AIBU to ask if SAHP's are happy with their life?(225 Posts)
Firstly - no offence is meant by my title and I am in no way a person who judges either SAHP's or Working Parents. I'm just trying to gauge a sense of how SAHPs feel about their role.
My title was originally going to be, "AIBU to ask if SAHP's are happy with their choice?" but part of my post is asking if the SAHP had to make that choice because it was the only option that made financial sense as opposed to them actually wanting to be a SAHP?
What kind of careers did you give up and do you miss work? Do you feel like you have lost part of your identity or do you feel that being a SAHP is what your purpose always was?
I'm expecting my first baby and I spend some time every now and then thinking about 'Return to Work' options but I can't foresee me being a SAHP. I have a job that I love and a career I wouldn't want to sacrifice. Even if it made more financial sense to give up work I don't think I would. Are there any working parents out there who work despite it not making financial sense because they still need that aspect of their life?
I took a five year career break when my children were small.
It was the right thing to do at the time, although it effectively meant the end of my career in an interesting, well paid job
Once the children were older I returned to work in a different less demanding role, part time for a few years and later full time.
I think what is right for you changes at different periods in your life. I found it exhausting and stressful when I worked full time and had a baby and a toddler and being a SAHM then was the right thing for me.
I am sahm and used to be a regional manager for a medium sized company (400 employees) i managed a team of 14 people and travelled a lot, i loved my job 90% of the time but knew it would be difficult to do part time and impossible full time with all the travel etc.
I am really pleased not to be trying to 'do it all' and really love spending loads of time with ds. I am fortunate that my mum spends a day a week with us so i can pop ti dentist or hairdresser in peace.
I have a professional qualification which would allow me to go back to work when ds is at school.
I know we made financial choices like smaller house only one car etc but pleased we did.
I made the decision not to work after my first mainly because the industry I worked in demanded long hours, often attending events in the evenings and weekends as well as international travel. I loved my career but I couldn't foresee how it could be compatible with a young child long term especially as Dp also works 12-14 hour days not including a commute. We could have had a full time nanny, after the costs of commuting and other related expenses as well as the stress of having both of us working in demanding roles something had to give.
Do I enjoy being a Sahm? Not always. At some point in the next 3 yrs I hope to return to work, in the same industry but probably working for myself so as I can have more flexibility.
I became a SAHP because I wanted to. DH and I had saved and planned our lives in order to ensure that we could survive on one salary. I gave up a well paid management position in a bank after 18 years service.
We were lucky our plans worked out well though. Lucky that we bought out house before the property boom, lucky that we had invested our savings in banking shares that performed well and lucky we sold them to clear a chunk of out mortgage 3 months before the economy collapsed!
It also took us 10 years to get our family so we had 9 years more time to save than we originally thought we'd have.
So I'm very happy. I'm now 7 years into my life as a SAHP but if I was starting on my parenting journey now I would not give up my job. There is just too much uncertainty around now as far as the economy and the job market is concerned.
Before I had DC I couldn't ever imagine being a SAHP and planned to return to work at the end of my maternity leave. My son was born with a disability and DH and I knew that he needed the intensive help of a parent to take him to therapy and work with him to develop. So I haven't returned to the workforce (yet!). I left a well paid professional job. I don't love SAHParenthood and I mostly wish I was the one going to work but DS needs me (or DH) right now.
And can I ask, again no offence meant, did anyone feel unhappy about being financially dependent on their partner? I can't bear the thought of giving up all my income and then everything in our life solely relying on him. I just don't like the thought of there being that uneven power in the relationship. It just makes me feel uneasy. I want to feel like I'm just as much of a 'provider' as he is.
I never thought I could be a SAHM. But when it came to it, i just couldn't put my DS in a nursery. Just couldn't.
Luckily I had a choice so I gave up my much loved career. There are days where I'm bored or fed up but then you get those in a job! I don't know when I'll get a job again or what it'll be.
I've never regretted it because it was in my DC's best interests, I believe.
The decision was made for me. I returned to work 20 hours a week after my second baby. I initially worked a lot of hours at home and when I stopped doing this as I was working every night I was pulled up on my performance. The company had it both ways - they got to pay me half my wage with me still doing my full time work. I was offered a compromise agreement and a settlement to leave immediately, and I did.
I can only find full time roles in my field and these have a long commute attached or I would work away Monday to Friday. My husband works long hours and my children would basically see neither of us Monday to Friday. That's not good enough for me.
I have been a SAHM for six months. It's bloody hard work. I get sad that I have basically left a career I spent 15 years building but then again I will never get this time with my kids again. I have a two year old at home with me who is thriving and a four year old in school who loves me picking him up every day.
I would love to work part time but it's not an option
The provider thing has never bothered me. We are equal partners in every way, money is nothing to do with it.
With regard to losing my identity. No I don't think I have . I used to be Angels the bank manager who can't have children , has no time for hobbies or to see friends but goes on lots of fabulous 5 star holidays.
Now I'm Angels the mum, who adopted two gorgeous children, who loves baking, goes running, loves music, sees friends often, does a college course and voluntary work and is never happier than when in a tent in the middle of a muddy field with the family.
Angels mark 2 is happier even if I do occasionally pine for a nice 5 star hotel.
I think the finance thing depends on the set up pre kids.
When we moved in together we didn't have "his" money and "mine" - we just had -- no-- money.
We talked about what we would buy eg can we afford/ do we want to get a new tv ?
Then the let's go shopping I need new boots as the old ones have now got a hole in them etc.
Xmas /birthdays we knew what each other wanted and bought it if we could afford to.
Then when kids came along and I stayed at home it just continued like ths (although dd getting new boots came before mine!)
If you are "providing" childcare then you are "providing" for the family as much as he is.
I loved being a Sahm with my babies/toddlers - miss those days
The financial independence has never been an issue. We always pooled our finances before I gave up work anyway so nothing changed other than the pool of money was less. We work as a team.
I had no job to go back to after DS1. I now have no career prospects and no individual identity. I do enjoy being at home with the DC. On good days.
I dont know if Im classed as SAHP as I work part time, I have always worked part time as I dont have a career or any qualifications, I ran a business from home so was at home all the time, now I work part time hours while dd is at school, I earn less than £100 per week and am at home a lot so I always class myself as SAHP, I know my friends who work full time career jobs consider me a SAHP, I like having my own bit of money, when I was completely unemployed I hated not having my own cash, so I wouldnt ever not have any job, but I know I could not work a full time job and then come home and do all the home stuff too, I like having my own timetable. Besdies I love all the fun stuff you get to do during the week especially when the weather is nice (sun or snow)which would have to wait for weekends if I worked full-time, although have to curtail that a bit now that shes started school (
YANBU I took a career break initially, but DS has autism, so I didn't go back. I loved the baby and toddler years and have enjoyed doing voluntary work and running a support group, which I can fit around his needs. Now he is a secondary school, I am edging towards going back into paid employment.
I jut worry that being a SAHP won't fulfil me.
Then I feel guilty for thinking it because surely our children should be our absolute everything?
My mum didn't work when me and sister were young and she had a very rough deal with our dad giving her 'housekeeping money' every month out of his salary and then he spent his money as he wanted. I know things are much different now but when I hear her talk about it, well, it just makes me cringe inside. My parents divorced when I was 5 and my sister was 6 and ever since then we have had it drummed into us that women should have their own independence, their own money and to NEVER be in a situation where they are financially dependent on a man. I guess it is hard to shale those words when it was like a mantra in our house as we grew up.
Ime many people who love their career and are very successful at it and plan to return to work totally change their minds and move heaven and earth to be sahp once their lo is born....an equal amount who believe they'd like to stay at home realise being with small children all day would drive them insane and scuttle back to work tout suite.
It's some thing you can guess at, but never totally be sure of before the event.
I was in a fairly decent career, but made redundant on maternity (with a nice package) because my company was going bust and now do something very pt and totally unrelated to my former career. It puts more pressure on dh to earn enough but he's happy with that and i have grown into the role of sahm over the years and now love it. i cant honestly say i did in the early days but at the same time i'd have hated to leave dd when she as very small. but that's a truly personal thing and i can see why people do choose to go back. (As well as realising that not everyone is lucky enough to have the choice.) I haven't worked for anyone else for nearly 10 years. I think I'd hate it now tbh. Am hoping my own business that's patchy now will take off when I have more time.
I gave up work when DC1 was about 2 because I felt I was cheating both parts of my live: worrying about the child at work and about work at home, not to mention the stress of all the time pressure and worry about what would happen if childcare failed and both DH and I had important work things to get to.
I've never gone back. I developed my SAHM life so that I was surrounded by other people, other parents at first, then I gradually branched out into volunteering and feel very involved with the local community. Thus the people I know are much more varied than those I met working, who were confined to one area.
Sometimes being a SAHM is boring; sometimes work is boring.
I feel my identity is more truely me, as a SAHM - rather than just the job label. I know who I am and what I like to do. I know that when retirement comes I will be able to keep myself mentally stimulated and interested.
I feel more secure depending financially on someone whose interests are the same as mine: the wellbeing of my family, ie my DH, than depending on a boss whose number one interest is the wellbeing of the company.
I was due to go back to a well paid job part time but couldn't leave my DS. Nothing prepared me for the all consuming love and instinct to want to be with my little one and be around in formative years. Didn't want to hand my baby over to a random person who would parent differently.
Being a parent is one of the best things ever! I'm almost a full time SAHM but I have a lot of clubs/groups/hobbies.
Does anyone think that if the household can exist on one salary then one parent should give up work? Like they should fulfil the responsibility to raise the child they chose to have?
Writer no absolutely not, we were fortunate, because of our circumstances and I think it should be down to personal choice and family needs.
I think the money thing depends on your attitude before kids. I was a DH teacher earning about 40k before I stopped and DH was a lawyer for an investment bank earning 4x what I earned but it has always been our money going into one big pot. I fully intended to return after 6mths especially as I was in the middle of a headship course. But DH needs to travel a lot with his job and teaching is less flexible than people think. There was also so much weekend work as a deputy tends to have all their class stuff + all their DH admin so family time would have been compromised.
So I didn't go back and although we were fortunate enough that I didn't need to financially, I still missed work dreadfully. I still do, 10yrs on! When our youngest goes to school I will return part time but I feel the 4 of them would miss out if I returned f/t especially as their father is often in the US for a week at a time.
Another point about the money is that DH always says that he wouldn't be able to do what he does and earn what he does if I wasn't at home dealing with all the day to day house and childcare stuff. So he always says the money is jointly earned anyway. I buy presents for him on my cc then pay them off separately so he doesn't see shops and amounts etc on the current account as it wouldn't be as special or a surprise otherwise.
He also, crucially, doesn't take me for granted or see me as the 'little wifey'. When he's home, he does housework and looks after the kids and he makes sure I get out with friends. It's the right thing for us at the moment at least.
I have always worked, my boys went to nursery at 6 months and I have resented and enjoyed being a working mum in equal measure looking back.
At the moment I am off work long term sick (have been off about 10 weeks so far and not due to go back until at least Feb) and I have had the opportunity to be a SAHM finally (although still being paid, so have not lost income). For now it is great, I can go to school things with my 8 yr old and my children don't go to childcare before and after school every day so they can get homework done/go out to play like their friends do but I am already getting bored (mentally and physically) and am missing having my own life and identity at work.
With hindsight, in an ideal world I would have probably liked to be a part time working/SAHM for the years up to end of primary (it wasn't possible in the job I do anyway so a pipe dream); the best case I could imagine would be doing my job which I loved and being able to do school runs etc.
I think with either option you are always giving something up and it is impossible to have it all (it's quite sad really when I think about it).
And to answer your question, no, absolutely not. The feminist movement is about women having a choice not feeling they have to either go to work or stay at home. Unfortunately, finances dictate that such a choice isn't available to all women.
Also, my DH didn't pressure me to sah, he told me it was entirely up to me. He will absolutely support me when I want to return even though he knows it may put limits on his own career.
I love being a SAHM, always wanted to be but didn't think we would be able to afford it. Our hand was forced when my work offered me very unfavourable terms to return - rejected my flexible working/part-time request.
Fortunately for us DH was able to get a different and much better paid job almost immediately which compensated for a lot of the drop in income. His career has gone from strength to strength and we now co-own our own business. I am an equal shareholder and so it really is our money.
The key to feeling happy as a SAHP is having the full support and respect of your partner. And, IME, having a cleaner so that you are a SAHP rather than general dogsbody and housekeeper.
I am a SAHM.
I ummmed and ahhhed about it for a long time before taking the decision. It wasn't arrived at lightly.
I returned to work full time when my eldest daughter was 3 months old and my paid maternity leave ran out. That was back in 1995, and even then we had to pay nearly £700 in nursery fees for her.
I suppose the decision was really made for me when my second daughter was born in 1998. It would have cost more than my salary every month to pay childcare for both of them, plus I didn't really feel comfortable with it any longer. Me staying at home removed the problem of what to do if childcare problems arose, if I was ill, if child became ill and had to be picked up in the day etc.
I never looked back, although financially it has been a struggle. The problem has come during the last few years as my youngest reached an age where I could again look for work. I have a long career gap to explain every time, and I also ended up looking for work in a recession. Still looking now, although things may finally be looking a little more hopeful.
Delighted with it. I did my best - joined a bank, it went under, joined another, it got merged = redundant, joined another and tried to build a career in fraud/legal, but the credit crunch came and the department shrank and moved on, and by then I'd spent 7 years hacking away at it all and I was still on just under £15k.
If I'd had an actual career I loved, I might feel differently. But I didn't. Right now I have a fairly tidy house, no arguments about cleaning/chores, no worries about childcare, no customers/clients calling me a whore (you work in finance, you hear this one a lot) and no boss breathing down my neck. Bliss.
It helps that my identity wasn't remotely connected to my job, so I've nothing to miss. I'm still the same person and have time to keep up the same interests.
I lost my job when I was pregnant. I would never of seen myself as a SAHM, but I love it.
No idea what I am going to do as a job next though
I went back to work part time after my two DDs were born. I had a good job, but I hated leaving them. Our childcare arrangements weren't really working out well, so after a few months I decided to become a SAHM, always with the intention of going back to work when they were older.
I loved it at the time, and it felt like the right decision. We were ok financially, not rich though! I was much happier, as I had been struggling with working and looking after the girls and running the house. DH was working long hours a long way from home, and although he helped when he was home, he wasn't home much. It wasn't his fault, but it had been hard for me too. I loved being a SAHM. I did lots of things with the girls, we did lots of reading and activities that I wouldn't have had time for if I had been at work. I helped out in school and at Brownies and got a post graduate qualification.
Now I want to go back to work and it is very hard. I have good qualifications and experience, and have studied recently, but it seems to be impossible to get a decent job. I am working from home at the moment, and the money is quite good, but I don't want to do what I am doing for ever. I don't want to go back to my old job. There have been changes in the company and everyone says it is awful working there now.
I naively thought that as my children got older, I would be able to find a reasonable job, but there is very little available where I live. Apart from the negative effect on my career I don't regret being a SAHM though.
I am currently a SAHM. I had a well paid and prestigious job. But it drained me. It was unpredictable long hours and I never seemed to have an energy for anything at the weekend except slumping on the sofa with a takeaway!
After DD1 I went back 4 days. It was ok, but not a real improvement. Rushing home to do bedtime then working in the evening.
If I had loved my job it would have been worth it. But I didn't, so it wasn't. I still hope to return to work in the near-ish future, just need to work out what I will do.
It sounds like your parents had a very disfunctional relationship as to finances (and probably other things given they divorced) OP. Don't let that colour your own choices. We put everything into a joint account and it is all 'our' money. Other than the fact that our finances are utterly intertwined, I am not 'dependent' on DH.
No, I don't think that there is any obligation on either parent to give up work if they can afford it. However, my personal pet hate as a set up is 'Mum does 3 days plus all children related jobs and housekeeping and Dad continues as normal'. That does not work if what the mother wants is a career and not just some time out of the house and a little extra income (which is obviously fine, but less common than gets pretended). I see far too many women breaking their necks in that set up and not daring to moan because they are 'lucky' to work 3 days.
I went part-time when I had DC and I don't think I would have coped well with being a full-time SAHP. I do not find the baby stage easy or fulfilling! By the time I had DC2 it meant I was working for my sanity rather than financial gain! I had a well paid job in IT but it wasn't exactly a vocation or anything.
Just as DC2 started at nursery I was made redundant and couldn't find another part-time job to fit around childcare so I stayed at home and loved it! I had some child free time and they were getting more interesting anyway.
They are both in Secondary now and I am working part-time again, and although I enjoy my job it's only for the money, I really liked being home full-time. (Fingers crossed for a lottery win tonight!)
I manage all the finances, DH pays the lion's share of his money into my account and I sort all the bills and expenses, he gets to keep pocket money and is quite happy with that. I am lumbered with the bulk of the financial decisions but it feels very much like our money because I am mainly in charge. Obviously I consult him on the big stuff but he's happy for me to get on with it.
I view being a SAHM (although I work evenings) as a temporary thing while the children are very little so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't feel like a huge sacrifice.
We were in the financial position of having no choice anyway but had we had the choice I'd have still opted to stay at home rather than have day care.
Whether you feel awkward about being more financially dependant or not probably depends on your relationship. I've never been made to feel awkward about it, I'm made to feel very valued and reminded what a great job I'm doing by DH.
I know some people do think in terms of money being the only way to feel you are providing but as long as we're happy with our set-up as a couple, outside opinions don't bother me as you do what suits your own circumstances.
I was possibly at my happiest as a SAHP, the freedom, ability to spend my time doing what I wanted rather than being a slave to my job, hours with my children in a non pressured way, time to catch up with friends, visit galleries, study and my home was run properly.
You can be in the middle ground - be self employed.
It's still hard work though working till 3 am but I feel it works perfectly and I have my own income and my own identity and still do all the things with my children.
I am struggling with this at the moment- since my DD1 was born 6 years ago I have done a bit of both. I went back to work 3 days a week when DD1 was 1. Then we relocated for DH's work when DD1 was 18 months and as I was pregnant with DD2 I didn't get another job so became a SAHM, which I loved at the time but always had a niggling doubt about whether it was the right thing long term. When DD2 was 15 months I found a job which was great for me career-wise, but it was long hours, commuting though only 3 days a week.
We have now relocated again, for a better lifelstyle and DH's job. And for now I am a SAHM again. DH's new job is so full on and such long hours I think the only option for now is for me to stay at home. Also no jobs in my industry round here anyway. DDs are 6 and 3. I am enjoying it for now, but I am already getting worried about what to do once DD2 starts school next year. The thought of dropping them off and spending 9-3 on my own every day kinda fills me with dread if I'm honest.
I would love to have 9-3pm free every day, I could do so much.
Then I feel guilty for thinking it because surely our children should be our absolute everything?
I do not think this- perhaps for a tiny baby you are everything but even then babies can be very adaptable.
I don't think even for SAHP it is advisable to make your children your absolute everything, the happier SAH parents I know keep their hand in with their old work, or love running a local playgroup, or are studying on the side. Making your children the point of fulfillment in your life is a heavy burden for them, and may not work for you.
To answer your question about working if finances allow one to stay at home- I would always prefer (and did) to have my children cared for by a SAHP say up to the age of three. That would be optimal for me. Me and my husband did one child each, while working part-time around the family. After that, I work for my own interest and sanity and because it's what I'm good at (not so good at homemaking, cooking and so on it turns out).
I agree with whoever said you can't always predict this stuff, plenty of women who wanted to be SAHM's find their dreams of being wondermum and staying home a rather cruel reality which isn't for them, similarly there are very career oriented people who find that the juggling just gets too much and decide to step back, perhaps temporarily, after having a baby.
Remember, this is a long-haul game, even if you are SaHM for a few years, you may return to work, and vice versa. Children don't have the same needs all the time, and one child is less time out of the workplace (if you do SAH) than three or four. Don't make critical decisions now unless you have to, keep your options and your thinking open.
My mother, likes yours, drilled into her daughters' minds that women should work and never depend on anyone. She regrets enormously not working.
Pre-children, I had an unrealistic view of what I could juggle. I never ever thought I would be a SAHM. I had a great job, earning well and with prospects. When ds1 was born, we found out at about 12 months that he was disabled, I happily left my career to make sure he received all the stimulation he needed, no other person would have put the love and effort that I would.
I had ds2 2 years later. What a pleasure looking after him. I couldn't have left him with a random stranger that had no particular interest in his welfare. Those years never come back, they are little for such a short time. I also fervently believe that little children need to feel secure and build a strong bond with a single carer.
I went back to work for a couple of years when ds1 started school. I was very hard. I had a great nanny but every time one of the boys got sick, or I had to go to the school, etc, I felt very guilty. I was so tired. Exhausted. Loved working, but wasn't functioning properly. I would only see them on average for 1.5hrs ever night, it was just to feed, read, sleep, no quality time.
After 2 years I went back to being a sham. The boys are 8 and 6 now and I actually enjoy it much more than when they were babies. We share a very special bond. I love being there for them whenever they need me, I love knowing exactly what they are eating, what they are feeling, what happened in their day and what is that very important question they have on the day (some amazing ones!!!). I love not having to wait for the holidays or weekends to take them to the library, swimming, cycling, or whatever.
OOps, sorry its so long. Very Important point is: DH has never made me feel like a lesser human, we are equal in this partnership. That is crucial.
I do hope to go back to work as some point.
I was a teaching assistant, I became a SAHM as childcare would have cost more than I earnt. I'm happy at home, I have friends who still work and I see their stress with juggling everything, worrying who will have the kids when they are ill etc- I have nothing like that. However, I can feel a little isolated at times and a bit like in just a Mum but I find this had got better now my oldest has started pre school and I've only got my daughter to care for in the afternoons. When she's asleep I get my me time which is great. When they start school, I hope to work part time.
Overall, I'm happy as a SAHM and don't resent it.
I never set out to be a SAHM and was f\t in potentially well paid secure job. But its different for many when you actually have the baby. I hated leaving DD all day (was fine when my parents had her temporary for a month but hated using nursery and it was a good one). I loved the job but not at expense of DD and I felt I was missing out. Maybe if she loved nursery would have tried longer. I quit when I had DD2 and have been SAHM for 14 years (5 children now).
I am very happy being a SAHM. All DC are in school now so I could go back to something but chose not to and to study instead with OU. It's just easier too having a parent at home, even my teens need someone around to keep them on the rails. DH works very odd shifts that change all the time so having me here is easier all round too.
I don't feel I have lost my ID but feel I have found myself and feel liberated from materialism. Not saying that everyone works for that, I have had times when I had to work for roof over head, but when I was working I kept thinking of the nicer house, holidays and cars etc. Nothing wrong with that but we are happy with what we have now. I am happy with the simple life and happy with my own company. I also feel very close to DC and look forward to them coming home etc having done stuff in the day. The days I am in uni for OU stuff or exams I am so stressed and I feel if I worked it would be like that
SAH is not for everyone though and there are risks involved but for me time with DC is my main priority while I have the chance to chose that, I know many can't.
I was so thoroughly fed up with my working life that I was ecstatic to be pregnant and be given a way out. I coldn't do my job with a small child and didn't want to spend all my wages on childcare and I actually looked forward to spending time with my child. My partner also liked the idea of me staying at home with the children. I had a second child and that put off working again.
My partner didn't earn a huge amount and we got into debt. after 9 years out of the workforce I am trying to find work. It's nigh on impossible. I kidded myself that I would become a different person once i became a mother and that perhaps I wouldfind another wayto earn money but i didn't. I am even entertaining the idea of getting back into the line of work i was in before (even though the thought makes me feel ill.) I feel a little sad cos i don't think i was a particularly good stay at home mum either I certainly didn't put as much energy or effort into it as I did for my paid employment.
so i'm stuck between 2positions, yes i made a choice tobe a SAHP but maybe I should have tried harder to get a job sooner - the kidswould have been fine and our family finances would have been in much better shape and my partner wouldn't have had the whole burden of bringing home the bacon. am not happy with the situation a the moment and feel abit stupid to be honest
yesIwastheretoo remember you are looking for a job in the middle of a recession, who knows, you may have been made redundant or found it difficult to move jobs/get family friendly hours anyway. The work situation is not just down to your choices.
This is one of the best threads about women's choices I've read on MN. People are being really honest and realistic about their thinking- so often this stuff just brings out defensiveness. It's very interesting to read.
I loved my job, it was in an interesting place. It was a secretarial position though, nothing high flying.
When I married DH I moved 50 miles further from my work place and family. We had DD1 about a year after we got hitched. A return to work would have meant I would be paying to work, especially as we had two close together. Fuel and childcare would have easily wiped everything out plus some.
I do enjoy being a sahm these days but it took ages to get used to it. Especially when I was home with both kids whilst DH worked a six day week. I threw myself into the local play group scene and met other local parents.I
A return to work (more locally and part time hopefully) will be on the cards when the youngest starts school.
I have been mainly a sahm for the last 2 years. My DD is 9 now and I finally get to do what I had wanted to do since she was 3 weeks old.
I do in theory run 2 businesses from home. But in reality they require about 3 hours a week so not too much to do.
I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant and can't wait to have this baby and not be stressed about when I have to go back.
I am reliant mainly on DP but I manage all the finances and the financial side of his company so don't view it that way.
I love my life at the moment. It can get a bit samey BUT if I got bored I do have my own business to work on so can always book a few appointments to get me out and about.
I was a SAHM for 20 years and went back to work in May. I always did stuff alongside being at home volunteering/studying/bit of freelance work so maybe that helped me get back into the job market. I loved being at home and organising my own time but equally I'm enjoying working again. My youngest is 16 now so I don't need to worry if I need to stay a bit later at work to finish something off.
I was an accountant before DCs and I worked after DD1 was born but just didn't have the energy to do after DD2. I work in the charitable sector now which is perhaps more sympathetic to women returners as they value skills gained in areas of life other than work.
Yes I am happy. Mainly because i made a genuine choice - i think if someone said i had to stay at home i'd be back out at work like a shot!
That said i feel under increasing pressure from the current government to go get a job. I actually worked out the other day what i hadn't paid in tax over the last 5 years and felt very guilty.
I'm also lucky to have an incredibly supportive DH who earns "our" salary. It does take some mental adjustment to get used to that but it seems normal now.
I became a SAHM on Christmas Eve 15 years ago this year. I never had a problem being financially dependent on my husband because I don't feel I am dependent
I have had the odd little job for a few hours per week for about 6 years now. I work for four and a half hours a week at the moment so would still refer to myself as SAHM as it doesn't feel like even part time work. I earn £115 a month for this work
I do not regret my choice at all but, in the current climate I would advise anyone thinking of stopping completely to leave their options open regarding working part time
Ooh I'm sorry didn't answer the question
Yes I am very happy, I was speaking to my husband about joining the gym and he said
Would that not stop you seeing your friends? Maybe you should reduce your hours a bit....
God I love that man!
And no he wasn't being snarky!!!!!
I hope DH is happy!
Originally our plan was to try to share childcare by both going part time. My job however involves unpredictable hours, shift work and on call work; DH at the time was a civil servant and the option of part time in his dept was limited to non existent. I earned 3x his salary if not more so we decided it made financial sense for him to stay at home full time and me to earn our income.
DS are now 5&7 and homeschooled so he's probably busier than I am. He also sorts out finances (keeps an eye on the accounts, tracks our spending), sorts out the ongoing building work, looks after the garden and dogs and cat as well as boys, runs the cars (so they are registered and have fresh warrants when they need them), makes sure bills are paid - and does all the tax, billing, client chasing and managing of the small business we run as a sideline.
In exchange, I work full time 50-60h a week and all money earned is ours. He's as financially dependent on me as I am on him (would be unable to work without the flexibility him being the sahp gives).
We have a cleaner because as someone said earlier, he's a sahP not a sah-dogsbody (he does do the laundry though!). I do most of the cooking because I enjoy it, although I put up batches of tomato base sauce every few weeks so if he needs to cook he can use a jar of that with pasta.
At first I massively resented having to work and felt like I was giving the worst of myself to both worlds. He found it very difficult not being the "breadwinner" and being "kept" by me to start with. But the reality is he's far more even tempered & patient with the boys than I am. They are benefitting massively from such a great relationship with their father and still spend a full day a week with me so I feel like I'm missing less.
The key was good communication at all times, talking through resentments, me getting a place in the children's routine (I always do bedtime) so DH can have space and all of us taking up the same hobby (we all do karate together).
I'm no earth mother and there are times when being a sahm feels like an exhausting, drudgy, thankless task. I loved my job and I miss it. Financially it wouldn't really make sense for me to work, as childcare would cost about the same as I earnt. I could do it, if I really wanted to. But to be honest, the bottom line is that I want to be the one raising my children, even though professional child carers would probably be better at it as I am sooo lacking in patience!
It's not a black and white thing. There is no easy answer. I think your best bet is not to plan or have expectations, and be open to where life takes you. Don't let notions of what you should be doing hamstring you.
As for feeling dependent on someone, that doesn't bother me in the slightest. We are a team, we have different skills and we work together for the benefit of the family. My identity is not in my work or in my status as a mother, it is who I am in my head.
I have to say, I hate it . I hate it much less now I'm a single parent and nobody's wife, but in all honesty I would much rather be working. Even just part-time. That just isn't feasible right now and I feel very trapped, very frustrated & very resentful. I just have to suck it up for now but in hindsight I should have clung harder to my job.
Sahm wasn't for me. I was made redundant from a senior career role after 2nd may leave (role not possible pt apparently ) and contracted for a bit. Work dried up an I had about 6 months of doing 'nothing' work wise.
I hated the loss of money, identity, respect and structure of work (I am oddly always more efficient when juggling things). Dh felt some pressure as the breadwinner and knew I wasn't really happy so that put some strain on 'us'. He also did less and less round the house/kids (not deliberately to piss me off but knew I was around to pick up the slack). This left me feeling even more like a dogsbody.
Last year I managed (luckily due to my career specialism and location) to get a senior pt role. Love being back working and we are all much happier
It's not for everyone though - a good friend is home edding her dc's and loving that.
As always I think it comes back to families having choices and not being forced either way. And supportive partners (dh does DC one day a week and picks up or drops off if I need to work longer / different hours.
I sound a bit like you OP, in that the financial independence message was drummed into me by my mother.
When DS was 6 months I went back to work 3 days a week to a job I loved in a bank. But being a working mother messed with my head a little bit, and for the first time in my life I chased money rather than job content and went for a promotion. It was completely different having to establish myself as a 'committed' team member on 3 days a week in a role where I had no history and I ended up working loads on my days off.
Then the crash came and tbh we were all working crazy hours doing crazy things. It wasn't particularly pleasant and I don't look back on that time with any fondness, but I will say my skills, confidence and ability grew enormously. I felt I was at the top of my game. I just didn't like the game very much.
During this period DS was being investigated for SN and eventually was diagnosed. School was round the corner and I didn't know how we were going to make the three day thing work (commute and tbh very much reeling from the dx). I was then offered redundancy, which I snatched, intending to have a few months off to settle DS.
I never went back to 'proper' work and I never will. But I still have that 'financial independence' mantra, so I now am self-employed and freelance as a corporate writer. I don't earn loads, but I do earn enough and more importantly, I know that if anything was to happen with me and DP I could scale this part-time freelance role into a proper company, employing people etc, probably within a year I could turn it into a real going concern.
So I have the best of all worlds - a measure of independence, a real belief that I have equipped myself with the tools to guarantee future full independence, and the chance to support DS. God that sounds smug. I don't mean it to, I'm very lucky. But without ds SN I doubt I would have got off the treadmill and of course I would rather he didn't have them.
I'm going with the flow at them moment. I've always done temporary proffessional work and in the last 3 years have worked for 6 months between DC1 and 2 which fortunately qualified me for Maternity Allowence. Now we have 2 children requiring full time paying daycare, that restricts my options for work being financially viable. My earning isn't essential for survival, so it's not worth working full time in a demanding job to keep a few thousand pounds of money as the cost to the quality of family life isn't worth it. DH's job restricts my options for finding a pocket money job, so basicly I'm a SAHP but on the lookout for an appropriate opportunity, but willing to be patient as they are thin on the ground.
I miss work more than I thought I would, and wouldn't write off my working life long term. I love being with the DCs and now DC1 is older and more interactive I have the best of the toddler world and baby world at the moment. (I had a phase of being very bored when DC1 was about 1).
I miss being self sufficient for money, but when I was working, the cost of childcare wiped out a lot of the disposable income so was it wasn't as financially satisfying as working pre-DC.
Hopefully when the youngest DC is ready for school, employment opportunities will be improving...
Sorry that read wrong - my specialism and location means it it very unlikely that a role such as the one I got would come up.
The role I have was also advertised as FT but I managed to persuade them they wanted me pt
So even in a recession and other odds stacked against you, there is hope!
Gah, forgot to name change - tis GPB here!
You asked if one person should stay at home if it can be afforded.
I believe that up to the age of 2, one-to-one care is best. That doesn't mean nursery is terrible, just that its second best. As most people want to give their kids the best, then why would you not stay at home if you can afford to?
However, if it makes the person genuinely miserable or there's an issue with PND or something (so more than just being a bit bored or unfulfilled) then it no longer becomes the best, and you look at other options.
I have been very happy as a SAHM - I was in my early 40s when I had my child (and only had one), we were financially comfortable, have always had a joint bank account with my DH and I spend as I wish - wouldn't dream of 'asking' my DH for permission to spend anything - obviously it helps that we have a very similar approach to our finances though .
I don't miss my previous career (middle manager, very interesting role) and I have been able to use most of my skills in various different voluntary roles over the year. I have moved around a lot since I left work and never found it hard to make new friends and get involved in the community.
HOWEVER in all honesty I would not recommend this to anyone, now in my mid 50s our circumstances have changed & whilst not by any means destitute it would have been better in the long run if I had stayed working, no one ever knows what is round the corner. It is very, very hard to get back in the job market when you have had a long break, particularly if you are over 50.
I recently read about a US study that looked at women's mental and physical health over the course of some years. The study found that women who returned to paid work after the birth of their first child had better mental and physical health when they reached the age of 40 than those who had not worked outside the home. Another study (also looking at women in the US) showed that SAHMs at all income levels reported more depression and anger than WOHMs.
Very interesting findings, IMO. Of course, these results don't contradict the personal experiences of many SAHMs who love their lives or of the WOHMs who don't.
The model of one parent (almost invariably the mother) at home all the time and the other parent at work for 40 (50, 60, 70) hours a week is not something I personally would ever want. Fortunately, I'm married to a man who doesn't want that kind of life either.
But you are implying that one person at home all the time means the woh person (40-70h) is never there, which doesn't have to be the case.
4 days a week I leave home at 7.50 and am back by 6.15 (40h in 4 10h days). DH is at home. 1 day a week I am home all day, DH can do what he likes. Weekends (the remaining 2 days) we spend together.
I am a SAHM. I went back to work when DD1 was 3 months old, part time. It was not a demanding job, I loved it and wanted to progress through the company. After 11 miscarriages I was advised by the doctor to take a break. Within 3 months of giving up work I was pregnant with DS1 and carried to term. After he was born I immediately fell pregnant with DS2 and work seemed like a distant memory!
Now I have four children and whilst everyone classes me as a SAHM I do work, at the dance school my children attend. This has the added bonus of meaning I am always near my children and I am aware of any changes or problems.
It works for us. I am always around for the children, the youngest of whom has just started primary school, DH works and provides financially for us and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Oh - 10-20h at home after bedtime makes up the 50-60 I originally stated.
Thanks everyone for all your responses, it is so interesting to hear everyone's experiences and thoughts. I just feel so torn. I completely see how one-to-one is beneficial for the child as opposed to being in childcare, but at the same time, I can't bear the thought of being nothing but a mom. When I get asked what "I do" I feel proud to talk about my job and what it entails etc. I don't think I could face having to say, "Nothing, I stay at home with the baby." I don't want to turn into someone whose life is only focused on the child and someone who has nothing to talk about except the baby. I have been signed off work for the last 12 weeks and already I feel like I have nothing interesting to say anymore and that part of who I am has disappeared.
I tried to be a SAHM, it didn't work. Financially we were OK but I was drained, bored and resentful (much to my shame). DS was very ill as a baby and as a result has some additional needs and is pretty hard work. I gave up my FT role when it became clear I needed to be available for appointments and to help him with his development. I set myself up freelance for a bit of something to keep my mind going and it's really taken off. I now work 3 days a week and DS is in a nursery. I work to my own timetable. I do a bit of travel and a bit of office time and so far it suits me well. It's a bit of a juggle at times but after DS's illness I felt I needed something for me again. I think the key to it is changing the way in which you work. i wouldn't want to be in an office 5 days a week and the pay off is late nights and a slightly panicked feeling most of the time that you're doing one and you perhaps ought to be doing the other. SAH parenting isn't for everyone, I don't think. I felt like a non-person (I know I wasn't but that's how I felt) with nothing to talk about or focus on but DS. I need the buzz and interest of work and the sense that I'm earning a bit of money and using my brain.
Writer, there's a balance to be struck but I'd wait and see how you feel! If you don't have any immediate financial impetus to return to work then you can do a few bits and pieces as and when the opportunity arises and see which you like better.
I have been FT, PT and am now an enforced SAHM due to a chronic health condition. Obviously my dc are much older now, youngest is a teen. Its a doddle as no small dc about though I don't like not earning my own money because I'm used to it. We can certainly manage and I have 30 years of pension contributions saved up. I started a pension scheme at around 20 which was and still is pretty unusual but so glad I did now.
Hopefully after treatment I will improve. I will probably do some more voluntary work, which I loved doing in the past.
I notice as usual I'm unusual and totally buck the trend of that US survey above.
I must admit I would never have chosen to be at home and best of both worlds for me was PT though it did mess up advancement. I turned down promotion to go PT.
I am a SAHM. I did a degree that gave me very little prospect where I live. I couldn't travel to look for a job related to my degree because I was already with my DH (I had been since I left school) and his career job and life are firmly rooted in this area. I then worked in an office for a few years but was made redundant. I went back to my original line of work but at the very bottom of the ladder so was on minimum age. I then fell pregnant with DS1 and had to leave my job. I've not worked since. DH is a wonderful provider and I have three fantastic kids but I do often feel like I have achieved nothing with my life and that my existence is some what pointless when it comes to contributing anything. I've been too long out of work now, my degree is pretty much obsolete and at 35 I would be of no use to anyone. I'm definitely on the scrap heap when it comes to working and I know it means that I will be looked down upon for the rest of my life.
I am trying to create something of myself in order to make money when my youngest starts school, but it will be in a competitive world where I am not going to ever be considered good enough to make much of myself but it'll be better than nothing I guess.
I do sometimes feel a bit like I've fucked up my life and I do feel a bit like my friends have all achieved so much while I've been raising children since the age of 25, but there is little point in dwelling on it. I'm ashamed that I have contributed so little. The lifestyle which I have married into and the area where I live means that this is just the way things are always going to be for me.
I have been signed off work for the last 12 weeks and already I feel like I have nothing interesting to say anymore and that part of who I am has disappeared. But surely you are not just your 'job' - you are a person with interests, hobbies, views of the world, etc etc. If you meet someone who defines themselves by their 'job' then that that would make them pretty boring, however amazing and interesting the job is.
Actually I think the image of a parent 'staying at home' is pretty misleading, I appreciate everyone is different but there are plenty of parents not in employment who have very varied and enjoyable lives, and are not just 'tied to the home'. I know I have had far more autonomy and flexibility in my life since not being tied to a job. .
Giving up paid employment doesn't mean your life grinds to a halt. There are so many voluntary opportunities available - many of them incredibly challenging and rewarding.
I gave up paid full time employment when I had my son 2 1/2 years ago. I do some freelance work in the evenings to bring in some money of my own and during the week am training as a breastfeeding peer supporter. I also sit on our maternity services committee, compiling surveys and reporting back to the hospital and run a local toddler group. I've never been busier.
Malcolm I'm 42 and I'm seeing a real shift in my friends who are similar ages. It's really hitting home to all of us that, having worked for the last 20 + years there are still 20 + years to go. No-one is retiring anytime soon. A lot of us have started working for ourselves, retraining, downshifting to do something more fulfilling.
What Im saying is, 35 is nothing. You still have another 30 working years in you. Admittedly some companies have been slow to catch on to this, but there is still plenty time for you. It may involve a different pattern, thats all.
I'm calling this the second stage (and hoping to get a book out of it). There is still so much time for you....
Yep I'm happy enough - economically it made no viable financial sense for me to return, and I'd rather spend the time with my own kids than having to spread myself ridiculously thinly for everyone else's kids (I'm an ex teacher) when the world hates what you're doing in that job anyway. Quite socially isolated but I was anyway so that's no real change and the kids make me howl with laughter (and frustration too) some days!
I'm on mat leave right now and would sell my soul to be a SAHM. I can see my return to work date looming on the horizon and frantically do the lottery every week in the hope that I won't have to return.
I went back when DD was 8 months and have not regretted it at all. It is better for my mental health to work (I need a lot of social contact) and I have invested too much in my career (and enjoy my job too much) to chuck it away. I have been influenced my friends and a relation who became SAHP and have never worked in any serious sense again. I have seen the down side. This is not a good economy in which to make yourself voluntarily unemployed. Also, one not entirely unexpected thing I discovered during mat leave is that my DH does not consider his earnings 'family money'. He will contribute fairly but will not pool our money nor let me manage his - so there's no way I'm giving up a professional career.
Also, nursery 3 days pw is definitely good for our DD as she's outgoing, will be an only and to be honest the ladies there are a lot more patient than me! (We are fortunate and family can take care of her the rest of the time).
I have had to cut my hours and pay by 20% to make this work (my workload has not really reduced, however).
Listen to what your heart, head and gut are telling you and do the right thing for you (which may change over time).
Aargh! Influenced by friends - I don't go around telling people what to do!
except on Mumsnet
My experience was this, I accidentally became a sahm. Massively career driven, had a one off job, top of my game. Had my son, oh works long long hours so the running around would fall to me. My job involved long travel (sometimes away) long hours. It wouldn't have been fair to expect a child to fit into that (not to mention somewhere fit house work into that!) So after 6 months of having my son I realised this, I was also surprisingly loving being at home.
So fast forward 5 years, do I regret it? Not at all, it was the best thing for my family. My sons happy, oh is happy. Financially, it's a bit shit. Oh gives me £100 a week for food clothes etc and it's a struggle.
Career wise, suicide for my profession. So when I go back I will need to retrain and think of something else to do. That worries me.
The best advice I can give is see how you feel, some people expect to love it but hate it and visa versa. Don't make any decisions now and take the time to decide.
"Does anyone think that if the household can exist on one salary then one parent should give up work? Like they should fulfill the responsibility to raise the child they chose to have?"
Working parents still raise their children the last time i looked
Given the amount of relationships that break down, its a huge risk to stop working and rely on another adult. If anything happens, with no recent experience its hard to find work.
From another aspect, I didnt want DS believing that women stay home and men have to work. I want him to have more to look forward to in life than having to work soley to support another adult simply because he is male. He has seen its perfectly possible to work and parent side by side.
I was a SAHM for a long time, some might say I still am as I only work 2 part days a week (about 1.25 days a week in total).
I never felt like I was 'only a mum'. Everybody is much more than one label, be it a job title or SAHM.
Not surprisingly I know a lot of SAHM and most of them developed other interests after the first exhausting months wore off. It seems like a natural progression. I personally have done a masters degree (which I hope to use to gain employment one day, when I have figured out how), I have done voluntary work and run things like toddler groups. Now I am a school governor and I have started up a quilt group after doing a city and guilds course (more work than you would imagine actually). Oh and I have a small internet based business which used to take a fair bit of time but which has got neglected in recent months.
I have another friend who has started her own business, freelancing. She does stuff for the church related to her business for free. Another one worked for her husband and now does so much for his business that she is full time but it was a gradual thing that built up.
I never know what to say when people ask what you do - even when I was in a job I didn't think that was really the most interesting or important thing I could say about myself. Now I do so many different things that no label would suitably define me anyway. Don't worry about labels and let other parts of your life develop if you decide to be a SAHP. It can be just as fulfilling, more so if you enjoy freedom to be yourself.
Malcolmtucker of all the replies I connected with yours the most the only slight difference is I'm 39 and earn 15h min wage (ish) a week as a TA. I've kind of got it in my head that I've got till 45 to amount to something work wise (just to earn an ave uk wage would be fine) I personally think that after that age I've had it
Out of interest what is the ave wage in the uk for a women? Will go and google
I loved being a sahm, but in my day most mothers were. I was never bored because children, housework (low on my list of priorities), decorating, friends and hobbies were more than enough to fill a day. Also like I say, every mother I knew was also at home, so an active social life was pretty easy.
I had a job and not a career, so not working for a few years wasn't an issue.
I also had a husband who I trusted and who was very supportive.
I honestly don't know how parents manage these days. The stress of juggling a career, children and home would just about finish me. It makes me a little sad that being a sahm seems to be so looked down on in certain circles these days. I think that being at home did benefit my children. Although I seem to have made a rod for my own back because even now, as adults, they expect me to be at the end of the phone to answer every question and solve every problem.
I meant to add that if you think one parent should give up work if funds allow, fair enough if both parents are prepared to consider it, but in my experience the men rarely feel guilt about the whole 'should' thing - they simply work much longer hours and try to earn more. They are rarely asked how it feels to be a 'working dad', either! So don't do it out of guilt or obligation. My DM gave up her flourishing business to raise me and DSis but did so quite gladly she says - very different to having to spend your life being grateful for someone's sacrifice (my goodness she was a fun and patient mum too - I could never come up to that standard - I am much more like my DF).
Generally, yes, I am happy with my life. I'm a SAHM to two boys (6 & 3). It was not my only option, but this is the one that suits our family best. My DH works long hours (8-8 most days), he often has evening functions to attend, and he travels for work regularly and unpredictably. So, realistically, I would need to be self-employed. We're working on this.
I gave up a career in finance. I do miss it sometimes. I specifically miss earning my own money and the satisfaction I got from that, and the banter with colleagues and friends who I saw every day. I don't miss commuting, having a boss, office politics, and unpredictable hours that would be a nightmare with small DC. My old job would've been a bad fit with motherhood, so that made it easier to give up.
Do I feel I've lost part of my identity? Yes, but that's mainly because a) SAHPs have bugger all status in our society and raising your own DC is not seen as a valid life choice, and b) there is a common perception that those of us who do not work are either thick and/or have nothing interesting to talk about. But you know what? If I worked in my old job now I would be run ragged and probably do a rubbish job both at work and of raising my DC. This life as a SAHM is not perfect (and sometimes I nearly go out of my mind with the tedium), but during term-time, when I get a chance to have a bit of an adult life, it's not bad either. And that's good enough for me right now, because this stage doesn't last forever.
I always knew I'd return ft after dc.booked nursery place 12wk pregnant
I love working,I get fulfilment from it.never considered being housewife
I think you intuitively know what you want.and ignore the precious moment crew
Quite a few responses give the impressions of SAHM's having time to themselves, enjoying spending time with their friends and starting new hobbies which seems very appealing. However, don't some of the working dad's ever come across as resentful if this really is the case?? If I was a SAHM I'd feel like I was taking the p*ss out of my husband, sending him out to work long hours whilst I did nothing but be lucky enough to spend time with our child and enjoy a social life.....
If the scenario was the other way round I think I'd be really resentful of the stay at home parent....
If you think there is any chance you will want to go back and will use a nursery, look at least a year in advance of needing it to start (yes, while you are pregnant). That way you can pick a nursery you really like and won't be bounced into a decision. You don't have to take any place offered and we were only asked for one deposit - this in a highly populated part of the SE. It was the best piece of advice I was given...
I think once the kids are at school,or attending nursery being housewife is a nice skive
Op look at nursery now,they have waiting lists you'll need to plan ahead
Does your employer do salary sacrifice vouchers for nursery
I'd advise Keep in touch with work when on mat leave,keeps you in loop
Quite a few responses give the impressions of SAHM's having time to themselves, enjoying spending time with their friends and starting new hobbies which seems very appealing
It does! Maybe if the kids are older that's the case - can't say it is for me at the minute
That was certainly an issue in our case, writer.
May I ask about your username - is that what you want to do long term? Does your P support that ambition if so?
I am a writer too and when my (paid) work has settled down I hope to get back to it. I think I would have needed willpower of steel to write and be a full time SAHP, although I know some people manage.
Phiney - I'm a Paediatric Nurse but always wanted to be a writer since I was a young child. I have wrote two novels which are just sitting on my DeskTop, I have never actually done anything with them. I might start my 3rd when my Maternity Leave starts
I loved being a SAHM with DS1 and DS2 and couldn't envisage ever not being a SAHM (until they were well established in school) but by the time I Was looking after DS3 I felt myself getting jaded, and not only did I not particularly enjoy it, but I felt I wasn't doing a very good job for DS3. So I went back to work when he was 2. He adored being in nursery and I was happier.
Quite a few responses give the impressions of SAHM's having time to themselves, enjoying spending time with their friends and starting new hobbies which seems very appealing. However, don't some of the working dad's ever come across as resentful if this really is the case?? If I was a SAHM I'd feel like I was taking the p*ss out of my husband, sending him out to work long hours whilst I did nothing but be lucky enough to spend time with our child and enjoy a social life.....
If the scenario was the other way round I think I'd be really resentful of the stay at home parent....
Well I can only speak for mine and not for all husbands, but why should he be resentful. If I had worked the wages I earned would have been spent almost exclusively on childcare. Our weekends and evenings were free to enjoy spending time together because everything was done during the day. Neither of us wanted to use childcare and we had no family nearby to help out. He had a clean, tidy house, home cooked meals, ironed shirts and a relatively calm house. What's to resent?
I know, I know very 1950's housewife. It wasn't the 1950's, but it wasn't so long ago that this is how the majority of households worked and on the whole it did work well.
Well it worked for me. Maybe not for everyone, but then working wives doesn't work for everyone either.
I have always been a WOHM, apart from about a year when I was made redundant while pregnant and did a bit of agency work until DS2 was born. I don't really know the answer. I work part time but in a demanding job. I still have to do the lions share of the household tasks as well as working.
Many of my friends are SAHM's and when my DS1 was born, I was in a minority of those who went back to work. The main reason why I went back, and really the reason why I would not seriously contemplate being a FT SAHM is that I think the pressure on DH to provide for the whole family would be too much for him.
I was miserable when I was not working, not because I hated being at home with the kids but because of the fear that we would be left destitute if DH was made redundant. (There was a real risk that both of us would have been made redundant at the same time at one point).
However, this has happened to a few of my friends who were SAHM's and they have just gone out and got jobs. My DH is never one to look at the bright side of any situation when there is a disaster to be contemplated, so where one couple would have just dealt with it, I feel it would have meant he was always on edge and worried about his job which in turn would have put added pressure on me.
I am contemplating going freelance, which would mean a massive drop in income, but hopefully a better balance. I feel that as long as I keep my hand in, I would be able to scale my workload up if needed. I feel if I stopped work completely, I wouldn't have to confidence or the ability to be able to just go out there and get a job if needed.
For me, I did 7 years full time SAHM, as my kids had disabilities that meant they needed hospital care, but also as I liked it.
Then my dad and disabled brother both died in quick succession and my mum was left high and dry after a lifetime caring for them. I realised that for me, the balance was wrong. 5 years pt followed, and I have been FT now for just over 10 years.
So I would say, pace yourself. You can't retire until you are 68 or so, so even if you are 40 before you return, there is ages left. Just keep a sense of where you would go, so you don't end up unskilled and unconfident.
It's easy to feel that the men are so much more skilled and experienced than we are, if they forge ahead in their 30s and we don't. What you have to realise is that most of them then stick in their 50s so you can overtake them
"He has a clean, tidy house, home cooked meals, ironed shirts and a relatively calm house"
Reading that actually made me feel a bit ill, haha.
It just sounds so sexist and like you said, so 1950's, lol
It's perfectly possible to have nice life,home cooked dinner with 2working partners
Working doesn't equate microwave slop and a chaotic home life
And hey sends the shirts to be ironed.or he irons own shirts
I think I've only ironed my husband's shirt about 10 times over the last 3 years If he wants crease free clothes he can iron them himself! The same theory will stand when I'm on Maternity
I've never ironed partner shirt,he's a dab hand with iron but sends then out for ironing
It is possible to run a home and both work but it is more difficult. I admire people who take joy in working and running a home. I am however quite lazy and if I could get away with spending my life meeting friends for coffee and going to the gym before popping home to put on a casserole I would.
Unfortunately DH would be mightily pissed off.
Gets easier later. We both work FT but we have a clean home, home cooked food every night and ironed shirts. Mind you, someone else does both the cleaning and the ironing, which we pay for with our earnings....
Writer from your earlier posts it seems as though you can't imagine being without your career. If that is the case I think, to be Devil's Advocate for a moment, YABU to ask this of SAHMs - be true to yourself and don't fret about what others are doing.
Better to concentrate on talking to WOHPs for their tips!
My children are 14, 11 and 10 so during the day I have plenty of time.
I see friends a few times a week, do a little crafting, reading and shopping, even less housework. My husband is not resentful, he usually leaves the house at 7am and comes back about7pm
It works for us, I iron and he cleans the bathrooms. He is a very hands on dad and does a lot with the children at the weekends, cooking is about 50/50.
I think the problem is that housework is never done when you have small DC's. You can do as much or as little as you have time to do. When I was at home, I would be obsessed with separating my washes into colours/ whites/towels blah blah now whatever needs washing gets shoved in together on a low wash. There is little difference. My house is much messier but again, whether I clean 3 x a day or once a week, it is messy again 5 minutes later. My chores seemed to expand to fill the time when I wasn't working. Now we are all fed and have clean clothes. Everything else can wait.
And I think tea cake is right! you need to do what's right for you and your family....thats what we did
Now you have mentioned your job I suppose one thing to take into consideration is that you may want to change specialty once you have DCs of your own. There must be lots of possibilities for sideways job moves though, and you are unlikely to be unable to find work if you want it. I think that's a good situation. And do something with those novels!
Yes I would agree with Rufus and Teacake. If you can't see yourself as a SAHM, don't be one. Whatever you do as a parent, you feel that you should be doing the other thing. Now my DS is at school, the SAHM/ WOHM ratio is 30/70% so most WOH. There is no discernible difference between our children.
Just because you make a decision now, doesn't mean that you can never change your mind if it really isn't for you. But it does sound as if you love your job. It may not be financially viable to work when you have 1 or 2 children in childcare, but sometimes you have to play the long game with your career, especially if it is one you love and don't want to lose.
*Reading that actually made me feel a bit ill, haha.
It just sounds so sexist and like you said, so 1950's, lol grin*
It was said with my tongue ever so slightly in my cheek, but seriously I wouldn't want to be with someone who didn't appreciate the hard work and valuable contribution of being a sahm. It's not an easy option and I certainly wasn't some kind of "lady who lunched". We went without lots of material things and didn't go abroad until the children were almost in their teens. We saved some money because I didn't have to buy work clothes or work lunches and didn't have a car until relatively recently. It was a personal family choice and worked for us. Just as mothers choosing to work is their choice.
I just knew the ironed shirts thing would push the mn buttons.
I love being a SAHP in that I want to be available for my family when they need me (be that breakfast in bed, academic support, emotional support, life planning, a shoulder to cry on...) and think that DC with supportive parents do better in life.
However, I have kept busy with several sidelines and don't just do things related to my own family.
Why would I want to change speciality once I've had children of my own? There are thousands and thousands of paediatric nurses across the country who have their own children. On the last ward I worked on (there were about 25 nurses) there were only 2 of us who didn't have children
My novels are probably a bit too outdated now to do anything with. I wrote one of them 3 years ago and the other 5 years ago. I wrote them when I lived on my own and had lots of peace and quiet which I don't get anymore I would like to take it up again though!
Teacake - I completely see your point, I guess I'm just interested in how other women, who also had a career that was very important to them, felt about giving it up to be a SAHM. I just want to know if it was a decision they regretted or whether being with their child full time was worth it.
I just liked being able to get up later.
I am the SAHM of my 3 year old ds. Sometimes I love it; sometimes I find it, frankly, boring and stressful. I am generally happy enough, and feel very fortunate to be able to stay at home with him because I honestly think it is the best thing for him.
I'm expecting ds2 early next year and hope to be able to SAHP him as well, but once all kids are in primary school I would love to get me some actual paid employment.
philoslothy that only works til they start school unfortunately
God I love the holidays!
Erm, bonsoir you an be a supportive parent who works you know. It's not the sole preserve of SAHPs.
No DH has said he's not resentful of me getting a bit of time to myself whilst kids are asleep/at nursery. He prefers to work I think, he finds being at home all day with the kids stressful, is grateful not to have to worry about who will collect/drop off the kids or look after them if they are ill. Makes for less stress in his life. If he had to work late or whatever he can and the kids/ house will be taken care of. He sees it as an important job that I do. He is grateful to me for looking after the kids and house for us just like I'm grateful to him for working to support us.
If I only had to get up to get the children to school I could stay in bed at least two hours longer in the morning. I could then go back to bed when they had gone.
philo I can't leave the house without makeup, so once I have dropped ds2 off at school and gone back to bed I would have to redo it!!!
I envy you your returning to bed ability...go you!
I probably wouldn't return to bed, would probably potter about. Damn sight better than working.
I love being a Sahm. I am fortunate my Dh has a well paid job. But even if he didn't I would still have made the choice, especially when my Ds were small. Now they are 9 and 6.
We have a good work life balance. I don't love doing the housework but I accept its kind of the price I have to pay for being at home. Saying that I'm not a slave and the Ds and Dh have their jobs so that I don't do everything.
But it did take me a while to get used to being at home when I have up paid work. For example there is little praise and gratitude for the work you do. Yes sometime my husband will say thanks for tidying or something like that but now I just praise myself a lot and think to myself good job on that h1 or yes your doing well!
When the Ds were small toddler groups kept me sane. I quickly realised I really need social contact with adults, now it's meeting friends for coffee. But everyone is different and you have to find the right balance for you. And you know sometimes it's just great to ignore all the housework and Mumsnet for a couple of hours ( but I don't tell my husband that!)
But of a ramble but that's the basics of my perspective.
Better than working?dozing during day...hmm
Depends if you can persuade partner else to work ft to support sedentary life
Thought it was supposed to be ardest job in the world
yay!! sm's back! where have you been woman?
I haven't said it is the hardest job in the world, I would not be currently trying to convince DH that I really need to be a SAHM for a long time if I thought it was anything like hard work.
Sadly I have to go out to work.
See this is the thing, when I had three under 5 then yes it was hard work
Once they got older not so much.
and it looks like you've got a whole new crowd to rile too!
I'm a happy SAHM but I don't think I would be if a) we weren't financially comfortable or b) DH wasn't supportive. Those two things are key (for me, anyway)
plus my children are all in school now which helps enormously.
Welcome back, SM! You were missed .
I am a sahm. I've never had a job that I found rewarding in any way, although I desperately wanted to have a career. But slogging away in a series of soul destroying jobs just hoping that the most recent application you've made will be your big break, the one that gets you some training, a foot in the door, an opportunity to make something of yourself, well, it grinds you down in the end. Sahm is the only role I've ever had where Ive been treated with respect and my contribution has been appreciated. Far from losing my identity by staying at home, I found myself treated as an equal by people who previously looked down their nose at me.
In my dream life, I have a career, and I work, and I find it fulfilling. But I don't have my dream life, so I make the most of what I have instead.
I had a job I loved and a career I didn't think I'd want to sacrifice.
Before having my DS (5.5mo now) I couldn't imagine taking more than 6 months maternity leave. Now he's here it absolutely breaks my heart that I HAVE to go back to work full time for financial reasons. He will have to be in nursery from 07:30 - 18:30 five days a week.
What I'm trying to say is don't try and guess how you will feel about work or being a SAHP. I have totally surprised myself.
I returned to work after my first baby. The pregnancy was unplanned and happened at a time when work was going really well. I was enjoying being a mum but was quite eager to get back to work and show I could do it all. But work was never the same when I returned and within a year I had fallen out of love with my job and wanted more time with my DS.
When I was pregnant with DC2 I decided I didn't want to go back to work. My DH was also keen for the children to be at home with me until they were a bit older. Plus with the job I was in and the commuting costs it didn't make financial sense. And as it turned out, I would have been due to go back to work about a month before my DS was due to start school and I felt strongly that I wanted to be around for that.
So now I am a SAHM and honestly, I love it. It's not going to be forever and I know that so I'm just enjoying it. My DS has just started school and I'm so glad that I am the person who takes him and picks him up from school every day. And my DD is 15 months old so still just a baby. I do do pretty much all the housework and chores, although DH does pull his weight at weekends, and my DC drive me crazy at times, but I wouldn't change it for anything.
I feel lucky that my DH is now earning a good salary and can support me comfortably...we have been in a horrible horrible financial position for 5 years and had some very good fortune at the perfect time.
I would hope couples have this topic as the big conversation,as both need to concur
For us,it was always a given id return to work ft.
We discussed nursery etc and how we'd plan drop off, and contingency plans
DH works in a stressful job with long hours. If I worked, he'd have to take his turn at school runs, time off when they're sick, housework, cooking etc. So he's not resentful at all because me not working is less stressful for him.
We did discuss it, with our first we could not afford a long maternity leave, with the others I have taken longer maternity leaves, as we hoped would be possible.
I have just got lazier as I have got older.
I'm incredibly happy at home with the children- it sometimes feels too good to be true, despite the financial pressure and lows when I feel the mundanity of housework but then I try to do something interesting to escape that like go to the V&A which DS (2) enjoys even more than me.
It would be different too if I thought I'd be at home forever as felt a pang visiting my old university today remembering the intellectual challenge and I love hearing about what my working friends are doing as it's interesting and often inspiring. But our children will both be at school before long so I'd love to wait til then and for us I wouldn't make any difference financially until then anyway as childcare costs
I wanted my doc to have example of working mother,demonstrate my contribution to family
We had the discussion long before we had children. We decided that we wanted someone at home full time
As he earns more it made sense for it to be me at home
My children do have the example of a working mother, however in my fantasy world I spend my days wafting about in cashmere drinking gin. Maybe when the buggers leave home and I have nobody to set an example to.
I'm a SAHM but not through choice.
We do find it hard living on just DHs wage, and when DD starts school I plan to hopefully find a term time only job.
I love being at home with DD, but also enjoy the time she is at Playschool so that I can do all the chores quickly, and then be 'all hers' when she finishes. We do lots of meeting up with friends so I don't get lonely.
We have a joint bank account which DHs money goes in to, plus tax credits. All bills are paid, shopping, petrol etc paid for and anything DD needs, and then we have a little bit of pocket money each week. There's never been an issue about 'DH earns it, so it's his money' etc
Love it! Worked in city high salary travel etc couldn't bear to leave dd so became sahm have had to run the gamut of sneerers but believe people are more than their job titles some of the dullest people I've met the conventionally "successful"...never felt beholden to dh we are a team and anyway kept earning despite being sahm although not at same level
I just don't understand the sahm thing. Fine, do it if you want to and all that. But giving up work is giving up work. It means losing financial independence in a world where close to 50% of marriages end in divorce. The pin-money schtick is just a fig-leaf.
I guess it depends whether or not (a) you trust your partner in your bones and (b) whether or not you had a good interesting and fulfilling job.
The mistake most people make in this situation is trying to factor in other people's wants and needs. That's a route to resentment. It's not about them. Don't go back to work because you feel guilty about your partner. Don't stay at home because you feel guilty about your kids.
This is a decision that is not about them. It's about you.
Totally agree. Go with gut instinct. Mine to stay at home to others that's hell - we are all different.
I wanted to do for my children what my mum did for me
Unfortunately she went back to work when I was 8 so I fucked up there
I do wonder if she would be nagging at me to go back to work by now, but she's dead so it's a moot point
I think it's a good idea to plan in detail for how you feel now but possibly change your mind later - because if you haven't sorted decent childcare and backup, or your DP isn't on the same page as you, well in advance, you may be forced into a situation not of your choosing. Obviously the unexpected can happen too - illness, redundancy. But post-childbirth is not the time to plan to do tedious admin negotiating things if you can possibly avoid it!
I can completely understand where people are coming from who disliked their pre-DC jobs, however - why plan to continue something you hate unless you absolutely have to?
I just don't think the onus should be on the person who gave birth to give up the job they like/love/worked hard for, if they don't want to.
Agree with wuldric re making your decision about you
And yeah, I did have an interesting job, but we made the best decision for us at the time.
It's worked so far and if it stops working I will be posting on the relationship board so you will all be the first to know
I was 1st in family to go uni.career mean lot to me.i like working
I couldn't be financially dependent upon a partner,too precarious.dont like it ideologically
Op you seem pretty certain you'll return to work,start to plan the details now
You can trust your partner 100%. It makes no diffence to their likelihood of getting made redundant, does it?
I liked my old life, and I like this one.
After the children have left home? Who knows...
Just for the record - I do not look down on SAHMs. But I do not know many because it is too expensive to live where I live on one salary unless your other half earns heaps. And then you never see him/her.
Wuldric I agree with your take on the decision-making process.
I do think financial pressures are making SAHParenting less of an option.
No I'm not happy at all. But for the moment being a SAHP is best for my family.
I hate relying on someone for money. It sits very uncomfortable with me. But I just have to suck it up and get on with it for now.
Agree with tea cake re today's financial pressure
At the moment I have only three friends who work full time (teacher midwife and social worker) all the others are either SAHP or work variations of part time from 4 hours a week to 4 days a week
So at the moment I have plenty of company
Oh okay, sorry OP - I knew someone who worked with children in hospital and she found it too distressing once she had her own. You and your colleagues are obviously better at detaching, which is good, as otherwise there would be no staff, come to think of it! I think that is very positive too as it means your workplace has lots of working mums and it is normal. So does mine and it really helps.
Welcome back scottishmummy
I missed you, even if that is just sycophantic words on a screen
I may be a wee bit tipsy...
I don't have past experience yet but just wanted to put my tuppence in!
I'm currently on Maternity leave and due to return to work in 4 months. I'm still dithering about wanting to return to work. I've always wanted to be a mum and throw myself into play dates, housework and more importantly spending as much time as possible with my DS.
I've always had reasonably paid jobs and a good career that I enjoyed but I always felt I've been biding my time until I became a mum. I absolutely hated that all my 'good energy' was spent at work and getting home at 7.30 ish in the evenings left me knackered and 2 days a week is never enough to do all the bits I need to do AND re-charge my batteries.
The financial aspect is the obvious problem, however I was bought up 1 of 5 kids where money and treats were few and far between, so I feel we can cope if we have to, spending time with my baby is priceless of course. I was the higher earner and Dp's job doesn't pay very well, I've been nagging him for years to get a better paid one but he is very stuck in his ways. With the extra time on my hands I'm going to help him more and finally look into writing which has always been my dream.
I'd like to go back part time but not yet sure if that's possible. I guess I secretly hope it won't be available and the decision can be made for me! I'll definitely NOT go back full time.
Hmm time will tell I suppose, its really interesting reading this thread though.
What's your dp view,given there'd be a significant drop.will he pick up the slack
The key,IMO is both need to concur and share the same attitude to family
Have you been pragmatic and done the sums
I have done all full/part/student at hme all the time.
I hated working full time missed the kids will never do that til they are grown again.
I hated being at home full time, it was mental (had 3 under 4), felt suffogated.
Love part time. I work 2 days its fabulous, and now the littlest in nursery for a couple of mornings when I am not working it is amazing, Im getting time to myself, but I get to enjoy the kids the rest of the time.
we probably bring in the same if I worked or not, but I want to keep my foot in the door and have more options. its easier to negotiate hours in a job you have than finding a job with suitable hours iyswim?
I would think differently if dh earned substantially more though, because I do quite like being off work currently on Mat leave
I was only 21 having my first, an unplanned but happy to have baby, I was earning £21k in a admin role. We discussed me going back but decided I would do an access course with a view to uni. I did said course for two days a week. I fell pregnant not long after I finished and had my second. When he was a year old I started uni which was 50% 4 days uni and 50% full time vocational with a lot of overtime. I fell pregnant again, planned, a year into the course.
I class myself as being a SAHP since DC1 but actually on reflection I have only been a proper SAHM since my third child.
I find being home full time bloody hard, I found full time uni bloody hard but in different ways. The latter hard in a household sense and the former in a emotional/ mental sense.
Finance hasn't really been a factor, I was making no money either way and if I went back toad in work my £21k wouldn't cover the £85 a day childcare for the youngest let alone the wrap around care for the other two.
I struggled I initially having my H support us all but it has become normal and I'm lucky that he views it as our money not his that he gives me some of. He earns a good wage but not amazing I the area we live. We do ok, eat well, socialise often and the kids get everything they need. I don't get any new stuff but that's life, I'm sure I can have lovely stuff one day I the future.
I do love it, though it was an adjustment for sure. I didn't really have a career before, just jobs; once we decided to start a family we both agreed that I'd stay home with children as DH has a good career that he loves.
I'm not Susie Housewife though-I go out with my DD and do things with her. I'd definitely say I do the bulk of the household work, but I'm there for DD first. Also, DH lives here too, so he does housework too when he can.
That being said-children don't have to be absolutely everything...by that I mean, yes they're very important obviously, but you're a human being. You're allowed to have outside interests.
Hth, with whatever you decide.
I've read some interesting stuff on this debate - much of it blogs from women in their mid to late 30's who have gone from professional careers to being SAHM's.
I've come to the conclusion mine and DP's situation is perfect. We had our DS while we were still in education, meaning he had two years of nursery fees paid for us (we now pay a fortune in tax so I don't feel guilty about the help we used to receive!!). Now he is two I have finished uni and started my first graduate job. It seems perfect that as he gets older, my workload will increase, as opposed to working up and then taking on loads of responsibility of a baby now that your workload is at its peak!
I liked being a sahm, but I hated being jealous of DP's friends and life in general. I love dressing professionally and going out for drinks after work now. I'm so much more confident!
In terms of being reliant, since me and dp don't intended to marry, I kind of worried he could just up and leave and I'd be stuck. Not an issue now we're both equal partners.
I'm pleased with the choice I made. It makes sense for us as a family. If we need it I would look at returning to work earlier but at the moment I'm studying part time so feel like while I'm a SAHP I'm actually going to be in a better position to do the work that I want when I return to the work force. I'm also volunteering in lots of things which is good for me but also fits in with the type of work I will do.
That being said I did do a six week contract because we needed the money. It was working in my field and is in fact how I imagined I'd earn my living with children. I hated it. Essentially I was touring with a small child and , long hours, stressful blah blah. It was the life I imagined i would lead but the reality was really not so good.
I'm also aware that in the long term not earning will reduce our lifestyle so I make contributions to a pension fund not much but a little each week.
I've gone back and forth since the kids were born.
What is important to me, is knowing that if my husband left me for his secretary, or was hit by a bus, that I am capable of putting a roof over the heads of my children and giving them a comfortable life. I have plenty of work experience, I make sure I keep my hand in, so to speak, so I have updated skills.
I chose to be a stay at home mum at first and I love it! My youngest has special needs so I can't work because I am her carer but I absolutely love my job as a carer and mum. I think if I had a choice I would work with kids anyway so it's not far from what I would do, I just don't get paid obviously but that's ok as my husband supports us....just. I am super happy with my choice and wouldn't have it any other way.
I find it tough as I very rarely get a break from my kids at all. Baby and 3 yr old. Literally I get about an hour every 3 weeks. No family nearby and babysitting services pretty pricey round here. But to me that's preferable to a nursery situation for the kids.
Finances were fine initially as I got a good maternity package and savings but 4 years in it is tough on one salary.
We really need a bigger place to live so I will return to work probably solely for that reason, ie, to get an income multiple for borrowing purposes.
We could leave London but I don't want to. It's lovely. I would rather work than be in the sticks.
When I look for work eventually I am only going to visit companies who offer flexitime. I am thinking for about 2 years I might need to pay a nanny though and I'm not sure when to start looking. Ideally once baby is about 3? Not sure yet.
It doesn't have to be one or the other but a lot will depend on personal circumstances. I have 2 DC with 3 year age gap. I had over a year maternity leave with first and 8 months with second, the ages of the children meant first started nursery when on maternity leave with second so child care costs were less.
I worked 3 days a week until second was in school and did 4 short days for a while to be able to do school/nursery pickup. When DH was made redundant I worked 4 full days for nearly two years and he stayed home while he looked for a job. This actually meant I did much better at work and I now earn much more than I dd and more than DH. He now works 4 short days so is at home when kids get in from school. We are rural so children get picked up and dropped off from school which helps.
They are both in high school now so needs are different, I think I would have increased hours through choice now as there are fewer other parents around, more are working so less of the coffee mornings etc that used to keep me busy before they started school.
Part time work still allowed me to take them to school / nursery when I wanted and go to playgroups, see other parents but also kept career going, no way would I be earning what I do now if I had not kept working.
Keep your options open! I agree with others so say no one knows what is around the corner regarding illness or redundancy, we have had both and struggled at times but would have been so much harder if I had not kept working.
Having said all that I also recognise the second stage that someone up thread mentioned. I enjoy the benefits of work but not so much what Ido any more so would like to retrain or scale back on work at some point.
It is really all a balance of time, money, resources, health, happiness. You absolutely do what is best and right for your family and you and both parents must agree, and you need to adapt as circumstances change, there really is no one answer for even one person as things change over time and children grow up!
I've always wanted to be a SAHP. I am lucky enough that DH doesn't mind me staying at home, and his wage is ok enough to look after us all.
I love staying at home.
I've recently returned to work part time after maternity leave, and I think I would have found it very hard indeed to go back full time. I panic and feel sick and anxious about leaving my baby with someone other than DH or me for just 2 days a week and have done a fair bit of crying about it. I just hope once DS has settled in I'll feel happier.
I'm also worried that we'll struggle to stay on top of things at home with DH working long hours and me working in a high stress environment with the commute from hell.
Having said that, I found mat leave stressful, tough, boring and lonely at times. I hadn't realised how much I relied on work for my self esteem. And, honestly, I'm a much better parent for working part time.
Practically, I know I'd struggle to find as good a p/t job if I'd become a SAHP and then wanted/needed to return to work.
And even taking additional costs into account, my part time wage is a substantial contribution to the family pot (about £1k after tax and childcare per month). If it wasn't, it would have been a much harder decision to make to return or not TBH.
Interestingly I don't know of any women who, previously the breadwinner, quit their jobs to become a SAHM.
Ultimately it was the practical elements that made the decision for us, and taking everything into account I feel that this is the best decision for us all as a family.
In a perfect world, leave and jobs could be more flexible. My eventual hope is to find a job where I can work school hours four days per week.
It's a very difficult decision to make.
I never thought I'd be a SAHM.
I think we are fortunate that one of us could do it. I was always going to be more suited to the role and wanted to do it which surprised me.
I won't be dishonest, I've struggled at times. I've suffered from lack of self worth, of feeling like everyone else comes before me, of feeling dependent, of jealously from seeing my hubby doing so well in his career knowing know I could only get an entry level position if I return to being employed. It's a lot to give up but a lot to get back in return.
I'm happy being a SAHM but I always think about what I missed out on too. Obviously there's the money, the pension, the career, the self worth etc that a job gives. There's also the difficulty of returning to the workplace and having to start from scratch after 12+ years out and all my previous employers having gone bust!
Us I'm happy as I am but it's the what ifs. For example, I'm stood in a cake shop, I only have enough money for one cake and there are 3 of my favs there. I'll enjoy what I chose but would I have enjoyed one of the others more. Simplistic but you get what I mean I hope!
I would also say that's its perfectly normal to be agonising over this. I had sleepless nights trying to make the right decision and even after I'd done it, still wondered if it was right. So don't feel that it should be an easy decision, it's not!
...oh and I was the main breadwinner. Hubby was an electrician and I headed up a customers service dept.
I worked in childcare. Returning to work would have meant paying someone to look after my children while I was looking after someone else's child .
Since having children our outgoings have more than doubled whilst our income has halved. I have no money of my own and have had to give up my car -and thus a lot of my independence- and sometimes I think I'll forget what it's like to have proper adult conversation.
But mostly I love it. I love seeing the day to day changes in my children. I love knowing what they've done that day, what they've eaten, who they play with etc.
One day, when they're less dependant, I can work again. There will be money to spend on frivolities for me, there can be a car, there can be foreign holidays.
Never again will my children have their first tooth, first word, first step, first day at school, first nativity play. Being a sahm means I've been a witness to all these milestones, large and small. To me, that's worth more than anything else.
I became a sahm last year, ds is now 16 months old. Before that Id finished uni and was searching for a job (never found one), and i was just setting up my own business when i discovered i was pregnant.
I found the first year of sitting around with a newborn really really touch if im honest. I didnt have family who could take him and give me a break, my breaks came when dp came home from work and i could have 5 minutes to myself. I know this is different for everyone, but i think that has added to me hating being stuck at home. Ive lost out on meeting new people through work and thats what gets to me the most, the lonliness somedays is unbearable. Im a shy person by nature so found it tough to fit in a baby groups etc.
I made a decision that once ds was 1 i would enrol him in nursery a couple of days a week so i could carry on with my business. Looking back it was the best move ever!
Ive never felt financially dependant on my partner, Hes worked full time since he left school, I havent. Yet Im the one who has saved in all that time, whereas he has no savings to fall back on. we split the bills equally.
The only thing that really worries me is if we ever split, he would carry on as normal where i would be thrown in at the deep end probably having to find regular full time work rather than plodding along with self employment.So in answer to your original question, no i did not like being a sahp. it has it perks such as spending more time with your child etc, but at the end of the day i needed to do something for myself, not feel like i was drifting!
Me and hubby have looked at our finances and because the NHS Maternity Pay is actually quite good the plan is that we will be financially fine for me to stay off for a year. We are currently putting £300 a month to one side into a 'Maternity Fund' so that when my pay does decrease to SMP only (when baby is about 7 months) we will have about £3'000 put aside to cover the shortfall. I have considered returning to work only 3 days a week, which my boss has already said would be fine, but until I have worked out what my income would then reduce to it isn't something we can really consider. I've been off work for the last 10 weeks so haven't really been able to be pro-active about it but when I return next week I'm going to get straight onto Pay Roll and ask for a breakdown of what my maternity pay will be and what my income will be on 22.5 hours a week. Deep down I know I couldn't give up my career, I worked too hard to get my Degree and have had so much fantastic experience in the 8 years since I've qualified and I can't give it up, my job is such an important factor of my life. They say nursing is a vocation, not just a job, and it really does feel part of who I am. I can't be a full time SAHM - I'd feel like I was selling myself out. But, as others have said, who knows how I will feel when the time actually comes that I have to return to work.
The only problem I have is that with the NHS Maternity Pay paperwork I have to let them know by the time I'm 25 weeks pregnant when I intend to return to work and if I want to change my hours. I'm not too sure how easy it is to then backtrack on this, or if I can at all. I need to have a good chat to my boss about it when I return.
That very unrealistic to make you decide what terms you want to return on before you've even had the baby!! You just don't know how your going to feel once the baby is here.
Can you maybe say 22.5 hours and give a date with a view to change it closer to the time?
Don't panic too much on the paperwork.
On when you are returning, they can ask what your plans are (and it helps them plan) but you can change it at any time. All you have to do is give 8 weeks' notice. So if you tell them now that you are taking your full 52 weeks, you could turn around after six months and say 'actually I would like to come back in 8 weeks' time and they have to allow that (in fact, many employers don't make you wait that long as they are keen to have you back!!). Alternatively, you could say now 8 months, and after six say 'actually, I am taking the full year'. What you can't do is wait until a day before you are due back and then extend your leave - which is fair enough, they need time to extend maternity cover, etc.
On your flexible working, anything you put down now is likely to be an indication, again to help their planning. You are legally only eligible to put in a flexible working request once you've had the baby, so although you are limited to one request every 12 months, this won't count as 'using it up'. I would put in the box what your thoughts are, but that they may change. That is good for both of you because you can investigate early on how viable what you want is, and they can plan. But if you change your mind later you will be able to legally.
Have you located a nursery?who'll watch baby when you working
Re paperwork You indicate intention but can change it.
Me and DH would ideally prefer a child minder over a nursery. MIL works part time and has indicated that she would be happy to have the baby 1 day a week so that will be really helpful. So really, if I do change to a 3 day working week the baby will only need to go to the child minder (or nursery if that's how it works out) two days a week and I think I would feel ok about that.
My sister uses a child minder who I have met numerous times when I collect my niece and nephew and we are considering using her - this will obviously depend on if she has place nearer the time. My sister's children have been going to them (both the husband and wife are registered) for 7 years and are really happy there. It would be nice too as my baby would be with his cousins
Thanks for all the information regarding the paperwork, it does make me feel better that there is flexibility to change plans. It takes that pressure off a little bit.
I couldn't afford child care, and has two kids very close together. I thoroughly enjoyed being at home with them, it was hard work but we would walk to the shops every morning with the big pram, the kids would help make dinner, yes sometimes it did get a bit repetitive but it was great for us.
Wen they were 9and 10, 10 years ago, I got a part time job three days a week at the local vets- my dream job, and am home for 3pm the days I work. I like spending an hour or so chatting with them after they've been at uni. Two years ago I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and have had five surgeries since but hopefully am all clear now, hopefully I can go back to work next week I do miss the social side and being busy and helpful, with the kids being out all day. I've been off this time for three months after a spine surgery, and am bored of come dine with me lol.
I work part time and it's the perfect balance for me/us. I tried and failed at full time (teaching) and it's not good fir my mental health being at home full time (a year off on mat leave sent me into depression and I'm certain I know what triggered it)
Interesting thread, thank you! Im pleased
and surprised it hasn't turned into a fight!
Thanks everyone for all your continued helpful comments - it has been really interesting to read about all the different set-ups.
I sat down with DH last night and had a very long talk about what we should do, including getting the calculator out and focusing on finances and we came to the decision that I'd return to work but only 3 days a week. We looked at the difference of what financial situation we'd be in depending on whether I go back to work for 3 or 4 days (I currently only work 4) and if I did go back to my current hours we'd only be about £100 better off a month once all the childcare had been paid for. For the sake of losing £100 a month I'd rather work only 3 days a week and have an extra day at home with the baby. My husband was perfectly happy with this and so I feel a good compromise has been made. I just said that unless if financially able to I'd rather spend time at home than pay someone else to have him. We certainly couldn't afford for me to be a SAHM and 3 days childcare is something I can accept. I think I'd have felt guilty using childcare 4 days a week if we didn't actually have to.
Often the difference between 3 and 4 days isn't much. Partly because the salary for the fourth day is obviously coming off at your highest tax rate (IYSWIM).
3 days a week would be lovely. You have more time at home each week than away, but you get enough time in work to be really 'there' and doing something meaningful (as long as they don't try and get you doing a 5 day workload in 3!). It's what I would ideally like to do long term. I'd like to go back to work 3 days, then up to 4 once the children were old enough not to need wrap around care. I'd ideally like to do 4 days for the rest of my career. DH currently does ft and his possible long term plan is to get back down to 4 (which he did when I was working). I think it would be really nice to each have a day of our 'own' during the week, plus being able to get all the admin that eats up your weekends otherwise done.
That's the dream anyway...
You need to lose the maternal presumption of guilt,who would you be guilty on 4day?
I've never heard a father express guilt at returning to work ft
seems there is an assumption of maternal guilt about working but not presumed paternal angst
My experience has been that it is almost impossible to get admin-y things done with a baby to look after. I mean in addition to the admin required to keep the baby happy! Your plan sounds really sensible but I would advise getting slightly more than the absolute minimum amount of childcare you need. It was the best advice I got! Your DC won't notice and it will buy you a bit of time to do admin (also don't forget professional development for work takes time but keeps your career on an even keel long term).
I am mostly a SAHM because I wasn't working when I had my first child (we'd relocated for DH's job and I hadn't found a permanent job). However, I think I would have liked to have been one anyway, or perhaps worked part-time. I had previously worked in publishing and research administration.
On the whole I enjoy it, although it's certainly frustrating and difficult at times. I sometimes feel like I haven't achieved much professionally and that it will be hard to get back into the workplace when the children are older. Financially it is fine as we can manage easily on DH's salary (we have a joint account).
I agree with posters saying its hard to judge until the baby is here. Keep an open mind.
First time I was SAHM it was a shock, hard, quite lonely trying to find my feet, but still totally joyful. Its also gone in a flash.
Second time round so far its been quite blissful as its my last DC and I want to drink in every minuet and moment. I am more relaxed and also sadly more aware of how quickly those first 5 years go.
I can work until the day I drop dead; I will never get these first few years back.
When I am forgotten and unwanted rotting in my old folks home I can cling to these memories
Is it really so hard to judge?i had a plan, I stuck to it.quite simple really
The common presumption is the mum will give up work or reduce hours
No one expects dads to wait and then judge what the work arrangements will be
I hate being a stay at home mum. I've done it for 2.5 years to look after my toddler and baby but it's taken me that long to decide it's not for me at all. I've become miserable and resentful which does not a good mum make. I thought I was doing the 'right' thing staying off but by doing so have done myself and children a disservice as I'm unhappy and it shows. Do what's right for YOU and by doing that you'll do the best for your child/children.
Oh and I'm back to work in two weeks: yipee! Can't wait. Not a shred of guilt here.
I am not happy but that up is due to a shit marriage. I became a sahp as D s 1 was found to have hearing loss and needed me to be home for what felt like millions of appointments and intensive development stuff which I felt couldn't be done by a nursery. Now he is 4 and he is flying along and his appointments are settled so I am looking for work. Anyone need an administrator?!
I've never felt guilt about ft working or ft nursery
There is imo a societal expectation if maternal angst,guilt.no such paternal expectation
I see your point knittedjimmychoos - me and hubby have decided to only have one child so I know that this is my one chance to really enjoy a baby in the early years and drink in every minute, to use your phrase
scottishmummy - my DH is so keen for 3 day childcare too because like me he doesn't want our child in childcare for a prolonged time. He earns more than me so it doesn't make sense for him to consider reducing his hours to SAH. He has spoken to his boss and reducing his after work hours commitments though so he can be at home more. He may not have the same worries as me in terms of SAH/Working but he does still have some angst/reservations about the baby being away from us.
So your dh is worried too but it's you reduce hours?hows that equitable?
Dunno about sahm v work. I'm a sahm. Unsure really that that is actually what your talking about because you are EXTREMELY out of date in various ideas you have re money, work, being a mum, parent, bloody hell a few others too.
If your a family it's your money. Would you not take care of your DP if he was redundant ( if working)? You're having a child. You and him are now us. It's all or nothing.
Look I won't give you my views, hell, I'm also learning this. But for heavens sake read the feminist, chat, aibu, DV,money, etc boards and listen. I'm 3 yrs in and my views are massively different now to then. Look, listen, learn. You're in new territory now. Your old ideas won't get you far.
Because like I said, he is the main wage earner. We couldn't afford to run the house if we had a big drop in his salary and had to rely more so on mine.
What ideas do I have that are out of date??? I don't really understand your post?
I went back to work full time when DD at 8 months. I would have preferred part time but could not afford it. DD is in nursery full time and loves it. If I ever feel the beginnings of guilt, I quash it because it would never occur to DH/any men.
I think it's a luxury to feel guilty about the number of hours childcare etc. For many parents the first priority is to provide financially for the family. You're lucky to have options. But I wouldn't agonise about the difference between 3 and 4 days work. If you're unhappy with one, you would be able to change it, even if it's a hassle.
Writer- Earnings always seems to be the rationale why mothers reduce their hours. Yet rarely does an earning disparity translate to a father going part time whilst his partner stays full time when the earnings gap is that way around (it does sometimes, but nowhere nears as often as it would if it was a pure financial question). Do you mean you couldn't survive financially if your DP went part time?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to do 3 days. it may well suit you. But unless it is physically the only way you can afford for either of you to reduce your hours, the current earnings of each partner shouldn't be the reason for your decision.
Also, it isn't just about going part time. For example, has he thought about working one day from home so that he could do both childminder drop off and pick up and you could have a day where you are free to just come and go? Will you have fixed days out of those three you are working where he is responsible for drop off. It isn't just about days worked. It's about making sure that the full burden of flexibility and adjustment doesn't fall on your career.
If dh earns more then he would be getting more when hours reduce.
You earn less. You're even less then once reduced in hrs. Unsure explaining well but it doesn't have to be you, but understand why you might want it to be you.
Not same thing at all.
Sorry, cross post on salaries. The rest still stands though.
penguins - my husband is a teacher so no working from home. We have two childminders in mind, one lives 2 minutes from where we live and the other is 5 minutes from where I work. We have talked about hubby doing childminder drop-offs but he leaves for work at 07.15am so it doesn't really make sense- far easier for me to do it on my way to work
He will be speaking to his boss though about reducing his after-school hour commitments as he said that he wants to be able to pick the baby up from the childminder as early as he can (which would be about 4pm) as opposed to it being 5.30pm if I picked him up after I finished work.
I'm observing you've chosen woman gives up hours,man carries on as before
I agree with Penguins. You should not bear the full brunt of 'flexibility'. I work 3 days a week and one of these DH is responsible for drop off and pick up and arranging childcare cover if he can't do it.
I also hate the 'he earns more, so it is me who will go PT' being the default scenario. It might be the right answer but a lot of other factors should be considered too.
I may have skirted over some bits as I'm not NHS experienced. Your early posts talk about power imbalances, sahm as from 1950s; meal on table type stuff. Your worried about no salary, loss of face or strength?
It sounded to me, dated. As I say it's stuff I wondered about but reading up views I had were mostly based on older women's experiences. I was worrying about stuff that occurred before me. Not setting our own rules. Being on mn this past three yrs has massively opened my eyes.
For example money earnt is money earnt. Who does the earning is irrelevant . You are worthy as a sahm. A salary isn't the only way to show value. Your possibly over valuing DP job and undervaluing yourself. There's loads of posters who have assisted in altering my views almost entirely from where I started - with very parental inspired or masculine or media driven ideas. Im still learning. It's not a dig. Just that some of what your saying is limiting you and your choices. And they don't need too. Try some different boards too is all I'm suggesting.
Thanks for explaining further minnie - I understand your points better now
Seeing he teacher and off so much will you work extra bank when He off
for us, it was about the fact that although I enjoyed my job I wasn't committed to doing it for the rest of my life.
I couldn't get my head round paying someone else to do something that I was capable of doing.
I am not capable of so many things but this, I can do.
There are times that I have felt bereft of focus and lost, then something tends to happen with the kids, and it makes me remember that I do have an important role in the world.
I think sadly one of the by products of women now being able to go out to work is the tendency to devalue the roles that we previously had to do.
Just because they were the only jobs we were allowed to do doesn't mean they don't have a value.
I wouldn't rewind the to the past. I would hate to live in a world where we had no options of going out to work, I do just think that the value in the traditional roles has been lost.
Scottishmummy, why would op want to work more when her husband is around? Just why? They've agreed she'll go to three days. In my mind that gives them some valuable time as a whole family in school hols- something my family doesn't get enough of as partner works away so much. Why they'd want to sacrifice that I have no idea.
Neverknowingly - i agree but the value of what working women do is also devalued when it is 'assumed' that they will be the one to stop work/go PT. It's as though what they have done before was ok but was really just a 'holding position' until children come along
scottishmummy - I am Community based as opposed to hospital based so no opportunity for Bank. We discussed last night about me returning to Ward Work when baby is about 2 and the option of doing bank work. But even then, just because husband would be off during school holidays doesn't mean I particularly want to do extra shifts When I used to work on a ward I loved the option of doing extra shifts but it was tiring. I only ever did them if I particularly needed the money for something....
Exactly blackholes - it will be lovely having more family time during the school holidays and something we are already looking forward to
Strictly and Never; agree with both of you. If we can sort this out well we could all leave ha ha......
Good to see SM have missed the lack of punctuation and running on sentences that mean I end up gasping for breath by the end of a paragraph
The dh is off the op if she wants could work bank shift as many as she wants
I'm observing his work setup hasn't changed, however op will change hers
So he hasn't actually changed his work schedule,but op will change hers
Best wishes when baby arrives,I'm observing posts are all about what you'll give up
No changep for your dh,it's all what you'll do,you changing community to ward
I have read the potential change he'll make,so good luck. With that
He will be changing it so he can pick the child up from the childminders each day so I don't have to do it. It means the child will be picked up earlier too. I'm satisfied with him only making that change to his working hours.
I wouldn't imagine there are many families where both parents dramatically change their job schedules? I may be wrong though.
I actually want to go back to ward work though. I don't understand why you are suddenly being so defensive/antagonistic scottish?
Look,I'm observing so far the parent dropping hours/giving stuff up is you
I'm not out to antagonise you, I'm observing it seems to be you making changes
These are personal choices us parents make,we all try get it right
I will only be dropping from currently working 4 days a week to working 3. Dropping 7.5 hours a week is hardly a huge sacrifice or change to my working life though is it? I'm not sure what 'stuff' it is you think it is I'm giving up? Or do you mean the one day of work I'm reducing by?
I did 3 days a week from dd being 14 weeks old til she went to school. Then I gave up work, started volunteering at school and am now working there. Have been a paid TA for 5 years, still part time, but that's by choice, and I've applied to do a degree in Education, Childhood and Culture, but don't know yet if I'll get in. If I do I may still choose to the do the TA role as it's low pressure, gives me the chance to give something back to the community and is interesting. I loved being a SAHP. I love being a part time worker now and I am looking forward to being a part time worker, part time student in the future (fingers crossed!). Some people think I got it backwards, giving up work when she went to school, but I think I got it spot on...
Have you considered who will take the day off when DC are sick on one of your 3 days? - I think often when shit hits the fan you see how flexible both parties are willing to be.
DH only covers one day a week actual ferrying kids around, but he is more likely to cover illness and does ad-hoc other days if I am working away
As long as you are a team and the responsibility if something outside the norm happens is not always assumed to be you, then I think you will have a fair balance
Hubby has already said he can cover 'sick days' if they ever arise as apparently the Headmistress is very understanding about things like that To be fair, during the pregnancy I have had a few problems and she has let him take quite a lot of time off (still paid) to either come to endless hospital appointments with me or stay at home with me.
I know I am coming late to the discussion but to answer the original OP personally I don't see being a sahp as my role, in fact I don't have a role but several responsibilities that I share with my dh.
I gave up a fantastic extremely well paid career which I loved that had been my ambition for many years. As soon as I became pregnant I knew that I wanted to be a sahp and both of us didn't like the idea of childcare.
I don't regret the decision and am very happy, but never felt like I had given anything up, which I feel helps enormously in terms of self esteem and independence. I have always been me and never felt like I have lost any identity, in fact being a parent helped me find more of my identity.
Keeping your interests and hobbies are important and not allowing the fact you are a parent stopping you from doing the things you enjoy.
Financially we survived on one low income by being very frugal.
I am aware that this is just my and dh's opinion though and everybody is different.
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