New Order Mormon

(A New Hope)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:52 am 
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I was having a real heart-to-heart talk with my 22 year old DD last night, when we began to talk about raising children and working full-time away from the home. I knew that I cared deeply about this issue, but was shocked at one point by my sudden bursting into tears (embarrassingly so) when discussing my daughter's ability to go to work and raise children in her future -- both at the same time. I was frustrated by feeling like I wasn't able to have that option.

I was from the era of women in the church who were on the cusp of working women (early 80's) but listened to the prophet and GA's recommending that we stay at home to raise our children. I loved my kids, and honestly enjoyed raising them at home, and felt lucky to do so -- but I never felt GOOD AT IT. I always felt comfortable working prior to children -- in fact, I really liked it, and would have enjoyed continuing to work.

Now, especially in my current NOM position, I really feel like working could have been beneficial to our family. It's possible. It's also very possible that not working was best. Who knows. But I often think that working could have:

1) been accomplished, while raising children, if husband and wife are able to straddle their hours so that somebody is always home when kids are home from school.
2) provided more income, which would have been extremely helpful in our family when needed for therapy for a kid on the spectrum
3) selfishly helped with Mom's state of mind -- keeping her brain occupied.
4) selfishly helped Mom with her state of mind once the kids left, giving an empty nester something to do to continue keeping her brain occupied.
5) helped keep an inactive brain from morphing into an Alzheimer's brain, which runs in our family.
6) provided a strong community outside of church, which would come in really handy right now as we consider transitioning out of church.

#6 seems especially poignant lately. As DH transitions, he will be fine, because of work. As DS and DD transition, they will be fine because of college and work. DMom (me), however, is kind of left to her own devices, with little to no community without the church.

Anyone else feel like this? I know it's a pretty disgustingly self-pitying thing to be feeling, but I figure I'm not alone. I feel somewhat duped by a bunch of old men (GA's) who I allowed to influence me about how to live my life WAY MORE than I should have..

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:08 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:35 am 
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I'm not in my 50's either (late 30's) but, I also feel duped. I'm a Utah Mormon and during my YW years I too was taught that once I had children I should stay at home. I was also taught that its selfish to wait to have children. Don't wait to finish school, don't wait for your husband to finish school. So, I obeyed! UGH!! Married young and had my first child right away. To this day I have not finished my college degree.

I'm trying to teach my daughter that she should get her degree before having children. I've also added that she should spend a few years in the workforce just to get ahead before having children. And then, if she wants to stay home fine. If not, grandma (me) can help out.

My youngest is going into kindergarten this year. Next year when he is in school full time I plan on working part time.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:46 am 
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I had my one and only child (now age 8) when I was 40. I live far from the mo-cor and have worked since graduating from college back in the 80s. My child went to day care when he was a couple months old. I don't regret for a minute my decision to work outside the home. Despite the message I got in YW - my mother inisisted that I get a job before I had a baby. She was right.

I am a teacher so I do get a chance to play "stay-at-home" mom during the summer months. I treasure my summer times with my child but am always happy to go back to school in September.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:05 am 
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Ferret wrote:
I'm not in my 50's either (late 30's) but, I also feel duped. I'm a Utah Mormon and during my YW years I too was taught that once I had children I should stay at home. I was also taught that its selfish to wait to have children. Don't wait to finish school, don't wait for your husband to finish school. So, I obeyed! UGH!! Married young and had my first child right away. To this day I have not finished my college degree.

I'm trying to teach my daughter that she should get her degree before having children. I've also added that she should spend a few years in the workforce just to get ahead before having children. And then, if she wants to stay home fine. If not, grandma (me) can help out.

My youngest is going into kindergarten this year. Next year when he is in school full time I plan on working part time.

This resonates with me. I finished my degree and started working before I joined the church. But quit with the first child and just kept on having kids. It's a lot of years out of the workforce and will require updating schooling to go back.

The other day I told DH I was looking at getting my masters, one class at a time. I want to be ready to go back to work when I can. I'm not sure how that will go over, (working), since he always told me he was upset with his own mother for going back to work when he was about 12. I'll be nearly retirement age if I wait until our youngest leaves home.

Just yesterday we had a very short conversation about why we stopped at the number of children we have, and his opinion was that we felt overwhelmed. I'm not sure that was my reason. But I do agree we are sometimes overwhelmed I told him there was a lot of pressure from church leaders to just keep having children until you do feel overwhelmed, whether that is one or twelve or whatever. Dallin Oaks' remark about not putting off children until college is finished or you have enough money and then to have them "in goodly number" always echoed in my brain.

But that means that day care would be economically impossible and usually the mother is then home with kids for a very long time. Whenever people, usually strangers, comment to me to enjoy them while they are young because it goes by too fast, I just think that it does go fast when you have one or two kids, not so much when you have quite a few more. Sorry, but changing diapers for 13 years doesn't really go by fast.

I think I rambled, sorry!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:45 am 
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Nobody rambled in reply to this thread... I am incredibly interested in every single post!

Staying home is necessary with any special needs children, and the primary reason why I've had to stay home. I probably could have gone to work, because my son was ok without me. Actually, I wonder if socially, he would have been WAY better off to have gone to daycare and socialized with other little kids from a young age. On the other hand, though, I have worked with him nonstop academically, and that couldn't have been replicated by any daycare provider.

As far as work goes ... the only thing I think I'm qualified for now is to volunteer at an NGO. My degree was in English (great for helping kids with their homework -- lousy for actually getting a job), and although I've often thought about going back to school for a master's, it has been either financially or time-wise not feasible. If I managed to graduate in two years and get a job, I would only be able to work for a decade before retirement. That is, if anybody would be willing to hire a 55 year old with zero experience.

Hypatia, your experience really does hit on the head the pros, and cons, of being a stay at home Mom. I hope that you are able to get some work experience and freedom under your belt. Whatever the church tells us to do, it never can provide much help or relief from a variety of real-life problems, and sometimes the standards of the church (be a stay at home mom, give up the idea of finishing school, etc.) can be truly detrimental. Here's hoping some of us can improve our situations on the back end, now that we know the truth and can make decisions for ourselves.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:48 am 
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I'm not in my 50's either, but I know how you feel. I quit a great job that I loved in order to raise my two oldest. Once my two oldest were both able to go to school I went back to work. I eventually got pregnant and when my baby was 18 months old I quit again in order to stay home and raise the younger batch of kids. I love being able to stay home with my kids, but I often wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't left the work force in the first place.

My older kids would have been just fine without me at home, and I would be 5 years away from retirement. We would have had a lot more money over the past several years, and our older kids would have had a lot of neat experiences. I believe in the butterfly effect though. If I hadn't have left work, I might not have my two youngest kids. They made it all worth it in the end. I still miss working though. Right now it just doesn't make sense with child care costs (for a decent center) as high as they are.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:34 pm 
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My experiences with being a SAHM are similar to Hypatia's. I am lucky in that I graduated from college before I got married and I was able to work for a few years before I had kids. I am 43.

I truly enjoyed being a SAHM. I am quite self-disciplined so I liked the flexibility and the freedom to choose my work for the day. I liked being able to work at a pace that was comfortable for me. In some ways I felt more independent as I could set my own deadlines and goals.

That said, I really wanted to work because I wanted recognition. I wanted to be acknowledged as an intelligent, capable woman. I wanted to be accomplished and receive accolades for my accomplishments. I wanted to be respected. I wanted to feel like an expert at more than baking cookies and getting out grass stains. I wanted to feel like I was truly good at something. Also, I wanted to have conversations that didn't involve pregnancy, childbirth, nursing nipples, my children, or my husband's job.

Even though I have been taught all my life that being a mother is the most noble profession in the world, I didn't feel respected at all. In fact, more often than not, I felt devalued and demeaned. Even though I had a college degree, people automatically assumed I never went to college simply because I was at home. People assumed I had no ambition, was lazy, and just sponging off of my husband's hard work. They also assumed I lacked intelligence and had no interests in anything other than the standard mommy stuff.

I have two daughters who will be seniors in high school. I have been encouraging them to finish college, including graduate school and to go to work. I tell them all the time to plan on working outside of the home for most of their lives. If they want to be SAHM's that's their choice and I will support them, but I will not encourage them to do it. I want them to use their wonderful talents and brilliant minds for more than chores.

I have often wondered why God gave us women such brilliant minds and so many talents if he never intended for us to use them. Seems to me like a waste of a perfectly good woman.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:54 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:37 pm 
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I'm not in my 50's, but this is a thread near & dear to my heart. I have agonized over the past few years what to do about this. I married my dh my senior year of college. Was lucky enough to graduate. I was trying to decide whether or not to apply to graduate school. Dh didn't want me to. I hadn't had my patriarchal blessing yet & we decided this was a good time. I'm sure you will be floored to know that it told me that my life's work would be to have children and care for them. I would so love to go back in time & bop that girl on the head!

Fastforward & here I am really never having had work experience. Love my kiddos to pieces & can't imagine life without them, but they're all in school now & I think I could balance both & probably be a lot happier. It just feels a little late in life to just be getting started.

Oh, and my bachelors is in English too (yeah, would like to go back & bop myself on the head for that one too!) Schleppenheimer, let's go back to school together & get our master's degrees. You never know, there might just be someone out there crazy enough to hire us :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:43 pm 
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Haven’t posted in forever but this one I can’t pass up.
I hear you! I am in my 50’s. This means you and I were raised in the same church. As in, back when YW’s leaders felt it was ok to tell you that you were a loser if you worked outside the home. I was told that my kids would probably do drugs, get pregnant or worse killed in accident because I was at work instead of at home with them. We were also told that it was unfair to men if we entered the work force because we were taking jobs from them. The list of BS I (and most likely you) were told in that era was insane. I had the benefit of having a mother who was very successful in the world of business. And yet these leaders who knew my mom worked would still go off on women who worked outside the home.

I did manage to get a degree but right after graduation we moved and I already had a 9 month old. I decided I was going to do it the way church said it should be done…I guess I felt like I owed doing the “best” thing I could for my kids, to my kids. My kids, all ages 19+ tell me I’m a good mom. But honestly I hated being a stay at home mom. I wanted to work. I found no sense of self-worth taking care of a house, play dates, sleep overs, school plays, ugly Christmas projects I felt obligated to hang on walls. I can’t for the life of me feel good because I cleaned the house, got the laundry done and had dinner on the table. Some people thrive at it, and I envy them so much. I kept hoping I could be like my friends who really seemed to enjoy it all, but we aren’t all cookie cutter mothers. To me it’s a fine line between being a mom, or being nothing more than the servant my DH sleeps with. You can say attitude is everything and it helps-but because my mom worked I had no role model at all of how to be a SAHM.
Had I worked outside the home and had a since of monetary value placed on my hourly endeavor’s I think I would have felt very differently about motherhood and the mundane that can come with it.

My last child just left the nest. The hardest part about this latest move is that I have no social network to fall back on now that I don’t go to church. Dh has work and all that comes with it. I have a dog I don’t like very much. When my attitude sucks the days seem a little daunting and I absolutely hate it when he comes home and says: “How was your day, what did you do today?”
Due to my DH’s career I go to a lot of social events and small talk is an art. But I have never mastered the answer to the question “And what do you do?” I used to hide behind the kids with my replies, then for a few years I did volunteer work so I could answer with that, but we move often and so I don’t always volunteer, like now. I have come to dread that question. One of these days I’m going to answer with a very simple “when?”. Utah is used to having an abundance of women over 50 who stayed at home. Out here, you would think you just farted in public to say you are pursuing your hobbies, taking time for yourself, or traveling.

I turned down a fantastic internship to stay home with my kids. If I could do it all over again I would do it very differently. Some people thrive in staying home with their kids and I believe the kids benefit from it. Others thrive working outside the home, and I believe the kids benefit from that as well. I know I benefitted having a mother who worked. It taught me, I was capable. I had to be more responsible because no adult was going to clean up my mistakes in one phone call. If I forgot my house key I better have a backup plan. If I missed the bus I better have a plan. If I forgot part of my team uniform I better have a plan. For the most part the plan was taking care of my own responsibilities. I would have gone crazy had my mom stayed home. I loved coming home after school and having that time to unwind before anyone starting asking questions. I loved the extra time I had to figure out the best explanation I could give for why I got a D in home economics. We also had strict rules for those few hours between when I got home and parents got home. I learned early on, you don’t break those rules!
It is a scary place to find yourself at 50+ with no job skill, or work history other than volunteer work to put on a resume. Even scarier is if DH were to die unexpectedly. Putting RS pres. WY Pres. Stk athletic director on a resume outside of Utah is a joke. It’s a resume death sentence.

If I had daughters today I would tell them, go to college so that you don’t have to rely on anyone but yourself. Don’t be in a marriage because financially you are stuck there, be there because you WANT to be there. If you want control of your life/future you need to be independent. You never know what the future holds when other peoples free agency effects your life. Today that man loves you, and at 50+ he now loves that cute 28 year old-where do you want to be, with skills or without? Stuck or empowered to act? Should the man your with become ill/ handicapped/ or die what level of “capable” to you want to experience when your life plans fall apart?
I would ask my daughters all these things and so much more.
Sooooo, I think I might know where you’re coming from.
:D


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:08 pm 
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I am in my 60s and if you think the BS you were told 10 or so years later was bad, you should have heard it when I went through YWs. Working mothers were totally evil and you had to have as many children as God sent you because birth control was akin to murder. The average age of marriage for my cohorts was 19, and because birth control was totally evil (not to mention very unreliable before the pill) you simply got married and kids came and there was no consideration of doing it any other way.

Do I regret my years as a stay at home mom? Not really because to change that would have taken changing everything. I was a military wife and we moved every year or so (20 moves in 20 years) so a career was not even an option.

But the church tell women what it wants women to do, not what is good for women to do. Important distinction. But since the church thinks it represents God, it thinks it is telling women what God wants, but it is really only telling women what is best for it as an institution.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:56 pm 
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schleppenheimer wrote:
#6 seems especially poignant lately. As DH transitions, he will be fine, because of work. As DS and DD transition, they will be fine because of college and work. DMom (me), however, is kind of left to her own devices, with little to no community without the church.


Oh yes, I know exactly what you are talking about here. Your family members have built-in social outlets and you don't. My family did not even appreciate their social groups, while I was green with envy because I had, as you say, little to no community without the church.

I felt isolated and depressed as a SAHM while still in the church, and once we left that community the feeling of isolation was even worse. It took some time and a lot of pep talks from myself and DH to do what I hadn't done since college, which is to go out and do things and meet people. I joined a meetup group, reached out to a few acquaintances to try to develop friendships, looked into getting a job, chatted moms up at the park, etc. Doing those things was hard, and sometimes I fell flat on my face. But finding a community is so important. We are social animals, we can't help it.

Schleppenheimer, you can do it! Take a class, join a club, volunteer for something that interests you. You need a community or you will go nuts. I am 34, and I recently became friends with a woman who is about your age. We go to pilates class together and shop for our chicken supplies together, and our daughters (my eldest, her youngest) are friends. She has brightened up my isolated little sphere and she doesn't even know it. Don't brush off the younger crowd! Whatever activity you choose, after 6 or 7 times of doing it it ceases to be uncomfortable, and you are part of the "in" crowd. Just take babysteps, you can do this.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:34 pm 
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I am overwhelmed reading all of your posts. No matter what your age -- you all "get" this issue, and it makes me wish so much that all of us could meet together once a week and have lunch and a gabfest. Better yet, I wish all of us could develop a business together and formulate the community that we need, and fulfill the drive that we have to succeed at something in addition to success with cleaning snotty noses, wiping up the kitchen, and cooking meals.

I still like the idea of grad school. LDSdefector, and anybody else who wants to, Let's Do It!!! I keep thinking about doing something in the environmental field, but I had to put off the idea of grad school because we were taking care of my father-in-law as he was dying of cancer, and then we needed to finish high school with my son on the spectrum (he'll be a senior next year). But the year after that, I'm free! Grad school sounds wonderful to me -- my few friends at church (and one friend who has left) are all around 30 to 40 years old, so apparently that's also where my maturity level is!!! Latter-day Puppet, I will take a class, join a club, or volunteer -- for sure. I have to do something.

Just wish it could be with all of you guys!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:40 pm 
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schleppenheimer wrote:
I will take a class, join a club, or volunteer -- for sure. I have to do something.


That is right. Do something! You can do it. I know you can. Just take it one assignment, one volunteer opportunity, one class, and/or one semester at a time. It WILL add up to something. It is NOT too late! I am a HUGE education advocate (especially for LDS women). I feel like I was one of the "lucky" ones: a BYU student who made it OUT with a great education AND marketable skills. I made it out with degrees, not because of my own fortitude or self-confidence, but because I had a mentor who helped me get up out of my defeated Cry-Fest Modes (e.g. when I would obsess and blubber on and on about how Ezra Taft Benson said I SHOULD be home making my husband's bed, not getting an education. And, shame on me for even THINKING about a career!) I would insist that it could not be done (me finishing my education and achieving my personal goals). My mentor (a remarkable LDS man) would look me in the eyes, help me to pull it together, and he would help me see how I could take the next step. Just one at a time.

Schlepp-- I also wish we could all have lunch groups, support groups (I have a son on the ASD also), and we could all be each others' social and emotional support community In Real Life. As it stands -- Internet Mormonism (with an IRL gathering here and there for some) and a message board will have to do. I just want you (and any other woman or man thinking about going back to school) to know that I believe you can do it. I know it's often hard to "go back" at an older age. But, you know what? It was really hard at a young age too (I got married at age 20 --- didn't tell my parents I was even in grad school until the last year of my Ph.D. program ... because of the rejection and pressure I was getting to multiply and replenish the earth! They were pretty much ashamed that I would disobey the prophet & used birth control....I "would reap the consequences by and by...". I couldn't take the pressure any more & had my first baby at age 23). It's hard going after the "vision" that you see for yourself...the one that YOU value for yourself. But, it's hard living without ever going for it either.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:23 pm 
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Enough wrote:
schleppenheimer wrote:
I will take a class, join a club, or volunteer -- for sure. I have to do something.


That is right. Do something! You can do it. I know you can. Just take it one assignment, one volunteer opportunity, one class, and/or one semester at a time. It WILL add up to something. It is NOT too late! I am a HUGE education advocate (especially for LDS women). I feel like I was one of the "lucky" ones: a BYU student who made it OUT with a great education AND marketable skills. I made it out with degrees, not because of my own fortitude or self-confidence, but because I had a mentor who helped me get up out of my defeated Cry-Fest Modes (e.g. when I would obsess and blubber on and on about how Ezra Taft Benson said I SHOULD be home making my husband's bed, not getting an education. And, shame on me for even THINKING about a career!) I would insist that it could not be done (me finishing my education and achieving my personal goals). My mentor (a remarkable LDS man) would look me in the eyes, help me to pull it together, and he would help me see how I could take the next step. Just one at a time.

Schlepp-- I also wish we could all have lunch groups, support groups (I have a son on the ASD also), and we could all be each others' social and emotional support community In Real Life. As it stands -- Internet Mormonism (with an IRL gathering here and there for some) and a message board will have to do. I just want you (and any other woman or man thinking about going back to school) to know that I believe you can do it. I know it's often hard to "go back" at an older age. But, you know what? It was really hard at a young age too (I got married at age 20 --- didn't tell my parents I was even in grad school until the last year of my Ph.D. program ... because of the rejection and pressure I was getting to multiply and replenish the earth! They were pretty much ashamed that I would disobey the prophet & used birth control....I "would reap the consequences by and by...". I couldn't take the pressure any more & had my first baby at age 23). It's hard going after the "vision" that you see for yourself...the one that YOU value for yourself. But, it's hard living without ever going for it either.

Wow! This is very inspirational.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:52 am 
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I wanted to stay home and I did. There are pros and cons, influences, etc., but I was doing what I thought I wanted and what I thought was best. I can second-guess a lot of things, but one thing I know: I have not modeled for my daughters how to cope with what will likely be their challenges as working mothers. I feel bad sometimes at the thought of them looking back at their time at home, and not being able to look to me as an example.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:05 am 
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Charlotte, your post is kind of where I'm at. I have a 22 year old who is going out into the world, and she will be a working woman (and maybe some day, a mom) -- but she won't be able to come to me and ask me for advice about how to handle both. This puts a natural divide up between us that I'm not comfortable with. It's frustrating to me.

I ran a couple of "businesses" while my kids were growing up -- two businesses that would have been church approved because they didn't take me away from the home whenever kids were home (selling stuff at craft shows, an Ebay business). Thank heavens I had those, because without them, I think I would have gone crazy. But they were kind of the ugly step-sisters of what I really wanted to do, and they were done to try and fudge some kind of work in between the rest of my mom duties.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:00 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Watching SAHMs a little older than many of you and seeing how miserable (some) of them were was a great encouragement to me that a man was not a plan (contrary to popular belief). It didn't seem to matter in many families, whether or not the Mom worked didn't ultimately make a difference in outcomes.

FWIW, many tech companies hire tech writers and business analysts. An English degree could help with that. You have to get experience somehow, but you might be amazed at how computer scientists need help writing.


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