To have given in my notice to be a sahm when I'm not sure I'm going to like it!(55 Posts)
I may be mental. Giving up a well paid job in a recession. Earn more than dh with potential to earn much more. But I work 60 hrs a week I never see my kids and dh works weekends so I never see him too, I am tired and grumpy all the time when not at work and not sleeping with stress and having panic attacks. But I have worked very hard to get where I am, plus I don't think I'm going to like looking after kids full time it is bloody hard work!! No more cleaner gardener or childcare or eating out or nice holidays, WTF have I done?! The plan is to stay at home for 18 months do some property renovation and try and set up for myself fuuuuuuuck!
It sounds like your job was not making you hhappy at all so well done for making a change
Nothing is permanent and you might get time to work out what you do want to do or you may find you love being a SAHM
Was there no option to reduce your hours or go part time?
What job do you do OP? Don't panic
Firstly - Yeah!!!
Did exactly the same earlier this year, don't regret it for a minute. However, brace yourself for how hard been a SAHM on budget is, the move from Ocado shopping on iPhone to menu planning & taking DC's round Aldi is huge.
Treat housework like work, 'eat the frog' and do the job you hate most early in day; don't burn out by trying to get house immaculate & try to get something you like on the plan for week - my weakness is M&S coffee with cake.
Wise wise mumsnetters have taught me that you should aim with partner to have equal free time, your not the house slave.
Enjoy it, the isolation can be scary & it's wierd not been in charge of anything but it's truly liberating!
Im doing the same. Scared. Hand force by pregnancy but i have plans up my sleeve so as long as you dont get totallly side tracked by the difgicult buts, yiull be lk. Im really going to miss the money but my dh is looking forward to havi g his nice wifey back, ive been a misery to live with.
I've tried working part time but I just ended up getting paid less and much more stress as still had full time case load and trying to deal with crap on blackberry with kids hanging round my ankles. I went up to 5 days as it was funnily enough less stressful but then I really don't see the kids. My commute is a bitch too and I never want to see a pret a manger again after getting breakfast and dinner there 5 days a week never usually got lunch! Am a lawyer. Also I have no friends who don't work and don't know any school mums really so it's going to be scary at the school gates! But I am quite looking forward to the challenge of making new friends and budgeting weirdly!
What in earth is eat the frog?!
Eat the Frog is a management metaphor, simply 'There's an old saying that if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day.'
Works for me, but may be pile of steaming management guru nonsense!
Good on you, give yourself time to adjust but I am sure it's a decision you will never regret.
Good on you. Life is, frankly, too short.
I did the same and have regretted it many times! When I was due to go back to work after a year's maternity leave with DC2, I was struggling with stress and depression. (Two babies in 20 months wasn't very good for my mental health.). I really, really couldn't imagine how I could work FT and have a successful marriage and family life. Also, we were supposed to be emigrating two years later, so knew I'd have been handing in my notice then anyway.
After working FT for 20 years, I felt so isolated and hated being in the house all day with 2 babies. I was on and off Prozac for 3 years but now the children are 5 and 4, it's a doddle! We all have loads of family time and I do have a happy marriage, so I suppose the end has justified the means.
Sometimes I feel resentful that I'm the one that made the financial sacrifice by giving up a well paid job. Although my DH's income is shared equally, I am aware I am in a more perilous financial position if we were to split up.
But as your current setup is making you so miserable, you were right to do something to change it. Would it have been possible for both you and your DH to reduce your hours?
You know I think you're in good position to enjoy it as you're starting off v realistic . Agree with other poster, make sure yoy've 1 nice thing for you each day whether that's coffee in peace, or walk etc. BeSt of luck, you'll meet plenty nice people at school - don't go on about your terror of being home or go on about sahm v wohm! !
I did exactly that two years ago. I haven't regretted it for a second.
It took me years of stress and lack of sleep before I decided to leave. I just didn't think I would like it, and that we couldn't afford it.
In the end my health forced my hand. I started to develop all sorts if weird and wonderful health problems (manky joints etc). My Consultant said it was due to years of constant stress and lack of sleep.
Leaving work was the best thing I have ever done. Period. My health has improved dramatically, I am completely happy and do not miss material things at all. This is from someone who was a complete make up/beauty product/clothes junky.
It does take some getting used to and don't expect to adjust overnight. Give it time. Plenty of time.
I could sit and worry about what if we split up etc, but tbh, we were so unhappy and stressed with both working, house a mess even with cleaners etc, that one of the reasons im staying at home is the health of our marriage too. I know we will have a more stable home life this way.
Think very carefully, OP. I've had to take unpaid leave after maternity leave from my job because my husband's job ended suddenly just after our baby was born, and the only one he could get relocated us somewhere from where I can no longer manage my former commute. My working life was stressful, but being home alone with a baby is disempowering and dull, despite how lovely our son is. I wouldn't do it again if I had a choice.
Thanks for the replies I can definitely see it won't be a bed of roses. My kids will be almost 3 and 6 by the time my notice period is up so I have missed the boring baby years and they are pretty good fun now. I can see a battle of wills coming with the 3 year old though and she doesn't get her 15 hrs til sept so we might have a tough few months. I've definitely spoilt the kids through not seeing them much, I'm far too lax at weekends. Will have to toughen up! I do have some plans to set up a business in due course so I'm hoping the mind won't atrophy too much although I can see if every day is like today (2 yr old up at 6.30 am 5 yr old only just down!!) I'm going to melt pretty soon. Bloody hell being a mum is hard work isn't it, however you do it! I think it's testament to how much I hate my job that I'm ditching it.
I think you're doing the right thing. I'm sure many will disagree, but, in my experience, the law is one of the most unfamily friendly jobs going, no matter how you much you try to tinker around the edges of the working pattern.
Give it a go. If you really hate it you can will ultimately get another a job, might not be so well paid etc but you can start with a clean slate and really think about what you want in terms of hours, commute etc.
My dcs are 1.5 and 4.5 and I'm soldiering on through the early years and am seriously thinking of giving up when they are both in school as it seems to me the whole thing will become even more stressful and complicated when we no longer have full time childcare!
I'm sure you'll get used to the new rhythm of life and make new friends (and there's always MN ) - good luck!
I did it last year. Well paid job as lawyer. I walked to my car one day and knew I was never going back. The caseload and stress was unmanageable. There were non stop restructures and redundancies at work. Loads of people gone and those of us 'lucky' to survive redundancy were doing the work of four people and a secretary! Hated it. I used to be close to tears all day every day. I was stressed at home, stressed at the weekend and in the evening. I was unhappy and realised my job was impacting on everything in my life: my marriage, my friends, my kids. I was being bullied at work by a phsycho bitch who'd never had kids and looked down on me. I started feel like I was going crazy. I cut my hours but ended up doing more hours at home.
The first 6 months were hard. I've always worked in a high powered environment. Being at home took a lot of getting used to. But my god, the joy of my kids spotting me at the school gates, of baking mid afternoon with my dd, of spending every summer afternoon picnicking in the garden, having a healthy home cooked meal ready for my kids after school, being at EVERY school play/assembly/ awards night and not have to rush off, being able to just potter for the first time ever, looking forward to hubby getting home, my god being able to WALK to and from
School holding hands with the kids and discussing every detail
Of their school day and singing silly songs. All these things have been amazing. Because I am relaxed and happier it feels like the whole house has relaxed. The kids are happier, hubby and me are happier, and I finally feel I am doing something where I can give 100% instead of juggling everything and being too tired to give my all to any one thing. Sorry to ramble!
I'm at the other end of this type of decision. I gave up my job over ten years ago having been part time for about 3 years before that. Only good thing about part time had been it allowed me to refuse to work absolutely every hour, still equated to a full time job with lots of international travel.
Eventually I quit, as well as 2 young daughters I had a husband with a chronic health condition and the stress was just too much.
So I looked after my family, including elderly parents and built up my own business.
Well now the children are both at uni, my parents died a few years back and I'm winding up my business and going back out into the world of employment.
I don't regret the years I gave to my family. It WAS a sacrifice, a great big difficult one. I loved my job and I didn't want to leave it but it was unsustainable with family life.
I was able to support my parents when they needed me. I was able to care for my husband when his health was bad. I was able to be there for my children, when they were small and vulnerable and when they were teenagers and even more vulnerable. I was able to develop a challenging and rewarding business - even if it wasnt quite what I would have chosen to do.
Now it's my time - cliched or not. I'm going to work at a job I want to do, in an area I'm interested in.
I suppose I just want to say that leaving work is not the end of the world. There are frustrations but you will find things you enjoy. And it passes so quickly, I can't believe how quickly. And the rewards have been great.
I'm so excited now. It's a new era and there is so much to look forward to- with my much loved husband and children.
fuckwittery - good luck, I hope you find you made the right decision. I'd suggest you keep your doors open though. Is there perhaps some middle road you can take, like working as a lawyer in a small town rather than a big city, moving to a less stressful environment? Perhaps after you've found your feet at home, a local legal aid charity might appreciate your help a few hours a week. I don't know much about the legal profession, so I don't know it that's possible.
I just worry for anyone who completely gives up their career for an extended period, especially in this financial climate. There's too much that could go wrong, and it wouldn't just be you who would be vulnerable, but also your DC, and even your DH if he found himself unable to work due to illness etc. I wouldn't do it myself.
I completely understand what you're saying about work causing so much stress and making your miserable, and being an intelligent woman you're probably looked into all the options. But it just seems so "all or nothing".
Sorry if this isn't helping you....
YANBU. I did the same after DC2. I loved both but just not at the same time. I wanted to put DC first. I haven't regretted it but found first year or so tough. I made friends though and also study and volunteer. It is so good being able to be at all school events and take them to school etc every day. With 5 DC life is chaos and busy anyway so no time to get bored. I am aware I may need to work at some point and I may choose to. But right now my job is here with DC! Love it. I agree with poster who said it is liberating.
fuckwittery, I would really love to know how this goes for you. I am just curious! You could post on mn - or blog (said rain selfishly, knowing OP would be very busy but wanting to know anyway....)
Seriously. Would be really interested to know. It's just such a big change.
I guess it is worth remembering that even though it sounds like you will have to economise a lot, you are at least able to do this, with a lot of planning. It is a choice some parents don't have - not to be preachy, I am just thinking of other mums I know who don't enjoy their jobs but can't do without the money.
And if you were doing a job you didn't like, which wasn't realistically going to get easier or more flexible.... you kind of needed a change of plan anyway. That might be a job that works better for you in a couple of years' time.
I'm not a sahm myself (work from home, have some childcare and a dad who pulls his weight) but good luck! and it would be good to hear how you get on....
lonelyredrobin yes trying to juggle wrap around school care and preschool care finished me off this year. cried in front of the breakfast club organiser just before Xmas when there was no space for Dd1 and I had to be in the high court by 9.30am. a nanny would have used all my salary and I am just not going to work for nothing when I miss my dds so much as it is even though I know all the arguments about it being a investment in long term career etc.
bakingnovice what a beautiful description of your days now with the children and your job sounds even more horrific than mine. law is awful it is just impossible to work with a family unless you have the full time nanny or a hell of a lot of help.
what do I know - your post brought tears to my eye as my mum died last year and i wasn't there for her in her last year when she was very ill. my clients and collleagues won't give a shit about me in a few months and I put them above my family . life is too short.
aAnnie and jellybeans will def volunteer when Dr starts preschool! have made enquiries at the CAB already about doing a legal clinic.
rainrain I might blog! never felt before I had much to say but I think this is interesting (the transition from work to home) and I might need some online venting. it's not a good idea to vent at the school gate!
I feel that women like my mum a feminist in the 60s and 70s fought for us to have it all but it's not possible. I feel deeply sad about my career and confused about the longing to be at home but I have already lost my mum, I don't want to lose these years with the girls as well.
Good for you!
It is a huge change and as others have said, is an adjustment that takes a lot of time. I did it two years ago and have found it difficult, but I got so sick of most of my salary going on the nanny and my commute, being stressed and cross all the time.
The children are SO much happier now I am at home; I haven't missed a single school event and the house is calmer. Yes, we don't have such nice holidays etc and I do struggle with the fact that my expensive education and hard won professional qualifications are currently being 'wasted', but I do several things outside the confines of the house, including being on a committee to open a Free School this year so my brain is not completely atrophying!!
Best of luck and enjoy the time at home. I feel very lucky that I can be at home (although there are days when I do wish I still earned my own money....)
I'm doing the same after having been stressed and let down by childcare one too many times. I'm worried I will be out of my mind in a week having no adult company during the day.
DD is 2 and a bundle of crazy energy. Great in the summer but not so good in the winter, when it is miserable outside. However, I really do think she will be happier with me at home. We will see.
Can I just say don't mourn your career or education or ambition, never say never is a pretty good motto IMO
I stopped work (travel, high pressure, part time not an option type role)for about 2.5 years due to my DH job relocation abroad. It was a tough adjustment helped by being abroad so I treated it as a grand adventure, kids were 1 and 3. I made some fabulous friends, helped out some local businesses very casually and as many have posted just enjoyed pottering and getting our family on an even keel.
Anyway another move this time to a country more suitable to work in, 6 months later I went back to a very similar job - potential for long hours, lots of overseas travel (a job I would have killed for pre kids). The difference is after my time I off I went back with a totally different attitude. I do 90% and still know my 90% is frankly better than others 110% (sounds arrogant I know but it's true) I don't want a promotion so I don't sweat the politics, and I'm relaxed that if it ever starts to get too much I will quit again but the money is very nice, I love the work and enjoy the challenge. And I was upfront about all of this when they hired me so I don't feel I sold them a false promise.
Kids are now just 4 and 6 almost 7 - we had a couple of weeks of 'we miss you' but everyone has settled down. In September the youngest starts reception and homework will pick up for the eldest - we'll see how that goes. But it's put another 15-18 months on the cv, if we decide I need a break. And I agree with the poster who said we're very lucky to be in a position where the money is 'helpful' not 'essential'.
Anyway that was way longer than I intended but the point I wanted to make is take the break but you don't know what the future holds, different circumstances, different company and most importantly different attitude and you may find yourself rethinking things. Keep an open mind, and in touch with old mentors and colleagues even if its just an odd linked in message or email it does no harm or take a lot of effort but may help later on.
Enjoy and loads of luck
Bakingnovice your post has just really excited me, this will be me in two weeks time amd i cant wait...Adios asset mgmt and hello to teaching my son to read, bake etc!
Fuckwittery, pls blog.
Think we need a support thread for those of us on here who are doing it, and for advice from those who have been through it! Fergus let me know how it goes! I've got 3 month notice period so have til Easter to worry about whether its the right thing. And just been a bit panicked by my bank statement for December, we spurged every penny of income and will. need to live on less than half come April!
Mrs terry when do you finish?
If you don't go for it you will always wonder "what if". If you do do it it might be great, but it might not. But if it isn't for you at least the. You will KNOW. You will also have a clearer idea of what does make you happy and what you could do to balance your life out.
Baking, that description is perfect. That is exactly why I gave up work.
My kids are older and independent, however me bring home has still enveloped the whole house in a feeling of calm and togetherness. Soppy but true.
OP, I bet your mum valued the time she did have wih you and was immensely proud of all you had achieved. She fought for you to have it all - don't beat yourself up that you did what she wanted for you.
My conclusion has been that you can have it all, just can't have it all at once. Good luck, enjoy your time at home. Don't expect to do masses is your first year. I found that it took me a while to adjust and spent the first year painting walls and clearing cupboards as I brought order back to our house.
Wishing you much happiness.
First time post from a long time lurker but wanted to say you sound just like me 2 years ago!
I gave up a 'big job' and can honestly say it was the best thing I have ever done (although very scary at the time). Yes, it can be tough and isolating at times and juggling finances can be a challenge. But, being there for my little ones and my husband at this stage in our lives is the most important thing I can be doing. I am also much happier as I simply have time to breathe if this makes sense.
Whilst the money stuff can be a challenge I have found it is much easier to budget when you don't have to cram a weekly Ocado shop into the 5 minutes spare time you have on a Monday night. When I sit down and think about how much money I spent on childcare, taxis, tights (they are ridiculously expensive!) and pointless 'stuff' it's scary so please do not worry about the finances - it will work out one way or another (I meal plan, use Aldi/Lidl/local markets and have ebayed a ton of stuff!).
Simply having time to spend with my little ones - baking, exploring, painting and just being there - and not viewing swimming lessons/parents evenings/play dates and school holidays as 'things' to be juggled/got through is brilliant and has also improved my relationship with my husband as we know these things can be managed without it becoming a 'my job is more important than your job' competition.
Weekends are also much more enjoyable as they are not filled with 'jobs we need to do as we don't have time during the week whilst keeping one eye on the b'berry in case something happens at the office'. Also, the general improvement in our health and wellbeing is something I was not expecting but being able to cook good meals, be outside more and be generally much less stressed as a family has been brilliant.
The first year will be tough at times but find something that makes you happy (yoga/baking/gardening/book club/volunteering whatever) and make sure you fit it in so it doesn't become all about the home and go for it ...
Sensible posts here but i wanted to add that i've always seen the 60s and 70s feminist fight as the fight to have a genuine choice.
I've put in enough years at work so don't feel guilty about time out. I know i'm ruining my career and i am lucky because we don't need the money. If you're entirely realistic it helps - do think about pension and make sure you claim child benefit.
I could do a feminist foam at the mouth thing about women who say all their wage goes on childcare. No no no - half your dh and half your wage covers childcare!
I'm also a lawyer and thinking of doing the same thing so am adding with interest!!
Op good luck.
I only work part time and I get to leave it at the door, and I struggle ( but I love my job and there is a good balance)
What a lovely post bakingnovice
I've given up a high earning job to be a SAHM - it's always been my ideal to stay at home with young children, and the fact that my career has gone well doesn't change that ambition. It's knife edge each month, and having to actually look at prices of things in the supermarket is scarily novel, but as someone upthread said, treat it like a job, treat it like an adventure. It's like the best sort of self-employment - there's stuff to be done, but you're totally in charge of when and how it is done, and there is plenty of time for you. I never managed to paint my nails when I worked - now I paint them every Thursday eve this is my happiness measure!
Life is too short - you only get one chance to be there for your children and play at being the very best mum you can. Careers don't die after time out to look after your children, your cv is good now and that won't change. It might be a totally different field you end up in, but this isn't the end of the adventure we call a career - it's a lovely, lovely hiatus.
It is possible to be content and not have it all though (...as I question yet again wtf I do with my life this year...study fulltime on campus the final year of my course/go off campus, work part time..now kids all at school for 2nd year in a row...oh crap..can't decide)
I love this quote:
There are 2 ways of being rich
One is to have it all
The other is to be satisfied with what you have
You sound like you have always cherished your family- keep doing just that and you will love this SAHM thing ( with the odd time out for some much needed venting like the rest of us/clear headspace from your angels!!)
P.S Never been one for impressing mums at the school gates myself(in Australia, not UK) Just be yourself and stuff it if they don't like you venting/whatever. I, for one, would cherish your refreshing honesty..
You will find the right balance for you even if it takes a little while. Working 60 hours a week certainly wasn't right for you.
The most important thing is to do some social things with the kids and make in-roads into friendship groups. Don't be afraid to invite people round for coffee and a play.
I'm very envious. how brilliant for your children. Every worries about how us mums will cope being at home, but I think what about how yr kids felt with you working all those hours. Even if they did have great care, no-one s as good as mum.
Sorry lots of typos but you get what I mean!
Reading all these posts is making me want yogi e up my pt job, which I never thought I'd say!
good luck - i hope it all goes well. you'll love it, and so will your children.
there was a basic fault with feminism - it accepted the male as the norm. it did not take into account that women are fundamentally different from men. the norm has to take into account that women want children and want a range of flexible working patterns.
don't feel sad about your career. you did it. you are successful. what more do you need in the career line?
I have one week left, this week coming.
there are some lovely posts here. the relief of finally giving yourselves permission to put your families (and selves) first just jumps off the page. I applaud you and wish you luck.
Downfall I completely agree. Giving yourself permission.
Don't get me wrong, I worried for months after. I came from a poor background and my education really changed my life. I felt guilty leaving as I felt if let down my parents who worked their fingers to the bone to get us all through uni. I felt bad for not offering financial assistance to my hubby. I felt bad for not setting a good example to my kids. However, one day I woke up and realised that my parents were infinitely happier now I was less stressed. I love that I can pop in and see my mum and dad at 10am on a Thursday. That I have time to contest my dads parking ticket. That they finally have one non working child they can ring at 2pm with exciting news that lurpak butter is on offer in the supermarket.
My hubby is just delighted that the weight of the world has lifted from my shoulders. I can spend Sunday evening reading with the kids and laughing at reality tv instead of my usual black dog Sunday. I have more time for him and we are lucky to not miss the money.
As for my kids, well years ago I set up a youth group in a deprived area. I now spend time working with these amazing and inspiring young people. Trying to help with Cvs and jobs and UNi entrance. I volunteer with a phone helpline. All unpaid financially but it pays in other ways. My kids see me busy fulfilled and I always tell them what I am up to and how important it is to give back to communities. Most of all, just to see their faces when they come home and smell the aroma of freshly made fairy cakes; to catch their eye at 4pm when they swim a good lap during their lesson; to be able to sense when they've had a bad day and be able to take them aside for ten minutes for cuddles; when we have our weekly half hour of silliness. All these things are priceless. Really.
It is very hard though. My job was part of my identity and I felt a bit incomplete for a while. At the school gates I did make friends and like that I am a bit of an outsider as I don't get caught up in the politics. In school I am one of the patents who is finally able to help out out on school trips, help at coffee mornings, bake for the school fair, make costumes for the plays.
For myself, I have finally realised that my kids are growing up fast and I am so so lucky to be here to witness every moment. I have given myself permission to spend an hour trying out vinegar cleaning properties, to try a new recipe, to watch downton in the day. Sorry to go on but it changed my life massively.
I must also add that I don't agree entirely with posters who have said you might lose your independence or it may be detrimental to hand gaps in your cv. There are thousands of volunteering opps out there. I do it to keep mentally active and to give back. Also, a law degree is very useful and you can go back to law or use your degree to sidestep to another profession as having a law degree shows you have aptitude and intelligence. I could have asked my hubby to give up work to look after the kids but he loves his job, he earns more and to be honest I wanted the stay at home time for myself. After 14 years in this house I found time to get rid of sky movies/ sports which no one watched, I changed utility providers, sorted our bills, started meal planning, took on a veg patch. So in fact I am contributing financially by saving us all money.
The biggest reward is the change in my kids. They are more relaxed, happier, confident. Please keep us updated OP.
sameoldlovebunny - I hate to point this out but you have some odd views of feminism. No, it is not based on the "male as the norm", and no, it doesn't expect all women to work. Feminism's sole ideology is equal treatment of males and females, and for everyone to have choices. Be that the choice to work or the choice to stay at home - for men and women.
There are some lovely and v honest posts here.
I'm not looking to be a sahm (main breadwinner, so not really an option for me, although I do get a lot of satisfaction as well as stress from my job - and as I work from home, I don't face a lot of challenges that other working mums do, and have a fair bit of flexibility) -
But I do recognise a lot of what is being said here about feeling spread thin and being pulled in different directions....
And actually, it is just nice hearing from mums who sound HAPPY with what they have chosen. Someone upthread talked about being able to enjoy activities with their children, without clockwatching and worrying about racing onto the next task and thinking ahead to work etc all the time. Yes - i bought into the idea that as a 'high flier' I was supposed to thrive on a 'hectic' lifestyle, and love 'juggling'.
Well, I've worked out that I don't. If I did, I'd have joined a bloody circus! What I like is having time to enjoy what I do, and feel I've given myself a good chance of doing it well (both work and being a parent). I haven't got my own life mix sorted out yet, but it is very lovely hearing from mums who are happy with what they do.
Rainrain what a lovely post. It is lovely to hear from happy mums. After my first dc I was desperate to get back to work. At that point in my life it's what made happy at that time. Now I'm happier to stay home. I'm sure my needs will change again once my dc are older and hopefully the recession will be coming to an end and I will look for a rewarding position.
Could you not have taken a 3-6 month career break?
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