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How do I get back into employment after 6 years as a (very unwilling) SAHM?

(80 Posts)
whatamigoingtodonow Sun 24-Mar-13 11:15:22

I would like to go back to work but here are the following difficulties:

Lack of affordable childcare - our outgoings are more than our incomings, so taking a financial hit in the assumption that I am investing in my career just isn't an option.

I am very deskilled by my experience as a SAHM - I have not been able to find sustainable work in the town I moved to, which has a high unemployment rate.

I studied OU for a bit, (Computing BSc) but as DP is out to work 6am - 8:30 or 9pm Mon-Fri sad I haven't been able to get the reading done, despite having ability and getting good marks (85 - 95%) on assignments, and had to postpone my course, which has upset me greatly. I have studied 2 x 30 point courses, at levels 1 and 2, but only finished the level 1 course as I was becoming more and more behind with study. I already have a degree, creative arts, and have about 6 years experience of entry level career. I didn't progress far due to health reasons (stress related) and lack of opportunities in a competitive job market.

I can't even do voluntary work due to the expense of childcare, logistics of 3 DSs (5, 4, 10 mo) and even voluntary positions do not acknowledge applications confused

Personally, I have absolutely no confidence left - I have been chipped away by bullying PIL, "friends" who come round to laugh at the appalling mess of our home angry and I now actually feel sick when I read job applications. I moved to this town 6 years ago shortly before DS1's arrival, and I haven't made many friends and really have struggled to settle here, as a mid-40s mum who just does not fit in anywhere.

Deep down I know I would not cope with any job, even shelf stacking, and sadly I have a fair amount of unpleasant life experiences which bear this out. Recently I applied for a job in a supermarket, starting at 5:30am - although I got an interview I didn't get the job and was very very upset about this, mostly because I know I would end up bursting into tears at work due to nerves (I have a very long history of this sadly)

My interview skills, presentation skills are good however - I don't send in job applications with typos, or botch job applications. I have had my CV looked at by the uni careers service, who have given it the thumbs up smile however I just have no recent work experience, and little odds and sods of computing courses aren't really stacking up to anything concrete, although I am aiming for a specific degree.

My CV doesn't have huge references to children on it either, just that I have had a career break to be a full time parent, and in that time I have studied and developed property.

I feel that life really is over, I am just sooooo stuck. I didn't choose to be a stuck-at-home-mum, it was all down to circumstances beyond my control, and I have hated it from the off. I have been miserable for years, although when studying I have been far far happier.

I haven't done nothing for 6 years btw, I have developed and sold 2 properties in that time and this, along with my studies, is on my CV. I am bored, frustrated and lonely and just not coping with the demands of my children (eldest is HF ASD and can be very challenging) and the loneliness of my situation, I moved away from family and friends, and feel very isolated.

I feel so trapped by my situation, especially the lack of spare time. Paid childcare to allow me to study just isn't an option sadly, low paid work isn't an option either although I am very willing to do it.

If I wait for DS 2 to start school, and only have DS3 (in 15 hours a week by then) I will be pushing 50 when I complete my studies. I just feel everything is against me.

Any suggestions?

dimsum123 Fri 29-Mar-13 09:06:45

Could you hire a responsible local teenager to mind the kids for a couple of hours so you can attack the decluttering? I sometimes do that, 2 hours costs me £10.

ssd Fri 29-Mar-13 09:21:10

can dh help you to clean at the weekend?

Chandon Fri 29-Mar-13 09:29:41

Yes, was just thinking of your dh, what does he think of you ( and the fact you are not coping, by the sound of it)? How does he help and support you? Is he worried about you?

With small kids, you have to accept it is a full time job when they are at home, and IMO, no room for work or study from home. That is an unrealistic expectation.

It all sounds hugely frustrating and stressful, but you can make changes, one step at a time, bit by bit.

You soind overwhelmed and in need of support....

Good luck

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 29-Mar-13 09:38:30

DH has his own issues - he was off ill for 7 weeks about 6 months ago, and hasn't made a recovery. His work are very understanding and accommodating but have announced that all staff must now do 15 hours a week overtime (unpaid sad) and this, on top of his daily commute of 4.5 hours is just too much. He is good at taking the kids off my hands, but just isn't here to do it.

Much as I find work liberating, this is the opposite end of the spectrum really. We are trapped by both of us having too much work, and that work (whether DPs paid work or my SAHM work) prevents us doing anything really.

Re the cats, the last one died 18 months ago. And there is still shit on carpets sad blush

I'd love to do voluntary work - but I can't pay for childcare and it is rare for this to be offered or paid for (I have been on the local volunteer site this morning to check!)

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 29-Mar-13 09:40:16

When DP awakes (home from work 11:30pm last night, left the house at 6am) I'll do some excavating grin

Spring (albeit a Siberian one) is in the air, which does make me feel a bit better.

Xenia Fri 29-Mar-13 10:53:38

I wouldn't do volunteering. You have enough on your plate.
Perhaps moving more quickly to be near your husband's work would help.

What happens at the weekends? We both worked full time. For a period I had the children all day on Saturday whilst he worked or whatever and he had them alone all day on the Sunday whilst I worked or did house stuff or relaxed or whatever. If you knew you had gfrom 8am to mid night every single Saturday entirely childfree that might give you a good chance to do 16 hours of cleaning or sleeping or whatever once a week at the weekend.

FannyFifer Fri 29-Mar-13 11:07:57

If you are near me (Fife) I will help you sort out the house, no judgement, Ive helped others in similar and prob a lot worse situation.
Have you Homestart in your area, speak to health visitor.

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 29-Mar-13 12:05:36

FannyFifer what a generous offer! I am much farther north sadly. I am very much taken aback at your kindness blush

It's started snowing here (wtf??) so I will do more tidying in the house then perhaps take some shite rubbish to the skip later or tomorrow.

DP off today - luffly! Happy kids when not fighting and have had a fry up for breakfast so am steeled for the day!

One other question though - how do I apply for jobs without references? My old uni tutor has vanished, the most recent one didn't know me for long enough. As I've mentioned I've been unable to do any voluntary work due to childcare etc. Apart from forgery what do you actually do?

Xenia Fri 29-Mar-13 12:19:05

Some of my graduate children leave references off to start with and say "available on request" and then if they get to the next stage produce them. That is quite commonly done.
Also you could put the most recent tutor even if they did not really know you as I am sure they can look up your records and write something. Have you tried an internet search to track the new one down? I found someone who had moved universities that way this week.

Taking rubbish to the tip always makes people feel good - good plan (as does protein for breakfast)

lljkk Fri 29-Mar-13 14:59:00

About half of the jobs I apply for (mid level tech office) do not want CVs at all; they want application forms filled in instead with no more than a cover letter. I think it would be seen as obstructive if you said "References available on request" on the application form.

FannyFifer Fri 29-Mar-13 15:20:12

That's a shame, sorry you are not closer was a genuine offer.

I have a family member who basically is just overwhelmed with house stuff, it gets to a certain stage & they literally don't know where or how to start to get it cleared & clean.
They are an unintentional hoarder, just don't know how to get rid of stuff.

They then get really down due to all the mess & clutter, it has a real impact on quality of their life.

Once the house is sorted I bet you will start to feel much better about everything.

Maybe write yourself a list of what needs done and work your way through it, buy black bags and fill one each day then do a dump run on a Saturday.

Sorry I am no help on the job situation but I'm good at decluttering & organising so any help I can be or support with that just ask.

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 29-Mar-13 16:55:06

In the last week I have seen 2 jobs I'd love to apply for (marketing / website stuff), but they both stipulate 2 references on the application form.

At a push I could perhaps manage one of my uni tutors (I had to bomb out of his course due to lack of time, but did get very good marks) but don't have any other resources to draw on sadly (which is unlike me grin)

Perhaps I should just postpone work until everything else is in place. I just never thought I'd be a SAHM - never never never. And that has been a real shock.

It's odd how so many women (and men - DP for one) would love to give up work to be SAHPs. And how many would give their eye teeth for the opposite scenario to be true.

whatamigoingtodonow Fri 29-Mar-13 17:09:38

Fanny yes, I am the same as your family member. It just gets more and more overwhelming. The problem stemmed from the fact that I moved to this town, and into a bombsite house - I've always been on the back foot and just can not get things straight.

It's like losing a battle of space invaders - it is an avalanche that I cannot keep on top of. I am actually extremely clean in principle shock but the untidier it gets, the more impossible it is to clean floors etc. I do cooking, laundry, dishwasher and am on top of that but the rest of it is fucking filthy shock

Friends mum is a cleaner, and I have begged pal to put her my way, but my friend told me she would not recommend her mum to me as she'd literally go berserk at the mess, and also would slag me off to all and sundry shock

FannyFifer Fri 29-Mar-13 17:19:51

To be honest, if you are surviving financially at the minute then getting the house sorted is the first thing, it will give you a lift & the confidence to go and get a job when the time is right.

On the cleaner front, absolutely no point getting a cleaner till its gutted, there are specialist companies that can do that for you but they are expensive.

Even though your DP works long hours the house is equally his responsibility.

Get a load of black bags and pick a room, that's what i do when I help out my relation. They have no real attachment to the crap but would just stand in the room surrounded by it, frozen not knowing where to start then get sidetracked by a book they find or something.grin

Are there lots of clothes, or are there stuff in particular you have loads off that is making the mess?

If you want to private message me rather than on the board that would be fine. grin

I really feel for you as I totally understand what this is like.

MariahHairy Sat 30-Mar-13 05:12:45

are you a carer (i.e. getting CA) for your DS with Asd? if so, you would qualify (depending on your family income) for help towards childcare under tax credits.

childcare for your younger children might be an option giving you somevextra time to sort things on your end (house/moving/studiea etc).

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 30-Mar-13 05:46:17

I would say that shelve the job search and look to move. A 4.5 hr daily commute for your DH with you having to pick him up from the station with 3 kids in the car at 8.30pm is, frankly, frikkin' ridiculous in all levels. You need to either sell the house and move, or rent the house out and rent something closer, or he needs to get a job closer to you. Otherwise it is going to be almost impossible for you to get back to work, and also, if you're thinking about moving, there's no point in getting a job locally and then jacking it in a few months later.

Also, re your CV, sorry if I'm misunderstanding you, but you say you're mid-forties, and you have a son of 5, and 6 years of work experience. What were you doing the rest of the time IYSWIM? Were you not working due to the anxiety issues you mention or did you do your first degree late? If the latter, is there anything you did before your first degree that might give you marketable skills with a bit more investment?

Fairylea Sat 30-Mar-13 05:55:33

I'm really surprised no one has suggested going to the gp and getting some antidepressants. You sound very depressed to me, outside the realm of being fed up with the situation - which is workable if you felt more positive - and also the house being in a state is an indication of depression too.

I am a sahm and I used to be a very senior marketing manager. It was my choice to become a sahm and I have days of enjoying it and days of panic! I have no desire to return to work myself however just to make you feel better my mum didn't work for 20 years and recently went back to work full time at the grand age of 63 in a full time reasonably paid job. It can be done. I rewrote her cv for her. You need to really sell yourself to employers, not just talk about what you've done factually. Manipulate it so the benefits are obvious.

As for the cleaning you really need to do some every single day. Get some black bags, fill a few everyday and stick in a spare room. When it's full get a skip. Keep going. Clean every day even for ten minutes. I do kitchen, living room and bathroom general wipe and clean every day in ten mins bursts. I never spend hours doing it. Then you will feel more in control.

I also don't understand why you're picking dp up every night with kids sleeping in the car. This is madness. Can he not drive? No wonder you're all exhausted.

Chottie Sat 30-Mar-13 06:01:26

Dear OP after reading through your post and all the replies my suggestions (and they are just suggestions)

1 Ongoing project of sorting out house to be able to move
2 Sit down with DH and agree a regular couple of 'me-time' hours at the w/e
3 Have a serious discussion with your DH about moving nearer to his work. Decide what is a reasonable commute time and then start looking at areas within this circle
4 Narrow this down to a short list and then look at properties, schools etc.

I hope I do not sound bossy!!!! Having an end goal in sight will give you a focus.

5 Think positive smile every 15 minute slot you spend sorting out your home is one step near to your goal
6 Arrange one fun whole family thing every weekend, so you all spend some time together
7 Give yourself a huge hug - it will get better

Keep in touch and let us know how things go

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sat 30-Mar-13 06:15:57

That sounds like good friend too me grin

You do sound so down would the gp be a good idea? I agree putting a job such on hold right now.

You made a real step in getting started, it really is the hardest part. Now one room has been stated complete it and most importantly maintain it. Then start on the next room, the first just requires a little to keep it going. The kids can get involved. You dh can do stuff with the kids to help eg on sat mornings he can take them out to the park etc and you can crack on.

You can do this. Sorting the house will make you feel better. And keep talking.

Xenia Sat 30-Mar-13 08:06:32

I think you want to work and that will make you happy. I would have been the same as you and luckily always worked full time when we had babies. So all you need is two references. There must be some way to drum them up. You are wanting to use university ones. I would have thought generally employers like one university one and one from an employer (who knows you are okay at that type of work, turn up on time, don't skive off sick all the time etc). As Rich says if you worked for a lot of years before having babies you probably have an ex employer even if from 15 years ago and they can write about your work ethic even if it was a job which is not what your university courses were in.

Surely there are people nominally in charge of you at university. One of my children for example put down her tutor. I think one tutor left but the one before could access records who had taken over and could give a reference. I always feel they have a duty as part of their job to give references so just stick down two you may have come across at the university if that is what the form requires and see how it goes.

I do think moving quickly near where your husband works if that is what you both want and particularly if that will make jobs easier for you to find is a good idea. Forget the cleaning and tidying as you clearly hate it. Not your thing. Don't let it get you down. Lots of families survive and live lives in very messy houses. If the cat dirt from the cats you no longer have is getting you down just run up there with some cleaning fluid and give those few bits a scrub. That won't take long. If you cannot bothered find a rug to put over those bits if the babies might crawl on them - although a bit of dirt apparently keeps asthma at bay and it is lack of dirt which is leading to chidlren having too many illnesses. You might be doing them a huge favour leaving the house as is - look on the bright side.

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 12:47:16

Think Fairylea is right.

milktraylady Sun 31-Mar-13 17:53:51

Please do go & talk to your gp, I really do think you could be depressed.
Anti depressants (Prozac type) take about 2 weeks only to kick in, and will help you immensely with the house move project.

And maybe see your situation a wee bit more realistically- you seem to be trying to do 'everything' and feel like you are achieving nothing.

Shelving the job worry until you have relocated will give you the time & energy to spend on the house.

I'm pretty sure you can track down the lecturer on google, or linked in. Most people are flattered to be asked to be a referee.

CraigStimo Wed 10-Apr-13 17:41:30

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

whatamigoingtodonow Wed 17-Apr-13 12:00:34


I got a cleaner! I thought she was very helpful at decluttering. She said she had never been in house like mine - mess etc. And she won't come back now.

WTF sad blush

whatamigoingtodonow Wed 17-Apr-13 12:16:09

I think my problem is actually deeply rooted in the state of the house, rather than in my lack of employment - which is of course an issue, but one which would actually be sortable if the shit in our home didn't just drown everything out.

As far as I can see, most cleaners are employed to keep on top of generally clean houses, they do maintenance cleaning, and not bombsite disposal like this. Bugger.

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