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Would you work full-time if you didn't HAVE to?

(40 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Wed 04-Jun-14 13:55:27

I've been at home with my DS since he was born, he turns 2 next month. I've done odd days of freelance work and a bit from home during nap times but basically, I haven't really been apart from him. He's fairly clingy and very attached to me but I guess this is fairly normal for his age anyway.

I always intended and wanted to go back to work as I've worked hard to get to where I was in my career, but I was made redundant when due to return to work. I have just started settling DS into a nursery for 2 mornings a week so I can solidify the bits of freelance stuff I've been doing and have some proper hours in the week to concentrate, which I think I feel fine with.

The dilemma is I had a job interview yesterday for a full-time role and I think it went quite well. I really would prefer to be 3 days or week or POSSIBLY 4, just because I feel that with a commute I really won't see much of DS at all in the week if I'm full-time. DH is full-time and would admit himself that he is basically a 'weekend dad'.

But the job is really tempting, exactly the kind of thing I'd like to go back to and a really good career move - it's at the same level I was before but also a sort of sideways move into an area I've always been interested in but haven't had the chance to work in before. If it wasn't for DS I'd jump at the chance, but I just can't ignore the voice in my head telling me he isn't ready for me to leave him for so long. :-(

What makes the choice harder is that we can survive on just DH's salary, so if I took it it would really be just for my benefit/future career options etc. Obviously the money would be useful! But not essential. I think that heaps on the guilt - if I had to work to pay the mortgage I honestly don't think I'd feel guilty but since I don't, I think I feel that I ought to put DS first.

Any thoughts? Does anyone do the same, i.e. work just because they want to? How do the DC cope especially if very young?

PenelopeChipShop Wed 04-Jun-14 13:57:35

BTW I do know my reasoning sounds crazy - the effect of me working would be exactly the same on DS whether we actually needed the money or not, that makes no difference to him. It's all in my head I know. Argh.

melissa83 Wed 04-Jun-14 14:00:07

I have never had to work to pay the bills, neither did my mum but I will never ever stop working even if I had 10 children.

BlingBubbles Wed 04-Jun-14 14:08:41

Mmm, if I didn't have to work full time I wouldn't. I currently work 4 days until 3 and that suits me perfectly. I like the fact I have a day at home with my DD and a day just to get things done around the house.

My DH earns enough for me not to work but I would never stop completely.

Good luck I am sure you will make the right decision.

StillWishihadabs Wed 04-Jun-14 14:09:43

Firstly you are not going mad . I bet every mother who has ever returned to work has felt the same. There are two questions I would ask:

1) is there any possibility of your dh working more flexibly (as he has the employment record at the moment) so he could do some the Childcare?

2) Could you do 5 days in 4 eg: compressed hours?

If the answer to both those questions is no it would still take the job. Opportunities like this don't come along all that often and it is easier to negotiate pt hours when you are already employed.

NK5BM3 Wed 04-Jun-14 14:14:03

You say you've always intended to go back to work, so I would take the job. Then again, I work full time and I've worked damn hard to get to where I am now. I work ft, DH works ft, and our kids are 6 and 3. They've been in nurseries since they were 6 months old and as far as I know, they are still VERY CLINGY!!! grin They definitely know who mummy and daddy are and there's no mistaking 'I want to hang around in nursery' sort of thing.

I think if you can, and if the family (ie DH) is happy for you to work, I would. Is your DH's job mega secure that he'd NEVER be made redundant?

My dh was made redundant a couple of years ago and frankly, thank God we had my job. It was already the higher paying job anyway, but it was so damn hard to go to '1 salary'. If I wasn't working we would have had to I don't know, downsize (from a 2 bed mid terrace already?!), eat beans on toast (we were already shopping at the aldi/lidl), move in with the il 6 hours away?!? !

I would take this job, then maybe in a few months time, having demonstrated your competence, then negotiate to go part-time. Alot of my staff do that, and I think if it suits the job and them, then why not.

Good luck!

Thurlow Wed 04-Jun-14 14:16:44

Technically I don't have to work full time. We could, just, survive on DP's salary if we had to, though it would be incredibly tight. I know friends who have made the decision to stay at home in the same financial circumstances, but I know it is not for us. For one, I want to work, and secondly, I would prefer not to live that tightly every month if we don't have to. I like being able to go out for dinner, pay for classes for DD, buy her a magazine if it catches her eye in the shop. That is the life I would prefer for us to live if we are able to.

In an ideal world I would do 4 days a week but that doesn't exist at the moment in this sector, nor do many p/t jobs. Hopefully that will change at some point in the future but there's no point stressing about it now.

IMO, when you become a parent you don't have to give up everything else you have done if you don't want to. If you want to work and feel happy with your childcare, work. If you want to stay at home and are able to do so, stay at home. Not every family will have the luxury of a choice either way, so it's hard to compare. But don't feel guilty. I bet most men don't.

lucidlady Wed 04-Jun-14 14:24:42

I work full time because I enjoy my job and because I want to. My DD loves her childminder but is always pleased to see me. Everyone I know who works part time ends up working on their off days anyway and not getting paid for it. I really like my job though - I think that's key. Also getting flexible hours - I do 8-4 - DH does drop off and I do pick up. Means we both get time with DD every day.

cuggles Wed 04-Jun-14 22:40:08

Returning to work full time in Sept..DCs will be 3 and 4 so have been off for 5 yrs (DC1 almost 5)..dont need to although money will help and as DH self-employed it is a safety net. A little anxious about the juggling but also totally ready and excited to be returning to a job/career I loved and worked hard at. The way I see it is I haven't signed up forever, I can leave if it is awful or request part time or whatever but I wanted to work and this job, which I wanted, came up so I decided to go for it! Go for it!

PenelopeChipShop Thu 05-Jun-14 12:09:14

Thanks for replies and sorry I disappeared, ds woke from his nap and there was no more free time in the day as I has I work when he went to bed! I am still really torn. If I get offered it I will be really tempted, it's a shame it's such a faro commute (1.5 hours each way) as it's wasted time that I could be working or with ds. I think the nursery settle is going well, and he would certainly be fine with my parents, Which is hopefully where he would be when not there, but I am selfishly worried about missing him and (this is awful I know) him getting more attached to them than me.

There are some good points made above thank you, I have previously suggested to DH that he could drop to four days but he can't / isn't willing to (he is a Partner in his own firm so has a lot of pressure) however his job is very secure yes, he works in a niche area so even if lost his job or the firm went bust, he would be able to go elsewhere as there just aren't many people who do what he does. We are very lucky I know. Am glad no one came and said I am spoilt for having the choice! I realise that but it's still so hard to know hat to do for the best.

Am scared that if I just stay home ford another year (until ds is at least in nursery) then there will be no more job offers when i'm ready to go back. Also I would like one more cd ideally and am not getting any younger but we aren't trying yet, so how does that fit in? Argh

Thanks for all the thoughts though.

scottishmummy Mon 09-Jun-14 19:26:34


MuscatBouschet Mon 09-Jun-14 19:43:09

I've tried working 3, 4 and 5 days a week. My workload didn't shrink under a part-time contract so I just became massively resentful of my employer. Work full time or negotiate over which part of the job you aren't going to do on a part-time contract.

I now work full time and we don't need the money. My husband is also a weekend father! It works because I can choose my hours, work from home a couple of times a week and have an extended family to help.

LynetteScavo Mon 09-Jun-14 20:02:31

I think this is such a personal thing no one can give you a. Definitive answer. Reading your op I would say hell, yes go for the job! But I regret going to work part time when dd was two. She's now 8yo and I will never get those days back, a regret I don't have with my DSs

Only you will know how you feel, and from your op, I think you would really enjoy the job and be glad you took it in the futuresmile

Casey123 Mon 09-Jun-14 20:16:49

I'm on maternity leave at the moment but I'm suppose to go back in September. The boys will be 10 months. I'm so worried about leaving them. I got emailed my timetable on Friday, and they've put me down to work 4 days a week, which I'm not too comfortable with at the moment but I guess I'll have to get use to it.

Again, the money isn't essential but it makes such a difference to the way we live. And more importantly, when I forget about the nerves of leaving my LOs, I 'm so excited about doing something for me.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 09-Jun-14 20:42:48

Yes. I like working full time. I don't really like staying at home at all. Would live more holidays but who wouldn't? I have 5 weeks but DH gets 6. I would love a week more.

Thurlow Mon 09-Jun-14 20:46:04

It's a weigh up in your head, isn't it, especially if you are looking at a choice between pretty much full time or not working.

Will I miss my kids too much? Will I regret not being with them more?


Will I miss my career? Can I manage at home 7 days a week with children? Will I miss the extra money?

No wrongs or rights, just a gut feeling between the two.

Gen35 Mon 09-Jun-14 21:38:13

i went back to work because i missed it, and i went back ft as i wasn't on ML so had to get a job when dc1 was 10 mos and there are no PT roles in what I do. I don't need to work I just like it and I feel it's my responsibility to lead by example for my dc...I got down to 4 days/wk after 1.5 years. Your dc need you at all ages, so I'd get into something I wanted now, and then negotiate like heck for more flexibility when you've proved yourself, when another dc comes along or just when you've been there a little while. Even after 6 mos, firms know a good hire when they see it. You can set the expectations now when they offer the job about asking about 5 in 4 or taking friday afternoons off etc.

minipie Tue 10-Jun-14 17:24:20

If it was a choice between working full time and not working at all, I would definitely choose full time.

3 or 4 day jobs are hard to find in a lot of sectors.

I'd take the job... if it doesn't work out you can always leave you know!

minipie Tue 10-Jun-14 17:26:41

Oh and after you have been there a while and proven yourself, you may be able to switch down to working 4 days, or working at home more so as to miss out the commute.

I work 4 days a week with a 1 hr each way commute - DH earns plenty and I don't have to work financially - I do it because I enjoy it and I'd go nuts at home grin and we have a great nanny, so I don't worry about DD.

Smerlin Thu 12-Jun-14 22:25:19

I have to go back to work full time for financial reasons but even if I didn't have to, I would work full time as I enjoy my job, feel it is a vocation rather than just a job and feel like
I have a positive impact on more people than just my immediate family by working. Think DD will understand that when she is older. Depends how much you enjoy your job I think- in my old job I wouldn't have wanted to go back full time knowing I could be playing with DD instead!!!

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 12-Jun-14 22:30:51

Take the brilliant job. If it doesn't work out, you can leave it or try to make adjustments ( easier to negotiate once you have your feet under the desk). If you don't take it, you will always wonder "what if"

But then I'm a working full time, always have done, always will do mum

ihaveadirtydog Thu 12-Jun-14 22:33:24

No I wouldn't. But that's easy for me to say as I have been lucky enough to get a part time job that I enjoy.
Technically I don't have to work as we could just about survive on dh's salary, especially if we downsized. But then we would have to forfeit a lot including activities that the children enjoy so I like being able to contribute.
But if my dh earned more I would be happy not to with at all at the moment.

Sillylass79 Thu 12-Jun-14 22:44:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JugglingChaotically Sun 15-Jun-14 11:51:14

I took longer out (5 years) and took a huge drop in role and salary. Still not caught back up 3 years later.
If this one is at right level and on right area of you and you want to go back anyway, I would.
It's not easy.
But once in you can move to flexible working more easily.
Good luck which ever. There is no "right" answer and we can't have it allhmm

trixymalixy Sun 15-Jun-14 11:57:00

Try it. See how it goes, you can always resign if you find it too much. Once you have a foot in the door you may also be able to negotiate flexible working/ working from home or even part time hours.

I went back full time when DD was about 15 months, but managed to drop to 4 days which I love. Would rather do 3, but that's not going to happen.

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