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Aibu to just be content and not feel 'the pressure'?

(62 Posts)
happy2bhomely Sat 23-Jul-11 09:09:35

This has been triggered by reading another thread (sorry) There is talk of people being paddlers or floaters.

When I was asked in primary school "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I answered "A nurse or maybe a housewife" I got told off for this and had to change my answer to "Doctor".

I'm now 28, and I'm not ambitious. I'm educated well enough to get by. I am not driven by money and my Husband earns enough for us to live what I call comfortably. We have everything we need and lots of treats, but we are what some people describe as poor. I am a wife and a SAHM to 4 children. I am very content with my choices. I work hard at looking after our (very modest) home and trying to give our children my idea of a happy childhood. I enjoy baking, painting, sewing and reading. I like living a 'slow life'. I plan to volunteer when the kids are all at school, and work part time.

I live my life always asking myself "How do you want to be remembered?" I want to be remembered as a loving wife and Mother, a good sister and a loyal friend. That's it.

I appreciate that some people share my ideas, others have completely opposite ideas and most are somewhere in between. I think everyone should be free to live life their way without being made to feel guilty. If a career makes you happy-good for you. If you like earning your own money, that's great. If you don't want to get married or have kids, then I respect your choices.

My family and in laws think I am 'sad' for not wanting more out of life. I've wasted my life according to them. They say things like "Let's hope your girls have more ambition and live a little before settling down. After all, everyone wants their kids to 'do well' ". I want my children to live how they like. They can be a banker or a teacher or a dancer or a bloody travelling musician....They can be rich or poor, gay or straight, driven or relaxed, have no babies or 10 babies.....I really don't mind as long they are happy and make their own minds up. I only hope that they are not alcoholics, drug users or gamblers, and that they are not violent. Should I hope for more?

Am I being unreasonable to just be happy in my own little world? Not to succumb to the pressure to have a beautiful home, to achieve academically or to be rich and successful? Am I being unreasonable to expect people to accept that I have everything I could possibly want and I'm not striving for anything? Am I a bad Mother for not having higher hopes for our children?

catgirl1976 Sat 23-Jul-11 09:16:52

YANBU or a bad mother as long as you are happy and (and this is key) will continue to BE happy once your DCs are all grown up and you no longer have them as your focus.

I have seen a lot of mums (including my own) suddenly feel a bit empty when the DCs have grown up as they haven't really built up much "for themselves" and find the adjustment too much and leaving too big a hole. You say you are planning to volunteer and work part time when they are at school so that should help.

I do think it is important for young girls to have a strong, female role model in terms of a career but that is just my opinion and perhaps you have this elsewhere in the family?

ArmchairFeminist Sat 23-Jul-11 09:18:45

You sound happy, settled and sorted.

I like that. I'm similar - also got four children but I live with a super ambitious hubby! Suits us fine, I do home and kids, he does work.

We're happy! smile

fedupofnamechanging Sat 23-Jul-11 09:19:28

I think your life sounds lovely. There is no law which says we must all be career focussed - fine if you are, but there ought to be some respect for the fact that not everybody is.

In a society that judges worth by how much money you generate, I think it's great that you've managed to step outside of that and say that you are happy as you are and not live your life according to what other people think is important, but what you consider to be important.

ArmchairFeminist Sat 23-Jul-11 09:21:12

Catgirl, my kids see me as the boss, head of the house and far more a role model than their dad who simply goes to work!

I run a small business from home, house, land, kids, local volunteer stuff, look after my parents and involved in school.

How is that not being a strong, female, role model? hmm

upahill Sat 23-Jul-11 09:23:17

Sounds good to me!
In fact you sound like the perfect feminist - you are making your own choices and are happy with them.

hobnobsaremyfave Sat 23-Jul-11 09:23:24

<wonders how many posts this thread will get to before Xenia arrives to share her "wisdom">

ShowOfHands Sat 23-Jul-11 09:23:28

Oh I am always raving about contentment. If you're truly content than bravo. It's a wonderful state of mind.

And you know what I disagree that you're not ambitious. You work at the life you want. That's all ambition is.

I do sort of understand though. I have some rather sedate ambitions but they're important to me even if other people fail to appreciate them. I've always found it hard to explain why I don't want to do lots of high octane thing, I don't want to travel the world and 'experience' things. I'm truly happy. I love my home, my family. I have plans for the future in terms of work and aims but they're nothing extraordinary at all. In fact they're beautifully ordinary.

I think my Dad struggles a bit because I'm quite clever tbh and if I'd sacrificed a lot of my time, not got married or had a baby in my early twenties, I could be DrShow and lecturing or researching or whatever it's presumed I should want to do. I'd quite like to do a PhD but I don't want it enough to scrabble about for the 10k it would cost me. I always describe my perfect job however as pottering. I'd like to write, draw, sew, take photographs, go for lovely walks and picnics and just pootle about the countryside taking it all in.

SmethwickBelle Sat 23-Jul-11 09:24:10

"I am not driven by money and my Husband earns enough for us to live what I call comfortably".

You are actually driven by money - your situation relies on your husband's income, at least.

catgirl1976 Sat 23-Jul-11 09:25:56

It is a strong, female role model - .just not specifically in career terms

I said IMHO it was good for girls to have a strong, female role model in terms of careers but it doesn't have to be the mother. I didn't say any other type of mother was not a good role model.

(Although the UCL study the Guardian commented on the other day seems to suggest girls to better when the mother works, but that looks pretty circumstancial at the moment

4madboys Sat 23-Jul-11 09:28:28

sounds good to me and fwiw my life is pretty similar smile when my kids are older i plan on working but probably part time and also volunteering, we are happy, our kids are happy, thats good enough for me smile

happy2bhomely Sat 23-Jul-11 09:34:21

To be fair, my DH is also very ambitious. He works incredibly hard at a very physical job. He works long hours and enjoys being busy., but he is not 'book smart'. I do worry that our children are getting a very old fashioned example of how a family works from us. The rest of our family is made up of single SAHM's on benefits, working single mum's, working couples with children and without. I think they have a balanced view.

I understand what you mean about feeling empty, but worrying about that goes against my policy of 'floating'! I could worry about all sorts of things, but I choose to focus on the people I have with me right now, because there are no guarantees that any of us will be here tomorrow.

Decorhate Sat 23-Jul-11 09:38:30

Yanbu, OP. I personally think the secret of happiness is being content with your life and it sounds like you are. Being extremely successful in terms of a high-flying career, even one you love, or lots of money, does not guarantee happiness.

That's not to say that I don't sometimes wish I had tried out certain other paths in life, but more because they sound interesting, not because they are highly paid...but maybe I will do that when my dcs are older...

The only thing I would say is not to rule anything out. Like you, I thought I would only ever work part-time again, but am now working full-time & it is working out fine!

rainbowtoenails Sat 23-Jul-11 09:41:43

Id rather my dd spent her 20s making babies than in some mcjob and getting pissed out her skull every weekend.

happy2bhomely Sat 23-Jul-11 09:45:50

"You are actually driven by money - your situation relies on your husband's income, at least."

Of course my situation relies on my Dh's income, but I don't consider that to be the same as 'driven by money'.

Money my Dh earns supports my choices. I support his choices by being available to care for our children so he can work unsocial, long hours at a job he loves. He could work harder and longer if he was driven by a desire to earn even more money, but then our marriage would suffer, and so would our children.

So I guess what I'm saying is of course having enough money is important, but we don't need any more than we have, and don't want it either.

SheCutOffTheirTails Sat 23-Jul-11 09:57:45

Sounds like you do want a lot out of life. Your dreams are not small ones - to be a good wife, mother, friend and sister, to be loved and cherished by many, that's a lot.

I'm completely unlike you - I don't have your clarity about my priorities, my life is busy, chaotic and exhausting. I have come to realise that that is who I am - I thrive on having too much to do, taking on too much, and running myself a bit ragged.

Your OP makes me a little jealous - of your contentedness, your ability to fully savour the experiences of the things you love. I try to do that, but I'm not that good at it.

You are very lucky to have a life that makes you so happy. Enjoy it smile

Icelollycraving Sat 23-Jul-11 10:05:41

Yanbu at all. Life is all about choices,being a good mum is a wonderful achievement. You appear to have the life you want,not many people can say they are as content so just smile & be happy!

pinklizzie Sat 23-Jul-11 10:06:38

I don't think I would ever describe the life of a parent of 4 children as slow. grin

I think you are fortunate in that you are happy with your situation.

I have changed my view on money from when I was 28 now 10 years on I wish I had earned a great deal more in the last decade so that I could give more away to people who need it. I realise now more than ever that the world is so incredibly unfair, how do we explain that children are still born to die in 2011, that women in so many societies around the world still are so unequal compared to men.

kickingking Sat 23-Jul-11 10:09:18

Your life sounds lovely. I am envy

That was more or less what I wanted for myself, but it hasn't happened. There was a lot of pressure on me to go to university, which I did. Getting a degree wasn't the problem in itself, but afterwards you then have to get a decent job to make it 'worth it'. I became a teacher, because I like children confused - if only that was enough! I now have a part time teaching job and one child. Which is supposed to be a compromise of sorts towards what I really wanted. It is harder than I ever imagined it could be.

I disagree that you're not ambitious - you know what you want, and you are working for it. I do think it's important that you make sure you will still be content once your children have grown up though, but I'm sure you've thought of that smile

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 23-Jul-11 10:21:09

You sound very 'together', OP - and happy.

I'm not sure who to attribute this quote to but it goes something like this: "The secret to being happy in life is wanting what you have". Very true, I think.

I also think a couple benefits from having one ambitious one, one practical and supportive. It sounds like you have that, a happy homelife, congrats! smile

ThisMomentusDay Sat 23-Jul-11 10:25:44

You lucky, lucky thing! You're life sounds absolutely perfect and exactly what i would love! Unfortunately at the moment i can't afford to be a sahm but i am doing everything i can to get there some day! Good on you for making your ideal life! Enjoy it and to hell with everyone else's opinion! grin

magicmelons Sat 23-Jul-11 10:26:15

If your happy and your DH then that is what is really important. Wanting to be a mum is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Its only a problem if your DH isn't happy with your arrangement.

What I have come to realise is that Dh and I will probably never feel content. When we were students and had dd we lived on about 20 k between us for the first year, we then set up a successful business and i went back to work, now we earn about 4 times that ( 5 years later) and seem to always be having the conversation "we'll be happy when" it usually is when we earn an extra 20k, we work ridiculous hours and overall are pretty happy but i wouldn't say content. We moved to our forever home and a year later we want something bigger, we have nice cars but both always eye up bigger cars. I am very ambitious and i'm not sure when that will stop, i'm almost at the top of my profession and i can't see that being enough as i'm young and would have to stick the same job for 30 years.

itisnearlysummer Sat 23-Jul-11 10:29:01

Happy2bhomely I don't think it matters if you are giving your children a traditional family upbringing. In fact I think it's great.

I've spent the 12 years of my DS's life pursuing higher education and a demanding career. The reality it, that what I want to do is be a SAHM. So that's what I'm doing from now on. I'm setting up a small business I can run from home.

I agree about not being driven by money. Having enough money to survive and support your family isn't the same as always being in pursuit of the next promotion, the next bonus, the next payrise. It's about not wanting to climb a ladder and seeing that as a measure of your success.

I also disagree that you're not ambitious.

There will be plenty for you to do when your children have grown up!

happy2bhomely Sat 23-Jul-11 10:29:21

I feel very lucky. I think that because I had my first when I was very young (17) some people think I don't deserve to have been so lucky. It was not planned and it's almost like people are disappointed that their predictions of me ending up alone and unhappy have not come true.

My mum and DH's mum had very unhappy marriages. 12years later we are still very much in love and tbh it gets better every year. (Smug much?) Sometimes I think they might be a little jealous, or resentful that we seem to have had it easy. MIL still says things like "he's just like his father" when she couldn't be more wrong. She has never experienced it and finds it hard to believe that men can be wonderful and that life doesn't have to be a struggle.

WriterofDreams Sat 23-Jul-11 10:32:26

YANBU. I did extremely well at school - I got the top marks possible in the Leaving Cert (Irish equivalent of A levels) and I could have studied literally anything at uni. Everyone assumed it would be medicine but I chose what I wanted to study - psychology - with no career in mind. Had a great time, met my DH, it was fab. But when I finished uni I got sucked into the ambition treadmill - I felt like everyone expected me to make a big career for myself and I felt under huge pressure. I succumbed to that pressure for a few years and ended up with severe depression. That was the wake up call for me. I knew I always wanted to have a family and children and not much else so I went for that. I now have DS and I've never been happier. I have enough money to live on but nothing for holidays or nice clothes. That doesn't matter. I have no plans for the future beyond taking care of my family. I am content. I know it surprises people, especially ones who knew me at school but I don't care any more.

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