AIBU to decide to be a sahm

(58 Posts)
NCFail Sat 05-Oct-13 22:21:59

Single parent with no support from exP or family.

Have a child with autism who has struggled in mainstream & now in a specialist unit. Still struggles with school.

Have decided to be a sahm... Have worked, part time for since child was born, now 9yr.

Lots of reasons like constant exhaustion, no respite ever, have made myself unwell in the past through constantly being on the go and have the transition to secondary to get through.

Financially I am very slightly worse off but have made changes to negate this.

I just feel terribly guilty and a little less of a person. I am planning to finish some studies / do some volunteer roles whilst off...

AIBU to be a sahm or should I just get a grip, man up and go back to work?

HeySoulSister Sat 05-Oct-13 22:22:59

Er,how are you financing it?

ICameOnTheJitney Sat 05-Oct-13 22:23:35

It sounds less like you want to be a SAHM and more like you're reaching the end of your tether. Have you seen the GP?

WorraLiberty Sat 05-Oct-13 22:24:18

You have to do what you feel is best

And the expression you're looking for is 'woman up' wink

How long are you able to fund this for though?

NCFail Sat 05-Oct-13 22:24:24

Carers allowance (child gets dla) and ctc plus some of own savings

AgentZigzag Sat 05-Oct-13 22:25:51

If it's making you ill and you can sort the money, then it's not forever is it?

You can go back to work etc if things don't work out as planned?

HeySoulSister Sat 05-Oct-13 22:28:38

How can you live off that? Rent? Mortgage?

NCFail Sat 05-Oct-13 22:30:58

I have just been discharged from a psychologist who I saw for anxiety - I have never been medicated for it and I wasn't depressed... So no haven't seen a GP as I feel absolutely fine other than tired as I am up in the night with child a lot.

Planning to do this for about 2-3yrs.

I just feel a bit crap about it... as I could work but I struggle to commit to work as I am constantly needed at school / supporting child outside of school too.

Last working week I did I had 3 meetings around my working hours and 2 phone calls in work time...

Mumsyblouse Sat 05-Oct-13 22:31:04

It sounds like you already have a job anyway- as a carer for your child when he's not at school. If he's very difficult and you have little respite on weekends, evenings, after-school you may be doing a lot more childcare than other people- because you are not getting a rest during this time. You sound exhausted, you need to take this time to get yourself well, look into respite and I also think you should go to the GP or get help through your son's school/care- is there anyone you can talk to about how you are feeling.

I'm not sure you should quit work but I can see why you feel you can't go on, if you don't have your work, then perhaps you will feel even more desperate and closed in- I just don't know. I wouldn't worry about the morality of it, and feel guilty, as I say, you probably do more parenting in the evenings and weekends than I do, for example.

Mumsyblouse Sat 05-Oct-13 22:32:43

Well, if you need to be available in school hours for him, I think this is a no-brainer. Sorry- as I say, you have a job, you are a carer and it sounds exhausting. Do not feel guilty about having this job.

NCFail Sat 05-Oct-13 22:39:37


My mortgage is quite small... I have reduced outgoings to a minimum plus I intend to do some adhoc work (which carers allows you to do)

With no childcare costs I am about £40 a month down than when I was working...

Before I handed notice in I spoke to psychologist and he felt I wasn't depressed but had come to a realisation. Job was terrible but had worse jobs which I have done for longer wink

We don't qualify for respite, school are supportive (mostly) and I am part of a robust support network of parents - that side is all good (and may well lead to some paid work).

There is a distinct possibility that an exclusion may happen at some point in near future hmm So from that point of view I do need to be available in the day.

Shellywelly1973 Sat 05-Oct-13 22:39:45

I have a ds with asd&adhd. I also have a younger ds being assessed for asd.

I totally get where your coming from.

The only point I would make is without your job you could end up very isolated. I have ended up self employed as it was so difficult to work as my older ds didn't start full time school until he was 7.

I miss the social side of work...nothing else.

Do what you need to do for yourself & your ds

NCFail Sat 05-Oct-13 22:47:03


Absolutely! I am worried about that too... That's why I am helping out in parent support groups, etc...

Otherwise it becomes about you as a parent carer and nothing else... Though when I was working that was worse as I was working all the school hours then continuing at home and so never saw the friends who keep me sane...

I just feel like a lesser person - I was a professional in a former life and I feel like I have let myself down somehow. I suppose I am worried that I will be judged, hence posting here to gauge reactions.

Mumsyblouse Sat 05-Oct-13 22:50:47

NCFail I don't know if I am just feeling emotional tonight, but your posts are really touching. Why on earth would you think you are letting yourself down? I'm judging you, but as a very caring devoted mother who has just realised that sadly her job as a carer is going to have to take precedence over her working out of the home. You have absolutely not let yourself down, or your son. I'm sorry if carers are so devalued in society that you feel this way- who the heck else is going to go to all those meetings, stay up half the night? You want thanking, not judging.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sat 05-Oct-13 22:53:19

YANBU at all.

CHJR Sat 05-Oct-13 22:57:34

I hear you, OP, and also shelly. I too have a DC w ASD, and have been a SAHM for 9 years. I'm trying to go back now coz I'm dying of loneliness -- but one thing those of you without ASD in the family may not know is it spells goodbye to regular sleep - at least without work I can fit naps in at random moments. And I'm not even on my own, DH is still around (which various specialists have noted is rare once ASD rears its head). No advice here, just hugs.

NCFail Sat 05-Oct-13 23:01:48

Oh Mumsy please don't cry thanks

I think I judge myself most harshly because I have met some simply remarkable parents since my own child was diagnosed and it puts my own situation in perspective.

But yes you are right carers are undervalued... Hell it's taking me a lot of time to accept I AM a carer as I struggle to accept that what I do is 'caring'... Other parents say the same and I had a fab autism worker spell it out to me a week or so ago

Viviennemary Sat 05-Oct-13 23:02:11

It sounds like you have made this decision through force of circumstances. In your position I'd probably decide to do the same and go back to work at a later date.

NCFail Sat 05-Oct-13 23:11:08


Oh good luck with going back to work smile

You are right though - relationships are put under immense strain so you two have obviously done an immense job of holding it together so far

Thank you for all the lovely comments & support. Gives me hope that people won't just think I can't be bothered!

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Oct-13 23:29:45

I have two dc with autism and I am a SAHM. Haven't worked out of the home for 10 years now and I am not sure if I will be able to again. No choice really. I study with the OU and barely find time for that. Lone parent as well.

Brandnewbrighttomorrow Sat 05-Oct-13 23:32:27

Having witnessed my mum being a carer for my brother and then my dad throughout their lIves I can honestly say I don't think there is a harder job than being a carer.It's completely shaped the way I view my priorities - i'm a sahm for my three kids - I sometimes miss the shared buzz you get when a job goes well but not otherwise. I do have several voluntary roles now but didn't rush into taking them on - i waited until i felt i had the capacity to do it well, which i'd recommend. Please don't feel obliged to rush into making a commitment to take on more than you can realistically manage. You sound exhausted, be kind to yourself as well as your child.

NCFail Sun 06-Oct-13 12:52:11

I definitely feel less tired even in the short time I have been off even though the amount of sleep I have had is unchanged smile Capacity is a good word smile

Thank you for the support

Claim IS too. You may get help with the mortgage interest after 13 weeks.

blueberryupsidedown Sun 06-Oct-13 13:03:53

Maybe you should try to find a job that you can do at home, part time, in your own time, and make just a little bit of extra money. I am childminding now and it suits us, and I make on average £300 a week from it so it makes a real difference to our budget. On my days off I am a Mid-day assistant at school and make £15.

I decided to be a sahm after second baby he had lots of issues as a toddler and has a speech disorder and mild learning disability, so it's not too bad for us but I do have to take him to various appointment, extra meetings with the school, speech therapy, ENT appointments, etc.

Give it time to see what you want in the longer run, but you sound like a very sensible and dedicated mum, but also very tired. You are def doing the right thing.

NCFail Sun 06-Oct-13 13:31:43


That's what I am going to do smile

Though not childminding wink

Tailtwister Sun 06-Oct-13 13:33:17

Why would you BU? If it's best for you and your family and you can afford it then why not?

Remember if you are claiming Carers Allowance there is an earnings threshold of approx £100 per week. If you claim CA/IS and are a lone parent you will only have to darken the JC doorstep once every 6 months for the mandatory interview. When I did them it was more about ensuring Carers are claiming everything they are entitled to. So many mothers don't know about the increased CTC due if DLA awarded. One mum got a back payment of thousands. That was a good day grin

BlackholesAndRevelations Sun 06-Oct-13 13:47:00

No yanbu. Finance it however you can but carers are deserving of all the help they can get. flowers

Indeed they are.
Claim everything.

Retropear Sun 06-Oct-13 14:42:19

Regardless of being a carer if it benefits you family and you can afford it it's a no brainer.

comewinewithmoi Sun 06-Oct-13 15:42:57

Do it.

PiddlingWeather Sun 06-Oct-13 15:48:08

YANBU at all.

jellybeans Sun 06-Oct-13 17:09:44

YANBU, I would SAH.

CoffeeTea103 Sun 06-Oct-13 17:49:07

Yanbu, sounds like you have done an amazing job so far. It seems like you have thought this through properly and have a plan going about it. Your child needs you and you need to do what's best for both of you. Don't compare yourself to the next persons situation, they may have it better than you think.

Take the time to gather yourself, be there for your child and you will be fine. Good luck.

SunshineMMum Sun 06-Oct-13 18:16:26

YANBU I have a child with ASD. I have dipped in and out of voluntary work as and when DS is stable, but specialist childcare in the holidays would be difficult, I am lucky that DH also works part time and we can hand over on the times things get tough. You must be shattered flowers

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 19:36:03

I have just been discharged from a psychologist who I saw for anxiety - I have never been medicated for it and I wasn't depressed... So no haven't seen a GP as I feel absolutely fine other than tired

On the basis that you aren't suffering from a recognised psychiatric illness under DSM IV, then YABU, as most people get tired from working and having children.

But it is mumsnet, there are a higher proportion of SAHMs than in real life, and the system in this country does permit it, so it certainly is possible. You have to decide whether financially contributing more to your DC and setting an example of a working parent is worth less than being a full time mum. Or whether the possibility of an exclusion from school warrants giving up work.

kinkyfuckery Sun 06-Oct-13 19:42:13

You are a carer for your child, you should be at home if you feel it's what is best for you and your child.

Have you looked into Income Support? You might be entitled to claim it alongside Carer's Allowance.

LordElpuss Sun 06-Oct-13 19:59:31

Whilst LessMissAbs is entitled to her opinion - just ignore everything she says grin

Take time out to care for your DS and yourself.

puntasticusername Sun 06-Oct-13 20:36:04

YANBU at all. It sounds as if in the situation you're in, deciding to be a SAHM is a more than sensible option. If you think it's the best thing for you and your DC, do it.

As we can see just a little further up the thread there, your decision may not meet with everyone else's unqualified approval, but sod them. It's your life. And whatever you do, someone somewhere will be happily hoicking the judgy pants, you never get away from that.

You have a lot of years ahead of you when you might find it easier to work outside the home than you do now, if you still want to - nothing at all wrong with prioritising home life for now. Mothering is the most important job you will ever do and no one else can do it in your stead. I don't know of any other jobs for which you can say the same.

NCFail Sun 06-Oct-13 20:46:31


Kind of where I am actually - I should get a grip because everyone gets tired looking after kids.

You are absolutely right but I don't know how to continue to deal with going from a meeting / child being herded into school / manhandling him to school myself to packing it away to go to work and concentrate whilst constantly waiting for a phone call...

I am not mentally ill no and I want to keep it that way.

Of course I might never become unwell but if I do there is no one on the world to look after my child.

I don't know if I am right - my child calls me a 'quitter' for not working so believe me I am acutely aware of the impression I am giving - the last 9yrs of working and studying have made no impact what so ever hmm

Am I unreasonable to not work? I fear I am - that's why I asked. I will try to give as much back as I can and support myself as much as I can but the reality is that people will judges decision as harshly as I judge it myself if I decide not to work.

puntasticusername Sun 06-Oct-13 21:09:01

FFS. You're a single mum to a child with special needs who needs particular support atm from the sound of it, and you get no help from your child's father or anyone else whatsoever? That's an unusually demanding parenting situation to say the least. It really is not "just" getting tired "like everyone who has kids gets tired". I know I already said FFS but you know what, I'm gonna go ahead and say it again ;)

puntasticusername Sun 06-Oct-13 21:16:51

It sounds as if your son's voice is fairly powerful here. If he's calling you "a quitter" then obviously that's going to have a lot of effect on how you are thinking about the situation yourself. Under the circumstances, I guess it's understandable if he perhaps can't grasp what an effect his words are having on you but...yeah, I do think you need to find some way past that voice somehow :/

NCFail Sun 06-Oct-13 21:20:53

Lol problem is I don't have a 'usual' experience to base it on - so tired is tired to me and I don't know if its extraordinarily tiring or normal amount of tiring wink

NCFail Sun 06-Oct-13 21:23:50

Sorry I used him didn't I - her not him but yes I try and model best behaviour at all times so yep it's getting to me hmm

Growlithe Sun 06-Oct-13 21:32:54

Your son can't know what stress you are under, because you have been a great parent and not shown him - so don't worry if he judges you a quitter just now.

It sounds like you are reaching the end of your tether. Although you are not mentally ill just now it seems from reading this that you could be getting there, and you are putting extra pressure on yourself by feeling like a failure for taking this step.

Imagine if you continued as is though, and you did actually become mentally ill. Where would that leave your family, and your job?

It sounds like stopping work is the thing to do now, because it is the part of your life that can give in order to get you back on track. Best of luck.

bababababoom Mon 07-Oct-13 10:32:56

YANBU. Not at all.

bababababoom Mon 07-Oct-13 10:36:15

I am a SAHM, one of my children has issues similar to yours. If I worked I don't feel I could do either job properly.

We struggle financially - really struggle. But TBH, I have 3 children, and I don't think what I could earn would even cover childcare costs, even if I chose to send them to school (we home ed), I would still need before and after school acre which would be too much for my asd child anyway.

WilsonFrickett Mon 07-Oct-13 10:40:49

YANBU at all. You are caring for a child with additional needs, it is physically and mentally exhausting.

LesMis, with respect, with all the other things parents have to 'model' for children with autism - like, you know, social skills, how to hold a conversation, what to do in the shops, how to dress and self-care (apols OP I am projecting a little but if your DS is in SS then his autism must be pretty severe) I think role-modelling working is pretty far down the list. FFS.

OP - I would second pp's about not becoming too isolated though. Maybe some study - OU is fab - or voluntary work, just something to make sure being a carer isn't all you are.

I too gave up work when DS was diagnosed, his needs are very mild though so I'm now a successful freelancer, once the dust settles a bit it may be worth looking in to something like that.

laughingeyes2013 Mon 07-Oct-13 10:41:50

Even without your carer status you would not be unreasonable to want to be a stay at home Mum.

Society has mothers down as being lazy if they don't add an outside job in to the mix, but being a parent is the hardest job in the world and so many people (in my experience from working 20+ years, and in our one household too) describe working outside the home as easier than working inside the home with young children; "going to work for a rest"!

I would, in that vein of thought, caution you to find a way to get a break if you do decide to stay at home, and equally importantly keep your social life going. Your distraction, relaxation and support networks will be vital for your own wellbeing.

laughingeyes2013 Mon 07-Oct-13 10:51:45

I also acknowledge that in your case going to work is not a rest because of the extra burden of hard work you carry with your son. So for you, work isn't a rest, it's an additional stress.

I didn't want you to think I was saying your life will be easier at work, simply that its not always the easy option to stay at home. Both sides have their pluses and minuses.

Bottom line is - you're doing a fantastic job raising your son alone and you HAVE to make life as easy for yourself as you can. Cut yourself some slack! People will always have an opinion, but no one has any right to judge anyone's decision to either work or stay at home.

Do what you need to do with peace and confidence in your ability to assess your situation and change your mind again in the future if it seems right to you to do so.

NCFail Mon 07-Oct-13 23:57:59

Thank you so much to everyone for your honesty (yes even LessMissAbs smile)

What I am hearing overwhelmingly is that I need to stop judging myself so harshly and concentrate on caring for us both first & foremost smile

Thank you for sharing your own experiences and for the empathy you have all shown. I did expect so many people to get what I do every day.

I hear your words of caution - actually looking into finishing my masters in due course smile

Today I walked & bathed the dog, saw friends, did the shopping & hoovered... after yesterday's 4hr tantrum / meltdown it was a perfect 'reset' of physical & mental energy grin As a result we had a positive evening grin

The decision right for where we are now grin

everydayaschoolday Tue 08-Oct-13 00:16:40

I haven't read all the thread. But I agree with posters saying being a carer is a job in itself. You do need to be well rested and healthy (physically and mentally) to look after yourself and others. So don't feel guilty about doing what feels right for you, because your ds will also benefit. All I'd say, make sure you're confident on your finance calculations to be able to get by. I'm about to do this - walk out of a well-paid profession and register as a carer for dd.

Shellywelly1973 Tue 08-Oct-13 00:39:21

Isn't it sad Op thst you even had to ask the question...

I have a legal background- I should be earning 3 times what I do now. I constantly get asked when will I be getting a 'proper' job.

I found a playscheme for ds in the last holidays. Its £350 per week- 25 hours of care. 10-3. He doesn't get a personal budget for social care so I would have to fund the playscheme. How many people could afford to pay £14 per hour care for just one child? I have 3 dc& expecting another in January. The youngest dc is 5, he has no diagnosis but possibly has asd too.

Dp needs surgery in the next few months. Im nearly 6 month pregnant. I will take 2 weeks off when I have the baby. We quite simply will lose our home if I stop working.

So I work from home. I work all day & when they go to bed. I get so exhausted I feel sick. Dp works shifts. My mil died 3 weeks ago so now we've no one to help.

If I could get out of my situation I would. You do whst you need to do for you & your ds.

Take care.

NCFail Tue 08-Oct-13 00:44:43


I wish you had a way out too hmm Sounds horrific - so sorry for your loss.
Please take just 10 minutes out of every day to stop and relax... That might sound like nothing but I bet you are not getting it...

Please take care of yourself - I hope things ease a little soon xxx

DameDeepRedBetty Tue 08-Oct-13 01:04:50

Hi NCFail

I employ people for about an hour and a half a day, to walk other people's dogs. I appreciate this may not work for you, and quite clearly it's not commensurate with your original professional skill base, but it might be the sort of thing that keeps you sane and slightly more solvent?

I've already got something similar going with one of my own dsis's who has an adorable but difficult ASD son, whose issues are making her choices limited.

DameDeepRedBetty Tue 08-Oct-13 01:05:44

And Shelley mahoosive hugs xxx

BlackholesAndRevelations Tue 08-Oct-13 15:02:34

NCFail- I'm really pleasedfor you. Maybe one day your son will appreciate what you are doing for him. Maybe he won't. Either way, you will know that you're doing exactly the right thing by him. The fact that you had a positive evening speaks volumes. Take care flowers

Shelley- hope you can find yourself a similar solution some time in the future. flowers

FauxFox Tue 08-Oct-13 15:34:12

YAtotallyNBU my DS has ASD and i feel so lucky DH can earn enough that I can be there for DS (and DD of course). I work from home freelance but if i'm honest it is pocket money for extras not vital income and I dip in and out around what the DCs need. If I were a single parent I would make the same choice as you.

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