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to think about giving up high flying career to look after my DCs?

(77 Posts)
EscapeFromTheRatRace Mon 15-Dec-14 08:53:09

I have name changed for this in case I work with any Mumsnetters! I am in quite a senior role in the public sector. I am quite well paid but have to work long hours and am never really off duty. I went into this line of work with ideals about making the world a better place but as I got more senior I got further and further away from anything that benefits people to a role where I implement the short sighted policies of politicians and have to market them to the people who are still on the front line. I get no fulfilment from it, haven't had a pay increase in years and spend a large amount of my earnings on paying other women to look after my children and my house. DH works too, he has a disability which he manages well. We have two young DCs and no family support so it's all full on.

We live in London and have been very lucky that despite the area we live in not being great, the house prices have gone through the roof. Basically if we sold, we can afford to buy somewhere in a lovely town not far from the coast and have no mortgage. DH could commute to work and I could become a SAHM. We could save and plan for our future - DH is an older dad and our current mortgage is predicated on him working until he is 73, which sounds miserable and wouldn't be great for his health.

My main concerns about this are 1. Is it fair on DH - he would have a longer journey to work and would have to drive, he currently cycles which is good for his disability. He thinks he could still fit in exercise, and that the advantages outweigh this. 2. We would be further away from my best friend, who is the nearest DCs have to family. Although there is a direct train from where she lives, and it takes less time than going to the other side of London. 3. Would traditional roles of male breadwinner and female caregiver be bad for DCs? I'm not meaning to have a go at SAHMs, just thinking it through. When DCs are at school I would happily work during the day and have done some self employed work before. 4. Would I be isolated or feel dependent on DH? I have a sort of feeling that I shouldnt be financially dependent on a man, but if it works for our family?

If anyone has any experience of this, good or bad or can give me any opinions to help me think it through that would be very helpful! Thank you.

TheCrimsonQueen Mon 15-Dec-14 08:58:06

I couldn't do it. The monotony of being SHM would kill me. I would also be worried about being dependent on someone else and I don't think a long commute is fair on anyone unless they have no choice.

TheCrimsonQueen Mon 15-Dec-14 09:01:03

Also the feminist in me really wants women at the top with children to stay and stick it out. All the senior women in my field are childless so not much of a role model. sad

LePetitMarseillais Mon 15-Dec-14 09:02:49

How old are your dc?

Jackie0 Mon 15-Dec-14 09:04:29

Don't give up your career. It will be very difficult to get back when the children are older,and they'll be older in the blink of an eye, then where will you be ?

Queenofknickers Mon 15-Dec-14 09:06:12

The choice isn't all or nothing. You could leave the full-on job but still do consultancy/volunteer executive board member etc jobs - meetings during school or nursery hours. I completely take what Crimson is saying about wanting women at the top but sometimes until we vote with our feet and leave they won't make it do-able or compatible with a balanced life.

AllTheUserNamesAreTaken Mon 15-Dec-14 09:08:33

It sounds from your post that you hate your job rather than have a desperate desire to be a SAHM. What about looking for alternative jobs rather than giving up your career. I think unless you are absolutely certain you want to be a SAHM then it will make you miserable

softlysoftly Mon 15-Dec-14 09:09:46

You need a plan C where you can both take your feet off the treadmill but not entirely. I couldn't be a SAHM permanently, tried it with DD1 until 18 months and went stir crazy but was lucky enough to find a position of the right seniority part time. They are like gold dust!

My mum and MIL to me are a warning against being totally about your children now empty nesters they are isolated with a limited pool of friends and bored.

Saying that working so full on until you are ready to drop isn't ideal either! I would move but try and work PT. Doesn't even have to be the same career if you don't need the money, go back to something that helps people.

elderflowergin Mon 15-Dec-14 09:10:08

I think it is about you feel is right for your family at the current time. I gave up work to be a SAHM whilst my dc were little, went back to work part time when youngest went to pre-school, then full time when she started at school. My career is doing fine and I prefer what I now do, than my previous job. It sounds like you are not fulfilled in your current role. If I had had the chance to be a mortgage free f/t mum, living by the coast whilst my dc were little I would have jumped at the chance. If you are not enjoying your job, then go for it, they are only little for a short time. If you feel you want to work, you can look for as another job, and you might find something you prefer !

Mmmicecream Mon 15-Dec-14 09:11:04

You really do have to consider your own mental health and happiness here - would it make you happy? Because if it makes you unhappy, that's worse for your DCs IMO

I also don't see this SAHM/WOHM as a binary thing either, as if once you are one you will never be the other. My Mum was a SAHM until I was 12, and now has an excellent career. I've been both as well as both full time and part time (including a stint with DH as the SAHP), and imagine that before my DCs are adults we'll chop and change between the options another few times at least. Do you have other options?

LaPetiteCoccinelle Mon 15-Dec-14 09:11:54

Can you move sideways into a less busy/stressful job so keep your job but see more of the DC.

Thats my plan. I kept working at a hgh level but now with 2 DC Im lookig for a slower paced job and aim to be working 4 days a week in a few years time so Im there for my DC more.

Then when they leave home I can choose to up my work hours if I want to smile

LePetitMarseillais Mon 15-Dec-14 09:11:58

It isn't impossible to get back in.All of my friends managed it.I've taken a lesser role after 10 years.A lesser role suits our family.

If your dh is happy I'd go for it,you're not happy.

Re role model frankly I want my dd to aim towards being able to have choices like I had,to work,plan and prepare.A life chained to her desk aiming for the top just because is the last thing I want for her.

ToffeePenny Mon 15-Dec-14 09:13:10

I wouldn't - what stands out to me is that your first paragraph is about your dissatisfaction with your job, while your second is about a possible financial escape plan (underlining how desperate you are to escape your current situation). Nothing (and this is not a criticism, just an attempt to highlight where your attention should be focussed) points to you having concerns about how your children are being raised.

Before trying to fix the situation by changing things that aren't broken (your family set up, your support network (inc paid childcare), your home) try changing the one thing that obviously is, your job. Move departments and find somewhere you can make a difference (get closer to where the decisions are being made in your current area if you can), or if that is not possible, change job entirely.

Catzeyess Mon 15-Dec-14 09:14:04

I think you should do whatever makes you the happiest/best for your family.

You only get one life and if you hate your job and there is an alternative that makes you/your family happy then you should do that. As long as your husband is also happy with the arrangement

Your children will be fine with any set up which means their parents are happy. You will still be able to easily see your friend. And there is nothing stopping you getting a less stressful job in the new place you live.

PGTip Mon 15-Dec-14 09:14:13

I would do it in a second. You're not happy in your job, your DH would support the movement, you would have more financial freedom by being mortgage free, you would work while DC are at school. I see no downside!

Gintonic Mon 15-Dec-14 09:15:59

I disagree 100 percent with what crimson and Jackie have said. You clearly don't enjoy your job, why waste your life on a treadmill that you don't even enjoy? You should make the right decision for you and your family, stuff feminism. I don't think being a feminist means killing yourself in a high powered job for the sake of it if you would rather be at home. Can you ask for a career break to keep open the option if going back if you don't like it? Would your DH be able to find work closer to home in time?

Hoppinggreen Mon 15-Dec-14 09:20:58

Whatever you decide please don't let your or other people's perception of Male and female roles in the house cloud your judgement.
I was a sahm after a good career for about 7 years and I valued that time immensely. I was not aware of anyone judging me and to be honest I wouldn't have cared any way because it was MY choice - like you I knew I was capable of having a so called high flying role but chose to walk away from it.
I can't comment on getting back into work though as I now run my own business

dreamingbohemian Mon 15-Dec-14 09:31:57

I think you should switch jobs rather than change absolutely everything in your life in reaction to not liking your current job. A long commute for your DH is not great and as for still exercising -- when? You and the kids will also see him less if he has a long commute. You will almost definitely feel isolated until you make new friends locally -- from experience, when people leave London, everyone says they will visit but they never do.

I think it would be different if your husband also wanted to leave his job, then you could perhaps move to another city or area that is cheaper but where you could both work without long commutes, etc.

mrsnec Mon 15-Dec-14 09:32:53

The financial freedom aspect stands out to me in your circumstances more than anything else. For that reason I would do it.

Panicmode1 Mon 15-Dec-14 09:40:35

I gave up a very well paid career after I had my fourth child, and am now a SAHM. I found that I wasn't doing anything very well - being a wife, mother or employee. My nanny kept letting me down and I was finding the whole thing stressful - and the money, whilst on paper looked healthy, by the time I'd paid for my commute, the nanny and her tax, my tax and NI etc, it just wasn't worth it.

My children are so much happier, the house is running better, and it helps that DH has been promoted to a point where he's earning what we were combined, but we're not paying for childcare.

My youngest has just started school and I am now finding that I am doing so much (unpaid volunteering) that I need to scale back just so that I have time for me! So much for being a lady who lunches - I do play tennis once a week, but I go into my children's school, was a founder member of a Free School in my town where I still help out, volunteer at a local charity one day a week and am probably going to take on being a governor of a local private school...... all these people who say that being a SAHM is boring are so wide of the mark. It CAN be, but it's what you make of it that counts.

If you can make the finances work, and your DH is happy to do the commute (don't underestimate how hard it is on a freezing morning in February - it's fine in the summer!), then I 'd go for it.

vdbfamily Mon 15-Dec-14 09:45:43

I do not think that being a SAHM is a bad role model for your kids and I do not think that having to rely on DH for income for a few years is a bad thing if your relationship is solid. You will also be doing an important job with the children and his income belongs to your family unit. I found one of the important things to me when I was a SAHM was to have interests outside the family. I became a governor at the school my eldest was about to start. I was a trustee of our local village hall. I was on the church PCC and when I stopped being a governor,I became the pastoral care co-ordinator for our church/village. Obviously, many roles involve evening meetings so if DH has a long commute this might not be possible but meetings were usually at 8pm when most people are home from work. If DH has a longer commute,would they agree to him home working one day a week ? Modern day life is all about juggling but the most important thing is that everyone is happy. I would prefer to be satisfied on a low income than have all the money in the world and be spending the best part of my day doing something I did not like/enjoy.

BlueStringPudding Mon 15-Dec-14 09:47:32

If you're a senior female in the public sector, then it's worth lobbying for a more flexible role - either part time, or where you can work from home more - or a bit of both. They should be keen to keep women who have reached your level, so you should be in a good negotiating position - so worth having that conversation, and perhaps moving to another role that you can enjoy more?

Ridingthestorm Mon 15-Dec-14 10:13:43

I am in a similar position. Currently on sick leave with stress. There comes a point when priorities change. It sounds like your job isn't really giving you the fulfilment it once did; mine isn't! Fourteen years down the line and I a, hating it - not because off hen ob itself but because of the shit we have to put up with from government and the changes they implement, especially when a new party comes to power.
Consider 'slowing down' your career. Have you thought about going part time if possible? I have and am determined to persuade my DH that part time will result in less money but they benefits to my health, marriage and our two young DCs will far outweigh the financial side of things. You can always pick up your career when your DCs are older.
Or if SAHM is your thing, consider some volutneer work. I am going to volutneer with the local baby and toddler club or you could (if DCs are at preschool or main school) volutneer in school, charity shop or something else that is close to your job and you won't be de-skilled as such if you choose to go back to it.

EscapeFromTheRatRace Mon 15-Dec-14 10:18:25

Thank you for all your comments - a real range of views there!

I did think when I read back that my OP sounded like it was all about not enjoying my job, but that's not the only or even the main thing. I love being with my DCs and do think it's better for them - their Childminder is lovely but not their mum, and DD doesn't get the time and attention for homework. Not a massive issue at her young age but more so as she gets older. I work four days and the day I take DD to school and have DS all day is so lovely - stress free in the morning and DS is so happy, even with just toddler group/park/helping mummy with housework. The local school is OK for inner London but doesn't do a lot for more able children. When I was younger I earned extra money doing private tuition etc so I am sure I can do a good job with supporting my DCs' education, if I spend more time with them.

Yes I could change jobs, but frontline work in my field is hard, emotionally and I would earn so much less that it wouldn't then cover childcare costs. It's only financially worth me working if I stay in a senior role. I do take the point about a sort of responsibility to other women to stay in a senior job, but I want to be a SAH parent and would be good at it, DH doesn't and would get very fed up.

I think the things that chimed most with me from the comments were the question about my own mental health and happiness, and the comment that you only get one life. I'm quite clear that this would be what would make me happy, and be good for DCs. For DH it would mean a longer commute - but only as long as I do now. Re exercise, he says he would drive a certain distance, then cycle or walk from there so that it fits into his day to day life. It would also mean that he could think about retirement a lot sooner.

I don't think I would get bored, I have never understood that really. At the moment I work and am on the PTA and governors at DD's school, volunteer in the community and have a music hobby. I'm pretty sure I would fill up my time. I don't mind being on my own, not someone who needs lots of people iyswim, and have researched toddler groups in the area we would move to, there are loads.

throckenholt Mon 15-Dec-14 10:20:06

Your description of your job makes it sound as if you really should change if you can. Seriously consider all options and then work it out between you.

It may well be that you can get a part time role somewhere.

Personally I think kids always benefit from having more contact with their parents, rather than less (within reasonable limits smile).

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