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AIBU to ask how much of your life you put on holof your children?

(147 Posts)
QueenofmyPrinces Mon 08-Apr-19 08:47:37

Firstly - I just want to say that this is not a SAHP/WOHP debate or bashing, I’m simply just talking about my own situation.

I have two sons, aged 5 and almost 2 and I have a job that I love 99% of the time.

After going back to work following the birth of my second son I reduced my hours to 25 a week mainly because I wanted to be at home more for my children. I currently work two days a week (sometimes an extra day for some extra money) and otherwise I am home with the children. For the 2-3 days a week that I work they are in paid childcare.

I love being able to spend so much time with them, I love being able to take my son to school and pick him up, I love being able to go for days out with my youngest, I love it that I can attend assemblies at my son’s school and go in on the days they have activities for the parents to join in with etc and I feel that me being around so much is really important to me and to them.

When I was a child my mom worked Mon-Fri, 9-5 and when I look back on my childhood I don’t have that many memories of general day-to-day life with her because most of my time was spent in childcare. I would have loved her to have been around more and it’s partly because of that, that I made the decision to reduce my hours at work after my second son.

However - I have very recently seen a job advertised that sounds fantastic and it has always been something I have considered doing and I think I would really enjoy it. Career wise, it would make real sense to apply for the job and if I got it then it would mean climbing up the next rung of the ladder, but the timing just feels so bad because of the children sad

The job is full time and due to the hours it would dramatically cut down on how much time I spend with my children and it would mean that I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I mentioned above regarding the benefits of me only working two days a week.

My children would be in childcare five days a week and I would probably only seen them for 3 hours a day (Mon-Fri) which I can’t even imagine doing sad

Part of me knows that these early years with them are so important and that I have another 20 years left in my career to think about myself but it still feels a bit crappy to not apply for a job that I think I’d be really good at and love because I I’m putting my children’s needs before my own.

My husband works Mon-Fri, leaves the house at 7am and is back at 5pm and it’s not an issue at all - so why do I feel so, so guilty about potentially doing the same?

I know that I will never get these years back with my children and that I’m incredibly lucky to be able to work part time so why am I feeling so conflicted about what to do?

I see it said on here all the time that on our death bed we will never say “I wish I had worked more” over saying “I wish I had been at home more.” (or something to that affect).

I’m sorry this is so long - I’m just rambling because I feel so confused about what I should do.

I haven’t mentioned the job to my husband yet because I want to get my thoughts straight in my head first in terms of whether I apply for it or not.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Or can anyone offer any general advice?

changedtempforprivacy Mon 08-Apr-19 08:51:58

I think a lot of your decision also concerns where you are career wise, your are experience and where you want to be in the end. Is it a substantial I went back to work 9 - 5 full time. I personally was unable to sustain it and after a year if trying accepted that and do 4 days, but I am an older parent and have finished climbing the greasy pole..

ShabbyAbby Mon 08-Apr-19 08:55:25

I would go for the job. Yes there will be small things you miss out on for a couple of years, but your career is for longer.

I say that as somebody who has had to make multiple sacrifices to what I wanted to do career wise for my kids, but also as the child of full time working parents (both my biological ones and step parents were all full time WOHPs). I think that it is true you can have a family and a career but you have to take a bit of a hit to both.

DreamingofSunshine Mon 08-Apr-19 09:05:34

I'd apply for the job and see what happens. Whilst no-one on their death bed says 'I wish I'd work more' I'm sure plenty say 'I wish I'd followed my passions more'. If it's a job you'd really enjoy you would owe it to yourself to apply.

SosigDog Mon 08-Apr-19 09:08:23

I don’t see how you’re putting your children’s needs ahead of your own? You said yourself, you want to spend time with your children and you can’t imagine only seeing them for 3hrs a day. That’s your need to spend time with them - they don’t need you to be at home with them all day, they’d be fine in childcare. They way I see it, you’re choosing between your own needs to work or to spend time with your kids.

FabulouslyFab Mon 08-Apr-19 09:11:06

Agree that you should apply for the job and see what happens. You only need to make a decision if you get the post. Personally I would stay home with my babies but that’s just me. Good luck whatever happens.

RosemarysBush Mon 08-Apr-19 09:12:49

Entirely depends on the views of you and your dh(hopefully compatible!). In my family, we’d choose to not go for the job, a relaxed and happy time with family has always seamed more important (to us) than more money or job advancement. (Explains why we still have some debt to pay off and a shabby house but people are more important than things).

EmrysAtticus Mon 08-Apr-19 09:15:37

I have chosen to take a school job which I am massively overqualified for because it means that I get all the holidays off with DS and when he starts school I will be able to pick him up at the end of the day. I also had parents who worked full time and I hated it and I knew from long before I had DS that I would want to have this time with him at the expense of a career and I made DH aware of it long before we got married.

Obviously everyone is different and you must do what is right for you.

juneau Mon 08-Apr-19 09:15:49

Being a happy parent is all about balance IMO. And I mean your own work/life balance, but also that of the family as a whole. Two FT working parents is possible, but for most families it's far from ideal unless you're happy to outsource a lot of your childcare.

I totally sacrificed my career for DC and at times I do regret it, but I did what was right for them and for our family as a whole and that, IMO, is makes what I did the 'right' thing. Not right for my career or my employability, but right for us as a family.

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Mon 08-Apr-19 09:20:37

I have prioritised spending time with my young children over career progression. I returned to work 2 days a week when DD was 3.5 and hopefully will do the same again (am currently pg).

I am very fortunate to be able to take a career break with a guaranteed position to return to, due to the possibility itself and financially. If I hadn't had the option I would have had to choose between not going back to work then struggling to get back on the ladder, and going back sooner, which I didn't want to do.

When my children are older I can spend more time at work and advance.

When my youngest turns 3 and gets free childcare (if its still available) I will aim to return PT again then when they're both at school I'll increase my hours.
Once they're both in comp I'll still have 20 years left of working. shock

Everyone has different wants and needs so you shouldn't feel bad about wanting to work 40 hours a week or being a sahm.

Ariela Mon 08-Apr-19 09:29:29

Apply for the job
a) you may not get it
b) If you do, it may be amazing
c) if you get it do they offer flexi time/reduced hours/can you finish at 3 every day? Got to be worth finding out.

juneau Mon 08-Apr-19 09:31:24

One other thing, no one on their deathbed ever wished they'd spent more time at work, but plenty have regrets about the lack of time they dedicated to their loved ones.

IceCreamAndCandyfloss Mon 08-Apr-19 09:31:29

I think you are being very hard on your mum, 9-5 is very standard hours and children are at school for the bulk of that. Yet your husband works longer and you have no issue with it.

Children don't wish for a SAHP unless there really is no work life balance. It's usually what the parents wants or an aversion to work/paying for childcare.

juneau Mon 08-Apr-19 09:33:20

Ha - just realised you put that very thing at the bottom of your post!

And I know - it's rubbish that women seem to feel this way when men apparently don't (or not often anyway - I know some men do). But if the thought of being away from your kids that much breaks your heart, I would let this one go.

Inliverpool1 Mon 08-Apr-19 09:39:13

My mum was a stay at home mum and I don’t remember much of day to day life with her either. I remember lots of upheaval though when she and my dad split up,
She didn’t work,
We had no money. Aunties were buying our underwear we lived in a hostel. Extreme circumstances obviously but if working prevents that ever even being a possibility do that

Megan2018 Mon 08-Apr-19 09:39:34

My Mum was SAHP until I was a teen. When my DD is born I'll be returning to work near to full time hopefully (aiming for 32hrs instead of 37). DD will be in childcare almost full time (probably 4 long days) from 11 months.

I am sure I'll feel some guilt - but it is what it is. I'm the main earner so no choice! But I also love what I do.

I am pretty much at the top of my career as I'm 41 so won't be aiming any higher for now, but also no intention of dropping. Life will definitely have some compromises but I'll not be putting anything "on hold" apart from I am semi-retiring my horse and not getting another to compete until DD in school at least (and by then I imagine it'll be a pony for her instead!). Before getting pg I had plans to get a youngster to bring on but can't afford that now.

I'd go for the job and see what happens. Working parents set great role models for their children IMHO.

DrWhy Mon 08-Apr-19 10:02:44

How many memories from pre-school age do you actually have to remember being at home or not? Do you have very vivid memories of long hours spent at childcare? They will remember more once they are a bit older.
My DS is in full time nursery (well 3.5 days at the moment because I’m at home on mat leave with DD) and I plan to go back 4 days if I can. This gives me one day a week with them both, which I am under no illusion is more for me that them. Once I get to school age my hope is to do 80% still but over 5 days with 3 short days so I only need after school care 2 days and can leave just before 3 on the other days to do pick up. I figure by then they are more likely to remember it. If you applied for the job could you request something like that? I guess it depends on how many afternoon meetings there are.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 08-Apr-19 10:17:17

How many memories from pre-school age do you actually have to remember being at home or not? Do you have very vivid memories of long hours spent at childcare?

I don’t have memories from pre-school age but I have so many memories of things I did whilst in childcare (before and after school) which I was in until the age of 12. Don’t get me wrong, my memories are brilliant, I had loads of fun with my childminders and the other children who went there, but it does make me sad that the majority of my childhood memories don’t include my parents - aside from memories of our holidays.

My parents both had to work full time and I don’t hold any resentment about that at all, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel sad that they weren’t in my life as much as I would have wanted them to be.

My husband tells me frequently how much he hates it that he can’t do the simple things like school runs, parents evening or assemblies etc and that’s why I think I would regret going back to full time work.

TheBitchOfTheVicar Mon 08-Apr-19 10:26:53

Well, my DM was a SAHM and I don't really remember doing anything with her, or my dad - unless it was trailing after them on day trips they wanted to do.

On the other hand, I work full time, albeit term-time only, with a small amount of wfh during some holidays. I would like to think that my DC see that I spend plenty of 'fun time' with them. Not as much as they would like, I suppose, but a balance.

Divgirl2 Mon 08-Apr-19 10:56:27

I was in full time childcare until I was 11 (childminder). Almost all my childhood memories are of being there. It was a happy time for the most part but I do feel like my mum sacrificed too much for her career. She has no regrets though, and pushes me to do the same with my DC.

My brother and I agree that it contributed to our damaged our relationship with her. And he doesn't speak to her currently (for no real reason, they just have no relationship).

MyDcAreMarvel Mon 08-Apr-19 10:59:17

because I I’m putting my children’s needs before my own.
There is your answer , your children’s needs come before your wants.
Working full time because otherwise you can’t put a roof over your dc heads or food or bills is very different.

Slazengerbag Mon 08-Apr-19 11:47:19

I gave it all up to raise mine. It was a choice we made as a family and I have no regrets. I then went back when they were in primary school. I’m now part time (I’m a teacher so term time only)

I’m not career oriented anyway. I love my job and I have a huge personal satisfaction from it. I could of gone back a lot earlier and I would probably be head of department now but it wasn’t important to me enough to sacrifice what we had at home. I was very fortunate that we didn’t need me working to pay the bills.

I had a great childhood. I have many happy memories. But they aren’t with my parents. They both worked full time even though my mum didn’t have to. I have resentment towards her for it. I wouldn’t mention it to her but it stung that she chose not to be with me and my siblings. During the 6 weeks holiday I was packed off with a suitcase to my nanas. My nana lived in the same village as my parents. They took their leave when we were at school.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Mon 08-Apr-19 11:54:02

Lots of guilt here from other posters. I work 5 days a week in a very good job, I work two from home so I can do pick ups and drop offs from school. My oldest goes to after school club and would be bored at home alone with me. Do you do things that are amazing every day or are they at home, mooching around the house with you?
My career and my husband’s career allow us extremely comfortable financial stability, great opportunities for our kids, travel, a nice house and plenary of time with our kids every evening and weekend.
My parents both worked when we were growing up and I don’t look back and think, I wish my mum had picked me up from school. I look back and think wasn’t it great my parents did so much for us and gave me so many opportunities

KatharinaRosalie Mon 08-Apr-19 12:09:11

I see it said on here all the time that on our death bed we will never say “I wish I had worked more” over saying “I wish I had been at home more.”

My mum always worked and now that we kids have long left home, she's (in her 60s) still busy with her interesting fulfilling career. She does not wish she shelved it to join more parent activities at school.

Where do you want to be in 10-15 years? Are you sure you will get similar opportunities again - the longer you're not working, the harder it is to get back. What about money - children get more and more expensive. It's nice to spend time with them, but it's also nice if you can afford to pay for whatever they need.

Also, for example, the fact that we both work has allowed us both to be present more in DC's lives. If we didn't have the dual income, at some point DH would have been forced to take a job where he had to work away the entire week. Instead, we can afford that he earns a bit less, but works 10 minutes from home and we can share childcare. Similarly, I could leave a nice secure job and start a new one, which has turned out to be great and also allows me all the flexibility I want. I would not have done it, if we only had one income to rely on.

zigzagzig Mon 08-Apr-19 12:35:03

I think the question you need a clear answer to is, which one do you want to do, putting aside everyone else's needs for a minute. Once you have an answer to that it will probably be easier to make a decision.

Don't take the job because you think you should, if you are loving the time you get to spend with your children. Equally, you shouldn't pass up the job just because you would feel guilty about the children spending more time at nursery.

For what it's worth, I'd choose to spend time with the kids. They won't be little for ever and there will be other jobs. But then I love staying home with the kids and would regret missing out on that much more than I would regret missing a career opportunity. Others would feel differently.

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