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?

Gumby Wed 09-Jan-13 19:29:56

I'd definitely take it

Who knows they might let you reduce your hours later

Kendodd Wed 09-Jan-13 19:30:27

They are small, but they're not tiny, being breast feed.

If you took the job could you just work 9-5 or would they want a lot more?

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 19:32:11

God that is hard.

I think what would put me off a bit is the inflexibility of the US terms and conditions in comparison to the UK. So presumably you would only get 10 days hol a year.

And for a job of that level would they have a work you to death presenteeism culture. I used to work for american multinationals where the senior execs never stopped working. It would be bloody difficult to balance that with a working dh and 2 small children.

But - but - I would hate hate not to work at all, and feel that my career was pissing away. Is the job something you are passionate about. If thiss role is something you have strived for for years it would be hard to pass it by.

God knows. What a difficult decision that must be.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 19:33:29

I do know where the question mark is, honestly.

mummyplonk Wed 09-Jan-13 19:34:22

Congratulations, jobs don't come along like that very often. As long as the job was 9-5 as mentioned by kendodd and no weekends or evenings were expected I would snap their hand off (smile) however if it was a work as and when the business determines which that kind of salary could demand I think I wouldn't risk upsetting the family balance.

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 19:37:20

It wont be 9-5 - certainly not at the beginning when Im trying to prove myself. I gently tested the waters about part time but was very firmly squished. I was only able to negotiate part time in the UK job after I had worked at the company for 6 years.

Somebody take the decision for me please. ARGGHH.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Wed 09-Jan-13 19:37:24

You need more info here. For example, are any other family members available to help? How do you get on with the idea of a nanny?

izzyishappilybusy Wed 09-Jan-13 19:37:32

I would turn it down based on my k knowledge of American wworking hours/holidays but then money and career dont interest me - I'd probably have answered differently when younger - priorities have changed with age

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 19:40:19

AnnIonicIsoTronic - No family here but I am comfortable with the idea of nanny - well a supernanny. I havent found this mythical creature as yet but it looks like the US has much more of a nannyculture so Im optimistic that i can if I need to.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 19:41:26

What support do you have? Do you have any family there - presumably not if you hav relocated. If not, you will need shit hot childcare. Icant imagine a role for that salary would ever be 9-5.

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 19:42:49

GetOrf - you are right - certainly wont be 9-5 at least at the beginning.

You see why Im struggling with this.

expatinscotland Wed 09-Jan-13 19:42:50

In the US? No.

houseelfdobby Wed 09-Jan-13 19:43:13

Could you postpone the decision for a year?

I would say it's not worth it for now (you can afford not to work) BUT retaining the ability to command that kind of salary and the self respect that goes with it might be invaluable to you in years to come...

It's a wealth trap. I've been there. Not sure there is a right answer but at least it is a quality problem.

angelinterceptor Wed 09-Jan-13 19:43:22

I would take the job - you never know how it will turn out.
You can give it 6 months - year and see how it goes.

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 19:44:03

expatinscotland - why not in the US. Would it be a yes if in the UK then?

shartsi Wed 09-Jan-13 19:44:25

I would do the job for 2-4 years, saving as much as i can and then be a SAHM.

Abra1d Wed 09-Jan-13 19:46:30

Do it for a year. Save as much of the money as you can. If you know you have an out after 12 months it will be bearable, if you find the hours too gruelling with small children.

I wouldn't do it. Holiday / presenteeism culture in the US is horrendous.
I would take the offer as a massive ego boost and carry on looking for what you really want.

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 19:51:08

I'd try it. If it doesn't work out you can quit. If you don't try it you can't go back, and you'll never know if it could have been good.

LillianGish Wed 09-Jan-13 19:53:14

It's a nice dilemma to have! How much do you enjoy being home with your kids? The thing is you can always get another job, but you can never get that time back. It does sound like an amazing offer in terms of salary, but I wouldn't have missed out on those early years for any money. That's not intended as a judgement on anyone who did just pointing out that we are all different.

ceeveebee Wed 09-Jan-13 19:53:45

I would do it - your DCs are not that young, they'll be going to school soon (kindergarten?) and you can always leave if it gets too stressful

I was on more than that before I had my twins but was adamant I did not want to work full time until they are old enough for preschool. So I plan to go back when they get to the age your oldest is - if I can find a job

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 19:55:18

LillianGish - To be honest, the thought of being a SAHM mum scares me just because i dont think i am cut out for it. I enjoyed working part-time - gave me time with the kids, and time away from them.

I guess the question is - can i get another job after staying out the job market?

LillianGish Wed 09-Jan-13 19:57:53

In that case I'd probably lean towards taking it - find a fabulous nanny and work towards going part-time.

Snog Wed 09-Jan-13 20:01:40

Do you love your work? If so then definitely take the job.

You can always resign or look to go part time later if it doesn't work out!
There are no perfect solutions for most mothers so staying at home is unlikely to be perfect anyhow. Presumably you could spend lots of time with the dc every weekend and will have lots of domestic support?

It is hard on the career to take time out with kids - something I think most women don't fully appreciate until they try to get back into the labour market after a few years out. I also think your relationship with your dh will probably work better if you are both working with good domestic support.

Just my view though smile

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 20:04:53

Snog - I do love my work - problem is I love my DCs too and the thought of handing over pretty much full on care to someone else when they are so young bothers me.

Ceeveebee - its funny - your post summed up my original thinking - part time it/take maternity leave as much as i could in the early years and once they were about 2/3 go back full time. Now that i am actually in the position, i find it very difficult.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 20:06:45

I wouldn't think twice if it was in the UK. But agree with expat - I would be put off by the working culture and conditions in america. Plus the fact you are miles from family. Even if you get a brilliant nanny, bloody sods law decrees that your children and/or the nanny would be ill in your first month or so. You would need solid backup, and a DH who is 50-50 about childcare responsiboilities when you both work.

expatinscotland Wed 09-Jan-13 20:07:06

Because I used to live and work there, Moknicker, and it's likely they will expect you to live for work for that amount of money. It's also likely you will get no time off or it might be frowned upon.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 20:07:28

They are very young, but not babies. You have got over the most incredibly difficult age. So that's a good thing.

expatinscotland Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:21

The work culture there is very different. I agree with GetOrf, in the UK, I definitely would. In the US, no chance.

GetOrf Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:30

Loads of american colleagues wouldn't take their holiday entitlement, it was incredibly competitive and taking time off was seen as weak. Some corporations you end up married to the company.

ceeveebee Wed 09-Jan-13 20:16:10

I'm sure I will feel similarly indecisive in a couple of years when they turn 3!

If you took the job and decided it wasn't worth it, you can just leave right? Probably on two weeks notice too if what I hear about the US is correct.

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 09-Jan-13 20:34:35

How much does your DH earn ?

Presumably it's as much or more than the $200k, in which case you don't need the money to live on.

I agree with expat I used to work for an American company, one of our hardest workers went over there for a short period, was shocked that the car park was full at 6am, people didn't even use their 10 days a year annual leave.

I couldn't do it, and thats even if I didn't have a DS, but you must be a different breed otherwise they wouldn't have offered it to you. Maybe test the waters for nannies and see what you can come up with.

fanjobiscuits Wed 09-Jan-13 20:35:38

Does the nature of your job mean you could go freelance/consult? Could you find someone to job share it with? Would your husband consider going part-time/sah

OpheliasWeepingWillow Wed 09-Jan-13 20:37:11

Take it is what I would do

howcomes Wed 09-Jan-13 20:43:04

It's said it's easier to find a job when you already have one, so perhaps you should take up this opportunity for now and keep looking, maybe with a foot in the door new roles may come up or at least new contacts?
Good luck to you!

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 20:48:13

theoriginalandbestrookie - no dont need the money to live on but it would GREAT to have and i do feel im am tempting fate by turning it down

Howcomes -agree with that about easier to look with something in hand.

Will the DCs and my home life suffer though = in which case 200k is a too much to pay.

kasbah72 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:50:39

Whereabouts are you and what is the working culture for other Mums in the area? I think that often helps a decision although it shouldn't be the sole basis for your choice.

OK, so the perfect scenarios are:

1. Supernanny found in superquick time. Kids adore her/him, as do you. Supernanny manages to keep that incredibly elusive balance between becoming the perfect nanny without being a mummy-substitute that you resent.
Job is amazing, fewer hours than you expected, money gratefully banked.

Result - Everybody happy so you keep working and reap the emotional, career and financial rewards


2. You turn down the job and immediately become totally, 100% fuilfilled as a stay-at-home mum and always feel a complete sense of relief that you didn't take up the offer.

Result - Everybody happy so you stay out of the job market and don't care.

The reality is more likely to be one of the following:

3. You take the job and love the career/personal fulfilment but supernanny doesn't exist. You are comfortable with some of the compromises but permanently slightly guilty about it for various reasons. She/he/the kids have illness etc that makes for a fraught balancing act between work and home that is exaggerated by the US approach to work/life balance and women that then makes you work harder than anyone to prove your worth.

Result - you stay in the job market, keep your options open for the future and have the oh-so-familiar feeling that you are just about juggling all the balls but permanently afraid that something will drop! You have a small question in your mind whether it is worth it when the kids are upset about you missing shows/play dates/pick ups but feel like you have to stick with the decision for at least a year.

4. You turn down the job and enjoy the pre-school/early school years with the kids but always have a niggle in the back of your mind that you are sacrificing too much for short-term gain that the kids might not even remember.

Result - Although the kids love having you there (because they know no different anyway) and you love investing in full-time family, you find that when you DO try and move back in to the job market, you are downgraded as a prospect to the point that it takes years to get back to where you are today.

5. You don't take this job and hope that the part time position you crave does come to you at some point. It has to be a compromise role because the nature of what you do and who you are up against means that the most fulfilling (in every way) jobs in your sector will only ever be available to full-timers.

Result - you sort of get your cake and eat it but the cake is actually quite stale and not as tasty as you expected. You feel in a no-mans land where you get some of the benefits but not enough to offset the frustrations with missing out on both home and work.

Of course I am generalising with all of the above! But it is worth writing out your versions of each scenario and seeing which one is instinctively more scary or more settling to your gut than than the others.

Good luck!

Moknicker Wed 09-Jan-13 20:55:21

Kasbah 72 - thank you - that focuses the mind.

2 will never happen so that can be dismissed out of hand. I would love 1 to happen but admit its utopia.

Most likely scenarios 3-5.

Hence the question - WWYD?

I would go for it - you have the security of knowing you can walk away if things don't work out.

Also, as you're not American (I assume), then you are more likely (although not guaranteed) to get away with taking the full ten days holidays, and with proving your effectiveness in ways that don't involve presenteeism.

expatinscotland Wed 09-Jan-13 21:01:23

If they are in the US on a visa linked to the DH's job it is probably not possible for him to go part-time or SAHD.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 09-Jan-13 21:09:30

I would not take it.

In the UK, yes. In the US, no. They will expect you to work SUCH long hours. Even working for an American multinational/blue chip in the UK you have to fight the presenteeism and the pressure not to use your full holiday allowance.

How much holiday will you get? 10 days is standard for a new employee.

Kitsilano Wed 09-Jan-13 21:18:29

Personally, I would absolutely not do. 10 days holiday is brutal when your kids are so young.

NatashaBee Wed 09-Jan-13 21:24:03

I wouldn't, purely because of the rubbish holiday allowance in the US and the fact that even if you do manage to land a job with a good holiday allowance, it's frowned upon to actually take it. Most of my team had around 10 vacation days left at the end of 2012 not me though. If I did do it, it would be for a certain amount of time with a set goal in mind - eg saving a certain amount, achieving a certain qualification.

I work full time here but I did negotiate carrying over my UK holiday allowance from the UK branch of the company I work for, and my company has a very good teleworking policy. Plus of course we have no choice if we want to pay the mortgage! If your DH is on a visa, it might also be wise to have your job as a backup in case his doesn't work out, if his role is terminated you'd need to leave the country pretty quickly - but for a salary of 200k I'm guessing you'd be an important employee and your employers would consider bearing the cost of sponsoring you.

JollyToddles Wed 09-Jan-13 21:27:26

If we could comfortably afford for me to be a SAHM then I would do it in a flash. No matter how much money was on the table.

BUT, being a mum full time is what I want to do. It doesn't seem like you are as keen on staying at home as I am smile

You need to make the decision that works for you, not what would work for mw!

I've always had this theory that there are 3 things a couple can have, and they have to choose 2 of them:

1. Kids
2. His career
3. Her career

And if you try for all three, one of them will suffer.


In your case I think I would do it. If the choice is between big high-flying career and SAHM, take the career. Your kids will be miserable if you are. I am so so so much happier since I went back to work - but I'm lucky, interesting job, decent salary, flexible enough around DC requirements. Certainly not the mahoosive salary and 100+ hours a week plus travel in my previous life.

Concentrate on getting some EXCELLENT childcare in place. You need something along the lines of a nanny plus a live-in au pair to give you some you-time on weekends, in case of illness etc. Or housekeeper who can do all the laundry, grocery shopping (very little in the way of online groceries in the US for some reason), taking your clothes to the cleaners, have dinner ready for you to reheat when you get home from the office at 10pm, stocking your medicine cabinet, changing sheets, ironing, etc.

We are a few years ahead of you OP and have tried lots of different combinations. We now have quite a similar set up to the above, would be happy to fill you in more but don't want to be a bore with unnecessary detail grin

Moknicker Thu 10-Jan-13 01:45:22

HeartsTrumpDiamonds - Im very interested in hearing the detail - not boring at all. Your situation sounds ideal!

kasbah72 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:03:49

Honestly? Right now, with kids just a few years older than yours, I would take the job. The money would be attractive but so would my personal sense of worth and my need to contribute to the family financially and emotionally but outside the house.

At the age yours are, I didn't feel ready to do that and deliberately turned away from opportunities. I loved my time at home with them and don't regret it. BUT I will always feel like I am playing catch-up career-wise and that time at home is over very quickly.

Putting my energies in to better childcare options and spending some of that money on other things to make our time together just about us (cleaner, online shopping, fab holidays, odd weekends away, spontaneous meals out) would have been better than a frustrated and slightly cross Mummy at home dealing with day-to-day life. If most of your earnings are not actually needed to pay the bills then use it to make family memories when you are home.

Also, I would be clear with yourself about what you DO need to do with the kids. Can you negotiate one day or one morning working at home each week? You can take them to school and feel part of their lives with very little impact on a working day. Leaving early is something I always find impossible!

I guess the other question to ask is if it is more damaging to your career to continue a break a little longer or take a job you hate and leave within a few months.

Not straightforward and I do really feel for you!

Samnella Thu 10-Jan-13 16:08:20

It would depend on the following:

- The hours. What exactly is full time?
-How much you want to work (I guess you do as you were looking for a job)
- What your childcare would be.
- Whether being at home is affordable.

I was at home for a few years and miserable by the end as we were broke, It was no fun and not worth the sacrifice in my view. I work FT now but it's 9 t0 5 and do-able.

Samnella Thu 10-Jan-13 16:11:01

I agree with everything Kasbah said.

Great post from Kasbah.

Moknicker I'll PM you this evening!

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 10-Jan-13 17:58:22

Something I just thought of. I have relatives in the US and they tend to freelance so they can have more holidays. As you're good enough to be offered £200k job then could you pick up consultancy work instead which means you could control the flow of it?

ChildoftheMonkeyBasket Thu 10-Jan-13 18:01:39

How about negotiating more holiday and less pay?

Moknicker Thu 10-Jan-13 21:15:47

theoriginalandbestrookie - I have been looking at freelance jobs but because ive just moved here i dont have the contacts needed to do that. I have spoken to a couple of people but .....

ChildoftheMonkeyBasket: Yes that is one option i will look at - thanks

Hearts - look forward to your PM.

Its interesting - responses are split down the middle.

deleted203 Thu 10-Jan-13 21:24:50

I think you should take the job.

You say that you 'really enjoy your job and value your career'.

You say that you' worked really hard to get where you are, against all the odds, and you don't want to throw it all away'.

You also say you don't think you are cut out for being a SAHM - the idea scares you.

Based on this, I would say go for the job, and find a great nanny if possible. I think you would be bored and resentful stuck at home with the children and that you would find it difficult to get back into a career at this level if you take several years out to be at home with the kids. I don't think there is any reason why, if you have a fulfilling, well paid, exciting career that you love and are good at that any woman should feel as though she should HAVE to give it up and stay at home with kids. No one would expect a man to do this. And I think you will be a better mother, and a happier one, if you are fulfilling your career dreams, rather than being stuck at home with small children out of some vague feeling of guilt that you should be.

Moknicker Thu 10-Jan-13 21:30:54

sowornout (love the name) - For myself I have no doubt taking the job is the right thing. However, Im just nervous that it is doing the kids an injustice - leaving them in full care of a nanny 5 days a week, ie most of the time.

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 10-Jan-13 21:43:51

Yes, I would. I would accept that a big chunk of the salary s going on some seriously good child care, and I would do the job for 12 months then review.

I don't know which profession you're in, but a job at that level just might not be on offer to you in a couple of years when the children are at school.

At least if you gave it a go you would know that you have tried, rather than wondering "what if?"

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 10-Jan-13 21:46:41

Moknicker - full time child care is really not the worst thing in the world if you can find the right person / nursery

deleted203 Thu 10-Jan-13 22:38:18

Honestly? (Love your name, too, actually!) I don't think it is an injustice. I'm a teacher (secondary) and I've got 5 kids. I was lucky enough to take the time off and stay at home with them when they were small (now aged 7 - 20s) and, do you know what? None of them remembers or cares, actually! However, I was a SAHM because I WANTED to be (hmmm...choice of teenage thugs in a rough secondary modern or playing with little people at home??? ). I do, actually, enjoy my job. But I wanted to be at home with pre-schoolers more. However, that was my choice and NONE OF THEM HAVE EVER THANKED ME! grin. I think as long as you have good full time nanny care and you spend quality time with them at weekends they will be happy. Because you will be. You have said that for you you have no doubt that taking the job is the right thing. Happy children need happy mothers - not bored, unfulfilled ones who are looking wistfully out the window and wishing they were doing anything else rather than reading The Hungry Caterpillar for the 114th time.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 11-Jan-13 08:07:08

We aren't talking about a regular job though where you'd be home in time for dinner most days and get to tuck the children into bed. At that salary in the Us ( and to be fair) in the UK as well they will expect 14-16 hr days, with logging on at the weekend or going into the office for a few hours as well. Your DH will also be in the same position as presumably his position is even higher paying.

You will quite literally not see your children during the week. I'm not saying that to be alarmist it's just the truth.

Having said that though if you really want it then you should go for it, but you will need to get an uber Nanny to cover those sort of hours.

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 08:13:46

I think I'd take it.
But if you asked me when I actually had a 3+2yo in the house I would have said no to it.
No help at all, am I?

ceeveebee Fri 11-Jan-13 08:43:27

Do men have similar reservations when offered a £200k job I wonder? I can't imagine many men at that senior level get to tuck their DC in at night either

Snog Fri 11-Jan-13 08:46:04

Moknicker what would you hours be, would you have weekends free and what would your holiday be?
Lots of people are speculating on the answers to these questions but presumably you have the facts on this already - what are they?

Will you work 9-5 with a 5 minute commute and work from home 2 days a week or will you work 12 hour days and w/ends and take no holiday?

Vagndidit Fri 11-Jan-13 08:54:11

That is a massive MASSIVE salary in the States and I would think that such a job probably entails a hell of a lot of commitment and workload
DSil is an executive type and makes well above 6 figures but she also spends 4 days/week travelling around the US, works 14 hour days and rarely sees the family. They have beautiful things, large house, etc but zero family time.

LillianGish Fri 11-Jan-13 09:07:27

I think you should ignore the fact that the job pays £200K - you've already said you can afford not to work. You don't say what the job is, but I think the question you need to ask is do you really love it enough - enough to spend most of your time (14 hours a day with only ten days holiday if what we've read on here is to be believed) doing it. The £200k will enable you to pay for wrap-around childcare which is great if that's what you want. With only ten days holiday (is this confirmed?) you'll scarcely be able to squeeze in a trip home to the UK let alone anything else. Your dilemma seems to me to be the perfect illustration of women not being able to "have it all". What would a man do? Well a man wouldn't expect to be able to "have it all" in the first place so he wouldn't face the the same dilemma. Kasbah puts it best in her original post.

Bonsoir Fri 11-Jan-13 09:09:17

First of all, have you calculated what your net net marginal increase in family income will be, after taxes, childcare, cleaner etc? And does that amount of cash compensate you adequately for missing your DCs?

expatinscotland Fri 11-Jan-13 09:16:05

'With only ten days holiday (is this confirmed?) you'll scarcely be able to squeeze in a trip home to the UK let alone anything else.'

Believe me, having worked for people who made that kind of money in the US, even if you have that holiday allowance, you won't be taking it!

Uber nanny? You may actually need two, one for day and one for night, if both you and your DH have such jobs.

expatinscotland Fri 11-Jan-13 09:17:53

And YY to what Bonsoir says. Don't forget to add in things like clothes, laundry service/dry cleaner, hair care, manicure, other things attached to a job like that.

Chislemum Fri 11-Jan-13 09:18:20

take the job and see how it goes?

wordfactory Fri 11-Jan-13 09:25:09

There are many variables here OP.

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)?

Second, if you did take an extended period from your career, how easy/difficult would it be to get back into it?

Third, how reliable/good is the child care available?

Fourth, what does your partner think? Always better if you both feel the same? Will your relationship work better or worse if you work.

Fifth, what are the realistic hours/environment for such a highly paid job?

FWIW, I reached a stage when my DC were young where I gave up a similarly paid position. It became unteneable for our family. Now I don't regret it because DH earns silly money, I carved out a new career and life,childcare was a nightmare and DH is pretty supportive whatever I do (certainly didn't exect me to be uber-wife when I stayed at home, and happy to much in when I work)... but the realitry is that old career is dead in the water.

WiseKneeHair Fri 11-Jan-13 09:25:58

OP, I have no experience or knowledge of USA, so can't comment on that.
However, I was also working part time when my FT dream job came up sooner than ideal i.e. my DC were 16 months, 5 and 7.
It involved a move of house, city and schools, but we did it.

Result? I love my job, we have money for a Nanny (who is absolutely brilliant and much better at messy play, baking, swimming, etc than I ever was), and a cleaner.
DC are happy, we are happy. I miss my friends from our old town more than the DC do because they have moved on and made new friends easier than I have.

However, I have flexibility. I can work in excess of 80 hours some weeks, including weekends, but only 40 others. I am senior enough that I can nip out for a class assembly (sometimes) and take the DC to school when one is ill. DH is also as involved in child care, household care as I am, so we are a partnership. I would be a bit more worried if you don't have some flexibility at work or your DH isn't able to partake in child/household care.

As you know, at the end of the day, only you can make the decision. However, if you turn the job down, there is no going back. If you accept it and it doesn't work, you can always quit.
Good luck with whichever decision you make.

wordfactory Fri 11-Jan-13 09:29:43

DH and I have both worked in the US, and to be honest, the culture was better than I expected.

Certainly we took all our holiday entitlement. And of course the Americans get a lot more stat days than us! We finished much earlier too!

Not too different working a demanding job in the UK. And certainly no different from being self employed when if you don't work...you don't eat!

Bonsoir Fri 11-Jan-13 09:36:51

Funnily enough, the Americans (and I am thinking hot shot NY lawyers) I know in Paris think that the Parisian working day is very long indeed. The French working year is, of course, a lot shorter than the American one.

Same is true of schools: French DCs do long days but relatively few of them.

Different cultures...

wordfactory Fri 11-Jan-13 09:51:20

What I found the most different is working culture was that the firm was part of your social life. Families knew one another and hung out. I suppose some wd find it friendly but I found it a bit too much.

Bonsoir Fri 11-Jan-13 09:53:33

I worked in an American firm in Paris and it was a bit invasive for me, too. And leaving was hard because all your social life was wrapped up with your colleagues.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

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.

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