My dcs are both at school, I feel like I've lost my identity somewhat

(16 Posts)
Porcupinepantaloons Fri 22-Jan-16 09:23:01

Just that really.

I used to be a teacher, loved it.
Had ds, went part time, didn't love the job so much.
Had dd, really really didn't love it anymore.
We relocated for dh's job a few years ago and I became a sahm. I didn't miss teaching at all and decided I wasn't going back.

Fast forward a few years and the dcs are both settled in school. And I am at a bit of a loss what to do with myself. confused

I have hobbies, I am currently working my way around the house on a one-woman DIY mission. I'm busy and doing productive stuff. But I feel like I've slightly lost my purpose in life. confused

I'm guessing that's normal when a sahm's dc are both at school. But it doesn't feel great.
I'm also not that long off a course of ADs so I don't want to slide down that dark hole again.

I've vaguely started looking for work, but I have no idea where to start as I won't be teaching again.

Anyone feeling the same and want to wallow together or does anyone have any tips to get myself sorted?

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Fri 22-Jan-16 09:30:26

I've seen a teacher take up a job as a TA. It seemed a good arrangement as a part time job but she has now gone full time and to be honest she seems a bit stretched. Others have gone to be lunchtime supervisors which was more about getting back into the market and out of the house. I wouldn't recommend it for secondary school it seemed a bit scary!
If money isn't an issue would it be worth looking into voluntary work in the area? The amount there is will probably vary from area to area but you could look for everything from baby groups/visiting the elderly to conservation work. Local churches and charities are a good starting point.

Wishful80sMontage Fri 22-Jan-16 09:34:07

Yes I was going to say vol work too- its a brilliant opportunity to try different job types to see what fits. Have a look at do-it.org.uk there's so many interesting options.
In the past I've worked with young offenders, trained as breastfeeding peer supporter and in the next year am starting to help out at a local sexual health charity its great experience for the cv smile

InspectorMontalbano Fri 22-Jan-16 09:38:03

Tutoring? It's great being a sahp but you do need you're own thing it's so important for your own self.

GoofyIsACow Fri 22-Jan-16 09:39:56

Porcupine I could have written your post, except I wasn't a teacher, I was in a regional training role for adults.

I am currently applying for jobs but it is terribly nerve wracking, I have been out of the job market for 9-10 years (DH and I run a business so I have been working doing that but need a change)

I feel dreadful, I feel like the Dc's take me for granted somewhat too. I am always available to them, 'mum will do it' I feel like me being here all the time makes them do less for themselves and I know that is my fault too!

So, yes, high five!

plantsitter Fri 22-Jan-16 09:44:03

Hi - can I join this club? I'm doing some writing but have to admit to myself I'm never going to have the self discipline to do it full time. I keep applying for academic administration jobs but don't get interviews (and might be a teeny bit relieved), and feel a bit like I'm pissing my life away. There's always something you can do in the house but it's not very fulfilling is it?!

TeaT1me Fri 22-Jan-16 09:47:22

This will be me in Sept. Dont want to go back to teaching. I have good degrees etc but don't really want to do full time.

iseenodust Fri 22-Jan-16 09:51:30

Agree volunteering can be a great way back in. Find something related to one of your hobbies or be brave and try something completely different eg police or fire community support. Volunteering is often free but good volunteers often get snapped up to then fill paid admin or supervisory roles within the organisation.

YesterdayOnceMore Fri 22-Jan-16 10:05:13

Just as a positive story, I gave up my job when I had my DC (partly because they wouldn't let me go back part time). I was out of the job market for over 8 years and when my DC were both at school, I felt that my life became "pointless"- I spent my day cleaning and tidying the house only for the children to come home and make it messy so I never actually seems to achieve anything. I would also have those horrible conversations with people "so what do you do?" "I'm basically a housewife".

I was very scared when I started looking for part time work- firstly because I had been told it was so hard to find and secondly having been out of the job market for so long I had read in places like Mumsnet that I was basically unemployable. I felt in myself thT this wasn't true- I had done so much and grown up so much in the last 8 years that I was actually now a much better prospect than before when I was a shy and immature graduate.

Maybe I was lucky, but after looking and applying for jobs once a week for a month, I got an interview and have now got a dream job! I work school hours 3 days a week (perfect). The employer is totally happy with my having children. I don't earn anything like what I earned before children, but that is ok for now and there are so many opportunities to develop and progress with my employer that my future looks very bright!

The only downsides to having a job now is that I cannot get in early or work late as I am bookended by the school runs, my employer and colleagues don't mind, but I find it hard! The second bad bit is school holidays. Obviously I will take all my holidays when the children are off, but this still leaves a lot of childcare (holiday clubs, grandparents, friends).

Porcupinepantaloons Fri 22-Jan-16 10:26:07

So glad I'm not the only one in the club! smile

I am waiting on a CRB check to volunteer at the school (not with my dcs!). So that's something.

inspector - tutoring isn't really a goer for me, it would have to be primary dcs, so after school hours and one of the things that I hated about teaching in the end was how much it encroached into 'family time'. If I was working evenings/ weekends then I'd have that same problem.

I really need that ideal 10-2.30 term time only job that lets me do school runs and doesn't shunt the kids into endless holiday clubs.
I am very aware that these jobs do not just appear every day though!
And even if I did find one I have no idea what area of work to aim for. I have only ever taught so real job adverts seem like a maze of corporate speak waffle and I have no ide what they even want!

I was SO pleased to leave teaching that I didn't really think about the bit after the dcs were at school. blush

Alastrante Fri 22-Jan-16 10:40:09

I know just what you mean: I felt very redundant once dc at school. And, I felt judged: people don't half like to have something to think about those who don't do precisely what they do. (Having been bullied at school I wasn't about to be bullied by sanctimonious twats as an adult as well.)

I saw people around me who were working in jobs they had been doing before dc as well, and managing very well - except that they were constantly knackered, had mental health problems, and frankly all they wanted to talk about was how their working hours affected them.

After a long talk with dh (principally about how I felt I wasn't contributing as much to the family as I had been) I realised he felt differently and was keen for me to take the opportunity to get my teeth into something that would last me until retirement and beyond - which my previous job certainly wouldn't have.

You haven't mentioned money as a driver for getting back into work as soon as possible so I am guessing that is not the main issue (as it wasn't for me) - how you feel about that will be your own business, and you'r family's business, but for my part I was aware of being very privileged and I was determined not to piss it away iykwim.

So I basically trained myself in various ways to run my own business - I already had a niche because of previous work, and it's quite specialised, so I concentrated on a) gaining bookkeeping/marketing skills and b) working informally in the niche I wanted to be in. It has been very successful.

At the time I felt the years where dc went to school were sometimes a bit of a skive - that's because I have a work ethic and wasn't bringing in much money! But I was laying the groundwork for the future and it has paid off nicely.

What I'm saying is: don't be hard on yourself, take the time to gain skills - whether through volunteering or studying at home. It did take me time to jump in but I'm so glad I didn't get back into my old job.

Porcupinepantaloons Fri 22-Jan-16 10:54:14

Money is ok. There is just about enough. Mostly. More money is always nice. smile

Retraining would be good - but what? confused
And there isn't any money for courses. <sigh>

Alastrante Fri 22-Jan-16 12:50:52

Same for us (just about enough!). There's actually a ton of stuff you can access online, or for nominal cost.

I guess to find the 'what?' you can approach it in different ways. You already have a ton of skills from your previous job (organisational/crowd control/pedagogic etc).

Think about what's local to you and what other people you know are doing. Do you live in the sort of area where you really could just do anything, or, if you're in a smaller town, is there a more restricted set of options? What skills do you not have which others do have? Are you artistically-minded and creative, or a solid practical spreadsheet type of person, or do you thrive on helping people?

It isn't easy to answer these questions but it does get easier as you take on more - so volunteering for example is a good start.

I speak as someone who's never had a life plan, just because I never really knew what I could do, or could enjoy doing. That's why I was lucky to be able to try out different things whilst the kids were at school. (I will never ever take it for granted, and never minimise it either.)

Porcupinepantaloons Fri 22-Jan-16 13:43:17

Alastrante - where would I find these courses? Every time I search I end up seeing stuff which is £ confused
Could you point me in the right direction? smile

I've trawled through the jobs section of our local paper and council and spotted a few things that might be possible, and one that I might apply for. shock

Alastrante Fri 22-Jan-16 17:57:39

It's not so much about courses as resources. e.g. if you need to learn Excel for bookkeeping, you can find loads of Youtube videos and series that will help; you can get a book to work through; your local library may put on bookkeeping courses and talking to other people will point you in directions you didn't know were good. None of that cost anything.

It'll depend totally what you go into. For my job I need all sorts of creative ideas to do with products and graphic design. I'm a magpie and use many free resources - I'd be 100% confident to put 'Graphic design skills' on a cv now.

Good luck with the application smile

Porcupinepantaloons Mon 25-Jan-16 13:16:25

Ah well, back to the search. The job that was a possibility is no good as it needs a qualification that I just don't have. I could have it easily, if I had the £ to train. But I don't. hmm

My one woman DIY mission continues... grin

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