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Giving up job to be SAHM, come back to bite me(49 Posts)
I gave up my job many years ago (DS 17 DD 14) to be SAHM. Loved job in music biz but no flexible working in those days and would have worked late having a lovely time going to gigs etc...sadly doesn't work with babies. Also DH was earning less but needed an opportunity to grow his career. Kids appreciated it when they were younger though DH still thought that he was the only one doing all the work as he had a 9-5, & screaming babies was easy peasy. Since they are teenagers both DH, DS & DD often say "you don't do anything" (wonder where they got that message from ?)...well...red rag to a cow ...I work as a volunteer in a charity (for over 6 years now), sort out DIY , builders etc.. at home, am a reluctant house keeper, manage holiday let and navigate school issues & commitments, organise holidays, leisure activities, the latter just to have a sense of self ! You get the picture. But it is coming back to bite me because apart from holiday let, I don't earn money so I am told "I don't do anything". Well blow me down, i thought I did. DH thinks that going to work every day, ie going to an office & getting paid is near enough the only thing that a DH should do, (he is Italian) . Also I have brought in family money to the table (& alongside that the family sword of Damocles hanging over my head which I also have to manage) so from that perspective he is not the only one who contributes financially.
Suggestions on how to feel a tad more recognised....Grrr.
Down tools. Then they will see how 'little' you really do.....
Stop bringing the reluctant house keeper and see what happens. It may well be time for you to protect your pension and start doing paid employment.
Your post should be cut and pasted and put on every thread where a mum is thinking of becoming a sahm.
and on posters in every town
The feminine mystique is alive and kicking in the 21st century!
Yes have considered this,but the way I see it, what I do is like a thousand small pieces in a big puzzle. Would that even be noticed (perhaps eventually)? Or would they just spend more time on their computers or even go outside ?
At their age they should be able to manage the house. Just out of curiosity why didn't you return to work?
They're at an age now where you could do your own thing.
Stop doing the things they would notice - cooking, washing, taxi duties etc!
Get them to do more. Explain to them that you enable your family to enjoy the benefits of a carefully run home because you are there to do it. Say if they feel you don't do anything they are more than welcome to "do" your job for a while and see how they like it.
In your position, I would start looking for a job. Perhaps related to your voluntary work. Then divvy up the family/home work you do between yourself, dh and dc. That'll learn 'em.
Returning the work in the music biz when you have had kids (you are then considered old & out of touch ), & you are a woman, nigh on impossible especially as then there was no option for flexible working (and people are lining up to take your job). Also relatively low paid in terms of London and child care cost especially when school holidays kick in. I retrained as a counsellor and have been working as such for a mental health charity for 6 years, so I do a professional job it is just that that it isn't paid. Seeing clients privately at home with kids about, is a no no for me. Being a volunteer in wider society doesn't unfortunately have the status or validation that being paid does, eg often have to fill out forms that ask if I am in "paid employment" assuming, if not, I am not employed .
Re divvying it up...I wish and I try. i think they would rather melt into their beds. They would cobble together food no doubt & eventually notice they have no more clothes so might act on that but acting as a team...when I have tried, "I have exams", "I go to school", I go to work"... with this, it is often 3 against 1 . Shared responsibility, basically, it doesn't suit them.
I think it might be helpful if you stopped being the person you no longer want to be.
You don't need childcare anymore, you have retrained as a counsellor which means you can now have your time. Step away from the house and find something that makes you happy. Clearly, your family believe you should be doing "something" then do it. They won't fall apart and will learn valuable life lessons.
I am coming at this from the eyes of a working parent. My DC have always had chores and been expected to work together. Oldest is at uni now and the life lessons she has learnt are invaluable.
I think it's now your time
Agree with pinkbraces but from the perspective of a SAHM. I hate those forms too!!!!
Stop looking to your family or society (from your voluntary role) for validation of your worth. I would equally say to those in paid employment stop looking to the size of your pay packet for validation.
Stop filling your time and take some space to reflect. Delegate or stop doing all the things you don't enjoy or which are not valued sufficiently to give you satisfaction. Nothing quite like the validation of being able to say you don't need to work and becoming commensurately expensive.
If you have time and financial resources to do exactly what you like then work out what that is and get on with it.
For me this might involve taking myself to gigs, festivals, concerts, art galleries etc. I might get my playing skills back up to speed and look at joining an orchestra or starting a band. I might try some composing. My dd is having great fun messing about with composing software at the moment. I might mess about a bit more with my youtube channel for an audience and feedback.
If your interests lie more in mental health now then have you considered furthering qualifications and research?
Also have you considered projects combining music and mental health. I know of several in my area.
Could you look at volunteering for the Samaritans, then you'll be out more in the evening and therefore legitimately not available to be a taxi or washer-upper for the family? Also start looking for paid work in this field, with the amount of experience you have.
Pinkbraces, you are right that are invaluable life lessons to be learnt by stepping out and aside. I guess it has become entrenched as it has been so long & there are many assumptions (subtle and not).
There is of course a control aspect for me to let go of, as I would find it hard to stand by & watch them miss opportunities eg yesterday signing DS up to a couple of uni open days. He plans to go to uni so it makes sense to visit a few, would that happen without me in the background being the nag to remind that this is a good idea ?.
I certainly feel I am doing "something" now, the many small pieces in a puzzle. Yes I know they won't fall apart but the weight of expectation is heavy. Hard to push through & forge your own path with a sense of feeling carefree. The shackles of expectation.
What's stopping you from being in paid employment? I can understand why volunteering would annoy the family tbh, it seems very self indulgent.
Howabout...agree with you and tonight i am going to see a drag act in West End with a friend. Outrage and laughs, just what I need.
What do you want from your life?
If it is to continue to not earn money then that's fine - but your DH is allowed to have a say in that, you know? While I don't appreciate his tactics one little bit, your children are more or less grown. Do you intend to not earn money (note I don't say 'work', because clearly you do 'work') for the rest of your adult life? Because he does have a say in that.
It actually sounds to me like you are both taking each other for granted. You are taking for granted that the bacon will be brought home, he is taking for granted that you will cook it and wash up afterwards.
You need to break out of the snippy cycle and start talking about what you want for each other and your marriage in this next phase of your life. Harking back to decisions that were made years ago - it's not helpful. You made what you thought was the right decision then, but now it's time to renegotiate the future.
You sound so very weary. Throw off those shackles it will be incredibly liberating.
If you really do believe your DS wouldn't sign himself up re the Uni days then I think you have a bigger issue. Once your DC reach 6th form instilling independence and the desire to forge ahead is as important as potty training when they were toddlers. Be there to help and advise but not to do it all.
You will be amazed how much your DC can do if you let them. Once they get to Uni they have to be able to do so much on their own, which means the more they learn at home makes the transition so much easier.
Be careful not to push too much for uni. One of my nephews has just dropped out of uni for the second time, and I suspect part of the reason is that his heart wasn't in it. His parents did all the leg work for his applications and so on - he would have been a lot better off if he'd had to put the graft in (or not) himself.
Yours is a salutary tale in why no-one should agree to leave paid work unless their spouse is on board with the value of the contribution that they will be making. Your children have obviously picked up a very poor attitude from him ('I go to school' as a reason not to do chores - WTF).
The shackles of expectation are all your own. They're all old enough to fend for themselves. Forget about expectation - what do you want to do?
Cough, splutter... Poppy Blossom, I see GP referred clients, the charity is funded by CCG and if there weren't the 70 volunteers there then the local hopsital's mental health waiting lists would be a lot longer. We offer free counselling and there simply isn't the money to pay us. I started there as a trainee and liked the agency so have carried on working there. They certainly value that, but wider society it seems doesn't.
I am pretty similar except 2 of ours are grown up.
I too would down tools for a while and have done on occasion, they soon get the message.
I agree about the shackles and being a sahm doesn't mean this is inevitable.
look at what you want to do and how you can achieve this.
For me it wasn't gaining employment as I like to be able to come and go as i please without being answerable to an outside agency.
If you enjoy your freedom being a sahm then it's the family you need to work on, not getting a job.
If you want to become employed then you have skills that would be useful to an employer and your family will just have to cope, it will do them good.
When my DH accused me of doing nothing I wrote him a bullet-pointed list of all the things I do and told him he could roll it up and stick it where the sun don't shine, if he liked
Your DH appears to think that contributing to the family = bringing in money and tbh, I don't really see why you couldn't work part-time now that your DC are teenagers. However, if you feel that doing this would have a really negative impact on the family and the tasks you already manage to fill your days with, inc. the holiday rental, speak up! I don't see why all your contributions should go unnoticed, simply because you don't put on a suit and go and sit in an office all day. But if you do want to go back to paid work get those lazy teenagers to start pulling their weight around the house. When they realise all that you've done for them over the past 17 years they might just be a bit more grateful (but don't hold your breath - they are teenagers after all).
Sometimes, the charity stepping up to the role means governments can turn a blind eye and feel satisfied that it will be taken care of.
I appreciate you find it fulfilling, but you have issues at home yourself. It's time you had a sit down to express yourself, and also for your husband to have an opportunity to do the same. Your family are telling you they don't appreciate what you put into the family, for what you take out. It's all very well and good doing the free counselling and being a beacon in the community, but money makes the world go round.
I sympathise, in that set up I would work full time, and expect ALL DH/DC to chip in equally with shopping/cooking/washing/all the boring shit.
Part time jobs are not easy to find and you still have to all the shit jobs anyway.
Fulltime better IMO. They might not like it though. But you might. Always worth a try.
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