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for being a SAHM

492 replies

2shoeswhoismshadowsnumber1fan · 13/05/2007 10:12

i am a SAHM because
I have a severely disabled child. I have to be on call 24/7 as she also has epilepsy/
Dh is happy for me to be a SAHM and we manage finacially.
apart from respite we have no one to help if she is ill or in the school hoildays.

OP posts:
hatrick · 14/05/2007 08:17

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Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 08:21

belgo - we were on holiday with another French family at Easter, who live in Brussels, and talked about how Belgian parents put their children in crèche with such ease. From what I understand there seems to be even more pressure in Belgium to put small children into daycare than in France.

My sister recently moved to Amsterdam. My understanding from her and other Dutch girlfriends is that in Holland women mostly work part time, fitting as much as possible around school hours. Lots of services seem to be provided at school (vaccinations, dentist etc) to ensure that parents are free and available for proper family time outside work and school hours. I would like to know more about this model, and whether it works in practice. My sister is in any case much happier (she was in Spain before, a nightmare of badly paid WOHMs and crap childcare).

belgo · 14/05/2007 08:27

Anna - yes - creches are really seen as the best place for a child and I know many children who have been full time in the creche system since the age of 15 weeks, and in one case, 7 weeks. Since my dd1 was three months old, people have asked when am I going back to work. I didn't go back to work because my full time contract had ended when I was pregnant and I couldn't find a part time contract.

I have also seen the huge amount of stress that parents can experience when both working full time with stressful jobs and having children.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 08:30

belgo - I totally agree about the stress of the two full-time working parents model.

Plus, of course, when one is an expat, one has no family at hand to help out with childcare. As you so rightly pointed out in your earlier post, grandparents seem to do a hell of a lot of free childcare in France and Belgium.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 08:33

belgo - my sister had a Belgian friend in Spain who was a SAHM with three children, all of whom she put in crèche from a few weeks old as she believed it was the "right" thing to do - even though she was bored and miserable and her children were miserable about it. Just goes to show how the brainwashing of women by governments removes any notion of free choice... Sometimes I want to shake these silly French women who have bought the argument that they are in some way more evolved and liberated by being WOHMs when all they are really doing is feeding the French economy (and politicians' egos) at no benefit the themselves or their families... sheep...

Judy1234 · 14/05/2007 08:35

It's a jolly good thing France and Beligium want to get women working. Some women don't know what's good for them, their daughters or their nation and need to be force out there into work and once they're doing it the scales are lifted and they realise it's what they ought to have been doing all along. We need more of that here.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 08:40

Xenia - it's a pity you write posts like the one below. Most of the time you are insightful. And then you write thoughtless, grossly oversimplified posts like the one below and make yourself seem far less intelligent than you really are.

geekgrrl · 14/05/2007 08:43

actually the going-back-to-work thing is a topic of huge debate in Germany (honestly - our heated discussions on here are like gentle afternoon tea chatter in comparison ) - the papers are always full of it and it has become very polarised.
I really don't think it has anything to do with Hitler, Xenia, and find that v. offensive. Germans are very acutely aware of their past, many are ashamed of it even if they were born decades later, and to think that something endured because it was Hitler's idea is really very offensive and misguided.
I'd say part of the reason why the number of women going back to work in west Germany is so low is because the economic necessity isn't there. House prices are much, much lower, and cars and groceries are cheaper. Add to that a high rate of unemployment (and thus competiton), many women probably just don't really feel the need to put themselves out.

Of course, the situation in east Germany is very different - there's plenty of childcare and a huge amount of poverty.

Chelseamum · 14/05/2007 08:45

I really admire SHAMS. I am one at the moment but not really enjoying it. Domesticy has not been created for me. We have a housekeeper but i take care of my babies. I miss my career as it is part of who I am. Don't get my wrong I have had ups and downs being at home but perhaps it took me a while to the fact i was never going to be same as before. I love my children but I am counting the days until i get back into the swing of work.

My mother did dip in and out of full time jobs during my chldhood and it hasn't scared me or damaged my upbringing.

Again I truly admire adn respect the women that decide by choice or not being a Sham.
I salute you!

Judy1234 · 14/05/2007 08:51

gg, that's the interesting thing, isn't it? Do women want to work or have to work? (Obviously their up bringing and conditioning by their culture and society determines it - none of us are really choosing anything very much)

So if tomorrow child care of good quality for under 5s was free would more women return to work? Also if house prices halved and male earnings doubled would women stay home?

Same with men I suppose. Loads of them would prefer not to work if they didn't have to. Interesting how couples fight over who gets to be home sometimes and that is rarely written about.

Justaboutmanaging · 14/05/2007 08:54

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Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 09:01

Xenia - some couples fight because one of them is lazy and doesn't want to do any work, paid or unpaid. And some couples both want to do paid work. And some perhaps want both to do unpaid work. And some happy couples manage to agree on the division of labour and share everything.

My partner and his ex-wife used to disagree because neither of them wanted to do enough of the unpaid work. They had a full-time nounou, and masses of free childcare from grandparents, and they still couldn't manage to devote enough time to bringing up the children and doing the household stuff - each of them thought the other wasn't pulling his/her weight. So both of them working outside the home wasn't a good solution in their case, since it ended in divorce.

It's very hard to work out who should contribute what to a family, and that's why I don't believe that WOHM is in any way the one-size-fits-all solution to women's (or men's) woes. In fact, I think that the fact that two career couples is often presented (by governments - or people like you) as that one-size-fits-all solution lowers the debate and creates MORE difficulties, as people can't then understand why they aren't happy with that lifestyle.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 09:02

Justaboutmanaging - I thought German women had babies later because they had spent much longer at university studying.

Judy1234 · 14/05/2007 09:07

I don't think in the UK the Government does really skew things one way or the other. We have very little free childcare provision and many mothers are at home because they don't earn enough to pay for child care so if anything the British model encourages women or men to stay at home but is reasonably neutral. The Government is interested in ensuring people don't claim benefits when they could work so that's the only political issue on this and they have had problems with single mothers whose chidlren are teenagers choosing to claim benefits and claiming they have to be home to see to the children which is fine if you have a husband to support you in that but not find if people like me and other working mothers are paying your tax to do that.

Yes, if both people in a couple want to avoid domestic stuff which I suspect is very common then it's difficult. My ex and I were fairly similiar, both reasonably good at getting on with housework, cleaning toilets and babies but neither of us would have wanted that full time although he always said as I earned more if necessary he'd give up work if the nanny thing didn't work out.

I suppose if you know you want to work and are like me not wanting say to spend more than an hour or two with babies a day then either you need to hire a good nanny or marry a partner who does want to spend that time with the children. What I don't think is that babies are damaged because both parents work if they have someone who loves chatting to them and cuddling them there every day. i do thikn real damage is done by mothers at home who absolutely hate it and sadly many do, who get to the end of their tether with the boredom, frustration and repetitious nature of it, shout, lose their temper, hate their life.

I expect many don't feel comfortable writing about that or saying they are in that position but they definitely exist and I would have been one had I stayed at home.

Roskva · 14/05/2007 09:08

Anna8888 - in France, fathers pay alimony if they are the party that ends the relationship. If the wife leaves, she gets nothing. My db pays his ex-wife a huge amount 'cos he left her, but his new dp gets nothing from her ex-h, even though she walked out after he nearly killed her with a wheel wrench . Both have 2 dcs.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 09:12

Roskva - my partner doesn't pay his ex-wife alimony, even though he ended the relationship. He has to pay fairly limited child support. None of my divorced French girlfriends get alimony, though quite a few got damages ie a small lump sum.

Judy1234 · 14/05/2007 09:15

Ah, R sounds like my UK situation then - you get abused by your husband so you divorce him and then he gets what feels like all the money because you were stupide enough to work and earn more than him.

Perhaps there's an argument that if we continue to make divorce law world wide really unfair more marriages stay intact.

Roskva · 14/05/2007 09:18

Anna, maybe it depends on the Regional Court. Or the fact that db is not French. Db has been back to court several times to try to get his alimony reduced - he was made redundant after the settlement was imposed, and is now earning substantially less, to no avail.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 09:19

Proving fault in divorce is very complicated, whatever the jurisdiction. As you quite rightly say, Xenia, it is often the party who has been maltreated that ends the relationship, and ends up worse off because of it. That's a good reason for no fault divorce.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 09:20

Roskva - yes, international marriages/divorces are very complex and not really representative of anything.

Roskva · 14/05/2007 09:34

Db is actually more French than English. He just never took French nationality, which he would have been entitled to do.

chocolateteapot · 14/05/2007 09:34

2shoes, I have a brother who doesn't have any children and he is the most arrogant, self-centred person I know. I am so sick of his selfish behaviour that after an argument when he got really arsey for having to come down and take my Mum to an ultrasound in February(he works for himself and has sufficient staff to hold the fort for him whilst he suns himself somewhere for 6 weeks, and I had done all her care after she had a major op, and other consultant appointments) that I am no longer speaking to him, .

It is SO peaceful I am really enjoying it. Not suggesting you do this obviously but really do let your db's comments wash in one ear and out the other.

Judy1234 · 14/05/2007 09:39

I actually agree with the non fault divorce we introduced in the UK I think in 1970. It was just too hard to work out fault before then - you think X committed adultery so they are in the wrong but Y had had 10 lovers anyway or Y beat her up or whatever. It was impossible to determine although in practice I am sure most people's natural inclination is to want to find a fault. I expect in a lot of cases fault is on both sides anyway.

Anna8888 · 14/05/2007 09:54

No fault divorce is becoming the norm in France, too.

And I agree, marriage breakdown is usually a joint responsibility. I do think that it would be better if couples were able to address their differences, with professional help, more easily.

nogoes · 14/05/2007 10:09

In answer to the original post, I haven't read the rest, no you are not being unreasonable.

Since becoming a parent I am sick at the amount of judging that goes on in relation to everything from whether you work, how you feed them etc. Before I had ds no one questioned my life choices and yet now I am a mum it seems I am constantly defending every choice I make.

I am currently a SAHM and I am constantly asked by WOHM's and SAHM's with more than one child (wtf?) when am I going back to work etc. Believe it or not I am quite career minded and having time out of the workplace has given me time to reflect on what I want to do and I am now looking for a job to update my skills and give me a confidence boost before I start my own business. I am now having to justify myself to a couple of SAHM's because I am planning to extend ds's nursery hours so I can work. My SIL has told me that I am putting my own needs ahead of ds and she expected more of me!

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