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Old 05.11.2017, 17:17
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Increasingly frustrated working mom

Hi all,

I use the forum periodically as a source of information, but today I've come to vent.

I'm a working mom to three girls aged 6, 4 and 2. I work 60%, enjoy my job, and somehow manage to make a bit if money despite having three kids in childcare.

We live in a smallish village in Vaud, which we moved to after the birth of our second child in order to have a larger apartment. We enjoy living here, have gotten to know other families, participate in village life, and spend many afternoons at the park.

My oldest daughter started school two years ago (she's in 3P now). The village school groups kids from a few villages, and there were 4 kids from our village starting school together. The other three moms also work, and we've gotten to know each other quite well. There is a private UAPE in the village that my daughter goes to three days per week (outside of school hours). She loves it and there are 5 or 6 kids from her class that go on varying days of the week, though one of the other moms has told me that her daughter doesn't want to go anymore because some of the other kids tease her for going.

My second daughter started school this year, and our experience has been completely different. There are at least 10 kids from our village in her class, and most of the moms don't work. There's a large group of girls that clearly know each other well. While she seems to be happy and well integrated at school, I can see that the other kids regularly get together, usually when I'm at work. My daughter is the only kid in the class who goes to the UAPE. I'm suddenly struck by the thought that my child might be excluded socially because I'm not as available to create relationships and organise playdates with the other moms.

In the mean time, my husband just started a new job that involves a significant pay increase. Since all of our childcare fees are calculated on family income, these costs are about to go through the roof. My job situation hasn't changed, but suddenly it doesn't make much sense for me to keep working. I'm a victim of my husband's success, it seems.

We've been living in Switzerland for six years, and I've always loved it and felt privileged to live here. But these recent changes are really weighing on me and I'm becoming increasingly disillusioned. How is it that I live in a place where having a working mom isn't the norm? Why are my kids being teased for not going home at lunch? Why am I worrying about organising playdates with other moms, when I already have too much on my plate? And how is it that I am inflicting this on my family for a job that no longer makes any sense from a purely financial perspective? As a mother to three daughters, I don't know if this is the environment in which I want to raise my children.

Is anyone else feeling the same way or had similar experiences? Any thoughts or advice?
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Old 05.11.2017, 17:40
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

A working mom is hardly anywhere in this country the norm. Go into town on a normal day and everywhere you see moms walking around with the kids, and only every now and then a dad with the kids.

To me you should have a talk with your partner about the situation and also calculate what you working brings in extra, taking in account the costs of daycare and other things. Then you could say, hey this little extra per month by me working 3 days a week is not worth it. How about I stay at home, spend more time with the kids and have all the time in the world for the household.

Just be certain you yourself would be happy with such a role i've seen enough parents regretting having made such choice and it might be hard to get back into a working life after a long absence of it, pressure you feel from other parents doing this should not effect your choice. If your kid is happy at daycare, and you are happy working which brings you a social life and contacts outside your own area just keep doing what you are doing.
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Old 05.11.2017, 17:44
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

From your posts I got the impression, the kids have no problems/did not complain yet.
So it's all you (which makes it easier, kind of).

<<And how is it that I am inflicting this on my family for a job that no longer makes any sense from a purely financial perspective?>>

<<How is it that I live in a place where having a working mom isn't the norm? ..........
As a mother to three daughters, I don't know if this is the environment in which I want to raise my children. >>
Sounds to me you're not working for the money but for the working sake. Which - in my opinion - makes you a more interesting mother to your children as you have more to offer them information wise.

What are you inflicting on your family? Have the kids complained? Getting teased for being different is something that will happen all their life. They might as well get used to it now. In other cities there are probably kids being teased for having stay-at-home moms.
So - to your remark about the enviroment - maybe you should change that? Move to a city and you won't even be noticed.

Are you the only mom who works? If you would be able to organize get togethers for the kids in your 40%, maybe your kids could attend the other mom's events without you tagging along. (Safes UAPE costs too )

As this is obviously on your mind, bothering you, I personally would hold a family converence about the thoughts/guilts/insecurities you have about this. I know your children are very young but you would be surprised how much they could tell you about their point of view and help you make the right decision. (including daddy in the family conference too of course)
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Old 05.11.2017, 18:07
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

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If your kid is happy at daycare, and you are happy working which brings you a social life and contacts outside your own area just keep doing what you are doing.
That. I wonder how many of the mums you know wish it was economically viable for them to work so that their lives didn't completely revolve around their kids.
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Old 05.11.2017, 18:21
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

A job is never the pure financial value of it. As long as you are not losing out money, it makes sense to keep the job because of the marginal financial reason + skill updating and maintaining + future ability to get back in full time work when the kids are older + and the most important reason, having some time in the week where you are your person, in an adult world which gives you mental and intellectual stimulation of a different kind and provides a nice break from the family duties.
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Old 05.11.2017, 18:23
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

Great post curley - about what I intended to write.

Janie, only you know if you work for the money or for a lot more than that.
I went to Uni when our youngest started school (in the UK) - and other mums were aghast, and their husbands even more so- then worked full-time. So whilst at Uni, it actually cost us a lot of money - but I needed to do it- and would probably have gone utterly bonkers otherwise - surrounded by just too many Stepford wives.

Yep- you need to talk to your partner- and to the kids - and ask yourself some searching questions about why you go t work and what it means to you.

Our daughters, now 44 ad 42 - often say they were so proud to have a working mum, and that it has served them so well for themselves and their own careers. No regrets threre.
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Old 05.11.2017, 18:27
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

Aside of loving my career and studies, I absolutely have to work since I am the only reliable supporter of my kid. Stuff needs to be paid and provided for, and on time. If you have this taken care of, your retirement is secure and your career will not get hit by a hole in your CV...then ask yourself, if you want to be perceived and loved by your kids as a mom and ...... insert your career. They always live intensely through their parents' missions. Even if it seems useless to keep you in the active employment system, you might be glad to have that security, if anything happens. I know a lot of moms who want to be in your situation.
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Old 05.11.2017, 18:37
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

Question is if you didn't have to work for financial reasons would you want to continue to work- or be a SAHM?

In the 70s- many just could not understand why I 'had to study' and 'had to work' - although this had little to do with finances. It raised many eyebrows for sure. I was even told when interviewed to uni 'hasn''t your husband got enough on his plate without having a wife who wants to study full time' and by another 'you do realise teaching isn't a hobby for middle-class housewives'?
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Old 05.11.2017, 19:30
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

From another perspective, the nature of 'employment' has changed in general, both for men and women. Hence what is to say that whilst one partner is in a good position and the other not so then why not see a break with work on a temporary level the way forward that could change later...
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Old 05.11.2017, 19:54
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

Good to see so many working Moms on EF! OP, first of all well done for keeping three young children, a job and a family life you enjoy going so well so far. It's natural that you'd be questioning this status quo at this point, as you have the choice.

As a single mom here since the past 19 years, without having had the benefit of a choice, would also say that from our experience, your children are much better off growing-up with the role-model of a working Mom. Certainly my daughter (now 22 and studying at Uni) agrees with that.

She grew-up with a good circle of close friends, but thinking back - it was always easier when their parents had more progressive minded parents. It also made a difference living in the city.

I found the article below to be quite interesting, with facts and figures. One of the take-aways being (Google translate):

"Old role models hold strong in this country, even among the younger couples," says pair researcher Corina Merz from the Psychological Institute of the University of Zurich. Although young fathers are more involved in raising children today, the principle still applies: the man makes a career, the woman is back when a child comes.

This supposedly obviousness is firmly rooted in Switzerland, more firmly than in other European countries, says Merz. A Europe-wide study on social values ​​supports this statement: When asked, "Does a toddler suffer when the mother is working?" 60 percent of respondents in Switzerland answered yes. In Denmark, there were nine percent, in Sweden 20. Over half of the respondents in Switzerland say that it is okay for a mother to have a job, but women in fact and truth rather stay at home at home."

https://www.beobachter.ch/familie/ki...-vereinbarkeit
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Old 05.11.2017, 20:26
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

Sorry I can't help with specific suggestions but in our commune we (the town council) have have been discussing over the past year or so the implications of the new (2018) UAPE standards imposed by Vaud that will be introduced in January.

See the 2018 part of this link for Vaud.

http://www.vaudfamille.ch/N3560/accu...re-canton.html

I would suggest that you talk with either these people or your commune to understand how this legal obligation for each commune will impact on you/your kids specifically. There may also be changes in the cost calculations of the before/during/after school service. This of course seems to be at the centre of your post since the current private offer is tied to income. Will the new rules change that?

Good luck.
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Old 05.11.2017, 20:37
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

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... would also say that from our experience, your children are much better off growing-up with the role-model of a working Mom. Certainly my daughter (now 22 and studying at Uni) agrees with that.

She grew-up with a good circle of close friends, but thinking back - it was always easier when their parents had more progressive minded parents. It also made a difference living in the city.
Well I grew up in the 50s, in a village, and my mum was one of the few who worked- some of my friends had mums who were teachers, a few had mums who worked part-time cleaning or in local shops. My mum was also of the the few who drove a car. Recently, talking to old friends since I returned to live here after 40 years in the UK- many have said how much they admired her and were really quite jealous- which I had never thought about.
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Old 05.11.2017, 21:09
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

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We've been living in Switzerland for six years, and I've always loved it and felt privileged to live here. But these recent changes are really weighing on me and I'm becoming increasingly disillusioned. How is it that I live in a place where having a working mom isn't the norm? Why are my kids being teased for not going home at lunch? Why am I worrying about organising playdates with other moms, when I already have too much on my plate? And how is it that I am inflicting this on my family for a job that no longer makes any sense from a purely financial perspective? As a mother to three daughters, I don't know if this is the environment in which I want to raise my children.

Is anyone else feeling the same way or had similar experiences? Any thoughts or advice?
Keep your job if that fullfils you, this is so obvious - money is not everything.
Why do you care so much about what other moms think? Picture them as some sort of Stepford Wives.. Smile, be nice, that's all. Of course, be careful not to offend them with your opinions...they'll let you be.
I think your kids can learn to defend themselves when teased, just teach them how.
We don't always fit the patterns society has assigned to us and it's society that has to get over it, you know. Stepford wives will be just fine - probably prouder than ever, isn't it wonderful when we make other people feel better about themselves.

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Old 05.11.2017, 21:18
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Just be certain you yourself would be happy with such a role i've seen enough parents regretting having made such choice and it might be hard to get back into a working life after a long absence of it.
This is probably the single biggest reason that I haven't already given up.

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Are you the only mom who works? If you would be able to organize get togethers for the kids in your 40%, maybe your kids could attend the other mom's events without you tagging along. (Safes UAPE costs too )
I'm not the only mom who works, but one of the few. Before our oldest daughter started school I'd always assumed that we would work something out with other parents. But once we were in it I realised that a) I don't want to take care of other people's kids when I'm not working, and b) I'm not really interested in planning outings and playdates either. Life gets busy pretty quickly once school starts!

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"Old role models hold strong in this country, even among the younger couples," says pair researcher Corina Merz from the Psychological Institute of the University of Zurich. Although young fathers are more involved in raising children today, the principle still applies: the man makes a career, the woman is back when a child comes.

This supposedly obviousness is firmly rooted in Switzerland, more firmly than in other European countries, says Merz. A Europe-wide study on social values ​​supports this statement: When asked, "Does a toddler suffer when the mother is working?" 60 percent of respondents in Switzerland answered yes. In Denmark, there were nine percent, in Sweden 20. Over half of the respondents in Switzerland say that it is okay for a mother to have a job, but women in fact and truth rather stay at home at home."
This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about (I'm sorry that I can't understand German in order to read the full article). There are plenty of rational arguments one way or the other, but the reality is that I regularly feel judged for my choices, and it's a very uncomfortable feeling. I guess I just didn't expect this to be my reality in 2017.

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Old 05.11.2017, 21:32
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

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and b) I'm not really interested in planning outings and playdates either. Life gets busy pretty quickly once school starts!
a pity for your kids- I am sorry to say, in the context of what you wrote in the OP:

'I'm suddenly struck by the thought that my child might be excluded socially because I'm not as available to create relationships and organise playdates with the other moms.'

Not fair to blame the other mums for this (and believe me, I know how busy things do get when you are a working mum- been there, done that ...)
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Old 05.11.2017, 21:34
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Sorry I can't help with specific suggestions but in our commune we (the town council) have have been discussing over the past year or so the implications of the new (2018) UAPE standards imposed by Vaud that will be introduced in January.
Yes I am aware of this, and you're right that it could completely change the financial and logistical problems we're facing. Unfortunately our commune has already received a "dérogation" and won't offer anything until 2019, at least. But I am holding out hope...

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Keep your job if that fullfils you, this is so obvious - money is not everything.
Why do you care so much about what other moms think? Picture them as some sort of Stepford Wives.. Smile, be nice, that's all. Of course, be careful not to offend them with your opinions...they'll let you be.
I think your kids can learn to defend themselves when teased, just teach them how.
We don't always fit the patterns society has assigned to us and it's society that has to get over it, you know. Stepford wives will be just fine - probably prouder than ever, isn't it wonderful when we make other people feel better about themselves.
Indeed, but it's much easier said than done.

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a pity for your kids- I am sorry to say, in the context of what you wrote in the OP:

'I'm suddenly struck by the thought that my child might be excluded socially because I'm not as available to create relationships and organise playdates with the other moms.'

Not fair to blame the other mums for this (and believe me, I know how busy things do get when you are a working mum- been there, done that ...)
I haven't blamed other moms for anything. I said that I'm not as available to do playdate because I work, and I don't often desire to do so with my meagre time off, now that my kids are in school (I do it though, for my kids...). I actually feel a lot of guilt about it, but if I didn't have a bit of down time (with my kids) from time to time then I'd probably collapse.

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Old 05.11.2017, 21:44
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

Disagree - playdates seem to be a construction of very deliberate 21st century parenting. I remember as a child telling my mother who I would be playing with, or we met by chance at the playground. It is a pity that parents have taken such controlling roles in engineering what should ideally be an organic part of childhood and growing up. I know my daughter suffered because the mothers of her classmates didn’t “approve” of me, but seemingly my lifestyle choices were not threatening from the perspective of a boy’s mother so my son fared fine. Go figure

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a pity for your kids- I am sorry to say, in the context of what you wrote in the OP:

'I'm suddenly struck by the thought that my child might be excluded socially because I'm not as available to create relationships and organise playdates with the other moms.'

Not fair to blame the other mums for this (and believe me, I know how busy things do get when you are a working mum- been there, done that ...)
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Old 05.11.2017, 22:02
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

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Yes I am aware of this, and you're right that it could completely change the financial and logistical problems we're facing. Unfortunately our commune has already received a "dérogation" and won't offer anything until 2019, at least. But I am holding out hope...
What they are "probably" talking about is the infrastructure/logistics side of things (which depending on the commune can be a real pain) but I still think you should go see them and see what they can do on the $$ side of things with the only local/private option you have. In some of these cases, the squeaky wheel really does get the grease.

I would not let it go with the 2019 excuse explaining that you will be penalised CHF xx because they do not have their act together (by the way, they have had lots of time to get organised). How are they planning to off-set things for you, maintain your expenses the same as last year (etc. etc.).
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Old 05.11.2017, 22:09
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

Tasebo, I agree with you there. I grew up in the 50s in a rural area, my kids grew up in a small cul-de-sac in the UK in the 70s - but things have changed - and I agree not for the better.

As for childcare and Parascolaire costing more or less depending on total family income - it seems a pretty normal concept in Switzerland, Romandie for sure- and I say it is fair.
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Old 05.11.2017, 22:11
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Re: Increasingly frustrated working mom

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Disagree - playdates seem to be a construction of very deliberate 21st century parenting. I remember as a child telling my mother who I would be playing with, or we met by chance at the playground. It is a pity that parents have taken such controlling roles in engineering what should ideally be an organic part of childhood and growing up. I know my daughter suffered because the mothers of her classmates didn’t “approve” of me, but seemingly my lifestyle choices were not threatening from the perspective of a boy’s mother so my son fared fine. Go figure
I think things are overplanned as well but in our busy area kids have way less liberty than when I grew up in a secluded safe place. It was so safe we couldn't even leave the country where we wanted, lol. But it was heaven for latchkey kids and their autonomy. It is not like that now and cost and lack of time are always nagged about on our playgrounds here.

I love organizing activities (a great excuse to have fun ) and we almost always have one or few other kids tagging along. What kinda used to suck energy away, though, was when we had to plan way ahead. We can't, much, but people aren't used to spontanneous adventure. On the other hand - the planned stuff is usually really neat here, to the minute detail of the last kid friendly amuse-bouche.
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