AIBU to ask if SAHP's are happy with their life?

(225 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sat 09-Nov-13 14:09:36

Firstly - no offence is meant by my title and I am in no way a person who judges either SAHP's or Working Parents. I'm just trying to gauge a sense of how SAHPs feel about their role.

My title was originally going to be, "AIBU to ask if SAHP's are happy with their choice?" but part of my post is asking if the SAHP had to make that choice because it was the only option that made financial sense as opposed to them actually wanting to be a SAHP?

What kind of careers did you give up and do you miss work? Do you feel like you have lost part of your identity or do you feel that being a SAHP is what your purpose always was?

I'm expecting my first baby and I spend some time every now and then thinking about 'Return to Work' options but I can't foresee me being a SAHP. I have a job that I love and a career I wouldn't want to sacrifice. Even if it made more financial sense to give up work I don't think I would. Are there any working parents out there who work despite it not making financial sense because they still need that aspect of their life?

Mintyy Sat 09-Nov-13 14:14:07

Not unreasonable to ask, no.

AnnoyingOrange Sat 09-Nov-13 14:17:40

I took a five year career break when my children were small.

It was the right thing to do at the time, although it effectively meant the end of my career in an interesting, well paid job

Once the children were older I returned to work in a different less demanding role, part time for a few years and later full time.

I think what is right for you changes at different periods in your life. I found it exhausting and stressful when I worked full time and had a baby and a toddler and being a SAHM then was the right thing for me.

redcaryellowcar Sat 09-Nov-13 14:23:43

I am sahm and used to be a regional manager for a medium sized company (400 employees) i managed a team of 14 people and travelled a lot, i loved my job 90% of the time but knew it would be difficult to do part time and impossible full time with all the travel etc.
I am really pleased not to be trying to 'do it all' and really love spending loads of time with ds. I am fortunate that my mum spends a day a week with us so i can pop ti dentist or hairdresser in peace.
I have a professional qualification which would allow me to go back to work when ds is at school.
I know we made financial choices like smaller house only one car etc but pleased we did.

Lamu Sat 09-Nov-13 14:36:11

I made the decision not to work after my first mainly because the industry I worked in demanded long hours, often attending events in the evenings and weekends as well as international travel. I loved my career but I couldn't foresee how it could be compatible with a young child long term especially as Dp also works 12-14 hour days not including a commute. We could have had a full time nanny, after the costs of commuting and other related expenses as well as the stress of having both of us working in demanding roles something had to give.

Do I enjoy being a Sahm? Not always. At some point in the next 3 yrs I hope to return to work, in the same industry but probably working for myself so as I can have more flexibility.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 09-Nov-13 14:38:31

I became a SAHP because I wanted to. DH and I had saved and planned our lives in order to ensure that we could survive on one salary. I gave up a well paid management position in a bank after 18 years service.

We were lucky our plans worked out well though. Lucky that we bought out house before the property boom, lucky that we had invested our savings in banking shares that performed well and lucky we sold them to clear a chunk of out mortgage 3 months before the economy collapsed!

It also took us 10 years to get our family so we had 9 years more time to save than we originally thought we'd have.

So I'm very happy. I'm now 7 years into my life as a SAHP but if I was starting on my parenting journey now I would not give up my job. There is just too much uncertainty around now as far as the economy and the job market is concerned.

HollyMadison Sat 09-Nov-13 14:41:37

Before I had DC I couldn't ever imagine being a SAHP and planned to return to work at the end of my maternity leave. My son was born with a disability and DH and I knew that he needed the intensive help of a parent to take him to therapy and work with him to develop. So I haven't returned to the workforce (yet!). I left a well paid professional job. I don't love SAHParenthood and I mostly wish I was the one going to work but DS needs me (or DH) right now.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 09-Nov-13 14:42:22

And can I ask, again no offence meant, did anyone feel unhappy about being financially dependent on their partner? I can't bear the thought of giving up all my income and then everything in our life solely relying on him. I just don't like the thought of there being that uneven power in the relationship. It just makes me feel uneasy. I want to feel like I'm just as much of a 'provider' as he is.

OrangePixie Sat 09-Nov-13 14:49:52

I never thought I could be a SAHM. But when it came to it, i just couldn't put my DS in a nursery. Just couldn't.

Luckily I had a choice so I gave up my much loved career. There are days where I'm bored or fed up but then you get those in a job! I don't know when I'll get a job again or what it'll be.

I've never regretted it because it was in my DC's best interests, I believe.

Haveacwtch Sat 09-Nov-13 14:50:06

The decision was made for me. I returned to work 20 hours a week after my second baby. I initially worked a lot of hours at home and when I stopped doing this as I was working every night I was pulled up on my performance. The company had it both ways - they got to pay me half my wage with me still doing my full time work. I was offered a compromise agreement and a settlement to leave immediately, and I did.

I can only find full time roles in my field and these have a long commute attached or I would work away Monday to Friday. My husband works long hours and my children would basically see neither of us Monday to Friday. That's not good enough for me.

I have been a SAHM for six months. It's bloody hard work. I get sad that I have basically left a career I spent 15 years building but then again I will never get this time with my kids again. I have a two year old at home with me who is thriving and a four year old in school who loves me picking him up every day.

I would love to work part time but it's not an option

OrangePixie Sat 09-Nov-13 14:50:50

The provider thing has never bothered me. We are equal partners in every way, money is nothing to do with it.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 09-Nov-13 14:51:37

With regard to losing my identity. No I don't think I have . I used to be Angels the bank manager who can't have children , has no time for hobbies or to see friends but goes on lots of fabulous 5 star holidays.

Now I'm Angels the mum, who adopted two gorgeous children, who loves baking, goes running, loves music, sees friends often, does a college course and voluntary work and is never happier than when in a tent in the middle of a muddy field with the family.

Angels mark 2 is happier even if I do occasionally pine for a nice 5 star hotel.

Chocotrekkie Sat 09-Nov-13 14:52:08

I think the finance thing depends on the set up pre kids.

When we moved in together we didn't have "his" money and "mine" - we just had -- no-- money.

We talked about what we would buy eg can we afford/ do we want to get a new tv ?
Then the let's go shopping I need new boots as the old ones have now got a hole in them etc.

Xmas /birthdays we knew what each other wanted and bought it if we could afford to.

Then when kids came along and I stayed at home it just continued like ths (although dd getting new boots came before mine!)

If you are "providing" childcare then you are "providing" for the family as much as he is.

I loved being a Sahm with my babies/toddlers - miss those days

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 09-Nov-13 14:54:26

The financial independence has never been an issue. We always pooled our finances before I gave up work anyway so nothing changed other than the pool of money was less. We work as a team.

CatAmongThePigeons Sat 09-Nov-13 14:55:03

I had no job to go back to after DS1. I now have no career prospects and no individual identity. I do enjoy being at home with the DC. On good days.

lifeinthefastlane1 Sat 09-Nov-13 14:55:18

I dont know if Im classed as SAHP as I work part time, I have always worked part time as I dont have a career or any qualifications, I ran a business from home so was at home all the time, now I work part time hours while dd is at school, I earn less than £100 per week and am at home a lot so I always class myself as SAHP, I know my friends who work full time career jobs consider me a SAHP, I like having my own bit of money, when I was completely unemployed I hated not having my own cash, so I wouldnt ever not have any job, but I know I could not work a full time job and then come home and do all the home stuff too, I like having my own timetable. Besdies I love all the fun stuff you get to do during the week especially when the weather is nice (sun or snow)which would have to wait for weekends if I worked full-time, although have to curtail that a bit now that shes started school grin(

SunshineMMum Sat 09-Nov-13 14:57:34

YANBU I took a career break initially, but DS has autism, so I didn't go back. I loved the baby and toddler years and have enjoyed doing voluntary work and running a support group, which I can fit around his needs. Now he is a secondary school, I am edging towards going back into paid employment.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 09-Nov-13 14:57:35

I jut worry that being a SAHP won't fulfil me.
Then I feel guilty for thinking it because surely our children should be our absolute everything?

My mum didn't work when me and sister were young and she had a very rough deal with our dad giving her 'housekeeping money' every month out of his salary and then he spent his money as he wanted. I know things are much different now but when I hear her talk about it, well, it just makes me cringe inside. My parents divorced when I was 5 and my sister was 6 and ever since then we have had it drummed into us that women should have their own independence, their own money and to NEVER be in a situation where they are financially dependent on a man. I guess it is hard to shale those words when it was like a mantra in our house as we grew up.

YukonHo Sat 09-Nov-13 15:01:06

Ime many people who love their career and are very successful at it and plan to return to work totally change their minds and move heaven and earth to be sahp once their lo is born....an equal amount who believe they'd like to stay at home realise being with small children all day would drive them insane and scuttle back to work tout suite.

It's some thing you can guess at, but never totally be sure of before the event.

I was in a fairly decent career, but made redundant on maternity (with a nice package) because my company was going bust and now do something very pt and totally unrelated to my former career. It puts more pressure on dh to earn enough but he's happy with that and i have grown into the role of sahm over the years and now love it. i cant honestly say i did in the early days but at the same time i'd have hated to leave dd when she as very small. but that's a truly personal thing and i can see why people do choose to go back. (As well as realising that not everyone is lucky enough to have the choice.) I haven't worked for anyone else for nearly 10 years. I think I'd hate it now tbh. Am hoping my own business that's patchy now will take off when I have more time.

amicissimma Sat 09-Nov-13 15:03:16

I gave up work when DC1 was about 2 because I felt I was cheating both parts of my live: worrying about the child at work and about work at home, not to mention the stress of all the time pressure and worry about what would happen if childcare failed and both DH and I had important work things to get to.

I've never gone back. I developed my SAHM life so that I was surrounded by other people, other parents at first, then I gradually branched out into volunteering and feel very involved with the local community. Thus the people I know are much more varied than those I met working, who were confined to one area.

Sometimes being a SAHM is boring; sometimes work is boring.
I feel my identity is more truely me, as a SAHM - rather than just the job label. I know who I am and what I like to do. I know that when retirement comes I will be able to keep myself mentally stimulated and interested.

I feel more secure depending financially on someone whose interests are the same as mine: the wellbeing of my family, ie my DH, than depending on a boss whose number one interest is the wellbeing of the company.

Retroformica Sat 09-Nov-13 15:14:32

I was due to go back to a well paid job part time but couldn't leave my DS. Nothing prepared me for the all consuming love and instinct to want to be with my little one and be around in formative years. Didn't want to hand my baby over to a random person who would parent differently.

Retroformica Sat 09-Nov-13 15:17:46

Being a parent is one of the best things ever! I'm almost a full time SAHM but I have a lot of clubs/groups/hobbies.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 09-Nov-13 15:18:08

Does anyone think that if the household can exist on one salary then one parent should give up work? Like they should fulfil the responsibility to raise the child they chose to have?

SunshineMMum Sat 09-Nov-13 15:20:34

Writer no absolutely not, we were fortunate, because of our circumstances and I think it should be down to personal choice and family needs.

Hettyjones Sat 09-Nov-13 15:25:10

I think the money thing depends on your attitude before kids. I was a DH teacher earning about 40k before I stopped and DH was a lawyer for an investment bank earning 4x what I earned but it has always been our money going into one big pot. I fully intended to return after 6mths especially as I was in the middle of a headship course. But DH needs to travel a lot with his job and teaching is less flexible than people think. There was also so much weekend work as a deputy tends to have all their class stuff + all their DH admin so family time would have been compromised.

So I didn't go back and although we were fortunate enough that I didn't need to financially, I still missed work dreadfully. I still do, 10yrs on! When our youngest goes to school I will return part time but I feel the 4 of them would miss out if I returned f/t especially as their father is often in the US for a week at a time.

Another point about the money is that DH always says that he wouldn't be able to do what he does and earn what he does if I wasn't at home dealing with all the day to day house and childcare stuff. So he always says the money is jointly earned anyway. I buy presents for him on my cc then pay them off separately so he doesn't see shops and amounts etc on the current account as it wouldn't be as special or a surprise otherwise.
He also, crucially, doesn't take me for granted or see me as the 'little wifey'. When he's home, he does housework and looks after the kids and he makes sure I get out with friends. It's the right thing for us at the moment at least.

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