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Do you think the SAHM "model" is the one to which parents (& parents to be) aspire?

(221 Posts)
lizinthesticks Thu 07-Aug-08 16:58:31

Is mum at home w/ the baby the ideal that most people are hoping to realise? And if not, what is?

Obviously in the absence of a large scale survey it's impossible to answer this question. But what's your impression?

Me, I don't know. I think the ideal SHOULD be a 50 / 50 arrangement - both parents sharing childcare and work. But I don't think others in general share this idea. And I suspect the SAHM is still pretty popular - as an ideal, i.e.

But it's really hard to know.

wonderstuff Thu 07-Aug-08 17:02:17

I would work pt even if I could afford to sah, I am really happy being able to work. I find it gives me more energy for dd. Off for summer hols at the moment and I'm really bored tbh.
Dh says he would like to be at home more, but in reality is committed to work and will often stay late at the office.

handlemecarefully Thu 07-Aug-08 17:03:06

No, I am not into proscribing social policy. I think that the SAHM approach is one valid choice amongst many. End of.

Twiglett Thu 07-Aug-08 17:03:27

it is our ideal, and my life for the last 5 + years

don't know about other people

PrincessPeaHead Thu 07-Aug-08 17:05:05

no
i consider myself too highly educated and intelligent to aspire to merely staying at home and looking after children

I'll do it for a while, sure, if it works for me but it is hardly an aspiration, is it?

(well, someone had to say it)

beanieb Thu 07-Aug-08 17:05:27

I think it's up to the individual. I think certain politicians would like to push the idea of SAHM to make up for their failure to provide a decent society where people are supported in the choices they make.

An ideal for me would be to be able to cut both our hours so that we can both be there for our children, rather than have one person do all the paid work and another do all the childcare.

FluffyMummy123 Thu 07-Aug-08 17:05:59

Message withdrawn

takingitasitcomes Thu 07-Aug-08 17:06:19

Interesting question. I'm not sure I have an ideal (other than Swiss Family Robinson where everyone is home all the time and no-one ever has to go out in a suit).

In the real world - I'm pretty happy with a split arrangement, even if not 50/50. I am a SAHM at the moment, but ds is only 3 months as yet and I am planning on bf for another few months to go, so that's the easiest all round for now. DH is very keen to share the load though, and has a flexible work arrangement, so long-term I invisage him taking at least one day a week from me if not more.

So to actually answer your question; no, SAHM not the ideal. But SAHparent is.

FluffyMummy123 Thu 07-Aug-08 17:06:30

Message withdrawn

Thisismynewname Thu 07-Aug-08 17:07:10

I think it's pretty offensive to assume that all parents aspire to the SAHM model. Why not ask if all parents aspire to an equal paertning/work model?

I'm with princess here, I didn't work my arse off at school and university and in jobs with the idea of giving it all up to look after some man's kids.

RubyRioja Thu 07-Aug-08 17:07:24

oh yes, everyone aspires to be me

wanders off to separate quibling siblings
defrosts chilli as nothing good for dinner
scrapes dried weetabix off kitchen floor.

Oh yeah! Who wouldn't want my life?

beanieb Thu 07-Aug-08 17:07:47

Also - I am neither highly educated nor intelligent but I would not like to live in a situation where I have no money of my own. So I will work. My working life shouldn't have to stop just because I am biologically the one able to give birth to a baby.

I would like to see more opportunity for fathers to have flexibility in their jobs.

Bluebutterfly Thu 07-Aug-08 17:08:05

Ideally we would both be SAHPs - but we would need to be ludicrously/ wealthy to do that!

The sahm model as you put it works for us, but I can see pros and cons to it, of course.

findtheriver Thu 07-Aug-08 17:08:23

Interesting thread!
I'm with the OP, I think a 50/50 arrangement is probably the perfect aspiration, but given that we live in an imperfect world, most people come up with the best arrangement for them.
I certainly think the traditional SAHM scenario is rapidly becoming less and less the norm for all sorts of reasons. Most people cannot afford to live on one income. Also, the education and training of girls and women has flourished dramatically over the last few decades. My mother, an intelligent woman, was not allowed to go to college by her parents, she persuaded them to let her do A levels and then left to get a job, with the expectation that she would give up and have babies when she married. This seemed to be pretty much the norm in that generation. Things had changed a lot by the time I reached adulthood (1980s). I went to University, trained as a professional, and so did my husband. It's also far more the norm now that men partner women who are their equal in terms of earning power and education. Gone are the days when a man wants to be well educated but have a ittle wifey at home cooking dinner and having babies. So I guess it naturally follows that with more equal roles in the pre-children stage, couples aspire to more equal roles once the children arrive.
DH and I worked it so that for a short period he worked part time, and for another spell I worked part time (when our children were preschool age) and since then we have both developed full time in our careers. Many of our friends have followed a similar path, with slight variations.

ForeverOptimistic Thu 07-Aug-08 17:10:11

I am a SAHM. In an ideal world I would be doing as Cod said - working part time and benefiting financially from my work and still spending time with ds.

lizinthesticks Thu 07-Aug-08 17:10:23

"I think it's pretty offensive to assume that all parents aspire to the SAHM model."

Who here is doing that though?

Thisismynewname Thu 07-Aug-08 17:11:04

The title of the OP

MissKubelik Thu 07-Aug-08 17:12:40

No. I am a SAHM and feel very unusual among the people I know.

Most couples still have the father working full-time though. Mother tends to work part-time, and they use nursery/childminder to fill the gap. Most women I know don't want to give up work completely.

Myself and DH aspire to the shared work/childcare thing - it's just not feasible for us at the moment for various reasons. So I have chosen to take a career break for a few years (I only work Saturdays). I don't see myself as any better than anyone else though, and certainly not aspirational! This is just what works for us for the time being.

MadamePlatypus Thu 07-Aug-08 17:12:53

The problem is that it isn't really a long term aspiration unless you have 10 children, so even if you aspire to being an SAHM, your only role model once your children are older is the woman from "Butterflies" which isn't great.

lizinthesticks Thu 07-Aug-08 17:15:11

"No, I am not into proscribing social policy. I think that the SAHM approach is one valid choice amongst many."

I'm not asking anyone to prescribe a particular policy. I'm asking if the SAHM arrangement is (back to being?) the favoured goal of parents and parents to be IN GENERAL.

RoccocoFlourishes Thu 07-Aug-08 17:16:13

I wish it wasn't analysed and debated so much.

handlemecarefully Thu 07-Aug-08 17:16:57

Whatever Lizinsticks - this discussion can only end in tears!

Thisismynewname Thu 07-Aug-08 17:16:59

I very much doubt that it is the preferred model of parents in general. It's just very unPC these days to admit that actually you quite liking having a job and your own independence. In my experience people often say they wish they could be a SAHM not because it's true but because it's politically incorrect for women to admit that they want both a family and a career.

lizinthesticks Thu 07-Aug-08 17:17:00

"The title of the OP"

You are, quite simply, wrong. grin

meemar Thu 07-Aug-08 17:17:06

I don't see what a university education has got to do with anything. I went to university. I'm a SAHM because it's right for our family.

I don't consider that I'm looking after "some man's kids". That pov assumes you are staying at home when you would rather not be.

Everyone has different circumstances. I don't think that there is, or should be, one ideal to strive to.

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