I can't ever imagine returning to work. And I'm quite happy with that

(390 Posts)
Anyfuckerisnotguilty Thu 09-Jan-14 14:43:14

Although I realise that makes me seem quite odd to others

But I actually really like not working and just being able to do whatever I want

Chunderella Wed 15-Jan-14 21:47:09

It's interesting to see this discussion turn to class. Of course you're going to see more women with 'careers' given the demographic of MN. Though it would be very wrong to think that women with jobs rather than careers don't ever see them as freedom, a break from the kids, social interaction, identity etc. There are also more people with degrees doing relatively low status work than there ever has been, because of both the economic situation and the increasing percentage of the population who have them.

One thing to consider is that even for wc women doing poorly paid work, they still on the whole have more security than they would if they SAH. In the current climate it's risky for anyone to be out of work unless they have independent income and/or qualifications, experience or other qualities that can neutralise the disadvantage of taking time out if they need to get back in quickly. Which wc women are, if anything, less likely to have. A woman who's doing a few shifts a week for NMW is a woman who has some independent source of income. Meaning that if her partner dies uninsured, or they suddenly separate, or he becomes too ill to work in one of those inconvenient ways that ATOS don't like, she still has some money coming in. Sure, she'd be eligible for top up benefits but those take time to apply for/vary. Being in work also prevents her from being totally at the mercy of whatever sanction or workfare placement the jobcentre dream up that day. The fact is that these days, even traditionally 'low hanging fruit' like supermarket work isn't easy to just walk into. The fact that you aren't on a career ladder as such doesn't mean you don't get security from work.

MrsKoala Tue 14-Jan-14 20:07:20

I agree. I think i'd be a better mum if i could work 2 days a week. I'd even do it for free (i mean if the childcare and fares cancelled out the wage), but i couldn't justify it at a loss. And sadly those interesting 2 days a week jobs aren't that common round here.

Fancyashandy Tue 14-Jan-14 19:23:27

I have some friends who work 3 days a week or so - I think that's a great balance.

janey68 Tue 14-Jan-14 18:47:08

That's very true folly.
I'd also add though that its not always an either/ or. Many of us enjoy time at home but also enjoy working. My children were great company especially as they got a little older (toddler stage is a lot more fun than the early weeks of feeding/ nappies/ sleeping ) I don't think I would have been bored as a SAHP... It's just that I enjoyed combining it with part time work

follygirl Tue 14-Jan-14 18:42:37

I completely agree that lots of women are better mums because they work. I'm certainly not saying that the only good mum is one that stays at home, far from it.

I know quite a few women who would be bored silly being at home and who thrive on having a career. I think that's great. A happy woman has to be a better mother.

I would say that the ideal scenario is if you are doing what you want to do regardless of finances. I think it's a shame when women can't afford to stay at home because they need the money; equally there are also other women who would love to work but can't, because the money wouldn't pay for the childcare.

BlingBang Tue 14-Jan-14 14:43:11

It is changing and I know a few woman out earning their husbands. Know a few where the husband has been the travelling spouse as well, following his wifes job but it is still rare.

Feel it at the moment because most women I know have gone back to work, especially when the kids are in school, so not as many in my position where I am.

wordfactory Tue 14-Jan-14 14:32:46

Yes, things are changing. I live in a very wealthy area and it is hugely common here for women to be SAHMs for very long periods.

It's a bit of a bubble and like any bubbles, it starts to have its own logic. Anyone thinking of returning to work is discouraged by the other bubble dwellers, and the DC with two working parents are the subject of scrutiny wink.

I always managed to evade judgement by working from home and doing the school run etc.

When I did finally start working outside the home (albeit on a part time free lance basis) I found a world full of working women and SAHDs grin!!!

It is changing but slowly. I was the WOHP and DH was a SAHD because I have a career and he had a job. I have a good enough income to support the family but I have made sure DH is financially protected e.g. I get life assurance and critical illness as part of my occupational pension. Now that the DC are in school, DH is starting his own business but he is still the one whose time is flexible IYSWIM.

janey68 Tue 14-Jan-14 13:03:31

I agree with sgb's points, but there has been progress... Of course there's further to go.

My own parents were, I think, not untypical of their generation. My father did A levels and went to university. My mother (similarly matched intelligence and ability wise) had to fight her own parents to be allowed to stay at school to do A levels. University was out of the question... What did a woman want to do that for, she just needed to work for a few years before marriage and babies. This was in the 1950s so not that long ago. And even if she had won the battle to go to Uni and got herself qualified for a career, she wouldn't have been able to continue it on becoming a mum because there were no nurseries and very few child minders around back then. Childcare happened on an informal unregulated basis.

Nowadays things are different- not perfect by any means- but far more women do gain qualification and entry to careers than ever before. This then increases the likelihood that they have a choice about continuing to work.

I think the next biggest influential factor will be the transferable parental leave after having a child. I really hope it becomes common for couples to use this entitlement, because I think the impact for children, families and wider society will be very positive. It's all about widening choices... If families still opt for a traditional set up that's fine, but hopefully it won't be out of a 'default' position or lack of choice.

MrsKoala Tue 14-Jan-14 12:39:04

But I still wouldn't say that supermarkets, factories, care homes etc are full of university educated middle class women!

Ha! no neither would i. Perhaps i am from a weird blip. My last job in a call centre everyone under 40 had a degree, everyone over 40 had at least 20 years managerial experience. Yet there we all were working in a miserable job for 21k (being timed for our toilet breaks etc). 2 friends from my class at school both became carers for people with learning difficulties after uni (we are all 37) and are still doing it on NMW (they tell me all their colleagues are the same - perhaps this is because we are from/they work in an affluent area of west london). Another friend did media and now works in admin (again in chiswick) for 19k, all the dept have similar education and are in 30s.

This business of it usually being the woman who has the lower-paying, less-enjoyable job so that she doesn't mind - or actively enjoys - packing it in to SAH isn't some natural phenomenon to do with having a womb.

It's the manifestation of a system that was set up for men's benefit at the expense of women. The more women that work in a particular industry or at a particular level, the lower the pay. Because the idea is that domestic work and child-rearing are to be done by women, and money-earning (with the associated privileges ie freedom from domestic work and status as the owner of the household and the woman in it) is for men.

janey68 Tue 14-Jan-14 12:36:10

Folly- that's great as you're clearly doing what suits your family, and as wordfactory says, no one has said you are 'letting the side down.' Just as long as you recognise that there's more than one way of doing things and its equally possible to be a good mum (or dad) as a WOHP too smile

Dollydishus Tue 14-Jan-14 11:33:49

The tone earlier was a bit heated I think.

I had a good career but gave it up after 20 years as really not conducive to happy family life. And my DH felt his career was being limited a bit by mine....always away, busy in evenings etc.

Fine by me. I've had a good go in the workplace and now I'm learning to be the SAHP. Don't feel I've 'stepped down' or anything. Just changed my role.

Financially it's more precarious now but I'm trying to live more in the moment and not stress about the future. Yes something awful might happen. But it might not.

Have got a small pension and a small savings. That will have to do.

follygirl Tue 14-Jan-14 11:13:41

wordfactory there were certainly a few posters earlier on in the thread who seemed to say that. I admit I haven't read the whole thread and can see that the tone has changed.

I have loved being at home but have always wanted to contribute some way, so work evenings. That way I have no childcare issues, my time with the kids is focused on them (As housework can be done whilst their at school)and I get some time out on my own. At times I feel I should be working more, especially when a big bill arrives but its so hard to balance school holidays etc. I do look back on my past career and uni days with such fondness and miss it often, but I know I'll get back there one day. At the moment I'll work around my kids, as I feel in the scheme of things (ie how long our working life's are - I'm 32 so got a good 30 left) it's nice to be spending my time with my kiddies. They won't be that for long!

wordfactory Tue 14-Jan-14 10:17:58

folly has anyone on the thread said you're letting the side down?

BlingBang Tue 14-Jan-14 10:14:18

Sorry, my last posts sounded a bit glum. Many of my WC friends and family who I grew up with have good jobs and have done well inspite of the dodgy education and low expectations, just that most didn't go to uni or moved away from what was a very depressed and underprivileged area. Good solid jobs, just not high earning or considered the higher career jobs. What's classed as a high earner these days anyway?

follygirl Tue 14-Jan-14 10:13:39

I stopped working 9 years ago when my dd was born and at the moment I have no intention of going back to work.

I did have a 'proper job' before I retired but it was working as a management consultant which isn't conducive to childcare. My dh had a similar job although was always more career driven than me. I have never considered that my role whether working or being a sahm defines who I am. I have never understood why people think less of me now that I don't work. A good friend was shocked when I retired, she said 'but you're an intelligent person and now you're going to be a glorified nursery nurse'.
I enjoy my role as the mainstay of the family. I look after the children and am able to be there for school plays, sports matches etc. Because I have always looked after them I know them implicitly.

I do the household chores like bills, holidays, online shopping etc. However that is hardly time-consuming. Yes I do clean the house, but again, spending an hour or so a day doing that is hardly the end of the world. The rest of my day is spent doing what I want to do. I read, do sport, see friends, spend time with my widowed mum and have fun.

My dh knows that he has done as well as he has, because I have been there in the background supporting him. I don't resent him for the fact that he has a successful career. I have a successful career too, it's just not recognised as one. I think I'm a bloody good mum and that means more to me than being a good management consultant.

Dh and I have life insurance on each other. If my dh were to die I would probably not have to work either as we have a fair amount of investments. If dh were to divorce me then conceivably I would be in trouble however that isn't likely to happen and I think it's bonkers to just have a job in case we were to split up.

Plenty of my friends work ft or pt. I have no issue with what other people do, I don't really see why I should. I thought that feminism meant that women had options in life, and yet sometimes it feels as if being a sahm is not one of those and that we're 'letting the side down'.

wordfactory Tue 14-Jan-14 10:03:46

Koala I know what you mean about the nouveau pauvre.

But I still wouldn't say that supermarkets, factories, care homes etc are full of university educated middle class women!

wordfactory Tue 14-Jan-14 10:01:15

Bling that's my background too.

WC women are shafted every bloody which way. Coralled into the worst paid, least protected jobs which offer them little protection or independence.

The choices WC women make are often those between a rock and a hard place.

MrsKoala Tue 14-Jan-14 09:45:22

Oddly enough all my female friends in low paid jobs are MC (not me i'm new money) and uni educated. We just chose subjects which don't convert to jobs. ie arts, philosophy, media etc. If i could go back and change one thing i would have trained as a painter and decorator rather than doing Art History.

BlingBang Tue 14-Jan-14 09:38:49

I'm WC, no uni education but don't have to work as my WC husband is a high earner. I guess we don't fit into the usual brackets. We moved away and have friends from many different backgrounds from Doctors, journalist to cleaners and care home assistants. There is always the talk on Mn and these threads that women need to have that career to support themselves ( great if they can and have) - always makes me think of Xenia - the reality for most women is probably different.

wordfactory Tue 14-Jan-14 09:29:26

bling my mum worked in supermarkets all her life (when she was well and when the work was available). But WC women make the discussion of the op nul and void. Wc women have to work and always have! That they are universally low paid jobs is another issue.

MrsKoala Tue 14-Jan-14 09:16:05

word - i don't know any women who do those jobs. They best careers of a few women i know are teachers and nurses. All others work in very low paid shop, carer or admin/call centre roles. Of my NCT group all the men easily earned 2-3 times the womans wage. In my old job (call centre) every woman who worked there had free childcare from family - otherwise it wouldn't be possible.

WhereIsMyHat Tue 14-Jan-14 09:14:20

I'm currently a fully fledged SAHM after a few years playing with the idea. A third child was the deciding factor. I have wobbles about this weekly, did any of the long term stay at home parents have wobbles in the early days? Do these go away or is it a sign I'm probably no in it for the long haul?

Finance wise, we got married and have a second rental property that is our pension, hopefully if everything goes to plan this will be a bit of a money earner for me especially when the mortgage starts to get smaller.

A lot of my mum friends have careers, in fact most, they've all returned to work albeit part time in some cases. They're mostly 10-15 years older than me so had proper careers before kids which is something I didn't and I'm sure this contributes to why I stay at home now.

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