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Going back to work, does anyone else feel the crippling pressure to do *something* ?

(57 Posts)
NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 12:56:50

I'm a SAHM, and have been ever since my 2y4m DD was a 29 week old foetus. DH and I also have 2 other children, 2 boys aged 11 & 12.5 from his first marriage. DD will soon be attending nursery for 2 afternoon sessions a week, which has brought the terrifying realisation that my time at home with her is almost up. It felt like we'd be at home together forever, but as pre-schooldom looms large, I'm ever more conscious of the fact that she will soon be leaving me with a lot of time on my hands.

I'm aware that I will have to return to work (not for finacial reasons alone, as my DH can afford to continue to support me a SAHM indefinitely). I feel the maternal pressure from within myself to support DD, as though my role of support has now changed from one within the home, to a financial responsibility. I need to know that should anything happen to my DH or our relationship, that I can afford to support my family without his financial support. For this reason I know I need a relatively high paying job.

I left school at 16, with excellent GCSEs and prospects, for family reasons. I'm now 22 and all I have are these 10 high grade GCSEs, which count for very little in career terms. I'm aware that I need to gather more qualifications in order to fulfil my financial ambitions. I don't want to be financially dependent on my DH or others for the rest of my life.

The trouble is that I'm torn as to what to do. I always wanted to be a Dr, but with a family, a medical degree is no longer attainable. I believe I have the intellectual capacity for it but I know that I do not have the stamina to devote to such a long and demanding course. The shifts as a student doc are ridiculous and you are still expected to find time to study. It is difficult enough to balance as a young single person with no children, as a wife & parent of 3 it will be nigh on impossible. So I thought about nursing, I thought for a long time (5 years+), but the more I think about it, the less sure I am that it's what I want.

Now I'm just not sure at all where I want to take myself. I know I have the potential and I so don't want to waste it. My Mum spent her years working in an office, she always wanted to be a nurse, and she got to 40 and felt like she'd wasted her life doing admin work . I really don't want that to happen, although I can see that it would if I went back to thd admin type jobs I was doing pre-DD.

I know this is massively long and rambly, and I'm not looking for answers, I'm the only one that can give them. But I just want to know that I'm not the only one who feels like this. Before, when dd was tiny, all I felt was an incredible emotional responsibility to her, I was happy for DH to bear the financial responsibility. Now that she is older, I feel the financial side too. Don't get me wrong, we are in no financial dire straits and neither is my DH pushing me to earn in any way. But I feel the pressure from within myself. It all feels so HUGE

Thanks for reading this vent/outpouring. I commend you for getting this far !


NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 13:03:18

My need to know that I can support my family should anything happen, stems from my childhood. From me being 6 my Mum was a sgl parent and I saw how she struggled to keep things afloat financially. This is the reason I left school at 16, I left to get a job so that I could help my mum pay our mortgage.

iota Sat 01-Jan-05 13:11:48

Not me, but them my circumstances are very different.

I had my babies in my 40s after a 20 yr career, and have built up a pension and assets in that time. Am now loving staying at home and being a kept woman after being a working mum up to when ds1 became school age.

Actually this is probably not much help is it?

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 13:13:20

You are in the reverse situation to me

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 13:14:03

Thanks for reading, I was beginning to think I was invisible

Ailsa Sat 01-Jan-05 13:36:15

You've still got plenty of time for a career, what about an office job while doing an OU degree?

The girl i work with is doing this. She's working full time and doing a psychology degree, although she doesn't have kids to contend with. From experience you'd have to be very disciplined to fit your studies in around the family.

I'm not saying you should do psychology, although I think you'd be very good at it. You have a very level and mature head on those young shoulders of yours!

jac34 Sat 01-Jan-05 13:48:10

Why not go to see a careers advisor first, as you don't seem to know which career to follow.

Perhaps, you could then use DD's early school years going to collage, so that by the time she is in full time school, you will be in a position to take on a full time job in your chosen profession.

iota Sat 01-Jan-05 13:54:05

I gess the advantage is that you have youth on your side - if you do study for a career such as a doctor or a nurse, once you are qualified you would be able to work part-time in that career. In lots of careers part-time isn't really a viable option, so chose carefully

Donbean Sat 01-Jan-05 13:54:50

I found your thread very interesting.
If i may say, you sound a bit down and lost with the content.
I think though that the next few years for you is exciting and has unimaginable possibilities. You literally have the world at your feet.
If medicine is of interest to you then there are unlimited branches of this subject available as a career.
You should broaden your scope for possibilities and look into different arenas.
Why not enquire about day time and evening classes at your local college for related subjects. There has got to be something of interest which is related for you.
Nursing is not all bed baths and tablets you know. You could become a nurse consultant if you wish.
You are in the enviable position to have a supportive DH.
Sincere good luck to you, you have such a lot to offer.

motherinferior Sat 01-Jan-05 13:57:20

Hi sweetie.

I think you still want to be a doctor. And I think you should follow that dream. Can you train part-time? Yes, it would take a long time, but you have the financial resources to do that. You are still very young, and you do have 18 years before you are 40.

Does that help at all?

jampots Sat 01-Jan-05 14:00:46

NCMM - i feel like this and am planning on beginning some kind of qualification this year. I think im probably going to do the Legal Executives' course as I have always worked in solicitors firms and i guess it is probably progressive for me. However, at 36 and with 2children aged 12 and 8 I can honestly advise getting on with it. You have plenty of time to see a degree through before dd gets too old but do choose wisely.

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:01:09

You are all so lovely (and helpful). I really do want to do medicine, and I've spent the past cpl of hours looking into the Radiography side of things. It certainly is something that I am fascinated by, I'm going to contact my local hospital and ask if I can shadow in their Radiography Dept for a day or half day, whatever they can offer me. I need to get a taste for the real working life involved in this field before I leap into a degree. I also need to contact ucas about a couple of things, which I will do as soon as they are back at work

DH is very supportive, if a little exasperated, he sees my indecision as procrastinating. I don't think he understands that I want to be especially confident in my decision being correct as not only will I be putting the family under additional pressure, but it will be my DH who will be financing the whole operation. The more I think about the logostics of it, the more I am crippled by indecision. I have a tendency to over-think......

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:01:28

sorry about the typos

TracyK Sat 01-Jan-05 15:06:02

If you are worried about becoming a single mum - make sure your dh has hefty life insurance!

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:11:01

I know he does have masses of life insurance. He has one policy to pay the mortgage if he snuffs it, one to provide me with a substantial income upon death, and one which places a hefty amount in trust for each of the kids. He also has a generous 'death in service' clause as part of his employment contract. Awfully morbid but 100% necessary

TracyK Sat 01-Jan-05 15:15:53

Well at least you don't have to worry about that part then.
My friend suggested that now is the best time to be doing qualifications - while the babies are at nursery/school and you can study part time to fit in with them.
Plus they haven't become 'expensive' yet!

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:20:10

Our other 2 ARE expensive !

TracyK Sat 01-Jan-05 15:25:02

time for them to get paper rounds maybe??

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:26:58

LOL, send 'em down the pits

TracyK Sat 01-Jan-05 15:39:48

well I've been 'working' since I was 11 - in the corner shop, milk rounds, stacking shelves in Tescos etc.
Thats why at 38 I decided to have time off to be a sahm - until my blooming maternity cover decided to up and leave and I felt guilty to have to go back to work!
Still only 5 mornings a week. I went through the same dilemma at the beginning of summer - as I really wanted to do something completely different when I came back to work (am a finance manager just now). But tbh - I just want a nice easy job that allows me to earn a bit but still be able to spend loads of time with ds.

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:41:38

I also worked from being 12, in a variety of shop jobs etc.

TracyK Sat 01-Jan-05 15:46:10

I think it gives kids a lot of confidence if they can get a job early in life that deals with the public. It makes all the diff imo - I shall certainly push ds when he's old enough. Roll on the day that he can support me in my old age!

goellen Sat 01-Jan-05 15:48:48

If you still really really want to follow your dream of a career in the medical field how about trying for entry into the ambulance service? Its good money and training in emergency work which is intensive for a few months but then mostly takes place on the job with work assessments. You could be a paramedic in 3-4yrs. Pay and conditions are about to improve again with agenda for change and although shifts are worked they will be more manageable than those of a doctor.
I always wanted to be a nurse too but was pushed into uni from where I dropped out through lack of motivation and pregnancy!
The ambulance service is heaps better than the wards. Its great to leave the hosp. and all the stressed nurses/doctors behind and get back out on the road again.

NameChangingMancMidlander Sat 01-Jan-05 15:51:32

In all honesty, I've always thought of the Ambulance Service as a much more scary and high personal risk job than that of an 'indoor' medical career, IYSWIM.

suedonim Sat 01-Jan-05 15:58:31

NCMM, training as a dr would be long but maybe look at this way. You already have your family so you won't be under the pressure of young dr's I know, wondering where on earth they'll find the time to have children. And as you progress through your training your children will be getting older and physically less dependent on you (even if not emotionally!). The dr's I know of are university-based for the first three years so you wouldn't have the clinical aspects to worry about for a while. Why not apply for a place - if you decide later on that it isn't the right thing, you can always turn down the offer. Good luck!

Btw, my almost-30yo-ds1 has just gone back to uni in America, with a view to teaching, and his 28yo dw hopes to start the 5yr training to become a rabbi this summer. I can't think when they'll ever have time for children - he says they hope to fit in two when he and dil are between the ages of 34 and 40!!

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