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Stay at home mum OR return to work?!

(36 Posts)
FraggleRock77 Mon 08-Dec-14 16:22:55

We have one DS who is just one and I'm due to return to work in March. Luckily i don't have to go back if i don't want too. My job is very demanding, I'm a SW. I'm coming up to 38 and due to many reasons we may not be able to have another child (but we are trying). When i first became a new mum i really struggled with loosing my identity etc but now DS is so much fun and I'm torn. My job can be reduced to part time but i know it will be hellish! Will DS benefit from nursery? I worry about his development being stuck with me at home (although attending a lot of groups during the week). Experience needed please? X

Finola1step Mon 08-Dec-14 16:27:49

The two questions you need to ask yourself are:

1. Do you financially need to go back to work?
2. Do you want to go back?

If the answer is "no" to both of these, don't go back. But only if your OH is completely ok with being the sole wage earner and all the responsibility that brings.

Also, as a SW, there must be other avenues open to you where you can still work in the community, but with less pressure. When the time is right.

FaFoutis Mon 08-Dec-14 16:31:17

SWers I know have gone into teaching SW and counselling to make it fit lives with small children better.

Think long term as well as short tem when you decide.

FoxSticks Mon 08-Dec-14 16:41:11

I'm a SAHM to a 3 year old and 8 week old. I second what Fa says about think ahead, they are great fun at one, not so much during the terrible twos and when a threenager confused

I love my two but with hindsight wish I had gone back part time so there was more to me than being mum. It's different for everyone though, we have no spare cash so I can't partake in hobbies that cost, or a gym membership etc. I know some people are very fulfilled as SAHMs but there is a small part of me that wants more me time.

FoxSticks Mon 08-Dec-14 16:44:49

In terms of development we get out to groups everyday so that has never worried me. My dd is very independent and will happily be left with other people so me being with her hasn't made her clingy. Interestingly out of our nct group, the two SAHMs have failed to potty train our two whereas the ft and or working mum's had theirs out of nappies ages ago. Not sure if that's a coincidence or not?

Cadenza1818 Mon 08-Dec-14 18:32:45

Hi I had 3 under 3 and I'd decided when I got married that I'd be a sahm so went self employed 2years before getting pregnant. I viewed it as a career choice if you like and view it as a distinct part of my life. I may retrain later. Who knows! I love it but I would say that leaving office life took about a year to get used to and there were many tears. Now the last one is approaching school and I think it's the best decision I've made. Good luck!

FraggleRock77 Mon 08-Dec-14 19:43:37

Thank you. I think part of me feels a bit sad about leaving a career that i loved/slaved over! Good point about re-training though. I have been looking at doing a teaching degree next. I know people frequently manage children and stressful jobs but I've kind of lost my passion for dealing with so much stress. I think i never saw myself a SAHM but i suppose things change.
I think a short term break will fit. Have other people made big career changes after children? smile

Finola1step Mon 08-Dec-14 20:27:23

As a teacher myself with a young family, teacher training is not your friend. Not in this current climate.

Daveface Mon 08-Dec-14 20:39:37

Can you move fields? Stay professionally qualified but in a less stressful team/role but keep up the requirements you need to stay registered?

avocadogreen Mon 08-Dec-14 20:46:35

I became a SAHM... then my exH left me and I became a jobless single parent. I have a job I love now but it's been tough... I would always recommend keeping your hand in at work somehow, even if it involves changing jobs or reducing your hours <voice of bitter experience>

FraggleRock77 Mon 08-Dec-14 20:51:22

All good info. Is teaching really that bad?! I was thinking about re-training to go into teaching adults smile

tinkytot Mon 08-Dec-14 20:53:01


I felt the need to reply as a SAHM and a former SW. I gave up work after my eldest was born ten years ago and have not returned. I have gone on to have another child, now six, and have done further training to keep my registration up (counselling & social care assessing).

I do miss the work, although I suspect it is slightly rose tinted as it has been a while!

It is difficult to say what you should do.

I decided that the career could wait but my children could not and
I feel they have benefitted from me being around all the time. We have no family near by and I was not happy to use formal childcare expect the set hours provided for free from the government.

Sometimes I have felt like I have had to 'justify' my position, other times
I have seen how wonderful it has been for me and my kids. Both were potty trained when they were eighteen months old by the way (although why that is relevant I am not Sure!).

This arrangement had worked well for me and my family but it is not for everyone. I am still a very well trained and educated person but I do feel
I have lost my career and identity sometimes.

I hope this thread does not become a bun fight about SAHM and working parents. I understand you quandary good luck! X

FoxSticks Mon 08-Dec-14 22:49:19

The potty training was just an off the cuff observation on my part, probably because I'm slightly obsessed with it at the moment! It wasn't meant to hold any great significance, apologies for not making that clear.

FaFoutis Tue 09-Dec-14 08:00:12

You can teach adults at degree level without a teacher training qualification. Your social work qualifications & experience are what counts there.

Imeg Tue 09-Dec-14 08:52:44

I don't know anything about SW specifically but in my field the lifelong learning teacher training (for post 16 age group, including adults) is usually done on the job, which is very hard as you are working as well as studying. You could look into the PTLLS qualification to get a flavour of teacher training if you are seriously interested? This isn't as big a commitment as a full teacher training course and you don't have to have a teaching job already. Most FE colleges run it I think.
I would check with someone specifically in your field though to check this would be relevant to you.

Griffomais Tue 09-Dec-14 19:12:46

I've just gone back to work after 14 months Mat leave (part time 2 days per week). Really wish I hadnt decided to return - absolutely hate it as I no longer care about my job my whole perspective has changed. I feel my place is at home now. Just my personal opinion everyone us different.

Hoggle246 Tue 09-Dec-14 19:21:39

Hi fraggle I've ended up being a SAHM to ds who is almost 1. Couldn't go back to previous job as long commute and not possible part time. It was a sad decision but def the right one. I'm not saying I'm finding it a bed of roses being home all the time - esp as dh is out the house 7-7 so it really is just me. But for me personally I didn't want to only see ds for max an hour a day and the commute, 1.5 hours each way, made me nervous in terms of being that far away every day. Dh has the same commute so no parent would be nearby. My job was also very stressful, as yours sounds, and I couldn't picture myself being happy juggling full on job and full on baby. I think it's the right decision but as he gets a bit older I will def find a local part time job as I do struggle with the concept of not going to work. And I agree with other posters that you need your own identity.
Ds will be going to nursery two mornings a week next year so I'm going to see how that goes and take the part time job search from there.
I know it's a cliche but one of the ways I made a decision is thinking that you will never get this time with dc back but you will almost definitely find another job.

apotatoprintinapeartree Tue 09-Dec-14 19:23:08

hello OP, I think you need to look long term.

For reasons I don't want to go into here, I knew from giving birth I would be a sahm, there was no doubt in my mind.
It has been the best decision and I have loved every minute of it. My eldest, has left home now and youngest is 10. For 23 years I have been a sahm

If you take your identity from your work it can be hard to be a sahp and this is why so many people can't cope with it. They need to be identified by the job they do outside the home.
If you enjoy pursuing your own interests, being in control of your own time, not having to do things for an employer, doing exactly what you want to, well it may be for you.

apotatoprintinapeartree Tue 09-Dec-14 19:31:41


I have just seen your teacher post.
This is what I did, a full year ft PgCE which included 3 units at masters level.
I did the training year with placement, and left pretty much straight away into the first year I qualified.
It isn't really teaching anymore, its more admin tbh. Stress, paperwork, and not much pay as most are hourly on student contact, now.

ChampagneAndCrisps Tue 09-Dec-14 19:32:09

I gave up work to be SAHM nearly 12 years ago. I was a Professional. I love being a SAHM.
I think I'd go back to work if I got a decent amount of holidays, not just 5/6 weeks. The kids get an unbelievable number of weeks of school, and that would be difficult to cope with if I worked.
I think I'd also struggle with a boss telling me what to do.

If you think you'll ulimately go back to work then I would keep going part-time - so that you don't get out of the way of it. But if you don't think you'll work again I would enjoy being a SAHM.

I think it's a privilege these days, and even though teenagers aren't as cute as toddlers they do need you to be around.

FraggleRock77 Tue 09-Dec-14 19:53:26

Thank you for all the feedback/experience. I'm still undecided but a plan is forming. I know teaching isn't a bed of roses either but it appears more flexible than SW, so i plan to pursue another part time role after taking some time as a SAHM. smile

GnomeDePlume Tue 09-Dec-14 20:51:26

A bit out of left field but do you have other skills? Could you train for another trade? When my DH wanted to go back to work after many years as a SAHP he retrained as an electrician. Unfortunately straight into the teeth of a housing collapse but that is a different problem.

husbanddoestheironing Tue 09-Dec-14 21:01:17

Are you near an HE establishment that offers a social work qualification or similar? You may be able to get some hourly paid teaching/mentoring due to your professional experience and possibly expand that into a full or part-time role. Training for this is low key and can be done whilst actually teaching. You don't get the long holidays like a school teacher but the busy periods tend to match school term times and it can be more flexible about taking leave (school teachers aren't usually allowed to at all in term-time)

Strawberrybubblegum Tue 09-Dec-14 21:38:47

Griffo, if you've only just gone back then hold in there - it will get better. I found it really hard at first too - and like you, I felt that I was in the wrong place whenever I was at work. There were lots of tears and questioning myself about my decision. A few months in, and it started to feel more normal. Now a year later, I'm really happy I went back. DD gets a lot from her childcare, I feel like 'me' again, and my time with DD always feels fresh, and a joy. Part time is fantastic - I do 3 days a week at work. It might seem counter intuitive, but could you try out increasing to 3 days? I find that on weeks when I have a day off, I struggle to engage so much at work: 3 days feels like a shortened week, but 2 somehow feels like you're not really part of the team.

waterrat Wed 10-Dec-14 11:19:14

I would agree with others who say that while you may not want to work now, things really do change - and if you have the option of part time I would seroiusly consider it.

I would not want to work full time personally - but a toddler is such a different proposition to a one year old - honestly, I have a 2.8 year old and a baby and I know that the childminder is such a haven for my son - he loves it so much, has great friends there, learns so much - and I can tell that he finds playgroups etc with me a bit dull! He loves being with me, I know that - but playgroups tend to be children he doesn't really know competing for toys !

Whereas nursery or childminder is a group of real friends and it's so stimulating and fun for them.

Toddlers are EXHAUSTING. You may find that once your child is older you really appreciate work a lot more.

It's up to you - but I would be wary of turning down part time work if you can have it

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