To be sick of people saying they 'have' to go back to work and that I am 'lucky'

(222 Posts)
Neverenoughcake Fri 28-Jun-13 15:20:32

Sorry this is a bit if a rant but I have to get it off my chest. I've lost count of the number of other Mums I've now met who are complaining about 'having' to go back to work because they can't afford not to, and for them to tell me in the next breath how 'lucky' I am that I haven't had to go back to work.

I am at a loss what to say as I know that for at least 3 of the people who have said this to me lately they have more than 3 nice holidays a year, one has just bought a very expensive new car (there was nothing wrong with her other one) and one always has a new outfit on whenever I see her. I drive a really old car and can't remember the last time I went clothes shopping and have one holiday a year with my family, but thats my choice and i'm happy with it. Don't they get that almost no one has the spare cash just to not go back to work without making some significant changes/sacrifices and it isn't down to luck?? I honestly don't care if people choose to return to work or not, totally up to them and so please don't turn this into a stay at home vs working parent debate! I just really wish people would be honest and say I want to go back to work so I can maintain my current lifestyle, that is just fine. Please help, I want to know what to say to these people when they complain they hate their jobs but have to go and that it's alright for me I'm so lucky. Don't want to be rude to them but I'm getting fed up with hearing the moaning!

Neverenoughcake Fri 28-Jun-13 15:22:10

Oh and by the way I completely realise there are those who really do have to go back, not having a dig at them at all, but these people I'm referring to really do have a choice but they choose to make out that they don't.

soverylucky Fri 28-Jun-13 15:25:05

If you don't care then don't care.

MaryKatharine Fri 28-Jun-13 15:25:45

When I stayed at home I was jealous of those who went back and when I went back I was jealous of those who were at home. There are no easy answers and very few women making either choice are completely happy with that choice all the time.

fluckered Fri 28-Jun-13 15:25:46

since when is one holiday a year not a luxury? anyways just say " yeah I know I am lucky" and smile patronisingly. why give it a second thought. and btw unless you are these people's family accountant you don't know someone's financial circumstances. a new outfit or a car is hardly defining they are rolling in it. they may appear to have more but perhaps are swamped in bills, debts etc.

thatstoast Fri 28-Jun-13 15:25:52

Is the alternative any better? If someone said to you that they didn't want to give up work because they want a certain standard of living (ie, better than yours), isn't that worse?

jimijack Fri 28-Jun-13 15:26:14

I get you.
I'm taking just over a year off with my baby and keep getting told how lucky i am to be able to do this.

I am though..lucky that is.

I am using my life savings in order to budget for it. In this climate, i am very fortunate to have any savings.

TBF i think that they are just saying that to you out of envy. I dont think that they are making judgements at all.

BacktoSquareOne Fri 28-Jun-13 15:26:19

But how do you really know that these people 'have a choice'?
Just because someone has a nice outfit on doesn't mean it was paid for by cash.
They could have bills coming out of their ears,debts,credit cards etc.
They could be living this 'wonderful lifestyle' on credit.

Anyway next time they say that you're lucky just smile and say 'yes I am' and then change the subject.

MaryKatharine Fri 28-Jun-13 15:28:15

p.s you are lucky to have the choice. Many women don't and their circumstances aren't always what you think.

ithaka Fri 28-Jun-13 15:28:22

Well, I had to go back to work & we didn't get 3 holidays a year & a big car & house, so I was really unlucky. I used to be mega jealous of the SAHMs who didn't have to work and were better of than us - that really does suck. But there you go.

Ashoething Fri 28-Jun-13 15:28:41

Its all down to choice. Some women choose to do their own childcare-some choose to out source it. Be happy in your choice. I always reply yes I am lucky when I get comments like these as I secure in my own choice.

AThingInYourLife Fri 28-Jun-13 15:28:45

How about just not letting it bother you?

Yes, they are being disingenuous, but the only ones they are fooling are themselves.

They obviously need to feel that working is not a choice, for whatever reason.

It must be kind of shit not to be able to own your choices and feel in control of your own life.

Just let it wash over you.

You are lucky - you made a choice that makes you happy, and you're smart enough to know what kind of choice it was.

mumofthemonsters808 Fri 28-Jun-13 15:29:03

I experience this, I'm also "lucky" but what people don't appreciate is that I have no parents and the money they left me is what allows me to not work. I would not even feel obliged to explain or justify your sacrifices, just smile through gritted teeth.

cazboldy Fri 28-Jun-13 15:29:42

OP - i completely agree with you. I too regularly hear this...... and don't know what to say.

I truly think that to some people their lifestyle, having their hair coloured every 6 weeks, new handbags/shoes/clothes/ eating out, holidays etc, etc are so essential to them that they become a neccessity, like food, and they just cannot contemplate going without, and so create this world where they have to justify it to those that make different choices.

MaryKatharine Fri 28-Jun-13 15:31:06

Oh and whilst I am lucky enough to financially bd able to stay at home I don't actually want to for lots of reasons. However, with 4 kids the youngest if whom has some difficulties and a DH who is often out of the country I just can't seem yo make it work. So home I stay.

soverylucky Fri 28-Jun-13 15:31:16

I went on an amazing very expensive holiday last year and the year before - in-laws paid for most of it!

CityGal29 Fri 28-Jun-13 15:32:49

Its probably just small talk politeness, a throw away comment to make you feel better about missing out on the holidays/ material things you & they know you are not getting.

nenevomito Fri 28-Jun-13 15:34:55

You are lucky.

You could look at me and go 'well she has new clothes and a new car so she could give up work if she gave up those as well."

Well actually not. I'm the main breadwinner. What DH earns doesn't even cover the mortgage and bills, so I have to work.

With me working I canpay all the bills, buy new clothes and afford a holiday. Without me working, we couldn't even keep a roof over our heads.

So yes, you are lucky and your measurement of other women is silly as you don't know if they are in the same situation as me do you.

TiredFeet Fri 28-Jun-13 15:35:20

just be happy with your choice and don't worry what they do / say. certainly don't pay so much attention to what other people spend their money on, I am tired of threads like this, everyone has different priorities and you don't know what's happening behind the scenes

a nice car, clothes, a couple of holidays, quite possibly still only a small % of what their job brings in to the family income, so it may be that a large slice of what they earn is needed to pay the bills. or maybe they don't need to work now, but with big financial commitments like mortgage etc they like the security of knowing that even if their dh lost his job they would have money coming in

FreudiansSlipper Fri 28-Jun-13 15:36:06

i was made redundant while on maternity leave but felt lucky that it gave me the option to stay at home

really i can not see why it bothers you

nenevomito Fri 28-Jun-13 15:38:35

p.s. of course this is going to turn into a WOHM / SAHM debate. they always do.

There's an element of smugness in your post that, look, you are making sacrifices to stay at home with your children, while other women put cars and holidays first.

cazboldy Fri 28-Jun-13 15:41:11

don't want to put words in the OP's mouth, but why it bothers me is the fact that these women (and I don't mean all, paricularly not those that really do have to work, but some) don't recognise it as a choice that you have made, a sacrifice you have made, (which I don't resent at all btw, or feel at all more holier than thou) but they make out that it isn't a choice....

that there is no choice...

and it's bollocks, they just aren't willing to make it!

MaryKatharine Fri 28-Jun-13 15:41:26

Yes, that is also true. I don't think you are considering the % of household income the other mums are bringing in.
My friend went back to work as a chartered accountant. Her husband is a furniture/cabinet maker so his income is sporadic. Without her income they would struggle so she needed to go back but with her extra 45k they more than meet the bills so can also afford nice hols and cars etc. it's not always black and white.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 28-Jun-13 15:42:17

You are lucky.

The women who say it to you (and ok, it's a bit in your face of them to put it out there, I agree) probably couldn't afford their mortgage if they didn't return to work. The 'extras' come with that additional essential income, probably. Maybe they make ten percent more than all the essentials IFSWIM.

You are lucky, so stop feeling sorry for yourself concerning this one minor issue. Try a leetle bit more empathy in this respect.

Just agree that you are lucky when they say it, then have a moan about the stuff bothering you! Which you are also entitled to do.

cazboldy Fri 28-Jun-13 15:42:56

why is it smug?

she isn't saying she is better....... or even that she is right, or better or anything

MaryKatharine Fri 28-Jun-13 15:44:27

Cazboldy, but often there is little choice if you want any sort of career in the long term. If you work in IT for example, taking even 2yrs out could mean the end of your career.

cazboldy Fri 28-Jun-13 15:44:39

why should she agree she is lucky? There is no "luck" involved!

BrianButterfield Fri 28-Jun-13 15:45:03

We need me to work a bit to pay all the bills. However, I earn more than we 'need', so yes, the rest goes on some luxuries (which I feel are well-deserved). Do I feel people at home all the time are lucky? Hell yeah, when I'm dragging my pregnant self to work at 7.30 every morning, I would feel crazily lucky not to be doing that. It doesn't mean I only work to get luxuries though, or that by cutting those out we'd be able to live on one salary, because I could not buy new clothes for a year and we still wouldn't be paying all the bills on one salary.

Trills Fri 28-Jun-13 15:45:23

You are lucky to have the choice.

People very often mistake "you are lucky" for "this is all down to luck and there was no contribution from making good choices or working hard".

The point is that with almost everything in life, even if you do work hard and make clever choices, luck is still a factor, and you should count your blessings if the world has set things up such that you can take advantage of it.

As has already been said, some people's jobs and household setups are very all-or-nothing.

No job - can't pay the bills, lose house.

With job - job pays well, plenty of nice things.

No option to do part-time (and so get enough money to pay the bills but also be home some of the time).

ilovechips Fri 28-Jun-13 15:45:55

I get bloody annoyed with people commenting either way - I don't ask for their opinion - I don't give uninvited opinion on their choices so I don't expect unsolicited opinions on mine either. I couldn't care less what they think but wish they wouldn't assume I did by passing comment! Whether I choose to stay home or go out to work is a decision we have decided together as a family and has nothing to do with anyone else! (Steps off soapbox...)

cazboldy Fri 28-Jun-13 15:46:21

it's hard to discuss this without sweeping generalisations, and of course everyone's circumstances, career choices etc are different.

MaryKatharine Fri 28-Jun-13 15:46:48

She is lucky to have the choice. That's not the sand as saying she is lucky to be at home. Of course she is lucky to have the choice!

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Fri 28-Jun-13 15:48:05

But but but you ARE lucky. I don't have hols, nice car etc and I still have to work.

redmayneslips Fri 28-Jun-13 15:48:50

I get what you are saying OP, when our dc was tiny we made a decision that I would stay at home with her. Mine was the regular, steady income at that stage but it was something that was really important to me and was never really up for debate. DH is self employed in a precarious sector but he really upped the ante and we made lots of cutbacks in many areas and got on with it and never once regretted it (well....apart from when I used to press my nose up the shop windows tiny tim style when the sales etc were on or if I fancied something new).

BUT at the same time as I was doing this, the woman my mum works for also had a baby and went back to work when her baby was 4 weeks old. This woman is a professional with her own business and her husband works. They are wealthy. Yet my mum was forever telling me how xxxx 'had' to go back to work and how awful it was for her. It used to really wind me up (when I was tired and hormonal) as i KNEW that if I could stay at home, she definitely could, but she clearly didn't want to .Which is perfectly fine. Just stop playing the martyr. Grrr. Anyway.

I had LOADS of people tell me it was 'fine for me' but they couldn't afford it, when I knew they most likely could but chose not to, which is different.

Snowgirl1 Fri 28-Jun-13 15:49:17

I'm in the same situation as babyheave. I'm the main breadwinner and if I hadn't gone back to work we wouldn't have been able to pay the mortgage, but because I have gone back to work we can not only afford to pay the mortgage, but can also afford holidays etc.

You are lucky that you had a choice.

nenevomito Fri 28-Jun-13 15:49:42

cazboldy as stated, there's not always a choice.

Well, I could have chosen to marry someone who earned more than me so our finances weren't reliant on my working to pay the bills.

and yes, it is smug to believe that women could stay at home if they just tried a bit harder and made a few more sacrifices.

Well, I think sacrificing a roof over my families head, while possible, would be a little foolish.

redskyatnight Fri 28-Jun-13 15:50:20

We can afford holidays abroad as I work.
But we can't afford for me not to work.

Your argument only works if the person's income is used solely to purchase luxuries.

Neverenoughcake Fri 28-Jun-13 15:51:03

Thank you all, I probably should've been clearer that the main 3 people I am referring to in my rant are friends so I do have a good idea of their financial situations - they seem to talk about little else sometimes - and yes one does run her life on credit, I guess her choice but on my mind madness, but the other 2 aren't in that position. Maybe what I'm more disappointed in is how much they all talk about money and maybe just questioning these friendships more and more. I am indeed lucky but I also spent years saving like mad to fund this time at home, which is short term, and i was happy to do that but perhaps feel no one credits you for financial planning do they? So yes I am probably taking this all way too personally and I'd reiterate this is not about those who genuinely need and want to go back to work.

AThingInYourLife Fri 28-Jun-13 15:51:10

"There's an element of smugness in your post that, look, you are making sacrifices to stay at home with your children, while other women put cars and holidays first."

I don't get that at all.

But then I don't think there's anything wrong with working so you can bring your kids on cool holidays and always have the money for expensive essentials like cars.

Both choices involve sacrifices, both bring benefits.

If you're making a choice, you're lucky.

I think there can be a reluctance for women to own the fact that they choose to work.

I went back to work when DD1 was 3.5 months old. My mother kept going on about how terrible it was that I had to go back to work. hmm grin

Even though I was always quite open about the fact that it was my choice, and I could have chosen otherwise.

FasterStronger Fri 28-Jun-13 15:51:17

oh goodie - just what we need, another thread about women working to maintain their lifestyle and buy expensive handbags.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Fri 28-Jun-13 15:51:39

I'm not sure what you would prefer to hear.

"It's great you can stay at home with your kids, you've clearly made a lot of sacrifices." This could come across as good god woman when did you last buy a new top / cut your hair / put makeup on.

I didn't have any choice. I had to go back to work as soon as I'd exhausted my enhanced maternity pay and annual leave, because my income was supporting the entire family and we couldn't have afforded our rent (never mind anything else) on SMP. We were comfortable enough on just my income (so could eat out and do stuff, etc) but without it we'd've been utterly screwed.

aldiwhore Fri 28-Jun-13 15:54:15

Your response... whether you're a working mum or a stay at home mum, or not a Mum, or run your own business, or work for someone else etc,. should usually be "Yes. I AM lucky aren't I?"

No point being angry.

YANBU to feel annoyed when people feel the need to tell you what you are or how you should feel.

The only reason I think YABU is it wasn't necessary to give as many reasons why they're lucky too, it didn't add any value. YANBU to feel annoyed with people's comments, end of subject. (Though I grant you it would make for a short OP).

LazyMonkeyButler Fri 28-Jun-13 15:59:06

Certainly some people have a choice although some people don't.

I don't think the "they might be poor but living on credit" argument is actually that relevant though, if the things they have on credit are new cars & the like. It is a choice to buy extravagant non-essential things (multiple holidays, new cars etc) on credit and obviously, if someone makes that choice then they must know they will also have to work to pay for it. What I am trying to say is that someone who is going back to work to pay for a new car & next years' three holidays - even if they are on credit cards - is not returning to work because they absolutely have to, but because they want to have nice/more things. Which is fine, entirely their choice & of no concern to me BUT it doesn't make them any less lucky than OP.

Households where both parents need to work to cover the basic mortgage/rent, food, gas/electricity etc. are a different matter (we fit into this category by the way). However, that is not the situation OP is describing.

SsimTee Fri 28-Jun-13 16:00:29

Lucky? Luck has got f**ck all to do with. It used to wind me up as well when people used to tell me I was lucky to be able to stay at home. Not anymore. I tell people point blank that I am able to stay at home, because I have worked my arse off and saved all my life, and so has my husband. Neither of us was born with money, whatever we've got is through hard work, sacrifice and saving. Nobody is stopping other people following our example. This usually shuts them up and gives them some thinking to do. I'm fed up of apologising for having the common sense to save so I don't have to work all my life

Jinsei Fri 28-Jun-13 16:01:12

Hmm, well I had to go back to work because I'm the main breadwinner and we couldn't have paid our mortgage if I hadn't done so. However, I'm a relatively high earner, and so we are able to afford some nice holidays as well.

As it happens, I wanted to go back anyway but I can understand how it's possible to feel that you have no choice while simultaneously being able to afford nice things.

DH could have SAH if he had wanted to (and did for a year or so) but it wasn't really an option for me.

WhatWillSantaBring Fri 28-Jun-13 16:03:06

The flip side of this is: Don't say to a woman who has "chosen" to go back to work how lucky they are to be able to afford (for example) holidays or moan about how they cannot.

I have been wildly jealous of the women I know who I feel "had" a choice to stay at home, but then someone recently (on MN? In the papers?) pointed out that each and everyone of us who is working out of the home had that choice about whether to stay at home. We could (if we wanted to) choose not to live in a home that we own, and choose to live teetering on the brink of (or in) poverty but we have chosen not to. That really made me think. The reason I "had" to go back to work is because I have been lucky enough to choose to buy a house with a mortgage that means I have to work. Its a choice I made freely and willingly, so I try really hard not to feel jealous of my SAHM or part time mum friends.

But three of my SAHM friends bleat on constantly about how they can't afford a holiday this year, when I know what they could be earning if they worked full time, so I know its affordable (v child care costs) so I have very little time for those complaints.

MeMyHusbandAndTheRoofer Fri 28-Jun-13 16:03:54

Do you not realise OP that you are lucky?

I am 7 months pregnant and have no choice but to go back to work as my husband's salary does not cover our bills, food and petrol. I already make sure we have the cheapest utilities etc so cannot cut back our bills.

The only things you could possibly consider luxuries within our bills are virgin TV (although a low package) with internet and our dog! And frankly, I'm not getting rid of him, what he gives me in cuddles is priceless. grin

In order to get the additional money to cover the outgoings I will have to work - we will therefore have to pay childcare so in order to have enough money to cover the outgoings and the childcare, I will have to work full time. Yes, this will give us a bit of spare money so we may have a little to spend but that doesn't mean I have any option but to go back to work. In fact, as I'm self employed I'm going to be going back a lot sooner than I would like sad

To be honest, I don't think I want to be a full time SAHM, (would prefer part time) although who knows how I will feel once baby arrives, I would just like to have the option and can't help but be a bit envious of those who do have that choice.

If you have the option then you are lucky.

Marcheline Fri 28-Jun-13 16:04:47

Have you ever thought that maybe the other women don't really give a shit about whether you work or not, they are just trying to have a conversation?

I find it really difficult trying to get past 'small talk' with other mums, because we see each other for an hour or so a week at a bloody group where all we have to start with is the fact that we have children of similar ages. The sales lines get trotted out over and over again, while we try to work out whether we hve other things in common while trying not to offend anyone. It's bloody hard, but it has to be done. We moved to a new place soon after DD1 was born and I just want to has a few friends.

I would hate to think that something I said while just trying to make friendly conversation, had offended some

FasterStronger Fri 28-Jun-13 16:06:44

marcheline - your post says it all.

Marcheline Fri 28-Jun-13 16:07:15

Posted too soon while bfing.

Offended someone or hurt their feelings.

We're all women with children, life is hard whichever choices we make - I think we should cut each other some slack from time to time.

FWIW, I can't wait to go back to work. I love my children, but I need work for my sanity. I don't think anyone else's choices are beneath mine or any less valid, just because they are different.

TheToysAreALIVEITellThee Fri 28-Jun-13 16:07:23

Ahhhh so I just need to work harder and make sacrifices hmm

If only that was the solution

dufflefluffle Fri 28-Jun-13 16:08:05

When I stayed at home I was jealous of those who went back and when I went back I was jealous of those who were at home. There are no easy answers and very few women making either choice are completely happy with that choice all the time.

So true and so sad for us.

Loopylala7 Fri 28-Jun-13 16:08:42

The grass is always greener...I don't think you can win whatever you do. I work part time, not through choice I might add and you always get 'you're so lucky to work part time'. My standard answer is 'yes I am, but part time work equals part time pay'. Can't see us affording a single holiday for quite some time. Say to them, 'yes I am lucky to be ASAHM, best job in the world, shame the pays rubbish though! '

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Fri 28-Jun-13 16:08:57

ssim This usually shuts them up and gives them some thinking to do

I think I know what these people are thinking "argh why did I start talking to this angry woman, run away, run away now"

Smudging Fri 28-Jun-13 16:09:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

luxemburgerli Fri 28-Jun-13 16:10:10

I find this is the case with lots of situations though, not just WOHM/SAHM debate.

For example my family emigrated. People still in the original place tell me we are lucky to have moved, that they couldn't because (e.g.) they couldn't face leaving their friends/family. In other words, they don't want to emigrate because of the downsides. But they forget that the downsides are the same for you, and just see the nicer side your situation.

Easiest to smile and nod I find. Annoying, but otherwise you just end up starting a fight.

GoshlyoHeavens Fri 28-Jun-13 16:10:10

Haves and rights fuck me right off too.

Marcheline Fri 28-Jun-13 16:10:36

Sorry, the same lines get trotted out. Sure there are other mistakes too blush

AThingInYourLife Fri 28-Jun-13 16:16:15

"Have you ever thought that maybe the other women don't really give a shit about whether you work or not, they are just trying to have a conversation?"

Maybe they should try having conversations about things other than another family's finances? How's about that for a crazy idea.

Whether a woman works or not is not yet (as much as we might wish it was) an unproblematic topic of conversation.

Telling a woman that being at home with her children is a matter of good luck is reasonably likely to offend.

Pendulum Fri 28-Jun-13 16:18:57

I'm in the same position (job wise) as Jinsei and babyheave.

I think comments such as those made to the OP are often a result of women feeling they have to justify their own positions to each other by reference to their financial circumstances. It's a way of smoothing over the differences in the choices they have made. For instance, I can imagine telling an SAHM that I 'have' to work because i) it's true (see Jinsei's comments) and ii) it avoids the bigger minefield of saying that I love going out to work, am not mad keen on spending whole days with small children etc. If you don't know the person you are talking to well, these are treacherous waters.

Similarly, I wouldn't be surprised if some SAHMs use the (true) fact that they would be losing money if working and paying for childcare as their principal explanation for SAH, instead of telling a WOHM that they love being at home, and can't bear the idea of putting their children into nursery. It's less inflammatory somehow.

On the question of luck, I think I am lucky to have a job that I really enjoy and that pays well. A fair amount of hard work was involved, but it is certainly good luck that I was given a good education and the intellectual ability to make the most of it, and that I got my first job in the graduate boom of the late 90s instead of today. What's wrong with acknowledging good fortune? It shouldn't be a martyrdom contest.

GoshlyoHeavens Fri 28-Jun-13 16:21:08

My mother was complicated towards me.

GoshlyoHeavens Fri 28-Jun-13 16:26:20

My mother poured her life into her children and we ended up realising she was fucked up. My brothers had kids and I ended up knowing I want nothing to do with breeding. I yearn for a baby to hold but cannot.

Marcheline Fri 28-Jun-13 16:27:00

Where I am, women often talk about working/not working/what on earth they're going to do.

I wouldn't see it as a direct comment on a family's finances but obviously it's not a great topic of conversation.

Trouble is, after a year of PND and hardly getting out of the house after having DD1, I had zero confidence and found talking to new people really, really hard. Going back to work was a bit like part if my recovery and tbh, I would talk about it as I didn't know what else to say.

So, if someone says something to me that I could get annoyed about but seems to have been said with a hopeful smile and friendliness, I try to have a bit of empathy and assume that they just want to strike up a conversation and don't mean any harm.

This obviously doesn't apply if you have known someone all your life and they are being snooty, but as a general rule of thumb, surely cutting people a bit of slack can't be a terrible thing?

It's up to them if they go back. If they "have" to go back (i.e. don't have enough money) it's not really sensible to have a child if they wont be financially stable. However if they want to go back to work or feel like it's best for them that's fair enough, but then why complain about it?

We all have a different family dynamic and we do what is best for our individual family.

nenevomito Fri 28-Jun-13 16:29:20

SsimTee - are you one of the four yorkshiremen by any chance?

That's very judgmental. You can be perfectly financially stable and able to support a child and have to go back to work. Some women are the main earners in their household. It is actually ok to not stay at home, and it doesn't mean you couldn't afford to have a child.

Actually that kind of attitude is very annoying. Would anyone seriously post something about how a couple couldn't really afford to have a baby if the father had to return to work?

FasterStronger Fri 28-Jun-13 16:33:37

looking to take offence or what?!?

I frequently get told I am lucky because of x, y or z.
the person is just making chit chat.
it does not need any deep analysis.
its just slightly lame complement.

cakebar Fri 28-Jun-13 16:34:09

I know what you mean OP, if I am feeling in an arsey mood I call them on it by taking what they are saying at face value e.g. 'Oh I wonder if there is any way around it, have you thought about down sizing or moving to x, y or Z area, or getting by with one car? It's perfectly doable as you have the time to walk everywhere when you a SAHM?'. They normally look horrified grin.

cakebar Fri 28-Jun-13 16:35:59

They do it because they don't want to confess that they actually want to ditch the kids and be a 'normal' person again and have nice stuff, they think you will look down on them as you made a different choice. When actually saying that means I don't respect them, just say that you like working!

AThingInYourLife Fri 28-Jun-13 16:39:35

Marcheline - sorry to hear you had such a bad time with PND.

I didn't have PND, but still found returning to work a big part of restoring myself post-first baby. It knocked me sideways.

And yes, cutting people slack is almost always the right thing smile

It's SUCH a touchy subject though. People hear judgement where there is none meant and say things that seem innocent but turn out to be massively hurtful.

Pendulum, I think you have it right that there is a tendency to try to make our choices seem as inoffensive as possible.

I really hope that one day (soon) this will not be contentious at all.

Jinsei Fri 28-Jun-13 16:44:37

Some women are the main earners in their household.

On reflection, I think this is possibly the point that the OP is missing. It's possible to SAH if your partner earns enough to cover the basics. If not, then it doesn't matter how many sacrifices you might be prepared to make - it simply isn't an option.

It isn't always an option to go part-time either. This wouldn't have been an option in my current role, for example.

It's quite narrow-minded to assume that everyone's circumstances are the same as your own.

Having said that, I'm sure that there are plenty of WOHMs who could stay at home if they were prepared to make some sacrifices. Just as there are probably plenty of SAHMs who moan about having no disposable cash.

Owllady Fri 28-Jun-13 16:45:49

I do understand where the OP is coming from as I get it as well and I care for my severely disabled daughter sad

5Foot5 Fri 28-Jun-13 16:55:21

But money isn't the only reason why someone might have to go back to work. In many careers if you take any significant time out you would slip so far back that it would be difficult to return.

I took 10 months when I had DD and even after that time there were developments that I had missed out on that I had to work hard to catch up with. At the time we could have afforded for me to be a SAHM but if I had stayed at home until she started school, say, there is no way in the world I would have been able to return to a similar post at the same level.

Marcheline Fri 28-Jun-13 16:59:05

AThing thanks smile I've just had DD2 and I'm sure that the fact that I'm going back to work soon has been a big part of why I haven't suffered at all this time.

I think that the media has a huge part to play in all of this. Women's choices are scrutinised on a daily basis, whether it be a celebrity going back to work, or a new study that 'proves' working mums are XYZ, or another lifestyle article about having it all and starting your own jam making business from your shed using salvaged equipment and foraged fruit....

I have a feeling that it's because the media is very male dominated and it's another way to suppress women - if we're too busy fighting amongst ourselves about our personal choices, we won't have time to fight for harsher sentences for rapists / abortion rights / equal pay / tryin to stop our daughters from being actualised before they turn 13 etc etc.

Maybe that's just me.

FirstStopCafe Fri 28-Jun-13 17:05:36

I would view you as lucky. I'm the main breadwinner and after maternity leave will be returning to work full time. I wouldn't say it to you though. We made the choice to have children now while my dh is training so I knew what the situation would be. Hopefully in the future I will be able to stay at home with the kids when he gets a qualified job. Then I'll feel really lucky.

Oh and I work to pay the mortgage not to buy luxuries.

I appreciate it must be difficult to have people say you're lucky when you feel you're making sacrifices they are not to be able to stay at home, but as others have said you can't really know what their financial situation is.

Some people wish they could SAH but can't, because they need to pay the bills.
Some people wish they could WOH but can't afford the childcare.
Different people are prepared to make different sacrifices to live the option they prefer.
We all do the best we can with what we have.

Luck rarely enters into it.

Judging and evaluating the choices others have made, even by telling them they're "lucky", is rarely going to come across well and makes you sound petty and jealous. You never know what someone has had to give up to live the life they do.

So says Annie.

Or how about my good friend who literally cannot afford to go back to work because childcare and public transport costs more than she can earn. She is desperate to get out and work, but does not have the opportunity.

I really feel for her, it's a bit of a catch 22 situation.

Jinsei Fri 28-Jun-13 17:27:19

Yes, it's true that some women don't have the choice to WOH even if they'd like to, so obviously they're not "lucky" to be at home.

FWIW, I don't regard SAH as being a particularly enviable situation, so I wouldn't personally describe anyone as being lucky for being a SAHM. On the other hand, I think anyone is lucky to have a choice about whether to work or not, and that includes both SAHMs and WOHMs.

JackNoneReacher Fri 28-Jun-13 17:29:19

Basically what Annie said.

Many of us on here are lucky to be born in a place that allowed us opportunities. That's luck, just like winning the lottery.

How much we earn and what jobs we have are largely of our own making.

I wouldn't dream of telling my highly paid friend she's 'lucky' to earn so much because I know that luck doesn't come into it.

I would no more dream of telling my SAH friend that she's 'lucky' to be at home because I know the sacrifices they make for this choice.

Frustratedartist Fri 28-Jun-13 17:37:23

I understand where you're coming from OP, and feel the same. I don't get people's need to comment. I don't comment on them working. Each to his own.
I know I'm lucky to be a SAHM, but it brings its own stress and sacrifice and is a full-time occupation even if its not paid.

Another one who is the main breadwinner, I saved up to cover the bills whilst I was on maternity leave but I had to go back. I have a good salary so when I am back in work our lifestyle is comfortable but DH's income wouldn't cover the mortgage.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Fri 28-Jun-13 18:07:08

Lucky = Choice IMHO!

So anyone who is living in a way that they don't have the power to change and would like to, that's difficult.

comingintomyown Fri 28-Jun-13 18:54:30

I was fortunate to be at home with my DC and I always got in there first to say so when the wind was blowing in that direction.

"HaveIGotPoosForYou Fri 28-Jun-13 16:28:08

It's up to them if they go back. If they "have" to go back (i.e. don't have enough money) it's not really sensible to have a child if they wont be financially stable."

do you say the same to men who "have" to go back when they become a father?

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 28-Jun-13 19:08:23

But you are lucky in many ways so why shouldnt they say it. You have the choice not to work as you have savings and another adult is willing to work so you dont have too.

As for everybody being able to be a SAHP if they make cutbacks, what a load of rubbish. Some salaries dont stretch to cover three people, some people dont want to rely on top up benefits when they could work etc. Those that state that either usually have a high earning partner or are actually being supported by other tax payers.

You are judging your friends but its ok for you to do but not for them to comment.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 28-Jun-13 19:36:50

You are lucky. If I hadn't gone back to work we wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage and bills let alone buy anything else because my DH's wage wouldn't cover it.
So I went back to work and we can now pay said bills and have some left over which pays for everything else and for my lovely new car

GreyWhites Fri 28-Jun-13 19:50:16

I don't think it's malicious at all, it's just something people say. If it bothers you that your friends don't understand your problems etc, you can always add in a light-hearted way that it's not all fun and games for you.

You say " just really wish people would be honest and say I want to go back to work so I can maintain my current lifestyle, that is just fine." But going back to work for women isn't about "maintaining a lifestyle". It's about planning to be self-supporting for the rest of your life. Many careers don't lend themselves to women being able to take a break of a few years; not to mention the years of lost pension entitlement and loss of future earnings this represents (if you carry on working, you carry on up the earnings/career ladder, meaning your final salary will be far higher than someone who has taken a few years out in the middle of their career).

I can't just stop working, as I will lose the skills and knowledge and contacts I have built up over all these years (I'm self-employed). Also I need to know that if my partner drops dead tomorrow or runs off with someone else, I can support my son as well as myself.

JackNoneReacher Fri 28-Jun-13 19:52:53

And are you lucky to have a lovely new car?smile

FederationPresidentBarryFife Fri 28-Jun-13 19:57:00

I agree with you completely OP. People must make their own choices based on what's beat for the family but them telling you how 'lucky' you are to be giving up extras so you can stay at home (because you believe it is best for the children) is JUST AS RUDE as you saying to them "you are so lucky to be going back to work and not having to be scrimping". YOu are not being smug - they are feeling guilty and projecting that on to you. They should not FEEL guilty but its just another way that as a mother you are effed if you do and effed if you don't. Ignore.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 28-Jun-13 20:01:00

Jack Me? Yes, I am lucky and feel very fortunate that we are now in the position whereby after the bills and mortgage are paid ( impossible on DH's wage alone) we have enough left over for luxuries. If I didn't work we would not have a place to live.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 28-Jun-13 20:02:17

Let alone a lovely new car smile

NowThatsWhatICallANickname Fri 28-Jun-13 20:06:24

How do they know you are lucky when they say it? For all they know you could be one of the thousands of mums out there who would love to work but doing so would take all your money in childcare. I was in that situation and people said I was lucky - you are only lucky if has been a choice to stay at home because it is what you really wanted.

I hated being at home as I really struggled emotionally, didn't have a good network of friends, found most of it mind numbing and somedays wouldn't speak to a soul all day until my dh got home. Play groups used to make me feel worse because I would sit on my own and found it really hard to talk to strangers who were hostile. I remember sometimes going home in tears. I never felt lucky at all and resented it.

Katnisscupcake Fri 28-Jun-13 20:06:39

You are very lucky.

I had to leave my dd with a cm at 4 months old because we had no money left and I was the higher earner. Our mortgage needed paying and renting would have been the same price for a much smaller property so no option to downsize.

We haven't had a holiday since our honeymoon 5 years ago and that was the only holiday in our 10 year relationship.

So you are incredibly lucky...

JackNoneReacher Fri 28-Jun-13 20:09:30

Mrs - sounds like you both work bloody hard and luck doesn't come into it. (other than the real luck that we all hope for for eg good health)

morethanpotatoprints Fri 28-Jun-13 20:11:12

hello OP.

I would just learn a spiel of all the sacrifices you have made, the planning and management of your finances.
I too got fed up with the "You are lucky" comments too.
Failing that you could say "well you too can be lucky, would you like some tips"?
Don't some people get it, that you make your own luck in the world.

Pinkflipflop Fri 28-Jun-13 20:15:08

But you are lucky and surely you must see that?

It's doesn't matter how frugal some people are if they don't have enough money to cover their basic bills, then staying at home isn't an option.

You are very lucky that you can afford to stay at home.

RoseandVioletCreams Fri 28-Jun-13 20:15:13

I agree Op, It annoys me too, some people do really have too or they would be on the streets, some people just want to sustain their lifestyle as you say and when you yourself are really cutting corners its very irksome indeed.

I agree just say - I want to uphold this lifestyle, I do not have to work but I want too.

RoseandVioletCreams Fri 28-Jun-13 20:16:42


I found it really hard too and can relate to the play groups it was a hard grind.

NowThatsWhatICallANickname Fri 28-Jun-13 20:16:51

kat to me you would seem lucky because you have a career and you are the higher earner and can go to work to pay the morgage. At the time any job I earned would probably wouldn't have even covered childcare let alone any bills. It is all swings n roundabouts I guess.

gintastic Fri 28-Jun-13 20:18:18

I had the choice, and it was a very hard decision - OH earns enough to cover everything, my wages pay for the luxuries (and by that I mean everything apart from the absolute basics). I'm going back on 10th September, initially I'm going to give it a year and we are going to try and live on OH salary - only thing coming out of my account will be job relates expenses, eg petrol, childcare etc. If after a year, we have managed I'll give up work and we'll have a nice savings pot :-) if not, I'll still have my job and no break in my career to try and overcome. Going to be an interesting year, I think!

Arisbottle Fri 28-Jun-13 20:20:24

If someone told me that I was lucky to be able to do something I would not see that as an insult. I think women are lucky if they are able to choose to stay at home.

NowThatsWhatICallANickname Fri 28-Jun-13 20:21:12

pinkflipflop surely it is only lucky if you have made the choice to stay at home? Alot of women stay at home out of no choice because of expensive childcare and work not covering the cost. Some people like me were miserable at home and would have loved to work.

HooverFairy Fri 28-Jun-13 20:22:56

OP you sound smug, and probably moreso to the ladies who really do not have a choice about going back to work, like me! I don't think you mean to though, as the others have pointed out - if you can live the lifestyle of your choice then you are lucky. You are right in a way though, if you've made sacrifices and are struggling with them then you aren't lucky.

I'm the breadwinner because my DH has an illness and can't work full time, my salary has more potential than his. I work to keep a roof over my family's heads, not so I can shroud myself in luxuries and spend the weekends in the spa. I'd prefer to be the one at home raising my baby, even on my bad days when I'm exhausted and at the end of my tether!

New cars and designer bags are not the reason I work, I can't afford these things after bills etc. I'm sure some people do though. Open your mind a bit OP, you do have a point but you're not considering the reasons that most people have for returning to work. TBH if those ladies who have to work to pay the bills have enough left over for designer bags and spa treatments then I don't blame them for indulging! Don't be judgey.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 28-Jun-13 20:33:28


I think that if anybody was frugal enough they could afford to cover basic needs and have luxuries.
It might not be what they want to do or the lifestyle they would choose. However, the choice is there.
If you don't earn enough/ even the min wage then you are awarded tax credits, soon to be UC and cb.
Of course it is possible.

DontmindifIdo Fri 28-Jun-13 20:39:55

well, it's been covered, but yes, YABU - you seem to assume that a woman's wage pays for treats and fun things - not bills and also fun things. If your DH earns enough to cover the bills, and/or you have the sort of career where you can take 5+ years out without having to start again.

However, you say you've saved to cover having a few years out, does that mean you aren't able to live off your DH's wage, but are planning to run down savings for a few years? Most people wouldn't want to live like that, worrying about what happens when the savings run out if you haven't lined up another job paying enough to cover any wrap around child care and the difference between your family expenditure and your DH's income.

Pinkflipflop Fri 28-Jun-13 20:40:02

Yes, I'm talking about people who choose to stay at home. Yes, they have to tighten their belts a little but ultimately they can afford to stay at home!

williaminajetfighter Fri 28-Jun-13 20:40:47

OP you are lucky and unfortunately you do sound a wee bit smug.
Some women who don't work don't appreciate that sometimes for working women there is a long game with good end benefits

I would be narked by someone judging me for working or buying new clothes - sometimes we need new clothes for professional jobs! And frankly sometimes we need a holiday for working full time long hours and then trying to juggle kids at the same time.

Go back to making your own nappies and spending the day making wholesome homemade soup!!

williaminajetfighter Fri 28-Jun-13 20:42:51

Sorry for being cranky OP but you can't really win with your post. You're bound to get grief...

How do you know they have a choice?
And you are lucky!

scoutfinch1 Fri 28-Jun-13 20:55:18

It's sometimes not as simple as you make out. I'm in a position where it is highly likely that I will have to go back to work. Not to buy cars, clothes or go on holidays but just to help pay the bills. However, because in my situation if I worked part time I would be left with so little after paying childcare that it hardly seems worth it. However if I worked full time there are substantially better salaries available to me so I would then see a big difference in lifestyle and would then be able to afford holidays and new clothes, but if had the choice I'd stay at home. I do understand that it is frustrating if these women genuinely do have a choice but it might not be as simple as it seems. No matter which way you look at it, yes you are lucky because you do have a choice.

WhataSook Fri 28-Jun-13 21:06:33

oh I said this to a friend recently because I just knew it was what she wanted to hear. She knew i was back FT and she was off on mat leave and rude as you like said she didn't understand why people had babies and then left them with strangers to raise.

I was a bit shock but then thought fuck it, I would go INSANE being at home all day with DD. Part time would have been lovely but not an option in my job so FT it had to be.

So she thinks she's lucky and I just agreed, in her world she is. smile

Pigsmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 21:07:49

We are getting a new car because it's a lease car and has to be returned, we are not wasting money, I need a car for work and DH company stipulates that the car has to be less than three years old as he is in call sometimes. I would love not to have to return to work but when baby is 11 months old I am, as we can't afford life otherwise.

Not everything in others people's lives are as simple as you think.

WhataSook Fri 28-Jun-13 21:08:11

PS - when I was on mat leave I thought DH was lucky to go to work! He didn't think so grin

dollywashers Fri 28-Jun-13 21:11:45

Totally agree. I work part time so I can spend as much time as I can with my girls. People always telling me I'm lucky to be able to do part time. People who choose to live in bigger houses with more expensive cars. I'm happy with my choice. Let them get on with it.

maddening Fri 28-Jun-13 21:15:29

maybe it's just small talk - something to say in a day to day conversation.

don't get wound up by it to the point that you are judging their choices so negatively - and perhaps without knowing or considering the drivers behind those choices.

KentishWine Fri 28-Jun-13 21:19:56

If they "have" to go back (i.e. don't have enough money) it's not really sensible to have a child if they wont be financially stable

What a bizzare way of thinking. I'm the main earner in our house. DH's wage doesn't cover the rent. I pay that...and the bills. I will "have" to go back to work even though I don't really want to. I'm not alone. Many women "have" to work. And many women make an essential contribution to their household that goes beyond fancy shoes and potpourri.

Changeasgoodas Fri 28-Jun-13 21:22:45

Why not ask them why they class it as luck, if you don't believe it is?

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 21:39:30

Throwing a spanner in, I don't think anyone should have children until they can afford to survive on one income. You never know what type of childcare you'll require (if your child has additional needs, for example). All these people who say they have to go to work to 'pay the mortgage'. It's the elephant in the room....babies don't need a three bedroom house to come to. Start small and build your way up the property ladder gradually so you have options when you add to your family. It's not rocket science.

Arisbottle Fri 28-Jun-13 21:40:31

So two people on low wages should not have children?

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 21:41:38

Oh...and choose your partner wisely. Another elephant. If we're talking about options grin.

hmm Maca

What so all wimmin should stay at home then?

NowThatsWhatICallANickname Fri 28-Jun-13 21:45:39

The world doesn't work that way anymore. Very few people unless they had a very good well paid job could afford to live off of one wage. The world is a very different place now and it is very naive and patronising to think otherwise.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 21:46:21

You'll notice that I didn't refer to gender smile.

Dorange Fri 28-Jun-13 21:47:29

just say:
yes I am lucky that I am not hang up in social status and I don't think money buy happiness.

Jinsei Fri 28-Jun-13 21:49:32

Oh...and choose your partner wisely. Another elephant. If we're talking about options

Oh, I did. Having worked hard to be financially independent, I didn't have to worry about materialistic concerns when I was choosing a life partner. Shame some people have to think about this.

sleepdodger Fri 28-Jun-13 21:52:52

I should know better than get drawn into this but ...
I earn alot
If I give up we can't pay the mortgage
If I work we're very comfortable
There is no inbetween- no pt and no if I 'just' do something else I can't pay childcare
We are that weird multi holiday family that cant give up work...
As you were

KentishWine Fri 28-Jun-13 21:56:24

Maca my partner is not wealthy, in fact he earns a pittance. But he's the best person I know, I love him lots, and would not want to be with anyone else. Did I choose wisely?

Yes but that's the undercurrent because women take time off after having the child.

It's all very well saying we should live on one wage bit that's the world we live in. The cost of living is mental.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 22:01:25

Materialistic concerns? Like whether or not the person you choose to spend your life/have a family with agrees that having a parent at home is a priority? AND is clever, hardworking, ambitious, well-educated? You did say upthread that you have to work to pay the mortgage, so that doesn't really give you a lot of options in that regard, does it?

racmun Fri 28-Jun-13 22:05:30

I'm a SAHM and I gave up a well paid job to raise ds.
I know a mix of people some who've gone back ft, pt or like me stayed off.

Tbh I get a bit embarrassed when friends say I'm lucky being off - not annoyed though. i really don't want to sound smug but I had the choice to give up work and I think fundamentally having choices makes you happy.

Some people regardless of how many penny's they watch would be unable to make ends meet on just one salary- if you can choose to watch the penny's and choose to not go back (if that's what you want) then you are lucky IMO.

For most people Choosing to not buy a few new tops etc won'tale enough of a difference to be able to not work.

Monetary matters are best left unmentioned between friends as before you know it someone will end up feeling resentful.

Op I wouldn't get annoyed if you're happy with your choice that should be enough.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 22:07:03

Kentish...I can't answer that. Do you have children? Could you have afforded to support your family if one of your children required round-the-clock care? Love is all very well and good doesn't pay the bills and all that. I think it's just as important for young people to think about the family they might one day have and what that will look like (as well as love a person dearly, of course) AND think about educational and career prospects.

yamsareyammy Fri 28-Jun-13 22:08:10

op, if these people are your friends, didnt they know your plans anyway?

lola88 Fri 28-Jun-13 22:08:25

I get what you mean I took 12 months maternity and was told by my friend that I was so lucky I could afford it when she could to as she does what I do and her partner makes the same as mine, the difference was we cancelled all luxuries like sky tv and nights out to take those 3 unpaid months but she didn't want to do that and also they have a car each.

I wasn't lucky I just chose to cut back she chose not to there is no luck involved just different decisions. I do work now 12 hours a week and have been told how lucky I am being able to do that but the people who have told me i'm lucky have bought houses, cars and holiday

anyone that has a choice is lucky imo

regardless what they do

Jinsei Fri 28-Jun-13 22:14:40

Materialistic concerns? Like whether or not the person you choose to spend your life/have a family with agrees that having a parent at home is a priority? AND is clever, hardworking, ambitious, well-educated? You did say upthread that you have to work to pay the mortgage, so that doesn't really give you a lot of options in that regard, does it?

I also said upthread that I would choose to work anyway and that I don't regard SAHMs as being particularly lucky. But then I wouldn't, as I saw how much my own mum regretted it later in life.

I do think it's important that partners agree on whether or not it's important to have one parent stay at home. Fortunately, DH and I are both of the view that having a parent at home wouldn't be of much benefit to our family, and that it is more important for both parents to have a fulfilling life outside the home as well as in it. DH did SAH for a year when we moved house and we felt that dd needed some stability, but we agreed that there was no real benefit in this situation continuing after she starred school.

As for clever, well-educated, hardworking and ambitious, yes all of those were hugely important to me, as were shared values and moral priorities. Earning power, on the other hand, was not something that I had to think about, and I would pity anyone who had to choose a life partner on this basis.

We can manage on one income providing the income is mine ( I earn over 5x more than DH ). So I had to go back.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 22:40:20

...just as I would pity anyone who had to work to pay the mortgage and tried to justify it as a lifestyle choice. Nice try.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 22:45:28

That's AWESOME Chaz. Go Female Breadwinners and SAHDs (or Moms...shouldn't assume you are heterosexual) flowers.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 22:46:49

...sorry blush. You did say DH not DP .

candyandyoga Fri 28-Jun-13 22:53:20

Yanbu. Just say, 'well, I have sacrificed a LOT to stay at home actually...'

Reply in the same tone as them!

JassyRadlett Fri 28-Jun-13 22:55:03

Maca, thanks awfully for the financial advice. As it happens, I've managed to get a three-bed house on a lower mortgage than my old two-bed flat, which in turn we negotiated so it cost less than our previous rent. So you might want to revisit your assumption that women who have to go back to work haven't planned their finances responsibly.

Equally, the veiled inferences on this thread that less affluent people (couldn't manage on a single income - and there are many reasons this may be the case) shouldn't have children are frankly disgusting.

The point here is that the choice, if it exists, doesn't always fall to the woman. In my case, like many others here I'm the main breadwinner. We could just about afford for DH to stay home. It would be tough, but we could do it.

As it happens, he doesn't want to. I'd very much like to take an extra year or two off, but that is not a choice that's open to me.

So yes, I am envious of those who have a choice. And I do think you're quite lucky to have that choice, OP - the same way as my husband is lucky to have the same choice.

MrsLyman Fri 28-Jun-13 22:57:24

We already did this thread earlier this week. Is it bash women for daring to earn enough money to do more than pay for the basic necessities in life week or something?

In summary, the vast majority women need to work to pay the bills, sometimes they have the audacity to earn more than is needed to pay the bills, they then spend this money as they see fit. Just because your particular circumstances mean that you are able to balance your finances in a way that enables you to stay at home doesn't mean that everyone else can. Not everyone can structure their work in a way which allows for them to work part-time and earn just 'enough'. Some women have partners, who earn less than them making them the main income providers in their household.

DoJo Fri 28-Jun-13 23:04:36

Well, I work from home and arrange my life so I don't need child care, so have the beset of both worlds and consider myself hugely lucky. I think what most people mean is that they process of returning to work is a huge emotional upheaval - not only do you have to deal with being separated from your baby after a year of being with them pretty much 24/7, but you then have the stress of returning to a workplace where things have changed, you are familiar but not, you might have to deal with things which have been overlooked in your absence etc etc. I mostly consider myself lucky not to have to face all that, which is a big deal even if you are thrilled to be returning to work.

diplodocus Fri 28-Jun-13 23:08:58

I must live in the most glorious parallel universe. I went back to work PT when DD1 was 8 months and no-one questioned my decision or made snide moments. In fact I've never had either overt or covert criticism of my career / motherhood choices (I'm now F/T sole breadwinner so it's a good job I did keep up my career). I really think this SAH / WOH debate is something that's far more an online issue than in real life - or maybe I just choose my friends and aquaintances well?

MrsLyman Fri 28-Jun-13 23:09:04

Also maybe they don't even mean aren't you lucky because you are prepared to make financial sacrifices. We could easily afford for me to be a SAHM, I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to be so though. However, sometimes in the midst of the stress of trying to juggle my PhD, teaching, childcare around DH's long hours I do envy those that are happy with the choice to stay at home. I know our family life would be much more straightforward if I did, I'm just not prepared to sacrifice my ambition.

bugsybill Fri 28-Jun-13 23:16:00

Yes yanbu.

I don't understand why this comment/sentiment has become socially acceptable. They have no idea about my family's finances/plans/sacrifices and I have no idea about theirs.

BUT I don't make little comments about how they are lucky to be able to keep working. So why do they get to comment on how I am so '"lucky".

These comments (from both sides) should become off limits and socially unacceptable.

People do what they do because they choose it. Live by your decision and don't complain or make others feel bad because of it. If you don't like your choice take action to change it.

Also the comment about not affording their mortgage, this situation can be changed if they really want to change it, so going to work to afford your mortgage is still a choice. Even affording your rent is still a choice as you can choose cheaper housing, you might not like your options but they are still open to you to choose from.

MacaYoniandCheese Fri 28-Jun-13 23:17:01

Jessy I actually said don't have a family until you can afford to on one income, which is responsible in many aspects, not just financially. Doesn't matter if it's rent, mortgage or what-have-you as long as you are paying the bills, keeping a roof over your heads and taking care of your family. Trying to get the best housing bang-for-your-buck is very shrewd and sensible in that regard...who could possibly argue that?

bugsybill Fri 28-Jun-13 23:21:54

And fwiw I would prefer to go back to work but have chosen not to as the childcare options open to us are not good enough for our dc (Ill go back to work once they are 3 and they will start full time nursery then) but we have downsized to a smaller flat to be able to live off dh income in the meantime.

Jinsei Fri 28-Jun-13 23:27:21

...just as I would pity anyone who had to work to pay the mortgage and tried to justify it as a lifestyle choice. Nice try.

Oh, I don't have to try. smile

But I'm assuming that you pity all the partners of SAHPs then, as they too have to work to pay the mortgage too?

As I said earlier, we could afford for DH to stay at home if he wanted to, but like me, he wouldn't find it fulfilling and we don't think there would be any benefit to us as a family.
If others choose to do things differently, that's fair enough, but I'm still a bit hmm at the suggestion that you should marry someone with money just so that you can SAH. Not a recipe for happiness in my book, but each to her own.

RoseandVioletCreams Fri 28-Jun-13 23:31:51


I think your spot on its just conversation and the other poster who said people are toning down their feelings for the sake of harmony.

Its a weird situation we find ourselves in, cut adrift with DC with people we do not know.

MrsLyman Sat 29-Jun-13 00:04:56

Btw, it's easy to be smug about life being a choice when you are in the position to make choices, but for many people life really isn't that straightforward.

JassyRadlett Sat 29-Jun-13 00:51:36

Maca, and what of the huge numbers of people for whom that single-income option will never be a realistic one due to geography, relative income distribution or a multitude of other factors? Should they just never have children, or actively plan to go on benefits? I'm not sure I want to live in that world, where only the well-off are allowed to have children.

Laquitar Sat 29-Jun-13 02:23:26

It is a British thing grin

'You have a nice life' - 'Oh no, my life is rubbish, yours is better'
'I like your top' - 'This? Its rubbish, i only bought it because the other one was 15 years old and i had to buy a new one'.

I dont think its malicious. Maybe its a fear of apearing smug. Also,since the reccession started i think many people who have money and buy things feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.

nooka Sat 29-Jun-13 02:54:31

I think that the OP probably needs to start spending time with people/mums who have the same values she does and then this will cease to be an issue.

My anti-natal group virtually all stayed at home after they had their children. They were all married to fairly well to do fellows and it was important to them. Great they were fortunate to have the life they wanted.

I on the other hand never intended to stay at home and couldn't wait to go back to work. I'm just not that keen on babies/toddlers and I'm ambitious.

Because of where they were coming from I got a fair amount of pity, and when one of them had to go back to work for a while when her dh was unwell I got lots of confiding 'isn't it terrible' comments. Which was irritating, although I was sympathetic that she wsn't happy.

However my post-natal group were all working mums (mostly part time) and the subject just never came up. We talked about how juggling was tricky, but as working was a choice they made it just wasn't an issue. some worked because of financial constraints, but most because it was something they had trained to do and really enjoyed. We were all fortunate in balancing our lives the way we wanted to.

DontmindifIdo Sat 29-Jun-13 07:43:10

Also re the "lucky" comments for part time working, often that is luck - I know I was lucky to have an employer who'd allow part time while still paying a decent hourly rate. IME, most of my friend ms who were refused part time by their employer on returning from mat leave have struggled to find part time work paying anywhere near the hourly rates they were earning before. For most professional jobs, you either take am existing job part time or accept a massive wage cut, or stayed full time. I know 3 woman who've said they could afford to go part time but their employer says no, they can't afford to earn nothing. There is an element of luck in that.

MeMyHusbandAndTheRoofer Sat 29-Jun-13 08:40:51

*I think that if anybody was frugal enough they could afford to cover basic needs and have luxuries.
It might not be what they want to do or the lifestyle they would choose. However, the choice is there.
If you don't earn enough/ even the min wage then you are awarded tax credits, soon to be UC and cb.
Of course it is possible.*

How patronising of you to assume you know everything about EVERYONE's finances!

Perhaps you would like to read my post further up thread and then tell me how I can become more frugal and save the deficit of £600 per month between my DH's income and our outgoings?! Oh, I know - maybe I could save £300 per month by us not eating! Maybe I could dump my dog at a dog's home to save £50 per month. Maybe I could cancel our tv and Internet which would save £20 per month.

Well that's a dog dumped and me, my DH and our (as yet unborn) child with not a single thing to eat but we still have a deficit of £230!

And we're not eligible for tax credits on my DH's wage.

I really i am amazed that you would make such a sweeping statement about everyone's financial situation

nkf Sat 29-Jun-13 08:43:42

Oh, let it go. It's just talk. People just fill the space with stuff. You're lucky. You look nice. Your kids are great. Where did you buy that shirt? Are you going on holiday this year? It's just talk.

Snog Sat 29-Jun-13 09:00:46

If you feel that a woman with a new car and 3 annual holidays could be a SAHM and that her comments are disingenuous why not ask her what she would have to give up to be a SAHM? You might be surprised by the answer.
The only way I could be SAHM is to move to a cheaper area a long way away with less employment, involving moving my dd from her school, at which point my dp would not find a job in the same field and would be paid much less such that we would struggle a lot financially.
As it is we have a high disposable income but there is no middle ground for us. That doesn't mean having both parents work full time is easy.
And this is even apart from financial independence that is so crucial for many women.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 29-Jun-13 09:09:28

Well I'm a WOHM by choice, and it is because we want a certain lifestyle so I don't think anyone - male or female - is 'lucky' per se, to stay at home. Simply because as much as I think it is a Good Thing To Do, I personally find it mind-numbing (ashamed to admit it, and totally respect those who do it and don't find it so).

But surely the best response is simply to hold the mirror up at them, and say, 'yes, I am lucky, aren't I?!' <inane grin>

It's bound to take the wind out of that sort's sails. smile

Elquota Sat 29-Jun-13 09:17:05

YANBU. Just ignore the barbed and envious remarks. People have no idea of other people's circumstances, so they shouldn't be so quick to label them "lucky".

Some people can't find a job that pays enough to cover the childcare. Others may have health reasons for being off work that they don't wish to discuss. It really is no-one else's business.

> I have a feeling that it's because the media is very male dominated and it's another way to suppress women - if we're too busy fighting amongst ourselves about our personal choices, we won't have time to fight for harsher sentences for rapists / abortion rights / equal pay / tryin to stop our daughters from being actualised before they turn 13 etc etc.

Marcheline that's a fascinating point.

BlackeyedSusan Sat 29-Jun-13 09:18:17

don, don't be ashamed of your personality. some people love to be at home with children, some don't. people can say negative things about each choice.

it annoys me a little when people say they have no choice to work... when their lifestyle clearly shows they do have a choice. (some do, probably most don't) If they do seem to have aa choice, I point out tht they could live in flat like we do, rather thn their suburban laargeish house. usually shuts them up. grin

RubySparks Sat 29-Jun-13 09:21:32

My lifestyle probably looks as if I have a choice to work... I don't. I am main wage earner, DH works very part time due to chronic progressive neurological disorder. No one knows everyone's problems, financial or otherwise.

Thing is having no choice might not just be about the money you earn in the here and now.

I feel that I have no choice but to work because of the following ;

Could never let DH shoulder the responsibility of being the main breadwinner. What if he lost his job?

If I take a career break I would never get to return at the level I am now. So would be taking a massive pay cut and drop in prospects.

Moreover, I just cannot get my head around not earning my own money. Withiny own personal values, there is no choice but to do this.

However, I don't think people are 'lucky' to stay at home. Merely, they have different priorities and concerns for the future.

Arisbottle Sat 29-Jun-13 09:34:19

I really don't get the aversion to being called lucky on MN.

I am lucky to have a career I enjoy,

I am lucky to have four healthy children and asters in stepson I adore.

I am lucky to have a husband who earns a wage that gives us a good standard if living.

I could go on, why do MNers have to make everything seem to be the resut of endless blood sweat and tears?

Shitsinger Sat 29-Jun-13 09:34:29

Another one here with an ill DH - its not always as obvious as it seems to the outside.
If I give up work - easily doable and his illness progresses then we will be stuffed.
All the recent threads about this sound like sour grapes- best to live your own life and not fret what others think, do or how much they earn !

do you know what these sahm v wohm seem to be a bit of weekend sport for some.

exoticfruits Sat 29-Jun-13 09:40:14

I stayed at home- I know I was lucky. However I don't think that most even mean it- they make conversation.

TwasBrillig Sat 29-Jun-13 09:43:10

We can't afford for me to return to work.

I an quite envious of local friends with parents who help or who have much higher paying, flexible jobs that allow them to attend school functions, take time off when children sick or afford a nanny.

Sometimes I feel lucky that circumstances have forced the current situation in that I do really love spending the time with my children. I don't love that we live on an ex council estate, that our house isn't large enough to entertain as we would like etc. I'd quite like to have the extra income but can't currently see a way to make it work.

I do see those on high incomes that say they don't have a choice and think that they kind of do. Money brings choice.

It's probably a simple explanation. In my own case, I cut out all luxuries so I could stay at home for 3 yrs while both mine were little. During that time our overdraft was going up bit by bit as even without any luxuries then we STILL couldn't afford to pay all the bills comfortably, quite obviously. That when I got a job of 6 hrs a week which at least helped bring our overdraft right down and stopped us worrying that things were getting out of hand. Luxuries were still off the cards though. When ds2 started school I increased my hours as i didnt see any point being at home all day with both children at school. So now bills are paid no problem BUT now there is also money LEFT OVER for luxuries like meals out and holidays etc.

So what im saying is that we couldnt really live on DH's wage only. Our situation now is that with me workinf as well, bills are covered but we have spare money which you would class as a luxury and yes, i would agree. BUT.....I was lucky in that I had the choice to increase my hours gradually as I wanted, but I think you'll find most women do not have this choice - if they want to have bills covered, they can't afford to leave the job they had before they had their baby as there aren't the jobs out there to pick and choose part-time hours anymore. So they take a year off, go back to work to ensure bills are covered but the hours they end up having to work may mean that (if they are lucky and don't have massive Childcare bills) then there is money left over at the end of the month to spend on nice things.

Why do these women deserve you sneering at them and posting on forums like this? Maybe if you stop to think exactly how their financial situation MIGHT be for them you might have an explanation for their so-called lifestyle choice.

TwasBrillig Sat 29-Jun-13 09:44:17

Yup exotic - I think its conversation.

exoticfruits Sat 29-Jun-13 09:50:02

If you said they had to stay at home they would probably be horrified!

soverylucky Sat 29-Jun-13 09:58:42

If I moved to a one bed flat then we could afford for me to be a sahm - so yes, theoretically it is possible - would that be a sensible thing to do for my children - no it would not.

chocoluvva Sat 29-Jun-13 10:14:47

I know what you mean OP: I chose to be a SAHM knowing it would mean we wouldn't be able to afford lots of things that other people don't consider to be luxuries. But I would never ever say to them that they're lucky to be able to afford holidays abroad etc or complain about the things I can't afford. I often get the impression that people consider me to be quite lazy! And I know and often comment that I'm lucky, knowing that people will assume we have more money than we have.

As for those people who complain about the hassle they're having getting their perfect holiday organised.....

Or how their children are too busy - well, cut back on some of their after-school activities then!

Shitsinger Sat 29-Jun-13 10:23:08

People complain about lots of things though choco sometimes they are just having a bit of a vent - its nothing personal !

Arisbottle Sat 29-Jun-13 10:29:29

But lots of people already can't afford a holiday abroad even with 2 people working. So if you can afford to be a SAHM by giving up holidays you are lucky.

That is like me saying I had to give up designer handbags and shoes to become a teacher whereas others can afford them,how dare someone say that I am lucky to be a teacher.

chocoluvva Sat 29-Jun-13 11:11:39

I think the OP means - I do anyway - that if people can afford to have holidays abroad, very expensive cars etc - then, strictly speaking, they don't NEED to work.

Also, the OP explained that she has saved so that she can afford not to have to work.

And no-one is saying that there are couples where both partners have to work - and that if they'd prefer not to both work full time, that's a shame.

And the OP does know she's lucky.

Compare with being told you're lucky to be slim. That's probably true up to a point, but you're very careful about what you eat and you're very active.....

maternitart Sat 29-Jun-13 11:42:24

YABU. Holidays and new clothes might cost a lot, but even after childcare costs my salary would bring in a whole lot more.

Without it however we might struggle to put food on the table. My partner and I earn about the same.

Friends who have high earning partners or have inherited a lot or bought property at the right time so have more cash ARE lucky, IMO.

Curleyhazel Sat 29-Jun-13 11:44:45

OP, I think yabu and a bit judgmental, I'm afraid. As many posters have said there can be plenty of reasons why a mum has to return to work, other than wanting to afford designer bags and holidays. You are lucky to have a choice. I wouldnt say that you are lucky to be a sahm though as that wouldnt be right for everbody.

My DH is a manager earning a decent salary but we live in the SE and his wages only cover our mortgage and bills. I have to work in order to pay for food, clothes and everything else. We drive an average car for which we had to take out a loan hmm.

Imo, life is a bit more complex than you make out. I sometimes wish I could be a sahm in order to spend more time with dcs and not to have to rush around everyday and be less stressed. But then again, I have studied hard and have some sort of career, pay into my pension and provide our family with private healthcare and can afford to pay for some kids activities so feel like I am contributing in a positive way.

We will go abroad this year to visit family but my parents have to pay for the flights. From the outside you might think we were going on a fancy trip but we are just seeing family and cant even afford it. Also when you work in the corporate sector you have to often adhere to a smart casual dress code so you actually have to buy decent clothes just to to appear professional in the office.

If you are happy with your choice then that's great for you. If anyone says that you are lucky to stay at home just smile and say yes it works for me.

Nottalotta Sat 29-Jun-13 11:48:02

I think its more that the OP doesn't like being told she's lucky, as if someone just handed her a load of cash so she could stay at home, or won the lottery. When in fact she has saved and gone without various things. And peoples idea of need is diffetent. Some people NEED to work to pay mortgage bills rent etc. Others need to to pay all those things plus the holidays cars shopping sprees. It is a matter of choice, not luck. If i'm ever able to have a child i will be lucky in that childcare would be mostly provided by family while i work. Even working i'm not sure how i'd pay for it!

Arisbottle Sat 29-Jun-13 12:41:29

I am not thin, but I have a nice figure. I am quite lucky to be born with good genes, to not have a personality type that means that I gorge on food, to be able to afford to do lots of sport and to have a relatively stress free lifestyle that means I don't emotionally eat.

Elquota Sat 29-Jun-13 12:48:47

I wonder what they'd say if you told them they were lucky to have a job which covered enough childcare costs to leave a bit left over? Or lucky to have family providing some childcare for free so the "cost" appears to evaporate for them?

AmberSocks Sat 29-Jun-13 12:55:57

I hate the word lucky,its bollocks.theres no such thing as luck.If you have the money to stay off work with your baby for a year because youve saved,its because youve saved not because your lucky.My husband works really hard and puts a lot of time and effort into the business,this is why we can afford for me to stay at home without making compromises,that is not luck,that is taking action!

Jinsei Sat 29-Jun-13 13:00:51

I wonder what they'd say if you told them they were lucky to have a job which covered enough childcare costs to leave a bit left over?

If someone said that to me, I'd absolutely agree that I was lucky to be in this situation. It wouldn't occur to me to be offended. confused Yes, I have put in the hard graft and made wise decisions to get to where I am now, but it would be foolish to say that there isn't at least an element of luck that contributes to where any of us end up. I don't really get what is offensive about that, unless you are very unhappy with the situation that you're in.

There's no virtue in being a martyr. If you want to change your situation but can't, that's tough. If you're happy with it, why not rejoice in the good luck that helped you get to that situation?

Arisbottle Sat 29-Jun-13 13:15:04

I don't think there is a force called luck but some of us seem to have more fortune than others regardless of how hard they work .

I am lucky to have four children , this has become particularly clear to me after miscarrying our fifth.

I was lucky to meet my husband .

I was lucky to be born quite clever .

I was lucky that when I applied for jobs there was not a better candidate. Yes I had to work for the job, but there was an element of luck to transform my hard work into success.

Arisbottle Sat 29-Jun-13 13:16:27

Amber lots of people work hard but struggle to make ends meet.

The lady who cleans my classroom works harder than me but I guess are family income is at least five times hers if not more.

stopprocrastinating Sat 29-Jun-13 13:59:54

YABU. I'd love to be a sahm, we'd have no spare cash if u was or savings and DH won't agree to it. I work part time so we have rainy day money one UK camping holiday hobbies for children and socialise, but still if DH would agree I'd be sahm.

SleepiestOne Sat 29-Jun-13 14:21:56

I'm completely with you on this one! My husband and I's financial circumstances couldn't have been much worse in recent years, we had to live with relatives for 2 1/2 years and it's been tough to say the least. However we made the decision that we could not face and didn't believe in putting our chn into nursery. Now they are older and will both be in full time pre-school and school come September I am looking for full time work.(we have not received any benefits btw before anyone asks!) But I get frustrated when people claim to have to work when in fact what they really mean is they want a materialistic lifestyle more than the desire to stay at home. Some people genuinely do have to work as we all know but there are many who say they need to work then waltz off to their huge new 4by4's, have every new gadget ipad etc going and jet off on holidays to Orlando etc. It's quite funny really, I think when they say that you are lucky it's actually to make themselves feel better abt the choices they make! (I don't have anything against nurseries btw, I just feel that the time is so precious that I wanted to bring up my own chn rather than pay someone else.)We don't have ipads/fancy or frequent holidays etc and our cars are on last legs but nothing can replace all the precious time we have had at home with our kids. My husband is lucky as he works shifts so gets to spend lots of time with them also.

louisianablue2000 Sat 29-Jun-13 14:38:18

Bless you OP, they are telling you are 'lucky' because they are being nice because they don't know waht else to say to someone who only exists to serve other people. They are probably secretly thinking 'thank fuck I worked hard enough to have a career that makes a significant contribution to our household and so means my OH can't argue we'd be "better off" if I was stuck at home all day'. They aren't jealous of you love, they pity you.

Arisbottle Sat 29-Jun-13 14:57:46

I don't think that wanting your own place to stay is particularly materialistic .

I think if being a SAHM means having to sleep in my sister's spare room I would go out to work . I also can't imagine saying to one of my relatives , can you subsidise me for a while because I don't want to work . Particularly of they go out to work to pay for the home you are staying in.

Plunging your children into poverty is more harmful than doing a few hours down the supermarket

AmberSocks Sat 29-Jun-13 16:24:05

louisiana that sounds very jealous and bitter!

Arisbottle Sat 29-Jun-13 16:38:51

I don't think Louisiana represents the views of many women, or people for that matter.

soverylucky Sat 29-Jun-13 16:48:07

Of course there is such a thing as luck! I was lucky to be born into a loving home with parents who cared for me. I was lucky that I lived near a good school. I was lucky that I am reasonably clever. I am lucky that I met my DH when I did. I was lucky to give birth to two healthy children. I was lucky to see my job advertised at the last minute so was able to get an application in quick. I was lucky that my work let me go back part time. I had no control over any of these things so of course I was lucky.
Did I make the best of that luck? That is a different matter. I needed to work hard with the brain I was given to get qualifications. But all the other stuff was just luck.
And can we please get away from the idea that people who don't have much in life in terms of money are in some way responsible for that. There are millions of people on this planet who work very, very hard - far harder than me but for a million different reasons are not as well off as me. (not that I am rolling in it btw - just making a point)
I am not disputing that someone may have worked hard, saved hard etc and that is not luck but it isn't as black and white as that.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 29-Jun-13 17:14:26


Are you a tad jelous of the OP and sahm's then?
You should try it, I'm having a ball. grin

Shitsinger Sat 29-Jun-13 17:56:46

It doesn't exactly sound as if Louisiana is jealous... grin

nooka Sat 29-Jun-13 18:12:25

I think that Louisiana was presenting an interestingly different (but no less valid) point of view, which coincided nicely with the slightly 'precious moments' post next to it. The work/don't work thing is just so value laden it's hard to negotiate.

Which is why I generally advocate for spending time with people who have made fairly similar choices/have similar values because otherwise it's exhausting to try and pick your words in such a way not as to offend, as well as listen in such a way not to be offended.

Luckily children are small for only a few years and then the whole thing becomes quickly irrelevant. No one knows or cares now about our early family arrangements, they are too busy managing their teens!

Shitsinger Sat 29-Jun-13 18:18:57

Nooka I agree and am very happy that I don't have to negotiate all this angst at "what other people say"
I don't remember any of this when mine were small or maybe I was oblivious grin

Bakingtins Sat 29-Jun-13 18:49:29

I get it the other way around. I work part-time. We could cope without my salary but it would mean less going into savings, fewer holidays, no cushion if DH made redundant. Besides I mostly enjoy my job and trained a long time to get where I am now.
I have a friend who has been a SAHM for the last 7 yrs and is constantly comparing their standard of living with the rest of our group of 6 other couples. Her DH only works 4 days, she does one morning. In every other family the couple are working somewhere between 1.5 and 2 full time jobs. She seems incapable of making the connection. Either decision WOHP/SAHP is fine, but unless one partner is spectacularly well paid you can't have it both ways. Make the decision that suits your family best and then stop whining about the consequences!

chocoluvva Sat 29-Jun-13 19:02:48

"Make the decision that suits your family best and then stop whining about the consequences"

Well said. That's it in a nutshell.

Mapal Sat 29-Jun-13 19:09:11

No SAHM has ever told me that I am lucky to be going back to work.

louisianablue2000 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:40:14

He he. Nooka is right of course. Quite pleased with the contrast to the post above mine. I do find it amusing that these kind of threads are always started by a SAHP who is sooooooooo fufilled by their homelife they have to start threads on MN criticizing those of us who have taken a different decision.

Interestingly I'm currently on maternity leave with DC3 and taking longer off than I did with the first two so I can cover the school holidays but boy am I desperate to return to work so no morethan I'm definitely not jealous, I'm currently 'living the dream' and where I'm sitting it feels like a nightmare of Sisyphus proportions.

JackNoneReacher Sun 30-Jun-13 20:31:34

Louisiana you sound like the kind of vile woman who likes to put other women down and attempt to devalue their choices.

Being a SAHM may not be for your family but to say that such a role is not a significant contribution is incorrect and makes me wonder if you are bitter or just unpleasant.

Many families pay much more than a 'significant contribution' of their household income to nurseries/nannies during the early years so presumably value, enormously the person/people caring for their young children. Who wouldn't..?

The OP hasn't judged or criticised anyone, just got a bit annoyed with people judging and commenting on her situation.

If its such a nightmare for you why don't you get back to work now? I'm sure your children would be relieved.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 01-Jul-13 00:19:04


I'm not surprised it feels like a nightmare if you devalue the role of raising your dc that much.
Some of us are happy doing this and find it a very valuable thing to do. it's far more valuable to do this than work for somebody else, I just couldn't do that for all the money.
So you see, its each to their own.
To belittle others choices is nasty though and imo and others here sounds bitter and jealous

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 08:24:32

the role of raising your dc but Louisiana is raising her children whether she is at work or not.

most men are not SAHP but they are still raising their own children and working.

why only this talk for women?

HiggsBoson Mon 01-Jul-13 08:56:15

OP you are very fortunate. I would love to wake up every day and not spend it worrying about bringing in enough money to survive.

You really have no idea.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 09:11:46

While I don't think Louisiana is right in her general valuation of SAHP's contribution, I do think she has a point when she says people are just making a noise.

Most of what people say is just that: a noise made to cover gaps in the conversation. And for some reason, saying "you are lucky" is perceived as a kind of compliment.

ffs, when dd was in a wheelchair, people would pass her on the school run and tell her how lucky she was not to have to walk. If we had assumed any kind of thought behind that particular noise, it would have been bloody offensive. Dd assumed it was a noise and smiled pleasantly.

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 01-Jul-13 09:17:58

You ARE lucky op. You are lucky that you happened to meet a dp that earns enough to support you in your choice to not work.

For others who maybe don't have that choice but wish they did, you are 'lucky'.

Nishky Mon 01-Jul-13 09:22:03

Faster I agree, I am always a little bemused by the claim that only SAHM's are raising their children.

That's what we are all doing

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 01-Jul-13 09:22:23

Agree with Cory too.

Undoubtedly a lot of what everyone says to everyone daily is just 'noise'.

Ever said to someone 'Hi! Everything OK?' as you pass them on the stairs at work? I did this last week to someone I see infrequently and she actually turned around and said 'No, not really'.
Awkward. I don't really give a shit almost-stranger, just smile, say yes, and we'll be on our way.

maternitart Mon 01-Jul-13 09:29:04

So some people on this thread would rather leech off family than go to work? You might be lucky but I feel sorry for your relatives!

Is it really so hard to conceive that sometimes, when not working at all is not financially viable, that working may bring in more £ than is needed to cover the bare minimum?

I'm lucky that my employer will consider part time work for me, but for many that's not the case. If I had to go back full time we would have an extra £500 or so a month, which would buy us iPads, new clothes etc if that's what we wanted to spend it on.

Technotropic Mon 01-Jul-13 10:39:44

I get you OP. We used to hear that a lot and it would irritate us. I feel sorry for those that think they don't have a choice because everyone has a choice. Denying that you have a choice is a cop out as it removes all power you have to decide for yourself.

Although I would say that 10+ years ago it was easier to make the choice. We chose to be poor so that one of us was at home wiht the kids. Others chose not to give up the 'lifestyle'. Nowadays though house prices are so high it is difficult to buy a house and maintain it on a single salary. It's possible but not everyone wants to make those kids of sacrifices.

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 01-Jul-13 10:54:49

Techno tropic is NOT always possible for mum to stay at home. How single minded.

Single mums can't. A friend of mine and her oh both work full time and earn £12k each. £12k wouldn't be enough to keep her family of four.

Some people don't have the option at all. It's one thing cutting back on luxuries, completely another if it meant doing away with necessities.

Technotropic Mon 01-Jul-13 13:39:06


I don't think the OP was aimed at single people so obviously the situation changes if you are a single parent.

Sorry but everyone has a choice. They may be limited but the choice is there none-the-less. If someone wants to stay at home during the day then it's possible to get an evening job and end up roughly the same financially. If any of that £12 goes toward childcare then working in the evening may be more lucrative.

There are always options. It just depends on how open you are to them.

Technotropic Mon 01-Jul-13 13:39:45

£12k I meant. Doh.

wordfactory Mon 01-Jul-13 13:49:56

Sometimes it looks as if people are working for luxuries, when actually they are working for the basics ie one salary won't cover them...but the two wages provide luxuries.

stepawayfromthescreen Mon 01-Jul-13 13:54:48

gosh, Louisiana is pretty angry about something!

HomageToCannelloni Mon 01-Jul-13 14:46:33

Op, am in your position' and whilst I understand what you are saying, I think sometimes perhaps it is the lack of recognition that you ARE making a sacrifice that grates more than people feeling you are lucky. Ask a working Mum what her job is and your reply comes back with some type of worthwhile status well as the trappings of having a good haircut, dressing well and talking about holidays. Ask a sahm what she does....well, most of us know the response to the reply Housewife.
I have absolutely no regrets about the choice we made. I hate not having new clothes and no holidays perhaps 10 days out of 365, the rest of the time I FEEL lucky. Lucky that DH could earn more than I so I could make this choice, lucky that he is totally bought into this choice and I don't get badgered to go back to work, lucky that we had cleared our debts before having kids, and lucky that his wage alone is enough, just, for us to get by.
Now we did plan carefully to get to that stage, but 'life' could just have easily made things very different. Our contraception could have failed and i fallen pregnant before the debts were cleared, or DH could have been made redundant and had to take a lower paid job, or I could have married someone who seemed lovely and then turned into a pillock once the kids arrived and changed his stance.
I think luck plays a part, and I for one am very grateful that thus far it's clouded with me enough for me to do what I wanted.
Do wish I could get some Kudos for being a housefrau still though! grin

HomageToCannelloni Mon 01-Jul-13 14:48:55

Oh and we may not be so happy with our choices when we hit 60, but heck, we might never get to 60.

ilovechips Mon 01-Jul-13 16:32:32

Homage - well said.

HomageToCannelloni Mon 01-Jul-13 20:07:05

Thanks chips. Was worried I'd tone off on one too much. smile

Shitsinger Mon 01-Jul-13 22:17:35

Quite honestly ?
I don't think anyone is that interested inyour life that they "will think of the sacrifice" someone else has made.
If it is a choice why is it a sacrifice ?
I make a decision and I get on with it .

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