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to be annoyed at SAHM telling me I am selfish

(85 Posts)
bickie Wed 31-Aug-11 00:59:35

When explaining to a SAHM who had uttered the immortal 'I don't know how you do it' - i.e. juggle work and children - and I said - it's not that hard - I just have given up doing anything for myself for a few years as I am either working or at home looking after children - she said - what do you mean - your work is for your self. Does she mean I am selfish - or am I being tired and unreasonable?

ThePopsicleKat Wed 31-Aug-11 01:06:13

Think you are just tired smile Don't think she meant to accuse you of being selfish...or maybe you (accidentally) came across as a bit martyrish when you said you've given up doing anything for yourself, and she was just trying to counter that attitude, IYSWIM.

I wouldn't worry about it anyway. If you're happy with the choices you've made then that's the main thing.

donthateme Wed 31-Aug-11 01:07:01

You're being overly sensitive. I reckon she was just full of admiration that you Manage two jobs- being a mum and being in work! It's certainly not selfish to work. work is a necessary fact of life to pay your way. And nearly every job is fulfilling some sort of public service or useful role too

said Wed 31-Aug-11 01:07:54

What did you say? Is she still there waiting for an answer?

GwendolenHarleth Wed 31-Aug-11 01:08:34

I'm not sure what she meant. You meant that you have given up on any me time/down time for a few years and she seemed to be suggesting that work is me time, which it isn't.

Thumbwitch Wed 31-Aug-11 01:09:47

Oversensitive probably.
Do you work because you have to or because you want to or a bit of both? If it's more because you want to then I would tend to agree with her - that is something you do for yourself, to keep your brain going, to get you our of what some people perceive as the humdrum of SAHM life (I don't, I am one and I enjoy it)
If it's because you have to and you begrudge going to work then it's not for yourself, it's for your family.

It's all in the situation - but I doubt she was calling you selfish.

MadamDeathstare Wed 31-Aug-11 01:40:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SouthernFriedTofu Wed 31-Aug-11 03:55:32

Work is for yourself though.

LoveBeingAtHomeOnMyOwn Wed 31-Aug-11 04:51:56

Probably cause she sees working as being for your benefit rather than the families. Her circumstances could be very diffrrent and do you know what? It doesn't matter what the fuck she thinks. It's your family, your life and you are doing what needs to be done for your family.

Iteotwawki Wed 31-Aug-11 05:11:08

I think you're probably just tired and a bit oversensitive, but I'd have called her on it and asked her to explain.

SouthernFriedTofu - work isn't just for myself. I work because I have to - it's the only way my rent, mortgage, bills and children get paid for. If I had my preference, I'd be a SAHM. I don't get that luxury of choice. Work is for my family, it keeps them fed and clothed and housed and warm.

I'd be pissed off if someone told me I was being selfish in working full time to support my family instead of living off the state.

mousesma Wed 31-Aug-11 06:20:19

Do you know that she definitely meant this negatively? I think it's entirely possible that she was trying to buoy you up and say that it might feel like you've got nothing for you but in the long run the work will be for your benefit.

Are you sure she is happy being a SAHM, maybe she envys the time you have away from your children? I think you might be seeing criticism where it isn't there.

I'm starting back to work in a couple of weeks after staying at home for 15 months with my DD and although I'm working mostly to pay bills it is for my benefit too. Yes it's not fun me time and i'll be working for pennies by the time childcare is paid out but it does keep my career and pension going and when I'm ready to commit full time to work again I'll be in a position to advance rather than starting from scratch.

Maybe you need to look more positively at your choices rather than seeing only what you are giving up?

ToothbrushThief Wed 31-Aug-11 06:27:20

I'm often asked 'How do I do it' and would be really miffed if someone suggested working was selfish.

In my working life most people fantasize about not working and being at home with the kids.

I don't meet many people who fantasize about being at work?

It's something you do to earn money to feed, clothe and house yourself and your family. There is only me to do all this, so exactly what else should I do other than work?

PorkChopSter Wed 31-Aug-11 07:24:29

She probably meant that at work you can go to the toilet by yourself and eat lunch without sharing it with your colleagues or having to feed them.

I have 4 kids 7 & under - I often fantastise about going to work grin

IthinkIamUndecided Wed 31-Aug-11 07:28:29

Your thread title is misleading; she didn't tell you that you were selfish at all. Are you deliberately trying to be provocative?

peggyblackett Wed 31-Aug-11 07:28:37

Lawks. I choose to work (if choose is the right word), but I still have moments of feeling utterly knackered and exhausted from all of the juggling.

YANBU, but its not worth losing a friendship over.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 31-Aug-11 07:30:57

Work is for myself?
I've always worked full time because I couldn't house, feed or cloth my children to my satisfaction without a job. I did, however, have a hobby because otherwise I'd have become an automaton, programmed for mummy and work only.
I'd try and do something for yourself once a week OP, and stay away from engaging with irritating SAHMs until you are less tired and unreasonable.smile

kerala Wed 31-Aug-11 07:34:18

Depends on the job and how youview it. The single parent getting up at 6 to man the checkout or my friend who doesn't need the money but has fab job that involves visiting new York art galleries all expenses paid leaving two gorgeous but tiring toddlers with fab nanny. Not saying she's selfish for a moment but she would say herself her job is her time. Don't think your friend meant to be rude to me sounds like she was trying to make you feel better

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 31-Aug-11 07:35:28

I think you are being over-sensitive.

I suspect she was trying to be nice but it came over wrong.

littlegreenalien Wed 31-Aug-11 07:37:39

Many SAHMs are being SAHMs for themselves, because it is what they want to do, so one could say that they are not totally selfless albeit potentially hardworking individuals.

Maybe she felt that your comment of "its not that hard" inferred that she simply wasn't trying hard enough and she too could work if she was prepared to push herself harder and she replied accordingly.

I've tried SAHM/ PT WORKING/ FT WORKING and without doubt working even PT is mentally harder than being a SAHM as you have a parent shift at home before possibly a full day at work and then another shift as parent at home. Work outside the home ties up your time and gives you two sets of needs to be met, your boss's and your children's. Two sets of rules and having to switch between the 2 modes all the time is mentally draining.

I might just add, given the current employment climate in many organisations, that putting a work/home life "juggling" working mum on the list of any potential redundancies is possibly a bigger blow to the employee in question than for say a single male who has not had to make the same sacrifices to remain in the workplace to date.

Maryz Wed 31-Aug-11 07:38:38

Is this going to turn in to a SAHM/WOHM bunfight? If so, can I be the first to should HAT TRICK grin.

P&C parking, grapes in the supermarket, and now this, it must be the silly season!

Though to answer your question, op, sometimes to someone who is stuck at home all day with small children, work could seem like an escape from the rut. Whereas for someone who is working a 40 hour (or more) week, having a day at home with the kids looks like an escape. So she could well be envious of you, but is unlikely to be critical.

Iggly Wed 31-Aug-11 07:43:50

Why is it when a mum works, it's for herself yet when a dad does he's providing for the family?

You could argue that having kids is selfish - we do it to satisfy something which we feel. We do it for ourselves.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Wed 31-Aug-11 07:46:31

I missed the grapes thread. Now I'll have to go and find it...smile
I agree that it is probably a case of the grass being greener, and please not a WOHM/SAHM scrap, because there are so rarely buns involved.

DrNortherner Wed 31-Aug-11 07:56:59

Do I work for myself Well I don't thin I do tbh.......I work to contribute financially to our household. To help pay the bills, the mortgage, buy food and clothes.

If I was doing it for myself I would rather do something else, something voluntary perhaps.

magicmummy1 Wed 31-Aug-11 07:57:58

I work for my family - to pay the bills and put food on the table. I hate my current job, and most definitely don't regard working as being "for myself". I do it because I have to.

On the other hand, I spend time with my dd because I chose to have a child and I love being with her. Yes, it's bloody hard work being a parent sometimes, but the time I spend with my dd is as much for myself as it is for her. I do it because I want to.

I doubt that your friend was trying to upset you OP. She was probably just one of these people who seem to believe that work is about endless coffee breaks and long lunches. Let it go. wink

ithaka Wed 31-Aug-11 08:01:30

Wow - work is for yourself? There was I, thinking I was earning an honest crust to feed and house my family and contribute to the economy.
People don't have a job for fun - that is what hobbies are for.
I have my family for myself, my work to pay for it.

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