Why I Regret Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by Luv'sTink, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. JoiseyMom

    JoiseyMom <font color=orange>Have you had your SPANX today??

    Nov 5, 2003
    I have been both a working single mom and a SAHM. My youngest is 12 my oldest is going to be 30. I put my DS18 months and DS30 months into daycare on campus so I could finish my college degree. They were there even when I went and took summer classes. The daycare did not raise my boys I DID! Within a month of graduation I had a full time job and they were in school full time, so did the schools raise my kids? Nope I still did. Did my mom help me raise them? Yes she did, since I lived with her at the time, she was the other "parent" in a manner of speaking. But the rules and all that goes with it were all me.

    When DD was born, DH stayed home with her for the first 9 months, then he went back to work and DD went to daycare. Again, she was raised by me and my DH, not our provider or the center we put her in when she got a little older. She doesn't even remember he caregivers.

    When DS12 was born he was in daycare for a few hours a day for one month. At that time I was being laid off and DH and I decided I would stay home. But when he was 2 1/2 he was put into pre school, did they raise him? Nope, they taught him and took care of him.

    I do regret not being able to be there more for my older two boys, but I had no options. But they saw me going to school and working a job and busting my butt to provide for them. These incredible men I raised sew, do laundry, clean and cook. My DS30 wife doesn't cook and she was raised with a SAHM who cooked all the time!! They are wonderful catches!! They are also very appreciative for all that I did and how I did, and appreciative to their late grandmother for all she did.

    My DS12 is going to middle school in Sept, and I am needed more at home now then when he was an infant! Same with DD17. Do I regret it. On bad days yes. I also gave up a career in IT, one that I went to school for to support my older two boys. I know have a BS degree in CIS, but I don't think I could get many jobs at my age, and with my lack of current technical knowledge.

    Even getting a part time job where I live is very hard, at least the ones not in retail. Lots of people wanting them. RIght now I am needed here, and most of the time my DH appreciates me at least, he knows he couldn't do it without me, so that is good. But I do worry about retirement since I haven't had a 401k in 12 years.

    There is nothing wrong with working or staying at home. It is a personal choice and they kids, either way survive very nicely.

    And to a previous poster, when DS and DIL decide to have kids and decide to ask me to watch them? It will be my honor and pleasure!! ANd nothing wrong with them asking or doing that at all!
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  3. Conservative Hippie

    Conservative Hippie You seem somewhat familiar. Have I threatened you

    Apr 26, 2006

    And I have much more respect for that choice than I do for someone who says they "can't afford the luxury" of having one parent stay home. DH's boss (his boss! Obviously making more than him!) said he wished they could afford for his wife to stay home. What people are really saying when they make that statement is I wish I could keep my lifestyle and the luxuries I'm accustomed to while having one parent stay home.
  4. mickeyboat

    mickeyboat <font color=660099>Nothing like the cream and choc

    Oct 14, 2003
    But you know, that is really the only reason that is acceptable to some people. (not saying this is you, CH). WOHM's can't just say they like to work, they like to be away from their kids for a while during the day, they like adult interaction, they like being able to support themseles, they enjoy the luxuries their salaries provide, they like to be using their education, they like having achieved their career goals. Because if they say those things, they are perceived as selfish parents who don't care about their children and should never have had them in the first place.

    Oh, and they also do not believe their marriages will survive in the long run because they feel they need to be able to provide for themselves and their own retirements.
  5. TinkerBelled

    TinkerBelled DIS Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Do you know what I regret? Reading articles like this.

    I swear, Slate, HuffPo, the Atlantic, Jezebel, even the Times has an article like this out at least once a week. I've decided that it's troll bait, except by troll I mean "paranoid perfectionist 30ish women," of which I am one.

    Other articles of the same ilk I refuse to read: how having kids will make you unsuccessful; how waiting to have children will make you infertile; how having children too soon will make you lonely; how men don't want children and that's okay; how wonderful men are because they do want children; how preschool will send you into debt; or how great women are because they do have kids.

    Blech. It's worse than the Kardashians. (And no, I don't actually mean that.)
  6. diamondpixienc

    diamondpixienc DIS Veteran

    Jun 29, 2009
    I am stopping right here because you have put into words what i was already thinking. Proud SAHM of 10 years and love it :0)
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc <font color=royalblue>We had a wonderful time, but

    Jul 2, 2007
    I'm choosing NOT to read the comments after the OP... I have a good idea of how they'll go. Instead, I'm responding to the article about my own experiences.

    In 2000, I quit my job as a high school math teacher to be a SAHM. Five years later I returned to the workforce. When I left, my 2 older kids were 2 and 4 months, respectively. Five years later, I had a 2 year old, a 5 year old and a 7 year old when I returned to the same school I had left in 2000.

    "I let down those who went before me." Not me. Those women did NOT fight for my right to teach math. They fought for my right to CHOOSE to teach math. And I did, and do now. But I'm not living my life about any sort of cosmic debt to anyone, particularly at the risk of making the wrong choice for my family.

    "I used my driver's license far more than my degrees." My Master's Degree is not a work permit. I got an education not just a a means to teaching, but as a means to education. That education is never wasted. And, as a PS, I did a lot of tutoring and education writing during the years I was home.

    "My world narrowed. " I'm guessing the OP was home a lot earlier than I was. But during the years I was home, I had a TV and internet access. If anything, my world probably broadened because I had the time to stop and see what was going on in that world. In the days after Katrina, I went online and wrote school after school, in an effort to get other teachers to forward worksheets and other materials online to the schools that had lost so much.

    "I got sucked into a mountain of volunteer work." "Suckered????" Sorry, I'm no one's sucker. I did lots of volunteer work, but it was all completely by choice. And it was incredibly meaningful. I worked as a greeter at JFK, bringing infant adoptees to meet their new families for the first time after they and their escorts had landed in NY. And I was president of the parent's board at my son's Preschool. I used my background in education a bit, and during my tenure a school that had been on the verge of closing rebounded. I still smile each time I pass the school.

    "I worried more." I've been around kids my whole life; I have 4 siblings and 2 of them already had teens by the time I became a mom. I'm lucky enough that I found a pediatrician who trusted my instincts. So, for example, the time my middle daughter swallowed a quarter, I called and said she was breathing fine. He said to keep an eye on her and see whether she continued to throw up (just a little, but consitently.) He said to check back in two hours. When I did, and he found that she was still throwing up a bit, he said to bring her in. There was no emergency 911 call because it wasn't an emergency and I was educated enough in the basics to know that. I never was an alarmist. I would think that a born worrier would probably worry MORE about a toddler with the sniffles who had been sent to daycare than one who was with her, because she could see that he was OK.

    "I slipped into a more traditional marriage." My marriage-- it will be 24 years in 2 weeks-- has changed as we have changed. Sure, during my SAHM years, I did more of the traditional roles. But last year when my husband was hospitalized for 5 days after our return from WDW, I took on some of the more traditional "dad" jobs. It's not about who has to do what, it's about who's in the best position to easily do what. Again those women who fought for change 100 years ago fought for the right for change to happen. While finances were tighter then, both my husband and I had a much easier work load during my SAHM years.

    "I became outdated." Not me. When I was ready to return to work, I turned down several job offers to return to the school I had left 5 years ago. And during those years I did a lot of freelance writing-- there was quite a bit to add to my resume in 2005. Not to mention the fact that being a mom (SAHM or not) has made me a far, far better teacher than I was in 2000.

    "I lowered my sights and lost confidence." Again, not my experience. My sights were always on what was best for my family. When I returned to work, it was bacause that was best; the finances were simply becoming too much of a burden. But I never for a moment doubted that what we had decided on was best for my family and that, most days at least, I was doing a good job of it. Whether it was in the classroom or the playroom, I was confident that I was good at what I was doing. And memories of those years of puddle stomping in the rain and newspaper hat parades will warm my old age.

    Again, that's been my own experience, and not that of the writer of the article. Now I'll go back and read all the other posts, probably with sadness, and see the Mommy Wars commence.

    It's sad, really. There are so many battles that parents have to fight on behalf of families and kids in particular. Yet too many moms persist in battling each other instead.
  8. Social Worker Sue

    Social Worker Sue Mouseketeer

    Jul 17, 2012

    This woman is an author. A story teller. She was still able to make a living after her stint as a SAHM.

    I believe much of what she wrote was for shock value. The whole "I let down those who went before me" because I stayed at home with my three children is laughable. Who thinks that way?

    Her "world narrowed" because she only hung around SAHMs in the suburbs? Whose fault was that?

    And to say "My kids think I did nothing" because "they saw me cooking, cleaning, driving, volunteering and even writing, but they know what a "job" looks like"???:scratchin So writing (and I imagine she gets paid for these stories she writes) isn't a job to your children? Well then you raised a bunch of unappreciative children. Nothing more can be said about that.
  9. ReneeA

    ReneeA DIS Veteran

    Feb 9, 2000
    I am one of those that didn't enjoy being a SAHM (and I always felt bad for saying it out loud). I felt trapped and bored out of my mind. I love my children to pieces, but I far prefer the school age to baby stages.

    I stayed at home full time with my kids for 6 years. My son was 6 and in first grade, my DD was 4 and in preschool when I decided I wasn't doing them or me any favors by staying home with them. My employer had downsized in the time that I was home (worked for a tech company booming prior to y2k). I had always had a strong interest in healthcare, so went to nursing school as soon as DD was in preschool. It was the best thing I could do for everyone. I feel far more tuned in with them now and my career fulfills me. My kids are thriving. I know from the people I work with that I'm not the only mom that feels this way, but we can't express our feeling since we're made to feel bad that we weren't cut out to be SAHMs. I don't have ill will towards those that do decide to stay home, my 2 best friends & my sister all do it, love it, and are great at it. I just wasn't.
  10. disykat

    disykat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2000
    I think a lot of people think that way. Surprisingly, a lot of people don't believe in women having a range of choices. They think they should only have the choice they prefer. Unfortunately the upshot of it is that are choices are narrowing rather than broadening.
  11. Mickey'snewestfan

    Mickey'snewestfan DIS Veteran

    Apr 26, 2005
    Maybe this is true for some parents, but there are others of us who work full time to afford luxuries like food, shelter, and health care.

    When my son was little and I was a single mom, we moved back in with my mom for a few years. He was having major medical issues, and managing rent on top of medical expenses was really hard. So often I would go to the park or somewhere else and meet SAHM's. When they told me they stayed home I'd say "That's great" and they'd launch into how I could do it too. I just needed to look at my budget more carefully and figure out which luxuries to cut.

    Now, generally these moms were living in expensive single family homes, while I couldn't afford a 1 bedroom apartment. They often drove to the park in a shiny late model SUV, while I walked because I didn't have a car. They wore far more expensive clothes than I did, but somehow they were convinced that I was hiding some magical source of income and health insurance that I was simply too dumb to notice.
  12. mckelvey72

    mckelvey72 Mouseketeer

    Mar 20, 2013
    Who knows if I will get nailed for this comment but here goes.....every situation is different and people read the high level into situations but don't really know the nitty gritty.

    When it comes to working moms (which I am) I can honestly say I can't afford to quit my job. And that stems from the fact that I got my college degree, worked my tail end off and now have a 6 figure salary. I was told in my 20's after 3 years of fertility treatment that I would never have a kid. Fast forward to 33 years of age and living a lifestyle that I never thought would be able to include kids....found out I was pregnant. Still with the baby daddy but I love my career and I also had a home that (due to the economy) I can't get rid of for what I owe etc. So we have consolidated and we live a good life but my salary is an important compenant of being able to pay that mortgage.

    Now had I had the first child I was pregnant with back when I was 23 and only making 20K a year...it would have been an easy decision to be a stay at home mom.

    So we all make decisions that we feel are best for us. I am lucky and yes I am going to knock on wood before typing this.....I work from home 2-3 days a week and have a flexible work schedule so I can still do school activities etc. When I am not at home my mom helps me and my son LOVES to be with my mom and I think that is a great relationship they have and will last a lifetime for my son. I have no issues with family helping out.

    I spend my evenings with my kid, weekends etc. As I said, he is in first grade and I made every single one of his awards ceremonies etc. He plays sports and 95% of the time I can get him where he needs to be. If not, my mom does it and she LOVES being a part of his life. I am an active PTO mom and worked many events. I was able to be in the classroom several times a year to help with events/my sons b-day/tea/muffins with mom....I never missed an event.

    One thing I always feared with my son being home with a grand parent is if he was going to be behind the other kids that went to daycares/learning centers. Those kids learn ALOT during the day and much earlier than kindergarten. But my son is a straight A student so he didn't lack from being home with a grand parent.
  13. snowweisz

    snowweisz Mouseketeer

    Apr 1, 2013
    This is what gets to me.
    I love, love, love my job. I've worked hard to be promoted and I've earned my growth in my company. I have career goals that are hard to achieve because the economy is hard, the workplace is always harder to the women and because there is always a ton of competition.

    But I also want to be a mom.
    And it gets so frustrating to read these things where apparently, unless I give up my career goals and all those achievements I've earned (and want to keep earning), then my child will be raised by a daycare center?
    I don't believe in that!

    Yes, feminism is supposed to be about choices.
    And when mothers chose to be in the workplace, they have to work so much harder than the women who don't have children. I've seen it happen, it's cutthroat. Women go home for 16 weeks here to have a baby, and when they come back they've become replaceable. Someone else has taken over their job role, someone who maybe has no children and has a wider availability. And this is why coming back to work is so hard on some fields. I feel the woman in the article because I too work for a financial institution.

    Our workplaces move fast and demands are hard and they need to be met. If not by you, then rest assured, the company will have no trouble finding someone else who'll meet them.

    My choice is that I want both things.
    I want to thrive in the workplace because I deserve it, because it fulfills me and because I don't want to throw all that effort and satisfaction away.
    But I also plan to thrive as a mother. And my choice is that I will do both and do my best to be great at both.

    It's disheartening to hear that apparently, it is horrible of me to want to be fulfilled by more than any children I may have. That maybe I should stop thinking about wanting children if I love my job so much, cause I should just not have them in the first place.
  14. cari12

    cari12 DIS Veteran

    Jul 25, 2009
    Not all of Canada, our school district has a cap of 22 kids per Kindergarten class and 24 for grades 1-3.
  15. goofyintoronto

    goofyintoronto I really wanted to like it, but I didnt.

    Mar 29, 2011
    Yes. Here too!
  16. Granny square

    Granny square Always planning a trip!

    Feb 10, 2012
    What a whiner!! Geesh! She would have been the same troll writing of how she missed out with her kids, blah, blah blah had she made the opposite choice.

    Witching because the volunteers had nothing after volunteering? Really? Or because she used her drivers license more than her degree? She isn't dead yet. She has another 20 years to walk to work. And letting down those who went before. Blech! As I said she isn't dead yet. Get a job. Grow up and quit whining.

    Everyone has some things they wish when they wish they could have both worlds or worse yet thinking everything is peachy on the other side of the fence. But the fact is that most women do a bit of working and not while rearing kids. That is the tribute to he feminists. Being able to make choices that are best or you and yours rather than on a societal expectation. And yes, I'm old enough to have worn a power suit in the late seventies.

    Lol, not quite as hostile as I sound!! Just get tired of people fueling mommy wars to make a buck or a name for themselves.
  17. quandrea

    quandrea DIS Veteran

    Jun 24, 2010
    I am in Ontario too of the six jk's I research fort twins all had upwards of thirty kids. The numbers for the cap must be arrived at by dividing the children between the teacher and ECE person. My friends with kids in kindergarten say the rooms are chaotic.
  18. Conservative Hippie

    Conservative Hippie You seem somewhat familiar. Have I threatened you

    Apr 26, 2006

    I know some parents work out of necessity. I was raised by a single mom. Sure she could have stayed home and gone on welfare, but instead she cleaned houses while working on a computer degree. She taught us the value of a strong work ethic. But in my experience, the parents that protest so much that they would love to be able to afford the luxury of a stay-at-home parent are a) 2-income families and b) could afford it of they gave up a few luxuries. My husband's boss says he can't afford his wife to stay home, yet drives a new Lexus. My friend who used to complain until she lost her job, they went to Europe every summer.

    A year or so ago a public figure made the statement that his family "couldn't afford the luxury" of a SAH parent, when public records showed a combine household income of over $400,000! I was deeply offended.

    We only had one car until 2011, and when we finally did buy a second car it was a used 06; we've only been on one vacation in the past 6 years that we paid for ourselves. My mom has taken us on a couple f vacations because, although she couldn't do it, she also highly regards the value of a SAH parent and knows what we give up to be able to do it. I know one SAHM family who gets by with 3 kids and a husband making significantly less than mine!
  19. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2006
    Just because I stay home, doesn't mean I'm into attachment parenting. Because I'm not! My mom was June Cleaver (not really...). SAHM, perfect home, drink waiting for my dad when he got home from work (cocktail hour so we could hear about his day before dinner), family dinner every night... Actually, I like the definition of housewife better - my job is to care for children AND clean the house AND shop AND cook AND pay bills AND make appointments AND laundry.......... My focus is not 100% on my kids.

    That said, she was there if I needed help, but she wasn't there to be a playmate - that's what neighborhood kids and siblings are for! I do remember the one bike ride my parents took us on, and the one game night we had... I have lovely memories of playgrounds, beaches, etc., but I didn't have my parents with me.

    Kids identify with parents until around puberty, and that's when it's perfectly normal for them to be more influenced by their peers. Heck, I learned about this when I was still in college taking sociology.

    I'm a SAHM by choice - I know many WOHM's who work because they want to - and that's fine! I see little difference between the kids from both sets of moms.
  20. jrmasm

    jrmasm Last time I checked, it was still

    May 20, 2000
    But so what? Why are you offended by the choices other people make?
  21. Granny square

    Granny square Always planning a trip!

    Feb 10, 2012
    Not that poster, but it seemed she was complaining about people complaining. Don't say you can't afford something when it is more a case of priorities.

    But I could be wrong.

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