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Get a life?

(10 Posts)
morethanjustadad Fri 05-Sep-08 19:30:40

This question comes very firmly from the "role reversal" category. I'm a SAHD who takes on the bulk of the family duties. My DW holds down a pressured job, makes enough money to support us all. I study, do a bit of consultancy work, but more than anything my time is taken up with two things relating to my dcs - their school, where I am a very active member of the Board of Governors and the local AfterSchool Playgroup/Club, where I am the Chair of the Management Committee. In addition, I help coach my DS' football team both during the week and at the weekends.

It's been like this for a couple of years now, only got involved because others weren't and hoped that "you take your turn" and in time others will too. But it doesn't seem to work like that - seems people are quite happy to leave it to others... so fo all you mums out there who are "too involved" with your DCs and their lives.. any tips on how you start to cut down on your commitments, without letting people down?

nickytwotimes Fri 05-Sep-08 19:37:09

Hey morethan.
I sympathise - it was always the same parents who turned up to help with out Scout group in my pre-dc days. I ended up being good friends with some of them, yet other parents I wouldn't have known if I'd past them on the street.

It is hard to say 'no', but you just have to make yourself less available when events are being scheduled. It might take a wee while, but over 6 months you should be able to cut back fairly painlessly to a level you are happy with.

If you are anything like me and want everyone to like you (who isn't!?) then a little white lie about consultanty work keeping you busy may help.

DisasterArea Fri 05-Sep-08 19:42:17

oh yes. have done my stint in committees, TA, and been a governor. as the DDs have got older and i've worked more (along with getting new more time consuming job) have had to drop a few. it is a relief really. i still help out when needed and as i know so many people at school they know they can call me to help - and i do and enjoy it.
has to be said being a governor just bored me a lot of the time so was eger to jack that in.
you need a firm excuse and practise.

Seuss Fri 05-Sep-08 20:02:48

It's always the same people doing this stuff, all the way through toddler groups and school. Sounds like you've done more than your fair share so don't feel bad about needing to cut back. Decide what you still want to do and which bits you'd rather not and then politely tell people that you still want to help but have less time to commit. The 'white lie about consultancy' sounds like a good plan to break away gently! Good luck!

morethanjustadad Fri 05-Sep-08 20:40:50

Interesting comments, all of them useful and clearly empathetic. My "problem" is that although I'm a SAHD, I'm told that by nature that I'm a "typical" type A male! This shows itself for example in the Aftercare group which is supposed to be self sustaining financially and isn't, leaving me running around doing more work than ever I did in any business I ever worked in. Don't really need a white lie about consultancy - but it's the other part of the type "Type A male that kicks in - I hate to see something not being done properly! (And no, i'm not indispensible, but in this instance the mess those not doing the job before makes it imperative that someone does take control.) Nicky.. your advice is nearest to my own thinking at the moment, gradually, but firmly cut back - I'm giving myself until the New Year to have gradually reduced the commitments to almost zero, at which time, after a break, I could look at gently getting involved - if needed. (See, I"m additcted.)

Janni Fri 05-Sep-08 20:45:55

Sorry to hear this. The only way I was able to back out was to move to a new area!

It's tempting, when you're used to having a responsible job, to turn the stay-at-home parent thing into an unpaid version of your working life by taking on responsibilities and helping out with childcare for the dual-income families.

If you are really not happy with the situation in which you find yourself, then you need to put yourself and your own needs first. You need to work out what your children need from you, then what you need for your own emotional wellbeing and future return to work. Only then should you think about what you can give back to your local community. It may sound like a selfish approach, but you can so easily get sucked into the world of voluntary work and end up feeling completely used and abused.

Seuss Fri 05-Sep-08 20:48:34

I know what you mean about wanting it done properly - it is quite annoying if you see something you've worked really hard on fraying at the edges. Unless you want to find yourself doing everything forever you just have to accept that when you pull away things might not carry on the same. (Easy to say but I was completely gutted when this happened to a group I was involved in!) Good idea with the time frame - I'd be careful what you get re-involved with though!

PinkyDinkyDooToo Sat 06-Sep-08 10:27:51

I have been discussing this kind of situation with my friends recently with regard to committees we are on. I think the problem is unless you step back others will not come forward. THey just think, Oh its all right JustDad will do it so we don't needtro bother. If you step back somebody else will have to step up

morethanjustadad Mon 08-Sep-08 11:47:54

Janni,
you've kind of hit a nerve there and I thank you for that. Sometimes somebody else needs to say something to make you fully aware of the issue- you are absolutely right. I have in the past had to remind other parents of the fact that we are a single income family when having to justify some new policies - as in an, "we're not so rich that we are going to find this easy" - but I quite simply hadn't articulated it as "helping out with childcare for dual income families", but of course you are right - that's what it amounts to.

On the plus side, I don't think that I am yet feeling abused.... but there is the danger of allowing myself to wallow. Again you are absolutely right, I didn't become a SAHD to spend time on other people's children, it was to provide my own kids with the opportunity most don't get, a dad who is around most of the time (at least for a period in their lives.)

Appropriate checks at the right time (now), allied to appropriately communicating the message to other parents, should make it easier to pull back.

Janni Mon 08-Sep-08 14:24:18

I'm glad my post was helpful to you. You can get sucked into things without realising the longterm implications, because there's not really a 'blueprint' for being a SAH parent. People assume you have time, leisure and a desire to be with their children as well as your own smile

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