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Your own experiences as a child of child care / stay at home parents...

(112 Posts)
CapricaSix Fri 27-Feb-09 08:04:34

You know it always kicks off & we all feel really strongly re working / SAHMing, nanny or CM / nursery, 8-6 / part time, etc etc.

Well I was wondering if we could all just share a bit about what our own experiences were growing up wrt those options? And to not let it turn into a big row full of judgments, but just share how we experienced our situation as children.

So the rule is to post what your experience is without saying "I think parents should..." or "I think children are better off when..." but rather "I think I would have been happier if ..." or "I really liked that because..."

I am just curious about how we as adults now view our childhood and how it may have affected us. I would bet my bottom dollar the situations and feelings are as varied as we as people are...

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Fri 27-Feb-09 08:08:06

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bogie Fri 27-Feb-09 08:10:49

I loved my nursery I went every morning for a few hours. I can remember all my teachers by name, I remember crying because I had to go home.

gettae Fri 27-Feb-09 08:12:00

my mum was at home for me after school and in the school hols.
she was just "there" for me all the time, consistent, loving and caring.
I spent school hols playing, swimming, having fun.
I want the same for my two.

BlameItOnTheBogey Fri 27-Feb-09 08:13:39

I think this is a great idea. My mum was a stay at home mum. It was great and she is patient, kind and a natural care giver who is great with children. I do remember being at home with her before I started school and how much love she gave me and all the wonderful things she did with me. She taught me how to read at an early age and gave me a love of books which I still have. I was very lucky in this respect. But as I grew older, I definitely did miss having a female role model who worked. I have always been very academic and very ambitious and I remember well going through a phase when I was at school where I found it very hard to relate to my mum because her life was so far removed from what I wanted mine to be like. We found it tricky to get on for a while and I struggled to understand her (she in turn, I am sure, thought I was obnoxious and arrogant). We now have a great relationship. I realise how lucky I am - she is a great grandma to my ds and brings all the love and affection she showed me when I was young.

I am going back to work full time next month. Our situations couldn't be more different.

ThePregnantHedgeWitch Fri 27-Feb-09 08:26:56

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fruitbeard Fri 27-Feb-09 08:27:11

Mum was a SAHM until I was about 14 and I remember lots of being bored witless and constantly being told to 'go and amuse myself' while she got on with housework/reading. She didn't have a wide circle of friends so we didn't have many playdates and where we lived there weren't the mum n' tots groups in those days (1960's). I remember fighting a lot with my older brother!

She quite openly admits that she can't stand babies/toddlers and only really got into the 'mothering' thing once we were at school/could read/hold a conversation.

However, I wasn't unhappy because that for us was the norm. My main childhood grievance was that I couldn't keep a pony in the back garden...

I do remember coming home from school early one day for whatever reason and she was still out at the shops - it felt very eerie and somehow 'wrong' to be there when she wasn't, but I suppose that's because we were used to her always being there.

It has affected me inasmuch as when DD began to toddle I was aghast (for a short while) at how much she needed me as my memories of my own childhood were of almost total self-sufficiency when it came to entertainment. And if I'm being entirely honest I too would rather sit and read a book than play with DD, but I make myself do it as she has no older brother to trail round after/younger sister to boss about (and consequently I find I quite enjoy it!)

kingprawntikka Fri 27-Feb-09 08:31:41

My mum was a stay at home mum. I don't really think I cared much either way at the time (but then I had only ever known her be at home)As I got older I definitely valued it. It has influenced me in that I want the same for my children and so have been a SAHM for 15 years now. I think for me the main things I valued were the chats me and my mum could have when I got in from school. It made for a very open relationship, she always knew about my friends, boyfriends etc. Also having friends over was never a big deal cos every night was convenient because she would always be in. My mum was very loving and I can't ever think of a time she made us feel we were in the way or she had given up her working life for us. She always seemed pleased to be around for us.
My husband's mum was a working mother and although he says he never would have asked me to stay at home, he says he is very glad I chose to.

PuzzleRocks Fri 27-Feb-09 08:46:19

My Mum worked out of necessity so although I never held it against her (rather I respected how hard she worked to make ends meet) I hated being picked up from school by one person, dropped off at the house of another and not seeing home or my Mum until 6.30/7pm every day. I was always terribly jealous of the other children whose parents collected them and went straight home to their own toys/gardens etc.
DH's mother was a SAHM and by all accounts had a rather idyllic childhood.

cmotdibbler Fri 27-Feb-09 08:52:44

My mum was a WOHM from when I was tiny - supply work to start with (she was even allowed to take me in my pram), and then pretty much FT by the time I started school nursery.

At infants school, I went into school with her in the morning, then stayed in the classroom or the hall till she was ready to go home.

At juniors, I walked myself to school, and then went to an elderly neighbours house after where I walked her dog in return for her letting me sit in front of 'The Young Doctors' until mum came home.

My only regret was that as she was off in our holidays, we never got to go to the summer playscheme

EllieG Fri 27-Feb-09 08:55:57

I loved it that my Mum was at home with me. Came home for lunch (I was being bullied at lunchtime and was unhappy, so Mum said I could pop home for lunch) and after school and the holidays were lovely. I am sad I can't do that for mine as can't afford not to work.

babypringle Fri 27-Feb-09 09:00:22

My mum was a SAHM until I was about 13, and after that she childminded for a family friend so she was still at home. I often felt that she 'lost herself' when she had kids, she seemed to have few interests outside the home and few friends. I suspect she had depression/PND but would never admit to it.
I'm grateful to her that she felt it was the right option to give up work etc when I was born, but I feel sad for her that she didn't have more options and experiences.
I've always felt really strongly that it is right for my DS to see that both parents can have fulfilling experiences outside the home, even if the practicalities of work/childcare etc are sometimes stressful.

CaptainKarvol Fri 27-Feb-09 09:00:24

My mum worked evening shifts in jobs she hated (waitress, receptionist), so stayed at home in the day. She was very unhappy, I think, living in a horrible little town where she knew no-one and where they had moved for my dad's work.

She had a degree which she never used, and has always been in minimum-wage jobs.

We were not very close when I was small - I don't think she liked me very much, I was 'difficult', a poor sleeper, independent, non-cuddly and openly preferred my daddy (bad child, me).

I never noticed a lack of money (though I can see it in retrospect), apart from one time when my parents cleared my savings account to pay bills.

I walked to and from school with friends from very early (7 ish?), so was not 'picked up', and from about 10yo had my own door key, so have no particular memories of being picked up, or someone being there for me.

DH's mum was a SAHM, and DH remembers that, firstly he was a very shy and unhappy child and feels he really, really NEEDED his mum while he was small. FWIW, I agree with him absolutely.

Later on they suffered very badly from lack of money; his grandmother's dominance in their lives (daughters exist to look after their children and aging mothers); his dad having to work all the hours just to keep the family going and being permanently exhausted and cross, as well as having a couple of serious accidents relating to work; new school jumpers masquerading as christmas presents etc etc.

You'd never guess I have chosen to be a WOHM.

BonsoirAnna Fri 27-Feb-09 09:01:22

My mother was a SAHM when I was little and went back to part-time work when I was in the latter years of primary school. It didn't affect me much, in that occasionally my sister and I would get back from school before she got home but there were two of us so we weren't terribly lonely and we used to get the kettle on for her to welcome her home.

However, when I moved on to secondary school my sister would get back from primary before me and be on her own and she didn't like that at all.

During the school holidays when my mother worked (the odd day only) she got our usual evening babysitters (local A level students) to look after us. We quite liked that as they were great at crafts and sewing, which we loved.

MarlaSinger Fri 27-Feb-09 09:01:24

My mum worked from when I was about 5 because my dad left and didn't really pay maintenance. But she did things like a lunchtime shift in a cafe so she was still around a lot, and then later some pub shifts.

By the time I was about 10 she was working in an office on the same road as my primary school and I went to a childminder who lived opposite. She was a great CM but I missed my mum so much, sometimes I'd just go and sit in her office while she typed letters and wait till we could go home.

I don't ever remember my mum playing with me and I too was bored a lot. That said on weekends/holidays we were always going out, even just to the park/river, but always outside and my mum would tell us about plants/flowers/birds (none of this ever sunk in though!)

This is an interesting thread, making me review what I want for DS.

EllieG Fri 27-Feb-09 09:01:30

Having said that, (sorry forgot to add this) I do find that some of the sadness I feel is that my blueprint of parenting is of a SAHM - I feel guilt because that's what I feel I 'should' be doing, and am not considering that I might be providing my DD with a very positive role model of a female in the workplace - something I lacked in some ways, and I think it meant I became ambitious later in life, as I only later came to see that a career can be as fulfilling as making a home and family. Sorry, waffling a bit.

BonsoirAnna Fri 27-Feb-09 09:03:12

My mother worked in mental health and taht seriously put my sister and me off anything medical-related. In that sense her working was a crap role model.

jellybeans Fri 27-Feb-09 09:04:48

My mum was a SAHM till we were at school and then she worked school hours. I have very happy memories of her being around, always at school events and picking us up. I also want that for my kids!

pagwatch Fri 27-Feb-09 09:06:23

My mum was a SAHM to eight of us. She was incredibly busy and i remember my sisters much more than my mum as a child. I remember when myself and my brother started school (we were the youngest and last to start obviously) we used to walk home from school at lunchtimes and she would sit with us in the kitchen and it was just lovely. I think it was when i got to know her IYSWIM.

She started working at a playgroup a few years later so i think she just always wanted to be around little ones grin

Funnily enough whilst she had 8 children in 10 years and had toddlers at homefor a decade i have only had three children but the age difference and my sons SN meant that I too stayed at home with a toddler for more than ten years.
So whilst I went and did the big creer thing for years I still eneded up being the same kind of mum as she was. Except I won't work again.

It is not what I would have chosen but having done it I love it and would not swap

justaphase Fri 27-Feb-09 09:15:28

Both my parents worked full time so I only saw them before school and after 6.30pm. When I was younger I would spend the time after school at my granparents (who lived next door to us) but from the age of 9 or 10 I stayed at home. I was perfectly happy with this arrangement and it never occurred to me to question it. I had lots of friends in the neighbourhood and we either went out to play or they came to our house. Mostly it meant I became quite independent and self-sufficient quite early on. The complete lack of control also meant that I went totally off the rails as a teenager (my parents tried to control me, but they physically could not as they were not there), but I came out on the other side and ended up doing quite well academically. Looking back, I would not change anything about my childhood. I am also WOH now as is DH and while I miss my kids, I know I would not enjoy being a SAHM. And I am pretty sure they are not being damaged by the experience.

PortofinoLovesPancakes Fri 27-Feb-09 09:19:45

My mother was ill with cancer when I was a child. My sister and I spent a long time in the hospital creche. I can still remember the smell of lunch cooking (think mushy peas). I have vague memories but don't remember being especially happy OR unhappy.

When my mother died, we went to live with our maternal grandparents. My nan was a nurse but worked nights part time. She was always there when we got home from school. During the holidays we were packed off out to play. We spent most weekends with my dad. We had the odd holiday growing up, but we had no car, and hardly ever went anywhere. Maybe occasionally to the beach in the summer.

My main childhood memories involve playing outside all day, weather permitting, or being stuck inside on rainy Sundays being bored and waiting for Batman to be on. I do remember that i wanted to go horse riding/dancing/learn to play the piano, but this was beyond our means. I was never traumatised/overly disappointed by this though.

We played in each other's gardens but it was VERY rare to be invited into a friend's house when I was little. No playdates at all.

branflake81 Fri 27-Feb-09 09:24:16

My mum worked part time as a social worker in a job share with another mum in our neighbourhood. On the days she worked we would go to the other mum's house and when she was off her kids would come to us.

When we were at secondary school she worked full time but as our school was really far away she was home from work by the time we got back from school.

I don't really remember how I felt about it, it was just "how things were". I didn't mind not going home to my house after school, I quite liked playing with other kids.

edam Fri 27-Feb-09 09:41:25

My mother was at home until I was about four, I think (my sister would have been a toddler). Then worked part-time until I was seven, then full-time.

Was fine by me, we had a couple of FAB childminders (in those days they came to your home which was much better, IMO, we loved being in our own home and were highly pissed off the one time we had to go to someone else's house). One is now my adopted aunt and we regard her boys as our cousins. At my wedding, I presented flowers to both my mother and Linda for all their hard work.

We did have a couple of dodgy ones and an, ahem, interesting au pair once we'd moved and mother was working full-time. Nothing terrible, just not quite what you'd ideally want.

My parents separated and by the time I was a teenager I was VERY aware of how hard my mother worked to balance a professional career and look after us.

My sister was rather resentful of my mother working but then, she was extremely possessive, I think because our dad was so uninterested. Sister always said she would SAH but actually went back full-time when my niece was 2.5 - and is doing a wonderful job that really makes a difference (learning disability nurse). The world would really be a much poorer place if she gave up work.

I've done a mix of working full-time, part-time, outside home and at home with ds (he's 5). Love being around for ds but do worry an awful lot about money - I am going to have almost nothing to retire on and have no idea how I am going to manage to go back to a 'proper' job i.e. being a full-time employee.

edam Fri 27-Feb-09 09:48:21

Oh, and a major upside of my mother working was that she had what people might consider a glamorous job (journalism) so we got to meet fascinating people, hear amazing stories and do interesting stuff. Spent a little time hanging round TV studios as a teenager and was occasionally pressed into service as an extra runner just to keep me out of trouble. Anthony H Wilson, of Factory Records, was one of the presenters she worked with - lovely guy (my mother was behind the scenes so not well-known herself).

I'm in the same line of work (although I tried for a very long time not to turn into my mum so only went into it in my late 20s) although my job is not glamorous at all as a freelance working from home.

Other benefit was that I always knew I could do anything I wanted when I grew up, no fear that I couldn't go into any job that appealed.

TheCrackFox Fri 27-Feb-09 09:55:36

My mum was a SAHM until I was about 9 and then she toddled off to uni and got a degree. She has been in her chosen career for 25 years and is planning to retire in 2 years time.

I had a lovely childhood.

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