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sprog or career????

(31 Posts)
Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 19:37:44

I'm in the middle of a career change and retraining at the moment. the course is four years plus, split into two lots of two years. i finished the first bit when pregnant with ds (now 19 months old). I'm meant to be going back to do the second bit in January next year. I'm really really looking forward to it, my identity was very tied in to my career, and I haven't earned money for what seems like an age (in fact it is an age, four years now!) and hate that (i know i'm lucky to have the option, but that doesn't stop me missing financial independence terribly).

However, I also love being a mother, and have loved being lucky enough to be at home with ds (in between tearing my hair out ).

I think at some point we will try to have another baby (I know there are no guarantees), and so my question to you all is, do you think I should try to get preg now, and get it 'out of the way' so to speak, or should I get my career back on track and wait until ds is four to have another one. In some ways that feels like a good plan, he will be starting school, I'll be able to explain more to him about having a younger sibling etc etc. but there is a bit of me that would love to have children closer together.

with a four plus years gap, would they play together? It seems to me that that kind of gap is huge when they are kids/teens. Obviously it would become irrelevant when they are older.

I could defer my training. the two parts are discrete and it will still be there for me if I wait another couple of years...

i know all this assumes that if i intend to have another one I will be able to, and I know that is a false assumption, but equally, we have to be trying for there to be a possibility iyswim!

so I'm looking for some advice, and also interested to hear about people's experience of that kind of age gap, or a shorter one...

am genuinely torn about this, however this post comes across I feel in my heart equally split...

ambrosia Sun 12-Jun-05 19:40:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 19:44:27

that's heartening ambrosia, but it's different for girls (great joe jackson song that) isn't it? ime, older sisters are generally more nurturing and able to deal with younger sibs in a playing at being mummy way. I'm sure this is down to how we are (unconsicously) with girls btw, and am fully aware what a gross generalisation that is, but think that boys and girls are v different (was v shocked by this when had ds as was adamant beforehand that gender was irrelevant to behaviour)!

Satine Sun 12-Jun-05 19:44:58

My two are 18 months apart. We left the gap to fate but I'm glad they were so close together because they play together so well now and also it doesn't seem long before they'll both be at nursery school for at least a morning a week together and I'll have more time for my freelance businesses! But I love being at home with them both now.

ambrosia Sun 12-Jun-05 19:46:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gobbledigook Sun 12-Jun-05 19:52:40

Personally I'd go for completing the family sooner rather than later. The sooner they are all school age, the sooner you have more time 'free' to pursue work.

You also get past all the nappies, potty training, crawling, feeding etc much quicker!

My 3 are 19 months and 21 months apart. I left work and went freelance when I had ds1 4.5 yrs ago and I haven't used childcare (except morning playgroup from when they have been 2+) so I've slotted work into evenings, nap times and weekends. Now I can see 'light at the end of the tunnel' if you like. Ds3 is 9 months so in 18 months time he will start at the morning nursery and I'll have a couple of mornings each week completely child free in which I can work. In 4 yrs time, ds3 will be in school so then I'll have 9-3 every day to work. If they were more spaced out than that, I'd be in this exhausting work situation that I'm in now for much, much longer.

Don't know if that helps but that's how I'm looking at it. There are pros and cons to close together and longer age gaps though so I guess it's how it suits your individual needs.

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 19:57:57

gobbledigook, that's sort of my worry. is that how it feels if you space them: that you've seen the light and then have to re-enter the tunnel???

mytwopenceworth Sun 12-Jun-05 20:00:46

just over a year between mine and they fight like cat and dog at times, but love each other deeply and are best friends too! i am 3 years older than my sister and we played together when we were little, but by the time i was 11 i HATED having my little sister around (the baby!) and i was ruddy mean to her!! we didnt become mates again until she was about 16/17 and we went boozing together! now we are both married with kids and she is my best friend.

if you have them close together they wont go thru the X is a baby i dont want to have anything to do with him/her but they will fight more especially when they are young. if you have a big gap they wont really have a lot in common for the teenage years, but i am sure would become closer as adults. 2 boys or 2 girls would probably play and fight together, but what about one of each? how would a teenage girl and boy relate? dont think they would have much to do with each other!! certainly not in the families i know with one of each!

so basically, theres positive and negative all ways round and what works for one family wouldnt be right for another, and you and your dp are going to have to consider all the pros and cons and decide what you think is going to be best for your family!

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 20:02:47

if i got pregnant this summer, there would be a 2 1/2 - 3 year gap. i'm already too late to have them really close. does being older make it easier or harder on the first child to adjust?

Gobbledigook Sun 12-Jun-05 20:04:15

Sophable - I'm just thinking, if you leave a big gap things will get easier for a while but then if you had another baby suddenly it might become difficult to fit work in again so your 'progression' is fragmented. It depends what you are doing - perhaps this wouldn't matter - but for me, I couldn't have another one now because that would be another few yrs before I get that 9-3pm slot in which to work and as it is I've already got 4 more yrs of fitting work in small slots and it really is exhausting. I don't mind doing it because it means I can look after the children myself AND keep my hand in at work (and I know how lucky I am to be able to do that) but it's not a situation that could go on too much longer.

Titch1 Sun 12-Jun-05 20:13:30

Don't know if this is going to help, as my eldest is a dd, but here goes. I am a bit of a career girl, and enjoy my job. I had my ds when my dd was 3y 2m. She adjusted well, but don't know if adjustment is sometimes down to the child and not the age. I would have liked closer but it just never happened at that time. But I felt with a five year age gap you are talking 11 and 16 in teenage years and it seems huge, just starting secondary and just finishing!! But it works for some. I put my career on back burner for all that time then started again properly when ds was 18m

SenoraPostrophe Sun 12-Jun-05 20:15:03

it depends on what the career is to an extent, but I would have thought it was more important to do the last bit of training and first two years of working without a gap than it would be to do the course quickly.

advantages of having children close togather (mine are 20 months apart):

- you get the baby/super dependent stage over with.
- they may fight but they do play together, and you can take them to see the same films, buy toys to share etc (I'd say you can do that up to about 4 years apart, but not much more)
- you are less likely to have forgotten everything.

disadvantages:

- you get the baby stage over with
- it is hard work. However, IMO it is less ahrd work as they grow up as you don't have to spend so much time entertaining, teaching them to share etc.

I say sprog!

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 20:15:34

so i'm sort of getting that i should probably get on with it. (obviously that is in the context of being torn, you're not responsible for me going against something i want!)

WideWebWitch Sun 12-Jun-05 20:17:24

Sophable, if I could have my time again I wouldn't change the age gap between my children (diff partners, can't change that) but I so, so, wish I'd got back to paid work a LOT sooner - I was a SAHM for 5 years odd and it's still affecting my ability to get work, because there's this huge gap on my cv. I've had some interim work but at less money than I was earning 7 years ago, which I know is a sacrifice you make but it doens't half pee me off. So I'd say do both, get your career back on track and try for another.

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 20:17:39

SP you're right, how would it feel to just get training over with and then go back into newborn zone of no sleep and no life outside of sprog? but then i'm thinking, how easy is it going to be to go back if i leave it that long???? i think i can do it, but instead of a deferred place, i'd have to reapply i think.

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 20:19:47

hahaha www. i'm not sure i could do college and placements (we're talking at least two full days a week here) with a little baby? i know lots of people go back to full time work pretty soon after having sprogged but i'd like to give the next one the same as i did ds (ie be at home with them and breastfeed until a year at least ideally etc etc)....oh god, i'm getting more anxious about this...

Ladymuck Sun 12-Jun-05 20:29:27

Better to defer remainder of training than to do the training and then take mat leave I would say. At least your qualificaton will be seen as up-to-date when you qualify and do look for a job.

As to spacing your family - that's up to you. If you don't feel ready for a baby yet, then I'm not sure that I'd go for it. If you're absolutely sure that you want another one, then frankly every age gap has its pros and cons. Ds1 was 2y and 6w when ds2 arrived and he cannot remember life without ds2. Their sibling interaction continues to bring great joy as a mother (even though they do seem to spend a fair amount of time squabbling over toys!).

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 20:39:25

dh would rather put off having another one. but his default position (v male if you don't mind my grossly generalising again) is if you're happy in the boat, don't rock it cos something bad might happen! and unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view it'll be me doing the bulk of the childcare (he'd love to, but has good job and is breadwinner sooo...)

anchovies Sun 12-Jun-05 20:50:57

Sophable,

Found this thread really interesting as I am in a similar position. Was torn between starting a career as have just finished a PhD (got pg half way through) or having another. Have decided eventually that the benefits of having them close outweigh the negatives.

Ds is now 17 months and am currently ttc, have a feeling this is our month so will be looking at just over a 2 year age gap. Not too dissimilar to the one you'd have. I just feel like I want to put 100% into this bit and really enjoy it, then move onto the whole career thing once I have the time free.

Good luck in whatever you decide, as everyone has said, whichever age gap you end up with will have its pros and cons.

elastamum Sun 12-Jun-05 21:20:37

Hi Sophable,

I was a career girl when I had DS1 and then had DS2 22 months later. Having 2 babies close together completely derailed my career ( I got made redundant - long before family friendly policies arrived) but by the time DS2 was 2 I was fed up the the corporate slog combined with raising children anyway. I love having 2 boys close together, they are starting to be best friends and are a joy. I also am now self employed and so get the best of all worlds, interesting work as a consultant and time with my boys

expatinscotland Sun 12-Jun-05 21:23:05

Think I'd go for 'getting it out of the way'. I know I am. But I'm also 34 and don't have the same level of energy I had at 24 and so my decision is more motivated by the fact that I want to have kids whilst I have as much energy as possible for small ones.

I don't have a choice between having a career and being a SAHM, I am the sole earner in the family, so that's an easy 'decision'.

motherinferior Sun 12-Jun-05 21:26:26

I think if you want to take at least a year out, maybe do the baby thing now. But really, I think I agree with WWW.

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 21:34:26

i'm 33. so www and MI how would i do both???

if i conceived this summer i couldn't go back in january could i? i'd be about ready to pop!

just as an aside, i shouldn't be at all premenstrual, but my boobs are sooo painful atm....i shouldn't be, but if i was, i'd be quite pleased

if you add dh to the mix tho, probably best to wait, he is v worried about having another one, he found labour v difficult and is scared of next one (i'm not at all btw ) and loves ds and i think can't imagine loving another one as much (of course he will) and can't face going back to no sleep as we are both still pretty knackered and ds sleeps really well!

motherinferior Sun 12-Jun-05 21:39:58

You're right, you can't do both at once, can you.

Register to go back and have lots of unprotected sex in the meantime?

Heathcliffscathy Sun 12-Jun-05 21:45:49



do you konw what ladies. as i've posted i've realised that i actually do want to be pregnant again. but i'm scared. i'm scared i'll never get my sh*t together career wise. i do love what i do, and i really want to get on with it. altho i've loved being a mum, i do find it really hard a lot of the time (soooo related to your custard swimathon MI) and i'm scared of how hard it will be next time, knowing that i could have gone back but not doing so.

i'm scared of being overweight for the rest of my life. i'm scared of not supporting my dh in the way that he supports me. i'm scared that because it will be me that wanted this more, it will cause tension between us (we have strong relationship, but having ds1 has been hard on us, as it is).

but the thought of being preg fills me with excitement and joy. i had a great pregnancy last time (might not this time). also, i have probs with my mother and am scared of having a dd! and i have strong feeling it will be if i get preg again.

omigod what a rant. if i knew that it wasn't going to happen i would have feelings of genuine relief...i could just get on with life again, and enjoy my wonderful little boy and fab dh.

arghhhh

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