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Am I making the right decision to give up work to be a SAHM?

(22 Posts)
Cloudspotter Sat 18-Jul-09 09:30:37

I have got a very demanding, well paid job that I hate. I mainly hate it because of the politics in my current workplace, and because the demands on me are incessant. The blame culture is unbelievable, and the place is run by a culture of favourites. If you are in favour, you can get away with anything, and if you are out of favour you can't win. No prizes for guessing which camp I fit into? As a result I find myself working till 7pm every night, working myself into the ground because I feel that they are looking for the first thing I do wrong, to heap criticism on.

I have watched my life get more and more hassled, stressful and chaotic as the stress has built up, to the point where I just can't go on. I have two lovely children aged 3yo and 5yo who I want to spend more time with.

I have discussed it with dh, who feels that although we will be very skint, and this will be a big adjustment to our lives,will support me in the decision to give up work. He can see the toll this is all taking on our family life and our kids, and is prepared to be the 'breadwinner', provided I am really careful about what we spend. He does worry we might go spiralling into debt through carelessness over the finances once we have a lot less money coming in.

We live in a big flat, and it is becoming obvious that we would have to spend another couple of hundred thousand to move 'up' the housing ladder. This would tie me into my job forever. I have spent years trying to find a part time niche in my job that I can manage around the kids, and this is where I have ended up. It just isn't possible.

I will be giving up on a secure job and a public sector pension at this point in the economy.

So, I am about to take the plunge, hand in my notice, and begin life as a SAHM. I am just so excited about the thought of it. We have two allotments where we grow our own veg. I love spending time with the children. I love making proper food rather than reheating ready meals in an exhausted pool of tiredness.

I have enough yarn and fabric stored up to make clothes for us all for the next year or so.

Am I being hopelessly idealistic, or am I making the right decision?

ComeOVeneer Sat 18-Jul-09 09:35:12

Only you can truly answer that question. However 2.5 years ago I was in the same position as you and did the sahm thing and haven't looked back/regretted it for one minute. Our family life is transformed. I get all the dull stuff out the way during the week so weekends are family time, no longer filled with laundry, chores, paperwork etc etc. We are all more relaxed.

Only difference was that DH has had pay increases over the past few years which has meant my earnings have already been replaced with his extra earnings so financially we didn't have that worry to add to the decision.

belgo Sat 18-Jul-09 09:39:55

Go for it. You hate your job, you want to spend more time with your children, and will manage financially as long as you budget carefully.

Cloudspotter Sat 18-Jul-09 09:44:56

Thank you COV and belgo. I am so desperate to do this that I am actually looking forward to the challenge of saving money.

There are loads of things that we don't need to spend, like a cleaner, ocado shopping, expensive clothes for work, going out in the evenings.

I might be chasing a dream, but isn't that what life is about???

We have saved up enough to tide us over if the car breaks down etc.

nickschick Sat 18-Jul-09 09:51:56

It will work you will make it work.

I am a sahm mum too,partly through the desire to be with my dc and partly due to the ill- health of 1 of them sad.

As a sahm I manage far better on the money we actually have than many of my working friends, as a SAHM, I am able to scour the charity shops not for everything believe me our dc and myself are so well dressed friends ask how we afford it!!

I am able to repair clothes and sew.

Our family eats a very healthy diet.

IAs a family we are very close.

You will do it- and because you want to do it you will succeed.

Cloudspotter Sat 18-Jul-09 09:58:50

nickschick, I am desperate to fill a hole that I see in our family, where someone is making it a home. Does that make sense?

There is a feminist part of me that thinks I should be different, but I am not.

margotfonteyn Sat 18-Jul-09 09:59:25

Do it. Your DC will grow up very quickly. You will never get that time back.

You will be able to manage on one salary, you will be able to budget more easily as a SAHM.

And you will be able to get another job (probably) when they are older/left home!

squilly Sat 18-Jul-09 10:03:15

I did it 4 years ago and have just started to look at retraining as a teaching assistant specialising in dyslexia.

I have never looked back and, despite having some really interesting jobs in my chequered past, I am currently enjoying my supply job as a teaching assistant more than I've ever enjoyed working before!

I have been involved in lots of SAHM vs WOHM debates and I always stand by the fact that people choose what they want to do and what suits them best.

IMO women fought for feminism so that women could choose to work as well as have families if they wished to. The important word for me, there, is choose. Some women are compelled to work because of financial restrictions. If you are in the fortunate position to give up work, with a little book balancing, you go for it.

I have to say that Carlsberg could have made this decision for me, as it was probably the best decision in the world.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 18-Jul-09 10:10:36

If you think it will work for you then go for it. It's your life and your family.
However, I would caution you to think through the following aspects.

Are you being driven out of a profession you love by a bunch of bullies? Is it possible that, once away from this particular workplace you will start to miss the actual work?

Are you sure that your partner will not start to think of himself as your boss/owner if he is the only one bringing in an income? The best way to steer clear of this is to make very sure that, no matter who does what in the way of housework and childcare, you both have the same amount of leisure time (this is usually the key point of a slide towards sexist inequality, the man starts to think and behave as though he is the only one entitled to leisure time because he is the only one who 'works').

Finally, if miney is likely to get tight, look into stuff you can do flexibly or freelance or part time so you can bring in a bit of cash yourself (there's always Avon/Bettaware/Usborne).

nickschick Sat 18-Jul-09 10:22:30

Cloudspotter I know exactly what you mean - people often say they feel at 'home' at ours a while ago a neighbours child was abused angry and bcos she knew my son she ended up at mine,when the social worker came for her- the girl told her she felt 'safe' in my home and she agreed the girl came back to visit many times and each time the social worker thanked us and told us the environment was such that for a short time the girl was able to feel 'normal'.

My eldest ds is 15 and still his friends like to come in and say hi and sit at the kitchen table and talk,weve spent hours with our dc playing football and doing things -things you cant buy off a shelf and I dont for a minute regret being a SAHM.

I agree that for some women work is the place they 'need' to be financially or emotionally but for me I like being at home.

All the time im at home im working towards my future though I spend time with a friend studying to become a nursery nurse,I help some year 10 students with their childcare course,I support a young mum nearby with a baby and another with an autistic child (who also settles well in my home)-I often volunteer at a youth club,so when I eventually return to work I will have built up skills to help me.

Cloudspotter Sat 18-Jul-09 12:22:30

Absolutely, margotfonteyn, that is what I feel. I don't want to waste what I suspect could be the most important years of my life worrying about the office.

SGB - your words of caution are spot on. I think I am being driven out by bullies to some extent, but I don't have the heart to fight it. I am lucky in some ways that with my specialised experience which is pretty transferable, it should be reasonably easy (!) to get another job if I decide that is right.

I will miss work, there is no doubt. I will have to find something else, but I suppose I feel that it isn't until I am outside this horrendous loop of stress that I will know what I can/want to do.

squilly, it is great to hear your experience. I would love to work with children. Since having my own I just enjoy every minute, not just with my own but with other children. I was considering doing some sort of childminder qualification if I can, although I won't take something like that on lightly.

There are so many sides of me that I am not utilising in my job, and money is the least of our worries at the moment. A luxury which I know is very lucky, and one which will of course change as soon as I give up.

I just feel like I only have one life, and only get one chance. There must be something better to life than this!

jellybeans Sat 18-Jul-09 12:31:34

Yes I think you are making the right decision. I gave up a good job to SAH and have never regretted it. I love SAH and keep sane by studying with OU and volunteering at school.

Sidge Sat 18-Jul-09 13:23:35

I think you need to follow your heart and do what feel right, not just for you but for your family.

I know it sounds cheesy but life really is too short to live it doing a job you hate.

If you can alter your lifestyle to make the financial changes you need to make then it will be worth it. And if in 6 months time you hate it then you look for another job. Nothing is ever set in stone!

margotfonteyn Sat 18-Jul-09 16:02:11

I think if you feel like you do, you must hand that notice in right away!

It is just not worth it in the long run. Being a SAHM can be stressful and boring sometimes but it is worth it in the long run, if you have enough money not to have to work and if you are not enjoying your work.

Cloudspotter Sat 18-Jul-09 18:27:24

Agggghhhhhhh. Now I am having second thoughts. I knew this would happen. I can never make a clean decision.

I am realising that I would miss work, and that I have persevered this far for good reasons. As soon as I leave my profession I might find it hard to get back in etc etc.

And it should be a job that I am able to do part time, it is just that my current boss is a megalomaniac psychopath, who is hellbent on driving me out.

They have employed a temp to manage me, who is very nice but is not more experienced than me. He is conveniently male and full time. The reality is that they probably do need someone full time, whereas I am 4 days.

But behind all of this is the fact that I can't cope with the stress of family life as well as this job. The job is very easily commutable, whereas I would struggle to get one that I could reach within the constraints of my life.

My boss has spent a lot of time trying to convince me that I can't mix children with the job, despite the fact that she and all the other senior managers have young children.

I would love to spend a year at home though. The thought of being there to pick up my daughter at the end of the day, and stepping off this giant treadmill, is too appealing.

nickschick Sat 18-Jul-09 18:35:29

The possibility is that although at the moment you feel the job is what you should be doing in reality the job is costing you your happiness sucking away at your esteem and every day that passes is a day you dont get back with your dc.

Lifes too short to worry about days way ahead - of course you will get a job when you are ready to return it might not be as 'good' as the one you have - it might be better,who is to say you wont hit upon an extraordinary business plan whilst you are a sahm.

You have an opportunity to do what you think will make you happy - try it and see, dont regret it in a years time.

All the time companies go bust leaving people unemployed from jobs theyve done all their life.

Dip your feet in - the water warmsmile.

paisleyleaf Sat 18-Jul-09 18:37:37

I've been a SAHM and, like you're planning, I used much of my time to save us money
washing nappies, growing veg, sewing clothes, cooking from scratch etc
Being a SAHM has been amongst the best years of my life and has been worth the sacrifice in money.
If it doesn't work out for you you can go back to something....even if it's not the profession you've left (which you sound unhappy in anyway).

Cloudspotter Sat 18-Jul-09 18:39:24

Too true nickschick. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

I think part of me is only hanging on in case I get made redundant in a restructure, but I know they rarely pay out. They usually demote people and demoralise them until they leave voluntarily.

There is definitely a satisfaction in saying 'I have something better to do than this'. Like a Bridget Jones moment I guess.

I think if I don't give it a go I will never know.....More likely to regret staying in the job than leaving????

Cloudspotter Sat 18-Jul-09 18:42:13

Thanks paisleyleaf. I have always enjoyed my job, but lately not. I would just love to have more time with the girls. I would use my time to save us money.

The things we enjoy doing are free/cheap anyway. I like knitting and sewing. I have two allotments where we grow veg. I like cooking.

Perhaps there is an untapped part of me that just thinks I was born to be a SAHM. Very often I have felt sad about being well paid, because it means it has been so much harder to give up. Often I wish I had a job where I couldn't afford the childcare etc. Easy to say I know.

brimfull Sat 18-Jul-09 18:48:35

only you can decide
i gave up for yrs and now looking back I wish I had kept my hand in

I am a nurse though -so am having to retrain to get back on the register

so I had the option to do a minimum to keep on the register which I wish I had done

part time is the optimum

not seeing your kids and hating your job is shit
anything is better than that

Andthentherewerethree Sat 18-Jul-09 18:51:12

i made the same kind of decision last august.
i worked wihtin the nhs and was fed up of the back stabbing and bitching and felt it was no better than a playgorund of teenage girls, i also sat down and worked out that i was basically paying for someone to look after my children and my husband was subsidising me to work.
i have moments when i feel that i would love to go back to work but then for the most part i enjoy being home for my children and doing the school run. dd1 attends preschool 5 monrings a week so i ahve 2 hours a day to do the cleaning adn household chores and even food shopping, then we spend the rest of the day playing, going to the park and doing all of the things i used ot pay someone else to do.
there is another 2 years before dd1 starts full time school and then i will look for part time work to fit in with the school day, hopefully the job market will have picked up by then and there will be more choice.

Cloudspotter Sun 19-Jul-09 08:56:16

ggirl, thanks for the advice. I do think that if I don't keep my hand in, I will find it very hard to get back in. Things move on very quickly, and even being on maternity leave for a year was a huge blow to my self esteem, even if the ability to do the job was probably still there underlying.

It is interesting that you are both in the NHS as am I. I do think it is incredibly political, volatile and therefore stressful. Maybe because of the fact that they get used to using restructures and all kinds of devious tactics to get people pigeonholed where the senior management think they fit in. It is far from ideal for someone trying to work around kids, always feeling as if you are one restructure away from a serious career nosedive.

On the other hand, the official policies in place should support working mums. Often the policies do, but the practice on the shop floor is that colleagues resent anyone who needs any flexibility. Maybe in some ways they are right that it has a knock on impact on their T&Cs, but they fail to see what people have got to offer, choosing instead to find fault with what they are missing (usually in terms of working hours).

There is a long hours culture. Every day I am asked 'What time do you have to be away tonight?', making me feel as if I have to get permission for a huge favour to go home even close to 'on time'. My boss, bless him, as a temp is paid at least 3 times what I am, so no wonder he is so committed!

All in all, it isn't his fault, or the system, or my colleagues. They are all just stuck in a loop that I can see differently, because my family forces me to.

I think I am going to stick it out for a bit longer. I have been doing this for 6 months now, having initially handed in my notice earlier in the year. I will ask for flexible hours to pick up my daughter from school each night, and all hell will break loose. If that results in me leaving then fine. I will 'test the system' before I declare it to be broken.

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