Advice and Moral Support?

Updated on August 15, 2007
M.H. asks from Hagerstown, MD
18 answers

Hey ladies,

I have a question for you all that I am sure many of you have also struggled with. Is it selfish of me to want to stay home with my child?

I know that this question may shock and horrify some of you but today's society almost demands that both parents work in order for the household to stay afloat, but I just desperatly want to stay home with my son. His dad has an ok job, but I definatly need to work to pay my debts (college and such), and to help out with our needs. My compromise to this has been to nanny for other families, who have been gracious enough to allow my son to come with me. Though my families pay me a fantastic amount of money for what I am doing, I did go to college for something completely different. I have pretty much given up a career for myself because I can't stand the idea of someone else raising my child.

Up until very recently I have been working full time, but I am now working part time. I think that this time off has been absolutly the best thing for both myself and my son. He loves going to play with his friends, but sometimes he just needs a break... don't we all.

Since I am no longer making my full income my boyfriend has had to pick up some of the slack. He says this is ok, but he still grumbles about me not having money to spare, him having to pick up the slack, and the most frustrating thing of all, that he has to get up and go to work 5 days a week and I only have to 3 days a week. I can't help but feel incredibly guilty, angry, frustrated, selfish, among other things, and that I'm not fulfilling all of my responsibilities. Should I feel this way? Does anyone else feel this way? What am I supposed to do?

Now here's where my story really gets interesting and may change some opinions. My son, is actually not my biological son. He's my boyfriend's son, not mine. His biological mother is in the picture, but not as mommy. I have been standing in as "mommy" since he was 4 months old, and he will be three next month. I see him as my son, and myslef as his mom. This being said, I can't help but feel as though I should have some room to play, since I am doing my boyfriend a huge favor, and I've given up my career to take care of his son. His response to that is "then go to work, I can easily get him a babysitter." Partly true. We tried that and the little one was very very unhappy. I was unhappy not knowing what he was doing all day and that he was not necessarily being raised up to our standards. Not only that but my boyfriend could not pay for the sitter, and his (my boyfriend not my "son's") mother was paying the sitter. He may be able to pay the sitter these days but that's one more bill to worry about. I'm torn between feeling like my boyfriend should worship the ground I walk on (ok maybe that's an exaggeration) for what I do for him, and then feeling as though I want to be considered his mother so this is my job and I have no right to feel as though I'm doing my boyfriend a favor... if that all makes sense.

I don't know. Thank you to those of you who have read my ramblings. What do you all think? I'd really like to know.

M.

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So What Happened?

Hello Ladies,
I greatly appreciate your opinions. I feel the need to clarify some things. I suppose this is what makes these forums and blogs so difficult, versus a live dialog.

The overwhelming concern for many of you is my legal standing, or lack thereof, with my boyfriend. I understand that concern, and trust me I have thought of that as well. Sadly you never know these days, he could leave me tomorrow, in 25 years, or never. The only thing I can do is have faith in what we have. He knows how much time and love I have invested in them both, and how it would devastate me to lose them both. As far as a legal commitment, that is coming, I'm just not sure when.

Apparently the source of my guilt came through as guilt for not following my career. That is not at all the case. I really could careless about the lack of a career. All I have ever wanted was to be a stay at home mom with my children. My guilt is in the fact that I am not providing my half of the finances. My boyfriend and I have talked about it, and he wants me to do what makes me happy. I think that his grumblings come more from his fear of the money, and about his ability to make enough of it. Don't get me wrong we're making do, but you just never know what's going to happen next week.

To those of you who suggest a home based business, well I have tried a few, and lost a substantial amount of money. I would love to find that "sure thing" but I have yet to.

I don't know if that changes anything. I still welcome any opinions.

Thanks,
M.

More Answers

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J.P.

answers from Washington DC on

I commend you for taking care of your boyfriend's son. You are a special person to do that. BUT, I agree with the other ladies. What if he leaves. You have invested more than your time into this child. I don't mean to deter you from what you are doing because I truly respect it. I'm home right now with my son but I didn't have a choice; I lost my job. Finacially, we can't really afford but I can't say that I hate it. I agree that you and your boyfriend should be on the same page. Have you discussed marriage and adoption? You are open to a a whole lot of hurt if he leaves you. And while it hasn't become a problem yet I sense it is brewing. Talk to him and see if you can come to some kind of compromise or at least an agreement where you both agree that this is best. You need to talk it out before it explodes. And while I do think he should be kissing your feet for caring for his son like you were his natural mother remember that you are not and that he is his father.

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A.D.

answers from Dover on

I work full time to support my husband and my children. We do not fight about money or time, he does the house work, cooks and cleans and takes care of the kids when I am not around. When I am around I also do these things. (Just a little background, lol) If I were in your position. I would let your boyfriend find childcare for his son and you get back to work. You didn't go to school to be a mom. This doesn't mean you can't be the childs mother but it sounds like your taking on too much responsibility. I don't think you would be questioning the situation if you were entirely happy with it. Financially for you to work doing what you went to school for would probably be best. Developmentally it may not be best for your son to be with you 24/7. He is going to need to learn to be with other people. And their may come a time later on down the road that you could come to have feelings of regret or resentment if you give up your career entirely for your son and your boyfriend. Not to mention legally if you guys breatk up you will have nothing. Since I work full time, I can say it is entirely possible to have a career and to have a home/family life. I hope I haven't been to opinionated, I hope I atleast have given you a few things to think about. Good Luck! A.

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S.E.

answers from Washington DC on

My reaction to this is that you are not wrong in wanting to stay at home with your son however throwing the "I'm not his mom but I'm doing you a favor" at his dad is probably not helping. You assumed the responsibility so you have to follow through. On the other hand, he has said he is assuming the responsibility of working 5 days a week so shouldn't grumble. Just my take.

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H.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Biological or not, your son is very lucky to have you as his mom :) In many respects, I was in the same boat you are. I was an elementary school teacher for four years and quit to stay home and raise my son (he's 15 months old). For the entire first year, I felt soooooo guilty about not contributing financially. You are very right...society tends to make us feel guilty for wanting to stay home and raise our kids. PLEASE follow your gut feelings and stay home with him if you can. At the time, it seems like forever that you're only on one income, but in the big picture, it's such a small amount of time, and it will make such a huge difference in his life. I can't even handle the thought of leaving my son with someone else...I mean for what....money? No job could ever pay me enough to not be with my son everyday. I am finally adjusting to not bringing money in, and so is my husband. You might have to make some lifestyle changes, but that's okay, you know? It's all worth it, trust me :) Listen to your mothering instincts...we have them for a reason :)

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J.S.

answers from Colorado Springs on

M.
i'm a wahm and i wouldn't trade that for the world. yeah, we made some financial cutbacks when i quit teaching, but it's soooooo worth it. i did learn that a woman's highest calling is being a mother. that's the best "job" in the world. i started working from home last september and it contributes to our income and i absolutely LOVE this new job. it's better than anything i've ever done and so rewarding! have you ever thought of working from home? i loved reading your story. you can read a little of my story at www.myspace.com/workinwithateam I tried to share a little about me and my own family story there. :) enjoy! i'm sure what's meant to happen with your family WILL happen. I believe that. Just ask for guidance...it'll happen.
J.

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L.B.

answers from Washington DC on

M.,
I have a son of about the same age. I have to stay home with him all the time because he has really bad asthma and he can not go to daycare. I was in the nursing field and I am hating not using my education and experience, so I understand how you feel.
I have family and friends that said they would help me if I try and find him daycare but there is something to be said about being able to do things on your own. So I started a new career in my house. I dont know if you have looked into working from home but there are tons of things that you can do. But beware there is tons of spam out there. I would love to tell you what I do but I would rather you email me because this website is not a place to sell myself or my job. my email is [email protected]____.com luck and I think you are great for giving up everything to raise someone elses kid.
L.

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L.N.

answers from Washington DC on

wow M.. there was one woman who stated what if they leave? that would be my issue as well. ok, things may be good for you now but legally he hasn't commited to you and i would worry about myself and my future if i were to give up building my careeer. truth be told one may have several degrees but once out of the working world for a while it is so hard to get back oin track and built a name for yourself
so without giving you a non specific advice i will tell you what i would do. i would go back to work. you love the child, no question about it especially since you are going through this dilemma but you can still love the child and take care of your future. one day you will have your own kids whether with the current boyfriend or someone else. work now to afford for yourself to stay home with your children one day.
good luck
vlora

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D.T.

answers from Washington DC on

I think it is great that you want to stay with your child and I think the blood relation has nothing to do with the way you feel about a child. I say if you can afford it stay at home with your child and that's what you want to do you should. I have found it very rewarding to be able to work from home and care for my daughter. I love being able to give her that time. I think everyone should do what they feel is best for their child & family. It is hard no matter which way you go, so good luck.

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D.T.

answers from Washington DC on

Hey M.! Don't feel bad at all. You stepped up into that role and you want to fulfill it to the best of your ability. There is nothing wrong with that. However, I do believe that you should also think longterm about career goals, etc. "What if" is something that we don't like to think about, but is something that needs to be considered. If he's grumbling now about having to handle his business 5 days a week while you only work 3, then it makes me wonder how committed he is.

I would recommend that you look into something that is homebased, most definitely since you really want to help out financially. As far as the biological mother chipping in with the child's expenses, I believe that is part of her responsibility. If the child was with her instead of him, he would be required to support the child financially as well.

If you want to go the babysitter route, depending on where you live i can recommend a really good one. Your child being unhappy may have been a result of not having been in that setting previously without you around so it takes some adjustment. Good luck girl and I hope things work out well for you.

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

I think being home with your child is so important, especially in the pre-school years - is has been my husband and my goal since my duaghter was born. She is 2 now and we have another one on the way. We have been unable to do so because of finances so I envy you for being able to make it work. You should not feel guilty at all - remind your boyfriend that being a mother is one of the hardest jobs out there. So when he says you only work 3 days a week, he is mistaken. Although you may not be paid in money for your time home with him - you will be paid off in other ways as time goes on. I think it is wonderful that you are home with him and it doesn't matter if he's your biological son or not - he's your son and has been since infancy. Although I can understand why it is difficult for your boyfriend to see things this way (because working is also stressful and you feel like the other person is sitting at home relaxing), your boyfriend should be proud that he found a woman who not only loves his son but is willing and anxious to be a wonderful mother to him. Good luck!

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A.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hey M.

i'm sorry that you are going through this right now. But i do have a question for you. What happens to you if you and your boyfriend breaks up for any reason? He will be out of your life and probably take his son. I don't know if you will have any legal grounds to get visitation rights or not but it is something to think about or try to find out about. If this does happen, will you be able to go and start a career in what you went to school for if it has been a while after you have graduated. Just a few things to think about. And by the way, i am a sahm and i don't think that you are being selfish at all. I wish you the best in everything.

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E.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I can't tell you what's the right choice to be making, but I can tell you that you and your boyfriend need to be on the same page. If he doesn't see caring for the child as contributing to the family, and is resentful about having to carry the financial weight, it's going to poison the relationship.

And I agree with the previous poster who said that you're in a very vulnerable legal position. You're not biologically related to the child and you're not married to your boyfriend. If he decided to walk, you'd have no right to continue to see the child or to receive any financial support. If you see yourself as truly this child's mother, you should be talking to your boyfriend about marriage and adoption. Especially if you're giving up your career to be able to care for the child.

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S.W.

answers from Harrisburg on

Hi M.,
Three Cheers for you!! When someone has child thier first responsibility is to raise and care for that child... NOT drop him/ her off at a sitter and pay someone else to raise them. You are doing great and your boyfriend should be thanking you (okay worshipping the ground you walk on...) instead of grumbling.. You are giving your son the best start in life. Heavenly Father gave us child to love, raise, and sometimes having a humungous (sp?) flat screen tv, and twelve vehicles is not important. If you know what I mean. The only thing I can think to tell you is maybe if you could find something to do at home maybe on the computer that would bring in money... even deliver Sunday morning newspapers so he doesn't grumble and you could pay your college loans off.... but by all means stay with him as long as you can it will be better for both of you especially your baby. I raised four boys on my own before I married my husband Jim 5 years ago so if you ever need money saving ideas feel free to email me... Good luck and God bless you and your family..

S.
Elizabethville PA
ps: I lived in Chambersburg before I moved up here...

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T.P.

answers from Richmond on

i honestly only glanced at some responses- Mommy guilt is something we all share no matter what the circumstances, whether it be dinner or a clean house or how you correct them or fear consequence of EVERYTHING that you say and do--I live on the idea that no one was given a handbook on how to raise a child. Love and acceptance is extremely important and it sounds like you have that with your child- as jealous as I would be (I'm currently separated from my husband and father of my 2 children), i'd be grateful for my 'ex" to find someone to show my babies how important they are even if not flesh and blood. I love them too much. So you do what you feel is right, and remember that one day you look back- what do you want to remember? Some things are priceless.
And as far as the boyfriend? He should feel fortunate that he found someone that loves him and his child unconditionally. your heart is in the right place, your boyfriend is already grown and raised, the child is the priority. You're not doing your boyfriend a favor, you are giving the child what he deserves, and for those that can make that work, more power to you. I struggle without my salary, but like I said, some things are just priceless. I hope your boyfriend realizes what a gift he was sent by having you to help raise his child.
And to those who are full/part time career women- more power to you as well. We all have to do what we feel is right by ours. As well as those without a choice - my mom was a single mother and I'm stronger for that, also
And by the way, all men should always worship the ground their queen walks on...the world may be a better place if we were so appreciated. :-)

best wishes

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M.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi M.,
My name is M., and I am currently in what your boyfriend fears. You see I have 3 children 12 yrs, 9 yrs, and 3yrs. I have been out of the workfource for 9 yrs and with all my might do not want to go back into it. I have been looking into as many work from home jobs that I can. But the downfall is I do not have the money to pay someone for me to work! I have been looking for a company that would hire me to work for them from my home. All the sites I have been directed to either want me to invest in them, or pay them to get materials. Nothing is guarenteed with these sites. I sure don't want to host parties in my home either. And those pyramids, good grief!! So for now I am considering selling items on Ebay. I of course would rather work for a company but if this is a way I can stay at home with my children then I'm right there.

I am sure I didn't help with what I offered, but I hope you see how others are right there with you.

M.

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T.R.

answers from Dover on

Just a quick thought. He is 3 years old. You only have 2 more years to be with him. You should take advantage of it and find ways to make it work financially. It sounds like working 3 days a week is the best of both worlds. You get to be with your son and bring in some income. Hopefully your boyfriend is really supportive, even if he does grumble. If he does believe it is important for you to be at home with his son, then talk to him and see what you can do to lighten the burden on him. And let him know that you feel guilty when he makes those snarky comments. And this is a big sacrifice you are making. I think I would speed up the marriage process just to be on the safe side...

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K.A.

answers from Richmond on

you have an interesting story. it's very sweet that you love your boyfriend's son like your own. but the reality of it all is that you are not his mother, and you are not married to his dad. you can just pick up and leave the entire scenario and get your career back. that's easier said than done, i know. At 3 years old, the boy should go to daycare because he is old enough to communicate his needs and strong enough to fight illnesses. you should go to work full time again and get your life back. you can always see the boy on your free time.

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C.B.

answers from Richmond on

Hey,

I agree with you about staying home with your son. I have recently joined a wonderful company called AmeriplanUSA, that offers pay daily, benefits and 401K as you advance in the program, this is a work from home business. I have tried alot of work from home businesses and I feel this one is great. Anyway, this is my ticket to being able to stay home with my children. I have been sharing this information with alot of people. So check out my website and tell me what you think : www.iboplus.com/cbenn and www.deliveringonthepromise.com/40522657.

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