want to protect their employability and pension etc.. Long term thinking/planning.

MrsKoala Fri 25-Jan-13 17:38:18

what don't you understand Badvoc? 2 dc's childcare would cost us £40 per day on top of my wages. Yes it's a choice to have dc, but the 'dream' for many would be to go back to work.

Rockdoctor Fri 25-Jan-13 17:39:09

Oh, and as MrsKoala says, the cost of childcare mean that working is a luxury for me.