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being a sah is not considered a legitimate pursuit anymore...

(190 Posts)
AliGrylls Sat 02-Jul-11 10:29:00

I am fed up of people thinking that being a SAHP is the easy option - I am a firm believer it is not an easy option. Most SAHM I know have what I would describe as quite a rough time of it. Hubbie leaving the house at 6/7 am; not getting home until 7/8 and woman is expected to do all the jobs she was expected to do 40/50 years ago, ie, washing, ironing etc - except for the fact that DH wants the children to be kept up so he can play with them and say what a good father he is.

The whole notion that being a working parent is so much harder is not true because while you are out working there is someone else looking after your children for you. You are not trying to do them both simultaneously. What is hard is trying to fit a job around your children, which is what most women want so they can enjoy their lives and their children (I think!)

A woman who chooses to SAH after children start school is not lazy, she is merely trying to redress the fact that she has spent the first few years of her children's life knee deep in nappies and sleep deprived having worked the 17 hour day that was expected of her. When her children start school she will probably be back to working 8-10 hour days that most people work.

Lastly, there is actually no shame in being a SAHP and it can be fulfilling and stimulating. It is just a question of whether one wants to treat is a proper job or a millstone around the neck. Is a job really that much more intellectually stimulating? Surely, after a few years any job loses its ability to stimulate due to the fact it becomes a process? Unless of course you are in academia or a creative job. Except for financial reasons the main reason to go back to work is to have a break from the children / have a career. Neither of which are bad reasons just please admit that this is the reason and not use the fact that you obviously believe you have the intellectual high ground over someone who chooses to SAH.

I strongly believe the above is a feminist issue and I think that being a SAH deserves the same level of respect that being a working parent gets, but it doesn't. Feminists please back up the fact that a woman has a right to choose and she should not be guilted into the modern day notion that working is all and being a full-time mother is not a legitimate pursuit.

AliGrylls Sat 02-Jul-11 10:33:13

I know I am probably committing mn suicide here but I don't care anymore.

richpickings Sat 02-Jul-11 11:01:15

I 100% agree with OP. I've been a SAHM for 8 years now and it's been incredibly hard work but the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. It was my choice to be a full time parent and my DH has always greatly valued the work that I do. I fully intend to stay a SAHM when my youngest goes to school next year - the OP is right that it will still be a full time job, albeit with a break in the day.

AliGrylls Sat 02-Jul-11 11:03:43

well richpickings it looks like it is just you and I for the time being.

sprogger Sat 02-Jul-11 11:03:45

Ali, it's great to hear you making the same points about the value of women's unpaid work that are repeatedly made by feminists. Welcome to the fold. Cuppa?

Riveninside Sat 02-Jul-11 11:04:46

100% agree OP. Dh says going out to work is far easier than dealing with small children and multiple jobs and demands.
I think the direspecting sahm is about thinking the male model of work/money is the right way.
How is that feminist?

AliGrylls Sat 02-Jul-11 11:12:07

Love a cuppa. I'm so happy I started this thread now smile

MillyR Sat 02-Jul-11 11:27:21

I don't believe that being a SAHM to school age children who don't have SN is as time consuming as being a WOHM to school age children. In the times I have been WOHM, there isn't anybody doing the work I would have done had I been at home in the day; I just had to do it at the evening or weekend, which means less time spent with my kids at the weekend.

Having said that, I don't mean that as a criticism of SAHMs of school age children. I don't see it as a good thing for life to be difficult for women. I certainly don't think being a SAHM is unstimulating at all.

Much of the criticism of SAHM is surely a result of envy? I am increasingly envious of anyone who has 3 or 4 children - I get really quite consumed by it, and probably more so if they are a SAHM having a lovely time.

A point to remember (and I think it was made by Germaine Greer) is that no matter how wonderful being a SAHM is, nobody wants to do it constantly. SAHMs deserve and need breaks and time away from their children, just like anybody doing any other job needs time away from their work. Too many SAHMs are made to feel guilty if the kids go to stay with grandparents for a few days, or even if they go out to lunch with a friend while the kids are at school.

I hate it on these threads when women feel the need to justify themselves by explaining how they mop floors/weave rugs/prepare 3 course meals during the hours of 9-3. I hope they are spending a lot of that time just enjoying themselves and spending the time on themselves.

Toffeefudgecake Sat 02-Jul-11 11:28:44

I agree with you too, OP. I hate the way I have been treated as if I'm not doing anything worthwhile by certain people. I am busier than I have ever been and I treat this as my job.

Can't stay for a cuppa, but might pop back later.

smile

SarahLundsredJumper Sat 02-Jul-11 11:37:27

I think the problem is that whatever path women choose it is considered something to put women down with.
Men are not questioned about their choices in the way women are .Society /media encourages women to question themselves/feel guilt whatever they do.

My answer -I am an adult women and I have chosen to do this (Sahm/Wohm or anything else in between!)-next question ! I dont feel any guilt at all about the choices I have made.
However the reality is that in 'reallife' as opposed to MNlife grin I havent encountered people questioning me directly about what I do.

maxine5 Sat 02-Jul-11 11:55:51

Message withdrawn

MoreCrackThanHarlem Sat 02-Jul-11 12:09:01

I agree that being a SAHP to young children is hard work, particularly where the other parent does not contribute to housework and childcare.

However being a SAHP with school age children is a doddle in comparison.
It is far harder to maintain the house and organise the children when you work all day.
I have been both. Whilst I love my job and wouldn't choose to sah, it is far harder and more stressful than having 6 childfree hours, 5 days a week.

SarahLundsredJumper Sat 02-Jul-11 12:10:18

confused I dont understand maxine5 why you would be angry with people congratulating you when you applied and were successful in getting a job that you wanted !

I applied for and got a job that had been my dream job and got it when I had been working very much parttime . I got the job and major promotion ahead of colleagues who were fulltime because as a partimer I had shown that I had an excellent work/home balance ,was flexible and adaptable -oh and the best person for the jobwink.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Sat 02-Jul-11 12:11:54

To add, I am juggling the same balls a SAHM is, and working 32 hours to boot.
The two can't be compared imo.

Goblinchild Sat 02-Jul-11 12:16:08

I agree with MCTH, but the fact that others have the choice makes me happy. I wish I had been one of them, but for purely financial reasons I couldn't be.
I don't think I am in any way superior to my two SIL and sister who had the option and took it, and I don't see why i should be catty about them thinking their lives are as hard or as tricky as mine. So I'm not. It damages my karma to be envious, so I work hard on using humour to sweeten the bile. grin

scottishmummy Sat 02-Jul-11 12:17:20

lol,you think working mums get respsect?the day care prphanage quips, the precious moments mamas soliloquies

find your own approbation stop being so bloody wet and whiny
what do you want a medal for living your own life and choices you make

you op is dripping with clichés and stereotypes about working parents.nad yet you complain how you are perceived

handsomeharry Sat 02-Jul-11 12:21:33

I agree with scottishmummy. Have been pondering this thread for a while but sm has put into words exactly what I think.

SarahLundsredJumper Sat 02-Jul-11 12:22:37

Agree goblinchild Love the bit about your Karma . I dont envy/criticize others who have made different choices because Im not living their lives -they are !

I have made the choices that suit me - I choose not to worry what others might be thinking /implying.

KRIKRI Sat 02-Jul-11 12:23:51

Maybe it's a case of grass is greener - folks perhaps feeling a bit jealous of what they THINK your life is like, so having a pop to bring you down (and make them feel better.) It's stupid really. I hope you're not letting it get to you.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Sat 02-Jul-11 12:24:41

Wrt this
'When her children start school she will probably be back to working 8-10 hour days that most people work.'

Not sure I understand.
A working mother has exactly the same pressures and commitments at home that a SAHM has.
I loved being at home with dc full time.
But I wouldn't have suggested to my friend, who works 40+ hours a week in a v responsible and stressful job, that my life was as busy/tiring as hers. Because it blatantly was not.

msbuggywinkle Sat 02-Jul-11 12:25:15

I think that one of the most valuable things about being a SAHM for me is that I have time, I'm the only person in our family that can care for DP's Nan as everyone else needs to work. Although we Home ed, I have time for volunteer work too, if I was employed I'd want to spend all of my time outside work with the DC so wouldn't do it.

Having said that, our aim (as a family!) is for DP and I to both work part time eventually (as in when we've finished the being pregnant, giving birth and breastfeeding bit of parenting) as I don't want to be a housewife when the DC are grown and he wants to spend more time with them.

scottishmummy Sat 02-Jul-11 12:26:25

you need to work on your self esteem if this irks so
if youre happy with your choice,thats fab.but dont expect a round of applause for doing it

Mollymax Sat 02-Jul-11 12:26:39

People who strt posts bout SAHM v WOHM will never win.
There are always two sides to an argument.
I think it is very much each to their own, Parenting is difficult enough as it is.

scottishmummy Sat 02-Jul-11 12:29:25

has anyone said working mums envy sahm.thats usually a reliable quip

SarahLundsredJumper Sat 02-Jul-11 12:29:43

Oh dear its kicked off -there was me thinking how nice it was to have a reasoned debate.

For the record I am a working parent but as a woman and a feminist I respect the choices other women/men make and loathe the way society/media is sticking the knife into women whatever they do.

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