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SAHM: To be or not to be, that is the question

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice SAHM: To be or not to be, that is the question

This topic contains 27 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar RedRoverRedRover 7 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 13 through 24 (of 28 total)
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  • #668342 Reply

    Is being an office manager something you’d get professional satisfaction from? It sounds like it might be a professional step down for you as you have an MBA and most office managers only need a BA/BS. If you decide it’s not for you how hard would it be to get back into your unique job that you enjoy? Would you and your husband have other things to talk about besides work and the children? My Dad owns a company and my Mom worked for him very briefly but they both realized it was a bad idea. She could have been a SAHM but she continued to work part time to have something of her own in her life. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what’s best for you and your family, but don’t put your own wants/needs/desires to the side either!

    #668343 Reply

    Hi – I don’t really see the advantage for you. I feel SAHM implies one is raising her kids and taking care of her family. So really you are looking at leaving your job outside the home for a total different job that you can do at your house while adding in taking care of 2 kids.

    1. From my experience, it is extremely difficult to get much done with a baby and a preschooler under your care.

    2. As an extrovert, I can tell you being a SAHM for 12 years did not meet my social and adult needs.

    3. I am now working part time from home while my kids are at school. Working at home is very isolating.

    Keep your current job, keep your childcare, help your husband hire out for his business.

    #668361 Reply

    My take is that if you were already planning to take some time off for your baby, then this might make sense, as long as you guys can figure out appropriate balance (since being a SAHM and running is business is basically having two jobs) and have a plan for you going back to your career, if desired. If you weren’t planning on that, and the idea came from the “need” to have you (or whoever) fill the role, then I’d be hesitant for all the reasons you and the others have mentioned.

    I wish things were different, but women do need to be careful about where they take their careers when they have kids. I think unless you know for a fact that you want to permanently end or change a career, you have to be careful not to limit your future options. I’ve seen quite a few women who stayed home with their kids and took on part-time work in an unrelated field, and struggled very much to get back in their field. My opinion is that you can always choose to go run the business later, but I’d not to do it until you decide it’s what you truly want to do. Of course, I think doing it for a year might not be that detrimental, if you were leaning more toward that time frame.

    #668376 Reply

    I don’t think you are going to be a SAHM if you are planning to work with your husband. True, may be you will have more flexibility but certainly not that much more free time when taking care of 3 kids.

    Personally, I would not give up a career because kids will go to school by 5 years and then you are left with a big gap in career. And if you are planning on working with your husband, make sure you have a big enough title/role assigned so it will not be a step down career wise.

    #668379 Reply

    I’ve been a SAHM for going on 20 yrs. My youngest is 12 and I’m still home because that’s what works best for our family (and it will probably stay that way till he’s out of high school). I’m all about having a parent stay home and devote themselves to raising the kids.

    That being said, you’re not really talking about being a SAHM. You’re talking about being a work-at-home mom which is a whole different ball game. A close friend’s husband works from home sometimes so I’ve gotten to see a little of how that works for them. He has a home office and will lock the door and put on noise-cancelling headphones to try to keep from being distracted by his wife and kids. It’s kind of hard on all of them. His family understands he needs to work, but when he’s right there, they also kind of expect him to available. There can be some tension when he has to say no, I can’t go pick up the kids from school or help you load that into the car right now… or whatever other million little things that only take a few minutes by themselves, but would add up to completely unproductive work day. I’ve seen her get irritated with him when he did stop to help her with something and then had to say, this is all I can do for now, I’m still on the clock.

    And plenty of WAHMs I know complain about their time not being respected. Things like neighbors thinking they can drop their kids off for a “play date” (ie: free babysitting) since you’re home anyway. And husbands (and kids) expecting dinner made and errands run and the house cleaned as if you were a SAHM with no other job to do. Mostly these women work at night while the kids are in bed and somehow try to function on very little sleep.

    If you’re working for your own husband’s business, it would be infinitely more difficult to have any separation between work and family life. If you’re having work stress, will that spill over into the marriage? Are you going to be expected to take on more of the household chores and such “since you’re home all day?” Will you be expected to be “on call” for both the kids and the business 24 hrs a day?

    If your husband’s business is doing so well he’s ready to expand, it would probably be best to hire outside help. If this were a shared dream and it was always the goal to work together, that would be one thing. But it doesn’t sound like you’re really in the same field – you just happen to have business education and experience. You also already have a job you find fulfilling.

    So as much as I want to be a champion of the stay-home parent, I kind of think you should keep the job you have now. Or at least recognize that working for your husband would really just be changing jobs, and try to set very clear boundaries around the work/marriage/mom expectations.

    #668382 Reply
    Miss MJ

    So, my husband started his own law firm and I left my big law job to join him several years ago. I also have evolved to where I work mostly from home. There’s a lot to consider.

    I really miss the social aspect of an office environment. We make up for it by joining professional groups that meet for dinner and drinks a couple of times a month, and, like Kate said, we go out a lot. Like several times a week, for dinner or at least drinks, and I have an active group of girlfriends I do things wth often. It makes up for a lot of the social isolation. We don’t have kids, though. I’m not sure that’s feasible with 3 kids. How would you make up for the lack of built in kid free adult interaction?

    Also, working from home for your own business tends to take over your life. So, I agree wth others that it’s not like being a SAHM. You’re still working full time, likely longer hours than you did before when you count all the time up. It’s much more flexible, obviously, and I appreciate that I can work in what I need to do for personal time, home care and work without needing to worry about putting in face time, but still, work doesn’t get “left at the office” like it did before; instead it bleeds into the other aspects of your life. Plus, even with flexibility, I often feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and the stress of managing it all has been known to wake me up at 3:00 am (and lead to late night DW posts, ha!). If you/your husband are anticipating that you can manage 3 kids, the house, and his office full time with no help because you’re “staying at home” that’s likely not realistic. How do you guys envision you balancing care for the baby and kids with work? Also, what about maternity leave?

    Not to mention that there is a unique stress when your only source of income is yourself. We’ve been successful and are financially stable and comfortable, but, not gonna lie, at first, leaving my regular paycheck was terrifying. Sometimes it still is. In addition, realistically, working for our own business also financially ties me to my husband more than if I still had a separate job. Not because he controls the money or I don’t have access, but if we were to get a divorce, we’d have to work together for a while or figure out how to divide the firm. Do you want to give up that measure of financial independence? Also, how are you going to get paid? Are you “free” labor?

    Another issue to consider is it sounds like you’d be working for your husband. You need to think about how that dynamic will change your marriage. I’m a 50% owner of our firm, so there’s no “boss,” but we still sometimes have tension over work stuff. When your business partner or boss who is being unreasonable is also your spouse, there’s no real letting off steam venting when you get home. Also, we’re together (or in contact) almost all the time. It’s very different from when I went to work for 10 hours a day 5 days a week and worked with other people. And, to be honest, it takes a toll. We’re good about doing our own thing, but still, there are days, especially when he also works from home, when we annoy the piss out of each other. Can your marriage handle that dynamic?

    Finally, what happens if you try working for your husband and it doesn’t work out? Do you quit? Can he fire you? How will that impact your marriage? Can you easily get another job?

    None of this is to say that you shouldn’t do what your husband proposed, just that you need to really think about it. Despite the issues I raised above, I’m glad I work with my husband and I’m glad we have our own business. I enjoy being my own boss. I love the freedom and flexibility we have because of it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. But, it’s not without its challenges.

    #668385 Reply

    To Redessa’s points… my parents worked for a big computer company. Even in the late 70s/early 80s they could work from home, because they could log into a modem over the phone line and they actually had email.

    So they managed to do something pretty unique at the time and arrange their schedules to be flexible so one of them was home one day a week each (I think? At first, when I was still in daycare), and then later after school when we were still too young to be home for hours without supervision. So one of them would be there, in the old sewing room, now office, working.

    But they were working! They were only there in the sense of an adult being on the premises and could deal with an emergency (like once I was jumping on the bed with my toothbrush in my mouth and it went down my throat). Otherwise they were focused on work, and we could have been setting things on fire in the yard or be running all around town on our bikes or whatever. It wasn’t like actual parental interaction. I seriously don’t think that’s possible. And this was over 35years ago!!!

    #668386 Reply

    And I can’t stress enough *we were in daycare or at a sitter’s or preschool the majority of the time.*

    #668390 Reply

    And this was after we were babies. When I was an infant, we lived at a college where my dad taught and my mom worked (PT I guess? But she was still nearby anyway) in the library, and all the students wanted to babysit us. We had one girl in particular who was our sitter.

    Yesterday, my direct report who has 2 kids and works 4 days, had her baby at home with a fever, and then took him to the pediatrician. She got almost nothing done. That’s the way it goes. Usually they are both at day care. Another woman on my team has FOUR kids, and she works from home, but there’s a nanny and a closed-door policy.

    WFH can be fine if you’re up for it, but childcare is a totally separate job. Any feminist liberal would say the same.

    #668439 Reply

    Everyone’s giving great advice. The thing to remember is, this discussion is covering 3 full-time jobs (your job, SAHM, your husband’s office manager) and one part-time job (after-hours childcare). How many jobs do you think you can handle? You’ve got the part-time job no matter what, you have to do dinner and bedtime and all that. Unless your husband wants to take it on and leave you the evenings free to do other work. If not, then you can probably only handle one other full-time job. That’s basically what it comes down to. You can’t have a full-time job working for your husband plus a full-time job taking care of three pre-school-age kids. It’s not going to happen. So you can work for your husband and get a nanny, you can be a full-time SAHM and just help with high-level business decisions like you do now, or you can keep your job. I guess the final choice would be, like Ron said, if you can do part-time at your current job then maybe you can do another part-time job. Like you could scale back your paid work and spend half the day with your kids (or a day a week or whatever), but you’d still need paid childcare for the rest of the time.

    To make your decision, just look at all the possible jobs, and which ones can be part-time and which full-time. You probably can’t do more than 1.5 jobs. Maybe 2 jobs if you really want to push it. So juggle those around and see how you can fit them together, and who could do each one. I think that’ll help you sort out which combos are even possible. And then from there you can write out the pros and cons of each, which will help you make your decision. My guess is you’ll end up keeping your job, since what your husband proposes is actually an impossibility. You’ll find you need a nanny anyway if you do what he’s suggesting.

    #668448 Reply

    Wow everyone. Awesome feedback. And absolutely no judgement – just what I needed. I feel very supported and have a lot of great things to consider, both about the workload and about myself.

    I tend to side with the working part-time or reduced hours. I’ve heard it called the “school-bus schedule” where I am still in an office, just not 45+ hours a week. Our team is restructuring in the next year or so which may open up the potential for this.

    I also need a real dialogue with my husband. I’ve been thinking of this as a get the business going “band-aid,” but a job I enjoy is a lot to give up for just a short-term need.

    You are all very perceptive – yes I have an MBA and business knowledge, but I channel it professionally in the NFP world. My husband said I can volunteer instead, but I am sure we can all relate to the fact that a volunteer, or even a board member is NOT the same as a full-time director.

    Thank you for all of the detailed responses. I am humbled and also re-affirmed that either choice does not make me a good or bad person.

    #668464 Reply

    Off-topic but @kate, I want to know what happened with the toothbrush going down your throat! Did you go to the hospital, did they get it out via Heimlich, could you breathe, etc.?

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