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?

peanutbuttersarnies Thu 09-May-13 19:30:37

Definitely turn it down. Time with your kids when they are little is worth more than anything. It'd be different if you really needed the money.

chipmonkey Thu 09-May-13 19:29:28

Sorry, Mo, should have read the whole thread!blush

chipmonkey Thu 09-May-13 19:27:54

Take it for 6 months and see how you feel after that

handcream Thu 09-May-13 18:31:39

I would have taken it tbh. However I am surrpised that some are posting that for $200k could you work 9-5 - are they serious. Of course you couldnt! That's why people earn those sorts of amounts of money!

Moknicker Thu 09-May-13 18:30:13

Dufflefluffle - Im so sorry to hear about the job hunt struggle. Im quite nervous about that at my end as well. Hope you have some luck soon. The state of the economy cant be helping.

fluffymindy Thu 09-May-13 18:01:34

Brilliant, I am delighted. No one lays on their death bed and wishes they had worked harder on their career. SAHM is hard but I did the working thing with my first two and then stayed at home after that and there is a palpable difference between how it was for my children. In difficult situations re. work with no family, the only thing that can 'give' is the children and they end up being compromised. I know that is not a populkar view but it is what I believe and I would never like to give full time care of my children to anyone else.

dufflefluffle Thu 09-May-13 17:43:41

OOPS Moknicker - just read your update. Well, fwiw I do think children benefit from having a parent at home - I am just being bitter negative on the back of the discouraging feedback I've had on my attempt to return to work. Enjoy your time at home.

dufflefluffle Thu 09-May-13 17:40:08

I would jump on it!!! I have been a sahm for 10 years. I completely value what I have done and I have enjoyed almost all of it and hope that my children benfitted from it. However, our situation has changed in a way we never anticipated and I am now looking for a job. Any job at all but I have been turned down for everything. My ten years at home have evidently wiped out my previous experience. My voluntary work and OU studies while being a sahm also seem to be negated by my sahm years. So the upshot is that while being a sahm might be of value to you, your children and your partner, it will not do your career any good and if you take this job you may be able to look again for something part-time in a year or so time. Well done you!

musicalfamily Thu 09-May-13 13:14:15

Well done for making a decision, it is very hard....but two years isn't a long time and you might feel ready sooner. Like others' said, when you are ready there will be other opportunities out there that might suit better.

Mama1980 Thu 09-May-13 10:52:07

For what it's worth I would have turned it down too.

happyyonisleepyyoni Thu 09-May-13 10:50:25

Do you know what OP, I think there will be something even better, not necessarily in money terms, but that will suit you better, around the corner.

Life has a way of working out like that.

I think its for the best, enjoy some time at home and look again when you are ready.

ElectricSheep Thu 09-May-13 07:21:12

Don't ever regret your decision OP.

Your DC are people - the most important people in your life and are well worth putting before some stupid job that expects blood from you and to take over your life.

Your DC may not remember the time you have at home with them now, but your influence will shape their personalities and characters all their lives.

I can't say in 2 years the decision will look any easier. IME DC need you just as much as they get older, just in a different way. If I were you I'd look at consulting roles where you can choose part-time commitments.

Moknicker Wed 08-May-13 18:27:08

Thank you to everyone who responded and all your views.

Update on my situation - I turned down the job in the end for the following reasons:
- The company seemed extremely inflexible and expected some travel
- DH is traveling quite a lot so this would be hard to do
- My DS is going through terrible twos and seems to benefit from some one on one time with me
- Finally and dont know if this is true, a couple of headhunters said that in the US employers were relaxed about a career break of upto 2 years due to the shocking maternity leave policies here

I may live to regret this a couple of years down the line but have concluded that as a mum and working woman it is difficult if not impossible to optimise your life all the time.

I think you should take it. 50 hours a week is not impossible! Unless you have a long commute on top of that?

I'm American and it's not all horror stories, working in America, it really depends on the firm.

If your ultimate preference is to go freelance, then I think it makes sense to take this job for a year or two, build up the contacts, and then be able to go freelance and work from home when your children are older and will remember/enjoy your being there to do the school run and all that. Not to mention all the money you can save, which can be a cushion while you start your own consulting.

Remember that in the US we don't do long maternity leaves or gap years or long-term sick notes or anything like that, so gaps on a CV are much more noticeable and frowned upon. I would be seriously worried about finding a similar job if you don't work for a couple more years.

It's concerning that your husband is not in favour though. Why? You don't want to end up with a situation where, if anything goes wrong, his response is basically, you wanted to work so you deal with it.

strumpetpumpkin Sat 12-Jan-13 14:10:49

if you can afford not to work, then you can afford to try and see how it goes, i guess

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

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.

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