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Friday, August 12, 2011

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Anonymous as well

do you live in MY neighborhood???
I totally understand what you have experienced. Working does seem easier in that you know what you have to do as a job requirement, and work politics are rewarded by a paycheck. Do you think younger moms just don't want to "WORK" in the workforce because they saw what first generation feminists went thru? Social norms are alive and well in our society. Most people want to just fit in and not stand out.... especially in certain neighborhoods.

You know if you work from home, you can still enjoy shopping, lunching and traveling at off hours... if kids are not around.

Hey what would happen in your neighborhood if you made your children work ( deliver newspapers, mow grass, knock on neighbor's doors for old fashioned jobs), is that just not done now, beneath everyone's child? ) - not socially acceptable?


Rogue Housewife

Hi Anon!

Thanks for your great comments. From what I can see, there's a nostalgia for a slow, old-fashioned way of life, much like there's a nostalgia for "slow cooking" these days. So, actually, they do have their kids mowing neighbors' lawns to earn money and setting up lemonade stands, etc. Yet, as I mentioned before, they are very progressive. So, the kids usually do it to raise money for some worthwhile charity.

I do know of a few women in the neighborhood who work from home. I think you might be right!

Anonymous as well

If your kids chip in to do the work (as opposed to mom/ dad or paying outside source)- do you think that "entitled" quality can be limited? I know so many lazy kids and young adults.. (not that I wasn't) but this degree is unbelievable. I don't think that serves them well in the long run.
Rare is the family that doesn't have to fight their kids to unload the dishwasher, etc. I remember being in Mexico and seeing a 7 year old working bagging groceries at the grocery store. I know my mother worked as a child, and didn't want her daughter having to do the same thing- it was status for her- I do not think that helped me.

The parents you describe seem so invested in the image their child reflects on them. Too much time on a self-serving and ridiculous thing. There is more to life than that.

Rogue Housewife

I dunno. I see a number of teens/tweens walking dogs and babysitting for neighbors. And I put up my fair share of resistance to unloading the dishwasher when I was a kid too. Like many of my fellow housewives, I think that kids need a fair amount of unstructured playtime anyway. After all, Bill Gates and other great innovators attribute their success to having the luxury of parents who let them daydream and mess around in the garage after school. I suspect that's easier to accomplish when one parent stays at home. When both parents work all day, their kids often go straight to structured "enrichment" programs after school. It seems like they just needed to stash their kids somewhere until they get off work. I've noticed that those with nannies don't bother with that and seem to let their kids play freely after school. In fact, I probably spend more time talking to the nannies at the playground than I do my fellow housewives, but that is a story for another day!

JenB

I really appreciate your honesty. Sometimes I envy moms who stay at home because you get to make your own schedule and spend time just hanging out doing fun things with your kids. I don't have much of a choice - if I didn't work, we would be poor. But I don't resent having to work. Most of the time I think "I'm so glad I get to go to the office!"

I do envy other working moms. I hate the unfair standards set by the perfect moms - successful at work, fit and fabulous, house always clean, home-cooked meals every night. I'm pulling my weight, I should not be expected to also be Martha Stewart! I'm sure our self-loathing is in equal measure. I hate that I'm sometimes late picking up my son from day care because of an "important" last minute phone call. What kind of monster am I?

I think we working moms have less loathing of our husbands, though. Unless we happen to be married to cave men, they seem to understand that we're a team. It's nice to have someone to kvetch about work with, and because we start out on more equal footing, it's easier to negotiate whose turn it is to procure/cook food, tidy up, give baths, etc. But it's not all wine and roses. We're both exhausted and annoyed at the end of the day, a mood that tends to magnify the other person's irritating quirks by a thousand.

I don't think either of us would have to struggle with our choices if social pressures weren't part of the equation. I think we go on the defensive a lot because we are keenly aware of what other people think of us, and therefore where we fit in whatever artificial social hierarchy we've all agreed to construct. I find myself avoiding other moms because I just don't want to have those conversations. But that's not terribly healthy social behavior!

Rogue Housewife

Hi JenB!

Wow, thanks for the thoughtful and candid observations! As a former career mom, I think you're right on target about the issues surrounding working moms. In fact, I plan to devote another post to address what I think are the 5 things career moms don't want stay-at-home moms to know. You have beat me to the punch and covered a couple of those things for me! I'll be anxious to learn what you think of that post when it's published.

And I do realize that some of us have to work, period. I'm heavily dependent upon a spouse who works, but what if he lost his job in this terrible economy? The bottom line is, I'd have to work. Fortunately, as another Current Mom author (Stacy Feuer) observed in a recent post: the kids usually turn out just fine when their moms work, and if anything the girls grow up to be happier than daughters of moms who do not work.

-RH

JenB

LOL - sorry for hijacking your future post!

Erin Mantz

I'd love to see a post about five things working moms don't want SAHMs to know! Wait, there's more than five...

aimee stern

I think moms are best off figuring out a way to be both - a mom who stays at home as much as she can and works on a business/career. I don't mean the cupcake bakers (my apologies to those who are thriving). I mean those of us who have started consulting firms, freelance or created virtual companies in businesses where we excel at what we do.

I think what stay at home moms forget is that not all marriages last. If you don't have your own income, and life, and your marriage blows up (and I think the statistic is by the time 75% of kids graduate high school their parents will no longer be together), you can find yourself in big trouble.

If you find a way to work and be home for your kids, you often have to make less money and you may not do exactly what you want to be doing, but at least you have something you can fall back on. Believe me, most people don't see the end of a marriage coming. And a man who leaves his wife and kids is not inclined to be generous. The child support laws in many states are so outdated you could find yourself totally struggling.

So spend a little less time worrying about playground hierarchy and more time figuring out how to have some form of a career and a family. I write about single parenting on www.delaythatfirstdrink.blogspot.com.

Rogue Housewife

Thanks Aimee. I think your advice is good for both moms and dads--try to spend as much time as you can with your kids. One of the earlier commenters noted that working from home could be an ideal option for moms (or dads!). As I mentioned in the post, with the economy being what it is, I don't know how many options are really available to many stay-at-home moms.

Still, I think you raise a great point about marriages failure rates and how much stay-at-home moms & their children can be affected by this. The spousal & child support laws really aren't that bad, though. And, yes, some states are better than others--particularly about enforcement. Also, for spouses of military and federal employees who have been married long enough, the federal govt automatically provides spousal support, deducted from the employee's paycheck, in the event of separation or divorce. But, of course, the employee could quit or lose the govt job or leave the military.

Another major consideration for the stay-at-home mom is the possible untimely death of her spouse. Many of us wonder whether we have purchased adequate life insurance. Again, the federal (and state) govt provides an annuity for widowed spouses and their children. But what about the private sector?

Yet another consideration is the possibility that the stay-at-home mom herself meets an untimely death. It raises another age-old question: how do you value the work of the stay-at-home parent in terms of replacement "costs." Again, I think it's a matter of insurance coverage or lack thereof.

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