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Worried - Husband wants to quit his job and opt out of the rat race - 2nd baby due in 2 months!

(56 Posts)
inadreamworld Thu 08-Nov-12 09:03:19

Would like everyone's views on this please as not sure what to think. DH and I have an 18 month old DD and expecting another little girl early in January.

DH is a teacher and hates his job. He loves teaching in the classroom it is just all the paperwork and stress that goes with it. he has been teaching about 15 years and says it is not like it used to be. He works 5 days a week but has two part time jobs in two separate schools and has a long commute to one of the schools. The other school is a very high performing private school and he has to work very hard there and stay late. He says he is really stressed with the long commute, not seeing much of me and DD (he gets home late most evenings and has marking and stuff to do after work). I know a lot of people are stressed with work but it really seems to be getting to him lately - I don't want him having a nervous breakdown, am worried as he says every day is like a battle and he shouldn't have to live like this - even though he wants to provide money for me and DD I think he feels trapped - he loves us and wants to provide for us but hates what he is doing.

He wants to quit both jobs at Christmas and move to Ireland where his Mum lives. He says there is a more relaxed lifestyle and he thinks we could rent out our flat in London, continue paying the mortgage and make some money somehow by writing, part time tutoring (even though the recession over there is bad), possibly staying with his Mum for a while or renting somewhere cheap. he says as we are not selling the flat we can come back in a year or two if it doesn't work out.

My dilemma is this: I don't want him to be stressed and unhappy and I would love to have more time chilling out and for him to see our children more. But I am worried about how we will cope financially - also my parents live close by and are in their 70s and will miss seeing their grandchild and the new baby regularly.

Have any of you quit the 9 to five 'rat race' and been really happy you did it? Do you think I should agree to go to Ireland or try to persuade him to carry on here?

orangeandlemons Thu 08-Nov-12 09:10:19

If it's any help, I'm a teacher and I feel justlike your husband. It used to be fun, but now the stress is hideous. I would give ANYTHING to get out.

However, I don't have an answer for you, but hope you work something out x

MrsHoarder Thu 08-Nov-12 09:10:58

Can you all him to hang on until you go back to work? Then at least you'll have one person working. As for quitting the rat race, that doesn't have to mean moving to Ireland, I thought unemployment was dreadful there so picking up bits of work will be harder than in London and you won't have the income to cover tenancy voids.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 09:11:46

Is he applying for full time jobs with less of a commute?

I can imagine in teaching it's very hard to do two jobs like this as you have to know twice as many pupils etc.

Could he quit whichever is the more stressful of the two jobs and make up some of the balance with tutoring and supply work? Might be a good idea to get a feel for tutoring on this basis anyway.

A friend of mine only does supply because of the paperwork issue, her DH has a regular salary so it's not too scary financially.

dashoflime Thu 08-Nov-12 09:18:32

We went from living in London, both working full time to Glasgow, both working part time. For us it was worth it. The lower housing costs more than makes up for the drop in income and we get to spend more time together.

yomellamoHelly Thu 08-Nov-12 09:26:26

But could you face living with his mum? (My idea of hell and this sounds like a serious possibility.)

expatinscotland Thu 08-Nov-12 09:31:07

How about he cut one of the jobs and you take a part-time one round his other part-time one?

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Thu 08-Nov-12 09:34:43

I'm going to answer as if it was my dh.

And as a wife and mother, if dh could find employment, a place to rent, and agree on a timescale-I would be happy to give it a shot.

I wouldn't go to Ireland with no employment lined up and hope for the best.

My brother has just left his very stressful, though good wage job- to do casual labouring. He is so much happier and relaxed and seriously, he's like a different person..though he doesn't have a mortgage or kids.

I say plan it well, go for it, and if it doesn't work out in 18-24 months, make sure dh agrees he will go back to teaching or at least spend some time in the 18-24 months making a back up plan.

TheProvincialLady Thu 08-Nov-12 09:36:08

It's understandable that he is feeling like this (my husband is a teacher too) but seriously - writing and part time tutoring? That is a hobby, not a way of maintaining a family - unless he is already established in some field of writing? If he wants to quit teaching, he needs to have a proper exit plan and not a pipe dream. In the short term, he could get a full time job nearer to home, or a second job that isn't necessarily teaching and is nearer to home than the private school. You'll be able to work at some time in the not too distant future so it needn't be forever, but going to live with mum and 'do writing' is not grown up thinking.

tipp2chicago Thu 08-Nov-12 09:39:35

Jesus don't come to Ireland without a guaranteed job. There are tons of newly qualified teachers out of work, and since February, lots of teachers with 30+ years experience have retired so I would not be at all sure about the availability of tutoring work. Not easily anyway.

bananaistheanswer Thu 08-Nov-12 09:44:14

If he is really stressed, and you are genuinely worried about his health/possible breakdown, can he go and see his GP to get signed off with stress? If he has a few weeks/month or 2 to just take a step back from the 'rat race', it might help him get back on top of things. It is worth seeking some help/support if he is genuinely struggling with the stress of everything. The suggestion of stepping down from 1 job seems like it a good idea to me as well. As much as the desire to step back from the rat race is all appealling, the realities i.e. how you survive without the income the 'rat race' gives you, does tend to give you a jolt. That might just be what he needs. In all honesty, going from the stress of his current situation, to a different stress (moving to Ireland/living with 2 small kids in someone else's home, struggle to earn an income you can survive on etc if jobs aren't freely available which I suspect would be the case) will not help, and will only be worse if that option is seen as the 'escape' which it then turns out not to be. There is no point in 'running away' from what is a stressful situation without addressing the reaction he is having to the stress he is under. Stress can come from many different situations, and he might not be able to react/deal with a new range of stresses in a different situation, because he has chosen to get away from one stressful situation without addressing how he deals with stress, how it affects him, and try to find other ways to deal with those stresses/his reaction to the stresses.

I do feel for him, having gone through something similar years ago. But, not actually dealing with his ability (or lack of ability) to cope with/deal with stress means that there is always the chance a 'new start' won't solve the problem. Try and get him to speak to someone about how he is feeling, GP etc.

CurlyhairedAssassin Thu 08-Nov-12 09:45:54

Agree it's not a good plan with the upheaval of another baby on the way. 2 part time jobs is stressful in any field - double the performance reviews, staff meetings, training etc on top of the commuting problems. 2 ways of doing things in each school to havr to remember, 2 sets of pupils and staff to have to deal with. v stressful i bet. I would think the most sensible thing is to look for one full time teaching job for now to cut out those added stresses just while the new baby is young and he can be looking out for feasible long term stuff to do while he's got the stability of that and while you're planning your role in family earning.

Corygal Thu 08-Nov-12 09:58:49

I'd try and tackle the problem without losing your home and income. So: GP then give him a year to come up with a coherent plan for the future.

No offence, but someone who's never written a word saying they just 'want to write' sounds like they 'want to stop work'. Thing is, writers who are any good write, in the immortal words of Jilly Cooper. They do crazy things like work out what the book is supposed to be about, who will publish it for them, etc etc. Oh, and get up at 5am to do something about it.

No book will pay your living expenses for more than a month, incidentally, either. Even the sort of writers who end up on Newsnight and Omnibus have other jobs that pay the mortgage.

upinthehills Thu 08-Nov-12 10:03:01

He needs to get a more "normal" job - a full time at one school.

Look for jobs in a nice area out with London. Rent out or sell the flat, rent a house near the school.

Life doesn't need to be as hard as he has made it. He shouldn't throw in the towel without trying to make things easier for himself - what he is doing is a kneejerk reaction to the poor situation he has found himself in.

Get the TES out and apply for lots and lots of jobs.

jaabaar Thu 08-Nov-12 10:41:24


It is an option to go to Ireland. However, you should not do it hasty!
Think about it for a while and speak together about the pros and cons.
Check what schools are at the location where his parents live etc, cost of living etc.

Maybe he can look locally for another job? and give up the job which has the long commute?

It is very hard to have to live every day as a battle (that is where I am and cant find a way out...) so I really do sympathise with your husband. Also it does not contribute to family happiness etc.

However first thing to do, seat down, take a piece of paper and start writing ALL THE OPTIONS you have, including changing the situation locally where you are.

Also you are pregnant and it is very stressfull to do this transition at the moment. Plan, discuss and when you come to a conclusion give it a timeframe, bearing in mind you are pregnant and will soon have a newborn.

I wish the very best of luck, whatever happens try and make some changes.
It needs courage, but can be highly rewarding!


Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 08-Nov-12 10:51:55

It is a stupid and self-indulgent plan. He runs home to Mummy where he doesn't have to work a full-time job, you are there doing all the childcare and he swans about pretending he's Seamus Heaney.

I can understand him being stressed with work, but surely it would be easier for him to look for new work where you are, rather than moving the whole family when you have a new baby on the way??

slug Thu 08-Nov-12 11:17:22

When DD was 9 months old DH came home one day and announced he wanted to quit work. We agreed to wait till I went back to work (ironically I was a teacher at the time) then we would swap roles.

It is do able if you plan it right. I, for one, have never regretted it. I got back the man I married and DD had the joy of a stay at home Daddy. However, I was champing at the bit to go back to work and we were able to pay off the small mortgage we had on our tiny flat. We spent a few years in the financial wilderness, especially when I quit teaching and changed careers. Once DD was 7 he went back to work, initially on a year's contract and then, after a few months he ended up in a job, though much lower graded than the career he had given up, he's happy and relatively stress free.

DH tells me the worst part was the time between our initial conversation and him handing in his notice. Once he did that, even though he had 3 months notice to work, the stress lessened. Incidentally, PM me if your DH would consider changing career. There are a few jobs going in my area at the moment and the profession has a lot of former teachers in it's ranks.

expatinscotland Thu 08-Nov-12 12:00:22

There are so many other options than running to another country which is in the grips of a recession with no job to live with his mother with two children in tow.

inadreamworld Thu 08-Nov-12 22:33:39

Alibaba - the Seamus Heaney bit made me laugh - he does think he is some kind of writer who just needs his big break!!! Not poetry though like Seamus. Really good advice everyone. He is still considering quitting one of the jobs but hopefully will hang on until I am able to work part time. If not then I will have to do a lot of extra tutoring from home (did I mention I am a teacher too.....) Let's hope he forgets about Ireland at least for now. Don't think his Mum would be too pleased about it anyway.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 22:36:22

Dream, has he ever done any writing and been published? Does he sit and write?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 22:36:37

...or just talk about it?

inadreamworld Thu 08-Nov-12 22:44:01

He does actually write but nothing published yet...!!! More talk than action though.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 22:49:21

I read a good book about the practice of writing, doing exercises about all different things. If he can somehow work towards writing in amongst everything else, even for 10 mins a day, it might help with his stress?

In the meantime, he needs to stick at earning money though.

janey68 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:07:18

Has he really looked at the economic situation in Ireland?!

I think it would be madness to just give up work while you are about to give birth. What IS entirely reasonable is for him to have an exit plan from a job situation which is making him seriously unhappy and stressed on a daily basis. It's not self indulgent to do that. Being in a diffiicult job over a long period of time is soul destroying. It may mean you getting back to work, or him changing career but if you plan things properly it should make things happier all round

44SoStartingOver Fri 09-Nov-12 07:19:10

Hands up if you hate parts of your job?

Me, me, me!

Fine for him to dislike his situation, however, sensible alternatives are required!

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