Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
SAHM feeling a bit useless/belittled(87 Posts)
Apologies for length.
Hi, am looking for advice about things I can do to resolve/improve our situation. I will pre emptively say that I know we are materially v v lucky and I appreciate this. I just would like to make the relationship side better.
Been with DH 10 years, married 5, 2 DC, 4yDD & 7moDS. Rented house in London.
We both went to Cambridge, he came out with a 1st in maths, me with a 2.1 in history When we met, post Uni, we were both jobless but I'd had, and left, a fairly well paid consulting job whereas he was looking to enter banking.
10 years on he is on a v v good wage. I have has a fairly chequered career having had several different jobs which I've not stuck out. Retrained as a therapist, then had DC1 as planned, and then, after 18 months of trying DC2. DH works fairly long hours and is away anroad fairly often. I am in charge of house stuff, making him packed lunch, dinner and children. DD attends nursery 3 short days a week. I am meant to be in charge of savings too.
I'd always wanted to be a mum. Pretty much sum total of my ambitions, both of us had SAHMs but mine is now breadwinner and my dad retired. His Ma never went back and has probably suffered a bit for that (in terms of esteem and stimulation I would guess).
DH has always planned to leave after 10-12 years. He'd never had the Dream of banking, tho' has enjoyed the intellectual challenge etc.. He is a keen tax payer(!), mentors kids etc., we tithe his base salary. In short he is, honestly, not a tosser in an environment where most of his colleagues are to some degree.
He is frustrated that I am not working, and especially that I did not work when we were trying for DC2 (I kept thinking that the next cycle would be The One, etc.).
We are saving money so that he can leave his job, we can buy a house without a mortgage and he can go back to Uni. Again, I know this is exceptionally lucky. Plan is that then we will both work, I think I'll try to do therapy stuff in evenings but maybe look to be a teaching assistant or something. If we have DC3 then I'll probably stay at home until they are 3 or 4. Unless DH can fit it around his work/study.
I have not been good at managing savings. In fact I don't think I've been v good value as a SAHM. Children happy and fed, washing (so much washing, done) but house chaotic (and this is with cleaner), helper twice a week for 3 hours to help with bedtime, but our paperwork etc. us still disorganised. Lots of his colleagues have v v glam wives and I am not..
He is a brilliant dad, really involved and imaginative. Other people's kids look him out at parties and in the park. He'd be a brilliant nursery worker if we could afford for him to do that! So he is good at his job and good with the kids.
All came to a head last night when I made a comment about a friend whose child had starred school and before I could even finish the sentence he snapped "you'd just get a job if that were you", obviously this is something that he is v stressed about. But it feels every time I say anything he is looking to score a point or criticise me (eg if I say how proud I am of thr DC or something, so I end up hedging my comments or self censoring). We dont get much time together anyway, our sex life is dead after TTC misery and the incredible never sleeping baby. He comes home and often still works over dinner time. Or watches sport on the iPad, I'll mumsnet or grocery order etc. next to him
So...and if you have managed to read this far thank you, what can I do?
We used to be v good at talking through everything and being kind to each other. I feel belittled and I think he feels unsupported. We both believe in marriage being forever and getting through stuff but would prefer not to be looking at 60 years of misery ahead of us.
T I A!
I'll come back to this I've been/am in a similar situation but without the high earner DH.
Thank you! I feel a bit rudderless so would be v appreciative of an opinion. Not really something I want to dixcuss IRL.
Oops just saw "am in" not just past tense then. Hope it's resolving for you
I think you are at the worst point, it's very hard to have very small dc and do a rewarding part time job. I work 4 days a week with one small dc and it's exhausting and we do argue more, I can just see the strain of a second dc (and you to the strain that ttc puts on a rlnsp). Honestly, if you're not saving enough and he wants a career change, stop tithing his salary until you can afford for him to quit. Personally I'd get myself a job in your situation as all the family members who've been sahm's have paid a huge price in respect. He won't realise how hard it is until he has to do it. Sympathies op, I think you have to sit him down and make some plans and be honest about how you feel he's treating you.
The main thing that struck me reading your post is that most of it is about you feeling rudderless and lacking much sense of purpose about your own life.
Then I came to the bit about your relationship right at the end.
I can see that there is an issue there - rubbish sex life and tiredness with little kids, slightly lost connection. It's basically textbook marriage with small kids stuff.
But I wonder if there is more of a problem with you (NOT meant as a criticism) - that you aren't sure what work you should do, that you are clever but have never found your vocation/direction, that you don't want to be left like your MIL with no status but aren't sure what you contribute.
You have a LOT of good things to say about your husband, but you seem a lot less sure about the good things about yourself and what you contribute.
That's more of an observation than an opinion, I suppose. Maybe you could just talk this one out a little bit?
I'm not sure you really know what your exact issue is yet.
When our first was born we both decided that DW would be a SAHM. This was 14yrs ago and I was earning around £16k a year. We knew it would be tough but managed to budget so that we had around £50 a month in our pockets. We were blessed with a small mortgage which made it easier.
We now have 2 DS (14 & 10)
Thinks....i need to make up a new acronym for teenage children.
So...I digress, and my DW is still a SAHM.
It's no biggie for us, we deal with it but DW does regret not going back to work.
She finds, on a few occasions through the week, herself alone in the house, a bit bored.
She misses adult company as most of her time is spent with DC.
Occasionaly she does get some work covering holidays as a receptionist, she loves it. It gives meaning to her life now to go back out to work on the few occasions she does.
You have plenty of time to go back to work if you want to. Your youngest isn't even a yr old yet.
My advice, if I was in your position. Plan to go back to work in a year or two. You won't regret it.
At this stage I think it's normal to feel a bit belittled. My DW did. and all we can do is support you through this. Being a SAHM is no easy job, It's a full time, 24/7 job. Don't beat yourself up over it. All you SAHM's are fantastic, and I really mean that.
You are both intelligent people, sit down together and set out a plan for your future, you seem to have DH's future plan sorted, define yours now.
Good luck xxxx
"you seem to have DH's future plan sorted, define yours now."
Yy to this, I think that is very good advice
It's always difficult in these situations to advise because only when you're in the relationship do you know the best way to approach a conversation. And I really think that a series of heart to hearts is what is needed here.
If it was me and DH I would find some time when we could be alone (DC in bed or out at GPs) and say "I'm worried about us. Can we talk?" And then explain how I was feeling, how I worried about how he was feeling and the effect it was having on the relationship.
What do you want? I would definitely put a pin in the DC3 idea for now. If your DH is unhappy in his job and wants to retrain then I'd say your next priority would have to be taking on some of the financial responsibility. If you feel being a SAHM has not made use of your strengths then you won't feel fulfilled an he is probably not seeing the best in you.
I would also tell him what you need from him so that you feel respected and valued. Tell him how much you value him incase he is feeling similar.
My advice is TALK TALK TALK and make a plan to move forward.
If communication is something you struggle with would you consider couples counselling as a way of facilitating opening up about how you both feel?
Agree with PP you don't seem sure what you want just now.
I am happy in my marriage though - we don't get a lot of, ahem private time, but it's lovely and we still like each other
When DH and I met we both did the same job and earned essentially the same salary. I have been a SAHM the last 2 years. I don't like it really. It is convenient for some things - eg can always say yes to school events and children's parties and I can go shopping/to the bank/whatever while the children are at school.
But I liked working and loved earning my own money - I was very independent before the children (as in I bought the house before we met, I do all the bills, etc. Lived alone happily)
But I had a proper job and I want to be doing it. I am a crap housewife. I was good at my job.
A few thoughts - DH says you can get a job. How kind of him. Is he offering to share the workload at home to make it possible for you to work?
Will you be expected to arrange and pay for all childcare while DH just plods along doing nothing different?
I am going back to work very shortly and I am looking forward to it. Just PT. DH's life will be changing to accommodate it. He already does lots with the DCs but he will be doing more. At the moment he is quite 'well looked after' by me - I make his packed lunch, do pretty much everything to 'organise' stuff and so on. But he appreciates it, knows I am choosing to do it, and doesn't take the piss.
Thank you for being so kind and helpful. Has made me cry!
I think you are right, I never really have a plan. My parents didn't either (but are sloggers rather than work dodgers which is what I am scared I am). I retrained and do love the therapy work that I do- tho' I probably have a session only once a month or so atm as I have dialled it all down a bit but we are doubting whether it will work when we move out of London. Thanks andy too for the thoughts about your DW, that is helpful to have shared.
I will put some thought into future roles and maybe that way I can be a bit more reassuring to DH so he can feel he can ease off a bit. I am very very good at networking people and hooking people up and setting up social groups and making nights out/kids events/clubs happen.
Thank you again, I really appreciate the outside input.
Was also dreading unhelpful LTB/stop being such a drip responses
I do sympathise I've never had a plan, also did history and then consulting, still stuck in a job that's not quite right! I know dh finds it annoying as he's working very hard and I can in theory 'do anything' or at least anything that fits with him working 6 days a week and travelling good luck op!
YY, we were v good at talking, we used to talk our way through everything. I need to think how we can get a few quality (not catatonic with exhaustion) hours to talk through. I even found our old talking books recently where we used to write out things separately and then discuss. I think I even mentioned wanting respect for SAHMwork (just got to find where DC1 might have hidden it amidst the chaos...).
I think I am a v good mother, but a shocking housewife. I don't have good systems and we have too much junk. I will chat to DH about how he has more quality time with a single DC at the weekend BECAUSE I have been slogging all week so he doesn't have to do house stuff.
Problem is tweetytwat that I don't really have a career o go back to and he earns 20x what I earnt in my last poxy job. So he couldn't takes any slack atm.
I think I probably need to look at what I can do and craft my plan and then have a good talk with him and definitely raise that I understand he is also not feeling happy or supported enough either.
Look, not everyone has a plan.
I'm a demon for making plans all the time, but some of life's best people are the ones who can just let life happen to them.
If your husband is a planner, maybe you need to talk to him about appreciating that you are just not like that and never will be?
"I am very very good at networking people and hooking people up and setting up social groups and making nights out/kids events/clubs happen."
Those are very, very valuable (and pretty rare) abilities.
Honestly, people who have those qualities are always in demand.
You just need to figure out what you would like to do with them.
"I know dh finds it annoying as he's working very hard and I can in theory 'do anything' or at least anything that fits with him working 6 days a week and travelling"
And this is where I think you need to get stern with him.
You have many qualities, but you are a human being with flaws and it's not cool for him to find it "annoying" that you are not a planner.
In fact, that's not even a flaw, it's just a characteristic. And he loves you, so he needs to appreciate that about you and stop bitching about it.
It's bogus that you could "do anything" while his (lucrative) career is prioritised.
He needs to start appreciating your many very good points and stop hassling you to be more like him.
"I think I am a v good mother, but a shocking housewife."
You sound like my Mum. A lot like her actually.
Everyone adores her, because she's so lovely
YANBU. This could be my story (minus the domestic help ).
I agree with Hermione there is a high price to pay for being a SAHM - and that is the loss of respect. When you have had a career and earned your own money, it is a shock to realise that you are seen as a glorified housekeeper when you become a SAHM and just good for cooking, cleaning and picking up dry cleaning.
When we moved out of London I gave up a job that I was good at and paid a decent wage to be a SAHM. Now that my youngest will be starting school I am more than ready to get back into the world of work. God knows what as!
My husband conveniently forgets that if it wasn't for me resigning and dealing with all the children/school/house/admin stuff, he wouldn't be able to devote his time to his £££ career or been able to leave London and stride around like the lord of the manor in this house.
And I hate being financially dependent on someone else. I need to get back to work to reclaim an identity out of the home. I have started doing a Microsoft Office course to bring my IT skills up to date.
Well I was a real planner, Right up to the "children in September '09, sept '11 and sept '13. I don't think I'd really thought what happened after that!
And actually, I planned everything for our first six years and was Organiser in Chief, especially when DH was having his fun Initiation of Fire 16hr-days year at work. So maybe he also feels a bit weird that I'm not telling him what happens now. This is all really helpful.
Hermione, I feel a bit of a fraud, I chose history as a proxy for a weirdy, and more identifiable, oxbridge degree. But as to husband who thinks you should be able to do anything, yy. Touching but slightly scary faith!
Anyone who doesn't respect you because you are a SAHM just doesn't respect you at all.
I am an accidental housewife really. Also would say I'm a good mum, and DH is a good dad.
But he also works irregular days/shifts that are very hard to work around for childcare - ie the gaps are when paid childcare doesn't exist unless you have a nanny or aupair - neither of which we have room for.
Right, am off to tidy for the cleaner- I love her too much to make her excavate her way to the floor. I wii revisit later but will also start thinking all this through.
For me a lot of it is also having the SAHM/WOHM debate with myself . The inescapable guilt that whatever we do is wrong.
I feel that working is a better role model for my children, I hate that the DCs see me as the muggins who just gets them bathed and into bed every night and washes the clothes and have no concept of me as a working person.
But it's hard to do all the 'mum' stuff that I would like to do if I am at work - the baking for school, the taking them out, etc. But lots of those are easier to do with more money coming in too. Can't win. So just got to do what we can I suppose.
<wanders off singing "you can always rely on the kindness of strangers" à la Marge Simpson in the streetcar musical>
"The inescapable guilt that whatever we do is wrong. "
But really, whatever we do is RIGHT.
If you are at home you get to do lots of cool stuff, life is a little less stretched at the edges, you are more flexible and in a better position to respond to stuff as it comes up.
If you work then maybe you like your job, or maybe you earn useful money that can buy nice stuff or things to do.
The great thing about the SAH/WOH argument is that there is no wrong answer.
And also that no answer has to be forever.
If you are doing your best (and failing a good part of the time, but trying nevertheless) then you are Doing the Right Thing.
I sort of know that . But I have also got a bit of the 'If you keep doing what you're doing, you will keep getting what you are getting' going on at the moment.
I need things to change but it's very hard on a practical level to actually change them? IYKWIM. Unless anyone knows of a local nursery that's open until 9pm of course Then it's all easy.
Sometimes I wish I'd married someone with a 9-5 job. But I quite like DH and we are used to each other now
I couldn't train up another one
A lot of your post resonates with me. I am an okay Mum, but a crap housewife. I'm good at interior design but rubbish at the day to day drudgery. I loathe washing and washing and cleaning and wiping and putting away toys and more toys and more toys and the groundhog day relentlessness of it all. We also have too much crap and I just never feel on top of it.
I used to be good at my well-paid job but gave it up to be a SAHM. I still think it was the right decision - we couldn't have both worked v long hours, with travel etc. and spent as much time with the kids as I wanted. But the lack of financial independence, the worry about the impression I'm giving to my kids about being in charge of all the crap whilst Daddy does his important job etc, does affect me.
I fell into doing something part-time that I do mainly from home, with the odd weekend work out of the house, that started as a hobby. It is very part-time, and the impact on our household income is relatively minimal, but I like the fact it gives me a focus other than the children (and the sodding housework) and that when I work weekends DH and I get to swap roles a bit.
I do feel that DH is sometimes pissed off at me because he comes home and the kitchen is a mess, but genuinely doesn't realise that I do some of the other stuff I do for the family. There are lots of jobs that he doesn't just not do, but I'm pretty sure doesn't realise they exist iyswim?
I'm not really sure i have that many answers for you....but just wanted to say I know where you're coming from. I guess I'm lucky that my DH isn't pushing me to get a job. I think you need to talk though. He is naive if he thinks that after several years out of the workplace you would get anything that would pay particularly well, especially after childcare costs. I have 10 years experience as an accountant with a Big 4 / FTSE 100 background but after 5 years out my earning capacity is a fraction of what it was.
You'll figure it out
YY pootle. The job I am going to pays about a third less ph than my last one Deskilled. No longer flexible. <sobs> I would be flexible except I'm pretty sure I can't leave the children on their own for about the next 10 years
If your DH continues in his current job (I realise this is not the plan) then give up any idea of going back to work as your job will always be a poor second and you won't be able to have any kind of interesting senior position. Instead, ditch the guilt and enjoy what you have - time at home with DC, money for a cleaner (increase her hours) and some free time in the future. Forge your own interests but don't worry about them earning money (if your salary is likely to be 1/20 of your DH's then there is no point). Make yourself project manager of holidays, schools, renovation projects, start a sport or join a choir, volunteer for a charity, write a book, try cordon bleu cookery. But you need to get DH on board ie it's no good you doing that if he doesn't respect you for it. I know many Oxbridge couples like you but 15 years down the line. In one, the DH says daily to his DW how lucky he is to have her at home caring for their DC (who are now large semi adult men) and taking care of everything at home, and she is very happy, and I know others where the woman is miserable because she has no respect from her DH. It is a fact that women in Oxbridge couples are more likely to be not working than other groups as their DH's, like yours, are often in highly paid uber jobs. 2 parents in uber jobs doesn't work, and there is little point in one parent having a play job. Not sure of the complete solution tbh but I do know you need to get DH to respect that you "as a team" have made whatever decision you have. How willing would he have been for you to continue consulting while he gave up his banking job to look after toddlers? Thought not. Don't beat yourself up for not being a good housekeeper. You don't need to be and you never applied for that job. Employ one.
OP you have mentioned having another child but it seems like that would be going against all the other plans you and DH have. I'm not saying don't have another child but I do wonder if this is the wisest course to follow when you already have 2 children and both of you seem intent on changing/developing new careers.
Why don't you sit down one evening with your husband, open a bottle of wine and just talk about YOU TWO as people. Not as parents, not as spouses and not as employees but as people. You need to reconnect and this will only happen over time - after all you didn't disconnect (sorry if the word isn't right but it's the best I could think of!) overnight so it will take some time to rebuild things.
What is it that DH really wants for him? What is it you really want for you? How can those two things be reconciled together whilst maintaining a marriage and family? What do you both need as well as want?
I don't think anyone can tell you what you MUST do to get back on track but hopefully there's some questions here which you can both address and then get talking from here.
BTW don't worry about having a "plan" as such. Part of the beauty of life is not knowing what will happen next - enjoy the journey don't just focus on the destination (the view always ends up being a bit crappy anyway!). Good luck.
I am very very good at networking people and hooking people up and setting up social groups and making nights out/kids events/clubs happen
I agree with JOinyourplayfellows - 'Those are very, very valuable (and pretty rare) abilities.'
So when exactly is he planning on going back to uni - in 2years time?
I wouldn't say that going back to work is the best plan when you have a 7 month old. But you shouldn't be living in chaos if you have help in the house. I found a great book - feng shui guide to decluttering, sadly I don't know the full details but this one looks similar book . And clearing out was like a huge weight off my shoulders, so really worth trying.
Does he realize that your childcare costs will eat up most of your much-lower-than-his salary? So some of the savings will be needed to live on I should think.
Hi OP you sound very similar to me and my situation, in a lot of ways. I was very academic, and went to a top university, but lacked direction and fell into a career in London, which didn't really suit me, but by the time I realised that it didn't seem worth making the change at 25, since I knew we would TTC before I was 30, and I always knew I wanted to be SAHM for a few years, and with the naivety of youth, thought it would be very straightforward to get back to work when my youngest was 'old enough' (whatever that meant ) My DCs are 6, 3, and 20m. DP and I have relationship 'issues' at the moment. Our 20mo has also been the incredible never-sleeping baby since birth, coupled with some overlap with the 3yo where both were waking us all through the night, every night. Tiredness leads to irritation about everything. He may not really feel how it seems, just lashing out on the only person he can lash out at. Life with v young children is very hard, especially with bad sleeper/s, don't underestimate the effect that will be having on you both.
Luckily for me, though, DP is always supportive of the job that I do with the children ... he realises that we would have to pay someone else a lot of money to enable me to work, and we both feel the same about not wanting them in childcare when they're very young. If you do go back to work, would your potential earnings be so high that you would actually be in net credit to a worthwhile amount? As a teaching assistant I wouldn't have thought so...
So presumably it's about something other than money for your DP. Does he think that you would be more attractive (in all ways) generally as a 'worker' rather than a mum - having to make more effort to look glam, made-up,
non-sick-stained ? Is conversation mostly restricted to parenting-type subjects? Does he think your life is easier than his? Has he walked in your shoes for a week - that worked wonders when DP had a little phase of thinking he had drawn the short straw as the breadwinner - he now realises being at work is a much quieter life
You're very vague in the OP about what you want. You CAN do anything, if you REALLY want to. Nothing will be easy, but you have the abilities, it's just about getting the motivation, and a clear idea of what you want from your career, life, etc. If what you want is to be a really lovely mum, be an interesting person who doesn't have a 'kudos' career, but has enough money to spend a lot of time accumulating new and exciting knowledge/skills etc, then do that, I think that would be a worthwhile life, if you've got the luxury to afford it. Or re-train, if money and status is what will do it for you. Doing neither will never satisfy you. GL
I think you are just looking for respect either for yourself or from your husband and if you keep doing what makes you unhappy - you will never have it.
it is incredibly important to be good at something in our lives - either paid or unpaid.
I was a SAHM too for several years after a good career and a degree. I found myself floundering and wasn't a good house keeper. I feel i did a good job with the kids - but most of the time i wasn't all that bothered with the rest of it.
I fond myself in unfulfilling part time jobs when they started school and eventually had to admit i needed to work out what i could do well and discover a way to do it.
I am now a freelance writer and work full time from home. it uses my brain and has been a huge success. I can't earn what my husband does, but I have a flexible life which makes me happy. he doesn't complain (much) about the money - but every now and then i have to pull my finger out and improve things.
Work is important and unless you do it yourself, no one will do it for you. Discover your talent and way to make it work for you. Get some self respect back and you will feel better about your relationship too.
Sorry but I'm not surprised your husband feels put out. You're a SAHM to only 2 children, one of whom is at nursery some the time and you still need a cleaner and a bedtime helper [sceptical]
And why wouldn't you get a job while ttc?
Can I ask why you didn't buy? Renting in London as opposed to buying is going to cost you an awful lot more. Not really getting as to why you are saving money to buy a house outright. Or why your dh is planning on leaving his well paying job so he can go to uni.
I would think you are feeling rudderless as you not only do not own your own home but this 10 year plan does not make for a settled family life.
Definitely get your finances in control. I have a large file and a ledger which I put down what we owe in total, what we owe on a monthly basis what has been paid that month and a carry forward figure.
At the moment with 2 little ones you cannot possibly work full time or even part time away from the home especially if dp isn't in the country,(my dp works similar job in London and flies off every few weeks to some weird and wonderful destination.) Presumably if you did get a job you would have no back up if say one child was to go down sick. At such a young age if they go to nursery or school, they come down with every bug going. Even when they start school you have to consider illness x 2 or 3. And believe me they don't coincide their colds, chicken pox outbreaks and every other illness going to suit your full time job. And the cost of childcare especially for one under 1 year is astronomical.
If you are looking to start your own therapy business then why not try to start small and do little bits here and there to get it going.
I think your dp is giving mixed messages and not thinking of the consequences. That is also feeding into your general unhappiness.
1. Get a job. What job? If the plan is to move any time soon out of London there doesn't seem much point and who is going to look after the little ones whilst your at work and he is out of the country when they get sick.
2. You want to do your therapy business but fully appreciate there is no business out of London. But dp has obviously set his heart on moving to a place where your therapy business will struggle.
3. He wants to go back to uni and give up his job. Sorry but this seems strange for a married guy in his 30's with kids.
I think you both need to sit down and talk.
Why can't dh do an open university course and keep his job until he is qualified.
Why don't you buy a place in London and settle here. I wasn't brought up in London but came down 30 years ago. We did move for quite a while to the countryside but decided it was no place to bring up children so moved back 16 years ago. In the meantime get your therapy business or what ever you want to do off the ground.
I can fully understand about the washing. It is never ending, if my machine does not go off at least once to twice per day then the laundry mountain needs crampons to negotiate.
"it is incredibly important to be good at something in our lives - either paid or unpaid."
Yes, I really, really agree with this from whatdoes.
Look, this may not be a popular opinion, but you have 2 children, nursery, a cleaner and a helper and your house and lifestyle is still chaotic?
Get organised, that will probably cheer your DH up a bit. In his position I'd be less than impressed. Perhaps if home life is easier and less chaotic he will let up on the job talk a bit.
I don't mean to be nasty but with all due respect you sound a bit flaky. Pull yourself together and do something well (eg the house). If you want a job, go get one, but I think you need to decide what it is you want to do and then go do it. You have all the means to do this well, I'm sure there aren't many SAHMs out there with money, cleaners and home helps.
I also think your DH may be keeping on about you getting a job as he wants to feel that he is getting some sort of equal contribution from you. If the home set up was up to scratch, he may not have so many issues around the job situation.
Warning: I am c. 10 yrs older than you, married to a banker and cynical.
Is your Dh really going to leave banking? Really? really really really? Because this is how I've seen it happen
Banker does 10-15 years of banking
Banker forgets what it's like to live on under half a mill a year
Banker decides to leave rat race
Banker retrains to worthy career - usually teacher
Banker starts new job
Banker realises that new job is as long hours, just as much crap and politics, less respect, and critically, 95% less money than banking
Banker begs former employer for job back
Banker gets mercilessly ribbed by trading floor and employer never quite forgets that he once quit to run a vineyard/ knit own yoghurt etc.
What I'm slightly struggling with is whether your DH wants you to work because he thinks that when he quits the rat race you'll need two incomes, or whether he wants a wife that works. How do you see it?
So clearly, OP, your problem is that you are an inadequate wife
FGS people doesn't what she wants matter just a little bit? Play job? Not worth bothering for pin money? I feel like I fell asleep and woke up in the 1950s.
Going back to work isn't just about the money - it's also about your identity, being seen in society, self worth, feeling you are doing something useful and interesting at least some of the time, pension contributions, maintaining a career, feeling fulfilled.
There may be a little bit of self sabotage going on. And certainly a bit of sabotage/general undermining from the DH here (Well I might retrain, we might move, what's the point?)
Thank you all. Yes, I can see he is unimpressed by me, I am too if that helps.
I have started logging spending and we have tackled the historic financial paperwork.
I think I will start trying to declutter in a more consistent way. Hopefully having our shiny new filing system should help.
Bedtime helper will go soon, she was a stopgap so that DC1 could have some attention with all the cluster feeding etc. as I felt she was getting a bit of a raw deal fun wise with her new sibling.
And I have started on my annual CPD so am listening to lectures (online) and feeling a bit more enthused. At least it is another intellectual dimension, even if it is not long term career sustainable.
Thanks all, still mulling. I do like the being good at something comment. I always think professional competence is an appealing trait, but you are right, it doesn't even need to be professional.
Yes, I can see he is unimpressed by me, I am too if that helps.
Don't say that and don't apologise for having help. There are no prizes for enduring crappy bedtime dramas on a daily basis. I remember when DD was born and I spent the first day thinking "yeah, I'm so on it with this 2 child thing" and then bedtime came and it all went tits up.
Anyway, enough about me . Whilst tackling the clutter is always good (you're never going to regret it at least) I think you're in danger of skirting the central issue.
You need to sit down with your DH and have a "what's the plan?" talk in terms of jobs, moving, buying a house, are you having another child because these things may not be mutually compatible. In particular, his expectations that you work right now might not be realistic if he wants you to actually make money. If it's not about money, what is it about?
I'm surprised by some of the more negative comments, having two small dc is hard. Just sit down and keep talking until you get to the bottom of it. Good luck op!
Listen caramel. There are two issues here.
1. You are clearly clever and articulate. You are also well educated. You seem to me to be saying that you need to do something outside the home in order to be fulfilled in the longer term. There is nothing wrong with that. It becomes especially important as the kids get older and eventually - too soon - leave home. You are having a bit of a crisis of confidence by not having found the one job you love and would enjoy.
2. Your relationship is at a bit of a low ebb. This is almost certainly partly normal and to do with babies and lack of sleep and feeling slightly out of control domestically. On top of that you had a stressful time getting dc2 which probably made sex seem like a bit of a chore. Your DH has clearly picked up on your dissatisfaction with your working/not working and that is also becoming an issue. The two things feed into each other I expect, because you feel he isn't supporting you in your efforts to work out whether you want to work and if so doing what, and he probably thinks all this is more stressful than he thought it would be.
So. My advice.
You don't sound passionate about therapy. You also don't seem to need a job that brings in 6 figures. Nor, probably, can you commit to a job which is super full on as you have a baby and may want another soon. Also that won't help your stress levels. I suspect you are too bright to do a pointless mcJob a la sainsburys and why would you? So you need to think about either a) studying something you love for the sake of it or vocationally. This can be done flexibly, will increase your self worth, give you an outlet and my lead to a job. Also you can afford to do it. Do a masters in something and see where it leads; or b) do some worthwhile voluntary work. Become a Samaritan. Become a magistrate. Something like that. Both of those will complement your interest in therapy. Worthwhile, can be done flexibly, gets you into the community and looking out, will give you skills you can convert into the workplace later if necessary, intellectually stimulating.
Alternatively if you are passionate about therapy, set up your own practice and run it flexibly with a few clients.
Now your relationship. I think you should book two flights to a city you haven't been to together and a good hotel room with a big bed. Get granny to hold the fort for a few days. Take him away, for at least three nights. Walk, go to museums, drink cocktails, eat well, talk talk talk talk. Talk about the future, talk about your wishes and dreams, reconnect. Also have sex. Focus on the two of you for a few days. Because if you lose that connection you lose a bit of your way and it sounds like you might have done that a bit.
I hope that's helpful.
"Yes, I can see he is unimpressed by me, I am too if that helps."
Well, it shines out of your posts that you are unimpressed with yourself.
And I don't think your assessment of yourself is fair.
We're not all good at the same stuff.
I have very little patience for the view that if you are a woman you must automatically be brilliant at housework and super organised and if you have other strengths you are some kind of failure.
The crap women give each other (and themselves) about not being good at this stuff does my head in. (Particularly when plenty of men pride themselves on being shit at it.)
It's OK to be a good mother and a shit housekeeper. One of those things is important and the other thing you can afford to pay for, so it doesn't matter if you are rubbish at it.
The only place I think it matters to get on top of stuff is where it negatively affects you - when you feel rubbish because you are letting things slide and it makes you feel crap about yourself.
You have a BABY. So it's OK if life is a bit chaotic for now.
I don't know, as I said I grew up in a house with a good mother who was a terrible housekeeper. So I just don't get the horror of a bit of chaos. It doesn't kill you. (It makes you stronger )
Bloody hell Kitsmummy don't sit on the fence, will you!
OP I suspect the state of your house reflects the state of your mind at the moment - get that sorted and I think the organisation will follow. It's so easy to get lost in the baby days, and then to feel you are guilty that you are not making the most of them, and then to feel guilty that you are making the most of them ... In my experience things begin to change when the youngest goes off to nursery and school - to begin the 'oh actually ...' thought processes and to think deeply about how you want your future to look. I'm not sure it is something you can rush (though everyone else seemed to! I'm glad I didn't though). TTC miseries become a distant memory too and the rest will follow.
(And don't feel bad about the bedtime help - when DH was away I used toprocess our big 2 at bathtime sitting on the floor feeding the baby, they didn't get quality time and I deeply regret not forking out for some help)
Was going to say richmanpoorman, I'm not sure re: his motivation re: my job. I think both, but he is definitely having financial fears atm, bank will prob let people go next year and his area being reshuffled. So he may not have a choice but to leave, which would solve some problems but cause others.
I think I'll aim to tackle clutter as it does make me feel sad, physical manifestation of disorganisation etc.. But am definitely sold on the Big Talk once I've had a bit of a think around stuff and how to express it in a positive way. Grandparents down in mid Dec for a weekend so can aim to chat then or at Christmas as a mental deadline.
And I'll try to find out his feelings, other than "I want out now, but we can't afford it, the way we planned at least, yet". Amazing how quickly our communication broke down, am baffled that I didn't notice sooner (too busy wiping up sick etc.
obvs not wasting time mumsnetting )
i started off Reading here thinking thinking good that we can Accept being good mums and crap housewives. Then on page 2 the 1950's came crashing back in. Your children are small, very little sleep is such a wreck for concentration and general organisation. that you feel a bit lost in the Ocean is not unusual either. take Your time, look for jobs you are interested in/studies that may be feasable and give a reliable job (essential when the kids are little-ish) and see how you go. to be a therapist full time require good networking and business skills, and takes a good few years to set up comfortably, so perhaps start bit by bit now. it's also pretty unreliable as a main Income, and in my case drove me demented With worry.
No worries if you're not a domestic goddess. gives Your children a cracking immune system, you know ;)
richmanpoorman spot on. The other alternative is the DH who says (always) "just 2 or 3 more years then we will have enough money to retire". It never happens.
tweetytwat I agree about self esteem and jobs. I suppose I meant that the OP is not in a position to take a high status job as she is the back up parent and DH's job will always take precedence, and is lucky enough not to need to take a low status job just for the money and so she should put aside money as her prime consideration and do what she is passionate about and not worry about whether it pays highly or even at all.
OP Your DH could not do his job without you. His earnings are, in a very real sense, joint, especially taking into account the opportunity cost you have paid. Don't accept him putting you down.
Also, caramelgirl, please understand that maintaining Western Civilization by raising the next generation is not a waste of time, talent, or effort. Being a sahm is largely an invisible and thankless job...but it is very important.
However, if you just are not feeling that and need a paycheck to feel fullfilled or empowered, then there is your clue what to do. I certainly do not mean to offend anyone who needs the pay to survive, but that is not the issue here.
Sahm since 1992, I have made caculations to return to work in the past. I would have been paying to work after all the expenses were accounted for. Now, dh has another pay increase that makes any pittance I could earn seemingly irrelevant. But with that said, I am looking into going back to school to learn computer skills so I can perhaps find a desk job. But then again, my youngest just started school and finding a position compatible with the school schedule may not happen. Even so, I feel I will be better for the knowledge and will be better able to guide my youngest in the cyber world.
I am still getting my head round he is a banker and doesn't own his own home. And he wants to give it all up to go to university where he will be mixing with school leavers and he is a man with a wife, 2 kids and he is in his 30's.
Friend of mine just did her doctorate whilst working full time. I think he needs to be realistic.
Also for those having a pop at op for not working might I remind them her dp works abroad regularly. It is not the same as a single parent working. Also to cover just the cost of childcare the op would have to go full time. Remember we are in London. I would estimate childcare alone for 4 year old before and after school and 7 month old would be in excess of £1500per month.
It seems to me that you probably would like to work but have never happened upon the thing that you really find fulfilling.
I am very very good at networking people and hooking people up and setting up social groups and making nights out/kids events/clubs happen.
Hugely valuable skills! Have you considered having a go at a franchise business providing kids classes in drama or music or something along those lines?
As for those who claim a banker willl never stop being a banker: utter rot. I know several people who have given up huge salaries to retrain in something more worthwhile, and are much happier for it. I don't think it is unreasonable for your DH to expect your support in achieving this, and it could well make for a far more content family life for everyone.
Really sorry - I haven't read the thread, just the first post from OP. But I wanted to say that you have described me (including apathy to housework and not being a glam SAHM). Only difference was that I did go back to work (or rather I ran my own business) after kids. But I still halved my earnings and DH and I drifted apart, no sex, me feeling as though he was having a go at me for not working the same hours he did etc.
Then I sold the business and it got worse because for the last two years I have drifted from idea to idea without settling on anything. The kids are at school all day (8 - 4) so I could get a job. Not sure how to cope with the 20 weeks of holiday a year they get though. And DH is a high earner and away a lot.
Long and short of it was that he ended up having an affair. I am not saying that the state of our marriage was the reason he had the affair, but it did contribute to it.
We are now trying to rebuild our marriage. That has involved us going to counselling and talking at home a LOT more. But most importantly, I am seeing a life coach who is trying to help me figure out what I want. Because I think if I am happier, we will be happier. Funnily enough, when I had to work through a set of 'values' cards ie. what is most important to me, guess what came out top?
A sense of purpose. So my suggestion is try to find that - see a life coach if you want - and then once you feel stronger, it will help you tackle the other bits like your marriage.
What an interesting thread. I agree with lots of the posts.
I'm another Oxbridge graduate with a high flying husband. I used to be good at my well-paid job but I gave it up 8 years ago to be a SAHM. I think I am a good mother (and DH agrees) but housework is not my thing. I just find it really boring and depressing. Like you, I'm lucky we can afford to pay for a cleaner once a week.
I am happy and fulfilled as a SAHM, but my youngest DC (I have three) will start school next September and I'm having major issues trying to decide what I want to do.
1. Go back to my former career. But that would mean commuting into London and I wouldn't be around for my kids after school or in the holidays . And realistically my salary will be small compared to DH's (when we met we were earning exactly the same, but he's had a couple of big pay rises since I stopped working).
2. Do something part time / flexible and not worry about earning money, eg voluntary work. But I worry that I will start to feel bored and unfulfilled as the DC become more independent - and it will get harder and harder to return to the workplace.
3. Re-train / study. But what?? I don't seem to have any burning desires.
For me, the pressure isn't coming from my DH, who is happy to support me, but from myself. I realise I am so lucky in many ways, but that doesn't make it any easier!
I do agree about the talking. Good luck OP.
I guess it comes down to with small children, who do you both want to raise them?
If you remain a SAHM you can be there with them in the pre school years.
If you go back to work, a big chunk of your wage if not all ( childcare costs in London) will be used to pay for someone else to look after your kids while you work.
I live in London , have watched a fair amount of my friends do this, they have gone back to work full time with the kids in full time childcare- the wage slip eaten up with childcare fees until the children become school age.
If 'for you' you don't enjoy being 'just a mum' ( not my term, but one widely used) and hanker getting 'back to work', then look into it seriously. It would probably be the making of you.
But if it is because you are being made to feel you have to go back, it may be harder to justify to yourself working just to pay someone to look after your kids so you can work ?
My children are older than yours. Pre kids I had a job / career I loved, but it wasn't highly paid and involved working 'till 8ish at night. Hubs works long hours and regularly travels abroad. He has never been in the position of being reliable ( because of job) for child 'pick up/ drop off' . He is the bigger earner, so I knew it would fall on me.
I stayed at home until mine were at school, then I took a job part time in a secondary school. It doesn't pay big, it isn't a passion of mine, but I don't have to worry about school holidays etc.
It has also given me back 'me' . I go to work and am 'pausingforbreath' not x's wife or x's mum which is how I felt when I was a SAHM. Also I am making a contribution to the finances ,which makes me feel better even if hubs has never had an issue when I was not working.
I like the balance I have now, I still want my pre kids job back ( and will one day) . But I am also finding as they get older my kids need me in different ways ; more mentally than physically ( except for driving to the various out of school teams,clubs etc).
I guess what am saying is work out what suits you best ( as well as what suits your husbands plans) for you to both feel equal and happy in the relationship - both of your needs and wants have to be given equal importance.
millymollymandymax, we didn't buy because we thought the property market was overheated and later on also worried that the crisis would mean canary wharf lay offs would mean oversupply. Because we always meant to leave we worried re losing money on the turnaround. Obviously with hindsight this was not the best tactic.
Uni is because we thought an ex trader is not v easily employable else where, other than hedge funds which he doesn't want to do. Think he'd like to do something positive (as would we all I guess).
PTFswife thank you and sorry to hear about your troubles. Life coach sounds like a really positive step. I will ask my psychotherapist type friends if they have any contacts. I think, obvs don't know, that the risk would be less an affair and more an entirely separate life. His father is eg on board of major cultural institution, does local church stuff, even in retirement is heading up a big enquiry, whilst his Ma (tennis blue, PPE Oxford) sits at home and frets about clutter(!) and flower arranging.
Also, FWIW, 3 days a week nursery for my 4 year old is £950/month. Not sure what baby rate would be for comparison but yes, I would struggle to cover the costs. Therapy I can, in theory, do at home as most people want evenings. I think once baby is sleeping I can look to gradually build that up. I am not yet advertising but have a website and have occasional word of mouth clients.
Plus I've been helping a local personal trainer network and with his website text and structure so he is happy to send me clients once I feel I have sleep enhanced brain enough to help them.
Thanks again, it has been really useful to hear all of this and I am really feeling more positive.
One of my old uni housemates gave a TEDX talk last month and I think it just made me dwell on what I had managed vs her. Whereas she was, in fact, always just doing what she loved. It's a really interesting way of thinking about it all.
Is he unimpressed with you or is he just coming to the realization that the 'better' life he had planned, working at what he actually wanted to do rather than what he had fallen in to, is not just over the horizon, or , in fact, might not be going to happen at all, and he is holding you partly to blame for this, rather than accepting that with a family to provide for you can't swan off following your dreams unless you have an awful lot of savings behind you.
The problem for you could be that you don't know what you want to do or what suits you, in fact maybe you don't know yourself v well. So have no idea what would be fulfilling or what to aim for.
I was a SAHM with a high paid DH. Now, late 50s, realize that the reason I didn't stick the jobs I tried was that I was choosing things that I thought I should do, what would be appropriate for respectable middle class person. And not what suited me, in fact my first career choice was totally unsuited to my temperament, but career advice was v limited in those days. So what about trying a life coach or similar to try to find out what you would enjoy and who you are.
I missed that life coach had already been suggested!
tumbletumble precisely. Not sure there is a good answer... many of my friends are Oxbridge couples 15 years on from you. I found our 30 year reunion fascinating (so we were in our late 40's): only one of the women has a (high powered) job and she is married to a SAHD. The others took (pointless) PhD's, trained as life coaches, are on boards of major charities, got involved tangentially with the Olympics, wrote a book on an obscure figure in history, do some "consultancy" work in their former areas, run a minor trade body, do some local politics, possibly get a school hours job and generally lunch, take up running. None are wildly fulfilled in career terms but nearly all are wildly rich on most measures (due to their DHs' earnings - even though the women were at least as talented as the men). Gosh it's a first world problem not being able to justify the career you were educated for and anticipated, but it can be a real sadness, a kind of bereavement I guess. No answers from me I am afraid. I suspect you have to try to enjoy the benefits - my female friends are all great company, interesting conversationalists and engaged in the world. Maybe (she says optimistically) it might better for you than it was for us - we were just pre meaningful maternity rights and part time working.
caramelwife you are spot on about being wary of leading completely separate lives. Again no real advice. Sorry.
There must be something in this Oxbridge couple phenomena it seems. Does it ring true if it is only the SAHP that is Oxbridge? I am SAHM & had the same if not better career as DP before kids - now similar to OP and many other PPs on this thread. I have just been investigating the state of my mental health as the whole thing has made me become actually clinically depressed. Could this apply to you OP, possibly with PND in the mix too?
You are contradicting yourself OP. 'I'd always wanted to be a mum. Pretty much sum total of my ambitions' whereas you seem to also say you need intellectual simulation to self actualise. Which is it? I'm really confused by what you post. I could understand if your DH was on minumum wage, but he's not, so what his holding you back other than knowing what you want to do?
hogwash , you are probably right thar my tginking is muddled. I had only wanted to be a mum but now I'm here, whilst very grateful and happy to have my children and really enjoying time with them, I would also like a sliver of me space.. I think that I would be happy at the moment for this just to be doing a bit of therapy related professional development study. I now wonder tho' if I should have a deeper think about viable and interesting ish long term career and/or start showing DH that I am serious about helping to support the family in the future and that I am trying to develop my business or a viable alternative.
He is very keen on having our scheduled chat about us and money and future plans which is good, so I think he has also been aware we aren't communicating well. Now to improve...
Ooh and idlevice from my sample of two (plural of anecdote being data etc. etc.), the two SAHMs with Oxbridge husband marriages seem v v happy on both sides with the status quo. So.. Oxbridge wives are more likely to feel glum headline. Possibly more work needs to be undertaken in this area....?!
And I do hope that you are feeling better soon, I think my misery was greatest when TTC DC2, I feel sad now, but nothing compared to then. Have a good weekend.
profplum thanks for insightful and interesting posts
Playing devil's advocate here: is being a therapist really doing it for you? I would have thought that it was one career that could fit well with a family if you can work from home or very locally in the evenings. I imagine that your charges are more than the £6.00/8.00ish an hour that Sitters charge for baby-sitting - yet something seems to be holding you back.
Tbh hogwash I do really like the therapy, and yes, it is something that should fit into evenings. That was my plan.
But I am just so so tired. I want to help clients and give a good consultation. I don't think I can deliver that atm. Recent ones have been fine but I think if I'd spent the time studying to get some state of the art, and to maintain professional memberships, I would have been better off. Why tired? Trying to night wean DC2 atm and he won't nap very much at all and never really has, (45 mins in the buggy on nursery run if I'm lucky generally), and he wants to be held ALL the time. So even eg doing one handed laundry, trying to tidy, do dishwasher all seem to suck up the day. Plus many bfs and weaning/wiping. The usual, I know and I am v v v glad of him, I want to spend time with him and DC1 (hence trying not to use too many nursery hours). But by the time dinner/bath/bedtime x2, scratch cook our dinner, try to make packed lunch, bathe then I am wrecked. I do stay up for dream feed but I am just so tired I don't feel I am delivering a v good service.
Tiredness I know, in theory- tho' don't believe at the moment(!)-, is temporary. Why didn't I build up my business in between the two DC? Because I had yet to launch it and it seemed silly to advertise etc. everywhere so I could practise intensively in the evenings for maybe 9 months (between DC1 being 1 and sleeping and being too pg to want to spend evenings working. I did have an interview for a national company delivering seminars in my area, but they were, justifiably, doubtful about my long term commitment and flexibility etc. around the family issues. Could I go up to Manchester at short notice? Realistically, no? What were my future plans...
So, in retrospect I would have worked in between the two DC. I did think that DH and I were in accord on the launch my business after all the DC were done. This may have been me, rather than him- I will ask.
Off to dream feed and then sleeeeep now. Thank you for your thoughts. Hope you have had a more exciting evening than us ( we companiably went through more bank statements. Was quite nice and productive tho')
And yes. If I HAD to, I would work. But I don't feel that the imperative is there. I would rather save my energy at the moment for the children if I can. And then the CPD training I must do regularly too.
Aargh, sorry, tired multiple postings. I mean if I had to earn money now, I would work. Not that I don't feel I should ever work. I am just aware that some of my friends haven't had an option and have gone back at 6 weeks pn, obviously my situation is a lot more self indulgent than that.
If you're a therapist surely the obvious answer is couples therapy?
Cambridge have a really, really good careers service that offers lifelong guidance. You could go and talk to them and discuss your skills, experience etc and see what they suggest might be good areas for you? It might give you something to mull over/work towards in future, and a new set of eyes on what you have to offer can be enlightening. You could also set a deadline on starting up your own counselling service, or alternatively approach some local charities and see whether your skills might be a help to them? Dip your toes back in?
Being a good mother is more important than being a good housewife. I know women who are the other way around, and I know which will matter on their deathbeds. It's hard being a good mother. Keeping your temper, keeping positive on crappy days, being creative when all you want to do is plonk them in front of Cbeebies, modelling the behaviour you want to see when you want to scream and tell them to fuck off. Give yourself some credit.
I agree that couples counselling sounds a good idea. You have a good marriage underneath all the crap, so maybe decluttering that should be the priority? But I also think these stressors are normal when the babies are small. Everyone has them, pretty much. And SAHM in the early years is a confidence knock, too. It's not permanent if you make sure you keep a weather eye on future options, as far as I can see.
Fgs. Just that. If you're not working (and I did with two dcs in childcare during the day), the house was spotless, yes we did have a cleaner, but then I devoted my life to the dcs not my job as such. And nowhere near as well off as you.
I don't get why you can't get your shit together frankly. Your dh probably talks to people all day long whose lives are similar but in control.
Sorry if this sounds terse, but I really don't get it.
DCs don't disappear at 5 when they start school. And many mothers feel they are needed more when DCs are in teens, not to look after, more to be there for. So unless DH is keen to take on
properly more child responsibilities your work will always come second to DC's needs and won't be a high flying business, instead just your interest that you fit in around running the home imv. (which is not what I want for my DDs so am encouraging them to continue their careers --which I didn't and now regret--)
monty27 is that helpful to the OP? We all have different strengths and challenges. You are good at cleaning. Well done.
OP concentrate on the more constructive posts. I was just like you - I found housework and young child care mortifyingly dull and tiring. I am not surprised you are tired if you are night weaning and still bf. Don't beat yourself up. Working will wait if and when you want to. perfectstorm gives good advice.
How a couple organises family life/work/childcare is up to them. If the decision for you to be a SAHM was a joint one but his feelings have changed and he is now becoming resentful and making little digs about you not working, you have to discuss it and agree a plan. If you have a young baby and you want a third dc and you have no career, I don't see how you can realistically do any meaningful work. What about planning to work when the children are in full-time school?
It sounds like the therapy will work well once your DH is in a different job and can be around in the evenings for the children. You also need to remember that your youngest isn't a year old yet, and not sleeping properly I'd imagine. It wasn't until mine was a year old that I really got my mind back again from the hazy sleep fog of broken nights. If the plan is to do bits of therapy now, then get more work once your youngest is one, that would be a good one.
Can I just say that I have been there and I sympathise - My dh travelled a lot when the children were small and he also had a lack of respect for what I did all day. Can I recommend an illuminating book - What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen - as a therapist you'll probably find it fascinating. The house looked like a bombsite when the kids were small but with time we've managed to get their clutter confined to their rooms now, they are 11 and 13. I left a well paid pm role in telecomms after my firstborn, as I could not see how that job would be compatible with the kind of family life I wanted. I spent 5 years at home but joined vrs charity initiatives (stayed clear of the lady who lunches type of volunteering and did stuff that really made a difference by what I was doing rather than what I was raising). I still have resentment over the fact that what I did was never recognised - but in the interests of a harmonious house have just given up on trying to receive any acknowledgement of my contribution. ymmv but this is what I have had to do, I'm not saying you should do anything - just sharing my experience.
Anyway I have successfully found a job/niche that provides me with the work/life balance and job satisfaction that works for me. I am a Student Support Officer in a local FE college, working full time term time only less two final weeks in the summer so I get eight weeks instead of six, which for us is perfect (Mum gets a little holiday, time to sort things out before the big holidays begin) I knew that what I wanted was something with school holidays but not in a classroom or teaching. And I found it, also that I wanted to work with people, I had been a volunteer working with that age group 16-19's for ten years before I had children so I was already familiar with their issues (the don't change, guys ) I don't bring home a huge amount of money but it pays for the food shopping, with two boys that is not insignificant. We have two counsellors at our college and I know several friends who work as uni counsellors. You sound like you have a passion for therapy, perhaps a part time salaried position where you can plan the childcare might be a solution? I know that schools, colleges and universities are increasingly providing these services. I looked at my voluntary work as job experience (as I needed it) and CV enhancement for when I returned to work as I was planning to do- which certainly helped with the motivation.
The only other thing I can say with any certainty is that children grow and change and the solution that works for you family at any one particular time will change as they grow, so staying flexible is key imhop.
If you only have 2 kids and help I do think its strange you cant get your business or house together?
Thank you very very much for all your input, especially the personal experiences, really helpful.
I do take it all on board and I think I am going to duck out now. I think continuing to brood upon/self justify/self flagellate here starts to be a bit self indulgent and probably won't achieve much more now.
I will take it all away and have a think and set some, realistic, goals and have some long chats with DH. May report back with progress in a while but more for my own sake tbh.
Good luck OP. I do hate on Mumsnet, when someone has a bit of money behind them, that people think it is OK to take a pop. Empathy and insight bypass Annie?
Also meant to say that this book is meant to be good.
I can under stand where op is coming from. With the exception of my not having any qualifications I had a 7 month old and a 3 year old, my oh works away a lot, and we live in London. We have had a similar conversation as op.
Oh said I should get a job as he should not have to shoulder the burden of bringing in all the money for the household. We had a very quick discussion which went along the lines of:-
I would get a job. But then he could not share delivery or collection of children to childminder as he left for work at 6.30am and didn't get back before 7.30pm and if I worked in London I would be on the same hours. He worked away a lot, he couldn't share house hold stuff like shopping, cleaning, laundry gardening, DIY or childcare as when he got in from work he was too tired as he had been at work all day and the final point was that unless I found a job on more than £45k per year he would have to come up with more money to cover child minder, nursery fees and my travel expenses just to have the same household income.
One thing I think you should do op is make an appointment with your Dr for a blood test, just to make sure you are not anaemic or have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. I know I sometimes feel like everything gets on top of me and that's when I know I need to take my iron tablets.
You appear to have both been floating rudderless with a plan that is no more than a vague discussion. He said he wanted to stay in his job for 10 years then move on to Uni and then do something more worthy. But in those 10 years you never set down roots as you were frightened you would not be able to make a quick get away which doesn't square with the 10 year plan. Even now you talk that there could be redundancies sometime in the future. I presume this is another reason to not want to get a mortgage and set down roots in your own home which I think would invigorate you and make you feel a lot more settled. The whole thing sounds confusing. Are you sure about the redundancy thing. Even if your oh took redundancy he would get a large pay off and he could always look for another job.
I might be way off the mark here but are you sure your oh is really committed to family life. I am not saying he doesn't love you and the children and I am not saying he is doing and saying things on purpose, he might not realise the effect of his actions but the fact that he wants to return to being a full time student when he is in his 30's with a wife and 2 kids. What age would he be when he left full-time education and what job would he be after when he leaves Uni? Would he be too old to get a job? I am not being funny here but worthy jobs are usually done by younger people without families as there pay is rubbish. He appears to want his freedom from grown up stuff like providing a settled family home that he doesn't want to make a quick get away from. He also wants to move to a place that would mean your business would struggle. So he is only thinking of what he wants to do not what is good for the family. So you would be expected to work in a job that would probably not suit you, you would have to pay for childcare and you would still be responsible for everything else whilst he is a full-time student.
Most men and women I know in your oh's position do their courses at home in the evenings and weekends. One friend has just done her Doctrate whilst working full time with 4 kids her oh is a house husband.
Another did an MBA in 9 months and another completed all his insurance exams, normal time expected to complete the exams 5 1/2years. He did it in 18 months. All have SAHM/Ds.
It is all well and good doing something worthy but he needs to start looking at his life as a family and start by doing something worthy for them first. Not as a single guy with a wife and kids.
I think your DH needs some decent careers advice. Unless he wants to be an academic I'm not sure what he's going back to uni to achieve. And are you over-stating how unemployable an ex banker is? A random MA won't make him any more employable. He has a good maths degree, that's pretty rare and attractive. Does he just miss studying? Does he see that as more virtuous than being a banker? It seems like you're actively resisting anything that smacks of being a banker type. Wasting rent on a family home in London when you could buy but won't for very risk-averse reasons is notable. It's like you're actively setting yourselves apart from his colleagues who will buy a home with their bonus.
I think you're being too hard on yourself with a seven month old. Most people would still be on mat leave at this stage. But not working while TTC is odd, even my friends who have most overtly set out to marry someone rich enough to be a SAHM have acknowledged they needed to work while TTCing.
To give the op an idea of how much money she is wasting on rent, I have a buy to let flat in London, tiny, 1 bed place under 30 sq metres, which I rent for 4x the amount I pay in mortgage for my own 4 bed detached in 1/4 acre 20 mins away.
You might think you are setting yourselves apart from other bankers but your attitude to money is the same in fact it is worse in the fact you won't even buy a place for a family home because you might loose money when you come to sell.
One last point: with an Oxbridge degree your DH does not need to go back to Uni to retrain to be a teacher. He can apply straight away for jobs in top public schools teaching with his first in maths - schools are always looking for maths teachers and would fight over him. It will be a complete no-brainer if he is also keen on sport (although being able to take on say, Chess Club, could well compensate). Those jobs come with a house, long holidays and reasonable pay. You might well also find you got free schooling for your children. It can be a lovely life. A (much younger) acquaintance of mine has done exactly this and just gained a job with one of the top 3 schools in the country with no teaching qualifications. Your DH can apply BEFORE giving up his banking job and so you will not have to worry about the money.
PS please don't anyone derail the thread with discussion about teachers needing to be trained. I am just telling it like it is.
Just to say THANK YOU again for the really, really helpful advice, experiences and sympathy!
DH and I finally had a chat at Christmas when he said that he had felt very abandoned in terms of hating his job and not having any practical support from me. It really helped that I had this thread and had clarified my ideas and could say that I agreed we had fallen down on communication.
Turns out that he had forgotten how debilitating lack of sleep was and when I pointed out that he was usually having a full night (we were sleeping separately then) he understood more why I had been so utterly un dynamic.
And I did show him this thread just to show that I had been thinking about us and what might be going wrong. And that I did appreciate him but felt a bit lost.
Anyway, baby now sleeping, his job now interesting and challenging (still wants out but not desperate) and I feel totally different. I think I thought the sad, flat, woolly headed person I was was my permanent self. I've now gone back to my normal self ten months after baby.
I'm starting to get my head down and do both decluttering and some professional development stuff. He has said that he is in no rush for me to work now as long as we have an understanding that I will work as soon as it is practical and that we are a team- not just that the earning burden falls on him.
He's also started an OU course as a refresher- and is v relieved that he is finding it super easy. I've found a friend of a friend who has taken the exact route he is thinking of and who can advise.
So, nothing earth shattering, but good progress towards happiness long term and alot lot happier short term. And just really grateful to people for taking the time to help when I was feeling befuddled and sad and desperately worried,
Hiya OP, I read your thread first time round but didn't have time to comment.
I identified with you through shared educational background and my husband also works in the city. I'm really glad to hear everything's coming together.
The only thing I would add is that, if you're not you're already looking, you need to get on the property ladder ASAP, convert that rent to mortgage. I'm sure you're aware that the London property bubble is growing, our house has increased 15% in value in one year. I would make that your next priority.
Good luck with everything.
Thank you! Yes, buying a house is our very next priority- which is a nice "chore" to have.
It is amazing re: London house prices. Guess they just aren't printing any more land.
Feeling alot happier at the prospect of being a team and working together rather than feeling like I was being attacked and he feeling I was being unsupportive.
Will definitely keep an eye on our communication from now on. Was scary how quickly it slid downhill. Very grateful we seem to have pulled it back for now. Thank you for even remembering.
If I was you I would put dc2 in a sling, drop dc1 at nursery then hand out flyers through peoples doors, ring people, set up on the net etc. This kind of role is easier to set up when your at home. Its mind over matter with tiredness if you want your business to work. Good luck.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.