How do I get back into employment after 6 years as a (very unwilling) SAHM?

(80 Posts)
whatamigoingtodonow Sun 24-Mar-13 11:15:22

I would like to go back to work but here are the following difficulties:

Lack of affordable childcare - our outgoings are more than our incomings, so taking a financial hit in the assumption that I am investing in my career just isn't an option.

I am very deskilled by my experience as a SAHM - I have not been able to find sustainable work in the town I moved to, which has a high unemployment rate.

I studied OU for a bit, (Computing BSc) but as DP is out to work 6am - 8:30 or 9pm Mon-Fri sad I haven't been able to get the reading done, despite having ability and getting good marks (85 - 95%) on assignments, and had to postpone my course, which has upset me greatly. I have studied 2 x 30 point courses, at levels 1 and 2, but only finished the level 1 course as I was becoming more and more behind with study. I already have a degree, creative arts, and have about 6 years experience of entry level career. I didn't progress far due to health reasons (stress related) and lack of opportunities in a competitive job market.

I can't even do voluntary work due to the expense of childcare, logistics of 3 DSs (5, 4, 10 mo) and even voluntary positions do not acknowledge applications confused

Personally, I have absolutely no confidence left - I have been chipped away by bullying PIL, "friends" who come round to laugh at the appalling mess of our home angry and I now actually feel sick when I read job applications. I moved to this town 6 years ago shortly before DS1's arrival, and I haven't made many friends and really have struggled to settle here, as a mid-40s mum who just does not fit in anywhere.

Deep down I know I would not cope with any job, even shelf stacking, and sadly I have a fair amount of unpleasant life experiences which bear this out. Recently I applied for a job in a supermarket, starting at 5:30am - although I got an interview I didn't get the job and was very very upset about this, mostly because I know I would end up bursting into tears at work due to nerves (I have a very long history of this sadly)

My interview skills, presentation skills are good however - I don't send in job applications with typos, or botch job applications. I have had my CV looked at by the uni careers service, who have given it the thumbs up smile however I just have no recent work experience, and little odds and sods of computing courses aren't really stacking up to anything concrete, although I am aiming for a specific degree.

My CV doesn't have huge references to children on it either, just that I have had a career break to be a full time parent, and in that time I have studied and developed property.

I feel that life really is over, I am just sooooo stuck. I didn't choose to be a stuck-at-home-mum, it was all down to circumstances beyond my control, and I have hated it from the off. I have been miserable for years, although when studying I have been far far happier.

I haven't done nothing for 6 years btw, I have developed and sold 2 properties in that time and this, along with my studies, is on my CV. I am bored, frustrated and lonely and just not coping with the demands of my children (eldest is HF ASD and can be very challenging) and the loneliness of my situation, I moved away from family and friends, and feel very isolated.

I feel so trapped by my situation, especially the lack of spare time. Paid childcare to allow me to study just isn't an option sadly, low paid work isn't an option either although I am very willing to do it.

If I wait for DS 2 to start school, and only have DS3 (in 15 hours a week by then) I will be pushing 50 when I complete my studies. I just feel everything is against me.

Any suggestions?

Salbertina Wed 17-Apr-13 13:01:31

Maybe you need a deep cleaning service- team come and BLITZ the house.. Costs a couple of hundred probably but they do everything. Yellow pages or call a local estate agent as they'll use/know someone..keep going, you know the problem, now to sort. Good luck!

AlbertaCampion Wed 17-Apr-13 13:16:09

I think I have a good idea of what you're dealing with house-wise: my DF is a proper hoarder, and my siblings & I have spent a lot of time over the years making his house habitable again.

My tip: one room at a time. Any more than that, it's too much & becomes overwhelming. One room at a time.

The approach I take with my dad's house is always a snowflake one: begin with the quickest, easiest win. The smallest room, perhaps? Or the room that the cleaner began tackling a while back? When that's done, move onto the next quickest/easiest room. And so on. It will take you weeks, but even if you can only do it for 1 hr a day, it will get done.

When you are cleaning & tidying, and stuff needs to go back to a room where it belongs, don't fuss about finding the right place for it in that room. Dump it there. Wait until you get to that room to do it properly.

Here endeth my extreme decluttering tips. grin

whatamigoingtodonow Wed 17-Apr-13 18:47:26

Thanks all smile

The problem I have is just that as soon as I get any tidying done, the kids dismantle the place, and it is often worse after I've "tidied" than it is beforehand. DS1 (HF ASD) went berserk yesterday after tea, and trashed the place. I am just totally overwhelmed.

I wish I could dump the kids onto someone - I think I will try to find a childminder for an afternoon per week, so I can be totally child-free, and focus on decluttering and going to the skip etc.

I've been overwhelmed for years now, and I never cease to be amazed at how nasty and judgemental people can be about this, it is so bad that I will just not let anyone in the house at all now, as I have had so many nasty remarks about it. It's not like I sit in a stew doing nothing all day, far from it. I am just so bloody busy, and I can't escape the housework.

whatamigoingtodonow Wed 17-Apr-13 18:54:54

FWIW if the house was tidy, I'd be the cleanest person alive - when I clean something, I do it until there is nothing left! No stone is unturned! But it's the insane mess that is just totally overwhelming. And we have no help.

SAHRum Wed 17-Apr-13 19:28:21

with the greatest respect in the world whatamigoingtodonow and in no way do I mean to cause you any offense and having read the thread through I think you really really need to tackle the house - it's dragging you down and keeping you in the mire so to speak. I'm going to recommend a website that hopefully will help on both a practical and a psychological level - the name is off putting so apologies in advance

helpful site

I really feel for you and hope that you can find a way through, maybe a visit to the GP too might help?

best wishes

FannyFifer Wed 17-Apr-13 21:30:00

Oh sweetheart, that's shit about the cleaner.

You can do this, you really can.
The less stuff you have then the less can be trashed by the kids. grin

A black bag each day, pick a room, fill the bag. Do it blitz style so 10 minutes tops at a time.
Saturday bring all the bags to the dump.

No reason why husband can't do the same, it's his house as well, he is just as responsible as you.

You will def need to get kids looked after whilst throwing old toys etc out or they will keep trying to save them.

Salbertina Thu 18-Apr-13 07:51:11

Op- you are aware what the problem really is, thats an excellent start.

To be blunt, if I may, it seems as if you're stuck in "victim" mode, chasing your tail feeling totally and habitually out of control of your own life . You clearly know what you need/want as you say so v articulately but then come up with insurmountable excuses to explain why you cant make the necessary changes...

You seem very capable, very aware and very stuck.. Get some support from dh, GP, counsellor to help you through but please do something- baby steps, fill one bin liner today and post back on here, whatever.

Salbertina Thu 18-Apr-13 07:58:07

And ds1- can you introduce reward chart/timeout/send to room/remove tv privileges etc?

I empathise with you re his SN (i have one dc with SN too) but this does not make his "trashing the house" behaviour acceptable. Have you posted on SN boards re managing his behaviour??

specialmagiclady Thu 18-Apr-13 09:55:04

I would second(third) those who suggest a trip to the doc for a short course of pills.

Also - does your DH know you are feeling this low? Can you work on a strategy together to get your mutual life/work balance back? Doesn't seem fair that he does all the "work" and you have to deal with all the "life" on either part...

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 15:55:40

Right. Ten minutes of Black Bag Activity I can do. I do have a tendency to drift about the house like this: shock confused sad at the mess. Mostly confused.

So, 10 mins of "BBA" daily I can actually do - I can drift around with a bag. As the bag(s) fill, I will eventually see a clear way thru. Then I can again drift thru that space armed with black bags, increasing that clear space.

That has actually hit a note. It's combating the drifting and inability to stay focussed on one task that is very hard for me.

Watch this space grin

I shall report back to HQ later....

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 15:57:25

PS I have actually looked at the Squalor Survivors site before... It's like a fanzine of my existence oops confused blush

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 16:03:52

FWIW I already do the 10 minute burst thing with laundry (including hanging it out), dishwasher, etc - using the kitchen timer.

As for ASD DS1, after 2.5 years on waiting lists angry - and not because I have let things slide, far from it in fact - he is now going to start some sort of therapy. Hopefully this will help. MN SN board has been great for me to get advice and cherry pick choice phrases about the NHS duty of care etc.

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 16:07:38

I shall flit about now strategically placing bin bags in all the rooms. Hope none of my DSs end up in them oops grin

Salbertina Fri 19-Apr-13 16:14:42

Hello smile

Great, look forward to the bin bag update! Which room are you conquering?

NatashaBee Fri 19-Apr-13 16:20:59

I agree that the 10 mins with a bin bag is a very good idea. I am like you, OP - once my house turns into a mess I just can't deal with it and don't know what to do first. If it's tidy, that's fine - I can just do maintenance cleaning. But I just don't know what to do with mess. Once you get the house sorted to sell, and manage to address the issue of your husband's long commute, I think everything else will start to come together.

Regarding your references, I would just put the name of the university down, and then any reference requests would go to the office/student services who would be able to confirm you are on their computer at least. Do you have anyone who could provide a personal reference, if your previous employment was a long time ago?

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 16:25:06

The thing is, I am The Cleanest Person Alive - I actually used to be nicknamed Howard Hughes (he was a famous millionaire with OCD, who, interestingly, became a down and out due to his condition). It's not that I have slid into his latter phase in the same way, it's just been circumstance - I moved into a bombsite, had a baby, took on a total house refurb with 2 month baby and no help...

It's not lost on me that I can do 2 lovely house refurbs, decorating etc, but am just totally stuck at the tidying and cleaning phase. And the refurb stuff would have been soooooo easy to do in a tidy house.

Am on 4th or 5th bag now!!! (OK, 2.5 bags were already filled, but still... grin)

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 16:26:51

Salbertina I am flitting between kitchen / hall / lobby. Chucked out all our old winter coats which look like they've been lying outside for years.

The Flitting Technique is suiting me well actually. And it's lovely and sunny here, which always helps (I am very affected by the seasons)

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 16:37:49

On Bag 8 now - mostly clothes, but rubbish too.

Interestingly, our spare room is literally sky high with boxes I have been collecting confused for the purpose of packing and decluttering blush

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 16:39:02

Re references - I did OU, my tutor was great. I can ask. As Dr Pepper would say, what's the worst that can happen?

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 17:22:12

Front steps now filled with stuff... 8 or 9 bags, a wallpaper table, lots of flattened boxes which are creating more problems than they are supposed to solve.

Out damn filth grin

Salbertina Fri 19-Apr-13 17:25:25

Hey, you're on a roll! come to mine next please grin

NatashaBee Fri 19-Apr-13 17:27:08

Good job! If you need to get rid of furniture-type items or old kids clothes then freecycle might be worth a shot - people will come to you and pick things up. If you don't want to let people into the house, you can always say that you're in and out all day and work strange hours, so you'll just leave items on the doorstep [I usually do that since i don't want to have to wait in for people, but don't want to give the impression the house is left empty].

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 19-Apr-13 17:33:30

Well, all the clothes I've chucked are really in no fit state for anything other than the recycling place, threadbare stuff, with paint marks etc.

I am on a roll!!! Flattening boxes is really clearing up space!!!

Off to pick up DS1 now God help me

FannyFifer Fri 19-Apr-13 19:06:21

WELL DONE!! grin

Don't stop to think to much about what you are binning, just her rid.

You are doing brilliant. [proud]

FannyFifer Fri 19-Apr-13 19:07:06

Get "rid" not her, damn u autocorrect!

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