Friday, August 19, 2011

I Don't Want to Sound Ungrateful But...

I don't want to sound ungrateful. I really don't. I've been blessed with the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom for the last 7 years. But being a stay-at-home mom wasn't all fun and games. It came with a big sacrifice of giving up my career. While it was an honor to be able to do it, I also felt that it came at a big trade-off. I lost my sense of identity in addition to losing the large salary.

Now that I'm working again, I'm getting my sense of identity back, which is great! But I feel that I have to still sacrifice my career. It's always going to be daughter first, career second. My husband doesn't have to make those type of sacrifices. I'm sure he makes lots of other type of sacrifices with being a father, but his career is the first priority since our household relies on it to cover our expenses. Simply put, since he makes the big bucks, he doesn't have to balance his work/home life issues--at least not to the degree that I'll always have to.

While I'm sure there are a growing number of households where the wives are the big income-earners, fathers are still the major income-earners for the majority of families. So, fathers don't have to grapple with these type of issues as much as mothers do.

Today, I just felt sad that my income won't be able to match my husband's (or my prior salary). I'm the one that will have to stay home on sick days. I'm the one who always has to put my needs second, or even third. It really isn't fair!

Do you feel the same way?

15 comments:

  1. I used to feel that way but it has dissolved over time. Maybe because we work for ourselves? But I still am the one that is "expected" to do all the kid responsibilities when they are off of school for any reason. It does get old sometimes but I have largely accepted it without resentment. If resentment comes in I can usually complain to the husband and at least he seems sympathetic. Truth is, I set it up this way because I want to be with them more, but you are right, it is at a price.

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  2. To be honest, no matter how great and involved a dad your husband is, it would still "be you," even if you were making the larger salary. It's the way our culture is set up. I call it "the new sexism": sure, women can have a career, but they should have a career AND continue to be the primary source of all domestic life. Unless a man is truly a stay-at-home dad, this is the established norm. He's a "good guy" because he "helps" or takes on some vague responsibilities for the household or kids. But generally, the "household" and "kids" are still YOUR household and kids!

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  3. Yes. Yes I do. It is very frustrating at times. But, what can you do. If they are at least helpful when they are home - that's about all they can do. Priorities and teamwork. That's what I keep telling myself. At least school starts next week so I can finally get on some of the work I let go over the summer. I never knew I would be this excited for school to start. LOL

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  4. The other way to turn this around is to feel sorry for your husband on all the stuff he misses out on by being the breadwinner.

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  5. I occasionally feel that way when I am trying to juggle things, but in the end I agree with Jen that the dads in this scenario are missing out on a lot.

    Since I work part time and don't get paid time off, we decided to have my husband take off for the days that school is scheduled to be out. I handle sick days and snow days. That seems to work out fairly well for us - giving him some more time with our son without lowering my income as much as it would otherwise.

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  6. I would like to smack the person who coined the phrase "work/life balance." There is no balance for us moms. Someone will always get the short end of the stick, and it's usually us.

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  7. Amen to all that! I never realized how hard being a stay at home mom was until I went back to work. The mental sacrifice, self esteem ruin, and brain drain were worth it but most definitely the hardest job I've ever had.

    I look at it this way: it was our contribution to society, and it was worth it!

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  8. There are so many days that I feel this way, too. Staying at home and teaching school to both my boys I feel that I miss out not only on any career, but also just a life! I know I made the right decision...but I still feel that way sometimes.

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  9. It doesn't matter if you work or not,mom is always THE one! Even though I was a full time teacher after my daughers were one, I was the one to stay home when they got sick, etc.

    Either way, we mom's feel guilty and/or deprived.

    For me - a hyperactive person, teaching science for 36 years to middle school children was the right choice. My girls are now successful adults and I have no regrets.

    We all have to make choices and try to find the positives in them.

    Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my flower painting process.

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  10. Yes, I feel this way. I set this up, and I love being a stay-st-home-mom . . . but it does come at a price. I often feel like I wait to see what everyone else's schedule is before I schedule my stuff. I don't have any regrets because I have been there for every cold, ear ache, milestone. But I guess there was just a tad bit more of balance and less guilt when I take time for myself.

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  11. Your husband possibly has a perspective on this also. For example, in my case even though I'm temporarily off work, in the next few days I have to: complete paperwork to file a tax return (extension), complete a lengthy refi application and find almost a dozen pieces of supporting paperwork, file a lengthy claim to a power company for damages after a power surge, install 5 more pieces of new equipment that were blown out by that surge, go to the motor vehicle bureau to pick up missing license plates, complete a day's worth of work without pay in order to hold onto a future client, spray a slightly toxic anti fungicide on dry rotted studs under the house, and then replace those studs with very feeble carpentry skills in the 100 degree heat.

    At those times when I am working full-time, while attempting to keep my career a priority, on almost every weekend, I'm the one who is fixing faucets, cleaning out dryer vents, replacing the expansion joints in our driveway, writing letters to service providers, etc. while at the same time, trying to always be present as a father.

    Is any of this fair? Although it often doesn't feel that way to me, if I'm being honest, I have to say, probably yes - my wife has worked full time as a stay home mom, and I know how much responsibility that entails. Now she's juggling that role with work. We both have had to make sacrifices.

    I guess what I'm saying is that in most households, both spouses have to grapple with issues.

    Here's a recent cover story from Time Magazine about the long raging battle about "who works the hardest." It turns out, on average, both spouses put in equal effort, but in different ways. I suspect the same is true when it comes to perceived sacrifice.

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/07/21/time-cover-story-why-men-and-women-should-end-the-chore-wars/

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  12. It's a trade off. I make less money than I used to when I had a "career" instead of a job, but there are things around the home that just wouldn't get done if I was not so available for our son and our family. I don't worry that I contribute less financially. It was my ability to make frugal choices and save that allowed us to buy our home, as I put down the deposit, and was able to do this just 4 1/2 years after buying another home which I retained when we got married. I continue to make the frugal choices for our family, which allows us to continue saving. Coupons, watching for deals, finding activities at low or no cost, etc. My only worry is that if something happened to my husband, I would not be able to support my son and myself on the wages I bring home now, and I've been out of my "career" field for so long, I'm not sure I could go back.

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  13. I knew when I left my teaching job in Virginia after almost 20 years. I would never make that salary again. Here in South Carolina my Virginia salary isn't even on the pay scale for teachers.

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  14. Can it be more balanced at your house? Can you talk to your husband and tell him how you feel?

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  15. I feel the same way.

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