Would you turn down a $200,000 job to be a SAHM mum?

(115 Posts)
Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 19:27:45

I used to work part time in the UK at my job but recently moved to the US due to DH's job. Ive had no luck at all looking for part time jobs - the only offer on the table is a full time job for a salary of $200,000.

I really enjoy my job and value my career.

I can afford not to work.

But I have worked so hard to get here, against all odds. I don't want to throw it all away. On the other hand, DCs are small - 3.5 and 2. WWYD?

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 20:04:53

Snog - I do love my work - problem is I love my DCs too and the thought of handing over pretty much full on care to someone else when they are so young bothers me.

Ceeveebee - its funny - your post summed up my original thinking - part time it/take maternity leave as much as i could in the early years and once they were about 2/3 go back full time. Now that i am actually in the position, i find it very difficult.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 20:06:45

I wouldn't think twice if it was in the UK. But agree with expat - I would be put off by the working culture and conditions in america. Plus the fact you are miles from family. Even if you get a brilliant nanny, bloody sods law decrees that your children and/or the nanny would be ill in your first month or so. You would need solid backup, and a DH who is 50-50 about childcare responsiboilities when you both work.

expatinscotland Wed 09-Jan-13 20:07:06

Because I used to live and work there, Moknicker, and it's likely they will expect you to live for work for that amount of money. It's also likely you will get no time off or it might be frowned upon.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 20:07:28

They are very young, but not babies. You have got over the most incredibly difficult age. So that's a good thing.

expatinscotland Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:21

The work culture there is very different. I agree with GetOrf, in the UK, I definitely would. In the US, no chance.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:30

Loads of american colleagues wouldn't take their holiday entitlement, it was incredibly competitive and taking time off was seen as weak. Some corporations you end up married to the company.

ceeveebee Wed 09-Jan-13 20:16:10

I'm sure I will feel similarly indecisive in a couple of years when they turn 3!

If you took the job and decided it wasn't worth it, you can just leave right? Probably on two weeks notice too if what I hear about the US is correct.

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 09-Jan-13 20:34:35

How much does your DH earn ?

Presumably it's as much or more than the $200k, in which case you don't need the money to live on.

I agree with expat I used to work for an American company, one of our hardest workers went over there for a short period, was shocked that the car park was full at 6am, people didn't even use their 10 days a year annual leave.

I couldn't do it, and thats even if I didn't have a DS, but you must be a different breed otherwise they wouldn't have offered it to you. Maybe test the waters for nannies and see what you can come up with.

fanjobiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 20:35:38

Does the nature of your job mean you could go freelance/consult? Could you find someone to job share it with? Would your husband consider going part-time/sah

OpheliasWeepingWillow Wed 09-Jan-13 20:37:11

Take it is what I would do

howcomes Wed 09-Jan-13 20:43:04

It's said it's easier to find a job when you already have one, so perhaps you should take up this opportunity for now and keep looking, maybe with a foot in the door new roles may come up or at least new contacts?
Good luck to you!

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 20:48:13

theoriginalandbestrookie - no dont need the money to live on but it would GREAT to have and i do feel im am tempting fate by turning it down

Howcomes -agree with that about easier to look with something in hand.

Will the DCs and my home life suffer though = in which case 200k is a too much to pay.

kasbah72 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:50:39

Whereabouts are you and what is the working culture for other Mums in the area? I think that often helps a decision although it shouldn't be the sole basis for your choice.

OK, so the perfect scenarios are:

1. Supernanny found in superquick time. Kids adore her/him, as do you. Supernanny manages to keep that incredibly elusive balance between becoming the perfect nanny without being a mummy-substitute that you resent.
Job is amazing, fewer hours than you expected, money gratefully banked.

Result - Everybody happy so you keep working and reap the emotional, career and financial rewards

OR

2. You turn down the job and immediately become totally, 100% fuilfilled as a stay-at-home mum and always feel a complete sense of relief that you didn't take up the offer.

Result - Everybody happy so you stay out of the job market and don't care.

The reality is more likely to be one of the following:

3. You take the job and love the career/personal fulfilment but supernanny doesn't exist. You are comfortable with some of the compromises but permanently slightly guilty about it for various reasons. She/he/the kids have illness etc that makes for a fraught balancing act between work and home that is exaggerated by the US approach to work/life balance and women that then makes you work harder than anyone to prove your worth.

Result - you stay in the job market, keep your options open for the future and have the oh-so-familiar feeling that you are just about juggling all the balls but permanently afraid that something will drop! You have a small question in your mind whether it is worth it when the kids are upset about you missing shows/play dates/pick ups but feel like you have to stick with the decision for at least a year.

4. You turn down the job and enjoy the pre-school/early school years with the kids but always have a niggle in the back of your mind that you are sacrificing too much for short-term gain that the kids might not even remember.

Result - Although the kids love having you there (because they know no different anyway) and you love investing in full-time family, you find that when you DO try and move back in to the job market, you are downgraded as a prospect to the point that it takes years to get back to where you are today.

5. You don't take this job and hope that the part time position you crave does come to you at some point. It has to be a compromise role because the nature of what you do and who you are up against means that the most fulfilling (in every way) jobs in your sector will only ever be available to full-timers.

Result - you sort of get your cake and eat it but the cake is actually quite stale and not as tasty as you expected. You feel in a no-mans land where you get some of the benefits but not enough to offset the frustrations with missing out on both home and work.

Of course I am generalising with all of the above! But it is worth writing out your versions of each scenario and seeing which one is instinctively more scary or more settling to your gut than than the others.

Good luck!

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 20:55:21

Kasbah 72 - thank you - that focuses the mind.

2 will never happen so that can be dismissed out of hand. I would love 1 to happen but admit its utopia.

Most likely scenarios 3-5.

Hence the question - WWYD?

I would go for it - you have the security of knowing you can walk away if things don't work out.

Also, as you're not American (I assume), then you are more likely (although not guaranteed) to get away with taking the full ten days holidays, and with proving your effectiveness in ways that don't involve presenteeism.

expatinscotland Wed 09-Jan-13 21:01:23

If they are in the US on a visa linked to the DH's job it is probably not possible for him to go part-time or SAHD.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 09-Jan-13 21:09:30

I would not take it.

In the UK, yes. In the US, no. They will expect you to work SUCH long hours. Even working for an American multinational/blue chip in the UK you have to fight the presenteeism and the pressure not to use your full holiday allowance.

How much holiday will you get? 10 days is standard for a new employee.

Kitsilano Wed 09-Jan-13 21:18:29

Personally, I would absolutely not do. 10 days holiday is brutal when your kids are so young.

NatashaBee Wed 09-Jan-13 21:24:03

I wouldn't, purely because of the rubbish holiday allowance in the US and the fact that even if you do manage to land a job with a good holiday allowance, it's frowned upon to actually take it. Most of my team had around 10 vacation days left at the end of 2012 not me though. If I did do it, it would be for a certain amount of time with a set goal in mind - eg saving a certain amount, achieving a certain qualification.

I work full time here but I did negotiate carrying over my UK holiday allowance from the UK branch of the company I work for, and my company has a very good teleworking policy. Plus of course we have no choice if we want to pay the mortgage! If your DH is on a visa, it might also be wise to have your job as a backup in case his doesn't work out, if his role is terminated you'd need to leave the country pretty quickly - but for a salary of 200k I'm guessing you'd be an important employee and your employers would consider bearing the cost of sponsoring you.

JollyToddles Wed 09-Jan-13 21:27:26

If we could comfortably afford for me to be a SAHM then I would do it in a flash. No matter how much money was on the table.

BUT, being a mum full time is what I want to do. It doesn't seem like you are as keen on staying at home as I am smile

You need to make the decision that works for you, not what would work for mw!

I've always had this theory that there are 3 things a couple can have, and they have to choose 2 of them:

1. Kids
2. His career
3. Her career

And if you try for all three, one of them will suffer.

However.

In your case I think I would do it. If the choice is between big high-flying career and SAHM, take the career. Your kids will be miserable if you are. I am so so so much happier since I went back to work - but I'm lucky, interesting job, decent salary, flexible enough around DC requirements. Certainly not the mahoosive salary and 100+ hours a week plus travel in my previous life.

Concentrate on getting some EXCELLENT childcare in place. You need something along the lines of a nanny plus a live-in au pair to give you some you-time on weekends, in case of illness etc. Or housekeeper who can do all the laundry, grocery shopping (very little in the way of online groceries in the US for some reason), taking your clothes to the cleaners, have dinner ready for you to reheat when you get home from the office at 10pm, stocking your medicine cabinet, changing sheets, ironing, etc.

We are a few years ahead of you OP and have tried lots of different combinations. We now have quite a similar set up to the above, would be happy to fill you in more but don't want to be a bore with unnecessary detail grin

Moknicker Thu 10-Jan-13 01:45:22

HeartsTrumpDiamonds - Im very interested in hearing the detail - not boring at all. Your situation sounds ideal!

kasbah72 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:03:49

Honestly? Right now, with kids just a few years older than yours, I would take the job. The money would be attractive but so would my personal sense of worth and my need to contribute to the family financially and emotionally but outside the house.

At the age yours are, I didn't feel ready to do that and deliberately turned away from opportunities. I loved my time at home with them and don't regret it. BUT I will always feel like I am playing catch-up career-wise and that time at home is over very quickly.

Putting my energies in to better childcare options and spending some of that money on other things to make our time together just about us (cleaner, online shopping, fab holidays, odd weekends away, spontaneous meals out) would have been better than a frustrated and slightly cross Mummy at home dealing with day-to-day life. If most of your earnings are not actually needed to pay the bills then use it to make family memories when you are home.

Also, I would be clear with yourself about what you DO need to do with the kids. Can you negotiate one day or one morning working at home each week? You can take them to school and feel part of their lives with very little impact on a working day. Leaving early is something I always find impossible!

I guess the other question to ask is if it is more damaging to your career to continue a break a little longer or take a job you hate and leave within a few months.

Not straightforward and I do really feel for you!

Samnella Thu 10-Jan-13 16:08:20

It would depend on the following:

- The hours. What exactly is full time?
-How much you want to work (I guess you do as you were looking for a job)
- What your childcare would be.
- Whether being at home is affordable.

I was at home for a few years and miserable by the end as we were broke, It was no fun and not worth the sacrifice in my view. I work FT now but it's 9 t0 5 and do-able.

Samnella Thu 10-Jan-13 16:11:01

I agree with everything Kasbah said.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now