Having it all?(9 Posts)
I am at a crossroads. I have a good career, one I have done for years, although I have done other jobs previously. I have one 5 year old DD. I find myself envying those mums that don't have to work, but my feminist side says why should it be mums giving up work.
I am feeling like women have again been sold a myth. Women are meant to be equal, but in the majority of couples I know, the women do the majority of the housework and childcare. It is the women who sacrifice their job or career. The men continue as normal. And I don't just mean time wise. It is also usually the mum who keeps track of kids needing new clothes, homework getting done, school activities, booking holidays etc. I have also heard, too often, women say that "we decided I should stay home, because OH earns more", and "my wage would be swallowed up by childcare".
Why shouldn't dads have to try and work part time too? Why shouldn't dads have to try and work school hours? Or is it that really the women WANT to stay home?
I enjoy work but it is very high pressure and a very male environment. Very very few mums do the job and even fewer get promoted. It is known to be a very stressful job, not just me saying it!!
Are you working? Do you enjoy it? Would you make sacrifices in order to give up work? Or is money more important? What if you had no mortgage? We can never get time back and I think I am getting disillusioned with work! I would feel a bit of a failure if I gave up before getting a promotion, but who knows, I might be much happier. My friend has just "retired" in her 40s, although she is doing some dog walking.
Love to hear views on it. I feel a bit of a fraud, as feel too young to be thinking about giving up work, but cannot think of what other work I would do, as I am paid very well now.
this is a lot of questions, and you'd probably get more answers if you post in feminism (though maybe you aren't looking for those answers).
I strongly feel that dads should also work part time and have an equal role at home, but it is not always easy for them to do so. companies are often even less flexible about dads being part time than mums. at one point, I told DH that I would go part time (80%) if he did too, because I wanted us to stay equal in our contributions (both money and childcare). my job would have let me, but his would not let him go part time. so we both stayed full time.
but you say you are at a crossroads - where do you want to be in 5 years? can your DH give up some work to support you? what would you do if you weren't working?
Thank you. My DH could give up some of his working hours but he won't, even though I earn more. I think these days companies have to view mums and dads equally, legally, if applying for family friendly hours, but most dads play the career card and claim their employers won't let them go part-time. But that is a whole other issue!
I just feel I am selling out a bit, yet the idea of not having to work is a nice one! What would I do? Well school runs for starters, and I have a million and one neglected hobbies I could do whilst DD is at school - like read a paper, or walk into town, those things I did when I used to have time!
i'm still full time but often very tempted to go part time (which would be allowed) so I'd have more time for hobbies and generally being me. but then I reckon if I did, I would be taking a great big pay cut and would probably end up doing the same amount of work anyway.
So instead I've picked one of the neglected hobbies and booked an evening class once a week, and DH knows that he has to be home that day so I can do my class. It keeps me sane and gives me something to think about that isn't work or children. I recommend it.
I'm working and I do enjoy it, I think work makes me a better parent and parenthood has made me better at my job. However I work part time, as does DH. We both love that, although because we've chosen to have two decent-ish careers and do the majority of our childcare ourselves, with preschoolers it means there's not a lot in our lives that isn't work or family. That's the part of the cake we don't get to eat.
We have both agreed to make sacrifices in order to be mortgage free earlier, not necessarily to give up work but to know we could if we wanted to, if that makes sense. This is achieved by living in a cheap and undesirable area and saving a lot. We don't spend a lot on holidays or socialising. Neither of us is interested in climbing the greasy pole too far, as this would threaten work/life balance, but we do like opportunities. I don't think wanting to look at a life beyond full time work makes you a fraud, but why is it all or nothing? What about continuing in paid employment but with reduced hours?
I currently work 30 hours a week but may increase to ft. I am only considering this as I have an amazing dh who does his fair share. I've only met one other family like ours but there must be others. I love working and do worry I'm being selfish but we do what makes us happy and dh supports my dreams. It's not always easy but you have to remove yourself from society's expectations and judgements and work out what you want.
It's a tricky one but I think the 'have it all ' idea is a fib from our 1960s sisters.
With my highly paid job and DC I found that I wasn't doing either job justice. I got an almost achieved in my annual review for the only time and when I considered how I was doing as a parent I'd have given myself an almost achieved there too. Having had a working, career-oriented mum myself I didn't want that for my DC. I tried part time but effectively did 5 day job in 4. So I packed in and became a SAHM for a few years. Didn't miss my old job one bit and have done NMW jobs ever since, first as a TA and now in a bank. Never regretted it for a minute for myself. We've camped rather than other hols and don't eat out or do takeaways. DC (now 13 and 16) have always said they'd rather have me around than have other stuff so I feel fine about my choice.
BUT we had a situation where DH might not have had a contract renewed, and that was scary. My salary covers the mortgage, DH pays for the rest. We had to look at downsizing in order for my money to keep us fed etc. In my old job (10 years ago!) I earned 5x my current salary so we would have been fine financially. Not sure how I'd have coped emotionally over that period though.
There's no simple answer. I'm lucky in that if push really came to shove we've got parental back up and lots of equity in the house to take the risk. You need to do a tot up and see if you could manage in a similar situation.
I think the "having it all" is a fib - it really shocked me when I realised there are simply not enough hours in a day to to a professional job (since so many extra hours are expected over and above) AND have time to spend the time I want to spend with my children. I could have it all in the sense of having a good career and having children, if I were to employ a full-time nanny and the nanny basically brought the children up, but after a few years of working full-time when my children were very young, I decided that's not what I wanted. I WANT to spend more time with my children, I don't WANT someone else to be spending that time with them. I didn't even want my husband to pack in work and look after them, because I wanted it to be me spending more time with them. Hence why I decided to become a SAHM, although I do some work from home. After 3 years I am starting to get bored though and missing the camaraderie of work, so I'm going to start work again soon, but only part-time. My husband has always been quite keen to go part-time, and has tried twice, but every time, it works well for a few weeks, but he then ends up having to work on his days off. He now works for a lovely company, who are happy for him to take unpaid leave in "slow" weeks when there's not much work (his work is very cyclical), but then he does have weeks where he has to work all hours to meet a deadline. Ultimately though, my husband just isn't as bothered about spending day in day out with the kids - it would drive him mad. He likes spending time with them on weekends, and the occasional evening when he gets home early enough, and he's happy with that.
This is a difficult crossroad but most mothers I know work part time or are SAHM.....
Money is not everything. The time that you spend with the children is so good for them, and when they are younger they need mummy more -it's true!
People will say all sorts but do what is best for you and the little one. Dads can spend time after work or weekends and that is usually enough. Hope that helps you can PM me if you like I was a SAHM and now work part time.
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