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To suggest that a new mum who "has" to go back to work, reluctantly, after maternity leave, could down-size from her five-bedroom house and thereby afford to stay at home?

(538 Posts)
Twoddle Thu 03-Jul-08 10:58:02

I have a good friend who really does have to go back to work when her maternity leave ends later this month. She and her husband genuinely can't afford to live without both their salaries so, as much as she'd like to stay home longer, she can't.

Another friend's sister, however, was pulling the "It's all right for some mums, hanging around at home all day - some of us have to go back to work" line. Knowing that she lives in a four-bedroom house and is having a loft conversion and buys everything new for the home and for the soon-to-arrive baby and has a bit of a clothes-buying habit ... well, I tactfully and carefully suggested to my friend that maybe her sister didn't have to return to work so soon if it was important for her to be at home for longer with her child. I said she could downsize to a smaller home, maybe cut back on some spending, and then be able to afford to extend her maternity leave - if she so wished.

Said friend warned me through a steely glare never to say such words to her sister, and the atmosphere was abysmal between us for the rest of the evening.

Was my suggestion so unreasonable, in the circumstances?

Silly me for playing devil's advocate ...

smallwhitecat Thu 03-Jul-08 10:59:04

Message withdrawn

AuntieSocial Thu 03-Jul-08 10:59:49

<proffers hard-hat>

NigellaTheOriginal Thu 03-Jul-08 11:01:07

sorry YABU. Sometimes it's not that easy

nametaken Thu 03-Jul-08 11:01:55

YANBU - if she wants to go back to work so that she can live in a big house and buy lots of stuff then that's up to her. What was wrong IMO was to make out she HAD to do it.

UnquietDad Thu 03-Jul-08 11:03:37

It's very easy to judge other people's lifestyles. Downsizing isn't always easy or desirable.

Twiglett Thu 03-Jul-08 11:04:05

in terms of the "It's all right for some mums, hanging around at home all day - some of us have to go back to work" line

totally justified

2point4kids Thu 03-Jul-08 11:04:15

yabu
you dont know her well enough to make judgements. You prob dont know the whole story

Spidermama Thu 03-Jul-08 11:04:19

Has this kicked off yet?

smallwhitecat Thu 03-Jul-08 11:04:44

Message withdrawn

lucyellensmum Thu 03-Jul-08 11:04:57

Yes, silly you!

LEM takes a seat somewhere near the back and orders popcorn

UnquietDad Thu 03-Jul-08 11:05:18

Can't believe I forgot this

ra-ra-ra

Mimsy2000 Thu 03-Jul-08 11:05:55

agree with nametaken, if she wants to go back to work that's fine but she should be sensitive enough to know she doesn't *have to*

Twiglett Thu 03-Jul-08 11:06:18

you know

I think it's total bollocks not being able to comment when others are judging those who do decide to juggle to afford to stay at home

Yes in the current market it would be difficult to downsize

But if someone is rude enough to suggest that children shouldn't be the top priority then others can be rude enough to suggest that neither should things be

Oliveoil Thu 03-Jul-08 11:07:19

do you know their financial situation?

they may be up to their eyeballs in debts for all you know

keep yer beak out imo

AuntieSocial Thu 03-Jul-08 11:07:51

Can I just say - the baby hasn't even arrived yet. Perhaps she will reassess her lifestyle once it does, should she choose to.

Page62 Thu 03-Jul-08 11:08:07

YABU
selling a house in this market? wouldn't dream of it unless really really needed the money.
from your message it is clear you are passing judgement on her life choices and for that YABU - your definition of what is best for your family is not everybody else's

Twoddle Thu 03-Jul-08 11:08:17

I hear what you are saying, especially the bit about the current housing market. However, my friend's sister wouldn't want to move if she could. I'm with nametaken: my friend's sister's decision isn't wrong. It is each to their own, and I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to play the early years/maternity leave conundrum. What I take issue with is her choosing such a lifestyle and then pulling the "poor me" line, with respect to having to go back to work. She doesn't. It's a responsibility thing: take responsibility for making a particular decision - choosing this kind of lifestyle - and don't then seek the sympathy vote on not having a choice about whether or not to go back to work.

UnquietDad Thu 03-Jul-08 11:08:43

Thing is, once you start on that route you can say it to anyone - "why should you work to live in a 3-bed house with a garden? you could move to a 2-bed with a back yard"... "why work to stay in a 2-bed terrace? You could move to a flat" etc.

AuntieSocial Thu 03-Jul-08 11:09:52

You don't know her situation. Maybe as someone else said they are in a lot of debt. Maybe she owns 4 x more than her husband and genuinely can't stop working. The fact that her sister warned you to shut up suggests there's more to it than you know about.

UnquietDad Thu 03-Jul-08 11:10:10

It may not be as simple as a "choice"...

RubberDuck Thu 03-Jul-08 11:10:12

I sympathise - I have felt the same after a similar line from someone who lived in a huge house compared to our tiny one and who both had salaries far greater than dh's! It's not the situation that rankles, it's THEIR spoken assumptions when they could do the same if they so wished that makes me feel a bit "oh ffs".

Incidentally, these were the same people who (when dh was made redundant when ds1 was small) said very loudly about how they couldn't understand people who had children if they couldn't afford them. Yeah, like dh was planning on being made redundant hmm

They obviously have isshoos ... ignore, ignore, ignore and bite tongue hard. I don't care what choices people make as long as they don't judge mine.

AuntieSocial Thu 03-Jul-08 11:10:15

earns more than 4 x her husband.

artichokes Thu 03-Jul-08 11:11:16

Say your friend was in a small flat with no outdoor space but smoked, had half a bottle of wine a night, had Sky TV, had fast broadband, bought her kids expensive christmas and birthday presents etc. If you had told that friend that should did not have to work and could just cut-down her luxuries - then can you see she would have been cross?

motherinferior Thu 03-Jul-08 11:11:38

Quite possibly she also wants to go back to work, and feels guilty for wanting to. I know I did.

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