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September 23, 2005

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i like this part of the blog:"I am not certain I can pinpoint the moment in America where the handle of housewife took its steady decline, perhaps about the time homemaker entered the general vernacular of everyday speech… yet definitely sometime before an associates in Home Economics was considered questionable … and definitely long before a domestic engineer, domestic goddess or SAHM and any of the other multifarious and well-intended acronyms made their debut. But either way, the negativity surrounding most of these titles has followed me to the expat front and I am determined to understand why." is very good

Rose

I was graduated in physics in Minnesota 14 years ago.I loved kids from early age.I was always dreamed of being an stay at home mom, since I could not bear the thought of leaving my kids anywhere with anybody. The only thing that makes me regret my decision 10% of the time, is the fact that we are more helpless in case of being in an abusive relationship.My husband encouraged me not to go to work.But always used it to degrade and question my personal sucsess and abilities. I have stayed confident in my abilities during the last 16 years that I have been married to him. and I am proud of my 3 children who clearly show my efforts. But I can't wait to send my 3 year old to school. To prove to him what he pretends he does not know. It makes me sad that in order to be valued in the society,We need to prove ourselves with the $ amount that we earn. But what really matters day to day for me is not what others think I am capable or not. It is if "I" think I am capable or not.
and If one day I go to work, I would do it for kids as well as myself. I think it is great for the kids to know their mothers abilities.
But I still think working wifes leave less space for abuse by their husbands than SAHMs.

Kay

Wow, this was such an interesting post for me. I had my first child in 1972; actually March. I had just received tenure as a three year Assistant Professor. At that time, I could not use any of my accumulated sick leave of three years because my sick leave was related to childbirth!! How disguesting to me. Right then and there I became a door kicking feminist at my college (which has since become a University) God I thought Apple Pie and Motherhoodwent hand in hand! How wrong I was and really stupid. Especially, since all the "really good mothers" werer SAHMs. God I thought I was going to go to you know where since I really couldn't afford to give up my JOB as a now big Assistant Professor which my Mother thought was the biggest thing I could ever achieve. She was soooo proud of me. BUT I felt guilty and not respected because I was going to continue to work and be a MOTHER at the same time. I vowed back then I would try to make a differnce in that attitude. That being a Mother and someone else could really happen. Actually, it can and did happen. Now, to the feelings of all the young Mothers out there who are sensitive and dismayed by the negative reaction of being a SAHM---I say "get other it and enjoy your choices because that is what it is all about. You have choices--your Mother and your Grandmothers probably and I would guesss really didn't have CHOICES!!! Sometimes, having the choice brings on greater responsiblity and greater rewards in the long run. Enjoy your choices because you can. Unfortunately, for women politically we have done so well in education and the marketplace since the liberation
acts of the early '70's that resentment and I might call it sour grapes that "women REALLY don't want to step up to bat with the real men is falonious and numbing. Be proud you have choices and that you are chosing what is right for you and your family. I know I did. AND I think my grown children are proud I did but they would have been proud of me regardless. Being a Mother lasts a life time; being a "retired Professor" is just that! Enjoy and don 't let anyone make you feel anything you really don't believe is right for you and yours. Life is good so don't take the heat too much especially if you believe your CHOICES are right for YOU.

Robin P

When Lillianna was 3,the company Rich worked for went bankrupt and Rich was out of a job. I picked up extra hours at my part time job to pick up the slack and he stayed home with Lillianna. He thought it would be a breeze doing "nothing" all day.

Ya,well,let's just say he learned a lot about what my easy life was all about. He would look at me in a frazzled way when I got home and ask,"How the heck do you do this every day?"
Lillianna was a very easy going child but the demands of a 3 year old are many.

He had a much better idea of what my life was like after his time home as a stay at home dad. It wasn't easy,but it was well worth it.

I work 36 hours per week at 2 part time jobs so that I can be home with Lillianna. I work Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7:30am-12:30pm and I am home in time to pick her up at 2:30pm from school. Thursdays I take her to my mom's house after school because I work from 3:30pm-11:00pm. I am at work all weekend but Rich is home with her.

Through all of that,I still consider myself a SAHM because I'm home when she is home. The killer is when people ask why I don't work FULL time!

I know that being at home with Lillianna has helped to make her the funny,confident and intelligent child that she is. She will be 8 next week and she is advanced in many ways. She is kind and compassionate as well as intelligent.

Would she have turned out this way if I had put her in day care 50 hours a week? I don't know but I'm glad I didn't have to find out.

It's a shame people don't think of a SAHM as being a "real" job. I couldn't think of a more real job than being a great mom.

My best friend is a pre-school teacher and a darn great one. Her ex-fiance once scoffed and called her a "glorified babysitter." Thank goodness she dumped him. What a moron.

You can't change anyone else's opinion because people feel the way they feel.
But don't let them make YOU feel that way. Not everyone can be or wants to be a SAHM. Be proud that you are one and that you love what you are doing.

Jason Berggren

I LOVE SAHM's. To me they are the unsung and unrecognized HEROES of the world. To be honest, I think the world would be a better place if there were more SAHM's. My wife stays home with our two boys and she works EXTREMELY HARD. Sometimes I want to go to work to relax! (joke-I love my family) My wife has said on many occasions that it would be easier for her to work and let a daycare take of our boys for the day. It is a HUGE challenge, but the difference in our children is very noticable. They are very special and very loved.

Why the negativity towards SAHM's? You probably won't like my answer, and it's a little layered.

First, when a mom stays home she has to sacrifice for a season and sacrifice isn't popular in this day-and-age. The thought of someone denying themselves of something they want is unheard of. That's why we have microwaves, fast food (if have to wait more than 5 min. we get mad), and mortgages up the ying-yang. A SAHM has to sacrifice hopes and dreams, career, hobby pursuits, measurable value in society (achievement, advancment, etc.)...basically a lot. This isn't looked on positively. We are (families) living with the result of redefining the family about 45 years ago. One of the many results of that revolution was the onset of 2 income households. The reason? Why should we sacrifice any hopes and dreams, even for our kids? Another was the increase in the divorce rate because making a marriage work takes sacrifice as well. And simply, we don't always want to change to make things work. Afterall, why should we sacrifice who we are and what we want, even for our marriages. So now, a generation later, a SAHM seems like a lesser, simpler person. Why would anyone, in this age on enlightenment, want to stay at home with their children? Don't they know they have more to offer the world than that?

The other reason, I believe, is simple. It is denial. People don't want to admit, and therefore have to face, the fact that staying home with your kids DOES make a difference. I think many people don't want to sacrifice. So they tell themselves that they can love and guide their children just as much, even if the're in daycare, as if they stayed home with them. But this just comes down to a matter of numbers: If a child is in daycare 8-10 hours a day and you spend 1-2 each day getting them ready and getting them there, that means they spend anywhere from 40-50 of their waking hours away from the parent. A child under 5 years usually has around 12-14 of wake-time each day. This means, even with days off, they are spending more time away from their parents than with them, or equal amounts at best.

SAHM's are my heroes and the hope of the world! Your're my hero Susana and I admire your courage to post about this. You're right! It isn't popular today, especially in Europe. But it isn't popular for all the wrong reasons.

Katie

People like to put people in boxes, to categorize everything. "He's a lawyer, she's a doctor," etc. Just being a full time mom doesn't seem to jive well with the box placement notion.

I hate being asked for my "work" number and having to reply "I don't work." All moms "work" whether some of it is out of the home or all of it is in the home.

yvonne

The hard part is that the working mother gets critsized by the SAHM group and vica versa. We won't win until we allow people to make the choices that are right for their families without worrying about judging them. Easy to say, hard to do.

Christine Hohlbaum

Louise Story wrote a marvelous article about how this generation of elite college women is openly embracing the idea of being a stay-at-home mom at some point in their futures. If you are interested, I can send you the link to the NYT article.

As ridiculous as the term SAHM sounds (I should know -- I wrote a book entitled SAHM I Am: Tales of a Stay-at-Home Mom in Europe), it does reflect who we are right now. Staying home does not mean we don't work. It is a shame people think we have to justify that we were indeed "normal" before we had kids.

By the way, I live near Munich!

Warm regards,
Christine

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