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to think I shouldn't have to justify how I spend my time as a SAHM

(33 Posts)
Conundrumish Thu 29-Oct-09 11:25:29

I recently offered to get involved in an event that involves me giving my time voluntarily. I have done similar in the past on the same basis and stopped because I was always being asked to do more and I hate saying no.

I felt (and I appreciate it may be been me) that there were a few comments along the lines of 'oh do you work now' ie. why can't you give more time. This time, when I explained that I had to stand back a bit and catch up with other things in my life, I felt one of the individuals was a bit annoyed (despite the fact I had offered a set number of hours a week and had done way in excess of that). They went on to refer to something they had to do when their children were my age which would have meant they had less free time than me, and referred to someone else who does so much for the organisation (who also works part tiem).

It makes me really cross. I feel I have to justify how I spend my time as a SAHM. The people who do work so much for this group must barely see their children and there's no way I intend to put my self in the same position. I have other commitments they are unaware of and having literally halved our income for me to stay at home while the children are small, I don't want not only have jeapordised my career by doing so (which I have) but also not get to see my children as much as I want either.


humanfraggle Thu 29-Oct-09 11:29:45

Nope, definitely YANBU... you're giving up your own time to help out voluntarily - and surely anything is better than nothing to them?

belgo Thu 29-Oct-09 11:30:10


I've heard mothers commenting on why some SAHMs don't volunteer more, but they really don't know everyone's family circumstances so how can they possibly comment?

Just because you are not earning money doesn't mean you are obliged to work for free.

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 29-Oct-09 11:33:10

Not in the slightest (from a SAHM whose dd is in full time education). I do quite a lot for my daughter's school and I realised that while I was spending so much time there they didn't have to employ another person. When I reduced the number of hours I had committed to I got a similar comment.

curiositykilled Thu 29-Oct-09 12:00:38

I always pre-empt these comments by saying "I'm just a mum" and smiling sweetly which means people are virtually obliged to say - "Oh no! You're not just a mum, being a mum is an important job" Then they find it harder to make criticising and judgey comments after because they feel satisfied I have already acknowledged my own insignficance.

Seriously though people are just judgey, the ones who give loads of time will have people saying "they never see their DH/DCs". The ones that work will get the judgey WOHM comments. TBH no-one can win. Everyone gets the comments. It reflects badly on the person judging and whilst it can be upsetting to feel you're the one getting singled out you just have no option other than to try and grow a thicker skin. If they're really mean just don't volunteer anymore.

Conundrumish Thu 29-Oct-09 12:02:29

That's awful Kreecher. Really puts me off volunteering for anything else, ever!

Humanfraggle - yes, that was my thought 'anything is better than nothing' but apparently not.

Thanks Belgo - I think I'd rather work and contribute to a charity than go through this hassle

sweetnitanitro Thu 29-Oct-09 12:08:08

YANBU! I hate the assumption that being a SAHM is somehow not work. I always tell people that yes, I do work- I work my arse off, I just don't get a salary for it!

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 29-Oct-09 12:13:41

Pink, I do some stuff for her school, just not as much. I really enjoy seeing her in her class interacting with her form, I don't however enjoy being taken advantage of. I still do Brownies every week, but don't really enjoy that very much due to the behaviour of a couple of the girls. I do that for her benefit though, if I didn't there wouldn't be a group.

Firawla Thu 29-Oct-09 12:16:00

YANBU! if they are so rude as to question you like that, it would make me feel like doing nothing for them if it was me.

cakeywakey Thu 29-Oct-09 12:24:37

YANBU, and are in fact, being very lovely by giving your time and effort.

The fact that you are giving any of your time at all should be enough for people - whatever your circumstances. If they need more hands, they should try to recruit more volunteers so that the load is lightened for everyone else (easier said than done I know!) or be less ambitious with what they're trying to achieve.

I feel that you also get this with charities. 'You're giving £5 a month, why not give us £10?' Because the more I give you, the more you ask from me. Just be happy with what you're already getting. Ahhh!

<And rest, now that rant is over grin>

Conundrumish Thu 29-Oct-09 12:40:23

Curiosity - I shall try your 'I'm just a mum' technique grin.

Cakey - you have hit the nail on the head there with 'or be less ambitious'. This is my bugbear - they organise so many events. I turn up sometimes as a participant, not because I want to but because I feel I should. They just do so much stuff and completely over staff - they need to approach it as a company would if it had just had its resources cut and concentrate on the essential.

Thanks all smile.

boundarybabe Thu 29-Oct-09 12:46:37

'why SAHMs don't volunteer more'???? Jees, if I had the time I'd be working for money, not for free!!

Fibilou Thu 29-Oct-09 12:57:29

You're a SAHM to look after your kids, not do volunteering. If I were you I'd say "well if I'm not doing enough maybe you'd be better off without me then"

prettyfly1 Thu 29-Oct-09 13:03:02

seriously - if you wanted to be out of the home that much - wouldnt you be at work? Who are these people who appreciate the time you offered so little - rude thats what I say - and for the record I am a working mum!! SAHM is hard work in its own right. YANBU

woozlet Thu 29-Oct-09 13:18:57

I'll probably get shouted at for this but...

sweetnitanitro - I actually don't class staying at home with the kids as work. I work PT and the days I'm not at work, I don't still class as work iyswim?

woozlet Thu 29-Oct-09 13:19:46

oh and op - yanbu

sweetnitanitro Thu 29-Oct-09 13:23:49

Don't worry, I won't shout at you grin I count it as the 'bloody hard' variety of work rather than the 'job' kind of work. To me there is a big difference between not working and not doing a job. I've had jobs where there was much less work involved than there is being a SAHM grin I think the problem is that the word 'work' has multiple meanings but I tend to get jokey rather than upset about it.

jellybeans Thu 29-Oct-09 13:24:15


WebDude Thu 29-Oct-09 15:40:14

YANBU - they are being more than cheeky - downright rude to suggest any more from you.

I liked the "well if I'm not doing enough maybe you'd be better off without me then" comment - would love an alternative to that but it expresses the sentiment.

I suppose "I think you need me more than I need you" might be an alternative riposte, if you get any further comment, or

"Do you think I would do double the hours for half the amount you pay" (with an EVIL grin, and make it as sarcastic a tone as possible)

Conundrumish Thu 29-Oct-09 16:04:30

It's all very subtle though - not overt messages, due to the nature of the organisation and the nature of the people I am dealing with. I keep questioning whether I am imagining it but there are some people who definitely have that attitude.

thesecondcocking Thu 29-Oct-09 16:13:30

i do a voluntary work (in the evenings which cuts into my time with dp but that's my choice) i am on a couple of committees that meet monthly when dd goes into a creche,i am on a committee that is to do with organizing events in a local park,i am always expected to be first on the rota to do teas (along with all the retired people) because i don't work,i have stopped volunteering for doing a stint at most events now as there is little respect given to my time as apparently i have LOADS and it needs filling...
i do have all day- i spend it doing kiddy stuff and house stuff-my evenings and weekends are my family time-i value that after spending most of the day home alone!

WebDude Thu 29-Oct-09 16:50:30

good for you tsc - can quite understand that you aren't willing to be a "doormat" - you put in the time but they should not "take it for granted" that you aren't busy enough with your own life and the tea's etc thing is them being unthinking

For the OP... more awkward when it is so subtle... is there anyone with overall managerial responsibility (many charity shops have paid managers, for example) with whom you could raise it - you have committed time, and happy to continue, but if there's "ill feeling" or criticism from others, you'd "prefer to know" and can then decide whether you want to continue to volunteer for them.

It would raise the matter that -
a) you have committed as much as you can, and
b) if someone/anyone has a problem, then they cannot expect you to continue (which you may be completely happy to do) unless they "get over it" and "understand" that you simply cannot offer more hours because you have other commitments (none of their business!)

It is obviously "niggling" and you need them to understand that either they put up with the time you can spare or they look for someone else, as you can walk out tomorrow (even if you're too nice a person to do it!)

It is hard I am sure, and probably not a choice you would want, but better for your own peace of mind that there isn't gossip or nastiness there, and if there is, a manager(ess) needs to nip it in the bud, or it will be their loss.

BouncingTurtle Thu 29-Oct-09 16:57:35

YANBU - it is none of their bleeding business what you do with your time, they should be grateful for your efforts!

Conundrumish Thu 29-Oct-09 18:23:38

Woozlet - in what way is being with the children not working? I love the time when we are out of the house doing stuff, but when I am in the house cooking, washing up, cleaning the bathroom, doing the washing, doing the ironing, organising Christmas and birthdays, doing the finances etc etc, it's not exactly a walk in the park.

How many children do you have, or am I doing something wrong? grin

woozlet Thu 29-Oct-09 20:52:30

pinkpanettone - yes fair point it's housework. I guess I mean the job type of work, doing housework isn't so much of a job but just something that everyone has to do.

And I only have 1 DC wink

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