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To ask how having children affected your career?

(466 Posts)
Fluffysparks Mon 23-Oct-17 11:36:17

Just that really. Were you employed before having the DC, how much time did you take out and do you think it affected your career? I’ve just realised that it probably has with me, in more ways than one, and I’ve been quite lucky as well...

noblegiraffe Mon 23-Oct-17 11:43:48

I went part time after having DS1 and part timers aren't allowed to apply for promoted posts at my school (I'm a teacher) so unless I go back full time which would mean seeing my children very little in term time, my career is at a total dead end.

Pistachiois50pmore Mon 23-Oct-17 11:45:52

I only have one two-year old, but it's been okay so far apart from the obvious dip in income. I'm working a slightly different job to before, but at the same level and pro rata salary. I work three days a week, can do some of that remotely, and I also started doing some freelance work on the side which would not have been possible without the headspace from taking a year off (well, not "off" because maternity leave definitely isn't a holiday- but the different rhythm gave me some thinking time). The freelance work doesn't pay especially well (£100 a month tops) but boosts my cv, so I feel like by the time my son's starting school and I'm getting ready to go full time again then I should be in a better position. But mainly I feel career progression is paused at this level until then, which is not a disaster for me.

Dozer Mon 23-Oct-17 11:48:18

I have 2DC and went PT (public sector) for several years and IME it put paid to ambitions for career progression, as I am competing with people willing and able to work long hours, which is rewarded. Even now am FT this is an issue. Also got given poorer quality work than before.

MyYoniFromHull Mon 23-Oct-17 11:49:58

It pretty much fucked it.

I can't take the roles I'm qualified for because they require a degree of flexibility that I can't offer because of having children.

However I do have a job that I really enjoy, my employer is flexible and I get a decent salary.
It's the Paula Principle, isn't it

mrsglowglow Mon 23-Oct-17 11:55:54

Used to work in financial services in the city but never returned after maternity leave and was lucky to stay at home til the youngest started full time education. I now work part time in a special needs school 3 days a week. I earn less than than a quarter of what I used to earn over 13 years ago. i love my role but physically and emotionally it is taking its toll and I'm considering moving back to an office based job. We're told we will have to work til we're 70 and realistically I can't see it working in my school.

Ktown Mon 23-Oct-17 12:03:05

no it didn't at all actually.

i found nursery much better for childcare provision though and struggle more now she is at school. i work long hours, but flexibly (hence i am on MN now, for example!).

i think the tide is turning and that companies who want to keep good staff will do their best to accommodate.

however the key was having a partner who helps, a cleaner, grandparents on both sides, and really excellent (expensive) childcare for the very early years. we wrote off a lot of cash then, but it was so worth it.

trixymalixy Mon 23-Oct-17 12:04:01

Working part time, taking a step down in seniority in order to avoid a long commute so i can drop kids at school and not willing to be internationally mobile have put paid to any career progression for me.

I am fairly well paid anyway, but I do feel a bit annoyed when i see people who are not as competent as i am being promoted into roles.

Mayhemmumma Mon 23-Oct-17 12:10:46

I had a good professional career - not a high earner but I though I'd have my babies and go back to my job.

Didn't happen because:
Cost for 2 in nursery was £100 a day
I REALLY wanted to work part time which meant childcare costs overtook income
I hadn't anticipated all the anxiety and exhaustion that comes with two young children, who got ill or needed me to take time off for something
I was utterly broken with sleep deprivation
My job needed me full time, I squeezed a full week into 3 days and found I wasn't doing my best at work or at home.
I was stressed rushing to get things done to rush to pick up child.

I ended up taking 2 years out and it was divine! Will never regret time with my two.

But it's meant I've had to take a less qualified role now I'm back at work and am slowly building my role back up. It's frustrating earning so much less again.

mummyretired Mon 23-Oct-17 12:11:19

It halted progression completely, in order to move forward I would have had to travel to distant offices and spend nights away on a regular basis. My employer was very flexible in facilitating my existing position when I became a single parent, but IMO lack of mobility always meant I was tagged as 'potential to progress' - latterly this was official policy.

mummyretired Mon 23-Oct-17 12:12:39

*no potential to progress - sorry, editing fail!

dinodiva Mon 23-Oct-17 12:20:17

I took a full year of mat leave and went back full time after DD(2) and haven't regretted it for a second. Due to organisational changes, my job is more rewarding than before she was born. Agree with PP that a partner who's a team player, a cleaner and great childcare are key, and without those things I couldn't make it work. I'm pregnant with DC2 and will take a year off again, but definitely intend to return to work.

inmydressinggown Mon 23-Oct-17 12:21:28

First baby at 27. Totally fucked my career. I had just reached a management position when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant.

I should have seen the writing on the wall, really, as there very few senior women in that organisation (or much of the industry) with children. I made a valiant attempt at salvaging things after a year's maternity leave (too long off in that industry, in retrospect)....but ultimately it was pretty clear I was never going to fulfil my potential post-DC. An I had a supportive DH and mum, pretty much wraparound childcare - but it still wasn't enough to 'compete' with childless women or pretty much all men.

I changed career after my second DC was born, as I just couldn't bear feeling like I was failing in all areas - work and home. It took a year's full-time and intense training and 5 years working from the bottom up again, but at 40 I am back on a management track and in a much more flexible, family-friendly sector with work I genuinely enjoy.

So all in all, it has worked out OK.

There is still a part of me that resents the fact that simply reproducing was the death knell of a career I had trained hard for and loved, and I do worry about how my DD will fare in future. Things certainly aren't 'equal' out there, thats for sure.

Imonlyfuckinghuman Mon 23-Oct-17 12:22:38

Killed it dead.

Child care was too expensive
Part time hours killed off any chance of promotion and I felt I was pushed out.

What sad reading this thread is sad

Coulddowithanap Mon 23-Oct-17 12:22:42

Having children has definitely affected my career. I had a really well paid job that I couldn't go back to after having children.

Even now that I'm starting a new career I'm finding it hard to commit the hours I need to give for training etc and still have time to see my family.

Zadig Mon 23-Oct-17 12:27:07

Well our first baby (when I was 30) effectively put an end to my career. DH travels a lot and also the money I was earning in relation to him made the opportunity cost of me returning too high. DC2 came 2 years later and then DC3 two years after that, so 7-8 years of pre-schoolers. No regrets really, but looking back, even if I had been keen to return to work, I wonder how I would have actually done it.

Tequilamockinbird Mon 23-Oct-17 12:27:20

I had DD whilst still a teenager. I had to give up my £45 a week apprenticeship as there was no option for maternity leave.

I finished work 2 days before my due date, and my 'D'M told me that that was the end of my life. That id be 'on the dole' for the rest of my life, never make anything of myself, never have any money, and my DD would be exactly the same.

So, I then made a promise to myself that I would prove her wrong. I went back to work when DD was 14 months. Paid for a full time nursery and gradually worked my way up within the company.

It was bloody hard for a good few years, but now I'm in a senior position in a FTSE 100 company, and DD has left school and got herself a good job in a bank.

Being a teenage mum with a horrible mother did me the world of good! No idea where Id be now if I hadn't had DD smile

Zadig Mon 23-Oct-17 12:31:33

inmydresdinggown - Yes it was like that for me. I knew I wouldn't cope too well with feeling like I was being "torn apart" doing two things badly, so I committed to the DC. DH realistically was not going to change his hours or take on the mental load of the DC. It came naturally to me, but he reacted to having DC by throwing himself into earning as much as possible.

CbeebiesAddict Mon 23-Oct-17 12:33:05

I was a band 5 full time before having DS. I took 9 months out and returned to that post. 8 months later I was promoted to band 6 full time but couldn't manage the hours so am now a band 6 part time. So overall not bad but my make childless colleagues who were at the same stage as me a few years ago and are no more qualified etc are now Band 8s so clearly it has had an impact.

acquiescence Mon 23-Oct-17 12:33:06

So far, it hasn't really. I am a band 6 NHS nurse and have one child aged 2 and am pregnant with #2. I took a year mat leave and went back to work part time (2.5 days). I took a new job while pregnant and was not discriminated against for it. I will take a year again this time and return to my job. I get my increments (pay rise) of around £1k each year even when I'm off on mat leave.

I will continue to work part time although will hope to increase my hours when both children are at school. In my workplace it would be acceptable to apply for a higher level job and still work part time. I have at least 35 years before retirement so plenty of time to progress should I choose.

Fluffysparks Mon 23-Oct-17 12:33:12

Great to hear a positive story here Tequila smile But it’s really shocking to see how much of a minority you are.

BendingSpoons Mon 23-Oct-17 12:34:27

I've been lucky but my career hasn't been impacted. I interviewed and got an internal promotion whilst on mat leave (NHS) and now work part time. It's a female dominated role so they are ok with part time working and I broadly work 9-5. My DH is also part time (opposite days) so I don't have to worry about DD being ill etc. I had 9 months off (DH had 3) and like a previous poster, the headspace from work was good. As I'm in a new role, I wouldn't be thinking about further promotion etc for a good while yet (if ever) so don't anticipate it being an issue later. I do know colleagues who have missed a chance to interview for promotion due to mat leave (they could have applied but had newborns so it was too much).

Lethaldrizzle Mon 23-Oct-17 12:35:24

Nose dived. That's the hit I chose to take so I could be a sahm. Back at work now mind but not as high up as I would have been if I hadn't taken career break. I don't believe you can have it all but what I have had has been pretty ace.

QueenAmongstMen Mon 23-Oct-17 12:35:38

My career is on pause at the moment.

I still work full time but have given up opportunities for promotion because whilst my children are young they are my priority, not taking on extra stress and extra hours at work.

I figure I've got another 30 years ahead of me in my profession so for now I'm happy to put personal gains on hold even though it means I'm watching junior people climb above me on the career ladder.

Babbitywabbit Mon 23-Oct-17 12:35:41

Returned to work first time round when dd was 3 months old, and worked 3 days a week. Took a little longer off with dc 2 and 3 due to changes in maternity legislation, but was never out the workplace for as much as a year. Not going to lie, those early years were hard going, because childcare amounted to the same as my salary, and tbh my career stood still. Just doing 3 days meant I was maintaining rather than progressing. I then stepped back up to full time the term my youngest started in reception class. That was partly good fortune (a full time post came up in my field at this point) though I did waver a little in taking it. This would have been the first time since giving birth that I would have had any days off at home without kids (to this point, whenever they’d been in nursery, I was at work.) So there was a moment of temptation!

In retrospect returning full time was the best thing I ever did, because from that moment my career shifted into a different gear and I’ve had several promotions since and now in my early 50s I feel I’ve achieved where I want to be. The other aspect which tbh I thought about very little until the last couple of years is my pension, and of course now I’m so glad I never stopped paying into it, and have been paying into it As a full timer for almost 20 years since having kids.

Having said that, even those few years of part time work have knocked several thousand off my pension so clearly having kids will affect my income in later life. But to be fair, not that hugely.

Looking back from the vantage point of nearing early retirement, I would say yes, having children undoubtedly impacted my career more than dh’s. But stepping back up to full time once the kids were in school (despite the logistical headache of that) was the single most important factor in getting my career back on track.

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