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I need a honest opinion, should I stay as SAH+Student mum or should I go back to work ASAP?

(18 Posts)
Chandra Mon 31-Jan-05 14:42:47

I have been thinking about this for nearly 3 months, pros, contras, etc and I have so many mixed feelings about both that I really need a bit of input to sort my mind... the options are the following:

*A. Do a PhD and have more time for DS.*
The facts: I have wanted to do this since many years ago, and now I am in a position were I can pay fees and nursery without a "significant" problem. I can work during mornings and nights and still have a several hours with DS while he is awake.

The advantages: I would have the flexibility to travel with DH (he spends a great amount of time in business trips) before DS starts school. I love the subject (history), and most important of all I would get to see DS more during the weekdays. In a way the PhD is like a hobby while being a SAHM. (Yeah, I know, don't worry I know what I am getting in... I have survived DH's and many other friends' thesis, so I know the amount of work it takes).

Disadvantages: just one salary; and here's why the thing is like a hobby... It wouldn't give me a better job or better salary, and oportunities to be a practicing historian would be rather limited as with DH's job and DS, I am not in a position to consider relocation. If I decide to go back to work later in my former career it will be very much as starting from zero, as trends and changes in software have and can make my style and skills completely obsolete in a few years time, besides... it is a profesion of the young, for some strange reason you don't see many middle aged graphic designers.

*B. Go back to work and forget about the PhD.*
Facts: I love the creativity involved in my profession (design)
Advantages: I'm still in time to go back without much damage, and I'm sure I would enjoy the work
Disadvantages: I would be seeing DS only 1.5 hrs per day (last holidays I realised how little I know him, I'm used to see him just after a full day in nursery when he is tired and not at his best). There's no such a thing as part time graphic designer (you end up working full time for half of the salary, the client can't wait). I don't expect that a new oportunity for a PhD could be repeated in the future.

*So what would you do A or B?*

oatcake Mon 31-Jan-05 14:46:20

oooeerr. toss a coin?

Caligula Mon 31-Jan-05 14:48:58

I personally would do A.

Maybe I'm insane, but if the chance to change your life comes up, and it's going to be great, I'd go for it.

You love the creativity involved in your profession, is there a way that creativity could be transferred to another profession not so hostile to older people in the future when you've finished the PhD?

If your profession doesn't like older, part time people, you might find you get elbowed out in the future anyway (particularly if you are planning on having more children) and you've passed up the chance of doing your "Hobby" for nowt.

Pheebe Mon 31-Jan-05 14:54:03

Hi Chandra, it seems pretty clear to me from your post what you would prefer to do. My advice would be follow your instinct, do your phd and spend as much precious time with your ds as you can. Whatever you think now you can always go back to studying but you can never revisit this time with your son. Just because you regard your phd almost as a 'hobby' doesn't make it any less valuable or rewarding, just think what your ds will be getting out of not only having you around but seeing you study and work towards your doctorate. He's a very lucky little boy One other thought, what are your options for freelance design work? Could you use your existing contacts to take on the 'odd job'. From my experience with gds they are always overworked and you might be able to tap into a market there ... just a thought. Good luck whatever you decide.

Potty1 Mon 31-Jan-05 14:54:51

If you can afford it I would do A

As you say you won't have the flexibility once ds starts school and it sounds like something you would really enjoy. You may regret not doing it. Just because it's something 'for you' and not a contribution to your future employment doesn't make it any less valid. Added to which you sound like you want to be with ds more.

Katemum Mon 31-Jan-05 14:59:39

A, if you can afford it, enjoy your little one

Katemum Mon 31-Jan-05 14:59:50

A, if you can afford it, enjoy your little one

lucy5 Mon 31-Jan-05 15:12:17

if u can afford it do A. I used to love the job I did pre child. now I hate it and begrudge the time away from dd. There might be lecturing opportunities for you where u do your phd. I used to teach history in an fe college you could do that part time. If you decide against phd could take a teaching qualification. If you work in fe you could always go part time or do supply that way you can see child more, have the best of both worlds if you can.

Cristina7 Mon 31-Jan-05 15:16:26

I'd do A. I'm going on maternity leave now and plan to work on my PhD too. I hope it's going to work. If I feel I want my new baby asleep because I'm in a creative "bout" on my PhD then I'd feel terribly guilty and interrupt the PhD. Think carefully if it will work and whether you need to have some very structured time when your son goes to nursery even if for just a couple of mornings a week and you dedicate that time solely to your PhD. Good luck with your decision.

Chandra Mon 31-Jan-05 15:36:27

Wow, thanks! anyone else?

reindeer Tue 01-Feb-05 19:13:44

I'd do A.

It sounds like your heart is in A more than B, but also you'll never get the time back with your son and you'll always be glad you stayed at home and had time with/for him. Once he starts school you realise the pre-school years are vital and once missed can't ever be replaced....

And who knows where your new qualification might lead you?

Good luck!

beansontoast Tue 01-Feb-05 19:27:46

given the choice,id go for A.

the days when i only see my ds for 30 mins in the morning and 1.5 hrs in the eve are hard.i have to justify my decision to work/study, to myself twice a week !!

jabberwocky Tue 01-Feb-05 19:34:46

I vote for A as well. You can never get back these early years and later on the money will have seemed hardly worth what you may have missed out on. Plus, as someone who would go to school as a career if I could afford I heartily endorse the PhD!

Chandra Thu 03-Feb-05 11:26:29

Votes counted! I'm going for the PhD

moondog Thu 03-Feb-05 11:31:10

A late one! Yes, go for A. Sounds great all round.
(I am in a very similar position. Went on maternity leave 10 mths ago. Won't go back (although lucky enough to be in a job that can be reentered with ease.)
Now enjoying being with the children,trailing around the world with dh and his job (couldn't do that when I was working-missed out on some great places ) and am just starting to think about an MSc or possibly a PhD.
Good luck!

Chandra Thu 03-Feb-05 11:58:47

Thanks Moondog, hope to see you soon in the Student Mums threads.

Stargazer Thu 03-Feb-05 12:05:30

I know you've already chosen, but I'd go for A too. I'm a SAHM and OU student doing my BSc in molecular science - it's hard work, but much more flexible than being in "paid employment". Enjoy your PhD and your son.

Chandra Thu 03-Feb-05 13:55:23

Stargazer, I'm considering applying to OU as well, and needed to speak to somebody studying a research degree from there. Hope you are still around. The question I have is how have you found the communication with your supervisor (things like how often you see him/her, how helpful they are, and specially, if you know other students in the arts area that I can talk to before submitting my proposal.

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