Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Jaci, like Jackie, not like Jaycee.

I wonder how many times you've said that, Jaci?

Oh, Jaci and I got in trouble when we were little.

I hope that Jaci won't mind me telling you how we got yelled at in the hall in 5th grade for throwing little wads of paper into someone's exposed butt crack. OR how we got caught passing notes about our awful teacher's wig and painted on cheek freckles (Mrs. Edison, I'm looking at you), and she called us IGGERNET, and then we laughed in her face.

Jaci is hilarious, and so is her blog. She writes what she thinks, and what she thinks is All Kinds of Awesome. It is one of those blogs that never gets Marked As Read on my reader, and I am so excited to put her in charge of my blog for today. So enjoy this guest post from Jaci and then head over to her blog and get caught up!

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Yeah! I’m a guest on Jen’s blog! Jen and I go way back (to 4th grade when she’d invite me over for sleepovers and we’d watch The Little Mermaid on a continuous loop and laugh at kids we didn’t like until we almost peed our pants).

Jennepper has always had the gift of sarcasm, internets.

I never heard of blogs until I read Jen’s a couple of years ago—then I thought, “If she can write one so can I, damn it!” Annnnd…that’s how I created Ravings of a Mad Housewife out of pure jealousy and high school immaturity.

My blog falls into the lame category of Mommy Blog, but I write about whatever comes into my head. For example:

Have you ever had someone get all up in your face about how you could afford to be a stay-at-home mom if you just learned to “sacrifice”? I got that over Thanksgiving dinner—from GRANDMA.

It’s bad enough when some pro-homeschooling blowhard gets all up in your biznass, but Grandma? Gawd. I had to sit there, pregnant and bored, while she told me how she stretched Grandpa’s $48 per week and how she hasn’t worked (or driven a car thankyouverymuch) since 1944.

(Want to know her reason for quitting her cushy secretarial job? She was afraid the big time CEO’s would tempt her away from grandpa. I’m totally going to use THAT excuse on my husband when my maternity leave is over.)

Then my aunt jumped in with her SAHM advice—“I didn’t go back to work until your cousin was 16.”

My jaw dropped. “You mean you didn’t work full time until then.”

“No. I didn’t work. PERIOD. I stayed home.”

As they both tag teamed me with promises of the money I could save if I just learned to sew our own clothes (Argh! Duggar jumpers!) I couldn’t help but feel that their lives had been such a waste.

Don’t get me wrong—I want to stay at home with my babies—but I don’t want to stay home waiting for my pimply-faced 7th grader to climb off the school bus at 4 pm. What is there to do all day? Dust the baseboards? Bake my own bread? Snoop through the kids’ bedrooms?

If Grandma had gone back to work in the 60’s, she would have qualified for her own social security instead of pinching pennies on Grandpa’s. If my aunt had even worked part-time during her kids’ school years, maybe they would have had name brand clothes, vacations, and dinners that didn’t involve hot dogs.

So, while I wanted to scream out, “How could you find any personal fulfillment in NEVER leaving the house? I want more out of my life than that!” I kept my mouth shut. It takes a certain breed to be a SAHM-lifer, and it’s best not to look them directly in the eye or speak loudly or they’ll tear your face off.

It’s also pointless to argue that your husband’s income will not cover all of the bills and you have to work, because really? Sewing machines, coupons, and dinners made out of dried beans can easily cover $18,000 of missing income.

Duh.

60 comments:

CJ said...

LOVED THIS!!! I so totally understand what you mean!! I am a work full time mom and I have twins and people try to tell me the same mess! HA! We got bills baby!!! :) Adding yoru blog to my blog roll. So glad I got to read today!

Heather said...

hoo boy, this one ought to get some good comments! i shall check back later for the good stuff that's sure to come. :o)

Susan K said...

Ouch....I usually LOVE this blog but found this one kind of brutal - maybe because I also decided to waste my life (a.k.a. stay home with my baby)? We're not all jumper-sewing, casserole-making, low-income potential base-board dusters... Down, girl.

Sunny said...

OUCH! Yes, the comments on this one will certainly be interesting. lol

I do plan to go back to work when my kiddos are in school full time... because unless we win the lottery and I can fill my "empty" life by getting manicures and shopping for outrageous purses, I would prefer to go back to work rather than try to figure out how to raise three boys and save for retirement on one salary. But my MIL has never earned a paycheck since graduating college (she has four kids), and although I do think she could get something PT at least to help with college expenses... well, "wasting her life" seems a bit harsh.

renee said...

what's ironic is that the only people I've ever known to be self-important, pushy and close-minded on the subject, are the working mothers. maybe the ones wasting their lives are the ones sitting at a computer and fetching coffee all day long while their children are being raised by a nanny. then having to make up for lost time all weekend long by cleaning etc, and spending their "extra income" eating out 5 nights a week b/c they can't manage to make a well-balanced dinner for their families. and trust me there is PLENTY to do in a day. I have three children under the age of 5 and there is not a boring moment in my day. and i'm pretty sure that wont end when they go to school. i love jens sarcasm and wit, but i found this one extremely offensive.

Mandy and Jack said...

Hahaha. I believe I'll be enjoying reading the comments on this post. Ready.... GO.

Jaci said...

Just to clarify...

I was a SAHM until my daughter turned 3, and I am not bashing SAHMs with young children at home.

I AM saying that I would never want to be a lifetime SAHM and can't imagine staying home when my children are in school. If that IS something you can see yourself doing, then we're different.

Kim said...

Hmm.

Really not sure what to say about that one.

I 'retired' from my previous career to 'stay at home' and take care of our children. I don't stay at home to take care of the house. I make dinner, sometimes. And of course I do a little clean up here and there. But the big time cleaning ("dusting the baseboards") and errands are all 50/50 and/or happen when my husband is home from work or after the kids are in bed. The idea of actually 'staying at home' is laughable, actually. We're hardly ever here - and I rarely get the chance to sit, eat, or even pee before my husband walks in the door.

I was lucky enough to actually switch over to working full from home, while maintaining my entire salary. A rare accommodation. It sounded great... I could have the best of both worlds. Except I didn't. Working full-time from home with two little ones clearly doesn't work well. I ended up doing all of my work at night (until 2-3-4 am) and taking conference calls in the laundry room to block out the noise.

It just wasn't working. But I also wasn't willing to hand my kids over to someone else for 8+ hours a day. That's a lot of time to lose, to me. Time that matters, to me. And I get that it's a sacrifice. That to some, it's worth being able to provide the name brand clothes, the nice vacations, the college funds full to the brim, and the granite counter tops.

I can completely understand why some moms want to preserve their own identity and continue to be something other than 'just' a mom. Some days (really, most), I am absolutely losing my mind and daydream about what it would be like to get away for a little while - have a quiet commute where I can actually HEAR the music playing, actually have time to eat lunch (and something other than goldfish and PB&J), and be able to pee whenever I want to - alone.

But to ME, to US, me being 'just' a mom is well worth the price tag of giving all of that up. And it was a hefty price tag. I actually made more than my husband. So our income was DRAMATICALLY reduced. We went from being able to buy whatever, whenever or going wherever, whenever to being paycheck to paycheck - watching every penny. No big vacations or eating out 3-4 times a week.. no more starbucks and no shopping sprees at boutiques for the girls.. no home upgrades or many date nights out.

Worth it? Absolutely. To US. But I don't expect that to be the same for everyone else. If I was working 'instead', I would miss out on so much. So much that I would never, ever get back.

It's lonely to get home after school to an empty house. It's lonely to not have someone ask about your day. It's lonely to ride to school on a cold bus. It's lonely to not have anyone to help you with your homework. It's lonely to have parents who care more about where they will be financially in 50 years than where they are right now, in this moment.

I know, because I was that kid.

Jen said...

Yeah...SAHM vs. WAHM always = CRAYZEE in the comments!

renee - I disagree with you (respectfully, of course). Pushy and closed-minded comes from both ways. Definitely. I get shit because I work, and you get shit because you don't.

I have posted about this before, so you probably know how I feel, but I think it's hard both ways.

Jen said...

"It's lonely to get home after school to an empty house. It's lonely to not have someone ask about your day. It's lonely to ride to school on a cold bus. It's lonely to not have anyone to help you with your homework. It's lonely to have parents who care more about where they will be financially in 50 years than where they are right now, in this moment."

As a product of two working parents: I never cared! Ever!

alli&pat said...

ummm renee, are you not being just as "pushy and close minded" by saying that working moms do nothing but "sit at a computer all day, fetching coffee" and certainly don't have the time to "make a well-balanced meal" for their family.

this debate bores me because EVERYONE decides its OK to mud-sling, name call and act downright immature.


i work part time...i'm sure both sides want to throw me under the bus. sure i'm home...but not fully at home. sure i work...but not fully work. yikes...

and by the way, my working part time is what's right for MY family and what's right for ME as a mom. i'm a better mom because of it...

oh and saying that i allow daycare to raise my kid...most OFFENSIVE comment ever. surely the folks that sling that comment will also homeschool...i'd hate for you to allow lowly teachers to "raise your kid"

Miss Tori said...

I love this! I will be adding Jaci's blog to my reader. Too bad I can't add to either argument as I haven't been blessed with a child to stay home with or leave while I go back to work. Must be a nice argument to have.

Cheers!

renee said...

lol jen. yes we definitely RESPECTFULLY disagree ;-) i guess i am exceptionally hot under the collar over this subject due to the fact that my BIL just married the most hateful women EV.ER. who is constantly calling me names and talking all sorts of trash about how I am a "burden" on josh b/c i stay home with the kids.

I do not have a problem with working moms. I do have a problem with ANY woman who says that b/c i stay at home i am wasting my life. which is the reason i got defensive. i feel that what i am doing is VERY important. as do you, i'm sure.

alli & pat...i was simply showing that there are two sides. she believes that i am wasting my time by staying home and taking care of my children. i was showing that it is just as easy to make the same assumption about the working mother.

Loretta said...

I have a great job that I hope to leave when my baby is born this summer. And I hope to never go back to a full-time job. Not so I can stay at home, but so that I can raise my children, take care of the house so that when my husband gets home we can enjoy each other's company instead of dust in separate rooms, participate in my kids' schools, volunteer, write, spend time with friends, garden, and go to the grocery when there aren't 60 million people there.

I think anyone who says they would get bored without a full-time job lacks imagination.

areyoukiddingme said...

Hmm...some people missed the point of the post, I think. Jaci (which I would totally pronounce Jaycee) seems to be saying that continuing to be a SAHM when your kid is in school full time is a waste of talent. I tend to agree. If your child does not need you full time (i.e. if you're not homeschooling), why wouldn't you go out and contribute monetarily to your family? Or why wouldn't you set a good example of social service by volunteering in a regular capacity? How often does the house need cleaning? How long does it take to make dinner? (Around here, school gets out at 2:30-3:00 - plenty of time for dinner prep in most cases) What are you doing with your time otherwise that couldn't be packed in to a weekend...when you teach your children responsibility by getting them to help?

Stephanie said...

I have to add to the comments on this one. I've read Jaci's blog before, and she says what she thinks. Period. Obviously not everyone will agree. And I'd like to add the caveat that Jaci's grandma, like my own, was part of a generation where women did not work. Period. They had to make the choice between working and having a family. We're lucky that many can have both.

However, I take issue with the idea that working moms somehow have extra income to "eat out 5 times a week" or not make a homecooked meal. I make dinner every night, I make my baby's own baby food, and I try to clean. But believe me, I know that you can't clean and do it all when you have a baby to take care of all day. It's exhausting.

But I work because I like it. And I like that my daycare lady loves my baby so much. And she's so good with her!

Also, I'm the product of two working parents, and I was an only child. I never felt lonely because my parents were working, only that I didn't have siblings to take some of the attention off of me. I enjoyed the fact that my parents could take me on vacations, that they worked hard to provide me with the best. And, in fact, I watched my next door neighbor, wife of a surgeon, basically not do anything all day (she still doesn't work and her kids are grown and out of the house - I have no idea what she fills her time with). I never wanted that. I still don't.

Stephanie said...

Ah, I think I lost my comment! Anyway, just wanted to say that once again, why does it matter?

As a working mom, I get pretty offended when a SAHM says that someone else is "raising" my child.

I was the product of two working parents, and believe me, I never thought the daycare people were my parents. Nor did I think teachers were. And I was never lonely, and I was an only child. Sometimes I did wish there was someone else to deflect their attention.

Oh, and I make homecooked meals. I'm even making real babyfood from scratch.

I like working. I felt completely isolated when I was home on maternity leave. I'm much happier now, knowing that a very capable lady is taking care of my precious baby. It works for me, and it works for my family.

Jaci said...

I wish I could afford to volunteer, write, and garden. Rather than lacking an imagination, I have the experience of reality.

I stayed at home for 3 years and pinched every penny in my husband's paycheck. There were days when I couldn't afford to put gas in the car to get us to Wal-Mart. I had pay for a lot of our groceries with credit. We did without clothes, cable, expensive cuts of meat, haircuts, cosmetics...

Guess what? I'm about to live it all again in 5 months when the 2nd baby is born and I'm out on my butt with no maternity pay and no job to come back to.

Most working moms work because they have to pay bills. Real bills, like the electric bill and the car insurance and the mortgage--not vacation and college funds.

Wes and Dani said...

Wow...the mud is definitely being slung. (Is slung a word?) :) First of all, I want to say that I think Jaci's post was cleverly-written and entertaining.

As an infertile, I of course can't contribute too much to this debate...but I do want to say that I really REALLY think it's a personal decision.

SAHM's should not be bashing working moms, and vice-versa. It really is something people have to work out for themselves, and everyone's situation is different.

Some people truly can't afford to live off of one income...some people CHOOSE not to live off of one income, and there is NO right answer. I'm kind of shocked by the somewhat rude comments people have been leaving. I plan to stay at home raising my kids...and I don't know that I would ever want to go back to work (even when they are full-time in school) because I can think of about a million things I could do to occupy my time other than sitting at a computer all day (like I currently do).

BUT that's just the way I see it...everyone's different, so you all need to just relaxxxxxxx. Do your thing--don't point fingers or judge--and we can all be one big happy bloggin' family.

Kim said...

Jen - I'm glad that you didn't care (ever) and that it didn't affect you. That's why you can easily choose to continue to work now.

I did care, however. I hated it. I was actually jealous of the kids who had rules because there parents were actually there to care and enforce them. Growing up, we ate 'what was around'. We did our own school projects and often times put ourselves to bed. No one was there to spend time with us or even just talk to us about our day. I so badly wanted to be the kid who had to 'go home' because 'dinner was ready'.

I was always the kid who got 'a ride' to soccer practice/track meets/school concerts/etc. No one was there to cheer me on or take pictures. In high school, we lived just far enough to not be zoned for school buses (but still a pretty far walk) and I walked over a mile home most nights in the cold/rain/whatever after a full day of school and sports. And no one was there to even make sure I got there okay. And it sucked.

Maybe your job allows you the flexibility to be home for dinner every night or leave for appointments or special events or school parties. Mine didn't, so it was an all or nothing thing. I couldn't be the mom that *I* wanted to be and still have 100% left to give to my career. It's an individual choice.

Kim said...

Jaci,

With all due respect - you must acknowledge that reality has a lot to do with perspective and individual circumstances. It also has a lot to do with what a family is willing to give up and do without and what they feel are priorities. All of those things vary by family.

To put it all out there, our collective income 'once was' around $110,000. Now it is about $50,000. My husband is a Naval Officer and he isn't home very often. So it's even more important to us that I am. But that kind of change doesn't come with a tremendous adjustment in the way that we choose to live our lives. Could we pay our bills before? Of course, with a lot leftover to save, invest, and spend. Can we still pay our bills now? Yes. It's the same house and the same bills. It's possible if it's what you want. And I'm not saying that it IS what everyone wants.

If we had to downsize for me to continue to stay at home with our children, we would do what we had to because it's that important to us. If we couldn't keep the heat on, that would be a different story. But we can, even if it means giving up a lot of extras.

The difference between now and then is that now, while we can still afford our home and bills, it's tight. There isn't anything leftover. We have to budget and strategize and cut a lot of things out. It's not always fun. And sometimes it sucks to not be able to do things. It would definitely be nice to have the best of both worlds, but that's not possible. So I just try to come up with creative ways that we can do things or spend time together without spending a lot. It's possible.

I can completely understand how that wouldn't be okay with some people. How they wouldn't want to live that way. But it's okay for me right now because to us, this time is invaluable. I don't know that I'll stay at home for forever. I'm sure that I'll want to work at least part time or do a lot of volunteer work. I'm not anti-working or anti-saving for the future. It's just important to me to give my girls something that I didn't have and I couldn't do that in my previous career because it was really a 10-12 hour a day (at least) commitment. I didn't like the mom that I was becoming because of it, so it wasn't worth it to us.

I think the point in all of this is that it's honestly a bit rude to judge another person's choices when you haven't walked in their shoes. You can't possibly impose your own priorities and opinions on someone else because we're all individuals. And it's unfair to expect someone else to make the choices that you have or live the way that you do because they're NOT you.

Deanna said...

aye yae yae. Such drama over the differences.

I get what Jaci's saying. I can't imagine being a SAHM while my older kids were at school all day. Even having a few days off from work while the baby is at daycare so that I can get some stuff done drives me nuts. But then, I guess since I just admitted that I would take a day off from work AND put my baby in daycare while I was home cleaning will probably ellicit some responses.

Fun times.

Good Egg Hunting said...

I had a mother who stayed at home full-time until my brother and I were long past the baby stage. And you know what I got out of it? A mother who was miserable & resentful of what she "gave up" to stay at home (and if you think this didn't affect me, ask my therapist about it). So even if you don't have to work for financial reasons, I am all for women who recognize that they need to work to be good (read: not resentful) mothers when they're at home.

I tend to agree with you, Jaci, in that I don't really understand what you'd do if you were at at-home mom with a kid in school full-time -- but I think the bigger point is that your grandmother was totally out of line in what she said to you, and so are so many of the comments made to women just trying to make the best decisions for their family. It's like the fact that it's about your decisions as a mother makes it fair game for open discussion. Unless you really lacked social skills you wouldn't tell someone (esp. a man) that you disagreed with their life decisions around their career, their home, their religious beliefs. So why is this any different? At the end of the day, I really don't give a hoot what anyone else thinks about my decisions related to MY child. If you're satisfied with what you're doing or did as far as work/home, more power to you. It does seem like those who are satisfied are less inclined to lob negative comments at the other side...and those who aren't seem to care and protest a bit too much about their counterparts.

Good Egg Hunting said...

PS I'm adding your blog to my reader -- love it! Thanks, Jen, for the intro.

Loretta said...

If you have to work to pay the bills, that's one thing. And I respect working mothers who bust their butts to provide for their families both at work and at home. However, my response was to your "what is there to do all day" comment. There's plenty to do.

Jenn said...

I think this is one of those subjects that people will never agree on. Sometimes people are SO passionate about decisions like this (and breastfeeding, natural child birth, etc.) that they're not willing to even take a look at the other side of things.

I was a SAHM for the first 2 years of my daughter's life, because financially we could do it. It was nice, but I didn't like feeling like I had to pinch pennies every time I turned around. I enjoy coming to work everyday. I work hard so my family can have awesome benefits. I work hard so my daughter can attend a montessori school. THOSE are the things I work for.

If you enjoy being a SAHM, that's awesome. More power to you! I have been there and done that. I can promise you, it's not for everyone.

Jaci, I also think your grandma is a bit out of line, but at the same time, I think that's a generational thing. My grandma is the same way, but she would never tell me (to my face).

As for women to SAH until their children are nearly out of high school, that I really don't understand. To each their own, I guess.

Jaci, I've been following your blog for some time now, and I always enjoy reading. Now I'm about to add Jen to my list :)

MC said...

I agree with Loretta. If a woman can find things to do that contribute to her family during the day (whether monetary contributions or not), the family can still make ends meet and provide a standard of living they feel is worth their situation, and she, her husband, and kids feel they are better off for it-- why is that a problem?

Some families live very happy, simple lives off one income. So do some couples. Your income does not dictate your worth. The non-working spouse is not necessarily a waste of life. There are people who work full-time jobs and read the internet all day long, or who do many other things than what their actual job dictates-- how does their earning a paycheck make them more valuable than others? Some women are extremely fulfilled by their careers, which is wonderful. Some women are not, and find their fulfilment doing things they are not compensated in dollars for. Life is too short for us to spend our times in roles we hate when there are other options for our particular situation.

Dana said...

Not a fan....won't be adding this one.

Heather Rodriguez said...

Its always nice to see closed minded and no clue from the other side of the fence.

Pass.

sillymommy said...

I am a SAHM, and I believe that women make their own decisions based on what's good for them. And I respect that other people know what's best for their families. Staying with sillybaby has made us POOR, but I'm glad to have done it, and it will not be forever.

Keep writing Jaci & Jen - Thanks for making me laugh out loud and making me think. You both are great!

luckysunshinebaby said...

Yikes! I'm sad I'll have to go back to work when our (future, because we only have one now) children are in school. I wish we were in the financial position to allow me to stay home, for good. I loved my job. I would love it again. But I want to be there when they get home from school. I want to not juggle work and soccer practice. I want them to be involved in tons of activities, including those that start before my 5+pm arrival time home. I want to volunteer in their school as a room mom. I want them to have the freedom to go over friends houses after school. I could go on forever with this list. I think there is value in what we do and can do from home.
I have to admit, this is kinda a harsh one. I'm not loving this guest blog. I mean the debate is already super charged enough. But the comments (on their own, at face value) are super sucky. I get it. It's not for everyone. But never finding personal fulfillment? Never leaving the house? How could a SAHM not be offended? Not the funny commentary I look forward to:( Boo.

lori said...

i'm enjoying the smart-ass, tell-it-how-i-see-it vibe on both jen's and jaci's blogs, but i can understand taking offense at this post.

i am on both sides of the SAHM fence. i am a SAHM right now and have been for almost 4 years. i do some contract and freelance work out of my house, but i am primarily at home. there are days that i hate my "job"...i feel isolated, unappreciated, and aimless. then, there are days when i watch my daughter write her name, draw a picture of our family, count to 10 in spanish, and whatever else she's currently learning. with my baby, there's something new every day, and i'm glad to be here for that.

i argue with myself on a nearly daily basis about what's right for me and for our family. i do REALLY look forward to going back to work when the kids are in school and to making something of my budding freelance career in the mean time. i also know that i will be glad i had this time with my kids.

Anonymous said...

I feel sad for those of you who can't handle being with your kids because "they drive you crazy"- maybe you shouldn't of had any. At least ACT like you like them.

Leanne said...

I am of the working-because-i-have-to persuasion and I'm constantly offended by the SAHM faction that proclaim "I just couldn't stand having my kids raised by someone else!" Well, I am not so keen on the idea, either. Do you think I enjoy dropping my son off 5 mornings a week so that other women get to spend the day with him? I don't think so, buddy. I do it because I HAVE to. Not because I want to buy expensive things and go on nice vacations (well, I want those too, but it's just not happening anytime soon). I do it because I am a single mom and my son's father seems to be relatively useless. If I didn't work, we would not have a roof over our heads or food in our mouths.

My mom stayed at home with my siblings and I and I always have wanted to be a SAHM. But with a surprise pregnancy, things didn't really go the way I'd planned. I'm learning that they rarely do.

I am lucky enough to have a job that I love, with great benefits. I rent a work-owned home and had excellent prenatal coverage. I am really good at what I do and spend my time at work putting in a LOT of effort. I am ALSO a really good mom. My son is EBF and I pump while I work. I live close to daycare, so I spend my lunch breaks with him whenever possible. I find value in both roles and make the best with the situation I've been given.

I also pinch pennies and clip coupons and make cloth diapers because I can't afford to be extravagant. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that so often it's a "have to" rather than a "decide to." Would it be preferable for me to stay at home with my son but live off welfare? Not in my opinion.

Jen, I love your blog! And Jaci, I'll be adding yours to my reader :)

Alyssa said...

I totally get where Jaci's coming from. My mother-in-law was a stay-at-home mom the whole time my husband was growing up. I'm still trying to work up the courage to ask what she did all day once my husband was off to school.

Lauren.Furrer said...

Jen, please stop introducing me to other awesome blogs. My work productivity has dropped from 20 minutes of actual work in an 8 hour day to 2.5 minutes...and that was just the time that I got off my fat ass to fetch some coffee. Some jerk took the last of it so I had to make a new pot. Exhausting. Think I'll take a break now. bahahaha.

MamaMonkey said...

In my state, the average cost of childcare per year for my kids would be $17,808. So yeah, sewing machines, coupons, and dinners made out of dried beans totally cover the missing income.

Emily said...

I think that these comments really speak poorly of our gender. As women, we should be supportive of the personal decisions other women make, whether they are the same as the ones we would make or different. I'm pregnant and I'm going back to work. My husband makes enough money for us to live on his income (probably). But I'm an attorney and I spent a lot of time getting to where I am, so I am going back. I have a cleaning lady and I buy a lot of my balanced meals from a company called super suppers, even now without a baby. Is that a cause for judgment?
My bestie at work does all that plus she gets her groceries delivered and has a college student pick up her precious daughter after school every day and take her ballet. Is that a cause for judgment?
I don't know why these sets of facts and choices would cause a group of women to become so wildly unsupportive of one another.

Parsing Nonsense said...

Man, why do people have to get so preachy?! Did you politely remind your grandmother that life's a little different now, what with inflation and rising cost of living expenses and salaries that don't increase at the same rate of either of these things?

Back in the 60's it probably was possible to live on one income, but it's a LOT more difficult now unless one of you is making some serious cash and your mortgage/rent is teeny tiny.

Anonymous said...

Breast or bottle? Cloth or disposable? Med free or Epidural? Stay/work at home Mom or work outside home Mom? Do what you're able to do and what makes you and your family happy. Everyone is different.

Lisa

Anonymous said...

...definitely losing all interest in your blog. Obviously if you've been friends with such an arrogant,close minded woman for so long...you must share a lot of the same ideas/likes/etc.

Really, Jaci? I feel bad for your children. But then again, you'll just end up in a nursing home because that's all your children will know--let someone else take care of you just like someone else took care of them.

Kitty said...

A few of the best gifts my parents gave me: a paid-in-full college education, a few amazing vacations, and a hefty retirement savings plan for themselves. Both of my parents worked as teachers/professors, and they worked hard to make sure that we were educated both in school and out, AND that their children don't have to worry about taking care of them in their old age. So to the person that thinks it's selfish that parents work because they're concerned about their finances 50 years down the road...damn skippy they should consider their financial future!! That burden lies with their children if they don't plan for it.
My parents were wonderful, present parents. They worked hard and scrimped and saved to give us the very best, not just when we were infants and toddlers, but now that we're in our 30s and beyond.

Jen said...

Most Recent anon: in your nursing home analogy? Your kids will be the demented care givers who abuse the elderly when nobody is looking. Because who cares if nobody knows who did it? Way to let anonymity bring out the worst in you.

Go ahead and stop reading my blog. Or keep reading, and I'll keep making money from the page views you provide. Or grow a pair and let us know who you are.

Jaci said...

Oh. Gawd.

I was feeling kind of shitty about the bad comments, but that last one just made me laugh.

Sorry, Jen. I got my claws into you in 4th grade and just POISONED YOUR MIND with my evilness. Even though I'm pretty sure you were the one to start throwing paper wads, but whatever. :)

Next guest post? I'm sticking to puppies, rainbows, and Summer's Eve freshness.

Beverley said...

Damn Jaci, you got a hell of a lot more comments that I did when I guestied!! ;)

Barbara -SAHM of triplets said...

Wow...as a fellow IVF-er, I usually really like this blog! But this one was a little out there in my opinion.

Jaci - I completely respect your decision to work. If that is what you want to do, that is great. I'm only offended by you saying that stay at home moms are wasting their lives. I feel very lucky and blessed to be able to stay home with my girls and still live comfortably on my husband's income. I haven't made the decision about whether I will return to work some day. I suppose if we financially needed me to work, I would. But if our situation stays as comfortable as it is now, why wouldn't I want to be around when my kids get home from school? I don't see that as a waste at all.

Sarah said...

I can see how some people would be offended by this post - especially the "wasting their lives" part. That was a little uncalled for.

I get where you're coming from, though. I work 3 days a week in the office and 2 days a week from home, so I get the experience of both working mom and SAHM and both are hard. Very hard. But it really gets on my nerves when people imply that anyone could stay at home full-time if only they would set their priorities straight and "sacrifice." Because I don't have a big house, a new car, fancy vacations, cable, a landline, a shopping habit, a daily latte, or any of the other things we're supposed to give up in order to make it work. I also have an expensive crappy disease (MS) and I need my health insurance. So I really don't like it when people assume that working mothers are only working because they can't bear to give up their "extravagant" lifestyles. I'm just trying to pay my bills and afford my stupid prescription. And even though I'm not at home every day I still think I'm a pretty great mom!

As are most people who read these blogs - we all believe passionately in our choices about motherhood and that means we at least care, a lot, about how our children are raised.

Rachel said...

Ummm, Jaci, are you missing the irony in your post?? You complain about how you dislike when your grandma and aunt judge and question your life decisions and yet you turned around and made a silly judgement and are questioning others' life decisions! Some say you're "opinionated", but to me, you just sounded like a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I know its a bit late to be adding to comments, but if you have a job you love (I never have!) whether you have to work or want to work then I consider you very lucky. Also, as a couple of ladies added, they don't even get to debate this as they haven't been able to have children yet. I am a SAHM to 3 elementary school age kids and love being able to be there for every craft, field trip, party, etc. I did not grow up with this experience. Daycare before school, after school, Summer vacation, Christmas vacation, etc. Guess I'm reliving my childhood through them. I don't know if I will work as they are older.I keep busy everyday now.(Not dusting or sewing though!)I am also not a manicuring/lunching/shopping lady. Seems like the teenage years might be the time I really need to be there. Again no judgment for what other women choose to do or have to do. Lisa (again)

Paranoid said...

Not the best guest post ever. I think Jaci might have been going for "balls-out, outrageous," but landed somwhere in "obnoxious" instead.

I'm a SAHM to a preschooler and an baby, so I can't report firsthand on what "SAHM-lifers" do all day. I can tell you, though, that the moms of school-aged kids in my neighborhood all profess to be busier now than they were when their kids were little. They volunteer at school and run the PTA and shuttle the kids to lessons and games and practices and they keep the family running while their husbands travel or work the 12-hour days that now seem to come standard in most careers. It seems like a lot of these women started out with every intention of returning to work once the kids were in school, but that the circumstances of their lives are such that it's actually more practical for them to be at home.

And yeah, at times it seems hopelessly retro. Politically, the sheer number of women I know who are sacrificing their own careers so their husbands can pursue more demanding jobs gives me the wiggens. But on a personal level? I have a hard time judging. Just like me, just like Jaci, just like the rest of us, they're trying to do their best for their families.

Anonymous said...

So Jaci speaks her mind, so what. What is the big deal, women just need to chill the f-out and stop trying to be "super mom of the year". You do what you need to do and what works for your family. I have a 10 mo old and he loves to go to daycare, he's literally bored to tears with me at home. Staying home is NOT for everyone. It's a personal decision and how you decide to raise your kid is your choice. I'm so sick and tired of SAHM's standing on their soapboxes giving the guilt trip to working mom's because they need to feel better and superior about their decisions. Just sad the lack of support for the state of motherhood.

K. said...

best post ever. loved how upset everyone got. love how all the crazies come out on the internet when you challenge them. keep writing!

Jess said...

You're awesome.

That comes from a stay at home mom.

I worked until I had my first son. If I continued to work, after daycare, I'd only bring in about $300. For us, it's not worth the time & trouble.

That said, as soon as my kids go to school, I'm running back to the career world. I love my kids & husband, but I personally can't imagine sitting at home without a real reason & when my kids will be gone 8 hours a day, that's a reason for me to go out & get some grown up time, not to mention grown up money to be able to give my family what they want, not just need. Working doesn't mean you're a n absentee parent. Work or not, my parents were involved in my life, my friends, my school, etc. Even though I didn't get asked how my day was when I walked in the door doesn't mean I wasn't asked at any point. Working doesn't come along with an excuse not to be active in your childs life.

Of course, I'm the product of a working mom. She stayed home until after I started school, then went back to school herself. I was not a lonely or sad kid. I knew why my parents worked when they did (my mom worked 12 hour shifts & my dad worked night shift), it was to give us a good life & to provide the best they could for me. I appreciate that & hope to do the same for my kids.

Anyone who gets their panties in a bunch over someone else not being able to imagine staying home every waking hour has problems with it themselves & are taking it out on others in my humble opinion.

Crazy Sister said...

I like Miss Tori's comment! We should all be happy because YAYY! We have baybees! We're all so lucky!

Like all motherhood debates, the only real problem is just that we all feel like we're being harshly judged, so we lash out defensively and just wind up hurting someone else's feelings! Stupid.

I'm one of the ninnies who works from home with my kids right there to delight/annoy me. If I ever have to change that to full time work or full SAHM, I don't expect judgey crap from either side, mmmkay?

Thanks for the fun guest blogger, Jen! Sorry you know such insensitive SAHM-ers, Jaci.

Daniela Hendea {PurpleD} said...

In my grandma's time, most women had the same destiny: get married, have children, raise them and take care of the home. Most men, their path: job/career and with it, providing the financial means.

Today, men keep on doing the same thing. It's with the women that it's confusing. Because we are not 100% sure we are doing the right thing, either working full time or staying at home full time. No wonder that we need the cognitive dissonance to kick in, so we can face the day. Of course we want to convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing.

I decided to leave my job in one of the best research for cancer labs in the US to follow my husband, recover from burnout and deal with the news of being pregnant. For someone like me, being alone at home wasn't all that different from being alone under my lab hood, except for the fact that the ingredients I was mixing under my kitchen hood smelled much better. And I do see the sun much more often than I used to at my work place. I do see that I already started defending my choices. :-)

I don't have an overview of my entire life and decide that "this is what I want to do until I die". In my first months of pregnancy, I worked in a bakery part time, because I wanted to learn how to bake "professionally" (reminiscence of my previous occupation). Then, I wanted to have the last months of pregnancy without other obligations that would leave me exhausted, so I stayed home. I'll definitely stay home after the baby is born. Then, I'd love to homeschool. I'm not looking forward to not "work", just not having a strict schedule away from home.

To me, it comes to looking at the consequences of my choices, the ones I can live with and the ones I can't live without. I look at the kids of different friends (sort of subjective, I know, but I'm working with what I got) and I know this: I want our family to have breakfast and dinner together with china plates and real silverware. I want to be the main authority in my child's life. I don't want my child to desperately seek for attention when guests are around, because he doesn't get it any other time. I don't want my child to not be able to articulate an intelligent phrase by the time he's ten. These are general behaviors I observed in kids that don't spend enough time with their parents.

On the other hand, I don't want my child to watch stupid shows on television. I don't want my child to play computer games for hours. I don't want my child to constantly text. So I will not need the money for all the stuff that enables that.

I grew up in a two bedroom apartment, a family of 4, in a third world country. We were not poor (I won't start with that kind of tear-jerker story...), but it was enough. I made it all the way to America and worked in the best research lab at that time. I say this only to stress that you don't need hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for an ivy league education for your child, otherwise you are depriving him of his calling in life. It's who you are as a person that opens the way for you. It's MY job to teach my child what kind a person he should be, to make it!

I want to be there for my child, as long as he needs me. I'm lucky to have a husband that works his hot ass off to make this kind of family life possible. When my child is going to be out of the house, I'll build a lab in my (future) basement. Or keep on baking. Professionally.

Mandy and Jack said...

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!!!!!

Anonymous said...

For me personally, it's a money thing I think. I'm fortunate in that my husband makes a very decent living. I stay home and I have a cleaning service. We go out to eat several times a week, take several nice vacations a year, drive nice cars, etc. It's not like I am spending all of my time taking care of the house and cleaning the floorboards, or however she put it. I take the kids out for something fun to do every day (zoo, gymboree, story time, play zones, ect.) We're part of a mom's group that meets often and I have hobbies that I find fulfilling that I do at night and on the weekends. It's a MUCH better lifestyle than I had when I was working, I'll tell you that. I don't miss my old job for a second.

BUT, I admit, this is all based on a certain level of income. If I had to clean the house myself or we had to make sacrifices like not having nice cars or not going out to dinner or not having several vacations a year, I might make a different decision. But I find it laughable when people talk about what a drag it is to be a SAHM. I'd like to know how many people are honestly fulfilled by their little office jobs.

Anonymous said...

Oh good lord..can we just agree that we are all trying to give our kids a "better" life than we had(or at least as good of one as we had, if we look back fondly on our own childhoods) and perhaps agree to disagree on what that means for each family? We ALL love our kids and want the best for them (minus perhaps the small % of the population who are abusive or neglectful). Some of us grew up with SAHMs and we had a good experience, some of us grew up with SAHMs and we had a bad experience. Ditto for working parents.

There are children who were raised by working parents who are little shits. There are children who were raised by working parents who are amazing, well-adjusted, well-socialized kiddos. Ditto for children raised by SAHMs. This is not a black-or-white issue.

PLEASE, try to stand in the shoes of someone on the opposite side of the fence for a minute. It'll make you a more compassionate, better person. Really.

Steph said...

I've been on both sides of this fence, and let me just say - I couldn't care less what anyone says about my choices (other than my husband and kids, of course). So WHAT if Jaci thinks that I'm "wasting" my life by SAH with my kids? Last I checked, Jaci's opinion of me didn't keep me up nights. (No offense, Jaci.)

Having said that, I agree that being supportive of others' choices isn't ever a bad thing.

Eva.G said...

First off, I am waaaay behind on all this drama!

But Jen, I found your blog when I searched for infertility blogs. I'm going through my infertility journey currently. I have literally started way back at the beginning of your posts (in 2007, right?) and have read every single blog entry. Every.single.one! And I've loved it. It's helping me pass the time as I go through my cycles (sigh) and I am really looking forward to it helping me through my 2WW. So that I won't google every single symptom I'm having and drive myself crazy. Anyways, I digress!

But I have to tell you I really did not like this guest blogger. I don't even have kids yet but I was offended by the post for all SAHMs out there. I think I will pass on this blog.

I'm looking forward to continuing your blog story. But I really really hope I don't see more Jaci-ish posts like this in the future. :-) I'm still about 2 years behind, but I'll catch up! Thanks for the laughs!