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Archive for Monday, November 17, 2008

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The real housewives of Douglas County

A few of the real housewives of Douglas County, from left: Tracey Kastens, Laura Dahnert, Lisa Patrick, Lana Grove and Susan Eagle.

A few of the real housewives of Douglas County, from left: Tracey Kastens, Laura Dahnert, Lisa Patrick, Lana Grove and Susan Eagle.

November 17, 2008

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Susan Eagle, a housewife for 10 years, works with Girl Scout Paige Kellenberger, of Troop 7744, on a garage sale. The mother of two, Eagle spends a lot of time volunteering in the community.

Susan Eagle, a housewife for 10 years, works with Girl Scout Paige Kellenberger, of Troop 7744, on a garage sale. The mother of two, Eagle spends a lot of time volunteering in the community.

From left, friends Susan Eagle, Laura Dahnert and Lisa Patrick work on their "Wanted: One Magic Hat" tree for the 2008 Festival of Trees auction. Festival of Trees benefits The Shelter Inc., an organization that helps children and families.

From left, friends Susan Eagle, Laura Dahnert and Lisa Patrick work on their "Wanted: One Magic Hat" tree for the 2008 Festival of Trees auction. Festival of Trees benefits The Shelter Inc., an organization that helps children and families.

A few of the real housewives of Douglas County, from left: Tracey Kastens, Laura Dahnert, Lisa Patrick, Lana Grove and Susan Eagle.

A few of the real housewives of Douglas County, from left: Tracey Kastens, Laura Dahnert, Lisa Patrick, Lana Grove and Susan Eagle.

On the street

Were you raised by a stay-at-home parent?

Yes. My mom stayed home to raise me until I was 10. I think it was a good decision. It was nice to have a parent there to keep me engaged in activities and help with my school work.

More responses

Lana Grove is pretty sure she's never had a bonbon in her life.

She doesn't watch soap operas, and she can't imagine finding time to sit through each plodding, dramatic episode.

And she does have a job, thank you very much.

It just so happens she's paid in kisses and memories instead of dollars and cents.

Grove is a real, live housewife. She's no June Cleaver, and she's not like those featured on "The Real Housewives of Orange County" or "Desperate Housewives."

But how often does TV really mirror reality anyway?

"When I had my first baby, I thought I would go back to work," Grove says. "But when she was a couple months old, I thought, 'I'm not going back to work because I don't want anybody else to take care of her.' And then I changed paths and stayed at home."

Grove is one of many area housewives who are anything but women of the bonbon-and-soap-opera variety. Across Lawrence, there are women like Grove who are giving back to the community, running households and improving their children's lives all at the same time.

Take Susan Eagle. The former surety bond underwriter and mother of two - Megan, 14, and Matthew, 10 - is a super-volunteer. She bounces from Scouts to school events to entering the 2009 Festival of Trees.

"I keep saying I need to go back to work, and my husband keeps saying, 'You can't, you're involved in too many things,'" Eagle says. "He said, 'I don't see how you can go back to work.' I just wouldn't have time."

In fact, she says, with the amount of volunteer work she and other moms do, by not working she thinks they're adding funds to the municipal budget.

"There's no way that our community could afford to replace the volunteer hours with paid man hours," she says.

Under pressure

Despite the benefits to the common good and at home, Eagle says the decision to stay at home wasn't easy when she made it 10 years ago. She says that when she decided to stay at home after her second child was born, it was a choice that was full of stress - financial, social and otherwise.

"I actually did feel that pressure more than probably a lot of people realize because I was raised by a single mother," says Eagle, 42. "And so, my mother thought was I absolutely insane to leave this incredibly good job where they clearly wanted me to continue into management."

Grove, 40, also felt the pressure when she quit work nearly eight years ago. Her twin sister was initially a big critic, not believing Grove could be making the right choice.

"She'll say things like 'You just wasted that education. They spent all that money on you to go to school, and you're not even doing anything with it,'" Grove says.

Mom Tracey Kastens, 34, says that either way, moms make sacrifices.

"Working mothers are making sacrifices by not having as much time at home with their children," says Kastens, a former teacher. "On the other hand, stay-at-home moms are making sacrifices as well by giving up these great careers that they did have."

Grove says leaving work was the best decision she could have made. Not only is she there for daughters Quincy, 7, and Stella, 4, but she's the membership vice president for the Mom's Club of Lawrence-South. The organization brings together mothers and helps to fight one of the job's potential hazards - loneliness.

"If you stay at home with your kids all the time, you don't see other adults, and it can be pretty isolating," Grove says.

There are about 40 moms in the South club and similar numbers in the North club. They have almost daily activities, including art classes, which Grove finds time to teach every once in a while, using that hard-earned degree. Not that it impresses her sister.

"She was like, 'Oh great, glad you can color,'" Grove says, laughing.

Greater impact

Despite the jokes or the stigma or the challenges of living on one income, the moms say they wouldn't trade their choices for the world.

"Growing up, I never envisioned myself being a stay-at-home mom. I was going to be the independent, professional business woman. I had a college degree and you know, gosh darn it, I was going to go out and conquer the world," Eagle says. "But I feel like I'm doing much more now than I ever would have in a business environment. I feel like I'm having much more of an impact on the world."

Comments

Steve Jacob 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't want to say any negative about these women, staying at home with the children is great. But just talking/thinking about the future. Women are outnumbering men by a bigger and bigger amounts in colleges, (and get better grades too). Yet, women are the ones who leave the work force and stay home with the children. Does that create a "brain drain" for this country? I bring this up because I remember a Harvard Business School study, showing 20 years after graduation, so many more women then men left the workforce all together, due to family and/or fed up glass ceiling.

supercowbellninja 6 years, 1 month ago

Thought this was a nice, tasteful article on a small subset of our community.Not sure what the point of a few comments on this thread are - why diminish the accomplishment of a few just because they don't have it as hard as others?Seems pointless and petty to me. Then again, that seems to be the hallmark of so many ljworld comment threads.

DMH1983 6 years, 1 month ago

Great article, but If I were Ms. Grove's sister I'd be a little p*ssed at being quoted so much w/o being interviewed!

Confrontation 6 years, 1 month ago

There are other considerations for stay-at-homes. Considering that a huge percentage of them will still divorce, and they'll find it very hard to get back into the workforce, they better have a good plan B. Unless the husband is incredibly weathly, and the wife will be able to make bank on child support, then she's pretty much "up the creek."

storm 6 years, 1 month ago

These women are Homemakers. How insulting to call them housewives. Pitiful.

number3of5 6 years, 1 month ago

I feel sorry for the single moms. In many instances this is a personal choice, others are forced into it by absentee dads. I myself have experienced being a full time "HOUSEWIFE", and a working mom. I enjoyed the staying at home the most. But, don't think I didn't work. I raised a garden and canned the harvest for eating. I sewed clothes for my family, sometimes using hand-me-downs to create new clothes. My son never wore store bought jeans until he was in first grade. Even then he wore shirts that I sewed. When a mom works out of the home, she misses out of a lot in the growth of her children. Moms were not meant to have to work. It says a lot about our society where money and possessions are more important than the well being of our youth. Oh, and yes, I had a hard working man to support me and the children. But he did not make a huge salary. He was a high school dropout working at factory work and working for farmers on the side just to make ends meet. We never went without the basic, of food, shelter and most important, LOVE!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Hats off to homes to can make a stay at home parent work. If nothing else children love it.

maxcrabb 6 years, 1 month ago

What about househusbands? My dad stayed home with me until I was in 4th grade. He also coached all my little league teams and volunteered at my school. That being said, he also went on to start a new career when all the child raising was close to finished, and I was halfway through high school. The only point being, starting a family does not mean ending your professional career forever. It just depends on how young you start, how many kids you have, and whether your career is an easy one to jump back into after 10, 20 years....OK, easier said than done, but still..

truman 6 years, 1 month ago

These are obviously women who are not single mothers and who have a spouse who can support them . The real women are the working moms who have no choice but to work and still do a great job raising children.

alm77 6 years, 1 month ago

storm - "housewives" was supposed to be a pop culture reference as the first few lines allude. I've been both a working mom and a SAHM and my husband stayed home (he was enrolled full time in college) while I worked. We've done what it takes, and we love it. Our kids have a vague understanding of the sacrifices we've made and appreciate it probably as much as any school ager can. My mom was a single mother, so I do know what a plight that can be. I count my husband as such a blessing that we've been able to work things out the way we have.

morganlefay 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Pogo & truman on this one! These stay at home housewives have it made. And this article talking about all the "pressure" they deal with. Spare me! Both my parents worked for a living and the 3 kids attended day care and we all turned out just fine, providing for ourselves with good careers. My parents dealt with real pressure. These women should get off their high horses and join the real working world for a change and then they can talk about pressure.

alicenevada 6 years, 1 month ago

I can appreciate the work these women do and the pressure they are under. Raising children is a 24/7 job if you are a good parent. I do not wish ill for them because they are married or, as some posters have said "have it made." Staying home to take care of children, a household and a husband is no easy task.What I find disgraceful is that single mothers have a negative stigma attached to them which prevents the LJWorld from running a story on thier lives. It is hurtful and prejudiced for this news publication to be so biased and shed light only on married stay-at-home moms, as though only being a married mom is the picture of morality, and being a single mom makes you the whore of Babylon. I am a single mom, I work and I go to school. I do just as good of a job with my child as any one of these women do wtih theirs, I volunteer, I am more often than not being pulled in twenty different directions, and I am doing it all while keeping a roof over my child's head and food on my table. If the LJWorld wants to do a story on BOTH sides of this issue, I am sure that I, along with many other single moms would jump at the chance!! Give us single sisters a little nod, will ya?

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

I was a SAHM for my three daughters and don't regret a second of it. College educated and career bound in early married years -- but had made the decision (prior to having children) that we'd nurture husband's potential if that required moving. It did. Became difficult to keep my own career credibility having made that choice. But it WAS my choice. Lucky for us, husband made lots of $$ during his career, but it did require my being home to keep stability in the home. I found many, many, many ways to keep my 'career skills' intact and growing thru volunteerism in schools and charitable organizations. And it was always fulfilling, yet gave me the flexibility I needed in raising children. Today my girls see their options. They don't feel they have to 'give up' anything. They have partners who have grown up in the same world they did and are willing to share financial and familial obligations/choices. I am so proud of them and the choices our world has allowed them. Nothing is 'perfect', but choices are such a privilege. I do believe it's important to give children two parents. But the configuration of how to raise a family has many possibilities.

morganlefay 6 years, 1 month ago

Just like escapee said, her "husband made lots of $$" so she could stay at home. Most wives are not so privileged.I definitely give kudos to single moms like alice and would much rather read a LJ World article about them and the real sacrifices these women make, as opposed to the one's whose husbands make a lot of $$!

drake 6 years, 1 month ago

Escapee- read my post again. I'm agreeing w/ you.

guesswho 6 years, 1 month ago

Too bad most posters don't realize that the ideal situation is what the parents WANT to do. If a mom (or dad) wants and is able to stay home, great. If a mom (or dad) wants and is able to work, great. The saddest thing is if a mom (or dad) wants to stay home and cannot, or if a mom (or dad) has to stay home and does not want to. Children are not harmed by daycare, as long as it is high quality (most turn out all right even if the daycare isn't so hot). Children do not turn out all right if they are at home with neglect and/or abuse.Respect choices each family makes - each job is tough.

bombshell 6 years, 1 month ago

darn those typos... "ON a mountain" and "THERE'S" not their.... its been a long day.

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

I think the 'lesson' here should be that we (moms) all want what is best for our children/families/communities. What is so hard about respecting each other's choices in the process of living our own lives???I have endless respect for the single mom who 'does it all' - whether she 'has to' or not! I also have tons of respect for the family unit that has chosen for the Dad to stay home and raise children. I also have respect for two working parents who hold their family as their priority (why have children if they aren't your prirority?). What I don't have respect for are the whiney, do-nothing, loud-mouthed, chronic complainers that blame everyone else in the world for their bad choices....Life is meant to be LIVED. The way we live it...is a choice.

kidicarus 6 years, 1 month ago

"God created mothers, and I won't back down from the statement that it is best for the mother to raise the child."Disagree. I think it's best for a child to be raised by someone who loves him or her, regardless of who that person is. But that's just my opinion. I'm hesitant to state that I know what is best for others, because it would make me look insanely dumb.

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

BTW, having a positive attitude -- no matter your choices -- is ALSO A CHOICE.

drake 6 years, 1 month ago

Escapee- I agree w/ you 100% but I'm afraid you are expressing your opinions in the wrong town.Lawrence is filled w/ people that see you as the enemy plain and simple.You have won life's lottery and should be reprimanded and taxed to support their poor life choices. It's not their fault that they don't earn as much as your family. You didn't sacrifice and earn everything that you have, nor have you worked hard to provide a secure marriage for family stability. You are only happy and comfortable because you are lucky and rich and it's not fair that you have more than they.All you have done by posting in this forum is to provide fuel for the lesbians, man-haters and flat out lazy people of Lawrence to cry about how easy your life is.

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

You are so wrong.... When will you 'the world owes me' people ever get it!!!Life is about WHAT YOU DO WITH IT!!!! Simple as that. Nothing is easy. And hard work is involved in almost all things this world values as 'good' or 'privileged'. I made choices. My husband made choices. WE MADE IT WORK. Life wasn't always easy. And, believe me, I've had plenty of set backs. The difference between you and me is that I know I'm responsible for 1)solving my own problems 2)finding my own happiness, and 3)making my own CHOICES and sticking with them without whining and leaning on those who would side with me in a pity party!!!! Get off your duff! Make something of yourself!! Teach your children to do the same!! and for God's sake -- wear a smile once and a while!!! Be responsible for your own destiny!! Don't blame me because you're too lazy to get yourself together!!!There is something way too close to the truth in the post that says this sort of talk serves only to widen the gap between women who work and those who don't. There shouldn't be that animosity.I don't condemn those who choose to work and raise a family. And I wish they wouldn't condemn me for my choices either. As I said, there are MANY ways of configuring a unit to raise a family. Choices are for each of us to make and live with. The active ingredient here is to 'make it work' and live with your choices. My girls will probably ALL work and raise families. And I trust that they will do it well as many of you have. It is unfortunate when one parent has to end up doing it all for whatever the reason. But, that too can work. Attitude and not whining about 'what life dealt you' takes away much of negativism that some of you express. As I said, nothing is perfect all the time -- you must work at making things work.

bombshell 6 years, 1 month ago

I appreciate the SAHMs, but I do think it's a luxury if you are able to stay at home and still have the monetary support from your partner to feed/clothe/house/entertain all the members of your family. I am not married nor do I have children yet, but I doubt I'll have the luxury of staying at home if I ever do have kids. More and more these days, its expected that each parent should be working and raising the kids together.

bdawg 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm a stay at home mom in my late 20s. My husband and I have made many sacrifices for me to do so AND we make far below the average income level. Some women can't choose this but some women won't choose this. It is best for the child to be raised by the mother, that was how God intended it to be. However, God does allow circumstances in our lives that gives us alternate paths, no one is blaming a woman for working and hopefully it is not a selfish decision and hopefully she is still able to guide her household. I have some college and am slowly working on a degree so when my child is a little older I will have a plan. Staying at home is a great sacrifice but a greater joy.

salad 6 years, 1 month ago

"My husband and I have made many sacrifices for me to do so AND we make far below the average income level. Some women can't choose this but some women won't choose this. It is best for the child to be raised by the mother, that was how God intended it to be. "...she said, smuggly planting her flag on the moral high-ground.

bdawg 6 years, 1 month ago

Sorry for sounding smug. I just think that so many women don't want to stay at home with their children just because. It's not because they have to work, but because they just want to work, not so every time I know. God created mothers, and I won't back down from the statement that it is best for the mother to raise the child. I am no ones judge and I don't answer for anyone and I know it is not always possible for the mother to raise the child. I do admire struggling mothers who are taking care of their families and all the fathers too. Once again, sorry for the smugness.

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

Choices, ladies. Choices.Once upon a time, there weren't choices.Life is good.

bombshell 6 years, 1 month ago

i'm with flux. all the commentary just kept me entertained for 10 minutes. my mom stayed at home to raise my brother and me, because it was important to her that she was there when we got out out school. i loved having my mom there everyday, it made a difference on the memories i have from my childhood. the sacrifice was that there was never enough money - definately not enough money for college, but i got scholarships and loans and now in my mid-20s i have the beginning of a good career. i don't know if i'll ever have kids, but i'll probably have to work, because chances are i'll be the breadwinner in my family. everyone does what they can to create a happy, secure life. you work or you stay home or you have many homes or you travel to faraway places or live in a hut in a mountain. it doesn't matter as long as their positivity and love and contentment involved.

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

Make no mistake...it was WORK to make a family unit strong enough to allow one parent the 'luxury' of working VERY hard, and traveling around the world, and spending many days away from home in order to earn an income that afforded the life we led. As I said, this was about CHOICES. And most people DO have them. I just made mine work for me. What others choose...is their business.

soccerscouts 6 years, 1 month ago

Articles like this only serve to further divide Lawrence. I'm glad these women do their volunteer work. I also bet these women are glad that there are other moms who work outside the home so their children have teachers and doctors and dentists and police/fire/ambulance protection, just to name a few.Good for these "Housewives of Douglas County." But good for the working moms, too--who go to work 8+ hours a day and still find time to take care of the kids and the house, go to school, and volunteer right along side the SAHM's.

Confrontation 6 years, 1 month ago

Escapee, if you think your choice was the right one, then why are you trying so hard to justify it? I honestly don't care about the choice you made, but you lose some credibility when you declare, "Get off your duff! Make something of yourself!!" Yet, you decided to stay at home and let your husband support you. It's a little easier to express your feelings when you're not accusing others of being unmotivated.

salad 6 years, 1 month ago

Only one way you get to "choose" to stay home with your kids: you have enough mondy to do so. The only other way you get to stay home with your kids is if your life has come off the rails and you're on disability or public assistance/ welfare. How nice to do yet another story on the "haves".The vast majority of middle class families cannot get by on one paycheck (and it's not due to material greed, etc...) so mom's gotta work.

A123 6 years, 1 month ago

Are any of these women from Lawrence?

Luxor 6 years, 1 month ago

I hate this stupid fluff section of the paper.

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

Drake, you're a joke.My 'lottery' was bought and paid for with sacrifice, hard work, and good choices. Lucky? Yes, lucky that I (and my husband) were brought up by parents who cared enough about us to teach us that life is not always easy and that you must prepare yourself for the road ahead and always weigh your choices. Have goals. Have plans. Have a positive attitude. And have faith. Yes, I'm lucky. Lucky that at age 53 with three grown children, I am confident that they, too, will be 'lucky' in life -- lucky enough to know that life isn't easy and that there will be difficult times ahead in this period of economic unrest. My point is -- you're an idiot if you think 'luck' is what got me where I am. I just clearly have been better prepared for the life I sought to lead. Thanks Mom and Dad.

flux 6 years, 1 month ago

Everyone is so worked up.......... HA HA DORKS!!

alicenevada 6 years, 1 month ago

Escapee,I agree with you that life is what you make of it. For all the married women who think their lives with their husbands is just one long dream date, there are just as many who are ready to jump off a cliff for need of some independence. Vice versa for single moms. I am indeed happy with my life and proud of what I have made of it. I just think people overall are a little insulted that the stay at home moms are cast in the light of saints and the single moms, like myself are characterized as having horns and bat wings. It gets a little old sometimes, but ah well. I guess that what posting like this is for. Go single moms!!!!!!!!!!

BaxterC 6 years, 1 month ago

Hold on to your daddy's girls! Here comes Grove!!!

Confrontation 6 years, 1 month ago

alicenevada, I completely agree with you. My own mother was single, after having divorced an evil man after 10 years. She worked her butt off, didn't take welfare payments, and we learned a whole lot about life in the process. She didn't complain, either. My aunt, on the other hand, is a sit-on-her-butt-at-home mom, who is teaching her daughters how to be reliant on a man. Don't think I'm dissing all stay-at-homes, since many of them are incredibly active in their communities and don't sit on their rears all the time (like my aunt). I'm just saying that single moms often teach incredibly valuable lessons to their children.

mom_of_three 6 years, 1 month ago

"best for the child to be raised by the mother?"Although this takes the discussion to a different place, that is not necessarily so. When our kids were little, I was making more money, so I worked 8-5 and he stayed home with a 3 year old and an infant. then I came home and he worked from 6p-10. He stayed home for about 10 months, and it was great for the kids, especially for the baby. I don't think it matters which parent stays home, as long as one is able to do so.

huskerdo 6 years, 1 month ago

Escapee - I completely agree. I have been both a working mother (14+ years) and a SAHM and believe both jobs are extremely difficult, yet important. When working, I had to sacrifice a lot of family and volunteer time. As a SAHM, I sacrifice many 'extras' that my paycheck could have afforded my family. There are trade-offs in both. Why can't you all just appreciate these differences and the value both roles serve and leave it at that? Seems like someone is always looking for a battle or a cause...

Strontius 6 years, 1 month ago

"God created mothers, and I won't back down from the statement that it is best for the mother to raise the child."I disagree on both counts. The first because I take a rational view of the world and the second because I've seen studies that demonstrate otherwise as well as seen people in my own life who have been primarily raised by their father and turned out fantastic. Children need parents, but the gender of those parents doesn't seem to matter as much as general parental skills. I would actually argue that it's best for an entire community to raise a child rather then just a mother. Parents can't be everywhere at once, after all.

denak 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, I'm on the fence here.The witchy side of me says, "GET A JOB" and the other side of me says.....well that side of me basically says the same thing.You are not a SAHM if your children are 10 and 14. Unless you home school, you're children aren't even in said home from roughly 8-4. Guess what you could be doing during those hours....working. If you want to contribute to our community, get a job and pay taxes. Like AliceNevada, I worked, went to school and still raised my son. That is hard work. Not staying at home.Today, when I hear people complain about how hard it is to stay at home, I just roll my eyes.In my oh so humble opinion, working mothers teach their children things that are much more valuable than what a SAHM does. We teach out kids reliance on themselves. We teach them that they can...and should...stand on their own two feet. We teach them that they are not going to get anything in life if they are not willing to work, and work hard for it. And it isn't just talk. They don't hear mom say that and yet stay home and let dad take care of things. They see mom get up everyday, just like dad, and go to work to provide for them and to contribute something meaningful to the community.Putting up Christmas trees is nice. They are pretty but they do not in any substantial way, contribute to our society.At least, if the ljw is going to do a story on volunteering housewives, why don't they do it on women (and men) who are volunteering in a substantial way such as those who help run Link, those who do foster care, those who collect food and blankets for the needy or do audio tapes for the blind.This is the second such article where white, upper middle class(or lower upper class) women have been featured. I'm pretty sure, even in Lawrence, if the writers looked around hard enough, they will find someone who isn't White and upper middle class to write a story about and I am almost positive, it would be more important and more interesting then SAHM's who apparently don't stay home all that much and whose children are mostly school age.Dena

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

A little crabby from all that comparing choices are we Dena?Get over it.

allateup 6 years, 1 month ago

I was a stay at home mom for 14 years. It's the hardest job I've EVER known. Let me tell you, I LOVE Mondays, now!!!!!!

allateup 6 years, 1 month ago

And Dena, you do seem a tad bit bitter!

alm77 6 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, Dena, I've been both a working mom and a SAHM, I contributed and continue to contribute plenty in both roles. The idea that paying taxes is more important that looking after children (at any age) or households is absurd. Moms need to do a) what's best for the family and b) what makes them happy. If my family needs my income, I'm known to work (and good at finding work I like), if we're okay without my income, however, I'm happier staying at home. We decide what works best for us and do what it takes to make that happen. This is not a black and white issue.

Calliope877 6 years, 1 month ago

Hey, if it makes them happy to be a SAHM, and if they can afford it, then what's the problem?

weluvbowling 6 years, 1 month ago

I work 40 hours a week, home school my daughter, and take care of the house! Yes, I am married (after being a single mom for many years, working AND without the support of the State), but these days, unless you are a Doctor, Lawyer, or someone of great importance it seems to take 2 people working in a family to make it.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 1 month ago

The Go! section needs to be renamed the Stop! section.

Escapee 6 years, 1 month ago

Multi — great lesson to send the world there: 'Never ever count on a man.'Your bitterness, and obvious bad experiences with men needn't resonate to the entire species!You might be surprised to learn that I don't think anybody should reside in a relationship without a net…meaning I would never advise anyone to be without a plan and skills to make their own income. Because it's true that one never knows what the future will bring. However, to forego a marital relationship out of fear that your partner will leave you at any moment…? If this was an underlying emotion/gut feeling I had in a relationship — don't think I'd make the choice to commit in the first place.I guess I never regarded my marriage as having one supporter and one dependent at any time to begin with. He would tell you that without my role, he could not have made the decision to give so much to a career. If I'd had a career, there would have been a necessary compromising to yield to the demands of a two career household. In our case, he wasn't very good at the scheduling and discipline and simple 'servitude' it took to raise the children. I, on the other hand, was good at that. And enjoyed it. But I also have a college degree and in fact earned a greater income than he did at the time of our marriage.Sometimes to plan a future with someone, first you have to form a partnership that involves trust, faith, and even forgiveness. I am quite able, and was then as well, to enter the job market in several professional capacities. I was even able to hone some additional experiences during the raising of my daughters that fit into my 'net' of experiences. And at this point in my life, I am using several of these experiences to supplement our income as well as fulfill my own professional 'needs'.Things change as life goes on. All I'm saying is that we all have 'choices' to make in life. I just can't stand it when people whine and cry about what has happened to them….Life only 'happens to them' when they aren't responsible enough to take charge and make their own choices.

honestone 6 years, 1 month ago

What about us full-time working dad's who are also full-time single dad's taking care of full-time kids that are now full-time successes. Geee...see how sexist society is. The girls get credit but it is just expected of us dad's

Julie Craig 6 years, 1 month ago

Ummmm - don't look now Donnuts, but the old Furr's is now a CVS pharmacy.

planetwax 6 years, 1 month ago

Hi Tracey! Nice article. Hopefully, you can resist reading all of the silly comments. If you're reading mine, I guess you couldn't help yourself! :) I'll see you at the Little Red School House! ~Janet

canyon_wren 6 years, 1 month ago

Lots of interesting comments--many were pretty predictable, especially the critical ones. It does seem to me that the J-W has carried articles portraying the struggles of single mothers and stay-at-home fathers in the past, so those "defenders" needn't feel so neglected.I had a "stay-at-home" mother who occasionally taught family life classes and had her own radio program (at home) several times during my growing up, but she was essentially a wife and mother. Though I earned two KU degrees, and worked when my husband was in graduate school at two other universities, I was pleased to be able to stay home to raise our daughter and only worked for a year when I taught her 8th grade class at a small Christian academy. I have always found managing a home extremely creative and felt it demanded more of my talents--and even my education,if you will--than general office work. In general, I resented "wasting" my energies and resourcefulness for a relatively oblivious boss when they were better spent at home. But we do what we need to do. I certainly admire women in the professions who are making a real difference in our world. I know that many women do not like homemaking chores and don't even enjoy spending very much time with their children! It's good for those women to work, whether or not they need to, financially. However, it is not always good economics--to put your small children in daycare and have to spend extra money on clothes for work, transportation, etc., if you DO have a strong desire to stay at home--often your salary barely covers those extra expenses. I think it is sad when families feel they must live in quite expensive homes and then are seldom in them--with fancy kitchens where few home-cooked meals are prepared. One might as well live in a good motel!

teresita 6 years ago

As one of the moms in the photo, I feel compelled to respond & clarify a few things. For starters, though I do feel fortunate that my family can get by while I'm out of the paid workforce, I certainly do not pass my days taking shopping sprees or having a day at the spa. For us to make our financial situation work, it requires buying consignment clothes, infrequent eating out, clipping coupons, rare vacations, etc. To assume that situations where one parent that stays at home must signify that the one salary "well exceeds" the median income and that financial sacrifices aren't made is both a rash and unsupported conclusion. Furthermore, the reality is that some jobs' salaries barely help out once childcare is dished out, as well as the cost of professional clothing, gas, toll fare for some, and money spent on dinners out. Equally offensive and inaccurate are the comments that I and other SAHMs are "on a high horse," are not "real women," need to "join the real working world," and that we should "contribute something meaningful to society." What some haven't acknowledged is that most of us had our share of paid jobs before we took a break to raise our children. Some of us have also worked part-time as SAHMs, so I highly disagree that my former jnight job of teaching English to adults in KC, or caring for a special needs baby in my home did not count as contributions to society. Likewise, I find it laughable that guiding my own young children full-time to be smart, resourceful, open-minded, hardworking, and well-rounded individuals is not considered by some as a worthwhile venture. Leading free music classes to children twice a month for the past 6 years, being a member of a service committee that helps out children and mothers in our community, developing lesson plans for teachers to use in conjunction with the school's learning gardens, participating in my kids' co-op preschool classroom & helping to plan guests and educational field trips, and more, doesn't qualify this stay-at-home mom as one that "sits on her rear all the time." A final omission in the article is that many of us plan to re-enter the paid workforce once we feel our work in our homes during the day is done. My two youngest are not yet in school, but once they are, I have every intention of returning to teaching, challenging my mind for more hours of each day, having more frequent intellectual conversations on a day-to-day basis, and yes, bringing home some bacon. For now, though, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to watch my children grow and learn each day and am satisfied to know that what I've taught them during our time together at home will help them to become responsible, productive citizens so they can too, one day, give back to society in whatever way they choose.

funkdog1 6 years ago

I know two of the women in this story. While one of the families makes what I guess you would call decent money, they're certainly not rich. And the other family I bet makes less than many of you on here. They're just extremely adept at saving, buying used clothing, shopping sales, almost never going out to eat and the like. Anybody who thinks that stay at home moms "have it made" are full of crap. I've worked outside the home and stayed home with kids and staying home is hands down waaaaayyyy more difficult.

Escapee 6 years ago

Teresita, well said. And I'm sure your children will be forever grateful for memories made, patterns formed, and a foundation built that will withstand much of what society lacks in this 'without borders' culture we live in. It is no small feat to have provided your children with the stability and love that we all require -- but that some, unfortunately, never receive. It isn't always necessary to to be a SAHM to accomplish this...but having made it your choice -- you and I know the task was accomplished with high marks. Congrats!

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