Is it ok to be a stay at home mum when the kids are at school?

(25 Posts)
bepi01 Wed 20-Nov-13 12:58:45

My DD (only) has just started Primary School and I am trying to get my head around how my future will be. I have worked 4 full days days a week since my DD was 9 months and finished work in the Summer as my firm closed down. I now am not sure what to do as it seems a nightmare trying to combine work with school hours/before and after school clubs/holidays and what the school expects/wants from parents. It was relatively easy with nurseries and I have been lucky to have earned enough to have paid for care.

I would deep down love the chance to stay at home for a while to help my DD settle in to school, maybe doing some low key freelance work to lessen my guilt (I really didn't enjoy what I did and would like to rethink what else I could do). I am lucky that my DH is bringing in enough money at the moment for us to manage on one salary.

Is this bad? I cannot find any mums (or dads) at school who are in my situation. They either have a younger child still at home or they are not at the school gates because they are working and their child is in the breakfast or after school club. I am also asked what it is that I do and I find myself saying that I have my own business which seems to satisfy people but is a big front. I feel completely on my own but don't yet just want to accept that being a stay at home mum when your child is at school is a 'total doss' (what I think others are thinking) or that I am destined to be the one who juggles paid and unpaid work never being happy that I'm doing either role well and getting really stressed about holidays etc.

Am I going mad?

lljkk Wed 20-Nov-13 13:01:00

Of course it's not bad, you don't have to justify to anyone. Do what makes you happy and works financially. Personally I couldn't stampede back to work fast enough.
I think what you're wrestling with is about identity references. Lots of good ways to define & identify your worth other than thru paid work.

SirChenjin Wed 20-Nov-13 13:01:15

It's not bad at all - if that's what you want, then go for it, and enjoy! smile

However - it's perfectly possible to combine working with children/childcare/providing the school with what they want or expect from parents smile

killpeppa Wed 20-Nov-13 13:03:46

my mum did this until my youngest sibling started secondary school.

we were very lucky to have her at home for that timesmile I would love to be there for my kids like she was for me.

I have 2 school age children and a dh who is out early and not back until 7pm. I don't work but find plenty of things to fill school hours e.g. exercise classes, shopping without the kids, cleaning, etc. I am also a parent helper at the school and will go on trips to help with adult to child ratios.

I think it would be a nightmare if I also worked as we would then need (paid) childcare and there would be a lot of juggling around school holidays, kids off sick, etc which could be stressful.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 20-Nov-13 13:07:03

I didn't work the year my eldest started school because I was on maternity leave.

I think it was really nice for her to have me at home that year, so I'd recommend it.

You don't need to feel guilty for not working.

Work is a thing people do to earn money. If you don't need the money and have something else you want to do with your time, then do it.

Ignore all the current "arbeit macht frei" nonsense that is so prevalent at the moment.

Choosing a relaxed life that suits your family and being there for your child to bring her to school and home again and do whatever needs to be done after school is a perfectly valid use of your time.

Taking a bit of time to figure out your next professional steps after a redundancy while you do this for your daughter seems a pretty good idea.

diplodocus Wed 20-Nov-13 13:08:44

Of course it's not bad, but before making the decision I do think you need to think about the fact it may well make it difficult for you to get back into work later if you want to (there are things you can do to minimise this) and how secure your DHs job is. Also things like whether you have enough pension...

capsium Wed 20-Nov-13 13:10:45

Yes I am. If your family can afford it go for it. It helps to give you a bit of breathing space to support a child with their homework and attend school events. If you start feeling as if you are bored or need to contribute something more (not that working in the home is necessarily not enough) you can always volunteer if it is not the money you are looking for. As you said you can still do some low key freelance work. However I am not doing any volunteering at the moment and still find plenty to keep me more than occupied.

NoComet Wed 20-Nov-13 13:11:03

Yes
It's actually far harder to work with school age DCs than DCs at 50 week a year 8.30-5.45 nursery.

SirChenjin Wed 20-Nov-13 13:12:45

It depends on the childcare available - it's not necessarily harder. I've found it much easier - horses for courses.

bigTillyMint Wed 20-Nov-13 13:13:13

Of course it's OK! Your DD will benefit a lot from you being able to take her and pick up and spend time with her, even if you can't do it forever.

Freelance work might fit in perfectly with the hours when she is at school.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 20-Nov-13 13:13:19

diplodocus makes a good point - plan this well.

It's something that can work well, but think it through and keep your medium-term options open.

Winterwardrobetime Wed 20-Nov-13 13:17:15

Come to our school gate. I reckon a good 70% are SAHM with school aged children. Leafy Home Counties where the PTA has more mums with ideas than it can probably cope with! Enjoy it.

gamerchick Wed 20-Nov-13 13:19:03

It's totally personal to you. I stay at home during school hours and do my paid jobs in anti social hours. Means I can do the sahm stuff.. always available for holidays and sickness.. and go to work when the MR is here.

It works for us and if you staying at home works for you then why not? They're not young forever after all.

bepi01 Wed 20-Nov-13 13:22:07

Thanks for being so positive. I am feeling quite emotional as I'm realising how stressed and guilty I've been feeling about it all. When I fell pregnant with my DD I still had this 80's filofax and sholderpads view of what 'success' looked like and it's been hard to throw off. It's a good point about considerations. My Husband has just given up employment to go contracting so it is a bit precarious at the moment but he has a years contract at the moment which we hope will be reasonably secure. I am paying a little into a personal pension which I hope any freelance work I do can continue to cover although the way I'm feeling at the moment I don't want to rely on freelancing.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 20-Nov-13 13:22:56

Course it's ok. It's a good idea to be around at first if you can. They get tired and poorly the first two terms a lot and taking time off can be difficult. If you are in a position to be home then go for it smile

rwepi Wed 20-Nov-13 13:25:09

I agree, it's much harder to WOH as they get older. Relatively easy to hand them over to a nursery (or whoever) when little but as they get older and expect to have a say in how their afterschool time should be spent it's much more difficult. Much harder to let them have a social life if you're not there to ferry them about for example.

Also, for me, being there at breakfast/tea time became more important as they got older and had more they needed to tell me but less they wanted to iyswim. Being together at the table may be the only time they really talk to me all day!

I worked (almost f-t) until my youngest was 6yo but I couldn't keep it up after that, the balls just became too hard to juggle.

You don't need to justify it to anyone. What I would say though is look after your mental health. Having too much time on your hands/to think is not healthy for most people IMO. You will need to find something to give your days a sense of purpose but of course this doesn't need to be paid work.

I would say the quality of life for the whole family has improved now I work only a (very) few hours a week but I wouldn't have wanted to do it if our financial position wasn't reasonably secure, which is why I worked more when they were little. Now, with the mortgage almost paid off and some savings, we could survive for a while if DH's job turned out not to be secure. Also, I'm reasonably happy that I wouldn't face complete ruin if something happened to our relationship. I know we all think it won't happen to us but we all know someone for whom it was a complete shock. I do have money/assets in my own name.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 20-Nov-13 13:33:48

I finished work when I had my first child 14 yrs ago and that was it not been back yet! My kids love it that I can be there at any time to pick them up if they are poorly and no issues if they need a day off or in the holidays I would deffinatly recomend it.

NoComet Wed 20-Nov-13 13:37:30

Rural area, small schools with no breakfast, after school clubs. Massively over subscribed CMs who prefer more money to take toddlers all day than use numbers on after school children.

bepi01 Wed 20-Nov-13 13:42:29

Good point wrepi about mental health. I was going to go to the doctors about things but I think it really just need to make a stand and go with what I'd like to do at this point and not feel guilty!!!!! Aggh. I will get a weekly plan and check my savings! Mortgage not too bad compared with some friends. Thanks everyone.

Xmasbaby11 Wed 20-Nov-13 22:22:23

You shouldn't feel bad. As long as you are happy with it, it's the right choice for you. And don't forget you can change your mind whenever you want - maybe wait for the right opportunity to come along.

jellybeans Thu 21-Nov-13 12:49:54

I am a SAHM to school age and love it. Never bored and there are loads of mums and a few days who SAH with school age at my DC school. There are quite a few school time events I would hate to miss and would also hate not picking him up etc. Also find I need to be here for my teens with their numerous emotional crisis's. I do study 2 hours a day (OU) and intend to help if school needs it and maybe volunteer elsewhere. Enjoy smile Nobody questions retired people do they.

mrsdoubtmom Fri 06-Dec-13 14:00:20

I think that is a blessing to stay at home when kids are at school if you can afford it. Just tell " I relax " to anyone who ask you what do you do at home. The only downside, you might be the person a lot would envy!!
grin

mrsjavierbardem Wed 15-Jan-14 14:10:51

I think it's useful to have a very hard headed think about your qualifications and work experience. I think every year out of work can make it harder to get back in, in many respects, confidence, competition, changing goal posts, expectations, self discipline.
The women I know who managed to work part time are probably the best off once the kids leave school of any group. It's really hard to pull of but if you can work part time I really believe that's the best. It's not good to give up work for too long in my experience. But that's just my opinion.

mrsjavierbardem Wed 15-Jan-14 14:11:51

It's also true that it's rare for someone on their death bed to say "I wish i'd spent more time at work!"
But I now say that to myself every waking minute as a SAHM.

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