Saturday 27 July 2013


More Reflections on FTWM, SAHM and PTWM

Coming back to my post on Cost-&-Benefit Analysis of FTWM vs. SAHM and reviewing both sides of the arguments from:

Homeschool SG

A Work in Progress

Huff Post Parents

Here are some of my thoughts:

As a FTWM, one has more money to spend on enrichment classes, sports, vacation, etc., but perhaps no time to devote to them. As a SAHM, one has more time to spend on enrichment classes, sports, vacation, etc., but perhaps not enough money to afford them. And the grass always looks greener on the other side.

At the end of the day, FTWM and SAHM is an equation and a balancing act between two rare commodities -  money and time. Both ends require sacrifice - some opted for the sacrifice of time to get money, some opted for the sacrifice of money to get time with the children (who may not always appreciate it until they become parents themselves). The balancing point is different from family-to-family. Every family must find the right balance that would work for them.

That sacrifice depends on our value. If one is the type who wants to wear nice clothes to go to work, relishes having coffee with adults rather than spending time with children, enjoys being laid back and let others do the parenting, then for these moms, it will actually do their children good, if they go to work. For moms such as one who has a strong mind of her own on how she wants to raise her children, who wants to have full creativity and direct influence on parenting and prefers to lead a simple life, then being SAHM is the best option (a privilege that many families are not in the position to afford). My value set puts me in the latter category of moms. Thankfully Daddy and I are more or less aligned.

Some may opt for a middle ground to be PTWM (Part-Time Working Mom) to reap the full benefits of both FTWM and SAHM. However, one may find out that PTWM has inherited all the minuses of FTWM and SAHM, but none of the benefits - horrors of horrors! :-) One may have half the money, half the time to do the job but the same full-time workload!

In the discussion of SAHM vs FTWM, I like how one mom puts it,

"God calls us to love our families and serve them first. For some they that means no other outside distractions, for others it means something else. We shouldn't have the mandate confused with the method."

Each family is unique and has different needs as can be seen from another mom's experience:

"When my daughter was little, my husband was in medical school so I really needed to work. In fact that is what I wanted though a part of me wanted to be able to be at home with her. Eventually I felt called home when she was in middle school. All of her friends' mothers were heading back to work. It seemed strange timing but now 4 years later I see that it was incredibly important for me to be at home during these tumultuous years. So many things were changing for her during this time and it was so good for me to be able to be here to help when she needed to (and often when she didn't)."

We cannot have it all. It depends on the values we believe in and want to hold on to. Thanks to the reflections to all you mommies out there who shared your experiences, it has helped me to also be aware of the turbulences of regrets that would come my way, regardless of which decision we make, be it FTWM, SAHM or PTWM.

I have read about SAHM moms, who after 20 years, regretted staying at home. I have also read about FTWM moms, who after 20 years of working, regretted not having more time to spend the golden years with their children.

The issue is not choosing SAHM vs. FTWM, but envy - envious of what we do not have.

In the midst of the turbulences of regrets (and it will surely come, whether the choice is FTWM, SAHM or PTWM), we have to learn to be at peace with our lot. The grass is always greener on the other side, and once we make our choice, we have to guard our heart from envy. That is the way of achieving peace in our heart.

We have to be happy with our lot, reminding ourselves of the values and goals of why we made the sacrifice that we did in the first place and guard the toxic human nature of envy.

I think our family is ready to make the choice, having weighed all sides of consequences and we will now pray over our decision. Please do pray for us and keep us in your prayers that God's wisdom and peace will prevail and guide us to do what is best for our family.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I really, truly enjoy reading your thought process & how you dissect the issue at hand. Love how you eloquently put things into perspective. Totally, completely agree with you that once we made the choice, we have to guard our hearts with envy. When I started out as sahm, I had to deal with this. But now, I've come to a place where It truly does not matter how wealthy I am materially because all that's important to me is my kids. (of course it helps that God takes of us financially, the blessings we've had its Him orchestrating For Us. I always believe God is for Family & will take Care of us). I've friends who are working moms who feel insecure about their choice & likewise sahm who feels sour about theirs. I wish they would remind themselves their original intent of being either sahm or not and be truly happy with their choices. It's not easy & may even take years for us to figure out which choice best fit us. In any case sahm may not remain sahm forever, nor a ftwm would never be a sahm, who's to say?


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