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Is stopping work over the top if I only have one child? Should I not be able to cope?

(24 Posts)
suzydelarosa Sun 09-Sep-12 22:35:25

I'd love to get people's thoughts on whether it's okay or bonkers to stop working when you only have one child to care for. My DP works full time, I work full time and we both have demanding jobs. My DD was in childcare full time from 8 months and since then it's been working evenings and weekends between caring for her. Often my DP works at home on Saturdays while I look after her, then we swap for Sunday. The nature of our jobs is that they are demanding and a lot of work is required out of normal hours so that can't really be changed. We're paid well but not excessively.

DD is now 6 and even though she's in school now full-time I just feel exhausted and that I've not enjoyed much of my time with her as I work so much. It's constant stress at home with both of us working - we are both tired, slump in front of the tv when we're not working or doing 'domestic chores' and are generally grumpy.

If I had 3 kids I could completely understand wanting to quit my job to care for them but I've got one child who is now in school all day and with no special needs or special care required. When I told my feelings to family they laughed at me, said 'the worst was over' and that I'd be bonkers to leave my job especially as we wouldn't be broke but would be stretched. Maybe I need a sabbatical? I'm also mindful that some people have no choice but for both to work so don't want to appear ungrateful.

Littleredtree Sun 09-Sep-12 22:55:46

Could you think about a different job or reduced hours, rather than leaving completely? Doing something that leaves you feeling a bit fresher? It doesn't sound as though you love your job so much that it's worth holding onto, but there might be something else that slots into your life better. In any case, I don't think you should feel bad or guilty for feeling knackered or stressed. You've identified a problem and are looking to solve it. That's good, and I wish you luck.

Kayano Mon 10-Sep-12 09:38:49

If she is in school I wouldn't

I don't understand being a sahm when the kids are at school. Its just giving up work really

But I'm harsh and bitter and without options and hold my hands up lol envy

Frontpaw Mon 10-Sep-12 09:43:13

Its up to you! I work, but have to, and I really would go bonkers if I didn't anyway!

AnnieLobeseder Mon 10-Sep-12 09:49:40

It's up to you whether you can afford it or not. The number of children you have is irrelevant.

It does sound like your work/home balance isn't great, and if you aren't happy you should make a change. Have you asked about going part-time? Could you change jobs to something with better hours, even if the pay is less?

It doesn't have to be all or nothing - your current job or no job. Keep all your options open.

I slightly agree with Kayano that I don't get people who do nothing but SAHM when their children are in school, but that does't mean I think all parents of school-aged children should be in paid employment, just that they should be contributing in some way like volunteering locally during school hours.

Greatresult Mon 10-Sep-12 09:58:39

She/he may be at school, but they are never finished getting holidays and days off. That's the bit of being a working mum that I could never quite get to grips with. How do you handle school holidays/closures, not to mention time off sick? Do you have back up care? Don't feel guilty, just make sure it is what you truly want. I was an only child and my mother worked full time. She really had to, but I didn't like it--would have preferred her at home.

HoleyGhost Mon 10-Sep-12 10:04:14

You need a holiday. And then afterward, to try and look at ways to make your lives more balanced/fun.

That might mean getting a cleaner, reducing your commute, changing jobs, or even taking up some activity that gives you time to yourself.

CMOTDibbler Mon 10-Sep-12 10:07:45

I think you and dh need to sort your work out tbh - theres no need in any job to be working every weekend - the odd bit in the evenings, yes, but not that much.

modifiedmum Mon 10-Sep-12 10:07:59

Can you not reduce your hours at work? I would hate not working but at the same time, i wouldnt want to work full time either. My set hours are 16 but i sometimes do overtime up to 30 a week and thats fine with me, i find its just enough to balance work, homelife and archie (i only have 1 child like you)

t1meout Mon 10-Sep-12 10:13:44

I definitely wouldn't give up work, but I would look to change my hours or job if I were you. It's not just about having a child, it's about enjoying your life. I quit my job and took a couple of years to travel (pre-children) because I was burnt out and miserable, then came back and freelanced. I am still freelance and it works for me - though it has been financially precarious quite often. Times have changed so I wouldn't recommend going freelance in the current climate, but there may well be other options. It might be worth your seeing a life coach to sort out your priorities.

One thing to consider is whether your relationship is solid? If you are both grumpy and depressed, then is it possible that you won't make it? Not working would be a terrible idea if you are going to end up a single parent.

Caerlaverock Mon 10-Sep-12 10:14:35

I quit when dd started school. I stayed at work thinking same as you I 'only have one' but then I thought actually I won't have this time again and starting school is fairly challenging. I do stuff from home but my main concern is dd. it's nice having the holidays with her

Hoopsadazy Mon 10-Sep-12 10:21:09

I have one and am SAHM. One more year til DS starts school and I plan to do something then. In the meantime, have plenty to do to look after DS as I think that's what should be done and on the whole enjoy it.

Also, DH works long hours, so working would just mean would need to pay childcare, cleaner and possibly cook to keep house running. As one parent said to me - one is harder as got to entertain them rather than having a sibling to play with.

Am on sofa today with daytime tv as DS is super poorly. Days like this am grateful I don't have a job to have to deal with cancelling the day, etc.

Gotta go with what you feel as that's the one you will be able to defend when questioned, as everyone is, whichever path they choose with their kids these days. Some days I really don't cope well, and some people cope brilliantly with 4 kids and work. Everyone is different and that includes the child themselves!! Mine is a challenging one so coping is a it tougher than some kids I know!

suzydelarosa Mon 10-Sep-12 13:55:54

Thanks for all your brilliant suggestions. I work in marcomms and the nature of the work is that it is long hours and doesn't lend itself to part-time work particularly well. It's do-able but I know that I'd end up working a full days week in my own time. To be honest I've been working evenings and weekends most of my life due to product launches and deadlines and I am starting to get resentful about it.

I think I need a holiday and will then re-think this. Continuing as we are will break us up but jacking in a job and not working would not be good if I end up a single mom. I probably need a career change but, on the other hand, I will never fundamentally be one of those people who come in at 8:15, leave at 4:15 and take it for just a job. I'm just not programmed that way.

t1meout Mon 10-Sep-12 14:12:05

Holiday sounds like a really good plan. And maybe it is time for a career change - you probably have heaps of skills that are transferable. Or consultancy might just be an option. Once you get some headspace, it might become clearer. Good to recognise that you are at breaking point though.

Nature of my job isn't 9-5 either, and I do resent all the extra hours - but at least I have flexibility. There are times when I am juggling way too much, but then there are fallow periods when I can focus more on the dc. TBH whichever way you do it is tough - that's just a fact of having kids and a career. Best of luck!

MistressofPemberley Tue 09-Oct-12 09:32:19

I feel the same. My DS (4) has been in child care since he was 6 months while I studied and trained for my job. It's my third year full time now and he's just started school. I have to bring work home with me and am often tired and grumpy. DH is out of the house for 14 hours a day and works shifts including nights and weekends. Like you, there seems so little time or energy for anything.

I'm off work with a bug today so I dropped DS to school rather than to the Childminder. He was so happy and told his teacher his mummy was here today. I feel miserable! Doesn't help that we're TTC #2 without success which I'm sure is partly due to how busy/tired/stressed we are.

I'd love to go part time, or volunteer locally. Just feels like a lazy cop-out to want to work less when DS is now at school.

ProjectOysterdotcom Fri 12-Oct-12 16:03:20

Question is does it really matter what other people think about whether you work or not?
If you are not happy then you absolutely should change things, for you, for time with your little one and perhaps your realtionship would benefit too. Agree with the others though, it's not an all or nothing situation. There will be other ways to get the life you want rather than continue with the way things are.

Life is for living not trudging through until the next pay check or...what? What is it you're doing this for? To pay the bills?

Take a minute to think about what you really want....

BackforGood Fri 12-Oct-12 16:09:20

Agree with most - it's not about how many children you get.
It seems you both work in jobs that take over your lives somewhat. You've reached a time in your life when you realise that not everybody lives this way, and that maybe you'd like a better work/life balance too.
If you've always been used to working those hours, then I think you'd probably not enjoy being at home all day with little to do (some people do, some people don't), but maybe now is the time to reassess, with your dh, how you live your lives, and where you want to change aspects of that, and how you go about doing that.
I'd have thought a career change might be the answer, if Part time isn't.

azazello Fri 12-Oct-12 16:12:02

I think it is increasingly common for people to give up work or cut back significantly when their chidlren are in school. It is reasonably straightforward to find childcare full time and for a child which needs a commited care giver, not necessarily a parent. As children get older, it does seem to be that a parent is needed much more and that the juggling gets harder - school holidays, shorter school days etc.

I agree with the suggestions that it might be worth having a break and really thinking what it is you enjoy about your current job, what you dislike, what you would like to do more of and what you could really afford to do if you put your mind to it. If it isn't work itself which is the problem, is it something which would be easier if you buy in more help? really think about it from all the angles.

ouryve Fri 12-Oct-12 16:13:10

There's no should about it. You do what works best for you.

LeChatRouge Fri 12-Oct-12 16:30:44

Could you take a career break and see the impact this has, financially and emotionally, also practically, on your family? Say a timeframe of six months and then have a weekend away just the two of you to discuss the options....returning to work, retraining as something less demanding....or just having a few years as a mum?

Does the option of a career break fill you with relief or dread?

I didn't work when my children were young and had lots of other things going on whilst they were at school that meant I was a fulfilled person, it doesn't have to be a full time job that gives you that.

MistressofPemberley Fri 12-Oct-12 20:27:17

Piping up. Spoke to my boss about possibly dropping a day and going part time. He was really nice and thinks it's a real possibility. I feel so much better from simply having the conversation and making it a real concern. And guess what? People didn't clutch their chests in horror at the suggestion that a mother of a school age child might want to cut back her working hours!
OP- go for it. There is no shame at realising you have been spreading yourself too thinly.

Rharrow Fri 12-Oct-12 20:57:16

I stopped work and took a 12 year break after my only child was born. Now I find it very hard to get back to work. Please don't make this mistake !. Keep working part time or term time. It is good for your body and soul.

Mosman Sat 13-Oct-12 04:20:56

I wish I had known that it was easier to go to work when they were in nursery than when they went to school.
Everyone I yolk advice from was of an era when mums had squill ions of babies then got a job at the green grocers once they were all at school. More fool me, since I don't work behind the counter of a shop it would have been better to have kept my skills and cv up to date when they were little and be high enough up the ladder to command a decent salary with part time hours.
As it is I'm full time with 4 school age children and knackered.
I would not think twice about packing in work if we'd made a decent dent in the mortgage tbh

LadyLapsang Sat 13-Oct-12 14:31:18

You just have to decide your priorities and then try to make a life that reflects them. I decided my DS was my priority so I worked part-time while he was at school. Yes, it's likely to have an impact on your career, pension etc. as well as your income but at least it sounds like you have a choice.At least by staying in the workplace you can go back full-time in the end if that's what you want.

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