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I work FT OTH and am fantasising about being a SAHM, come and disabuse me... Or, alternative title: being a SAHM with children at school must be bliss, surely?

(150 Posts)
WideWebWitch Wed 10-Sep-08 10:18:10

I tried to find Issymum's thread of a while back where she was a SAHM for a couple of weeks and fantasised about doing it full time. Afaik she didn't and is still employed very fT OTH.

I usually commute and dh does drop offs and pick ups so I leave the house at 7am and get back at 6.30pm. My contract ends at the end Oct and I may not be able to find something else straight away so this may indeed become a reality. But in the meantime...

This is my second day working from home this week and it has been lovely to do the following:

SEE the children in the mornings. I had a long chat with ds about the 11+ and how he's feeling. I had a long cuddle with dd in bed and did her hair before school and made them both breakfast. It's not the making breakfast/chivying them into the car I like, it's the being around for them. It's dd's second ever week at school, it's been nice seeing her settle in a bit.

keep on top of the washing with v little effort

think about what we're going to eat rather than desperately rifling through the fridge at 6.30

Do boring but necessary things like activate a bank card, register ds's school place, do an online shop, clean the bathrooms (we usually have a cleaner but don't atm), notice both dd's school tops needed to go in the wash last night so she had a clean one for today

Not having to RUSH everywhere. Being able to speak to my mum/friends during the day and chat a bit.

Any other FT WOTHP's fantasise about this? Or did you do it? And if so, was it lovely?

Or, if not, remind me that the reality isn't quite as nice as my fantasy please. Because if I do get a job I have to take it.


ForeverOptimistic Wed 10-Sep-08 10:26:28

Would you really want to be a SAHM if children are at school?

I am a SAHM and I am already starting to panic as ds starts school soon and we are actively ttc.

I am sure some people enjoy it but I would find it an empty existence I need to do have a purpose and waiting for children to return home just isn't right for me. I think you would also get fed up with comments from other people asking you when you are going back to work. I get asked at least once a day what am I planning to do in January!

TigerFeet Wed 10-Sep-08 10:28:03

I've just given up WOTH F/T - but have cut my hours right back rather than giving up completely. I started at 40 hours p/w, then changed jobs to 37.5, dropped to 35 and now am down to 21. It is bliss. I have a 30 mile round trip to work on top of that. I used to do overtime too but have put a stop to that. I am incredibly fortunate in that my boss and my company generally are very symathetic to working parents. I had to change companies though to get that, my last company were bastards and expected long hours with no consideration to the fact I had a young baby at home.

I work 9.30 - 5, three days a week. I drop dd off at school every morning then go to work or home to catch up on MN ironing. Twice a week I can pick her up, she goes to a childminder on the other days and I collect her on my way home from work. The idea is that I catch up on housework and shopping etc on my days off in the week so that we have weekends and evenings free as a family... well.. that's kind of what happens wink

It's all very new - dd has just started school and won't be full time until next week and I have been on annual leave since she started as I couldn't work round her silly introductory hours.

I used to fantasise about being a SAHM but in all honesty I'm glad I couldn't / didn't do it - I like working and the hours I have now suit me very well.

Niecie Wed 10-Sep-08 10:35:17

I have been a SAHM for 8 years and my younger DS started school this week.

I have loved being a SAHM but no job, paid or otherwise is perfect all the time. However, now that I have all day free I want to do something else. I am perfectly happy not to have a job but I think you do need something to fill your time with that is not totally pointless whilst your children are at school.

There is only so much time you can spend cleaning, decluttering the house, whipping the garden into shape, having coffee with friends etc.

I am doing an MSc with the OU so that is pretty flexible. I can do it when I like (apart from deadlines) and have the flexibility to do things with the children. I am also going to work for my DH for a couple of mornings a week too but that has the advantage of being totally flexible for the children too.

Can you hold off getting another job until after Christmas. There is so much going on before Christmas that you probably wouldn't get bored. If you like it and you think you can carve out a life for yourself that isn't totally dependent on the children then do it.

Is part time an option? Or short term contracting so you are off some of the time, working at other times?

TeriHatchetJob Wed 10-Sep-08 10:35:20

I'm full time SHM and I LOVE IT!!!!!!

I've done the whole career thing and now just enjoy living in the moment.

I'm never bored as I was never defined by my work role and it is BLISS!

Boyswillbeboys Wed 10-Sep-08 10:36:00

I am a SAHM, DS2 has just started reception. I am also doing a degree and volunteer for a local children's charity. It is great to finally have time to do all the stuff that needs to be done, without children screaming in the background! I couldn't justify not doing anything during the day though and it would bore me to death just thinking about housework and what to cook for tea. Once my studies are finished I will get a job that fits in with school (hollow laugh!) or carry on volunteering. Plus I want to earn my own cash so I don't feel guilty every time I spend some of DH's!

WideWebWitch Wed 10-Sep-08 10:39:36

Well my perfect scenario would be:

compressed hours as I had in my last ft perm role, so I worked 8am - 5.45 x 4 days and had Friday off while getting a ft perm salary


contract from Jan until July so I could have school holidays off but enough money to actually do something/enjoy it

OR well paid term time only contract.

Now I have 2 at school it will be harder in a way as previously dd was in ft nursery and so was there during half terms/holidays - ds usually goes to ex mils during school holiday weeks when dh and I aren't off work.

largeoneplease Wed 10-Sep-08 10:44:29

I work 2 days and the men at work often say how good their wives have it, always being able to see the kids in the morning etc. Also, what an easy life it must be angry

But, I say it's one thing to enjoy it for a few days now and again altogether another, when the most demanding thing you have to do in a day is chivvy them into the car and shout at them to get their shoes on (again) You know how some mums seem to spend all day at the school gate gossiping, that really is because they have nothing better to do. Yes, it's lovely to get the chance to clean the bathroom if it's once in a while, but when that's your main achievement for the week and no-one says well done or thank you?

I love having my 3 days at home, but I do lots outside the home to fill that time and I'd go mad without my 2 days at work.

Niecie Wed 10-Sep-08 10:46:50

Compressed hours is too much like FT to me.

Working Jan to July would be lovely but difficult to set up every single year.

Term time only is the holy grail really. Depends what you do and whether what you do is compatible with being off all the time.

I think, if I were you (or even mewink) I would prefer the contracting as and when. Work for a few months and off for a few months. If either gets too much, you can switch to the other and back again for a change. It gives you freedom that being either one or the other doesn't. I have a friend who has done this and she loves it after several years of being a SAHM.

TigerFeet Wed 10-Sep-08 10:47:19

It was dd leaving nursery that prompted my change in hours - there is no way I could manage school hours and holidays with dd on my old contract - no family nearby to help out and dh is periodically away on business so often it's just me. Finding holiday care for three days a week is far easier and imo fairer on dd than five days. Plus, at nursery she had all her meals and could sleep if she was tired - it's just not the same as school is it? I honestly think that dd needs me at home more now than perhaps she has done for the last year or 18 months of nursery. It was a killer when she was tiny though, I hated working OTH FT then.

bossykate Wed 10-Sep-08 10:48:28

well i am on day 3 now and yes it is cool! as you know from our previous conversations though, the thing is, you fill the time up... and can end up very busy if you're not careful. but the trouble is if you confine yourself to housework it would be terribly easy to get bored stiff... imho.

as you know i will be going back to work before long and i'm simply dreading all the juggling, rush and stress...

bossykate Wed 10-Sep-08 10:50:00

agree largeoneplease - seems blissful for a few days - in the longer term careful planning required.

still think it's much, much easier than working though.

ranting Wed 10-Sep-08 10:50:13

Well as soon as my youngest was at school full time, I went back to work P/T, simply because I couldn't bear being at home all day. It was boring and I was starting to feel very dull.

I am actually considering returning full time, if I can find a job that I actually enjoy, am waiting for a vacancy to come up in the dept I want to work in. Dh has the opportunity to retire at 55, so it would make financial sense for me to be full time and plus I can't wait to be back in the full swing of things.

WideWebWitch Wed 10-Sep-08 10:51:22

BK, you will be amused to hear that a letter came from school yesterday asking for volunteers for the PTA and I nearly put my name down. Then realised that if I do get another contract or a job then I won't remotely have time and will be stressed at all the PTA meetings I won't be able to make!

I also don't know ANYONE at school and looked around the playground today and thought "shall I try to talk to someone? Nah, no point, I'm never here and prob only v rarely will be"

Cappuccino Wed 10-Sep-08 10:54:38

if you fancy it, why not do it for a bit?

it's not like you're committing forever

I do think you only get the once chance; certainly I've made a decision to take less work (if I can get any HA HA) this year because dd2 starts school next year

have a try if you like the sound of it. you can always change your mind

why is there no 'part time' option?

TheFallenMadonna Wed 10-Sep-08 10:57:03

Ah now I am moving in the opposite direction. Youngest child has started school and I shal be going back to work in November. Have been a SAHM for nearly 5 years (although not with children at school admittedly) and have really enjoyed it. Have done another degree part time, which I would usually say I love but was writing an essay until 5am so on two hours sleep am feeling less enamoured of it.

But now I'm ready for work.

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Wed 10-Sep-08 11:01:46

the reality gets very boring after a while and the highlight of your day becomes flapjack making. you begin to fantasise about having your onw income again and a reason to leave the house other than to go to tesco to stock up on flapjack ingrediants.

your major achievements are becoming really good at french plaiting <and quite obbessive about getting them just so> and getting to school ten mins before the doors open so that your child can be one of the ones with 100% time keeping records.

you join the good housekeeping threads and get excited over threads on tray bakes.

i have an interview tonight. its for a pizza shop <studying so only want little job not careeer> i am obscenely happy. though my little fantasy world where i get to gte dressed and say "im off to work now" will fall apart if dont get the job sad

WideWebWitch Wed 10-Sep-08 11:03:54

Capp, part time would be worst of all worlds I feel, for me. If I'm going to work I want to be paid reasonably well and do something senior ish, and those jobs aren't usually part time.

Tigerfeet, interesting that you stopped when yours left nursery too. Your hours sound fab.

largeoneplease, yes, you have a point re it being boring after a while.

boyswillbe, I'm not interested in learning anything really! Or working for a charity, if I'm going to work I want cash for it!

Forever, so, what are you going to do in January?

ranting good luck with finding a job that suits you.

TFM, ah, well, so you haven't done the juggling act yet? hope it goes well finding a job you like.

WideWebWitch Wed 10-Sep-08 11:05:29

lol at seashells flapjacks.

When ds first started school I was a sahm and pregnant with dd and I spent the WHOLE summer at home, posting on mumsnet and cooknig fairy cakes and potato wedges and nice meals for dh in the evening.

Cappuccino Wed 10-Sep-08 11:07:29

WWW I find that freelance part-time work pays better than permanent work often

when I can find it

Andthentherewerethree Wed 10-Sep-08 11:07:37

i have done just this! I stopped workign full time at the begiining of august and it ahs been very ahrd, i am not entiley sure at this moment in time i have done the right thing.

I worked full time for the NHS i went to work when ds1 was about a year old and then with ds2 i went back when he was 9 months old and for dd when she was 7 months old.

It took an enlightened moment a few months ago when i was working out expenditure and i realised my dh was subsidising my working. as i was paying out well over £1000 a month childcare, plus parking fees each day added up to almost £100 a month, lunches, diesel etc, i was lucky if even wiht enhancments i broke even each month. Plus i also reaslied that i hardly ever saw my children, due to the awkward shifts it seemed i was always at work or my children were always with nursery, school or my mum (dh works in london and leaves at 6 and comes home around 8.30), and it just wasn;t working.

i asked if i could cut my hours down to 2 days a week but was emt with a resounding NO, even thoguh they are desperate for staff they would rather lose another memebr than accomadate a more flexible working pattern for a long temr member of staff.

I am finding it very hard to be motivated at home though as i fidn myself thinking oh why do the ironing today or the hoovering, washing etc, it'll only be the same again tomorrow! But i am enjoying spending soem time with my children at last, ds1 is 11 and ds2 is 6 and dd is 2.6 now and i felt i hardly knew them. so the summer holidays wer a great time to learn about ym children adn waht makes them tick.

it is so mcuh easier now the boys are at school we have established a bit of a routine, i ams till finding ti difficult to be motivated about hosuework, but maybe i am just a lazy moo!!!

not sure if this isa negative or positive story! blush

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 11:07:59

www - I am working from home permanently atm because of a broken foot. And yes, it's bliss! Apart from the pain and discomfort of course grin

ranting Wed 10-Sep-08 11:08:17

Well thank you WWW, just to give you a bit of a different angle on it, I did work full time when I was a single mum (bit different when you've only got one child though I appreciate). So I do know what you mean about the never being at the school gate, feels like you're always juggling things etc.

However if you're used to working full time, it can be really lovely to take some time out but, it does pail after a while, once you realise that when the hw is done, you have to amuse yourself and that can seem like a full time job in itself.

Hassled Wed 10-Sep-08 11:08:51

I think in lots of ways FT WOHM stuff is easier when your children are pre-school age. When they're in school and there is homeowrk, reading, endless form filling in and concerts/shows/pressure to help on trips etc etc it can become more stressful. I actually first started working PT when I just had 2 DCs, aged 10 and 8, having worked FT up till then.

Now I do bits of PT working from home but am effectively a SAHM with DC4 aged 6 and DC3 aged 10(the others much older now). If I wasn't a school governor and PTA person I think I would go insane - it's the lack of human contact and opportunity to chat like you do in an office that I miss most (the majority of my friends work FT).

But I have the freedom to spend 2 afternoons a week helping in school, to re-decorate the house, to go swimming often - it suits me but then I have no personal ambition these days blush. I seldom feel bored, but sometimes a bit isolated. So those are the downsides - I think coming straight from FT WOHM it might be a huge shock to the system.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 10-Sep-08 11:10:04

Oh I juggled for a bit when DS was younger, before I had DD. But it was novice juggling, with one child at nursery, rather than two at school.

But - DH is in a better job now than then - can take the children to school most mornings and travels less. And I'm a teacher so we don't have the holiday hassle, although there is of course no flexibility or working from home...

I'm hopeful. We'll see how it goes.

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