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to ask for your childhood experiences of a working or stay at home mother?

(208 Posts)
suddenlycupishalffull Thu 25-Jun-15 21:06:51

I *do not* want to start a bun fight on the old debate, what I'm interested in your experiences as a child of your mum working or staying at home. There's so much in the press at the moment about working mothers (link below of latest example), it seems there's a real push to get mothers back to work, and in another thread, another poster mentioned she felt her younger siblings benefitted from their mother going to work through her increased confidence and self-belief. So I wonder what was your experience as a child? I'll go first...my Mum stayed at home but to be fair I really don't have any memories of that magical golden childhood that a SAHM is meant to engender...we had holidays, some big ones, I wasn't aware that we struggled for money though I found out when my Dad died that they were struggling...I'm not sure that I was any happier for my Mum being there all the time but then I knew no different. What was your experience, particularly if your Mum went back to work when she had been at home or visa versa?

www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/24/having-a-working-mother-works-for-daughters

EatShitDerek Thu 25-Jun-15 21:10:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sleepingbunnies Thu 25-Jun-15 21:12:28

My mum died when I was 4 so I don't remember.

I work FT outside the home and DP works evenings so is at home with the children during the day. I feel we have the best of both worlds and like our set up.

Nolim Thu 25-Jun-15 21:13:05

I think that your wish of a non debate will not happen, but anyway here is my piece: my mum was a wohm and i never thought much about it. It was just the way things were. I knew that we were skint but we never lacked food or a roof. And from her i learned hard work, discipline and priorities. I am very proud of her and now i know how important her job was for her.

Cumbrae Thu 25-Jun-15 21:13:25

My Mum was an excellent SAHM until A&I was around 8yo when she had to return to work due to family circumstances.

I know I didn't react well to the change initially (first few months) but soon got used to it and was always very proud of my Mum who ended up in a senior position but the time she retired and extremely well regarded. Her colleagues through an enormous retirement party fore her and it was very moving to hear the positive way in which she'd impacted others lives.

Sothisishowitfeels Thu 25-Jun-15 21:14:47

My mum was a sahm. At first through choice later she was too ill to work anyway (she died when I was a teenager).

I have happy memories of my childhood. It was unstable in a lot of ways we moved around a lot with my dads job but she was always home in the background which I think helped a lot.

I actually don't think any of my friends mums worked either so I never really thought about it much as a child!

Gabilan Thu 25-Jun-15 21:16:33

My mum went back to work. I'm glad she did, as it gave me a good role model (I think) for what women can do. I also think she was happier at work than she ever would have been as a SAHM. That was her and her decision though, I appreciate that it will be different for other women.

For 3 years I lodged with someone about my mum's age who had been a SAHM and who, in her 60s, continued to keep house and do paid work part time whilst here husband did full time paid work outside the home. She was a ball of embittered resentment. Obviously a very intelligent woman but seemed to hate the world much of the time. I'm not sure what the answer would be. Perhaps if her work in the home and raising children were appreciated more by society she would have felt less embittered. Perhaps if she'd worked outside the home more she would have felt more fulfilled. Either way, my experience with her made me even more glad my mother did paid, full-time work.

christinarossetti Thu 25-Jun-15 21:16:45

My mother didn't go back to work until I was about 10.

She was severely depressed during this time (not to do with not working, but relationship breakdown).

When she did go back to work, she was a bit happier on the whole, but still not 'happy' iykwim.

On balance, I would say that whatever was good for her would have been good for us in terms of working outside or inside the home, and I think this is probably true of other families too.

Wideopenspace Thu 25-Jun-15 21:17:55

My mother stayed at home when I was small.

She would get pissed and socialise.

Then when I was a teenager she worked. Shifts, as a nurse. So she had to drink less which was good. But when she wasn't at work she drank and was a bitch.

If it is relevant dad always worked. When HE wasn't at work he pretty much drank too.

Yeah. So both really, neither that brilliant grin

elderflowerlemonade Thu 25-Jun-15 21:19:43

Mine was an odd experience in some ways because my mum had tried for nine years to have children. She then had a DD and a DS - obviously my brother and sister! - in late 1976 and 1978 respectively. Sadly, my sister (though I never met her so don't think of her as such) died in 2979, I think. Then they had me in late 1981.

I have no idea whether it was a combination of grief, the fact we were all born in November or December (am sure my parents only had sex in February and March!) and we lived rurally meaning my mum struggled to get out properly with the pram, but she hated being at home. I only have a few memories of my early years and unfortunately every single one I am either playing alone or being screamed at by my mum!

Unfortunately she did tend to dump me on other people rather and they resented it. Obviously, as a child I thought it was me they resented and I became rather adept at putting on a very quiet and well behaved exterior whilst being a naughty little girl in reality. I also spent a LOT of time with my grandmother who unfortunately was old and crotchety and it was unsafe a lot of the time as I would run off and she couldn't keep up.

My dad was the much better parent when I was little; I adored him.

My parents do ever attended my school plays, sports days or other important events and I didn't care at all. It was definitely better when my mum worked!

elderflowerlemonade Thu 25-Jun-15 21:20:21

1979 not 2979!

WhenMarnieWasThere Thu 25-Jun-15 21:20:24

My Mum was a sahm. I didn't think anything of it at the time. It was just what I was used to. Several of my other friends mum's were the same, my best friend's Mum worked from home (sticking transfers onto thimbles, I remember her fondly).

I couldn't afford to be a sahm and do love my job (teacher). I could afford to work part time and that is a good compromise for me. Between working 3 and a half days a week as well as the great holidays I get with my job, I feel that I have had a good work-life balance as well as being able to do some of the school runs etc.

GayByrne Thu 25-Jun-15 21:20:26

My mother was a business owner and worked like a dog. We never wanted for anything but weren't loaded by any stretch.

I wish I were half the woman she is. What she did as an immigrant with her fellow immigrants in the community is nothing short of outstanding. When her and her friend decided to set up their own business, getting laughed out of the bank was a regular occurance. The irish community pulled together, big families of workies help! They literally built the business and the women ran it and grew it to great success. They worked their arses off.

I stay at home because I can and I am lazy. I don't like it, but cannot stand the thought of the stress at having no family near by, working and having to come out of work to deal with a dick child or whatever (had high powered vocational career previous to children). Also couldnt trust myself to actually be good at what I did before any more.

My mother was and remains an inspiration. She would be ashamed of my life if she knew the whole of it. I've lost all impetus and I don't even like being a mum. I'm a no one person now.

caffiene99 Thu 25-Jun-15 21:20:54

My parents both worked full time and I never questioned it.

They sometimes worked weekends so, if they were both off work on the same weekend we would always go somewhere together as a family.

It's only now that I'm older that I realise that would've taken a real concerted effort - they could have chilled out or relaxed at home after working all week but they felt it important to do something with my sister and I.

As I said - I never questioned my mother working. As I got older and moved away from home to study at university I appreciated how much more independence this had given me compared to my peers who had stay at home mothers.

HazleNutt Thu 25-Jun-15 21:20:56

My mum was a WOHM and thank god - she would have been a bored, frustrated, unfulfilled SAHM. Disclaimer - I'm talking about her specifically and am in no way trying to say that all SAHMs are bored etc. It just would not have been for her. We had a very happy childhood and I'm very proud of my mum's achievements at work.

And as for the Guardian article, yes I have a very decent career myself as well.

MrsNuckyThompson Thu 25-Jun-15 21:21:16

My mum worked full time. As said above, it was just how it was and I'm also proud of how hard she worked to provide. She also later did a further education at evening school and moved professions aged 47 or so. She made a real success of her new career.

I think she set a good example of hard work and bettering her prospects.

Having said that I worry all the time whether I'm hurting my son working full time. When my mum did it I was slightly older and had grandparents around!

theendoftheendoftheend Thu 25-Jun-15 21:21:28

My mum was SAHM and also fostered when I was young, it was pretty idyllic. When I was older she worked part time but in a job where I could go too if needs be and that was pretty good too.

hippospot Thu 25-Jun-15 21:21:48

Mine was a SAHM until we were teenagers, then she returned to work full-time to pay for our university costs.

I have fond memories of her always being there, long lazy summer holidays just chilling out at home with the odd day out. We had a very frugal rural childhood (two holidays ever, old car, black and white TV, no VCR!) with home-made clothes and hand-knitted jumpers, home-cooked food, in some cases home-grown too.

When she went back to work I was aware of how tough it was, so much stuff had gone computerised in her 15 years out of the workplace, and she had to learn a lot. But I was proud of her doing it and getting promotions. And as teenagers we had to start pulling our weight around the house to "help her", which was good training for when we left home.

I'm a SAHM now, for a few years anyway, no doubt inspired by her.

cheminotte Thu 25-Jun-15 21:22:05

My mum went back to work when I started school. A neighbour looked after me and my brother before and after school but as both my parents were teachers they were around in the holidays. I don't remember feeling I was missing out and I understood that her job was important to her. Both my parents have always been very interested in and supportive of my career both before and since dc. I didn't go into teaching so there are some aspects of my job that are alien to my mum. I went to her retirement party and it was very moving.

CitrineRaindropPhoenix Thu 25-Jun-15 21:22:24

My mum woh. She had a very stressful career (property solicitor) and very rarely actually took holiday. She tried, but was often late or working for assemblies/ sports days etc.

Dad worked full time and had s compelling hobby which took up every spare minute.

I hated my mum being late and missing things bug otherwise was quite happy with her working. I have a very close relationship with DB1 and we did everything as a pair.

I work part time 70% in a career but a more flexible one. I work school hours or 3.5 days per week during holidays. I also go to very nearly every play, match, race, concert or assembly either child does. I missed one for dd this term when the blasted school gave less than 24 hours notice.

MrsItsNoworNotatAll Thu 25-Jun-15 21:25:00

Mine had two cash in hand cleaning jobs. She ditched one and took a better paid job and flitted between others gradually increasing her hours alone the way. By the time I reached 17 she was working 30 hours a week up until she retired. And she kept doing one of her cleaning jobs cos she didn't want to let down the elderly couple whose house she cleaned.
Dad always worked fulltime too. He was made redundant once and stayed unemployed for quite some time. Not his choice btw. He looked but there just wasn't the work out there that paid enough to support us. Eventually he did get a job, not a particularly well paid one but it got us by. Money was always tight but we were happy.

suddenlycupishalffull Thu 25-Jun-15 21:25:20

Sleepingbunnies and Soisthishow I'm sorry flowers
EatShit 'it was fine both times' - is that what you meant?
No I want a debate (that's the point of AIBU surely?) but don't want it derailed into WM vs SAHM, I'm just interested in our experiences as a generation for the sake of comparison now...there's so much agonising in the press over what mothers do, at the moment it seems to be that SAHM don't provide good role models, produce less ambitious dusghters etc., but from the responses so far it seems to be that we just accepted our family set up and were happy with whatever we got. So perhaps all this agonising over working mothers or mothers who stay at home is a bit of a red herring?

Jemimapuddlemuck Thu 25-Jun-15 21:26:05

My mum was a SAHM and it was nice having her there when I came home from school (although I didn't know any different I guess). I remember as a teenager I felt really pissed off that she was expected to do everything in the house and my dad wouldn't even cook the dinner if she wasnt there (she used to do evening classes sometimes and he would just get us chippy!) It made me not want to be a SAHM as I thought it seemed a bit wrong for an adult man to do so little. Not having a go at my dad, it worked for them and my mum seemed happy, but I just instinctively felt it wasn't for me. Of course as an adult I became a WOHM and still.find myself doing the lions share of everything so I think the teenage me was a bit naïve to think it was a SAHM/WOHM issue. It was (is) a gender equality issue.

EatShitDerek Thu 25-Jun-15 21:26:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EatShitDerek Thu 25-Jun-15 21:26:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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