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SAHM - can't decide - would love to hear from others who have given up careers to SAHM

(90 Posts)
happyfeet2015 Wed 22-Jul-15 22:57:17

I have found a new job for when mat leave ends - it pays very well and will be 4 days a week with 1 day from home. However, as the time approaches, I am absolutely dreading leaving my little one - she will be 12 months by then. We have a potential nanny and a family who would like to share the nanny in a nanny share arrangement but, in reality, I just don't want to miss out on my little ones first steps and all the other lovely firsts she will do this coming year. some people have said the thought of returning to work is worse than actually returning.

I would love to hear from others as to what they think, particularly those who stayed at home.

Hoppinggreen Wed 22-Jul-15 23:17:11

I took 6 months mat leave and it turned into about 7 years. Don't regret it for a second, although I couldn't go back to my career because I was too experienced to go back at a junior level and had been off for too long to go back at a senior level. I ended up starting my own business using my existing skills and it's worked out brilliantly.
The time I had with my children was absolutely priceless and I feel very lucky to have had it.
It's not for everyone, I did miss my job and was mind numblingly bored at times but I'm very glad I did it.

theblairbitchproject Wed 22-Jul-15 23:20:22

No RL experience but there is no way I could be a SAHM. Id go out of my mind- i need lots of adult interaction and mental stimulation.

Id start the job and see how it goes. You can always quit.

Ragwort Wed 22-Jul-15 23:22:55

Be realistic about your future - I was a SAHM for years, loved it, had lots of interesting hobbies and voluntary work as well as being with my child - but circumstances change and trying to get back into the job market after a long (12 years in my case) break is very, very difficult.

NewsreaderChic Wed 22-Jul-15 23:28:28

I agree with Ragwort, I think I'd make a different choice if I could have my time over again. I'm now 45 and can only get minimum wage jobs if I'm lucky whereas I once had an amazing career. In five years time my youngest will be about to go to Uni (hopefully) and who and what will I be?Four days a week is a great option.

Glitoris Wed 22-Jul-15 23:34:53

Try it and really won't know for sure until you have tried both.Give it a 3 month trial and re-access then.

I really wouldn't advise any woman to completely give up work...what will you do when the child/children are raised enough for you to decide to go back?Because it will be a hard uphill slog if you do,after any significant break.

ChilliCrouton Wed 22-Jul-15 23:36:19

I gave up paid work and haven't regretted it for a second, I've loved the combination of baby groups, time with other mums, and time just enjoying life with the dcs. I've seen all their 'firsts' and all their tantrums, but I've genuinely been glad to be the one with them even on the bad days. The pre-school years are over in a blink of an eye, i cannot imagine ever being in a position where i regret spending those influential years with the children. In two years the youngest will be at school and I feel like the world is my oyster, so many people seem to career change after children and apparently I'm going to be one of those people! No idea it will look like though!

Ragwort Wed 22-Jul-15 23:36:49

Exactly News - I look back on my career - professional job, huge responsibilities, company car, great benefits etc etc - and now I earn barely more than minimum wage. It's not much fun. sad. Many of my ex colleagues can now afford to retire ........... whilst I am working harder than I have ever done in my life, for the least money.

AvaCrowder Wed 22-Jul-15 23:37:34

Well done to you for getting a job whilst on ml.

I left my job about five years ago, but my three dc are much older, to move overseas. I don't regret that I worked when they were babies at all, I like having the time to pursue my own interests now, and spend time with my dc now that they are older.

Sometimes I regret leaving my job, what we have done is better for the dc, but for me personally I couldn't get that job again and that makes me a bit sad.

I would advise trying work, you get lunch breaks etc., if you don't like it and can afford it stop then.

Whatever you do, make the best of it. There are always advantages to be found.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 22-Jul-15 23:46:25


Take the job.
Seriously, unless you feel so strongly about being a sahm the financial security is more beneficial.

I gave up my career, business, which I truly loved and lived for.
It wasn't a child friendly career and business at all and I could have had a nanny and still be going now, and be very rich.
The moment ds1 was born I knew that it wasn't what I wanted and being a sahm was for me.
This was about 24 years ago now and definitely have no regrets, love my life and feel fulfilled.
However, I read threads on here and realise that had we not been so lucky we would be royally screwed now.
Because of of own circumstances I would be fine if the unexpected happened now, but it has taken us a lifetime to get here.
I think it's good luck, good management, and your personality that determines if it will work for you.

Mrscog Wed 22-Jul-15 23:53:43

Give it a trial for a few months. I loved every minute of 0-14 months and considered dropping hours and/or being a sahm. I found 14-30 months the hardest slog of my life - the toddler stage was not for me and work kept me sane and preserved my relationship with my DS and DH as I got a break from it all.

cantbelieveimonhere Thu 23-Jul-15 00:02:59

and who and what will I be?

IMO that is an insult to all SAHP will be a Mum (amongst many other things) and THERE IS WORTH AND VALUE IN THAT!!!

Want2bSupermum Thu 23-Jul-15 00:06:33

Take the job. Currently out on sabbatical so get to see both sides. Love having my own income and decided to go back to work after 3 weeks into my sabbatical. I had decided to leave but when I handed in my notice my employer offered the sabbatical option.

IME, working with 1 child is quite easy, it's a bit harder with 2 and a real challenge with 3 or more.

Luckyfellow Thu 23-Jul-15 00:07:12

I would rather regret the loss of my previous career than regret having missed the day to day life of my DC.

I will retrain if I have to. There will be in plenty of time for work.

Clayhanger Thu 23-Jul-15 00:14:54

You won't miss out on the big things. (DC have very different views on the big things, and they're usually around routines rather than moments, if that's what's bothering you). Go for a job that will give you financial independence and an identity outside the home and check our the relationships board. Don't be financially dependent on anyone of you can help it- there are too many tales of woe on this.

I saw my older dd 's first steps. My dm saw dd2's first steps. It doesn't matter- what matters is the long-term relationship you have with your dc. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Raasay Thu 23-Jul-15 00:18:52

I was a SAHM while my DC were little and absolutely loved it.

Once they were settled in school I went back to work though.

I don't regret either my decision to give up or to go back full time (although I've had serious criticism for both decisions - sometimes from the same person!)

My career did take a hit in terms of promotion prospects so I had to let go my dreams of moving further up the ladder as I missed my 'slot' so to speak.

On the other hand I came back with an unblemished reputation (no time off for sick babies etc) and walked straight back into a very well paid job that I love so I have no reason to complain.

There are pros and cons to either decision really, you just have to decide where your priorities lie as a family.

Our decision has worked out well for us but it was a gamble.

byhec Thu 23-Jul-15 00:28:08

I gave up my job to become a sahm 5 years ago. I love it, time flies by so quickly and it's great to be able to watch them grow, change and develop. I don't miss working atall.

gadzooksishouldbeinbed Thu 23-Jul-15 01:31:28

Don't assume that the baby and preschool years are the main ones. It's hard to imagine anything beyond those years now, but older children and teenagers can need you around just as much. There aren't the same holiday club choices for secondary school age children but leaving them home alone for 10 hours a day isn't always easy or possible either. So try to plan for that too, don't just assume that it's all about the baby years and later on it'll be easier to go back full time and you can make up for the career break that way.

Nothing to do with babies, but I'm currently seeing how horrendous life in a nursing home can be and the pressure it puts on family. That's made me terrified of having no pension or a rubbish one, and I wasn't a SAHM, but I did go part time and take my eye off the ball a bit financially, which I regret.

I have to say too that I'm glad I didn't become a SAHM because I've seen other people struggling to get back into work now our kids are all a bit older, with very low-paid unfulfilling school hours jobs. OTOH I was lucky to get some of the good things of a SAHM life without having actually to do it - had I not been able to do that without stopping work, I would have given it serious thought.

So I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but I do think that whatever option you go for you need to be a bit tough, and you need to keep making plans and being ready for anything.

PoundingTheStreets Thu 23-Jul-15 01:38:08

I think the role of SAHP is hugely undervalued in this country. A child has to be cared for and what is more natural than being cared for by a parent? It's bonkers really that we force mothers back to work so that they can pay someone else to care for their child when they may actually prefer to do that themselves.

However, unless you have taken legal and financial steps to cement your security in the event of your partner's death/illness/divorce, I'd always recommend a parent to return to work as soon as they can after having children.

Society has a long way to go before it catches up with what's best for families rather than what's best for profit.

NickyEds Thu 23-Jul-15 02:58:08

I think you should take the job, although 4 days a week will be tough. As others have said you can always leave if it's intolerable. I'm a SAHM to ds, 19 months and dd, 5 days old. I have no plans to go back to work any time soon-definitely not until they're in school. We made the decision in part because we could afford it and I really wanted it but also because we knew we wanted two quite close together so my overall time out will be a bit less IYSWIM.
I've loved being at home with ds so far but at times it's been odd watching my friends return to work. Most found it hard at first but that it got better quickly. Only one really wants to leave and most find part time a good balance.

cantbelieveimonhere Thu 23-Jul-15 07:48:12

I agree with poundingthestreets. We have Tony Blair's labour government to thank for that; he sold the myth to the masses that the only way to contribute to society was financially

Most mums I know who went back part time look stressed all the time; thinking about work when at home and vice versa.

Strawberrybubblegum Thu 23-Jul-15 09:17:38

I went back 3 days a week after ML. I hated the thought of leaving DD, and the first couple of weeks were absolutely awful. DD hated being left, I missed her a LOT, and I just felt I was in the wrong place. I would be literally counting down the hours until I could go home, and then driving home too fast and running in the door to her.

But after a few months it got better and now - 1.5 years later - I'm very, very glad I went back. I think that I parent DD better than I would if I was a SAHM, because I come back to parenting refreshed after each working day, and I'm always keen to be with her and full of enthusiasm. By the end of my chunk of non-working days, I'm often a bit lower on patience grin. With working only 3 days a week, it doesn't feel like I'm missing out.

Is there any possibility you might be able to reduce down to 4 days a week, rather than have that day at home? If you're considering not taking the job, then you have nothing to lose by asking.

I'm sure you've already realised that you won't be able to work from home and look after your DD at the same time! grin

I'd say the same as pp have said that it's worth at least giving the job a go. You can always change your mind and quit, but if you don't start it then you don't get that option back.

Btw, I think doing a nanny share is the best of all worlds for childcare - it's fantastic you've managed to organise that.

Strawberrybubblegum Thu 23-Jul-15 09:47:06

Ah, re-reading your OP - do you mean you have 3 days in the office plus one day working from home? That sounds perfect!

BigFoxLittleFox Thu 23-Jul-15 09:58:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

happyfeet2015 Thu 23-Jul-15 22:35:08

Thanks everyone.
I have 3 days in the office and one day from home so it it is not too bad at all. I think I will give it a try and see how it goes. It is comforting to hear that others also dreaded handing their little ones over to someone else. I don't think I will go back to work after second baby as most of my salary would otherwise be going on childcare but that is for the future. I will keep you posted as to how it goes.

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