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to wonder why it has to be this difficult?

(27 Posts)
Sleeplesssister Fri 21-Oct-11 14:22:54

So come on girls, we should surely have figured it all out by now. Why does it have to be so difficult to have a happy child and also a fulfilling job? Yes, its the old favourite of whether to return to work or not. I ditched my well paid, rewarding job for which I had trained for 6 years for because I could not bear to leave my DD of 12 months with a nanny or childminder full time. Thought it was what i wanted but have increasingly been missing bits of my 'old' life - using my brain, having an excuse to put make-up and nice clothes. Should never have quit but with the state of the economy I fear I'll never get a similar job back again. I fear if i continue to be a full time SAHM I will quite simply become a total obsessive about totally unimportant stuff. But I look at DD and I can't bear the thought of sticking her in a nursery full time, from 8am until 6pm, 4 days a week (no flexitime possible, previously worked as a lawyer for megabank). Why can't I have it all? Keep having crazy ideas about starting my own business, along with literally hundreds of other women out there. I have been going round and round with this since she was about 6 months old, I fear I am on the brink of insanity... Mothers who have been there before me, tell me the answer.

worraliberty Fri 21-Oct-11 14:39:17

It's quite possible to 'use your brain', look nice and still be a SAHM you know.

fuzzynavel Fri 21-Oct-11 14:43:35

using my brain, having an excuse to put make-up and nice clothes. Should never have quit but with the state of the economy I fear I'll never get a similar job back again. I fear if i continue to be a full time SAHM I will quite simply become a total obsessive about totally unimportant stuff

Uh-oh, quick take cover sleepless grin

ujjayi Fri 21-Oct-11 14:43:41

agree with worraliberty Being at home with your DD shouldn't mean that you don't engage your brain cells but I can understand that it is possible to get stuck in something of a rut which inevitably affects your self esteem.

You say you have been thinking about starting your own business. What type and how would that work with DD along for the ride? Starting your own business can mean longer hours than being a lawyer for a megabank.

SeamStitch Fri 21-Oct-11 14:48:00

Money and relationship worries (amongst others) aside, being a SAHM is for the most part what you make of it.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Fri 21-Oct-11 14:48:37

I am a SAHM and manage to use my brain, put on makeup and wear nice clothes - every day!

The things I miss most about having a job outside of the home are mainly the money (sigh!) and getting to go for a wee by myself.

I do understand what you mean about becoming obsessive about things though. I spend ages obsessing about DS's diet and his development and my laundry.

I don't have a magic solution I'm afraid - but as a starting point maybe pop Cbeebies on for 10 mins while you blow dry your hair and put some mascara on? wink

MoaninMinny Fri 21-Oct-11 14:51:25

you cant have it all because there simply arent enough hours in a day to be both a full time mum and a full time worker - or there arent clones of you. The best you could do would be part time both. However you work it you either have to delegate either some of your career or some of your parental duties to others.

I can't bear the thought of sticking her in a nursery full time, from 8am until 6pm, 4 days a week to be honest, I would seriously wonder why someone who did this had children in the first place if their job is so important to them, and their career overrides their child's happiness/development/security.

giyadas Fri 21-Oct-11 14:52:18

So you don't want to be stuck at home as you feel you'll become obsessed with unimportant stuff, as opposed to having an excuse to wear make-up and nice clothes? Is that right?

wordfactory Fri 21-Oct-11 14:52:51

I think it's perfectly reasonable for any woman, indeed any person, not to enjoy being a SAHP.

And it doesn't matter how many women now come on the thread huffing and puffing about how they are SAHPs yet sitting a reserach PHD in micro-genetics, have the wardrobe of Carla Bruni and enjoy every second of being with their children.

DoMeDon Fri 21-Oct-11 14:53:42

It's all a choice. Life is a compromise. You cannot have it all. The myth that you can is detrimental, just makes you feel a failure.

You can be a SAHM, you can work ft, pt, use some form of childcare or struggle juggle between the 2 of you- whatever you do you make a choice.

You cannot be all things to all people. Stop trying, accept your lot and get to living (a la Dolly Parton)

wordfactory Fri 21-Oct-11 14:54:39

moanin does your critisism also apply to men who work full time and have children? Or only women?

Because the last time I looked the vast majority of men work full time and have children.

giyadas Fri 21-Oct-11 14:55:10

Any chance of you going back to work part time?

Thzumbazombiewitch Fri 21-Oct-11 14:58:37

PMSL at the idea that being a SAHM means not using your brain. There are plenty of opportunities to use it you know; it's not all day time tv and MN.hmm

I, for example, have contributed to various books and articles since being a SAHM, as well as mentoring for students - brain has been functioning mostly quite well (apart from the odd blip).

Admittedly I don't bother with the make-up etc. but then I didn't much when I worked full time either.

In the end - it's what you make of it - and it's up to you how to make the best of what you're doing. Discontentment is your enemy - deal with it.

BeyondLimitsOfTheLivingDead Fri 21-Oct-11 15:53:57

My job gave me the choice of full time or nothing, so I am now a SAHP.

Although personally, I love not having to use my brain, do my hair and makeup and wear nice clothes everyday.
I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon though grin

JajasWjolef Fri 21-Oct-11 15:59:01

I've been out of full time work for a decade and still manage to wear make up and nice clothes every single day. I occasionally use my brain too smile.

Rows hurridly back to MAW island thread.

porcamiseria Fri 21-Oct-11 16:02:19

i assume your other half has a similar role??? sigh, always the women that have to make career sacrifices eh

can you not become a soliciter for a smaller firm that only needs legal counsel a few days a month

I think you will go mad if you stay at home forever! try and find some work in the same field, but not necessarily Clifford Chance type firm

wicketkeeper Fri 21-Oct-11 16:22:45

When my kids were little I used to joke that what I really wanted was a wife - ie someone who loved my kids as much as I did, but was also prepared to stay at home and look after them. Personally, I found it really pretty boring. Important, worthwhile, but boring.

But life is what you make it, and while I was the SAHP I didn't stay at home all the time - I had a succession of part-time jobs (you name it, I did it - shop work, Avon lady, party plan, cleaning) and I did a degree through the OU. Childminded for a while. Secretary of the PTA, treasurer of the childminders group, Mummy helper in school - you know the sort of thing. Looking back on it all, it was only a very small part of my life, and when the youngest started school I went back full-time.

To answer your question OP, I would say that you can have it all - but it's hard to have it all at the same time. You have a bit now (the kids) and you have a bit later (the career).

Proudnscary Fri 21-Oct-11 16:27:13

You lost me at 'come on, girls'

Well nearly.

I have a FT job and I am happy and devoid of guilt and my kids are happy and nursery didn't turn them into emotionally dead deliquents and I don't think I 'have it all' but I have more than enough and I am fairly well groomed and I have a bit of me time and all is good. OK?

Trills Fri 21-Oct-11 16:32:45

There are plenty of happy children with working mothers.

You say you can't bear leaving her - well that's your problem isn't it, not hers? She's probably be fine.

So it's not about happy child vs fulfilling job, it's about fulfilling job vs your guilt.

pollyblue Fri 21-Oct-11 16:37:17

I've been a SAHM for 5 years and always blow-dry hair and wear make-up. Did before DCs, no reason not to after DCs.

Maybe you can't "have it all" (i really hate that expression), but you can certainly make decisions and choices, based on your current circumstances. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

I decided not to return to the job I had pre-dcs, but have since studied at college part-time and am about (now DC1 is at school) to set up a stained glass workshop. It was a passion before DCs but (perhaps ironically) it was only after becoming a SAHM that i was able to study it. So having DCs and having to change my life to an extent has actually been a huge benefit.

littlesue Fri 21-Oct-11 16:47:33

If you do seriously want to go back to work you have to accept that someone else will look after your child. I reluctantly went back to work FT after 12 months maternity leave as DH was not working, but neither was he cut out to be a stay at home dad so DS went to nursery.

I know what you mean about not using my brain when on maternity leave - but I quite enjoyed it at the time. It was a nice change. Now I am glad I returned as DS has started school and I would drive him mad with my tiger mother tendencies (I've already gone him down for Oxbridge!) and in this current climate if DH loses his job (very likely) I am the safety net.

I think it all depends on your personality. DH needs intellectual stimulation (bet he will want to debate Gaddafi when he gets in), while I want to talk about the weekend. I am no dummy BTW - I have a master's degree and a good job but don't feel the need to be intellectually challenged - I just want to chill.

Going PT could be a good compromise but you don't want to end up doing FT hours in the 4 days you are working and checking BB on your day off. Also, need to consider if you will be sidelined by being PT - some of the deals you may work on will involve long hours and fast turnaround times and they may go to colleagues that work FT. This happens at my company as some projects need someone to be working on them everyday.

Good luck with your decision.

NinkyNonker Fri 21-Oct-11 17:02:17

I use my brain, wear make up and nice clothes etc and am a SAHM, how ridiculous. It is what you make of it, I choose not to slob out and stagnate.

Sleeplesssister Fri 21-Oct-11 21:30:19

Yup ok, I deserved most of the above. Stupid choice of words by me. But thank you for the input. Fair point about it being my guilt and discontentment being the enemy. Have struggled to make mummy friends since DD was born, probably because I have a bad case of foot in mouth (point taken re nice clothes and make-up, the mummies at the toddler groups I go to always look glam, I am the slobby one in jeans and trainers). Have so tied myself up in knots about the whole work vs SAHM mum thing that I seem to be projecting this onto every normal conversation I have with people, my own unhappiness is like a bad smell. No one wants an unhappy friend do they? I'll shut up now, but thanks for the input all.

Goofymum Fri 21-Oct-11 22:16:25

Don't beat yourself up about this, it is a difficult choice and everyone is different. I have friends who left very good full on jobs and never returned to work after having kids and they love it. Some people do not have a choice. I had the choice and I preferred to return to work. Both my DDs loved nursery and they've never known anything else. But luckily I had flexible hours and was able to take them or fetch them several times. Also DH was at home once a week to look after them, and Parents one day a week. Who's to say your DD will be better off with a mother at home who is unfufilled and unhappy (rightly or wrongly) or with a mother who she sees less often but when you do spend time together it is great high quality time. I know that even tho I worked when my DDs were little, they are rounded and grounded happy girls and my eldest says she is proud of my work and wants to have a career when she is older. Good luck with your decision, keep looking for companies that need lawyers and legal advice but do offer flexi hours (some surely must - big pharma?).

Goofymum Fri 21-Oct-11 22:34:43

Actually thinking about this a little more, I could only do what I did in the post above because I did have a very flexible and supportive DH, and why shouldn't the DHs be just as involved in these decisions if they're around? Can you and DH both work 4 day weeks and your DD go to nursery 3 days a week? What does your DH think of it all?

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