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AIBU to choose work life balance over career and money?

(78 Posts)
puglife15 Sun 16-Oct-16 16:15:43

I'm considering leaving my 3 day a week professional, often stressful but well paid career to work in a lower pressure, lower paid environment on a consultancy / freelance basis, probably working half the hours I was before in a related field but probably on more interesting work. I'd also lose an excellent benefits package.

This would also mean less childcare required and I'd be able to do school pick ups and drop offs when dc1 starts next September.

We'd be able to eat and pay bills, but holidays, new clothes, new furniture, eating out etc wouldn't really be on the agenda. We currently save around £500 a month (for holidays and house stuff as well as longer term), that would be reduced.

In terms of career progression, if I needed to I think I'd be able to go back into a permanent (probably dull) job reasonably easily but at less money than I'm on now.

AIBU to consider this? How important is it to be able to pick kids up etc, and enjoy my work, vs how important is it to not be stressed about money? I've been doing the same job for nearly 15 years so I've lost perspective.

DH's career is going well but not brilliantly paid. I could currently earn more than him if I was ft but he really likes his work.

monkeysox Sun 16-Oct-16 16:17:22

Yanbu. Life is short. Happiness is priceless

specialsubject Sun 16-Oct-16 16:19:01

do it. With the proviso of your future - plans for mortgage, pensions etc.

important - but so is right now.

user1471494124 Sun 16-Oct-16 16:19:49

I think being happy is the most important thing. Is there any way you could boost your income in another way too? (I make a killing from exam marking once a year which pays for holidays, house stuff and savings, for example. Without that we would be on bare minimum.)

Wellywife Sun 16-Oct-16 16:21:14

I did that. Was a SAHM in between too. I'll never get anywhere near what I was earning and my pension sucks but I don't regret it at all.

idontlikealdi Sun 16-Oct-16 16:27:25

I've got the same thing going on the opposite way - new job 5 days in the office, 3 grades above where I am now for an extra £25k (most of hitch would go on childcare anyway!) or stay in my 3 day a week role and don't know what to do.

DTs are only 5 - at the moment I can go to all the school stuff and 2 days a week am home with them.

I'm erring towards staying where I am - I won't be able to get these years back and while the extra money would be great it's not enough to not see my kids during the week. I don't think.

Muskateersmummy Sun 16-Oct-16 16:27:35

Do it. If you can afford to, then work life balance is way more important in my opinion. Earlier this year I left a full time very stressful career and started a much less stress job which means I can do every school drop off, and a few pick ups each week, I have a day off in the week which I can reschedule to be at all the school events and performances. We have less money but are all much happier.

MouseholeCat Sun 16-Oct-16 16:28:29

This is my ultimate goal and I know a few women professionally who have done similar. Kids will only be young once and you need to enjoy that time in the way that suits you. If it's what you want to do, go for it.

Marmighty Sun 16-Oct-16 16:31:58

You might even find the freelance work leads you in interesting directions and enhances your career. I've been a freelance consultant for a year and it's gone far better than I ever imagined. Depends on your profession and skills though of course. But it's been great in any case, so much time with DD, less stress (or different stresses!) able to live in a nice relaxing place. Go for it!

EweAreHere Sun 16-Oct-16 17:21:31

What does your spouse think?

MeganChips Sun 16-Oct-16 17:25:43

I have. I worked full time but in a family friendly, not too far from home location. I can work from home whenever I like and emergency time off isn't a problem.

If I were to go back to private sector I could double my money. Triple it if I went contracting but for now it suits me.

In a couple of years though I'm going to do just that!

MeganChips Sun 16-Oct-16 17:25:59


myownprivateidaho Sun 16-Oct-16 17:33:02

I think it sounds a bit unwise to be honest. What happens if something happens to your DH? 3 days a week already gives you an enviable work-life balance, and will give you a better base for returning to full time work as you seem to envisage.

puglife15 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:44:15

Thanks for all the messages. I could always up my hours temporarily if things got tight and take on some more agency freelance work - I reckon an extra day would clear maybe £150 after costs but I'd need a flexible childcare solution which I might not get with a childminders and some nurseries - no family nearby and projects are typically quick turnaround.

SarahMOs Sun 16-Oct-16 17:47:53

My mum was always around to take us to school and pick us up, even at 32 I really appreciated that. She went back into more full time work when I was a teenager and retrained into a totally different job. She loved it! I'm 14 weeks pregnant now, nothing will ever be more important than being around watching your little ones grow up and I'm only saying that from having such a childhood.

puglife15 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:50:10

Ewe my dp is happy with me doing it and doesn't want me to be so stressed - however I worry much more about money than he does - he would be happy for us to get through a chunk of our savings to facilitate me being a sahm for a year or two if that's what I felt was right, for example.

Myown on paper I work (and am paid for) 3 days a week but in reality I very often have to work evenings, weekends and days "off" so work life balance is not really as it seems.

GrumpyMummy123 Sun 16-Oct-16 18:04:45


Life's too short. You may regret working longer hours. You wouldn't regret being their for your kids and seeing them grow up. If you can afford it and think you'd cope without the adult conversation and dealing with kids all day everyday! Several mums I know would rather work (even though cost of childcare makes in uneconomical) because they think they'd go nuts being a SAHM. Fair enough. Do what makes you happiest!

I did it. The opportunity came up to take redundancy (only statutory so no big payout!), but I took it. Best decision I made. He was 18 months when I did it. Now just turned 3. Still very happy with my decision.

Yes I miss the money. I can't just go shopping whenever I like. We don't ea out or get takeaways unless a real treat. Holidays and stuff have to be economical, but I love spending time with DS. It gives DH more work flexibility. When I was working DH work trips or late meetings were a nightmare to deal with as he normally did the evening nursery pick up and as I couldn't get there in time without leaving work early. I was really stressed and tired all the time. Our relationship suffered from constantly being in a rush.

Now I can go to all the pre-school stuff and be involved. I have a great circle of similar friends for play dates and meeting at playgroups so do get a bit of adult conversation. We go to loads of activities and days out that wouldn't be possible if I was working. When he starts school he can do whatever after school stuff he wants without worrying about childcare. I can help out in school. Have time to help out PTA etc....

I'll only return to work if our financial position changes or I get bored!

RebelandaStunner Sun 16-Oct-16 18:10:33

I agree with myownprivateIdaho
Having less money would be fine but wouldn't be something I would do if it meant no disposable income. I would look for something else.

redskytonight Sun 16-Oct-16 18:27:30

Yes, DH and I have both done this - we've picked non-stressful jobs close to home rather than chasing promotions and more money.

One of us is always home before the DC and the other is home by 5pm or just after. Means we have relaxed evenings together and are not coming home stressed out.

That said, we do have enough money to support a quality of life that we find acceptable - we wouldn't be doing it if we felt we had to scrimp and save and couldn't do the things we enjoyed.

EweAreHere Sun 16-Oct-16 18:55:30

If your DH is on board, and you both understand what it will mean in terms of cash flow, savings opportunities, and future pension pots, then go for it. Children are only little for so long and childcare costs are expensive. If you can afford to rearrange your life in the manner, go for it if that's what you want to do.

mygorgeousmilo Sun 16-Oct-16 18:58:56

YANBU do it, nothing is more important than time with your kids, so if you can survive and still live well then why not

myownprivateidaho Sun 16-Oct-16 19:04:17

Could you move into a full-time position and your DP go part time and take over your current household duties? It seems like the problem at the moment is that you are bearing the brunt of home stuff as you are part time but at the same time your work are treating you as if you were still full time. You might find that if you did a 5 day week you don't have that much more on.

Cutting down your hours so that you have enough to get by and no more, when this also damages your future earning potential AND your DH doesn't have a high future earning potential either just seems to leave you in a really vulnerable position. Especially if you worry about money, that seems really stressful to me and doesn't seem like it will lead to longterm increased quality to life (maybe particularly as the children get older and more expensive).

Beebeeeight Sun 16-Oct-16 19:10:12

Don't do it!

People who will tell you to do it will have young DCs.

One they get to be teenager they want the ££££ clothes, school trips, driving lessons, car, Uni, house deposits. You won't be able to provide them with this if you give up now.

My DCs loved playing with their pals at after school club. It's not jail!!

Once you quit you can never go back.

Mishaps Sun 16-Oct-16 19:14:09

Carpe diem! - your children are only young once - enjoy them.

We did similar things and have never regretted it. Quite the opposite! And my DDs regard our decisions as an example to them about what is important in life. They took the financial cuts on the chin and shared in the adventure of parents taking a different view on life and material possessions from most they knew.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sun 16-Oct-16 19:16:12

Are you me?! I am doing similar hours now and am thinking of a similar change in the future. At the moment I am hoping to reduce hours at my permanent job and feeelance a little bit on the side so the best of both worlds. Not entirely sure that is realistic though so am only at the research stage.

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