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Changing career aspirations after kids - regrets?

(16 Posts)
pregnantgrump Sat 10-Jun-17 20:29:19

Hoping for some good advice. At the moment I work technically 0.8 but in reality work 2-3 hours most evenings in addition. Job is prestigious and is on a high flying track in my discipline. My little one (2) is struggling at nursery. I don't feel like I'm getting anything done in any sphere. I am reaching a crunch point in my career when i will need to choose to carry on on the same track or change track so that while I will have to carry on working reasonably hard, I could do it 3 days a week and not have to work late as much. I'm exhausted and I miss my little one. The house is a tip and I'm not organising the stuff that needs to be done domestically. On the other hand it is a big deal to let go of dreams I've held for years and sacrificed a lot to. So: has anyone stayed a working mum, but shifted onto a track which was less demanding and allowed more flexible working? Or decided to stick at the really tough route? How did it turn out?

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pregnantgrump Sat 10-Jun-17 20:29:29

Thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
Pansiesandredrosesandmarigolds Sat 10-Jun-17 20:32:35

I suppose I have, but I'm in a profession where I can ramp up my hours again later on if I want to.

For what it's worth, I'm very very glad not to be working full time.

Lapinlapin Sat 10-Jun-17 20:35:42

I've switched careers to one which is much more flexible, but actually no less demanding. It was the flexibility that I really wanted, so I'm happy with my decision so far.

It's not the same as the situation you describe, but is there no 'middle way' for you? Obviously it will depend on what you do.

knowler Sat 10-Jun-17 21:08:27

I swapped track - I went to a business support role 3 days a week from 4 days really hectic, demanding fee-earni g role in private practice. Loved it for 2 years then had another mat leave. Came back and thought I would die of boredom. Even worse, ppl who had been junior to me we're getting promoted way above me. I was so pissed off, I realised I wasn't doing the right thing for me.

So dp and I shifted a few things - so he does the pick ups from after school club 3 times a week and we divide household stuff equally. I'm back to 4 days fee earning and looking to go to 4.5 in due course. I'm back on partnership track and we're all so much happier than before, my 2 DC's included.

Only you can make the choice but make sure your oh is fully engaged too.

Ouchy Sat 10-Jun-17 21:13:55

I became a stay at home mum

Justanotherusername99 Sun 11-Jun-17 17:10:52

I'm watching this with interest. At the moment I am in a long-hours career so when (if) I return from maternity leave I'll only really see my son at weekends (they have completely refused any flexible working/reduced hours arrangement). I'm thinking of changing to do something else (but have no money to retrain) or even becoming a SAHM for a while (which I'd love, but worry I'll never get a job in my profession again). My heart says I'll never regret the time spent with my son but, like you've said, after studying for 6 years and training for several more--, not to mention the student debt I still have,-- I just worry I'll regret things later on and feel I sold myself short.

Obviously only you can decide what is best for your family, but it sounds as though the 3 day working week would (understandably) make you happier. I know it's quite simplistic, but you have the rest of your life to work and if you're hard working and motivated you could hopefully claw your way back up to where you want to be!

7461Mary18 Sun 11-Jun-17 17:53:59

Could the father say home if nursery is not working? Let us not be sexist about these things.

I always worked full time and when you have children to support that is often a reason to work harder and earn more rather than vice versa as children are so expensive!

pregnantgrump Sun 11-Jun-17 20:26:50

Thanks for all the replies and sorry for the delay in replying. If my husband - who shared my maternity leave so would certainly consider being main carer - left his job our income would fall by 75%. I am a highly skilled but poorly paid professional in the public sector. When I wanted to go back 4 days a week he decided to move into the private sector (prev an academic) to make ends meet, doubling his salary. Before he got this new job we shared childcare and domestic stuff 50:50. Now he leaves for work at 5 and tries really hard to return at 7;45 to do bedtime. He is a good guy. He took this job because I wanted more time with our child. He is in a sector that has been heavily affected by Brexit related uncertainty, so he can't move at this point. And as he points out, we really need the money.
It is hard to explain without outing myself but my job has two aspects. I'm debating whether to give up one side of it, which while being more flexible, also leads to working all the hours God sends. But if I give it up now I can never ever get it back.

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newnoo Mon 12-Jun-17 09:11:16

With two of you working flat out that sounds so tough. Your child also won't see either of you quite so much too.

Why is it so impossible to get back in?

I'd challenge that assumption.

I've always believed where there's a will there's a way.

If you want to stay home, then stay home.

But if not, then maybe a nanny instead of nursery?

Sometimes little ones don't settle with a nursery because of character - it can be too noisy, too full-on for some kids and they get exhausted. They're better at home with a different kind of setting.

Or nanny two days a week an nursery for three? It's all about finding the right balance.

Nanny could potentially help around the house too if you create that as part of the job role.

If you want to keep working you need support at home, not just with childcare.

Good luck.

7461Mary18 Mon 12-Jun-17 09:21:16

It is very hard to get back in. Many profsesional women take a good few years out and can only get jobs as minimum wage class room assistants and the like thereafter. Keeping your hand in is very wife.

Could you as you say concentrate on one aspect of your work even if that involves longer hours?

Despite what people say one thing is for sure when children are the age of mine - teenagers - they don't ask how many nappies you changed when they were 1 but they definitely are interested in whether you can afford to pay for their new trainers or fund their university costs!

pregnantgrump Mon 12-Jun-17 09:50:19

Thanks for all the helpful replies. Agree about the nanny being perhaps better. It was what I wanted but at the time we couldn't afford it and when we could he had finally settled in the nursery baby room and didn't want to change things. Im going to get the thread deleted because I'm worried I'm identifiable. I'm a clinical academic. For the doctor bit is easy to decrease and increase the working hours but to make professor you need a track record of papers and grant income. Once you step out you can't come back. So the question is really whether I give up my research career and become an NHS consultant.

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newnoo Mon 12-Jun-17 21:00:04

Tough one. I see your dilemma.

Also, I have NO idea what you do or who you are smile

I have a few doctors in the family and friends.

There seem to be other avenues available to high-flying doctors. I've met one who went on to work at McKinsey.

Another who now works in private equity, choosing which drugs should go into clinical trials in the US. She's amazing. Hardly sees her son though, he lives in another country in the UK and is looked after by grandparents.

So yeah, the work, the kudos, the badges of success are all there for the taking if you want them.

It all depends on how you define success, happiness etc.

if becoming a professor is something that will make you happy and feel fulfilled - carry on.

If spending more time with your son and giving up on that dream but knowing you could fill that gap with something equally exciting and 'successful' at a later date - then give up.

It's so hard, I wish I had a crystal ball for you.

But you sound hard-working, academic, flexible, curious. There are always openings for people like you.

I don't think you'll give up on you and that's the most important thing if you do give up.

Good luck.

Chewiecat Mon 12-Jun-17 21:28:46

Don't have any advice as I'm on mat leave still but I have a similar dilemma once I return to work. Do I go on the tough career track or take the foot of the pedal? Tough choice hmm

Westray Mon 12-Jun-17 21:40:12

I jacked in a good career to become a SAHM.

Years down the line I am in a far better position ( self employed) than if I had stayed on track.
Taking that leap have enhanced my life dramatically.

MastersStudent2017 Tue 11-Jul-17 14:41:22

Hi ladies,

Hope you're all well. I understand this is a bit of a dated thread, think the last post was in early June, but I wanted to revive this thread.

I have reached out to many of you, however as a quick introduction, I am a master's student at The London School of Economic, doing Human Resource Management. I feel really strongly about women in the workplace and how all employees should have the ability and flexibility to continue in the professional work and personal world as well. Obviously, this is a case by case basis and not all solutions fit all women but if companies are more aware of what they can do to retain those women who want to continue full time at work, hopefully, they can have better policies.

This is essentially why I have chosen to do HR and this dissertation in particular. It's in the form of a survey (100% anonymous) and no personal data will be taken. It's just a short survey of about 7 minutes but I will be utterly grateful. I'm not allowed to post the link directly on here due to MN policies, but if you do feel as passionately about this as I do and want to fill out the survey or discuss this in more detail, please message me and I will respond with the direct link.

Thank you all so much and hopefully, the future generations of strong and capable women won't have to face this dilemma half as much as we do!

Warmest regards

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