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In thinking DD is too young to give up work to stay at home

(488 Posts)
MrsJenB Sun 21-Apr-19 00:33:11

Firstly to make it clear this is not being anti SAHM in fact I've been an SAHM since DD was born which she's saying makes me a hypocrite!

Bit of background DD is 24 and graduated from uni summer 2017. In her 1st year she met a man who was then in 3rd year and has been with him since, they got married in August. DD is now pregnant and has said she intends to give up work and not go back and they want to have a family of 3/4 kids going forward. Income isn't a problem for her as our son in law is a bit of a high flyer and in a high paying industry where he's already earning a lot and his earning potential is very high. DD is very junior in a very different kind of industry.

AIBU to still be a bit uncomfortable with her deciding to stop work at her age? She says I wouldn't be saying anything if she was 5 years older but they're ready so what's the difference. I get the feeling this is coming from son in law a bit though from some of what she's said such as him saying there's no point her working when his salary is mainly what they live on anyway and that hers doesn't make any difference anyway. That might well be true but smells a bit of calling it pocket money. DH isn't 100% on board but isn't really concerned either saying it's good she's passionate about being a mum and wanting a family. I think she's in for a bit of a shock when she realises it's more sleepless nights, changing stinky nappies and having to deal with all the responsibility all day especially with son in law working long hours and probably longer as his career progresses so not there a lot for support, not some "yummy mummy" lifestyle some of her social media posts make me think she expects. I don't think she realises how isolating it could be and how demanding even though I've told her and she says she knows. I think my DH doesn't realise either as he always worked quite long hours which maybe is why he isn't as concerned. And none of DD's friends are likely to have kids right now either so it could be even more of a challenge for her. Of course I'll support her whatever but AIBU to be worried and want her to think a bit more about the decisions?

GreenTulips Sun 21-Apr-19 00:36:55

Personally very few woman have the luxury of being able to choose to raise their own children.

She young
She’s educated
She has time to change her mind
Nothing is set in stone
She might actually live being at home
If she doesn’t she can get a job
Let her enjoy the ride and find out for herself

ItsAGo Sun 21-Apr-19 00:37:34

Eh? No one knows what it’s like to be a parent until they get there, but it’s sometjinf they want to do and she’s in a fortunate position to do it when she wants not having to wait to be financially stable etc. I’m pretty sure her and her DH will have discussed this at length during their relationship.

MrsJenB Sun 21-Apr-19 00:39:45

No-one knows and I agree it's fortunate to be able to choose to be a SAHM but she had a privileged education, got a degree and just seems like it's early to be going down that path. Though I know I'm hypocritical in a way for even having any problem with it since I've always been a SAHM. But with changing her mind I think as she hasn't really had any time to even start a career properly it would be difficult for her to ever get back into work in future.

VimFuego101 Sun 21-Apr-19 00:40:06

YANBU. I think that several threads on here are a cautionary tale against giving up a career. Being married offers some protection but it seems much more sensible to maintain your career and pension. It's tough to work your way back into a career after a few years out.

Princess1066 Sun 21-Apr-19 00:40:17

As above hmm

Princess1066 Sun 21-Apr-19 00:41:36

Not above - wasn't quick enough confused

Mymomsbetterthanyomom Sun 21-Apr-19 00:42:20

First and foremost that is a decision to be made by your daughter and her husband.
The parents of the child.In a world where so many babies get sent to daycare for 10 hours a day,it's wonderful to know there are still mothers who cherish that bonding time with their children.
Fyi...I had all 3 of my children by 24.😉

Politicalacuityisathing Sun 21-Apr-19 00:42:47

I think your DD is right - you are a hypocrite.

Princess1066 Sun 21-Apr-19 00:43:10

Staying at home can be fantastic - it was for me & I'm glad I could do it - albeit making sacrifices along the way - new clothes cars holidays etc..

HerRoyalNotness Sun 21-Apr-19 00:43:13

Encourage her to keep her job for future proofing. No one knows what that holds and it would be awful if she found herself a single parent to 3/4 kids not having worked for 10yrs

MrsJenB Sun 21-Apr-19 00:44:42

Nothing wrong with having children young at all and I know it's what she wants and she's wanted to be a mum for a long time! It's more that she's set on being at home for good which again is what I did so I'm not judging but just seems like she's gone through a lot of education etc to give that up suddenly for good. But maybe this is my problem more than anything and I'm not sure why I'm even questioning it.

Pppppppp1234 Sun 21-Apr-19 00:46:13

It’s okay to be worried but please don’t express these to your daughter. It sounds like you have zero faith in her abilities to be a parent and make a decision.

You are best letting her find her own way through it all.... support her with the baby. She might take to motherhood like a duck to water or she might hate it.

She is young and early in her career, she might chose part time rather than SAHP but that it her choice.
She will make new friends I am sure through baby groups as no matter what age you are having a baby changes your friendship groups without a doubt.

I would have loved to be a SAHP but finances haven’t allowed that and instead I work 40hours a week and DS is in nursery full time, my next I will go back full time after six months. Your daughter is in a very enviable position and very fortunate so pleas support her in whatever she wants to do!

bumblebae Sun 21-Apr-19 00:46:52

Actually OP I agree with you. She is lucky to have the option but if anything went wrong she may struggle. Could she carry on working part time to keep her foot in the door? If they don't need the money anyway? I am a year older and planning on starting a family soon. Time will tell but at the moment my gut tells me it would be premature for me to stop working now although I appreciate we are all different

greenlloon Sun 21-Apr-19 00:47:02

Of course I'll support her whatever but AIBU to be worried and want her to think a bit more about the decisions? not unreasonable infact perfectly reasonable its a bad idea to give up a job and depend on someone else

Singlenotsingle Sun 21-Apr-19 00:47:09

You aren't being unreasonable, but you need to back off now. Nothing you say will make any difference. She's had her education and if at some stage she decides to go back and take up a career, then she can do that. The fact that you are a SAHM doesnt help your case either.

cloudymelonade Sun 21-Apr-19 00:48:11

I'm 25 and if my mum said any of that to me, I would be bloody furious.
I've chosen to be a SAHM for now but it doesn't mean I won't go back to work at some point in the future or even take the time to retrain in something. Or maybe I won't, maybe I'll stay at home at that's fine too.
She will be very aware what having a baby entails, sleepless nights and all.

PS one of the best things about being a young mum is your own parents still being young enough to enjoy this special time with you. Don't ruin that.

MrsJenB Sun 21-Apr-19 00:48:40

Totally take that on board about needing to support her rather than question her at this time. I agree I should be more supportive not plant doubt in her mind or seem like I'm judging her. She is also in a very fortunate position, I know lots of mums would love to do what she's doing and she's lucky her husband earns enough to support them both which a few of her friends have commented on! I just don't want it to be something she regrets and a difference is at her age she hasn't had time to build up any kind of career rather than if it was a few years later.

VladmirsPoutine Sun 21-Apr-19 00:48:42

Yanbu. These type of stories sit very uncomfortably with me.

No doubt you're going to receive endless posts telling you to mind your own business and that she's an adult and can make her own choices etc etc and how they gave birth at 18 in a shed having run away with the boy they were dating since childhood.

All you can do at the moment is just be her sounding board. Don't alienate her or criticise as she'll most likely pull away from you.

She's certainly going to be in for a shock and the type of rhetoric being espoused by her husband is how it starts. When 40-something women find themselves penniless and with dependents to care for following divorce they'll bitterly remember these moments.

Purpleartichoke Sun 21-Apr-19 00:52:13

Stepping out when you have an established career and network is completely different than staying home at the start. I was a sahm for 5 years. When I went back to work, my company gave me a promotion and huge raise because they were thrilled to have me back. I never really had to worry about divorce, disease, or death, because I knew I could step into a job that would let me keep our home and support my dd pretty much immediately.

If she does proceed with this plan, I would advice her to have an emergency fund set aside. Without a strong resume, it will be hard to jump into gainful employment on short notice of disaster strikes.

MrsJenB Sun 21-Apr-19 00:55:25

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. Given me a lot to think about. I think best is to not judge and support her especially with her baby on the way but it's just a worry thinking that she's shutting off an option for the long term but I will keep that to myself, I don't want to be unsupportive.

greenlloon Sun 21-Apr-19 00:57:08

She's had her education and if at some stage she decides to go back and take up a career, then she can do that can she? graduates with degree gets a job for 2 years leaves try and get a job x number of years later will not be as easy as you think.

*I'm 25 and if my mum said any of that to me, I would be bloody furious.
I've chosen to be a SAHM for now but it doesn't mean I won't go back to work at some point in the future or even take the time to retrain in something. Or maybe I won't, maybe I'll stay at home at that's fine too. * what happens if you become a single parent?

Witchend Sun 21-Apr-19 00:57:10

I had my first at that age, and was a sahp until my youngest was around 8yo,so around 15 years. Loved it, and would do it again.
I don't regret it one bit.

I didn't work fully before I had the dc, as I had glandular fever badly in my final year at uni and overdid things the next year, so after we'd got married it made sense for me to have a break to recover. I ended up nannying for a couple of friends, and then got pregnant.

No regrets at all, and would not have thanked my dm for saying anything above.

I'm also in the situation now that my eldest is off to uni shortly, my youngest is fairly independent. Most of my similar age friends are still picking primary schools and possibly looking towards secondary for their eldest in a couple of years.

C8H10N4O2 Sun 21-Apr-19 01:02:48

I'm with you OP for all the reasons outlined by VladmirsPoutine.

I would also be worried if one of my children effectively cancelled out of building their own career and income stream, leaving them exposed to being left high and dry in middle age. I've seen it happen far too often.

Would she take mat leave rather than quit in the first instance and then review after six months or so? If the husband is such a high flying earning then they can afford childcare to enable her to at least keep a foot in her industry so keeping that option open makes sense for the first year or so.

MrsJenB Sun 21-Apr-19 01:04:57

I agree mat leave would be a sensible option then she would still have that choice even if she did prefer not to go back to work but I think she's totally set on it and really wants to be at home. Which is fine but as you said it's more because it's at her age so before even starting building a career which seems to remove an option possibly for her in future even if she may never need it. I know it's her choice but doesn't stop me worrying a bit.

Mummaofmytribe Sun 21-Apr-19 01:12:07

I don't blame you for being concerned. I would be too. But now you've said your piece you have to bite your tongue and support her. Don't alienate her.
She's clearly an intelligent, educated person ,so trust her to make her choices.
You may also want to consider that you did such a good job as a sahm that she's emulating your choice and wants the same kind of childhood for her own offspring.

SandyY2K Sun 21-Apr-19 01:12:28

YANBU...but you didn't set the example and you weren't a role model for female financial independence and empowerment yourself.

I do think it's an utter waste to study to degree level and then become a SAHM for life.

You don't need a degree to look after kids.

I would be disappointed if it was my DD, but she's more likely to listen, as my DDs have always known me to work.

At the end of the day it's her life. If nappy changing, toddlers groups and not seeing other adults most of the day suit her...so be it.

I just hope she doesn't end up like so many women, who watch their DH progress and then get dumped for some career focused OW.

Princess1066 Sun 21-Apr-19 01:14:37

So you can't be happy at home with your child if you're educated and & intelligent?

FFS

Apricot80s Sun 21-Apr-19 01:27:45

What about your own life? Are you still not working? Do you still have dc at home? Do you have plans to work?

I agree with you. But don't think you can say anything as it would be hypocritical, unless you actually regret being a Sahm?

Rosieposy4 Sun 21-Apr-19 01:29:52

Princess, nobody said that. Lots of pp expressed legitimate concerns.

AlexaShutUp Sun 21-Apr-19 01:34:45

The life that she is choosing certainly isn't what I would want for my dd, so I understand your concern. In fact, I'd be gutted if my dd decided to do this. However, ultimately it's her choice, so I'm afraid you need to bite your tongue and respect her wishes.

I

Butterymuffin Sun 21-Apr-19 01:35:35

I agree with you but it's something you will have to step back and let her find out for herself. I do wonder whether you're questioning her decision so much as a way of questioning your own? How do you feel now about your time as a SAHM, and are you planning never to work again yourself?

MsKhan Sun 21-Apr-19 01:37:36

I disagree with many of the things you have said in your post and you sound quite judgemental of your poor dd tbh.

I had a 'privileged education' and degree and got married and had a baby by 24 years old just like your dd.

Ten years later I've got 3 dc and still a sahm (youngest is just a baby), and I absolutely love it. It's not all stinky nappies and sleepless nights like some people you make out it is. It's an absolute privilege and honour raising your children and that being your full time job. An absolute luxury that many many women would love to have. But then you know that already , don't you, since you've always been a sahm?

MetroFly Sun 21-Apr-19 01:41:23

I'm 40 with 2 dc. We can afford for one us not to work but I've decided to drop to 4 days rather than give up my career.

I do 2 in the office and 2 from home so it's a nice mix but I worry at 40 what the future holds, I certainly wouldn't want my dc to stop working in their early 20s without any experience OP

I'd encourage her to take the full year and to keep her options open after that.

Inthetropics Sun 21-Apr-19 01:42:35

I'm with you OP. I know tons of women through my work who regret not having a career when later in life they get divorced. Not having an income also makes it harder to leave controlling partners and scape domestic violence. I know being a SAHM works for many women, but how can one know what their future will be?

birdsandroses Sun 21-Apr-19 01:43:57

I do think it's an utter waste to study to degree level and then become a SAHM for life.

A degree is never a waste. What has happened to valuing learning as an in an end in itself?

LucyBabs Sun 21-Apr-19 01:48:16

I don't think you're being unreasonable op you sound like you are concerned your daughter is selling herself short. I was a sahm then I became a single parent. If I had known then what I know now my life would be a lot different. There's nothing wrong being at home with your dc for a time but cutting your earning potential to do that is a disaster. I'll be telling my own daughter to think carefully about choosing to be a sahm. I know we can only give advice, our children will do what they want. I wish i had listened to my Mother sad

Oysterbabe Sun 21-Apr-19 01:50:04

It's not for you to say anything but I'd be disappointed too.

NoHolidaysforyou Sun 21-Apr-19 01:53:54

YABU. A lot of jobs out there for educated millennials can be boiled down to underemployment (basically crap jobs) and being below the university skill level she has attained anyways, so there is a good chance that the job she could have gotten would not be a forever job anyways. She will probably change careers a few times as well, so while experience is nice sometimes working life is not always a linear projection. Don't live vicariously through her. The struggles of current generations and what they face are completely different (a high quantity of jobs that are not good and do not pay a living wage). If she can raise their children, then she can take an opportunity that not everyone her age has.

IncrediblySadToo Sun 21-Apr-19 02:00:03

I agree with you, you’re right to be concerned.

I think it’s lovely to be s SAHM and it’s great if your partner is earning good money and you can do it comfortably.

It’s not so great when in 10 years time he walks out with his secretary and leaves you with 4 kids to bring up & no career he swans off living the good life because you’ve been there for the kids, him, run the house and all he has done is focus on his career.

It’s a very foolish move to make herself so vulnerable.

I’d explain all of that to her, and the divorce rate AND that only a very small % of the divorced women would have thought it would happen to them.

The fact she earns a fraction of what he earns isn’t the point.

LucyBabs Sun 21-Apr-19 02:01:57

"If she can raise their children then she can take an opportunity that not everyone her age has"
That is so depressing
24 years old and this is what she should aspire to? I thought women had come a lot further

NotBeingRobbed Sun 21-Apr-19 02:05:33

What if something happens to his career? His success isn’t guaranteed.

On the issue of divorce later, she would of course do better as a SAHM but there will be less of a pot to split and she won’t suddenly be able to walk into a well paid job.

Might be best for her to cut back her days but keep her hand in at work.

AlexaShutUp Sun 21-Apr-19 02:06:43

It's not all stinky nappies and sleepless nights like some people you make out it is. It's an absolute privilege and honour raising your children and that being your full time job. An absolute luxury that many many women would love to have. But then you know that already , don't you, since you've always been a sahm?

Perhaps, having been a SAHM herself, the OP now believes that being a SAHM is not such a luxury after all? My mum loved having the time at home with us when we were little but she bitterly regretted it when we got older. Still does!

Kids are only little for such a short time. I get that people want to make the most of that time while they can, but women who choose to stay at home do need to plan ahead for the rest of their lives when the kids have grown up. Becoming a SAHM at 24 with next to no experience behind you isn't exactly a good starting point.

InionEile Sun 21-Apr-19 02:09:49

It's definitely a high-risk choice at 24 when she has no savings of her own and a very low earning potential. She is putting all her eggs in one basket and staking her future on her husband and his earnings, so I think you are right to be concerned.

She is 24, however, so I can well imagine any critical input from you will be resented. She has clearly set her mind to this so there's not much you can do. Also, she grew up with a SAHM - you - so that is her role model for how family life should be. It is hypocritical for you to say she can't do what you did in life. Not much you can do, I'm afraid!

trixiebelden77 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:10:17

I don’t think it’s something you can comment on. She needs to work out for herself what will work for her.

I disagree with the earlier poster’s use of the phrase ‘raising her children herself’. We both work and we both raise our child. Part of raising a child is providing food/clothes/shelter etc. We are both responsible for this as parents.

Rach182 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:15:04

I agree with you OP

It will be much more difficult for her to restart her career at a later stage after having children and with a massive gap on her CV, if she doesn't keep her foot in the door now.

Plus if they split up and she needs to go back to work, then she might not be able to afford childcare on the salary her earning potential would give her.

So I don't think yabu but ultimately it's her choice. Hopefully there'll be no reason for her to regret this choice , but the divorce statistics indicate otherwise.

I think you can only be her mum and advise, then drop the subject and simply be there for her, otherwise you'll come across as very hurtful and unsupportive.

applesbananasgrapes Sun 21-Apr-19 02:16:16

The ‘stay home and have 3-4 children’ plan may change though if parenthood and being a sahm isn’t everything she envisioned. She may decide to stick at 1 baby and return to work. Or maybe she will love it and stick with the original plan. Nothing is set in stone at all so I wouldn’t worry.

1Wanda1 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:17:22

Op, I did what your DD is doing, and I was divorced with 2 kids under 5 by the time I was 30. Their high-earning father royally screwed me financially in the divorce and for several years afterwards while I got myself back on my feet career wise. Starting a career effectively from the beginning as a single parent is very hard work, though being a single parent is a great motivator.

One of my best friends also did what your DD is doing, and 20+ years later they are still married, with 5 kids. She has never really worked outside the home, as her whole life is devoted to the many demands of 5 kids and a husband who job keeps him out of the house from dawn to late at night. They are happy (or as happy as any couple who've been together that long are - it has its ups and downs!).

It sounds as though your DD will have to find out for herself whether life as a SAHM is for her. I think if you express your reservations, you risk driving her away. If things do go wrong, she will need you. Just be there for her. Don't say "I told you so!" (my mum still does this 12 years after my divorce!).

Stoptheworldandmelt Sun 21-Apr-19 02:17:27

If she's happy leave it be. I'm the high earner at 24, and I love my job. My husband hates working and has never found something he enjoys, and often pressure from work damages his mental health. So he's given up work, and I provide for us both. In some ways it's a risk for him, but he trusts me, and if we ever have kids he'll be a SAHD. Right now he's just thrilled to not have to work. It's the happiest I've ever seen him.

nettie434 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:17:46

I was a bit reluctant to post as I have always worked full time and have no children. Then I thought that as I do know about work I would suggest that with later retirement and more emphasis on portfolio careers, it is entirely possible your daughter can re-establish her career later on.

The other thing you could encourage her to do is to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions and keep up (start) a pension. She and her husband might also be better off paying the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge as this means NIC contributions are paid rather than not claiming child benefit because they earn over the limit. It may be easier to to focus discuss on finances rather than not making the most of her education.

Lots of people work simply because they have to, not because they want to. Not all jobs are great. Who knows, she may eventually decide that she doesn’t want to be a SAHM.

mcjx Sun 21-Apr-19 02:19:29

YANBU to feel the way you do. Yes she is an adult and can make her own decisions but in the long term it may not work out and she will be left penniless with children to care for.

It happened to my DMs bestfriend. Stopped working when had DC, years passed and her husband had an affair and walked out, leaving her with absolutely nothing. She had no money and no career and had to rebuild her life at 40.

Not saying that will happen to your DD, nobody knows for sure but it is a possibility that she needs to think about

user1474894224 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:19:40

SAHM here. I think it's lovely she's putting her children first. Kids don't just need a role model they also need love and care from parents. You yourself said dad works long hours...set to get longer. It's wonderful your daughter is realising that she will be taking on the majority of childcare and getting in a position to be able to do that. If/when she chooses to go back to work she'll find something that fits in with her family. She's an intelligent woman. Trust her to make he own decisions.

Bumpitybumper Sun 21-Apr-19 02:29:13

@SandyY2K
YANBU...but you didn't set the example and you weren't a role model for female financial independence and empowerment yourself
It seems you have a pretty narrow view of female empowerment. I think it's clear that OP's DD actively wants to fulfill a long held desire to stay at home to raise her children as a SAHM. She clearly views it as important and something she wants to prioritise and is lucky enough to be in a position where this is an option for her. How is her situation any less of an example of female empowerment than the many women (and men) who would also love to be at home with their children but have to work? Working is also no guarantee of financial independence in the way you imply. Lots of people despite maintaing professional careers are dependent on their partners to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

I would be disappointed if it was my DD, but she's more likely to listen, as my DDs have always known me to work
I'm not sure it always works that way. I know quite a few of my SAHM friends chose to be a SAHM precisely because their parents were both FT WOHPs and they didn't find this ideal from a child's perspective.

At the end of the day it's her life. If nappy changing, toddlers groups and not seeing other adults most of the day suit her...so be it
Yes because being a SAHM is always like that. Sneery much confused

I just hope she doesn't end up like so many women, who watch their DH progress and then get dumped for some career focused OW
I just hope she doesn't end up like so many women (and men), who get to the end of their lives and wish they had spent more time with their children whilst they were young...

Both scenarios could happen so it's for OP's DD to make a decision on the risk she is happiest to take.

I think if you have no inclination to be a SAHP and don't place any emphasis or value on the role then it can be really hard to understand the choices and sacrifices that others make in order to be SAHPs. It isn't inherently wrong or inferior to be a SAHM and you aren't right or superior to be a WOHM.

Aquamarine1029 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:37:58

How your daughter and her husband choose to manage their family is absolutely none of your business. End of.

LucyBabs Sun 21-Apr-19 02:39:17

"It's wonderful your dd is realising she will be taking on the majority of the childcare" I hope you are taking the piss?

thaegumathteth Sun 21-Apr-19 02:39:41

I’d strongly urge you to support her. You’ve made your opinion clear and that’s all you can do - anything else is going to push her away.
FWIW I’m 37 now, I was married and pregnant at 24, own home etc, I gave up work and have been a SAHM mum until fairly recently to my kids. I now work from home.

Despite being academically really successful and enjoying my job in the short time between graduation and pregnancy, I never doubted staying at home. It wasn’t a sacrifice for me, it was what I wanted and I was lucky I had the choice.

Dh and I have been together since we were v young and we’ve always had joint finances etc - we’ve never had his and hers money. I know some people urge against that but it’s worked for us and I’m as sure as I can be that it’ll keep working.

Be there for your dd and don’t make her feel like she has to prove you wrong or that you’re judging her. No doubt there will be hard times but it is eminently possible that she will have a happy and fulfilled life at home.

LucyBabs Sun 21-Apr-19 02:42:24

I don't think it's none of her business, we don't stop being a parent or caring about our children's lives when they marry and have children of their own. op isn't going to stop her daughter doing what she wants. She is allowed to worry her daughter is making good choices..

Princess1066 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:48:22

@Rosieposy4

SandyY2K did say that in as many words actually hmm

Rach182 Sun 21-Apr-19 02:50:46

I think if you have no inclination to be a SAHP and don't place any emphasis or value on the role then it can be really hard to understand the choices and sacrifices that others make in order to be SAHPs. It isn't inherently wrong or inferior to be a SAHM and you aren't right or superior to be a WOHM.

You're projecting. I don't think anyone here is demeaning the role of a sahm and most of us place value on the role. BUT, at OP's daughter's age and career stage, it's simply risky to make that choice. Part of being a parent is making sure the best choices are made for the family taking into account life possibilities., which is why people get insurance, pay into pensions etc. Should the daughter's husband get ill, lose his job and struggle to get another one, die, and/or end the relationship, then the daughter has made a choice that leaves her family financially vulnerable/screwed. So therefore, balancing all that, many of us think her decision to be a sahm is naive and certainly premature.

On a selfish level for the daughter, if she ever needs to leave her husband, giving up her career this early means she won't have had the chance to build up a personal "fuck-off fund". So in future, she may be stuck in a relationship she's not happy with.

If these are the "sacrifices" you are referring to, then that's martyrhood and just silly.

WeTookVows Sun 21-Apr-19 02:52:39

I fell pregnant at 22 so not dissimilar to your DD. I've been a SAHM since DC1 was born 7 years ago (although did work one day a week for a couple of years running a toddler group, and do voluntary work taking my 2 preschoolers with me.) I've never ever found it boring or had days trapped at home as some people describe. I've been able to make active choices about things such as age gaps between DC and extended term breastfeeding without having practicalities of work to consider. My mum SAH which informed my choice.

I now have 4 DC and DC4 will start school when I'm almost 34. I figure 35 years is plenty of time for me to work...

DH and I have always treated me SAH as a respectable and worthwhile, active and joint choice. We pay into a pension and savings for me and DC to protect me; we share our finances completely with just one joint account. If your SIL is a real high flyer this may well be something they will consider, too.

I am aware that for me, getting back into work will require some form of retraining, or doing an entry level job for some time. I know it might be a shock to all of us when I do return to work, as I've taken up so much slack for so many years (although DH does have flexi time and a WFH arrangement and does one pick up and drop off at school a week already). For me, this trade off will have been worth it a hundred times over to have had the preschool years at home.

AlexaShutUp Sun 21-Apr-19 03:01:02

I'm not sure it always works that way. I know quite a few of my SAHM friends chose to be a SAHM precisely because their parents were both FT WOHPs and they didn't find this ideal from a child's perspective.

Yeah, I think you're right that people don't just follow the example set by their own parents. I'm sure that a lot of SAHMs do indeed make that choice because their own mothers struggled to find the right balance as working parents - after all, things were a whole lot tougher for working mothers a few decades ago, and it would have been much, much harder for many of our own mothers to balance home and work as effectively as many of us can now.

Similarly, I know a lot of WOHMs who are absolutely determined to maintain their careers after having witnessed the impact on their own mums of staying at home. Many of us choose to do things differently from how our parents did them, and we're often encouraged to avoid making the same mistakes as those in the previous generation. I know my mum would have been devastated if we had made the same choices that she did.

I think a lot of it boils down to individual experience tbh. If your own mum was a SAHM within a stable relationship with no financial problems and found this rewarding and fulfilling, then it's likely that you might consider being a SAHM as a viable option. If, on the other hand, your SAHM parent was bored, frustrated and unfulfilled, and hated not earning her own money, you might feel differently.

And if your WOHM parent was constantly stressed, distracted or just plain absent when you were growing up, you might not think that having two parents with careers is in the best interests of the children. If, on the other hand, you have grown up in a home where both parents are able to balance fulfilling careers effectively with home and family life, you will probably take it for granted that you'll do the same.

FWIW, I don't agree with those who say that the OP is being hypocritical because she was a SAHM herself. Her opinions are based on her own experience, as is the case for most of us. It isn't unreasonable to hope that our children might take a different path to the one that we have trodden. However, for the most part, I think we have to keep those hopes to ourselves and support the choices that our children make for themselves. That's not to say that we shouldn't share our own experiences with our kids, including any regrets that we might have about our lives. Ultimately, though, we have to let them make their own mistakes. And they will....

WhiteDust Sun 21-Apr-19 03:05:47

I think she's in for a bit of a shock when she realises it's more sleepless nights, changing stinky nappies and having to deal with all the responsibility all day especially with son in law working long hours

You are very wrong to think that being a working Mum with a DH who works long hours will be a better option OP.
Will her DH work shorter days and help with the sleepless nights, nappies etc when she goes back to work?
A lot of responsibility will fall on her or a nanny if not. Why would you wish the added pressure of work on her too? When financially, they don't need the money?

Bumpitybumper Sun 21-Apr-19 03:13:46

@Rach182
I'm not projecting, just pointing out that people put different value and emphasis on different things and this will naturally affect people's priorities and how they view the risk:reward ratio related to different decisions.

If being a SAHM is really important to OP's DD and she sees it as the main thing she wants to do with her life, then it is logical that she will be willing to shoulder the financial and other risks to achieve this goal. Other people with a less pressing desire to be a SAHP may look at the same level of risk (as you have) and consider it to be prohibitive or frankly just not worth it Keep in mind though that there are nearly always ways you can mitigate against risk be it through private pensions, keeping up NI contributions, taking out life insurance etc, so being a SAHP doesn't have to mean financial ruin if something was to go wrong. I would suggest OP encourages her DD to look into this if she is set on being a SAHM.

If these are the "sacrifices" you are referring to, then that's martyrhood and just silly
No, I am not talking about martyrdom when I talk about sacrifice but just that many people find it difficult to "have it all" and this is especially true when there are two competing aspirations such as establishing a career and being a young SAHM. Put simply, something has to give and sacrifices of some kind have to be made somewhere along the line.

AlexaShutUp Sun 21-Apr-19 03:17:26

Why would you wish the added pressure of work on her too? When financially, they don't need the money?

Perhaps because the OP recognises that work can be about more than just money - e.g. independence, identity, fulfilment etc.

WhiteDust Sun 21-Apr-19 03:29:05

Perhaps because the OP recognises that work can be about more than just money - e.g. independence, identity, fulfilment etc.

Ah, the independence, since of identity, fulfilment! Said no working Mum I know ever.
Maybe being in the type of job which enables the family to pay for additional childcare, cleaning, gardeners etc. helps. Or Grandparents who are willing to help out with sick children...
Otherwise, stress all the way.

Rach182 Sun 21-Apr-19 03:31:15

@Bumpitybumper

Haha thanks, I knew martyrhood looked wrong written down but couldn't be bothered to think about it!

I agree it's impossible to have it all and am annoyed that this lie is still being sold to girls and young women in the form of books such as 'Lean In' and Hollywood movies. Seems the daughter knows she can't have it all but has made quite an extreme choice.

I agree there's competing interests at any stage but more so at early career stage, so I just can understand why the daughter chose to have children so young. And if being a young mum was her priority, why she didn't start her family while studying instead. But not my uterus so not my business I guess.

Topseyt Sun 21-Apr-19 03:35:29

I think you are not unreasonable to be concerned, as I think she is choosing a high risk strategy. There isn't much you can do though except be there for her and be as supportive as possible without judging.

I had an established career for about 7 years but became a SAHM after DD2 (and subsequently DD3) was born because childcare costs were more than I earned. I was out of the workplace for 15 years, and it was very difficult to get back in. The last 5 years of that were very stressful, spent trawling for suitable jobs and mostly getting nowhere. My earning potential is now shot even though I am working now.

If I could have my time again I would try not to be out for as long, anyway.

Perhaps your reaction to her decision is coming from experience? Did you feel vulnerable as a SAHM and you don't want her to go through that? I know I did, and I know that my DDs are all reluctant to go through what they saw me go through.

It is normal to feel like that, but there is nothing you can do. She may have made up her mind here. She may change it again when the baby is here, or she may not. She knows that you were a SAHM. It isn't strengthening your case, unfortunately. Whether you are speaking from experience or not.

CheesyMother Sun 21-Apr-19 03:53:36

I understand why you are concerned OP, but you definitely don't want to push your daughter away by making a big deal about it now.

It sounds from your posts like she is (has?) quit her job rather than taking mat leave. I would focus on encouraging her to take the leave as she can always quit whilst on leave if she doesn't want to go back. If she quits, she won't get maternity pay at all - and no matter how well off you are, it is just stupid to turn down extra money.

Also, as someone said previously, make sure she fills in the forms to claim child benefit after the baby arrives, even if her partner earns more than £50k. You can chose to have child benefit paid and then he will need to pay the high earner child benefit charge, or she can chose to not actually be paid the benefit (so he won't have to pay the charge) but just receive the NI credits. That is very important for her state pension. She'll need to do the same form for subsequent children too.

InionEile Sun 21-Apr-19 03:54:22

Being a SAHM isn’t just about money. I know mothers who choose to stay home even though they are losing out on earning a high income to do so but personally believe there is a lot of non-monetary value in being home with their kids. I know an equal number of mothers who choose to work even though childcare eats up most of their income and being a WOHM involves a lot of juggling but they are enjoy their careers and value the work they do outside of the home.

There seems to be an assumption among some on this thread that being a SAHM is always the ideal and the only thing that stops women from following it is money. I have been a SAHM but am going back to work in a couple of months because I feel that I am ready to and want to. My income will be irrelevant compared to DH’s but it’s not about money for me.

Also this discussion is about the OP’s 24 year old daughter committing to being a SAHM early in life without building a career based on her qualifications first. That’s a little different to discussing SAHM vs. WOHM generally. She is committing to a life where she finds fulfillment only in family life early on without exploring other options first It could be that being a wife and mother will be all she dreams of in life - who knows? - but making that gamble at 24 with very little life experience is definitely a bigger risk than doing it at e.g. 34 when you’ve worked for a few years, have money of your own and a broad range of experiences.

PregnantSea Sun 21-Apr-19 03:56:20

I know that you're worrying about this because you love her and you want what's best for her, but in the nicest way it really is non of your business. She's happy, she's well educated, and her and her husband have the luxury of being able to afford a sahp. A lot of people would give their right arm to be in that position. They have every right to make this decision as a family.

If your DD was 33 and showed no signs of wanting to start her family, but told you she was adamant she was going to have one, you'd probably be worrying that she was too career focused and might struggle to conceive, and wish she'd started younger.

Having kids young could be great for her - her body is physically in peak form for it, she's got energy because she's young, and by the time she's finished the intense child rearing stage and has the time to go back to work she will still be young enough to have a long career ahead of her and enjoy things, rather than verging on retirement age and missing her chance.

Women are judged so harshly for the decisions that they make in life. It's as if whatever we choose we are wrong. I'm sure I don't need to tell you this because you'll have faced this as much as I have. I completely understand you being concerned for your daughter because you want what's best for her, but maybe try and be a supportive face in the crowd of judgemental people.

AlexaShutUp Sun 21-Apr-19 03:57:24

Well, White, I guess your social circles may be quite limited. I know tons of working mothers who get great satisfaction and fulfilment from their work.

I work full time and it isn't stress all the way for me at all. Never has been. We don't pay for gardeners/cleaners etc, though I guess we could if we felt it was necessary. We no longer need childcare but we never had to pay for many hours anyway, as we were both able to work very flexibly around each other. Thankfully, dc very rarely sick, but DH or I have usually been able to work from home if we needed to.

Yes, the early years were tough at times, particularly having to function at work after the sleepless nights. However, the baby/toddler years really don't last for long, and the extra pressure in that short period was definitely a sound investment for the future.

And yes, work does give me financial independence, an identity outside the home, clarity of purpose and a sense of accomplIshment. I have a challenging and rewarding job that I really enjoy. I have fabulous colleagues who have become close friends, and with whom I laugh harder than with anyone I know. Work is fun! At the same time, it enables me to use my skills to make a genuine difference to the lives of other people, and that makes me feel great. And I earn a good salary that could comfortably cover our expenses if something happened to DH. I would not give this up, no matter what DH earned.

I am not unique in any of this. I know that most of my colleagues would say the same as we have discussed it previously, and many other women I know feel the same. Work is good for mental health, social networks, self esteem etc. Of course, some people hate their jobs and feel constantly stressed out by trying to juggle everything. But equally, some women can't stand staying at home either.

There are so many variables. We all have to find the set-up that works best for us.

amysaurus87 Sun 21-Apr-19 04:11:58

@mymumisbetter
The parents of the child.In a world where so many babies get sent to daycare for 10 hours a day,it's wonderful to know there are still mothers who cherish that bonding time with their children

I'd love to be able to not go back to work, but we can't live on just my DH salary. So yes my child will be in nursery 10 hours a day, doesn't mean I cherish him any less. Its attitudes like yours that make me feel even worse about having to go back to work and leaving my little one.

ItsalmostSummer Sun 21-Apr-19 04:15:30

Her choice. The degree means she can go back to study or get work when she’s ready. Seriously she has made a decision. Why are you trying to change her mind or the very least question her choice. She’s a grown adult. And in a relationship. Leave her be and support her choices/ decisions.

OutOntheTilez Sun 21-Apr-19 04:30:24

OP, Yanbu.

My dad always taught me to never be financially dependent on someone else – “Not your mother and me, not some man, and certainly not the government,” as he put it. We live in a world where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and women generally outlive their husbands. It never hurts to look toward the future and plan.

I work with four women in their sixties whose husbands are disabled and unable to hold down jobs. These women are carrying the full financial burdens. Good thing they have their jobs to include medical benefits and retirement plans. Otherwise, they’d be absolutely screwed. It happens.

All that being said, your daughter is an adult and can make her own decisions. All you can do is explain your concerns to her. I don’t agree that you’re being a hypocrite. You are a product of your own experiences.

FrazzledCareerWoman Sun 21-Apr-19 04:31:57

It's hard enough getting back into the workplace after a few years off with kids when you have an established career, as many women on here will attest to. Let alone before it's really got going. (And she may want to be sahm till kids are grown up but then again she may change her mind or circumstances). YANBU to be worried especially with the attitude of the husband to money...

But yes little you can do now without upsetting things. Encourage her to use mat leave and then she can always not return but at least it leaves the door open.

Aria999 Sun 21-Apr-19 04:42:59

I think it would be worth asking her what she would do if she became a single parent. Even if her DH is a keeper he could die or become too ill to work.

I'm a SAHM with no immediate plans to return to work and this does bother me but I have assets, a good CV and a contingency plan.

Otherwise... I think there's a lot of cultural pressure on educated women these days to use their education. If being a SAHM is what she wants I don't feel there should be a problem with that.

Education is valuable in itself, it isn't wasted just because she's not climbing the corporate ladder.

Mememeplease Sun 21-Apr-19 04:43:38

I would encourage her to insist that money is paid into a pension for her. And I would point out the pitfalls of what happens if they split up latest on - the losing confidence over time in the work place etc. Keeping a foot in the door by working one day per week or occasional bank work fire example is a good idea if it's possible. If not when they are tiny, certainly when they are a bit older.
From experience I can confirm that I lost confidence after being at home for 15 years and now I earn peanuts. My existence and degree are meaningless after all that time. Employers want youth and up to date experience. I would have been really screwed if we had split up. Fortunately its worked out for me and I've been lucky, but I will certainly be telling my dd a cautionary tale.

But having said that

she will still be young enough to retrain if she wants to when the kids are much older. And she's lucky to be in the position of choosing to be able to stay at home.
She's right in that you seem to be focusing on the waste of her opportunities, which is slightly hypocritical. You've not really mentioned the more salient points of how up shit creek she'd be if they split up.

Mememeplease Sun 21-Apr-19 04:47:55

Not my existence is meaningless. shock grin experience I mean.

Sorry for the other typos too. Middle of nightitus

SerenDippitty Sun 21-Apr-19 04:56:22

I understand your concerns OP. I would.not underestimate the difficulties of getting back into the workplace after a long time out. Things move on so quickly and skills very quickly become outdated. And she won’t have any experience just a gap on her CV. I’d also be concerned about her DH actually wanting her to give up her job.

AlexaShutUp Sun 21-Apr-19 04:57:49

Education is valuable in itself, it isn't wasted just because she's not climbing the corporate ladder.

I completely agree with this. Education is valuable for its own sake, not just in terms of employability. It has value for the individual. Outcomes are also better for children when the parents are well educated.

My only plea is that educated, intelligent women who choose to stay at home with their children should have a plan for how they are going to use their talents when their children grow up and leave. I would not want anyone else to experience the emptiness and loss of purpose or the sense of wasted potential that my mother has had to live with for the last few decades. I don't care if you work or stay at home, but at least have a plan for your own life that doesn't just revolve around your children. They will thank you for it in the long term!

Aria999 Sun 21-Apr-19 05:02:08

* at least have a plan for your own life that doesn't just revolve around your children.*

This is good advice.

MaybeitsMaybelline Sun 21-Apr-19 05:28:27

I would always discourage giving up work completely to be st home.

It takes away choices.

OutOntheTilez Sun 21-Apr-19 05:47:41

. . . but at least have a plan for your own life that doesn't just revolve around your children. They will thank you for it in the long term!

I completely agree with this statement. My mom was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and then went back to work when my youngest sister was 10. Mom started as a file clerk, when everything was still paper and a few years before it became normal to have a computer on everyone’s desk. She worked her way up in the company and eventually became manager of her own department. She saved her money but also used some of it to travel. She worked for almost 20 years and she's now retired.

I am extremely proud of my mom, and I would absolutely hate to think that having us held her back in any way.

Bumpitybumper Sun 21-Apr-19 05:53:11

@SerenDippitty
I would.not underestimate the difficulties of getting back into the workplace after a long time out. Things move on so quickly and skills very quickly become outdated. And she won’t have any experience just a gap on her CV
The thing is OP's DD is in a "very junior" position with extremely limited experience, not a woman in her 30s that's developed a wide array of professional skills and a formidable CV. This could actually be a good thing as she might have less to lose and it might well be relatively easy for her to re-enter the workforce at the same level if she really is that junior. In many ways a career break can be more risky for established career women that hope to return to work to senior positions.

Teddybear45 Sun 21-Apr-19 05:56:48

What is her industry? In some now (eg banking or consultanting) if she has less than 5 years experience she will find it impossible to go back after kids and might then need to take a much lower value job if and when the time comes.

Mummyoflittledragon Sun 21-Apr-19 05:57:57

I also don’t think your dds degree is wasted. Education never is. She will probably live to 90. That’s a lot of years post baby or 3 to find employment if he needs / chooses to. I get it’s harder to do these things once you’ve been out of the work environment for so long. However this is a risk your dd wishes to take. I know she cannot yet fully understand what that means. Neither can she fully understand what motherhood entails until she has her own child.

You’ve said your piece. Now you need to accept her choices as an adult. Your dd may yet decide to go back to work if she doesn’t enjoy full time motherhood. Or she and her child(ren) may positively thrive.

Teddybear45 Sun 21-Apr-19 05:58:41

@bumpity - not true. Junior positions in some industries will always be given to recent grads. So she might find herself without anything. Even a lot of return to work schemes aimed at mums who left work to raise kids require a minimum of 5 years experience in some industries.

Bluntness100 Sun 21-Apr-19 05:58:58

Contentious subject, but I also agree with you op and would be worried if my daughter did this.

She will have hardly paid into her pension, will have limited work experience to fall back on so getting a decent earning job in the future will be hard, and her life may go swimmingly, but it could also sadly go wrong, she could split from her husband, or he could get incapacitated in some way etc.

Or he could be someone who ends up cheating, or ignoring her, and she ends up trapped because she can't afford to move out and support herself, even if she'd dearly love to.

So yes she may be doing what works now, and may even work for the next few years, but there is no doubt, it could be something that causes her a lot of pain and problems a few years down the line. Hopefully not, but I do understand your concern.

Petalflowers Sun 21-Apr-19 06:21:01

I’ve got a degree and was a SAHM. Loved it. Wouldn’t have had it any other way. Went back to work part-time were youngest dc was at school. Oldest dc has now left home. Am I bothered about not having a high flying career - no!

I get where you are coming from, but i didn’t have kids for someone else to raise them. I get that not everyone can afford to stay at home full time, and we made compromises (no fancy holidays, cheap car etc), but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

WhoAteMyNuts Sun 21-Apr-19 06:32:47

You only have to read on here the number of women that cannot leave a bad relationship purely because they don't work and have no access to their own funds. My own DF tried several times to make my DM fully dependent on him before he left her when they were in their 50s. It can happen at any age and she was very grateful that she still had a job when they separated because he simply left and didn't pay any bills and in hindsight she saw how he was trying to put her in a precarious position as it's all about control.

I have never wanted be financially reliant on anyone else as you remove so many choices. However, it is her life and she will have to make her own choices and mistakes.

Margot33 Sun 21-Apr-19 06:46:20

Let her have her first baby and see how she feels. I'm sure she will soon change her mind about having 3/4 children!

Bumpitybumper Sun 21-Apr-19 06:48:12

@Teddybear45
Junior positions in some industries will always be given to recent grads. So she might find herself without anything. Even a lot of return to work schemes aimed at mums who left work to raise kids require a minimum of 5 years experience in some industries
Yes, what you write is correct for some industries, but others are more receptive to different kinds of candidates, especially if they are willing to do some degree of retraining and acquire up to date experience before applying. As we have no idea what industry OP's DD actually works in, we don't know their attitude towards more mature applicants to junior positions. I don't see why the assumption should be that all is lost and she will be locked out of her industry forever.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 21-Apr-19 06:55:45

One the bright side you must have presented a positive model of what being a SAHM involves. My mum was a SAHM and seeing how trapped and sad she was made me determined to always be financially independent (just as well as I was widowed at 35)

SinkGirl Sun 21-Apr-19 07:02:10

I’d be more concerned about her marriage ending and where that would leave her (we all know that sadly this is a good possibility statistically). She needs to plan for this possibility.

Teddybear45 Sun 21-Apr-19 07:05:46

@Bumpitybumper - name one industry where a recent grad with 2 years (if that!) experience can realistically return to work after 10-15years? This doesn’t happen in medicine / pharmacy / law / accountancy / banking. It doesn’t even happen in admin professions!

UniversalAunt Sun 21-Apr-19 07:08:52

She says I wouldn't be saying anything if she was 5 years older but they're ready so what's the difference?

I would be saying...great, you are now 29 yo with over five years of work experience, making good use of your degree, acquired some professional skills & qualifications, with a proven track record, a network of contacts, a set of referees & you have saved some money of your own.

UniversalAunt Sun 21-Apr-19 07:10:06

Not to mention maternity leave... & a reasonable chance of returning to work at the same level.

UniversalAunt Sun 21-Apr-19 07:11:26

As we all know, second & subsequent babies do not always turn up to plan, so it is always worth having plan B - Z in the back pocket.

WhiteDust Sun 21-Apr-19 07:16:55

Alexashutup
Well I guess you are right to say there are many variables.

My 'limited' social circle is made up of hundreds women who work in the UK public sector - NHS and schools. I meet very few people day to day in the private sector.

Maybe a nice job in an office environment would be a different matter. Easier to manage.

We go by the experience of those and the many people working around us.

Teateaandmoretea Sun 21-Apr-19 07:22:17

I wouldn't be happy either, but ultimately its her life and you can't interfere and she may have a wonderfully happy life. She needs to hold money in her name for sure and make sure dh has life insurance, however.

I must admit all the 'you can't have it all' stuff sets my teeth on edge. Does anyone ever say this to men? There is truth in it, sure, but for both partners to maintain careers it applies to both not just the woman.

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