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To not be ambitious?

(41 Posts)
Celestria Wed 19-Nov-14 01:04:38

I was, once upon a time, when I was mid teens and leaving school with great standard grades into a job my teacher put me forward for.

A few years later I was married and had four kids all pretty close together. In all honesty I struggled with life as a mum and wife. I did my best but I guess it was pretty half hearted. I always thought I had wasted myself. I grew up being the 'smart one' in the family and my parents always expected me to go far.

Anyways, fast forward 12 years, one divorce later and I am about to move in with my OH of a year and a half. I've also turned thirty and I've realised that all that desire to have a great career etc has just gone. I went to college as a lone parent and though it was only an NC I was very proud.

Now I work part time at the weekend as a bar tender. Raise my four kids and keep the house in the week. Cook nice meals and generally have become pretty domesticated which once upon a time I detested.

Now I just want to take care of my family. Cleaning the house isn't a chore anymore. I like keeping it clean for them all. I adore cooking and do all sorts, where once I detested it. I like making lunches for my partner and I'm happy with my job.

So what's the AIBU? Well I still meet with opinions that make me feel as though there is something wrong in actually being content to take care of my family and work as a bartender. That I should be wanting more for myself. So aibu to have accepted I'm probably not going to manage to get a high paid career and travel round the world and to find contentment and satisfaction in looking after my family and working part time be it in a bar?

Chottie Wed 19-Nov-14 01:11:07

Ignore, ignore, ignore - your life, your choices. You only have one life, so just enjoy it. smile

LadyLuck10 Wed 19-Nov-14 01:18:53

You sound more resigned to your situation rather. The thing is a lot of people end up doing what you're doing anyway in terms of family, kids, etc. But what else do you want to accomplish for yourself? If you're truly happy for this to be your life then up to you.

Celestria Wed 19-Nov-14 01:20:17

I wish I knew how to explain it properly. It's almost like some people think I'm missing out? Or can't really be truly content?

It feels a little like it's frowned upon these days to be happy to be at home and perhaps even being traditional in wanting to have a meal waiting for my oh and children. It's hard to describe really.

Coyoacan Wed 19-Nov-14 01:25:56

Sounds wonderful OP. Being ambitious has its place, but there is nothing like enjoying the life you have, especially when your children are young as you will never get that time back.

I had a wonderful part-time job when my dd was young, but the boss used to give us all pep talks about the need to be ambitious, it really annoyed the hell out of me, as far as I was concerned I was where I wanted to be.

Celestria Wed 19-Nov-14 01:26:59

I don't think I am resigned. Just more that my perspectives and priorities have changed? I had a health scare last year and a breakdown at the start of this year and since then, well I guess I just don't think the career etc are all that important anymore. I don't feel I'm missing out on life but it does feel some of the people in my life think I am.

sunflower49 Wed 19-Nov-14 01:31:23

I think it was Bob Dylan who said something like;

A man (!) is a success if he (!) wakes up in the morning, sleeps at night and in between that, does what he wants to do.

If you're doing what you want, and your provisions are taken care for, and you're happy-there's no problem.
I do understand the niggly feeling that you should be doing 'more', though.
I have that myself. But really, if you're happy with what you're doing then you're a lot better off than many.

wobblyweebles Wed 19-Nov-14 02:03:46

Yeah, I like doing this stuff too.

DH earns a good salary though, so it's not like we're making sacrifices. If we were then I'd pull my finger out and do something much better paid.

GreenSpaghetti Wed 19-Nov-14 02:58:05

I have similar thoughts OP. I sometimes worry that I wasted money and time with uni or spending 6m + trying to get into a particular industry. Sometimes the worry is about the example I am setting for my daughters. Sometimes guilty about DH having to work whilst I get to be at work. But if I never had to work again (unlikely long term) I would be happy. Just maybe a little guilty too.

however Wed 19-Nov-14 03:52:11

I think it is important to at least have the capacity to put a roof over your own head, and that of your children if you need to. Life changes, tragedies happen, husbands die, leave, suffer injury, or are made redundant.

That does mean I believe that everyone has a responsibility to fulfil their earning potential to the last dollar.

If you aren't capable of doing that, or if your safety net is finite or inadequate, then that is your choice to make and it is a gamble and I hope it is a safe one.

ithoughtofitfirst Wed 19-Nov-14 05:19:02

I really get you OP. I feel exactly the same.

Saltedcaramel2014 Wed 19-Nov-14 05:39:31

It sounds like you're a great mum and have found a solid happiness with your new OH. Your life sounds pretty perfect actually, in terms of appreciating all that you have. Cooking can be creative and fulfilling and it sounds like you get real enjoyment from that (which I envy as I'm a rubbish cook!)

Four kids is a lot, especially with you still so young, and with part-time work too of course you're leading a full life and no one should judge you for anything you are not doing.

I hope I'm not speaking out of turn but what seems to be coming through in your post is your own yearning for something more (not necessarily now) - and lack of confidence about achieving it - when you say you won't 'manage' to get a job, say. I wonder if you are taking other people's comments (which they shouldn't be making) to heart because there is something there that makes you question what you want.

You are only thirty, I don't think you need to make any 'final' decisions right now - you can carry on happily as you are, or reassess in 5/10 years with time to pick up a new skill if you want (and only if you want).

Ignore what everyone else says, but if you have a nagging doubt , don't ignore that.

JessieMcJessie Wed 19-Nov-14 05:47:43

Absolutely nothing wrong with not being ambitious, but you probably are ambitious actually because looking after family is in itself a job that you can have ambitions for - ambitions to raise well adjusted, happy children, ambitions to be the best partner and mother that you possibly can be, ambitions to make your house the most comfortable and welcoming family home around.

However, and I do mean this in the nicest possible way, have you thought about what you'd like your children to aspire to? Since you couldn't possibly be keeping a roof over 5 people and feeding them all on 2 evenings' bar work a week, I imagine that the funding must come from ex-husband/divorce settlement, but would you want your own children to find themselves in a position where they are reliant on others for money? It seems that a basic ambition should be to be able to earn enough to live independently. While I have no doubt that you would be capable of earning enough to support your family if you had no choice but to spend your time doing paid work rather than SAHM work, it might be worth just making sure that your children understand that you have chosen not to work and realise that they may not have that choice in the future.

cheesecakemom Wed 19-Nov-14 06:08:39

If you are happy then it doesn't really matter what anyone thinks. It's your life.

ContentedSidewinder Wed 19-Nov-14 06:31:05

If you are happy and your OH is happy I can't see what the problem is.

I've been a SAHM for 10 years, my sons are 11 and 8. I have had a lot of people who don't know me judge my life and my choices. I didn't choose to be a SAHM it just happened with a relocation due to DH's job. But I felt like I've been defending myself ever since. Health wise, I have never been so well but I don't want to have to tell every person I meet about my condition. But I am really happy, as is DH.

You are 30, and so have at least another 30 years left of working life. If you want something different when you are older then you have plenty of time to do that. You don't have to have it all figured out all the time.

I do agree with Jessie that you need to communicate your SAHMness to your children. My eldest believed when he grew up he would have a wife who did all the housework and prepare meals. As parents we laughed our arses off at him (he was about 8 at the time) and gently explained that before children I worked full time, and then part time after he was born. Also not everybody enjoys being a SAHM and there have been times where I was climbing the walls.

After both my Mum and my MIL died within 4 years of each other (MIL was this year) life for us is about being happy, do what makes you happy.

rumbelina Wed 19-Nov-14 06:37:23

People have different measures of success and happiness. YADNBU if you are content. To be content is a great ambition to have smile

Saltedcaramel2014 Wed 19-Nov-14 06:45:59

I'm sure you know this but full time working mums get the same guilt for opposite reasons 'you put them in nursery for all that time/ can you enjoy work knowing they're with a stranger' etc. Society is structured to make all women feel they're lacking something and re inadequate - and that's the underlying issue

fourwoodenchairs Wed 19-Nov-14 06:57:47

I feel exactly the same as you OP. I'm so happy with my life, it's exactly how I wanted it.

ithoughtofitfirst Wed 19-Nov-14 07:30:47

contented i became a sahm due to illness too and i'm so well these days. People have even suggested me going back to work now that i'm 'better' but i think i'm well because i'm happy and relaxed in my current situation.

skylark2 Wed 19-Nov-14 07:53:47

I certainly don't think everyone has to be career-focused. I love my job and have never wanted to move up because I like what I do - I don't want to be a manager of other people who do it.

But - and it is a very big but - I do think it's important for girls not to grow up believing that kids or a career is a choice you have to make, so if you know you want kids why bother with school or uni? Similarly, I think it's important for boys not to grow up believing that the female adult in the house will be the one who doesn't work, does allthe housework, does allthe cooking and so on.

So in the OP's situation, I would say that what matters is that her kids see her working in a bar because she wants to work in a bar, and that at least occasionally they see her OH doing some cleaning/cooking etc. so that they appreciate "mum does most of the housework because that's how it works in our family", not "mum does the housework because men don't do housework."

avocadotoast Wed 19-Nov-14 08:25:39

I'm 26 and I've never been ambitious career wise. I work full time and (I think) I have a strong work ethic, as in I'll put my all into my work and try hard, but I'm not desperate to forge a career or progress up the ladder.

I also think there's different types of ambition. Keeping your house lovely is no mean feat. You should be proud of what you've achieved smile

PerpendicularVincenzo Wed 19-Nov-14 08:34:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Celestria Wed 19-Nov-14 08:47:00

My children have always known me to be working. I actually started working from the age of 13 with permission from my parents and my school. They saw me go through college too. Oddly enough I don't want my girls to have children young and I'd like to see them go to college or university. I've spoken to them a lot about the benefits of getting qualifications and into a good job.

With myself, it is like for so long, I thought I was a failure for not being 'the one that went far' to the detriment of my mental health and to my own family, feeling resentful etc.

Then I had the cancer scare and two bouts of pneumonia. A breakdown, was working full time in a sales job at Christmas time and I just couldn't do it all. And during my recuperation and subsequent counselling, I realised what made me feel happy, satisfied and useful was my home life.

So I compromised and went part time once I got better and I feel content, at peace and not questioning what I haven't got.

Just the odd times when chatting to friends, it feels like actually wanting to look after my family is like being a martyr or something to that effect.

Celestria Wed 19-Nov-14 08:53:42

If my relationship was to end I would be fine. I don't aim to stay part time forever, it was more a stepping stone to get myself back to work after the breakdown. I left a marriage that became violent and have been raising the children for three years on my wage and benefits alone as it took a long time to get any financial support from my ex. I still don't receive money but he has the children every weekend when I am working and pays for things like a holiday for the kids each year and brownie trips, winter clothes etc.

With my OH about to move in, things will change financially. And if he was to move out again, I'd manage. That's what us parents do smile

Hairtodaygonetomorrow Wed 19-Nov-14 08:56:46

I don't know why everyone is saying the OP wouldn't be able to support herself- if she was a single mum, not to put too fine a point on it, she could work in a bar a few evenings a week (if children old enough/childcare) and get top up tax credits etc. That's actually what most families in the UK do.

I am a highly educated (multiple degrees) mum definitely on a career path, and even I have difficulty fully supporting my family on just my wage (I do, but by the skin of my teeth and lots of shopping in Lidl and praying nothing breaks and having only second hand clothes for 10 years!)

I wouldn't set independent financial status as your worth, our economy is scuppered and built on a two parent working model.

If you are happy with your lot, then this is more valuable than anything. Also, if you are a sociable person, then working in a bar can be very enjoyable, and relatively stress-free as no working at home afterwards. I don't think you are doing badly at all- you sound a great success (four children, part-time job, nice husband, on top of homekeeping) and much happier than probably 80/90% of people posting on mn (I know they only post if they have problems, but still, there are a lot of unhappy discontent people out there, it's very sad).

Just because you are happy now doesn't mean you can't seize opportunities as they arise over the years though- you had your children young and this will give you a lot of opportunities in your forties and fifties- so stay flexible.

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