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THREAD 2 -- to ask if anyone on here regrets going back to work after dc, and not being a sahp?

(41 Posts)
mammyoftwo Sun 11-Mar-18 19:51:54

Creating a space for anyone who wants to continue the discussion from a previous thread..........................

There have been many twists and turns along the way. It's a topic that's both complex and emotive.

mammyoftwo Sun 11-Mar-18 20:16:37

My first post on the original thread:

Context: It's a snowy day here..........beautiful stop-you-in-your-tracks-to-look-at-them's spent playing outside, coming inside for home baking, snuggling by the fire with books and an all round "good day".

(For full disclosure, I fully acknowledge we have plenty of "not good days" with two toddlers).

But anyways, it got me to often on here I read threads about "I don't want to give up my career for my children"/"Do you regret being a sahp" etc, etc etc....... you get the gist.

So today, having had a "good day", I'm going to be bold and brave enough to ask it.............................................does anyone back in paid work after children regret it?
I'd have hated to miss out on all that we did today. Things aren't easy, we've made sacrifices in spending for one parent to be "at home" but it's a choice we made as we believe it works best for our family.

mammyoftwo Sun 11-Mar-18 20:18:42

My last post on the original thread:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I think we've done to get this far on this thread without a single post being deleted. (One post was edited by MN, at the poster's request). It's a complex and emotive topic, but with a little respect on all "sides" it's possible to have a discussion without a bunfight!

During this post a number of things have occurred to me, I'm sure I won't remember them all now as I sit down to write this, but here are a few:
1. Surprise
The post was written from a place of complete and utter exasperation; constantly being asked "when are you going back to work" and the pressure that I and pretty much every other SAHM I know is under to return to paid employment after not having children. It reflects, in my opinion, a widely held belief that caring for and raising one's own children is not deemed a valid occupation (eg in contrast to someone who is a childminder and receives respect for having a job, despite doing similar tasks during the "working day").

I was hugely surprised that mothers in paid work on this thread expressed surprise that they didn't know about the pressure most SAHMs feel (to return to paid work). In a weird sort of way it's funny that those who I perceive to be often applying this pressure are unaware of it!

2. Geography of MN
Some posts on this thread have led me to believe/given the impression that many of the MN SAHM crew are all South West England/London based, and certainly from what I consider affluent areas. I was unaware (if my impression is accurate) of any regional bias of the MN contingent.

I'm an occasional poster and was under the impression that the bigger divide was MN vs netmums, as opposed to geographical bias within MN. Before becoming a parent someone warned me off MN, that it was fully of AIBU-viper-types, and that netmums is more of a lets-all-sit-round-and-hold-hands wishy washy set up.

3. Prejudice (my own and others)
The honest response of pp has prompted me to review my own prejudice of mums in paid employment. I acknowledge I have very much guilty of "lumping all together", when in actual fact there are so many scenarios that make up this group of women e.g. working mums by choice, working mums by necessity, part-time working mums who'd like to be SAHMs, part-time working mums who'd like to be full-time, and everything in between. If I'm completely honest, I've always thought that those mums in paid work "because I have to" were simply doing so as they were living outwith their means or were living as a consequence of previous financial decisions (e.g. taking out a mortgage based on two salaries, whereas we bought a house we could afford to run on one salary in the hope of one day becoming parents).

I'm also acutely aware of some of the preconceptions others have of SAHMs, "lumping them in together", when in fact there are so many variations of this lifestyle also! e.g. the mum who has life time-tabled to a hilt or the mindful mum who lives in the moment and has never implemented a routine in her life etc

I've created a second thread for anyone who wants to continue the discussion...........

NerNerNerNerBATMAN Sun 11-Mar-18 20:34:34

I agree it's not as cut and dry as people may first think OP. DH and I both were able to reduce our hours/workbflexibly to enable us to both have a day at home midweek with DC. We're very lucky.

I'd really struggle to be a SAHP personally. I enjoy my work and the sense of achievement/financial security it brings. I feel fortunate that I work in an industry where it is possible to try and seek out some semblance of balance (healthcare).

My friends all have different set ups, and they work/don't work for them for different reasons. I don't feel judged or judge for the choices we made/others make. Life's too short!

I'm ooop north btw, definitely not a southerner!

SlackerMum1 Sun 11-Mar-18 20:39:25

Were you equally surprised to find OP that many WOHMs feel judged by SAHMs?

FailingMotherhood Sun 11-Mar-18 20:46:47

Absolutely no regrets here. I love my job, my son loves nursery, and we love each other to bits. It also means my husband doesn't have the pressure of being sole breadwinner.

I sometimes feel a little guilty (mainly because society expects it), but there was no way I could take more than a year off without utterly tanking my career (I work in a very specialised and fast moving technical industry).

The house suffers though, it looks like a bomb's hit it - neither of us particularly feel like doing housework in the evening, and weekends are 100% focused on our son, so just the basics get done! I've literally not touched an iron in 15 years (although our son is only 2, can't really blame that on him!)

mammyoftwo Sun 11-Mar-18 20:53:09

slackermum Yes! Because WOHMs are the majority and there is strength in numbers! (Pretty sure it is less than two, 1.something mums in the UK who identify as a SAHM).

hidinginthenightgarden Sun 11-Mar-18 21:01:50

I really struggled being at home. I felt isolated and stressed. I didn't feel I was contributing adequately and at the same time felt like DH could have helped more. I went back to work last week doing 4 days and I already feel better. I appreciate the time with the kids more and am calmer and less snappy plus we are working as a team again. DH has been helping round the house again and the balance feels much better.
I don't judge SAHM's, it is much easier (not considering really difficult jobs or SN/high maintenance children) to go to work. I sometimes feel judged by SAHM's, I think they in turn feel judged too.

SlackerMum1 Sun 11-Mar-18 21:16:40

I’m glad to hear that! The real unreasonable behaviour is a society that on the one hand massively undervalues family caring roles, but on the other harshly judges women who don’t ‘sufficiently sacrifice’ themselves to them. No one can win here until we collectively decide to change the conversation. Perhaps a better question would be - do you feel you have the right balance? Why? And if not, what would you change?

QuiteCleanBandit Sun 11-Mar-18 21:18:59

No two WOHM/P are the same though .
Plus WOHM/P also look after their DC for the majority of the time . 168 hrs vs 40 hrs (8hrs day) if they use CC.
Why wouldnt they value what they do as well ?

QuiteCleanBandit Sun 11-Mar-18 21:21:15

Sorry that should be 128hrs .

Eltonjohnssyrup Sun 11-Mar-18 22:25:15

I sort of regret going back to work after DC1. But that’s because DC2 turned out to be DC2 and 3 when I had twins. So I’ve had to give up work anyway, and keeping my hand in for not very much money has turned out to be pointless as I’ve had to leave anyway. And with two more children coming so quickly I really wish I had made more of the time when it was just me and him. He loses out so much in the way of attention now. But until twins can be predicted before conception you’re stuck!

Absofrigginlootly Sun 11-Mar-18 22:25:58

Thanks for the new thread OP smile

I asked a question towards the end of the last thread that the OP and another poster both agreed they'd like to hear others opinions on, but unfortunately it got glossed over by the random nursing registration thread derail confused

Here it is again:

Would you be supportive of women who chose to SAH in situations where it is a genuine choice or do you feel that the only way to model gender equality is by both parents working?

Myself and a few other posters expressed that for us personally the desire to SAH with our DC was stronger than the desire to WOH. And that our relationships were equal because we each (ourselves and DHs) brought different things to the relationship which balanced each other out/complimented each other and made our relationships "equal".

In my view "equal" doesn't have to mean "the same"

LittleKiwi Mon 12-Mar-18 00:52:29

Yes, I support women regardless of the choices they make. We’re all operating in an unequal society, choices are not made in a vacuum, no one has the perfect relationship or family. We’re all doing our best.

Do I feel like I have the balance right? Yes - I’m a SAHM and I don’t feel like I get enough time with my children so definitely wouldn’t want to add a job outside of the home into the mix.

LittleKiwi Mon 12-Mar-18 01:02:56

I do not think that the only way to model gender equality as a woman is by working. DP and I are very different and do very different jobs, but we respect each other and that respect is reflected in our relationship.

Where very little children are concerned, if one or both parents aren’t looking after their children during the day, someone else is and most of the time that someone is female and poorly paid. If the only reason to go back to work is to teach your children about gender equality, what does the reality of paid childcare teach them?

drofrub Mon 12-Mar-18 01:21:38

"because I have to" were simply doing so as they were living outwith their means or were living as a consequence of previous financial decisions (e.g. taking out a mortgage based on two salaries, whereas we bought a house we could afford to run on one salary in the hope of one day becoming parents)."

Of course, in some areas getting a mortgage based on two salaries is a necessity because one salary wouldn't be enough. For example, in Oxford where you just couldn't get a property (even a bedsit) to rent or buy on one average salary.

"Average house prices in the city are 16.1 times the local average annual income compared with 15.7 times in London, according to research by an Oxford university professor. The average cost of a house in Oxford in 2014 was £426,720, with the city's workers earning on average £26,500 a year.26 Feb 2015"

drofrub Mon 12-Mar-18 01:29:32

Or for 2018, cheapest one bed flat* to buy in Oxford (in dodgy area) is 160k. Average Oxford salary is 29k - that's 5.5 times income. So anyone who earns average salary or less just wont be able to buy a one bed flat on one salary.

* not including retirement properties or shared ownership, which are cheaper but has rent to also pay.

ginyogarepeat Mon 12-Mar-18 07:03:00

Great point @LittleKiwi .

QuiteCleanBandit Mon 12-Mar-18 07:04:36

Totally agree with Slacker
Surely the question should be why do so few men care for young children ?
It is 2018 !

sevenstars Mon 12-Mar-18 07:26:46

Exactly LittleKiwi. A child in childcare or with a nanny is hardly likely to experience an equal number of male care providers, are they - if any? So how is that modelling "gender equality?" Plus, these female childminders are often often on minimum wage. Nannies might be slightly better paid, but often, around here, nannies are in their 20s from another country and struggling to make ends meet in the U.K. What is all this "modelling" to children exactly?

LittleKiwi Mon 12-Mar-18 08:39:56

The problem is that more women with better careers (which is great!) hasn’t been matched by more men staying at home, so women are still doing all the hard work of young children but it’s less likely to be mothers now, I suppose.

I don’t really think this is something women should worry about as much as they do. It’s for men to step up if anything is going to change.

Earlyup Mon 12-Mar-18 09:22:04

This has been an interesting thread that I've not quite felt able to contribute to so far. I went back to work FT and most friends either returned 2/3days or not at all. I feel a little guilty that I can't join in a lot of activities, but I couldn't have coped with not working; I like to be something other than 'mum'.

My OH has gone PT - he earns more so we now bring in equal income. He's much more suited to childcare than me but the massive gap between men and women in the parent-child activities world has become very apparent.

DaisyInTheChain Mon 12-Mar-18 09:25:08

When I was at work FIL decided he was going to say I don't know how women can work after having DC. Eldest was maybe 2, for me their time away from me helped them develop new skills.

It all depends on the kind of person you are, some totally excel at the whole SAH thing, for others CBeebies is like personal torture, as are baby mornings etc.

So you can't really say one way it right it's just preference.

Absofrigginlootly Mon 12-Mar-18 19:25:37

Where very little children are concerned, if one or both parents aren’t looking after their children during the day, someone else is and most of the time that someone is female and poorly paid. If the only reason to go back to work is to teach your children about gender equality, what does the reality of paid childcare teach them?

I wish you'd made that point on the last thread grin

mammyoftwo Mon 12-Mar-18 22:27:44


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