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SAH parenting as a way to shove work

(280 Posts)
BloodyDisgrace Thu 09-Aug-18 10:22:45

In no way I want to offend anyone, this is just one of those questions one has but is afraid to ask.

Has anyone had the MAIN motivation for having another child to prolong time off work, or to pack it in for good? Or SAHP is just what works in your circumstances and you didn't hate working at all?

What is paid work for you: something essential and developing, or a pain you endure for financial reasons?

If you're a SAHP - what's your partner's take on it? Does he resent it? Does it imbalance the relationship or not? Does he make you feel you're financially dependant? Ever had negative comments from anyone (friends, family members) about not working?

Thank you.

Trinity66 Thu 09-Aug-18 10:26:47

I don't love working but I couldn't be a SAHP fulltime, I don't like the feeling of not being financially independent, for my own sanity I always need to know that if anything happened I'd be able to look after myself and my kids on my own if I had to. I did work part time when my youngest was born until he started school but I went back to fulltime after that.

MrSpock Thu 09-Aug-18 10:28:35

I’m giving up soon and one of the reasons is work exhausts me, whether I’ve got kids or not. It just emotionally drains me and sucks the soul out of me.

I’m going on mat leave in a few months and I doubt I’ll go back.

My partner is fine with it. He prefers one of us being a SAHP and he likes a career so he’s glad I want to do it.

As for imbalances, ours is slightly different because I was the wealthier partner pre marriage, so I paid for a lot of our furniture and bills originally, and my parents have helped us a lot, so it doesn’t feel unbalanced because I was the party who helped us get set up. That’s not everyone’s circumstances though.

I’ve only had positive comments! My mum says she can’t wait until I either give up or go very part time (I’ve just reduced my hours)!

mummabearfoyrbabybears Thu 09-Aug-18 10:34:28

I'm a SAHP. Oldest is 20, youngest 6. Four children in total. I've never really worked. Married young, husband was in the army (still works abroad 9-10 months of the year). Army moved us to Germany as newlyweds. No chance to work really. Had a baby and being a SAHM was really all I ever wanted anyway. We find that it works for us. I'm the stable person, always here when the children are poorly or husband comes home from tour. It hard on the children having daddy home then gone for months at a time. We'd see so little of each other if I worked our marriage would be non existent. We're all very happy and I don't really ever think about working.

BloodyDisgrace Thu 09-Aug-18 10:43:34

Trinity66 - thank you. I think yours is the prevalent approach, probably the safest one as well.

I'm not a mother, so I appreciate the insight from others. I worked FT in the civil service for 17 years on a small salary; last few years in managerial capacity (average London wage) got me signed off for work stress a few times.
I think even in double income-no kids relationships some men will make you feel dependant if they earn more. When you find the one who doesn't, he is a real treasure. I'm a housewife now with small regular income from renting a house. I don't see my very privileged lifestyle as pure leisure and I do all cooking/housework - however it is still a very very part-time job.

MrSpock - I saw your other post. I'm glad it's working out for you, good luck. Really good to know you managed a way out.

mummabearfoyrbabybears - same, good to know you are appreciated in your family.

MrSpock Thu 09-Aug-18 10:44:58

Thank you! Yes I’ve managed to secure some hours that suit much more for now and will be looking st giving up completely afterwards. I hope you too find a solution!

Racecardriver Thu 09-Aug-18 10:47:53

I have zero interest in working but SAHP was purely a finacial decision. I would never have extra children to avoid going to work (tbh I have only ever heard of one person to do this. Her husband was not happy, she tampered with contraception apparently).

Trinity66 Thu 09-Aug-18 10:51:03

I think even in double income-no kids relationships some men will make you feel dependent if they earn more. When you find the one who doesn't, he is a real treasure

The way I feel has nothing to do with my DH by the way, it's just the way I've felt since I was 17 years old. My DH is fantastic and would never make me feel dependent or bad if I had wanted to be a SAHP No one makes me feel anything, it's just the way I've always felt and I'm happy feeling that way. I don't judge anyone for thinking differently to me but by the same token I'd appreciate that in return, my DH is a legend and would do anything for me

BlaaBlaaBlaa Thu 09-Aug-18 10:52:55

I love working and love my job. I would never give it up to become a SAHP. Firstly, it would bore me senseless ( I did not enjoy mat leave) and secondly, taking a career break would have a negative impact that I would probably not be able to recover from.
I really worry about women who are convinced they will be able to jump back into a successful, well paid career after a break of years.... It's not that easy

adsilton Thu 09-Aug-18 10:55:54

I work for myself so SAHP just fell on me naturally - at this point down the line (3 years, 2 kids) I am desperate for time to work, but money just makes it really hard. I'd need to earn enough to cover the costs of childcare, and I can't guarantee to do that. I love the kids and I'm glad of the time to spent with them and look after them - in fact, often I'm very happy to be looking after them and not working. But I really miss my work and being able to live my own life.

It's not easier looking after very young kids than working - sometimes it's much harder, and equally relentless. I guess it's just not as long term, maybe, so perhaps psychologically easier? I think the only people who see looking after 2 toddlers as a way to slack off 'real work' are probaby the ones who haven't done it.

adsilton Thu 09-Aug-18 10:59:06

and reading a bit more of your original post (which I think is a really interesting question, and one that deserves more talking about) - I think I'm lucky to be very appreciated by my partner (I do work bloody hard to keep house and keep kids), and people tend to be much more smypathetic than condeming when I say I'm 'just looking after the kids' full time these days, and don't find enough time to work. Maybe I'm just lucky to know nice people!

BloodyDisgrace Thu 09-Aug-18 11:03:16

BlaaBlaaBlaa : "I really worry about women who are convinced they will be able to jump back into a successful, well paid career after a break of years.... It's not that easy" - I do too. Even part-timers (because mothers) in my work struggled with getting a promotion, or even getting a measly bonus because they have less time to do extra to impress the managers. I think employers need to be far more family friendly.

Trinity66: "No one makes me feel anything, it's just the way I've always felt and I'm happy feeling that way." - That's an admirable approach! Especially in the days when everyone says they feel pressure, "made to feel" etc. I should have said "some men attempt to make you feel certain way, but I always thought in response "this is just your opinion, but I have mine and will go with that". When my 1st husband left me, he said "you need a carer, not a husband" and I thought "that's rather unkind, I'm not that bad"

LlamaPyjamas Thu 09-Aug-18 11:07:48

One of the things I enjoyed most about having my first child was the excuse not to go back to work. I was poorly paid and taken advantage of with no opportunities for progression. I had to put up with it because any job was better than none, and I used to cry because I felt forced into a position where I was being ripped off and had no way to escape.

Now I stay at home, the work I do is important and valuable and I have some self esteem again. We scrape by on DH’s salary and my NI is paid through the child benefit scheme for 12 years (not that I expect to SAH that long). I’m planning to start a business of some kind when DS is no longer bf and is able to sit and play independently with a babysitter for a few hours.

Our relationship doesn’t feel unbalanced and being financially dependent doesn’t bother me. My work at home is what enables DH to do paid work. I do find that I feel reluctant to spend money on myself though, because it isn’t “mine”. And I know that my inlaws are annoyed about me SAH, especially because DH sister went back to work (they don’t consider that her situation is different because she has a decent career and earns 4x my min wage salary so easily has money left over after paying childcare). If people ask what I do I’m ashamed to say I SAH and I always just say what I did in my previous job.

prunemerealgood Thu 09-Aug-18 11:09:34

I've done my fair share of SAHP and work (with and without kids) and I found myself thinking wistfully the other day that the days of being a SAHP were great...however, it's rose-tinted glasses.

For me, my partner's income being the family income was no issue as he was just grateful that he could focus on his career at the time and since I've gone back to work has done everything he can to facilitate my career development. That side of things isn't always equal to female oppression, however un-feminist it seems. Partners who make you feel dependent are bad 'uns.

But I did find something about SAHP extremely stressful. I think basically that we are programmed to feel an amount of stress, and if it's work stress then so be it, but take work away and something else will fill the gap (unless you get specific help). I only found my focus sometimes, when I was doing bits of self-driven training for my future job.

I really think for me the saviour of SAHP was doing this quiet, self-directed training, picking up skills I knew I could use. It's utterly invisible "work", though, and nobody who professes an opinion on SAHP (usually women who work compulsively and claim their judgement is in the interests of feminism - lol) cares a jot that you're not sitting on your arse mainlining bonbons - because that is something that people think! It was a huge shock to me that my status as a person with a child but no formal employment could engender vitriol from well, anybody. Why do they care? It's not my place to answer that really but you'd be shocked how many people think it's a nothing sort of status with you doing very little and letting the side down to boot.

I'm f/t now (more than f/t really) with my own business which is built on some of the training I did while a SAHP. So I feel quite smug about my time, as though I was lucky to get the best of both worlds - however neither state is really great or perfect, I was stressed then and I'm stressed now but in different ways. I will say that whilst I never felt financially dependent as a SAHP I do feel particularly good about earning well now and in particular contributing to us as a family in the way my partner did for years.

GandolfBold Thu 09-Aug-18 11:12:26

I was a SAHM for 8 years (although a carer to disabled DS to so claimed carers allowance)., DH said he wanted to leave after having an EA. I went back to work full time thinking I would need to support the DC's. DH and I did reconcile but I am not walking away from my security again. That was three years ago.

Right now I am glad that I stuck to my guns as we are on dodgy ground and if nothing else I have a steady incomeand won't feel as utterly bereft and terrified for the future as I did last time. Over the last three years he has said to me several times I should give up work and spend more time with the children and doing housework. This is a bone of contention between us because I have refused.

BlaaBlaaBlaa Thu 09-Aug-18 11:19:55

@bloody. That is very true. It really frustrates me on here when women are given the advice to take time off work as their career will wait - no it won't. I've researched women and career decisions and work patterns. Jobs are available but they tend to not be the highly paid jobs with career progression....of course there are exceptions before anyone jumps on that!

Trinity66 Thu 09-Aug-18 11:20:35

Over the last three years he has said to me several times I should give up work and spend more time with the children and doing housework.

Why doesn't he consider giving up work himself or cutting his hours so he can do some hoovering? hmm

troodiedoo Thu 09-Aug-18 11:21:41

My career was going nowhere so it made the decision to quit work to parent full time easier. Thought it would give me time to think about what I might do instead, will hopefully work part time when dd is 3 or 4.

Dh is fully supportive of me not working, we have a joint account which is both our money. I don't take the piss though as he is on an average wage.

MrSpock Thu 09-Aug-18 11:22:44

* It really frustrates me on here when women are given the advice to take time off work as their career will wait - no it won't.*

I mean, technically you’re correct, but it is possible to start a career and continue it at any age despite being harder or less likely.

It’s only possible to have babies at a certain stage in life.

And your career will never tell you it loves you or kiss you in the morning or melt your heart with a smile. Nor will it be there when you’re 95 and old.

I’m NOT insulting careers, but merely pointing out why people might say that phrase.

eyycarumba Thu 09-Aug-18 11:30:31

I personally couldn't be a sahm, I wasn't working after having DS, it was mind numbing and really knocked my self esteem.
But I do know someone who, despite always having worked before, purposely used her children as an excuse not to work. She would feed us the 'I want to work, I feel useless/want to contribute' then in the next breathe 'I want to spend as much time with my child/it's not worth me working' (she and her on/off OH are committing benefit fraud and would get free childcare from GPs). Once her first was 4, she purposely got pregnant again, despite being in a toxic relationship and having no stability, so she's got at least another 5 years.

headinhands Thu 09-Aug-18 11:37:18

Sahp for a few months. Dh works away all week. Dc with sn. Work was sapping any energy so something had to give.

Hasn't changed relationship but house is calmer and tidier.

BlaaBlaaBlaa Thu 09-Aug-18 11:38:44

@mrspock I've seen numerous threads where women are specifically told that their career will be waiting for them in 5 , 10, 15 years but the simple fact is it won't.

Of course you can start a new career, return to your sector and still do well but your job and your career will not be waiting for you. In many cases it will take significant training, learning and work to get back to where you were prior to taking a break.

If you're happy with that then fine, zero judgement or issue here but you need to be making an informed decision and being sold SAHP on the basis you'll return to your old job in 10 years is a lie.

It is possible to have a family and a career and using phrases like ' your job won't tell you it loves you' is tantamount to emotional blackmail. Not it won't, but the joy and satisfaction I get from teaching students and helping them carve out a new career path feels pretty good too.

FATEdestiny Thu 09-Aug-18 11:42:34

Has anyone had the MAIN motivation for having another child to prolong time off work, or to pack it in for good?

When I had DC1, I conceived DC2 quickly in part because I wanted to have more maternity leave (I had a full year for both, with about 2 months back at work between mat leaves).

I became a SAHP after my second mat leave (in 2007). DC3 and DC4 were born in 2009 and 2014. I didn't have them to extend being a SAHP. But I did "crack on" with TTC in time for the current youngest starting school for the next child arriving. I'm not sure how I'll feel being a SAHP with all children in school. It will happen though, youngest coming up to 4 and I have no plans to go back to work.

Or SAHP is just what works in your circumstances and you didn't hate working at all?

I didn't hate work. But as a secondary teacher in a core subject, it's bloody hard graft, stressful at times and exhausting. My work/life balance was fine pre-children. It was unsustainable once I had children. Other teachers manage it, I didn't feel my salary was 'worth' all I was missing out on as a parent.

We are not wealthy BTW. If I worked we might be of average income. But given I don't, and that we have more than average children, we are quite low income. This is a conscious decision of mine and DH.

what's your partner's take on it? Does he resent it?

We are a team. We work together for our family.

He benefits from from the fact that when he is home from work, it's all family time with the children. No chores to do beyond taking the kids to sports clubs etc.

Of course he would love to not work too. He was made redundant a few years ago and used some of the substantial redundancy pay to take 1 year off work with me and the kids. It was wonderful, idyllic. Both of us cannot wait until retirement when we can relax together all the time.

But as a family, we need an income. So I try to make my husbands life as nice as possible, because im grateful that because of him I don't have to work. He's not resentful though.

Does it imbalance the relationship or not?

My role in the family is of equal importance as his. It always has been. It always will.

Does he make you feel you're financially dependant?

Of course not. Since we became a couple and moved in together 20-odd years ago, we've always had joint a current account, joint savings account, joint loan/mortgage account, and joint credit cards.

Basically all of our money has always been "our money" - not his or mine.

Ever had negative comments from anyone (friends, family members) about not working?

No one has ever said anything negative to me. Not in the 10 plus years I've been a SAHM.

I do get a sence some people I come across underestimate my intelligence. I'm not offended by this and I don't consider it a negative thing, just an ignorant assumption. But there is often a look of suprise when I mention having a professional career and postgraduate education.

What is paid work for you: something essential and developing...

Im not defined by my career. Even if I'd have always worked I wouldn't want to be defined as a person by my career.

I'm developing as a person all of the time. I don't need paid work to do that. I've taught myself various things: how to code, how to build a website, I research anything that interests me, I read a lot. As well as the immense learning curve that parenting is. I also fill my mind and busy myself with loads of stuff day to day - I don't just do nothing.

A lifetime spent learning and developing is essential IMO. I categorically disagree with any notion that paid work is necessary for that.

... or a pain you endure for financial reasons?

If I can feel happy and forfilled, relaxed and enjoying my days/weeks/years, challenged and stimulated... without working and do not feel financially challenged as a family. Then why must I work?

monty09 Thu 09-Aug-18 11:44:03

I've been a SAHM for 11 years 4 kids from 11-2, I can't wait to go back to work as I'm finding it very depressing being at home now. I'm doing some volunteering at the minute to get me some experience as I've applied for jobs with no luck! Financially it was never a problem but we're better off now so if something comes up we can put our youngest in nursery.

MrSpock Thu 09-Aug-18 11:46:55

BlaaBlaaBlaa I mean, their specific job wont “wait” but the general sector and ability to find employment will always be there.

It’s not blackmail, I’m just pointing out that it’s worth thinking about it long term. I agree people deserve the facts!

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