AIBU to think I've left it all too late?(34 Posts)
I'm a SAHP of two children, aged 2, and 4 months. I'm happily married to a lovely man. The thing is, I turned 35 last week, and have been fighting a wave of depression every since. I feel like an utter, pathetic failure. I have no career, and no skills. I feel like I've wasted my "best years", and cannot stop comparing myself to more successful peers (particularly fellow graduates from a prestigious university). I had a career in marketing before giving it up 2 years ago to look after the children - I can't really go back after so much time off (I'm very out of touch already!). I feel like I had all the opportunities in the world to build a good career, or travel, or learn skills etc., but I just bumbled along in a daydream.
Basically, I've had my babies and am thinking about the future, but aside from them (and don't get me wrong, they're glorious), it feels very sad and empty. How can I shake off this self pity?? Anyone out there door something fabulous a bit later in life?
Hmm... fwiw, I'm 37, single, no children no real prospects of a partner or kids either and have done ok career wise, but essentially, I'm going to die alone. Perhaps I should have done more too?
The grass isn't always greener.
Sounds like you need to do something for you. Could you find an evening class or take up a hobby that means time out just for you? I kind of get you. I was 30 last week. I have one DS and I’m a nanny 2 days a week. All my friends are in finance or law or teaching and I feel a bit like a failure but actually I wouldn’t be happy in a high paying career. Could you get back to work when your youngest is a bit older?
My mum raised my sister and I, then went on a university access course at 36, started university at 37 and qualified as a teacher when she was 41. You've a bright future OP, what are your dreams?
Make a plan to get yourself back to work. You must have plenty of transferable skills and you’ve only been out two years. I had a massive change of career with a two year old and never
Ok so... I’ve young kids too, I’m a few years older than you but I had my kids late. I have that feeling too of bumbling along. I’ve a good career, but I probably could have made more of it.
I also have had that feeling of everything has moved on - I work in enterprise software and it moves fast - but I was on maternity leave, I didn’t leave, but I took the full year offered, twice.
A year later I was back on my game. You’re not done with your Marketing career at all. Yes it will feel like oh it’s all loved on so much in two years, but in reality it won’t. Can you keep in touch with old bosses, the occasional lunch every six months or so? Just keep your oar in?
FWIW I think it’s great to be at home for those first few years so they were not wasted years by any means! But you could go back to work. Don’t feel it’s all over. It isn’t. X
I've just been looking at the zillions of cheap or free online courses. Reed.co.uk courses include marketing. News skills academy have a course in digital marketing on sale atm. Do a bit of cheap training and see what happens.
I think you need to probably have a good cry and then shake yourself, metaphorically. You do have skills- you have a good degree and clearly worked in a skilled sector. You u have all the organisational, multitasking, time management, improvisation etc skills that come from running a household with young kids.
So now, what do you want to do? What would you like to look back on in 5 or 10 years time? You have another 25ish years of time for your career! Don’t waste it feeling sorry for yourself.
I did the same, except I stayed home 6 years, and felt the same. I was bored out of my mind by the end which finally motivated me to get off my bum and retrain. Back full time in school now for career change at 42. It’s very hard work but am feeling confident and appreciating all my transferable skills!
Ah thanks everyone. Yes, I'm desperate to get this "woe is me" feeling out of my system and get on with something positive!! I guess I'm panicking because DC2 is only 4 months so I'll be at home for a good while longer - we have no childcare and DH works full time so I can't see a way to do anything else at all for the next 3 years or so, when DC2 will be in nursery. Just all feels a bit terrifying and, to be honest, bleak.
I stayed home 11 years and do not regret a day, money was tight at times but I was able to give my children the time I thought they deserved. My children are now grown up. I went back to work part time as on my life journey a balance between home and work was important.
Of course you can get back into marketing after a career break - i just have! I had three years off with the kids and then job hunted. It was a slog but got a few interviews and finally a job in marketing again. I found it helpful to volunteer to get some current skills (a hospice was really keen to get some marketing input) and it gave me some current things to talk about in interviews. Hang in there Mrs
I had similar aged DC when I was your age and was a SAHM.
I went to night school one evening a week when my youngest was 1. It was great as it was something completely for me and did not interfere with DH working.
This led to me doing an Access course when the youngest started reception and getting into Uni when I turned 40.
I've turned my life completely around and have a completely new career that I love.
Your best years are ahead of you!
I think people on Mumsnet are very quck to link your whole self worth with career and point you straight back to the work treadmill.
Personally I think if you can afford to take the time to nurture your kids and be fully present when they're small then that's hugely valuable to their development and mental health and time well spent.
But a balance is needed. For me the time out I took enabled me to change direction and have the freedom not to worry about earning but rather to explore some creative avenues I was interested in.
Is there anything creative or otherwise that you love to do? You do need something that makes you YOU rather than mum but that isn't necessarily work...
When mine were little I did Open University courses, studying when they were in bed (and when they got older, before they got up) - did not go on to get a degree, but it made me feel like I was doing something for myself that wasn’t child-related
I know exactly what you mean OP. I am a couple of years older than you but in a similar boat. I have a good degree and have/had a good career but my trajectory stalled when I had my eldest child and I’ve never really got back up and running with it. I went back to work full time after my second mat leave but had to take a £10k pay cut just to get back in at the same level. I have a bit of wrap around care for the eldest and youngest is in nursery, which eats almost all of the rest of my wages. But my husband has an hour and a half commute each way, so the majority of pick ups and drop offs are done by me, as are all doctors appointments, after school club admin and ferrying around, and dinner-bath-bed routine every night.
Some of my peers have really accelerated their careers in the time I’ve been off/plateauing at my current level, and are now at department head and MD levels in their companies. I do feel like a failure in comparison.
But when I think about it, any woman I’ve known who had children and has still managed to progress well in their career has either had loads of help with childcare from family, or enough money to afford to have a nanny and a cleaner. If you don’t have either of those things, I can’t see how you can put in the level of work needed to get you to those higher levels at work without lots and lots of help. Or I haven’t figured out how to do it at least.
You’ve only been out two years, not ten! Get on LinkedIn, do some short courses as a refresher and find feeds on there about your area. Read them every day to get up to speed. See a business coach once, to help you get your head straight and define a direction. Then do something small every day to head you in that direction.
@motherofdinosaurs I guess I'm struggling to find the brain space to identify the creative things I enjoy, and even more so, to work out how I'd ever have the time and space to practise them (let alone develop them into a future career - the dream!).
Love your story @blastandtroph
Don't write yourself off career-wise. They are plenty of roles for people who have been out of work for a while. The last two companies I have worked in have taken on marketing managers part time around school hours because we needed someone who knew what they were doing but it wasn't necessarily a huge role (small companies). So there are opportunities out there
I've got to a good point in my career and I'm eyeing up the next steps to progress but this week, I picked up my son early from nursery and took a slow walk home in the lovely sunshine and really felt awful about the time I'm dedicating to work at the expense of nurturing him. Without a lottery win, I can't afford to change jobs and reducing hours isn't an option. It's tiring being on this hamster wheel trying to do the best for everyone! To aid your career development, I recommend looking at FutureLearn. It's free and they have got a great variety of courses you could do whenever you have time (I think the aim is to dedicate 3-4 hours a week). They've got one starting next week for well-being which I'll be doing in the evening and communication skills which I will do during work. Don't write yourself off!
In mad rush so have only read the OP - do an online course and some research also see what LEP https://www.lepnetwork.net is in your area and if they do any free marketing courses (ours does). Set yourself up as freelance. There are some great groups on Facebook you can join that will guide you (freelance lifestyle or lifecycle is one off the top of my head). You could set yourself up from home. FYI 3 year olds still get the 30 hours childcare funding if you're in the first year of setting up your business but you don't meet the lower earning eligibility criteria.
Are you tired and have just been hit really hard by a particular Instagram post by a friend about a promotion, or similar? Or have you felt like this for a while?
I felt like this at 35. The little-kid years are really hard. The days are so bastarding long and repetitive, but you feel so guilty if you're not cherishing every second. And meanwhile, all your friends' lives and careers seem to break the sodding sound barrier.
Please remember that life is long. You are 35, not 65, and nothing has changed in the past 2 years that you couldn't pick up in a couple of months. You can quietly plot your own return to greatness while you nurture your lovely DC. You could go in a completely different direction if you wanted to. You have time.
You could start a blog or your own company. You could freelance. You could be a consultant. You could do something completely different, or nothing, or anything.
Life isn't passing you by. You sound tired, you're still recovering from a birth and you have a toddler.
When you get older, you'll see that there are periods in your life for different things. You're yearning for your career, but this point of your life is all about kids. Please don't wish it away. Accept that you're in a kids' bit for a while. You'll get back into the career bit later on. It'll all be there for you.
And I would say that a happy marriage to a good man and two happy, healthy kids is an achievement! Probably one that many of your uni friends envy. You say that you "bumbled along" into a great uni, a great career and a great family life. But what you called "bumbling along" is much more likely to be, in fact, that you have a bright personality and excellent people skills and naturally succeed in life. Those things don't leave you, ever. They'll make you a great mother and a successful, lovable person forever.
Find time for yourself. Even if it's just a couple of hours a week. My DW was in a similar situation and she found a couple of child free hours a week allowed her to keep up to date with developments in her career and to do creative things she loved.
Spending time with the DC also gave me a better understanding of how she felt as a sahm.
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