Not returning to work - career suicide?

(16 Posts)
crepessuzette Fri 13-Sep-13 14:22:09

This is a similar topic to healthyoption's earlier thread...

After plenty of deliberation my husband and I have agreed that me staying at home with our son until he starts school (unless we miraculously have a 2nd child) is ultimately the best thing for all of us.

I recognise I am in a fortunate position whereby returning to work is an option and I'm grateful for that as not all parents do have that luxury.

I'm leaving a well paid senior managerial role behind, having spent 16 years working extremely long and hard hours to get there. I am in no way resentful or bitter and love the fact that I get to spend so much more time with our son. It will be difficult from a financial perspective but worth it.

I'm starting to struggle with 2 things however and would welcome feedback and opinions from other women who have found themselves in similar situations.

1. Career - is it unrealistic to expect to return to a similar level/role and salary after a 3/4 year break?

2. My identity - I have always defined myself by my career. I have never not worked so to now be unemployed is quite scary. I have never not been financially independent. Ever since being with my husband, although we shared a bank account for bills etc we always managed our own personal accounts separately, now I'm completely financially dependant on him and I'm struggling to adjust - I feel like it's not my money to spend and I need to ask permission to spend his money and this upsets him greatly.

I guess I just want to now whether I'm being a total mentalist and need to get over myself ( be gentle if that is the case) or are these concerns not uncommon...has anyone been there and got the t-shirt?

MadameJ Fri 13-Sep-13 15:34:48

Hi, I was in a very similar place to you and my dh and I decided that I would give up my job to take care of dd and then later on both dd's.
it is a fabulous thing to be able to have the choice but it's not all plain sailing.

some days are hard and I wonder if it would be easier to do a days work as at least you can take breaks and possibly have a wee in peace but for all the bad days there are 10 good days where you spend quality time with your children watching them change and grow.

I struggled with the financial aspect of it as when I was the higher earner but we got round this by keeping separate bank accounts and setting up a direct debit to my account meaning that I don't need to ask for money etc, obviously my spending habits have changed dramatically!!

In regards to returning to work, I'm not sure I want to go back into the same job or at the same level due to the stress and hours but I am optimistic about being able to find work.

Whatever you decide, good luck!

MadameJ Fri 13-Sep-13 15:36:30

Sorry about the poor punctuation, typing and feeding dd2 never works well!

Babouche Fri 13-Sep-13 15:46:29

I would find that really hard too.It is a big adjustment.
Could he pay you a set amount by direct debit into your own account so you can spend it like it's your money?
I'm married but still have my own accounts and income although have been working very part-time for 4 years as have had 3 children in that time.
I'm looking to return to a 3/4 time job at level I left off so I don't think it is unrealistic to aim for that.
Also when your child is 3 they will get the nursery provision for 15 hours and that came around very quickly.
Most of my friends seem to be SAHMs who have had previously good careers and still have a lot to say,you won't necessarily lose your identity!

BackforGood Fri 13-Sep-13 15:47:00

I do think it's unlikely in many professions that you could walk back into another senior role after a 5 yr break, tbh, but maybe you are ready for a change ? I suggest you make the decision, on the assumption that you won't be able to get a similar role when you want to (not saying it couldn't happen), and then decide "Is it worth it? Is this what I want to do for the next phase of my life?" etc. For lots of people it's absolutely the right choice, but for many others, it's not.
Is Part time an option ? You get the best of both worlds then - keeping your hand in, but also spending time with your baby/toddler.

pootlebug Fri 13-Sep-13 15:52:35

I did the Mumsnet/Bank of America Merrill Lynch 'Returning Talent' programme earlier this year www.mumsnet.com/Talk/family_friendly_programme/1682501-Looking-to-return-to-work-Find-out-about-the-Bank-of-America-Merrill-Lynch-Returning-Talent-Programmme. What was striking was the amount of very talented intelligent people in the room....all finding it very difficult to get back into the workplace in anything like the role they left.

If you really want to go back to where you left off, I'd look at part time. I am now comfortable with the fact that my career will never be anything like the same again (professional qualification, spent 10 years working my way up to managerial role). I do some very part time stuff from home in a totally unrelated field, and see my future running my own business in order to have more flexibility to work around my family.

Ragwort Fri 13-Sep-13 15:58:23

Think very carefully about what would happen if your DH lost his job (or if your marriage broke up). I was in a similar position to you, well established management job, very good salary and perks etc etc. It wasn't a hard decision to give it up - I have enjoyed being a SAHM and have a wide range of interesting and varying voluntary jobs. Never felt it was a problem regarding the 'financial side' in sharing a joint a/c even though I wasn't in paid employment.

However, my DH is self employed and work has more or less dried up - I would find it almost impossible to get a similar sort of job now .......... so just bear this is mind. Particularly if you are an older mum like me blush.

deXavia Fri 13-Sep-13 15:59:33

To answer question 1 depends on your industry and role and how much you network whilst not working. I had 3 years out and went back in pretty much at the same level but I know I'm not considered 'high flying' material any more which is ok by me but for others may grate.
With question 2 who knows - some love it, some hate it, some turn into crazed mothers putting as much energy into their kids as their careers, some just drift. I would say keep your options open don't be afraid to change your mind. As for money you have to get into the mindset of family money - however you arrange that with bank accounts. People are different - when I SAH I had no problems with day to day stuff but I hated Christmas (here have a present I bought you with your own money?!) but I eventually realized that was my hang up not his. I will be honest a few years down i have to confess I am happier back earning.
You won't know til you do it - so enjoy the time and try and park the guilt whichever way it takes you

MadeOfStarDust Fri 13-Sep-13 16:03:11

Life changes - I had a fab career - on call 24 hours, good money , loads of responsibility etc... took a 12 year break til youngest went to secondary - now I work part time in a shop because it fits REALLY well with our family life....never would have dreamed it to start with, but priorities change ...

Candlefire Fri 13-Sep-13 16:21:50

OP--it's not uncommon to struggle with these issues. I am in the very very fortunate position of having been able to choose (off/on over the years) whether to be SAHM or work. I have dipped in and out of work but currently out.

DH is a high earner who travels a lot and has no issue "giving" me money to spend. One person in the family overworked and exhausted is enough--I don't need to prove a point by doing the same. I am not what you would call highly trained, so my income was always modest anyway.

Don't feel guilty--embrace it. It's a transition--think of it as another type of work "role".

minipie Fri 13-Sep-13 16:23:47

1. Yes, sadly it is unrealistic, especially in this job market.

2. Get a joint account. All earnings go into that account and you can both draw on it whenever you want. IMO this is the only reasonable option when only one parent WOH. If your DH isn't happy with this, get him to explain why. I can't think of a decent explanation. Asking permission is bound to upset you. It's not his money it's your (joint) money, you are raising your (joint) child.

NorfolkIngWay Sat 14-Sep-13 21:31:36

It sounds like this is the best decision for the family but not the best decision for you.
1. unrealistic , the job market is very tough atm.
2. I just could not do it - it goes against all my principles ,if you feel this way,can you return part time ?
Its easier to retain you increments and benefits and gives you more time with your DS

allworknopay Wed 25-Sep-13 13:22:28

What's most important is that you are doing what you think is right for you and your kid. We mothers are always made to feel that we are worth nothing unless we have a career. I was dependent on a partner years ago and found it hard. Have you discussed getting some of his wages (whatever you agree) into your bank account? It would make a difference.
Still, I've always thought that the work we do caring for our children should be recognised as work, as a contribution to society and that we should get a wage for it from the state, like child benefit but with the recognition that our work is valuable. We wouldn't feel so worthless when we decide to care for our kids and we wouldn't lose out financially if our years of mothering were counted. Just a thought.

fizzly Wed 25-Sep-13 23:03:03

Hi. Afraid I also agree that it's not realistic. I've worked PT since DC1 was born and moved jobs (into a much lower experience level job) after DC2 to enable me to be more flexible around my children than in my previous career (which was v long hours and lots of international travel). There are weeks where I kick myself every day about leaving what I had - we could have had a nanny to deal with childcare, I would have had all the self esteem and stress that a high flying career involves. I'm doing a new, and interesting job but am paid basically nothing when childcare is taken into account and when I look at jobs ads that I know I would have applied for 3 years ago I know that now I wouldn't because I wouldn't be able to demonstrate effectively with recent examples my skills in that area. But, in general, I think I made the right decision. At some point I will probably want to bump up my career again but I don't really know how on earth I'll do that.

fizzly Wed 25-Sep-13 23:04:31

p.s. we do not have a joint account and it is a bit of an issue to be honest. I pay for certain defined thing but always end up over drawn by the end of the month and DH has to 'sub' me. He's totally fine about this but I find it a bit humiliating. We need a JA. It is only laziness busyness which has prevented us from sorting this out so far.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 25-Sep-13 23:58:41

I would look at the possibility of working part time. I do that now and it is fantastic. I do a job I really love, but still get lots of time with my girls, a bit of a social life, and am relatively on top of the housework.

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