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To think I can still have a career?

(27 Posts)
NotJoiningIn Mon 20-Jun-11 17:16:29

After 7 months of maternity leave I am returning to work full time. I have to work full time as the main bread winner for our family, but I also am looking forward to returning to work and resuming my career. During a keeping in touch day today, 3 different conversations revealed that people expect me to just remain at my current job level from now on, in the words of one "all that leadership stuff won't be for you now". But I love my job and have long term career goals to meet. I realise they may take longer now that I have a family to look after as well, but AIBU to think I can still have a career and not just a job? Or am I being totally unrealistic?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 20-Jun-11 17:30:53

YANBU... But if you're already getting this reaction from work colleagues you're going to have to put in a lot of work to make those around you see that you're still ambitious. Failing that, you may need to change company to one that has a more enlightened attitude to mothers in top jobs smile Those who succeed are generally able to give their career top priority at all times and can be anywhere, anytime, giving it their all. As long as you have 100% support at home and you are not restricted in your movements or working hours you should be able to achieve what you want to achieve. But - tip - keep work and home life completely separate from now on. Give colleagues zero ammunition to use against you.

minipie Mon 20-Jun-11 17:32:50


Hopefully it is simply a question of correcting their assumptions and not some more deep seated sexism. Be prepared to do a LOT of correcting though...

SenoritaViva Mon 20-Jun-11 17:34:09

YANBU - I was promoted to higher management soon after returning from maternity leave and stayed there for a further 3 years.

I am not a SAHM but if I had wanted to continue my career I would have happily done so and I'm sure successfully.

AMumInScotland Mon 20-Jun-11 17:36:13

Are these people at the same level as you, or higher, or lower? If it's people higher up the structure, you will definitely need to "educate" them about how ambitious and dedicated you still feel. If they are lower down the organisation they will pick up on your behaviour once you are back, and tbh it matters less what they assume about you as they won't have as much impact on whether you are given challenging projects, put forward for promotion etc.

isthis4real Mon 20-Jun-11 17:37:17

Sorry but I think you may be being a tad. unrealistic. I built up a fantastic career before I had my dc, worked really hard, got promoted and finally started earning a decent wage. All this changed when I had my first dd. There was no way I could carry on as before ie working late, going out with clients in the evening, travelling for work and so on. DD was in nursery so as a result picked up everything going which meant I had to take time off and so became unreliable. Managers started to view me differently and I missed out on lots of opportunities. I clung on at work to have my second child, and returned to work when she was 6 months old (as I did with my first dd).

Having 2 dd's meant it was doubly hard as I now had to combine a stressful job with nursery pick ups and school pick ups. Plus 2 lots of children;s illnesses to content with and take time off with.

However, on reflection things may be different for you, having really good childcare helps. I had to rely on nurseries but often dreamt about having a nanny or my mum looking after the children. If I'd had childcare which meant I could stay late at work, travel for work I may have been able to salvage my career. What sort of childcare do you have in place? You may also have a dh that can help out more, mine wasn't able to, he also worked long hours and couldnt take time off work.

For me it was almost a relief to be made redundant as I could no longer manage work and 2 small children. But again for me this was may more difficult because I had a long commute into work everyday which didn't help logistically with childcare etc. You may have a local job, work from home?

I'm currently looking for a new job which works in terms of childcare.

Good luck on your return to work smile

CMOTdibbler Mon 20-Jun-11 17:39:37

YANBU. I have a career, and as long as you are flexible with work (for instance, people in the US like being offered online meetings that aren't first thing for them, but it suits me to do them after bedtime rather than at 5, but they don't know that) theres no reason you can't develop it.

On the other hand, if you complain that you need to leave at 4 every Wednesday no matter what as you want your child to do Rainbows/Beavers or whatever, people will judge your commitment to work

minipie Mon 20-Jun-11 17:43:00

isthis4real the OP says she is the main breadwinner, so I would imagine that would mean her DH will be the one to get home early, take time off for illnesses etc.

isthis4real Mon 20-Jun-11 17:45:19

but CMOT for lots of women, they will have to leave work at a certain time to pick up the dc, there may be no alternative especially if they do not have a dh or relatives who can do the nursery/school pickup. And school holidays are a whole new set of problems. I found it so much easier when dd was in nursery as they shut at 6, but school finishes at 3.30...

NotJoiningIn Mon 20-Jun-11 17:48:11

Thanks for making me feel better!

Cogito Thanks for the tip! The people I spoke to today weren't really 'friends', just colleagues, and I certainly will be careful not to get into personal conversations in future.

minipie I definitely think there is some sexism there- I will just have to prove them wrong! It helps that my immediate boss is a woman and has children.

amuminscotland they are lower than me, so yes, I suppose their opinion doesn't count much.

isthis4real I teach, so no client entertaining and not too many nights and no traveling so those things aren't too much of an issue. DH earns less and is willing to be at home more than me. DD is going to nursery but my mum lives nearby the nursery and can help out too as does my sister. So I do have plenty of support. It isn't a long commute either. I'm not saying it will be easy, but I am determined to give it a good go!

I think the thing that worries me most is the child illness aspect but hopefully DH can bear the brunt of that.

Insomnia11 Mon 20-Jun-11 17:50:20

Depends...if your DH is a stay at home dad or works part time and does the main childcare stuff, or if you have a nanny/housekeeper. Otherwise it's very hard I think. Funnily enough not so much now, but when they start pre-school/school. Will DH be the one to remember it's non-uniform day or to take cakes in for the cake sale? That they have to dress up for World Book Day? Will he be doing ten minutes of reading a day with them and helping with homework? Will he remember it's so and so's party on Saturday and another child's on Sunday and to buy presents and a card for them?

Insomnia11 Mon 20-Jun-11 17:51:03

Yes having lots of support locally is very very helpful too.

CMOTdibbler Mon 20-Jun-11 17:54:08

We don't have relatives to help out - so we chose a school with wrap around care and school holiday club Isthis4.

Yes, you do have to leave by a certain time if it is your turn to collect, but that doesn't mean that you can never be flexible.

DH and I both value our careers equally, so we both take responsibility for organising child care, and we've managed it for 5 years with me travelling abroad and him in the UK. And no, no nanny/au pair, just a very occasional babysitter (once every 4 months) and nursery then school

basingstoke Mon 20-Jun-11 17:55:34

You can if you have the childcare sorted and you and sh know who is responsible for what, and what you are responsible for is reasonable. .

Mumwithadragontattoo Mon 20-Jun-11 17:55:50

YANBU - it sounds like you set up at home is very good and this should mean you should be able to pursue your career. The fact your DH will pick up the slack in the first instance with your mum as back up sounds ideal for you to build a career. Hope thing go well for you.

isthis4real Mon 20-Jun-11 17:57:17

It's so much easier if your job is 'local'. For me, my commute meant that I still wouldn't be home in time to collect dd from after school club at 6.

I do agree that having support from family/friends is key. Sounds like you have everything in place NotJoiningIn!

minipie Mon 20-Jun-11 17:57:19

It sounds like you have a good set up, especially if your DH is willing to be the one who takes time off work/gets home early when needed.

I do think it can work but I also think that in order to really fly high in a career you have to be willing to take the primary breadwinner role and your DH take the primary parent role. It's a shame that it is this way but I think it is. So for example DH would be the one who gets the call when DD is sick, he is the one who packs her bag ready for nursery the next day, etc etc. I think the main danger is that you end up doing both roles.

NotJoiningIn Mon 20-Jun-11 17:57:27

You know, I'm not sure DH will remember all those things. But if I do the remembering he will definitely to the implementing- e.g. I tell him to make a cake, he'll make one! And as a teacher, I don't have to worry about holiday care. I do worry that people at work won't take me seriously but I suppose I just have to prove that I am serious.

NotJoiningIn Mon 20-Jun-11 17:59:33

Yes, there is a danger of that minipie and we have decided we will sit down and divide jobs between us before I go back so that it is all planned. I know things don't always go to plan and I'll probably be on here moaning about my lazy DH at some point!

LineRunner Mon 20-Jun-11 18:01:33

I thought teachers worked during 'the holidays', having the same normal statutory annual leave as other public sector workers?

With half-terms included, my kids are off school for 'the holidays' 13 weeks a year. You can't get 13 weeks a year holiday, can you?

Just checking on behalf of teachers everywhere who are sick of being told about their extensive holidays......

eurochick Mon 20-Jun-11 18:13:38

YANBU at all. It does sound like some people at work need "educating" though! Their attitude is terrible!

As your husband is willing to pull his weight and you are the main breadwinner, your position is no different to breadwinner men who have kids. Are they being sidelined in the same way? I doubt it. This annoys me. A lot.

NotJoiningIn Mon 20-Jun-11 18:16:55

Yes, linerunner but I can do said work in the evenings when DD is asleep or at nap times or my mum will help out. I don't have to be in school 8.30 to 5.30 in the holidays.

Lostmykeys Mon 20-Jun-11 18:19:52

You can do it if you set your mind to it. I have 2 DC 4 & 7. Since having DC2, I have invested heavily in my CPD and am a VP in v.large secondary. Am main breadwinner and DH isn't a great help due to nature of his job. Have little family to support and muddle along. Get a cleaner and someone to do your ironing. Not easy but I am pleased I stuck with it as now DC are getting older it is getting easier.

darleneoconnor Mon 20-Jun-11 18:22:24

isthis4 real- it sounds as if your problem was your DP not taking equal responsibility for his Dcs

sunshineandbooks Mon 20-Jun-11 18:22:56

I'd say you've got as good a chance as anyone. My experience has been a lot like isthis4real but all my problems would have been solved if I'd had more flexible childcare. Professional childcare only can be extremely limiting. The standard is high but it tends to be very inflexible and will not care for your DC if they're ill (even if they're well enough to be away from you). However, if you've got family and friends who can step in, you'll cope fine.

Best of luck to you. smile

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