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SAHM mug mistake?

(15 Posts)
WhatRastamouseKnew Wed 14-Jan-15 16:16:47

Hi everyone, just stuck on a quandy I'd appreciate some help with...

Three years ago we lost twins late in pregnancy, so I vowed to stay home to look after any further children as long as poss. We were lucky enough to have two more sons (DS3 and DS4) whom I now mind full time, while every other parent I know returned to work asap and signed up for nurseries when their babies were very little.

I find it predictably tedious after two years with no breaks or much contact with my old life. I have hit every playgroup/singalong/babyclass/playground with a big smile on my face but haven't managed to make many exciting friends - the ones I've made somehow only want to talk about their babies (sorrry!).

I've been considering nursery/pre-school for DS3 but I did not put him down on any lists so nothing likely till 2016 in our area. I can hopefully cope with SAHM-dom but my question is...

Have any other mums felt their kids missed out on socializing/structured activities by staying home with them? I thought I was doing the best for them but fear we may have made wrong choice. DS3 seems bored at home although we go for walks and try to have fun every day! I can cope with tedium if its best for them till school.


JaniceJoplin Wed 14-Jan-15 16:31:18

I know what you mean. Being a SAHM is socially isolating IME unless you have a few others very closeby in the same boat (which I didn't) or a big family network of GPs, cousins etc (which I also didn't).

I did so many activities with my 2 year old so she would be entertained, but I think, in hindsight, turning up to an activity 1x per week with effectively a load of people who you only see 1x per week, was a total waste of time. We did a lot of fun stuff with just us - parks, swimming, etc, plus DD2 eventually, but not that much social activity which I think was a mistake. Not that we were not around others at classes / groups/ just that these were not that conducive to making real friends. We also had a very small house so it was very difficult to invite others over.

Things got better when DD started a preschool which was 5 days a week 3 hours a day. Then we got routine and structure and she began to make her own friends, whilst still having a lot of mummy time. I waited until the free hours kicked in when she was 3.0 when we did that as the nursery didn't take them any earlier. I think if the option of this nursery was available from about 2.6 that would have been great, but it wasn't so she was at home until then. Very few others at preschool went from zero childcare to being 5 days 15 hours and it took her a long time to settle in, but got there in he end.

With my younger DD I am experiencing the 2yr + stage again, but have benefitted from my eldest now being at school, so DD2 gets out and about that way at drop off and pick up and almost has a ready made set of friends from the school (the younger siblings of the kids in my eldest class). I am still planning preschool, but probably from about 2yrs 7 months if I can. She's an elder child so will get 2 years preschool before school.

Purplehonesty Wed 14-Jan-15 16:35:52

I am at home with ds and dd 5&2 but obviously now ds is at school.
Dd won't go to preschool nursery until she is 3 and that's fine but I am really looking forward to it now for a number of reasons.
We do lots of fun stuff but I am getting a bit bored now.

JaniceJoplin Wed 14-Jan-15 16:36:15

I would add I personally think it's best for kids to be SAH, but it is not the norm anymore. Most kids are in some form of childcare before and this does get them more used to those situations.

It depends on personality too. My eldest was very shy at nursery, but my youngest is already the king of the playground at big school and she isn't due to start there for another 2 1/2 years!

I think in your situation I would try to find other SAHMs in your area or volunteer to get a good group together of like minded ones...

WhatRastamouseKnew Wed 14-Jan-15 16:42:48

Thanks Janice and Purple, I think its also a GOOD thing, but perhaps if the majority of kids have got the next best its not that bad to follow suit eventually.

I like to think that the first two years of DS3 will serve him well, though like you say, the smaller sibling always looks to be more settled just because they have to be, ha!

I do volunteer on my own once a month which I LOVE, so have been trying to work in that area but its a bit niche.

Love the bit about the waste of time, I want all my BabySensory money back! ;)

JaniceJoplin Wed 14-Jan-15 16:54:03

I started to try and think, what do I want to do with my day, and that led me to do different activities, mainly art ones and also eating at nice restaurants as my eldest could behave that way . There are some kids activities that they really do love, I would keep at those ones, for us it's gymnastics atm but I do think I dragged my girl to things that really she absolutely was not bothered about which I regret now.

I think my mum had it good. A whole street of SAHMs with kids just playing out and boxes of wine getting opened by about 4pm!

FlorenceMattell Wed 14-Jan-15 18:38:24

Can I ask why you posted this on a forum used by nannies and childminders in the main?
Is this a dig ? We choose to work with small children because we enjoy seeing them develop and helping to nuture them. In my experience of coffee with other mums or childcarers the chat is not all about babies.
If you are bored at home find something to challenge you. Volunteer and raise money for a charity. Event organising can be done from home with toddlers around. Or start a book club , you could always take it in turns to mind the kids in one room. Join the WI (they have some young branches).
Start an open uni degree/masters.
The list is endless.

WhatRastamouseKnew Wed 14-Jan-15 18:43:32

I know! I took DS3 to sign language from around 13 month and he never EVER got it.

Our mums got away with so so so much: mine had 'siesta' time between 12.30 and 16.30 EVERY DAY. And a cleaner.

Its true, as they grow you can tailor things to what everyone enjoys which helps a fair bit.

Good luck with youngest's launch into the childcare scene!

WhatRastamouseKnew Wed 14-Jan-15 18:49:01

Sorry! Guidance said to advertise childcare use local forum, I thought this was to ask and give advice on home childcare, which is what the post was about.

MASSIVE APOLOGIES TO YOU FLORENCE and any other professionals here.

neolara Wed 14-Jan-15 18:52:51

I don't think young kids miss out at all from being with a SAHM, especially if you are able to go to groups and activities. I strongly suspect your dcs would prefer to spend time with you than in nursery.

The question of how you manage to keep sane as a SAHM is another issue. I'm on my 10th year and while I've very much enjoyed it and wouldn't have done it any differently, I have just about hit the limit. Things that have helped have been going to just about every group there is, talking to lots of people and being proactive about meeting up with people I like. I ran a NTC baby group for a bit which meant I met lots of people. I've become very involved in my dcs' school which has taken up a huge amount of time. And I'm now doing a course which is hugely stimulating. I also read extensively about topics related to my former work. At times, I also hired childcare for a couple of hours a week because I felt I was going absolutely nuts and needed some respite from permanent childcare. I would just go and sit in a cafe without anyone making demands on me. Bliss.

Jinxxx Wed 14-Jan-15 19:29:23

I enjoyed the company of my local NCT group. That fizzled out as other parents mainly put their children in childcare at some point. I think it's actually harder to meet like-minded parents to become friends once the baby stage is over. A lot of preschool and nursery children are dropped off and picked up by childminders and nannies rather than their parents, and parents are often rushing off tp work. I also think it's harder to have a proper adult conversation when also looking after an older toddler or pre-schooler (or two or three...) than when you have a baby who will at least be asleep some of the time, and less mobile so less in need of the eyes in the back of your head. But things do pick up once they start school and there are loads of parent activities to volunteer for and meet other parents.

WhatRastamouseKnew Wed 14-Jan-15 20:23:04

Wow neolara, 10 years! Congratulations to you, I am in awe. Its funny how, unlike many things, it doesn't always get easier with time. The whole 'busy but bored' paradox can mean an insidious loss of our sense of self that isn't helped by almost forgetting what we used to be like.

Childcare as a means to gain some alone-time treat is great, I haven't done it yet but hope to someday. Luckily DH gets the whole point so is happy to mind DC at weird hours - I sometimes sneak out before dawn to have coffee with friends before they go into their inner-city jobs early in the mornings. Then I get to commute in the tube and be glad I don;t do it every day smile

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 14-Jan-15 21:03:01

Do you know much about child development or developmental psychology? I always think one of the reasons nannies/childminders find being home with young children interesting, whilst parents are often bored is because we know what little things to expect/look out for. The little milestones that you can miss if you don't know to look for them, the different ways they grow and develop, the different activities you can try. Maybe get a book and see if it interests you at all.

I think young children are fascinating!

This section is generally for questions about home childcare, but more for people who are using it/thinking of using it rather than people who have no intention of using and find it massively boring!!

Heels99 Thu 15-Jan-15 12:57:26

Op, you sound dismissive of the different choices your friends have made. Of course they had to reserve nurseries when their babies were little, if you don't you don't get a place!and I doubt they went back to work as soon as possible, surely some of them had months or even a full year off rather than the statutory two week minimum. Are you not in touch with your old friends anymore, presumably some of them only work part time, can't you still meet up?
Staying at home with little ones is boring, it's like Groundhog Day no matter how many groups etc you go to. You need friends whether they work full time, part time or not at all! Do you have a turn to work plan for when the children start school? Do you get child free time in weekends and do you meet up with other families?
It your three year old seems bored then maybe nursery is a good option even just a few hours per week. At my children's nursery they did lots of fab things that I wouldn't necessarily have the resources etc to do as a parent and children enjoy the company of others!
It all sounds like none of you are really enjoying it and it's become a it of a martyr situation. I would see what changes you come make before you all go doolally!

WhatRastamouseKnew Thu 15-Jan-15 15:49:21

Thanks everyone, very helpful responses to my original question. Time to put this thread to bed methinks - enjoy your weekends!

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