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To think I can't have it all?

(26 Posts)
MrsLouisTomlinson Fri 06-May-16 17:26:58

Regular who has name changed as I tend to post only on the frivolous side of MN and this is a bit more serious.

A bit of background, DH and I have been together 14 years and have 2 kids. He has been in the same career pretty much since we met and is doing reasonably well with a wage of circa 30k. I took a bit more time to work or what I wanted to do and whilst I've always worked it was only 10 years ago I settled on what I wanted to do, undertook a strenuous 3 year degree and embarked properly on my career 7 years ago. We currently earn similar money. Last year I applied for a second job related to my first, not full time, more on an ad hoc basic but when I did get the work a weeks work it would earn me around my monthly salary (on top of my monthly salary). To my absolute surprise I got it, my current employer is over the moon as it's quite a prestigious post and my employer can claim bragging rights that a member of their staff does it. I'm also pretty young to be doing the second job so I was absolutely elated.

So far it looks as though at least one week every other month I will be required to travel away to do this second job. This is on top of my regular full time job (shift work that I have to work around second job). Obviously the money is fantastic and can make a real difference to our quality of life. This second job is not forever. It has a shelf life of less than 10 years (so not an unsubstantial amount of time but still not something that will last forever.)

I have a real 'make hay whilst the sun shines' attitude and want to make as much of this second job as o can whilst still giving my all to my original career. I'm also undertaking a masters module with a view to embarking on my masters proper in September.

So to the aibu. I have two kids and a DH and i love them all very much. DH is super supportive and is really proud of me but I feel awful when I have to do 4 night shifts then travel away for 5 nights then pitch back up home for one night then on to do another 3 or 4 shifts. My kids aren't bothered to put it mildly, DH copes fantastically and I feel a little surplus to requirements at times. This is playing on my mind at the minute as my SIL has arranged a birthday night away for a big birthday and I'd like to go. Unfortunately it comes the weekend prior to a week away with second job and the week after a trip to see my sister who lives abroad (first time I have ever been away on my own and planned for ages) I have to fit work in around all of this. I mentioned all this to DH and he said 'it's fine, we're used to coping on our own anyway' which made me feel utterly crap and thinking I should cut back somewhere. Then I get annoyed with myself as I think if I were a man I wouldn't necessarily feel bad and I'd just be happy to be able to provide for my family doing something I love.

Can't even remember what my AIBU is now it just feels good to get that all out!

sugarmonster64 Fri 06-May-16 17:36:48

I can empathise. I think having it all is rubbish. I can be great at my job and neglect my family, or I can be at home more and neglect my job but that sweet spot in the middle seems impossible to find. And it's impossible to compete against all my young and/or single colleagues because they can stay late every night and can travel at the drop of a hat without having to think about who will get the kids to school or who takes them to their ballet class

Sorry I've just added my own rant to yours...

LaurieFairyCake Fri 06-May-16 17:41:39

flowers I think you're doing amazingly.

Make hay while the sun shines. Perfect.

MrsLouisTomlinson Fri 06-May-16 17:48:57

Sugar, rant away, makes me feel better!

Thanks Laurie but I feel at the minute like I'm neglecting my family in order to fulfil myself career (and on an individual level) wise. And what's worse is my family don't actually need me to be about. They cope more than adequately in my absence. Which is great for them but pretty demoralising for me.

I should stop whinging, I have a fantastically supportive husband who is more Than happy to let me shine in my chosen career, as he observed the other week as he dropped me at the station 'our lives revolve around your career, that's totally fine but they do' but I can't help feeling that I'm dropping the ball at home and my kids will grow up with the feeling that I've been a bit 'absent'.

positivity123 Fri 06-May-16 18:00:31

This is tough. My mum did something similar when I was a kid in that she had a career change then got a better job with long hours and a long commute. At the time I remember being annoyed that she didn't make it to things like sports days and stuff. However I am really close to her and it's nice that she can give me career advice and I really respect what she did. If I were you I'd ensure the following
- don't try and do mum jobs because you feel guilty like laundry and cleaning. Outsource as much work as possible so that when you are home you really spend time with your family
- be there for big events for kids like plays and sports days
- get one on one time with your kids where possible even if it's just giving them lifts to places
- cherish your DH so he feels like you get quality time together.
My mum had some time off when I was doing GCSEs due to redundancy and I really liked having her around then so be open to doing that in the future.
Good luck

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Fri 06-May-16 18:03:18

Honestly, it won't be forever and at least it's regular so you can plan for it.

I work full time and sometimes work a bit late or travel. The fact that they cope without me isn't demoralising at all! It's testament to the fact that your husband isn't a useless lump like so many of the husbands talked about on here.

HermioneWeasley Fri 06-May-16 18:04:34

I don't know any men who would be guilt tripping themselves the way you are.

Your kids are being cared for by one of their parents. It's great for your kids to see you succeeding and thriving,

Go for it!

septembersunshine Fri 06-May-16 18:09:48

But would you feel bereft if you didn't stay at the second job? Would you forever regret it? I think it sounds like an amazing opportunity and like you say, you can't do it forever. I think the kids and your DH are very proud of you and as the kids get older they will only find more things to admire in their clever mummy. If it's not working you can always quit but for now I would sit back and enjoy things. Your DH sounds capable and happy. The kids are doing well. You are flying!!

BeALert Fri 06-May-16 18:15:39

My husband is away about the amount that you are OP. He has exactly the same feelings you do. It's not just a female thing. He adores his kids and wishes he could spend much more time with them.

When he is with them he really focuses on them. Is that something you can do more of?

MrsLouisTomlinson Fri 06-May-16 18:16:42

September, yeah I'd be really disappointed if I had to give up the second job, it's really interesting to me and will be worth its weight in gold if I do pursue the masters and it should open up a path to me that ultimately I want to go down.

DH is fantastic and I couldn't do this without him. But he probably wouldn't beat himself up the way I am if he were in my shoes. Luckily although he has a job he likes and does well at he doesn't have the same sort of drive I do, to always be looking out for the next thing. We'd struggle if we both had to travel and work silly shifts. He's an absolute star. And I'm going to tell him again right now (he's loading the washing machine whilst I MN 😳)

sugarmonster64 Fri 06-May-16 18:23:32

I too have that feeling that they cope fine without me too, especially when I have to be away for days at a time. The way I rationalise it is that's it the sign of a healthy family relationship that the kids are equally as happy with DH or I and that we're teaching them that it doesn't have to be the man who goes out and does all the hard work. That's what I'm hoping anyway

MrsEvadneCake Fri 06-May-16 18:26:04

In the opposite situation and I tell my DH we are fine without him, because I don't want him to feel guilty or worry while he's away. We genuinely have a routine that works and keep good contact via phone etc. He probably meant it to be reassuring so you wouldn't worry. To be doing something you love for your career is a great thing.

teafortoads Fri 06-May-16 18:35:23

That's fab your family are coping so well! Imagine if you returned to find a fiasco every time you went away? Now that'd be hard. You seem like an awesome family and it sounds like they are all very much behind you and proud of you. Don't overthink it or stress out unnecessarily. If things are running smoothly, let them run.

MrsLouisTomlinson Fri 06-May-16 19:28:13

BeALert I think that may be where I'm struggling because I feel like I have to pull my weight around the house etc when I'm home and of course throw myself into the normal weekly routine of swimming lessons, drama clubs, gymnastics etc.

I guess I need to be pretty grateful for what I've got and I am, I could just do with losing some of that mothers guilt that I never thought I'd be burdened with!

scaryteacher Fri 06-May-16 19:36:15

My dh worked abroad and we only saw each other every six weeks or so as ds and I stayed in the UK. That was for 2 years, then we moved as dh got further foreign postings. What you are doing isn't unusual, and it works for your family, so why not? No-one bats an eyelid when the situations are reversed.

Purplepicnic Fri 06-May-16 19:41:51

I'd be surprised if anyone on here said you were 'right' or 'wrong' because there's no such thing. Every parent faces these decisions and we all just have to choose what we are comfortable with.

I agree it was easy in a way 70 years ago when our 'roles' as women were straightforward - get married, have kids, be a housewife. I think our generation has been sold a bit of a lie in that we can have it all. You can't, you have to sacrifice something.

Purplepicnic Fri 06-May-16 19:43:00

I should add that some people don't get to 'choose' either - necessity reigns.

MrsLouisTomlinson Fri 06-May-16 19:54:49

Yeah you're all right. It's just getting myself out of that mindset. I'm working. Not going on week long piss ups or farting about. I'm earning money for our family and that's a fantastic thing to be able to do.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Fri 06-May-16 21:16:49

Is there any way you could reduce your hours in the "first" job? Even if just a little bit? (Where I work you can "buy" an extra week of holiday through our variable benefits scheme.) Working more than full time is toug even without kids.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Fri 06-May-16 21:34:31

I'd say it depends on how old your DC are and how they feel about it. My DM wasn't away nearly as much as you but I got shifted from school to school and I really resented it. Hence my choice to be a SAHM. I'd also be very upset at being surplus to requirements - both DH and I chose jobs that weren't high flying so that we'd both see DC grow up.

However, each to their own. It seems to be working for you and everyone is happy so enjoy doing what you're doing.

MrsLouisTomlinson Fri 06-May-16 22:13:23

DC are 12 & 6 and don't seem to miss me at all when I'm not here, they certainly don't pine for me in any way. In fact the 6 year old asked me today if I was working tonight and I replied in the negative and his response was 'ah that's a shame' hmm

MrsLouisTomlinson Fri 06-May-16 22:14:31

Mum of two I can't rely on the income from the 2nd job as although at the minute I have a weeks work every other month, that's only until September when I will be given a new allocation. It could drastically reduce.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Fri 06-May-16 23:52:57

ah that's a shame Ouch!! I was going to say that I'd want to be missed but you know what, it might be because you've just got happy and secure DC there. Nobody ever knows what's going to happen in the future. Life's too short to be frustrated (sorry about the clichés!) so just do it and enjoy. Your DC certainly don't sound like they're unhappy with it!

AdjustableWench Sat 07-May-16 01:23:35

Yeah, the security thing. When I was a kid my dad was away a lot with work. My mum coped really well and we kids were always happy to see him when he got back. I know it's the opposite genders, and maybe that's part of the issue: women still feel responsible for domestic stuff, including childcare and child rearing. But if your kids and your husband were unhappy and failing to cope you'd hear about it pretty quickly. So yes, you can have it all, and enjoy it, and everyone will be just fine.

MrsLouisTomlinson Sat 07-May-16 08:48:45

Yeah the kids are always happy to see me when I get back. I should be very grateful!

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