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?

IrnBruTheNoo Fri 11-Jan-13 10:04:37

Go with your instinct. If you're questioning it, you cannot be sure it's right for you. Your little ones won't be little for too long. You can afford not to work. Agree with others though, working the the US seems to be a different culture to working in the UK. You'll have to really work for that salary (i.e. sacrifice your family life).

trixymalixy Fri 11-Jan-13 10:08:41

No, I wouldn't, not with the paltry holiday allowance in the US and no prospect of going part time.

pot39 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:18:02

Take it.
As a full time working parent of 13 and 16 year old's I can't emphasise enough how much more children will need you (or their dad) and only you (or their dad) when they get to school age and beyond, rather than nursery/nanny etc
It will be much harder for you to get back to work, not least because of your confidence levels if you step away now.

For everyone's sakes take it and try to negotiate family friendly hours.

witchwithallthetrimmings Fri 11-Jan-13 10:18:39

I would take it, see how it goes for a year or so. After a year you may well be able to find the contacts to go freelance or part-time OR you may find that you are happy working so hard. for me the deal breakers would be if i would be able to carve out some time to see my children every day (this may be leaving the office at 5 and coming back at 7, or starting at 9.30 rather than 8)

dramaqueen Fri 11-Jan-13 10:26:10

Good point about using it for a year or so to creat contacts. Then you may well be able to go freelance.

dramaqueen Fri 11-Jan-13 10:26:25

CREATE not creat

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 11-Jan-13 10:30:11

I really don't think that you have the opportunity to negotiate p/t hours in a $200k job.

Seriously if someone was offered a £120k job in our organisation and started asking for reduced hours they'd be laughed out of the building. It's kind of the way it goes with a top level salary.

The top executives do however seem more able to work from home on occasion as they are doing so much travel, not sure if thats an option in the US.

Someone asked if a man would ask himself the same questions if offered the job. The issue here as I see it is that the DH is already going to be doing a job that requires lots of hours so if the OP takes this job then both parents are effectively going to be away for most of the week. If I were clever enough ( which I'm not ) to be offered a $200k job DH would I imagine happily give up his work and work on his (not really income generating )projects and vice versa.

Good point though witch - if OP takes it for a year then she will have made contacts, thats definitely something to consider.

Erac Fri 11-Jan-13 10:40:13

I'm assuming you're in a metro location? If so, I wouldn't assume it's the only job on offer for you even if it's the only one you have in hand today.

There are a lot more flexible options for you in the freelance/consulting/contracting space and it doesn't take that long to get up to speed and build contacts. Join a few local/national professional organisations in the US and you'll build a network and learn the lay of the land pretty quickly. Many Americans in these orgs can be friendly and are eager to be helpful especially if it's going to help them build their network. Since money isn't urgent, I suggest you use that freedom to take your time and don't take the first thing on offer if it doesn't meet your personal needs. It's hard to say No because at the time it feels like it's the best option you're going to get, but I'd follow your heart on this one. It doesn't mean you're saying No to a career, just no to this offer.

Several of my American mom friends have take more lateral, creative or slightly step down options, which allows them to focus on their family while still keeping their resumes active. A couple have become exec coaches, one a freelance consultant and another is a professional trainer in her expertise domain. Most earn more money per day than they did on salaried career because benefits aren't included (which they all get from their husband's job). There are also some tax benefits to working for yourself.

Good luck with your decision.

houseelfdobby Fri 11-Jan-13 11:34:05

the original My last job was over 100k pro rata and I negotiated 4 days a week term time only, so it can be done. It depends how much they want you. I suspect it's different in the US though. Also, I would have got more than 100k pa working full time so I guess I compromised too and both sides got a good deal.

houseelfdobby Fri 11-Jan-13 11:36:29

One thing to note: it's not just childcare you need to sort out but also full time housekeeping or else you will spend your whole life working, coming home to washing, putting away clothes, changing light bulbs, putting away groceries, sorting out bills and repairs, putting out bins etc etc and that is no life at all (also been there and done that). A full time housekeeper and a full time nanny (or two, given your hours) is expensive though and that's why I don't think it's worth your while atm unless you prefer working to seeing your children (some people do).

strumpetpumpkin Fri 11-Jan-13 11:37:46

take it!!

strumpetpumpkin Fri 11-Jan-13 11:38:44

american people cope and theyre not all fucked up from it.
It may be a culture shock at first, but youd all benefit ultimately

Badvoc Fri 11-Jan-13 11:43:19

Not in the US, no.

IrnBruTheNoo Fri 11-Jan-13 12:07:33

"american people cope and theyre not all fucked up from it."

That's because they've no choice but to cope!! They don't work, they don't get paid. Unlike the type of lifestyle you can have in the UK (where you can scrounge of the State), you have to work to live the American Dream.

musicalfamily Fri 11-Jan-13 13:02:25

Have you tried negotiating more leave?

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 11-Jan-13 13:17:36

How would they all benefit ultimately strumpet?

Financially yes I guess so although by the time 2 nannies and a housekeeper have been paid for I don't think they will be hugely better off in the short term. But yes in the longer term the OPs earning power will I suppose be better than if she had not worked.

I work p/t, so I'm not saying this as a SAHM but I'd find it hugely difficult to accept that I had effectively outsourced the bringing up of my children. Maybe its not going to be hugely important to my DS in the long term, but it's important to me that I'm there to pick him up from the school gates a couple of days a week and can help him with his homework and make sure he brushes his teeth at night.

I also enjoy the fact that we as a family can relax at the weekend without frantically rushing around trying to get everything done and being a good parent/devoting some time to the relationship in two days

Those things have no monetary value, in fact they have a negative cost as both DH and I have turned down opportunities that would have meant we earned more, but we live well DS goes to private school, we can pay our mortgage and afford to go on holiday, anything more than that seems unnecessary compared to the sacrifice required.

I know very few families where both parents have a high flying job and it works successfully ( but then I don't move in those sorts of circles).

I'm not saying don't do it, I'm saying its a fallacy to pretend that doing it doesn't involve sacrifice.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Fri 11-Jan-13 14:00:47

How much would you gain net after tax, nanny, au pair and housekeeper?

How long are you going to be in the US?

What's the longest you could possibly be out of the market and retain a chance of getting back in?

Could a headhunter give you guidance as to whether there's any hope of temporary/part-time consulting work?

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 14:09:33

And of course the Americans get a lot more stat days than us!

do they? confused

I calculate 10 for Yanks & 8 for England, is 25% increase "a lot"?

MLK, President's day, (nothing for Easter) Memorial Day, 4th July, Labour Day, TGiving, Colombus Day, Veteran's Day, Christmas, NY Day (that's 10). No statuatory vacation time, but most professional jobs would give 2-3 weeks.

UK: Christmas, Chistmas eve, NYDay, Good Friday, Monday after Easter, 2 bank hols in May, one bank hol in August: 8. PLUS 4 weeks statutory vacation time in any permanent job.

I agree with those who say it comes down to whether you would love the job.

Karbea Fri 11-Jan-13 14:30:50

Definitely not, there is more to life than money. You've been bllessed with two children, use your time and efforts to shape, teach and nurture them.

Arseface Fri 11-Jan-13 14:41:02

I really enjoy my job and value my career
^ This.

Many parents won't have been lucky or dedicated enough to build up career credit in this way. Others will but will feel they've now been there and done that and would like to try a slower lifestyle.

You've also said the role of SAHM doesn't appeal. Make no mistake, it is extremely difficult to restart your career after even a short time away to raise a family. If you know you will regret not sticking with things when the children are a little older then take this job now and work to develop unique skills that will put you in a stronger position to get more balance in the future.

Even if it turns out to be hell, you will have a both a stronger negotiating position and more opportunity to hear about other options in your industry from within the company.
You can also always just leave, knowing you'd given it a shot.

What ever you do, don't feel guilty about the other options or stuck with your decision. If something isn't working out you can change it. Parenting is such a long game and your family's needs will constantly shift. Your happy independent toddlers who would cope well with your return to work, may become very needy preteens!

I'm in a similar position to you in that I have small children and a high earning job that I don't do for the salary. Luckily I'm in the UK and have now reached the point where my level of expertise lets me call the shots to a certain extent.

With DS1 I didn't have that level of clout and had to work much more and inconveniently than I would have wished.
I really focussed on getting my skills specialised enough to negotiate more balance - for me this meant not going into a 'female friendly cul de sac' but staying in a tougher, male-dominated area for a few years. There were some really tough bits (for me!) when Ds was 2-4 yrs but it's done him no harm at all and he is now very proud of my job.
He fondly remembers coming into work on occasion and being watched by admin staff when I was working late into the night - he loved it!

Now with a preschooler and pregnant with twins, I'm pleased I stuck with it as I have the best of both worlds!

Moknicker Fri 11-Jan-13 23:35:07

theoriginalandbestrookie - you said "I know very few families where both parents have a high flying job and it works successfully"

This is the crux of the matter - I dont either. Well I do know I (friend of friend) but apparently the way they made it work is that his parents and hers stayed at their 6 months of the year, along with nanny. Not an option for us and not sure i would like that either.

Arseface - does your DH work similar hours as well?

Erac: Freelance would be my dream too - but how long did it take your US friends to build up the contact network and the professional reputation there to do that?

LadyIsabellaWrotham - Financially, even after incremental child/house costs it would be worth it - that is a no brainer.

Moknicker Sat 12-Jan-13 00:04:06

Bonsoir/wordfactory - in response to your questions:

First, when you say you can afford to live without working, is it comfortably (bearing in mind one needs med insurance etc in the US) - Yes

Second, if you did take an extended period from your career, how easy/difficult would it be to get back into it - My guess is it would be tough because i need to be up to date on the market - not just reading up on it but worked on transactions

Third, how reliable/good is the child care available?: I would say pretty good here for the right sort of pay

Fourth, what does your partner think? Always better if you both feel the same? Will your relationship work better or worse if you work.: Ah - well this is one of the other key points - DH thinks I should turn it down. I didnt want to disclose this as it would obviously skew the discussion so please ignore it for the time being. I think I can convince him if I am convinced.

Fifth, what are the realistic hours/environment for such a highly paid job?: Realistically, it will be about 50 hours per week and full on till the end of the year till my first performance review. After that, if i am doing well, i might be able to work some of that from home. But total hours will be about 50.

Angloamerican Sat 12-Jan-13 04:31:26

I would take the job, for all of the reasons outlined by the various posters above. I am British but have lived in the US for 10 years, and I have my own law practice. My husband also has his own law practice, and his is a high-volume (and high reward) environment. Like you, we don't need my salary to live very comfortably.

Honestly, I think some of the other posters seem to have a rather skewed idea of the working culture here in the US. Of course, commanding a salary such as the one on offer clearly means high expectations from your employer. But I don't think 50 hours a week is too bad at all! I thought you were going to be saying 75 or so!

I started my law practice when my youngest child was 6 months old (he is now 18 months) and I, like you, knew that being a SAHM was not for me. One year later, I still think it's the best thing I ever did. We have a nanny who makes dinner and does our laundry. Once a week we have a cleaner come and clean our (rather massive, three story) house. We have a 4 year old and an 18 month old, and we manage just fine. We don't do any domestic chores at the weekend. So don't think that by working (say) 8-6 every day you are "outsourcing" your children, or that you need a full-time housekeeper, two nannies and a dog walker!

Take the job!!

Angloamerican Sat 12-Jan-13 04:34:37

Also, there have been a couple of really excellent threads recently about the risks you take as a SAHM. I think one may have been moved to the "Classics" section (or whatever it's called). It's quite difficult reading, actually, but it may help you to arrive at a decision. Because choosing to rely on someone else financially - regardless of the strength of your marriage - is very risky indeed.

Moknicker Sat 12-Jan-13 14:03:34

Anglo - thank you - reassuring to hear your views about working culture in the US is not as bad as our preconceptions.

I agree about the risks of relying on someone else financially is v. high. It was driven home to me when I was a teenager as my father suddenly died. Things can go wrong when one least expects it.

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