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To think that a career / work is not the be all and end all

(339 Posts)
Cantz Thu 02-Jul-15 21:11:06

I am 38 now, no children and I haven't worked a job since I was 29 and even the it was just part time. My husband works but I don't I have a blog that makes a little money and I sell some art work which brings in something but I don't have a career or a job I am mostly at home cooking, gardening and doing my own thing. It works for us and we are happy after 21 years together.
Lots of my friends have careers some are Doctors, others work in TV or in IT and we still have plenty in common. I want these women, my friends to have what makes them happy and of that is a career then great. I absolutely support the right of a women to do what she wants with her life but I am finding more and more that for me to choose not to have a career, especially as I don't have children is a total taboo.

It often feels like there is huge pressure to go out and get a job, that you cannot be fufilled unless you are in paid employment and that worse by not working you cannot possibley be contributing to society. There are lots of ways a person can make a contribution it isn't all about money or even having kids for that matter.

Surely paid employment isn't the be all and end all?

Riley2015 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:19:20

I work part time but do not have children yet but planning to ttc soon.

Many people seem to look at me gone out that I only work part time and I am childless.

If I could afford it I wouldn't work at all! I always have something to do on my days off and I enjoy it. I would rather have more free time than earn more money.

Tuskerfull Thu 02-Jul-15 21:21:10

I am very career-focused but I think you are absolutely not being unreasonable. I do think stay-at-home parents are starting to be recognised for what they do, but it is a long and slow process. You are raising the next generation of workers, how is that not a job?!

Cantz Thu 02-Jul-15 21:23:32

Ah but Tuskerfull I don't have children. Absolutely though raising kids is hard work if you have a career outside the home or not and really needs to be recognised as such and respected.

Riley I am the same, I would rather have my time than more money.

Tuskerfull Thu 02-Jul-15 21:25:30

Apologies, I should have read more carefully!

My response is the same though, YANBU. I know it seems like a cop out answer but I would put money on it that many of the people who try and make you feel inferior are jealous of your lifestyle.

cruikshank Thu 02-Jul-15 21:29:20

I'm another one who wouldn't work at all if I didn't have to. Having said that though, I do genuinely like my job - I mean, really like it. It's not a career, as such - I had one of those before but hated it really and also hated the person who I was becoming so decided to do what I do now and ok the pay could be better but it is a brilliant environment, it's socially useful (not that that's an issue for everyone) and the working conditions are otherwise excellent, and I am happy there. So it's not the be all and end all, but given that I do have to work, I feel lucky that I've found something that suits me so well. But if I won the lottery I'd be off like a shot!

imip Thu 02-Jul-15 21:33:42

I remember my now dh saying at the time we starting going out that I wasn't overly ambitious. I was a little shocked! I'd just come back from overseas after a year travelling the world and had saved up a housing deposit and brought my own flat with all my own money. My job was good, but he didn't see me as having high ambitions in a career sense. In this respect he may have been right, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!

I think he'd concede now that I was ambitious, but in an entirely different way to him. We've now travelled a lot together, emigrated, had a family - he'd defiantly say I was motivated by different things in life.

SirChenjin Thu 02-Jul-15 21:36:48

No - it's not the be all and end all, but unless you've won the lottery, the income work brings in gives you the freedom to stay at home cooking, gardening and doing your own thing.

780539gjg Thu 02-Jul-15 21:37:42

Most people I know (myself included) wouldn't work if they didn't have to. Any criticism of you is because you are doing something that is slightly outside the norm these days (which people find threatening) or because others are jealous.

Have you made any provision for if your relationship breaks down (assuming you are not independently wealthy)?

MagicalHamSandwich Thu 02-Jul-15 21:40:28

My career is important to me because it's a ready source of the constant mental stimulation I so crave. I've yet to find a more effective method of obtaining that.

If I ever do, who knows?

Wintersprinter Thu 02-Jul-15 21:44:59

What 780539 says above. Outside the norm for today but would not have been at all 40 years ago. If you are happy and content then totally up to you. YANBU.

Vivacia Thu 02-Jul-15 21:47:44

I genuinely don't understand. How can you afford to live if you're not earning? confused

seaweed123 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:47:57

I wonder if people are more surprised at the inequality in your relationship, rather than your lack of career, OP?

Personally, if I won the lottery I would give up work in a second, but I'd never give up work while my DH still had to go out and earn. That just wouldn't seem fair. It's one thing to be a SAHP, and I totally see why that is a good decision for lots of couples. But unless you live in a castle, or invent unnecessary tasks, housework takes max an hour or so per day?

So while I do try not to be too judgemental, I would wonder if your DH didn't feel a little hard done by. And it would be none of my business... but you did ask.

flukeshot Thu 02-Jul-15 21:54:09

I love my job. I've worked hard to get here and I wouldn't stop if I won the lottery. I have two kids and I'm personally a better mum for working. DH works part time in a job he likes too and has a hobby that makes money sometimes.
I also couldn't not work if DH had to.
I don't understand the angst about life choices though - if I knew someone with no kids who didn't work with no plans to, i would be a bit surprised because it's unusual - that's it. Sometimes on mumsnet I wonder if people are imagining these perceived taboos or that people are judging them when really people just aren't that bothered??

BMW6 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:55:29

Well, if you are supporting yourself entirely without any State Funded aid, YANBU, of course. Good on you.

If however you are getting any benefits YABVVVU.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 02-Jul-15 21:56:18

YANBU, we have 3 dc and I get exactly the same if it's any consolation.
When you are a sahm and you don't want to work some people look at you as if there's something wrong with you.
They find ways of trying to tell you that you can't possibly be happy or worst still think your life revolves round the home and raising children.
I think there are just some people in life who are so narrow minded they can't see past the end of their noses. They have no imagination as to how somebody could be very happy and relishing in the fact they don't have a job/career.
We aren't governed by money neither apart from obviously paying the bills.
Yes, some people will see your relationship as unequal because they see the only value in life is to work for money, some people feel that time is more important than money and if they do work it is to live, not live to work.
We are all different and different things make us tick.

Cantz Thu 02-Jul-15 21:57:02

Well I do earn a bit of income but from my blog and my art, both of those I enjoy and they don't feel like work if anything happened to our marriage which is unlikely I would just expand those or get another job if I had to.

My husband likes his job, if he resented me for staying home I guess it wouldn't work but as I said it suits us both. I do save some money by growing a lot of our food.

I wouldn't say I spend lots of time on house work, a bit more on cooking perhaps and in the garden but you are right housework I do while listening to an audiobook in about an hour.

I too crave constant mental stimulation but I must say I never got that from a job. I am sure certain jobs are very demanding in that way like being a doctor but I don't want to be a doctor, I want to be free to pursue my own interests like art, music, astronomy, books, sewing, cooking I make my own mental stimulation a job is one potential source of that but just because I don't work doesn't mean I spend all day washing floors and watching bargin hunt!

We can afford it because we don't really need that much money I guess.

Wintersprinter Thu 02-Jul-15 21:57:50

But seaweed you have totally verbalised what 780539 just said. You feel a bit threatened by the idea of a lady of working age not working just because she has the means not to. So what what she does all day. There are a 1000 different ways to spend your time and she already named a few. What has fairness got to do with it. If it works for them, so what. I know of a few house husbands who do not work too. Surely it is just each to their own.

Backforthis Thu 02-Jul-15 21:57:55

What happens if you break up?

cruikshank Thu 02-Jul-15 21:58:55

MagicalHamSandwich, I completely get what you mean about mental stimulation, but I have loads of things (not quite a list - more a miasma of ideas) I can think of to satisfy that. For starters, lots of study. I can think of at least three subjects I'd like to study to degree level, if not PhD. That would take up a fair bit of time. Also (inevitably perhaps) to finally get around to writing that novel that will set the world on fire (proceeds to be donated to charity, obv). In addition, there's a few instruments I'd like to learn to play, one of which involves going to a specific part of the world because that's where the only teachers of it are. I can think of lots of ways of getting mental stimulation that don't involve work. Hell, even reading a good book does it. And there are lots of good books out there.

Vivacia Thu 02-Jul-15 21:59:48

I find some of these comments offensive. The attraction of a job isn't greed or lack of imagination. It's independence, financial security, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of making a contribution to society and community.

Happyyellowcar Thu 02-Jul-15 22:00:05

So your DH is funding your lovely lifestyle? Seems awfully kind of him! What if he decided he wanted to stay at home to do his hobbies instead? Doesn't seem like a fair arrangement to me. If you were independently wealthy then you can decide whether to work for your own fulfilment or not but in this case it seems more like sponging. Work isn't the be all and end all but but don't you feel you are taking a lend of your kind DH by not contributing financially?

Doobigetta Thu 02-Jul-15 22:07:48

I wouldn't work if I didn't have to. Like many people (most?) I work to keep a roof over my head, not because I love it. My partner feels the same, so to expect him to support me to do fuck all while he had to work would be incredibly selfish, I think. And I certainly wouldn't be happy to support him- if I earned enough to keep two people comfortably, I'd go part time myself rather than keep a freeloader. Sorry, but I think it's pretty pathetic in this day and age to live off someone else.

MillyMollyMandy78 Thu 02-Jul-15 22:08:43

Another one here who is 37, childless and works part time (for almost 3 years now). Not everyone will understand where you are coming from but i think as long as it works for you both fine. Husband earns more than we could ever spend so like you, i keep the house in order etc.

I completely agree with your view of a job not being everything in life. But in myself i feel unfulfilled, and do hanker for a bit of financial security of my own, without relying on DH. I am in the process of setting up my own business which i hope will help with this and can do alongside my current job. What do you do to help you feel fulfilled/ have a purpose in life? Whilst i agree with your views i have struggledwith the reality of it all

seaweed123 Thu 02-Jul-15 22:09:29

Wintersprinter - oh, I can definitely imagine lots of ways to fill the day, actually OPs list would do me quite nicely. It sounds fantastic. But fairness would have everything to do with it for me.

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