What do you wish you'd known?(16 Posts)
Hi everyone, glad to have found this board. Our first is due in 5 months and I'm leaving my job to be a SAHP. Would just love to hear your experiences (positive or negative) as while I'm looking forward to it, it will be such a big change I don't really have any idea what it will be like!
-What do you do now (not specifically-just what type of work)? I only ask as I think it's been easier for me as I already worked for myself at home so I didn't have a big busy office full of colleagues to miss!
-How are you going to deal with money?
-How are you going to split housework?
Sorry for the barrage of questions op but I think that these are some of the main concerns!!!
I'm a SAHM to ds who is 18 months and I'm pregnant (35 weeks) with dd. I love being a SAHM. It's what i've always wanted and planned to do on having kids. It's very hard sometimes (particularly at the moment as I'm huge and knackered) but there are many advantages. We have lovely relaxed mornings, I get to see so much of ds growing up and no stress of childcare. I think that it's really helpful to have a supportive partner who really values what you do.
there is a small window of time when baby is not freshly new and not yet mobile when you can get jobs done and they will be content to gurgle happily at you if you talk to them.
if you go somewhere regularly and you need the child to be happy in the pushchair... never get them out in that place... (eg waiting room etc) otherwise they will never stay in there again.
play pens are a godsend when you need the loo. dd was content in hers but ds was not for long.
parent according to your personality. if you are a routine person, do routine, if you are go with the flow, go with the flow. baby is likely to be of a similar personality. never feel guilty because the other lot do it differently.
Good question Nicky - I have quite a full on job at the moment that requires lots of long days (18hrs at peak times) and involves a fair amount of stress and being contactable when not actually in the office/weekend working. I do work in an office, but it's often very quiet, but I am worried about getting a bit lonely as I'm the first of my friends to have a baby, so hope people will still want to visit and that I will meet enough parent friends. I'm looking forward to leaving my job as it is always on my mind so it's hard to relax sometimes, but I realise I'm not in for a holiday with a baby!
I'm used to little sleep and get by at work fine on a couple of hours, but this is only for shortish periods and it involves long days, rather than being constantly woken, which sounds way more stressful!
Housework and money are also on my mind. My partner is very easy to talk to and thinks of housework and looking after children as work, but I'm still uneasy about not earning money as this will be a change - do you discuss purchases jointly? I don't mean the weekly shop, but do you feel guilty if you buy clothes or have an agreed amount for both partners' personal purchases, or just go with the flow?
How much housework is realistic? I actually don't mind housework and do find a tidy house more satisfying than my job, which feels like there is always too much to do and in a rush, but how much can you realistically get done in a day with a baby?
Nicky this is my first so I've no idea how you do it, but in my first trimester I was wondering how anyone with a child gets through pregnancy as I would come home from work and go to bed, and still be tired the next morning.
Blackeyed that's great - I will definitely think about the playpen so I don't need a chaperone in the loo!
we used a travel cot so it did both jobs.
We just have one account into which dps salary goes and we both just spend what we want out of it. I suppose this might be different if one of you has an expensive hobby or radically different attitudes to money. I don't feel in the slightest bit guilty about buying clothes!! We've been together for over 17 years (since we were 18) and we joined our money when we moved in together at 21 so the money has always been "ours". I'll mention if I'm going shopping but it's more out of interest really.
How much housework you can get done depends on your baby. From 2-7 months ds was a little dream baby and I got pretty much all of the housework done. He stopped sleeping at 7 months and became mobile so I got what I could done whilst he was in the travel cot (we used it as a play pen too!). The way I view it is this: it's my "job" to take care of ds. I make sure he's looked after, his clothes laundered, meals cooked etc. On top of that I get what I can done. Anything I can't manage (more and more since I've been pregnant!!!)just has to be split. I wouldn't sit on my arse during the day then expect dp to do loads of housework when he gets home but if ds has had a bad day and stuff doesn't get done then it doesn't.
Ive always been very house proud and I still try and keep the place nice but my standards have slipped considerably since becoming pregnant and ds becoming a toddler!!
Great, we probably have to get a travel cot anyway for visiting grandparents so good to know that we will get a lot of use out of it.
Thanks Nicky that makes a lot of sense. I of course don't think that I should feel guilty buying things for myself, but wondered if that feeling ever came up as right now we both put a certain amount into the joint account at the start of the month, and the rest of our pay stays in our personal accounts, which will change when I leave work. Luckily neither of us have expensive hobbies and spend quite a lot of time together so most of that stuff is shared.
Seems that with housework I will have to wait and see how it goes. Our flat is pretty easy to keep clean and while I can make a mess with the best of them, I find it hard to relax in a messy house, so maybe I will have to let that go when we get to the toddler stage - the toddlers I've looked after certainly were able to turn a room upside down in about 5 min.
Really enjoyed being a Sahp until I realised:
...that school hours jobs are like hen's teeth.
...that no-one else is a sahp.
...that I would feel guilty and entitled and do everyone else's childcare as well as my own to justify myself.
....that I would feel like a freak at the school gates.
...that I would lose any sense of self-worth I had.
...that I would render myself unemployable in a wink despite 20 plus years' solid experience.
I know what you mean about noone else being a SAHM notso. I thought I'd meet at least one other SAHM but I think, particularly with first children we're rare. I think the stats are 1 in 10 but I haven't found that. I can honestly say that one of the main negatives has been the reaction of others. Most of my friends are about it, some of my family think it makes you work shy.
Doesn't the fact that you've enjoyed it and (presumably) your kids have benefitted give you a sense of self worth at all?
I suppose with work I'm fortunate in that I worked for myself so won't have the same "returning to work" issues as I won't need to find a job as such. How long have you been a SAHM?
nicky I've been a sahm for 13 years now, although I have worked on a casual basis for most of that time. I'm ok with having been a sahm, but finding it hard to get back into a "proper" job has left a bitter taste. I'm lucky I'm not broke (yet). Most friends have managed to keep hold of their jobs, and whilst I don't feel envy towards them, I realise that, in order to keep a decent job, you need so much support, and i didn't have that support. So when I realised the only option for me was to do supply teaching which I most definitely didn't want to do, I became very jaded. I'm ancient too, which doesn't help. I'm retraining now, though, finally.
I think the most difficult thing I found was, as most people work, friends for my only dd were not always available. I can honestly say that I found keeping her amused exhausting. People around my way are somewhat cliquey and established family/friend groups are difficult to break into. I'm really introverted too, and losing my identity amidst shouty, confident working professional women at the school gate just rubbed the isolation in for me. They probably thought I was some sort of sad loser, but I wasn't. I was a confident professional just like them-once. They probably didn't twig-or care-that I had 20 years' professional experience! This really bugged me for some reason, although I probably am guilty of overinvesting in work and desperately needed a break.
So, although I kind of enjoyed it -or at least found it easy- I didn't find it fulfilling at all. I liked the baby stage, found toddlerdom difficult and sighed with relief when dd started school. The rest was just dull-filling in time, really. I had no patience with many of the other parents, finding them heavy-going and overinvested in their kids; I found the school's expectations on parents irritating. I was a right miserable old git. Thankfully I found a hobby and hoping to turn it into a new career! Phew!
I recognise a lot of what you are saying notsogoldenoldie. I was lucky in already having a hobby which I can expand around the DC. Also I have a pretty thick skin and had done all I wanted career wise before I gave it up, which definitely helps when dealing with shouty professional Mums.
Girlsailor one of the reasons I became a SAHM was that I had a 12 hour day job and on balance I preferred to walk away from my career rather than do it halfheartedly but it is a permanent decision very quickly.
DH and I were together from when we had nothing and for 10 years before DC and perhaps unusually all money was always joint money. This made the transition to one income easier. I think both parties need to know the whole financial picture and work jointly towards financial goals. Otherwise it is easy for issues of pressure to earn or not valueing each other to creep in.
A playpen may buy you 3 months privacy in the loo but I sometimes wonder why I have a bathroom door with 2 teenagers and a 3 year old.
Housework need not take longer than it does child free but when they are small you may find things get done because of DC rather than in spite of them. Eg for a while I swept the kitchen floor only when DC threw things on it which was at least 3 times a day. Laundry, food shopping and cooking are more my issues but I am now a planning and delegation whizz
howabout, I am in a similar position as my current job is too high pressure to return to part time - it's sort of a be there all the time thing, and we would lose most of my earnings in childcare it's only for my own fulfilment that I would stay on, and I'm actually approaching burnout I think. It's not a sector with a lot of cash, so there are part time jobs that I could look into for the future, but I don't know whether I'll have the inclination to do a job that's 5 days work in 3 days, for about 2 days pay at that point.
I think money will be ok as we don't complicate things like that, just be a change for me not to be earning half of the joint money. I hear what you're saying about not knowing other SAHP - We're the first of our friends to have a baby, so I'm a bit concerned about losing touch and not finding new friends. We're both nearly 30 so not doing it super young, but we don't really know anyone else who is thinking about it yet. I'm hoping this means they can't judge us, and that will be a trade off for not having anyone to borrow stuff from and ask about how they coped!
We looked/ look at it that I am earning money through raising our dc, sharing in the housework, ferrying dc around, cooking, etc. That would cost a lot of money to outsource each week so this is my financial contribution.
It doesn't achieve more money but it doesn't cost anything iyswim.
As for housework I have never bust a gut to be house proud, but don't live in a tip either.
I think when you have a small baby it's a challenge to get out of pyjamas at first, let alone manage housework.
I think it's a case of finding your feet for your own personal satisfaction and that of your family.
For me apart from when they were very tiny, it was important to keep up interests and hobbies. I also religiously watch the news and current affairs programmes/ Mnet so at least I know whats going on in the world.
Some parents as I'm sure you're aware meet other new parents at toddler groups, this wasn't my type of thing but many enjoy them.
The main thing I wish I'd known was how it wasn't all so important and there was nothing wrong with being laid back, oh, and everyone does things differently as no two experiences and circumstances are the same. i.e it's not like men work 9 - 5 anymore or women can't return to work if they want to.
DH and I give each other an equal amount of £xx per month, out of joint account. It is for luxury items for ourselves that we wouldn't otherwise buy. We aren't accountable for what we spend it on, just enjoy it and don't go over the limit. This figure has reduced since I became a SAHP.
Re: items for house - furniture, accessories etc If one person sees something that we're not already looking for, haven't already agreed to get then they buy it (from joint account). However, if it is £50 or more we contact the other person by phone/text etc out of common courtesy, to check they also think it's a good idea.
I didn't realise:
That it would be so relentless
That I would lose my identity and independence
That my confidence and self esteem would plummet
That friends would suddenly see me as work shy and if they worked and had children they couldn't understand why I couldn't too
That society as a whole would see me as the lowest of the low and not value my contribution at all
Maybe it's just because I'm not a very good mum
I didn't realise:
That people would be so towards me not working. Most of my friends have fallen off the radar, mainly just because of life in general but I'm about 99% sure that most people I know
are jealous think I'm lazy or work shy. Once DD1 was over a year old all the "so when are you going back to work" type comments started and I could sense the judgement and disapproval. I'm coming to terms with this though as I know that I have every intention of returning to work in the future and I'll prove everyone wrong.
That my confidence and self esteem would drop, I could help myself a little more by going to more groups where I would stand a chance of making mum friends but I'm not sure this would solve the problem completely.
That my vision of having a tidy and organised house at all times and a timetable of activities for my DC's was just a pipedream. I manage to keep the house adequately tidy and I play and do activities with them but I'm not the perfect SAHM that I envisioned I would be.
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