Two Navels At Work

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Melissa Weber

It's an embarrassing photo: silly and undignified. At least it's better than the one of us eating straight from a peanut butter jar. Coworkers can be so cruel.

Standing in profile in my best maternity work outfit, I am bloated and fat-faced. Kellie, who looked better pregnant, stands with her back to mine. Our navels point aggressively in opposite directions. The occasion was a joint baby shower held in our honor at work. We were coworkers who had conceived (and a months later, delivered our first babies) at nearly the same time.

Initially our intentions were identical. After a 12-week maternity leave, we both planned to return to work. Daycare, a relative, or a nanny would raise our children while we worked at the office. It would be difficult, but with a network of working mothers to support us, we knew we would manage somehow.

However, like in the photo, our bellies took us in different directions.

I became a working mother. I struggled and cried and beat my chest about my choice, but I adapted. I left my emotions at my front door along with my baby and picked them up at the end of the day. The working moms at my office comforted me and gave me strength. Becoming moms didn't mean sacrificing our individuality or the self-respect that comes with a monthly paycheck. We found honor in doing it all.

Kellie decided that was a bunch of bologna. What was so honorable about leaving her child with a stranger each morning? Where was the self-respect in walking to a cold, unused office in another building, boxes piled to the ceiling, then lifting one's shirt to affix a suction-device to one's boobs in the harsh glare of office fluorescence?

So, against our expectations, she walked into the boss's office one day and quit. I know it was hard. She liked our boss. She liked our coworkers. It wasn't easy to walk away from a support system to follow one's ideals. But she did. She chose to pursue the self-respect that comes from being a full-time mother. I admire her for it. She got the acronym; I got the guilt.

Fortunately for both of us, our relationship didn't end when she stopped working. Her new job as SAHM overwhelmed me.

"I don't know how you do it," I said. "You never get a moment to yourself. You are always there for your family. You feed them, go to mommy-and-me groups, drive to Arizona to visit relatives. You send birthday invitations and write thank you notes. Your house is clean and you look great!"

Kellie replied, "I don't know how you do it. You work all day, commute with your kids through heavy traffic, make dinner, bathe them. Then you do it all again the next day. You throw great birthday parties. Your house is clean and you look great!"

Whenever we visit, the debate is constant: Your job is harder. No, your job is harder. She makes me feel like a super hero. I do the same for her. Now we support each other as co-mothers instead of co-workers.

We confess our occasional desire to be on the "other side." We confide our secret doubts about the choices we've made. Kelly wonders if should she start her own business. Should she get a part-time job? She confesses it's not easy being a servant to a toddler 24 hours a day (surprise, surprise). She admits she could use a vacation from motherhood -- a long one.

I confess to her that there are many (many) days when I don't find personal fulfillment in updating Web sites and generating statistical reports (call me crazy). I admit that I would like to (gasp!) buy a mini-van, and that I still cry occasionally when I leave in the morning.

Despite our occasional doubts, we continue down our chosen paths. As mothers, we share a common bond: a deep love and respect for our children. Perhaps motherhood isn't measured by where we spend our days, but by our capacity to love our kids. So far they're turning out pretty great -- W2s or not. And if the road ahead becomes difficult, Kellie and I will have each other, and our unique experience, for support.


Melissa Weber lives in San Diego with her family and works as a Web site designer and freelance writer. To read more of her observations on domestic life, visit her blog: Domestic Irritation.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  July 3, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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First!!!

My job is hardest.

Posted by: First | July 3, 2007 7:07 AM

The important point here is that Melissa and Kellie respect one another, and one another's different decisions.

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 7:22 AM

gee, choices and respect.
that pretty much sums up all of these balance topics.

Posted by: bryn mawr | July 3, 2007 7:30 AM

Rats, I thought this was going to be a discussion about fashion faux pas at work. (We've recently had to explain to a pregnant woman that just because she's with child doesn't mean the policy about no belly shirts does not apply to her.)

I really liked this blog. It is so true that the grass is always greener.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 3, 2007 7:32 AM

I'd just like to congratulate both Melissa and Kelli for listening to their own desires, rather than the beliefs of others. I'd also like to congratulate them for being open, understanding, and willing to be there for someone else, regardless of whether their choices are not like your own. Too many people on this board and in life seek out opportunities to tell people why their choices are wrong. Thank you both for not listening.

Posted by: No Kids Yet | July 3, 2007 7:33 AM

First of all, its a disservice to everyone who has children in the care of someone else to work to say that someone else is 'raising the children'. This expression gets thrown around by those who do not respect the choices of working parents and say that they work, "while others raise their children." Which obviously means, "How could ANYONE do that??"
Its just childcare. (When a child goes to school, we don't say the school is raising them.)
I suppose I recognize the point here that these two moms respected the others' choices, but the author couldn't have put the different choices in more polarizing or even offensive terms. Bologna? Not honorable to go to work? Some people need to. So glad Kellie had the choice. Here we go again.

Posted by: FT poster | July 3, 2007 7:34 AM

TOT: I just finished a really wonderful book and recommend it to all parents. It's called "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder". Life changing. Seriously.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 3, 2007 7:45 AM

Holy cow! Has this chick ever read this blog! What an airhead!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 7:50 AM

I really liked this blog and thought it had a very nice message. Of course, as a working mom, I'm not a big fan of the characterization that I'm leaving my child with a stranger each morning (our nanny was introduced gradually to our son and is now a beloved member of our family - much like many child care providers are), but I think the author was just trying to make the point that many women who choose to stay at home do so because they don't like the feeling of "outsourcing" childcare.

All around, though, this was a great Tuesday blog - one of my favorites!

Posted by: londonmom | July 3, 2007 7:52 AM

Like the blog today. Showed that SAHM and mothers who work outside the home can respect each other's choices. As a mother who works outside the home, I can understand what Melissa is saying about working and raising children. Both SAHM and mothers who work outside the home have a tough, but wonderful job... raising children that will someday grow up to be responsible, caring adults.

Posted by: Momof2MD | July 3, 2007 8:00 AM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 8:03 AM

"I think the author was just trying to make the point that many women who choose to stay at home do so because they don't like the feeling of "outsourcing" childcare."

Duh, what about the point that someone (usually the husband) is picking up the tab so these women don't have to work!

Must be nice to have "choices"!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 8:11 AM

Must be nice to have "choices"!

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 08:11 AM

Too bad you lack respect for others.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 8:25 AM

My mom had 9 children and helped my dad on the family farm. We were dirt poor. Almost all food we ate had been raised in the family garden and eaten fresh or canned. My mom washed our clothes on the back open porch in a wringer washer and hung all the clothes on the clothes line to dry - this was year round. She made fully cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinners. Her day started at 4 a.m. and went on until evening.

I have two children and work in an office all day. I have a dishwasher and washer/dryer. My oldest son went to day care for two years and then we were able to raise the kids amongst family. We juggled between work, parents going back to college, kids in school, kid activities, adult activities. Stress was galore. Of course, this is when you stand back and really admire your mother for what all SHE did to bring us up.

She told me she had it EASIER than me... because she stayed at home. Hmmm.. I don't think so.

Everybody has to do what is best for their circumstance. Not all of us can stay at home.. Not all of us desire to stay at home. It is best that some people stay home and that other's don't. As long as our children and personal relationships are satisfactorily taken care of - it is our personal business. And we need to be happy with the way we know we have to handle our lives - to the best of our knowledge and ability. We tend to spend so much time wishing for what we don't have or defending ourselves against busybodies.

Posted by: Starlight | July 3, 2007 8:30 AM

Loved this guest blog! I think it's fabulous that Kellie and Melissa have someone on the "other side" to give them a realistic view of what they are missing. When I first went back to work a number of moms from my Mommy and me infant group who initially planned to go back to work decided to stay home. I was having a really tough time leaving my daughter at daycare and it was hard for me to spend time with these moms b/c I was so jealous of their getting to be home. I am at a very different place now regarding my working mom status and I have lots of SAHM friends. We respect and support each other's decisions. But I was just an emotional mess at that early time and couldn't handle it. It's great that Kellie and Melissa can.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | July 3, 2007 8:35 AM

I enjoyed today's blog. Some of you are real sticks in the mud....

I've been both a full-time working mom and a SAHM and now my daughter's turning 3 and I'm about to become a part-time working mom so I've seen and done it all.

I don't think it can be said enough:
Everyone is entitled to make their own choices and others should respect those choices.

Oh, and the grass is always greener....!

Posted by: Vienna Mom | July 3, 2007 8:38 AM

Starlight - wow. Nice reality check on how easy we all have it now! Hope your mom is retired and getting to relax now!

Posted by: Me | July 3, 2007 8:40 AM

What I'd like to know is how both of these women manage to keep their houses so clean. On either side of the divide, THAT is an accomplishement in itself.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 8:44 AM

So you're saying that being a SAHM is better for some moms and being a working mom is better for others? What a novel idea! I'm pretty sure this horse is dead - must we keep beating it?

Posted by: put down the whip! | July 3, 2007 8:49 AM

Funny - I just had this conversation with a friend and fomer co-worker who has a 3 year old at home. She's been a SAHM since the beginning. My toddler is in day care and has been since 10 weeks old.

She dropped by the office to give something to me the other day, and while we were chatting, her child said something like "There's childcare in there and I have to be good so I don't go with the strangers." Seriously. In a misguided attempt to impart gratefulness for her sacrifice of her job to stay at home, she had told her DD that she's lucky she stays home because she could be dumped in child care with strangers! I was flabbergasted -I knew she wanted to stay home but I had no idea it took that bent. I thought I had a friend who understood what I was up against - two student loans, mortgage, and me the only one with health insurance - and it shocked me that perhaps I was wrong.

As my other friend reminded her - circumstances can change, so you better watch what you tell your kids and adjust attitudes about childcare. You never know what can happen tomorrow.

My friend did apologize and admitted she wished she was at work sometimes, too, as her kid streches her last nerve almost every day. We realized how important it is that moms stick together, regardless of their particular circumstances, rather than judge each other in order to validate our own life choices.

Posted by: Mazarin | July 3, 2007 8:50 AM

Vienna Mom -- So, having experienced "it all", which would you choose? When were you happiest? Just wondering . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 3, 2007 8:50 AM

"You feed them, go to mommy-and-me groups,
drive to Arizona to visit relatives. You send birthday invitations and write thank you notes. Your house is clean and you look great!"

This sounds like a perpetual dream vacation to me.

A stay at homer of an only child is anything but hard work. By including throwing parties and visiting relatives, which most people do for vacation, is really grasping for straws if you are trying to convince us that Kellie has such a tough life.

But go ahead and continue to humor her. Makes for good carma anyway.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 8:56 AM

I keep wondering when the Post is going to actually enforce their blog rules and ban these repetitive, critical, insulting anonymous posts.

Posted by: John L | July 3, 2007 9:02 AM

Where are the dads?

Posted by: equal | July 3, 2007 9:03 AM

Great blog. Very happy to read about moms supporting each other. I'm happy to report that I've seen plenty of this in real life in my neighborhood too.

As far as "leaving her child with a stranger each morning" -- how many times do you have to drop your kid off with a caregiver before she's not a stranger anymore?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 9:09 AM

Mazarin, that is a great point! I really hope you have forgiven your friend for what she said. She is obviously not happy with her choice and i hope she can find away to get back into work-- but after what she has said to her child, it is going to really be difficult to do that. she really painted herself into a corner. what she said certainly reflects more on her than on you and your choice to go back to work. Daycare providers are certainly not "strangers"! Absurd! My son has left daycare for over a year now and whenever I see his caregivers they still ask about him. They love their charges!

Posted by: jen s. | July 3, 2007 9:15 AM

Equal, I noticed the lack of a man's participation in this work-life profile. Seems odd to me, probably intentional since the guest blog is over 700 words.

Maybe I'll put my tail between my legs and walk away. I know where I don't belong.

Woof. Whimper. Whine whine whine sniff sniff.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 9:16 AM

Am I the only one who doesn't feel an ounce of guilt about having my child in child care while I work? I respect a person's right to stay at home with their children, work part-time, whatever. But I guess I am lucky in that I've never struggled with the idea that day care was somehow bad for my child or that she has some entitlement to have me home all day. I am a developmental psychologist -- and I know the research well. It doesn't concern me at all.

The way I see it . . . women will never be able to have an equal place in this society unless they are able to work and achieve power outside of the home. That may not be a happy thought, but I think it is true. By suggesting children shouldn't be in day care, we are essentially denying women the right to work and therefore a right to have power in this society.

Noone's suggesting that a father's leaving his child in day care is bad -- there's never a discussion about fathers feeling guilty for working. Because it is never considered an option . . .

I appreciated how positive this post was. But I am continually surprised at the amount of guilt working mothers express before they provide a justification for working . . .

Posted by: DC Mom | July 3, 2007 9:34 AM

Any Fathers in these relationships?

Posted by: Just wondering | July 3, 2007 9:34 AM

Any Fathers in these relationships?

Posted by: Just wondering | July 3, 2007 9:34 AM

Any Fathers in these relationships?

Posted by: Just wondering | July 3, 2007 9:34 AM

Any Fathers in these relationships?

Posted by: Just wondering | July 3, 2007 9:34 AM

just stuttering?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 9:36 AM

"Daycare, a relative, or a nanny would raise our children while we worked at the office".

"Raise" the child while I am at work? Quite an incendiary choice of word, don't you think?

And, give me a break, staying home with only one child is NOT hard work. You get plenty of breaks.

Posted by: Ajax | July 3, 2007 9:36 AM

just stuttering?

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 09:36 AM

Stuttering is a disability worthy of compassion, not a cheap joke waiting to be made. Your crack is inappropriate, and I hope the Post will remove it per their policy.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 9:43 AM

Are you saying that you don't have ANY guilt about having your child in daycare all day long while you work? As much as I hate leaving my 3 yr old daughter everyday and the fact that every morning she asks if I'm staying home with her, I know that I would need to do some sort of work outside the home in order to help support my family. I am grateful for the wonderful care she receives everyday, and she does ask about her teachers when we are on the way to her daycare. But it pulls at my heart everyday that I walk out the door from her daycare and wish I had the luxury of being with her. I've even thought about working in the daycare system in order to be with her more, but the likelihood of getting a position in the same daycare she would be in is slight. So if I stayed home I would feel guilty that I am not supporting my family financially, but since I am working, I feel guilty that i am not supporting my family in the daily care of our child. See, I would feel guilty either way, so i continue to work so that I would not be a SAHM trying to re-enter the workforce several years down the road and need to re-establish my experience.

Posted by: to DC Mom | July 3, 2007 9:45 AM

"See, I would feel guilty either way, so i continue to work so that I would not be a SAHM trying to re-enter the workforce several years down the road and need to re-establish my experience."

Good planning...the guilt will subside and you will have a wonderful and fulfilling life ahead of you...and your kid will have a lot of respect for you when he/she grows up.

Posted by: Them | July 3, 2007 9:55 AM

Mazarin wrote: "She dropped by the office to give something to me the other day, and while we were chatting, her child said something like "There's childcare in there and I have to be good so I don't go with the strangers."

When our daughter started Kindergarten she came home one day and said "Did you know there is a place called daycare and you get to play all day there! Can I go?"

I didn't realize she didn't know anything about daycare. She had gone to preschool for 2 years in the mornings a couple times a week but all the kids had parents that stayed home and all her neighborhood friends had SAHM's. We never really met the working mothers and their kids in the neighborhood till she was in school.

Regardless, we told her daughter that she was lucky she had grandparents to watch her at home when we were at work (1-2 days a week)- but she still thought daycare was like a mini Disneyland.

Posted by: cmac | July 3, 2007 9:56 AM

When returning to work after having a child, mothers ABSOLUTELY need a network of fellow working moms to help them navigate their way back with their additional responsibilities. Finding a place to pump that isn't some closet (or yech, bathroom!) that is set up with a computer so they can work while they pump is the first matter of business. Getting help finding/managing childcare (since this is commonly an ongoing issue).

I work with mainly men, so I had to seek out moms to ask. None of them breastfed and they usually had family caregivers, so I did it mostly on my own. Now I seek out future/new mothers and ask if there is anything I can help them with.

The main issue that new moms in the workplace have (myself included) is that it is difficult to ask your male supervisor for anything (time off for pediatricians appointments, pump breaks, etc.) Just remember you can't get what you want if you don't ask for it.

Lastly, kudos to the moms for being openminded about each others choice.

Posted by: Working Mommy x2 | July 3, 2007 9:59 AM

When returning to work after having a child, mothers ABSOLUTELY need a network of fellow working moms to help them navigate their way back with their additional responsibilities. Finding a place to pump that isn't some closet (or yech, bathroom!) that is set up with a computer so they can work while they pump is the first matter of business. Getting help finding/managing childcare (since this is commonly an ongoing issue).

I work with mainly men, so I had to seek out moms to ask. None of them breastfed and they usually had family caregivers, so I did it mostly on my own. Now I seek out future/new mothers and ask if there is anything I can help them with.

The main issue that new moms in the workplace have (myself included) is that it is difficult to ask your male supervisor for anything (time off for pediatricians appointments, pump breaks, etc.) Just remember you can't get what you want if you don't ask for it.

Lastly, kudos to the moms for being openminded about each others choice.

Posted by: Working Mommy x2 | July 3, 2007 9:59 AM

When returning to work after having a child, mothers ABSOLUTELY need a network of fellow working moms to help them navigate their way back with their additional responsibilities. Finding a place to pump that isn't some closet (or yech, bathroom!) that is set up with a computer so they can work while they pump is the first matter of business. Getting help finding/managing childcare (since this is commonly an ongoing issue).

I work with mainly men, so I had to seek out moms to ask. None of them breastfed and they usually had family caregivers, so I did it mostly on my own. Now I seek out future/new mothers and ask if there is anything I can help them with.

The main issue that new moms in the workplace have (myself included) is that it is difficult to ask your male supervisor for anything (time off for pediatricians appointments, pump breaks, etc.) Just remember you can't get what you want if you don't ask for it.

Lastly, kudos to the moms for being openminded about each others choice.

Posted by: Working Mommy x2 | July 3, 2007 9:59 AM

"Are you saying that you don't have ANY guilt about having your child in daycare all day long while you work? "

No. I've never had guilt about putting a roof over their heads or food on the table either. Guilt is for suckers. It's a debilitating, unhelpful emotion.

You have an obligation to model for your kids how to make good decisions, and the values you use to make them. Teaching them guilt and worry isn't constructive.

Posted by: OR mom | July 3, 2007 10:00 AM

I think that most of the guilt is related to the MOM needing to be with their child...not the other way around. For some people, its the first real responsibility and authority that they have ever had. I agree with OR mom, "Guilt is for suckers"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 10:04 AM

I'm most impressed that these women can continue to be good friends even with very different circumstances. I don't know if I could do that. I am married with no kids but I struggle with some relationships with young women my age. I begin to question why they are paid more, or seem to have some life responsibilities easier. I don't know why, as comparing myself to someone different can't do me any good and isn't fair to either of us. How do you ladies (or maybe even men) deal with this? Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other women a lot? Are you jealous of their money or their freedom? How do you cope? I try to remind myself a lot of people have it a lot harder than me, but there must be some way to settle with what I have and what I can do right now.

Posted by: Miles | July 3, 2007 10:05 AM

Thank you, I try really hard not to let my daughter see how I feel about taking her to daycare, I always try to make it a positive experience about how much fun she will have with her friends and her teachers, but then she'll say something like wanting to stay home and play with mommy. I know it would be entirely different if I was at home with her full time, I'm sure being at home with mommy all day would lose it's novelty when she sees me cooking and cleaning and that I would not be giving her my undivided attention all day long and would need to set boundaries. So, again, my heart aches not being able to be with her 100% of the time, but yes, putting a roof over her head and clothing and feeding are top priorities.

Posted by: to OR mom | July 3, 2007 10:06 AM

For those who think that staying at home with one child is easy, I think that Carolyn Hax said it best:
When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.
It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

Posted by: wondering | July 3, 2007 10:07 AM

No, I really don't have any guilt. There are days when it's hard to leave her at day care, but that's not guilt. It's that *I* want to be with her -- I miss her and want to spend time with her. That's not the same as feeling guilty about leaving her, at least not how I see it.

I guess I am lucky not to have that guilt. I have several friends for whom it's quite overwhelming. I really truly believe that I -- like most of the folks on here, I'd guess -- am giving my daughter the best life I can possibly provide her.

Posted by: DC Mom | July 3, 2007 10:07 AM

How many parents know the last names of all the people caring for their children in daycare? How many of you have been to their homes or even know where they live? Do you know their spouse's name? They may be nice people, but they are indeed strangers.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 10:07 AM

"Baloney" is the correct term in this case -- not "Bologna".

Posted by: Brian | July 3, 2007 10:08 AM

DC Mom - I don't feel guilty leaving my kids in daycare. I feel confident in the capabilities of the care providers and know that my kids are happy.

I don't work on Fridays and I give my oldest the option to stay home from pre-school on those days, he rarely chooses to stay with me. He prefers to be with his friends. The younger kids who are twins go to an in home daycare in my neighborhood 4 days a week. They love going. They are happy to see Ms. Susan in the morning and happy to see me at the end of the day.

Posted by: Mom to 3 | July 3, 2007 10:08 AM

"Guilt is for suckers. It's a debilitating, unhelpful emotion."


Well said *standing ovation*

Posted by: Me | July 3, 2007 10:09 AM

I do not compare myself to other woman with more money. I feel I have everything that I deserve in life and am quite content. I don't feel that I am missing out on anything. I am living my life to it's fullest as much as I am capable of. I am a wife and a mother and working outside the home. I might feel the way that you do if I stayed home, but as someone else pointed out "the grass is always greener" and I don't want to find out what it would be like to stay at home, have less money to support my family, and then try to re-enter the workforce. I will have my daily struggles with guilt, but there's also the possibility that I may need to find more fulfilling work, and staying in the workforce gives me a better chance of finding another job than if I would quit and stay home for awhile.

Posted by: to Miles | July 3, 2007 10:12 AM

"It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15."

Response: But you actually have 45 minutes to do it

"It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier."

Response: Just like being at work...except for the touching part

"It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense."

Response: substitute "coworkers" for "family and friends"

"It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything."

Response: You are not the only one responsible for this. Spouse, teachers, and caregivers also contribute.

Posted by: Me Again | July 3, 2007 10:14 AM

"Are you saying that you don't have ANY guilt about having your child in daycare all day long while you work?"

My son started daycare when he was two. At first, I had some guilt because it is an adjustment for the kid. I felt bad leaving him in a setting that was unfamiliar to him. But he adjusted quickly, and soon loved daycare, including the teachers, the other kids, and the manager as well. When I would arrive to pick him up in the afternoon, he was always engrossed in some fun game, and was all smiles. When I would drop him off in the morning, he was eager to join his little friends. So no, after the initial adjustment, I felt no guilt whatsover about leaving him in daycare. On the contrary, I felt lucky to be able to send him to a daycare that he enjoyed so much.

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 10:19 AM

well said!

I HAVE been home with one child (now I have 2 children and work part-time), and maintain that it was relatively easy. Yeah, it's not as easy as staying home alone, but you get much more free/me time than while at work or while at home caring for more than 1 child.

Posted by: from Ajax to Me Again | July 3, 2007 10:22 AM

No guilt here. I just dropped my daughter off at preschool/daycare this morning where she waved goodbye and joined her friends, happily anticipating their daily routine and swimming lesson. Then there's snack, reading, art and lots of books and playtime. If I were home with her today, I may do ONE of those things but certainly not all, and there would be none of her friends around. And, yes we do know her teachers' last names, their spouses' names if applicable, and where they live. Nice try.

DD is a happy, well adjusted, friendly child who is actually excited, not scared, about starting kindergarten in the Fall. She shares, is generous, and sensitive to others. My "holier-than-thou" brother in law and family are coming for a visit soon with their two toddlers, and since mom stays at home, they've never been around a group of other kids or learned how to behave. I dread this visit. I'll need to remove everything breakable from the shelves because they have no limits. I'll need to counsel my children and prepare them for the refusal to share, the constant screaching, and the tantrums. I'll need to decide if we'll agree to have the television on for the visitors when we rarely watch it, but they do and the kids freak out without it. All while I try not to rise to the bait about how much "better" it is to have mom at home (never Dad, just Mom). Sounds like fun. Luckily for me, I leave on day 3 and leave DH to deal with his brother and family because I get to go play in a work-related golf tournament. I am so very, very glad I work!

All that being said, I think the guest blog is great and wish we could all respect the choices we make for our families. We all try to do what is best for ourselves and our childre and our marriages. Just because the solutions we find are not all the same does not mean some are right and some are wrong.

Posted by: Stacey | July 3, 2007 10:27 AM

three snaps to you, ME AGAIN, how wonderfully clever you are.

Posted by: CH | July 3, 2007 10:33 AM

"For those who think that staying at home with one child is easy, I think that Carolyn Hax said it best:"

You gotta be kidding!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 10:33 AM

"Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other women a lot? Are you jealous of their money or their freedom? How do you cope?"

I actually don't feel jealous. There are loads of people who have more money, are thinner, have more successful careers, are skinnier, you name it than me, but it doesn't really bother me. I guess that's because I'm happy with my life circumstances. I love my husband and he loves me. We love our child and the one who is coming. We have enough money to live reasonably comfortably. I generally get along with my family. I have some dear friends, and I like my job well enough. More money couldn't make me happier (although of course I could buy more VILs). I would like a bigger house, perhaps, but I don't lose any sleep over that. And no, I don't compare myself to others, because I have learned that outward appearance doesn't mean much, and I have no idea how the skinny lady with the big house who makes 200K a year really feels about her life. Not everyone is wishing for stuff that other people have. I once read that the secret to happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 10:36 AM

Emily -- nice post. Have you always been this content, or do you think it's an attitude you've cultivatived thanks to age and experience?

And, no, I am not calling you old!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 10:40 AM

Grammar is worthy of being properly used. Please, a little compassion for proper grammar. To wit:

I hope the Post will remove it per their policy.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 09:43 AM

should be

I hope the Post will remove it per its policy.


Posted by: The you know who! | July 3, 2007 10:44 AM

pATRICK retired from THIS blog, but not Parenting blog:

"So, tell us, what can we do to get our society past judging and criticizing other parents? What does it take for us to move to a more accepting village?"

"DON'T even get me started on the "village". The village is polluted, pornographic and profane. Keep the village the hell away from my child.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 3, 2007 10:07 AM "

Posted by: Top Cat | July 3, 2007 10:44 AM

Top Cat,

I saw his first two posts over there and thought the same thing; same old Patrick, throwing firebombs into piles of kindling just to see them burn. So much for his decision to "retire" from commenting on blogs.

Posted by: John L | July 3, 2007 10:47 AM

It sounds like your situation is much more difficult than mine at this point. My daughter loves day care and is pretty happy to go. She's a lot younger, so perhaps when she's older she'll express her interest in being home with me. That would probably make me feel a little different about things. It must be hard for you.

And the last thing you need to do is to start guilting yourself about feeling guilty! :-)

Posted by: to "to DC Mom and to OR Mom" | July 3, 2007 10:47 AM

Arlington Dad,
No, I don't think my lack of jealousy is due to old age (it's okay if you call me old. I am :)). I just have never had that competitive streak in me. I remember as a teenager, a few friends got new cars, but I didn't. I either took the bus, hitched a ride with a friend, or borrowed the family car when it was available. It never bothered me. In fact, I was thrilled that my best friend was given a car of her own, because it just mean that she would give me a ride when possible. I was as happy for me as I was for her.

That doesn't mean that I haven't worked hard to achieve certain goals. I have. It just has never felt like I was competing against other people.

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 10:48 AM

Arlington Dad,
No, I don't think my lack of jealousy is due to old age (it's okay if you call me old. I am :)). I just have never had that competitive streak in me. I remember as a teenager, a few friends got new cars, but I didn't. I either took the bus, hitched a ride with a friend, or borrowed the family car when it was available. It never bothered me. In fact, I was thrilled that my best friend was given a car of her own, because it just meant that she would give me a ride when possible. I was as happy for me as I was for her.

That doesn't mean that I haven't worked hard to achieve certain goals. I have. It just has never felt like I was competing against other people.

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 10:48 AM

Well, Wondering, if you don't want all that self-made stress, why did you have the kid in the first place? They are preventable, you know.

BTW, we made a similar photo in our office. A very prego mutha was leaving to foal and she stood back to back with our supervisor who had a nearly identical gut, but his was a beer gut hanging over his belt. They were equally attractive.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 10:49 AM

This is seriously one of the best pieces I've ever read on the struggle to choose between being a working mom or a stay-home mom. It really captures the reality that there is no one good choice.

This is a really great post--thanks!

Posted by: Maggie | July 3, 2007 10:50 AM

"It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15."

Response: But you actually have 45 minutes to do it

Counter response: no, you really don't - using those 45 minutes just takes time away from whatever else needed to get done.

"It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier."

Response: Just like being at work...except for the touching part

Counter response: pretty sure you do not constantly use your voice at work and that your needs are not constantly relegated to second tier unless you work in a factory or service industry position More likely, if you want to use the bathroom you can, and you don't have to worry about anyone else in order to do so. Same with eating, talking on the phone, having a moment to think about something. And the touch thing is huge. Also, but not mentioned above, is the "carrying around 8 - 40 lbs multiple times throughout the day. Imagine every time you left your desk having to take a squirming 20 pound bundle with you.

"It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense."

Response: substitute "coworkers" for "family and friends"
Counter: there is a big difference between being scrutinized and second-guessed over how you are raising a child vs how you are doing a job. I've been on both sides.

"It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything."

Response: You are not the only one responsible for this. Spouse, teachers, and caregivers also contribute.

Counter: when you are at home, and the only one at home, and your spouse works and you don't have other caregivers and the kids are not in school, you ARE the only one responsible for this. all day long. My spouse gets up and goes to work in the morning, spending maybe 5 minutes with our kids. He gets home in time to out them to bed. The rest of their awake time is with me.

Posted by: To Me Again | July 3, 2007 10:52 AM

"since mom stays at home, they've never been around a group of other kids or learned how to behave."

This isn't because mom stays at home. It's because they have parents who haven't applied discipline and good parenting skills. There are plenty of ill-behaved kids around, both from daycare and at-home environments.

Posted by: Talk about inflammatory | July 3, 2007 10:54 AM

"Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other women a lot? Are you jealous of their money or their freedom? How do you cope?"

I may not have guilt, but I'll admit that jealousy can be a problem for me. I believe strongly in women supporting each other, and I was disturbed by the love-hate friendships I saw among my mother and her friends.

But sometimes I still get jealous. It's really bratty of me, I think. But it happens. I have a few friends in particular who appear to get anything they want, and always easily. It makes me a little crazy. But in reality, I should be happy for them -- and I have so much to be thankful for. On most days, I recognize this. But sometimes I lose perspective . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 10:57 AM

pATRICK who? and what blog? Huh? and I care only enough to make this one comment.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:03 AM

"Counter: when you are at home, and the only one at home, and your spouse works and you don't have other caregivers and the kids are not in school, you ARE the only one responsible for this. all day long. My spouse gets up and goes to work in the morning, spending maybe 5 minutes with our kids. He gets home in time to out them to bed. The rest of their awake time is with me."

Counter Counter: Those all sound like choices that you made...try finding other caregivers, relatives, maybe you could share some of the burden of working and your husband could then work less...it's called balance for a reason.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:05 AM

I am looking for my water skis. Has anyone seen them?

Posted by: the Fonz | July 3, 2007 11:06 AM

Counter counter counter: Granite, marble or silestone?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:07 AM

Like DC Mom, I do not feel any guilt about being a working mother. I have worked full-time for 24 years (gulp!); my oldest is 16 and youngest is 5. I believe older moms who graduated from college in the 80s need to speak up to counter the prevailing sentiment, which seems to be that child-rearing is so overwhelming that one both cannot and should not work if at all possible. I also don't agree with the oft-expressed view here that once you have kids, all bets are off and adult life withers away. Where is the balance and sanity in this discussion, between the go-go career view that excludes children and the child-centeredness that reduces women to 24-hour-a-day servants to overprecious children?

Posted by: Bethesda | July 3, 2007 11:09 AM

"teachers, and caregivers also contribute.
"

Duh, the point is there are no teachers or other caregivers when you are a SAHM with an infant or toddler. That's why it's just her and it can be hard.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:12 AM

"Those all sound like choices that you
made"

So the fact that it's a choice means it can't also be hard? I suppose you never think your job (which you chose) is hard or tiring and that you never complain? Grow up, everything is a choice in life and sometimes you still find them hard.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:14 AM

How many parents know the last names of all the people caring for their children in daycare? How many of you have been to their homes or even know where they live? Do you know their spouse's name? They may be nice people, but they are indeed strangers.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 10:07 AM

Of course I know the last names, spouse's namesand residences of everyone who has ever been responsible for my children. I haven't been to all of their homes, but then I haven't been to the homes of some of my friends and relatives either. So? Since when is geographical convenience and intrusion the determiner of whether someone is a stranger? On the other hand, I could know all of these facts and/or have visited someone's residence, and still not have developed a relationship or friendship with her or him.

10:07, you are focused on an odd set of criteria for whom is "known" to you and who is a "stranger." Methinks you lack any clue based on personal experience about the breadth of care provider options and situations. Responsible parents select any and all care providers based on objective criteria, background checks, and personal referral. Then, they build a personal relationship if they don't have one already. And they watch their child. If a situation isn't working, you know quickly from watching your child. That's why my MIL doesn't ever watch our children on her own. Pay attention to the only piece of information that matters: your instincts and your child's reaction to a person or place.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:15 AM

Melissa and Kellie touched upon a question which has been bugging for a while, whose life is harder? I think that SAHMs have it harder because they have literally no time for themselves. My SAHM friends (those who don't have mothers helpers, babysitters, and au pairs) accomplish fewer tasks that I do. They are the ones late with RSVPs for birthday parties, for instance. At work, I have a lunch hour (well, not an ENTIRE hour, but time to eat). An efficient person could get tons done during this time. It also depends on the personality of a child. Some children can play by themselves at a very young age, others are needy for parent attention and that is why it takes 45 minutes instead of 15 to get anything done. Usually if SAHM stays at home, this means that financially the family needs to watch its income and a lot of chores, such as housecleaning, can no longer be outsourced. Plus, cooking. My husband has very low expectations of my housekeeping abilities:-) because he knows I don't have time. I ignore office politics and other stuff because I am here to work, get my work done in a shortest and most efficient time, and get my paycheck, which I like very much and what my family appreciates too.

Posted by: fedmom | July 3, 2007 11:15 AM

John L., I have retired from THIS blog. I will from time to time blog somewhere else. Your criticism of me made me laugh considering your own posts. I will still read this and other blogs occasionally. The main reason for my "retirement" is that this blog is being overrun by anonymous, one hit wonder posters and that just is not stimulating.

Posted by: pATRICK | July 3, 2007 11:17 AM

pATRICK,
Will you just please retire already, if that's what you plan to do? Enough with the empty threats. Nobody really cares.

Posted by: ellie | July 3, 2007 11:19 AM

pATRICK,

You can't really claim you are reading the On Parenting blog for stimulation, LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:23 AM

Melissa has her Kelli, I have my Melinda.

Isn't it nice to know that good friends will remain so, no matter what diverging paths our careers may take?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 11:23 AM

Gee, I thought for a moment that we had outsourced our trolls and meanies to the On Parenting blog.

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | July 3, 2007 11:24 AM

Fedmom, I'm gonna disagree. I am a SAHM and think it is easier overall than being a WOHM. When you have really little ones, then maybe it is harder or maybe more taxing is the correct term. Now that my kids are bigger, I feel a lot more balanced. I am able to spend time with them and support their activities, but I'm also able to get more of my chores done as well as engage in a few things for myself. I will say however that when you have a really bad day as a SAHM it is a lot worse than a day at work, mostly because it usually involves a great deal of bodily fluids.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 11:26 AM

Moxiemom = Honestmom

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:28 AM

Wow. A nice guest blog today. Now we've got FedMom and Moxiemom each talking about how GOOD they have it (and at noone's expense). Then Emily goes on about how she's not jealous. Harmony, contentment.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 11:32 AM

Moxiemom = Fattiemom

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:32 AM

Moxiemom = Hottiemom

Posted by: Patrick Dempsey | July 3, 2007 11:35 AM

I'm most impressed that these women can continue to be good friends even with very different circumstances. I don't know if I could do that. I am married with no kids but I struggle with some relationships with young women my age. I begin to question why they are paid more, or seem to have some life responsibilities easier. I don't know why, as comparing myself to someone different can't do me any good and isn't fair to either of us. How do you ladies (or maybe even men) deal with this? Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other women a lot? Are you jealous of their money or their freedom? How do you cope? I try to remind myself a lot of people have it a lot harder than me, but there must be some way to settle with what I have and what I can do right now.

Posted by: Miles | July 3, 2007 10:05 AM

I never picked my friends by whether we had made certain life choices in common, e.g., whether we lived in similar circumstances. My friends have always been men and women with whom I had interests, values, hobbies, and senses of humor in common. Because that's the basis of our friendships, some of them are doing better financially than me. Some have smoother marriage relationships than mine. Some have easier extended family members to deal with than mine. Finally, some friends stayed home for varying lengths of time with their kids, and others did not.

Because I didn't base those friendships on similar life circumstances or financial resources, changes in those circumstances or resources don't create a barrier in teh same way that changes in their outlooks on life might create a barrier. I can't imagine being jealous of good things happening to a friend. I WANT good things to happen to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. How does anyone benefit by wishing for the opposite? Life is not a zero sum game where good things happening to others diminishes my opportunity for good things to happen to me.

Like Emily said above, I don't compare myself and my life to my friends and acquaintances and their respective lives. I compare myself and my life to my goals for myself and whether how I'm living is consistent with those goals and with my values. To do otherwise seems like a waste of time to me. My 2 cents.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 3, 2007 11:35 AM

Where are the dads?

Posted by: equal | July 3, 2007 09:03 AM

Working. Where else would they be?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:35 AM

pATRICK moves on, Fo4 masquerades as Lil Husky but can't lose the sanctimony, desire to shock and same stories, even if told a little differently. Other regulars post snark anonymously. Sigh. On Balance, a train wreck for over 1 year.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:35 AM

"How many parents know the last names of all the people caring for their children in daycare? How many of you have been to their homes or even know where they live? Do you know their spouse's name? They may be nice people, but they are indeed strangers."

I do.
I grew up there.
Yes, "Mom".
Yes they are nice people and ultimately they are strangers--can anyone really and truly claim to know someone else as well as ourself? How well do we really know ourself to begin with? Has no one else been surprised by their own reaction, or response to a situation?

I have been.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 11:36 AM

Moxiemom,
I agree with you in part. I think that being a SAHM to little ones is harder than being a WOHM. As to whether it is harded when they are older, I think depends on the temperament of the particular mom. For me, it would be harder to be at home, even if the kids were in school. There is something about coming to work every day that appeals to me. I like my routine, and find my job interesting. It is also flexible, so I can take off for school plays and such, so I don't feel like I am missing out on my child's life. I also hate housework. If I were at home, I would feel pressure to have a pristine house, and would be miserable as a result. Sometimes, I wish I had more time to go get my hair done and things like that, but overall, I find working to be a great stress reliever for me.

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 11:37 AM

Melissa, you and Kellie have got it all wrong. If you want to be accepted on THIS blog, you have to change it to: "MY job is harder!" "No, MY job is harder!" Capisce?

;-) In all reality, what this blog does for me is drive home the point that perspective makes all the difference.

Posted by: Mona | July 3, 2007 11:37 AM

Moxiemom=Correctmom

Carolyn Hax, "wondering", and the poster at 10:52 = a bunch of whiners.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 3, 2007 11:37 AM

"Sigh. On Balance, a train wreck for over 1 year."

Who cares? Check out the number of hits/posts!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:38 AM

"For those who think that staying at home with one child is easy, I think that Carolyn Hax said it best:"

You gotta be kidding!

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 10:33 AM

Why do you think it's kidding?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 11:39 AM

pATRICK moves on, Fo4 masquerades as Lil Husky but can't lose the sanctimony, desire to shock and same stories, even if told a little differently. Other regulars post snark anonymously. Sigh. On Balance, a train wreck for over 1 year.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 11:35 AM

speaking of posting snark anonymously, . ..

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 11:39 AM

Patrick Dempsey - thanks for having my back! Emily, I like your perspective. I truly think i have the best job in the world for me. I'm well aware of the fact that it is not the best job in the world for everyone.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 11:40 AM

A different view of "balance"

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz agreed to release guard Derek Fisher from his contract Monday so he can concentrate on finding the best care for his 11-month-old daughter, who has cancer in her left eye.

Fisher said he wants to live in one of the six or seven cities being considered for Tatum's care.

He didn't rule out playing for another NBA team but emphasized that his daughter's health is his No. 1 priority.

"Life for me outweighs the game of basketball," Fisher told reporters after flying from New York to meet with Jazz owner Larry H. Miller and other team executives.

"When it comes to decisions related to them," he said of his family, "I do what's best."

The Jazz acquired Fisher a year ago in a trade with the Golden State Warriors. During eight seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was part of three NBA championships -- experience that Utah's young team craved.

In May, his daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumor in her left eye. The danger is that it could spread to her brain or the rest of her body.

Fisher at times fought exhaustion trying to balance basketball and his daughter's welfare. He spent a day at a New York hospital in May, then flew to Utah for a Western Conference semifinal game against Golden State.
....

Posted by: Army Brat | July 3, 2007 11:41 AM

I think that the best thing about working outside of the home is...that I am leaving work for the week now and have no other responsibilities. Besides seeing friends, going to a BBQ, maybe golf.

Have a great 4th.

Posted by: Me Again | July 3, 2007 11:44 AM

A different view of "balance"

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz agreed to release guard Derek Fisher from his contract Monday so he can concentrate on finding the best care for his 11-month-old daughter, who has cancer in her left eye.

I wish his family all the good luck in the world.

Does anyone know if he is also considering putting some of his marquee clout behind research as well? Someday perhaps?

That would simply be icing on the cake. As it is, he's demonstrated he's a man of substance.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 11:44 AM

pATRICK moves on, Fo4 masquerades as Lil Husky but can't lose the sanctimony, desire to shock and same stories, even if told a little differently. Other regulars post snark anonymously. Sigh. On Balance, a train wreck for over 1 year.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 11:35 AM

speaking of posting snark anonymously, . ..

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 11:39 AM


Well, I did have Scarry in mind, but you got me too! Good one.

Posted by: anon for this post | July 3, 2007 11:45 AM

"How many parents know the last names of all the people caring for their children in daycare? How many of you have been to their homes or even know where they live? Do you know their spouse's name? They may be nice people, but they are indeed strangers."

If this is the criteria for 'knowing' someone, then virtually everyone I interact with on a daily basis is a stranger, including my priest, my physician, and my co-workers of 13 years.

Sorry, but I really do think its possible to develop a relationship with someone even if you don't know where they live or the name of their spouse.

While I may not know the last name of every caregiver at my daughter's daycare center, I do know objectively that they have undergone thorough background checks, have several college credits in early childhood development & education, and have been employed at the center for many years. Subjectively, I see how excited my daughter is to go daycare, how happily she talks about her daycare "teachers" at home, how much work the staff have put into making their classrooms inviting, how open they are with parents, and how genuinely interested they are in the welfare of the children in their care. Far from being strangers, the daycare staff feel like extended family.

Posted by: MP | July 3, 2007 11:45 AM

I also thought Lil Husky sounded suspiciously like Fo4. And I thought he had abandoned us. Fo4. 'fess up! Why did you change your moniker?

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 11:46 AM

ain't anon if i have a name and not just a timestamp!

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | July 3, 2007 11:47 AM

Maryland Mother,
Yes,
Derek Fisher made a point of publicly mentioning his daughters illness and urging every parent to get their child checked for it when he played in the playoffs. His is raising funds for research and awareness.

Posted by: Me Again | July 3, 2007 11:48 AM

As many of you know, I was a stay-at-home mom for years until about 15 months ago when I returned to work full time. I think I had it easier when I wasn't working, but somehow, even though the laundry never gets put away (at least it gets washed), and dinner is thrown together spur-of-the-moment (at least it's not fast food every night), and I'm exhausted (but I sleep like the sheeted dead once I'm down), I'm still happy. Contented chaos.

And my kids? All the things I was afraid of when I went back to work really didn't materialize. I thought they'd be lost without me, bereft without mom, etc. I thought I'd be barely functional at work (okay, that sometimes happen if the blog topic is really good). If anything, my children's relationship with each other has improved, they are more willing to try new things, have realized that change is a part of life, and know that even though I go to work in the morning, I'm home almost every night for dinner. And life is good.

So I guess that's my $.02.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 3, 2007 11:48 AM

If you're a liberal, then you can't raise children. That's a fact. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!! Stay at home and raise your children you pathetic left-wing Susan Sarandon-loving child-haters.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 11:58 AM

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence but the water bill is higher.

Posted by: Fred | July 3, 2007 11:59 AM

Carolyn Hax, "wondering", and the poster at 10:52 = a bunch of whiners.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 3, 2007 11:37 AM

Hax is many things, but she's no whiner. If you are not aware, the quoted comments were published in her column on May 23 in response to a judgmental childless person railing on her friend, a new mom. Not that all childless persons are judgmental, mind you, only the one Hax smacked down and in a most gracious manner. Following is an excerpt of the letter to Hax:

"Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions. . . ."

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 11:59 AM

Thanks for the perspectives on friendship and comparing yourself to others, gals, I really appreciate it. I guess I find I just have out and out envy of other women in my lives. But you are all correct in that I need to be happy with what I have or I never will be, no matter how much money or "stuff" or free time I have. I wish I wasn't always peeking over everyone's fence and wondering if their grass is greener, but gosh I guess it's just a part of my nature I'm going to have to change, thanks for the tips.

Posted by: Miles | July 3, 2007 12:00 PM

Yes, because the neo-con Bush is providing such a good example of honor and responsibility by commuting Libby's sentence. Yes, that's a fine message for our children. Good thing Paris Hilton wasn't made to serve her sentence or we could say how unfair the system is. Oh, wait . . .

Posted by: Baba Booey Blech | July 3, 2007 12:01 PM

And don't forget all those thousands of children whose parents were killed or maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan *forever* thanks to Dubya. Yet he worries about Scooter's kids being without their convict daddy for a a couple of years after *he* committed crimes. Libby should've thought about that before he lied.

Posted by: To Baba Booey Blech | July 3, 2007 12:05 PM

I loved Hax's response to that question. I remember, when my son was a baby, I felt very sensory overwhelmed and completely touched out. I felt as if I had a too many simultaneous demands on me, and no time to sit and drink a blessed cup of coffee in peace. It was quite an enlightening experience, because while pregnant, I had envisioned my maternity leave as a time to feed and cuddle the baby, nap, relax, and catch up on some reading. Reality was quite another thing. And that was with one child. I can't imagine how hard it would be with a few little ones underfoot. Which is why I postponed another child for such a long time. At least this time, I know what I am in for.

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 12:05 PM

It's great that two friends were able to stay friends and support each other despite their different choices about work and family. So many people I know lose touch at this very juncture in their lives. But make no mistake about it, a working Mom is still a full time Mom, and if you think someone else is "raising your child" because they're in child care, then maybe you need to revisit either your parenting style or your child care choice. I'm sure the author is a fine Mom, but understand that chosing child care is one of the decisions YOU make in raising your own child. FT poster said it well -- is the school raising your child when you send them there? And finally, why check your emotions and your baby at the door? Do you really have to be a stone cold business person to survive at work, or might it actually be possible to be a loving caring Mom concerned about your child's well-being even while you're in the office? By suggesting that you need to be a Mom during certain hours and a business person during others, you really miss the beauty of the successful working parent who is both a professional and a parent full time all the time.

Posted by: Megan's Mom | July 3, 2007 12:05 PM

And don't forget all those thousands of children whose parents were killed or maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan *forever* thanks to Dubya. Yet he worries about Scooter's kids being without their convict daddy for a a couple of years after *he* committed crimes. Libby should've thought about that before he lied.

Posted by: To Baba Booey Blech | July 3, 2007 12:05 PM

This must be the "polluted, pornographic and profane" village pATRICK referred to.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:08 PM

GOD BLESS SCOOTER LIBBY!!!!! He is a true AMERICAN HERO!!!!!!!!!! Now all you left-wing losers can go send your kids to daycare and abdicate your true responsibilities. YOU MAKE ME SICK!!!!!

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:09 PM

If you're a liberal, then you can't raise children. That's a fact. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!! Stay at home and raise your children you pathetic left-wing Susan Sarandon-loving child-haters.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 11:58 AM

I do not love Susan Sarandon. Take it back! Take it back!! or you can't be line leader any more.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:10 PM

So perjurers are heroes?

Posted by: To Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:10 PM

So perjurers are heroes?

Well, you people still love Bill Clinton don't you?!?!?

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:13 PM

I remember, when my son was a baby, I felt very sensory overwhelmed and completely touched out.

Me too! I felt like a marsupial, or something. On the one hand, I loved it, on the other hand, I needed some time without ANYONE pawing at my body for ANY reason whatsoever. Even if it was just to sit and stare into the distance with a dazed expression.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 12:13 PM

So perjurers are heroes?

When they lie in order to protect their King, I mean President.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:15 PM

All right, all right. I take it back. You don't love Susan Sarandon. But Bull Durham was a great movie, don't you agree??

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:17 PM

I am a troll. And everything I say is a lie.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:18 PM

"I think that being a SAHM to little ones is harder than being a WOHM. As to whether it is harded when they are older, I think depends on the temperament of the particular mom."

I disagree. Sure, the mom's temperament might matter when comparing the difficulty between two moms of older kids, but overall, it's much easier to be home with little ones than with older ones.

I just read the daily schedule of a "homeschooling" mom of 4 children under 4, and she never leaves her house. Heck, if I never left my house I would certainly never have anything to complain about regarding being "busy." The days where all I had to do was feed and dress and wash and play with them? Easy peasy. The current days where they have homework and this practice and that lesson and this game and that meet and this need for parent volunteers and that need for forms to be filled out and fight with each other and argue with me and STILL need to eat and dress and wash and be provided with play options? NOT quite easy peasy. But still much easier than having to work outside the home and do all of that too.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 3, 2007 12:21 PM

Baba Booey

"But Bull Durham was a great movie, don't you agree??"

Out of wedlock sex, especially hot sex, is a sin.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:22 PM

I am a troll. And everything I say is a lie.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:18 PM

Therefore you are NOT a troll, and some things you say are true? Then you ARE a troll and you're lying again, because you say that "everything I say is a lie."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:22 PM

Just say no to responding to political, all-caps idiots.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:23 PM

"Out of wedlock sex, especially hot sex, is a sin."

That's actually a right-wing viewpoint with which I don't agree! What can I say, I'm a cherry-picker. No pun intended.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:24 PM

"I needed some time without ANYONE pawing at my body for ANY reason whatsoever. Even if it was just to sit and stare into the distance with a dazed expression."

OK I understand during the day - but where was the Father - couldn't he give you a break to just go off on your own? Not a lot of time just "some time".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:26 PM

"Therefore you are NOT a troll, and some things you say are true? Then you ARE a troll and you're lying again, because you say that "everything I say is a lie.""

Confusing isn't it. Read "Godel, Escher, Bach." That might help.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:29 PM

I didn't know that Lil husky was really Father of 4!!!! Darn, now I have to go back and read off of his posts to see how I could have missed the clues!

Posted by: Circle Pines | July 3, 2007 12:29 PM

"I needed some time without ANYONE pawing at my body for ANY reason whatsoever. Even if it was just to sit and stare into the distance with a dazed expression."

OK I understand during the day - but where was the Father - couldn't he give you a break to just go off on your own? Not a lot of time just "some time".

---

Oh yea, with #1, my wife met me at the front door everyday. Little guy needed his walk and Mom need "some time." (Emily -- #2 and #3 were not like this, so be optimistic!)

Sadly, the need for "some time without ANYONE pawing at my body for ANY reason whatsoever" was directed specifically at me, if you know what I mean.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 12:31 PM

I am a troll. And everything I say is a lie.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:18 PM

Therefore you are NOT a troll, and some things you say are true? Then you ARE a troll and you're lying again, because you say that "everything I say is a lie."

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 12:22 PM

Baba Booey,

Stealing a scene from Princess Bride indicates that you're only pretending to be a humorless a**hole.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 12:32 PM

Read "Godel, Escher, Bach." Baba Booey must be Matt in Aberdeen. Googling again, Matt?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:32 PM

To a SAHM:

This is an honest question, so please take it as such:

I have never quite understood what a SAHM does when all kids are in school? I can understand wanting to be there when they are home -- say, with a part-time job -- but most of the day doesn't involve caring for the children at that point. Wouldn't a part-time job make more sense so you can be there when the kids get home. But maybe that doesn't work because of summers? Or volunteering in school?

Seriously, it's something I've always wondered. It would be one thing if SAHM's said that they just wanted to be home -- but the argument is always that they want to be home specifically to take care of their kids.

Posted by: DC Mom | July 3, 2007 12:34 PM

If you want to get a perspective on how difficult and challanging the life of a SAHM can be, take a look at your local pool. There you will find dozens of middle aged women kicking back in lawn chairs reading a cheap paperback romance novel as the lifegards swing their whistles around their fingers and watch the older children swim as the toddlers pee in the pool.

Tough life I'd say.

And please SAHMs, get home to let the dog out. I've been holding it for hours.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 12:35 PM

"I think that being a SAHM to little ones is harder than being a WOHM. As to whether it is harded when they are older, I think depends on the temperament of the particular mom."

Being a SAHM or a WOHM married to a jerk is harder.

Either job, if married to a great guy, is a piece of cake.

The temperament of the particular mom is only 20% of the information that matters. How good is the communication between the parents? How do they resolve disputes? What financial resources do they have? Do they have a maid? Do they have helpful local relatives and friends or are they isolated? There's a whole lot more that goes into all of this than, which tasks are more difficult and what is the mother's personality.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 12:36 PM

"But Bull Durham was a great movie, don't you agree??"

Out of wedlock sex, especially hot sex, is a sin.


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 12:22 PM

It's a movie about aging and baseball people. Get your minds out of the gutter, LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:37 PM

DC Mom -- I can't answer for SAHM, but from what I've seen, getting a part-time job around the kids' school schedule is easier said than done.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

"It's a movie about aging and baseball people. Get your minds out of the gutter, LOL."

I agree. And if you want more insight into baseball people, please read "Men at Work" by one of the greatest political commentators of our time, George Will.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Lil Husky - being a little hard on SAHMs today, aren't you? You don't generally paint with such a broad brush.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Lil Husky - being a little hard on SAHMs today, aren't you? You don't generally paint with such a broad brush.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Baba Booey, have you any wool?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:41 PM

"I needed some time without ANYONE pawing at my body for ANY reason whatsoever. Even if it was just to sit and stare into the distance with a dazed expression."

OK I understand during the day - but where was the Father - couldn't he give you a break to just go off on your own? Not a lot of time just "some time".

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 12:26 PM

Generally speaking, he wanted my attention too, or else he needed time alone with a project, and he didn't (still doesn't) "get it" that I needed alone time to decompress. I even used to ask for it, I can even remember begging him to spend time with myself and first-born rather than holing up in the den and telling me I was to blame for his unhappiness.

Back then, I chalked it up to our inexperience and unrealistic expectations. Since then, I've learned more.

Oh well. I did carve time out for myself (and that was and IS a source of friction) anyway. I need it. I get it, to some degree.

Too bad it took more than a decade for him to be properly diagnosed and to figure out the best mix of medications for him. Sadly, that's very typical, even for people with Bipolar I. Particularly if they are BPD as well.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 12:42 PM

Ummm, yes sir, yes sir, three bags full?!?!?

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:44 PM

one of the greatest political commentators of our time, George Will.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Right, great guy. Dumped his wife and disabled kid for a young hottie and a new baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:47 PM

DC Mom -- I can't answer for SAHM, but from what I've seen, getting a part-time job around the kids' school schedule is easier said than done.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Also, when you are the parent on deck for all school closings, doctors' appointments and sick kids, as most SAHMs are, you can't hold that part-time gig for long. No employer can cope with constant, no notice, absenteeism whatever the laudable excuse.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:47 PM

"DC Mom -- I can't answer for SAHM, but from what I've seen, getting a part-time job around the kids' school schedule is easier said than done."

Good point. I guess it gets back to that "going back to work" thing. It would be fairly easy for me to shift to a part-time schedule that would allow me to be home after school. But I haven't left the job altogether. Quite different to find a job meeting those conditions.

But that assumes that job is wanted. . . SAHM?

Posted by: DC Mom | July 3, 2007 12:48 PM

I have been at home--not working--for almost ten months. My husband and I relocated and I am looking for a job. I worked from the time I was 16 until 34.

We dont have kids. Doesn't matter because it is still far "easier" to be at home than work all day. I am bored out of my mind and trying to keep busy but I have so much time to do things that there is no way I would be too busy if we had kids.

My mom has always worked. She went to nite school (18 hours with special permission) and worked full time AND fixed up a 100+ year old home. I planned my wedding while working. THOSE are examples of busy women. There is no way a SAHM is always busy.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:49 PM

"Right, great guy. Dumped his wife and disabled kid for a young hottie and a new baby."

I think you misread my statement. I said he was one of the greatest political commentators of our time. Don't recall saying anything about his private life. After Bill Clinton, I thought all you left-wing types liked to separate the two.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:50 PM

one of the greatest political commentators of our time, George Will.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Right, great guy. Dumped his wife and disabled kid for a young hottie and a new baby.

-- didn't Leslie run his colmn on Father's Day?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:51 PM

so, let me get this right, 12:49, LOL, you know there's no way a SAHM is always busy, but you don't have kids yet??

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 12:51 PM

DC Mom -- the only part-time arrangements I've seen that work are like what you describe -- full time worker proves her worth, then negotiates a part-time deal with current employer.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 12:54 PM

"Also, when you are the parent on deck for all school closings, doctors' appointments and sick kids, as most SAHMs are, you can't hold that part-time gig for long."

I'm smiling. I'm employed full-time and I do all of that. Fortunately I can use my annual and sick leave for the scheduled days off, doctor's appointments (mostly), etc. As my kids are school age, I have early closings covered. I'm lucky, my kids are very healthy and I average about three unexpected sick-day calls a year. Did I mention I know I am very lucky that my kids are very healthy?

A good employee plans things in advance, tries to double-up on the uses for a day off (Ooh, a day off from school on the Xth I see, hmm, can we get in a dental visit too? Or some mandated vaccination?) and let's the boss(es) know well in advance.

I'm a little weird, I schedule my time off this autumn and winter to coincide with school closings. And I did it in April, when the county schedule for the 2007-2008 school year went online.

It's not perfect, but it can be done pretty well, no one wants to upset the co-workers or boss unnecessarily.

But I also work for a good boss, and with a good group. We don't tend to abuse the system.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 12:54 PM

After Bill Clinton, I thought all you left-wing types liked to separate the two.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 12:50 PM

After Bill Clinton, I thought all you right-wing types would never separate the two.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:55 PM

I can't speak for all SAHMs, but I can speak for myself re: what do we do when the kids are in school? I go to the gym 3 times a week for about 2 hours. Shower/get dressed, pay bills time for lunch. Probably 45 mins for lunch, maybe call a friend. Then an assortment of activites depending on the season - gardening, run errands (some for self, some dry cleaning, looking for googly eyes for school project), cleaning, volunteer at school, volunteer at retirement home, get car registered, wait for calbe guy, read, make dinner - it depends. It is definately not a gulag. Like I've said before being a SAHM has allowed us to have balance in that I am able to take care of most of my household respnsibilities and still have some time for myself and my husband is able to focus on work without worrying about household stuff. The weekends are for family time and time for my husband to go golfing or do things that he enjoys. I hope that helps.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 12:56 PM

"so, let me get this right, 12:49, LOL, you know there's no way a SAHM is always busy, but you don't have kids yet??

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA"

Gotta agree with MN on this one . . . you simply cannot understand how busy it can be with a child until you have one. That's why I am interested in some SAHM's perspectives.

I was like another poster -- thought maternity leave would be simple, couldn't think of how I'd possibly keep from getting bored. I never had a spare moment to myself. Of course, I had a colicky baby who never wanted to be put down, so that didn't help . . . I just remember how excited I was to be able to eat a salad once I went back to work. It's impossible to make and eat a salad when you're holding a baby all day . . .And being able to go to the bathroom whenever I needed to, that was another bonus. But, again, that's with young children. Presumably a 12 year old doesn't need constant attention.

Posted by: DC Mom | July 3, 2007 12:57 PM

Eemployers are more willing to work with someone who is productive, on average, for 40+ hours a week, then they are to work with someone who is productive, at best, for 27 hours per week. The hassle factor just isn't worth it for someone who, best case scenario, doesn't meaningfully help the trains run on time.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:58 PM

Ok, Moxiemom,
Now I'm jealous.
:)

Posted by: Emily | July 3, 2007 12:58 PM

Planned your wedding while working? Oh, yeah--that's comparable to caring for a child/children under five.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 12:59 PM

"Also, when you are the parent on deck for all school closings, doctors' appointments and sick kids, as most SAHMs are, you can't hold that part-time gig for long."

That is odd. The fathers NEVER do these things for the kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:00 PM

"After Bill Clinton, I thought all you right-wing types would never separate the two."

Since you didn't post your name, would you mind if I called you "Straw Man"???

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 1:00 PM

Emily -- I'm more jealous!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 1:00 PM

Only if I can call Baba Booey "right-wing dupe".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:02 PM

"Right-wing dupe"? Me? If only you knew the truth. Well, it's been fun. I'll let this blog get back to the important topic of raising children. Thanks for the memories.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 3, 2007 1:06 PM

That is odd. The fathers NEVER do these things for the kids?


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 01:00 PM

Nope. Not once. And the times it was suggested or asked for, he threw such a fit that I was shocked and just did it myself. I should have insisted, but I wasn't interested in finding out whether or not he would hit. It got that ugly.

But that's me. Maybe the other fathers work further away, or had less flexibility, or were less valued employees?

Clearly there are those who are more involved. Hurray for all good parents, whatever the gender or job situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:06 PM

Emily, I didn't mention that I wear tan khakis and a black shirt from Target as my "good" clothes. I also left out the conversations with women I normally wouldn't spend a minute with or always being the one the call to volunteer at school because I'm presumably not busy ever. I'm not trying to make it seem like it is hard, I'm just saying that as with everything, its no bed of roses and there are good and bad with it all. I took up woodworking just so I could create a tangible work product once in awhile.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 1:07 PM

"Also, when you are the parent on deck for all school closings, doctors' appointments and sick kids, as most SAHMs are, you can't hold that part-time gig for long."

That is odd. The fathers NEVER do these things for the kids?


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 01:00 PM

Wow - the poster did say "parent", not "mom". Nonetheless, I don't think it's odd at all for a father who is the primary earner in a family to expect that the formerly SAHM, now part-time earner, handles the unexpected kid stuff. Maybe this is merely a reflection of what I've seen, and the importance of the primary earner's job performance to the financial health of the family, but it wouldn't make sense to me for dad to take a day off of work to cover a snow day so that mom can work part-time making $10 per hour.

Lots of dads cover snow days, etc., but, in my experience, those dads are not part of families where the family has made a decision to invest their financial future primarily on his income and his job security.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 1:08 PM

I think if you have a stay at home parent, it basically lets the other off the hook for these types of last minute things... that's sort of the point when one person works and one person stay homes - the flexibility.

Posted by: to 1:00pm | July 3, 2007 1:10 PM

Chiming in with MN, Emily, DC Mom and others - staying home with an infant was darn hard for me. I personally find it irritating and bordering on offensive when people constantly refer to it as a vacation (yes, you, Lil Husky). I wish people here would be willing to accept that what was easy to them (or looks easy to them from afar, since it sounds like some of the critics have never done it) is not for some.

When I went back to work, my first job was a pretty easy job and it was MUCH, MUCH easier than it had been staying home with my son for the first 14 months. My job now is much more demanding, but I'd say it's a tossup.

I appreciate the honesty of Moxiemom (as always) and others when they talk about their lives as SAH parents of slightly older children, and I think that sounds great. But my experience SAH with an infant was very different and difficult for me, just in a different was from the difficulty of being a WOH parent.

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 1:11 PM

I am jealous, too! And 2 hours at the gym -- no wonder my SAHM friends are in such great shape! :-)

But for the sake of argument . . . if you were an adult male or a woman without kids, people would be making all kinds of judgments on you for not working -- far worse, I suspect, than the standard biases against SAHMs. Did you find that people were more judgmental toward you once your youngest was in school? Were people asking you whether you'd start working? Or were they generally just as supportive (or no less, depending upon what support you got to begin with)?

Posted by: DC Mom | July 3, 2007 1:11 PM

"

To a SAHM:

This is an honest question, so please take it as such:

I have never quite understood what a SAHM does when all kids are in school? I can understand wanting to be there when they are home -- say, with a part-time job -- but most of the day doesn't involve caring for the children at that point. Wouldn't a part-time job make more sense so you can be there when the kids get home. But maybe that doesn't work because of summers? Or volunteering in school?

Seriously, it's something I've always wondered. It would be one thing if SAHM's said that they just wanted to be home -- but the argument is always that they want to be home specifically to take care of their kids."

My wife is a SAHM and I work primarily from a home office, so for the past couple of years I have had the chance to watch what she does during the day when the kids are at school [kids finished 5th, 4th and K this year].

To start, we generally take the time to walk the kids to school instead of taking the bus [it's been a great way to start the day].

Two full days a week, my wife volunteers at the school -- generally helping out with special work for students who are either ahead or behind the class. Occassionally she does some special 'long-term' projects [like organizing and computerizing the inventory of the reading specialist's book closet of several thousand books]. She is also generally supports some of the 'special' days like class parties / picnics as well as school field trips. These additional activities typically occupy another day per week.

One to two days a week is usually taken up with laundry, cleaning and shopping [which leaves the weekends and evenings free of this activity -- something that surprisingly adds much to our general quality of life].

On average the other day is filled with other things that are going on in our life. She often runs errands for me [I travel a reasonable amount for work] that help me out a great deal [dry cleaning is one that I always seem to need help with] -- the increase in my productivity is something that has helped my career. We both try to make it to the gym together [trying to teach her to play racquetball -- but not sure how successful I will be].

Bottom line -- in the last couple of years I've seen her as active as I would expect to see many of my co-workers [which is why I'm usually careful to say that she works but is not employed]. And the quality of life that it has provided us and our children has been wonderful.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:12 PM

Lots of dads cover snow days, etc., but, in my experience, those dads are not part of families where the family has made a decision to invest their financial future primarily on his income and his job security.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 01:08 PM

Guess not. My parents both earned roughly the same amount as one another through the years.

But having the flexibility of a parent (in my case, my father) that could cover those things is the beauty of working at a hospital; you can arrange some rather strange work weeks that add up to 40 hours, but are not necessarily 5 days per week. Insomnia helps. So does coffee!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 1:13 PM

I will say however that when you have a really bad day as a SAHM it is a lot worse than a day at work, mostly because it usually involves a great deal of bodily fluids.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 11:26 AM

Not to mention, you don't get to leave your work AT work! Your bad day usually doesn't stop until you crawl into bed...

In all, I agree that, after infancy, it's easier to be a SAHM -- I was one until the boys were in elementary school. You DO get more done: the house is cleaner, the laundry's always done, the school lunches are freshly made & packed each morning, the pantry's always stocked and the dog is always walked.

But I'm SO glad I went back to work. I wanted to be home because I'm enough of a control freak that I didn't think anyone could do as well with the boys as me, and I'm woman enough to admit I wanted to spend the time with them. However, after they got into school, I was ready to get back to work. I was lucky enough to be able to make a choice, and not be forced to do one thing or the other.

No regrets for anything (I don't even really regret marrying STBX, because in a sense, he gave me those boys).

Love what you got while you got it. True contentment doesn't come from striving for what you don't have; it comes from being happy with what you do have.

Posted by: educmom | July 3, 2007 1:15 PM

"Also, when you are the parent on deck for all school closings, doctors' appointments and sick kids, as most SAHMs are, you can't hold that part-time gig for long."

That is odd. The fathers NEVER do these things for the kids?


That's right. There are fathers who NEVER do these things for the kids. Not all corporate cultures are predicated on Washington DC federal employee hours (I realize that some agencies are more like private industy in the work demands). Many industries in this country presume an all or nothing commitment where the employee is childless or has someone else taking care of the children. In these industries, scaling back means being laid off. My husband routinely gets calls from former colleagues keeping up the networking because the ax could fall anytime or has already fallen. These are smart, hardworking people, not slackers.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:17 PM

"But Bull Durham was a great movie, don't you agree??"

Out of wedlock sex, especially hot sex, is a sin.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 12:22 PM

It's a movie about aging and baseball people. Get your minds out of the gutter, LOL.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 12:37 PM

Obviously 12:37 only saw the chopped up, censored version with the rose colored glasses on.

I have a VHS tape of the complete movie I can lend you!

Posted by: Fred | July 3, 2007 1:19 PM

Moxiemom

Two hours at the gym x 3 times a week - why are you a fattie?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:19 PM

I have been at home--not working--for almost ten months. My husband and I relocated and I am looking for a job. I worked from the time I was 16 until 34.

We dont have kids. Doesn't matter because it is still far "easier" to be at home than work all day. I am bored out of my mind and trying to keep busy but I have so much time to do things that there is no way I would be too busy if we had kids.

My mom has always worked. She went to nite school (18 hours with special permission) and worked full time AND fixed up a 100+ year old home. I planned my wedding while working. THOSE are examples of busy women. There is no way a SAHM is always busy.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 12:49 PM

I can't believe someone missed this...10 months and you still haven't got a job? If you're so bored, find a job! I can't fathom that there isn't some work you could be doing, some part time job, or some internship you could be working. And staying at home with zero responsibilities (okay, maybe you clean the house, etc) is quite different than having a young baby completely dependent on you. I'm not even a parent and your ignorance is astounding. Can't wait until you have kids which you had better get on soon because your husband probably doesn't appreciate you freeloading off of him and expecting him to fully fund your lifestyle and likely your savings and retirement as well. Your mom sounds like a hard worker. Why don't you go back to school with all the free time you have.

And yes I'm signing my name to this snarky post, I'm ready to take all the flames I've earned for my opinion.

Posted by: Miles | July 3, 2007 1:21 PM

Moxiemom

Two hours at the gym x 3 times a week - why are you a fattie?

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 01:19 PM

just to annoy you, bub. Just to annoy you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:22 PM

Eemployers are more willing to work with someone who is productive, on average, for 40+ hours a week, then they are to work with someone who is productive, at best, for 27 hours per week. The hassle factor just isn't worth it for someone who, best case scenario, doesn't meaningfully help the trains run on time.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 12:58 PM

Sorry but I think you don't know what you're talking about. We have tons of people working part time in a busy engineering environment. If you have the right skill set your company would rather keep you part time than spend the money to retrain someone.

Posted by: Millie | July 3, 2007 1:24 PM

To 1:19, who wrote to Moxiemom: "Two hours at the gym x 3 times a week - why are you a fattie?"

Don't you remember Moxie's motto?

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 1:25 PM

Maryland Mother,
My sister does exactly that (she has never been a SAHM). She and her husband look at the school calendar, work out any and all alternative arrangements for early dismissal/teacher work days/holidays that the market is open and schools are not/emergency snow day backup procedures, and she schedules check-ups, dental visits etc on scheduled days off whenever possible. She says I ran my house like a preschool before I wnr back to work, and she runs hers like an office.

Posted by: educmom | July 3, 2007 1:27 PM

Miles... I SUPPORT your opinion and I'm not a parent either. I've seen enough of my neices and nephews to know that this poster is in for a rude awakening when she does have kids, and probably deservedly so.

Posted by: mango | July 3, 2007 1:27 PM

I found some of the guest blogger's word choices curious, but otherwise thought it was a terrific story of two friends who chose two different paths, but remained friends and learned from each other's experiences.

Daycare guilt: DD went to a sitter's home starting at 3 months. Like Emily, I felt some initial guilt, but quickly got over it when I saw that she was being well cared for and really enjoyed being around other babies and toddlers. We were also fortunate to have a sitter that saw herself as our partner. We discussed decisions such as weaning, moving to solids, potty training, etc. She never made a change for which we weren't ready, and we really appreciated her voice of experience as we navigated unfamiliar territory. DD is 9 now and we still keep in touch with this sitter, visit occasionally, and the sitter has shown up at dance and school functions so she can watch her grow up. We've all bonded with her.

Being a working mom, PT vs. FT, etc.: I actually found it easier to be a working mom during the baby, toddler, and preschool years than I have during the school years. Extracurricular activities start up around elementary school, as does homework. Gone are the days when we can get home at 6pm and hang out and play. Even when there's nothing happening in the evening and after school (and we do make an effort to have this be the case more often than not), there's homework, mandatory reading, cooking brownies for the class party I just found out about yesterday, going to the library to research a project, etc. I confess that I fantasize about staying at home so my house can be clean for a change, I'll have time to volunteer in the school library, and maybe even have time to finish reading a novel in under 6 months! Like some posters have mentioned, I am working toward one of two options here: transitioning to part-time in a couple of years, or transitioning to working from home most of the time in a couple of years. Middle school is the benchmark time for us. We'd like someone to be at home when school is out. Until then, I'm building good will and proving my worth.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 1:29 PM

A hamburger walks into a bar and the bartender say, "Sorry, we don't serve food here!"

Posted by: Joke Time (from Fred) | July 3, 2007 1:29 PM

Emily- very well said. My sister and her husband are very unhappy people and all they do is try to better everyone else (well, I don't know anyone else who hs a weekend house, 'we need a house that hs a pool and is bigger and more expensive than everyone else's', etc.).

All they do is compare themselves to everyone else. If you do that, you can always find someone who does something better ('they take more vacations', 'they earn more money',' they have a bigger house',' they have a bigger pool', etc.).

If you're content with yourself, you don't worry about what everyone else has because it doesn't matter. You are happy for other people rather than just coMparing yourself to them. You can always find someone who you don't measure up to if that's what you want to do. Other people make other choices and they are different. If we were all the same then life would be boring.

Posted by: atlmom | July 3, 2007 1:29 PM

*I wnr back*

I went back

fingers and brain out of sync today...

Posted by: educmom | July 3, 2007 1:30 PM

The hardest part about being a stay at homer to an only child is figuring out how best to waste time.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 1:35 PM

A woman walked into the kitchen to find her
husband stalking around with a fly swatter

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Hunting flies," he responded.

"Oh! Killing any?" she asked.

"Yep, 3 males, 2 females," he replied.

Intrigued, she asked, "How can you tell them apart?"

He responded, "3 were on a beer can, 2 were on the phone."

Posted by: educmom | July 3, 2007 1:37 PM

Millie,

Sorry but I think you only know your employer and industry. As a general rule, moms find it difficult to obtain an 8 - 3 job. If it was as easy as you suggest, across employers and industries, Arlington Dad's initial comment and the experience of lots and lots of moms wouldn't be what they are.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:38 PM

Lil Husky, find another dog house to crawl into. You're being obnoxious.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:40 PM

Hi Educmom,

By the way, I was thinking about your budding metrosexual's must-have list and I think he overlooked THE must-have item for his wardrobe needs.

An iron!

Having said that, I freely admit that I didn't actually go back and double-check.

Yeah, I guess I do run it more like an office. I know if I don't write things down I'm going to forget them--and hurray for being able to submit requests for leave online.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 1:40 PM

A rabbi, a priest and a Bapist minister walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Is this a joke or something?"

Posted by: Joke Time (from Fred) | July 3, 2007 1:40 PM

"The hardest part about being a stay at homer to an only child is figuring out how best to waste time."

My wife stayed home several months after the birth of our first child and then went back to work 3 days / week. I had enough accumulated leave that I could take off 3 days / week for 3 months [in part by working 2 longer days and some occassional weekend hours].

Staying at home and taking care of an infant [and all of the other things associated with the house like cooking and laundry] was the most exhausting job I have ever had [though also one of the most personally rewarding].

If you view yourself as a professional and you set professional standards for your performance at home, then you will find very little free time.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:42 PM

The hardest part about being a stay at homer to an only child is figuring out how best to waste time.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 01:35 PM

No, its more like being responsible for everything, so husband doesn't have to.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:44 PM

to anon at 1:44: why don't you want your husband to be responsible for anything?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 1:47 PM

"Lil Husky, find another dog house to crawl into. You're being obnoxious."

I'll go away soon enough.

Just toss me a few more bones.

Hey, what's everybody doing for the 4th.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 1:48 PM

Don't be mean to Lil Husky, he may run out into the street and get whacked by a car. Then you would feel bad!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:50 PM

to anon at 1:44: why don't you want your husband to be responsible for anything?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 01:47 PM

Is this a trick question? He is responsible for bringing in the money to run the household. Would you be more comfortable if he also was responsible for doing back handsprings across the front lawn every morning, translating the morning paper into Sanskrit, and cleaning out the gutters with handiwipes?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:51 PM

to anon at 1:44: why don't you want your husband to be responsible for anything?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 01:47 PM

Its more like the parent working at a paid job goes to work, the unpaid parent staying home covers all the emergencies and stuff that occurs unexpectedly.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:51 PM

Would you be more comfortable if he also was responsible for doing back handsprings across the front lawn every morning, translating the morning paper into Sanskrit, and cleaning out the gutters with handiwipes?

Whoa, and I thought my wife was demanding...

Posted by: Arlington Dad | July 3, 2007 1:53 PM

I would be more impressed if it were Greek and Latin.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:53 PM

Only just now checking in; haven't read the other posts.

Just wanted to say thanks, Melissa, for a really neat blog. I love the idea that you two are always saying, "YOU have the harder job." What a great basis for a friendship.

Posted by: pittypat | July 3, 2007 1:54 PM

to anon at 1:44: why don't you want your husband to be responsible for anything?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 01:47 PM

Maybe she does, maybe he refuses. Some people are chronologically adults, but aren't up to scratch when it's time to do things for real.

Even when you talk things over, prior to marriage/children, you can only go on what you are told.

Parenthood = theory meets reality and takes it for a test drive.

Well, I guess anything would qualify--slip your own category in there. See what I mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 1:54 PM

Don't be mean to Lil Husky, he may run out into the street and get whacked by a car. Then you would feel bad!

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 01:50 PM

Mean is criticizing SAH moms with one child on a blog for no other reason than that you have 4 children and are hosting your own pity party.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:01 PM

"Its more like the parent working at a paid job goes to work, the unpaid parent staying home covers all the emergencies and stuff that occurs unexpectedly."

As the husband of a SAHM, I would argue that it goes beyond that.

My wife is the manager of our household, and she does an incredible job at it [it probably helps that she was a very effective manager before we had children].

She schedules all doctor appointments, dentist appointments, orthodontist appointments, teacher conferences, hair cuts, car repairs, gutter cleaning, window washing, and others that come up.

She plans and organizes all parties, get-togethers, vacations, birthdays, and any other social activities.

She also you said takes care of all unexpected issues like illnesses, snow days, forgotten lunches or lunch money, broken instruments, and other unforeseen issue.

This morning my SAHM wife has bought all of the supplies for a great bbq cookout tomorrow, taken my son to get his braces, and scheduled a haircut for me. She's coordinated with all of the other couples that are coming over tomorrow as to who is bringing what and all of the other logistics.

As a result, I've been able to work [until now so that I can go and start making some home-made bbq sauces] -- and thus earn a very nice income that lets us continue to live a pretty high quality of life.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:02 PM

"Hey, what's everybody doing for the 4th."

I'm running in the "Jews for Jesus" marathon to raise money for the soup kitchen at the local mosque. During the run, I will pick up all the dog poop and trash along the way.

I'll scoop up bottle returnables, stray cats & dogs, and deliver the babies of under privileged Republicans.

That covers hour #1... donate blood and organs later in the day.

Posted by: Elaine | July 3, 2007 2:02 PM

Yay, Lil Husky changed the subject away from the eternal stay-home-vs.-work debate!

Me? I'm spending the entire day in front of the tube (I would run errands, but the post office, banks, etc. will be closed--OH WELL!). After the 27th, no more TV, and this will be my last chance to catch paternity tests on Maury. I'll probably also go for a run and organize stuff for the move. :-)

Posted by: Mona | July 3, 2007 2:05 PM

As a result, I've been able to work [until now so that I can go and start making some home-made bbq sauces] -- and thus earn a very nice income that lets us continue to live a pretty high quality of life.


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:02 PM

We hope you continue to be devoted to her as gravity, and the high calorie content of that home-made bbq sauce, takes it's toll on her, just like it did with Elaine.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:05 PM

" had enough accumulated leave that I could take off 3 days / week for 3 months [in part by working 2 longer days and some occassional weekend hours]. Staying at home and taking care of an infant [and all of the other things associated with the house like cooking and laundry] was the most exhausting job I have ever had [though also one of the most personally rewarding]."

1:42, this reminds me of the sight of my husband, splayed out on the living room couch after his first week staying home full time with our son. He told me he had always wondered why I had such a hard time getting more stuff done during the day when I was home with our son, but now he understood. He too found it harder to be home with a baby than at work all day. Now he's working part-time and I think that is very challenging in a different way, but I know he likes being back at work.

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 2:08 PM

Not enough!

You better compost that dog pooh, check with the rabbi to make sure the soup is Kosher, separate the trash in to recyclables and make crafts from the un-recyclable material and you forgot about your commitment to mentally and physically challenged

Posted by: to Elaine | July 3, 2007 2:08 PM

Not "takes it's toll," "takes its toll."

Posted by: Grammar police | July 3, 2007 2:08 PM

Me? I'm spending the entire day in front of the tube (I would run errands, but the post office, banks, etc. will be closed--OH WELL!). After the 27th, no more TV, and this will be my last chance to catch paternity tests on Maury. I'll probably also go for a run and organize stuff for the move. :-)

Posted by: Mona | July 3, 2007 02:05 PM

Don't you have local friends you can hang with? Get outta the house already. Run through Rock Creek Park. Shop for crap you don't need but that's 75% off.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:10 PM

check with the rabbi to make sure the soup is Kosher

Also check with the imam to make sure it's Halal.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:10 PM

"We hope you continue to be devoted to her as gravity, and the high calorie content of that home-made bbq sauce, takes it's toll on her, just like it did with Elaine."

Fortunately as a SAHM and with me working primarily from home we are able to hit the gym together a couple of times per week [in fact I just dropped back into my 32" waist jeans that I was able to wear back before I had 3 kids].

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:10 PM

fascinating mona

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:12 PM

"Fortunately as a SAHM and with me working primarily from home we are able to hit the gym together a couple of times per week [in fact I just dropped back into my 32" waist jeans that I was able to wear back before I had 3 kids]."

Me [male] = 32" waist
[wife pointed out this could imply she had 32" waist and she was not happy with that implication -- she is still *almost* as svelte as she was back before baby #1]

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:12 PM

For the Fourth - bluegrass jam and picnic at a friend's house and fireworks. Then up to my dad's house for the rest of the week - my son's preschool is closed on Weds, Thurs and Friday! Work is not - grrr...

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 2:13 PM

"Fortunately as a SAHM and with me working primarily from home we are able to hit the gym together a couple of times per week [in fact I just dropped back into my 32" waist jeans that I was able to wear back before I had 3 kids]."

Me [male] = 32" waist
[wife pointed out this could imply she had 32" waist and she was not happy with that implication -- she is still *almost* as svelte as she was back before baby #1]


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:12 PM

Uh-huh. We are all svelte over the Internet.

Must have been real hard for you to get back in those 32" waist jeans after YOU had those three kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:14 PM

this reminds me of the sight of my husband, splayed out on the living room couch after his first week staying home full time with our son.

Ooh--that was covered in a cartoon called "Speed Bump", right here in the Post!

It was entitled, "Just another dead beat dad". There was dad, sacked out on the couch, there was the rubble all around, and there went the toddler, charging around with a favourite too, sans diaper...

And people wonder why we put up such an earnest fight against entropy/offspring.

I love firstborn, but I can track the kid from the trail of detritus from the front door to wherever in the house. Then it's back to our standard play-list, "Pick up!", "Have you done your chores?", "Wait a minute...you DIDN'T do this, despite being told over an HOUR ago?"

Etc.

Sometimes I think they don't need me there, we simply need a reel-to-reel. Or (*gulp!*) an 8-track tape.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 2:15 PM

No tarrot card readings?

Posted by: to Mona | July 3, 2007 2:16 PM

"But for the sake of argument . . . if you were an adult male or a woman without kids, people would be making all kinds of judgments on you for not working -- far worse, I suspect, than the standard biases against SAHMs. Did you find that people were more judgmental toward you once your youngest was in school? Were people asking you whether you'd start working? Or were they generally just as supportive (or no less, depending upon what support you got to begin with)?"


DC Mom - I've had a pretty good experience. People do ask if I'm going to go back to work and I say not right now. One thing that I've learned as a SAHM is that I've got to do what's right for me and be happy with that becuause there is little external validation aside from my family. It is a lifestyle choice and a choice that certainly isn't available to everyone. I don't have a lot of room for people who don't like what I'm doing.

BTW, I'm not a fattie, I'm just not a size 2 either. I'm 5 foot 8 and a size 10/12. I'm pretty regular I think. I work out to be healthy and feel good, not to compete in the SAHM bikini contest. I also enjoy my meals and occasional libations. I'd rather carry some extra weight than cut out all carbs and sugar. That's no way to live! I'm heavier than I've ever been, but I'm also the most fit I've ever been and I might add, I think I'm the most happy with my body that I've ever been.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 2:17 PM

"Uh-huh. We are all svelte over the Internet.

Must have been real hard for you to get back in those 32" waist jeans after YOU had those three kids."

Right. Where are all these people that "hit the gym"? Most of the people I see are fat.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:17 PM

"No tarrot card readings?"

don't be silly -- church is on Sunday

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:17 PM

I was a SAHM for over 3 yrs. Mu dh was happy that I went back to work cause he said I leaped at him when he got home for wanting to deal with an adult.

Our nanny who was with is for 18 mos was part of the family. We all cried when she left (she was going back to school). She is invited to family events and we hope we all stay in touch. I sometimes pine for staying home, but know how miserable I would be-it is not for everyone.

Posted by: atlmom | July 3, 2007 2:18 PM

No tarrot card readings?

Posted by: to Mona | July 3, 2007 02:16 PM

If you are going to insult her, at least use spellcheck.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:18 PM

"Fortunately as a SAHM and with me working primarily from home we are able to hit the gym together a couple of times per week [in fact I just dropped back into my 32" waist jeans that I was able to wear back before I had 3 kids]."

Me [male] = 32" waist
[wife pointed out this could imply she had 32" waist and she was not happy with that implication -- she is still *almost* as svelte as she was back before baby #1]


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:12 PM

Uh-huh. We are all svelte over the Internet.

Must have been real hard for you to get back in those 32" waist jeans after YOU had those three kids.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:14 PM
=================================
Please give *snort* alerts!

I almost sprayed my computer screen.

I certainly hope you give her a big hug tonight. She sounds like a really good sport.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 2:18 PM

LOL, Maryland Mother, exactly!

That was also the scene we came home to the first time we had Grandpa babysit in the evening- baby still wide awake and running around, Grandpa looking half-dead on the couch. It was a riot.

The second time Grandpa won the battle, as our son finally laid down on the living room around 10 pm, saying he wasn't tired and didn't need to go to bed and promptly fell fast asleep, at which point Grandpa moved him to bed.

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 2:20 PM

Ouch. Elaine, you're making me look bad. Okay, fine, TWO hours of Maury instead of one. There, happy?

Posted by: Mona | July 3, 2007 2:20 PM

Moxiemom

"I'm heavier than I've ever been, but I'm also the most fit I've ever been and I might add, I think I'm the most happy with my body that I've ever been."

If you are so happy, why go into such detail about your weight?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:21 PM

muscle weighs more than fat -- it looks better too

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:23 PM

First, I plan to beg for all those delicious scraps of meat that are so plentiful during a 4th of July picnic.

Then I'll be hiding under the couch and shaking with fear during the fireworks, but when it's all over with, I'll run around outside.

Yip, Yip. You think I'm obnoxious now, wait till I get a few wiffs of all that gunpowder in the air!

Yip yip yip, wag wag wag. Woof!!!

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 2:23 PM

"I'm heavier than I've ever been, but I'm also the most fit I've ever been and I might add, I think I'm the most happy with my body that I've ever been."

Moxiemom, good for you, that is awesome.

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 2:24 PM

muscle weighs more than fat -- it looks better too

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:23 PM

Brown fat looks better than pasty muscle.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:24 PM

"If you are so happy, why go into such detail about your weight?"

Regardless of how happy I am, I don't cotton to people calling anyone a fattie.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 2:24 PM

Maybe Lil Husky will run away in fright during tomorrow night's fireworks on the Mall, have a heart attack in the bushes, and his corpse will be found days later putrefying.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:26 PM

tarrot cards are the orange ones, you know, like carrots!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:26 PM

tarrot cards are the orange ones, you know, like carrots!

Brown fat looks better than pasty muscle.

Ouch. Elaine, you're making me look bad. Okay, fine, TWO hours of Maury instead of one. There, happy?

Posted by: stupid quotes of the day | July 3, 2007 2:28 PM

Moxiemom

"I'm heavier than I've ever been, but I'm also the most fit I've ever been and I might add, I think I'm the most happy with my body that I've ever been."

If you are so happy, why go into such detail about your weight?


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:21 PM

Why keep asking? Why not just leave it alone?

Moxiemom, I have no doubt that you are beautiful. As child #2 once earnestly said, "ALL mommies are beautiful."

It's moments like these that we parents draw upon when the same child is saying things like, "I hate you! I wish you were DEAD!" and "You can't make me! You only make me do this stuff because you HATE ME!" (Who knew that taking your own dish to the sink was such a burden? Yeah, the kid did it anyway, kvetching for the entire 10' trek.)

Ahh, parenthood.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 2:28 PM

It was a serious question. While my husband and I generally have a division of labor that we both agree too, that doesn't mean that we're no longer responsible for the other's jobs. Also, there are some things that I think are personal responsibilites - that should not be delegated, even to a spouse. For example, it really used to upset my mom that all mother's day/birthday/etc cards were written (and presumable bought and sent) by my sister in law and not my brother. He had a full time demanding job before he had a SAHW and managed to get those cards out as a sign that he was thinking of her. Why should that end when you're homelife changes?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 2:31 PM

tickles

Posted by: test | July 3, 2007 2:32 PM

Thanks Md Mother and Megan. MdMother you are my reminder to enjoy the random bickering and neediness of them while they are small. They will turn on me won't they?! You've clearly done a good job with #2 whose insights I agree with who will grow into a nice adult who knows a thing or two about responsibility.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 2:33 PM

"Maybe Lil Husky will run away in fright during tomorrow night's fireworks on the Mall, have a heart attack in the bushes, and his corpse will be found days"

What a puppy kicker!

I can be replaced by a cat you know... but the shame of it all.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 3, 2007 2:35 PM

from 2:26

gotcha' to look! ha! ha!

Posted by: to 2:28 | July 3, 2007 2:36 PM

Moxiemom: "I'm heavier than I've ever been, but I'm also the most fit I've ever been and I might add, I think I'm the most happy with my body that I've ever been."

Good for you!

Any time somebody tells me that weight = physical fitness, I think of a good friend of mine from the past - a Marine Lieutenant Colonel with almost zero ounces of fat on his body. He took some silly test which showed that he was 20 pounds overweight. It was because, as has been pointed out, muscle weighs more than fat, and so some chart indicated that at his height he should weigh X pounds, because the chart assumed some level of body fat. He weighed X + 20 pounds, but his body fat was really, really , really low. This guy was in shape!

However, he moped for two weeks, trying to figure out what to do, because it was the first time in his life anyone had ever told him that he was overweight, and he was trying to figure out how to handle it. We finally convinced him to handle it by ignoring it!

Posted by: Army Brat | July 3, 2007 2:36 PM

"We hope you continue to be devoted to her as gravity, and the high calorie content of that home-made bbq sauce, takes it's toll on her, just like it did with Elaine."

As a public service:

9 cups Worcestershire Sauce
4 cups apple-cider vinegar
1.5 cups tomato juice
0.5 cups Tabasco Sauce
2 quarts ketchup
1/2 cup pressed garlic
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup black pepper
1 minced onion
1/2 cup salt
750 ml Jack Daniels Whiskey

Mix and simmer all but whiskey for an hour. Add *one cup* whiskey after it has cooked and cooled. Drink remainder of whiskey over ice.

Makes 1.5 gallons sauce and 1 sauced cook.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:36 PM

"your homelife" not "you're"

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 2:36 PM

Thanks Moxiemom.

I left out that the kid had to hike uphill, in the snow, in order to get that dish into the sink!

At least that's what I was supposed to believe. ;-)

Let's hear it for muscle. Personally, anyone who thinks that every woman who is a size 10 or 12 is fat deserves to be balled up and hurled like a discus into a lake full of hungry snapping turtles.

I doubt anyone would have DARED said such a thing to the late, great Flo Jo!

Hmmph. I'm a little squishier than I care to be, but I can still toss a 50# hay bale up to the top of the hay wagon, if need be. Of course, I'll be eating aspirin for dessert too, but let's not go there.

Have a lovely 4th of July everyone. May all your fireworks be lovely, and may the humidity/rain hold off.

Particularly for those in the midwest who have had too much rain for at least a fortnight. I wish I could relieve you of your burden.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 3, 2007 2:37 PM

LOL MdMother! Same sentiments right back at you!

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 2:39 PM

Speaking of muschle, Lalia Ali sure does it for me

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:40 PM

"Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other women a lot? Are you jealous of their money or their freedom? How do you cope?"

Ok, coming in late today, but had to respond to this. I have found myself doing this -- spent a lot of high school and of college jealous of the folks who were more popular, had a daddy who bought them a car for their 16th birthday or was giving them a free ride through school, etc.

But once I got older, and began running my own life, a lot of that feeling went away. I realized that where I was was a direct result of choices I had made, and that everything has a pro and a con. I make decent money because I chose a profession and employer that pay well; on the other hand, that also means that I work harder than people who have chosen a less demanding profession. Of course, I also make less than people who went into investment banking or cardiac surgery -- but I work less than them, too.

Thing is, you can't make $3 million a year for working 10 hrs a week following your passion. Well, most of us. So the best way I've found to combat jealousy is, when it seems like someone else has more, to focus on WHY I decided to be where I am -- what am I getting out of those choices that I would have to give up in order to obtain whatever this other person has? And that usually leaves me pretty happy with where I am. Or, if I'm still feeling jealous, that's a good sign that maybe my choices aren't working so well for me any more, and I should start thinking about what changes I would like to make and what I'd need to do to get there.

If you think of it in terms of yourself, your choices, your plans, then that gives you your power back. You're not the victim of someone else's good fortune, you're not doomed to always be looking at friends who are richer and prettier than you -- you got yourself where you are now, and if that's not so hot, then you have the ability (and responsibility) to figure out where else you want to go and how to get there.

Posted by: Laura | July 3, 2007 2:40 PM

"750 ml Jack Daniels Whiskey"

There are waay too many 12 steppers in my family for this! Not to mention the pregos and boobers.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:42 PM

Thing is, you can't make $3 million a year for working 10 hrs a week following your passion.

Sure you can. We earned our money the old-fashioned way. We inherited it!

Posted by: When Smith Barney speaks... | July 3, 2007 2:42 PM

What Laura said. Awesome!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 2:43 PM

It was a serious question. While my husband and I generally have a division of labor that we both agree too, that doesn't mean that we're no longer responsible for the other's jobs. Also, there are some things that I think are personal responsibilites - that should not be delegated, even to a spouse. For example, it really used to upset my mom that all mother's day/birthday/etc cards were written (and presumable bought and sent) by my sister in law and not my brother. He had a full time demanding job before he had a SAHW and managed to get those cards out as a sign that he was thinking of her. Why should that end when you're homelife changes?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 02:31 PM

Chloe, if you and your mom are this determined to find fault with your brother and sister-in-law, you are missing the forest for the trees. Your mom has a daughter-in-law who is responsible and thoughtful enough to buy, sign and send her mother-in-law birthday cards, and generally handles the household details so that your brother can focus fully on his demanding job and provide for his family. If this division of labor works for them, and if that keeps their marriage strong and provides for your mom's grandchildren, she ought to thank her lucky stars.

Or both of you can keep peck, peck, pecking away at both of them until they lose patience with the pettiness you both exhibit. Would you prefer that?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:43 PM

Well said Laura.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 2:44 PM

If an owner of a bbq sauce is willing to publish the recipe online, you can bet $50 the sauce aint very good.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:48 PM

However, he moped for two weeks, trying to figure out what to do, because it was the first time in his life anyone had ever told him that he was overweight, and he was trying to figure out how to handle it. We finally convinced him to handle it by ignoring it!

Posted by: Army Brat | July 3, 2007 02:36 PM

ah, the continuing problem of the BMI index. It isn't valid for athletes or those as fit as athletes.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 2:51 PM

However, he moped for two weeks, trying to figure out what to do, because it was the first time in his life anyone had ever told him that he was overweight, and he was trying to figure out how to handle it. We finally convinced him to handle it by ignoring it!

Posted by: Army Brat | July 3, 2007 02:36 PM

ah, the continuing problem of the BMI index. It isn't valid for athletes or those as fit as athletes.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 2:51 PM

Laura: lovely post!

Posted by: worker bee | July 3, 2007 2:51 PM

you can bet $50 the sauce aint very good.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:48 PM

Once you drink the JD, you won't care!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:51 PM

There are waay too many 12 steppers in my family for this! Not to mention the pregos and boobers.

sense of humor much?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 2:53 PM

Sorry for the dupes, all. I'm not hitting the submit button twice, so the technology gremlins must be in charge today.

Posted by: MN | July 3, 2007 2:55 PM

Ha, ha, ha, chloe. That's hysterical. In my DH's family, now that he's married he's not responsible for anything. It's all my responsibility. She doesn't get a thank you note or bday card-it's the wife's fault. No matter that she should have taught her DS better.

Posted by: atlmom | July 3, 2007 2:56 PM

"Thing is, you can't make $3 million a year for working 10 hrs a week following your passion."

That's what Powerball is for!! When I win, Laura, I'll share it with you since I agree so much with what you said.

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 2:57 PM

megan, you don't really play powerball do you?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:09 PM

It was a serious question. While my husband and I generally have a division of labor that we both agree too, that doesn't mean that we're no longer responsible for the other's jobs. Also, there are some things that I think are personal responsibilites - that should not be delegated, even to a spouse. For example, it really used to upset my mom that all mother's day/birthday/etc cards were written (and presumable bought and sent) by my sister in law and not my brother. He had a full time demanding job before he had a SAHW and managed to get those cards out as a sign that he was thinking of her. Why should that end when you're homelife changes?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 02:31 PM

Chloe, if you and your mom are this determined to find fault with your brother and sister-in-law, you are missing the forest for the trees. Your mom has a daughter-in-law who is responsible and thoughtful enough to buy, sign and send her mother-in-law birthday cards, and generally handles the household details so that your brother can focus fully on his demanding job and provide for his family. If this division of labor works for them, and if that keeps their marriage strong and provides for your mom's grandchildren, she ought to thank her lucky stars.

Or both of you can keep peck, peck, pecking away at both of them until they lose patience with the pettiness you both exhibit. Would you prefer that?

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:43 PM

Oh come on...I'll remind my husband of birthdays/mother's day/father's day, and I'll take him to the store for a card and help him choose gifts etc, but he needs to pick out the card and sign his name to the bottom, doesn't need his hand held for gawd's sake.

Posted by: Miles | July 3, 2007 3:10 PM

atlmom, hilarious!
When I married I stated that no one in Mr Bee's family was ever going to receive holiday greetings of any variety from me, unless Mr Bee had his arm in a cast. His family presented him with a nice list of all of their birthdays and the dates of Fathers' Day etc, which he promptly lost.
Finally his mother sat him down and said it was making her sad to keep getting him birthday presents and getting nothing on her own birthday. He pointed out that he had repeatedly BEGGED her not to observe his birthday and it was her own fault if she kept ignoring his wishes.
I haven't done this with my family (yet!) but I had a great laugh about it--and of course, Mr Bee's mom did too once she got over her annoyance.

Posted by: worker bee | July 3, 2007 3:12 PM

And thanks Laura, I agree and appreciate your advice. I guess it is just the "getting there" part that is wearing my down! I know half of life is getting there, but working/trying so hard and watching less scrupulous people "get" what they want a lot faster...*rolls eyes* but you are right, thanks, I will really try to take what you say to heart I think it is very well put.

Posted by: Miles | July 3, 2007 3:13 PM

She = MIL

And other assorted relatives in DH's family.

Posted by: atlmom | July 3, 2007 3:13 PM

So if my mom's being petty for wanting a birthday to come from her son, I guess it would be ok with you if you got a birthday or anniversary card/gift from your husband each year that was bought and signed by his secretary on his behalf?

Posted by: Chloe | July 3, 2007 3:14 PM

Even if SIL found and bought the card, Brother could spend 2 minutes writing a note inside for goodness sake. Then SIL could add her greeting if she wants. For goodness sake, it is his MOTHER!!

You don't 100% outsource your responsibility to your family just because you have a SAH spouse especially if you USED to take care of it. So obvious that you are now to lazy to do it anymore.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was a serious question. While my husband and I generally have a division of labor that we both agree too, that doesn't mean that we're no longer responsible for the other's jobs. Also, there are some things that I think are personal responsibilites - that should not be delegated, even to a spouse. For example, it really used to upset my mom that all mother's day/birthday/etc cards were written (and presumable bought and sent) by my sister in law and not my brother. He had a full time demanding job before he had a SAHW and managed to get those cards out as a sign that he was thinking of her. Why should that end when you're homelife changes?

Posted by: chloe | July 3, 2007 02:31 PM

Chloe, if you and your mom are this determined to find fault with your brother and sister-in-law, you are missing the forest for the trees. Your mom has a daughter-in-law who is responsible and thoughtful enough to buy, sign and send her mother-in-law birthday cards, and generally handles the household details so that your brother can focus fully on his demanding job and provide for his family. If this division of labor works for them, and if that keeps their marriage strong and provides for your mom's grandchildren, she ought to thank her lucky stars.

Or both of you can keep peck, peck, pecking away at both of them until they lose patience with the pettiness you both exhibit. Would you prefer that?

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 02:43 PM

Posted by: Re:Mom's card | July 3, 2007 3:15 PM

I'd be hurt if my adult child couldn't be bothered to write something in his/her very own hand, to me, in a birthday card. Even a toss-away phrase and a signature will do.

I don't see why that would be too much to hope for, personally.

Hell, I put that much effort into signing a card for CO-worker, let alone a parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:18 PM

husband each year that was bought and signed by his secretary on his behalf?

So the husband should run off with the secretary to fix the problem?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:18 PM

Oh come on...I'll remind my husband of birthdays/mother's day/father's day, and I'll take him to the store for a card and help him choose gifts etc, but he needs to pick out the card and sign his name to the bottom, doesn't need his hand held for gawd's sake.

Posted by: Miles | July 3, 2007 03:10 PM

Miles - that's between you and your husband. I wouldn't either. But I'm not going to be the MIL or SIL from hell either.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:18 PM

Ugh, every few days it's boils down to the same discussion: is it wiser to stay at home or not, all other things being equal. I'm a new Dad and still have the guilt leaving my son in daycare. These blogs are like ripping the scab off a new wound (but I am addicted). There was an earlier q from Carolyn Hax as to what stay-at-home-parents do each day. From my limited experience, kids can make time fly just by demanding your attention every five mins or so. It makes it very hard to re-focus on the "To-Do" list or whatever else you have lined up.

Posted by: Bob | July 3, 2007 3:19 PM

"If you're content with yourself, you don't worry about what everyone else has because it doesn't matter. You are happy for other people rather than just coMparing yourself to them. You can always find someone who you don't measure up to if that's what you want to do. Other people make other choices and they are different. If we were all the same then life would be boring."

Posted by: atlmom | July 3, 2007 01:29 PM

"Who is rich? He who is content with his lot, as it is said: 'When you eat of the labor of your hands, you are praiseworthy and all is well with you.' (Psalms 128:2)"
-- Ben Zoma

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 3, 2007 3:19 PM

Sorry, the engineer in me is jumping out again. The trick to this card stuff is to make a list at some point of all the significant dates in the next three months (or six months, or year, or whatever) and buy the cards, etc. at once. Then mark the days on the calendar, and send them out when necessary.

Supplement with a phone call, and you're done.

Hey, it takes care of 3 parents (2 hers, one mine), 5 siblings (3 hers, two mine) plus two spouses, and 10 nieces and nephews.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 3, 2007 3:23 PM

I'd be hurt if my adult child couldn't be bothered to write something in his/her very own hand, to me, in a birthday card. Even a toss-away phrase and a signature will do.

I don't see why that would be too much to hope for, personally.

Hell, I put that much effort into signing a card for CO-worker, let alone a parent.

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 03:18 PM

This is such a chick thing. Gawd! Get over the Hallmark card obsession. If my son never gives me a card, I won't care. I, frankly, don't care if he remembers my birthday. I care that he loves me and he shows that in a thousand other ways. God willing, that will continue. If it doesn't, receiving an annual timely, signed, Hallmark card on my birthday won't make me feel good.

Furthermore, if he loves his wife and kids and is good to them, and doesn't spar over silly little things like who shopped for the birthday cards, we will likely rip our arms out of their proper sockets patting ourselves on our respective backs for what a fine parenting job we did, LOL. If ever there was a time for that platitude, "don't sweat the small stuff", this has to be it.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 3, 2007 3:26 PM

"Who is rich? He who is content with his lot, as it is said: 'When you eat of the labor of your hands, you are praiseworthy and all is well with you.' (Psalms 128:2)"

If you don't make the money to pay for the food, is it of the labor of your hands?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:29 PM

Is it that abhorrent to most of you if a married couple chooses that the man work and the woman stay home with the child (ren)?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:33 PM

"This is such a chick thing. Gawd! Get over the Hallmark card obsession."

I didn't say it had to be a hallmark/kodak moment. I'm also the FATHER. But if there is going to be a card, I'd like my kid to sign it. A toss-away phrase shouldn't qualify as one of Hercules tasks.

As I said, I put forth this much effort for my co-workers. I don't see why wanting something written by my adult child is such a burden.

But then again, my "baby" is 40, and both of my kids manage to do this, and their kids sign the card too.

Posted by: to Megan's Neighbor | July 3, 2007 3:33 PM

If you don't make the money to pay for the food, is it of the labor of your hands?


Posted by: | July 3, 2007 03:29 PM

1. Have you ever heard of having a garden?

2. The sahm is laboring with her hands a good deal, and her labor combines with her employed husband's to earn the money to buy the food.

3. if you have ever labored to obtain a government benefit like WIC, it surely is labor like no other.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:34 PM

"If you don't make the money to pay for the food, is it of the labor of your hands?"

When you're stay-at-home-spouse who is one half of a partnership that's working together to make the money/raise the family, then you bet your sweet bippy it's "of the labor of your hands."

Posted by: Army Brat | July 3, 2007 3:34 PM

MN, you are easing my guilt! Thank you!

Like Army Brat, I used to purchase cards months in advance and send them on time. Then it was weeks, but still on time. Then days, and barely on time. Then it was just a little late late.

Lately, I've been purchasing the cards, but they get lost in the detritus on the counter, where I find them days later and embarrassingly late to mail. The number of cards I'm "saving until next year" is growing.

I love my family. Hope that shows in the other things I do and they're not counting on a Hallmark card to do the job these days!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 3:35 PM

I have to say I find the whole card obsession weird. I think it's weird to have your spouse or secretary go buy the cards and sign them for you, but I also think it's silly to get upset over a card or see card/lack of card as a reflection of love/lack of love. If someone is into sending cards and sends me one, I appreciate. If someone is not into sending cards or is too busy to do so, I don't even notice. I guess in the end I'd rather not get a card at all than get one from the secretary, though...

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 3:38 PM

I love my family. Hope that shows in the other things I do and they're not counting on a Hallmark card to do the job these days!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 03:35 PM

Have you asked them? You may be surprised at how many people actually do appreciate receiving a card or a telephone call on their birthday.

I'm not trying to suggest that you don't love or appreciate them in other ways, but it does let them know that you did think of them (card), or are thinking of them (phone call), in honor of that event.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:38 PM

It's not the card that matters, it's knowing that someone is thinking of you.

Isn't that the premise behind sending letters to troops overseas? What about visiting the elderly in nursing homes?

If you would do that, why not contact someone you know and love, on their birthday, in some fashion? What does it really cost you in terms of time, money or effort?

Not everyone is as busy as you. The older we get, the more friends we lose and the more our family tends to matter.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:42 PM

I'm also the FATHER.

But then again, my "baby" is 40, and both of my kids manage to do this, and their kids sign the card too.

Posted by: to Megan's Neighbor | July 3, 2007 03:33 PM

I hope you have more to be proud of than this. Anyone can buy cards in bulk at Costco and slap a stamp on there. Do they visit you regularly? Do their kids? Do you get hugs and kisses freely given? These are the things - not the signature in ink - that tell you you spent your living years well.

When my mom had a stroke a couple of years ago, she worried for months about whether she could sign the birthday cards. All we kids cared about was whether she'd be able to dress herself and smile at me. Perspective, people. That's all I'm asking for. A little perspective.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 3, 2007 3:44 PM

Is it that abhorrent to you if a married couple chooses that the woman work and the man stay home with the child(ren)?

Posted by: To 3:33 PM | July 3, 2007 3:45 PM

Have you asked them? You may be surprised at how many people actually do appreciate receiving a card or a telephone call on their birthday.

I'm not trying to suggest that you don't love or appreciate them in other ways, but it does let them know that you did think of them (card), or are thinking of them (phone call), in honor of that event.

-----

Not that I have to respond to the anons, but just in case someone I respect out there actually thinks I DON'T call my mom on (or near) her birthday, rest assured that she (and everyone else) is called! Holy cow, my mom and I talk about once a week and I e-mail with my sis regularly.

Now cards in the mailbox, not so much . . . .

And, really, I have no patience with anyone who uses the receipt of a b-day card as a litmus test for love.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 3:46 PM

"If you would do that, why not contact someone you know and love, on their birthday, in some fashion? What does it really cost you in terms of time, money or effort?"

what does it cost you in terms of time, money or effort to be this worked up about a call on one day of the year - and not how someone treats you the remaining 364?

What do you think those troops want more? A card? or pressure on Congress to improve VA hospitals, increase the death benefit to spouses, a job when they return home if they leave the military?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:47 PM

Is it that abhorrent to you if a married couple chooses that the woman work and the man stay home with the child(ren)?

Posted by: To 3:33 PM | July 3, 2007 03:45 PM

Nope, but the majority on this blog seem to be female and terribly critical if a woman stays home.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:49 PM

"What do you think those troops want more? A card? or pressure on Congress to improve VA hospitals, increase the death benefit to spouses, a job when they return home if they leave the military?"

At any given moment in time? It depends. Sure, in the big picture/long run they, like all of us, want a safe world, a sound economy, a good job, etc. But there are moments in everyone's life where you'd just like to know that someone cares about you. And a card/phone call at that moment can mean a lot in the short run.

Posted by: Army Brat | July 3, 2007 3:49 PM

I'm also the FATHER.

But then again, my "baby" is 40, and both of my kids manage to do this, and their kids sign the card too.

Posted by: to Megan's Neighbor | July 3, 2007 03:33 PM

I hope you have more to be proud of than this. Anyone can buy cards in bulk at Costco and slap a stamp on there. Do they visit you regularly? Do their kids? Do you get hugs and kisses freely given? These are the things - not the signature in ink - that tell you you spent your living years well.

When my mom had a stroke a couple of years ago, she worried for months about whether she could sign the birthday cards. All we kids cared about was whether she'd be able to dress herself and smile at me. Perspective, people. That's all I'm asking for. A little perspective.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 3, 2007 03:44 PM

As a matter of fact, yes, I do see my kids and grandkids regularly. Almost everyday, in fact. And I still appreciate it when my kids (and grandkids) remember that I have a birthday. I remember theirs too, in addition to being there for much of their day-to-day lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:50 PM

Like Army Brat and (formerly) Vegas Mom, I buy several months worth of cards at a time. Not only that, but if I find a particularly funny card, I buy the same one for as many people as possible who don't know one another and who would all find it appropriate! The bag of cards lives in the correspondence drawer of the desk, along with the stamps. Fortunately I have a memory like a calendar for b-days, anniversaries, etc., so cards generally get mailed in time. DH always bought the cards for his mother. Now that we're both orphaned, we'd love to be able to mail our parents cards (sigh).

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 3:53 PM

"Isn't that the premise behind sending letters to troops overseas? What about visiting the elderly in nursing homes?

If you would do that, why not contact someone you know and love, on their birthday, in some fashion? What does it really cost you in terms of time, money or effort?"

That's exactly why the card thing is strange to me - it's a nice token, but it's not the same as a letter, which takes time and thought and actually communicates something; it's certainly not the same as a visit, where you get to actually spend time together and interact; and I'd argue that even a phone call is more than a card, which, as you said, requires little effort and is little more than a symbolic gesture that many people fulfill only out of obligation or guilt.

I'd rather have somebody call me once in a while when something makes them think of me than feel like they have to send a card that has little or no personal meaning. I appreciate it when someone sends me a card, but I don't understand the talismanic status that they have with some people.


Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 3:53 PM

Vegas mom, I'm right there with ya! Instead of a card, I often have a gift certificate sent by email on the big day, plus I call the special person on their day. No wasted time shopping, no wasted money on something that is just thrown out-- I appreciate cards when I get them, but I actually prefer a phone call even more. I've asked people if they are OK with no card and actually no one has said they would prefer a card instead.

Posted by: Jen S. | July 3, 2007 3:56 PM

Frankly, If I never received another b'day card, I would not care. This goes for father's day, turkey day UN day or any other holiday.

Posted by: another opinion | July 3, 2007 3:56 PM

Nope, but the majority on this blog seem to be female and terribly critical if a woman stays home.

like who? most of the critics are men like lil husky or anons, so how would you know?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:57 PM

I'd rather have somebody call me once in a while when something makes them think of me than feel like they have to send a card that has little or no personal meaning. I appreciate it when someone sends me a card, but I don't understand the talismanic status that they have with some people.

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 03:53 PM

Don't forget that a card is something that someone can actually see, feel and touch when your family is elsewhere. This can be a useful memory trigger when someone is becoming forgetful as they age.

Hasn't anyone else seen how an elderly relative can latch upon a card or photograph and start conversation?

Talismans are not the be-all end-all, but they can be very useful things. Above and beyond symbolism.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 3:57 PM

so how would you know?

I don't know, I said "seem" That is why I asked.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 4:00 PM

"This can be a useful memory trigger when someone is becoming forgetful as they age.

Hasn't anyone else seen how an elderly relative can latch upon a card or photograph and start conversation?"

That's a really good point - and actually the only person I feel guilty about not sending more cards to is my grandfather, I guess that's why! Thanks for the prompt to remember to do so, although I'll probably continue to not worry about my friends my own age ;)

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 4:03 PM

Megan, Actually, some of the most fun in buying cards is reading through the humorous ones to find those for one's contemporaries!

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 4:07 PM

Catlady, you don't know my grandfather ;)

Actually, I really love finding funny cards at really good card stores - not the Hallmark variety - and will often send a funny card to a friend just because it was funny and I thought that person would like it. Or buy it and hang onto it and end up giving it to them next time I see them...

Posted by: Megan | July 3, 2007 4:11 PM

My husband doesn't shop for, sign or send cards. I do it all, and I also work - have never been SAHM. But, he doesn't ask me to do it or expect that I will. My MIL doesn't care that I'm the one who signs the cards, she is just happy that someone remembered her birthday. before I came along, she didn't get a card - DH hasn't stopped doing something because I'm doing it now - he never did it to begin with.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 4:16 PM

Megan - that's awesome. In this day and age with email and cell phones it really is neat to see something in the regular mail that isn't a bill. I like getting cards, but don't hold it against anyone who doesn't send one.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 3, 2007 4:17 PM

I like cards and I like Hallmark.

Posted by: who cares | July 3, 2007 4:17 PM

Thanks for the great post and best of luck to you and your friend!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 4:23 PM

When I was a kid, walking out and getting the mail was a HUGE deal. You never knew what would arrive that day. A new magazine, a letter from Grandma or a pen pal, or a fun catalog.

A few decades later, I still anticipate the mail, but other then the occasional magazine and catalog, the thrill is pretty much gone.

Yes, I do like seeing evite invitations and ecards in my email account, but a paper one now and then would be nice too.

Robin

Posted by: Robin L. | July 3, 2007 4:39 PM

like who? most of the critics are men like lil husky or anons, so how would you know?

Posted by: | July 3, 2007 03:57 PM

How do you know the anons and lilhusky are men?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2007 4:44 PM

Maryland Mother,
Hope you're still here. No, Mr. Metrosexual doesn't take an iron with him. THat's because I set a bd example -- I NEVER, EVER iron!! Everything is wrinkle-resistant, or it goes to the cleaners. I am rebelling against my upbringing. My mother was totally neurotic about ironing. She ironed sheets, hankerchiefs, undershirts...when she went into labor with my younger sister, she called Dad at work, then FINISHED IRONING HIS SHIRTS BEFORE SHE WENT TO THE HOSPITAL!!! Sis was born about 40 minutes after Mom got inside...

I think leaving detrius a trail through the house might be a man thing, but Mr. Metro leaves clothes in his wake like Hansel leaving a breadcrumb trail through the forest.

*Sometimes I think they don't need me there, we simply need a reel-to-reel. Or (*gulp!*) an 8-track tape.*

I wish I still had one of the the Yak-Baks that they boys played with when they were younger!

All you folk who want your own offspring to sign cards -- I signed and sent all the cards for the first 15 or so years of my marriage, to my family and his. I eventually scaled back to my family only, and I don't think he ever picked up the slack. I wonder if that's why they all hate me...

Posted by: educmom | July 3, 2007 4:56 PM

Lil Husky was outed today as Father of 4.

Posted by: To 4:44 | July 3, 2007 5:00 PM

Just saw all those typos. I was trying to write that post while the cat was walking all over the keyboard and head-butting me for attention. Love her...but how do cats know exactly when to get in the way? They're like toddlers -- you know, they won't need you for an hour, but if you so much as touch the telephone receiver...

Posted by: educmom | July 3, 2007 5:02 PM

educman -- while not an ironer myself (my daughter found the iron in the back of the closet and wondered what it was), I can appreciate how a task like ironing might ease some tension before going to the hospital. In my case, when my doc called and told me to report to the hospital in 2 hours to be induced, I occupied the time by paying bills for the next two weeks. DH managed to finish putting the roof on a backyard shed. Somehow, completing those tasks put our minds at ease that the house was ready, with no outstanding projects.

Of course, it's entirely possible that we're just weird!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 5:16 PM

Vegas mom,
I don't think it's too weird to try to be ready, or to make sure you don't have anything to worry about once you get to the hospital. I don't think she was trying to ease her pre-birth stress (sis and I were born in the twilight-sleep days, so she didn't remember a thing about either one of the births) as much as get caught up on her tasks -- sis was two weeks early.

But,I have to tell you, she is certifiably NUTS on the whole ironing thing. She still irons pretty much everything (knit shirts, jeans, wrinkle-resistant khakis) -- in my house, the stuff you run through the dryer for 10 minutes on the touch-up just before you fold it, because if you fold laundry when it's warm, it's not so wrinkled.

Posted by: educmom | July 3, 2007 5:25 PM

Educmom -- It's a generational thing, I'm sure. My grandmother ironed sheets! Even after perma press and wrinkle resistant fabric was the norm, she ironed. She also dressed like Donna Reed about every day until her arthritis got too bad for her to wear heels. She also vacuumed every day.

My standards of cleanliness and pressed-ness are significantly lower, lol!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 5:41 PM

Educmom and Vegas Mom, My mother even ironed socks, underwear, bras, slips and towels!

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 5:46 PM

How does one iron a bra, exactly, Catlady? That would be a challenge!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 5:50 PM

Vegas Mom: Very carefully (rim-shot).

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 5:53 PM

Vegas Mom: Back in my early childhood, one afternoon while my mother was taking a nap, I took it into my head to "help" her with the ironing -- and melted a sock on a sole-plate, since it was made out of one of those new synthetic fibers, not cotton (which the iron was set for -- sorry, MN!). My mom was really annoyed at having such a nasty mess to have to clean, but I think she was also touched by my selfless intention.

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 6:02 PM

I second the idea that reading the cards is the most fun. A friend and I have a running joke. We send totally inappropriate cards at any time when we find them - just for the fun. We try to out do each other.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 3, 2007 6:12 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day
(Something to Think About Division)
Awarded to 3:57

"Don't forget that a card is something that someone can actually see, feel and touch when your family is elsewhere. This can be a useful memory trigger when someone is becoming forgetful as they age.

Hasn't anyone else seen how an elderly relative can latch upon a card or photograph and start conversation?

Talismans are not the be-all end-all, but they can be very useful things. Above and beyond symbolism."

Runner Up to Vegas Mom

"How does one iron a bra, exactly?"

I don't know if the Creepy Van (tm) can be ironed but you would break the camera taking a pix of it!

Posted by: Fred | July 3, 2007 6:13 PM

My saddest card memories.

My whole life, my mom would send me a card on my birthday (like most kids). And my aunt (dad's sis in law) would send me one, with a $25 check (so she had her kids, grandkids, countless other people, and my sisters and me who, I guess, she bought cards for - even after my dad's brother passed away, for like years). The year said aunt had a stroke and went into an assisted living facility was the year mom died. That birthday was sad, since mom and aunt didn't send me cards. It didn't matter who did, it mattered who didn't.

Posted by: atlmom | July 3, 2007 7:27 PM

Hey Fred, I'm the one who actually answered Vegas Mom's question, so I get to ride in the Creepy Vanâ„¢ too!

Posted by: catlady | July 3, 2007 7:29 PM

Catlady,

No. The runner up was the mere question, not the answer.

Posted by: Fred | July 3, 2007 7:38 PM

Psssst -- Catlady.

I'll pick you up and give you a ride. Meet in in lingerie.

Shhhhh. Don't tell Fred.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 3, 2007 7:56 PM

There was a question asked of me earlier about "what do SAHMs with children in school do all day." I personally don't know, since I still have one at home. But a couple of other people answered the question pretty honestly and is what I've seen from people I do know who still sah after their kids are all in school.

To those who said they use their leave to handle the various things that come up with kids during the school day - it's easier to do that when you have a full time career job with benefits. Not always so easy to do that with a part-time job that you're doing just to fill your time, since those are usually support positions where you're expected to be there at certain times each day. So that may be one reason that SAHMs continue to SAH instead of getting a part-time job after the kids are in school - it's just not worth it.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 3, 2007 7:57 PM

and to the person who disagreed with me that Carolyn Hax is a whiner: I agree that she is not normally a whiner. But in this column, she most definitely whined on behalf of SAHMs everywhere. The original question (I read the column when it was published) was a woman whose friend had a baby and proceeded to never have any time for her anymore. She didn't understand and was hurt and was asking honest questions about what SAHMs did all day, and she hadn't gotten answers. The reason she hadn't gotten one is because there is no SAHM of one small child (save for possibly someone whose baby is seriously ill or disabled) out there who can honestly say that she's running from the time she gets up until the time she goes to bed at night. She didn't get an answer from Ms. Hax either - she just got this lecture about how demanding and time consuming babies are. Give me a break - saying you don't have 2 minutes to call a friend or respond to an e-mail is just being rude.

Posted by: a SAHM | July 3, 2007 8:04 PM

"Vienna Mom -- So, having experienced "it all", which would you choose? When were you happiest? Just wondering . . ."

To Working Mom X:

Honestly, they've all been great experiences and I feel like I've always done the right thing at the right time.

I had a job that I loved when my daughter was born so I went back to work when she was 4 months and worked full-time until she was a year old. I quit my job because we were moving overseas and, knowing I wouldn't really have many work opportunities, decided to use that as a break and spend the time home with my daughter.

Now she's about to turn 3 and be in preschool every day from 9-1 so I decided to look into part-time work while she's in preschool. I found something here that I can do for a year until we move back to DC.

Who knows what I will choose to do once we move back - we're also talking about having another child in the next year - but I'm confident that whatever I choose will be right for at least a while, until our situation evolves again.

Posted by: Vienna Mom | July 5, 2007 9:02 AM

great blog! Sorry I orignally had missed it!

Posted by: tlawrenceva | July 5, 2007 9:23 AM

Following is the original question.

To each his own, but the original questioner, to me, is oblivious to the sleep deprivation and lack of organization that comes with newborns, infants, and particularly toddlers needing to be chased and watched over.

Your response is as judgmental as the original letter writer's. Perhaps that's why you find it to be hurt and an honest questioner, and I find her to be a judgmental friend worthy of ditching: "there is no SAHM of one small child (save for possibly someone whose baby is seriously ill or disabled) out there who can honestly say that she's running from the time she gets up until the time she goes to bed at night. She didn't get an answer from Ms. Hax either - she just got this lecture about how demanding and time consuming babies are.


here's a large excerpt from the original question:
"Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal?"

Posted by: to a SAHM | July 5, 2007 11:44 AM

Re: ironing

For the longest time, it was the only way to know, for certain, whether or not the laundry was actually cleaned. No point in ironing dirty linen.

My great-grandmother ran a boarding house, and my grandmother had to help with the laundry (including the ironing of sheets) to keep the family business going. My mother used to iron quite a bit more than she does now.

I don't iron anything regularly, except for the Perler beads creations. Fortunately I have a job where I need to wear clothes that can withstand a fair amount of grime and chemical interactions.

Rather than iron a special bra, I would just put in a bra-baby type contraption and wash it that way and then hang it to dry. I can't imagine ironing something that delicate and not melting something. Some of you people are BRAVE!

Oh, and I'm the one who posted about cards being useful things for jogging memories. My grandmother had a stroke & heart attack last year, and she can be jostled into remember bits of her past far more readily than learning about her present. My mother still has to wear a name-tag, and she supplements it with a photo of herself as a young woman (a time that grandma CAN still remember). Grandma just can't fathom her youngest child being 60, you know?

I enjoy finding funny cards for people. Yeah, sometimes they arrive late, but I do try and send them. I try and shove in a recent photo of the brood too (and yes, I put the date and names of the subjects on the back too).

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 5, 2007 12:46 PM

Maryland Mother -- I am so glad you will be my partner in the creepy van. Can't think of a nicer person to share it with
. . . . uh, with whom to share it.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 5, 2007 6:32 PM

The article is very nice.
All of us want to give our full attention to our kids but at the same time we want to do something for ourselves too.

But the way I see the whole thing. If I were at home all day taking care of my daughter(I Love her to death and enjoy every moment with her no doubt)but when you r doing it 24/7, bathing, feeding, cleaning and the tantrums, you go nuts sometimes. You get mad at the kid and yourself and for no apparent reason we are also mad with the husband. 

Instead when I come to work, all day I'm away from my kid, so by the time I go home in the evening, I'm so looking forward to play and spend time with her. I think of nice activities for her. I'm less irritated with things she does and I have more patience(Partly because of my guilt).

I used to feel bad initially for leaving her at daycare all day. But she has learnt so much from her daycare and the friends she has made. She has lots of friends now and everyday she looks forward to go to her school. I feel she is having more fun at daycare playing with kids her age, rather than sitting at home all day with me.

Posted by: Asha | July 17, 2007 11:39 AM

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