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If you're a long term SAHM, do you feel judged?

(284 Posts)
pretzelflipzaretheanswer Wed 14-Nov-18 13:09:32


Just that really.

I think it's accepted when your dc are pre school age that you take some time out, but once they're at primary... secondary and have decided to continue to SAH, do you feel judged and/or embarrassed? Because I do.

My dd is 11 and bar a bit of child minding, I've been a SAHM the whole time. My dd has additional needs and I have recurring depression and anxiety, both factors to me not working. I am also fully aware that I am able to do this, as my DP earns a very good salary and so I appreciate I'm lucky in that respect.

Does anyone else dread though, that inevitable question at, for example, your dp's Christmas party or generally when meeting new people - "so.. what do you do?". I hate it. Absolutely hate it! You either get "ohhhh" awkward expression and pause "hardest job in the world though, right?" Or a nod and no comment at all. Don't get me wrong, I don't really blame them. I mean, what do you say to that, really? But I have had the "but what do you do with your day?!" "Aren't you bored?" questions. Well, yes. Sometimes I am, but if someone told me they were an accountant, something which would bore me to tears, would I be so rude, as to ask "but aren't you bored?" I'm not having a go at accountants btw grin I did actually used to work in accounts, I'm just using this for comparison.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I just thought I'd ask how others in the same position felt. I've had quite a few awkward moments like this recently and it makes me feel a bit rubbish tbh.

Thanks for reading.

bookmum08 Wed 14-Nov-18 13:22:42

Generally I find no one cares. Or is that interested. I am a sahm. Most of the fellow school mums I know do work buy I actually have no idea what 95% of them do. Or if I do it's vague stuff like "I work in admin". I have in the last few years become more involved in volunteer roles and a very specific hobby. So if anyone is that interested I talk about that.

Harebellmeadow Wed 14-Nov-18 13:27:27

Yes, judged as inferior, but after popping back to work after 5 years at home i am again happy to be a SAHM with DD2, and more able to ignored the opinions of others, knowing that both sides have good and bad aspects. You do what you have to donor what you judge best for your family, and its totally ok eitjer wY need more mummy friends though

Harebellmeadow Wed 14-Nov-18 13:27:53

Sorry terrible typos 😩

EcruTable Wed 14-Nov-18 13:34:05

Yes. I feel judged by almost everybody in my life. It’s only my DH, DC and best friends who don’t judge me. Previous colleagues, other family and friends have judged. I’ve cut off people who have criticised me for it. Why other people think it’s any of their business what I do I really don’t know.

Scotinoz Wed 14-Nov-18 13:34:34

I've been a SAHM for 5 years, so not exactly long term.

Since my eldest started school, I've met a lot more SAHM's so it seems far more 'normal' and nobody cares about your setup.

When the children were little, being a SAHM was a rarity in my friends/aquintances. A 'friend' once lectured me that it was a luxury and not everyone was as 'rich' as me. What she failed to see was we had 2 kids under 18mths, my husband was out the house for 12+ hours a day, we had no family to help with childcare and financially two salaries made no sense!

pretzelflipzaretheanswer Wed 14-Nov-18 13:54:27

Hmm a bit of a mixed bag then.

I suppose I just resent that need to almost explain myself. It's bizarre. I know I shouldn't have to feel like that, but every time someone asks me, I clam up and feel as though I should almost be apologising or immediately explain my reasons, so they don't just assume I'm lazy.

Zoomzoomzoomzoom0 Wed 14-Nov-18 14:00:58

How about a smooth deflection
Q What do you do?
A Sahm, and you? (regardless of answer) Gosh, that must be fascinating, do you enjoy it?
Most people are dying to talk about themselves anyway smile

ShanghaiDiva Wed 14-Nov-18 14:02:54

My answer to the question - what do you do?
Whatever I like.
I have been a SAHM for over 18 years - have various part time voluntary roles - (school and charities), but no paid work. My dh works very long hours and travels a reasonable amount and I am at home. This works well for our family and I care not a jot what others think - judge away!

elliejjtiny Wed 14-Nov-18 14:07:53

Yes. Youngest is 4 and started school 2 months ago. Have 4 other dc, all under 13 and who all have additional needs. People keep offering helpful suggestions of jobs that I should apply for, mostly ones that I'm not even qualified to do. I couldn't fit a job around the dc's appointments, meetings, illnesses and the school asking me to pick up ds2 mid meltdown again.

JustKeepSwimmingJustKeepSwimmi Wed 14-Nov-18 14:08:42

Yep. Ive done odd bits and pieces but am very easily overwhelmed. Husband often works away.

However we are not high income/dont live in a great area and are financially imsecure so it feels a double worry when Im feeling low sad

Escolar Wed 14-Nov-18 14:10:17

Yes. I was a SAHM for nine years and I went back to work when my youngest started school. I didn’t need to financially, but one of the reasons was that I was worried I would feel judged.

Having said that, now I’m back at work I love my job and I’m glad I returned to work. So maybe the worry about being judged was helpful for me in the long term!

confusedofengland Wed 14-Nov-18 14:11:48

I've been a SAHM for 10 years. DS3 started school in September. DS2 has SEN, so needs me a lot. DH is out of the house for 12 hours a day with work, so can't help with school runs/activities/meetings/anything at the school etc. DPIL live 150 miles away & DMIL is developing dementia so they can't help. My parents are just around the corner but work & my mum is an alcoholic so I'm not willing to leave her alone in charge of the DSes (unlike my 2 sisters who each have her doing free childcare one day per week hmm).

I currently volunteer one morning per week, but a lot of time is taken up with errands (you're at home, you can just...), helping out with ill GParents, school stuff & house stuff. I have applied for a part-time zero hours role but not sure where I'd fit it in! Also, I am supposed to do some admin at home for my parents' business but no time to spare to do it yet!

I feel judged by my family (parents, sisters, even grandparents) but not by anybody else hmm And actually, I judge myself - I spent years working towards an MA & had such a bright future, now the biggest decision I can make is whether to have pasta or fishfingers for dinner.

MrsEricBana Wed 14-Nov-18 14:15:20

Hi Pretzel, It was a problem for me too but then I realised that when people asked me what I do and I said SAHM they probably only looked blank because they were thinking "Bugger, what am I going to ask now?" so I talk about what I do do (unpaid interest) and they seem to quickly latch onto that and it's all good. I don't think they care one way or another whether I work or not, they just wanted a conversational tidbit to latch onto. Similarly if I sit next to someone at a party who tells me they're a hedge fund manager I panic conversationally, but if they say doctor/chef/dog whisperer it immediately gives me a way in. It's not lazy to be a sahm but it is very, very different to working outside the home and having to cope with all the home responsibilities too.

PenApple Wed 14-Nov-18 14:21:51

Yes I feel guilty, now a bit more validated due to Dc3 (8 years between 2&3).

We can afford for me not to work, although we’re not well off. I have chronic pain so struggle with work anyway, best decision ever was giving up work.

Before Dc3 came along I’d get lots of hmm when asked what I did (I usually just say I don’t work rather than sahm).

I’m not doing anyone any harm. My older DC much prefer I don’t work so I’m here after school and holidays, as that’s what they’ve always been used to.

immummynoiam Wed 14-Nov-18 14:22:48

You can always find someone to judge you though - i work, but there's always someone that will make you feel crap about what you do. If you and your family are happy, that’s all you need. If most people worried less about what others thought of their choices their lives would be better.

It only matters if what people are saying reflects on something you feel.

BertramKibbler Wed 14-Nov-18 14:26:50

People comment on it when it’s not any of their business. I went to see my GP as I have problems with some shoulder pain. He asked me if I was working and then when, not even if, I would be going back to work.

MarshaBradyo Wed 14-Nov-18 14:29:22

Women get judged by some part of society regardless, so you may as well stick to the path best for you / your family

WhoGivesADamnForAFlakeyBandit Wed 14-Nov-18 14:30:18

I spent years working towards an MA & had such a bright future, now the biggest decision I can make is whether to have pasta or fishfingers for dinner I used to run global projects, was an expert in my industry. Now look at me! I worked until eldest DC started school and then with a term of half days and no CM and undiagnosed SN it was just not possible. Now DC are mostly secondary age and yes, I'm bored a lot in the day time but also very aware that when the DC have a crisis or spate of appointments etc - let alone holidays/insets - that it would be very, very difficult to get childcare and/or work. I don't always enjoy looking after anxious, sullen teenagers with additional needs - I doubt I could find someone who would want to be paid for it, nor a job that paid me enough to pay someone to do it. We have no family support and so my boredom and having nothing to say in social occasions is the pay off.

JupiterDrops Wed 14-Nov-18 14:30:45

I'm not a SAHP as it would drive me crazy and my career right now isn't something I'm willing to give up.
But having hard a really difficult baby I understand that it's (often) much, much harder than a job outside the house, not just physically but mentally. Part of the reason I couldn't be at home full time is I find it so draining and need to be able to have time to focus on my work almost to refuel.

But- despite knowing what a hard job it is, my instinct IS to judge SAHPs. I make assumptions (less ambitious, pre-children job must have been not well paid and fairly junior, sometimes even lazy). It's socially been programmed into me because I KNOW that's not true and have to overwrite those initial impressions with what I know to be true (most SAHPs work so bloody hard, and often do it because they have no choice).

Working parents are judged too though, I've had people appear beyond shocked that I went back to work after a year when it hadn't ever crossed my mind not to.

Everyone gets judged, by everyone else. If it's right for you then it's right for you.

notangelinajolie Wed 14-Nov-18 14:32:32

No not really.

Most of my friends were SAHMs and DC's friends at school all had SAHMs so being a SAHM was the norm.

My mum and DH's mum were SAHMs so no judging from parents either. My kids always seemed delighted to see a friendly face at sports day or the school gates so no judging from them either.

I don't meet anyone else outside of my family or circle of friends so I wouldn't have a clue or even care if someone I don't know is judging me.

The only judging I have come across is on Mumsnet. Oh the irony.

BertramKibbler Wed 14-Nov-18 14:36:54

Aren’t you charming Jupiter!

GreenDinosaur Wed 14-Nov-18 14:38:13

Yes, I hate the ubiquitous, "what do you do?" It makes even a haircut awkward. I shouldn't care but I do and feel massively judged.

I have a lot of health issues that aren't always visable and I try to hide them so I feel like people think I'm lazy.

DH is supportive even though he doesn't earn a lot.
He thinks the judgey people are all in my head but I have overheard comments in the past which are very hurtful. sad

Scrumptiousbears Wed 14-Nov-18 14:40:50

I'm not sure I judge long term SAHP but I do think what would happen if they split with their DP and have nothing to fall back on. This would worry me In that situation.

GreenDinosaur Wed 14-Nov-18 14:42:34

At least @JupiterDrops is honest. Everyone always comes on these threads and says "oh, no, I don't judge" but it's a fact that a lot of people do in real life.

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