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Calling All Mums with 2 or more Children Under 5

(65 Posts)
twogorgeousboys Tue 25-May-04 11:05:40

I know this won't be an exact science, but I wondered if all you lovely Mumsnetters could help me with my own mini survey.

If you have 2 (or more) children under 5 (so probably not in full time school yet), do you go out to work (full or part time) or are you a Stay At Home Mum?

The reason I am asking is because I keep getting the feeling that my DH thinks I shouldn't be just a SAHM, I should be back at my job too. He doesn't say anything specific, but definitely gives off "signals" every now and again IYKWIM.

I'm feeling pretty inadequate at the moment, but I just know that being nearly 40, with a 3 year old and an 11 month old, I just couldn't hack going back to work as well at the moment, even part time.

We could do with the extra money obviously, but we're managing on one salary, and if I did go back now, childcare costs would render it a bit pointless.

So, would like to hear from as many of you as possible to get an overview. If you do go out to work, how many days a week. If you are a SAHM with your little brood, what are your thoughts about when would be a sensible time to go back into paid employment?

dinosaur Tue 25-May-04 11:11:26

My DS1 will be five in July and my DS2 will be three in August.

I work four days a week but DH is a SAHD and even if we weren't having another baby (which we are) I wouldn't be putting any pressure on him to go back to work. We seem to be busy and stressed out enough as it is, so what's the point when we can manage on my salary?

So don't feel inadequate, 2GB, I'd hate it if I thought DH felt like that, I really would.

Soapbox Tue 25-May-04 11:12:31

I had 2 children under 5 (20 months between them) and went out to work 3 days per week until youngest was 2 and then full time for 6 months then 4.5 days per week since.

I don't think there is any sensible time to go back - it varies enormously from person to person. I would say if you don't want to go back and don't have to financially then wait until you feel ready.

Being at home really didn;t suit me - so I went back to work.

I would think that the things most likely to make mothers miserable is going back to work when you would rather be at home and being at home when you would rather be at work!!

LadyMuck Tue 25-May-04 11:14:19

I'm strictly on a career break, due to go back to work at the end of this year, but am about to extend that for another year (original break was agreed when I only had one child). I do about 5 weeks work a year, spread over the course of the year, so very part-time, but is interesting enough to stimulate the brain, and pays very well (even after temp childcare costs). I also have a wonderful temp nanny who provides most of my cover.

I won't go back to work until ds2 is at least 2.5, and I suspect I'll try and find something part-time at that stage.

Ds1 was 3 at the end of March and Ds2 has just turned 1.

Beccarollover Tue 25-May-04 11:14:52

I have a 4 year old DD and 8 month DS - I went back to work 3 days a week when DS was 6 months - barely cover childcare costs but I need to be in employment to get a mortgage to move house!

jolou1 Tue 25-May-04 11:15:48

Hi, I too have two gorgeous boys, 18 months and 33 months and I work three days a week. If the boys are sleeping, everyone is healthy and happy and the childcare arrangements are in synch then life is great. However if one of the carefully managed elements collapses, I'm all over the place. Go with what YOU can cope with. The kids are still so little and so demanding....work comes a sorry second for me sometimes. Good Luck. ps, Get your DH to say exactly how he feels....you need to be very open with each other over such a tricky topic.

Marina Tue 25-May-04 11:15:53

Well, I'm in full-time paid employment, 2gb, but that's because we can't afford to drop my wage, which is 50% of the household income - we both work in the public sector.
If you have a choice financially and you are happy at home, frankly I think your dh should thank his lucky stars and not be hassling you.
Ds is 5 and has been at school for 2 terms now, and a lot of the mums who were SAHMs until now are looking at doing some paid work. But as you say, finding something with the right hours that is financially viable is not easy.
Do you mind my asking why you feel inadequate? Do you mean you don't feel you have the right skills to return to paid employment? Because training is out there *if you want it*. But don't let him undermine your work as a SAHM if you are happy at present. There's absolutely nothing inadequate about being able to choose to stay at home. HTH.

bundle Tue 25-May-04 11:16:35

I have two dds (nearly 4 and 1) and work 3 days a week. yes, it does seem a bit pointless on paper as our childcare costs are the bulk of what I earn, but working outside the home is about much more than money to me, and is part of my identity/happiness. dh would be happy for me to stay at home with the kids if i wanted but I don't. you do have a job, it's just you don't get paid for it and you'd have to pay someone else to do it (well) if you did go back into employment. i wouldn't encourage anyone to do paid work unless they wanted to, as then you'd start to resent your partner and feel you were missing out on something with the kids, which I honestly don't feel when they're at nursery (with each other for part of the day which is lovely). I wouldn't do what others do though, which is work full-time, not yet anyway. I did an extra day last week because of deadlines and really felt the difference. hth

Kaz33 Tue 25-May-04 11:18:35

I have a 3 and a 1 year old. I work full time and have done since both kids were 6 months ish respectively.

I have to work as we need the money, both DP and I earn roughly the same ( me the most )so it would be a huge drain for me to give up work, we would have to move for a start. Am thinking about working 4 days a week but would need to sort out with work and our exisiting nanny.

In an ideal world I would work 3 days a week.

NomDePlume Tue 25-May-04 11:18:48

Hi 2GB, I'm not a mum of 2 -5s, but I am a mum of 3 (12,10 & almost 2). I'm a SAHM and, like you, if I were to get a job outside of the home the childcare costs would pretty much suck up all of my income. In fact it would be a complete false economy for us during school holiday time as I would be paying for care for 3 kids (not remotely cheap).

I would think that a 3yr old and an 11 month old keep you incredibly busy ! I don't think that partners who have jobs outside of the home realise just how much time and energy 2 tinies and a house full of chores zaps, sometimes.

For me, I plan to return to work when DD is at nursery. But I accept that for some that is early/late. It is just down to your individual family circumstances.

Sorry for all the babble and yet very little help of info !!!

littlerach Tue 25-May-04 11:21:35

I have DD, 3, and due another in July. I will go back to work 2 days a week, currently do 3, next March. DD gets vouchers for nursery which covers some of her hours, which I am sure your 3 yo would get. I stayed at home until she was 18 months, but wanted to do something else.

binkie Tue 25-May-04 11:21:41

I've worked near-enough full time (5 days/wk, but with arrangement for some extra unpaid leave - bit like the governmental parental leave arrangements) since each of my two, now 5 and 3.5, were six months. Can give you more details if you want

... but

(leaving money issues aside) shouldn't it be *your* decision as to what you want, or at least a joint and mutual one, not just your dh's ...?

The reason I say that is that the one necessity for working is support at home, because at the very least it is fair for chores to get shared - and sorry if this is wrong but it sounds as if you might in fact be feeling a bit unsupported at the moment?

sandyballs Tue 25-May-04 11:23:36

2GB - We have twin girls who are 3 and I work three days a week. The only reason I can do this is because I have a lovely MiL who looks after the girls three days a week, otherwise, like you say, the childcare costs would eat up almost my whole salary and it wouldn't be worth it.

I don't see the point of you struggling out to work, when you obviously don't want to, when you can manage on your DH's salary. Wait until both are at nursery/school then review the situation.

My girls start school in September next year and my DH has commented a couple of times that I can go back to work full time then! I have other ideas involving leisurely lunches and gyms, but I haven't told him that yet!!

niceglasses Tue 25-May-04 11:24:38

Ds1 3 and ds2 20 months, another due in about 4 weeks!!

I've worked 3 days a week since ds1 was born and just finished up the other day on mat leave. I don't think I have the energy or imagination to be a SAHM - and I find 3 working days works for me, plus I'd like to continue my "career" (not high flying by any means) once kids are at school.

I'm not working for money - most of it goes on childcare. Working for bit of sanity - a break if I'm honest.

Good luck

roisin Tue 25-May-04 11:25:28

Hi 2GBs ... I haven't got 2 U5s, but I used to! (5 and 6 now). I was SAHM from the birth of ds1. I always planned to return to work (part-time) once ds2 started school (last Sep), but have only found temporary jobs, nothing permanent yet.

I've loved being home with the boys, and don't regret it for an instant. We've had to make considerable lifestyle choices and sacrifices to do this, but if I had my time over I would do the same again. It was definitely the right choice for me.

roisin Tue 25-May-04 11:25:28

Hi 2GBs ... I haven't got 2 U5s, but I used to! (5 and 6 now). I was SAHM from the birth of ds1. I always planned to return to work (part-time) once ds2 started school (last Sep), but have only found temporary jobs, nothing permanent yet.

I've loved being home with the boys, and don't regret it for an instant. We've had to make considerable lifestyle choices and sacrifices to do this, but if I had my time over I would do the same again. It was definitely the right choice for me.

SuperMumNot Tue 25-May-04 11:33:46

Oh - don't get me started, I can feel a rant coming on...

I have 2 DDs aged 4 and 1, and I have worked fulltime since they were both 6 months old.

DH & I used to earn similar wages, but then he took a redundancy to pursue his 'life's dream' of setting up and running his own business.
Only problem is, he hasn't made any money yet, and every month that goes by means that he eats into another £2k plus of our savings (except he insists that it's actually 'his redundancy' not our savings... (irrelvant that I funded my own (craply paid) maternity leave out of my own previous redundancy payment)
So, I work full time in a senior role, which fortunately covers the £1450 month childcare and leaves us about £2.5k a month to live on.

However DD1 will start school in Sept, and it was always MY plan to reduce hours/ give up work / or set up may own consultancy for greater flexibility and to allow me to be with the kids more. Except that's simply just not possible at the moment. And DH doesn't see that we need to sort it out - he has NO IDEA of the impact DD tsarting school will have on our hours/holidays etc etc.

He keeps saying he will give up and get another job, but then just keeps wanting to give it 'one more month'.....

I'm so angry and pissed off sometimes about it - this was NOT what I intended to be doing at this point in my life!!!!! I feel like I am being robbed of my children's childhood. sorry.

LunarSea Tue 25-May-04 11:39:58

2GB's - if you sit down and calculate the costs of you going out to work:
Childcare
Possibly reduction in tax credits
transport, working clothes, maybe bought lunches rather than making your own
etc
and then work backwards to show how much you'd have to be earning (pre-tax/NI) to leave you with that much you might be able to show him that you really wouldn't be any better off.

IMHO men usually take a lot less notice of feelings than they do of figures (of the financial kind, not the body kind though on reflection that too).

frogs Tue 25-May-04 11:51:10

I have an 8-yo, 4-yo and 5 month-old. Older two are at full-time school (9-3.30), littlest at home with me.

I'm self-employed, was previously managing to work pretty well, mainly from home, while older two were at school. I'm now doing little bits of work while the baby sleeps, but only turning over about half of my previous amount. If dd2 wasn't such a good sleeper, I'd get a childminder, but I probably wouldn't get that much extra done, so it's not worth it atm.

I have done both full and part-time in the past, and it's a whole different can of worms to working at home. I definitely wouldn't contemplate it now, as I'm really enjoying being here with the baby. Also once the older ones start school life becomes even more complicated, as they need you just as much but in more complicated ways.

FWIW I wouldn't go out of the house to work (particularly full-time) unless we had absolutely no alternative.

busybee123 Tue 25-May-04 12:00:32

I am a SAHM with 3 children under 5. DS1 is 4 and a half, DD is 2 and a half and DS2 is 15 weeks. I can't even contemplate going back to work due to high childcare costs. I would be paying more than I am earning. In any case, I don't want to go back to work. I don't want a childminder or nursery to be the first to hear my babys first words or see the first steps....I DO!!!! I am quite happy to stay at home at the moment, god only knows running a house and looking after 3 kids and DH is more than a full time job on its own. Both me and DH decided (well I decided he supports it) that I won't go back to work until the youngest of however many kids we have is at school full time. If going to work suits you then good on you.....I couldn't manage it!!! I really don't know how some mothers juggle work and kids and a house!! I take my hat off to you!!! I am however doing a distance learning a-level in human biology and eventually hope to go into midwifery. I am only 23 anyway, so I will still be young enough for my career in 10 years time.

Sari Tue 25-May-04 12:05:43

I have two boys - nearly 4 and nearly 2 - and work four days a week. What I earn covers the childcare (nursery) and not a lot more but I do it for lots of reasons: don't desperately want to be at home full time with the kids; think they benefit from nursery; I can carry on with my career and won't lose touch with the world of work.

However, and this is a big one, both dh and I are self-employed so we have a lot of flexibility. Plus I work from home which means the kids do short days at nursery (9.30 ish - 4). Having at least one of us self-employed meant that even in the days when I went into an office (between ds1 and ds2) and was working much longer hours dh could pick ds1 up and be around when he was ill etc. I really don't know how we would have managed if we had not had that kind of flexibility.

If you can manage on one salary and don't particularly want to go and work, don't do it. I think it can be very stressful and, despite the very flexible arrangement we have in our family, it can still be very difficult.

Coddylicious Tue 25-May-04 12:06:00

I have a 3 year old and a 14 moths old too

I hiope to avoid retrun to work as long as poss

dod lots of voluntary stuff though

lou33 Tue 25-May-04 12:06:17

I have four kids, 12,7,5 and 3, so had 3 under 5 at one time. I don't think it's unreasonable to stay at home. Certainly I felt there was no way I could have coped with working at home with the children then going out to work on top. I still can't, and 3 of them are at school now. But then ds2 has cp, and has lots of medical appointments to attend, plus daily physio etc to be done at home.

motherinferior Tue 25-May-04 12:16:13

My children are the same age as yours, and I work four days a week. Like Bundle, I work because I want to as much as for the money - and I think it should be your decision as to whether you do.

Don't worry about your age, though - you're a lot younger than, ahem, some of us!

Tommy Tue 25-May-04 12:23:48

I'm a SAHM with 2 boys 2y4m and 9m. I suppose it depends on why your DH thinks you should go back to work. Is is purely financial? We could obviously do with the extra money (couldn't everyone?) but we made a conscious decision even before we got married and bought the house that we would live on DH's salary so I could stay at home with any children. They doesn't seem to be many SAHMs left anymore but I think it is really important to be at home with your children - especially before they are at school. DH's sister works full time and I am always pointing out to DH that, yes - they do have more money than us but she doesn't take her DS swimming or playgroup or anything like that. I'd rather be a bit more financially tight-belted than miss out on it all!

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