To feel like I'm 'skiving' as a SAHM/housewife?!

(30 Posts)
Rachtoteach Tue 18-Jun-13 12:16:16

Ok, many moons ago I worked as a lawyer. Quite enjoyed it, but could take it or leave it. Gave up working to have DS, who is now 8 and subsequently had DD1 (6) and DD2 (9 mnths).

I have done some part-time work from home (writing articles) over the past few years but it's getting harder to find the time to fit it in (I've never used childcare as I earn too little to make it worthwhile) and now DD2 is on the move and sleeping less in day, I'm finding it near impossible to fit work in. Regular discussions with very supportive DH who basically says do whatever makes you happy, no pressure to work (there are always things we can cut back on to manage financially) and we don't live an expensive lifestyle.

So, my question is, I'm considering eliminating the self-imposed pressure I feel to get x number of articles done a day/week and 'officially' become a full-time housewife.... or am I supposed to say SAHM? So as much as the idea excites me (I love the idea of having the time to present an orderly house etc!) why do I feel like I would be shirking/skiving if not working a proper job? And would people look down on me for being a SaHM? Would DH end up losing respect for me for not having a job/career?

Words of wisdom please!!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 18-Jun-13 12:21:33

Blimey, you are brave. The SAHM, WOTH thing nearly always causes a bun fight on here!

However, what does it matter what others think? Surely the most important thing is what matters to you. What do you see yourself doing long-term? Will you feel fulfilled when your youngest is at school? Do you want to take a break - or leave the working world forever?

I know it is a really grim - but have you thought what you would do if for some reason your DH was no longer with you? Also, do you have a pension pot?

Think about some of the more practical matters, rather than who might be judging you! (Well that is what I'd do, if I were lucky enough to have a choice grin).

Irishchic Tue 18-Jun-13 12:25:38

I am also a SAHM who gave up work as a lawyer 6 years ago when I became pregnant with dc4. I now have 5dc. I am very happy doing what I do, but i cannot suppress the nagging inner voice which tells me I am wasting my education and training, not to mention having to field questions from people about just what do you do all day, and people who cannot understand why i gave up what would be considered a well paid job to stay at home with kids.

As far as dh goes, he supported me at the time, but from time to time now mutters how it would be great if i had a job, bringing in extra cash etc, this makes me a bit irritable as there are very few jobs out there and not many employers can accomodate the kind of working hours i would need to make it work.

Its bloody impossible really. But I still prefer to do what I am doing than go out to get a job just to live up to others expectations.

We dont live a lacish lifestyle either, and even though dh pretends he wants me to work, in reality he knows that if i worked, his life would become a lot less comfortable in that he would have to step up and take on his fair share of domestic stuff, he wouldnt get to play as much golf either!

Dont beat yourself up. To all intents and purposes your are SAHM anyway. When your youngest is in school you can always go back to the writing, it is much easier once there are no toddlers in the house, my youngest is 5 now so i speak from experience!

Rachtoteach Tue 18-Jun-13 12:26:16

Thanks Post, I suppose what Im hoping to get out of this most of all is help with my decision as I'm being, well, indecisive and I'm blinking fed up of going around in circles!

Long term, when all the children are at school I would like to bring some money in, I have written a lot of non-fiction stuff over the last few years and would like to have a go at some non-fiction, but maybe I'm just dreaming thinking that I could make money from it....

Maybe a five year plan is what I need!

Rachtoteach Tue 18-Jun-13 12:29:28

Thanks Irish, glad to hear you know where I'm coming from. I also get comments implying I am wasting my legal quals but I do feel the time to thrive as a lawyer is when you have no (young) kids, purely because its such an un-family friendly job (or maybe others are just much better at multi-tasking than me)!

I am a WOHM and one of the main reasons why I do this is that I wouldn't enjoy being a SAHM. I certainly don't look down on SAHMs, it looks like hard, never-ending work to me. I suppose I might begin to judge if your children were at school and you literally sat on your arse all day instead of doing at least a little bit of something productive, but I know that I would be tempted to lounge around.

The practical suggestions from PostBellumBugsy are really good.

If you would like to use your professional skills (albeit tangentially) then you might consider becoming a school governor.

Irishchic Tue 18-Jun-13 12:39:18

Yes Rach I found it to be very unfamily friendly. However, i can understand that from an employers point of view, maternity leave, working part time etc is a bit of a PITA for clients who want continuity from their legal reps, and even though i know its very unfair, its the lawyers who can put in the mad hours, (usually men, or young women ) who get ahead in the firm.

I feel lucky that I dont have to work.Even if i did, i am not sure that i could have stayed in Law, as with 5cd i have to be in so many places during the day with all the extra curric stuff never mind the school runs that it wouldnt pay me to work as I would have to employ someone to do all of this.

Not to mention what happens when they get sick and cant go to school? For about 5 weeks over Jan and Feb there was on any given day at least one of them off school with all the bugs that were going around at that time. If I'd have to take time off work to deal with that i am pretty sure i'd have gotten the sack by the time i got back!

stopgap Tue 18-Jun-13 12:39:44

I have a friend who's an ex-laywer, and two who are ex-bankers. Honestly, I don't think either profession is conducive to having children, unless you're willing to put in twelve-hour days, plus umpteen amounts of Blackberry time and weekend conference calls, have a live-in nanny and never see your children. It's a shame that job-sharing, for example, is all but laughed at as a good alternative for working mothers in such professions.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 12:40:06

Working as a lawyer is so hard and intense that a lot of people (not just women) end up leaving the profession, so I wouldn't feel guilty about that. IMHO you have proved yourself already. Different if you need the money or find work more satisfying than staying at home. There is so much work out there for ex-solicitors who no longer have a practising certificate which pays peanuts. Is it worth doing? I have friends who have gone into the public sector and although its low stress, they are on relatively low salaries considering their PQE.

MarianForrester Tue 18-Jun-13 12:41:38

Would it be possible for your DH to reduce/rejig his working hours for a while to give you official writing time?

It would be easier to do if you had that, I think. No need o feel guilty about being SAHM at all, but I reckon if you are or rued about it now it will only get worse, and your current ability to do these articles does sound pretty ideal.

I too was a lawyer, now work (very) part time and DH did as I've suggested for a couple of years, if that, to enable me to keep my job. He quite enjoyed it too, and was a great insight into what hard work it is being at home all the time grin

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 12:43:56

why do I feel like I would be shirking/skiving if not working a proper job? Only you can answer that.

And would people look down on me for being a SaHM? Why do you care? People will always find something to look down their noses at.

Would DH end up losing respect for me for not having a job/career? Again, only you (or he) can answer that.

MerryOnMerlot Tue 18-Jun-13 12:45:45

I'm a full-time housewife (HATE the term SAHM). It can be excrutiatingly boring at times, without a doubt. I also have the feelings of not making use of my degree/previous experience etc so I know exactly where you're coming from.

A few years ago I worked part-time for my DH's business overseas. Although the office hours were part-time, there was always pressure to do more work at home. When DS was diagnosed with cancer and we moved back here (except for DH as his business is still going but we obviously don't see him much now) and I just couldn't stop the tape recorder in my head playing the number of times I said "mummy's busy - maybe later" type stuff to the kids. I vowed never to let work come first ever again as time is so precious.

DS is at secondary school now and DD has 2 more years at primary. I just really want to be there for them after school, either just at home or doing the pick up from sports field/take to dancing etc, which will only get worse when DD goes to secondary.

The way I look at it is that taking care of DC's in this way is absolutely the most important job I will ever do. Bar none. I am considering doing some sort of part-time work in the future, but absolutely on my terms as I never want to feel again the way I felt before.

Absolutely go for what you and your DH feel is right for you and your family. Half of everyone else will approve, the other half won't so don't waste any time dwelling on that.

Sorry for long post - got a bit carried away! blush

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 18-Jun-13 12:47:46

Provided it is financially viable, which it sounds like it is, then do what makes you happy.

I'm a SAHM and I love it. I have two DCs, the eldest is in reception and the youngest is two.
DH works very long hours and me being at home means that we get maximum relaxation time as a family in the evenings and at the weekends.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 18-Jun-13 12:48:44

I think you feel like this because we live in a society which doesn't attach value to anything unless it directly generates money. It's hard to actively choose something that other people feel is a waste of time/education because we are all affected by the viewpoint of wider society.

I am a sahm and am really torn as to whether it was the best choice to make - I used to be a teacher but have been out for so long that I am probably unemployable now. I worry about my financial security, pension and the fact that I am not generating income form my qualifications. I feel vulnerable.

That said, I am happy to have been able to look after my own dc full time and now ds1 is doing GCSEs, I am enjoying the fact that my education is coming in handy for teaching him.

All you can do is weigh up pros and cons and think about the long term as well as now. Given my time again, I think I would keep my hand in at work. It's nice to have options.

pianodoodle Tue 18-Jun-13 12:56:07

I currently stay at home during the day with my 23months old, and am 12 weeks pregnant so will be staying at home for a while yet.

I teach music in the evenings travelling out to students and compared to some day times it feels like a break smile

I was in the position where I wanted to stay at home while they were little anyway, but also no other option would have worked for us financially so there isn't the guilt that way in that we'd be worse off paying for childcare.

Whether or not you feel you are "shirking" anything depends on your own expectations of yourself, but I'm sure you're not!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 18-Jun-13 12:58:45

Rachtoteach - another thing to consider is your brain! Will you be intellectually bored?

For some women, they cannot get enough mental stimulation from being at home. It is always hard to say this so it doesn't sound like a dig at those who do & that is not what I am implying at all. At the end of the day, not everyone can be lawyers, brain surgeons, human rights activists etc (me most definitely included).

You have clearly been intellectually stimulated in the past & probably enjoyed it - don't forget you may want to get some of that again at some point.

Pusspuss1 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:59:08

Another skiving lawyer here. I'd really encourage you to persevere with writing a few articles if you can, just to keep your hand in and to give you something to put on your cv.

As you know, people's perceptions don't really matter - this is a risk management issue. Life can throw some curveballs, and if for any reason something happened to your DH, you'd need to be able to earn a living. You'd stand a much better chance of finding work if you'd stayed involved and up to date, and had contacts who know you, than if you'd taken, say, the next 4 years off completely.

I think having interests outside the family is probably good or your marriage, too - it's nice to be able to talk to your DH about adult things, and I'm sure it helps generate mutual respect.

God knows, from what I've seen, working in private practice when you have small children involves huge sacrifices all round. However, you're lucky enough to have found a way to keep your hand in and generate some income from home. In many ways, you're in an enviable position compared to most female lawyers with small children.

There's a good book about this issue called "the Feminine Mistake", which you might find interesting. It's full of stern warnings that 'a man is not a financial plan' etc - in fact, it's enough to scare me back to the office just thinking about it! smile

SmilingHappyBeaver Tue 18-Jun-13 13:11:18

Don't forget that it's because you are educated and intelligent, that makes you so valuable at home. You are not wasting your education and qualifications by staying at home, you are making a massive contribution to your family.

I am in a very similar situation to you (although i'm not a lawyer), but have effectively given up my career (which I hated!) to bring up my 3 DC's, similar ages to yours. Now we're considering having a 4th, as i'd love a big family, but i can't rationalise in my head why i am prepared to commit to being a SAHM and lose the financial independence of working, even part time. Equally, I am not prepared to do a dead end, poorly paid job just to fit around the DC's, as to me, that really would be a waste of my education, so I'd rather spend the time at home. I do voluntary work to ensure i get time away from the DC's/OH, to do something completely different.

BUT, make sure you are protected financially, private pension in place etc etc.

ParadiseChick Tue 18-Jun-13 13:17:16

I work full time and am on day two of a week's annual leave and already bored. House is immaculate, I mean seally it doesn't take that long does it? Shopping done, dinners planned, toddler group attended (what a dirge that was) and just finished lunch, little asleep, big at school. So what to do now? Give me work any day!

fedupofnamechanging Tue 18-Jun-13 13:44:37

Paradise, you could read, uninterrupted or do anything you like.

I honestly don't understand how work, where somebody else sets your agenda, is less boring than having the time to think about what you really want to do and have the luxury of time to do it.

I do get that for some people they genuinely love their jobs and doing well in whatever your job happens to be is satisfying, but even so, the primary reason people work is for money/security rather than fun.

racmun Tue 18-Jun-13 14:06:06

I'm an ex lawyer now skiving at home. Lawyers tend to have particular personality traits so even if you do become a full time SAHM you won't be a dosser. I set myself self imposed targets re my ds and the house and stuff and still get stressed if I haven't achieved everything I wanted to.

My DH is very supportive too and says that I should do what makes me happy at the moment being a SAHM makes me happy.

I found being a solicitor incredibly stressful and I'm not sure I would cope doing it part time and trying to be a mum even if the children are at school all day - it's not the sort of job I found I could easily walk away from at the end of the day.

Sod what other people think you've still got your qualifications and training and they can come in handy for a wide range of different things. How about being a govenor at your Dc's school?

As long as you stay on the roll you are still a solicitor...

whats4teamum Tue 18-Jun-13 14:18:23

Don't you have any hobbies or interests paradise? It's a bit sad that the only thing in your life that is interesting is work.

rollmeover Tue 18-Jun-13 14:22:48

I too am a lawyer who is currently a SAHM. My Dh job and mine both full time would not be compatible with having children so we made the decision that I would stay home for the early years and we would then reassess.

I do find it boring sometimes, but then there were things I found boring when I worked (procedural courts anyone?!) I try to find my intellecutal stimulation elsewhere - reading non fiction books, that I just wouldnt have had head space for whilst working, taking on committe roles at the kids groups, a bit of charity work (though not too much time for that whilst the kids are so young) I also see running the home as a job to be taken seriously - planning, budgeting, arranging social lives and holidays etc.

Instead of dropping the non fiction writings with "targets" could you have a longer term plan and just jot things down as and when you have time so when the kids are in school your ideas are ready formed.

I still have a wee man on my shoulder asking me if I am fullfilling my potential but I think whatever you do as a woman you are going to question.

Thats why I would never judge any woman for any decision she make re children and childcare, as it has to be what works for every individual family.

Noideairrington Tue 18-Jun-13 14:40:40

I'm also a SAHM but hate that term as we are in fact almost never at home! But anyway OP, I'm in a similar position to you, left a well paid career to look after DD, have a supportive DH who was happy for me to make whatever decision I felt best for our family.

As others have said, you have to stop caring what others think of you and just go with your but feeling on what is best for you and your family - unfortunately it seems these days many people have a 'for' or 'against' attitude to being a working parent or not. Frankly it doesn't matter a jot to your kids as long as they are loved and cared for and you're happy, they will thrive whatever you choose.

If you do choose the SAHM route then I would say you must totally throw yourself into it and almost treat it like a job so that you keep busy, have a schedule each week of what you're doing, who you're seeing etc and remember to plan in a few all important nights out for you!

I did find adjusting to the change of being a SAHM tough at first but soon realised that was more to do with worrying about what others might think - as soon as I really decided to make it work I started to enjoy it and have made great new friends too and now would not change it. I make sure DD and I are always out and about and having fun experiences together. This time with her is priceless and i feel very lucky to be able to do it. There will be days when you find it tough but you sound like the sort of person who will be able to tackle that and accept that you will have good and bad days - just as working parents do to.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

amicissimma Tue 18-Jun-13 14:51:14

I'm a long-term SAHM. I love it. Work was fine, but in no way better than being at home.

I haven't known a moment's boredom since I've been at home, which I can't say about when I was working. I prefer to set my own timetable and skip, as far as possible, those activities which I don't enjoy. Sometimes I rush from one thing to the next, other times I can take it slowly, enjoy the. scenery, smell the coffee, just be .

I do a variety of activities out of the house, but take plenty of time to do what I enjoy at home, too. I've met all sorts of fascinating people, with a variety of backgrounds, many of whom have become good friends. At work I only met people in my and related fields - much narrower.

I wonder what will happen to people who rely on work for their identity and entertainment when they retire.

I don't define myself in terms of a job or value myself in financial terms; much less do I have to accept someone else's financial valuation of me. I rely for my income on someone whose number one interests are the same as mine, ie our family, our home, our marriage, rather than someone whose first priority is his business. We have insurance against DH being unfit to work or dying, and I get part of his pension if he dies or we divorce - it's in black and white. Plus my pension from when I worked.

Skiving? I think not. Living life to the full? For sure.

amicissimma Tue 18-Jun-13 14:55:05

Just noticed I didn't mention the DCs!

I'm really grateful that I've been able to enjoy their company so much; often just on a low-key, always-there level, as well as out and and about doing stuff with them.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 18-Jun-13 15:01:04

I'm almost a sahm, do a few hours work a week.
I've worked Fulltime with kids and hated it.
My life wasn't my own, the kids were always on the back burner. I really really wanted to be a sahm, we could afford it, so I did. Spent several years being a sahm and sometimes thinking I really really missed work. Then returned to work a few years ago and realised I didn't miss work, just the idea of work. Grass is Greener syndrome.
Be happy, put into a pension, make sure money is split fairly and equally etc.

I agree very much with what pusspuss said. It would be a much different decision if it were as simple as stopping work now and picking up automatically a few years down the line, but realistically taking that time off means it will be so much harder to get back into work later. That's a risk taken not just for you, but for your whole family if something were to happen to your DH's ability to work.

So if you think you would like to work again at any point, I think it's a good idea to keep a hand in with the articles, even if just a minimal amount.

I do like your idea of writing books someday (I'm working on a book proposal myself smile) -- the e-readers make it easier to get 'published' but there is not a lot of money in it, though it sounds like that might be okay for you guys.

ParadiseChick Tue 18-Jun-13 15:04:03

Plenty of interests thanks for the concern. grin

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