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where to begin! work? How?! What and when?!!

(12 Posts)
Hannah06 Sun 17-Nov-13 09:50:29

I have been a happy hard working stay at home mother of three boys (7,4,2 yrs old) for seven years.
my husband (an addictions therapist by trade) had an extreme mental breakdown 2 years ago, was hospitalized for many months and is still living seperately in temporary council accomodation while he recovers...

I am affected by the benefit cap and need to find 100 pounds a week to cover the rent shortfall. or work 16 hours to be exemt. i would like to try to avoid working in sainsburys stacking shelves. because it feel like the system has defeated me. and i have such alot to offer and seems a damn waste. we privately rent. My rent is NOT above the approved local borough average for a family of our size.

I suffer from social anxiety and low level depression and see a psychotherapist to deal with the trauma symptoms left over from my husbands suicide attempt. he is a good man and as family we are slowly recovering well. my husband is not back at work.

I have been researching work options and am just really struggling to find something to fit in with kids and that i will feel ok about doing.

I was formerly and actress then primary school teacher...but my pgce is now out of date!
I am a very very full time mother so getting my head around this is proving difficult. I do not want to hand my kids over to somebody else to look after at all, as i don't think its in their best interests or mine. I am very angry. which is not helping me at all.
the jobsearching is causing real demoralization as it slowly dawn on me there is no funding for women in my position to re-train and that all training post-grad options for say nursing, midwifery, social work are full time only! I feel really trapped.
I need to work 16 hours to be exempt from benefit cap, so even if i did two days teaching assisting on a supply basis this would not meet the 16 hours and tip over into three days away form my two year old?
we have been through so much as a family. this just feels like another hit.
would love to re-train. i am a bright, engaged individual with a strong skillset. but what to do that fits in with mothering my kids in an atttached and hand-on way?!
so angry with society for crapping on mothers in so many ways!!
any ideas???? welcome!!!

janey68 Sun 17-Nov-13 10:33:34

I'm sorry you've been through such a difficult and stressful time. However, two things strike me. It is unrealistic to think you're going to be able to work without using some form of childcare, and I think if you're serious about working, you need to get over your innate opposition to "handing your children over to someone to look after". You clearly feel that it's an inherently bad thing, which kind of scuppers your chances of ever getting a decent career back, because realistically, anything involving re training, or interesting, simulating work, is going to involve using childcare, both while they are pre school age and also wraparound and holiday care once they start school

Secondly, if you are looking to simply fulfil 16 hours a week working, I wouldn't be so sniffy about supermarket work. You seem to think its beneath you.

I guess that's why I find your post a little contradictory: you have the expectation of doing something professional and interesting (yet don't want to use childcare) but also are opposed to doing something more menial which could have the potential to be more flexible (supermarkets often offer a range of shifts)

I also disagree that the govt don't do much... There is a lot of help with subsidising childcare these days which never used to exist. I just think you need to be realistic about your plans. If its a case of doing the 16 hours work (which really isn't much at all- 2 days equivalent!) to entitle you to more govt help, then look at retail jobs. If you want to do something more interesting longer term, then that's a separate issue to pursue alongside the short term solution

I do feel for you in that you've been through the wringer and hopefully your DH will make a good recovery which will enable him to work too, which will also ease your position.

janey68 Sun 17-Nov-13 10:36:24

Ps I'm confused too about you saying your pgce is out of date? I assumed once you're qualified then that stands? I do agree that after all this time out it will be hard to get back into teaching, and you may need to do a refresher course or work as a volunteer first. But surely your qualification still stands?

Hannah06 Sun 17-Nov-13 20:08:57

thankyou, yes i am in a contradictory state of mind and feeling about everything.I think thats the the thing. It is very multi faceted and not cut and dry. but i guess i will muddle my way through, as we do. I think i am furious at my hsband this weekend as he is not back to work yet and the idea that i will be primary child carer, and doing all domestic work AND working outside the home sixteen hours feels like a goddamn joke - and not a funy one! mental breakdown and mental health diagnosis are a fact, yes -but i feel my husband is well able to do 'something' workwise now. I will need to talk this through with him. which i feel nervous about. i am doing lots of passive agressive stuff instead which doesnt work.
my husband will be able to do 2 days childcare which is great. there is a nice childminder i have my eye on but she says she is full and has not called me back as she said she would. i get the feeling she's quite picky. maybe we don't quite cut the midle class mustard.
with my pgce, i never completed the nqt year which is the 'on the job' part of the qualification, as i was an actress and work came up. so thats why.

thankyou for such a thorough response. very kind of you to take the time.

i am certainly not above supermarket work. i am overly qualified for it. it is a huge blow to think of working stacking shelves after such alot of study and for someone with a good brain on them who has already been through so much demoralizing already. i don't even respect how big supermarkets do buisness or affect communities, so working for one would be incongruent and not in line with my own values or integrity. Life's hard enough without the indignity of performing work that lacks meaning. but i will be applying to small independant shops.
thankyou again for your insightful and thoughtful feedback. xx

Salbertina Sun 17-Nov-13 20:26:01

Ok so check out doing your NQT year soonish, may be possible.
If not, can you do exam marking, personal tutoring (good hourly rate)?

Re child minder, try not to be defensive! Doubt v much its you, she probably IS full esp for 3. Look elsewhere and ask to go on waiting lists everywhere. Places will come up if you're in the system.

Good luck!

janey68 Sun 17-Nov-13 20:26:29

Well if I may return the compliment: your post shows incredible insight and honesty, and I've no doubt these qualities will see you through long term.

I can understand your anger with your DH, even though a breakdown and mental health issues aren't his fault, it must be incredibly stressful to be involved with someone who suffers because it places a huge burden on you

What support are you getting? I don't mean financial so much as emotional support?

If your DH is up to 2 days childcare then that's a start and tbh I would have a two pronged approach: go for whatever work you can find right now; I think getting out, earning and also the social aspects of it will help. Then in the longer term, think about what you want. Voluntary work in a school would be useful if you still want to teach.

I'm sure with determination and drive you'll get through, you clearly have a lot of skills and insight and your time will come

holidaysarenice Mon 18-Nov-13 02:31:18

the idea that i will be primary child carer, and doing all domestic work AND working outside the home sixteen hours feels like a goddamn joke

This is what all single parents do. And more.

Honestly, overwhelmingly out of your post comes that u would like someone else to pay so you can stay at home with the kids. Be that ur dh or the govt. It won't happen and you need to get over it.

You come across as thinkly too highly of yourself saying you are too qualified for supermarkets as u are a teacher. Actually are not a teacher having never compeleted ur nqt. Many teachers, ex police, nurses, graduates of all sorts work in supermarkets or shops. Honestly with no recent experience as far as I can see, you would not be top of their employment queue anyway.

When you can't pay the bills I think you have to be less picky and more flexible.

Yes life has dealt you a hardd blow with ur dh's mental state. If you feel he can up the ante to help good. Otherwise I suggest making a list of what's most important to you, be that, being at home after school, working for an ethical company and then deciding which ones are going to give.

You simply cant have it all and have to compromise.

An in-depth conversation with family/friends or a career advisor may throw up new areas of working, opportunities for pat time, home working etc that you haven't thought of.

smaths Mon 18-Nov-13 02:57:22

What about tutoring or teaching literacy in evenings? I don't know about GB, but here in NI you don't necessarily need a teaching degree/qualification to teach in further education.

janey68 Mon 18-Nov-13 06:47:30

Yes some good points made above: many many graduates are stocking shelves. It's a tough world out there and you shouldn't feel it's demeaning or beneath you. And we all have to compromise as well. I disagree with the way tesco are taking over the world, but if I was desperate for a job, needing to earn money to pay my rent, I would work there. These days having a a qualification and being bright is not enough- you are competing against other people with your skills set who have more experience than you.

If your DH is up to doing 2 days childcare then that's 2 days you can work without any child care costs, so you're only paying for the 3rd day upwards. That's not a bad position to be in.

I think anyone would feel sympathy for what you've been through but tbh at the moment you and your DH are raising 3 children without a job between you and yet you're being picky about what you're prepared to do. It's about changing Your mindset and realising that even a lowly shelf stacking or till job is one that needs doing, there will be other people as bright as you doing it anyway, and often once you're back in the world of work, your mind set will change and you'll be open to other work opportunities too

Good luck

NCISaddict Mon 18-Nov-13 07:06:02

It is much easier to get a job when you're already working, no matter what it is you are doing.
I went back to work after eight years as a SAHM (well doing some work from home but not regularly during those eight years) and did a basic computer course to get my skills up and then took a temporary job which turned into permanent.
I think you have to get away from the idea that someone will make it possible for you to stay at home and carry out a particular style of parenting. Working in a supermarket is really not that bad, there are a lot of very clever people who do it for a longer or shorter time, and tbh, you don't seem to be in a financial position to be very fussy. Give it a try, you may be surprised.

Sunnysummer Mon 18-Nov-13 08:14:32

This does sound like a tricky situation - and in some ways you must feel like you're carrying many of the burdens of a single parent plus those of a carer.

Do you have someone to support you emotionally? A family member, good friend, or a ccounsellor for your ongoing issues? They might also help provide a sounding board as you face this difficult time.

In the meantime I also think that you need to be realistic and calm. Many wonderful mothers - some of whom you can find on these boards - work over 16 hours a week away from home, many full time, and many in jobs far below their talents. Their children are okay. They are okay. In time they often even find better opportunities out there in the workforce, which help them to find more fulfilment or at least provide a better financial future.

If you want to work the minimum hours possible then it seems like you'll definitely need to go with your existing skills - tutoring, drama coaching, could you even be a nanny with own child with your 2 year old along? Or if you have more time, sacrificing time with your family and doing your NQT year now could provide you with far more options to spend more time with your family in future.

Perhaps it would be helpful to put your issues in perspective - if you saw another mother in your position, would you really think she was doing a bad job if she worked away 3 or 4 part-days a week, maybe in a job below her talents?

You clearly love your kids so much and focus on them enough that they will be fine whatever you need to do - and they are at an age where socialising is important, and your strong attached base will help them to go out and build strong relationships at nursery or with a child minder if needed.

Good luck, and do remember to go easy on yourself and on other mothers too - we all have tough choices to make, even if some have harder roads than others thanks

Mumzy Mon 18-Nov-13 12:20:34

I think in your position I would try to find work as a teaching assistant your qualifications and skill set would be seen as an asset and It's school hours and term time working. You could also see if you want to revive your teaching career. Unfortunately your post does come over as being entitled as other posters have also pointed out. Lovely as you are you've been out of the jobs market for 7 years and in that time things have got tougher and employees pay, terms and conditions have worsen even for the very experienced and qualified. you do have to make some sacrifices to your principles if you want to get back into work.

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