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Stay at Home mums

(1000 Posts)
marilynmonroe Mon 13-May-13 21:01:55

There is something that has been bothering me for a while about being a stay at home mum.

I decided to stay at home with my kids after my second was born. I enjoyed my job but wanted to be at home with my children. I have (and sometimes still) struggled with this. In the way that people who I meet will find me boring as all I do is look after the kids, clean, cook etc etc.I am an interesting person who reads, keeps up to date with what is going on in the world and I don't just talk about my kids!

Anyway, I'm getting to my point now, my eldest is about to start school in September and all I get asked at the moment is "have you thought what you are going to do next?" "Are you going to go back to work" now this may be due to small talk etc but...

It makes me feel that I should be thinking about doing something else.
But I feel that the kids need me now more than ever when they are at school and what about school holidays etc.

This isn't a thread about what's best, being a stay at home mum or a working mum.

I would like to hear from other mums that didn't go back to work when their kids started school and what they did with their time when they were at school?

I do worry about how i will fill my time when that happens and if I will get bored. Is there anything wrong with not wanting to go back to work and look after your family? Why do women feel that they have to go back to work when they don't need to? I'm in a very lucky situation where I don't need to work for financial reasons although this could change at anytime as my partner is self employed. I don't want to start a discussion about how some women have to work etc etc.

I'm not sure if I am being clear, I have been thinking a lot about this recently. Would like to hear other people's opinions just to make me feel better about my choice I guess. Maybe I'm trying to justify my choice.

Thanks for reading!

Decoy Tue 14-May-13 13:15:20

It's your life and your choice smile You don't need to justify yourself to anyone, and if people get too pushy then they're probably not your sort of people anyway. Just smile and say you're quite happy the way things are. Then when they say "oooh I could never do that" just say "everyone's different" and change the subject.

sherbetpips Tue 14-May-13 13:16:04

Cakebaker35 you saved up enough to never work again? wow that is some serious saving ability. Cant even save up for next months holiday blush

Ragwort Tue 14-May-13 13:19:05

Agree with Cakebaker's comments, why does anyone (women especially) feel the need to 'justify' how they spend their time.

If your family can afford a SAHP - then it is absolutely your right to do so, just as it is anyone's right to retire early, if they can afford to. I think the 'protestant work ethic' can go too far really. Obviously you need to be sure that have your pension/financial records straight and up to date and that each partner is fully supportive of the other and there is no form of financial bullying. You do see a lot of very sad threads on mumsnet about SAHMs who have very little financial security.

But really, if you are financially comfortable, what's not to like? I had my DC late in life and have been a SAHM for 12 years - I don't get bored at all - quite frankly an awful lot of jobs are incredibly boring, I don't believe anyone who says otherwise. I get to do what I want, I do loads of voluntary work - not being goody two shoes about it - that is what I enjoy. I was involved in voluntary work when I was in paid employment and now I have been able to increase that, and use the skills from my previous career. I spend a lot of time involved in community work picking up the pieces that social workers etc don't seem to have the time to do. I go to the gym (occasionally), spend time with my elderly parents ............ housework and cooking is very low on my priorty list grin.

Cakebaker35 Tue 14-May-13 13:22:58

Ha ha sherbetpips smile not to never have to work again, but enough for a couple of years of living on a tight budget. I've not made any decisions about returning to work yet, but certainly won't go back to my old career, I don't miss it and it would take me away from family life far too much. I am happier cutting back on stuff and being at home that having lots of money but no time with DD and DH.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 13:23:05

I have older children and am still at home, it was not the original intention but at the point when I would have been returning a spanner was thrown into my childcare options, the school holiday costs would eat into any wages I earnt during termtime. My children, not sporty, would be miserable to spend those weeks with testoterone fuelled competive people wink

I work part time from home tbh I would like and outside part time job but have been out of the conventional workplace for so long it wouldnt be easy to get one at the moment.

I meet friends walking the dog, do the house, go to a book club whatever I feel like really.

There are plenty of other mothers here who help with reading and swimming at school - tbh the school would take up as much of the day as you wanted! Also I think some help at the library. You can be as busy as you want really.

There are career women who will sniffily look down their noses at you and think you have nothing to say but to be honest I doubt even when I was working they would have been my kind of people as they are obviously one dimensional and mean spirited.

I refuse to accept that society evolved from one where women were told what to do by men to one where women are told what to do by women, much as they may try. Do what you want with your life grin

Just reassess as you go along, in a few years time your opinion may change.

shewhowines Tue 14-May-13 13:27:29

I love it, never get bored and I really don't know how people manage working full time and looking after a family. I admire them tremendously.

I do get fed up justifying how I spend my time though. There are one or two people that seem to have a real chip on their shoulder and can't resist making sly digs.

I also find myself in a position where I have lost the chance of ever earning good money, due to being out of the market for so long. As long as you bear that in mind, I'd say go for it.

I really do appreciate being in a position of being able to choose. I will never take that for granted.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 13:34:15

I'm a SAHM to our 3 dc. Two are at school and one is still at home. I'm starting to wonder what I will do when the youngest starts school in 2015. I like staying at home with them TBH. Dh is away a lot with work, so it makes life easier for us in many ways. I appreciate that I am lucky to be able to do this. As others have pointed out, I do worry about the state pension entitlement, but I did work for 10 years before staying at home and my oldest is 9 and my youngest is 2, so I think I will have 20 years NI paid from CB. So, I think I will need to make up 5 years, which shouldn't be too difficult as I am in my early forties and will probably have to work until 70 in any case.

bigbuttons Tue 14-May-13 13:44:45

I was a sahm for 14 years. Had 6 kids, didn't need to work as self employed ex was solvent etc etc. Then last april the shit hit the fan. I fled the relationship. Ex had been accruing debts for years and didn't let me know how serious things were ( that's not why I left btw, he was an abusive arse).
I had been out of teaching for so long I knew I could not get back into to a job that paid decent wages. I was forced to sign on and get every benefit I could. Self employed ex claimed he had no money so isn't paying ANY MAINTENANCE at all.
Now I am doing low paid work in schools.
I wish to god I hadn't trusted someone with my financial future in such a blind way. I wish I had kept my hand in the job market, even if it had been on a part time basis.
I think being a sahm leaves you very vulnerable finically after a while.
I will be advising my dd's when the time comes, to keep their financial independence.

Cinnamom Tue 14-May-13 14:08:28

I have been a sahm for 12 years now. I have no intention of ever working outside the home as such again. I enjoy being at home and doing the cooking, cleaning, homework, etc I also do charity work for a childrens home once a week. For the rest, I am at home, doing my thing. I feel very fortunate to be able to do this and have a wonderful DH who fully supports my choice.

I am most certainly not boring and anyone who judges me based on my life choices, isnt worth my attention. I do not feel the need to justify it any more than a working out the house mum would. We are all different and as long as it doesnt hurt anyone, all our choices should be valued and respected.

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 14:08:38

I have been a SAHM for 14 years and love it. Yes there are risks involved but those on a dual income to pay the bills are often stuffed too if the relationship ends and you can't live life thinking bad things are about to happen. I would still be glad of the time with my DC as it is priceless to me. However I am finishing my degree via the OU and plan to volunteer and also considering starting my own business in the future if needed.

My DS starts school in Sept and I still want to be a SAHM. Mainly as I want to be there at all school events, do all school runs, enjoy holidays with DC etc. To be blunt I have been able to put the kids first for so long that putting an employer first would be hard. Eg. if the kids are ill I would want to be with them and not worry about childcare or getting in trouble at work etc. My DH hours are a nightmare and his days off are in the week so I have never had long days on my own all day. But of course the downside is evenings nights and weekends I am often on my own. So I believe it is better for me to remain at home than us both working shifts (we both worked changing shifts) and trying to find night childcare etc of which I wouldn't want anyway.

As for boredom I never get bored. I don't mind house stuff and like my own company. And of course studying takes up time especially as now it is getting to a high level. I would be happy to volunteer though either at school or with older people/charity groups.

I have had remarks but only from WOHMs and it really does not bother me at all as I know I am happy doing what I do. If they are happy WOH then that is great for them but I wouldn't want that. Maybe I will later on but for now I am content and there is a lot to be said for that in life.

Mutley77 Tue 14-May-13 14:08:54

I have often asked this question of people - purely in a curiosity/small talk kind of way as many of my children's friends have had SAHMs until school age and then you generally find a massive return to work starts happening and all sorts of mums you wouldn't expect start asking you about childcare and how to juggle work/parenting! I wouldn't read into it any more than that.

I was really lucky to have a job that largely fitted around my children's school hours and was v fulfilling. Holidays were also easy to manage as I had loads of holiday and good family/friends support. I did, however work 2.5 days per week when they were little too as that was right for me.

We have now re-located and I am pregnant so not re-starting work at this stage. My DD is at school f/t and DS half-time (3 days one week, 2 days the next) and I have surprised myself by really enjoying it although only v short term so far. I don't think I will do it forever - will probably look at returning to work when DC3 (due in a few weeks) is 1 or so. But I can see why people do it - I am certainly finding a benefit in having more head space. I don't really have any friends here yet (although have started coffee dates) and don't find that a problem either - days alone are quite nice!

LilyBolero Tue 14-May-13 14:10:02

I would strongly suggest to everyone on this thread (& in fact all mnetters) to get a national insurance statement from hmrc; just do it online on their website. Then you can see any NICS holes, and have time to do something about it before the point that you start claiming a pension and find it's only 50% (or whatever) it should be.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 14:18:05

I am aware of the dangers bigbuttons is highlighting but I do have an "emergency fund" of my own put to one side.

I have made it clear to DH that should he ever do the "I am the one earning the money" ever again then I will be working and he will be the one taking holidays, sick days and (shudder) having to attend sports days and presentations. That seemed to nip that attitude in the bud nicely.

I know people equally who have continued with their career plans nicely after having children but then have had to reconsider their path due to childcare issues when marriages have broken up and ex husbands were being arses.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 14:19:27

Thanks Lily - thats reminded me I have a NIC bill to pay!

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 14:29:03

Awful thing to say I know, but if my DH ever did the dirty on me and left me for another woman, I'd make sure that I claimed half his private pension. If god forbid, he died, then I'd receive death in service benefits. Obviously, I hope to god that none of the above ever happen.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 14-May-13 14:37:23

I keep hearing from my friends that actually, in some ways it's better to take time off when they start school than when they're tiny (massive caveat: I am not in the Uk and schooling tends to be more intensive from an earlier age- homework from the off etc. )

Also, "issues" become less generic as kids get older and need more considered input (bullying, friendship problems, academic worries etc)

One of my friends had a son who had bullying issues at school and she quit work for a while whilst they were resolved as she concluded that "kids need to talk when they want to talk, not when you have time for them to talk." When they only had an hour together from her getting home to him going to bed, she found he wasn't unwinding enough to actually open up about it. Anyway, that's purely anecdotal and not designed to inspire guilt, but I guess my point is that the value of a SAHP doesn't necessarily decrease when children are at school- it's just compressed into fewer hours of the day. Some children do need more parental input than others, that's for sure.

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 15:18:55

RichMan
You are only considering the parenting of the DM in your example. Does noone on this thread actually have a DH/DP who contributes /cares for their DC ?? It seems that many SAHM are in that position because their DH/DP works very long hours. Many of us who do WOH have partners who share childcare and parenting by flexible working,compressed hours etc.
If Im not here DH is - I guess this means we are equally WOH/SAHP .
Maybe Ive just invented a new MN role the Dual SAH/WOHP grin
I really enjoy the contrast between the two and love my days at home as much as my WOH ones .
Luckily Ragwort my job isnt boringwink

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 15:21:23

I should add that if my Dc had a bullying problem that was so bad I had to consider giving up work then I would probably consider a change of school first .

Startail Tue 14-May-13 15:32:43

YANBU

However, once your DCs are at secondary school you will be bored and wish you had found something part time at some point in the proceeding years.

Startail Tue 14-May-13 15:43:22

Oh and all governments of all colours hate you.

You pay no taxes, You provide no work for anyone else, you don't contribute lots of money to the retail and service economies. I don't need work clothes or lots of make up. I don't care if my hair needs a trim. I've never had my nails done. I don't need to go to the gym, I have time to walk or cycle or run (I don't, but I could).

I don't pay someone, to clean, iron or garden for me.

as a household we can afford a holiday, but not a holiday and half of B&Q. Our carpets are old, or kitchen is ancient, DH fixes things rather than getting tradesmen in. (Actually I have a DH who is better at all things technical than most tradesmen and would do this any way).

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 14-May-13 15:48:20

You're right there Startail, we're definitely not flavour of the month with the governments.

Thanks Lily I have requested an NIC statement.

KitchenandJumble Tue 14-May-13 16:00:45

It's a complicated question. I think there is a lot of cultural pressure on women in certain countries (e.g., the US and the UK) to be SAHMs. I would say there's more pressure to SAH than to work. I do think that a lot of the anxiety surrounding motherhood these days (the helicopter parenting, the over-scheduled and over-supervised children) is related to people trying to find justification for staying at home. Should they need to justify themselves? No, of course not. But the cultural messages about motherhood tend to reinforce the idea that women should feel guilty for having careers, that they really "need" to be home because their children are somehow suffering otherwise, etc.

If a family decides that one parent should be at home, more power to them. But it does trouble me a bit that the parent at home is still almost invariably the woman.

I also think that all women would be well advised to consider issues of finances. Sadly, I have known too many women who SAH, often to support a husband's high-flying career, and then end up divorced and in dire straits, with no recent work experience and few prospects. Even a cursory glance at the Relationships board here at MN reveals many women in similar situations.

Ragwort Tue 14-May-13 17:06:51

You must be joking Kitchen - unless I have misunderstood you, there is plenty of cultural pressure in the UK not to be a SAHM - all the recent press coverage about 'getting mothers into work' by offering cheap childcare & childcare vouchers, funded nursery places, no tax breaks for SAHMs etc etc. Mothers are made to feel 'guilty' for staying at home - including, and even more so sometimes, by mothers that work outside the home.

I do agree though that you need consider the financial implications of being a SAHM (or Dad).

KitchenandJumble Tue 14-May-13 17:25:36

Nope, not joking at all. The cultural messages are very powerful, all the emotional appeals, "the most important job you'll ever do" (addressed only to mothers, of course, not to fathers), all the bollocks about "Why have children at all if you're going to let strangers raise them?"

I do see what you're saying about childcare, etc. But aren't the free nursery places for 3-year-olds (15 hours a week?) available to everybody, including SAHMs? I don't live in the UK any more, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

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