Stay at Home mums

(1000 Posts)
marilynmonroe Mon 13-May-13 21:01:55

There is something that has been bothering me for a while about being a stay at home mum.

I decided to stay at home with my kids after my second was born. I enjoyed my job but wanted to be at home with my children. I have (and sometimes still) struggled with this. In the way that people who I meet will find me boring as all I do is look after the kids, clean, cook etc etc.I am an interesting person who reads, keeps up to date with what is going on in the world and I don't just talk about my kids!

Anyway, I'm getting to my point now, my eldest is about to start school in September and all I get asked at the moment is "have you thought what you are going to do next?" "Are you going to go back to work" now this may be due to small talk etc but...

It makes me feel that I should be thinking about doing something else.
But I feel that the kids need me now more than ever when they are at school and what about school holidays etc.

This isn't a thread about what's best, being a stay at home mum or a working mum.

I would like to hear from other mums that didn't go back to work when their kids started school and what they did with their time when they were at school?

I do worry about how i will fill my time when that happens and if I will get bored. Is there anything wrong with not wanting to go back to work and look after your family? Why do women feel that they have to go back to work when they don't need to? I'm in a very lucky situation where I don't need to work for financial reasons although this could change at anytime as my partner is self employed. I don't want to start a discussion about how some women have to work etc etc.

I'm not sure if I am being clear, I have been thinking a lot about this recently. Would like to hear other people's opinions just to make me feel better about my choice I guess. Maybe I'm trying to justify my choice.

Thanks for reading!

KatAndKit Mon 13-May-13 21:06:19

Your life your choice.
If you want to do something fulfilling with your time but don't want to go back to work you could do some volunteering. It will be good on your cv if you do eventually return.
However, the longer you stay out of the workforce the harder it will be to get back into a well paid job if you need to.

Fairylea Mon 13-May-13 21:09:36

I am a sahm. And I intend to stay that way for as long as finances allow. I don't feel I have to justify myself to anyone. Or "do" anything.

I used to have a very high flying career and I hated it and then had a minimum wage job part time for a bit. And then met my dh after a couple of bad relationships and now I don't feel I have a need to do anything really. I'm happiest being at home.

However, a lot of that comes from having a very supportive partner who respects what I do and we share all finances equally so we have joint spending money and I feel I have rightfully earned my share so I spend and enjoy whatever I like within budget.

I spend my days doing whatever I like and doing enough housework to keep things ticking over.. I currently have ds 11 months at home with me but I also have an older child and when she was at school I just went out, went walking, read, went on forums, watched tv, tidied up and cooked etc. I love it.

We are a low income family and I budget carefully. I have no desire to work ever again. I hate working and being around other people.

HollyBerryBush Mon 13-May-13 21:11:11

I hated being at home. I hated maternity leave. I hated having to be at home. Absolutely loathed it. I don't even like days off or holidays from work.

I like work grin. Home is boring and sucks your life away.

MammaTJ Mon 13-May-13 21:11:19

As someone who went back to work when my youngest was two and a half years old, there is nothing wrong with wanting to stay at home as long as you want.

I would find plenty to talk about with you, we both have children, we both read. I would ask what you used to do though, just to try to find another common interest maybe. I might ask if you intended to go back to work too, again, as a point to discuss, rather than to make a judgement.

1Catherine1 Mon 13-May-13 21:11:21

What's to justify? If you don't want to go back and don't need to then that's it isn't it? That's your choice and your DH choice. I don't judge people who choose this if it makes them happy.

I mean, I would be bored out of my mind, the same way I start to get bored on the 5th week of the summer holidays. That is also because, that tends to be when I've ran out of money. smile

I don't really get why you would be bothered by people asking what you are going to do next. Its purely curiosity, I'm curious how you could fill days without your kids with something stimulating. Unless you have lots of money to spend and friends who will also not be working. Maybe because I'm not one for art galleries and walks through the park or other such things that are "enjoyable" alone and free.

babanouche Mon 13-May-13 21:14:20

I agree, your life, your choice. As long as you're aware that if the worst comes to the worst with your relationship you would find it difficult getting back into the workforce, being independent etc. However, do we always have to plan for the worst? Shit happens in life no matter what you do and I think the best thing is to do what's best for you and your family.

No doubt you will get strange looks from people who don't understand your choice - just give them a big smile and be don't apologise for being who you are.

marilynmonroe Mon 13-May-13 21:15:28

fairylea thanks for your post. I do a supportive partner who would rather I was at home but would equally support me if I decided to go back to work.

I'm sure that I can fill my time but sometimes I have doubts.

KatandKit I understand what you are saying about being out of the work place for a long time but I think if I ever did go back to work I would retrain and do something else. (all in an ideal world of course!)

HumphreyCobbler Mon 13-May-13 21:17:56

I am a SAHM with one 6 year old and one 4 year old. I sometimes do a bit of teaching, but when I feel like it. No one ever asks me what I am going to do next - or if they do I don't remember. I am entirely happy not working out of the home. I worked for 18 months (finished last year) and whilst I loved the job I didn't find it conducive to family life and I am lucky enough to be able to make the decision not to continue.

I am five months pregnant so I suppose that means the next few years are spoken for, but I have no intention of working unless I have to. I have lots of things to do that I enjoy doing - a garden that supplies most of our veg and fruit, animals that need looking after, volunteering responsibilities etc. Cleaning and cooking gets done. I never feel I need to justify my existence to anyone.

PatsysPyjamas Mon 13-May-13 21:18:26

Presumably your youngest is still at home anyway? I work, but I think it's probably great for kids whose mums don't work. You've nothing to feel bad about whatsoever.

Moomoomie Mon 13-May-13 21:18:38

Your life. Your choice. If it works for your family and you are all happy. Sod everybody else.

LottieH Mon 13-May-13 21:18:48

I think it's very important to do what YOU want to do. Clearly you want to be at home with the children, be there to go to school assemblies, pick them up from school etc. I'm an SAHM too and love it. I do a bit of eBaying to justify my existence but to be honest even though I have 6 hours to myself while they're at school I'm never bored. I'm sure your children would far prefer you to be there for them before & after school rather than being fobbed off to some breakfast club or picked up by a childminder. Stick to your guns & ignore any busybodies questioning what you do! x

Fairylea Mon 13-May-13 21:20:02

I know what people mean about planning for the worst but sometimes by planning for the worst you don't enjoy the present.

Everyone is different and it's strange because I've been the mum who returned to work when dd was 6 weeks old (she is now 10 years old) because I was very career minded then... and now having done all that I'm the total opposite and you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming back to work!

Dh supports me either way, he just wants me to be happy.

AlvinHallsGroupie Mon 13-May-13 21:23:51

i didnt have to go back to work but I really wanted to.
I am a HCP who loves their job and I have a great career .
I was at home when they were little and gradually increased my hours.
I have a very supportive DH and have never needed to use childcare as a result.
There are pros/cons to every choice <shrug>

numbum Mon 13-May-13 21:23:57

I don't understand SAHM's who don't have children at home, but each to their own and it doesn't bother me what other women do with their time alone. I work term time only half of the week and that suits me, I couldn't be out with friends shopping or doing housework at home all week but that's just me

nicky2512 Mon 13-May-13 21:24:12

I have been a sahm since dd was born (now 11) and ds is 7. I get all the comments too about going to work now they are both at school. I just smile and say I don't have time! I volunteer in school a bit, walk lots and have never had a problem filling my day but really I think its down to what makes each of us happy. I may well return to work at some point but at the minute, me being at home is what is best for our family and I appreciate being able to.

valiumredhead Mon 13-May-13 21:27:46

I am a SAHM and have been pretty much apart from a year about 5 tears ago. Ds is 12.

I am crap at working and keeping things goings at home as well - I just can't do both well, I also have mobility issues which would make working hard.

I wouldn't earn enough to pay for holiday clubs/childcare for ds in the holidays.

I seem to do more ferrying ds around now for after school activities etc than I ever did when he was little.

We're fortunate that we don't need extra income.

I don't feel the need to justify anything to anyone but there is a definite 'snootiness' wrt SAHMs ime.

I also don't feel the need to justify my existence by doing charity/volunteer work just as I didn't when I worked either - I'm never sure why one is expected to become all charitable if one doesn't work but it's usually always brought up on these threads.

I usually find a big grin and 'It works well for us' puts an end to anyone questioning our decisions wink

valiumredhead Mon 13-May-13 21:28:58

Do you really think SAHM shop and do housework all day numbum?

I worked FT after my first, PT after my second and became a SAHM after my third. I hated my job and was relieved about not going back. I've been a SAHM for over 6 years now and I love it.

DH's job means that he was rarely able to take time off if any of the children were ill so it is a relief to know that I have that covered. Finances are shared and both roles are equally valued by the other partner.

I fill my days and am rarely at a loose end. I provide admin support to a couple of groups that meet in the evenings when DH is home - it pays a small amount so I feel I am also making a financial contribution and will be useful if I need a reference at any time in the future.

I am involved in the PTA cliche and a couple of other voluntary groups.

I was a SAHM for 4 years. I love my own company, the kids on in the way of that a little wink. Oldest two now at school and I started back at uni this year, did acces the year before. I love studying, really enjoying it.

But, and its a big but, I have zero intention of getting a job at the end. Hopefully I can scrape the cash together to do a phd, but still - I don't want a job after that either. I will get one if I fancy it, the hours fit around schools, and its not too far away. Not really interested in pay scale, just fancying it.

We don't have much money, but lemonade dreams to match so that's not really an issue, and DH is utterly supportive of me buggering about doing what I fancy. I have no issue telling people I don't want a job, they often cock their head at my plans though. grin

Most the things you mention I take as conversation starters tbh. smile

numbum Mon 13-May-13 21:33:31

No of course not hence the crossing out. It wasn't meant seriously. I was a SAHM for a year and that's what I did though grin

I soon got bored which is why I now work for half of the week and spend the rest of the week shopping and doing housework!

All finances in and out are from one (little) pot, everything is shared, we have no his and hers money in this house, all family... I spose that helps smile

dimsum123 Mon 13-May-13 21:35:10

My dc's are 7 and 9. I've been a SAHM for 10 years and I love it. I read, go for walks, coffees, lunches with friends, swim 3 times a week, get all shopping and chores etc out of the way so weekend is spent doing fun things.

I never want to go back to work and DH doesn't mind what I do as long as I'm happy.

My children are 6 and 9 and I am a sahm. I drop them off/pick them up from school, ferry them to afterschool clubs, etc. When they are at school I do housework stuff and go to the sports centre to do exercise classes. I also help the school out by being a parent helper and will go on school trips so they can keep to the adult:child ratio. If I went back to work I would need to pay for childcare as there is no family that could drop off and pick up the children and jobs that fit around school hours are hard to come by. We would also have to juggle childcare during school holidays.

1Catherine1 Mon 13-May-13 21:36:04

I think this is the problem isn't it Valiumredhead, those that have never been SAHM to school age children don't know what it is SAHM do all day and when they ask (purely out of curiosity) they get a vague answer and/or the person goes all offended - rather than just answer the dam question! Its only curiosity to begin with, its not as if it makes a difference to anyone else what it is you do. Perhaps we just want to know if the grass is greener on the other side or if we should stay put as WOHM? Perhaps people aren't being judgy? Perhaps they are... I only know that I am genuinely (non judgementally) curious.

valiumredhead Mon 13-May-13 21:36:07

DH's job means that he was rarely able to take time off if any of the children were ill so it is a relief to know that I have that covered. Finances are shared and both roles are equally valued by the other partner

I forgot to add that to my list, dh can never take the time off work if ds was ill so it would fall completely to me to sort out child care - works well me being around and no stress.

We also have a joint account and equal access to money.

num grin

dimsum123 Mon 13-May-13 21:36:57

Meant to also say I worked as a lawyer for 10 years before having dc's so have got the job/career thing out of my system!

1Catherine1 Mon 13-May-13 21:37:08

Although... while I was typing that last post, 4 people gave me a detailed answer. Thank you! It is quite interesting for me...

timidviper Mon 13-May-13 21:38:08

I returned to work 2 days a week and DCs went to a childminder on those days then I tried increasing to 3 days but found it too much so went back to 2.

When they were 14 and 11 I got a part-time, term-time contract so worked 9-3 in termtimes only which was brilliant as I do think my children needed me, in person, more as teenagers than they did as little ones when they were ok as long as fed, watered and safe.

I agree you should do what suits you and not take notice of what anyone else thinks

valiumredhead Mon 13-May-13 21:38:08

1catherine1 ime people aren't really interested they just like telling people ho they couldn't possibly be a SAHM as they would get sooooo bored.

Budgiegirlbob Mon 13-May-13 21:40:11

There's nothing wrong at all with wanting to be a SAHM, even when the kids are all school age. In fact, I think that older children need a parent around as much, or even more, than younger ones do.

I am self employed running a (very) small business, and often I have weeks with no work at all. I have no problem filling my days! By the time I've walked the dog, done some housework, been to the gym or out for a bike ride, shopping, made dinner for the evening, it's time do the school run again. Having already sorted dinner, I can chat to the kids, hear about their day, help with homework, run them to clubs etc without getting stressed.

Sometimes I'll meet a friend for coffee, or join a friend for dog walk, I see friends at the gym, and also volunteer as a cub leader. I've also done short part time college courses in subjects that I'd always fancied having a go at but didn't have time to do before when I worked full time.

I have plenty to fill my days!

Bowlersarm Mon 13-May-13 21:40:14

I'm a SAHM. Youngest DS is 13.

I can see it wouldn't be for everyone but I don't have enough hours in my day.

Housework, gardening, dog walks, shopping, catching up with friends, watching children play in sports matches, paper work, school stuff like class coffee mornings, school runs.

I don't bring in an income but feel it occupies me full time.

numbum Mon 13-May-13 21:40:17

See I have the best of both worlds doing half and half and only working term time. Everybody should be like me grin Again, I'm only joking but what I do completely suits me

I gave up work when mine were starting school. It's much harder to juggle work with kids at school ime!

marilynmonroe Mon 13-May-13 21:44:01

Thanks for all your responses. It's good to hear positive stuff from SAHMs!

My DD will go to school next year so only a year between them!

Shakey1500 Mon 13-May-13 21:44:23

I was a SAHM for 4 years and chose to return to work FT. I find it bloody hard! We were managing well on one wage but a great job came up, seemed do-able and the extra money goes a LONG way towards our utterly selfish retirement plans. So I focus on that. But I miss being a SAHM. I miss being able to do house-worky type things on a week day instead of cramming it in over the weekend and spending quality time with DS.

exoticfruits Mon 13-May-13 21:44:35

Lots of volunteering things you can do to fit in with school hours.

nenevomito Mon 13-May-13 21:44:57

Being a stay at home parent is an alluring choice. Time spent with your children and not as much chaos and running around. If its what you want to do then go for it.

Its not for me though. I like having my own financial independence, my own pension and the knowledge that should anything happen to DH, my children and I would be OK. I love family time evenings and weekends and holidays too.

Maybe folks just want to make conversation. Small talk is small talk. I doubt people really care whether you're a SAHM.

pointythings Mon 13-May-13 21:46:08

I couldn't be a SAHM, but that is a failing in me. I've always worked, mostly f/t, DDs were in nursery from 6 months (no 39 weeks paid Mat leave back then).

But I wouldn't dream of judging anyone who chose to be a SAHM. The only thing I would say is be careful - two of my friends who were SAHMs were dumped by their 'D'H for a younger, tighter and child-free version of their former selves, and they have found it very hard going trying to work and make ends meet. They've done it, but it has been tough.

AlvinHallsGroupie Mon 13-May-13 21:46:22

valium some of us have SAH when Dc are little but have good careers and find going back suits us when DC are older- no sneering,no being bored just we enjoy both parts of our lives .

Weegiemum Mon 13-May-13 21:47:36

I'm a p/t working, p/t sahm to 3 dc aged 9,11,13.

I work school hours 2 days a week teaching family literacy, and on my "off" days I do a bit of tutoring and freelance literacy training.

I love being able to be here when the dc get in, spend my holidays with them etc. dh works long hours (in fact this is Monday night, ill not see him till Thursday due to on-call commitments) so we think its best to have someone at home and I couldn't earn 1/4 of his salary.

We very much see me being sah as a "proper job" though. I manage the house, finances, our holiday-let property, etc.

Me being sah is partly as I have a disability which would make a return to classroom teaching almost impossible. But I don't for one minute regret my time at home with the dc.

BettyandDon Mon 13-May-13 21:47:44

My mum was like you. She learned Spanish, Japanese, Geology stuff at University. She was always making things, doing gardening, home decorating etc. She read a lot of books and magazines. I remember loads of Marie Claire's about the house. She had friends over for coffee. She was a gym bunny for a while.

I think a lot of mums do blogging, Pinterest type of stuff now.

I think it's a shame there are not so many SAHMs nowadays. I do very little in and around the home as its tiny and I tend to take the kids (6 mos and 2.8) out all the time.

I have found that my teenage DC need me more now than they did when they were 5-15. Various problems, illnesses, troubles, remote location, etc. you just don't know what will be required.

scottishmummy Mon 13-May-13 21:48:39

I don't need to work,we won't be in penury if I don't.i want to work
I want to maintain career,financial solvency, I want to be avoid role model
don't want to be housewife.had nursery place booked at 12wk pg

Sharptic Mon 13-May-13 21:49:21

I don't think the world would go round if we were all sahm or all working parents. It's good to have a mix and you and your family sound happy, that's all good!

I do think that going back to work, either after a few months maternity, when the kids start school or when they have flown the nest is a big upheaval, which usually settles down. I can imagine that after a while being a sahm, working life might seem a huge step and if you can avoid it, great!

I need to know though, as I've heard it a couple of times recently. Will my children need me more than ever once they are at school full time? I plan to continue working as I do now, just part time, so is life going to get even more complicated? (1 is already at school)

valiumredhead Mon 13-May-13 21:49:46

alvin sorry it's late, I didn't understand your post to me <thick>

everlong Mon 13-May-13 21:50:41

Do what suits your family.

BettyandDon Mon 13-May-13 21:51:28

She also did lots of helping at school. She was an ex-teacher and used to always get allocated the naughty kids!

LimitedEditionLady Mon 13-May-13 21:51:39

I work part time two days and have a two year old but dont think i plan to go back full time again when its schooltime although i think people will be saying oh are you doing more hours?life can be hectic now with just two days at work so i think id like time to relax a bit and not have to rush everything all the time.the only time im not with child is when im at work and the rest of time im doing things with child and doing chores and running the to me thats enough to do!!i will need a rest by schooltime lol

BimbaBirba Mon 13-May-13 21:51:42

I'm currently a SAHM. I quit my job because I was really miserable and didn't earn enough to cover childcare during term time and holidays. I feel much happier and relaxed. I always find things to do and I don't feel bored. I don't really care what other people think but sometimes I do worry about never being able to work again if I later change my mind and I want to go back

Chottie Mon 13-May-13 21:51:42

I was a SAHM for 16 years. I loved being at home, I looked after the family, I gardened, I grew vegetables, I studied, I was on the PTA and did some volunteer work.

I went back to work part time and now am full time again. I have never regretted being at home. Did it make a difference to my career staying at home? No, not at all. There is another person on my level at work. She also is a mother, but she worked except for small breaks when her DC were very young. So although she has worked practically full time and I had a break, we are still both doing the job, at the same level for identical salaries.

AlvinHallsGroupie Mon 13-May-13 21:54:48

Sorry Valium the bit in your post that people couldnt SAH because they would be soooo bored.
My point is that I loved SAH( at the time) but had a lovely career and really enjoyed that as well and went back when they were a bit older.
I now do 3x 12 hour shifts a week and have 4 days at home. I love both parts of my lifesmile

OnTheNingNangNong Mon 13-May-13 22:01:21

Before I had DS2 I started a degree, helped at school with reading/swimming/trips and spent some quality time with DH.

If you can afford to do it and want to be a SAHM, then do it. I love it most of the time

valiumredhead Mon 13-May-13 22:01:33

Sorry Alvin I think we are writing different things grin

I was trying to say that I hear a lot of very dismissiveness wrt SAH and people aren't really interested in how you fill your day but instead are very quick to point out that they would get bored and couldn't possibly do it themselves etc etc.

Does that make sense? Sorry, it's late and my brain has stopped working grin

You sound like you have a good balance smile

I wish I could be a SAHM <sigh>
I work 4 days a week and don't like being away from my DCs for that long. It's a high paid stressful job. Also noone ever lies on their deathbed wishing they worked harder.
Yes I'd get bored and probably feel isolated at times as a SAHM but I'd take action to rectify.

One day I'll do it!

scottishmummy Mon 13-May-13 22:07:28

and no one lies on deathbed regretting achievement and approbation
why would a working mum croak it full of regrets.thats a lame cliche
as cliched as housewife wholly fulfilled by fluff and fold

AlvinHallsGroupie Mon 13-May-13 22:08:45

Yes Valium totally get what you are saying but lots of us have done and enjoyed bothsmile and DH enjoys his SAHM days as well !

bumperella Mon 13-May-13 22:08:53

If you're family are financially independent as a unit, if you've some savings - i.e. if you can afford it then why not? It's no-one elses business after all.
SAHM can be great role models, I don't get the earlier post that suggested going back to a Good Career = being a good role model for your kids? A good career is part of life, but it's not all there is; it doesn't define me.

Chandon Mon 13-May-13 22:10:19

Have been at home 10 years now! Done bits of work on and off, but nothing serious.

There are times I feel underappreciated and bored and a bit angry with myself. But when I had a good jo, I used to feel this as well!

What I do all day? I am not a great housewife, to be fair, but I do cook nice meals for us all.

Let's look at tomorrow: DS2 assembly, then need to go to B&Q, then fix window in shed, then playing tennis with a friend, then taking kids to karate, then dinner, bath, homework....time flies.

I read a bit, am in book club, I volunteer at sports events, I never mind if anyone asks what I do. I Say " housewife" . If they ask " but what do you do all day" I say " pretty much nothing, watch Tv, eat chocs."

Not too bothered about other people's perceptions, one weird bloke on the train once told me I was not pulling my weight. If I did not work. But most people don't really care one way or another.

I am starting to freelance again, tentatively, now the kids are 8 and 10, as I miss working a bit. It can be boring to be at home, but you can always study or work part time or volunteer.

Being " at home" does not mean you have to actually BE at home all that much.

Chandon Mon 13-May-13 22:12:25

Aha, there is scottishmummy wielding the anti- sahm axe.

How are you? Any precious moments recently wink

exoticfruits Mon 13-May-13 22:12:49

I can't see why a career defines you. If you can have the choice then do what suits you.

scottishmummy Mon 13-May-13 22:13:27

I'm demonstrating role model of career,stick in at school,dont have to give career up when mum
im observably contributing to family and not enacting sterotyped roles mum=home,dad=work
IMO,that's a beneficial role model.employment,and not just dad works

Dahlen Mon 13-May-13 22:13:38

I've never been a SAHM and it wouldn't work for me because I'm a lone parent. I've never judged or thought less of anyone who's chosen to do it though. Just as different people suit different jobs, different families suit different work/home balances. I think for many families it's an absolutely ideal set-up and I certainly wouldn't make judgements about another woman's life, intelligence or motivation based on her WOH/SAH status.

I have only one negative association with it and that is that if the marriage goes wrong, the SAHP often ends up suffering very, very badly.

scottishmummy Mon 13-May-13 22:15:48

I'm not solely defined by work,I'm defined by multiplicity of personal and professional variables

Chandon Mon 13-May-13 22:17:52

Dahlen, that is a fair point. i recommend all sahm's to be financially savvy ( like putting the savings, car etc in your name). I would not feel so relaxed about being at home, if I was entirely financially dependent on DH. In our case, we own one flat outright, which is in my name and rent comes to me, and one house mortgaged which we live in and is shared. Obviously not a feasible option for everyone, but just to say where I am coming from.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 13-May-13 22:23:10

The financial aspect of it is very important actually. I own half the business that provides our family income, so my SAHM status does not impact on me financially.

Viviennemary Mon 13-May-13 22:23:17

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to go back to work after your youngest child goes back to school. As long as you don't try to pretend your are rushed of your feet, and never have a minute to spare. It's a nice cushy lazy life. And I don't blame anybody for choosing it. But don't try and justify it.

Weegiemum - how did you get into teaching family literacy? I would love to do that.

Sorry for hijack OP!

Personally I think the most important thing for a sahm is to keep her financial independence and have financial security. I have seen so many threads here from sahms who have given up their jobs and careers to be sahms and care for their children, and suddenly there is the bombshell that their partner has an affair, the relationship breaks down, and the sahm finds herself single, without a job, and without the security of marriage to safeguard her right to her home, and share of family assets.

LessMissAbs Mon 13-May-13 22:27:02

I would do sport OP. Go back to work if you choose to do so, but if you don't, try not to do nothing. There are lots of hobbies to do out there, some of them you can do quite seriously. Your time can also be for yourself, not just for other people.

I've done both roles while bringing up the children. Am currently at home with the youngest at school all day.

Personally, I disliked work. I am by nature a bit of a rebel and get bored very easily. That's probably fine if you have qualifications coming out of your ears and all sorts of career opportunities but for a poorly educated grumpy skiver like me, choices are very limited grin

I worked full time for years and years but DH always worked much longer hours so everything else fell on my shoulders. I jumped at the chance to give it up when youngest DS turned two and have been at home ever since. I think of it as early retirement.

I hate housework bit and do it in a desultory manner, but I read and watch films, decorate and sort out the garden. And I spend huge amounts of time on my family - they all get the best of me because I am happy and rested and enthusiastic.

It works for us though because DH and I have a very equal relationship. There are no power struggles (we are both very strong willed but we really care about each other). I would never have to go cap in hand to him for money -everything is shared. And he pulls his weight in every way in the marriage.

Besides, with everything housey done in the week, we have much more fun weekends now.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 13-May-13 22:39:51

I adored being a SAHM. I also adored the opportunity that not working gave me to do things I don't have the time to do when I am working. So I did another degree for example.

But I have a passion for my job that I don't have for domestic work. And not having children at home during the day tipped the balance for me.

The financial aspect (security rather than day to day) is a factor for me, but you asked for other reasons.

As for whether there's anything wrong for it...? Depends on lots of things. I'm assuming we're talking about for the woman? If you have a healthy, balanced relationship and financial security, then no.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 13-May-13 22:52:30

I was a SAHM for 10 years. Financially I didn't need to go back to work, but I'm now glad I did.

I started off volunteering when the second one went to school, and after about 3 years that led to a job.

I think that I was getting a little unproductive (too much daytime TV), and much as I would like to be, I am not that great a homemaker, and more than that, was beginning to be the person who picked up after everyone else. Even though my DH has always taken a great share of the childcare, just by virtue of me being around more, I would do all the washing, most of the tidying and most of the cleaning.

I missed my friends to begin with - going for a cup of tea after drop-off etc.

What I make pays the mortgage, which is a nice safety net. There was no financial pressure for me to go back, we share all our income and my outgoings were never questioned (quite rightly).

But I now am in the confident position to know we/I could cope if anything were to go wrong.

Give yourself time. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, and no-one has the right to judge you. We are all different.

After a while, If you do find yourself getting defensive, though, think about why that might be - is it them and their prejudices, or is it you, feeling a bit disgruntled?

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 13-May-13 22:54:05

Nothing wrong with being there for your dc. They will benefit provided you are happy with the arrangement.

EarthtoMajorTom Mon 13-May-13 22:56:55

I'm a sahm now and I love it. Kids are in mid-upper end of primary and they love it too. I've done full time, part time, nurseries, childminders etc and for now, this solution is working for our family. I don't spend much so that's not a problem - I'm not a high maintenance lady who lunches! I keep myself busy - have moved into a house which needs a lot of work doing to it. Having done all the variants of working / not working, I never bother with explaining or justifying my choices to anyone. Enjoy it xx

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 13-May-13 22:59:13


The only people I know who don't do paid work have:

More than 2 child
A voluntary job
An elderly or ill relative
One child who is in pre-school or Early Years
Doing a Course
A child who has SN

or a combination of the above

I think that, for me, working gave me an extra impetus to make my DCs take more responsibility for themselves and for helping around the house. When I was home, it was just easier for me and DH to do stuff for them.

But that's just me. Others are more disciplined

greencolorpack Mon 13-May-13 23:01:12

You could join a gym. You could write a novel. Both things I did when I was a stay at home mum. It was a great time of life. Don't worry about what people think of you. It's your life.

Iggi101 Mon 13-May-13 23:01:40

Several people have said variations on "my dh doesn't mind what I do, as long as I'm happy".
I'm trying for a moment to imagine what I'd feel if I was working full-time and my dh was at home, with school-age (especially secondary school-age) dcs. I honestly don't think I'd be happy to come home to hear about his art class, time at the gym and lunch with friends.
I'd feel differently if he had all the cupboards organised, made all our own bread, was teaching the dcs french, and taking classes in yoni massage though!
If you have to worry about how you'd fill your days, you should get a job. People are meant to be productive, which could be at home or work, but we all need a purpose.

mrsjay Mon 13-May-13 23:04:19

ytou do what you want to do, I dont get the oh now they are at school you must do SOMETHING else, do what you want dont feel guilty or that you have to rush back to work, do what is best for YOU and your family, and I am sure you are interesting ,

Iggi101 Mon 13-May-13 23:04:25

Though I do think a bit of lazing about at home is fair pay-back if you've had poor sleepers, tantrummers and taken the lion's share of childcare for at least five years!

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 13-May-13 23:06:56


Yes, I think that I needed to have, and had the luxury of having, some time to recover - physically and mentally from two DCs close in age.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 13-May-13 23:08:22

I am a sahm and also love it too. I think its important not to focus on the home, dc, and dh. Of course you might enjoy/need to do some chores, childcare and cooking. This doesn't have to be your purpose though. Personally I like being involved with projects small, medium and long term. I also have hobbies and interests and sometimes set goals for particular interests, such as pass grade 5 music theory.
I have also done many courses and have gained significant quals whilst being a sahm, not for anything in particular, just for fun.
Sometimes I meet friends, visit family, and I call on the old people in our community and do odd bits of shopping etc.
My dd 9 is now H.ed so I now have a new long term project, but still find time for me. Which I feel is a must if you are long term sahm. I don't feel as though I need to justify my choices to anyone, and if people want to assume that I work or should be at work for an employer I see it as a fault of theirs tbh.

thebody Mon 13-May-13 23:09:23

Loved being a SAHM while mine were little but equally loved going back to work when they were older as felt I was contributing financially and it made me a far more confident person.

How can anyone be bored anywhere? Either at home or work? You can always fill your time.

I am giving up Ft work again for a while next week as frankly I need a break. Can't wait, but will go back eventually.

Op its purely your and your partners business how you divide up your work life balance and noone else's.

Tell them to mind business.

Clayhanger Mon 13-May-13 23:15:40

You asked why women who don't have to work choose not to be SAHM- simply because work can be enjoyable, challenging and fun. Agree that everyone has to make her own choice. Most of my friends are SAHMs and have had a great time, but now our kids are teenagers some of them are regretting not having some professional fulfilment, so I think it's important never to paint yourself in a corner either way. As for me, I have a pretty senior job but do balance that with home. I'm very happy- don't assume that all WOHMs have to work. Some of us like the independence. Good luck with whatever you decide smile

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 13-May-13 23:19:24

Yes, work can be enjoyable, challenging and fun. Forgot to mention that grin

jojane Mon 13-May-13 23:21:16

I have 2 at school and a 2 year old at home. If I didn't have the 2 year old I would still be able to fill my day
Cleaning, washing etc (never ending in this house) and I would maybe even start ironing!!
Preparing evening meal, baking etc
Would start exercising, swimming etc.
Reading and crafty stuff
Lounge around watching tv :-)
Volunteering at the school (dd desperately wants me too but need to wait til ds2 is in playschool )
Am going to hopefully start up a rainbows pack so that will keep me busy
I have 3 children so there is always some costume to make or stuff to get for projects or school trip to prepare for or dentist/doctor/specialist appointments to attend, birthday party to organise, etc etc

If I worked in the day then I would have to sort out housework, cleaning etc when kids were around, childcare would be expensive, errands such as bank, lost office, dry cleaning, shopping etc would all have to be done on weekend instead of stuff with the kids, kids being I'll/inset days/school holidays would present a childcare juggling act.

I feel that being home even when all 3 are at school will be more beneficial for the family than working a job and paying most of it on childcare before and after school. I do work 2 evenings a week at the moment but kids are going to bed so doesn't really affect them too much and dh is around to look after them even if one is I'll etc which childcare doesn't always cater or.

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Mon 13-May-13 23:21:30

I am so glad to see this thread! My DD are still young (6 and 20 months) but I do think about the future and what will happen when they are school age. I have spent most of the last 2 years on maternity leave and I adore looking after my girls, so I completely understand why people choose to be SAHP. I am going back to work FT when DD2 is one, but I would like to go PT in a few years once they start school. A few posters already said that their older school age kids need them just as much, and I think I agree with this (but no experience yet so would love to hear more about why...)

morethanpotatoprints Mon 13-May-13 23:34:35


I think older children need you more because you are there to be fair. However, there is no way my dc could have chosen the activities they did had they attended after school clubs. If you are rich and have a nanny to escort them here there and everywhere it is doable. Another way of looking at it is some parents have to work and have to limit the activities and hobbies their dc choose and don't prioritise them over work. I still read to dd every night she is 9, they still need you emotionally until they leave home. Then of course there are GCSE's A levels, taking them to friends houses etc. If you want to you can become a PA to your dc if you want to take it that far. Personally I have enjoyed every minute supporting my dc, the eldest is now 21 and almost left home. He has 3 jobs, a steady relationship and has worked hard to become qualified in his chosen field. Which just happens to be one of the activities I used to take him to grin I'm sure others could add their own list. I also gained so much joy doing the school run and we walked come rain or shine.

IrritatingInfinity Mon 13-May-13 23:36:11

It is simple; do whatever suits you and whatever works for you and your family. Everyone has a different view on this but only YOU can work out what is best for you. I seriously don't give a monkeys if other people disapprove of me grin

I had to be a SAHM as we were overseas with my DH's job and I wasn't allowed to work. Fortunately, I didn't mind at all grin I loved my career but I love not working too. I have never felt the need to do things to impress people but I do keep myself busy with sports, friends, voluntary work, gardening, hobbies, chores and, of course, the kids. I am also good at doing nothing much and just relaxing and enjoying myself.

I think I would have been happy being a working Mum too but, overall, I am glad I have been a SAHM.

Life's what you make it smile

AmberSocks Mon 13-May-13 23:37:18

I think this is more about how you feel about yourself rather than how others make you feel.

NO one can make you feel boring or like you should be doing something else,only you dont need to justify yourself to anyone.

For what its worth,i am a sahm,i have 4 under 6 and another due at Christmas,i do it both because i want to and because now i have so many so young i dont know what id "do" with them all if i had a job!

My husband owns a large company and we have good insurance policies in place should anything bad happen so working isnt something im thinking about doing in the future,but who knows i might change my mind,i just want to enjoy life and spend it with the ones i love,not everyone seeks fulfillment from a job.

AmberSocks Mon 13-May-13 23:40:49

plus,i think we all pretend we do things "for the best" but really most of us do what we want to,i know if i had a career i loved when i had ds1 i would of gone back to work,if i felt like i wanted/needed to,i wouldnt sah just because i think its better.

QuietOldLadyWhisperingHush Mon 13-May-13 23:47:58

Thanks PotatoPrints smile

I really want to do the walks to and from school, sounds joyous indeed!

lalalalalal Mon 13-May-13 23:49:02

Why is a role for which you are paid of more (non-financial, obv) value than one for which you don't get a pay cheque???

Simply because someone gets paid for what they do doesn't make that role (or them) more important or valid than if they do something for 'free'.

I'm a SAHM but would be bored if that's all I did so I'm also studying part-time and volunteering for some charities. But that's me: I have a 2 sec attention span.. If you're happy being at home for your children, do it. It's no less valid than paid employment.

What's the alternative: you spend your time doing something you dislike, missing out on what you really want to be doing, in order to live up to some assumption of what you 'should' be doing?? What a waste.

grumpyinthemorning Tue 14-May-13 07:02:21

I always insisted I would go back to work, I hated being a sahm. Now ds is a bit older I'm starting to change my mind. It's not so mind-numbing any more, and it's nice to have a bit of time to myself for a change. I'm doing a college course atm, so no rush to get back to work!

catgirl1976 Tue 14-May-13 07:16:43

If you don't have to go back to work and you don't want to - then don't. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks

If you think you will get bored, volunteer, get a pt job doing something you like etc. There's always MN though. And candy crush.. And day time tv. And wandering round the shops.

cory Tue 14-May-13 07:22:58

Make sure you think through your pension arrangements.

MaryPoppinsBag Tue 14-May-13 07:27:03

My youngest starts school in September, I would love a year off as a SAHM as reward for the sleepless nights etc.

But I'm a Childminder and will have a baby and a 3 year to look after. I am hoping to get one day off to myself to do paperwork which I will enjoy.

I have done SAHM after losing my job after mat leave with DS2. And I've done PT after I had DS1. I think I preferred working 2 days a week after I had DS1 it was a really lovely time of my life. One very placid easy going child. It was bliss. And going out to work refreshed me and made me come home with a let's get it done attitude. Which I find lacking when at home all day.

Each to their own though. If I found myself in a lull with CM it would be nice to be a SAHM again. And I am sure I could find something to do.

Wishiwasanheiress Tue 14-May-13 07:32:36

Practical suggestions;

Join a gym (any paid excercise)
Go running (or any free excercise)
WI and any clubs
Volunteer charity shop/schools/libraries etc
Part time work
Learn language/study for pleasure
Pick up hobby

topcat2001 Tue 14-May-13 07:40:11

I read the OP and thought this will turn into SAHM v WM.

and it did, scottishmummy to the

stay at home and bring your kids up its great.

I have a small part time job, that fits in with school so I don't miss a thing.

Nobody lies on their deathbed thinking '' i wish i spent more time at work''

As for doing stuff either take each day as it comes or set a schedule.

Voluntary work is great because you can tell them at the start you only work term time and give the times you can work. Maybe just say mon and tues 10-2 to start and see how you get on.

NewAtThisMalarky Tue 14-May-13 07:40:43

Nothing wrong with wanting to stay at home - I would if I could - as well as working, I am studying and this leaves little time for the other things I'd like to do.

Op, you could make it a moral issue. Tell anyone nosy enough to ask if you are going back to work that as you financially don't need to work, and jobs can be hard to find in the current financial climate, you'd rather not take up a job that could be done by someone that needs the money.

Wishiwasanheiress Tue 14-May-13 07:42:50

You also have the elder children's projects/homework/clubs etc.

From my present experience of sahm there really isn't as much time for 'me' as u might be expecting! Don't be too disappointed.....

LilyBolero Tue 14-May-13 07:47:52

Not judging anyone, but please do bear in mind that you will need 30-35 years National insurance contributions to get the state pension. You are covered while the children are small, through child benefit which will give you a credit, but once the kids are over 12 that ceases.

You really don't want to hit your late sixties and not be eligible for the state pension, so make sure that is part of your planning; it's not just about what you can afford now. There are also other benefits that you may not be eligible for because they are contribution based, and CB doesn't count for them. So, even if you go back to work eventually, you may not have built up enough NiCs to qualify for.
National Insurance contributions count towards the following state benefits:
the basic State Pension
the additional State Pension, sometimes called the State Second Pension
Jobseeker's Allowance - the 'contribution-based' element
Employment and Support Allowance - the 'contribution-based' element
Maternity Allowance
bereavement benefits - Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent's Allowance
Incapacity Benefit

LilyBolero Tue 14-May-13 08:00:28

So just to clarify;
New flat rate pension = £144 a week

If you have fewer than 10 years NiCs you will get nothing.
10-35 years NiCs will be paid pro rata ; ie if you have 20 years, you will get 20/35s of the pension, ie £82 a week

If you have 35+ years, you get the full flat rate (£144).

So suppose you have 2 children, 2 years apart and worked for 5 years before they were born. You will have 5 years from working and 14 years from CB protection, but that will give you 14/35 of the pension, = £58 a week. And as said before, little or no entitlement to many other benefits.

Worth thinking about imo.

Chipsbigbowl Tue 14-May-13 08:03:25

Tell everyone you intend to sit on your behind eating Bon Bons and watching Jeremy Kyle. Straight faced. Time to stop caring about the thoughts of strangers I think. HTH smile

LilyBolero Tue 14-May-13 08:05:16

Duh, I can't count, my example would give 19/35, about half of the state pension.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 08:05:46


That's useful

Thingymajigs Tue 14-May-13 08:09:14

I've been a SAHM for 10 years (not through choice) and I have finally learned to cope with the isolation and boredom. When I was younger I was climbing the walls with frustration but I've since found ways to fill the time. This week I'm redecorating the bathroom and two other projects. I found the key to my sanity was self motivation and learning new skills.
Recently there have been opportunities opening up for me to take on voluntary work and weekend jobs now that my DP can take care of the children when he's not at work. I'm really excited about the possibility of returning to work but also terrified as I've been isolated for so long.
Being a SAHM is not a lazy choice by any means and if its through choice I'd imagine it could be lovely. Its easy to feel judged though. I started to dread the question "so what do you do?". I'd be happy to label myself as anything other than awkwardly mumbling "I stay at home" one more time.

BegoniaBampot Tue 14-May-13 08:11:20

I'm at home with no kids. Used to have lots of friends the same so we did stuff together, sports, trips out, lunch etc. Moved and most of the mums work. I do stuff about the house, the shopping, go for walks, have days out, play sport and meet up with friends now and again for lunch. looking at doing some voluntary work hopefully.

BegoniaBampot Tue 14-May-13 08:12:19

Oh and Mn and watch some telly as well.

This might sound a bit different to your situation, but I think there are similarities. I'm going to finish my PhD in October and am constantly getting asked if I'm going to get a 'real' job afterwards. FWI, i consider my job to be every bit as real as theirs - probably a good bit harder too.

In other words, stick to your guns, be proud of your own choice. If you want to go back to work eventually, I'd say going back to uni for a degree or postgrad when the time is right would be the best way to refresh your cv.

Yonihadtoask Tue 14-May-13 08:16:14

I am a SAHM, my DS is 15.

However, I have worked from being a teenager until 2 years ago.

I don't have to work. We havw our own business. I do a bit of admin, DH works very hard, travels and puts in the hours. My 'work' is to keep things running smoothly at home. I don't get bored. I have loads of free time to do whatever I want.

I worked f/t when DS was small as I was LP back then. It didn't seem to harm him having to go to CM and nurseries. As said above, I think that he needs me more now he is older.

Life is short. There is no point in doing something you don't want to if you don't havw to.

LilyBolero Tue 14-May-13 08:18:36

Yoni, check your pension entitlement!
(I am a bit obsessed about this as lots of women hit retirement and only then realise they are not entitled to the state pension).

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 08:19:40

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to go back to work after your youngest child goes back to school. As long as you don't try to pretend your are rushed of your feet, and never have a minute to spare. It's a nice cushy lazy life. And I don't blame anybody for choosing it. But don't try and justify it

You have just illustrated my point perfectly hmm

Thingymajigs Tue 14-May-13 08:22:34

Thats helpful, thanks lily. Does anyone know how it works if you receive carers allowance? Is that counted as working or will I be looking at no pension at this point?

Sheshelob Tue 14-May-13 08:28:21

Even if I was married to Bill Gates, I would still work. I like working and the thought of pottering around with watercolours and hanging around with ladies that lunch makes me want to blow my own head off.


Fairylea Tue 14-May-13 08:34:57

Why does everyone assume you have to do lunch and volunteer if you're a sahm? One of the reasons I don't want to work is that I hate being around people all day. I don't want to replace that with more people!

There was a thread about this the other day and most people on there were also anti social like me smile

It's nice to enjoy peace and quiet and spend time doing whatever you like, it doesn't have to involve doing anything particular!

Yonihadtoask Tue 14-May-13 08:41:02

Agree fairy.

Am still in my dressing gown, watching the news...

DH works at home a lot, so now and again we go out for a walk, or to the pub., It's fab to have the freedom to do that.

Am quite content not to be crammed in an office with ringing telephones for 37 hours per week anymore.

wordfactory Tue 14-May-13 08:42:32

I actually gave up work when my DC went to school. Actually I think I limped thorugh reception, but gave up when they were in year 1.

People were suprised.

The problem was that I had worked part time since they were born and really needed to go back full time. The job wasn't being done properly IMVHO. Plus I had been offered a really great opportunity that would require decent hours to be put in.

DH's career in the meantime had become very demanding and he was travelling a fair bit.

Then there was the issue of school hours! So short! Holidays every pair of plates!

If I was to be able to continue I'd need a live in nanny. And DH and I really din't fancy that. At All!

So I gave up work. Fortunately DH earns silly money and didn't mind carrying on paying into my pension etc.

What did I do? Well first I caught up with everything that had been screaming for attention. Then I did up the house. I joined a gym. I got a dog. I met lots and lots of other SAHMs and we did lots and lots of coffee and lunch.

But in truth, I got bored. I just couldn't imagine this being how my days would pan out into the future. I needed to feel myself part of the world outside the domestic. I was also beginning to dislike how overpoweringly female all my interactions were!

So I started to work from home. And I've done that for seven years. I've built up a successful career from scratch which has mostly allowed me to work around my DC without childcare. Only now have I started to WOH on a part time basis, in addition to my work at home.

I feel so happy and blessed!

Khaleese Tue 14-May-13 08:43:06

Some of my fruends are appalled that i don't plan to return to work :-)

One very long conversation about how one would get bored ( teacher) she eventually conceeded that she didn't get bored at all in the six weeks holiday...

You have to do whats right for your family and its only six hours a day. Who can't fill that with cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening, decorating, studying, baking, excercise, reading, friends and hobbies?

It's a much less stressful life for all. My friend with a very good job is constantly frazzled, child gets dropped at school at 8, collected at 6. School holidays are holiday clubs. Child hates after school club. Mum feels guilty. If you don't need to do it why would you?
I want a relaxed family where we have lots of quality time.

LilyBolero Tue 14-May-13 08:45:57

Carers allowance should give you a pension credit; worth checking under the new system as well, but I think you should be fine with that.

I'm going to say it once more, and then shut up; it's not just about what you can afford now, it's also about what you will be able to afford in retirement. Even if your dh/partner is earning loads, what if he dies first? What will you live on then? There are far fewer safety nets now, and imo you need to have built up your own 'entitlements'. Otherwise your old age could be really hideously poverty-stricken.

I would not work if we did not have to, and we could afford me being a sahm. Frankly and honestly. I think I am quite lazy. I think that is a quality most sahms share. Lazyness and a love for the good things in life. Time with the children, time to potter, time to lunch, take up a sport, time for friends, time for maybe a course, be it floristry or flowerbinding, or volunteering for a worthy cause. It seems like a perfectly good way of spending your life! All you have to do to get it, is keep the house clean, the children sorted and food on the table, which does not take long and is not rocket science. And to be honest, your children is your ticket to a great social life! So really a win win! If you can afford it.

I have been accused of sahm bashing on other threads, and of course if a woman is posting that she cannot afford toothpaste she is a sahm and her husband not earning enough, then it goes without saying that being a sahm is a luxury the family cant afford and she should find work!

I think the only downside is relinquishing your independence and financial security, to the hands of such a flighty being as a man. It is extreme sport along the same line as base jumping and off piste peak skiing! And yet, to most sahms, being squeezed out of the relationship with a younger/different model their partner/husband met at work/conference come as such a big surprise.

The only thing I can say is, ensure you have financial equality and your name on the car, the mortgage, house deeds, your own savings, pensions etc. But most importantly a will if you are not married so that his parents/siblings cant swoop in and take the house/car/content of bank accounts, etc. Most think "oh that will never happen to us" Well, after several years here, we see, it does.

C999875 Tue 14-May-13 08:48:56

I believe that every parent is a working parent. As to whether a parent should take an outside job well everyone's circumstances are different.
However as a lone parent I have a absolutly no choice. I have to work whether I want to or not, come hell or high or water. xx

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Tue 14-May-13 08:55:16

You basically just have to learn not to give a shit. You have one life and the only person you're obliged to please in yourself. And your family.

I have to say though, that I find men who actively prefer their wives/partners (as opposed to support them in the best decision for the family) to be at home, really quite insidious.

wordfactory Tue 14-May-13 08:58:07

dondraper I agree.

When I hear a woman say their DH prefers them to be at home, I imagine a man who just wants to hand over the familial duties to his wife. Who could find a man like that attractive?

mamapants Tue 14-May-13 09:00:31

I have asked people what they are going to do next. Either because I'm assuming they've gone without financially in order to stay at home as I will. I will hopefully return part time and will not have much money and then when kids are at school will go back to work and kids will be able to do activities and go on hols etc.
Or I've asked in a 'wow what are you going to do with the new free time that will be weird and amazing after years of looking after DC full time'.
No judgment.
Possibly a tiny smidge of jealousy, if my DP earned enough I'd stay home in a heartbeat.
Good luck, enjoy and no one is judging you. You, your partner and your kids are the only people who matter in this scenario.

HazleNutt Tue 14-May-13 09:09:06

As long as everybody in the family is happy with the arrangement then it's nobody else's business.

DS1 will be here soon and DH will be a SAHD. I undertand that taking care of babies and toddlers is a full time job and even though DH now works from home, we don't expect him to continue while DS is small.

Once he is in school though, I don't think I would consider it a fair deal if I have to work long days, so he could stay home, read magazines, fill his days with hobbies and post stuff on Pinterest, like has been described and suggested here, to fill the days. Obviously I'm just more greedy and less nice than a lot of husbands. grin

freddiefrog Tue 14-May-13 09:19:32

I've had lots of comments thrown at me over the years (my eldest is 11) but have learnt not to give a shit anymore. I don't need to justify myself to anyone other than the people it immediately affects.

I do a few hours, very part time from home and I'm also a foster carer so not allowed to work full time anyway - and apparently that's a cushy life too according to one ex-friend, I'm being paid to stay at home now hmm

I do all sorts of stuff with my days and I enjoy it.

DH is happy, the kids are happy, I'm happy, why should I have to work full time if I don't need to?

HiggsBoson Tue 14-May-13 09:24:30

I do both. Stay at home with D and then do 26ish hours evenings and weekends <YAWN>

I could make all sorts of comments about SAHM being boring etc., but the truth is I am just very envy of people who have that choice.

mrsjay Tue 14-May-13 09:24:40

I do work very part time but meh to them all I don't care what people think I also have a medical condition and I couldnt look after children and work so I chose to be a sahm, I think a lot of people think that if you do decide to be a SAHM then you are loaded that isn't always the case,

OH freddie I heard somebody say that foster care was where the money was at you get paid squillions a week , I found the whole conversation awkward and distasteful as people do not foster children to earn money

Samu2 Tue 14-May-13 09:25:32

I have been a SAHM for 14 years now. I have five children, two with SN's. My youngest starts full time school in Sept and I am now at the stage where I am thinking about my options. I have very little qualifications and want to get into health care so I am starting driving lessons and will do some voluntary work going to peoples homes and caring for them. That is something I could easily fit into my day and if I am good at it I could always get a paid job in that area.

My problem is that I get bloody tired, my children with SN's are hard work and working long hours would not help my stress levels but at the same time I am sick of trying to fill the hours at home. I cook, clean, go to the gym, have appointments etc but I am getting to the stage where I want to be more productive because 14 years of not working is a lot, especially when I had my first child at 18 years old.

LondonMan Tue 14-May-13 09:28:03

please do bear in mind that you will need 30-35 years National insurance contributions to get the state pension

If you are not working and not claiming child benefit for a child under 12 it may be worth making voluntary NI contributions.

dimsum123 Tue 14-May-13 09:28:20

I have never had anyone ask me if I'm going to get a job now children are at school. I have one single childfree friend who does ask me what I'm going to do with my life and I just say I don't know and I'm enjoying it as it is right now.

I think she is asking me because actually she is the one who has no idea what direction her life will take. She is single and childfree involuntarily. Never met the right man and now is too old to have children.

freddiefrog Tue 14-May-13 09:37:07

Mrsjay squillions? No. Not even hundreds. We get an allowance which by and large covers a child's expenses.

I love it, but it is challenging and it's hardly 'being paid to sit at home on my arse'

mrsjay Tue 14-May-13 09:39:16

IT was between to women apparently they had seen an advert in the paper and it was a good payer hmm ok then ,

cherrycarpet Tue 14-May-13 10:16:58

OP - YANBU. Enjoy it would be my advice! If you don't need to and you don't want to, then don't feel you have to go back to work. I've got 4DC and all are now at school. I worked full-time before having kids and always presumed I'd go back to work after DS1 was born. Premature twins (very poorly) quickly followed his birth so all ideas of returning to work had to be put on the back-burner. In the last few years I have done various part-time jobs and last year ended up working 5 days a week (part-time). This was a mistake as I ended up getting ill - partly stress-related as I was trying to juggle too many balls. I'm not working at the moment as my DH is away all week - he loves his job so no resentment from him. To be honest the cost of childcare for 4DC (just for before/after school/holidays) barely makes it worth working part-time and there is no way I would work full-time at this point in my life.

I will return to work at some point but at the moment I'm enjoying being a SAHM. I like my own company and always have a creative project on the go so never get bored. Housework, cooking, shopping and gardening take up the rest of the week - fine by me. Occasionally I'll meet a friend for a cuppa but I'm certainly not in the league of 'ladies who lunch'! We try to leave the weekends free to enjoy ourselves as a family - precious time especially as DH is away during the week. I also volunteer in school one morning a week and often help out on school trips. What I love best is being there for the children at the start and end of the day - helping them with their homework, cooking tea, attending all their plays and assemblies and just chilling out together. I feel lucky to be able to do this.

It's such a personal decision and obviously many people don't have the choice to be a SAHM for financial reasons. We're certainly not that well off but choose not to take expensive holidays, we make do with a 10 year old car etc. so there's a certain level of compromise I guess.

I guess we're influenced by the role models we've had as children. My grandmother was a SAHM (to 3DC) and an artist - she did loads of voluntary work and I always looked up to her especially when my mum died when I was 12 and she was able to fill that gap to some extent. In contrast my mum worked full-time in a high-powered job but was dead by 40. Although I respect her commitment to her career I feel sad that I have very few memories of us just 'doing stuff' together. She was quite stressed most of the time.

To be honest, to my knowledge, I have never been judged for my decision and I couldn't give a toss what other people think as this works for our family. I do have the work-ethic firmly ingrained but I think the 'job' I'm currently doing is immensely valuable. You have to be comfortable with your decision. As I said at the beginning - enjoy it if you can!

badtasteyoni Tue 14-May-13 10:27:49

OP if you want to continue to be a SAHM, your partner supports you in that, and you can afford it, then go for it, it's nobody elses' business.

It's not for me for various reasons, but it doesn't bother me at all what somebody else chooses to do - just a thought though - do you think possibly people are just asking if you're going back to work just to make conversation/small talk and aren't actually making judgements anyway?

Runoutofideas Tue 14-May-13 10:28:16

I was in your position a couple of years ago. I was happy being a SAHM for 7 years, but to be honest after dd2's first year at school I did start to get a bit bored and look for something to do. (rather than constantly mumsnet or search for holidays on the internet!) DD2 is now in her second year at school.

I ended up registering as a childminder as I felt I was wasting the hours between 9-3 but I still wanted to be able to pick up and drop off my own children at school and be available for school stuff like sports days etc. I only work 2.5 days a week, term time only which works really well for me. I actually feel pride in earning my own money, even though it goes straight into savings as we don't need it for day-to-day living. I didn't really think about my feelings regarding financial dependence until my first few invoices were paid!

I certainly wouldn't judge you for not working though, just t hink about what you would like to do to fill your time.

Almostfifty Tue 14-May-13 10:58:40

23 years since I worked for a wage. My DH has always worked away a lot during the week and sorting out childcare would have always been my responsibility. We talked it through and decided I would SAH.

Once my youngest was at playgroup I volunteered in school. I then upped that once he was at school, then went on to do a couple of days. I also do office work in one of the local hospices, in addition to a couple of hours doing other voluntary stuff. Everywhere I volunteer, they are short of volunteers.

We're lucky enough to not need any more money than my DH earns so can't really see the point in going into a job when the way things are suit us perfectly.

MaryPoppinsBag Tue 14-May-13 10:58:54

Runoutofideas - I feel the same as you about earning my own money from CM. didn't realise how nice it felt until I started earning again.

My earnings have for the first time ever given us savings in the bank. I hope to be able to squirrel it away as we've lived on one salary for a while.

I am proud of my job and enjoy how it fits in with picking my own children up from school.

I am hoping to get a whole day off when DS2 starts FT school in Sept. and have recently picked up work TTO looking after a baby 8.30-4.30. 4 days starting September (fingers crossed).

sharpasclaws Tue 14-May-13 11:00:32

I've been a sahm for 15 years and I think I have been judged for my decision, though my DD has SN so usually it's when people don't realise the extent of her needs. I don't like to elaborate about it, especially to people I don't know well, so they are sometimes left wondering what I do with all my time when she's at school.

I have never 'just' been a sahm though, I've always had interests (creative/performance/sports) or done courses (have done two degrees while DD was growing up), plus some voluntary work and helping out family too, so always had lots of challenges and things going on in my life. I feel lucky that we're financially secure enough so that I don't have to work, and can spend my time doing things that I love, as I know a lot of my f/t working friends would jump at the chance to do the things that I get involved in, but can't commit the time.

bordellosboheme Tue 14-May-13 11:06:01

Your only problem here seems to be caring about what others think

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 11:26:20

It seems to me that people asking a mundane question -are you thinking about working,what do you plan to do , has actually made the OP consider what she wants to do ,this is not a bad thing !
It is always a good idea to reconsider things from time to time in your life rather than being fixed on one way only.
If that means you have a think and want to SAH -great but I get fom your OP that you might be considering making some changes.
I should add that I WOH and have a very balanced life but I enjoy the contrast between WOH and leisure time .
That old quote keeps coming up regarding "noone wishes on their deathbed they had worked more"
On my deathbed I will think about what I have given back to society during my working life (midwife) and hopefully how I have raised lovely DC I doubt I will look back and wish I hadnt done it because I reconsider my life /decisions regularily NOW while I can !

EssexGurl Tue 14-May-13 11:29:53

I get this too! I worked when my oldest was little as he went to nursery and I could work. I gave up following DD as I couldn't get childcare for DS to work with my working hours. Nursery - great. No ASC at school and the only one locally finished too early for me to get back from the city and collect them both. Nannies/CMs in our area are like gold dust and also a friend is on her third nanny search in as many years, so I'm worried about that.

School and working life DID NOT work for me or my family. Why would my youngest being at school miraculously change that? I intend to get fit, do more voluntary work and do work on the house/garden, whilst supporting my youngest at school and my eldest through his move to secondary. Surely nothing wrong with that.

chillynose Tue 14-May-13 11:35:42

My dds are 7.5 and 4
4 year old starts school in september i am a stay at home mum
I work in a supermarket fri night, sat night and all sunday
Hoping to do overtime in the week when she starts school

TeenAndTween Tue 14-May-13 11:52:31

I'm a SAHM.

During school hours I:
- help at primary school, listening to readers, school trips etc. I get proactively asked by teachers to help as they know I am competent and available. Not many SAHMs at out school.
- am involved in PTA
- get all the 'jobs' done so they don't need to be done when children are at home
- internet / relax / socialise

After school I am therefore available to
- pick up from school every day
- help both children with schoolwork. For y9 DD this is still needed, whether it is testing her on French verbs, helping with maths concepts, discussing whether sport is like a religion etc
- ferry children to/from any activities, have friends round
- keep a reasonably 'child centred' routine, ie we eat when best for the children, not when it fits around my work schedule

At weekends, we do family / hobby things, not paperwork, shopping, DIY etc

We are lucky we can afford for me to do this. I had a well paid professional job before we got our children, but I don't miss it.

rainbowsprite1 Tue 14-May-13 11:53:52

I also do both, I'm a SAHM to school age DD's during the day and work part time evenings & weekends in a local convenience store. During the day I do all the stuff that other people must do in the evenings! This morning I have batch cooked loads of cottage pies, cleaned & tidied

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 12:47:18

I disagree with people who say its a lazy lifestyle being a sahm because it isn't, even when dc are at school.
Perhaps it is fair to say that there is more freedom, spontaneity etc as things don't always have to be done to a certain deadline or time frame like many working parents have to do.
You can have a day lazing, doing the bare essentials and make up for it the next day. But to say that a sahp is never rushed off their feet is ridiculous. I think when dc are little it can be hard work, as they get older it eases off a bit. When mine were at school I was still doing things for them or that concerned them even though they weren't here. I think if you are a sahm you need a happy balance between domestics and your own time.

BadRoly Tue 14-May-13 13:02:27

I haven't read back so it's probably descended into a bun fight by now but anyway...

I have been a sahm since dd1 was born almost 12 years ago. Dc4 starts school in September full time. So I will be properly child free for a decent chunk of time each day!

I did 3 months supply teaching between dc3&4 and hated it. Dh works away and we have no family nearby so I don't think a return to teaching (even if they'd have me) is an option.

I do the books for dh's business and am considering an accountancy course in September with a long term view to being a book keeper. Like you, we don't 'need' the money - any earnings I make will be for luxuries (holidays etc).

I have said I will become a Parent Governor from September and I will continue volunteering in school. I run a Brownie pack too. All of this is to keep me out and about and involved with people.

Purely from seeing other family members try to manage, children starting school seems to make child care harder to juggle with working than before they start school. As we are the fortunate position of not wanting of needing to work, I don't currently see the need to make our lives more difficult/complicated.

Cakebaker35 Tue 14-May-13 13:07:09

OP I wonder if what you're really saying here is you are surprised how judgemental some people can be about other people's choices? I know I am!

I chose to be a SAHM after having our first DD. I'd worked for a long time in a very demanding and well paid job and was fortunate to be able to save up enough to give up work. I never expected people to question my decision, but they did and continue to. I have had comments from people which have left me pretty speechless saying my DD is missing out by not going to nursery, that I am lucky to have a rich DH who lets me not work ( he isn't and I just saved bloody hard for years), that I must be really bored and desperate for adult company. The list goes on really.

I think most of it is just thoughtlessness, although some not! But I am amazed that people, sadly mainly other Mums, so happily judge other people's choices/situations. To my knowledge I've never questioned anyone's choice to return to work and I wish some people would be equally respectful of the choice to be a SAHM. It is very much like a job in some ways - some good days, some not so good - but definitely not boring or a lazy choice.

So to get to the point! Don't feel bad about what others think - if you are happy with your life as it is then carry on! Sadly there will always be someone out there with an unwanted opinion on what you're doing but sod it and enjoy it. I am sure you will find loads to fill your time with, a chance to take up some new hobbies, meet new people and keep on enjoying life. Have fun.

sherbetpips Tue 14-May-13 13:14:37

I am a working mum but I would completely agree with your statement around them needing you when they start school. Yes there will be a gap in the day when they are not there that you could choose to do something useful in - many mums help out at school, do voluntary stuff. Some take advantage and do all the housework, shopping cooking, helping family members out, etc. But they need you at home time, homework, after school activities,etc. I have found it much more difficult being a working mum since he started school than it was when he was in nursery because I am so much more responsible for there time now. Not quite what you were asking but just saying I agree with you, if you dont want to work and dont need to work dont worry about it.

Decoy Tue 14-May-13 13:15:20

It's your life and your choice smile You don't need to justify yourself to anyone, and if people get too pushy then they're probably not your sort of people anyway. Just smile and say you're quite happy the way things are. Then when they say "oooh I could never do that" just say "everyone's different" and change the subject.

sherbetpips Tue 14-May-13 13:16:04

Cakebaker35 you saved up enough to never work again? wow that is some serious saving ability. Cant even save up for next months holiday blush

Ragwort Tue 14-May-13 13:19:05

Agree with Cakebaker's comments, why does anyone (women especially) feel the need to 'justify' how they spend their time.

If your family can afford a SAHP - then it is absolutely your right to do so, just as it is anyone's right to retire early, if they can afford to. I think the 'protestant work ethic' can go too far really. Obviously you need to be sure that have your pension/financial records straight and up to date and that each partner is fully supportive of the other and there is no form of financial bullying. You do see a lot of very sad threads on mumsnet about SAHMs who have very little financial security.

But really, if you are financially comfortable, what's not to like? I had my DC late in life and have been a SAHM for 12 years - I don't get bored at all - quite frankly an awful lot of jobs are incredibly boring, I don't believe anyone who says otherwise. I get to do what I want, I do loads of voluntary work - not being goody two shoes about it - that is what I enjoy. I was involved in voluntary work when I was in paid employment and now I have been able to increase that, and use the skills from my previous career. I spend a lot of time involved in community work picking up the pieces that social workers etc don't seem to have the time to do. I go to the gym (occasionally), spend time with my elderly parents ............ housework and cooking is very low on my priorty list grin.

Cakebaker35 Tue 14-May-13 13:22:58

Ha ha sherbetpips smile not to never have to work again, but enough for a couple of years of living on a tight budget. I've not made any decisions about returning to work yet, but certainly won't go back to my old career, I don't miss it and it would take me away from family life far too much. I am happier cutting back on stuff and being at home that having lots of money but no time with DD and DH.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 13:23:05

I have older children and am still at home, it was not the original intention but at the point when I would have been returning a spanner was thrown into my childcare options, the school holiday costs would eat into any wages I earnt during termtime. My children, not sporty, would be miserable to spend those weeks with testoterone fuelled competive people wink

I work part time from home tbh I would like and outside part time job but have been out of the conventional workplace for so long it wouldnt be easy to get one at the moment.

I meet friends walking the dog, do the house, go to a book club whatever I feel like really.

There are plenty of other mothers here who help with reading and swimming at school - tbh the school would take up as much of the day as you wanted! Also I think some help at the library. You can be as busy as you want really.

There are career women who will sniffily look down their noses at you and think you have nothing to say but to be honest I doubt even when I was working they would have been my kind of people as they are obviously one dimensional and mean spirited.

I refuse to accept that society evolved from one where women were told what to do by men to one where women are told what to do by women, much as they may try. Do what you want with your life grin

Just reassess as you go along, in a few years time your opinion may change.

shewhowines Tue 14-May-13 13:27:29

I love it, never get bored and I really don't know how people manage working full time and looking after a family. I admire them tremendously.

I do get fed up justifying how I spend my time though. There are one or two people that seem to have a real chip on their shoulder and can't resist making sly digs.

I also find myself in a position where I have lost the chance of ever earning good money, due to being out of the market for so long. As long as you bear that in mind, I'd say go for it.

I really do appreciate being in a position of being able to choose. I will never take that for granted.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 13:34:15

I'm a SAHM to our 3 dc. Two are at school and one is still at home. I'm starting to wonder what I will do when the youngest starts school in 2015. I like staying at home with them TBH. Dh is away a lot with work, so it makes life easier for us in many ways. I appreciate that I am lucky to be able to do this. As others have pointed out, I do worry about the state pension entitlement, but I did work for 10 years before staying at home and my oldest is 9 and my youngest is 2, so I think I will have 20 years NI paid from CB. So, I think I will need to make up 5 years, which shouldn't be too difficult as I am in my early forties and will probably have to work until 70 in any case.

bigbuttons Tue 14-May-13 13:44:45

I was a sahm for 14 years. Had 6 kids, didn't need to work as self employed ex was solvent etc etc. Then last april the shit hit the fan. I fled the relationship. Ex had been accruing debts for years and didn't let me know how serious things were ( that's not why I left btw, he was an abusive arse).
I had been out of teaching for so long I knew I could not get back into to a job that paid decent wages. I was forced to sign on and get every benefit I could. Self employed ex claimed he had no money so isn't paying ANY MAINTENANCE at all.
Now I am doing low paid work in schools.
I wish to god I hadn't trusted someone with my financial future in such a blind way. I wish I had kept my hand in the job market, even if it had been on a part time basis.
I think being a sahm leaves you very vulnerable finically after a while.
I will be advising my dd's when the time comes, to keep their financial independence.

Cinnamom Tue 14-May-13 14:08:28

I have been a sahm for 12 years now. I have no intention of ever working outside the home as such again. I enjoy being at home and doing the cooking, cleaning, homework, etc I also do charity work for a childrens home once a week. For the rest, I am at home, doing my thing. I feel very fortunate to be able to do this and have a wonderful DH who fully supports my choice.

I am most certainly not boring and anyone who judges me based on my life choices, isnt worth my attention. I do not feel the need to justify it any more than a working out the house mum would. We are all different and as long as it doesnt hurt anyone, all our choices should be valued and respected.

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 14:08:38

I have been a SAHM for 14 years and love it. Yes there are risks involved but those on a dual income to pay the bills are often stuffed too if the relationship ends and you can't live life thinking bad things are about to happen. I would still be glad of the time with my DC as it is priceless to me. However I am finishing my degree via the OU and plan to volunteer and also considering starting my own business in the future if needed.

My DS starts school in Sept and I still want to be a SAHM. Mainly as I want to be there at all school events, do all school runs, enjoy holidays with DC etc. To be blunt I have been able to put the kids first for so long that putting an employer first would be hard. Eg. if the kids are ill I would want to be with them and not worry about childcare or getting in trouble at work etc. My DH hours are a nightmare and his days off are in the week so I have never had long days on my own all day. But of course the downside is evenings nights and weekends I am often on my own. So I believe it is better for me to remain at home than us both working shifts (we both worked changing shifts) and trying to find night childcare etc of which I wouldn't want anyway.

As for boredom I never get bored. I don't mind house stuff and like my own company. And of course studying takes up time especially as now it is getting to a high level. I would be happy to volunteer though either at school or with older people/charity groups.

I have had remarks but only from WOHMs and it really does not bother me at all as I know I am happy doing what I do. If they are happy WOH then that is great for them but I wouldn't want that. Maybe I will later on but for now I am content and there is a lot to be said for that in life.

Mutley77 Tue 14-May-13 14:08:54

I have often asked this question of people - purely in a curiosity/small talk kind of way as many of my children's friends have had SAHMs until school age and then you generally find a massive return to work starts happening and all sorts of mums you wouldn't expect start asking you about childcare and how to juggle work/parenting! I wouldn't read into it any more than that.

I was really lucky to have a job that largely fitted around my children's school hours and was v fulfilling. Holidays were also easy to manage as I had loads of holiday and good family/friends support. I did, however work 2.5 days per week when they were little too as that was right for me.

We have now re-located and I am pregnant so not re-starting work at this stage. My DD is at school f/t and DS half-time (3 days one week, 2 days the next) and I have surprised myself by really enjoying it although only v short term so far. I don't think I will do it forever - will probably look at returning to work when DC3 (due in a few weeks) is 1 or so. But I can see why people do it - I am certainly finding a benefit in having more head space. I don't really have any friends here yet (although have started coffee dates) and don't find that a problem either - days alone are quite nice!

LilyBolero Tue 14-May-13 14:10:02

I would strongly suggest to everyone on this thread (& in fact all mnetters) to get a national insurance statement from hmrc; just do it online on their website. Then you can see any NICS holes, and have time to do something about it before the point that you start claiming a pension and find it's only 50% (or whatever) it should be.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 14:18:05

I am aware of the dangers bigbuttons is highlighting but I do have an "emergency fund" of my own put to one side.

I have made it clear to DH that should he ever do the "I am the one earning the money" ever again then I will be working and he will be the one taking holidays, sick days and (shudder) having to attend sports days and presentations. That seemed to nip that attitude in the bud nicely.

I know people equally who have continued with their career plans nicely after having children but then have had to reconsider their path due to childcare issues when marriages have broken up and ex husbands were being arses.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 14:19:27

Thanks Lily - thats reminded me I have a NIC bill to pay!

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 14:29:03

Awful thing to say I know, but if my DH ever did the dirty on me and left me for another woman, I'd make sure that I claimed half his private pension. If god forbid, he died, then I'd receive death in service benefits. Obviously, I hope to god that none of the above ever happen.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 14-May-13 14:37:23

I keep hearing from my friends that actually, in some ways it's better to take time off when they start school than when they're tiny (massive caveat: I am not in the Uk and schooling tends to be more intensive from an earlier age- homework from the off etc. )

Also, "issues" become less generic as kids get older and need more considered input (bullying, friendship problems, academic worries etc)

One of my friends had a son who had bullying issues at school and she quit work for a while whilst they were resolved as she concluded that "kids need to talk when they want to talk, not when you have time for them to talk." When they only had an hour together from her getting home to him going to bed, she found he wasn't unwinding enough to actually open up about it. Anyway, that's purely anecdotal and not designed to inspire guilt, but I guess my point is that the value of a SAHP doesn't necessarily decrease when children are at school- it's just compressed into fewer hours of the day. Some children do need more parental input than others, that's for sure.

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 15:18:55

You are only considering the parenting of the DM in your example. Does noone on this thread actually have a DH/DP who contributes /cares for their DC ?? It seems that many SAHM are in that position because their DH/DP works very long hours. Many of us who do WOH have partners who share childcare and parenting by flexible working,compressed hours etc.
If Im not here DH is - I guess this means we are equally WOH/SAHP .
Maybe Ive just invented a new MN role the Dual SAH/WOHP grin
I really enjoy the contrast between the two and love my days at home as much as my WOH ones .
Luckily Ragwort my job isnt boringwink

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 15:21:23

I should add that if my Dc had a bullying problem that was so bad I had to consider giving up work then I would probably consider a change of school first .

Startail Tue 14-May-13 15:32:43


However, once your DCs are at secondary school you will be bored and wish you had found something part time at some point in the proceeding years.

Startail Tue 14-May-13 15:43:22

Oh and all governments of all colours hate you.

You pay no taxes, You provide no work for anyone else, you don't contribute lots of money to the retail and service economies. I don't need work clothes or lots of make up. I don't care if my hair needs a trim. I've never had my nails done. I don't need to go to the gym, I have time to walk or cycle or run (I don't, but I could).

I don't pay someone, to clean, iron or garden for me.

as a household we can afford a holiday, but not a holiday and half of B&Q. Our carpets are old, or kitchen is ancient, DH fixes things rather than getting tradesmen in. (Actually I have a DH who is better at all things technical than most tradesmen and would do this any way).

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 15:48:20

You're right there Startail, we're definitely not flavour of the month with the governments.

Thanks Lily I have requested an NIC statement.

KitchenandJumble Tue 14-May-13 16:00:45

It's a complicated question. I think there is a lot of cultural pressure on women in certain countries (e.g., the US and the UK) to be SAHMs. I would say there's more pressure to SAH than to work. I do think that a lot of the anxiety surrounding motherhood these days (the helicopter parenting, the over-scheduled and over-supervised children) is related to people trying to find justification for staying at home. Should they need to justify themselves? No, of course not. But the cultural messages about motherhood tend to reinforce the idea that women should feel guilty for having careers, that they really "need" to be home because their children are somehow suffering otherwise, etc.

If a family decides that one parent should be at home, more power to them. But it does trouble me a bit that the parent at home is still almost invariably the woman.

I also think that all women would be well advised to consider issues of finances. Sadly, I have known too many women who SAH, often to support a husband's high-flying career, and then end up divorced and in dire straits, with no recent work experience and few prospects. Even a cursory glance at the Relationships board here at MN reveals many women in similar situations.

Ragwort Tue 14-May-13 17:06:51

You must be joking Kitchen - unless I have misunderstood you, there is plenty of cultural pressure in the UK not to be a SAHM - all the recent press coverage about 'getting mothers into work' by offering cheap childcare & childcare vouchers, funded nursery places, no tax breaks for SAHMs etc etc. Mothers are made to feel 'guilty' for staying at home - including, and even more so sometimes, by mothers that work outside the home.

I do agree though that you need consider the financial implications of being a SAHM (or Dad).

KitchenandJumble Tue 14-May-13 17:25:36

Nope, not joking at all. The cultural messages are very powerful, all the emotional appeals, "the most important job you'll ever do" (addressed only to mothers, of course, not to fathers), all the bollocks about "Why have children at all if you're going to let strangers raise them?"

I do see what you're saying about childcare, etc. But aren't the free nursery places for 3-year-olds (15 hours a week?) available to everybody, including SAHMs? I don't live in the UK any more, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 17:45:14

I think, that as with many cultural messages, we can't actually win.

LondonJax Tue 14-May-13 17:51:00

I've been a SAHM since DS was born 6 years ago. I'd risen through the ranks at work just by saying I was happy to get involved in something or being in the right place at the right time. I ended up doing a high flying job that I never would have applied for! So being a sahm has been perfect for me to 'regroup'. I keep my hand in by doing some volunteering in the field I worked in, but when it suits me. It keeps my skills up to date and, again, I've been offered the chance to work full time but it doesn't suit me at the moment.

As far as finances are concerned, I put some of the proceeds of the flat I had when I met DH into our current house and saw a financial advisor when I was pregnant about how to use the rest to see me through until I returned to work. I've managed to make the money from my flat last six years and can probably manage another three at this rate.

Having been divorced previously from a man who frittered money away, I have been careful to get our property and the business bank account in joint names, our will is up to date and I've sorted out our life assurance. I'm a director of DH business and I've paid up my state pension. As I'm a late mum I already had over twenty six years worth of contributions so I think it cost me a couple hundred pounds to get full state pension, worth doing. I ask for a statement every two years to stay on top. DH pays me a monthly 'wage', which means I don't have to go cap in hand for a new pair of tights! Absolutely no way he or I would like that. I get a dividend as a director each year which I save in my name - separate to the left over flat money. So financially I'm OK I think.

Three years ago DH began to work from home. He travels sometimes but he's usually about to pick up DS from school etc. The interesting thing about that is that DS now doesn't know who actually earns the money for the household. He sees both me and DS before and after school and if he's off sick, we're both there. So, as far as he's concerned, we both work for the household - which we do - DH brings in the cash and I make sure our home works.

I must admit I got a bit sick to death of the 'still a sahm?'remarks when DS began school. So I was a bit naughty and used to say 'you mean you HAVE to go out to work? Didn't you manage to save then? I bet you're exhausted.' (Don't mean it of course, but it soon stopped the smug expressions). I enjoy being a sahm - oddly enough both my sisters are sahms too though, now their kids are growing up, they've begun their own businesses and are doing very well. My mum always worked when we were young so seeing her juggle didn't inspire us to try! I see it as a chance to sit back and decide what the next few years of my life will look like without the constant pressure of running just to keep to someone else's timetable which is what I did in my last job.

In the end, as long as you're happy doing what you do, that's all that matters. So career, full time, part time or sahm, we all have a part to play. DS's school couldn't function without the full time or part time parent helpers and many charities would struggle without those people who don't 'work' (whatever that means).

cassgate Tue 14-May-13 17:51:55

I am a sahm and have been for the last 10 years. You know what made up my mind for me was that my mum died when I was 5 months pregnant with my first dc. In my view life is too short and I made my mind up there and then that I would not go back to work unless it was financially necessary. Luckily for us dh had a good job at the time which meant it was possible for me to give up work completely. He has been made redundant twice during my time as a sahm and during that time we discussed my going back to work temporarily but each time it wasn't needed as he got a job within the timescales we set ourselves.

Both our dcs are now at school fulltime and I am always busy and never get bored. E.g today I have printed around 50 letters for the school PTA asking for donations for the schools summer fair. I hand delivered 20 of these when I went into town shopping. The others I posted . Tomorrow I am helping in school all morning at a science workshop for Ks1. Friday afternoon I am back in school for the PTA meeting. A couple of weeks ago I went on the KS2 trip and I am going on the KS1 trip after half term. I have decorated the whole of the upstairs of the house since xmas. Obviously, this is on top of the usual washing, ironing, cleaning, cooking. I am happy with my choice and that's all that really matters. Interestingly, my friend has just given up her full time job to be a sahm as she found it too stressful trying to juggle everything. She was worried that she would be bored and not be able to hack it but she is enjoying it so far and said to me last week that there are not enough hours in the day.

BegoniaBampot Tue 14-May-13 17:51:55

i agree that the expectation is that the mother will work as asap or when the youngest reaches nursery or shool age. people seem surprised if you are a sahm to older children.

there are pros and cons. i like that we cn be more relaxed and less stressed than many of my working friends but there is the worry of finances if your marriage goes own the pan.

Fairylea Tue 14-May-13 17:57:00

I agree ragwort. The irony being that at a time when finding work for anyone is at one of its most difficult, the government are hell bent on trying to push as many parents back to work as possible.... into what jobs??!

Why can't they give more incentives for sahm's to stay home if they want to.

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 18:08:05

I too disagree with there being pressure to be SAHM. It is definitely more the other way. I also disagree that SAHM are more likely to be helicopter parents who organise everything, I know about even numbers of WOHM and SAHM that do that. I certainly don't! (SAHM)

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 18:08:45

Startail agree with your post about why the government don't like us!

wordfactory Tue 14-May-13 18:10:33

Women have campaigned for years and years and years for help with the cost of childcare.

Please please don't start re-imagining it as a conspiracy against women just to suit your own self image!

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 18:26:54

I think wordfactory is right- argueing that SAHM are discriminated against because WOHP get help with childcare they need is a bit like argueing that you need child benefit when you dont have children .

Most of the slights "still a SAHM ?" "not bringing up your own DC?" come from defensiveness and self doubt/insecurity.
I have never encountered as a SAHM or WOHM any of the slights and sometimes wonder if thats down to my own self esteem ie Im not doubting the choices I made and therefore am not "reading" more into things said.
The reply above by London actually made my toes curl it was so cringingly awful whether it was meant or not. Do people really say things like that ???? I must live in a parallel universe !

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 18:32:13

Really? Where did you get that from wordfactory - I must have skimmed that - "to suit your self image" strange.

One of my issues when the DCs were little were that if I had sent the children to a nursery they would spend all day with someone less educated than me, one of the problems of childcare being a minimum rate job. People tended to do it because it was convenient or, in the past, all they were qualified to do rather than it being a career choice attracting motivated people - I do appreciate things have changed slightly in recent years.

I would say women are pressured not to be SAHM from literally every angle.

wordfactory Tue 14-May-13 18:37:38

The self image of beleaguered minority group!

Where even things that help the majority of women are seen as a personal attack!

Look, I didn't need help with child care either. But that doesn't mean I can't see how important it is that women receive it. Surely we're able to think beyond the prism of our own direct experience?

AmberSocks Tue 14-May-13 18:51:22

i think there is pressure from someone whatever you do,no not pressure thats too extreme in most cases,but we are all going to encounter those that think we should be doing something else.most sahm feel like wohm think they are lazy and boring and from what i gather on here a lot of wohm feel like sahm think they should be looking after their own children instead of chasing the yankee dollar.

AmberSocks Tue 14-May-13 18:51:40

hehe i love saying that.david brent style.

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 19:11:21

My Dc went to Nursery school and were taught by a qualified teacher aiming for headship .I think you are confusing this type of nursery school with high quality early years curriculum with a ( they are not always low quality) Nursery employing teenagers in a childcare situation.
Both my DC attended- I was a SAHM I didnt do it for childcare ,I cant remember but I dont think we paid for it and they went to the school with their Nursery classmates.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 19:17:26


Are you meaning preschool not nursery. I ask as no childcare workers are teachers in the nurseries round here. They are baby room, toddler room and then a little bit more formal, but not much in pre school. The 15 free hours would only cover preschool 3+ certainly not nursery.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 19:20:34

sorry i meant Alvin not Bluesky grin

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 19:23:55

It was called Nursery School but I think it was Preschool - I think we are making the same point- different name !

marilynmonroe Tue 14-May-13 19:24:16

Thank you so mug for all of your replys. It's been really interesting reading them. It's made me feel better and alot of you have articulated what I meant.

I do agree with others above that there is pressure for women to go back to work rather than stay at home. We are overlooked ESP by the govt.

I suppose I do care what others think of me but ultimately I know my decision is the right one.

Will have to investigate the NI contributions. I've worked for nearly 20 years so hopefully that will be ok.

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 19:32:53

lol,some of you are priceless.your opinion is measured,neutral.mine isa fight?
aye funny how that works for one of you.hell if I thought I was that omnipotent I'd post more
haven't caught up with all thread as been working,don't have have biscuit and wright show time

Fairylea Tue 14-May-13 19:36:53

You can find out whether you will be entitled to a state pension (as it stands anyway) by googling state pension calculator and filling in the details. I did it earlier, it tells you how much you'll be entitled to as things stand and how many more years contributions you'd need to make to get a full pension. Very useful. It's on the government website.

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 19:41:38

can anyone translate what scottish mummy just said ? grin

Fairylea Tue 14-May-13 19:43:15

She said she wants to be a sahm but needs to have a biscuit first smile

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 19:44:21


JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 19:44:49


when you are giving relationship advice, or mental health advice, your posts are coherent. But when you come on to talk about SAHMs they go all elliptical and strangely punctuated.

I ask in the spirit of friendship - what are we to make of this?

Sheshelob Tue 14-May-13 19:53:01

Less educated, Blue? For nursery? Ha ha ha. Since when have you needed a degree to look after a baby? My 18 month old really benefits from my MA when we are playing in the sandpit and bothering the dog hmm

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 19:55:22

I think you fully understand alvin,but are choosing to be wilfully dim
I do think is funny that some of you think your pov= neutral.and mine intolerable
the weesmile face it's unnecessary as post wasn't humour it's nor likely to elicit humour

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 20:02:39

I do like Jamie's smooth use of elliptical
in there,smooth
accompanied by a patronising I'm here for you quip

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 20:06:01

dont have have biscuit and wright show
anyone? maybe I am dim but I have no idea what that means ?
I take it you dont like the fact Im not bashing either side because like many women I have been in both roles as has my DH - is he a waste of space because he took time out to care for his own children ??
What smile ??

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 20:07:53

alvin,your post is indecipherable,not helped by inane smiliesmile

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 20:12:19

We are obviously talking a different language SM

dont have have biscuit and wright show erm you wrote that and I asked what it meant ?
Its Alvin btw

Chandon Tue 14-May-13 20:12:43

Watching Scottymum on a sahm thread is always amusing, it makes me smile

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 20:13:39

you've erroneously quoted me.i said
haven't caught up with all the thread have been working,don't have biscuit and wright show time
but don't let fact stand in way of your posts

Chandon Tue 14-May-13 20:15:45

But you do have crisps and MN time? smile

Don't worry, I got ou first time round. Careful with the crisps and the keyboard

IrritatingInfinity Tue 14-May-13 20:17:07


AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 20:17:17

dont have have biscuit and wright show time
oops missed the* time* off< the shame>
What does it mean ??

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 20:19:37

I see alvin,you understand enough to bellyache about my posts.
funny that

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 20:24:54

Oh I give up- no idea what biscuit and wright showtime means?
i dont think I have ever argued with your posts just asked what the heck you are on about ?????
I would get your blood pressure checked SM you seem to need to scrap with anyone all the time <baffled>

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 20:40:33


genuinely not meant as patronising. I like you <not said patronisingly>

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 20:46:10

I think SM means that she doesn't have time to eat biscuits and watch the "Wright Stuff". It's an awful program on channel 5 in the morning at 9am. Matthew Wright looks like a ferret. I only know about it because the dc watch milkshake in the morning before school and when I get back from the school run it is on if I've forgotten to switch the telly off. I do eat biscuits though!

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 20:46:35

biscuit + sitting down with a nice cuppa and a biccie

wright show = matthew wright show, on in the mornings, when working mothers are at work (not eating biscuits, no)

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 20:47:00

X post

I used o watch This Morning instead

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 20:50:58

Oh God loving the irony that I had no idea what SM meant because I am a WOHM grin

*I love trash telly particularily MIC.

Boomba Tue 14-May-13 20:56:32

Ive asked mums when they are going back to work/ what will they do now all the kids are at school

I just dont get it. I dont get not wanting to work. At all confused

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 21:01:51

there no irony in it alvin,you're overstaying your case

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 21:04:52

'I just dont get it. I dont get not wanting to work. At all'

Fair enough for you but in contrast lots of people don't get why you would work if given the choice to SAH? Many people (such as me) have tried combining work and raising children and preferred SAH full time. I did enjoy working and may work at some stage but don't want to be juggling both at the same time right now. I don't really get those who are career driven but everybody is different.

By the way though I hate The Wright Stuff! Dreadful show. I barely watch any daytime TV as it is pretty bad.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 21:06:27


What in particular don't you get about somebody not wanting to go out to work? Is it because you don't know what you would do with the time, or that you enjoy a career and can't see how others wouldn't.
I'm interested in what makes you feel like this.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 21:07:42

I think if you had a not-very-well-paid and not very interesting job, and you were financially OK, you'd understand not working. It's an individual choice based on lots of different factors, and it's hardy ever permanent, anyway.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 21:09:40

I guess there are many reasons Boomba I know a few SAHM who have all their dc at school. Some are genuinely really wealthy and don't need to work. They are happy going running, to the gym, decorating house, etc. Some are trying to update their skills through volunteering, etc, as they feel they have lost confidence. Some have husbands with their own business and do the book keeping, secretarial stuff as and when necessary. My youngest is 2 and I know I will be nervous about returning to the work place having had a few years as a SAHM. I doubt I'll be able to stay at home for too long though as I think I will be ready for a change of scene by then and I guess the money would be very helpful for us. I can see though that if money wasn't an issue at all in your household, how much easier life would be if one parent could stay at home, particularly when dc are ill, etc.

Kizzit Tue 14-May-13 21:13:18

I wanted to work Jelly,but I also wanted to be there as much as possible for my children as I enjoy bringing them up and love their company. I set up my own business,which I run from my home.I work alone,I have no staff,I can,to a high degree,decide when and how much I work as I can plan it round my children's needs. When my youngest went to school I still got asked what I was going to do for a living now.......? "I have my own business you know,I earn £20.000 per year doing that,why are you querying what I'm going to do now my children are at school??" As a Mum I don't think you can 'win' whatever you do. Do what suits you and your family best I say. Sod what anyone else thinks of that.

BegoniaBampot Tue 14-May-13 21:15:13

Boomba - why do you not get that people might not be in a rush to get back to work? Not everyone has a job that is that great or that well paid and then have to stress trying to fit everything else in as well, paying for child care, not being able to take time of easily for school holidays or sickness. I Can understand that people can enjoy working. Do you plan on ever retiring then?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 21:15:44


I don't think it is always about being able to afford to be a sahm. I chose it as didn't want to go back to work, but had I wanted to the cost of childcare would have wiped one of our incomes completely. As many people are no better off financially it can make sense not to work. Throughout the past nearly 22 years as a sahm I have met many sahps from all walks of life, with many different interests, household incomes and lifestyles.

Boomba Tue 14-May-13 21:17:25

morethan i could very very easily fill my time. There is loads of stuff I would love to do but dont get the time.

But I dont think it would be as enjoyable doing that stuff, if I had all teh time I wanted to do it. I like the contrast of working and home life.

I also have a very strong work ethic, I would not be able to rely on someone else financially. It would sit right with my values blah blah, but also I dont want to be that vulnerable

I also enjoy work. Not that I havent had shit jobs...Ive had some great jobs and some jobs that have made me cry. I like learning, I like diversity, I like meeting new people

I like setting my daughters an example. And, I suppose I feel partly defined by being a 'professional'

BegoniaBampot Tue 14-May-13 21:18:29

I like the Wright Stuff. sit with a cup of coffee watching it now and then after doing the school run. Shoot me.

Boomba Tue 14-May-13 21:18:35

begonia grin yes, I am looking forward to my retirement when i am old and tired

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 21:21:28

I'm happy not to reinforce stereotypical roles.mum=housewife,dad=worker
I want my kids to see mum contribute,and I like working and being parent
it's important to me not to be financially dependent upon partner

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 21:22:01

' I would not be able to rely on someone else financially'

Thing is though most of my WOHM friends rely on both wages (they would describe as having to work) so they are not always independent just from working...

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 14-May-13 21:22:29


I agree about the contrast. I also became terribly inefficient when I was a SAHM with no children at home. Everything could always get put off for another day. But as I said, that's my lack of self-discipline.

I think my DCs take me for granted less now, too

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 21:25:25

I agree Boomba on the contrast between work and home life , its very difficult to explain but I just wouldnt enjoy doing leisure stuff like watching films or reading during the working day. Odd but it feels weird to me.
Which is why I dont watch day time TV wink

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 21:26:09


Thank you for your reply it is very interesting.

I know what you mean, theres lots of things I would like to do too and run out of time, but enjoy the rest of the things I do. I couldn't rely on somebody financially if I felt vulnerable. Its important whether sahp or wohp to have secure finances.
I too like learning, so much so that I have completed several degree level courses whilst being a sahm. I also like diversity and am always meeting new people.
I like to be a good role model for my dc too, and even though I'm a sahm I know my professional status quals define my achievements in life.

I often find that most of the reasons wohps have for working are similar to what sahps get out of not working grin

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 21:32:55

I agree morethan, it's not just about money. I went back to work when dc1 was a baby and child care was astronomical. By the time I had paid to run a second car, clothes for work, coffees, lunch, work nights out, etc, I was working for a loss. I did actually hate working by then. We made the decision to tighten our belts and for me to stay at home. We are in a better position financially now as Dh earns about the same now as we both earned together and we don't have child care costs. I do sometimes wish that I had something else in my life other than cooking, cleaning, entertaining dc, etc. Although I know that it would make our life more complicated as dh works away a lot. I would like to start my own business doing something I enjoy, even if I didn't make much money, It would be good for my self-esteem and brain. It's just that I need the idea!

goingmadinthecountry Tue 14-May-13 21:33:01

I'll admit to feeling some guilt. I have a workaholic (often away from home) dh and have recently taken on permanent part time work for the first time since having a baby. Oldest at university, youngest 9. Still feel bad at having to give dd2 taxi fare home from an AS. Admittedly, she spent it on salad at Pizza Express then caught bus.....

The guilt doesn't go away, but I'm loving my job again and feel fresh to it. I'm still the one taking up the slack though - morning run, sick people, cooking, shopping, laundry (yes the kids help but.....)

I love my non working days now - feel no guilt at swimming/gym/shopping/lunch all day. For me, education is the key for my children - opens opportunities. It does them good to see me do something worthwhile - my degree and various pg qualifications have some purpose in the workplace!

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 21:36:30

I've never felt guilty about my choices.its a societal expectation heaped on women

StealthOfficialCrispTester Tue 14-May-13 21:38:14

I hope I will look back on my deathbed and be proud of my family and if my caeer. I feel passionate about what I do.
I realised recently though that im not goingto llook back and wish the bathroom had been cleaner :-)

Boomba Tue 14-May-13 21:38:36

me neither scottish

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 21:39:56

if I have time for sentimental thoughts before I croak,I'll be v proud of work and achievements

SoupDragon Tue 14-May-13 21:40:21

I've never felt guilty about my choices either.

Despite the best efforts of other women to belittle them.

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 21:40:39

Totally agree SM have never had a moments guilt . My choice to WOH has been the right choice for my family.
Although I SAH when Dc were little it was always at cost to my mental health and I realised it was better for us if I WOH.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 21:41:57


I feel proud of what I do too, I am passionate about many of my interests and hobbies. I too won't be looking back wishing the bathroom was cleaner, as its not a priority. Believe it or not a sahm isn't confined to cleaning, cooking and childcare. Most of us have fulfilling lives and would be doing other things like wohm if we weren't happy grin

StealthOfficialCrispTester Tue 14-May-13 21:43:26

And do the people who make those comments not feel a bit bad that their dhs will do just that?

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 21:44:13

guilt arises from incongruence of ones behaviour/actions and ones attitude/expectation
fir me there was novonglict of behaviour ir attitude
I had nursery booked at 12wk pg.i always knew id return ft.we discussed it pre-dc

StealthOfficialCrispTester Tue 14-May-13 21:44:19

Morethan I can understand that. I have no problem with people choosjng to sah. Its the deathbed comment I object to.

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 21:44:28

I never understand why the SAHM is supposed to be obsessed with housework. I was far too busy doing interesting things.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Tue 14-May-13 21:45:59

Sorry not sure ppl have actually used the word 'deathbed'. I have paraphrased and am on phone so cant scroll back easily. Apologies if it looks like misquoting

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 21:47:15

* morethan *Ive come to the conclusion that most SAHM have a whole list of things they do as well as SAH and really its very similar to WOHM they just dont get paid grin

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 21:48:04


If you don't mind me asking could you not do something close to the work you did pre dc as a business. Or something completely different utilising the skills you have, or interest in a certain topic. A friend of mine loved history only as a self study something to do interest. She now is s/e searching records for family trees. She has had a number of clients and is making a profit after a short space of time albeit a small one.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Tue 14-May-13 21:48:50

Can I just clarify the cleaner bathroom comment. I had just spent a long time dokng housework and read sonething on here by fruola which made me realise how unimportant it was in the grand scheme of things. It wasnt meant to relate to sahms who I assjne are prioritising their families. Somethjng which no one seems to think thehll regret. Theh may also prioritise cleaning too and I would urge them to stop!

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 21:48:58

I've worked as a mother and stayed at home. They both have pros and cons IMO. I definitely feel less stressed as a SAHM. I used to panic when meetings over ran that I'd be late for nursery. I used to dread phoning work to say that dc were ill. I did appreciate my days at home more though. As a SAHM I don't have the work related stress, but I do sometimes wonder where my life will take me next as I won't be doing this forever. In some ways it's exciting though as it gives me the opportunity to think about what I really want to do and hopefully do something I enjoy. I couldn't go back to driving up to London on a Sunday night and living out of a suitcase all week. I hated that even before I had dc.

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 21:49:49

bemused when berated on mn as wageslave.yet most housewives are maintained by dp wage
and I fully expect someone to retort what about the independently solvent housewife
v few women have enough saving,to maintain adulthood without dependence on dp

StealthOfficialCrispTester Tue 14-May-13 21:49:58

Can I ask anyone who feels that about tbeir deathbed are yiu not feeljng guilty about dh/p

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 21:55:10

I couldn't really go back to what I did before morethan as it was a consultancy role with lots of travel. I keep going round and round in my head what I could do. One day it will come to me!

My house is messier than it was when I worked. As I can always put it off until tomorrow grin

I am an independently solvent housewife. All savings are in my name!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 21:58:53


My apologies, I thought the deathbed post came from you originally. I too object to this as it is pointless.

I know sahms who are very houseproud, run after dc and dh. I know others who rarely have time for their dc as they see them so much and live in a tip.
I know wohms who live in a tip, have no time for dc and dh.
I know wohms who spend all the time they can with dc and dh

I know people with a mix of all the variables above. We are all individuals whether wohm or sahm

StealthOfficialCrispTester Tue 14-May-13 22:02:56

Yes can see why when I reread it people were assuming I meant sahm = clean bathroom. Unfortunate brain dump of my thoughts!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 22:12:40


I think most parents with both working depend on the others salary as from what i hear on here they share bills, childcare, etc. You would have to be very rich or like my family not money driven to manage this.

McNewPants2013 Tue 14-May-13 22:13:08

I wish i was a sahm with a cleaner and a nanny.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 22:15:51


What would you like to do with your time if you were sahm with nanny and cleaner?
You could do what you wanted to.

nellieellie Tue 14-May-13 22:21:18

I have been a SAHM since my eldest, now 7 was born. That wasn't the idea but how it worked out. Miss being at work and do find it feels sometimes like being a bit of a drudge. I find it hard to fit everything in thougso find it strange when people wonder what SAHMs do all day. We are lucky enough to have a large-ish house and garden so housework takes time, along with washing, ironing, mowing the lawn, gardening, planting seeds and keeping a large-ish veg patch. I help at the school a few times a week, and go swimming once a week. Generally I don't get time to eat lunch other than a quick bite about 10 mins before leaving for pick up at the school. I don't spend all my time having coffee or "shopping" - other than grocery shopping or other stuff for the family. I have cut my own fringe a few times since going to the hairdressers as do not have time. I do a fair bit of cooking - stick stuff in freezer etc, cook an evening meal for myself and DH so that most of it is done by the time I pick the children up - I try to reserve time after pick-up from school for doing stuff with the kids - helping with homework, reading or helping them with stuff they find hard at school. Also take them to a few after school clubs - 3 times a week. Also help a few mums who work by picking up their children, or looking after them in the morning and taking them to school which I am perfectly happy to do. They in turn help me when they can.
Am always depresssed by the tension that sometimes exists between SAHms and working mums - I think it's great for kids to have a role model of a working mum, equally, I am lucky to have the choice to stay at home and consider it to be a valid choice which also benefits my children. There's not a right and wrong here. I get cross when a working mum says to me "Oh, but you have so much more time than I do". Equally, working mums must get fed up with being cast falsely as not being "full-time" mums and palming their kids off on other people. We are all just trying to get by as best we can.

dearcathyandclare Tue 14-May-13 22:30:34

When I was a sahm I set a role model for my children by being actively involved as a volunteer for local charities, so I rather take exception to Scottishmummy's assertion that only wage earners can be a role model

DumSpiroSpero Tue 14-May-13 22:31:18

I returned to work when my DD was 4 months, was made redundant when she was 3.5 and took 18 months out to be at home with her before returning to work 3 months after she started primary school.

Her school is 10 minutes walk from our home, my work is halfway between the two. I work (more or less) school hours, term time only and DH also works tto. We have a full compliment of grandparents who are willing and able to pick up the slack if something unforseen happens e.g. DD is ill, INSET days etc. In short we couldn't be in a more fortunate position as working parents, however...

... if we could maintain our current lifestyle (which is pleasant but not luxurious by any means) without me working, I would give my notice in a heartbeat.

DD's primary is quite demanding of parental input, there is never quite enough time to spend on keeping the house straight, never quite enough time/energy/patience for each other, it's constant plate spinning and wondering when the wheels might fall off. How people with less flexible jobs and multiple children do it I will never know.

Why put yourself through that if you don't have to?

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 22:31:31

Agree nellie we all try and do what is right for our families at the time and circumstances for any of us can change at the drop of a hat

McNewPants2013 Tue 14-May-13 22:33:56

That's the plan smile I am jealous of SAHM.

If I was one the last thing I would want to do is be bogged down with housework.

scottishmummy Tue 14-May-13 22:37:43

yes Cathy,you demonstrated the role model mum housewife and volunteer,dad employed
essentially the traditional dad works, mum housewife and voluntary stuff
still an enactment trad role and you didn't work

sweetkitty Tue 14-May-13 22:40:57

Waves at ihategeorgeosbourne are you sure you aren't me?

Anyway I've been a SAHM for almost 9 years since DD1 was born, why? Well my job involved a lot of overseas and UK travel and I didn't want to be away from my baby for a week at a time, also the usual 13 hour days, extortiate travelling and childcare costs meant I wouldn't be working for much. Plus at that time DP had just changed jobs and was starting style foot of the ladder so to speak.

We moved to the other end of the country larger but cheaper house and I became a SAHM, had three other DC as well. Career dead in the water though.

I have two in school, two at home just now but come August I will have three at school one in nursery 2 days a week. I'm going to try and do some volunteering. I want to retrain as a teacher but punt know if I can with 4DC, a DP who works long hours and is away at short notice and no family support whatsoever hmm

Being a SAHM is great I don't think I want to work ft just yet but I feel I need to start doing one thing for me now.

HappyGirlNow Tue 14-May-13 22:42:26

Sorry, but when I hear SAHMs of school age children go on about 'managing' to fill their time with shopping/lunching/pottering/'projects' (ie mostly non-child related things) and relieved not to be working as 'they didn't like it when they had to do it'... I just think... lazy

Sorry, but that's just an honest statement. Lots of us would like not to work (although I think most of us would be bored long-term) but human beings should be productive.

And when I hear 'oh my husband is happy as long as I am/with me pottering about' I just think really ? I doubt they all are tbh. I wouldn't be if I was working and my partner was a SAHD if the kids were out of the house all day.. And if they are, is it for the right reasons?

As I said, sorry if that offends anyone, I'm just trying to give an honest response to the OP.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 22:42:31

The thing is McNew, as a SAHM I do less housework than when I went to work. As a SAHM, I'm bored of housework as I see it everyday, all day and know that I must do it. Whereas when I worked, I would quite enjoy doing housework as a change. Also, when I worked, jobs like cleaning the oven or cleaning out cupboards never happened, as I never thought about it. Now I'm at home, I feel that I have to do it as it is my job. I hate cleaning ovens and cupboards and the fridge and then feel guilty when another week passes and I still haven't done it. It's also a nightmare doing housework with a 2 year old boy following me around everywhere. I spend hours doing nothing really some days. I'm always amazed when it gets to 3 o clock and the house is still a tip.

dearcathyandclare Tue 14-May-13 22:46:05

What an incedibly pompous statement.
I demonstrated that I could make choices that suited me and that I could lead a rich andfulfilling life.
I was a sahm for 18 years and now work fulltime in a job that I also find fulfilling but I would never have traded those 18 years to justify your narrow definition of 'an enactment role'

goingmadinthecountry Tue 14-May-13 22:47:01

Nellie, doesn't it get to you though? I could probably fill my time cleaning 3 bathrooms, doing a big garden, ironing for 5, but why should I? I could pay someone to do it out of what ds earns, but that seems a bit shallow. I could sit it the spa where I have gym membership all day but it does get a bit boring after a while.

I think I've got it just about right at last. Couple of theatre/art trips to London a month (with or without kids), coffee/lunch if I choose once a week with friends if they are also free, job I'm good at and enjoy, children who appreciate that having fun costs money, having fun spending well deserved money (save most but save ourselves a bit of fun money - I do appreciate we're in a lucky position).

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 22:47:08


I asked my ds2 just now about your role model claims. He gave some choice comments, however he said.
To him his parents were good role models because we encouraged him, supported and nurtured his talents. You can do this working or not

He said he was glad one of us was there at home time, how awful it was for his peers if they had had an awful school day and had to wait several hours before they saw their parents. He went on to say how he had had a happy childhood. That will do for me Scottish

KitchenandJumble Tue 14-May-13 22:47:27

I think if I were a SAHM (unlikely ever to happen, and not something I would choose), I would still want to accomplish something with my time, if all the children were in school. I wouldn't want a life of lunch with friends, decorating, playing tennis. I can do all those things anyway with a full-time job! So in my case, I think I'd probably continue writing, doing translations, possibly tutoring or setting up a small business.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 22:47:53

Waves at sweetkitty. Our lives sound very similar. It's reassuring to know I am now alone.

Boomba Tue 14-May-13 22:49:04

how awful it was for his peers if they had had an awful school day and had to wait several hours before they saw their parents


ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 22:50:23

now should read not

dearcathyandclare Tue 14-May-13 22:50:28

My dcs echo those sentiments too.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 22:52:03

I have to say my dcs have said that they wouldn't want to go to after school club either and that they like having me at home.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 22:52:09


Yes we're all lazy. Sahms do nothing all day and even less than nothing when their dc go to school.
Lazy, for not woh. I've heard it all now grin

KitchenandJumble Tue 14-May-13 22:53:42

morethan, please tell your son he is wrong. It really isn't awful for children to wait several hours to see their parents, even after a bad day at school. It's just normal life for them. And presumably your DS would also have to wait through the school day before coming home, and his dad might not be there. Is that awful for him?

sweetkitty Tue 14-May-13 22:55:12

I don't see myself as a bad role model for my girls especially we were talking about this today, about how I had to pass exams to go to uni (what exams were) how I got a degree then had a few jobs, then they said but then you had all of us and your job is looking after us, we wouldn't want to go to afterschool or a childminder. I was saying how some mums work, some 5 days a week some 2 or 3 and that once DS is in school I might work again "as long as your here for the holidays"

I suppose at the age they are at they don't see that we don't have foreign holidays, that our cars are old, that we don't have a new kitchen or the latest gadgets, the stuff we sacrifice so that I can be at home. They crave time with us, DD1 was moaning about never spending time with me today.

dearcathyandclare Tue 14-May-13 22:56:01

I guess I have been very lucky as I do feel I've able to have it all, spending time bringing up the children ( enjoyed it immensely) ignoring the housework ( still do ) and now working in a field that adds real value to other peoples' lives.
Smug emoticon I suppose.

snufflepops Tue 14-May-13 22:56:03

I'm currently on my second maternity leave and I personally don't get how you would get a chance to be bored as a SAHM. But then I have never had a boring job in my life (well except when I worked for a crazy boss but then I entertained my mind by just considering how made she and others around her were).

If you live in London and can scrape some money together then the world is your oyster.

As a SAHM with young children - I drag my children to things I want to do - museums etc but then I also do what is good for them.

I always invite people over as well - other mums and their children.

I also do stuff to try help others - neighbours, other mums and all these fantastic people that welcomes my DH and I to this wonderful country.

I have absolutely no family support at all - so sometimes find it hard.
I am also freaking out already about how on earth I would work full time and handle both in school. What do you do if you have no family and you have the standard 5 weeks holidays?

As it was when working full time my DH and I used to have to split our hols to cover nursery breaks, holidays, closures for training etc so I imagine it will only get worse at school.

I also worry that if I work full time again it really won't be great for my health. The whole tube commute then long hours, not seeing my kids as much at all. I found it tough getting up at 5am and getting to bed at 11pm as a working parent and in some ways my hours seem to be the same as a SAHM but I sometimes have control over my day. I can at a whim go to a fantastic exhibition.

I am reading more than I did with working full time too which I love!

PS I totally agree with how awful it is when you meet people who just lose interest if you say you are a SAHM! I think it is incredibly rude but it says more about them.

McNewPants2013 Tue 14-May-13 22:58:31

My mum is a retired SAHM, she is now a lady of leisure.

I think my mum is amazing, she is someone I look up to.

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 23:00:49

You can still be productive without paid work. People did it for thousands of years working for their families and before today's society developed. Work then meant anything in or outside the home to benefit the family. Some people are too sucked into a narrow world view.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 23:01:40


Never heard of anybody being wrong for how they feel. How does this work then? I feel cold, no you're wrong grin
Of course its normal life for them, my ds was just saying he's glad it wasn't normal for his life.
I would never have restricted my dc like this. There is no way they could have achieved what they have if they went to after school care. They appreciate this and I am glad they can see that parents do what is best for their dc. I could have worked no doubt but I know it would have meant childcare, I wasn't happy with this and neither were my dc.
Other people are fine with it and its up to them how they parent their dc.

But I disagree that you have to be employed to be a good role model to your children, hence I asked my ds2 what he thought. He is also a Sociology student who has an interest in family dynamics.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 23:06:05

My dc know that I had a very professional job before I became a SAHM. They know I went to university and have a BSc. They know I worked hard. Now I am working equally hard bringing them up. When they are grown up, I want them to be able to make the right choices for them. I would be more than happy for them to work or be a SAHM. Both are equally valid and being a SAHM is a perfectly noble career in my opinion. I am not ashamed of me and neither are they.

PrincessOfChina Tue 14-May-13 23:06:42

I work full time, DD goes to nursery full time. I did not really enjoy being at home during maternity leave - I don't like my own company and felt I was terrible in that role as it didn't play to my strengths. I felt boring, bored and totally unfulfilled.

I do wish I could swap my last few months maternity leave for 6 weeks paid leave from work each year until DD is 5 or something though. I think there needs to be more flexibility in "maternity" leave. Being a parent is not just about those first 39 weeks.

To your final point about why you need to justify yourself - so long as I have to justify why I would want to work full time then I think you need to be able to justify why you should stay at home doing essentially nothing (I don't count running your home in this argument as thats something we all do) while your children are at school. And believe me, I have to just

PrincessOfChina Tue 14-May-13 23:07:33

I was ending by saying I have to give my reasons for working full time to someone most days.

snufflepops Tue 14-May-13 23:09:34

McNew Can I say that I genuinely know a SAHM who timed the credit crisis right and so has herself a cook, a cleaner, someone who comes and does her laundry and an au pair/nanny. What's even more amazing is that her DH has lost his job but they have invested so well neither of them are worried in the slightest.

I thought wow this is amazing - I've met someone who will have time to go to museums and outings with me. But she doesn't much time as she has to spend quite a lot of time being an employer iyswim.

But the funny thing is during the phase where we both had new borns I would stay in bed all day if I wanted to (I found it stopped me making a mess of the house) but she had to let the day nanny in at 8am, say goodbye to the night nanny, tell someone what to do with her laundry, instruct her cleaner etc etc. The other thing is that other mums judge her so she does not have too many social contacts, I don't get it really as I find her company great and she has not judged me for not having a cook, cleaner etc etc.

The other thing I don't quite get is this other SAHM I know who is usually good company but she occasionally goes on about how they are not going to get a nice holiday, or a nice car, but that they are giving up such niceties in exchange for prioritising their children. I find it a bit awful when she goes on as many working parents don't have a hope of a nice care or a nice holiday in this climate but I just have to bite my lip and think well we are not all perfect!

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 23:09:54

I am in the same situation snuffle, re having no family around for miles. My mum is not alive and in laws live hundreds of miles away. We are stuffed on that front. Another reason why I stay at home as we have no one to call on.

KitchenandJumble Tue 14-May-13 23:11:37

morethan, I was responding to your son's statement that it's "awful" for children to have to wait several hours to see their parents after a bad day at school. And he is wrong about that. It isn't awful for them (at least, it isn't for any child I know). He might think it would be awful for him. But that isn't the same thing.

I'm curious about what you think your children couldn't have achieved if they had been in after-school care. And what do you mean that you are glad you haven't "restricted" your DC?

snufflepops Tue 14-May-13 23:14:10

PrincessOfChina what a brilliant idea if only we could use 6 week blocks of leave every year until a child was 5 or so!!!

fromparistoberlin Tue 14-May-13 23:14:54

Is there anything wrong with not wanting to go back to work and look after your family? Why do women feel that they have to go back to work when they don't need to?

fuck me if I know! screw everyone else, do what makes you and your family happy OP, and it it stops makiing you happy, change things

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 23:14:55


It is not right that you have to justify your choice to work full time, that isn't fair at all. I can quite easily understand your point about playing to strengths. However, to assume that being a sahm is doing nothing whilst dc are at school is so narrow minded. I'm not suggesting I work hard but I support my family and do many things for them or concerning them when they are not here. I don't have to take a call for one of them, but I answer the phone if I'm here. I don't HAVE to do many things I do, I choose to do them. Why should anybody have to justify their choices.

Boomba Tue 14-May-13 23:16:38

WRT being a good role model, being a SAHM or a WOHM. I agree of course, anyone can be a good role model and that is what all parents strive for.

But I want to model being a professional women/strong work ethic/enjoyment of work/*being self reliant*...that is what i mean when I talk of being a role model in terms of being a WOHM

Ponyo73 Tue 14-May-13 23:18:04

The point is, that none of us have to justify anything to anyone for pity's sake! It's nobody's business how and why we choose what we do. When are we just going to shut up about being feckin working mothers or stay at home mothers. Why is there a battle line drawn and we are pitted against each other? I am a SAHM and I certainly am not lazy, I respect women who work but for ffs don't make me feel like I am a useless leech when I choose for my family not to work.

snufflepops Tue 14-May-13 23:19:48

It is really tough ihategeorgeosborne without any family support isn't it? It adds a whole new dimension, I have this quite strange paranoia about never wanting to be sick as what happens if I am sick and say my DH is away for work.

I was really fortunate that my first was never ever sick but I too just can't see how I can do the drop off and pick up for both and work full time - not in London anyhow!

snufflepops Tue 14-May-13 23:22:36

By the way ihategeorgeosborne I love your user name.

Can't stand the conservatives - they really have screwed women this time around whether they are SAHM or WOHM.

I honestly can not wait til the next election!!!!!!!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 23:22:44


My dc have come before work obviously thats why I have been sahm. I know this may not be the same for everyone but nature of dh business means he wasn't always here after school, not 100% anyway.
My dc all did/do activities after school for which they need to be taken to. These range from sports coaching sessions and clubs, matches to dance classes, music lessons etc. These are usually between 4pm and 7pm. They would have missed these as some needed significant travel to reach. My ds's are county level sports and my dd is very gifted musically.
I couldn't have restricted their interests for the sake of more money to buy stuff. So we went without stuff in order to put dc first. It has reaped the benefits as they are all doing well in their chosen sport/ career/ talent.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 23:24:27

I know snuffle. My dh was working away recently and the dc all had this vomiting bug. Dd1 projectile vomited down the stairs and while I cleaning it up I knew I was going to get it. Anyway, that night, sure enough, I was vomiting. Still had to look after 3 dc and take two to school. God I felt awful. Dh rang me up that night to tell me he was going for an indian with his work colleagues. I felt so pissed off and wretched that I just hung up on him grin

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 23:26:38

Thanks snuffle. The torys have played a blinder this time. I can't wait till 2015 either. Can't come soon enough for me grin

nightowlmostly Tue 14-May-13 23:29:40

I have returned to work ft, I was getting depressed on mat leave tbh. Found it very lonely and boring. I'm not great at cooking and cleaning, so I didn't get any sense of satisfaction from being at home, it made me feel fairly inadequate a lot of the time.

Thankfully my DH is more than happy to go part time and do all the home stuff, which he's much better at! I'm so much happier now I'm at work where I feel respected and its something I'm good at. It's not a high flying career by any means, but I enjoy it.

As for the OP's question "why do women feel they have to return to work when they don't have to", maybe we like working! Not all females are built to feel satisfied by being home and doing all the domestic duties.

People are a bit nonplussed by my working ft sometimes, which I resent. Ive had a few raised eyebrows. People don't seem to understand the fact that my DH is the SAHP. This thread is all about mums staying home, as if its still the only option, why don't your husbands get a chance to stay home? Would they like to? I just feel it's a bit sad in this day and age that its still the default that women will do the caring and men will earn the money. I really hope for some more equality in the future.

Arisbottle Tue 14-May-13 23:29:53

I would love to be a SAHM because I am fundamentally lazy and would rather not work.

During the week, my day starts at 5am and I am usually just finishing now, That is utterly exhausting and who wouldn't want to spend their time doing " projects" and having lunch instead?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-May-13 23:33:01


You have my sympathy and I can remember it well. We had no family within 300 miles when the two older dc were little. It is difficult at times even if you have close friends you still miss family.

We eventually moved back to an area close to them all, expecting lots of baby sitters as you would. But oh no we have our own lives now that we have made a part from you. I wouldn't mind but they used to make us feel so bad for keeping their grdc or nephews away from them. grin

snufflepops Tue 14-May-13 23:36:09

ihategeorgeosborne The Tories sure have played a blinder from childcare, to child benefit to pensions. I can't believe they are going to screw women who do not have 10 years of NI contributions (and who will not be eligible for a pension (which is a right today based on Husband's contribution).

Also all those women who have voluntarily paid extra for a second pension for many years will find their pension will now be the same as those that have not paid the extra NI.

Arisbottle My WOHM day sates at 5am and I also used to wind down around now. It is so tough and it really got me down. And then if I stuffed around on a weekend day or had an unexpected emergency such as a boiler needing to be fixed then that was it.

But then often my SAHM day has the same hours and I think being a SAHM is work too.

With no family I always feel on call whether SAHM or WOHM.

amazingmumof6 Tue 14-May-13 23:44:01

OP - to answer your questions:

I haven't got to the stage yet when my YOUNGEST is at school full time, and as yourself I have the luxury of not worrying about having to earn money.

I do have the smallest hobby/business selling my handmade jewellery, but it is more because it interests me and I like making things and being creative.

Right now 4 oldest are at school, DS5 and DD are home with me. she's just turned 1 and we may have more so it's going to be a long time before I'll have time to get bored - so to speak....

I was never carrier driven, work/job - I can take it or leave it from that POV.

I think it is absolutely fine to want to stay home and take care of family & household - I see nothing wrong with it.

I have hobbies and interest that I try to keep up, some are quite time consuming and hard to fit in - I'm looking forward to do these projects when kids are at school and I can plan my days based on what I want to do.

I think I might want a part time job eventually for variety and adult company rather than the money, but only if I can be home before the children arrive back from school.
I want to be around to make sure they are safe and happy, we have time to chat and be together, homework done, chores done etc.

both my parents worked and I hated that they came home late and seemingly had no time for us.
I used envy those kids who had mum or grandma waiting for them, they always had someone to talk to, who looked after them, even as teenagers.
So I want to be around for mine as long as they need me.

(I'm looking forward to having 9am-3pm to myself though! wink )

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 00:01:08

I do feel fortunate. I See my friends who work (and not all jobs are fantastic and well paid and actually many can be quite boring) and do it all with the kids and the house and it is hard and they are often exhausted and stressed. It seems that some here feel it's a virtue to be this stressed, that it's how it should be - WHY? If me being at home means that we all have more time to do what we want, be less rushed and stressed - is that really a bad thing. and I don't do nothing all day. Do a little bit of housework, gardening, shopping, mnetting, walking, sports, meet with friends, go for leisurely lunches with the husband even sneak in a few day trips to the cinema.

yes there can be downsides but their are downsides to working and having everything else to do as well.

amazingmumof6 Wed 15-May-13 00:08:34

disclaimer: "having time to myself" will still mainly consist of doing household chores, but being able to do it without a whining toddler and a teething baby will feel like total freedom!

but yes, of course I will go for swims, have naps, get on with my sewing, and bake cakes every day if I feel like it. why shouldn't I? I do these things already

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 00:20:05


I think I love you.
I bet your dc will really appreciate the support and nurturing you are giving them, and in years to come tell you. They grow up so quickly, it doesn't seem so long since my ds1 nearly 22 could fit between my wrist and elbow. He's a six foot bruiser now, but still loves coming round for a cuddle and chat.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 15-May-13 00:38:34

Alvin "You are only considering the parenting of the DM in your example. Does noone on this thread actually have a DH/DP who contributes /cares for their DC ?? It seems that many SAHM are in that position because their DH/DP works very long hours. Many of us who do WOH have partners who share childcare and parenting by flexible working,compressed hours etc."

I think that's a very good point, but compressed hours and flexibility only happen if they're available, and they're not to many people. Compressed hours are pretty meaningless for desk based people who are paid to do a job, not work for a set number of hours. I am fortunate in that flexible working is available to me- I currently (get paid to) work 20 hours a week, completely flexibly (I tend to do 3x 7hr days plus prob 3-5 hrs unpaid overtime but that's life), and will increase that to 28 hours when DD is one in August (4 days over 5). However, I am almost famous in my sector for having this deal and it is a random fluke tbh, not the result of fantastic negotiation by me.

Anyway, I agree with you that the ideal situation would be more equal parenting, and I suspect that the way to get there is more women in FT work, and then once we get to that situation, we start working towards better work/family balance, negotiating from a position of strength etc. However, elephant in the room is that I'm not sure how many men actually want to cut their hours back and do more routine childcare- however, that may be because being a SAHP has low status. If it wasn't seen as "women's work" maybe they would.

The whole issue is so complex. Not only is every family's circumstances different, but you then layer on top society's norms, misconceptions and expectations, such as the way that people are predominantly valued on economic criteria, jobs predominantly done by women are seen as lesser than those predominantly done by men, and you end up with a situation whereby personal choices become political hot potatoes.

Anyway, I'm off to chuck a molotov cocktail at the Disney Store-anyone want to come? grin

CheerfulYank Wed 15-May-13 02:45:22

Some things suit certain people/families and not others. I work 12-20 evening hours a week, though not now as DC2 is due any day.

I don't mind staying home during the day, I rather like it. It wouldn't bother me to give up my evening job really.

At some point I'd like to train to do hospice care, but a 9-5 gig in an office or something? No way, I'm not remotely suited to it.

Think it's time for this again. grin

Mutley77 Wed 15-May-13 04:59:38

morethan - it is great that you have chosen to give your children opportunities however you are misrepresenting current day life to suggest that it is a choice between work vs providing opportunities for children. In your case you obviously didn't have the opportunity for a job that fitted around your children's needs - or you didn't want to work, I don't know.

However when I worked P/T I am very clear that my DCs did not miss a single opportunity (I am very stubborn about making sure they have a parent there for every school event, have all the playdates they want to and do as many activities as is appropriate). My DD was doing 5 activities a week; DS only 2 but he was pre-school age so didn't want/need anything else.

I was very lucky that I had a P/T flexible job so that I could always be available when needed. Yes it was bloody hard work for me but I chose to do it because being fulfilled at work alongside being a good mum is really important to me. I just thank my lucky stars I live in a society where this is possible and we are no longer limited to the choice of parenting vs working.

Boomba Wed 15-May-13 06:18:34

I agree kids.dont miss out on doing the activities/clubs/visits. I suppose it depends on the job you have

SoupDragon Wed 15-May-13 07:26:12

I hate all this bollocks about how you can only be a good role model if you are in paid employment. If you think that then you are spectacularly narrow minded.

Which isn't being a very good role model.

Personally I couldn't give a fuck whether someone is in paid employment or not. It is how they behave, what they teach their children and how they treat the people around them that matters.

justwondering72 Wed 15-May-13 07:30:29

Very interesting discussion.

I have been a SAHM since DS1 was born 5 years ago. Partly choice, partly practical (we moved to a country where I don't speak the language so finding a job would not be straightforward). Financially we are definitely struggling, DH is a teacher so not highly paid. But our youngest is due to start nursery / pre-school 4 mornings a week in September, so that will mark a new phase in my life.

It's interesting to hear from so many people what being a SAHM means today, what SAHMs fill their time with. My MIL stopped working when DH was born (45 years ago), was FT SAHM until her youngest started school (about 8 years), then took a very small part time job that fitted in school hours. This was very normal 45 years ago. But she did not spend her time lunching, having coffees, meeting friends, doing 'projects', doing courses, doing up the house, or anything that posters above fill the days with, because there was no way she could have afforded any of these things. She spent her time food shopping (going to individual shops for the best deals), cooking everything from scratch (cheaper), cleaning her house, and scrimping and saving whenever possible. She never drove the car anywhere (too expensive), so only ever went where buses could take her - DH remembers her making them get off a stop or two early to keep the fare down. Once a week she visited her mother with DH and his sister, once a week she met up with her 4 sisters at one of their houses. And that was it. No trips, no gym, no Pinterest, no hobbies or crafts (except knitting clothes for her family). So that is the 'image' of a SAHM that I have in my head when people talk about it - not exactly the lifestyles described above by pps, which seem to be firmly underpinned by high earning husbands!

My own mum went back to work FT when my sister was 6 months and I was 2. She has regretted it ever since, and wishes she had spent more time with us both when we were younger.

Me, I'm firmly on the fence on this one. Realistically we need more money coming in to have anything like the lifestyle that we would like. At the same time, my job prospects - despite my highly qualified in my area - are pretty limited where we live just now. Also, I don't know many WOHM who are not permnently stressed, juggling childcare, school runs and work OR feeling guilty at putting their children in care from dawn to dusk, 5 days a week. While I would love the extra money that a job would bring in, I know that the costs to our relatively stress-free family life, and children, would be high. I'm not ambitious - at the same time I don't want to throw away what I / we have for a boring, mundane job. And I think I would struggle with my Scottish Presbyterian work ethic as a SAHM as described on the thread so far - the whole lunch / Cinema / 'projects' / crafts / house decorating / coffee with friends / reading / watching JK seems horribly self -indulgent!

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 08:22:22

soup you can a good role model and be a SAHP, of course you can. But what you cannot do (no matter how much volunteer work you do, or how much decorating) is model being a professional parent.

For many women that matters to them. It matters to them that their DC see professional mothers on a daily basis. That they see mothers enjoying both family and work.

Now I don't do this myself. I work from home in a creative capacity. And I must admit it is somehting I think about. That neither my DD nor my DS have seen their mother doing a professional job! I'm not going to pretend that doesn't matter just because it might make me feel a little uncomfortable.

mrsjay Wed 15-May-13 08:40:22

but wordfactory your children seeing you working do other things in your life not every parent has a professional career do they ? I am meh about children seeing both parents going out the door in the morning I don't think MY dds see me any less a parent as their friends parents who both work, My eldest dd is planning her career is half way through a degree I don't think me not being a professional parent has affected her decisions

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 08:44:39

mrsjay I'm not talking about our DC's seeing as less or more of anything. It's not a popularity contest after all.

I'm talking about our DC seeing women in professional positions while enjoying family life too!

You clearly don't care that your DC haven't seen that. Which is fine. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't or shouldn't matter to others. For others that might be a highly important thing to model.

No one person can decide what is the most important thing to model for all DC. They can only decide what is important for them and their DC.

And we all have to accept that we cannot model things we are actively not doing ourselves! No amount of talking about what we used to do or be will cut it!

mrsjay Wed 15-May-13 08:49:02

I was pointing out your children are seeing you working and being professional and saying different strokes for different folks thats all maybe My wording wasn't right but I that is what I meant

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 08:54:00

course they see a professional parent,when one stays at home usually works,thats how it goes with most of the people i know anyway.I dont really care if my kids never see me as a proffesional,i dont want to be a professional,its not important to me,im a human being im not labelled by the job i do,there is more to life and i hope my kids see that.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 08:55:57

and if its important for your children to see that,why does it have to be from you?what about aunts,sisters,grandmas?teachers even?

Personally i dont think that children think"wow look at my mum being a professional,having it all"...

mrsjay Wed 15-May-13 08:57:14

Personally i dont think that children think"wow look at my mum being a professional,having it all"...

I don't either but as I said different strokes and all that .

Eliza22 Wed 15-May-13 09:01:03

Nothing wrong with wanting to stay at home. I'm 50 now, and "retired" from a stressful, well pain senior nursing post 5 years ago. I worked for 25 years and frankly, with a disabled child and being a single mum, I have no idea how I did it.

I married a man who works hard, again, in a senior role and who is often away, on business. My ds is now 12 and is in school full time (he wasn't always, before. Due to illness) so technically, I could go back to work but I'd need a job between 9am and 3pm, Mon to Fri, and that's not nursing! I would need all holidays, Bank Holidays, days when school is closed due to inset/snow/the heating breaking down confused, off. So, I'm limited. We can manage Ok, without my working. We get no state handouts, as at the moment, we are self sufficient. My DH and ds never come home to a cold, untidy house, with breakfast pots in the sink and unmade beds and I don't spend all weekend catching up on ironing and food shopping. I love that. I worked bloody hard in my nursing career and now, I'm very, very lucky to be "just" a housewife.

I'm not bored. Ever.

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 09:02:19

I don't think DC think wow I have this great SAHM either!

I don't think kids work like that. I don't think role modeling works like that.

And as I said, it's not a popularity contest. We don't role model things because they'll make our DC think more of us, do we?

We role model things because we think they're important for our DC to see them in action.

Now, those that don't think it's important to role model a working woman haven't got it wrong. But they haven't got it right either.

Eliza22 Wed 15-May-13 09:04:23

Sorry, well paid senior nursing post! Though it could be a pain, at times.

With the NHS as it is now, I wouldn't return, if they paid me double. It's a bloody mess.

mrsjay Wed 15-May-13 09:05:35

I really don't think it is a popularity contest either there is nothing wrong with working I certainly dont think I am holier than thou for sah I am partly at home because I have a medical condition as well I am not the mumsy type who bakes blah blah I am just an ordinary probably lax parent doing her best, for her children it is what everybody does, working or not,

amazingmumof6 Wed 15-May-13 09:06:32

"horribly self-indulgent" - now that is something to ponder

sour grapes perhaps?

eccentrica Wed 15-May-13 09:09:18

I did think that about my mum. She went back to work when my youngest sibling started school and she worked 9.15-3.00 so she took us to/collected us from primary school.

I was very proud of her even as a young kid. My daughter is now 2 and I restarted my work (office at home but lots of meetings/workshops etc. ut of home) when she was about 8 weeks old. My partner works from home 2 days a week which are my main work days, it also means he gets to spend time with her and we share household tasks.

I find many of the setups described on this thread very regressive and depressing. People say yould be more than your job... Yeah, but you could also be more than someone's wife, someone's mum, and a lady who lunches.

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 09:10:22

I don't understand the arguments that I've read on here about 'life is too short' and 'no one on their death bed says they wish they spent more time in work' and then at the same time suggesting filling your time up with housework, meeting friends for coffee and going to the gym. If that equals a fulfilling life then I find that really depressing.I am on maternity leave at the moment and I am bored to tears. At first the thought of an empty 10 months stretching before me scared me quite a bit but I'm getting used to it now. I will still be glad to get back to work in September though.

I understand wanting to be at home before your kids start school, even though I wouldn't, but I really can't see how you could justify not doing even part time work once they were in school. If DH wanted to be a SAHP when they were young I would respect that but if he wanted to stay off once they'd started school so he could have 'a bit of a break' 'focus on me' and do 'projects' I would think he was a cheeky fucker!!!

I think kids growing up now have a different attitude to SAHMs too. My older DS is 16 and thinks that the fact I spend most of my days sewing, cooking and sitting in Costa makes me a loser. He thinks I need to go back to work!

SoupDragon Wed 15-May-13 09:10:29

soup you can a good role model and be a SAHP, of course you can. But what you cannot do (no matter how much volunteer work you do, or how much decorating) is model being a professional parent.

So what?

SoupDragon Wed 15-May-13 09:11:34

No one person can decide what is the most important thing to model for all DC.

Some people certainly do and they always pop up on these threads.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 09:12:26

i disagree i think kids do think that about sahm because they are physically there with them,they cant see what your doing all day at work do they?

my kids always say they are glad i look after them and dont go out to work,because they have friends and we have family where both parents work long hours and the kids dont seem happy at all,i know my kids are glad i sah because they tell me regularly!

Dont get me wrong i think there can be a balance where you work and spend enough time as a family bu ive never met anyone who has managed that.

kilmuir Wed 15-May-13 09:12:53

whats a professional parent??????
a stay at home mum does more parenting

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 09:14:34

I think the attitude towards the parent depends on the parent though,i thought my mum was boring and lazy for staying at home because she was,she didnt do it to spend more time with us or because he enjoyed it,she did it because she was too lazy,she cleaned,watched tv,ate and shouted at us mostly,never played with us,showed affection,took us anywhere.

HazleNutt Wed 15-May-13 09:15:14

ham good point. Do people on their death bed often wish they spent more time on Pinterest?

hackmum Wed 15-May-13 09:15:23

The SAHMs I know seem to fill up their time doing volunteering, adult education classes and sports classes. And they get the housework done during the week rather than rushing around at the weekend.

Eliza22 Wed 15-May-13 09:15:52

Thing is, I returned to work, six months after my ds was born. It was nights so, he didn't miss me much. As he got older, he got used to mummy going to work at night (and being knackered most of the time) and I was able to do all the other stuff I had to, around night shifts. It was hard, believe me!

But, there are times when I hear of mums who have to hand over the care of their children to childminders/nurseries/family members (usually grandma) in order to work bloody hard for not much money, by the time they've paid someone to child mind and its so sad. Such a shame but how our society works today. When I was little, mum met me at the school gate. Home was warm and welcoming and tea time was tea time, at a table and home made. Call me old fashioned (I am, I know!) but I like being able to do that now, for my family.

I was good at my job and there are times now when people dismiss me as just a SAHM but, I still think in bloody lucky!

SoupDragon Wed 15-May-13 09:17:04

I hope my children grow up thinking I am a good person who has managed to teach them they can be anything they want to be. to be comfortable in their own skin and that they should be true to themselves. I don't want them to look at me and think "I want to do exactly what she has done." If they can say "my mother gave me all the support and lifeskills I need to be happy with my life" then I have succeeded - I don't need to be at work to do that nor do I need to be a SAHM.

I doubt there is a better role model than that - whether I achieve it or not is another matter smile

To be perfectly honest, the economy is fucked. Unemployment rates are high.

Let those who can afford to have one parent at home be at home without judgement, so that they free up jobs for those who need them!

It is more selfish to work if you dont have to, than to stay at home if you can.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 09:25:51


Why do you think people need to justify their position either wohm or sahm. There are many reasons why a person is a sahp and they support their spouses decision, its part of being together. I find it sad that you would think your dh a cheeky fucker if he wanted to be a sahp, hardly helping equality is it?
Some people don't live to work but would rather work to live. If you are paying your bills and not hurting anyone where's the problem. Life is for living and enjoying.

OwlLady Wed 15-May-13 09:32:45

I am a sahm for different reasons, in that my eldest has severe disabilities and I am a carer really. I worked until my youngest started school and then with appointments, 3 children at three different schools it just became impossible so I decided to give it up. I still feel stretched tbh and I do struggle with the concept of not having my own income but I am surprised how quickly the day passes tbh!

My Mum was at home most of the time when me and my sister were growing up and I remember my friend being really quite jealous that I went home to my Mum and she went home to an empty house

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 15-May-13 09:33:10

I was an SAHM and for two years after the youngest started school I was a Mummy Helper in both their classes, helped out on school trips, was on the PTA worked for DH doing his books one day a week, and ran the house.

After two years though I got bored and very luckily a job was advertised in our local paper that was 9-3: five days a week, all school holidays off. I started and fifteen years later I am still there, though I now work 4 full days a week and have less holidays (and more money!) as the kids are grown up! I would not have taken a job without all the holidays off.

stepawayfromthescreen Wed 15-May-13 09:34:04

Lol, here they come again... it's regressive and depressing staying at home with your kids? And so much more fulfilling working 40 hours a week doing a repetitive job for some employer or other, working with colleagues you don't much like? Now, I expect the wohm's to pile in saying that they adore their wonderful, life enriching career, working with the best of humanity. But back here, in the real world...most of my friends are wohm's. They don't enjoy their jobs/careers/work. They're not enriched and empowered by it. They'd give it up in a heartbeat if they could afford to. Most of their earnings go to childcare, bills, outgoings.
Regressive and depressing being at home with your children?
It's hardly surprising that people share these attitudes when the past 2 governments have tried to force/entice/bribe Mothers back.
You can argue that the process of mothering is sexist, but when men can get pregnant, give birth and breastfeed, perhaps they'll have a stronger desire to stay at home with their offspring.

justwondering72 Wed 15-May-13 09:36:01

Sorry amazing mum of 6- I didn't word that well. It was meant to highlight the difficulty I personally would have, as a result of a Presbyterian upbringing, in filling my days with activities which , in my mind, are classed firmly as 'leisure' rather than 'work' . My mil worked all her days - she just didn't get paid for it. I'm a Sahm just now, and I feel very guilty at spending time on MN during the day, I feel that if DH is out working hours then I should be too. But that's my problem, not anyone else's.

amazingmumof6 Wed 15-May-13 09:38:21

I was up many times last night with feverish 1 year old and I'm sooo happy I don't have to go to work & worry about her or having to take yet another day off to look after her.

call me a bitch, but I will have a nap when she sleeps and I will enjoy it!

ihategeorgeosborne Wed 15-May-13 09:40:47

Great post stepaway

OwlLady Wed 15-May-13 09:41:59

Ikwym my children are always off ill with one thing or another. I worked until Nov last year and I got disciplined for having 2 lots of 2 days off together in a 12 month period....that was before winter. I presume I most probably would have got the sack by now anyway

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 09:46:35

It is equality! I would expect DH to think the same about me if I wanted to stay off once the kids were in school! I agree life is for living. I don't agree that going for lunch/going to the gym/doing leisure classes when your kids are in school is living.

My job is enriching and I do feel empowered working. I don't regret a single moment spent in work and DS has never missed me. I teach A level English and we study an anthology of women's journalism. We have discussions about women and work etc. many kids said they were looked after by grandparents and had very happy memories about it. Some were raised by mums and also had happy memories. Mostly they didn't have much of an opinion though and hadn't really thought about it. It's only us as parents who suffer the guilt either way!

amazingmumof6 Wed 15-May-13 09:49:47

justwondering - yes, I feel guilty sometimes too, but you need opportunities to recharge your batteries and get a break from whingeing kids and endless chores!

I call it self-preservation, you call it leisure. that's fine

(call me a bitch was meant to be posted with grin! and wasn't aimed at you!)

happyyonisleepyyoni Wed 15-May-13 09:53:32

People who don't know what SAHMs with school age children do all day are lacking in imagination!

I arranged to go back to work fulltime when my DC started school as I just did not realise the sheer amount of time and effort involved at primary age in supervising homework, having playdates, taking them to after school clubs, as well as activities that happen in the school day like concerts, school trips and so on. Lots of the mums here help out for a few hours a week in school too.I would love to have time in the week for coffee with friends, going to the gym/classe, doing voluntary work and pursuing hobbies.

Unfortunately I still have to work for financial reasons and so after a spell of part-time I am now going back fulltime for a bit. My older DC are now secondary school age so they do not need me as much for after-school activities. To be honest they do not even notice if I am there or not when they get back from school!

jellybeans Wed 15-May-13 09:56:05

I think the fact that many SAHMs with older DC say they want to be around for school runs and hols is why the current gov want to extend school hours and shorten holidays. If school was 9 till 5 no parents would have a need to cite needing to be around in the holidays etc.

Chandon Wed 15-May-13 09:58:58

Yes jelly, but poor kids! 9-5 for life from such a young age.

On the other hand, we just had 2 weeks Easter hols, another half term coming up, and then 6 or 7 weeks of summer hols. It does seem rather a lot.

Runoutofideas Wed 15-May-13 09:59:49

But that solution is in no way good for the children. Their needs are not being considered at all.

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 10:12:10

I don't think DC think wow I have this great SAHM either!

My child does, he told me grin

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 10:22:22

valium are you sure it's not you who has told your child that? wink

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 10:22:26


All 3 of our dc have said so too.

Today my dd has a bad cold, quite high temperature. I am so glad I don't have to find somebody else to look after her or send her to school ill. Being at home has really made a difference to her education and I can see her improving daily, far more than she was at school.
I have a pile of ironing to do but besides that I can take care of dd.
Tomorrow she has a dancing exam during what would be school time. I don't have to worry about taking time off or finding someone else to take her. I am fortunate that dh works mainly from home, we share domestic responsibility so I am never bored, with too many ugly jobs to do. grin
"No woman should have to clean a cooker" - Lilly Savage, many years ago.

HazleNutt Wed 15-May-13 10:25:59

Personally i dont think that children think"wow look at my mum being a professional,having it all"...

Actually yes, I did, have always been very proud of mum's career and achievements. And thanks to her I firmly believe that I can "have it all" as well. "All" being that I can have what men have - a family without being forced to give up on all career ambitions.

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 10:27:22

Nope, I am very pro women working if that's right for them, didn't come from me at all.

Ds is off sick today too - very grateful I don't have to fret about taking time off work tbh.

I never clean my cooker now, I have a nice man who does it for me wink

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 10:38:23

I don't see why it is difficult to understand that dc can be very openly appreciative of the things parents do for them. Mine have been very vocal in this and I am pleased they have grown/are growing up to be appreciative.
Of course women should work if its right for them and their family and they shouldn't if its not for them or their family.
I'm loving these men who clean cookers, so many don't lift a finger if they work and you are a sahm. Some don't lift a finger when their dw works shock

stepawayfromthescreen Wed 15-May-13 10:43:09

hamndangle says:
and DS has never missed me

You can't know that.
My Mum worked 2 jobs when we were growing up and I said I was okay with this. I wasn't. I just put up with it because there was no other option. She wasn't enriched or empowered, just bloody knackered and bad tempered.

jellybeans Wed 15-May-13 10:44:39

I agree but it's obviously the government's view. I personally would home educate if they bring this in as the school day is already long enough. I like the holidays also. If anything the government should be trying to increase flexible working around what is best for kids not the other way round.

One thing I also think is that those that want total equality and want both parents to work, wouldn't it be better if both worked part time rather than both have to work full time? That would be better 'progress' surely... It's not really a step forward the way things are.

Also the government like to make out that most parents both work but really SAH is still very common. Few mums actually work full time with young infants. One third have a SAHP. One third work part time. Many work low hours. Majority then cut their hours wither as a SAHP or by cutting their hours to spend more time with DC and less in work.

For those who slate SAHM is part time also a bad role model? If so what it the 'cut off' point? What if you only do paid work of an hour a week etc

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 10:48:35

I don't see why it is difficult to understand that dc can be very openly appreciative of the things parents do for them. Mine have been very vocal in this and I am pleased they have grown/are growing up to be appreciative.

just the same a people who appreciate that their mothers did work.

and DS has never missed me....You can't know that. in the same way as you cannot believe if someone really wanted a SAHM, just because they said so

I did a couple of years as a SAHM by choice before my youngest started full-time school. He's now in Reception and I am looking for a job but so far with no success. We manage ok financially, but I want to go back to work (part time) because I would like to be better off. I don't think the children need me to be at home now they are at school - they are not here!
Having said that, I don't ever get bored. Housework is a pain, but I have hobbies and enjoy cooking etc. I can't imagine ever finding it hard to fill my time.

stepawayfromthescreen Wed 15-May-13 10:55:01

FasterStronger, given the choice, the overwhelming majority of children would rather be at home, especially when they get to school age and are sent off to afterschool/holiday clubs. My kids hate those. They resent every second they spend in them! It would take a pretty crappy home life to persuade a child that daycare is better.

stepawayfromthescreen Wed 15-May-13 10:56:20

it's the elephant in the room isn't it, acknowledging that it's better for children to be at home with a parent? (unless their home is an unhealthy, chaotic one)

OwlLady Wed 15-May-13 11:00:29

I liked coming home to my Mum or Gran

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 11:01:16

stepaway well said.

OwlLady Wed 15-May-13 11:02:05

That post isn't to make anyone feel bad btw as I have worked as well and my children have had to go to childminders and after school clubs etc because it's what we had to do, but they do like coming home to me now and I am not going to feel bad about that myself, because it's something that make us all happy

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 11:03:16

step but doesn't that depend on whether the DC is an introvert or extrovert?

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 11:03:52

Interesting how it has descended into My life is fantastic,yours is shit(paraphrasing)
Ive done both SAH/WOH and there are pros and cons to both ,lets be realistic.
Currently in bed recovering from minor surgery,DH is doing everything domestic atm morethan grin

HazleNutt Wed 15-May-13 11:05:35

A lot of children actually enjoy different after school activities - no, that does not mean all those children have horrible home lives they want to escape from.

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 11:06:42

Wrt to being a role model - I cannot be everything to my child, there are plenty of good role models for ds in our family and he will take a bit of everything and find his own way in the world.

EasilyBored Wed 15-May-13 11:08:44

I've been thinking about this thread this morning, and I can't quite get all my thoughts/feelings straight but here goes; I would personally wonder what a SAHM did all day when their children were at school, probably imagining it was mostly domestic tasks, life admin, bit of relaxing, lunch etc. I don't think there is exactly anything wrong with that, at the end of the day we should be free to make our own choices and if you want to stay at home so you can be there for the school run and have time for other things, then I guess that's fine and a valid choice.

BUT you can only do this (barring personal wealth or family money) if you have a partner who is able and willing to financially support this choice. And a bit of me struggles with that - I would feel in a very vulnerable position to be 100% reliant on someone for everything, when I wasn't using the majority of my non-working time to provide childcare. For example, at the minute I work part-time, and DS goes into childcare the three days I work. I don't feel reliant on my husband because I have some income coming in of my own, and the days when I am not working, I am providing childcare that would otherwise cost the family quite a lot. If I was not working at the minute, I would be providing childcare full time as DS is not old enough for school. Again, childcare which would be very costly if I wasn't doing it. IF childcare was not my primary role when staying at home (for example if the children were all at school), I would feel very much like my husband was working to support me while I did a bit of cleaning, did the school run and then pottered around doing a bit of gardening/my hobby/having lunch with my friends. And that doesn't seem very fair. There is no way he would be happy about that - why should I get to not work just because I don't really want to, and he has to work regardless? I don't think I have the personality to be happy in a situation where I was not generating my own income (regardless of how much it was); you don't have to look much further than the relationships boards to see how often women get totally and utterly fucked over by their husbands, and many times they didn't have a clue before it happened. I could not put myself in that position, no matter how much I trust that my husband is a nice, kind man who would never behave like that.

I'm not really sure of my point. On the one hand, I want to say that I support another woman's right to make her own choices and live her life in a way that makes her happy. But on the other hand, it seems very... odd to me that women are happy to stay at home after all their children are at school, and as they grow up and be supported 100% by someone else.

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 11:10:23

The other interesting thing I find is that when I say to men I don't work outside the home it is a complete non issue and just taken as fact, say it to a woman and the sneering and judging follows ( not always but enough that it's noticeable) It's a shame women's biggest critics seem to be other women, we could all do with supporting each other's choices a bit more imo.

UtterflyButterfly Wed 15-May-13 11:10:43

I think what this thread emphasises is that everyone's an individual and you have to do what's right for you and for your family as a whole.

I stayed at home until my DDs were 10 and 7. I enjoyed being a 'homemaker' - baking, gardening, decorating - and I did voluntary work a couple of mornings a week. I also helped in their school two afternoons a week. Add that to going to the gym, swimming, meeting friends for coffee - there wasn't really any time left over when I had to be ready for the school run at 3.

OP, I'm sure you'll fill your days quite easily once DCs are all at school; enjoy it while you can!

EasilyBored Wed 15-May-13 11:13:00

If you are at home while your children are out at school, does your partner expect you to be 100% responsible for all domestic stuff? I think my husband would feel very unhappy if he had to do anything domestic (apart from childrearing) when he came home from work, if I had been at home all day without the children.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 11:14:02

I think as a society we have become scared of being dependant on anyone else and that is a shame.There is not one part of me that is worried about being dependant on dh.Its the same with children,people are so scared of them becoming reliant or clingy.

Its ridiculous,if you cant rely or depend on those you love then thats very sad imo.

Hullygully Wed 15-May-13 11:15:30

Tell people you're doing a Phd

When they say oh how fascinating, what in?

Tell them it's about the Euler Identity and the Gamma Function.

They will think you are fantastically clever AND won't want to talk about it.

win win

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 11:15:35


My kids are all very confident and extroverted but they would and do choose home over school/activities in a heartbeat.

Hullygully Wed 15-May-13 11:16:09

Don't do that at a maths convention obviously.

Adapt to suit.

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 11:16:20

The difference easily is that neither dh or I really care who brings in the money as long as someone does. IF I was able to earn as much as dh then he would be at home.

He might support us financially but I support him in plenty of other ways, it's a team effort, we are both doing what we are good at and happy with.

We have never had 'his money/my money' EVER. It makes me wince when I see threads on here about having to ask dh for money. We both have total access to all money/savings etc. Both names on the house.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 11:18:13

easily bored i guess it depends,mine are not all at school yet and dh and i share the housework,he does more at weekends and during the week he doesnt do much,but he does do bath,bed and cook dinner,i clean up,laundry,dishwasher etc,we also have a cleaner 2 x a week.When they are all at school i expect it will remain pretty much the same really,except more balanced at weekends.

EasilyBored Wed 15-May-13 11:18:24

It might be 'sad' that we are scared of being dependent on anyone, but the reality is that a lot of women are totally taken advantage of, and have no power or recourse to complain in their relationships because they are dependent and supported 100%.

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 11:19:49

amber - I was not talking about confidence. we are all different

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 11:20:07

hully grin

easily We share jobs around the house and ds pitches in too as we all live here. I am pretty much responsible for cooking as I am better at it.

Dh was working in the same job years and years before we met or had ds so he is doing what he has always done, it's not all suddenly on his shoulders.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 11:20:12

Yes, I do my sports and go walking, lunch and cinema through the day and enjoy the less stressful pace that my working friends have who have to fit everything else in the evening and at weekends. why is doing all that not living? Do you not do stuff like that in your spare time? Does it matter what time of the day you do your leisure stuff?

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 11:21:08

I don't agree that you have to go out to work to be a "role model". Ultimately the role you have that has most relevance to your child is as a parent.

The values my Mum passed on to me about the importance of education and independence for women, of hard work, determination, conscientiousness, honesty, kindness and compassion were instilled in me long before she ever went back to work. Yes I was proud of her achievements at work when she returned in her mid 40s and determinedly forged a career, but by then I was working myself.

I had my DD late in life and I was independently solvent before I married and had her. I had a good career, having left school at 16 and worked my way up to a senior level in a job which, like sweetkitty and others, involved far too much travel and long, irregular hours, to combine with motherhood. My DH works in a similar job to the one I gave up, so his ability to do more on the domestic front is extremely limited.

I hung on to one part of my career (a judicial appointment, rather than a job) when I had DD and I built this up from a couple of days a month when she was a baby and my Mum was still alive to help, and I now work around one week in each month.

DD is now 12 and still only vaguely understands the value of what I do in terms of the role - she is more able to understand the financial benefit. However, even now when I remind her that I'm booked to work the following week she gives me a sad or angry depending on her mood. She knows full well that when I am working life at home is not the same, it's not so relaxed and she just doesn't get to spend so much time with me. I remind her that it's our "fun money" for things like trips to London on inset days etc (although we could afford these things regardless) and she accepts it, but she is never happy about it.

If I am cancelled at short notice, which happens occasionally, she cheers!

I don't think your children give a damn about what you do with your life (assuming it's not beyond-the-pale uncool grin) as long as you're there for them when they need you.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 11:21:55

easily bored what are you basing that on?your own experience?mumsnet?do you have any statistics?

EasilyBored Wed 15-May-13 11:22:43

Amber that kind of how it works for us too - when we're both in the house we split all domestic and childcare stuff between us, and are a team. I just think he would be very resentful at having to go to work (because like most people, if he didn't have to work, he wouldn't!) while I spent my days going to the gym, baking, reading and generally enjoying myself. It just seems like a very unequal power balance, and not one we could live with. But then, as I said, this is where I struggle; if it works for you then I guess that's fine and we should all make our own choices, but I struggle to understand how it works.

We have a kind of 'family money' situation, in that we both have similar amounts of spending money and we make all big purchases together etc. But I like having my own account so that I have the freedom to buy surprise presents etc.

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 11:23:26

I actually do know that he has never missed me and is very proud of my career and not because he has told me because that would be 'icky' but because many of his friends are kids that I have taught and they have told me.

I totally disagree with after school clubs being awful and if your kid enjoys them they must have an awful home life hmm. DS really enjoyed after school club because most of his friends were there too and they did lots of fun stuff. Not really that different from doing after school activities really.

McNewPants2013 Wed 15-May-13 11:24:02

I really don't see any sense in doing housework in the day, the most mess is created in my home in the evening.

I do it once the kids are in bed and Hoover on the weekends, that way my house is spotless when I sit down. I used to do it all everyday but not anymore life is just to short.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 11:24:06

And often my working friends seem to shoulder much more of the housework, shopping, cooking and kids stuff than their husbands. me being at home picking up all that slack means he can work some of the crazy and long hours he does. It's not a perfect set up, sure resentments can bubble away sometimes just like with any set up.

OwlLady Wed 15-May-13 11:24:26

My children go to swimming, football practice, rugby club, young carers group, youth club and horse riding confused why would they not have social opportunities?

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 11:24:35

easily I have my own account as well. I can buy anything I want too - just as dh can.

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 11:25:50

Sad Ambersocks isnt protecting yourself and your DC ,its over there >>>>>>> on the relationships board where trusting women relied on their ,at the time loving DH to always care for and provide for them.

You sound very naive if you think being financially astute is ridiculous (whether SAHM or WOHM)

EasilyBored Wed 15-May-13 11:26:42

Amber from here and from real life.

KittensoftPuppydog Wed 15-May-13 11:26:49

I am a stay at home mother with no kids... I have a small income of my own, through property, and although getting to this situation has involved a lot of hard work, I now don't have to do so much.
Two things...
I don't know how anyone can say they are bored when they have the freedom to do what they like. I have done voluntary work, have various creative interests, take classes. It's bloody great.
On the other hand, I'm older now (50s), and I would not have wanted to put myself in someone else's financial power, especially when I was younger. This has come after a successful 20 yr career.
Word of warning. A friend was with the same man for 35 years. Not married, 2 dcs. When he left her she found that she has no right to a share of the pension he built up during the 10 years she took off work to look after the dcs.

UtterflyButterfly Wed 15-May-13 11:27:38

easily when I was in this situation, my OH worked long hours, and was often away 2 or 3 nights a week, so , Yes, I was responsible for all the housework, and for ferrying the DDs to any after school activities, so we did feel there was a fair distribution of work. And as I didn't need to work financially, it seemed a logical step to do some voluntary work, which taught me new skills and was of benefit to others.

shewhowines Wed 15-May-13 11:32:25

My DH would not be able to reduce his hours and would definitely not want to be a sahp. So although I think he is slightly jealous of my spare time, he is intelligent enough to realise that if i worked, then there would be far greater pressures on us as a family. He is stressed enough at work already. Him having to take on more responsibility at home, would make this worse, if I worked. Two stressed parents working is not conducive to a happy family.

Now if me working could relieve some of his work pressure and reduce his hours, then it would be a different matter. Of course I would work. It would be very selfish not to.

I think some WOFH mothers do it for this reason - not because they actually really want to. I also think that you justify your decisions to yourself as well. If you have to work, then a positive and natural, mindset is to let yourself believe that you are working because you want to.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 11:39:33

Easilybored - you wondered how it works. I do sports and leisure stuff through the day (sometimes in the evening when he is around). He does his fun stuff in the evening ( and through the day sometimes as he doesn't work 9-5) when I look after the kids. For example this weekend he had it all to himself in his 5 star hotel, eating out and drinking in nice bars, going to the gym or sightseeing while I had the kids to see to and attend their tournaments (about 15 hours mostly in the rain). He can be away for weeks on end and we have no family to help. generally, he doesn't have to worry about housework, food shopping etc so his downtime is relatively stress free. I could do everything, house and kids AND work but I don't really want to or I'd be super stressed and be bitching more at him and we would probably argue more and feel resentful. Also, he earns more in a day than I probably would in a month so all that for not much return.

that's how it works.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 11:50:05

ALvin i would hate to go through marriage and life thinking oh i musnt rely on anyone i must go to work to a job im not keen on and leave my children who need me so i can make sure im financially independent just in case my husband fucks me over.I would rather give it my all and enjoy my life without that in the back of my mind,if it happens it happens.Money isnt the be all and end all,despite having plenty now i didnt always and if the shit hits the fan i would manage just like plenty of others do.

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 11:58:15

i think most women who are financially independent see it as a positive, not the fear you describe.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 12:01:41

But isn't it weird. Yes sometimes I look at my working friends and think I might like some of that as the usual routine can get a bit dull and samey at times. I know they look at me and would like some of what I've got. Tis life I suppose.

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 12:02:37

Aren't we all bringing up our DC to be financially independent? Isn't this a goal?

Or are we going to support them into adulthood?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 12:03:43


perhaps the dhs of sahms wouldn't expect to do too much when they came home from work, depending on what work was tbh. Some men like mine for instance work a variety of hours, nothing set.
My dh has done an equal share of domestic, raising our dc, maintenance, gardening, decorating etc. If he is working from home and the washing needs to go on he'll do it, if dd needs to be somewhere he'll offer to take her. If we need a shop and I'm doing other stuff he'll go. If he is busy or working away then I'll do it. Ds1 and Ds2 muck in likewise and dd is beginning to start as well. We work as a team and don't define each other by roles, responsibilities, duties etc. We are all individuals working for a common cause.

jellybeans Wed 15-May-13 12:08:19

'i think most women who are financially independent.. '
but if most mothers that work have to to pay half the mortgage/bills then are they not also financially dependent on partner? few could really manage it all on their own. Many have to sell the house in a split etc etc.

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 12:15:44

Ambersocks I wasnt necessarily meaning that you had to WOH to be financially independent but personally I do and have always enjoyed earning my own money.

I was referring to your description of women who dont just trust their partners as sad. I think all partnerships are based to a certain extent on trust - healthy ones certainly but it does piss me off that young women are still being fed the line of men as lovely protectors/providers and they are not being taught that the best way of ensuring that they/their children will be financially protected is to make sure whether they SAH or WOH that they take sound financial advice and put that advice into practice.
The whole I love my DH so much and he loves me is great but it dont pay the bills !

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 12:19:22

jelly - I was commenting on the idea of living in fear of their partner leaving element rather any practicalities.

a two earner household is likely (on average) to have a higher income, be less reliant on benefits so to be more able to cope with divorce, redundancy and govt changes.

ppeatfruit Wed 15-May-13 12:36:20

I was a STAHM with 3 DCs and what I've never understood is why it's not classed as work FFS! Apart from not being paid there's a hell of a lot of work involved! You have to pay a CM or nanny or nursery but for some reason all the work that a STAHM does is not work!!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 12:40:35


I totally agree, if dh were to leave me I'd be no worse off financially whether wohm or sahm. If I was working and paying half the bills there wouldn't be much money left.
I also don't see how gov changes and divorce are any harder to cope with whether you wohm or sahm. Its devastating whatever your work commitment is.

redskyatnight Wed 15-May-13 12:41:39

ppeatfruit This thread is about mums of school age children. Who generally have about 6 hours a day "free" to do what they want with. And as most have shown on this thread, it tends not to be all spent "working".

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 12:43:44


Oh dear, now you've been and gone and done it. Batten down the hatches for a whole heap of ugliness telling you that it isn't work and how you don't deserve to be paid you lazy mother. grin Why should you get paid when i have to work, ugliness grin

dufflefluffle Wed 15-May-13 12:50:04

I am a sahm. I hadn't planned this but it's how it worked out and now - ten years in I've stopped feeling gulity about it and started really enjoying it possibly because we've suddenly hit the wall financially and I have to go out and get a job. I love my children's company and I worry who my ten year old will talk to about he ploitics of the school yard and what they did in school when I am not available, and who will take my 4 yr old jumping in muddy puddles in the rain and the answer is no-one!!! sad a child minder just won't have the same time and attention that I have been able to give my children. My non-sahm friends definitely look down their noses at me. I find it shocking how many working out of the home mothers say: I could not stay at home with my children: how boring! Yet, most sahm would (hopefully) not say how could you fob your babies off on paid mother-substitutes 5 days of the week! Anyway, I know (in hindsight) that my children and I have been so so fortunate and we have all benefitted hugely from my being here for the first 10/4 years of their lives. However, despite studying and doing volunteer work during my time at home I am finding it next to impossible to even get an interview - let alone a job so while I can see the value of being a sahm I'm also feeling a little bit knocked for six by the effects of my "indulgence"

ppeatfruit Wed 15-May-13 12:53:22

Oh DUH thanks morethan i just put my oar in before reading the the whole thread {Ducks out nervously} grin

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 12:54:26

I think that all parents of pre school dc should receive a childcare wage whether wohm or sahm. It is hard work when you have dc at home and I have never met a parent yet who didn't do the same job as a childcare worker, in fact better in most cases. Then wohm could spend their allowance on nursery if they wanted to.
But I know this is another thread.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 12:55:33

I'd love to be able to stay at home all day whilst kids are at school playing sport and going out to lunch. Sounds great. Shame I can't afford it. Talking of what you do or don't want to do is all well and good, but the reality for most people is that they don't have the choice. I think I would be pretty resentful if I was working my arse off whilst my wife just did fun stuff during the day, even if we could afford it.

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 12:56:06

I also don't see how gov changes and divorce are any harder to cope with whether you wohm or sahm

emotionally maybe not - but financially clearly, unless you are a v low or high income household.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 13:02:37

Yes but my husband gets to do fun stuff in the evening while I see to the kids. You're not using much imagination if you can't see that it isn't just him working and the SAHm just sitting on her arse all day, though I sometime do that too. There are all different situations that come into it.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 13:08:20

I think some things should be done for the love of it,not just for the money,it would attract the wrong type of people.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 13:13:58

I want to see my kids in the evenings and at weekends. When we're both at home parental and domestic tasks are shared equally. Doesn't sound like he has any involvement with family life.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 13:37:19

He often takes them to school and picks them up actually. Takes them to their sports stuff and spends as much time as possible with them at the weekends. Plus several family holidays a year we have, so maybe 5 weeks of quality time. Yes, he can be away weeks at a time but tbh I'd say he probably spends more time overall with the kids than many of my friends husbands.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 13:39:17

And he looks after them the odd time I go away for a week or so or a weekend. So he is very capable of looking after them.

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 13:39:36

I find the idea that housework,chores etc shouldnt be done at the weekends ,evenings together very odd like it is a huge benefit for DH and DC to never be involvedconfused . I grew up carwashing,baking, gardening with my DP <old gimmer>
We share the chores and my DC have always seen both of us doing them and we all happily potter about at weekends,sometimes going out for lunch,sometimes gardening,baking ,washing,dog walking.
We have our individual hobbies and interests and go our seperate ways as well. The idea of "Family fun time" sounds very forced to me~shudder~ like someone holding an Alton Towers pass to my head and saying "you will have fun "grin

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 13:59:12

dufflefluffle I could SAH with my DC and have done but it wasnt the best choice for me longterm. I consider my happiness as important as that of my DC . My own Mother didnt have a happy life when I was a child and it did impact on us.

If a mother says she would be bored at home she means just that, she isnt for whatever reason happy with SAH and therefore makes a different choice to you. I did SAH but found it isolating and I really missed the structure and routine of working life to the point it affected my mental health. I like the balance that WOH gives me and am lucky that I am well paid enough to only work 3 days a week. My DC havent ever been looked after by a paid mother-substitute( lovely choice of words) unless you count DH but he wasnt paid to parent his own children.
We all thrive on and enjoy different things and ways of life .Lets stop making it a competition.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 14:02:36


You seem to be sending mixed messages. On the one hand you do everything with the kids which justifies taking it easy when they're at school, but on the other he does spend lots of time with them, so which is it?

You don't have to apologise for your way of life. It sounds nice to me. But don't make out that you're not living a life of leisure.

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 14:13:17

I fought this thread was supposed to be about staying at home once the kids are in school not whether you should stay at home or pay for 'mother substitutes'. Nice!

I still haven't got a clue what mums of school age kids do in the day that would make it worth giving up work though! It's not just me being 'unimaginative' either. I've read most of this thread and still can't see how I'd fill up my time. Most leisure classes are held at night anyway. Even when I'm in work I still cook all meals from scratch and have sewing projects. DH does all other chores bar cooking. I used to have a half day off so went and listened to kids read at local school. I can't imagine filling my whole week up with that. Time to go to the gym is just not time well spent as far as I'm concerned. I would never ever set foot in one even if I had all the time in the world. I never needed to manage DS's homework either because he should be able to do that himself. After school activities are done after work in the evening. If you are volunteering then why not just get a paid part time job with a charity?

I get that people (of either sex) might want to stay at home when kids are young. I also get that they still want to pick up and drop off. I know that there aren't tons of term time part time jobs available for everyone but I don't get why people don't even think about working part time when kids are in school. Especially people who have no intention of ever working again.

My mum went back to work when we were in school. She didn't go back to work because she had to or because she felt she had an important career. She works in admin but she loves it and values how much it has given her independence over the years. She is 64 and will soon reduce her hours to three days but will really miss work when she gives up completely. She is out with 'the girls from work' most weekends and has a better social life than me! DH's mum, on the other hand, gave up work as soon as she got married and never returned despite both children leaving home. She has a very limited social life as friends went back to work and their lives drifted apart. She seems to fill her life with decorating and gardening and is entirely dependent on her husband.

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 14:13:48

Thought not fought blush

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 14:13:51


What mixed messages? Begonia clearly states that her dh does a lot with the children when he is at home. Mine does too. Her dh also works away for weeks at a time, mine works away too.
It isn't too difficult to understand surely.

dufflefluffle Wed 15-May-13 14:20:56

I'm sorry alvin I didn't mean my comment to be insulting or judgemental to either but what I meant was that one shouldn't vocalise what one thinks of the other as each parent should be comfortable and supported in whatever choice they want to make. I think mothers who do work outside the home are essentially doing two jobs and I am in awe of their capabilities - as I am (hopefully) about to become one of them I am pretty sure that I will struggle with it. But I would not mock or disparage a sahm either - even if they did lounge about and "do lunch" while kids are at school. I suppose I was also trying to make the point that I did not appreciate my good fortune in being at home til it's (almost) gone. I meant the mother-substitute term to be as inflamatory as the boring-staying at home comment. It just isn't kind or supportive to say such words out loud!
Anyway maybe my inability to express myself clearly has more to do with why I have not yet got a job and not the fact that I've been a sahm for so long. smile

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 14:21:13

The "mother-substitutes" comment was initially made by dufflefluffle just to be clear- I thought it was a very unpleasant thing to say.

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 14:21:35

dh does a lot with the children so a man who works long hours and had down time by himself does lots with the children.

why one earth does anyone question a working mother then?

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 14:22:11

I know I'm very lucky compared to many of my friends, I'm not complaining or saying I have a hard life at all - far from it. But at times I'm on my own with kids for weeks on end and the only me or leisure time I get is when the kids are at school so I do my stuff then as well as the house stuff and shopping etc. that's why I don't understand why folk think it's weird to do that stuff during school time when others get the chance to do it in the evening or weekends and have family nearby to help out. he can spend a lot of time at home between trips though - it's nothing like a 9-5 office based job. I'm also talking about over a ten yr period so things change.

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 14:24:44

classic xpost there dufflefluffle
Agree with your post.
Good luck with jobhunting.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 14:26:31

Yes, my DH spends as much time as he can with DD when he's here and not working.

He does a great job in the garden - with DD - which they both love.

He'll usually go out on his bike with her (if he can persuade her) or just on his own for a spin, and obviously we all go out together too.

I think it's great that we can all spend quality time together at the weekends rather than having to bother with loads of laundry, or vacuuming, changing the beds or doing the weekly shop!

Just because you don't get paid for what you do doesn't mean the work you do has no value.

LondonJax Wed 15-May-13 14:26:56

I think the point is why should I or anyone else be asked to justify what we're doing with our day? Working or SAHP it's no-one elses business! I haven't asked the six dads of kids in DS's year when they do the drop off and pick up every day what they do with their day, just like I haven't got a clue which of the mums or dads work full time or part time or is a SAHP. It's not my business and I don't look up, down or sideways at anyone for what they choose or have to do to give their families the lifestyle that suits them.

If I said I worked as a housekeeper, child minder or nanny, no-one would bat an eye lid. Put SAHM or SAHD in there and some people feel they have a right to comment. They don't! My and DH lifestyle works for us. And yes, the first one up in the morning puts the washing on (and that's usually DH as his work is international so he's often working early and finishing early) and, yes, he does do the hoovering and make the beds. Sometimes. Just like I have a look over his accounts, proof read his work and get his filing up to date, sometimes, whilst he gets on with the work that earns the money. It's called a marriage and working outside, inside or around the home doesn't make a marriage any different. Last night I looked after DS whilst DH went to a footie match. This weekend I have a weekend away with some old school friends so DH is on duty. It'd be exactly the same if I had a job. We don't have to ask each other to help (though we do, because it's polite), nor do we have to justify our roles to each other, because ... we're a family and families help each other. As for what my DS will think about work when he grows up? He knows that, if you want to take time out later in your life to bring up a family, study or just backpack around the world, you have to save, work hard and get yourself organised. Again, just the same lessons we'd be teaching him if I was a working mum.

As for the financial side of it. Yes, if you're going to be a SAHP you should make sure you've looked into the 'what ifs'. I do know that one of the SAHD's lives with his DW in her parents house - quite what'll happen there if the relationship goes belly up I don't know but I assume as he's a grown up, he's got that covered. Just because he's a SAHD doesn't mean his brain has ceased to function.

It's just like you have to look into the financial side of returning to work. And of course, some people (men and women) are happy to pay out all or most of their salary to a child minder because they enjoy their jobs so much or they're still at the rising part of their career. Good for them. Some of us, through luck, budgeting or have a DH/DW/DP who earns a good salary, can take time out because it's what we want to do or what we feel is right for our family. Good for us. Some have to pay out because they have no choice and even a few pounds left over each week is better than nothing. And it's those people everyone should be shouting about. The people who would prefer to live their life another way (whether that's a career or being a full or part time SAHP) but have no choice because they can't climb out of that financial rut.

Personally, I can't imagine anything more boring than sitting in a meeting room or negotiating a sale or typing up another report. I had 27 years of it. Just like some people can't imagine anything more boring than being a SAHM/D. If I'm still doing THAT in 27 years then people have a right to question it. Six years into it is less time than I was in my last job and no-one asked me to justify that...

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 14:30:38

why one earth does anyone question a working mother then?

I didn't realise anyone was, but presumably it's for the same kind of reasons that people think SAHMs are "lazy". Ignorance, projection, presumption, whatever.

My DH spends a lot of time with DD when he can, but obviously I get to spend a lot more time with him than he does, and that shows in our respective relationships in all sorts of ways.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 14:32:36

a lot more time with her* than he does.

TheRatsTheRats Wed 15-May-13 14:34:48

I have trust issues and would never feel secure or at ease relying on a man but that is my issue and I know that. I wish I could be trusting of a DP but I can't, so being SAHM is not for me. However if I did not have those trust issues it would be lovely to be a SAHM.

feelingdizzy Wed 15-May-13 14:35:05

I have so many thoughts on this I am a lone parent have been for 9 years have 2 dcs(9 and 11).

I have always worked and studied a lot of the time so its been a busy few years .I am happy I have made the best of my life and me and my kids are a great team.

However I do think many of us ,I include me here ,are part of the cult of 'busyness' that we all have to be doing loads all the time and somehow that makes us better , rather than just busier people.

I love my work ,my kids and wouldn't change much but I do think we need to be aware that this new 'normal' of being on the go constantly .It probably isn't good for us and doing less is probably a good idea .

I think we need to disentangle our ideas of worth from how much we can fit in a day.

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 14:37:37

olgaga - I didn't realise anyone was


olgaga Wed 15-May-13 14:38:28

London well said.

I always find it so ironic that a working mum who worked as a housekeeper/nanny for another family while her DH was a SAHD would be given a big pat on the back.

A SAHM who works as a housekeeper/nanny for her own family while her DH goes out to work is assumed to be desperately trying to fill her days, or "lazy".

What this thread shows is that there are as many preferences as there are people.

I don't judge women who work full time, and I don't expect to be judged as a SAHM.

Like you I worked for 24 years straight before I had my DD. I worked at the same level my DH is at now when I gave up work. No-one can tell me what it's like to have a career - I've done that. I see my time at home with my DD as something I worked bloody hard for, and I just laugh at the envy and insecurity evident in these kind of threads.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 14:39:14

Faster well I must have missed it then - it's a long thread. Perhaps you could point it out to me?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 14:47:33


In response to your comment that you still fail to see how you would fill your time when dc are at school.
Its a good job you work then.
I'm not suggesting I'm always rushed off my feet although sometimes my day is hectic. However, I have never felt nor been bored. Theres a world out there.
I have been known to have the occasional lunch out with dh or friends, but not regularly and also don't go to the gym, nor have nails done.
For your comment about activities in the evening my dds start at 3.30 and sometimes she finishes at 8pm. They are not all held during the evening at all.

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 14:52:48

I just laugh at the envy and insecurity evident in these kind of threads

I think most WOHM who are envious are pretty open about it and are sad they dont have the choice.
I think insecurity is probably the reason for the undermining comments whether SAH or WOH , the comments fuel defensiveness and insecurity and it goes on...

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 14:53:12

olgaga - that's not going to happen.

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 14:59:26

Envious of what?

I tried being a SAHM, didn't like it. So now I work from home (mostly). What am I envious of?

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 15:01:32

People shouldn't have to justify what they do, but many still feel the need to, and often those justifications are poor. Good on you if you can afford not to work when the kids are at school. But saying things like you've worked hard to be able to do that comes across as condescending. Most people work hard. Most people I'm sure would like to have more time for leisure and their kids.

To take a different example, where kids aren't involved. I have a friend who is a dentist, and he works 3 days a week. He always seems slightly on the defensive about this (though I never mention it), and comes out with things like he needs the time off to do stuff around the house, visit relatives etc. I wished he was just honest and said that he only worked 3 days because that was all he needed to do to earn a good wage. The reasons he gives are just annoying and patronising.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 15:03:21

Faster I just searched the whole thread for the terms "working mother" and "WOHM". All I have found is sympathetic stuff about how stressed WOHMs are, and how people had friends who were WOHMs who wished they weren't.

So what are you referring to? And why did you accuse me of talking rubbish?

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 15:03:24


I too had a good career prior to dc, and was earning the magnificent 42K we hear about now in 1980's. It was a lovely business and I enjoyed it and worked hard.
There is no way I would have continued post dc, it just wasn't for me.
I can understand why other women want to continue with their career as much as I can see why some prefer to be sahm.

I too think there is a lot of envy and insecurity out there and people who feel the need to justify how they spend their day. Of course I will answer out of politeness but as no 2 days are the same the answer may be vague grin

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 15:04:30

You sound envious whats wink

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 15:08:57

Of course I am. I'd love to be able to work 3 days a week! So when he's talking to me about I wished he wouldn't try and justify yourself with bullshit excuses. I'd much rather he just said how fortunate he was to be able to do it.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 15:09:33

There's a missing 'it' in there.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 15:11:00

And 'himself' rather than 'yourself', doh

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 15:11:12


"Most people I'm sure would like to have more time for leisure and their kids".

Yes, I'm sure they would and I sympathise if they feel they can't. However, this does not give those people the right to call somebody who has chosen to be a sahm lazy.

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 15:13:35

If he said that what then people would say he was loaded and arrogant - can't win really.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 15:14:04

On the rare occasion I've ever been asked what I do, I say I have a portfolio of different roles and then immediately ask them what they do.

The last time this happened it went like this:

Her: "Oh I work in a financial advisers".

Me: That's interesting, I was just reading about the change in regulations governing commission for financial advisers. That's going to have a big effect...

Her: "Oh I'm only in the back office..." grin

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 15:29:01

I don't want anyone to 'justify' anything (although I've been told on this thread that my DS is only pretending that he didn't mind childcare growing up) but this thread is about what you do when the kids are in school. Posters have said gym/leisure classes/volunteer/meet friends for coffee because 'life's too short' etc and I put that life's too short to sit in Csta or go to the gym and that I find my job very rewarding. I was told that I was 'unimaginative' and now 'it's a good job I work'. I still don't know how people fill their time, especially if they never go back to work.

Maybe it's a good job I work though. I'm on mat leave at the moment and have spent the last hour in bed, having a nap, with DS 1 (16 on study leave) DS2 (6 months) and the cat (3). It was lovely. I'm now off to Costa. DS1 wants a caramel latte.

Springdiva Wed 15-May-13 15:30:16

If you are volunteering then why not just get a paid part time job with a charity?

Hahahahahahah. what planet are you on.

I think insecurity is probably the reason for the undermining comments whether SAH or WOH , the comments fuel defensiveness and insecurity and it goes on...

Very true. I wish people would admit that it is their own issues that make the arguments. If you were relaxed and happy in YOUR choices why would you feel the need to argue or criticise someone else's. You just wouldn't, but guilt and envy might cause you to but we can't admit to that can we?

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 15:30:34

Olaga. So what if someone works 'in the back office'? Is a job only worth doing if it is prestigious or pays loads?

hamdangle Wed 15-May-13 15:31:58

I said that I know there aren't tons of term time part time jobs, I just don't understand why people don't even think about returning to work or retraining/getting new quals for that matter.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 15:37:17

"this does not give those people the right to call somebody who has chosen to be a sahm lazy"

Unless they know that persons circumstances I'd agree. But where you have people who seem to be fine expecting their husbands to go to work and provide for them whilst they potter around and 'do lunch' (which I think is a pretty small minority of SAHMs), lazy does seem an appropriate description.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 15:38:07

No, but this was a fairly close neighbour whose DD knew my DD and she knew perfectly well I wasn't a f/t WOHM.

Regardless of that, she asked me "So what do you do?". This is a question I have never asked anyone outside a work gathering, or a party where someone is relating a work anecdote.

It was asked in that "So what do you do?" manner.

I don't give a damn what she does with her time, I made no comment about her job. Someone has to work in the back office, I have no problem with that.

She, however, obviously felt put on the spot and a bit embarrassed.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 15:39:55

whatsthat I think mostly it's the husbands who expect to go out to work and provide for their families! Why on earth wouldn't they? confused

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 15:41:20


I apologise if I sounded arsy, I certainly didn't mean to come across as such. I said it was a good job you worked, as you clearly stated you didn't know what you would do at home.
I don't have that problem, enjoy being at home so its a good job I don't work grin
I think the world would be a terrible place if we went back to all mothers feeling they needed to sah because society expected them to.
I am really pleased we have the choice to do as we please.

scottishmummy Wed 15-May-13 15:43:04

both my parents worked.i was proud of them both working,gave me strong work ethos
my kids know i work,they talk about it they understand
they arent neglected by fact im not a housewife.they see female career is achievable with family

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 15-May-13 15:49:42

Why on earth should it be the husband who does that? Why couldn't the wife go to work all day whilst he plays golf etc?

KitchenandJumble Wed 15-May-13 15:51:50

There are some ridiculous statements on this thread. This one is particularly choice: "given the choice, the overwhelming majority of children would rather be at home, especially when they get to school age and are sent off to afterschool/holiday clubs." That poster can speak for the overwhelming majority of children, can she? Sheer unadulterated nonsense.

And yet others on this thread have said that one thing they like about being a SAHM is being able to take their children to after-school activities. So I guess activities are only good for children if their mothers ferry them to and fro?

My mother was a SAHM. Even now, she waxes lyrical about how she made the right choice to stay home all those years, how wonderful it was for all of us. I just smile and nod. But that is not how I remember it. The life of a SAHM absolutely did not suit her. I remember being a child in that house and I knew how unhappy and unfulfilled she was. She went back to work when I was about 10 or 11, carved out a career for herself and absolutely blossomed. She loved working and I was so proud of her. She has no regrets at all about SAH or working, but I certainly wouldn't have minded if she'd gone back to work years earlier.

Mumsyblouse Wed 15-May-13 15:54:59

Of course you do what makes you happy in life. I'm happier working and am very grateful we live in a society in which women can work although the higher up you go, the less women there are, probably because of the difficulties of juggling work/life and the very heavy demands of some professional jobs that do mean that it is easier to have one person do all of the working out of the home and one running the household (e.g. a 70 hour never see the kids in the week job could be divided into two 35 hours and let everyone have a bit of both). I think this is a shame; there are few women in public life (politics, management of the professions, commerce) and it does seem like we are hitting an invisible glass ceiling in terms of those women who want to keep going into jobs at the top (though not women who like to be married to those who have them, so clearly it is not disdain for that activity in general, just not wanting to do it themselves).

It is not true that in all countries people work ridiculously long hours for their pay- some countries are much better at setting restrictions on hours, for example, for doctors and nurses. I suspect that this may make jobs more attractive as well, whereas a lot of work is simply too demanding for two parents to both engage in without a lot of extra help (e.g. nannies, childcare etc).

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that individually it absolutely makes sense for lots of women (and it is all women, I simply do not know one SAHD of children of school age) to stay at home and not enter/reenter the workplace, but it is also perhaps a product of a very long-hours work obsessed culture, coupled with the school times (in other countries, school buses come round at 8am) which makes it a no-brainer for some (and some people would be very happy to be based at home permanently as a lifestyle choice). Very few men make this choice, which suggests it is socially structured and not all about individual preference or personality type (where are those 'just love pottering about' fathers, they must be out there?).

KitchenandJumble Wed 15-May-13 15:58:10

Good post, Mumsyblouse. I especially like your last paragraph.

AmberSocks Wed 15-May-13 16:02:21

Mumsy there are two full time dads of school age children in my sons class,and a few others in the school,its something that is slowly becoming more common and i think thats a good thing.

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 16:05:26

Yeah I know a couple too.

Mumsyblouse Wed 15-May-13 16:06:42

And- this long hours culture affects men as much as women. I know at least one man who would love to step off the treadmill of his extremely intensive job, but it's all 'all or nothing' situation, and his wife is very happy with her part-time role, and in the UK, it is not possible for him to downsize without essentially losing the last 20 years of his career progression. If I could work four days a week, I would, but I can't if I want to maintain my (mostly) very enjoyable career. No-one benefits from being this boxed in, with men expected to work extremely intensively and without seeing their families on a week night (how many posts are there about this on MN?) and some women who would like to work some of the time, but in jobs which are commensurate with their experience/qualifications, not 'part-time' jobs for which they are way overqualified and way under-paid (making it really not that tempting to work).

Mumsyblouse Wed 15-May-13 16:13:49

My husband was a SAHD for three days a week when the children were little (not school age), but I don't know any men who by preference are staying out of the job market when all of their children are at school and have no part-time work/job at all. I'm not saying they don't exist, but they are uncommon. Most SAHD's stay home because their wives earn more/they love staying at home, but all the ones- I know have restarted working once the youngest is at school/or work part-time from home. I bet if you popped over to a male forum and asked 'what should I do with myself as my youngest child has just gone to school' you would not get the reply- why not take up a hobby or do some sports classes to fill your days?!

nightowlmostly Wed 15-May-13 16:19:50

Well said whatsthat, my point exactly! Why is it assumed that men are happy to put all the hours in so their partner can faff around all day? Some might be, sure, but I think men also get shafted by the sexist attitudes that still persist.

If the starting point was that either parent could just as easily be the one to do the pick ups and general home stuff, I think more men would feel able to say that they'd like to. Society's attitude needs to change before this will happen, and it can't come soon enough!

FasterStronger Wed 15-May-13 16:42:15

I think only about 2% of men with young DCs want to work FT.

which shows a major issue when compared with what actually happens

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 16:53:44


yes activities are only usually any good if somebody can get them there. Do you propose you let a young child take themself, or is it a problem with a parent taking them?

Also, I still don't see how a sahm who takes a lunch break out with friends can be deemed lazy, anymore than a wohm taking lunch. FFs this is unreal.

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 17:01:55

I know quite a few SAHDs but very very few do no work at all. Mostly they freelance in the creative industries.

They always seem quite relaxed about the whole parenting/child rearing/house running thang grin.

wordfactory Wed 15-May-13 17:03:00

morethan lots of DC do extra curricular activities at school. No one needs to take them.

KitchenandJumble Wed 15-May-13 17:03:23

No, I was pointing out the irony on this thread. One person says that "the overwhelming majority of children" would prefer to be at home after school, not at activities. And yet others have said that being a SAHM allows them the freedom to take their children to after-school activities, which they obviously see as something positive for the children.

I don't think it matters who does the actual transportation. It could be a parent, a grandparent, a neighbour, or someone in a paid position.

eccentrica Wed 15-May-13 17:03:30


i disagree i think kids do think that about sahm because they are physically there with them,they cant see what your doing all day at work do they?^

I didn't see what my mum was doing all day at work but she talked to me about it! I was always incredibly proud to have a mum who did something worthwhile - she was a social worker, working with under-18s.

Because she finished work at 3pm she was always there when I got home from school.

She gave up work when I was 16 and I think my younger siblings suffered in a way by having a mum who had nothing else to do but ferry them around and help them live their lives. I think it made me more independent because I knew my mum had a life of her own and that people outside of the family valued her for her intelligence and her capability - as well as for being a fantastic mum and always there for us all.

KitchenandJumble Wed 15-May-13 17:04:10

Previous post was addressed to morethan.

AlvinHallsGroupie Wed 15-May-13 17:23:28

morethan I think you spectacularlymissed the point in what Winter was saying grin

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 17:29:03

whatsthat Why on earth should it be the husband who does that? Why couldn't the wife go to work all day whilst he plays golf etc?

I didn't say that's what they should do. You didn't read my post properly. As far as I'm concerned people can do exactly what they choose to do.

What I said was I think mostly it's the husbands who expect to go out to work and provide for their families! Why on earth wouldn't they?

Please don't let's get started on all the "Poor men" stuff. My DH loves what he does and wouldn't swap it for what I do in a million years.

As I used to do what he does, I can also say that I wouldn't now swap what I do for what he does in a million years either.

It seems to me that the real problem is that some people posting here have a big axe to grind and just can't accept that other women are genuinely happy with their choice to be a SAHM, and don't feel in the least bit inadequate or "shafted", and neither do their husbands.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 17:37:33


I see what you mean, I think you have misunderstood. There is no irony at all.
Some posters have said they prefer their dc at home after school rather than attend an after school club.
The activities, clubs and lessons my dd attends and dss before her can't be found at any school or after school club at the level they are/were.
My dd doesn't go to school anyway so some clubs are quite a distance away and we set off at 2pm for a 4pm start. It works for us.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 15-May-13 17:43:23


What point did I miss. I'm trying to find winter post?

KitchenandJumble Wed 15-May-13 17:48:15

No, I haven't misunderstood anything. I see a great deal of irony in some of the posts here. YMMV, of course.

Springdiva Wed 15-May-13 17:55:24