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If I'm honest I'm a fairly crap hands-on parent - incredibly impatient & easily bored, yet I'm currently totally lacking in ambition and unmotivated work-wise, what the hell to do, keep on the p/t vague career track and bring in the £ or chuck it all in and accept burn-out for a yr or so?

(13 Posts)
MissChief Wed 27-Aug-08 19:49:43

I realise this may sound a touch self-indulgent to some but I'm sure I'm not alone, just being very honest! I've done my time slogging workwise and am now totally lacking in ambition and find it hard to achieve all the tasks I'm set in my current role due to complete lack of focus, boredom, sense of pointlessness.

I have a fairly senior public sector role, huge time of change, team lost key members recently and we have no top-level direction. My post was hard-won though after I retrained while working and looking after a young baby at the time, working my way up with each job move as I then felt so driven to reach a senior level. Now I@m here it seems so meaningless and with family problems, a long commute, on-going insomnia to battle with it sometimes seems an achievement just to get in on time let alone do anyhting productive.

I'm on the verge of resigning but am aware that it could be "career suicide" if I do so. I'm also fearful of what life looking after 2 dcs would be like, I'm not a natural maternal type and seem to spend most of my time with them shouting instructions, counting to 10 (and counting down to when nursery/school opens, if I'm honest!)

So, after this ramble, my question is what to do, I'm (currently at least) a useless employee but I@m also a rather mediocre mother in terms of being hands-on. Would it therefore be wise to think twice about resigning? I would still be working p/t but locally and at a much lower salary. I might also study p/t. Yongest dc starts school next sept.

3andnomore Thu 28-Aug-08 10:49:17

I think you sound like you need a change for the sake of your sanity, tbh.
If financially it is a viable option, than I would go for the resignation and the p/t work and p/t study....!
As for being a mediocre mum....well...maybe you surprise yourself if you spend more time with them and get to know them "better"....but you will only ever find out if you try....!
Also, if you are happier wiht your daily life than you will probably have more patience, etc...!

PortAndLemon Thu 28-Aug-08 10:54:55

Do you think you could be clinically depressed? You mention insomnia in addition to feelings of apathy and pointlessness.

I think it's worth ruling out depression (or ruling it in and getting treatment) before you make any major life-changing decisions.

berolina Thu 28-Aug-08 10:59:32

I would resign like a shot in your position.

stitch Thu 28-Aug-08 11:03:40

i would get a full time nanny and a cleaner. then join a gym. also get some ad's or at least discuss with doctor
yes, resigning is the easy option. but if you have worked as hard as you have, to get to where you are, then career suicide isnt really the best of ideas.
the kids will be better off with a happy mom who isnt around as much, than with a stressed out mom who resents what she has had to do with her career. no, its not logical, but feelings rarely are.
whatever you do, dont give up the job.

Raspberryjam Thu 28-Aug-08 11:09:22

I think you are a very high achiever and therefore are hard on yourself and set yourself tough goals.

You are obviously good at your job to have got to a top level position and whilst looking after a young baby and I suspect you are a much better mum than you give yourself credit for.

Don't do anything suddenly that you would regret. Is any more home support possible for you ie with cleaning/housekeeping?

I don't think you sound depressed, just mulling over the best solution for you and your family. Certainly unresolved worries will be stopping you sleep.

I think you need to draw on as much support from friends and family as possible to get over this rocky period until you decide what to do. But think long and hard - if you gave up your work would it make you more fulfilled amd your family happier - the grass is always greener, but you may be more frustrated with the pressures of home life.

I hope you can find a way to get a balance between all the things that are important and manage the juggling act.

Plan some holidays - even if it is just for a day away - a change of scene works miracles.

As do long soaks in the bath, with thinking time!!

choosyfloosy Thu 28-Aug-08 11:20:54

I do think that one of the problems with being a WOHM in my experience is that it's easy to get 'out of tune' with your children, especially as you only see them when you are rushing/exhausted or they are tired or both.

Before you resign, however, consider taking first your boss and then your HR director out to lunch, explaining that you are now looking for a p/t home based project to take on and you want to plan the appointmetn of your successor. Worth a try.

gingerninja Thu 28-Aug-08 11:29:36

God I could have written that. I think partly my problem, and maybe there is something in this for you, is that I feel everything is out of my control. I don't feel like I'm any good at my job because I'm distracted by being sleep deprived, boredom, no real goal/ambition. I work part time too which means I never feel fully in control of my work because just when I get into the swing of it, its the weekend. Four days later when I'm back, I'm so out of the saddle it takes a while to get my head into work mode so I just feel like I'm treading water just trying to keep afloat. I'm so used to feeling like a team member / leader that working part time often makes me feel like I'm not involved, especially when meetings happen when I'm not around.

I suffer insomnia too and also DD has been a crap sleeper so sleep deprivation plays a huge part in not having any motivation. Perhaps your Dr can help with that, even if it's short term to get some perspective.

With regards to being a mum, I totally appreciate what you're saying. I don't feel very maternal most of the time (I'm preg with DC2, bugger hmm) am also very impatient and get exceptionally bored, especially playing. Perhaps if you were doing activities you were interested in too it might help. My DD is a bit young so I tend to leave the laying on the floor playing games to my DH and we do practical stuff together like hanging the washing up, cleaning and going for walks.

I think the working locally part time might be an option, depending on what it is. If it's lower grade etc will you start hankering for that responsibility?

If you're in the public sector could they not offer you a career break? A friend of mine was able to take a year off to move abroad with her DH's job and return as part of a deal she could take advantage of. It was unpaid obviously but if that were an option, it'd help you put the work side of things in perspective.

Oblomov Thu 28-Aug-08 11:33:47

Hold fire. Don't do anything rash.
It all sounds so miserable. I love my part time job, so can not comprehend how you feel about yours. But this needs to be sorted.
And by that I mean, I agree with other posters.
You need to take a bath, a glass of wine, in the bath wink. Stop and think. Over the next few weeks. What is REALLY going on here ? For you ? What are the real core issues here.
And then slowly but surely address these issues. So dc starts school. What time will you have available. And retrain-as WHAT? Is that REALLY going to motivate you? I think you might find, that this is not the real answer you are looking for.

But please, just slow down. And have a good think.

WideWebWitch Thu 28-Aug-08 11:48:13

I would say don’t resign yet.

It seems there are several problems all rolled into one here:

a) you’re bored at work
b) it’s pointless (an awful lot of work is, mine included!)
c) Other stuff, eg insomnia, family issues

I think you ought to start by asking yourself what you want in job terms. Do you want a more interesting job or a shorter commute or more flexibility or more money or more time or what? Only then can you work out how to get it I think. If the alternative is resigning can you consider how to get what you want in your current role, eg working flexibly, taking on a new role, changing your hours etc?

If your youngest goes to school next Sept I honestly would hesitate before resigning now, although I have to say, I think I love that age and would be fairly happy being at home with a 4yo and no so happy any younger.

I’m not ambitious in the slightest but I know what my objective is: to earn as much money as possibl efor as little effort as possible. That’s been my objective for the past year (although sadly I did have to make quite a bit of effort in first six months but it allowed me to re negotiate hours in the second six months) and my objective for next year is to have better work/life balance and see more of my children. Oh and to earn enough to have a really amazing holiday.

Is the insomnia related to your general dis satisfaction or something else? Can you break all these concerns down and deal with them bit by bit. I usually sleep like a log but woke at 4am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep for a while because I knew I had a huge to do list that I needed to tackle so sympathy on that.

skyatnight Thu 28-Aug-08 12:05:10

I think you sound tired, above all, and this is making it difficult for you to see a way forward.

I wouldn't resign because, at this point, you could easily be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. You would find that you are still tired. It could well be career suicide and would you really be happier doing a(n even) less interesting job for less money? The loss of status is hard to take, especially when you have worked hard to get to where you are now.

There is no solution as such. There are different downsides to all the options. In your position, I would carry on working, perhaps, as someone else said, try and negotiate a way to work part-time within your existing job or from home in order to cut out the killer commute.

I would also organise as much childcare/support as you can in order to have more time for yourself and then up the exercise, pampering, sleep, etc. to try and get to a point where you feel better mentally and physically. Your job might seem more worthwhile if you are not feeling so lousy. Meanwhile research possibilities of good part-time work for the future if your current job won't allow. (But resigning in order to have a year at home recovering from burn-out might be a big mistake.)

Don't feel too guilty about not being the best hands-on mother. Your children would rather have a happy relaxed mother who is with them, and gives them her full attention, some of the time than a miserable, lost-identity, mother. It's not a SAHM versus WOHM issue, it's about what's best for you as an individual and for your family.

scaryteacher Thu 28-Aug-08 14:49:50

I resigned to move abroad with dh and become a sahm. It's very different from working, but I look on this time as time for me, and for me to decide at 40+ what I want to do. I'd been in local government for 10 years, and then teaching, so needed a break. I have time to smell the roses, read books, and sleep. I have had two years doing nothing except things for ds's school, and am going to do my MA part time from January, if they accept me on the course.

You only get one go at this life, and I decided that I didn't want 'she did too much marking and worked too hard' on my gravestone. I have a better relationship with dh (being the same side of the channel helps) and with ds as we have time to hang out together. I am less stressed, and quite frankly, if I never went back to paid employment I wouldn't be bothered. I am not proposing to go back before ds does GCSEs anyway, and that's another 4 years if I can manage it.

You have to do what makes YOU happy - stepping away from teaching made me see how burned out I was getting and how much I needed to sort out the work life balance in favour of life and not work, maybe you need to do the same. Can you take a sabbatical to have a long hard think about where you want to be in 5 years time? I know that I am never going to be a high flyer as I lack the ambition and drive to do that...what I do want to be is happy in my own skin, and having had two years off and the goal of my MA in the future means I am half way there.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Turning 40 made me think about what I wanted to do with the time I had left, and that wasn't slogging my guts out until I was 65.

MissChief Fri 29-Aug-08 11:03:31

thanks all. Sorry, only just noticed had messages as had accidentally posted thread 3x and had responded to other one. I feel for those of you posting re being in a similar situation, it seems to get v messy. www, sky and others who recommended caution, I agree should hold fire for a bit. Have actually seen gp and won't go into work for a few days - easy way out maybe but need time to get some sleep and take stock properly. I think i will probably end up resigning in a few weeks though, just don't see how this situation can "come good" ifykwim? I think I'll bite the bullet, take some time out and accept that it's going to have long-term repercussions career-wise. It's not as if I enjoy my job at least.

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