Wednesday, 14 May 2014

"Intelligent People Don't Get Bored."





So said a mum from school to me on Monday, as we were waiting for our girls to go in to their ballet and tap lesson. I don't know her that well, but I'd like to get to know her better. We sat together on a coach for an hour last autumn, when we were both helping on a school trip to Skipton Castle, and we chatted. She was really interested in what I told her about the crafting I did, about my role as a stay at home mum, and I asked her about her job (a translator) and what her childhood in Poland was like. We talked about books - she told me she prefers to read in English or Polish "Except for Dostoevsky, which must be read in Russian to be fully appreciated. All the translations are terrible." I nodded, not having the heart to tell her I'd never read Dostoevsky in any language. She is funny, interesting and irreverent. Anyway, we were catching up on Monday and she was asking me what I was up to (the same), was I still volunteering in school (yes), did John have a job yet (yes), had I started my online crafting empire yet (no), and she smiled and said "I bet you're never bored, are you - intelligent people don't get bored". I laughed and said "I'll remember that next time someone asks me what I do all day!"

Because, the thing is, since Angus started school in September, I occasionally feel the need to justify quite what it is that I do do all day long. A recent conversation with a different parent at school unsettled me. She asked me about what I did, if I worked. When I told her I was at home full time, she said "But don't you get bored?" There was no judgement in her voice, just curiosity, but she's not the first person to ask me how I fill my hours. I floundered, unprepared, and muttered something about always seeming to be busy.

My life has never felt so full, so rich. On Monday I did some gardening, went to the supermarket, did chores, baked and decoated two dozen cupcakes for charity, spent the afternoon in school, went from school to ballet, then out for tea to celebrate Angus's birthday, then home for bath and bed. Tuesday: Errands, queuing in the post office, a pile of ironing while I listened to Woman's Hour, in school again in the afternoon, then home with Bella and her friend for tea, then to music classes, then home again for bath and bed. Today: into town first thing for sweets to decorate the cake, bake two cakes, clean the bathroom. I'm writing this now while the second cake is in the oven. This afternoon I'll ice it (and try and make it look like a dinosaur) then after the school run it's Angus's birthday party, then home, then take Bella to Brownies, then I'm supposed to be meeting friends for a drink later tonight.

This is not a "look how busy I am" parade - I'm sure your days are just as full - but honestly, where is there space for boredom here? Perhaps people mean the lack of mental stimulation? I have Radio 4 on constantly, I find that interesting enough. My work in school, the books I read, my blogging, my friendships and my marriage satisfy my need for challenging, stimulating adult conversation and company. I don't feel like my brain is rotting in front of daytime tv. (Incidentally, I never turn the tv on in the day, it reminds me too much of feeding babies, of slumping in front of something at nap time when I was so tired I could barely function.) Creatively, I am always engaged, always making or planning or thinking about something or other. I fall asleep at night thinking about crafting projects. 

So, what do I do all day? I work in a role I love, a role which centres around my family and our home. I am creative. I make things. I am a volunteer. I like to be closely involved in the lives of my children, in their education. I cook, clean, and garden, I organise and interfere, I deal with admin and write lists, I sew on name labels and I make dinosaur birthday cakes. 

I am a stay at home mother and that is enough.

What about you. Do you work? Are you at home full time? How do you answer the dreaded "But, what do you do all day?" question?

202 comments:

  1. Strange comment from that lady - intelligent people don't get bored...
    I read in a scientific magazine, that to reduce stress levels, people should learn again "to be bored" from time to time. Society pushes us so much to have "interesting lives". You have to have hobbies, do sports, be social... it seems like it's almost not accepted anymore to just "sit and think", without being productive...
    I'm full time at home as well, no kids. I deliberately stopped working 10 years ago. Never regretted that decision - but I get asked that same question a lot :-)

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    1. Yes, I remember hearing about that study, and I often tell my children that it's good to be bored, they should use their imaginations. But somehow we feel that if we sit and think, then we are being lazy, that we should be getting up and doing something productive, which is nonsense. x

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  2. Oh yes, I dread this question. I am a stay at home wife, sometime carer of elderly relatives, non profit volunteer worker, gardener, baker, cleaner, photographer, blogger, packer of bags to go on holiday, clearer outer of the filing cabinet (needs to be done again!), personal shopper, giftwrapper and so on and so on, just as you are Gillian. However, I so often find myself saying that I am just a housewife and then I either get an odd look or attacked for saying "just". I am never bored, there is always something to do, or if there is time I am happy to wander the garden with or without camera in hand and just enjoy the peace and listen to the birds. My life is never boring to me. It might be to others, but they are not living my life, I am and I am happy and so is my family. I don't think that I am any better or any worse than anyone else because of what I do or don't do. There are still never enough hours in my day to get everything done! xx

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    1. Oh yes, the "just" word, that need we have to diminish ourselves - a friend of mine said recently that she "only" worked part time, as though it diminished her role somehow. It is so hard to find a fitting word to describe the role of homemaker. I never say "housewife" as it feels too 1950's and constrained to me, but it's a good a word as any! Thank you for your comment Amy. x

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    2. Thank you for taking back a vocation which has been deemed "not enough" for women today. It is totally enough and the highest vocation!! May your life bring you heaps of great memories for you and your family. Just found your blog :)

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  3. Mmmm the age old question do I return to work? I did but it was made easy for me to have that choice. I was in the very blessed position of parents (next lane) on hand who looked after my children & my sisters. The boys were in effect raised together so are more like brothers than cousins. My decision to return to work was based on the direction my career was taking at that time, selfish? Maybe, I've not regretted it too much, I don't have to work but I still choose to do so, however technological advances mean I can work from home & the position I hold means I can choose where I wish to work from! I must say it is rather lovely to wave my younger son off in the morning & be there on his return. I value that highly. However if I ever did have any more children which is highly doubtful I would give up my career like a shot!

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    1. Yes, childcare is such an issue (and it sounds as though you have yours worked out beautifully) and I think that had I been able to do my old job closer to home in a part time role, and maybe had family nearby too, then i would have continued in my career. But you mustn't feel that your decision to return to work was selfish! You are entitled to a career and it sounds as though you have a great work life balance. Thank you for your comment Joanne. x

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  4. I'm a stay at home mum at the moment. My days are full. I don't spend them sat on a sofa drinking tea and flicking through magazines for 10 hours at a time. My television is never on. I make time to craft, when I can, and I don't feel guilty. If I was in an office every day i'd get an hour for lunch. I do the stuff that can be seen, but it's also the 'silent chores' that need to be done. That no one ever really looks at, and these can take an age (like cleaning grubby walls, banisters and floors etc).

    I read a great thing the other week and it was so true......

    A man arrives home from work to find his his wife's car doors open on the drive. There is chaos on the front lawn; toys, buckets, a running hose making it sodden. He walks into the house through the wide open door and there are clothes everywhere. In the kitchen the counters are strewn with spilt milk, cereal and crisp packets. Dog food and mud everywhere. There is toilet paper all down the stairs, pen on the walls and trodden in food. He is concerned their house has been broken into and vandalised. He goes into his bedroom and sees his wife on the bed in her pyjamas reading a magazine. He asks what on earth is going on? She replies......'You know how you ask me what I do all day? Well, today I didn't'. Just sums it all up really!

    xxx

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    1. Oh yes, the silent chores! I like the way you put that. The endless picking up of things and returning them to their rightful places, the making and emptying of lunchboxes, the endless washing, the wiping of surfaces that no-one else thought to wipe...those things take time and must be done daily.

      I love that story - I think I've seen a similar thing on facebook or somewhere, but it's spot on really, isn't it! x

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  5. Oh Gillian! This actually mad me laugh a little. I work 2 days a week and I get comments at work about the fact that I'm not there full time and these comments elude to presumptions that I must just sit on my bottom and twiddle my thumbs the 3 days I am at home! It craps me to tears! Like you I'm a crafty soul. My hands are never empty and neither is my teacup :)

    In my dream world I would be at home full time building on that crafty empire that many of us dream about but reality is that I have to work to pay the bills :) We can't live off love, yarn and fabric apparently! I'm loving the Polish lady! Seems like she's also a fellow intelligent woman :) And I do have to agree with her that Dostoevsky is better in Russian. The only reason I know that is because I have a Russian background and spent Saturdays of my young life reluctantly at Russian school reading the likes of Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Tolstoy etc.

    Here's to never being bored!

    Sophie xo

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    1. But your three days at home must be full to bursting, as you cram in what I do in five! It's hilarious that your colleagues think you laze about with magazines all day...

      I am raising a glass to you to never being bored! Thanks for a fab comment Sophie. x

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  6. A REALLY fabulous post Gillian, I used to hate it when people asked me that same question, feeling so much guilt, I was always busy though, looking after all my loved ones. There is so much to fill days with ..... bored? what is that word?!
    I have just read CocoRose's comment above, I love that story and it's SO true!
    love Jooles x x x

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    1. Oh thank you Jooles, and I think you summed it up there with - "looking after all my loved ones". That's all that really matters, isn't it, our loved ones. Thanks for your comment lovely. x

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  7. I'm a full time mum too (with another due in 5 weeks). I get asked all the time when I'm going back to work. I did have quite a well-paid career (financial controller) but knew I would always give it up when we started a family. I am lucky enough that my husband and I agree on this and tht he earns a good salary to keep us all comfortable. Even my mum and close family ask me all the time what I do all day - they think I have wasted my education (3 years at Uni followed by 4 years studying to be a chartered accountant), but actually I have never been happier. I certainly never get time to be bored. I totally love everything to do with homemaking - baking, jam making, gardening, crafting and wish I found more time to do those things than the rest of the household chores. If I was at work full time the chores would have to be done at weekends & the husband would have to do his fair share & we would have to forego the family time & days out that we have at weekends. But I always feel like I'm having to justify my existence to everyone which is very frustrating.

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    1. Wasted your education?! I would imagine there is a good amount of accountancy and financial control in your role in the home, what with balancing budgets and the like. Thank you for your comment, and good luck with the impending birth! x

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    2. Thanks Gillian! Husband lives the life of Riley if you ask me, as he doesn't even have to manage any of the household bills/finances, as he's married to a fellow accountant - I even do his tax returns for him!! We certainly have the most efficiently run household accounts that I know of and never pay a penny more than we should for insurance, utilities etc - making good use of my qualifications ;)

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  8. I am getting used to being a stay at home mum after 6 months of unemployment. My days are mostly full, never boring although I am sometimes a little lonely. I have left behind the stress of juggling work with the needs of four children and a house. The longer I am at home the more I wonder how on earth I managed it all because I am busy all the time. Our quality of life has improved a lot, there is less shouting, less rushing, more joy, more enjoying each other's company. And yet, I do miss work, I have always been ambitious in my career, I am highly qualified and I loved my work. I am resentful that my part time post has been replaced by a full time position for a man. I apply for jobs that I don't really want because I think I need to (my own pressure!). I am slowly learning to embrace this other role of mine, that of the mother, wife, organiser, cook, and all-rounder. I look forward to the time when I will proud and happy to say that this is my life without feeling guilty of being a failure.

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    1. Yes, loneliness is quite different to boredom, isn't it? I find I sometimes miss the chat and banter of the workplace. You are not a failure for being at home, but I understand your ambition, and think that is no bad thing. I was extremely ambitious in the workplace. I hope you find a job that perfectly marries your desires to work in a role you trained in, and be at home as well. x

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  9. My children are all now grown, and I've been a childminder for the past twelve years, so have always been at home. My hours are very sparse now, but my days are just as full, painting furniture, upcycling, baking, chores, etc ... life is what you make it and if you don't hanker after material things and are thrifty then why on earth do we feel we have to justify ourselves? Money had never been plentiful, but between us we earn enough to stay afloat ... I know it's not for everyone, but hey, live and let live! xxx

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    1. Absolutely. Living on a tight budget taught me to be more resourceful and creative than I ever thought possible. And I know you are a very busy, talented, creative lady. x

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  10. Like you I'm also a full time mum. I'm the only one amongst my friends who gave up work(paediatric nursing) to be a stay at home mum and I'm always grateful to be able to do this. I get a bit annoyed when people ask me if I get bored and what I do all day and I usually just say my girls keep me busy which is true. But there's also housework and a million other things to do. The thing is I'm one of those who don't mind being at home and doing various chores so I don't find it boring. I also read, watch intellectually stimulating programmes (I don't like daytime tv either. If our telly is on it's on Cebeebies), craft, visit museums, etc. It may not be the life others would like but I'm very happy. x

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    1. Absolutely, like you say, there are always a million things to do. So long as you and your family are happy then that is really all that matters. Thank you Marion. x

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  11. I was a full time mum for about 12 years, when we moved country my daughters were 4,7 and 12 years old and I slowly went back to work. In all those years of staying at home never once I felt bored. Between school, after school activities and house chores my days flew by! Now I work part time the girls don't need me as much, the youngest is 13 years old, and still some times I feel the need to justify why I don't work full time. This is so wrong!! What is more wonderful than to be given the opportunity to spend time with our children? Staying at home mums have a full of the things that really matters, love. If time went back I would do it all over again.
    Maria

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    1. If anything you could say that, as teenagers, they need you even more! You don't need to justify your choices to anyone. Thank you for your comment Maria. x

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  12. Try working part time when you don't have kids. People cannot get their heads around that one! I work 23 - 33 hours per week, in half days and odd shifts between my three jobs, having quit a full time job which made me ill 2 years ago.
    All people ask is not if am I happier etc, but when am I going to go back to work full time. Like I should have a regular 9-5 to be normal!
    Don't worry what people think. Do whats best for you and your family. I would love to be a full time mum BTW!

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    1. Yep, a few people who have commented here are at home but not in a childcare capacity, and it seems that that is a choice people really to struggle to get their heads around! Thank you for your lovely comment Helen. x

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  13. I'm never bored either. My days are packed to the brim. If anything I was more bored when I didn't have kids but did work full time. I'll let you in on a secret - I don't know if I'll ever have a job outside the home again. I don't need one, which I know is a great luxury today, but I don't want one either. And I'm very careful with money, for a good reason. I love making home, it's that simple, really. I consider it my calling and I take it very serious. You could even say that I study it. I'm sure plenty of people think that's ridiculous but I'm learning to stop letting it concern me.

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    1. I love the idea that being a homemaker could be a calling, something that you could study and work at. Set yourself targets and goals, that sort of thing. I don't think you're ridiculous, I think you are inspiring. x

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  14. Interesting post. I've read somewhere that intelligent people understand that a dose of boredom is beneficial. It gets us off that over active, chasing our tails with all of the exciting 'doing' wheel and lets us 'unplug', daydream and ultimately be more creative and effective.

    I used to be a full-time mum (till my kids' bedtime three nights a week when I worked on an out of hours emergency team and handed over to the mister). I left academia and work forever a couple of years ago following a serious health issue and the dawning that my job wasn't particularly enjoyable any more and that I was in the fortunate situation of not needing paid employment.

    These days, whenever anyone asks what I do, I just reply 'Whatever I want'.

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    1. Thank you! This is exactly the right answer. Now I know what to say.

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    2. Wish I'd thought of that one, I'm looking forward to using it at the earliest opportunity. I usually say that I sit on my arse all day eating chocolate and watching box sets. What I actually do is as varied and stimulating as what you do Gillian, I wrote a couple of posts a while ago detailing what I get up to on a typical day. It's changed a bit now as my children have got older. They're here and here if you want to compare notes.

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    3. Love your Posts Sue! I wanted to leave a comment over there but "no new comments allowed" :-)

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    4. Great answer!
      Mine is "clan manager".

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    5. Liz, I like that. "Whatever I want". I have heard of studies that suggest that boredom is beneficial, even necessary, for time to sit and think and am often telling the children that very same thing.

      Sue - I have read your posts and they are just brilliant. My days are very like yours except you do a lot more cooking that I do!

      Swiss Rose - "clan manager" is great. Someone else said tamer of wild animals. :-)

      Thanks ladies for the comments, conversation and ideas. x

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  15. My mother always used to tell us "only boring people get bored" - probably more than a grain of truth in that. I recently me two women who I haven't seen for many years. One told me how busy she was (I think the implication was how important she was) while the other explained she'd given up her job and was happier than she'd ever been. No prizes for guessing which one was the shortest conversation and which was the most interesting.

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    1. Ah yes, you've hit the nail on the head there: busy = terribly important, and therefore someone with more free time must be very dull. Usually the opposite is true! x

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  16. I remember meeting a woman in Denmark (where ALL women work - they don't do 'stay at home mom') and she was flabbergasted that I stayed at home with the kids. I have never been so busy since I have had children! I don't get bored - there is just too much to do, all the time. It is only 6 hours a day that the children are at school, and really, that time is eaten up by shopping, cleaning, cooking, crafting!!, library runs, orthodontist runs, reading lessons, shall I go on? I may be un-PC here, but I think children benefit from their moms being at home.

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    1. I'm not sure if I agree that children benefit from their mum's being at home. I think they need stability and security and to see the same face, but that could be a father, grandparent, childminder, nanny... But I do agree that the 6 hour school day is very short indeed, and it goes in a flash, especially since I walk to and from school to drop off and collect my kids.

      Thank you for your comment Lise. x

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  17. It makes me so annoyed when I get this question. And I get annoyed at myself as much as anything for explaining myself. It's nobody's business what I do all day; I don't cost them anything. I stay at home taking care of my little one rather than paying someone else to do it.
    I don't judge other parents; I am constantly busy and taking care of young children is physically, mentally and emotionally draining at times. But it's my choice.
    I posted a while back on this very subject and got a similar response from most people: don't explain yourself, don't let others denigrate what you do and remember: a lot of it comes from jealousy.
    We have a very simple approach: we are careful with our money, buy less and I take care of Joe. If I wanted to go on lots of holidays, replace my car, get my hair 'done' and all the rest of it I'd go back to work. For now it works for us as a family.
    Most importantly, we have a very secure and happy little boy.
    Tell people you're a blogger. Say you freelance if it makes you feel better. Or tell them to sod off!
    Rant over.
    Sarah x

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    1. Do you know, I never tell anyone I blog. On the odd time I have, I am met with blank looks or raised eyebrows. If they find me online on their own, then that's fine, of course. but I don't advertise it. Sometimes I think "sod off" but I never say it...

      Thanks for your comment Sarah. x

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  18. I am now "retired", i.e. my 4 kids are now all grown up, but I was always a SAHM, and if anyone asked what what I did all day I just used to say, with a smile on my face, "oh, absolutely nothing" - because for at least 5 minutes of every day that's what I did. For the other 23 hours 55 minutes, well as the previous comment says, its nobody else's business.

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    1. I might just try that Joy, just to see what kind of response I get! x

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  19. I was a mum who could never understand the parents who stood at the school gate despairing that school holidays were approaching. I loved it when my children were at home. We swam, played games, baked, went on picnics in the park or on the beach, we did loads of stuff and I didn't have to spent much money to do any of it.
    I love being at home, I've got plenty of interests, friends that I meet up with. I can pop to see my now elderly parents whenever I want and I'm around to help out with my grandchildren which is wonderful. I don't ever get bored at home, there are always things to do.
    It's really nice that your friend recognises that you can be intelligent and at home. I do get a bit miffed when people think because I'm at home my brain has stopped working. How wrong can they be!

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    1. I look forward to the school holidays as I welcome the lack of routine and the long, lazy days, but I think for many families the juggling of childcare (not to mention the cost of childcare) throughout the holidays is a major concern, and so I can see how that might influence their feelings about the approaching holidays.

      The holidays you gave your children sound absolutely idyllic, I must say! Thank you for your comment. x

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  20. Well I agree with you. Never nice to have to justify yourself. I try not to. The worst question in the world is 'what do you do'? The one thing people leave out though is that interacting with children needs you to be intelligent, questing, open minded and thoughtful. Brain dead mothers really don't have much to offer. Children are stimulating and intelligent beings that keep you on your toes. If people think children are dull and boring and lead to deadening of the brain I question that. I have never done anything more important. My child is fully raised now. I taught her at home at secondary school level and she was far from stupid and later did post grad study. I spent a lot of time with her. I went to university myself when she was younger. Why is doing an incredibly boring job that many have to do in the work place, apparently more life enhancing and builds brain power, we all know many jobs are pretty dull and uninspiring?

    I always did a lot, many things, much like you really. However, do working mums not get to do all this stuff or do they have to do less of it? If they have to do it all on top of their working lives then they must be exhausted. I don't think they do though. Some of it isn't done as it is expendable (or seen as). The rest of it is done on the hop or in a less engaged way. I certainly found it so when at university and my daughter was at school. Something gives and personally I didn't like it.

    Anyway, its a shame it has no status looking after children. Child care workers get paid low wages yet the cost for parents is still prohibitive. Maybe if neighbours swapped children and gave each other a salary then it would be 'work'? Ridiculous how something counts only if you get paid for it.

    I have read Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Tolstoy and absolutely love them. I read them for myself not because they were set texts on a course. Only in English though. A shame to hear that the translations are considered awful! Still, as I know no Russian it's as near as I will get.

    I hate the wars between working and non working parents. If I have to, I will come down on the side of the fence I was on. However, I would really rather not. We are all different and it is about choice. A parent who wants to be in the work place is offering their child a very valid view point of the world. I just would not have wanted to be anywhere else for a million pounds. Other people are not suited to be at home and should be supported in that. Which ever way you do it, it is made difficult. I think mothers do an amazing job, however they choose to do it.

    A final point, school age children need support as much as ever before and in many ways more than ever before. This becomes more so as they go into their teens. Yet we wonder why children are disaffected and upset because no one has any time for them or thinks they are important enough. No one thinks of children much at all. Just about what we want. The idea of after school clubs and breakfast clubs breaks my heart. Just like all of us, home is where most of us want to be after a long day. Why should children have their needs ignored?

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    1. Yes, something only counts if it has a monetary value attached to it. You are right there, I think. It shouldn't be a war though, should it, and we shouldn't have to come down on sides! What we should all do is respect each other's choices.

      I have to defend breakfast and after school clubs though - I think they are an absolute life saver for many families and mean that a work-life balance can be achieved more easily, and they aren't always at the expense of the happiness of the children. My son has been asking me when he can start going to the one at our school as his best friend goes!

      Thank you for such an interesting and thoughtful comment. x

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  21. What a good post, Gillian
    As an only child, I've been asked the question "don't you get bored?" a million times and the answer has always been "No". When I was little because I couldn't miss what I didn't have and now because I find that my life as a Full time mum of 3 / University Student is very full. I think life is what you make of it and the word "boredom" doesn't enter my vocabulary.
    I take care of my kids and my house, go to uni two evenings a week plus loads of study in the evenings, socialise with my girlfriends and husband often, belong to a bookclub, i love cooking, reading, jam making, crafting, travelling and never watch day time tv - there's no time!! It's a varied and interesting life.
    Boredom....... oh no! definitely not. I wouldn't go back to work because of lack of things to do, that's for sure. Being at home allows you to distribute your time in the way you want to socialise or explore different activities and hobbies that being in an office doesn't.
    Besides, running a house and looking after children is a huge job in itself and perhaps one of the hardest yet most rewarding.. the problem is that society has "trained" us to spend our youth preparing ourselves for the working world and because the full time job of a stay at home mum is not paid, then it is not accepted as a "job" in society...

    As I approach the end of my Uni degree everyone is asking me whether I am going to go and find a job after all the studying? and the answer is I don't know .... I feel I need a bit of a mental rest for sure and I notice that as time is going by my kids need me more and more in a different way they needed me when they were babies .....
    I do sense a bit of society pressure or perhaps it is me creating that pressure of having to find at least a part time job to justify my existence or to not feel obsolete after a few years away from the rat race...... It is a tricky one.... but then this becomes a more complex topic and not necessarily related to the question of boredom or lack of things to do.....
    Thanks for giving us so much food for thought....
    Pati x

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    1. Absolutely. Someone else said that - we only attach status to roles in this society if they are paid, which is just crazy. As you say it is a very complex topic and at the end of the day we can only do what is right for us and our families.

      Thank you for your comment Patti, it was lovely to know a little more about you. I always appreciate the comments you leave here. x

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  22. I love this post, Gillian! So well said! Simply because we choose to stay home does not mean that we aren't keeping our minds and bodies stimulated. It sounds like you have filled your days with the things that make you happy...with the things that mean most to you....with things that make you feel fulfilled.
    Now that I have 10 kids people don't ask me so much what I do with my time at home...usually after hearing how many Littles I have, they say, "I bet you are never bored!" ;p

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    1. I still can't get over the fact you have ten kids - you have the right to slap anyone who dares ask what you do all day long I think! But thank you, for your comment and your support. x

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  23. A great, thought provoking post - and some fab responses too. I work part time - from home. It's meant that I can always fit work in around Matt and his commitments, and things I want to do too(i.e. meet up with friends sometimes) and I try to get household "chores" done during the week, so that we can spend the weekends doing things as a family.
    Sadly, I think society has forgotten the value of parents spending time with their own children, and it dismisses that it can be fulfilling running a home.
    Have fun! x

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    1. And from what people have said here, it seems even more important to be around when you have teenagers, not just when they are primary school age. It sounds like you have a great work/home balance. x

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  24. I'm at home now with a 5 month old and spend my days feeding, changing diapers, trying to feed myself and get chores done in between, and going out for walks few times during the week. Even though I get lonely sometimes and get a little frustrated that I can't spend as much time as I want on personal projects, I love being at home with E, taking care of her needs and watching her grow. My husband and I agreed that it's best for us that I start working again soon. I've been sending out my applications but I feel guilty for being happy that I haven't found a job yet. On the other hand, I also feel guilty for not being able to contribute financially. Guilt, guilt, and more guilt :D It feels like a lose-lose situation sometimes. I just hope to find a good balance.

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    1. Oh gosh the guilt! You mustn't feel guilty, it gets you no-where. While you are not contributing financially, you are contributing in more important ways, by raising your child. And saving money on childcare costs too. I hope you find the right solution for you and your family Lorie, and thank you for your comment. x

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  25. I tell people that I am a Family Welfare Officer simply because I'm tired of having to field the inevitable "what do you do all day" question.

    I've been a SAHM for fifteen years and have had every reaction going when I tell people what I do. Sadly it seems to be our own generation who get the most sniffy. I don't feel I have to justify it anymore; whilst my children certainly aren't perfect, they are happy, secure, confident, have good social graces, eat healthily and are both doing extremely well at school. That there is justification enough.

    Bored? What's that then?

    Hxx

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    1. Yes, you are right there - older people don't blink, they usually just nod and smile in a supportive way. I like your response. Family Welfare Officer. I might try that! x

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  26. I've always known I was going to be a SAHM, from the time I was little, when asked at school what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was "mom". When pressed for a career, "teacher". I'm extra blessed in that I get to homeschool my kids, and get to be with them always. My oldest two went to public school, and I loved long weekend breaks and summer, and hated sending them back every fall. I love the whole family being home, I can't imagine ever being bored - I don't think creative people can get truly bored - I find it more difficult to get in everything I'd like to do or make or read. I haven't read for myself in ages! We're working on our house, I have 7 kids I love to knit and sew for, and a grandbaby coming in November! I am so thankful for the blessing of being able to stay home, and have been just as grateful for a good job and wonderful boss when I went through a divorce in my 20's (with two kids), but I can't imagine going back to work - I am not a career oriented person at all.

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    1. Gosh Michelle your life is rich and full. You don't need to go back to work, you already have a job, and one which you love by the sound of it. x

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  27. I am going to remember and use that as a quote from now on "intelligent people do not get bored".

    Having always been a creative individual I can always find time to fill any gaps of 'free' time, then before I know it I have zero free time remaining. I can see how the statement is true as less proactive people may not seek out additional activities but merely sit and proclaim to be bored.

    Having started maternity leave I am thoroughly enjoying having more 'free' time to bake, knit, nest, blog, cook, read and socialise.

    I could get used to staying at home!

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    1. I treasured my maternity leave - I'd never had that kind of time alone in the home before. It was strange, but nice too. Good luck with the upcoming birth, Roxane! x

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  28. Really enjoyed reading your post and all the comments. I was a stay at home mum whilst my children where little and wish I had a pound for every instrusive question about 'staying at home'. I now work for myself from home, so feel very lucky in the school holidays when I can take lots of time off. It's important to do the right thing for your family. Sarah

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    1. Thank you so much Sarah. It sounds as though you have a good balance between your career and home life now, that is so encouraging to hear. x

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  29. Oh, I love this reminder: as stay at home mums, our days are full of small things, that are really the big things - making a home for our families to prosper. It can be lonely, so nice to be reminded of someone else filling their day with important stuff that is hardly ever appreciated. I wrote about being a stay at home mum here a while ago: http://amy.mixedbredie.net/category/uncategorized/page/2/
    Love to know what you think!

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    1. Hi Amy. The small things are the big things - yes they are, well said. I've popped over and read that post, it was very interesting, thank you. x

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  30. Loved this post, and love your blog too (have really enjoyed making some of your recipes, thank you!). A couple of months ago my 19 year old son, now in his second year of college, thanked me for staying at home all the years that he and his brother were growing up. I know how fortunate I was to be able to do that, but it was very nice to hear that he appreciated it as well. Surely we all do our best according to our individual circumstances, and it really is nobody else's business. Chris

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    1. Oh that makes me so happy, thank you so much for telling me that!! :-)

      As you say, we are all doing our best, all just trying to balance one thing with another and find a happy path through life. Thank you for your comment, Chris. x

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  31. I've recently given up my job (I was only part time (why only???)) anyhoo, I stopped work the Tuesday before Good Friday and I made a list of all the jobs I need/should/want to get done in the home and its taken until now to make a start on my list - when people retire and they say "I dont know how I found time to work" thats how I feel, my days are filled yet I dont seem to have achieved anything??? I havent done any additional crafting, not been out with meeting friends - yet my days have gone!! I realise I am VERY lucky to have been able to have stopped work, and I love that my hubbys loves that I've stopped work to - in that meals are made, packed lunches are made the house is (very) slowly getting organised and he can concentrate on his works to look after his family - is that old fashioned??? or not very pc I dont know but at the moment its working for us xx

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    1. My hubby is the same - loves me being at home full-time as it takes all pressure off him so that he can concentrate on work, put in extra hours when needed etc and also he now doesn't have to lift a finger around the house! Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a 1950s time warp, but I love it & can't imagine ever going back to work to be honest! The difference in our household to a 1950s one is that do absolutely everything - finances, garden, bins, car servicing etc, all hubby does is earn the money!

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    2. Oh yes, the "only" part time thing, as though it's less of a role somehow!

      We have a fairly equal distribution of work in our household, but I have never cut the grass or trimmed the hedge - it's always just been the thing that my husband does! x

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  32. Your lead line drew me in because my nan used to say "Only boring people get bored!" so next time you are broached with this crappy question reply with this answer! If my kids say "I'm bored" I reply with that line and they look at me with a sense of determination that there is no way 'they' are boring. Loved your post today. Jo x

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    1. Yes, I remember my mum saying the same thing! And I say it to my kids now too. Thank you Jo. The comments here have been fabulous, interesting and inspiring. x

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  33. I saw the title of this post and it made me smile as my mum used to say 'boring people don't get bored!' when we complained we have nothing to do! Of course now I would love to have enough time to get bored!
    It's funny what you say about justifying your life choice as people ask me if I get bored living on a small island. There are a million reasons why it isn't boring but I guess people just find it difficult to imagine a life made up of someone else's choices!
    On a different note I'm new to this life as a stay at home mum (well I work 6 hours a week but as half of that is from home I don't think it counts really!) and my life had never been as rich and varied. Ella x

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    1. Thanks Gillian, you've just inspired my latest blog post! x

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    2. Hi Ella, thank you for your comment. I would grill you with questions about life on a small island as I've never known anything like it. I imagine it's the opposite of boring! x

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  34. I could think of 1001 exciting things I would do with my time if I could stay at home and then add another 100 to the list. I relish my school holidays for just that - the opportunity to do really interesting things and listen to the radio whilst I do it. I really love my job; it's the best vocation ever but I really would like to be a stay at home mum one day and have the opportunity to enjoy my own children rather than just focus on someone elses. All the roles that you have are extremely important - sounds like the first woman understood you completely! x

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    1. Hi Jo, thank you so much. One of the many great things about your profession is the way the holidays are compatible with childcare, so if you did want to work part time in the future it would be a easier balance than, say, retail or hospitality.

      I actually have about four lists on the go right now - short term, medium term etc.. x

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  35. I now work 4 days a week, when the children were younger I worked 3 days a week. But I don't think it matters whether mums work full time, part time or are a SAHM, it is a decision to made bye each person and no-one should comment on it.
    Caz xx

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    1. Absolutely! It's about respecting other's choices and not feeling you have to explain your choices to people. Thank you Caz. x

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  36. You never have to justify staying at home and making a lovely home for your family. I think staying at home is the hardest job of all, you never get a brake from all of it. You are a lovely wife and Mother making a beautiful place for your family to grow and thrive, no excuses needed for that.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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    1. Oh Meredith, thank you for that. Hugs right back at you. x

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  37. I sooo.hear you I.am a stay at home.mum.of a 8 and 3 yr old, artist, wife, part time student erc. My youngest has a cough my eldest.night terrors for the last few weeks plus I have five assignments due end of June. Time for myself! Time for the gym! No.time at all but I'm happy and I'm sure you are too. Love your blog xxxx

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    1. Hi Emma, thank you! Good grief you have a lot on your plate! But yes, I am happy and I'm glad to hear you are as well. Thank you for your comment. x

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  38. I work part-time, but would love to be a stay at home mum.You are doing such an important job and dont let any body tell you any different x

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    1. Thank you very much. When you say it like that, it sounds so simple. x

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  39. You sound like your days are very full and happy, that's just perfect in my book.
    I work part time, a few more hours than I used to now the children are older, but I miss my days at home, I never knew I'd like being a housewife as much as I do. I get very bored when I'm at work but never at home!

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    1. Do you? That is interesting and puts a different perspective on everything! Thank you for that Jay. x

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  40. I LOVE this post Gillian. I'm a SAHM, and I love it, never want to do anything else, although I fear I must and I dread it. I'm never bored and I never have enough time to do all of the things I want to do. Life is fantastic, rich and interesting. I do believe that people who are interesting and interested don't really get bored. Glad you're having a good week. CJ xx

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    1. Oh thank you CJ, you are lovely. I can't imagine you'd ever be bored either. Don't dread the change in your circumstances. For one, it might not happen, and also, if it does, it might be the best thing that every happened, where you meet lifelong friends and have an absolute blast every day. x

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  41. My days are spent a lot like yours and I have had some questions like those posed to you asked of me ... I do what I do because it suits my family ... we chose this way of life so that our little ones get the best of us and I wouldn't change that ... I have a lovely friend who works away from home and she always says that the mums at home deserve so much more respect ... you sound very happy in your situation and that needs no explanation to anyone ... Bee xx

    PS I have a lovely Latvian friend whom I met at the school gates ... our conversations are so interesting and a highlight of my day ... x

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    1. Thank you Bee - you always seem to have such a calm, thoughtful take on things, I always love to hear what you have to say. x

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  42. I am a stay at home mom who is currently homeschooling my daughter, and I find that my days are always so busy. I love being at home, and rarely get bored... I am just too busy for that. I love taking care of my family and home, and I think I do it very well.

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    1. Yes! Go Julia! I love that you said you do it well, and I bet you do. And homeschooling too, that is a rich and unique situation all of it's own! Thank you. x

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  43. I've not commented before, but I just love this post.
    I always look forward to your posts, they have a very calming but at the same time motivating effect on me.
    I really enjoyed your brief description of your days this week.
    Myself - I work from home doing transcription, and I have an almost 8 year old girl, 5 year old boy and 14 month old boy. I am working on time management at the moment because I don't feel like I am spending enough time doing the general pottering around that makes the house run smoothly and makes me (and everyone else) feel good.

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    1. Hi Hannah. Well now, I am blushing, as I think that is such a nice thing to say!! Thank you VERY much for commenting here, that has properly made my week, that has.

      Given that you work from home and have three children, it sounds to me like you are excelling at time management. I think you are awesome! x

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  44. Thanks for the great post! As a Psychologist, however, I am not sure I can agree with the nice but erroneous idea that 'intelligent people do not get bored'. Evidence suggests the opposite is more than likely true, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. E.g. Higher intelligence means you are more likely to seek greater challenges & thus boredom becomes short-lived. I loved reading that you find your life so rich & full - this is WONDERFUL! And however we choose to use our time on this earth, whether that be in paid employment, unpaid volunteering, or nurturing or creative activities, as long as these are YOUR choices from which you find fulfillment, that is what counts. A simple 'No, I don't get bored' would suffice. Or you could add, 'I love my life' :)
    Best Wishes,
    NT

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    1. Thank you for that - I was beginning to feel worried about how bored I get!!
      Not all the time, obviously - and I have more crafty projects in mind than I could shake a stick at! - but I do crave adult company, and challenges set for me by others, which I don't get at home so much. I read craft blogs far too much, probably because really I'd rather be actually meeting and working with you blog writers :) sharing ideas, learning and developing.
      And I really don't like housework either!
      Generally, I love how being at home fits our family, and I'm very grateful that we can afford for me to do it. But I'd probably be better at it if I was living in a commune / tribe situation and sharing work with others instead of feeling isolated during the day! Washing up is much less of a chore when there's someone doing the drying to talk to.
      x

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    2. Hi NT, thank you for your comment. Yes, I suspect there is no scientific basis for this, I just liked the sentiment behind it. And I recognise the need for boredom, to encourage creativity, or just to sit and think. I like your suggestions very much.

      Lisa - I do often miss the banter and chat with other adults that I had at work. Some of my work in school involves recruiting staff and I love these days as they remind me of being at work before kids, of not being a mother but just being me, being a peer or colleague, part of a team. I found it really interesting what you said about the benefits of working in commune/tribe way, to share the chores. Food for thought, there, thank you very much. x

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  45. I love being at home all day and like you find plenty of things to fill the hours. I sometimes think it's envy that makes people ask!
    Enjoy your day!
    Jacqui x

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    1. It could be. I hadn't thought of it like that. I am glad you love your days at home Jacqui, thank you for your comment. x

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  46. Hey Gillian,
    I am a stay at home Mum. I have worked full and part time since having children. I didn't have to. Our finances have always been structured around Marc's salary. But I felt I should/ought to. I enjoyed volunteering as a counsellor, far more than when I was paid for it. It felt more meaningful to me to volunteer at the local Women's Aid refuge. I loved working there. I hated working in GP surgery, where I was paid. The time constraints and pressure involved were horrendous. The refuge allowed the women and myself as much time that was required for healing. Since Olly has started nursery, I volunteer at my local Junior school. Again I love it. No pressure. And I enjoy the challenge that the children present. I am never bored. There is always something to do. Be it chores, jobs, gardening etc. I couldn't bear the tv on during the day. Like you, I got enough of that daytime crap when I was nursing my children. And I get depression. I have learnt the hard way that if I overload myself, I struggle. And then my family suffers on the back of that. Marc is perfectly happy for me to structure mine and the kids time in whatever way I judge. He works away, so that we can live here, and it gives him the greatest pleasure that we are able to live the life we do. And yet as I write this to you, a fellow sahm, I feel like I am justifying my existence! I have been and am judged about my life and role as a mother quite often. Sometimes from my own family. I'm learning to ignore their comments. I even flick two fingers to them (in my head of course). But I would be lying if their comments don't sting from time to time. It sounds as if you time is well and truly packed to the gills. You are doing what is right for you and yours. Good for you!
    Leanne xx

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    1. I often think what a star your Marc is, the way he gives you the space and support to do what you need to do and be what you need to be. I find the flippant "So, now that Angus has started school you're a lady of leisure, aren't you?" comments stinging, and flick two fingers in my head. :-)

      Thank you Leanne. You are a star too. xx

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  47. I gave up part time work after my second child was born so that I could be at home with the children. I am a stay at home mum a description I hate and one that society cannot make its mind up whether it is a good thing or not. I tell people I am a home educator which always sets off a barrage of questions which irritates me slightly as it is no different a role than when your children are pre school age.

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    1. Oh, the labels...I think that's part of the problem. Housewife, homemaker, sahm - none of those sit comfortably with me. And yes, I can imagine that telling people you home school initiates many questions, most of them well meant and curious, but irritating none the less. And you are right, we are all home schoolers when raising our pre school age kids, but I never thought of it like that before! Great comment, thanks. x

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  48. There is a lot to say about this post... I work full time... Some days I wish I would not... What amaze me is how people are still judgmental... And how not so many people realise the hard task of being a Stay at Home Mum... I agree with what have been said earlier... Our society can't makes its mind up regarding those women (sometimes men)... But really, when will we be able to all live together, accept other choices (more or less free choices), stop judging people and respect each others...

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    1. I know! I totally agree. Why can't we all just get along...? Thank you for your comment Steph. x

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  49. I (unfortunately) have to work almost full time as my husband's self employed income is so variable. So my income is the steady one. I went back to work when my little boy was 5 months old and have worked part-time and almost full time ever since. I would love to be SAHM but my situation dictates otherwise. I certainly don't work for holidays/luxuries just for the necessities.

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    1. Hi there, thank you for your comment. I admire you, as I imagine that you must juggle a lot of balls to keep everything running smoothly. And yes, you are right, my role at home is down to our steady monthly income. If my husband was self employed our situation would be quite different. x

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  50. Well said! I only ever worked home on the family farm when the children were young. This past year has seen my youngest leave college and the need to be dropped off and picked up at odd hours. I have now found a job that I love as a support worker for people with learning disabilities. I love my job, however my three adult children live at home and though I work shifts and weekends always seem to wait for Mum to come through the door to get anything done. I also keep books for hubbys business. To some it seems this even is not enough...to them I'd like to say..!?!!!!"/?!!!

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    1. Hi Jackie, thanks for you comment. It sounds to me like you actually have three jobs! x

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  51. I spent 7 years as a stay at home mum! When I went back to teach when both sons were in school full time I became a nursery/infant teacher, whereas I had taught history to 11to 18 year olds, previously. I was never bored at home cooking, crafting, volunteering etc. the skills I developed at this time enabled me to embark on a totally new aspect of teaching and I never looked back . I am retired now. Am I ever bored? Never....cooking, crafting, volunteering etc I have read all my life and my sons, both as children and adults, followed suit. Bored?..
    Pam

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    1. Hi Pam. Thanks for your comment. It's really encouraging to hear that the skills you gained as a homemaker enriched your teaching career. Proof - as if we needed it - that time spent in the home has as much value as time in the workplace. x

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  52. It saddens me that some women still expect other women to defend their decision to mother their children rather than take paid employment, or their decision to work and leave their children in the care of others. Of course not everyone has a choice, one way or the other, but how other people spend their time on this earth is up to them.

    And how can you have a home without a home maker? Sure the home maker/s may work outside the home as well, but why do we value folk's day jobs more then the home lives they work to support?

    I had a friend who's stock answer to the 'what do you do' question was 'tame wild animals'. Of course she was referring to her children. I'm not ashamed to say I borrowed that one once or twice.

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    1. Yes, me too Annie. I thought that, as women, we were past this but sadly I don't think we are yet. Yay for the tremendous support and warmth that exists here in this online space!

      Tame wild animals - I like that. I also liked Sue's answer above. I might try those some day, if I'm feeling brave. Thank you Annie. x

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    2. I love the idea of 'Tame wild animals'... that strikes a chord with me!

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  53. Amen Sister! Perfect post Gillian! I have told my husband multiple times, that since becoming a stay-at-home Mom, I actually feel busier than when I worked full time! There is so much to do that NEEDS to be done and so much to do that I WANT to do. I feel so much more creative and crafty and while I do feel guilty sometimes for knitting for an hour in the middle of the day while my husband is at work, I then remind myself that this is maybe the one hour of the day that I am not within 3 feet of my little babe. I like the first woman's comment and I think that it is probably true. Life is short, there is so much to see and do, that we really shouldn't ever be bored.

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    1. Never feel guilty for knitting! With a baby as young as yours, you've got to make time to sit and rest during the day, or you'll drop down dead! Thank you Katie. x

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  54. Hello Gillian,
    From the number of comments you received it is quite amazing how we have the same 24 hours and the choice of what we do with them is equally amazing. My thought is that if you have the ability to craft, create, continue to have interests you could never be bored. Even being retired I wonder why 24 hours in a day aren't enough for all the ideas in my head....it is a good thing the early mornings are such a perfect time to be creative. Yours is a truly lovely lovely blog.
    Xo
    Dagmar

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    1. Oh thank you Dagmar - my early mornings are a blur of dishes and lunchboxes right now, but it is the best time of the day, you are right. Thank you for your comment. x

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  55. A very interesting post here, Gillian - I can honestly say I never get bored either ...ooh, does that make me intelligent? ;-) I don't have kids to run around and be involved with, and I only work one day a week out of the house, but every day I'm busy with something and I love my life. Between the household chores, Pilates class, book club, French class, walking with my pups and friends, and my love for all things crafty, my week fills up very quickly. But I get asked that question often - and especially as there are no children - as if I must be lazy or spoilt! xx

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    1. Can I just say that I don't think I am particularly intelligent! I just though it was a great comment. There are a few comments here from women who work part time or not at all and don't have children, and I think you know just how that "what do you do" question feels, and then some. You are not lazy or spoilt, you've just made different choices - and you sound like a very happy lady! x

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  56. Interesting post and comments, Gillian. The dreaded comment I used to receive when I worked full-time (with young children) was "I don't know how you do it". Looking back I remember feeling that others felt sorry for me. At the time I enjoyed the challenge of my full-time job as well as loving my home life as a mum. What I lacked though was time for myself and this eventually caught up with me and led to me changing to part-time work. I'm so glad I now have more time for my family and for me. If I was a SAHM I would run my life in a similar way to you, I think. Since leaving my permanent job in December I still work but have less stress as I have less responsibility. My life is richer too than it has ever been: family, marriage, home, work, volunteering (arts organisation and church), book club, running, meeting friends, running and of course blogging. As long as you and your family are happy, who cares!!! Claire xo

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    1. I gosh, I am probably one of those people who make comments like that, but I hope in awe and respect, not in a snide way. I wouldn't have felt sorry for you, I would admire your choices! So often with life it is about balance. Balance, and in turn, health. Health - mental health, especially, I have found - is never to be taken for granted. x

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  57. Hi, I work full time in finance in the City. This is not by choice but by necessity. My ex-husband left me for someone else six weeks before my daughters birth and removed my access to the joint bank account and left me with his company debts. Fortunately I had been working full time and so had some money of my own but with impending maternity leave it didn't last long. When I tried to return to work I was made redundant. I have worked intermittently on a contract basis since then and I am now of an age where despite so much experience I am passed over for younger male employees.
    Incidentally I had to wait fourteen years for any maintenance from my ex-husband, and even then he pays more each month for his lease car!
    Given a choice, I would never EVER have worked with children regardless of their ages. I have never needed my job as intellectual stimulus. In addition to working full time as a single person I have to do every job a 'sahm' does and those their husband/partner does. After fourteen years of this I am exhausted and my life feels as though someone has thrown me a handful of sand and I am trying to catch every grain.
    Equality in the workplace doesn't exist and it's not worth the fight to be paid on average 70% less as a female in the finance sector.
    I celebrate those Mum's who stay at home, they have been a huge support to parents like me trying to do it all and I salute you. Please don't be critical of women like me who only work because we have too.

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    1. Oh Andie, I am not critical of you at all, and I'm sorry if I gave you that impression! For what it's worth, I think you are amazing. I think your ex is the opposite of amazing. You are quite right - as a single parent, you have do be both a SAHM and the breadwinner, and you have my total respect. My niggle is not with parents who work, but with people who can't accept that we all make different choices. x

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    2. Hi Gillian, Please accept my apologies, in no way did I feel you were being critical of working mothers but I felt some people perhaps reading your post or responding to it may hold that view and my comments were in part directed at them. I felt my view needed putting across and I was perhaps a little bit grumpy (from lack of sleep!) With hindsight, I perhaps could have expressed it better. X

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    3. Oh lovely, you do not need to apologise at all! This is such a divisive issue and I certainly don't agree with all the comments here. But respectful debate is interesting and worthwhile, I hope, and I am really glad that you commented and shared your story. Thank you. I hope you're having a fabulous weekend. xx

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  58. Hi Gillian - I found your great blog via Lucy of Attic 24, BTW, but I'll be finding my own way from now on - it's lovely! I'm at the other end of the scale, married, 62 and carer for my Mum (90) who lives with us. When my kids were small I childminded so I could stay at home with them, and later had various p/t jobs to make ends meet, although I always tried to be there when they got home and during hols, etc. My life is so busy now I'm retired, and I love it. I'm never bored, and always doing or planning to do! I feel so blessed and privileged. You just have to make the best of the opportunities in your life, as it only comes round once. Hugs, Chris

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    1. Hi Chris, lovely to meet you, thanks for your comment. You are right, we just have the one life, and so we must make the most of it. Thank you. x

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  59. I love your post and have enjoyed reading all the comments. I'm a great one for 'only the boring are bored' and used it not so long ago on my bored young teen grandsons! They were shocked that Grandma would say such a thing, but I haven't heard 'I'm bored' since. Bringing up happy, healthy, children is the most important job in the world and we must never feel inferior for making that our full time job. I do feel sorry for those who find they're unstimulated at home, it shows a lack of imagination I always think. Valerie

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    1. I remember my mum saying the same to me! Thank you for such a warm, supportive comment Valerie; x

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  60. Hello, here by way of Lucy, your topic today struck a core, for I'm been a stay at home mom for most of my children's (two girls) life. Over the years I have received many inquiries of the same and odd comments (So many think I sleep late and eat bom boms all day, HA!). I find there isn't enough hours in the day, any given day, always! Bored... who has time?! lol As my girls near maturity, and looking back over the years I find I wouldn't change it for the world and know my time has been well spent. I have been blessed to be able to stay at home. I totally agree with you! :))

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    1. Hi Angela, welcome! Sleep late?! Ha! What's that, then?? Thank you for your lovely comment. x

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  61. Great post! I was forced into work when I became a single mum when my daughter was 18 months old. So not just busy but exhausted. Ten years & a 2nd husband later I had my son & stayed home for his first five years, I don't know how I found time to go back to work! I did however as we needed the income. Now my son is doing GCSEs & I am looking at the next 10 years before retirement at the age of 66. I wish I could retire now - there is so much I don't have time to do that would fulfil my life so much more than work ever could. But alas the income is needed just to survive. You're not so much a stay at home Mum, rather a sensible person who can fill her days doing what you enjoy & what makes you the wife & mother that your family need & love.

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    1. Hi Sue, thank you so much. Gosh, yes, busy AND exhausted, you must have been both of those and then some, you are a trooper! I guess you find the time to do things when you have to - we are all experts at squeezing every last drop of time out of each day! x

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  62. You will get comments from mothers who stay at home with their children as you do, and from mothers who work and each group will point out the advantages and disadvantages of their roles. I stayed at home with my children when they were young and I was grateful for the opportunity to do so. When they were older I became aware gradually that I was not as fulfilled as I had been and I made the jump back into work. I have subsequently had a very rewarding period of my life which has introduced me to a wider circle of friends and given me skills that I would not have had if I had stayed at home. My point is that what you need to feel happy and fulfilled may change over time even if you do not need to go out to work for financial reasons.

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    1. Absolutely. There is no right way or wrong way, each family must try and do what works best for them and respect others' situations and choices. I may return to work in the future (the thought of being at home forever is unsettling if I'm honest) and I hope my experience is as positive as yours, with new friendships and a fulfilling job. Thank you for your comment Alice. x

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  63. Gillian, in 63 years I have been blessed with varied life experiences: at home alone, at home with children, working as a teaching assistant, chief caregiver and co-administrator at a five bed eldercare facility, and a tutor in elementary math and reading, but boredom rarely enticed me. There is so much to explore, appreciate, and learn in life I am hoping God will let me know everlasting creativity in heaven! xx

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    1. Oh Gracie, I always love your comments. You always have something so wise and thoughtful to say and I love your blog for that reason. You seem like a person who is very content, and that is an underrated thing. Thank you Gracie. x

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  64. Great Post Gillian and I've enjoyed all the comments.

    I've shied away from the is topic on my blog because it's a can of worms and sometimes it often ends up being an argument where each side tries to justify why their choice is superior to the other. In an ideal world, the best option is the one that makes us the most fulfilled but that isn't always possible - for example I do empathise both with the story told by Tigerlilykiss above and on the opposite side of the coin is my Grandmother who was a stay at home Mother to 4 but desperately wanted to get a University education but was not able to back in her day.

    To answer your questions though I've been a stay at home Mum coming up to 10 years now and I've enjoyed it. With 5 children I haven't had any child free days as yet but I can honestly say there would be plenty to fill my days when the last one heads off to school - 2.30pm comes around in a flash!!! Having said that I enjoyed my career pre-kids and after 10 years at home I am ready to jump back into to doing something but it will be in our own farm business and something I will be able to dictate myself. As Alice C has said, I have changed. As for the dreaded question, I don't get it so much anymore now there are 5 Kids which is sad because it seems to imply that having 1 child (or even no children) is not enough to keep one busy and I almost found 1 just as busy as 5! For me I think it is easier being a SAHM than juggling everything. I honestly believe that when you are truly happy doing whatever it is you do, that need to justify or get defensive doesn't really arise (although it is annoying). I just say "I'm at home with the Kids at the moment" and if they are generally interested in how I spend my time I literally go through an average day but if it is coming from a place of judgement I have no problem saying "I just do whatever I want, no 2 days are the same". Sorry for the essay :-)

    Mel x

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    1. Do you know Mel, I have always shied away from it too, but I think I reached a tipping point and the conversation above has been exhilarating! Yes it's a can of worms, but respectful debate is possible (as I've seen here) and not just possible, but interesting too. And yes, you are quite right to point out that the "right" choice is not always available and I absolutely agree with you. I had no qualms about staring people down and answering that question while mine were at home - it was when Angus started school that it became an issue, you know, because that's when I became a "lady of leisure"... ;-)

      Great comment Mel, I always love to hear what you have to say, and I know you will make a huge success of your next venture when you do return to work, I mean to paid work! Thank you lovely lady. x

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  65. For what it's worth I didn't find your post critical of other's choices at all. I've done most options - been an at home mum, worked through financial necessity and now am away from my children through choice and for no financial reward. The current choice feels somehow both the hardest and easiest - easiest because it is absolutely my choice and I love what I am doing and know they are being cared for by the (next) best person and the hardest because it feels selfish sometimes to be doing something entirely because I want to!!

    Even whilst working I still dreaded the 'what do you do question?', I used to think I do so many things, the one I do for money between 9-3 is not the one that defines me!

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    1. Thank you. What you are doing now though - that is an amazing thing!! And it's not at all selfish to want a change in career and work towards a new goal.

      I really like what you said at the end there, yes, it's not just the paid jobs that define us, they are just another factor that make up who we are. x

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  66. oh yes the who are you, what do you question is always a bit tricky! or how do you live? sounds like you handled it quite well. Maybe we should just say, creatively! I'm quite glad to be out of the school environment at the moment and just be who I am, without having to explain myself. But it still pops up, learning how to answer this question well is a personal challenge! Heather x

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    1. It always pops up at weddings, I find. Yes, it's a challenge. I'm getting better at it. I just wish there was a better word to sum it up than homemaker, housewife or sahm. Maybe I'll just say "I'm an artist" or something and then see what they say to that! x

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    2. "Clan manager" works well, too ;)

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  67. Be proud - being a mother is the most important job you will ever do and your activities are supporting an intact family, another vital criterium for happy kids!!!
    A UK friend recently admitted she struggles with this question and someone had been rude enough to ask if she didn't feel guilty - I was horrified, to be honest. Living here in Switzerland for over 30 years, I have come to hugely appreciate that I had the option to be a SAHM (my mother always worked, so it's a bit the other way round to most people!) after having to work when my eldest child was small. Until recently, hardly any moms here worked outside the home except for family.
    Now my children are grown up, they still need me around (can I say "grandchildren"?!) and my husband also appreciates me running the home and helping him with his business - exactly when would I get bored?!
    I pity the women who feel they have to work full time to afford some kind of perceived status and then end up running round like crazy and feeling bad that their relationships with their family lack depth. And I feel sorry for the children whose mothers have no time for them and are cared for by others.
    We all work, one way or another, but NOTHING replaces a mother.
    (Sorry, my rant - I feel very strongly about this! And I am not criticising working mums, either, more society in general!!)

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    1. Guilt? Why would you feel guilty for staying at home I wonder? What a strange thing to say. I would never criticise a mother who chose to work full time and long hours, that is her choice, and there is nothing to say that her family is suffering. Perhaps it's quite the opposite and they have never been happier or had a better quality of life. It could be that the father works part time. That's just the thing - we never know what makes another family tick, and that's why we must not make assumptions or judge.

      Thank you for such an interesting comment! x

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  68. Well said swissrose and others - having had a SAHM when I was a child, I can only be sad for those who didn't.

    I taught for a while and to see sick children wait miserably while a work bound parent phoned around in the hope of finding someone to collect their child made me very sad.

    I hear the arguments presented by friends with children about going 'nuts' when at home all the time or 'needing' the income or not wanting to lose their 'position' in work… and while I accept a few are genuinely stuck, the majority are missing out on so much - none mores than the children, who will never have that irreplacable love, example and 'every day' training they can only get from a parent.

    My mother waited until we were well into our teenage years before venturing out to find a new career for herself so had the best of both worlds.

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    1. Ouch! This is exactly the kind of judgement that Gillian's post and most of the comments have so carefully avoided. Be happy in your choices but please don't criticise the choices made by others.

      As the daughter of a working mum I can say you don't need to feel sad for me.

      Lets not forget that society as a whole also gains from working mothers - the skills and talents of Dr's, nurses, teachers, lawyers, social workers and many more would be lost to everyone if they all decided stop working once they had children. They might not just be doing it for perceived status or position but because they are genuinely brilliant at their jobs and motivated to improve the lives not just of their own families.

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    2. Hi Etta, thank you for your comment. I'm not sure if I agree with you there though, I don't think that being a sahm is the better option, and I certainly don't pity children who don't have one. How fabulous for those daughters to grow up with mother's working in varied and interesting roles in different ways. But I enjoyed reading your thoughts very much, thank you.

      Hi Anonymous (sorry, don't know your name!). I love what you said about society gaining from working mothers. If all mothers stayed at home, we'd have a largely male work place and we'd be back in the 1950's!! Not something anyone of us want, I am sure. My mum stayed at home when until I was 12, when she returned to work full time, so I saw both sides of the situation too. I remember that we had much more exciting holidays when we had that additional income! Thank you for your comment. x

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  69. I have been lucky enough to work part time and continue to do so. I have been able to flex my hours to fit each stage of my daughter's schooling and whilst that has tied me to a particular job for a long time I realise just how lucky I am and work hard at work to make sure that I do my best there and at home.

    However when my daughter was born I couldn't cope and went back to work when she was 6 months old for 3 days a week. I look back now horrified at that, but it was what I needed to avoid what I think now was the start of a slide into depression and loneliness. My husband supported me and still shores me up on that decision to this day.

    We all make our decisions on the basis of a set of circumstances and one decision is no better or worse than another, whether that decision is to work or stay at home. I have been a primary school teacher and seen children of mothers who work and those who choose not to work. It always seemed to me that it was about the quality of love and the confidence developed in the child and not the mother's life choices that made a difference.

    Staying at home works for you and your family. You are happy and fulfilled and so your children will be happy...result!

    Thanks for such a thought provoking blog!

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    1. Oh Ali, thank you for that wonderful comment. "The quality of love" - yes, that's it, isn't it. I am sure there are as many disinterested sahms as there are engaged, interested, actively involved working parents.

      I had PND after the birth of my first child and found the days at home long, lonely and in no way fulfilling. Despite choosing to give up my job (mainly because I couldn't do it part time or nearby) it was years before I really enjoyed being at home. It sounds like returning to work part time was absolutely the right choice for you. Thank you. x

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  70. This is exactly how I feel! I'm a stay at home Mum to my two young boys but I never get bored. I frequently comment to my husband: "What must it be like to be bored? I don't understand when people say that they are bored". We're always doing stuff! What a beautiful, busy, fulfilling life you have! Just the way you want it :) Lovely post!

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    1. Hi Esther, thank you! Sometimes there are boring jobs to be done (I can't in all honestly say I like cleaning the bathroom) but you just put the radio on and get on with it, don't you, because there will always be something more exciting to do later. x

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  71. I'm not a stay at home mum but I'm an early retiree and I'm loving having the time to quilt, read, bake, garden. So much more fun than a two hour commute and office politics. It makes me so angry when energetic, creative young women like you are made to feel bad about staying at home with your kids. The very fact that you write this blog shows that you are intellectually stimulated. Don't let anyone make you feel awkward or uncomfortable. Your life is great! Perhaps they are just jealous?

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    1. Hi Jayne, thank you very much. I would not like to assume someone is jealous, as it implies I think my life is better than theirs, but perhaps it is sometimes a factor. It's been really interesting to hear from retirees and from women without children who've chosen not to work, or to work part time. You are faced with that same question too, and then some, and I did not really appreciate that. Thank you for your comment. x

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  72. I have always been a stay-at-home mum and I've never been bored. Like you I cook, clean, and garden. I've worked my way through, and tried to get better at, various crafts. When the girls started school I went in three times a week to help with reading and did that for 4 years until they changed schools and it was no longer required. At one point we had a dog, two cats, three chickens and a rabbit who required a certain amount of attention too. I've been able to go and support them (the girls, not the animals!) at various sports days, plays, ballet performances, netball matches. I once taught the local brownie pack to knit (that was quite stressful). When they were teenagers and a bit more independent, I studied for a degree. Now they're at university and I miss them but I do a bit of piano teaching, sew, crochet, knit, garden, do cross stitch and cook nice things for my hubby. I feel very fortunate that I've been able to do this and I completely understand that, for some people, it doesn't work whether it's financially or otherwise. But if someone should ask if I ever get bored then the short answer is 'no'. :o) Jane xx

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    1. Ha, teaching Brownies, to knit, gosh! Yes, I bet that was stressful! Your life sounds very full indeed, with lots of varied and interesting things going on. It sounds wonderful to be honest! Thank you for your comment Jane. x

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  73. At the moment I work full time but am looking at reducing the number of working days. This isn't a decision I've (we've) taken lightly. Part of my identity is definitely wrapped up in my career. It's what I've worked towards all my life. Working full time with the flexibility I have in my job was fine with one child but now with two I feel more stretched and if I'm completely honest not as career driven/focussed as I once was. Bizarrely I hope that getting a bit more balance will mean I enjoy both of my 'jobs' more - I know that by working less outside the home I'm going to be busier than ever nd cerayinly not bored!! I know sometimes perople have asked me how I manage to work and have children - a very supportive partner, I don't really manage/know or I feel I do everything poorly. Would anyone ask a man (who works or stays at home with children) what they did all day? Though provoking Gillian.

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    1. Yes, the loss of career identity was something I struggled greatly with when I first left work. It took years for that to go away, and for my own identity to come through. A friend of mine works full time and her husband is a stay at home Dad. Next time I bump into him I am going to ask him if he ever gets asked this, and what he says. I bet he never gets asked! I think there is a certain novelty factor for him and he has a bit of a celebrity status in the playground. Thank you for your comment. x

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  74. This is a really interesting post Gillian, it has made me think and I enjoyed having a good read through all the comments as well. For me, well...I returned to work when my daughter was 5 and a half months old. I found this very hard at first, i must admit and even now, my wee girl hasn't quite got used to me going off to work a few days a week! If I am working for a few days in a row, she becomes a little tearful, she just misses me I guess because on the days I am working I don't see her at all. I often have to miss things that are on at school and have to work public holidays, including Christmas. I would really love not to have to work those! I work part time, 2 days one week and 3 days the next, but my shifts are very long - 12 and a half hours and I am out the house from 7am and don't get home until almost 9pm on the days I am working. Having said all that....my job is a big part of who I am. I feel lucky to have a paid job that is important to me and that I enjoy - I am a nurse and ever since I was a wee girl this was what I always wanted to do. But, I absolutely love my time at home with my family and I cherish my days off and try to make our home as homely as I can for my wee family. None of us should ever be made to feel guilty about the choices we make for our families, whether we choose to be at home full time with our children or to work full or part time outside the home. We all do what is best for our families. To me, you sound as if you are very happy and fulfilled and your family are benefitting from this and for the lovely home you make for them.
    Marianne x
    PS I went on a bit there sorry!!

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    1. Hi Marianne, thank you so much for your comment. Yes, being a working parent is one thing, but working shifts too - yes, that must be quite a juggling act. But the up side is the time you get with your daughter when you are at home. I think you've struck a fantastic balance - a fulfilling career, a fulfilling home life, and a happy daughter. x

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  75. I have just this minute found your blog via Lucy in the Attic. I have not yet got far in reading, but (without even reading all the comments here on what I gather was a somewhat controversial post) have just printed out the second and third last paras and stuck them on my fridge.

    Thank you, you speak from my heart!

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    1. Hello, I'm glad you found your way here! My posts are not usually this controversial, it's usually yarn and cake. Normal service will resume now! Thank you for your lovely comment. x

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  76. I retired from a 30-year teaching career and very much relate to what you're experiencing right now with your youngest off at school. I also feel sometimes that I have to justify what I do all day (or what little I do). I, like you, am always thinking of crafty things to do - knitting, stitching, sewing, spinning. I am not not fastidious about housework - I do the bare minimum, and I have lots of areas of the house that need to be gone through , purges, tidied, etc. But I really can't be bothered. No one questions the 'usefulness' of people who read a lot so why do we crafty people feel we need to justify what we do? No matter, I just continue to do whatever it is I enjoy doing and am very happy that you do to.

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    1. Hi Geri. One of the most interesting things about all these comments is the way it's highlighted for me how retirees and women who don't have children but work part time or not at all, are faced with this same question too, and how annoying it is for them. Thank you for your lovely comment. x

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  77. I haven't been working for 5 years now (though I have no children to take care of). Funnily enough my days are SO full I hardly have time to read for instance. ;-) Now when I get questions like "Aren't you get bored?" (I dread this question) or "What do you do all day?" I say "I live my life".
    For some reason I often feel inferior if compared with women who work, though...why should I?
    I also found solace in a phrase from "Sex and the city" ;-). There's an episode when Carrie gets accused of being unmarried and childless. And she says smth like "When did we stop celebrating each other's choices?!". I have to remember that this is my choice I made and it makes me happy. I don't need to be bothered by how other people think I should live my life.

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    1. Hi Helena, that's a very interesting and thought provoking comment. I think Carrie hit the nail on the head there! (Trust SATC to have something spot on to say about women and their choices...) Thank you. x

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  78. Don't you love how some people get very defensive or assume there is only 'one way' to do things? I have enjoyed reading all the comments here; bravo to the stay at home Mums, you are doing a really valuable service to the country in raising little citizens. Bravo to those who work; without you, who would pay the taxes that fund the children in school? Everybody does what they must when they have to, some through choice, some through necessity. I had 7 glorious years of full time work before I had 7 glorious years of full time motherhood. Both roles were hard, fulfilling and valuable. I've since had my 7 years of part time temporary and hoping for 7 years of part time permanent! My personal belief is that a parent or really close relative should stay at home with a child until they're 2 and ready to socialise properly, but I'm pragmatic enough to know that's not possible and that some people aren't happy at home.
    I never felt inferior or undervalued; I worked at motherhood and in some ways looked at it as voluntary experience in Early Years education. I'm working again now, and that's a reasonable choice for this time in my life. I think Xelenacrochets gets the quote right, "When did we stop celebrating each other's choices?" The World needs us all in our different ways, let's celebrate the fact that we are different and yet all human.

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    1. Hear hear! Thank you Angel Jem, what a wonderful comment. I totally agree with you! x

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  79. Hi Gillian, this is such a great post. As you know I'm a SAHM. I love it. And with my mornings now free due to school and kindy for my three I get asked this question. My days are full, I don't get bored as there is always something to do. I love being able to drop/pick up my kids from school/kindy and be able to keep them home if they are ill or just plain exhausted. Mr H has been hinting at me returning to part time work but I'm going to dig my heals in for a wee while yet. xo

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    1. I am so glad you love being a sahm. And I can imagine the mornings go by in a blink! When Angus was at nursery I had from 9-11 "free" - which is no time at all, by the time i'd come home and done some jobs and popped to the shops it was time to go and collect him again. And the school day is not much longer. I hope you and Mr H come to a mutually agreeable solution! ;-) Thank you for your comment. x

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  80. Great post Gillian, I am self employed and work from home. Being a mum is both the greatest joy and the biggest challenge of my life and like most mum's I have lots of balls to juggle, occasionally I drop a ball, but I do my best and that's what's most important. xo

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    1. Yes, the most rewarding roles and often the most challenging ones, aren't they, otherwise they wouldn't be rewarding! Thank you Sarah. x

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  81. Wow! I think I'll pin a transcript of that post to my fridge. You have summed up the life of a stay-at-home mum perfectly.

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  82. Hello, I really enjoyed this post. The thing I find most frustrating about being a SAHM mum is I have had a few people say to me: 'Ooh, look at you, a lady of leisure'! My response to that is: I wish! We make a LOT of sacrifices so I can stay home with the boys. I miss earning a salary (and frivolous purchases :-) but I'm so grateful that for now, I can be home with them. There are days though when they drive me nuts but I'm sure that would be the case whether I worked or not ;-)

    thanks for sharing! x

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    1. Oh, the lady of leisure, thing, don't get me started on that... Once Angus started school I think people thought it was telly, manicures, pilates and magazines from 9 till 3. If only! And yes, the sacrifices, I can identify with that. Someone said to me I was lucky once, implying that we had lots of cash. Ha!! I nearly fell over laughing. We have a modest income and live in a modest house, drive an old car and have one holiday a year. We budget and juggle, like most. Yep, we're really flashing the cash here! Thanks for your comment Col. xx

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  83. Gillian, a great post - as ever - and fascinating discussion above. Amidst all the dialogue about how we fill our hours, can I just say a huge 'thank you' for making me aware of the charity baking initiative; such a lovely idea! I will definitely be investigating whether I can lend a hand locally with this… my baking repertoire is limited but I now have pirate cakes down to a fine art! Kate x

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    1. Hi Kate, thank you. It's a great charity to be involved with, I like it. I always make it clear that my cakes are of the, ahem, "homemade" sort (ie messy) but there are some seriously talented bakers out there. x

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  84. Hi; great post, love your blog, read it avidly. I used to have a highly demanding job with lots of commuting to London which took me 3.5 hours each way. I suddenly had to stop working through ill health, and now do not work and am home full time. It was difficult to adjust to the sudden change. But despite the fact I am not that well a lot of time, I feel blessed and have never been happier. I relish and love the small things, that I never had time to appreciate or even notice before. I enjoy being able to be more creative and having the brain space to want to create. Finance in the future is uncertain, but I am sure things will work out. I have joined a walking group and an art club and am loving life. I have regularly been asked what I find to do all day and do I get bored. I struggle with this question and still don't really know how to answer it. But I do know that am much more relaxed and at peace than I ever was in my job and am grateful I was forced to "get off the bus", I don't think I would have managed to take the plunge otherwise. There is more to life than being defined by your work job role. I think as women we should be accepting and value work and family life and work in the home, they are all important and valuable.

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    1. Hello, thank you so much. I am sorry you had to leave through ill health, but it does sound as though you have found a fulfilling and rewarding job at home! x

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  85. Great post, Gillian. I always wanted to be an "at home mummy" but unfortunately we weren't able to have children. I "retired" from work at 49 - one advantage in not having children - and am asked ALL the time how I fill in my days and aren't I bored? Well no, I'm not. I have wonderful friends, lots of socialising, my husband and I enjoy travelling and just being together, I love being at home, and I make patchwork quilts. Life is wonderful!

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    1. I feel positive just from reading your comment! You clearly have a glass half full approach to life, and it sounds like a rich, full and happy one. Thank you. x

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  86. Yours is a life that many would envy, being busy is about what you do with your time not the context. I have a fairly prestigious job, but spend many boring hours in meetings or trying to solve the same problems. One regret I do have is not spending more time with my boys and that's an awful regret to have. Also you are a successful writer, I have watched the success of your blog with awe. Look how many followers you have and comments which are left, you blog is touching people, and that is incredible. Xxx

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    1. Hello Mags, thank you so much. Regrets don't get you anywhere though, do they. I regret not being happier when Bella was a baby, I'd like to re-live those baby days again (but not the nights!) but you can't can you, you just have to keep moving forward. You are too kind about my blog, you make me blush! I still can't believe people read it at all - but I'm obviously very glad they do, and glad to have met you through blogging as well. Take care. xx

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  87. This is a great post. It makes me so angry when people assume there is only one correct way to live ( theirs), and that by not doing what they do you must somehow be wrong. I haven't worked full time for the past few years as I had a breakdown and had to leave my job. Even people who know this ask me what I do all day or if I am bored, or do I just sit watching daytime tv. No, no, no. I spend my time being chief of house, cook, cleaner, dog walker and I do things to build myself back up after my breakdown like read, exercise, blog, craft. I have never been bored and I never watch daytime tv, although, if I wanted to, that ought to be my choice too. Anyway, rant over. Don't let people make you feel that you should justify your choices. It is their problem, not yours. And let's ban the use of only or just when describing what we do.

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    1. Hi Kate-Em! Thank you so much. Absolutely - we should ban "only" or "just" when describing what you do, you are spot on. Your health caused you to make different life choices, and you are living your life in the best way for you. You sound busy and happy, but if you wanted to watch daytime tv, that would be fine too! Thank you. x

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  88. Great post Gillian, thank you for writing about this so well!
    I am a stay at home mum too and luckily, I am surrounded by other stay at home mums who know exactly what my life is like - eg busy!! I have been asked the "Aren't you bored??" question by people who haven't got children yet and who don't really understanding the whole logistics of running a home, eg school runs, cooking, shopping, cleaning etc.. I don't have time to get bored just doing all that stuff, and when I have a little time to myself (my little one is now going to nursery 5 mornings a week), I do some crafting or meet a friend for coffee. I have only just started to do more for myself (tennis class, Italian class) and a little part of me feels guilty, feels like I should be earning money instead of spending it and supporting my husband financially. But to me, spending time with my children is so precious (albeit hard work and sometimes not so enjoyable!!) that I want to make the most of the years when I can do that and my husband has always been very supportive.
    Yanis is at nursery for another year, and then it's reception, and then I think I will probably have to think about what to do with myself!! I've always seen myself "going back to work" - whatever that entails!! - when both kids would be at school but to be honest I really have no idea what to do and I think I would probably be quite happy staying at home and doing some volunteering too..
    Well done you anyway, you're doing an amazing job of raising happy children and running a happy household (and writing a happy blog!) and that's the best job in the world!!

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    1. I wish I knew more SAHMs - it's great that you have a network of women around you who understand just what you do all day long. It's the to-ing and fro-ing that eats into my day the most, I find! Thank you for such a lovely comment Helene. x

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  89. Great post (I'm just catching up). I get the "what do you do all day" question fairly frequently, I don't even have children so I'm even more of a wastrel for not having a job. Whenever someone asks me what I do all day in *that* tone, I just reply "whatever I want, all the time". Ask a silly question, get a silly answer!

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    1. Hi there, thank you. A "wastrel" - ha! I suspect the opposite is true. I like your answer very much.

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  90. Sorry if I'm repeating what others have said - I couldn't read all 188 comments - but I would say you do work - you've described 3 days and you spent 2 afternoons of that helping in school. You are a volunteer! That is work!

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    1. Thank you so much Helen. Yes, it is work, and I love it (which is why I do it) and you are right, it's still valid. But often when people say "work" they mean "paid work", as though that's the only thing that counts. x

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  91. Hi Gillian, what a great debate. I have spent the last year at home with my two children,caring for my Mom. I've found it lonely at times, it is not the same as being bored I agree. My life savers have been Radio 4, everything is better when you listen to Women's Hour. Your blog amongst many have made me smile and see that other women are out doing lots of creating. I have loads of dreams of crafting and some minor successes but seeing that other women like the same things has me has been real inspiration. As someone who has worked and been at home I genuinely think the most important thing is for Mother's to be happy and find a way if finances allow to find their own balance. I am now thinking audio books are the only way I'm going to crack those Russian classics.

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    1. Hi Lucy, thank you so much for a great comment. You know I think that's a brilliant idea about the audio books - I listen to abridged books on the radio that I'd never normally read and you can do something else (like drive the car or the ironing) while listening to an audio book, can't you. Thank you! x

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  92. I have only just stumbled upon your blog and I absolutely love it! I find reading about other peoples lives as stay at home mums fascinating! I have a 4 year old daughter and 19 month old son and I gave up work nearly 5 years ago now and have never looked back since. I absolutely love being a full time mum and I always get "dont you get bored?" or the usual comments about how I must love watching daytime tv, which I hasten to add I never do and never have done. My daughter is at school now (sniff sniff) and I found it extremely difficult to adjust to life without her in the house with me and my son. I missed her and still miss her terribly. We all do so much together and our days are full of crafts, play, garden, parks, days out and I wouldnt change it for the world. People say "do you work?" and I have replied in the past and still do by saying "no, I'm just a stay at home mum"!!!!! Just at stay at home mum!!!!! We probably have the hardest job at times but most satisfying you could ever have :)

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    1. Oh thank you so much! Blogging can be such a good way to connect with people with similar lives or interests, it's one of the most rewarding parts of it, the friendship. Promise me that next time someone asks "do you work?", you'll say "Yes, I am a stay at home mum"!! I'll try and say it too... x

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  93. Loved this post, missed it during my impromptu blog break! When our girls were little my husband and I job shared and so cared for the girls between us....definitely best of both worlds! Yes money was tight but we loved looking after them equally (although I was the one who ALWAYS made sure the nappy bag was well stocked!)). I loved my job but I also loved caring for the girls. Now I can no longer do the job I loved, sometimes I feel sad that I can no longer be a role model in that respect for my girls, career go getting mum, but I'm trying to be a good role model in other ways! If I could, I'd have us both continuing to job share, care for the girls between us....we can't always have what we want.....so I make the most of how things are now! :) x

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    1. Hi Ada, thank you. The role model thing bothers me, and I often worry that I am not being a great role model for Bella by staying at home. I guess that says a lot about how much value we give the role of sahm, as though that's not something we'd want our daughters to aspire too! I feel very conflicted on that one, and that's partly why I do a lot of volunteering, so she sees me not only as a mother but as an "active citizen" (a phrase her school loves to use!).

      Your jobshare with Mr Bea sounds just spot on, it's really rare I think for both parents to be able to work part time and share the childcare so equally. How wonderful to have had that - although not for as long as you wanted. Thank you for your comment Ada. xx

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