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To ever so slightly envy SAHMs

(87 Posts)
MrRected Sun 24-Mar-13 12:27:00

My 3 school are all of school age (5,8,11). I have always had to work to keep us afloat. Up until now I have been lucky that I worked 4 days a week (one at home).

I was informed by my boss that as of after Easter I can no longer work part time. That its full time or nothing. I am a contractor so I don't have much choice in the matter.

I so wish we were a bit more financially better off. I would love nothing more than to be able to stay at home with my children and feel envious of those who can. <wistful>

Pitmountainpony Mon 25-Mar-13 22:04:49

I also find the grass of staying at home to mother very pleasant but you have to focus on the positives of what you do. Enjoy the extra income and the fact you ave not stepped put of your career. I am fine with both of those things as most days I love being at home with my kids, but some people get really bored or find it repetitive or just don,t get out and meet people to Create the social opportunities, work can offer.
Your kids are school age so I would have thought that is easier. I will envy mums who stay home after their kids start school as I would love the freedom of not working but unless you are very well off that is pretty hard to do.

aldiwhore Mon 25-Mar-13 21:54:04

YANBU to be pissed off with a situation you don't choose. I'd say the same if it were a SAHM who envied a full time working mum but for whatever reason couldn't do it.

Not having a real choice sucks. I guess you have 2 immediate choices. 1) Focus on the positives and simply get on with it. 2) Get angry and feel bitter savouring every miserable second. Number 1 is probably the most healthy.

A more long term plan would be perhaps looking for a new job, retraining in something a bit more flexible etc., then you will perhaps have more choice in the future.

I will say though that unless one parent earns a fortune, being a SAHM can be incredibly boring as you're down to one salary, count every penny and although you may have the time, you don't have the funds to do lunch and all those things you perhaps don't have the time for now.

I've done both SAH and working full time (so don't know the abbreviations for that) and they both balance out for me, in terms of misery versus bliss! I work part time at present and purely from an emotional PoV this is best, although it also has it's down sides.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 21:43:27


There were no state benefits when we first had our older dc, so yes it was just one minimum wage and yes anybody could do it. We didn't go without basics but second car, depends how you look at it. A severely asthmatic child 25 miles from nearest hospital, living in the stix, nearest doctor 5 miles away ambulance depot also 25 miles away and a bus 3 times a day. No not essential as thank God we had good neighbours.
All I said it was possible and I still say it is. Some people live on very little money and its possible if you want to. I'm not suggesting we should all want to.
I think it so sad when you try and give people hope that your intentions meet with such negativity.

janey68 Mon 25-Mar-13 20:15:48

MrRected- Good, sounds like you're being pragmatic. And your children are
Fine which is the most important thing. It's always unsettling when work circumstances change but I really think you'll get into the swing. I did 3 days while my children were pre school, and then went to full time when the youngest went into reception class. I did feel a bit miffed that I never got to reap the benefits of being a part time worker with kids in school... But those feelings lasted all of about a week- never looked back after that.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 25-Mar-13 20:13:12

Morethan, your household claims state beneifts though so its not really the case to say that you manage making sacrifices as your household income obviously doenst cover everything if you need to claim state assistance.

Its sheer madness to say that everyone can afford to have an adult not work, many dont want to claim benefits and many have a WOHP that earns too much for help but outgoings are higher as the have to pay for everything themselves. Holidays and second cars are luxuries, you hardly gave up essentials.

MrRected Mon 25-Mar-13 20:08:53

Lots of brilliant advice and differing opinions - thank you all :-).

Unfortunately I don't really have any choice at the moment. Our outgoings exceed our incomings and no amount of rationalisation will change that. So remain stuck for the time being.

Ever so slightly envious but mostly grateful that we have food on the table and the mortgage & bills are paid smile.

janey68 Mon 25-Mar-13 20:04:38

I didn't say you were lying about it being possible for your family. I
Saying it wasn't possible for mine. And it's not possible for countless
others. Sounds suspiciously like you're claiming to know other families circumstances better than they do themselves...

Like I said, its worked out very well for us- happy children and happy parents. But it could be very hurtful to other families to be told
That if they just try hard enough they can afford to give up work

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 20:01:27


Well I must be lying then as its not possible, and perhaps if you had been in our situation you too would have found it impossible. However, we found a way, it wasn't easy and we had nothing. My whole intention of the first post I made was to say it is possible, as my family are living proof, so that if anybody was really torn they would have hope. If you want to make it into something else that's up to you.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 20:00:15


Well I must be lying then as its not possible, and perhaps if you had been in our situation you too would have found it impossible. However, we found a way, it wasn't easy and we had nothing. My whole intention of the first post I made was to say it is possible, as my family are living proof, so that if anybody was really torn they would have hope. If you want to make it into something else that's up to you.

janey68 Mon 25-Mar-13 19:28:56

Well I can assure you that no matter how much I could have felt I didn't want to return to work after having dd, I didnt have a choice. The OP has also made it clear from the outset that she has always had to work for financial reasons.

I was one of the lucky ones- I realised pretty quickly, with dd happily settled in childcare and me back into the swing of work, that it felt good-
dd was happy, I was happy... But frankly even if I hadn't been, there would not have been a choice at that point in our lives. So I don't think it's helpful to tell others that 'if you want to be at home you'll find a
Way if you try hard enough'.. It could be very hurtful to some mothers.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 19:21:48


I know, I too remember it well, one minimum wage coming in no tax credits and a mortgage at at 15.5%, it was hard wasn't it and certainly wouldn't want to go back there again. We were so skint as were alot of people back then, but yes it does get easier and now the mortgage has gone, we are a lot better off.
All I was saying is it is possible to do if you really want to do it. You don't come much more dire than our early days.
As I said before though, that may not be the right decision for others and everybody is different.

HiggsBoson Mon 25-Mar-13 18:31:51

We made a lot of sacrifices in terms of holidays, second car

...but they aren't sacrifices!! Holidays and cars are luxuries.

I hear you OP. DP earns minimum wage and I would LOVE to wake up and not have to worry about bringing in money to survive.

janey68 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:58:22

Fair enough to talk about your own personal experience, but when it comes to saying 'if you really want to be a SAHM you'd find a way' then you're moving outside your own experience and saying that other people could do as you've done. I think that's the thing that rankles sometimes.

FWIW we were in the position of both having to work with dc1. This was before tax credits and other top ups, and basically, if one persons income
Didn't cover the outgoings then there was no choice. Tbh I don't know what I would have chosen if it hadnt been a financial necessity... I really enjoy my work and I wasn't keen to give up my post, but on the other hand being a WOHM is hard going, particularly while still bf, and I sometimes wonder whether it would have seemed easier (in the short term) to be at home if I'd had the option.
Life has a way of turning things around though doesn't it? By the time dc2 came along , our finances were much more healthy, mortgage rate lower and even though I could easily have become a SAHM from
The financial viewpoint, I chose to stay in the workplace (even though nursery took all my income now!)

OP- the other thing that might be worth thinking about is that probably a very small number have really extreme opinions either way, being desperate to be a SAHM or desperate to get back to work as soon as possible. I think that's worth emphasising because it sometimes feels like you're expected to fall into one camp or the other which puts pressure on women. For example, I am pretty sure I would be quite happy at home and find plenty to do to occupy myself, it's just I prefer not to be home
All the time. I wouldn't pigeonhole yourself... Give yourself time to think through all the options; maybe there is other work out there for 3 or 4 days a week which would give you a great balance.

Schooldidi Mon 25-Mar-13 17:57:31

I didn't think it was your intention to upset anyone, I just wanted to point out that that's how it could be percieved.

I don't know what sacrifices you needed to make, but for us it wouldn't have been dp and I making the sacrifices to enable me to sah, it would have been mostly the dcs. That didn't seem fair to us.

BlackholesAndRevelations Mon 25-Mar-13 17:47:23

I didn't take it that way, morethan.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 17:33:10


Well that certainly wasn't my intention at all. I also wasn't suggesting that everyone would want to do this. It also did take many sacrifices for us and maybe for others with more finances it wouldn't take such sacrifices.
However, for me I would move heaven and earth because it was that important to me. I wasn't making a judgement on those that it wasn't like this for. You mention priorities for your children, well for me that was a priority for my children, for others it might not be.
If you want to be offended when I was only talking from personal experience then that's up to you.

Schooldidi Mon 25-Mar-13 17:20:34

Morethan I'm really glad you have got your life sorted to suit you, but I did find "I think if you really wanted to do it you would, irrespective of income, you would find a way. I say this as somebody who had an overwhelming need to be a sahm and I would move heaven and earth to be able to do this." a bit patronising. It reads as if those of us who are not able to rearrange our lives to allow us to be sahms just don't want it enough when that quite often isn't the case, it's more a case of choosing your priorities for your children.

We could have rearranged our lives to make it possible for dp to be a sahm, but without major sacrifices from the children (bad schools, bad area to live in, no holidays ever, no car, no extra curricular activities, etc) we couldn't rearrange our lives to let me be a sahm. The sums just don't add up. We don't have an extravagent lifestyle now, so there just aren't enough sacrifices we could make to make it possible.

Bramshott Mon 25-Mar-13 16:50:09

I often feel a bit like that [wistful].

And then I remember when I was at home, and couldn't find a job, and how much I hated it grin!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 16:48:40


thank you, but I know its not for everybody and some people may be the complete opposite but I believe in giving both extremes of a situation.
The thought of working when they were little, did leave me sick to the stomach. It was a horrible feeling and I just couldn't do it. I don't think it would have been so bad when they were at school, but by then I had other things to do, and now our youngest is 9 and we Home educate, so that keeps us pretty busy. smile

BlackholesAndRevelations Mon 25-Mar-13 16:36:15

Morethan- what a lovely post. Makes me feel better, anyway. Better than all the sah rots your brain type posts. Hope it's given the op something to think about.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Mar-13 15:20:37

Hello OP.

I think if you really wanted to do it you would, irrespective of income, you would find a way. I say this as somebody who had an overwhelming need to be a sahm and I would move heaven and earth to be able to do this.

I have no judgment here as its each to their own, but do agree with others who have said its easy to think the grass is greener on the other side.

We made a lot of sacrifices in terms of holidays, second car, material possessions. We have made sure that all dcs have had all needs met and have had some luxuries and wants, but they are not expected.

I think at the end of the day, it is a personal choice that only you can make.

janey68 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:27:23

I don't think there was ever an 'ideal' though. It's easy to imagine those 1950s were halcyon days when houses could be bought on one income and labour saving devices meant SAHM didn't have to spend all their days scrubbing the laundry by hand and sweeping floors... But I'm
sure the reality didn't feel ideal. Many women wanted to be able
To work and literally did not have that opportunity- many professions were barred to mothers until relatively recent times, and besides, day nurseries didn't exist. If she was lucky, a mum might find a neighbour to watch the kids (no child minding red tape either!) while she did a couple
Of shifts in the local shop, but there was often no real choice for mothers to use all their skills. It's worth remembering when we all get those moments of thinking life used to be simple!

Snoopingforsoup Mon 25-Mar-13 14:21:04

It's all been said but how I feel today, SAHM sucks!
I have EVERYTHING to do and not enough hours. I'm typing one handed while eating lunch and now have beans down my jumper! 'Living the dream'
Can't wait to get back to work where I can then spend my days feeling guilty for my absence...there is no ideal anymore.

ChestyLeRoux Mon 25-Mar-13 13:59:52

I like the idea of being a sahm when I cant be bothered to do anything and just think if I was at home then I would have lots of time to relax. However on the other side if I wasnt at work I miss the social side and you get a bit out the loop with things.

TomDudgeon Mon 25-Mar-13 13:40:44

I think the person who said that the happy ones are the ones doing why they choose without any pressure

I'm a sahm. I do enjoy it most of the time but would love to work outside the home. We re trying to find ways to allow this to happen but so far are discovering that logistics are just awful and we can't afford for me to work.
There are so many assumptions in how it is for others, the grass is greener thing. In my case I find that people assume we are well off because I stay at home not realising that it's the cheaper alternative for us.

I hope you find a happy situation for you op

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