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to be annoyed with my friend for saying i set a bad example?

(140 Posts)
QueenofKelsingra Thu 23-Jan-14 11:53:41

Backstory: I went to uni, got a job, got married, got pregnant and left work to have DS1. I did not return to work after DS1, (now a pre-schooler), and now have DTs, (toddlers). I'm 29. DH earns good money at his job, with budgeting we can manage well on his salary alone - for example we 'own brand' shop but don't need to 'value' shop IYSWIM?

DH and I are both products of SAHM families, as adults we appreciate the importance of that and both of us decided that as long as we were financially able to do so, I would be a SAHM for our children. A present there are no plans for me to return to paid employment even when the kids are in school.

I do all the cleaning, shopping, washing, ironing, cooking, housework in general etc. I'm in charge of all our financial incomings and outgoings, savings etc. DH works 11 hour days but is very hands one when home, does bathtime/bedtime etc. at the weekends we both get some 'down time' to do our own hobbies.

DH and I are both 100% on the same page about all of this, we are very happy with this arrangement.

My 'friend' who I have been friends with since school, has now told me that I set a bad example to my children. apparently I am teaching my DSs that their future wives must be a 'domestic slave' (her words) and teaching my DD that she should aspire to be a 'lady that lunches' (again her words)

I actually had to leave and cried all the way home. I just feel so belittled by her comments, like me and DH choosing for me to be at home is some awful crime!

AIBU to be royally pissed off and considering dropping her as a friend? She is single with no children and a real career woman if that matters. I would never tell a working mother that she was 'wrong' for choosing that way, why is ok to do it to me?

Owllady Fri 24-Jan-14 12:09:50

I'm a carer for my severely disabled daughter but it's untrue that it's just women that do it, 46% of carers for friends/relatives are men. So more women do it but not as many as people imagine.

I really don't give a shit if other women think I am letting the side down for caring for another woman I absolutely adore. They need to get other things to be concerned about.

ksrwr Fri 24-Jan-14 11:07:37

kewcumber, i agree, sorry, i meant from my point of view. my FT job is 08.30-5pm at a desk being a PA. i dont work long hours, and i dont do a demanding physical or emotional job like FT SAHMs or medical people or teachers, i am just saying for me i recognise my job as being easier than being at home 24/7 with a house and children. my DD is still at nursery so i dont even have to make her a meal during the week, she has 3 meals a day at nursery. and as we're all out of the house all day every day there isn't much house admin to do during the week either.

yellowbuttercup Fri 24-Jan-14 10:51:11

Just don't worry about her. You don't have to justify yourself to her. Many women would love to be in your position and she is probably being poisonous because she is jealous. It sounds like you have a lovely family and a great set up that works for you and that is all that matters.

AngelaDaviesHair Fri 24-Jan-14 10:47:00

People keep saying feminism is about choice or the freedom to make choices. It isn't just about that. It is about a lot of more fundamental issues.

It is also about not denigrating or failing to value things that are predominantly done by women, or that are very much associated with women. Like child rearing, housework, caring etc.

It is no accident that these things are seen as women's work and that they are generally low-paid and undervalued, despite the fact that they are actually crucial to society.

Kewcumber Fri 24-Jan-14 10:34:48

i work FT and i think its easier than being a SAHM, i admire people who do it, as i recognise they work harder than me

That isn't always true ksrwr - I have worked 4 days a week (so almost full time) and as a single parent still had to do all the evenings/nights/packed lunches/homework/housework the SAHP's can get done during the day.

It's all a matter of personal circumstance and also to be honest what you find easy. For example - paced lunches do my head in but I don;t get out of them is I'm working, housework does my head in but again I don;t get out of that, I have to do it on top of work, entertaining an 18 month old = hard work for me but 3/4/5 year olds not so much.

Charley50 Fri 24-Jan-14 10:23:18

Hi Queen,
I think you should confront her about what she said, and other things she has said to you about this and tell her how out of order and hurtful you find it. It might bring a lot of stuff out in the open and either put an end to your friendship or 'make it stronger' in terms of being honest with each other. I am 45 and still have 5 friends from school, some closer than others. I really value the fact that we have so much history together. We have pissed each other off over the years but we have the bond of teenage madness years and intensity of youth to keep us friends.
So I would suggest talking with her before taking the route of ditching the friendship. YANBU btw (and as a working mum I am a bit jealous of you and would love to be a SAHM ESP if I had 3 kids... I just have 1)..

differentnameforthis Fri 24-Jan-14 09:54:21

FreakinScaryCaaw Snap! smile

ksrwr Fri 24-Jan-14 09:50:12

she might not be jealous.. she may genuinely hate the idea of being a SAHM herself... but that's just her, she shouldn't expect you to have the same opinion as her... and she certainly shouldn't belittle you for it
i work FT and i think its easier than being a SAHM, i admire people who do it, as i recognise they work harder than me

NurseRoscoe Fri 24-Jan-14 09:28:54

Urgh I HATE the term 'lady that lunches' it makes me teeth itch! most people have bloody lunch every day what a stupid phrase!!

Ok rant over & you aren't being unreasonable. She sounds jealous. I have been in the housewife role and it's hard work! A lot harder than any job I've had! It's not the same as sitting on your arse all day at all

pointythings Fri 24-Jan-14 09:27:06

As a full time working parent I can only say that your 'friend' is a twat. This is what you both want for your DCs, you can afford it, you are both on board with it. Ignore her.

(I've had the other side of this so I know of what I speak - it seems a woman's place is still in the wrong sad)

expatinscotland Fri 24-Jan-14 09:21:50

Dump this person. This is not a friend.

indyandlara Fri 24-Jan-14 09:06:12

I had lots of those comments from people when I wasn't working. People told me I must be bored and it was a waste. When my DD turned 3 I went back to work 2 days a week. However, that is still not enough to satisfy people and for the last 18 months I have been quizzed about when I will be FT again. You can't win with some people so there is just no point trying. If you are happy with your setup then there is no need to justify yourself.

Oh, and as a teacher who spent 2 years in the school Nursery, can I just confirm that it is nothing like being a mum!

Fakebook Fri 24-Jan-14 09:05:59

I had a friend like this. Note, "had".

When I left my job, she'd always make comments like "lady of leisure" and "being lazy at home again"...Then we bought a new car just before DS was born and I was told "So you're spending all of your DH's hard earned cash now". Bitch. I dropped her quickly after that but not before telling her I didn't appreciate her stupid comments.

You know what's best for your family, ignore this woman.

takingthathometomomma Fri 24-Jan-14 09:05:36

YANBU! Your friend is an idiot. I'm a working mum and would be very offended if one of my friend's told me I was "doing it wrong". Who does she think she is?!

FreakinScaryCaaw Fri 24-Jan-14 09:03:38

tyrannosaurusmomma do you have to see much of SIL? And how does your MIL react with the eyebrow raise? SIL sounds awul. She wouldn't get house room if she were mine.

FreakinScaryCaaw Fri 24-Jan-14 08:59:24

differentnameforthis, my dp was raised by a sahm and he's ultra tidy more than me blush

differentnameforthis Fri 24-Jan-14 08:56:05

apparently I am teaching my DSs that their future wives must be a 'domestic slave'

My dh was raised by a SAHM & he does more housework than I do smile
It isn't all about what they physically see, you can teach them that chores are the responsibility of both sexes.

'yes it'll be a better example for DD and for the boys if you work'.

I think that is is terrible how the responsibility is put on mums to 'show a good example' by working. I don't know of ONE man who has been told by his parents, friends etc that he is 'setting a good example' to his children for working.

tyrannosaurusmomma Fri 24-Jan-14 07:26:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSkiingGardener Fri 24-Jan-14 06:50:26

I think the only important thing to model to your children is that they should make the choices that work for them. I want my children to see DH and I organising our lives as a family around what works for us and them. If that means one of us stays at home then great. If that means we both work and find childcare then fantastic as long as they are happy. It's not about modelling one particular set of choices but modelling a mutually respectful relationship that works out how best to function as a family.

Your friend thinks only her choices are valid ones, not a good person to have as a friend!

TamerB Fri 24-Jan-14 06:36:58

You really do have to ignore people like that. You are a good role model depending on how you behave in everyday life, paid employment is irrelevant.
She is insecure about her own choices and you are undermining her by being successful and confident without paid employment.
Don't let her get to you.

bragmatic Fri 24-Jan-14 05:50:45

I agree with the poster upthread who said no happy person makes comments like that to a friend.

That said, comments about "childminders bringing up my children" makes me want to grind my teeth to a pulp. Do fathers not bring up their children then, Helza?

I don't work at the moment though I have done since the kids were born and no doubt will again. If my husband left me tomorrow, or died, or became incapacitated, we would be OK. I could go back to work and take care of my children and put a roof over their heads and pay for their education without living hand to mouth. There is a risk to being a SAHM for years in that eventually you become less employable and your earning capacity plummets. Which is fine if life hums along smoothly for you, but often it doesn't.

For that reason alone I think it's worth considering your employment status from time to time and I agree that it's a good for children to see both parents working, either both at the same time, or separately. Saying that doesn't mean that I think not working = bad example.

picklesrule Fri 24-Jan-14 05:38:49

You sound really sorted and having a lovely family life. Your friend sounds jealous and toxic. You should either pity her or ditch her, seriously your life sounds great don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!

EmmaBemma Fri 24-Jan-14 05:29:02

"She's single with no children. And she's probably as jealous as a rat...

Good grief! Why is this the knee-jerk response when any woman criticises another? JEALOUS! It is possible to disagree with someone else's choices without secretly wanting to be that person, you know. I think the OP's friend was extremely crass and insensitive in the way she gave her opinion but she's entitled to it. I'm a SAHM by choice but when I was single and didn't have children it was certainly not something I aspired to. In fact I think the younger, less experienced me would have been rather disappointed that I hadn't gone straight back to work after babies.

helzapoppin2 Fri 24-Jan-14 04:26:59

When my family was growing up we did every permutation of working/SAHM/D according to the circumstances.
I never understood why it was regarded as "better" for someone else to bring up my children (childminder, nursery), but if I looked after them I got anxious remarks about how soon I was returning to work. I got a bit of a complex about it, and ended up deciding that they were just making conversation.
These days the kids are grown up. DH still has a demanding career which means I do the domestic stuff, mostly, while still pursuing my own interests. It just seems a viable way of working with which we are both happy.
It really is nobody's business but ours.
OP, stick to your guns!

MOTU Fri 24-Jan-14 03:58:33

Remind her that the feminist movement was about choice not emulating the traditional male role. You are showing your children what a good marriage is, ie you and DH have divided the labour of having a family equally in a way which suits you and benefits your family. This would also be true if you both worked and equally shared the other jobs or if you worked and DH did the "domestic section". We have the same arrangement as you and I occasionally get comments but Its really none of anyone else business how dh and i choose to provide all the things my children need (food,shelter, supervision, love, education, etc) we share it between us, end of. Oh and DH and I also come from childhoods with a stay at home parent but one of each, he had a sahm and I had a sahd! Either way round, for us it was the right choice!

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