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Sacrificing to be a stay at home mum


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#51 ajmbris

Posted 07 April 2009 - 03:06 PM

perhaps something that this whole debate tends to overlook is the lack of encouragement from our government to raise your own children. sure, have more babies australia: we'll give you a baby bonus. but where is the ongoing support from the government when you decide that you will become a single income family dedicated to raising your own children without sending them off to childcare. why are there no tax concessions for the breadwinner in this single income scenario to really assist with the cost of living? why should we single income families have to make the sacrifices mentioned by all above? why should we miss out on owning a home in which to raise our children and from which to give them an idea of stability and security as they grow?

The reality of the matter is that the government is not prepared to lose out on the massive tax injection from working women. hence, no concessions unless you get back to work and get back to work quickly.

Unfortunately, the debate does seem to get bogged down in the "fight" between working mums and stay at home mums. Why does this have to be the case? Take your fight up with the government, not each other, to get more choices.

if only it was that easy....

#52 salsboyz

Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:39 AM

The choice to be a SAHM was simple for me. As a young child my mother worked all the time, so I spent alot of time in child care. One of my earliest memories is absolutly hating it, missing mum desperatly and there was no way, if I could help it, that I would raise my kids that way. Luckily for me, my husband and I have our own business so I can still "work" and be home with my lovely boys. But in saying that, I can appreciate how being a SAHM not only isn't an option for some ladies, but not a desirable choice for some aswell. I can honestly say there are days when I envy working mums. But I do get get extremely peeved when it's implied to me that as a SAHM, I do bugger all and maybe I'm not intelligent enough to do anything else but stay home and breed, or that I've let the feminist movement down in a big way. I'm proud to say that I have devoted my self full time to my family and if that requires a few sacrifices (money, automony, being able to listen to music that isn't aimed at the under 5 demographic) then so be it.

#53 B-B-M

Posted 22 April 2009 - 09:08 AM

I really think that we females are our own worst enemy. We judge eachother for being a SAHM, we judge eachother for being a working mum - why? And how can you judge me because my choice (or lack of choice in some cases) may be different from yours - be it as a working mum or a SAHM.

I stayed home with DD for a year and then i returned to work. So i was a SAHM and now i'm not. I chose to return to work because we could use the added income. Initially i returned part time and DD was looked after by her Nana two days a week. As she is almost 2 i have now returned full time and DD is still looked after by Nana. She is none the worse for wear, i spend quality time with her after i finish work and on the weekends. Yes money was the swaying factor in my decision but i also appreciated being able to be stimulated intellectually again when i returned to work. This doesn't mean that i love my DD any less and i don't think it makes me less a "mother". Working or not - she is still my dearly loved little girl.

My daughter is loved, she is safe, she wants for nothing and she is happy. Isn't that want we want as parents? For our children to be safe and happy? I know children who have SAHM's and are happy, i know children in childcare that are happy... so in the end does it matter? As long as we all do the best we can for our children i personally think we should stop attacking eachother for our own personal choices. Being a Mum is hard enough without dealing with being attacked by other Mums for our choices - we should be encouraging eachother, working or not we are all still the same.. we are Mothers.

#54 Surviving

Posted 08 June 2009 - 09:18 PM

Cloth nappies are not a sacrifice - they are better than disposables (which I have never used)!!! And it means less shopping with the kids!!!

We do place too much emphasis on work. We had planned to work 6 days between us (3 each) but this has not happened. I work 2.5, my husband works ??? I would love to have more time and it seems that SAHMs have that time. I would love my husband to be around more and be less exhausted but work work work!!

And what's the point in getting used to an expensive lifestyle? If you lose your income what then?

#55 nessed

Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:58 PM

Stop with this SAHM verses working mum please. Just be thankful we are lucky enough to be living in such a great country. Imagine being born in a female repressed Iran, or some war ravaged African country and trying to raise children in those conditions.

Let's rejoice at the choices we can make and just love our children to bits when we are with them.  Haven't we wasted enough breath on this issue?



#56 Kay1

Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:08 PM

Whenever I hear or read these discussions I am a little mystified. Who is the "they", the "society" that is undervaluing me?? unsure.gif I am a SAHM by choice and I have never felt judged for that decision. I am certainly in the minority in the circles I move in but I have never felt any dissaproval/devaluing at all.

#57 EsmeLennox

Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:18 PM

Give me a break, you chose to be a SAHM. It's not a sacrifice, it's a privilege. I'll be there are plenty of working parents out there who only *wish* they could stay at home and still make ends meet financially (even if they did have to give up a few 'luxuries' that you've listed - if they had them in the first place). Only someone firmly ensconced in middle income Australia could make those sorts of statements.

Stand up and own your decisions as being the best choice for your family as a whole, and stop having a sook about 'sacrifices' you've apparently made.

We all make 'sacrifices' depending on personal circumstances no-one else's is more worthy or better than others because they are supposedly making the sacrifices from the 'higher moral ground', while surreptitiously asserting that women who choose to work are somehow doing their children an injustice (when they are only doing what you have done - making what they see to be the best choice for their family).

Edited by Jemstar, 24 May 2010 - 09:19 PM.


#58 MightyMummy

Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:36 PM

QUOTE (Marsbars @ 10/10/2008, 12:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It seems that in today's society those who "choose" to stay at home are disregarded compared to those who have seemingly "no choice" but to return to work.


I disagree with this completely. Those who are most disregarded are those who actively choose to return to work. If you can afford to SAH (with or without some sacrifice) you're expected to do so. To put a child in childcare under 1 year of age without dire financial need is considered barbaric by many sections of society. I'd say that's evidence of OVER valuing SAHMs frankly. It is just not that important that it is the mother looking after the kids and not someone else (father, family or paid professionals). There is zero proof that kids actually suffer disadvantage from having been to childcare from a young age yet we still expect women will stay home at least a year with EACH child, which adds up to quite a chunk when you take into account each 12 month absence is a career misstep and given that some portion of that same group expects you to stay home more than 1 year for each child.

The most undervalued mothers imho are those who return to work because they want to work rather than look after babies. SAHMs may not be adulated but they are fulfilling expectations. WOHMs who do it out of necessity are adulated for "sacrificing" (as if SAH was the goal).

#59 kp0507

Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:19 AM

We must move in very different circles, MightyMummy!

#60 megalula

Posted 25 May 2010 - 01:28 PM

I also don't like this idea of whichever way you choose, having children involves big "sacrifice". If it's all so terrible I wonder that people ever have children in the first place? Or at least why not stop at one?

I intend to go back to work after I have had this child (and hopefully at least one more). I am lucky enough to be entitled to maternity and long service leave so that this can happen and I can take a year this time around on half pay. Believe me I count my blessings on this and aknowledge that things are much easier for me than most.

On the issue of sacrifice, being thrifty and buying second hand are responsible things to do no matter how much money you are earning. I don't really regard it a sacrifice. Better for the environment and cheaper so that the money you do have can be put to good use investing for your family's future. I don't like the implication that I will be returning to work to material things and prioritise this sort of thing over the happiness of my (future) children.

Simply because I am returning to work doesn't mean I will go on expensive holidays or do things with children that are expensive. Beaches and bushwalks all the way, I say.

10 points to everyone who has pointed out that once breastfeeding is out of the way, men can and should share being at home with kids.

Buying a family home, rather than renting, is the single most important thing you can do to give your family a secure environment where you aren't at the whim of landlords and rent increases. Home ownership secures your family's fincancial future and better equips you to weather storms such as illness and job loss because at least you will have somewhere to live. It is important to me to get this achieved as soon as possible, because you never know what the future might hold. I wouldn't prioritise being a SAHM over paying off a first home sooner. Sure some people do - but I'm not sure the risks and benefits get thoroughly thought through.

The other thing that shouldn't be underestimated is that if you take 5 years out of a career there is a devil of a job catching up again and getting current. There is implication for future earning capacity for women, and for their superannuation entitlements that I am not sure all women thoroughly think through. In the career I am in it will be crucial to come back between babies just to keep my eye in. The super is also great and putting off getting it in there will have implications down the track.

Oh and yes work is enjoyable and rewarding if you are in a career you like and it's a good thing to set that example to children. Mothers should lead rich, enjoyable and rewarding lives just as childless women should. I think it is important for my children (boys and girls) to know the value of women in the workforce - from me, as a rolemodel.

For us, me continuing to work is about covering our bases for the future. I want my son to see me and respect me as a woman who works as well as a mum. I want the money I earn to go towards making sure he is cared for in future, not just as a small child. What if he would benefit from going to a private school, or has to pay for a university degree? What if he needs medical care as a school-aged child or adolescent that we wouldn't be able to afford had I not worked and put money aside? What if both his parents die? I'd like to know we can leave him something so that financial pressures aren't added to his woes. Thinking even further ahead what if his parents go into a decline early and need care. I'd like to think that financial pressures are the least of his worries (when he'll be thinking of starting a family of his own) should he be faced with organising care for us.

I am totally secure in my marriage. But I have seen a couple of marriages fail where the wife has given up work for longer than a year to be a SAHM. Not having a career to step into has left her: a) lonely and bored and b) poor and dependant on the man who has left her. Not a risk I am prepared to take - no matter that it is very remote indeed.

But I think being a SAHM is a perfectly acceptable choice. I don't really understand the competition. It's work, after all. Especially if you are comfortable with the risks associated with some of the 'sacrifices' that come with being a SAHM.

#61 jordiegirl

Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:12 PM

I am blessed to be a SAHM. I am lucky to be a SAHM. I am blessedly lucky to be a mum in general!

I don't feel that the saving I do or the budgeting I do is a sacrifice. I don't think shopping for the best deal is a scarifice - just the way things are. I went from living with my parents to being a student to being a mum - not having much money to buy things is just the way it is!

DH and I left Canberra to live rurally and left the opportunity for government jobs to afford to have a large family more easily, but I would never call it a sacrifice. Living somewhere smaller and more isolated has just as many benefits as living in the city, and just as many drawbacks.

Never a sacrifice, always a choice, I think.  original.gif

#62 Guest_*alpharuby*_*

Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:24 PM

I think your rant is designed to promote your own views that SAHP are making better choices for their children. A total crock IMO.

#63 red door

Posted 25 May 2010 - 07:29 PM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 24/05/2010, 09:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Whenever I hear or read these discussions I am a little mystified. Who is the "they", the "society" that is undervaluing me?? unsure.gif I am a SAHM by choice and I have never felt judged for that decision. I am certainly in the minority in the circles I move in but I have never felt any dissaproval/devaluing at all.



I agree.

Plenty of women I speak to say they do feel undervalued, but I suspect they are projecting their own feelings onto others and feeling judged.

Of course if you go looking you will find someone who has no respect for your choice, but I have only been met with admiration for the choices I have made.

#64 Literary Lemur

Posted 26 May 2010 - 01:12 PM

QUOTE
I wouldn't prioritise being a SAHM over paying off a first home sooner. Sure some people do - but I'm not sure the risks and benefits get thoroughly thought through


Just because you see this as the only rational and financially prudent choice does not make it so for others.

I don't understand why you can't just say "I have chosen to prioritise paying off my home over being a SAHM as that creates greater financial security in the long term".

I can respect that choice just as I hope you can respect that from my perspective pre school years only happen once and I want to be a large part of my child's early years.  I am not concerned about paying off my home loan as that is only one small part of the financial puzzle for me.  Like you though I do value financial security and having sufficient money to provide options for myself and my family.  I have thought this through thoroughly but have come to a different conclusion to you.  An equally valid conclusion.

Edited by cluttergirl, 30 June 2010 - 05:57 PM.


#65 megalula

Posted 31 May 2010 - 08:03 AM

Of course I respect the choices of SAHMs. And I think you have just paraphrased me cluttergirl. That is my choice and my post was subjectively framed. I'm not imposing it on any one else. Just asking them to think about it. The question remains - have you thought through the implications of what would happen if you got sick, divorced, your children needed some expensive sort of care or education, or something happens in the housing market to mean that rent is unaffordable for you? If you have, that's fine. I am just saying that I don't think lots of women do - and I have seen a couple of my friends completely unravel from it, and another couple of my older women friends find themselves at the end of their working lives with little super (and no husband) to support themselves with.

The sacrifice isn't big fancy four wheel drives and flat screens. The sacrifice is taking the risk of not earning your money sooner and putting it somewhere to benefit you and your family in the longer term.

#66 LambChop

Posted 31 May 2010 - 08:19 AM

QUOTE
The sacrifice is taking the risk of not earning your money sooner and putting it somewhere to benefit you and your family in the longer term.


Its not this straight forward though, taken on its own this may look like a 'good enough' reasaon to press on with work as soon as you're able after the children are born.  However life is never that easy (hence the mother guilt we carry in our society).

The conflict comes when the emotional well being of your child is evident.  When Austin was younger, he simply couldn't cope (as in, full blown anxiety attacks and medical issues, not just a little bit upset) with being cared for anyone but me and my husband.  In time he was diagnosed with a developmental condition.

Austin needed full time, consistent caring, including therapy based activities, that could not be provided by anyone as well as it could by me.  Although not quite this dramatic, to us it felt like our childs 'life was at risk' if he got anything other than this type of almost 'therapy parenting' from a young age.

So the choice is, risk to an already vulnerable child versus risk to me having to 'make do', it was a no brainer, I stayed at home.  So SAHM doesn't feel like a sacrifice to me, it feels like I chose the well being of my son over having slightly less material things than I 'could'.

To me, sacrifice implies an external decision that I have no control over, this isn't how I feel, I feel that I made a concious choice that was best overall for myself.

Edited by LambChop, 31 May 2010 - 08:21 AM.


#67 justcallmemum

Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:23 PM

I have been a working mum, WAHM, and now recently a SAHM.
I have experienced the highs and lows of them all...and they are all the same just in different aspects, each comes with riduculous judgements from others.
You do what works best for your family at the time.





#68 samshine

Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:44 PM

QUOTE
I personally resent the assumption that working mothers "don't care enough" to stay at home with their children, or that they are not making sacrifices for the good of their families.

I also resent the assumption that SAHMs don't work, or that their contribution to society is not valuable.


I agree.

I think SAHP's do a fantastic job, and respect the sacrifices made,  but believe they are also lucky to have that choice.  Some families don't have a choice

I would love to be a SAHP.  But the sacrifices that would have to made in our family would seriously impinge upon our childrens lives.  My wage isn't great as a part time nurse, but its alot better than DH's so I can't be a SAHM.    

QUOTE
And *** many of us who work outside the home don't have a big screen TV, four-wheel drive or McMansion. Maybe we can devote a column to exploding those particular myths one day.


True.  And I make all the sacrifices described in earlier posts - theres no nice car, big house, shopping sprees here, we budget buy, yet I am working part time.

#69 RichardParker

Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:24 PM

Motherhood is a sacrifice.  Sacrifices are good, necessary, and honourable.

Whether a mother works outside the home or not is irrelevant.  How wealthy or poor someone is is irrelevant.  The sacrifice is not limited to posessions or money.  A mother sacrifices her time, her body, her energy, her priorities, her emotions, her everything, in varying degrees of intensity for the rest of her life.  

I think motherhood, in general, is not honoured in society nearly as much as it should be.  One of the products of viewing motherhood as a 'lifestyle choice' rather than a vocation is that the concept of motherhood as an honourable sacrifice gets lost, and any expression of frustration or difficulty at the enormity of the challenge of mother hood is seen as whingeing and complaining about a 'lifestyle choice'.

So now, if a mother says:  "Mothering is so hard, I find it difficult to juggle everything."  (whether that 'everything' means working/day-care/budgeting on one income/being a SAHM), society's response is:  "Well, it was your choice to have so many children/be a SAHM/put your kids in day care."

I think society's response should be: "Mothering is the single most important thing in the world to do, and however you choose to do it, you deserve every ounce of support, respect and honour that our world can bestow because it's a massive sacrifice and only a mother could make that kind of a sacrifice."

BTW, Dad's might get offended that I didn't chooise a more gender-neutral way of expressing the importance of mothering.  Please don't - I mean mothering in the 'primary care-giver, nurturer, nutrient-provider' sense.  Of course Dad's can do this as well, but I think mothering  is a different concept to parenting, whatever the gender of the person that provides that kind of care to an infant.

#70 red door

Posted 31 May 2010 - 02:03 PM

greenbag, great post. I agree. Can I just add, I think there is a real culture of serving the self, and anything, even the word "sacrifice" has become second rate to the push for outward achievement. Qualities like service, compassion, generosity have all taken a back seat to Alpha qualities of the individual. It is no wonder, a past time such as mothering, that essentially asks that we put many of our own needs aside for the needs of another, is viewed as a less valuable choice.

I think the "self help" movement has been one of the most damaging fashions of modern world. It removes focus on community, connection and encourages judgement not compassion.

#71 BetteBoop

Posted 31 May 2010 - 02:14 PM

QUOTE (michie0moo @ 27/03/2009, 03:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can we see more of this please? If women stopped making judgements about each other's choices and simply accepted that what works for them may not apply in another case, we could probably actually get somewhere on childcare, maternity leave and a range of other children's services. Maybe we'd even get somewhere with birth services. Everyone is so busy justifying their own decisions by denigrating everyone else's (at least from where I'm sitting) that discussions go nowhere and the government doesn't have to do anything because there isn't any clarity about what the public want. AND it is women who are preventing this, not men.

Yep, SAHMs do make sacrifices to be at home. Working Mum's also make sacrifices. Whose sacrifices are most important is an unanswerable question. And it's incredibly presumptuous to attempt to answer it except on an individual case by case basis.

A little less judgement from both sides of the discussion would be really helpful for everyone.



cclap.gif

Sad but true. Where is the love?!!

#72 ~*Ness~*

Posted 01 June 2010 - 07:16 PM

QUOTE
Yep, SAHMs do make sacrifices to be at home. Working Mum's also make sacrifices. Whose sacrifices are most important is an unanswerable question. And it's incredibly presumptuous to attempt to answer it except on an individual case by case basis.


yyes.gif


#73 jfl

Posted 01 June 2010 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE
I think motherhood, in general, is not honoured in society nearly  as much as it should be. One of the products of viewing motherhood as a 'lifestyle choice' rather than a vocation is that the concept of motherhood as an honourable sacrifice gets lost, and any expression of frustration or difficulty at the enormity of the challenge of mother hood is seen as whingeing and complaining about a 'lifestyle choice'.


Sorry, but I think this is way OTT, and in fact exemplifies the 'me generation' style of thinking.  The comment at the end of the post (an afterthought) about fathers is pretty dismissive of men who go to work every day, often to jobs that are unsatisfying or unpleasant, to support a bunch of other people.

I think that parenting is a sacrifice.  To suggest that just because you have a uterus makes you some kind of single sex saint is absurd. Good and not so good parents are not defined by their genitals.

#74 RichardParker

Posted 02 June 2010 - 12:34 PM

QUOTE (jfl @ 01/06/2010, 07:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry, but I think this is way OTT, and in fact exemplifies the 'me generation' style of thinking. The comment at the end of the post (an afterthought) about fathers is pretty dismissive of men who go to work every day, often to jobs that are unsatisfying or unpleasant, to support a bunch of other people.

I think that parenting is a sacrifice. To suggest that just because you have a uterus makes you some kind of single sex saint is absurd. Good and not so good parents are not defined by their genitals.


That's exactly the point I was making in my post.  That 'mothering' is not necessarily something that must be done by a woman, but that chose the word 'mothering' over 'parenting' to indicate that level of sacrifice and devotion that being the 'primary caregiver' requires.

It's not that Dads (or Mums) who work really hard at crap jobs aren't sacrificing for their family, or that that's not a really important, decent thing to do, but there is something different and special about that 'primary caregiver' role that is important and of which sacrifice is an element.

And, I think it's the opposite of a 'me' generation.  I think considering motherhood as a vocation puts it outside of a ‘lifestyle choice’, or an ‘achievement’ by the parents.  It’s more of a gift, or a happy fortune, that ‘happens’ to you rather than a child being another box to tick in life.  

Anyway, I think we actually agree on the concepts, just have different ways of expressing them.



#75 kpingitquiet

Posted 05 June 2010 - 10:05 AM

I, personally, don't believe "motherhood" or "fatherhood" should be celebrated, at all, other than by the specific family that benefits from the work/love of said mother(s)/father(s). It's not our job as a society to congratulate people for following a human instinct to procreate. Support, sure. These kids are the future taxpayers and voters of the world. It is to all our benefit to support their growth and education, but not to reward/elevate people for doing what nature encourages in, and demands of, most complex organisms. That includes the constant cooing over pregnant women as if they're bringing forth the messiah (saying this as a currently pregnant woman). To me, it doesn't matter whether mom works, dad parents, dad networks, mom cooks, two moms or two dads do whatever combo they prefer...nor does it matter to me if people actively decide to never have children. While it's not always a choice not to have children, it is almost always a choice to have children. We chose it. We have a job to make sure they turn out to be decent, productive citizens. Shouldn't seeing them mature into good human beings be 'celebration' enough?




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