Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months
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SAHMs and Choices

Here's a situation to consider:

A mom is a SAHM because her DH makes a comfortable salary and she doesn't have to work, thus she is a SAHM by default. She decides to put her child in daycare so she can:

A) Go back to work, even though she doesn't have to

B) Eat bon bons and watch Oprah all day

Why is Option A okay, whereas she would be vilified for doing Option B? Is going back to work the only justifiable reason a mother could put her child in daycare? Is it b/c Option A makes the woman seem like a "productive" member of society whereas Option B makes her look lazy? 

Aren't both choices equally self-indulgent?

DISCUSS!  :)

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Re: SAHMs and Choices

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    I think that if a woman decides to go back to work, even if she doesn't need to, as being self indulgent.  She is simply doing what works best for her and her family.  Not everyone is satisfied staying home.  I don't think there is anything wrong with it.  We all do what works best for us and our family. To each his own.

    I am a SAHM and it is hard but I personally loved my job and miss it.  One day I will go back when I am ready.

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    Working is not self-indulgent.  A lot of women need to be baby-free for a while each day.  It's for their sanity.  It is not OK to sit on the couch all day.  MDO programs are wonderful.  They give mom a very much needed break.  I've never used one, but I'm looking into it for myself.  And hour or two a week would be heavenly.
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    I think the thing to discuss is that you said that since "her husband makes a comfortable salary and she doesnt have to work, she is a SAHM by default." I completely disagree. That is the CHOICE she and her husband have made, it's not by default that she is home.

    But as for options A and B, I think both are fine as long as they can afford it, they both agree to it, and they are both satisfied with the choice.

    I dont believe they're equally self indulgent (or one is indulgent at all) because one option (working) actually benefits the family in that she is bringing money into the house, even if it's a small amount after daycare expenses and if she's working because she feels it makes her a better person/parent/whatever, then that also adds to the positive atmosphere of the household.

    Sitting around literally doing nothing all day every day is hard to misconstrue as being productive or making someone a better parent simply because it's what they want.  However, one could argue that if this is the type of person the parent is, the child is better off in daycare anyway.

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    I don't think working is self-indulgent.  Some women need something different than staying at home all the time with their children.  There are times when I would like to be able to do something (not my previous job) to give myself a break from SAHMdom.  However, anyone, no matter who they are - man, woman, child - who "sat on the couch and ate bon bons" all day would be lazy and would lead to problems.  I think a little of that, occasionally is okay, but not all day every day. 
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    I don't think going back to work is self indulgent. I can't wait to go back to work and start saving more money.  I would love to pay in full for DS's education and have no debt.  Sometimes you have to decide if you want to make a sacrifice now or later.  We are choosing now, but I still think about what more money would be able to provide my DS in the future.

    Sitting on your butt all day and paying for child care is crazy IMO.  You are not gaining anything for now or later.   

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    Choice A: A happy mommy makes for a happy family, and some women get depressed by staying home. Why make for a bad family life just to look right to society?

    Choice B: Well, that is self indulgent. LOL 

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    My neighbor is a SAHD, and his girls go to daycare part-time a few times a week to give him a break and so that they can socialize with other children in a supervised environment and have fun projects to do, etc.  So in that sense I don't think it's self-endulgent at all. 

    I would kill to be a SAHM, but since my husband decided to become self-employed a few months before DD was born - I had to return to work after maternity leave to support our family.  Hopefully in a few years after we are done having children and we can buy a house I'll be able to stay home with them.  I hate being away.

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    imageBuckets of Moonbeams:
    Working is not self-indulgent.  A lot of women need to be baby-free for a while each day.  It's for their sanity.  It is not OK to sit on the couch all day.  MDO programs are wonderful.  They give mom a very much needed break.  I've never used one, but I'm looking into it for myself.  And hour or two a week would be heavenly.

    I so wish there was a MDO program around here.  He's in daycare part-time because I work part-time.  I worked full time for the first year and hated it.  This is the BEST thing ever for both of us.  We have lots of time together, but I also get to go to work and use my brain in a different way as well as make some money for our family.  Do I HAVE to????  Maybe not---but it would be more of a struggle for us.  But it's a great thing for us.  Having said that, I'm thinking about possibly putting him in daycare 1 extra day a month so I can get things done around the house that I can't with him there--like shampooing the rugs, painting, etc.   DH works insanely long hours, so it's just me.  I have to do what I have to do.

     

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    No I don't think both options are equally self-indulgent.

    My husband makes a very comfortable salary, and I will probably eventually go back to work. The money I make will provide even more extras than we already enjoy, nicer cars, more vacations, camps for the kids.

    My family will benifit from me going back to work even though we could live very comfortably if I don't.

    So in the end working is good for my family, while sitting on my butt while my kid is in DC is not.

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    Can. Of. Worms.

    A:  Perhaps mom wants to send her kids to college down the line, wants to ensure the parents have a strong retirement and aren't a burden on the kids, wants to secure a place for herself in her career.  Perhaps mom isn't happy as a SAHM and thus doesn't do it very well. Better to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and work with them.

    Not all parents want to SAH and there is nothing wrong with that, you imply that by not SAH you are self indulgent.  Your opinion for you, don't judge other people's choices.

    How about this one.  DH and I planned for me to be a SAHM.  DH was laid off twice while I was pregnant and is now a SAHD.  Am I self indulgent because I am working so my family can eat or does your little scenario apply to Dad's too?

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    I judge Choice B.  Unless it's once a week.

     

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    I don't understand how a husband with a comfortable salary makes a mother a SAHM by default.  This way of thinking is flawed.

    Women work for a variety of reasons - to save for retirement, to pay off debt faster, to have more money for family activities like vacations, to keep their skill set fresh in the event that the husband loses their job - there are hundreds of others.  All of these reasons benefit the family as a whole, so they aren't self-indulgent.

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    imageITeachK:

    I judge Choice B.  Unless it's once a week.

     

    So do you judge Moms like me? DD goes to preschool THREE days a week, and DS goes to MDO one day a week next year it will be two. I will have two kid free days to clean or shop or sit on my butt. Since it is more than once a week I guess I am judged.

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    I think it totally depends. Being a SAHM myself, I can appreciate how necessary it is to have some time during the week when little people aren't clinging to you. I'm going to have both kids in MDO for two glorious mornings a week this summer, and I'm positively giddy about it. I haven't had any regular child-free time since Clay was born. Let me clarify, this will be for six hours a week not forty. A lot of that time will be devoted to dentist appointments and hair cuts and grocery shopping and things that I either can't or prefer not to do with the boys, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm really looking forward to just hanging out in the sun with a book, or maybe catching a movie on some of those mornings. If anyone wants to judge me for that, feel free. I don't care.

    On the other hand, there is a SAHM in my neighborhood with two small children, and they employ a full-time nanny. It's their money and it's none of my business how they spend it, but I can't help but do the math...there is no way they are paying her less than $12 an hour in our area. I can't imagine shelling out 25K a year or so in child care so that I could play all day. And plus, I wouldn't want to even if we could afford it. Why would you choose to stay home just to have someone else watch your children 90% of the time?

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    Why is being self indulgent a bad thing?

    I think this is only the case for women IMO.

    I have 0 issue with women who know what they need to be a good mom. For me? It's working, its my massage/spa time. It's nights out and even nights where my husband takes off with Jo to his mom for the night and I do NOTHING!

    I think a little more self indulgence would be a good thing for all of us.

    image Josephine is 4.
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    imageMistyl:

    Choice A: A happy mommy makes for a happy family, and some women get depressed by staying home. Why make for a bad family life just to look right to society?

    Choice B: Well, that is self indulgent. LOL 

    but couldn't you say that B would also make a happy mommy which of course = happy family?

     

    i agree with OP very much.  i work by choice b/c i was starting to go a little bonkers at home.  i was a SAH for 15 months - whether i went back to work or put dd in dc and just sat on my butt, did yoga and get pedicures - does it really matter?  either way she's not with me 24/7, kwim?

    i think one is obviously more socially acceptable, but i'm not keen on doing something or not doing something just b/c "you" deem it "okay".  fwiw, i chose to go back to work b/c i get bored easily and wanted to use my brain and be challenged, but i'm sure there are plenty of people that are totally happy sitting on the couch eating bon bons.  

     

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    imageITeachK:

    I judge Choice B.  Unless it's once a week.

     

    I'm totally snorting at how arbitrary and inane this comment is. Why not twice a week? What if it's three times a week for one hour vs. one eight hour day? 

    I'm assuming you work. Here's what you're not getting. When both parents work, they have childcare lined up every single work day. So when you have things you need to do, like go to the eye doctor or get a tooth filled, you either go on your lunch hour or negotiate with your boss about taking an afternoon off. Not saying this is easy-peasy, but it's easier than trying to line up two random hours of childcare on the spur of the moment. And yes, I've done both. SAHMs typically don't have a regular sitter who is available on short notice. Childcare for us takes advance planning. It's going to be a godsend for me to know that I can schedule things every Tuesday and Thursday morning, even a month in advance, and not have to say "oh, maybe, but I'll have to check with my mom and see what her work schedule is, and if she can do it, great, but I may not know for another two weeks..."

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    imageITeachK:

    I judge Choice B.  Unless it's once a week.

     

    I'm totally snorting at how arbitrary and inane this comment is. Why not twice a week? What if it's three times a week for one hour vs. one eight hour day? 

    I'm assuming you work. Here's what you're not getting. When both parents work, they have childcare lined up every single work day. So when you have things you need to do, like go to the eye doctor or get a tooth filled, you either go on your lunch hour or negotiate with your boss about taking an afternoon off. Not saying this is easy-peasy, but it's easier than trying to line up two random hours of childcare on the spur of the moment. And yes, I've done both. SAHMs typically don't have a regular sitter who is available on short notice. Childcare for us takes advance planning. It's going to be a godsend for me to know that I can schedule things every Tuesday and Thursday morning, even a month in advance, and not have to say "oh, maybe, but I'll have to check with my mom and see what her work schedule is, and if she can do it, great, but I may not know for another two weeks..."

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    imageQuazel:

    Can. Of. Worms.

    A:  Perhaps mom wants to send her kids to college down the line, wants to ensure the parents have a strong retirement and aren't a burden on the kids, wants to secure a place for herself in her career.  Perhaps mom isn't happy as a SAHM and thus doesn't do it very well. Better to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and work with them.

    Not all parents want to SAH and there is nothing wrong with that, you imply that by not SAH you are self indulgent.  Your opinion for you, don't judge other people's choices.

    How about this one.  DH and I planned for me to be a SAHM.  DH was laid off twice while I was pregnant and is now a SAHD.  Am I self indulgent because I am working so my family can eat or does your little scenario apply to Dad's too?

    A:   what if one parent makes enough that you could easily send your kids to college, afford nice cars, nice house, nice vacations? 

    the OP was saying that why do we deem it "okay" for a mom who CAN sah but chooses to go to work and put her kid in dc, but get all bajiggidy if she decides to be a domestic goddess and send her kid to dc.  the outcome is the same.  especially if money isn't an object.

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    How is "having" to go back to work & puting your child in DC self-indulgent? I HAVE to work. I HAVE to put my DD in DC. How that makes me self-indulgent is beyond me.

    I always said if I could afford to be a SAHM & put DD in daycare part-time I'd do it. I'd love the freedom of being able to spend my days with DD yet still being albe to get a break & her to get some other kind of interaction with children.

    I also don't think that women who have the choice yet still work as a means of fulfilling their lives are self-indulgent at all. There is no reason why women shouldn't be able to do what they enjoy just because they've become a mother.

     

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    imageITeachK:

    I judge Choice B.  Unless it's once a week.

     

    why?  it's subjective.    the end result is the same - kid in DC. 

    what's the difference if it's b/c the SAHP decides to go back to work, sit on the cough all day, do great philanthropic work, dance the jib at the local pub (which could be both fun, exercise AND work)? 


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    imageMegGary:

    How is "having" to go back to work & puting your child in DC self-indulgent? I HAVE to work. I HAVE to put my DD in DC. How that makes me self-indulgent is beyond me.

    I always said if I could afford to be a SAHM & put DD in daycare part-time I'd do it. I'd love the freedom of being able to spend my days with DD yet still being albe to get a break & her to get some other kind of interaction with children.

    I also don't think that women who have the choice yet still work as a means of fulfilling their lives are self-indulgent at all. There is no reason why women shouldn't be able to do what they enjoy just because they've become a mother.

     

    dude, read the OP.  she's saying if one parent makes a supremely comfy living where the other parent doesn't "have" to work for financial reasons.

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    imageMrs.Hizzo:
    imageITeachK:

    I judge Choice B.  Unless it's once a week.

     

    I'm totally snorting at how arbitrary and inane this comment is. Why not twice a week? What if it's three times a week for one hour vs. one eight hour day? 

    I'm assuming you work. Here's what you're not getting. When both parents work, they have childcare lined up every single work day. So when you have things you need to do, like go to the eye doctor or get a tooth filled, you either go on your lunch hour or negotiate with your boss about taking an afternoon off. Not saying this is easy-peasy, but it's easier than trying to line up two random hours of childcare on the spur of the moment. And yes, I've done both. SAHMs typically don't have a regular sitter who is available on short notice. Childcare for us takes advance planning. It's going to be a godsend for me to know that I can schedule things every Tuesday and Thursday morning, even a month in advance, and not have to say "oh, maybe, but I'll have to check with my mom and see what her work schedule is, and if she can do it, great, but I may not know for another two weeks..."

    I laughed too. I didn't realize there were people on the board guarding SAHM's down time.

    once a week for SAHM's. and not at all for working because we already stick our kids in daycare so we can buy fancy cars and live in mcmansions. got it.

    image Josephine is 4.
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    imagevioletvirgo:
    imageMegGary:

    How is "having" to go back to work & puting your child in DC self-indulgent? I HAVE to work. I HAVE to put my DD in DC. How that makes me self-indulgent is beyond me.

    I always said if I could afford to be a SAHM & put DD in daycare part-time I'd do it. I'd love the freedom of being able to spend my days with DD yet still being albe to get a break & her to get some other kind of interaction with children.

    I also don't think that women who have the choice yet still work as a means of fulfilling their lives are self-indulgent at all. There is no reason why women shouldn't be able to do what they enjoy just because they've become a mother.

     

    dude, read the OP.  she's saying if one parent makes a supremely comfy living where the other parent doesn't "have" to work for financial reasons.

    ahh my bad. Ya it's still not self-undulgent to want a career just because you are a mother who doesn't "have" to. If you can have both worlds do it up.

    If you think that sitting home all day everyday doing nothing is fulfilling than do it up. We probably wouldn't be friends but if it works for you, go for it. lol

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    Who really cares?

    I don't give two pennies what anyone else does. The people who come on here trying to justify crap or say we all do it though are obviously guilty or something. Who cares, just do what you want with your kids.

    Some of us don't put our kids in any daycare or MDO. Whether it be money, availability, or they just don't want to.

    I don't care what you put your kid in where or how you pay for it unless you are scamming a church/government to do it. 

    I eat shredded cheese too. It is damn good.

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    imagevioletvirgo:
    imageMistyl:

    Choice A: A happy mommy makes for a happy family, and some women get depressed by staying home. Why make for a bad family life just to look right to society?

    Choice B: Well, that is self indulgent. LOL 

    but couldn't you say that B would also make a happy mommy which of course = happy family?

     

    i agree with OP very much.  i work by choice b/c i was starting to go a little bonkers at home.  i was a SAH for 15 months - whether i went back to work or put dd in dc and just sat on my butt, did yoga and get pedicures - does it really matter?  either way she's not with me 24/7, kwim?

    i think one is obviously more socially acceptable, but i'm not keen on doing something or not doing something just b/c "you" deem it "okay".  fwiw, i chose to go back to work b/c i get bored easily and wanted to use my brain and be challenged, but i'm sure there are plenty of people that are totally happy sitting on the couch eating bon bons.  

     

    Thanks for everyone's replies. I think this is the point I was trying to get across -- that for the different reasons a mom is away from their child (i.e. putting them in daycare) they are seen differently. Even though the end result is still the same (mom not being with kid), if the mom is doing something "worthy" like working even if she doesn't have to, no one would really judge her, but if she just did "nothing" all day, judging would certainly take place.

    The other day when the thread on the SAHM wanting to put her kid in daycare 5 days a week heated up, I just wondered if she had said she was going back to work (even if she didn't need to financially) that no one would have taken offense at it or judge her for it. 

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    I think it is more about productivity. Going back to work is working, SAH while child rearing/house-tending is working. Basically you are a bum if all you do is sit on your a$$, whether SAHM or D, man or women without kids.

    Yes everyone needs 'me time' (big fan of nap time and MDO here!) but if all you want to do is drop your kids off at daycare so you can watch your stories then you probably shouldn't have had children.

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    I know that I am late on this, but as a working mom who doesn't need the money, I find this a little appalling.  If I didn't do my job, either no one would do it, or someone less qualified would do it, and most likely some kids would die earlier than they otherwise would, and more would probably end up in jail, on drugs, homeless, etc.   Working moms do a hell of a lot more than have "adult interaction." 

    To be perfectly honest, I think that anyone who stays at home, considers only the needs of herself and her family, and doesn't contribute to the happiness and well-being of others is being kind of "self-indulgent."  I honestly don't care if they stay at home with their kid or they send the child to daycare for a few hours a day.  It isn't any different to me.  

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    Because working contributes to the family.  Eating bon bons while your kid is in daycare doesn't. 
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    imageStinaSLC:
    imagevioletvirgo:
    imageMistyl:

    Choice A: A happy mommy makes for a happy family, and some women get depressed by staying home. Why make for a bad family life just to look right to society?

    Choice B: Well, that is self indulgent. LOL 

    but couldn't you say that B would also make a happy mommy which of course = happy family?

     

    i agree with OP very much.  i work by choice b/c i was starting to go a little bonkers at home.  i was a SAH for 15 months - whether i went back to work or put dd in dc and just sat on my butt, did yoga and get pedicures - does it really matter?  either way she's not with me 24/7, kwim?

    i think one is obviously more socially acceptable, but i'm not keen on doing something or not doing something just b/c "you" deem it "okay".  fwiw, i chose to go back to work b/c i get bored easily and wanted to use my brain and be challenged, but i'm sure there are plenty of people that are totally happy sitting on the couch eating bon bons.  


     

    Thanks for everyone's replies. I think this is the point I was trying to get across -- that for the different reasons a mom is away from their child (i.e. putting them in daycare) they are seen differently. Even though the end result is still the same (mom not being with kid), if the mom is doing something "worthy" like working even if she doesn't have to, no one would really judge her, but if she just did "nothing" all day, judging would certainly take place.

    The other day when the thread on the SAHM wanting to put her kid in daycare 5 days a week heated up, I just wondered if she had said she was going back to work (even if she didn't need to financially) that no one would have taken offense at it or judge her for it. 

    There is a huge difference in putting your kid in DC because you work (whether you "need" to or not) and putting your kid in daycare 5 days a week while you "stay at home".  Yes, I do consider it self-indulgent to put your kid in DC full-time while you are a stay-at-home mom.  Why are you staying home if it isn't to spend time with your child?  MDO is a different story (when you are a SAHM).  That is a couple of days a week and a chance for the child to have social interaction, while Mom gets a break.  Staying at home is hard, believe you me, and not everyone is cut out to do it. That is totally fine, but my goodness please explain to me why you would continue to "stay home" if your kid is in DC full-time.

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    imagekgb1411:

    I know that I am late on this, but as a working mom who doesn't need the money, I find this a little appalling.  If I didn't do my job, either no one would do it, or someone less qualified would do it, and most likely some kids would die earlier than they otherwise would, and more would probably end up in jail, on drugs, homeless, etc.   Working moms do a hell of a lot more than have "adult interaction." 

    To be perfectly honest, I think that anyone who stays at home, considers only the needs of herself and her family, and doesn't contribute to the happiness and well-being of others is being kind of "self-indulgent."  I honestly don't care if they stay at home with their kid or they send the child to daycare for a few hours a day.  It isn't any different to me.  

    I agree with you. We do volunteer projects for NICU's with our Mom's Club. We do what we can.

    My OB is a working mom and thank goodness for that!

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    2 things that excite me:

    1. when A and S go to school 3/2days (respectively)/week next year and i have just one tiny baby those days to go to the store, cuddle, putz around with.

    2. the day when all my kids - some time down the road - are in school. and i can just hang out with friends, volunteer somewhere, be a part of my kids classrooms/field trips, etc.

     

    i love my kids. i love hanging out with them. but HA to those who think that they should be with me all day bc i am a sahm. 

    aidan kincaid (12.19.06) sawyer grace (7.30.08) 
    reese madeline (5.11.10) miller paige (2.6.12)
    girl #5 due december 2013.



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