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

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

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

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

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

YANBU. It's a self-pacifying technique utilised by working parents. I might use it myself when I go back to uni in October.

gordyslovesheep Sat 19-Apr-14 15:15:43

well I work and you just described my day today!

TheNewSofa Sat 19-Apr-14 15:16:32


hercules1 Sat 19-Apr-14 15:16:35

I think the argument is about the amount of work rather than parenting. Never seen anyone claim to "parent" as much as a sahp but I've never seem anyone actually say what work a sahp does that a wohp doesn't do bar a bit more of a tidy up in the day.

gordyslovesheep were you at work today?

shrunkenhead Sat 19-Apr-14 15:17:49

YANBU, it's true.

I think the argument is about the amount of work rather than parenting

I think you're right. SAHMs do more parenting than WOHMs.

3DcAndMe Sat 19-Apr-14 15:18:46

I work 3 days and am at home 4

What does this make me?

rollonthesummer Sat 19-Apr-14 15:19:02

I think that when parents (that don't have paid employment) with children at school are asked what they do all day and reply: washing up, cleaning, laundry, dealing with paperwork, ironing, lunchboxes, changing beds, emptying beds etc, that's when parents that do work outside the home state that they still have to do all those things when they get home from work.

Having small children at home is a very different matter.

Doesn't it depend on the age of the child? If you have a toddler then the roles (SAHP / WOHP) are different. If you have school age children then arguably a WOHP does do everything that the SAHP does plus work.

But then again a SAHP of a school age severely disabled child probably does a hell of a lot more than either of the parents above.

It's not a competition.

Flossiechops Sat 19-Apr-14 15:19:29


3DcAndMe A part-timer?

Mrswellyboot Sat 19-Apr-14 15:19:52

I think it's reasonable to say Sahp do more parenting hours. That's fairly obvious but does it matter.

If you choose to be working or stay at home parent, so be it. Is a personal choice.

Exactly what roll on said

When I had toddlers, I didn't do what a SAHM of toddlers does all day plus work.

But I do however do what a SAHM with school age DCs does, plus work I think.

gordyslovesheep Sat 19-Apr-14 15:21:43

no - I have baked, painted, played with Playdoh, resolved 6868899 fights, told them to be nice to each other, dressed and fed them ...

I do it every morning and for 5 hours every evening plus all weekend

so YANBU in that you do it for a bit longer but we all do it grin

Wanksock Sat 19-Apr-14 15:23:28

Nobody apart from the parent can be 'parenting' though can they? Other than that, you are right, if you are at work full time in an 8-5 type role you are not doing the play dough etc, someone else is doing that with your child. Lots of people out there will be working flexibly, sharing childcare with their partners, working shift work etc and those people could probably argue that they do all the same things as a SAHM and work as well.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 15:23:31

It depends what roles and responsibilities you are given or take for either job.
I know some sahp's who are active and some who watch Jeremy Kyle etc.
I know some wohp who work a few hours, others that work 40 hours.
Does it matter?

Bonkerz Sat 19-Apr-14 15:25:12

I do both because I work from home looking after other peoples children as well as my own so I am a working parent and a sahm!

hercules1 Sat 19-Apr-14 15:26:15

To be honest though op, wohms do nearly all what sahps do and work. That's my experience anyway.

Goblinchild Sat 19-Apr-14 15:26:32

It's the ridiculous, competitive and guilt-redden judgements of each other that need to stop. What's the point in constantly measuring your parenting choices against someone else's?
It's stupid, unkind, bitchy and irrelevant.
As long as the children are loved, cared for and have all the necessities, it's working for you as a family. That should be enough.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 15:27:35

I agree with roll. Hadn't considered it about SAHM of school age children as I don't personally know any of those, though.

I think it does matter if it's said in the condescending tone of the working parent being superior because they work as well as doing the other things.

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 15:28:37

YABU because you are assuming that all working parents have the same kind of day as you. Before dd started school, I did a lot of my work while she was asleep - there were only 2-3 hours of her waking day when I wasn't around, so apart from that time, yes I did do everything that a sahp would have done. Now dd is at school, it's the same - I drop her off at school every day and pick her up once. On some of the other days, she has clubs after school, so I am not around for up to an an hour on some days, perhaps two at most. And for a lot of that time, she is spent vegging in front of the tv in any case, if my DH and parents are to be believed!

I can't see what else a sahm would really do in addition to what I do at present - just a 5 minute pick up from school 4 days a week and giving her a quick snack when she gets home. She isn't even ready to talk about her day till she's had a bit of chilling time!

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 15:28:55


Tha nappy change count of a WOHM is lower.
The nose wipe count of a WOHM is lower.
The meals fed count of a WOHM is lower.
The number of words spoken to a child per day by a WOHM is lower.
The cuddle count per day for a WOHM is lower.
The number of minutes of parent-child interaction for a WOHM is lower.

It's hardly rocket science. Whenever trots out that ridiculous claim, I always imagine besuited parents gabbling and scurrying in the evening on fast forward, like demented Keystone Cops.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 15:29:16

How so hercules?

MammaTJ Sat 19-Apr-14 15:30:04

Before I became a student I would say YABU!

I worked full time, three nights a week, and still did all of the parenting you would do as a SAHP, with even less sleep in the holidays or when the DC were ill!

Best not to make assumptions about other peoples lives IMO!

Retropear Sat 19-Apr-14 15:32:41


GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 15:32:50

People have different experiences.

I found being a SAHM harder actually, in many ways, but I DO more as a WOHM, no doubt.

I found being mainly responsible for the domestic chores as a SAHM quite hard going. Squabbling/discipline/naps...hmm. Yes. That was definitely harder and admittedly, when I went back to work and my children were in childcare, that wasnt my responsibility all day. (should add, here, that I do think its really different being a SAHM with sole responsibility of babies/toddlers, compared to being a SAHM of school age children).

I think some - perhaps more organised/proactive - SAHMs probably DO do loads that I didnt do. I wasnt out every day on great trips or doing craft projects or anything like that. I know some women (and a few men) are really great at stuff like that and are just really imaginative, active parents and fantastic homemakers. I wasnt, particularly, if I am honest.

However, having just negotiated going down to part time hours after working full time for a fewyears, I can tell you why I have made this choice. Because I am mentally and physically knackered in a way that I could never have imagined as a SAHM. Up at 6am to get kids breakfast, spend some time with them, get them ready for school, share school run with DH...then on to a commute...then a full day of work where I am a manager and have shitloads of responsibility (on top of parental and familial responsibilities) and multiple complex, brain-straining projects to juggle. I am going to sound like a bitch for saying this, but its my reality so I will say it: I deal with responsibility for the lives of two children, one with SEN, and ageing/unwell parents...just like any SAHM...they are ultimately MY responsibility...and yet I still put in a 40 hour week managing a team in a highly pressurised environment, that make difficult decisions about other peoples lives. It has UNDOUBTEDLY involved an expenditure of energy, brain power and sheer bloody determination that being a SAHM (for me) just wouldnt have.

I have negotiated oart time hours BECAUSE of that. Because it is just too much for me going forward. Not because I think my children will benefit from having me around moreif I am brutally honest (although that informs my decision to some extent), but because I am fed up of being super woman. I will be going down to 20 hours a week next week and I fully intend to spend at least some of my new found time sitting on my arse with a cuppa grin

goofygoober Sat 19-Apr-14 15:33:43

OP, I totally agree. I have worked full-time with 2 DCs and now work part-time and am a SAHM with our youngest DS. Both roles are tiring, for different reasons. Whilst working, housework was at a minimum and was relatively easy, now it is non stop, I rarely sit down before 9pm.

I cannot stand judgmental people who think that the SAHM parent does sod all. It helps if you've actually been through it. My DH and I often squabble because he gives the stock answer of 'I've been at work all day' when I ask for a hand in the evening. He's had a morning break, a lunch hour and been sat a desk. Mental, not physical exhaustion. Sometimes the gripe goes on and on!

schmee Sat 19-Apr-14 15:33:53

It matters if people are denigrating the contribution that SAHP make.

If you have preschool children you subcontract part of the childcare during the time you are at work. Depending on the type of childcare (nursery, nanny etc) this may mean subcontracting the developmental play and learning, toileting, clearing up of toys, feeding and cooking and comforting that take place within working hours, or, if you have a great nanny, it may mean subcontracting all this plus some of the clothes washing, bed making and admin too. It doesn't make a WOHP less of a parent, but it does mean that they do less of the "work" associated with childcare. That "work" exists whether the parent does it, or the childcare provider.

The situation is obviously different when the children are at school, at least for the 70 per cent of the year that is term time, depending on the type of wraparound care that you have.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sat 19-Apr-14 15:34:33

I hate the need to pacify and justify when it comes to the decisions mothers make, whether that be SAH full time or part time or WOH full time.

I wish we could all stop doing this and agree that each and every single one of us do what we feel is the right decision for our family. And there are more than 1 way to do the right thing.

rootypig Sat 19-Apr-14 15:34:42

YANBU and well written. The essence and back bone of SAHP is time. Endless time with your children, time to be filled and endured. That is its curse and blessing.

There are only 24 hours in the day and WOHP and SAHP as far as I can make out are working for most of the waking ones. So, it's all work, just with different natures. SAHP is for me a special hell, bundled in maternal guilt. It annoys me when people assume it's a luxury.

All that said, I do think a family with one SAHP is better off than one with two WOHP, because the SAHP can multitask and do the domestic work in the week, rather than evenings and weekends.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 15:34:45

I said fulltime in my OP Jinsei so I'm presuming 9-5 plus travel time which in my case meant I was away from 7.45 until 6 p.m. I know for many fulltime working parents it's longer.

GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 15:36:10

If its about 'parenting'? Then yes...SAHMs are around more. Thats not in dispute. Does that make them better oarents than their breadwinningoartners, though? No. Same goes for working mums.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 15:36:13

but I DO more as a WOHM, no doubt.

But that's not the same as 'doing everything a SAHM does plus FT job on top' is it grass?

In my WOHM years, I condensed, simplified, rushed, cut corners, and missed sleep and social activities to make it all fit. Which is fine, but it isn't all I did as a SAHM plus work.

monkeymamma Sat 19-Apr-14 15:37:07

Agree and YANBU. Wohm parents have it bloody hard and I'm sure it's a huge and stressful juggling act for them but to say that they do 'everything sahp do' plus working is to massively understate/ignore/insult the work of the childcare professionals who fill in the gaps looking after their children while they pursue their careers. IMO nursery workers are hardworking, good humoured, patient and largely underpaid, without also being 'forgotten' during these types of debates. I'm a part timer and on the days I'm at work I don't do everything, I have a huge amount of help from ds's nursery, my mum and partner. Whereas on my 'at home' days I'm responsible for the 'everything' bit in quite a different way.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 15:37:21

Not to mention delegating.

shrunkenhead Sat 19-Apr-14 15:40:33

I agree with womble, how can you fit art and craft, cooking/baking, reading stories, snugly cuddles, chats, outdoor adventures/Countyside walks, swimming, playing, play dates, water play etc etc into two hours a day???? I tried it, it want possible.

GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 15:41:06

fidel - no, its not the same. As a FT working parent, I paid for childcare and I paid for a cleaner and Ipaid for online shopping deliveries.

I was quite selfishly relieved to not do those things, though. I liked working (although FT has become too much), I hate cleaning and shopping, and I have this rebellious bit of me that says I am a mother but I didnt go to university to end up doing an 8 hour housework shift every day. Thats NOT a judgement against SAHMs that do that, it just was never going to be my gig.

Small point of the fact that I need to work, financially, and have been in a job that makes itnwrth my while financially to do so, even after childcare costs (I know this is not the case for many families).

candycoatedwaterdrops Sat 19-Apr-14 15:41:16

I disagree that WOHP do less parenting. You don't stop being a parent because you're at work. If your child gets ill/injured while you're not there, you don't abdicate responsibility to anyone else; you are responsible for your child. However, of course SAHPs often do more childcare.

GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 15:42:11

shrunkenhead, you cant. But I didnt do all that as a SAHM, to be honest. Nursery did it much better for my chilren. If I am REALLY honest.

GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 15:44:05

I think the 'debate' is a non-starter realky when children are under five. People do whatever works for them. Once they are at school, though...SAHMS are surely having an easy ride? The ones that CHOOSE that, I mean, not people who cant find work or have disabled kids etc...

shrunkenhead Sat 19-Apr-14 15:44:24

Wasn't possible, even.

Nobody apart from the parent can be 'parenting' though can they?

So is this just a battle of semantics?

OK, even then, the dictionary definition of 'parenting' is:

"the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves"

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 15:45:04

Exactly Grass; they are just equal but different choices/lives. The insistence that one is more/better/harder is pointless and got dreary a long time ago.

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 15:45:43

i find my house suffers massively when i'm at work, my children are better cared for by nursery imo as they do much more.

why do sahm feel so hard done by its a blessing to have your children daily and not have to work,

as others have said why pit both types against each other. it doesn't help anyone.

mothers are that whether they work or not

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 15:46:28

just that sorry

BluebellTuesday Sat 19-Apr-14 15:47:47

What is the point of these discussions? I am a working single parent, do I get to count the work I do at home looking after DC twice as there is not another adult to share all the tasks with? Does keeping a roof over DC heads not count as parenting? Yes, DC are at nursery, school and afterschool, they also go to the park, various classes, have playdates etc. Who is sorting it al, not to mention keeping car roadworthy, doing garden, paying bills, you name it. It is not a competition, but I defy anyone to tell me I am not parenting my DC as much as a SAHM, yes I delegate some childcare, I need to bring in the money. That is the way life is.

outtheothersidefinally Sat 19-Apr-14 15:48:22

Parenting hours - sahp may do more if they have preschool age children at home.
Parenting - a very different thing. I've done both and the parenting 'count' is the same when I've worked and when I haven't.
And cuddle count - apart from it being quality not quantity, it is effortless to make up the cuddle count when you come back from work! Undoubtedly so!
I know some sahp who don't have much quality time with their children, and some wohp who do. I also think of parenting (and I have to, as a single parent) as putting a roof over their head and food on the table.
Whether we work outside of the home or not, we are all full-time parents. Working or staying at home do not make us better parents alone, and are not objective deciding factors in your children's wellbeing.

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 15:48:27

With 2 children in full time education I think I do the same amount + work as the SAHP who lives over the road from me (also with 2 children in full time education).

The only thing she does extra to me is that she does the school run, but I do the childcare run - and her kids are out playing in our street from half 3 to 5, but mine are playing at the after school club.

All the 'home tasks' she does between 9 and 3, I have to do when the kid day have gone to bed.

The lady next door to me has 3 children, two are not at school yet - I do nowhere near the amount of things she does when I am at work. She works much harder than me.

GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 15:49:04

<applauds Bluebell>

Well said

smartypants1000 Sat 19-Apr-14 15:49:04

Not everyone with school age children sends them to school.

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 15:50:00

*when the kids have gone to bed, (sorry)

outtheothersidefinally Sat 19-Apr-14 15:50:35

Well said mrsbucket and bluebell

GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 15:50:35

Home Ed is still quite niche though, lets be honest @ smartypants (not being snidey - I considered it one stage for my DS with SN)

mind you, I am talking theoretically, anyway. I dont know a single woman with school age children and no under fives at home that doesnt work in some capacity.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 15:52:07

But mrsbucket if a father only saw their child at weekends, would you say they're an equal parent to the mum who has done everything all week? Many people do not feel this is the case but many working mothers do feel they can say they're an equal parent with any other mother even though they aren't there most of the time.

So many people also say that nursery was better for their children as they do more with them, like that fact is out of their hands. I understand that some people aren'tthat way iinclined, some parents aren't physically or mentally able and so on, but doing fun things with your children can cost little.

mercibucket Sat 19-Apr-14 15:55:31

sahp to preschoolers and sahp to school age (who go to school!) are 2 different things

and 'work' is an elastic concept

i work part time. worst and best of all worlds imo

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 15:55:56

so im less of a parent cause i work.

words fail me hmm

i have done both and i do more now i work. hubby works long hours so i have work and everything else and parenting on top. being a sahm was a doddle for me i did lots of activities groups etc.

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 15:56:27

i work full time now btw

LoonvanBoon Sat 19-Apr-14 15:56:44

YANBU. There may well be the same amount of housework (though in my experience the house stays cleaner for much longer when everyone's out in the day), but if you're a WOHM you're obviously not looking after your child all day, or doing the extra work that entails.

The extra work includes preparing, cooking & clearing up after more meals (lunches at home) as well as the obvious nappy changing etc.

I agree too that to suggest that looking after children doesn't count as work in any way devalues the importance of childcare both in the home & as a profession.

Re. housework, I think that if you're WOH full-time (& have a partner) then you shouldn't be doing as much housework as most SAHMs because it should be shared equally with your DP/DH.

I hate the threads where SAHMs & WOHMs seem to be fighting over who has the hardest life - it can get a bit martyrish on both sides, & sounds as if there are a lot of men out there getting one hell of an easy ride.

shrunkenhead Sat 19-Apr-14 15:58:20

Well put, sampanther.

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 15:59:31

I said fulltime in my OP Jinsei so I'm presuming 9-5 plus travel time which in my case meant I was away from 7.45 until 6 p.m. I know for many fulltime working parents it's longer.

Yes, you're assuming, and that is why yabu. I have always worked FT, and in fairly senior roles since having dd. Why would you assume otherwise?

Not all ft roles are 9-5 and not all wohps have long commutes. I have always arranged my life so that I don't have more than a five minute journey to work. And thanks to flexible working, I have been able to do a lot of my work after dd goes to bed at night.

I know plenty of ft wohps who work flexibly around the needs of their kids. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number I know who are out from 7.45am to 6pm, 5 days a week. It isn't the norm among people I know.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 16:01:24

Once they are at school, though...SAHMS are surely having an easy ride?

Not many of those about though, are there? Except for parents of children with disabilities, maybe.

Bannakaffalatta Sat 19-Apr-14 16:01:45

I agree with the opinion that sahp with school age children have it easy. Especially the ones who also have a cleaner and gardener and someone to do their ironing and supermarket deliveries etc. Many I know have a great time going to the gym and having lunch.

Obviously being at home with 3 preschoolers is v different.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 16:04:32

mind you, I am talking theoretically, anyway. I dont know a single woman with school age children and no under fives at home that doesnt work in some capacity.

Me neither

LoonvanBoon Sat 19-Apr-14 16:07:12

I definitely don't think that working full time with young children makes you less of a parent, though. That's an awful thing to suggest.

Have just always been a bit baffled by the claims on some threads that WOHMs do EVERYTHING that SAHMs do on top of working. Or that childcare isn't work (unless it's a non-parent doing it).

And I'm even more baffled that anyone would actually aspire to winning a who-works-the-hardest competition, which is how it has sounded on a couple of threads I've seen. Though if there was one, IME single parents would have to be the winners.

Custardo Sat 19-Apr-14 16:09:29

i got childcare help very rarely. either dh or i were looking after our kids - am i better than you now?

do i win a gold star

tantamount to women on women hate crimes these threads,

rollonthesummer Sat 19-Apr-14 16:09:42

mind you, I am talking theoretically, anyway. I dont know a single woman with school age children and no under fives at home that doesnt work in some capacity.

I know lots!

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 16:11:45

Maybe that's the cross purpose that people are arguing at then?

I am a full time working parent - I always have been. When I am taking umbrage at a SAHP suggesting that I don't 'do what they do and work', it pisses me off.

Is it because I am talking from the viewpoint of being a mum to children in full time education, whilst the other person is talking from the viewpoint of having 2 under 3 who are at home all day?


flipchart Sat 19-Apr-14 16:11:47

I don't know what other people do and I don't care.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:15:14

LoonvanBoon I'm not saying that it's a fact that working makes you less of a parent, but that IS how I feel/felt personally. Riding out days of teething and tantrumming feels like parenting, as did randomly deciding to go to the park for icecream after school. Collecting them from childcare and knowing there's only an hour to deal with of however they are, then a day of peace from them at work the following day even if they have a restless night felt much much easier to me.

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 16:19:04

mind you, I am talking theoretically, anyway. I dont know a single woman with school age children and no under fives at home that doesnt work in some capacity.

I know lots. smile

aprilanne Sat 19-Apr-14 16:19:08

yes chaz/ba .looking after a severly disabled child is a lot harder .especially one where no school placement found so home schooled .does this make me a better parent than a working mother .probably not .because i suppose we all do our best .in the circumstances life throws at us .

Lilithmoon Sat 19-Apr-14 16:20:20

So of it is true for you it must be true for every single parent out there?
What is the purpose of this thread OP?
Seems to me you just want a bunfight.

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 16:21:30

Sampanther, are you saying that a SAHP to children who are at school full time is doing as much as a working parent?

That the working parent is not doing the same as that parent + work?

If so, then that is crap.

However, I would agree with the notion that the SAHP of under school age children is doing more day to day childcare than the working parent of under school age children.

Teeb Sat 19-Apr-14 16:22:24

The thing is being a parent in that sense sampanther is a very narrow window but it can have a long lasting impact upon your future as a woman. Every woman will make their own decision, and I fundamentally feel that whichever choice they make is theirs and right for them, so it's none of my business. The most important thing is that it's an informed choice.

If you want to judge others for their choices being less worthy and valid than yours then that's your call.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:27:49

No Monica, I said upthread that I personally don't know any SAHP of school aged children, so am referring to parents of children under school age.

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 16:30:06

maybe im a lazy mom but last summer i got a tan a read loads of books while the kids played outside, and i did all my housework etc.

even with tantums and activities which are fun anyway.

how is this more work, than a stressful workday and seeing my kids for an hour or so a day

Bannakaffalatta Sat 19-Apr-14 16:30:42

Most of the women I know with school age children don't work. Depends on your experience. I wish this wasn't the case TBH.

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 16:31:13

"I would agree with the notion that SAHP of under school age Children <is>doing more day to day childcare than the working parent"

That makes total sense - its the idea that 12 hours a day = better parent whereas 4 hours a day = crap parent.
Many parents are not ashamed to admit that WOH makes them <better parents>

Does your DP/DH know that you don't consider him/her an equal parent then Sampanther shock

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 16:31:23

Sorry Sam, I didn't see that.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:32:07

Teeb I don't wish to judge at all. At the time I worked I was a single parent. Now I have no option but to be a SAHM because dp works long hours, earns too much toqqualify for help with childcare, we have no family support and the nearest place I could earn enough to cover childcare is over an hour away, meaning I'd be unable to get back in time for when after school club finishes. I worry about what'll happen when all my dc are at school as I have a fantastic degree but no experience or training and I'll still be in the same predicament of not being able to travel for work.

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 16:34:59

Does your DP/DH know that you don't consider him/her an equal parent then Sampanther shock


Teeb Sat 19-Apr-14 16:35:08

I'm not saying that it's a fact that working makes you less of a parent, but that IS how I feel/felt personally.

No judgement?

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:35:48

Yes he does MrsCripps and he agrees. He sees the children for four hours at very most during the week, during which time he doesn't change nappies or do homework or wash hair because they want me becausethey see so llittle of him. There's no way he or I could say the children would be equally happy with him as with me as he simply doesn't know them as well.

Teeb Sat 19-Apr-14 16:37:07

You seem to have very narrow ideas about gender roles, what full time work seems to mean etc, when all you really wanted was an audience of people here on mumsnet to give you a pat on the back and validate that your choices are right and trump all others.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:37:24

mrsbucket newborns and toddlers don't tend to self-entertain while I tan and read...

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 16:37:36

thats terrible shock

you should include him more they need a male and female role models not a distant father who does fuck all

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 16:38:14

mine where two and three not newborns

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:38:30

I've already said Teeb that I haven't had a choice, so I'm hardly looking for validation

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 16:38:33

No she doesn't teeb, she is just talking about how it happens in her house, NOT saying roles SHOULD be gender determined.

mrsbucketxx Sat 19-Apr-14 16:38:57

i would let a baby in the garden in hot weather either. not safe at all.

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Sat 19-Apr-14 16:39:07

I have a similar thread but discussing word play of what is work going. This is interesting. But, several posters seem to think you are criticising one or the other. Tbh I've lost track but I wasn't sure you were. More the terminology?

Teeb Sat 19-Apr-14 16:40:01

If you did have a choice would you want to be working?

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:40:20

How, precisely, mrsbucket? His hours are the nature of his career.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 16:40:28

I think some people are just determined to feel criticized TBH Sunny

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Sat 19-Apr-14 16:40:43

Question though which age kids do you mean?

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:41:25

I would want to have the option to Teeb, especially once they're all school age

Thetallesttower Sat 19-Apr-14 16:42:04

I think what this phrase gets at is that say the paperwork and bills take just as long for every household, so if you SAH you might count that as 'work' (in those ridiculous lists) but if you WOHM it's not in your job descrption. Ditto washing, drying and folding clothes, it doesn't make any difference where the children are all day, they require the same laundry and so on. Hands on care is quite different.

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Sat 19-Apr-14 16:42:10

Fide, yeah tis wot I was wondering...

RhondaJean Sat 19-Apr-14 16:43:12

Going back to the original question

I know some sahms who do absolutely minimal parenting. I know some WOHMs who do loads of parenting in the time they are with their children.

I think we make a mistake to think that just because you are with your children you are actively parenting. Flinging some fish fingers on a plate, changing a nappy and retreating to your bedroom with a book while the children draw on the walls (yes someone I know) isn't parenting at all.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 19-Apr-14 16:43:18

Oh my goodness, we really have plumbed to the depths of Ginger Rogers who "Did it BACKWARDS and in HIGH HEELS"...

Are we really such stupid sex as to constantly have to compete with each other in such a meaningless and pointed way? What does anybody actually get out of this? shocksad

MissMalonex2 Sat 19-Apr-14 16:43:32

I work during school hours. Outside of school hours I parent, cook, clean, food shop etc. compared to the SAHMs at my kids school who have school aged kids, I miss out on the gym, coffees and lunching...

Thetallesttower Sat 19-Apr-14 16:45:47

Having said that, properly looking after a home, keeping it clean, laundry done, home-cooked food, car and garage managed plus bills is a big job. I do fail to do it properly alongside WOH so it's not like I am belittling it, just pointing out that much of this stuff is fixed in terms of time and energy and isn't outsourced if you send your children to nursery.

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 19-Apr-14 16:46:36

Nice to see you are excluding your partner from parenting even when he is present, Sam.

And you sound a teeny bit proud of the fact. Most unedifying. For the sake of his relationship with his children, you really should leave them with him to form some bonds now and again. Very silly to cement yourself as the 'one true parent that can' and exclude him from childcare at this point. Their relationships will be better in the long run if you back off and let him change some nappies and look after them. Why not piss off out when he's present for a bit? Find something else to do other than luxuriate in the 'proof' that you are a better parent because your kids don't know their dad very well? I'd be seeing that as a problem to fix, not proof that your sahm status makes you better than a wohm (or wohd) tbh.

Yes, I do have three kids, two sn (one with physical disability), have spent time as both sahm and wohm.

You sound like an ex-smoker, really. Full of self-righteousness at other people's expense. Yuk.

cardibach Sat 19-Apr-14 16:46:47

a day of peace at work Sampanther? You obviously haven't done my job (secondary teacher)! I don't have time to eat/wee either.
It is annoying when women attack each other like this and suggest, as you have, that those who work are lesser parents. I am a single parent, so I have always worked full time. Does this mean, by your logic, that DD has no real parents? I mean, neither of her parents spent all day with her when she was pre-school...She's 18 now and a credit to her parents, I'd say. And I'd also say we owe a debt of thanks to her nursery staff and teachers, as will you when your children go to school.
You started this thread, I think, to get people to say that WOHP were not as good parents as SAHP, and that is despicable.

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 16:47:35

Gosh well that is a very sad situation then Sampanther
Can your DH change his commute or hours at all ?
Very tough on you as well flowers

mouse26 Sat 19-Apr-14 16:48:01

Why do you care though? I work full time yet still do most of those things when its the weekend or I have time off work. So does my dp. Regardless of whether you work or not, we all do generally the same things at home, there's always cleaning to be done, children to be cares for and people to be fed and we all fit it in as best we can.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:48:22

I appreciate not all jobs are the same, but during dps working week he gets to have three tea breaks an an uninterrupted hours lunch break each day. He gets to have social events and exercise socially, he can nip out to run errands such as posting a parcel, he can phone up to pay a bill, he can reply to un-work related emails etc. I can't do any of these things without company and hassle of small children plus the guilt that comes with knowing they'd rather be playing than queuing at the post office. Dp can do what he likes without ever feelingguilty about what the cchildren are doing. Similarly, when I worked I found iy easy to put out of mymind wwhat the children may or may not be up to or need.

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 19-Apr-14 16:48:25

And his agreement that he's quite happy to back off and let you do all the childcare, bathing, nappy changing sounds like bog standard male abdication of shit-work, tbh, not validation of your role in any sense.

He really needs to step up and parent. And you really need to let him.

MrsBungle Sat 19-Apr-14 16:49:31

I always find these threads pointless and meaningles. Usually, it seems they're started for a bun fight in my opinion. I couldn't give a shit how much or little parenting or housework either myself or dh does. We do what suits us and our family.

janey68 Sat 19-Apr-14 16:51:27

Oh not this old chestnut.
What does it matter? Some WOHP probably do a lot more than some SAHP and vice versa. Some people do a lot more round the house than others out of choice. Some people take their children out more than others. Some talk to them more than others. Some play more than others.

Stop trying to turn it into a competition.

MrsBungle Sat 19-Apr-14 16:51:51

Lol, I could give a shit how much parenting myself and dh do, it's other folks opinions about it that I don't care about!

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 19-Apr-14 16:51:59

Lol, it gets better. He has such an easy day at work, and still doesn't get to do any nappy changing when he's at home. grin

He must be laughing all the way to the 1950s, even whilst he's mopping poor Sam's flustered brow and whispering soothing words about what a great job she's doing, and isn't it sad the kids don't know him very well... And building up her self esteem so that she carries on doing it!

Great work, mr panther! And great work at enabling that abdication of responsibility and willing assumption of the crap jobs, sam!

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 16:52:11

Sampanther you don't sound happy at all and very resentful of your DP.
Stop taking out your feelings on WOHP to make yourself feel better and look at your life and how you can change it -please, for sake of your DC.

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 19-Apr-14 16:52:58

(Not that I'm saying nappy changing and bathing kids are crap jobs, in essence, but the alarming monotony of the same does mean that sharing this role is much better for both parents and children grin. )

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:53:52

I'm not excluding him madwoman, nor is he shirking. When there's limited time together, I'd rather - for example - the toddler gets to have fun playing with daddy than scream the entire evening because daddy doesn't know she likes her peas separate from her mash, her milk through a straw but water in a cup and so on.

RhondaJean Sat 19-Apr-14 16:54:39

Well Sam if he cut the tea breaks and took half SN hour for lunch like I do at work, he could be home about an hour and a quarter earlier each day, giving him 6 more hours a week to actually get to know his children and thus meaning you don't need to martyr yourself on the wheel of irreplacability?

All without reducing his actual time working or the amount he could achieve.

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:57:24

MrsCripps I honestly don't resent him, I was just making a point. I appreciate he earns for us all and he appreciates he couldn't do that without me and appreciates all that I do. I did find personally that working was easier though

Sampanther Sat 19-Apr-14 16:58:24

Rhonda he's on shift work and hours can't change like that

stopgap Sat 19-Apr-14 17:01:58

YANBU. My husband is out of the house for 13/14 hours a day (long commute, long hours) and to suggest that his role as a parent is equal to mine is silly. I obviously do far more of the donkey work during the week, though he is very hands-on at the weekends. Our children love him just the same.

I am very fortunate, in that I was able to work freelance at home after DS1, and suspect I'll do the same when DS2 is in preschool, but for now, I am a SAHP and I do consider it my job (and in many ways it's a lot more challenging than my line of paid employment).

cardibach Sat 19-Apr-14 17:03:20

You think WOHP don't have any guilt?
Says it all.

redskyatnight Sat 19-Apr-14 17:06:50

As is always the case with these situations, it's never as simple as SAHP vs WOHP. When DS was little he used to go to bed at 8pm, be up at 5am and generally a couple of times in the night as well. And he scarcely slept in the daytime - an hour if I was lucky. At this time I worked part time and DS was in childcare from 8am-1pm. So I looked after him for 3 hours prior to dropping him off, and 7 hours after picking him up (his nap was always while he was at childcare), plus doing the night wakings. DH worked away a lot or was home late.

At this time I was friends with a SAHM with a similar aged child. Her child slept 7-7, only waking if ill and had a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day. And her DH was often about and helpful during days (worked shifts) and her mum took the DC at least one afternoon a week.

Hard to argue that I didn't do all the SAHM did as well as my part time job.

MrsLindor Sat 19-Apr-14 17:09:09

I agree that this phrase covers those jobs that have to be done in every household regardless of whether anyone works outside the home or not.
The washing, ironing, food shopping, cooking, cleaning etc.

I do get the impression some SAHPs think we all have cleaners.

Some also think that we sit around all day drinking tea, chatting and taking lunch hours, if anyone knows of a job like that please let me know.

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 17:10:34

Yes he does MrsCripps and he agrees. He sees the children for four hours at very most during the week, during which time he doesn't change nappies or do homework or wash hair because they want me because they see so llittle of him. There's no way he or I could say the children would be equally happy with him as with me as he simply doesn't know them as well.

How terribly sad. I would hate to live like this.

Thetallesttower Sat 19-Apr-14 17:12:34

Three tea-breaks plus an hour off for lunch?!

You can tell that's not a WOH mum like me with no back up at home.

I do my work extra fast to get home so I can do all the other household stuff/do the pick up some days.

It may be true if you have a SAH parent who does everything else you go a little slower, if I know I've got help one evening in the week, I do stay later and take my time a bit more.

allhailqueenmab Sat 19-Apr-14 17:13:21

Grassissinging, you put it all so well. and I wish you the utmost enjoyment in your cuppas next week.

I agree with everyone who has said "it's not a competition" "the problem is this relentless comparison" etc.

BUT, except in exceptional cases, the life of a WOH non-parent-non-carer, AND the life of a SAHM of a T child, do include downtime that in the life of a WOHM just get swallowed up. Yes, my child minder is physically with my children when I am not (and she is ace and works bloody hard, far harder than my P did when he was SAHD). But she doesn't do school admin, doesn't agonise about that weird rash on the back of the neck, doesn't do night terrors, doesn't mend or buy clothes or do packed lunches, etc etc etc. If I didn't have children I would consider myself knackered when I get back from work after a 12 or 13 hour day. As I do, the next shift is just starting. No breaks at work, either, or I will stay there longer which I can't afford.

I took a week off to potty train dd2. It isn't the job of the CM or the preschool to run around with a potty for the days it took to get it sort of bedded in (fingers crossed). I potty trained dd1 on mat leave with dd2 and hardly noticed the effort. I was there all the time anyway, it was just part of the job.

So part of the Thing of being a WOHM is fitting everything in. Life is an intricate mosaic in which no sliver of time, however weirdly shaped and pointy at one end, can be left unused, without something wedged into it. So that is draining in itself - not just the doing, but the mental puzzle of completing the mosaic so that every 24 hours somehow holds together with all the shards fitted in and staying in place.

Similarly, when I was on maternity leave it was bloody hard work but at least I could zone out when the dcs finally went to sleep. (Also - another point about the CM - with both my dcs, the children I handed over to them were cheerful, communicative 10 - 12 months' olds, happily in a routine, and eating a wide range of normal, easily prepared foods - the job of turning a mewling alien who lives on the breast and screams inexplicably and randomly into a child with a bed time, nap times, and meal times, was mine, all mine, lucky me) (actualy I take that back, it was probably more that the job was living with the alien until it turned into that child)

You may pick up that I keep saying WOHM and not WOHP. It's a gross generalisation but dads just don't do as much, even when they are officially SAHP. I am kind of embittered right now but I still remember being really upset on my first day back after maternity leave when I came home and there was no dinner for me and nothing for me to eat. I had made dinner for the 4 of us every night when I was on maternity leave, starting with a 1 week old baby. Every single night there was something even if it was Fruits of the Freezer and we sat down and ate it at the table. The first day I went back to work and left the dcs with their new SAHD he texted me on the train with a picture of the beautiful feta and tomato tart he had made. I had no idea that in the 20 minutes it would take me to get home, he and the dcs were going to demolish THE LOT. Every scrap. That picture was cruel - showing off "look I can cook" (oh you mean you can throw food on a sheet of bought pastry, well, fair enough, you have a toddler running rampage and a baby entering evil hour, I get it) but not saving me ONE PIECE?

Blackmouse Sat 19-Apr-14 17:15:17


RhondaJean Sat 19-Apr-14 17:22:20

So he's on shift work which means some shifts he is around the house more than four hours in a week surely?

I can never figure out whether these situations are caused by men who want nothing to do with family life while coming home to a comfy house and a cooked meal, or women who want to think no one else can look after their children they way they can to validate their life choices.

BluebellTuesday Sat 19-Apr-14 17:24:44

I don't want to make this about the OP's situation, but seriously, if you are saying that you find being a SAHM with a partner harder than when you were a single parent working with DC, the issue is the balance of responsibility in your r/s, not other women's work choices.

The DC dad should know what DC like to eat etc, that is not rocket science. You sound like you are single parenting but with someone else bringing in the money; but at the same time losing your own earning potential.

Agree with previous posters who say the issue is not SAH vs WOH but the overall gender balance of responsibility. Your situation is almost an epitome of that.

This thread is starting to remind me of another. The OP of that thread had given up a promising career to be a SAHM and felt that nobody appreciated the sacrifice she had made. OP does your DH understand your concerns about your own career? Does he really appreciate the choice you have made and the benefits to him?

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 17:28:04

I think that there seem to be 2 different definitions of parenting here.

Doing all the hands on wiping, playing, cleaning etc is parenting but then so is working to provide for your DC, making decisions about their care, schools, instilling morals and values etc.

I gave birth and BF my DC - my DP would be horrified if I considered him less of a parent to our DC. The roles don't always have to be the same but I think his WOH to provide for us so that I could SAH on Mat leave to BF makes us equal parents and thank goodness my DC feel the same.

BluebellTuesday Sat 19-Apr-14 17:28:09

Also think OP that you are judging other women's work days on your DP possibly. I am another who can work flexibly for some of the time and have spent many an early morning working before DC get up or after they have gone to bed.

GoblinLittleOwl Sat 19-Apr-14 17:31:53

Stay at home parents do more hands-on parenting when the children are small, before they go to school; working parents feel more stressed because if they are at home they feel guilty about work, and at work guilty about neglecting children, but as somebody said: does it matter? It isn't a competition, and most parents, whatever their lifestyle, work extremely hard at childcare and career.

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 17:35:30

I think that happens a lot on these threads Bluebell

Im a WOHP as is DP who has never used childcare, always had a parent at schoolgate,plays etc but the assumption is if you WOH you must have a long commute, long hours in childcare etc

Most of the parents I know have flexibility, share roles etc.

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 17:36:54

at work guilty about neglecting children
Nope not a moments guilt here.

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 17:40:15

Also its a bit of a misnomer that only SAHM do most of the hands on childcare when they are little.
If you have 3 close together then you get 3 x mat leave.
In my case I had 3 year long periods at home (paid!) when mine were little - the eldest child obviously benefits the most !

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 17:43:23

I feel no guilt either. Nothing to feel guilty about.

GoAheadMakeMyDay Sat 19-Apr-14 17:44:39

I've refrained from asking this on the million other threads with this theme but who really gives a shit?

The only thing that most WOHP don't do is the day entertaining. Everything else with the house and kids still has to be done. One isn't better than the other as a rule, it all boils down to what suits you as a family. Both are just doing the very best that they can.

Women and it is mostly the women need to stop putting each other down it's ridiculous, pointless and juvenile.

JackShit Sat 19-Apr-14 17:47:09

I sah with now 4yo DD, plus since she turned six weeks I've worked 30 hours on top in the evening/night time in a high pressure role, getting in at 2/3/4 am and then up early with DD.

What does that make me? Fucking tired grin

Seriously though, the moaning and martyrdom of sahms who don't have to deal with the added stress of bringing in a wage really grips my shit hmm

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 17:48:51

Well that was a charming and helpful contribution Shit

gordyslovesheep Sat 19-Apr-14 17:49:28

yes I had 3 lots of year long mat leave ...and feel no guilt whatsoever!

MiscellaneousAssortment Sat 19-Apr-14 17:51:46

I agree with AllHailQueenMab

"part of the Thing of being a WOHM is fitting everything in. Life is an intricate mosaic in which no sliver of time, however weirdly shaped and pointy at one end, can be left unused, without something wedged into it. So that is draining in itself - not just the doing, but the mental puzzle of completing the mosaic so that every 24 hours somehow holds together with all the shards fitted in and staying in place."

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 17:54:46

I am a sahm of 22 years and I don't think I have worked more or less in general to anybody else.
The problem quite often is that people don't realise what you do and think everybody fits into neat little categories. I mean this for both sahp and wohp.
There are a few sahps I know who H.ed their dc and like in my case help their dh in their business etc. I am not equating this to a full time job because some times we are lazy buggers who do nothing much at all, other than the necessary, the same I suppose for a wohp on a day off.
We are all still sahps though because we don't go out to work nor do we receive a wage.
This is just one example I am aware of, because I fall into this category. However, unless I explain this quite often I am met with shock at being a sahm of 22 years and presumed to be lazy.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 17:57:06

"part of the Thing of being a WOHM is fitting everything in"

Wheras the pressures of SAHMdom are often supertight budgeting, making things from scratch and boredom.

I've done both, now I freelance and the pressures are avoiding distractions, making my safe unavailable for domestic nonsense in work hours and a wildly fluctuating cashflow.

Swings and roundabouts. Highs and lows. Horse for courses. This oneupmanship is very dull.

MiscellaneousAssortment Sat 19-Apr-14 17:58:21

I also find the relentless comparison and adversarial one up man ship is such a miserable thing. Why do we have to assign a rating for each persons life and brownie points for who has it harder?!

(btw I am a disabled single working mother of a preschooler who may/may not also be disabled. I'd say people in my situation or parents caring for children with sn have the worst deal, and work relentlessly, grindingly hard. strangely, i don't often see us joining in the relentless 'I do more' battles. I wonder why?)

Bambamb Sat 19-Apr-14 18:10:47

I'm on mat leave at the moment and LOVING it. I'm dreading going back to work because I remember how hard it was trying to juggle everything when I was working (have 2 DC).

Being a temporary SAHM means I have time to get the house work done, make dinner for a reasonable time, go to an exercise class in the evening without feeling too tired to move, have breakfast with my DC every day, keep on top of the admin, do reading etc with my DS. It's wonderful, I feel relaxed and confident that I can fit it all in.

Once I go back to work its over. I will attempt to fit all that in around my work hours and will never feel satisfied that I'm achieving any of it to the standard that I would like.

Oopssaidtoomuch Sat 19-Apr-14 18:14:19

I'm still a SAHM.

My younger two are in Primary. The school day is over by 3pm. 6 hours is not long enough for me to go back to viable employment. If I use Afterschool care at their school it needs to be full time - and I'm not prepared to put my kids into full time after school care.
Coupled with that all 4 kids are on holiday for 14 weeks of the year - I can't afford that much holiday care.

I am so fed up with people putting me down as a SAHM, everyone makes their own choices. But I'm regularly offered jobs that I don't want because people can't seem to accept that I don't want to work. I like being there when my kids come home from school - even the teenagers. I do get some time to myself during the day, but most of my day is focused on the needs of my family.

Most of the working mums I know manage to work round their kids- and I don't think the kids are short-changed.

Only one mum I know puts her career before the needs of her kids. She uses a lot of childcare - even when they're on family holidays. I think the lack of parental input will be very telling in the teenage years. In my view -it's in the early years - right through primary - that you can build the bonds that get you through the teenage years.

sherazade Sat 19-Apr-14 18:16:58

It largely depends on the age of your dc and the nature of your job and your working hours. As a teacher whose (ages 7 and 9) dc attend the same school I work in, I feel I do what SAHMs do plus work with regards to my children. My parenting hours are the same as a SAHM. My dc come with me to work an hour earlier and make themselves busy in my classroom until the bell goes. It's the same after school.

butterflyroom Sat 19-Apr-14 18:17:14

Bloody we go AGAIN!

Goblinchild Sat 19-Apr-14 18:17:32

I was a WOTH parent. I'd have loved being a SAHP.
I'm marrying for money in my next incarnation. grin

coolcookie Sat 19-Apr-14 18:28:07

Working parents do most things a sahm does bar childcare whilst working. Unless you are a childminder of course.

JackShit Sat 19-Apr-14 18:29:41

fidelineish - I was merely pointing out that some of us do BOTH.

oops I have teenagers

I've worked FT since they were 6 months old.

Trust me, our "bond" is just fine. And they are both pretty amazing.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 18:36:03

Seriously though, the moaning and martyrdom of sahms who don't have to deal with the added stress of bringing in a wage really grips my shit

Oh is that what this^ was Shit? Sounded pointlessly inflammatory to me <shrugs>

JackShit Sat 19-Apr-14 18:38:04

Fine. You don't understand.

FaFoutis Sat 19-Apr-14 18:39:25

I am with JackShit, I do both. I work from home (evenings and nights) and have 3 young DC.

The stress is hideous and I have little in common with SAHM because of it.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 18:40:01

I don't understand the need for your rudeness? You're right. I don't.

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 18:40:12

Been there as well Jack
Its hard doing a full day with young DC and then a night shift!

BUT I didn't have to try and get back into working after a period out and I kept all my accrued benefits.

coolcookie Sat 19-Apr-14 18:41:36

Not read whole thread but sam are you me?
I have a dh who does 12 to 13 hour days but has probably only change 10 nappies in 18 months. Most of those when I was recovering from csection and on a work conference. I am self employed very part time. Never does bedtime with 3rd (except 1 night) and bathtime with all 3.
We have just been on holiday for a week and I spent whole time runing round after toddler whilst he got to do fun stuff with older kids like cabaret etc.
Dd in particular gets upset with him but even older two come to me.
If I wohm full time it would hopefully be more balance d in the holidays but it isn't finly viable at moment.

coolcookie Sat 19-Apr-14 18:42:18

O and the reason why dd wants me is because I am still breastfeeding.

JackShit Sat 19-Apr-14 18:44:21

Thanks FaFoutis and MrsCripps.

I'm sorry if my post offended, but these types if threads/debates are so galling.

In truth I would have loved to have had that choice to just be a sahm and not be so dog tired I feel like my eyes are bleeding, but financially we just can't do it.

I wish some people would appreciate their circumstsnces a little more perhaps.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 18:50:02

The grass is always greener Shit. It would help so much if we could keep these threads at least vaguely respectful.

sarinka Sat 19-Apr-14 18:51:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hm32 Sat 19-Apr-14 18:53:59

Having recently been a WOHM, and now SAHM, I was thinking about this today. I was wondering when I'd have had the time to tidy up 101 times, wash the floor, do the endless loads of washing etc. Then I thought - well , I DID have time somehow.

And it occurred to me that there was less mess because DS wasn't at home, less food around because he was eating it elsewhere, less changes of clothing for me because his sticky hands/whatever ended up on someone else. It wasn't me who taught him to say 'Thank you' or to queue nicely in shops - I reinforced it, but someone else did the bulk of the work as I simply wasn't there.

katese11 Sat 19-Apr-14 18:57:13

YANBU but I find the bedtime hour is harder work if they've been in childcare all day than if they've been home. It's like they use up all their reasonableness at nursery and save the horridness for me!

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 18:59:24

I think I must be reading a different thread confused

RufusTheReindeer Sat 19-Apr-14 19:00:58

The average WOHM of pre school children does not do what the average SAHM of pre school children does (and work)

The average WOHM of school children DOES do what the average SAHM of school children does AND works

Most of us are not average, but we all do what we feel is best for our families

FaFoutis Sat 19-Apr-14 19:05:47

The thing is, fidelineish, there is no grass for those of us who do both.

Does anyone really wish they stayed at home looking after toddlers all day and then worked into the early hours?

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 19:06:19

"The grass is always greener"
Umm Jack is SAH and WOH - both in the same day .
When you/me are settling down to an evening of TV she is going out to do another days work !!

I did this for a short while and it was a killer !
She has no choice so cut her some slack ??? and think yourself bloody lucky you don't have to do it .

Dozer Sat 19-Apr-14 19:10:14

The main difference is obviously childcare hours. Domestic workload is similar, more tidying and possibly cooking for SAHMs with small DC, but maybe less washing / ironing (workwear).

"finding time for professional development" - hollow laugh!

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 19:16:06

I did this for a short while and it was a killer! She has no choice so cut her some slack ??? and think yourself bloody lucky you don't have to do it

I did have to do it when I was a single mum (7.30pm to 1.30am from home) but I'm pretty sure being rude to other people wouldn't have helped me, shattered though I was. People all do what they feel they have to do, why all the bitchiness?

I'm also more than a bit confused that some people seem to think this thread is full of SAHM martyrdom. Where?

Oopssaidtoomuch Sat 19-Apr-14 19:18:37

Tantrumsandballoons- reread my post. I was referring to one particular friend. I clearly said I thought my other friends who WOHM do a good job of combining being a mum and working. One friend puts her kids into childcare at every opportunity - I think there will be a price to pay.

RufusTheReindeer Sat 19-Apr-14 19:20:09


I thought that was just me (couldn't understand where the martyr comments were and couldn't be bothered to reread) it's been very restrained.

And actually I know some SAHMs who had a shitty awful time until they went back to work

Goblinchild Sat 19-Apr-14 19:26:54

Well, I suppose one of the downsides for a SAHM is when they try and get back into the workplace and usually find that there are no jobs they can just pop back into. Or that the job they thought they knew has moved on considerably in a couple of years and their knowledge is obsolete.
There are a lot of threads on that on MN.
Parenting is never easy, however you choose to handle it, but most people put their children first. Whatever form that takes.

RufusTheReindeer Sat 19-Apr-14 19:28:08

Very true goblin

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 19:29:33

The Martyr comments came from the OP stating unless she had a hard time with a teething child etc etc she didn't feel she was actually a proper parent and those who WOH clearly weren't proper parents unless they had been through the hard time she had.
The OP has moved on from this and clearly her DP is either not pulling his weight when at home or the OP doesn't want him to.
Either way the Dc are not benefitting from the care of two parents.sad

Jack is in an unusual position in that she is SAH and WOHM - its really hard and she has lashed out at SAHM who do the whole "its sooo haaaard" thing because she is doing their role and WOH - she is tired and stressed and would love to just SAH- not that difficult to understand.
She has apologised so maybe time to let it go?

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 19:32:25

All this whom same stuff really gets me down. People use it to tell me I'm lazy and irresponsible. Because they tell me this I feel so incredibly guilty about the feeling of tiredness I get.

Do is at school but dd2 is at home with Dh so the house is never as I left it. Dh obviously changes more nappies than me and supervises more lunches and school runs but I still cook, clean, sort out bills, iron etc. I don't sleep well and worry that one day I'll be the subject of a MN thread about a do who doesn't pull their weight yet I feel I've reached the point where I feel incapable of doing any more. Before anyone else says it I do realise that normal people manage it and I'm just useless. I get a half hour break at work but supervisors are generally on your back for being 'irresponsible' and taking it so it's hardly relaxing.

CrimeaRiver Sat 19-Apr-14 19:41:11

I do wonder whether these sorts of threads are started by people who preferred life without children. Or who want the joy of children without the struggles. I don't know why some people think that having and raising children shouldn't be hard.

ModreB Sat 19-Apr-14 19:41:13

I have been a SAHM and a WOHM. Big age difference between DC1 & 2 and DC3. DH and I did the same amount of parenting with DC3 as we did with DC1 & 2, just at different times and different intensity. We now have 3 DC's who are wonderful adults (and nearly adult).

I also come from a family where women and mothers worked full time, every generation since my Great, Great Grandmother in 1870.

Who cares how you parent, as long as you parent, bring up your DC's to be confident and successful, and don't judge those who don't do the same as you?

GoAheadMakeMyDay Sat 19-Apr-14 19:45:04

You aren't useless. You sound a bit stressed out and quite clearly the not sleeping is taking it's toll but you aren't useless. You earn a living to support your family and you still do a whole lot more than that on top.

I'm a single part time WOHM, I've found that sorting out bills etc on my break at work helps take some of the load of at home. I also batch cook and freeze so that we're still having homemade meals but without the hassle of cooking on the days I work. I also iron as I wear quite a lot and once a month do all the rest. Juggle things about and try and find a balance that works for you better.

Most of all try and get your sleeping under control. It's true that things look a lot better after a good nights kip.

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 19:45:44

But people do care mod, there's always someone itching to tell you how crap you are, how horrible , irresponsible or whatever else is insult of the day. It's sole destroying.

sassysally Sat 19-Apr-14 19:47:00

I've done both and I think a lot depends on how many hours you work and age of children.Working full time with young children is by far far far the hardest thing.The morning is a whirlwind and the chaos is still there when you get home at 6 tir4ed with 2 tired hungry children and have to start on cleaniong up the breakfast things and making dinner

dementedma Sat 19-Apr-14 19:48:02

Hmmm, I have been full time sahm, part- time work/part time sahm, and full time wohm.
Now my Dcs are two adults and 1 teen, I think FOR ME, sahm was the most boring and wohm is the hardest. And yes, apart from the obvious one to one time for play doh and swimming and music and movement etc, I would say the wohm does what the sahm does plus a job. All the housework is fitted in around working hours and at the weekends, same with dentists, doctors etc except in emergencies in which case I take time out of work which has to be made up later.
Its all hard in its different ways and personally, I hated being stuck at home with little ones and found that hard too. Throw into the mix now looking g after elderly parents as well as working full time and as well as having one DC still in school and it would be a lot easier to be a sahm now. Don't really know what my point is......just my thoughts.
Sahm with little ones = hard
Sahm with Dcs in school = much easier than wohm

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 19-Apr-14 19:48:37

working parents don't do all the things that sahps do plus work
I do.
There's nothing a SAHP does, that I don't.
They just, probably, do it for more hours a week than I do.
When I'm working I pay someone to look after them. But I still do all our laundry, housework, day trips, school organising, doctors appointments, shopping, holiday booking.....
And no. There isn't less housework be ause they still have breakfast and supper and playtime at home everyday.
The only things factors that lead to doing less are having help such as a cleaner/ gardener. Also, the division of labour between DW and DH make a difference.
So everyone's circumstances are not the same.
And I'm sure most sahps work as hard as anyone else.
But YAbu. IMHO.
Because I do do all that I would do as a SAHP, plus work.

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 19:48:46

I only get 30 min break goahead and the shops etc are about 15 min away. I do what I can online when I get home or run about in the morning before a back shift.

LoonvanBoon Sat 19-Apr-14 19:48:50

Yes, it's shit, useless - though I've never personally come across this in RL. I wish modre's last sentence could be the final word on this on MN, though!

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 19:50:07

Oh fuck! That's soul not sole. I've lost the ability to spell.

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 19:50:45

In my view -it's in the early years - right through primary - that you can build the bonds that get you through the teenage years.

I agree with this completely, but I don't think sahms in general have better bonds with their dc than wohms (I know this wasn't what you were suggesting). There are so many factors that contribute to the relationships that we have with our kids - WOH/SAH is just a tiny and insignificant part of the picture.

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 19:51:14

Yes it should be loonvan. Unfortunately I've come across it in real life too.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 19:52:31

Jack is in an unusual position in that she is SAH and WOHM - its really hard and she has lashed out at SAHM who do the whole "its sooo haaaard" thing because she is doing their role and WOH - she is tired and stressed and would love to just SAH- not that difficult to understand.

Fine. But actually it's not that unusual and the sweeping suggestion that SAHMs were moaning and being martyrs wasn't actually true. That was all that attracted comment.

MacademiaNut Sat 19-Apr-14 19:53:17

I saw an ad recently for a weekend nanny. The family had 3 children under 4 and both worked FT and had a nanny but didn't at weekends. They wanted another nanny to help them have quality time at the weekend. It said that the children were all in a good feeding / sleeping routine despite the fact that only 1 was under a year old. I just thought this couple have no clue how to be with their DC if they need a nanny when there are 2 adults in the house all weekend.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 19-Apr-14 19:54:59

I think it's mainly. Housework issue.
And the reason that fathers aren't included in the descriptions of ppl doing the same whether SAHP or WOHP are because men, still in 2014, do less housework than women.
Being out of the house for 8 hours doesn't really reduce the housework.
You just have less time to doit when you're at work.

But I don't think being a SAHP is easy, especially with young DCs at home. It's a special kind of exhausting that my 3 and 1 yo have introduced me to.

allhailqueenmab Sat 19-Apr-14 19:55:54

I agree that everyone should moderate their scathingness towards other women on threads like this. Walk a mile in the other woman's shoes, etc etc. BUT the real killer is living with someone who doesn't appreciate your WOH, nor your parenting. That shit sucks

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 19-Apr-14 19:58:25

allhailqueenmab that is so true. Especially the part about being appreciated (or not)

ModreB Sat 19-Apr-14 20:00:18

useless I stopped caring when people at the school gate started judging me as I was only there 1 day in 7 to collect DS3, after being there every day with DS1 & 2. The rest of the time it was a childminder. Who he loved and still sends Xmas cards to, 10 years on.

I know how shit it is, my DM was a single working mum when I was at school in the 1970's. If you think about judgey pants, I saw them over my head judging my DM. (sp)

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 20:00:35

Very true allhailqueenmab

Bambamb Sat 19-Apr-14 20:00:40

Very very true Allhail. Whether WOH or SAH both are doing an important job and most are working hard. For that to be unappreciated would be awful.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 20:04:31


I think it depends on how you see the role and responsibilities of being a sahp and what you do in those hours.
I think if you are looking at it in terms of housework/housekeeping etc you are probably right. However, some sahps are not defined by housework, housekeeping in isolation.
Some days I am busy and don't do any housework at all. Maybe, I have spent most of the day travelling to a specialist instrument repairer, in an emergency. Maybe completed the books to send to the accountant.
perhaps identified 3 new marketing strategies for ds business.
All of which I'm not paid for, making me a sahm.
Some nights I'm still down loading resources for dd, or filling in application forms. Sometimes I'm ferrying her across the country to take part in some event.
I doubt there's a wohp who could do this, because they wouldn't have the hours.
This is fine because we are all different and not necessarily defined by a title or one particular role.
I couldn't fit in a job and still do all the things I do, or have the opportunity to do.

MrsCripps Sat 19-Apr-14 20:09:00

Totally agree allhail
Luckily for me and for DP we have always appreciated each others contribution whatever the role.

nocheeseinhouse Sat 19-Apr-14 20:14:03

YABU. I have worked shifts, and done everything a SAHM would do with their kid, and worked full time.

Threetimesfive Sat 19-Apr-14 20:18:39

What is the point of this thread? Sahms trying to make themselves feel better than WOHMs? It's so silly and pointless.

I ebf both dc and continued bf till they were 2yrs. I didn't ever leave them with a babysitter to have a night out until they were about 2yrs. Both, dh and I work in professional jobs with a degree of flexibility. We both work from home one or two days and can also work from home when dc are sick. We are both equally involved in our dc upbringing so they benefit from having two people who parent them. I think it's wonderful and feel lucky my girls have their dad around as well as me. Also we are financially secure, not well off but able to pay for hobbies, toys and the occasional holiday.

What I'm trying to say is that people are either good or bad parents but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whether mum is a WOHM.

I know some sahms who are frazzled and exhausted bored whose dc watch a lot of TV during the day, who are snappy and shout a lot at dc (as well as being lovely mums).

So really, good parents asses their unique and changing situations and try to find the best middle ground when raising their dc. There are many facets to life and it's really horses for courses. As long as the dc are loved, protected and nurtured it's all fine by me.

maddening Sat 19-Apr-14 20:20:42

I have found since going back to work that whilst a sahm I was able to include housework, errands, shopping and socialising in during what would be childcare hours if I had been working.

So unless you fully dedicate every single moment during the hours of 8am - 6pm solely on childcare then you can get done during those hours extra things that a wohp can't do - those things are squashed in to evenings and weekends.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 19-Apr-14 20:21:41

Well I think you might be surprised morethanpotatoprints
Or maybe not.
I don't know. Really everyone's situation is different. And there are more variables than whether or not one works in paid employment.
A WOHP might well do all that you for your DC. But in a different way.
I imagine there are some wohps who do more than some sahps and vice versa.
Luckily no ones keeping score hmm

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 20:22:26


I totally agree. I know both wohms and sahps who spend full days watching JK and the likes and others that do lots of things.
There is no harder or easier or even equal, just lots of variables and differences.

maddening Sat 19-Apr-14 20:24:12

Ps I still bf my 3.3yo son and cosleep with him and work ft.

I don't think anyone should be belittling other people's lifestyle choices or necessary lifestyles - just be happy you have a choice if you have one.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 20:24:29

Sorry x post. I think we agree on that one grin

Threetimesfive Sat 19-Apr-14 20:27:34

Oh, yes of course, then there are sahms who have a cleaner in 2x a week, grandparents around the corner for weekly/overnight babysitting etc.etc. whereas some WOHMs maybe have none of that. It's just too silly to say that all sahms spend more quality time parenting their dc and WOHMs are distant and absent parents who sub contract all the childcare and have less of an emotional bond with their dc. So narrow minded.

cosikitty Sat 19-Apr-14 20:32:00

YANBU OP, of course there are variables, but as you describe it ( and I sspect this is the same for the average family, yanbu)

Badvoc Sat 19-Apr-14 20:33:10

But neither has the right to demonise the other.

BluebellTuesday Sat 19-Apr-14 20:34:52

uselesswhoisnotuseless, of course you are not useless, but there is an issue around how much support you are getting. It should not fall to one person to do all the domestic tasks and it is not just a case of how you do or do not manage things, so therefore not a reflection of your personal abilities. In fact, turn it round, the fact that you are doing all that shows that you are clearly not useless, but you are exhausted. I realise that does not help the situation, but maybe the first step is to be a bit selfish and ask why you are doing everything around the house and what can be done differently?

cosikitty Sat 19-Apr-14 20:39:45

I always wonder, how, if your baby goes to childcare, you deal with the fact that you don't know what is going in or out of them. I found it fascinating that whatever I fed my baby came out the other end, and I could tell exactly what had and hadn't agreed with them. I know this isn't essential to being a parent of course, but I can't imagine how I could have missed this personally when they were babies. I also expected a full feeding and bowel report from DH or the grandparents if they looked after them grin

Threetimesfive Sat 19-Apr-14 20:43:48

"When there's limited time together, I'd rather - for example - the toddler gets to have fun playing with daddy than scream the entire evening because daddy doesn't know she likes her peas separate from her mash, her milk through a straw but water in a cup and so on."

I am not judging your situation as it's not my place and would be unkind. However, I am grateful that my dh knows how to care for our dc on a day to day basis. He can do the play bit and knows about daily routines as do I. My family life is not superior to yours but we prefer it this way. I would hate it if dh was away all the time and I was the 'primary parent'.
As I said families come in all shapes, that's a fact of life. Good parenting is doing your absolute best to nurture your family and deal as best as you can with your unique circumstances.

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 20:45:13

I think child care providers provide a little report of what the child has done/eaten that day along with any issues. No personal experience though.

GoAheadMakeMyDay Sat 19-Apr-14 20:46:02

cosikitty most people have that in their maternity leave. TBH at 9 months old I wasn't all that concerned with my DDs shit unless she was poorly.

I also got a run down sheet from nursery with all that detailed.

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 20:46:59

I always wonder, how, if your baby goes to childcare, you deal with the fact that you don't know what is going in or out of them.

Lots of parents I know make their kids' meals before sending them to nursery or whatever. Even if the childcare setting provides food, i would assume that such information is always made available to parents.

I was fortunate enough to be around at nearly all mealtimes before dd started school anyway, despite working full time. I was also able to continue bf until she was nearly three.

Bambamb Sat 19-Apr-14 20:48:30

Cosikitty our nursery always gave us a sheet at the end of the day with everything that they had done written on it. This included what they'd eaten, how much and the number of wet and dirty nappies. Anything unusual nappy wise would be noted! Plus we always gave him breakfast and dinner, he only got lunch and snacks at nursery. And of course we did whole days between 2 and 5 days a week depending on what we were working at the time.

Coldlightofday Sat 19-Apr-14 20:48:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bambamb Sat 19-Apr-14 20:49:53

I also bf him until he was 2.

Jinsei Sat 19-Apr-14 20:52:06

I am not judging your situation as it's not my place and would be unkind. However, I am grateful that my dh knows how to care for our dc on a day to day basis. He can do the play bit and knows about daily routines as do I. My family life is not superior to yours but we prefer it this way. I would hate it if dh was away all the time and I was the 'primary parent'.

Me too. A friend of mine died recently, extremely suddenly, at the age of 34. I am so very thankful that her DH was such an involved and hands-on dad to her two young children. I know that he will somehow be able to get them through it.

Artandco Sat 19-Apr-14 20:53:37

I work from home and care for my children at the same time

Ie average day I will work 6-8am whilst they sleep, 1-3 when they nap, 4-6pm whilst they try and play between themsleves, 9-11pm when they sleep. So 8hrs a day whilst at home and caring for them. In between we go out/ swim/ play/ read/ bath/ cook/ etc etc

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 20:58:57

Well said Coldlight

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 19-Apr-14 20:59:54

Of course its possibe to do everything a SAHP does and work. DS is at school whilst i'm at work so I have the same amount of time with DS that i would whether i worked or not. Housework and few admin bits get done before or after work.

RufusTheReindeer Sat 19-Apr-14 21:03:09


Completely agree with you regarding school age children, but I think the OP was thinking of pre school children (although I don't think that's clear from the opening post)

TessDurbeyfield Sat 19-Apr-14 21:05:43

What an odd thread, when I look around my friends and family (and my own life) I can see a myriad of different ways people fit in work and childrearing with a great deal of change in the way they do that over the child's life. The stereotypes in the OP just don't seem to fit in with my experience.In any case I really can't see why people are fussed with making life into a 'who works the hardest' contest - I work hard for the things I care about but certainly it's not an aim in itself.

FWIW I've done SAHM/free lance from home/part time/ FT over the 7 years I've been a parent. I'd say the hardest point was probably SAHM to a 3 month old who'd not slept for more than 2 hours at a stretch since birth, and an insecure 2 yr old who regressed with potty training and wet herself every time I left the room. That only lasted for about 2 weeks but at the time it felt like I'd given up a job I loved to clean up other people's bodily fluids 24 hrs a day. The easiest part was being a SAHM/very part-time to a 4/5 yr old at school and a 2/3 yr old with a few mornings at preschool. We would potter, go to groups, do a bit of craft, have lovely days out, get everything in the house done whilst he was at pre-school and be at the school gates every day. It really does depend on circs....

Mrsmlt Sat 19-Apr-14 21:07:27

I work shifts so often look after the dcs from waking until 3pm then go to work. Every situation is different.

annebullin Sat 19-Apr-14 21:11:37

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


When I was a sahm I was able to get to the gym in the day, go for coffee, trawl round the shops, MN extensively and even have the occasional sneaky kip. Definitely can't do all that while I'm at work.

Badvoc Sat 19-Apr-14 21:22:44

Oh, here we go! Ffs!
...not all sahms get to spend time at the gym (ha) or going for coffee (ha) or going shopping (ha)
Partially it's the fact that a one income family has less money.
And secondly it's the fact that many sahms have other responsibilities too...I am my mothers carer and at one point was home schooling my ds1.
And as for being a Sahp being valued!?
People do not value what they do not pay for.

RufusTheReindeer Sat 19-Apr-14 21:41:17


As a SAHM of school age children could go to the gym, coffee and shopping

As a SAHM of pre school children...not so much smile

But I am lucky that I have No other responsibilities like caring for relatives (yet)

jellybeans Sat 19-Apr-14 21:47:12


They pay someone to do all that with their DC in the daytime when they are unable to care for their DC.

In my experience the house isn't trashed as much when only in it for an hour each side of the working day

Ponkypink Sat 19-Apr-14 21:48:11

YANBU. The problem is the verbification 'parenting'. What SAHPs do during the day is childcare (plus some household work). Childcare is work. I don't do childcare work during the day, I work in a lab then, and only do childcare on evenings and weekends. Childcare is quite obviously work, regardless of your relationship to the children you are caring for.

SAHPs are not working by 'parenting', they are working by carrying out childcare in the home, just the same as a childminder (though arguably in some cases of different quality). This should not even be an argument, the only reason it is an argument is because lots of people are stupid.

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 21:52:14

Sam rightly complain if it's suggested they don't work hard. They should therefore understand why a mum who works out of home is offended by suggestions that they don't work hard.

Best1sWest Sat 19-Apr-14 21:54:48

I hate these threads. They either make you feel guilty or superior. Just what's being gained by setting woman against woman here?

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 21:56:01

the only reason it is an argument is because lots of people are stupid.

grin @ Ponky

It does seem very obvious put like that; work is work, so is childcare, so is housework, so is domestic admin.

It is only the fortunate few parents who have hours (and funds) for gym/salon/shopping

uselessidiot Sat 19-Apr-14 22:00:33

These threads make me feel so incredibly guilty I just feel so incapable of doing more. I just wish I was a normal human being who was capable of doing all a mum should. The thing is people going on about how crap mum's like me don't magically give me energy or give me skills.

maddening Sat 19-Apr-14 22:07:23

I think it's the amount of "free time" that reflects most starkly - a shop will have less time free to do things (once housework and errands etc are taken out) they may for example have elderly or I'll parents as Barack does but that would come out of free time when worktime means that house work and errands etc which can't be done at the same time as work - whereas it can often be done alongside he childcare "work"giving more free time.
sahp with school age dc get the most free time, then preschool sahp and then part time working parents with school age dc then ft working parents with single full time parents most likely being worse off in terms of free time. A sahp with preschool dc and partner working v long hours or working away would also do badly as far as free time for the sahp is concerned - when you look at single resident parents it is harder all round.

ideally I'd love dfiance and I to both work part time to negate the need for childcare and both get to spend time with ds as well as ease up the housework etc but we both retain financial independence and our careers.

maddening Sat 19-Apr-14 22:08:49

shop = wohp

RufusTheReindeer Sat 19-Apr-14 22:09:18


I think we are all doing the best we can...guilt comes with being a mum

My energy is lacking, I'm not good with cooking the children's food or playing with them and I think I've missed out on their childhood - was selfish and lazy

And I've been home for 15 fucking years

OwlCapone Sat 19-Apr-14 22:15:03

This has to be one of the most pointless and tedious discussions on MN. Do we really need to take digs at women who have chosen differently to ourselves?

Dozer Sat 19-Apr-14 22:19:50

But rufus, SAHMs with DC aged over about three will, if they use it, have 15 hours each week with no DC. Money for the gym or not, that is time that FT WOHMs don't have.

TessDurbeyfield Sat 19-Apr-14 22:23:50

We've got 2 school aged children (infants) and are incredibly fortunate to both have full time jobs that allow us to be flexible in when and where we work (to a degree) so each do 2 days a week from home and doing pick ups from school gates (family member does them on the other day). It means we each get to spend a good amount of time with the children, from their perspective they effectively always have a parent at home, they have equal relationships with both of us, DH and I don't have a gendered view of who does what because we both do it, we both get to do the jobs we love and have the financial security that goes with it. If you can do that it is great. I fail to see how we (as a couple) do any less than a SAHM does.

It does mean that we get virtually no down time as we are full on with the kids or work or home all the time (e.g. work till 10/11 most nights and both did 6 hours in work tag teaming today to allow us to do more care in the holidays) but we are lucky enough to love work and family (less so the housework!) so that works well for us. It is a tiny bit galling when my SAHM friend (with school aged children, a cleaner and 2 friendly local grannies) tells me she is 'run off her feet' and when asked why it comes down to making a costume for world book day and doing the gardening but I don't begrudge her that.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 19-Apr-14 22:24:01

I think there'd be less of this if ppl had these conversations with their DP's.
But that never goes well. It's easier to chip away at others and suggest they're doing less.

LittleBearPad Sat 19-Apr-14 22:27:11

Sam, regardless of the SAHP/WOHP argument which will go round in its same circle SS always, I would be upset if my husband wasn't able to fully look after our daughter. He works stupid hours at times (City lawyer) but he is as much our child's parent as I am (work part time) in all respects and has looked after her for weekends by himself. Your husbands hours are no reason for him not to look after the kids when he gets home. If he doesn't know how your daughter likes her milk then either tell him or let him find out by looking after her. You might be less pissed off at WOHP then.

LittleBearPad Sat 19-Apr-14 22:27:37

Circle SS should be circles

RufusTheReindeer Sat 19-Apr-14 22:32:15


That is a good point well made, but as you say it's if we used it. I know I didn't use 15 hours but I honestly can't remember why

So for the first 3 years no time and then as you say once they were at play school a few times a week I could go to the gym/exercise

But I wasn't having a pop, I completely agree that once a child is in some sort of "schooling" a SAHMs "job" gets much easier

scottishmummy Sat 19-Apr-14 22:34:32

No I don't do things a housewife does.i work.they don't

MotherOfInsomniacToddlers Sat 19-Apr-14 22:36:59

I have accidentally referred to the two days i work in paid employment as my "days off" a day at work is far far easier than a day with my two toddlers, even though I work in a physical job for long shifts. However dh looks after the children at home when im at work so I do all the prep work and then end up clearing up the mess they have all made! But yanbu!

TattyDevine Sat 19-Apr-14 22:40:37

Can't compare myself to a working parent even though I am a SAHP to 2 school aged children. If I worked, for me that would mean dropping them off somewhere at 8am (maybe breakfasted maybe not?) and picking them up at half 5/6 ish.

There would be less dishes and less mess, for sure, but no less washing.

I have a dishwasher.

I'd be up earlier though.

I'd do less "facilitating" whether it is homework or breaking up fights or whatever, but they would still have to be bathed.

I don't subscribe to the "hardest job in the world" necessarily, or at changes as the years go on, in different ways.

Haven't read all the posts.

I have more "me time" than working people have, for sure, now they are at school. Its great. But I have my own income despite not working, so it may not be the best example.

mercibucket Sat 19-Apr-14 22:44:32

i work 3 days a week

dh is there in the morning. kids walk to school alone.
i pick up at 3

i do all the driving to 25 million clubs and activities, supervise homework, bake, shop etc etc

on my days off i chill and do a bit of cleaning

so i am all the best and worst of sahp and wohp. i win grin

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 19-Apr-14 22:45:46

What I really want to know is whether it gets easier as they grow.
Because they are fabulous and scrumptious but I'm shattered.
I mean pretty much broken.
I would quite like a commute on a train so I could read the paper and drink coffee laced with rum out of a costa takeaway cup en route.. Sadly I have to drive to work. tbusad

LibraryMum8 Sat 19-Apr-14 22:48:48

YANBU. My friend told me how easy it was to potty train her dc and it was no work at all for her. Because it wasn't, her dc was home with a babysitter all day that trained her.

scottishmummy Sat 19-Apr-14 22:51:14

If your kids are at school,and one is housewife that's a total doss.

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 19-Apr-14 22:52:53

The problem with these threads is that they are full of inaccurate generalisations fuelled by some sort of grass-is-greener syndrome. So WOHMs are convinced that SAHMs are heading off to the gym and drinking coffee with friends all day whilst claiming they work hard and never get a break. SAHMs are convinced WOHMs sit around in the office all day chatting, having uninterrupted tea breaks and eating lunch in peace. Everyone seems convinced that the 'other side' is doing the things they wish they could be doing.

When I was on mat leave I certainly wasn't spending time at the gym (although I did meet friends for coffee every week). As a WOHM it is true that my tea breaks and lunch breaks are, thankfully, not interrupted by small people - a good job as it is hard enough trying to shoehorn arranging appointments, arranging playdates, arranging childcare, buying seemingly endless bits of new clothing and equipment, and dealing with the 1001 other child-related matters that crop up every day into a couple of 15 minute breaks.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 22:53:23

I would quite like a commute on a train so I could read the paper and drink coffee

When I was a SAHM to two under two I used to envy commuters their commuting 'me time' and their toddler-free lunchtimes (and loo visits). Which proves how lunatic this comparison making can gets, I think.

DrCoconut Sat 19-Apr-14 22:54:51

I'd question the idea that one income households are worse off than where both parents work. In my experience two parents working is a result of low pay, the households that can afford a parent out of work typically have a high earner. The things that they list as sacrifices they make (living in a terraced house, buying supermarket value ranges, minimal holidays etc) are daily reality for millions of low paid families, who are working all the hours they can.

Dozer Sat 19-Apr-14 23:05:23

Yes rufus, age of DC is a key factor.

Commuting by train can indeed be better than driving, although even on a reliable, frequent, direct train with a seat (none of which are a given) rail commuting is a frustrating time-eater, neither work nor with DC or partner, nor proper leisure time (eg exercise, hobby) and hard to do admin type stuff cos of crappy mobile reception!

williaminajetfighter Sat 19-Apr-14 23:05:59

Haven't read all the posts but what's your point OP? That you are a more involved and better parent because you have the luxury not to have to go to work and probably are an economic dependent on a man? What a goady thread.

And while we're at it, you may spend more time with your children but until your time at home involves deadlines, evaluations and work reviews, 'office politics', pressure etc please stop assuming it is equivalent 'work' to the work I do 'outside the home'.

allhailqueenmab Sat 19-Apr-14 23:10:04

TheRealAmandaClarke, how old are your dcs?

fidelineish - what is lunatic about envying a commute? OK, not all commutes are created equal, but mine is the easiest part of my day. It's a half hour train journey each way, on which I always get a seat, and can READ! and WORK! and THINK! and SHUT MY EYES SOMETIMES! and the rest of it (before and after the train) totals 2.5 miles each way which I can walk fast or cycle - pleasant exercise. I am knackered because I leave the house early and get back late and still have work to do after dcs' bedtime, not because I have been sitting on a train with my kindle.

when I went back to work after mat leave the commute blew my mind. I thought I had joined some incredibly expensive private members club or something. "So - I just sit here - sometimes with coffee? - and do - what? You mean I can do NOTHING? And no one climbs on me and jabs me really hard in the tit with a crazily pointy elbow? no one thwacks me in the face with a book? And there's this nice window here? And - what's the catch? And I am really doing NOTHING with my arms? No wiping, no grabbing, no catching in mid-air, no rummaging in bags of doom with my arse in the air? REALLY?"

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 23:11:18

Librarymum, I potty trained both my boys when on a week's leave from work - working parents do things like potty training too.

Do we have a winner yet btw?

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 23:11:34

William Your post is waayyy more goady than the OP, which was actually quite measured

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 23:12:56

And I am really doing NOTHING with my arms? No wiping, no grabbing, no catching in mid-air, no rummaging in bags of doom with my arse in the air? REALLY?"

grin @ AllHail That is it exactly.

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 23:17:15

You don't realise how much you cram into your life when you have children, because it becomes normal.

I have worked away from home for periods quite a few times over the years and it is unnerving to realise that you have nothing to do apart from take care of yourself.

It's great for a week or 2, but gets boring very quickly.

LittleBearPad Sat 19-Apr-14 23:17:40

No it isn't fid. Its how working outside the house sometimes is. And the flip side of the peaceful commute, when I'm reading and replying to emails is the stress of crossing London on the tube to pick up dd by 6pm, hoping the two tube lines I use aren't buggered.

LittleBearPad Sat 19-Apr-14 23:18:13

Peaceful morning commute

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 19-Apr-14 23:23:07


You're certainly right that not all comutes are created equal. Mine is an hour and a half's driving each way on a notoriously dangerous and accident prone road. No drinking coffee, reading the paper, or shutting my eyes for me! Your commute sounds lovely. When I used to go on the train, it was unreliable, very expensive, and extremely time consuming.

Everyone comes at this argument (SAHM v WOHM) with such different experiences and viewpoints it is utterly pointless to compare the two.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 23:23:27

I meant the 'economic dependent of a man' bit Little

LittleBearPad Sat 19-Apr-14 23:26:40

Ah that's a whole other thread wink

jenniferalisonphillipasue Sat 19-Apr-14 23:31:24

I am currently a SAHM although I run a small business (very small right now but with potential to grow). I have worked part time since having the dc but not in a career. I don't think anyone can compare the two roles and actually there is no reason too. We each live our lives as we see fit and should be able to do so without being judged by others.
Personally I cannot envisage that I will ever be able to work full time again. I have 4 dc -2 at school, 1 at preschool part time and one at home full time. Even when they are all at school I can't see how it will be physically possible? This year there have only been 4 full weeks (not consecutive) where the older 3 have been at school for the whole week due to illness. I don't think I could handle the stress of juggling everything. I know that I am lucky to be in that position but there is a part of me that feels a bit trapped by that.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 23:32:49

I am neither superior or inferior to anybody else.
I have no less or more time than anybody else.
I love my dc no more or less than anyone else does.
My work is no more or no less than anyone elses.

I am a sahp I am not nor ever have been economically dependant on my dh. He does as much housework if not more than I do at times.

scottishmummy Sat 19-Apr-14 23:35:36

What's your income source then potato?savings?benefits?if you don't work

TheRealAmandaClarke Sat 19-Apr-14 23:38:45

allhailqueenmab 3 and 1.
It's tiring. grin
I struggle to have the "edge" I used to in my work.
But I'm lucky to work pt.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 23:38:51

Really scottish? MoreThan has to have her economic equality arrangements reviewed and approved by you?

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 23:39:59


Various sources.

DinosaurRaaaar Sat 19-Apr-14 23:40:18


If a male wanted to be a SAHP and was told that being economically dependent on a female was unwise, there would be uproar.

My husband goes out to work, I look after our daughter and most of our "joint" stuff at home. It's a partnership. My husband's job is really demanding is mine. He brings home cash, I raise his daughter. I couldn't give a bobbins about being "financially dependent" on him. We are a team.

scottishmummy Sat 19-Apr-14 23:43:00

Various sources?how deliciously vague
If you're not working and not dependent on a partner hows it work?

nocheeseinhouse Sat 19-Apr-14 23:43:25

No, there wouldn't, not from those of us who've learned the hard way that relationships break down.

I think it's important that both partners remain, to a certain extent, capable of being financially independent. No one knows when relationship breakdown/death/illness could strike, and it's short sighted, as an adult, to allow yourself to be dependent on another. You may be a team, but you'd be up shit creek if he dropped down dead/shagged a workmate/got cancer.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 23:44:22

Why do SAHMs enrage you so much Scottish?

scottishmummy Sat 19-Apr-14 23:45:15

If your various sources inc FTC or benefits you're not independently financed

BluebellTuesday Sat 19-Apr-14 23:47:40

I commuted two and a half years an hour each way as a single parent when DC1 was little, with DD. That was in the car, so she would sleep an hour then be up till about 9.30pm. She is still a bit of a night owl.

Later I did a commute with DC2, when he was still breastfeeding. That was both good as could interact with him on the train and excruciating if he needed fed and the train was packed.

I hope never, ever to have to commute in my life again. In fact, much of what I do now is about working at home as much as possible.

Sorry that is random, I have gone off the point of the thread.

DinosaurRaaaar Sat 19-Apr-14 23:47:47

I'm a qualified mental health nurse and have kept my reg up, so could get another job quickly if I needed to.

If he dies, he's insured to a degree that we would never have to worry financially.

I refuse to not live in a way I think is right for my family as it is now, on the basis of what could happen in the future.

RhondaJean Sat 19-Apr-14 23:48:02

Being economically dependent on anyone else is unwise, male or female. Unfortunately it's been normalised and even idealised for women.

allhailqueenmab Sat 19-Apr-14 23:50:30

TheRealAmandaClarke, yes, it does get easier then! Mine are 5 and 3 and there is real light at the end of the tunnel now. When mine were the age yours are now and I was back at work after mat leave, I had a ahem kind of exhaustion breakdown a few months later.

Doubletroublemummy2 Sat 19-Apr-14 23:50:47

When grow up and get the glitter glue out of my hair I want to be a working mom!

Permanentlyexhausted Sat 19-Apr-14 23:51:04

My one regret about my career and the fairly irreversible direction it has taken is that I will almost certainly never be able to get a job that does not involve a commute of over an hour without uprooting my entire family.

DinosaurRaaaar Sat 19-Apr-14 23:52:56

Rhonda - I think it's far more worrying to live my life as if on the precipice of instant divorce.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Apr-14 23:55:08


I never said I was independently financed, moreover that I wasn't reliant on dh. That does not mean that it is sourced by benefit.

It is important if possible to be able to manage on your own in case a relationship breaks down. It's also important if possible for a sahp to make provision for pension.
I am 99% sure our marriage is sound, but so were the many other women I read about on the relationship threads.
I have always been aware of this, but haven't let it rule my life.

fidelineish Sat 19-Apr-14 23:57:23

Why the assumption that SAHMs haven't thought of economic security and taken appropriate steps where possible?

I know at least six women who have studied for postgraduate qualifictions during their SAHM years. People draw up post-nups, increase life-insurance etc.

monicalewinski Sat 19-Apr-14 23:58:46

I've made all my working decisions based on future rather than present, so the complete opposite to Dinosaur.

It was thinking 5 years ahead that persuaded me not to give up work after maternity leave - this worked out as expected as I got promoted just after baby no 2, and by the 5 year point was well on my way to another promotion. Had I taken the time out to be sahm until youngest at school (age 5.5) I would have been starting from scratch again after 8.5 years out of work.

The thought of not being financially independent has always been a driver to me, and tbh it would annoy me if my husband was financially dependant on me.

scottishmummy Sat 19-Apr-14 23:59:24

You said you're not economically dependent on your your independently financed?
You were v clear in asserting not economically dependent,so I queried what it means

RhondaJean Sat 19-Apr-14 23:59:37

Fid I've read the relationships boards, so many begin "I can't leave, I'm a sahm, I can't afford to"

Permanentlyexhausted Sun 20-Apr-14 00:00:32

Allhailqueenmab (sorry not trying to pick on you) and TheRealAmandaClarke

Sorry - it's different work with a 10 year old and an 8 year old than when they were 3 and 5 or even younger, but it is not easier in my experience. There are so many extras and so many more demands - homework, after school clubs, sports clubs, cubs, brownies, music lessons, etc.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Apr-14 00:05:56

Whilst being a sahm

I have completed a HND, Hons Degree, Exec Diploma MGT from CMI
PgCE, Masters level Social Science OU, Level 2 C&G English, and my most proud moment Level 2 Maths C&G yeh smile

That nice Tony Blair paid for the fees, maintenance grant and gave me 6k to do a PgCE. Before you flame, its not my fault the system was different.

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:05:57

Fide - exactly! I plan to use my RMN status to retrain as a psychotherapist once my little one has started school. We sorted out life insurances etc. and frankly, if we did split, I could get another job.

No cheese - well aware that relationships break down, having being brought up by a single mother as my dad buggered off when I was 10 months old. I am just a tiny bit aware of that. I am a SAHM not lobotomised.

I still can't work out how we are sending a healthy message to our children about relationships if some of us are working in case relationships break down? Not exactly implying permanence and commitment to them?

monicalewinski Sun 20-Apr-14 00:08:00

Permanentlyexhausted, I concur grin

The hundreds of things that require ferrying to and from seems to explode as they get older.

However, when they are not being chauffeured around to football/rugby matches etc they are so much easier older.
They even do things like bring you toast and coffee up in the morning and put the washing on/do dishes etc.

nocheeseinhouse Sun 20-Apr-14 00:09:28

Eh, you think all working mums are working in case their relationships breakdown? Urm... no.

But being capable of being financially independent in case of unforeseen events, then, yes, I think that's good modelling, and a healthy message.

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 00:09:58

That may be true of some SAHMs Rhonda but not all. Besides most people SAHM for just a few short years.

These blanket, patronising lectures and horrified declarations of 'I could never be dependent on a man' (as if men are horrific three headed beasts and independence at all times is the highest of personal virtues), invariably lobbed at SAHMs by WOHMs always sound so OTT and PA. So redolent with faux concern and barely-concealed superiority.

Can't we all just knock it off? There is a heartbreaking leukaemia post on MN ATM. When things take a sudden turn to the truly shit, any of us can be shafted no matter who we are or what we do.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Apr-14 00:11:44


I am a 50% owner in our business, I have money here. I have money from other sources, all of it none earned.
I certainly don't have an earned income and haven't for many years.
I have commodities to sell, family heirlooms, the odd bit of inheritance and an income for pension when the time comes.
There are other sources too.

LittleBearPad Sun 20-Apr-14 00:12:22

People may be SAHM for just a few years but that can be enough to make getting an equivalent job in your field or even a lesser one very difficult when you want to rejoin the workforce, especially if you want to work flexibly.

nocheeseinhouse Sun 20-Apr-14 00:12:33

Not men. Being financially, or in fact, just dependent on someone else is not something I would ever choose to do, or wish to model for my child. Not superiority, any more than any other parenting issue, bf vs ff etc.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 00:14:03

Mn is gut wrenchingly sad,uproariously funny,thought accommodates it all
With all due respect,it is acceptable to have this thread,frothy s&b and leukaemia
No one needs to moderate their all

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 00:15:57

True Little but it varies by field and anyhow just because someone identifies themselves as a SAHM it doesn't mean they aren't volunteering, sudying, maintaining registrations, dabbling in the odd project. Maybe they are planning a career change anyway, were made redundant on maternity leave or just plain fucking wealthy. They don't necessarily need this blanket condescension about economic independence.

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 00:16:08

Fid, until the number of fathers SAH with children is equal to the number of mothers and there is an acceptance that either parent can do as good a parenting job, and until it's easy to step back into employment without recent and relevant work experience, it's something which will unfairly impact on women. I don't particularly care though, as I said up there I don't think anyone male or female should be dependent on someone else financially.

And I continue to think its an important debate as long as people are able to leave aside their own emotional fears and look at the bigger debate and not who is wiping their kids bum, unfortunately that never seems to happen. Important debates though don't get negated by other, albeit tragic, occurrences.

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:16:10

No, nocheese that is not what I think. I think most work for other reasons, i.e. to pay the bills, but when retaining financial independence in case of relationship breakdown is the SOLE reason, I think that's tremendously sad......i would rather stay at home in the actual circumstances I AM in and insure against unforeseen circumstances.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 00:17:30

Potato I think you're being purposefully convoluted and bit vague
At pains to state you're housewife don't work,but various sources finances
You brought it up,made point not being dependent?naturally it raises questions

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 00:19:15

Blanket condescension my arse.

Thousands of women are being economically disadvantaged by a system which idealises the madonna female caregiver and is perpetuated by both women who need to create that role and men whom it suits to encourage that mentality.

And if thats not worth pointing out because it doesn't fit your circumstances, good for you.

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 00:19:26

I didn't mean anyone should moderate their posts scottish, just that events can make fools of all our plans for economic security or any security at all for that matter.

janey68 Sun 20-Apr-14 00:21:41

I can't imagine many people work for the SOLE reason that they need to retain economic independence in case their other half buggers off. There are all sorts of reasons why I work, to create a balance in my (and Dhs) life, to use different skills to the ones used at home, for the social element, salary, pension... obsessing about whether my marriage will go tits up certainly doesn't feature- and that goes for the other WOHP i know

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:22:33

Rhonda - whose fears are we discussing cause I'm not scared. My husband had the choice of staying home to wipe bums, or us both working PT, but seeing as how my shift work was a PITA, I decided to jack it in.

I agree we need to look at fears and the bigger debate - the fear of being financially "dependent" on others to the extent that it informs people's choices is truly worrying.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Apr-14 00:23:55

Rhonda is right, unfortunately it has been normalised for a long time. Whilst you can't live your life thinking what if, you do need to consider what if, at some stage in your life.
When I was growing up it was a regular comment from the adults I met in passing. "find yourself a nice rich man". I am 47 and it was usual to hear this a lot. My parents thank goodness didn't think like this, but it was part of the culture then.
I think during the 80's before women were encouraged to really break down barriers of inequality it was rife. We were expected to find a rich man to provide for us and be idolised by friends if we could manage it.
Fool me, married for love grin

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 00:24:19

I don't think this widespread cultural disparagement of SAHPing is likely to encourage men to do their stint of it Rhonda. If men and women all felt able to spend a year or two at home, many parents and children would benefit and career damage would be minimal for any of them.

None of this really applies to my current circs but it did when I had preschoolers.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 00:26:20

I had/have no desire to spend a year or two at home.

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:28:14

Oh and another thing Rhonda - women used to be brought up with the Madonna/Caregiver role, but all the women I know including myself, were brought up to believe that staying at home and putting aside your career if you want to, was a bad thing to never be considered. It has taken me a long time to realise that feminists fought for CHOICE, not fear.

By stating that someone should always be financially independent, that precludes my choice to be a SAHM. So how exactly is that equality?

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 00:31:29

It was a broad fears dino and it touches both sides of the debate.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Apr-14 00:32:20


I'm only being a bit vague because it is nobody else's business, I have told you what I am happy to tell you, I'm sure that gives you an idea.

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 00:32:57

Why should it preclude your choice though? Because then firstly it isn't really a choice as much as a sacrifice, and it means for many there still isn't a choice there at all.

We are arguing from an admittedly privileged position all round, one which not everyone shares.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 00:34:42

Aye fair enough potato,but if you make big brash you're not dependent statement
Expect a query
ESP if you follow up with vagueness

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:35:08

In this debate, I find myself not scared but confused. Being a SAHM is something I never thought I would be, yet I love it, don't feel less of a person for doing it, fully intend to retrain whilst at one, and truly do not feel one iota of worry about being dependent on my husband. I honestly think he would poo himself more if we split up, because I pretty much run our lives. He might have more cash, but he'd never have a clue where the paperwork relating to it was, heh heh.

Am I meant to be worried? What am I missing?

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Apr-14 00:35:52

Well as interesting as this is, I'm off now to make myself presentable for when dh comes in from working, for my benefit iyswim.
laters, everyone.

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:36:23

Oh, and I don't feel I'm sacrificing anything being a SAHM. I honestly don't. What am I sacrificing?

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 00:39:21

Dino, have you realised I am not talking about you personally and specifically?

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 00:43:38

It's all subjective,if you dont feel compromised then no one can tell you otherwise
It's risky to have no job,to be dependent on another adult,no back up
But it's your choice,and if it's informed and you weigh up risks then fair enough

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:44:01

Yes. But you are talking about SAHMs. I am one. Therefore, you are talking about me. And I don't know what to be scared about, fearful of, or what sacrifice I am making. I am hopeful someone (you if you like, since those are your words) will enlighten me.

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:46:38

Scottish - maybe we don't feel compromised because we're not?

Perhaps I should feel bad that I don't get the wondrous opportunity to go to work and deal with office politics, more work for no extra pay, not being able to help my patients the way I want to.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 00:48:34

As I said if you don't feel compromised fair enough

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 00:50:03

That's a bit like using the logic, all weenies are blue therefore all blue items are weenies (ie no logic at all)

Just because one thing is the truth for you doesn't mean it's Thr same for all, most, or even some other people in similar circumstances. However you said quite clearly you could not be financially independent and a stank mum which means you sacrificed financial independence, that may not be a sacrifice some women are able to make or should make and therefore there is no real choice there.

And don't ask what a weenie is because I just made the word up to make the logic point.

Fid that's a good point about not encouraging men, however I'm very sure that neither does marginalising them as parents which is also happening hugely, I do think it would be useful to debate how it could be encouraged - I'm also optimistic it's moving in the right direction for most people.

brdgrl Sun 20-Apr-14 00:51:37

I am so tired of people trying to claim that they work the hardest/have the toughest life/do the most parenting based on a group identification.
"I have a disabled child, so I have the hardest job"
"I'm a lone parent, so I have it hardest"
"I'm a SAHM, so I do the most hands-on parenting"

No, maybe you don't. There are so many factors that go into it. Money, family support, physical health, personal capabilities, number of children, spousal support, nature of job, age of children, age of parent, other responsibilities like aging parents or other dependents, household standards, temperament of children, and did I mention money?

So please - if you identify yourself and make a claim based on your label - shut up. smile You're being awful.

Oh, and OP, YABU, because not everyone has the same experience as you. News flash.

LittleBearPad Sun 20-Apr-14 00:52:50

If you don't feel you've made a sacrifice and your happy with your choice that's great. But many women don't wish to jack in their careers and keep them going, albeit part time or however possible. They want to earn their own money and know they have their own pension provision. And many of these women go back to work but some don't because childcare would be too expensive or too difficult. And so parent must stay home - and more often than not it's the woman who does. And she has then made a sacrifice.

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:55:33

A stank mum, he he he! grin

Maybe we are just all comfortable with different things. I just don't like the idea of having to go to work at the moment. It caused me personally angst when I realised I wanted to SAH but felt that I was letting the side down for women if I did. And it was only other women that made me feel like that, which I think sucks. The blokes I knew didn't care either way.

And in my head, Weenies are baby Weebles, just so you know grin

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 00:58:18

Weenie,to me,is tiny penis.just so you know

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 00:58:46

Little - it is really awful when that happens. No woman should feel she has to give up her job or go part time or anything if she doesn't want to. I think too many generalisations are made about WOHP and SAHP. We should be able to choose our own path.

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 00:59:28

I actually put in weeble but it autocorrected and I was too lazy to change it blush

Tiny blue peni...

RhondaJean Sun 20-Apr-14 01:01:06

Dino it should be a choice based on what works for you and your family but it doesn't hugely bother most men because they have nothing to lose from it either way...

DinosaurRaaaar Sun 20-Apr-14 01:05:54

Well, he just lost the same amount going into his private account that I did, but I know that most couples don't work that way. He also lost a big car and the Sky package but tough shit I say!

Aventurine Sun 20-Apr-14 02:30:12

YANBU OP. It's one of those mumsnet cliches that people trot out without stopping to think that it's bollocks

Robfordscrack Sun 20-Apr-14 02:41:43

Yabu, for thinking there is only one way of what you define as parenting.

mimishimmi Sun 20-Apr-14 03:00:48

YANBU but I think a lot depends on the type of parent as well, regardless of their working status.I know if I was working full-time I would be doing a lot less with them (but conversely would be in a much better position to afford some of the things they may wish to do when they get older such as being an exchange student etc). To be honest, I really don't think it matters as long as the parent is doing their best to provide them with the best quality childcare they can, whether that is from a provider or themselves (eg not doing either on a shoestring budget and then complaining about either quality of care if work or sacrifices if at home).

moldingsunbeams Sun 20-Apr-14 05:16:59

I used to have dd all day (lone parent) nap when she did then work 8pm to 6am (4 on 4 off hardly any sleep inbetween)
I then had dd all day and did 8pm to 1am
I now work from home 8am till 4 as dd is at school.

I reckon I do the same as a sahm having done both previously tbh.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 20-Apr-14 05:57:49

Well OP you've described what a SAHP of preschool children does. I stopped having to supervise naps quite some time ago!

What does a SAHP do when the kids are at school? That I don't do as a WOTHP doesn't do. I'm curious.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sun 20-Apr-14 06:31:11

I don't think it's neccessarily a bad thing to be financially dependen on a dh. It's worth planning for unpleasant eventualities though. And I think it often shifts the balance of power.
Fwiw I work pt in a "professional" role. But if my dh died or ran off I'd still be fucked. Even if I increased my hours, because I cant earn as much as he can.certainly not our joint wage.

Dozer Sun 20-Apr-14 07:21:49

"it's different work with a 10 year old and an 8 year old than when they were 3 and 5 or even younger, but it is not easier in my experience. There are so many extras and so many more demands - homework, after school clubs, sports clubs, cubs, brownies, music lessons, etc."

confused In that example a SAHM would have 6 hours a day (in term time) while DC at school!

TheRealAmandaClarke Sun 20-Apr-14 07:41:14

Well that's good to hear Ali because it's relentless now. tbugrin
When I have one of them at a time (baby napping or DS out with DH) then I feel like I'm on holiday grin.

Holidays are a struggle. DS is at nursery. In the hols we pay a fortune for additional childcare and i have to go through the uncomfortable process of negotiating annual leave at peak times to spend time with him. I always envy sahms a little during the holidays I must admit.

TheRealAmandaClarke Sun 20-Apr-14 07:47:28

An extra 30 hours a week would be nice.

I know a "sahm" whose DCs are now adult. She's the mother of a friend of mine. Now she looks after her DH (retired), keeps a lovely tidy home, takes her DGCs out, gardens etc. she is quite busy.
I think it's possible to fill whatever time you have and call it "work"

Some sahms must work a lot harder than I do. If thes a child with a
Additional needs or they're a single parent.

Competitive busy-ness is a race nobody can win.

Threetimesfive Sun 20-Apr-14 08:20:39

Omg. I just cannot believe this thread. I haven't seen such a narrow minded thread on mn in a good while sad.

Being a whom does not mean you parent less. Quantity is not quality. Parenting is not just the hands on stuff like wiping noses and bottoms but also strategic. Thinking about what's best for your family at any given time; Being aware of your dc's and dp's and your own needs and wants working together, trying to being harmonious but solving problems together, being a unit.

Deciding that mum has to work ft when dc is say 2 yrs because that is the only way to get / stay on the housing ladder is better parenting that Thant family not having their own home but mum being sahm.

How can this not be obvious.

Threetimesfive Sun 20-Apr-14 08:42:23

And to the person who said they they feel they do more for their child because they have /had to know what food goes into the child and what comes out....... Seriously? It sounds a tad very obsessive. Do you also grow your own vegetables, milk your own cows/goats and kill the animals your family eat so that you have control over every aspect of your child's food? How utterly bizarre.

And yes, we provide a packed lunch so do happen to know what they eat, fwiw --ffs.

FourForksAche Sun 20-Apr-14 08:42:33

I hate threads that end up pitting working mums against stay at home mums. We're all trying to do the best we can in whatever way works for individual circumstances.

We should be standing together to improve the situation for all mums, not bickering.

Threetimesfive Sun 20-Apr-14 08:46:51

And..... Do those mothers you think being a sahm us the bees knees also thnk that women should maybe rather not go to university because it's not really worth it is it? All those fees paid, student loan accumulated and then not working or working p/to for a decade at least....

Threetimesfive Sun 20-Apr-14 08:47:48

Excuse bad typing, spelling and grammar am typing of the fly

Permanentlyexhausted Sun 20-Apr-14 09:13:48


"it's different work with a 10 year old and an 8 year old than when they were 3 and 5 or even younger, but it is not easier in my experience. There are so many extras and so many more demands - homework, after school clubs, sports clubs, cubs, brownies, music lessons, etc."

In that example a SAHM would have 6 hours a day (in term time) while DC at school!

Well, I did say "in my experience" which, in my case, is as a WOHM. The point is that it is different as they get older, not necessarily easier.

mimishimmi Sun 20-Apr-14 09:48:09

Threetimesfive: My mum did all that bar the killing animals. She was a SAHM from when I was four until I was twelve, mainly due to health problems after the birth of her third child. I have lovely memories of Nanny and Patti, our two goats (which we didn't kill of course) and we grew our own vegetables and fruits. They shopped once a month. Even now, my kids love going up to their mountain home and harvesting stuff. It's really not a bad way to live and we have some lovely childhood memories due to that (eg coming home with friends for hot lunches during winter as we lived just down the road from the local elementary school).

That said, I do agree with you. My parents had their own home, mum had an independent income from dividends etc and it really depends on the circumstances.

RufusTheReindeer Sun 20-Apr-14 09:48:33

Wait til they are old enough for exams

It's a fucking nightmare...I'm much more stressed than ds1 is, I don't want his really stressed but a slight "ooooh maybe I should revise" would be great!

Loads do people have said a SAHM has it easy once kids are at pre school or school (except for caring duties) and I would be the first to agree

But of all my SAHM years I am finding the period from 4pm until 10pm at the moment the most difficult.....and masses of my WOHM friends are doing the same thing, after a day at work

janey68 Sun 20-Apr-14 09:55:01

What brdgrl said. And a round of applause for threetimesfive as well.

FFS what is all this competitive stuff for?

If it really matters to you that you get to watch every single item of food they goes in (and comes out!) of your child, then fine, be a SAHP because there's no other way you'll get to be able to do that. Just accept that it doesn't make you a better parent than mrs bloggs next door, or that your children will turn out happier/ cleverer.

That's an extreme example from earlier in the thread, but the same principle applies all along the spectrum. If you believe being a SAHP is the best thing for your family then fine- just don't be surprised or indignant if you come across WOHP who are just as happy with their life, and whose children are just as happy.

The opposite is equally true. I don't think being a WOHP makes me 'better'. The only claims I make are that it gives me the balance which suits our family life (and I include DH in that) it enables me to use different skills and different experiences to those I'd have as a SAHP and I like the salary and pension. I'm not claiming it is 'better' for my children, neither is it worse, I believe they would be equally happy and resilient if I was a SAHP.

I think some people take things too personally on here and assume that it's all about them. There were a number of posts earlier about the potential vulnerability of giving up work... That doesn't mean people shouldn't give up work if they and their partner agree its the best thing in their circumstances. It's just highlighting a point which applies to many women. I wish people would remember that if they are a SAHP who is not economically dependent on their other half, and who has the means to continue paying into a private pension, or their own assets etc, they are in a VERY privileged minority... Most women are not in this situation, many women have nowhere near adequate pension provision and will be in a very dicey position if they outlive their husband. So just because ones own situation might be fine, it doesn't make that true for everyone else

Finally- OP, did you start this thread just to shit stir?!

Joysmum Sun 20-Apr-14 10:10:58

I never thought being a SAHM was a sacrifice until I wanted to go back to work again. Then I realised how damaging time out is to a career. However, just as being a SAHM was sacrificing the income the family could have had if I'd remained working, so the investment needed and setbacks to my career now I am returning to it is a family sacrifice too.

Both my parents worked full time but my mums hours meant my dad was the primary caregiver to me and I have lots of lovely early memories or him, very few of my mum.

It was my dad who taught me life skills, cooking, did homework, read with me and played with me.

My mum had an hour in the morning to get herself ready, do bits around the house, make sure I was ready and then off to childcare. No quality time there and no memories of it as a consequence. In the evening she'd get home at 6.30 and by the time she'd got changed and eaten, I'd be lucky if I got an hour with her. That simply wasn't enough time for her to have very much if an influence in my life at all until I got older and could stay up later. I didn't want that for my dd and my DH's working hours would have meant he couldn't have taken a more active role as my dad had.

With only an hour a day of sit down time with kids in the evenings (and leaving housework till the weekend), how can
2 parents work traditional 9-5 hours, commute and still be raising their kids to the same degree as families with parents who have one parent home, even if one works nights and the other days.

My being a SAHM also means my husband has a better life. He goes to work and when he comes home his time is leisure time. He had no home chores and this meant he effectively works less hours because he didn't have half the home stuff as his responsibility.

Now I'm studying very long hours to go back to work again, it's a massive transition for us both. I need to stop doing it all and get out if that mindset, he needs to get into the mindset of having to work more hours (all be it much if that unpaid again as home chores!). Even though we both want to adjust, it's hard to change. I dread to think what it'd be like if this was something either or neither of us wanted to make this change.

janey68 Sun 20-Apr-14 10:16:51

Why worry yourself about two parents who might work 9-5?
If I come across parents in that situation, I assume that they are just as committed to being a good parent as I am. I assume that they are doing what they are doing because its the right thing in their circumstances, and that they have worked hard to develop systems and provision which works for them.

That would be a good starting point for everyone wouldn't it? To assume that other parents love and care for their family as much as we do? Rather than assuming that because they're doing something differently, they must be inferior

uselessidiot Sun 20-Apr-14 10:30:04

Not everyone is like you janey.

I've been told I'm a bad mum for working, for not working enough, not having a proper job (it's not a 9-5), not doing enough in the house, not going to school event on work day when blasted school gave parents an hours notice, for struggling with house work, for doing housework when dc are awake, for not taking dc abroad, for spending any money on dc when I get cc and many more crimes against parenting and humanity. In fact I've been called the worst mother in the history of all mothers. It is completely impossible to do the right thing.

cheeseandpineapple Sun 20-Apr-14 10:41:41

Parenting is not just the hands on stuff like wiping noses and bottoms but also strategic. Thinking about what's best for your family at any given time; Being aware of your dc's and dp's and your own needs and wants working together, trying to being harmonious but solving problems together, being a unit.

I agree with 3times5 on this. But if you choose to outsource or delegate part of the daytime child care, you don't stop or do less parenting you've made a different choice which is right for your personal situation and priorities. You are still parenting even if you're at work. You're providing for your children. How can that be any less parenting?

Where I differ from 3times5 though is that doing one isn't necessarily better than the other. I've done both and right now, having two working parents works well for us as a family. I loved being a SAHM and now I'm fortunate enough to have a job which allows me to work flexibly and from home when I want and I prefer to work/earn than not. But since I've had children, whether I've been earning or not, first and foremost, I'm a parent and my love, support, role modelling doesn't stop when I'm not in the presence of my children. Being a parent has made me better at my job, I want to be the best role model I can be for my children and that's rubbed off on how I approach my work too. In fact I'm much better at my job since having children, negotiating and solving problems at work are often a whole bunch easier than sibling quarrels. I talk about my work to my children and they help me solve some of my work issues because I engage them in what I do.

It's all parenting, it's just different tactics.

janey68 Sun 20-Apr-14 10:42:19

That's shit if you're being told those things. I guess all you can do is keep telling yourself that anyone else who is so interested in the minutiae of how you live your life, is clearly not very content with their own.

I do I work night shift full time then I come home and deal with all of the above, the kids are asleep when I'm at work

janey68 Sun 20-Apr-14 10:43:35

(That was in response to useles)

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 11:35:31

I had/have no desire to spend a year or two at home.

But a lot of people do Scottish

janey68 Sun 20-Apr-14 11:39:22

No one is arguing with people who want to be SAHP though. It's about accepting that not everyone wants the same things.

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 11:42:52

but all the women I know including myself, were brought up to believe that staying at home and putting aside your career if you want to, was a bad thing to never be considered.

Me too Dino and it is just as narrow and restricting a view as the 1950s archetype.

Littlebear could we spare a thought for the people who are railroaded into SAHMhood against their own preference and ambition and then have to listen to the disparagement of their role on top?

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 11:49:11

Woolly sentiments about both patents taking few years at home aren't representative of what everyone wants
Some might,but I wouldn't and I don't know many others who'd both want few years out
I chose to return,after 6mth I was gagging to get was stupefying being at home.

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 11:54:23

Nothing is representative of what everyone wants Scottish because everyone wants, needs, can afford different things. That is why it is irritating when crowds of people start bellowing that their way is best and the other people are prats for making a different choice.

Can you explain what is wooly of sentimental about the idea that both parents might want to take a year or two off each though?

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 11:55:22

what is wooly OR sentimental^......

feathermucker Sun 20-Apr-14 11:55:30


Spot on!grin

A pointless argument.

There are those that work full-time, part time, semi full time, different amounts of children, different ages, different genders, parents who work away, single parents, attachment parents etc etc to infinitum.

It's impossible to measure the quantity or quality of different parenting set ups.

I work; I have to, I may not have the same quantity of parenting as a SAHM, but I sure as hell have the same quality grin

LittleBearPad Sun 20-Apr-14 11:56:16

Why Fid. Women who are railroaded into going back to work when they don't want to, but have to for whatever reason, are disparaged too - witness posters above saying they aren't as much of a parent as a SAHM.

Maybe as other posters have suggested we should do what suits our families, let other people do the same and stop competing.

scottishmummy Sun 20-Apr-14 11:57:05

Perhaps you can explain why you think people want a year or two at home?

fidelineish Sun 20-Apr-14 12:00:31

Them too Little. Nobody should be disparaged, but a lot of it goes on and nobody seems able to explain why they feel the need to criticize on codescend to other parents.

Scottish I think a good number of people have that wish because I have heard them express it. Obviously a good number of people have entirely different wishes too.