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Did anyone give up a career to be a SAHP

(37 Posts)
Obsessedalready Sat 14-Jan-17 09:11:36

I am pregnant with my first and in a professional career. I am the higher earner between me and DH. I always assumed I would go back to work but recently I have been seriously considering becoming a SAHP. I don't know what has come over me but I really feel strongly I want to be the primary caregiver for my child until they are at least 3 years old.

With some lifestyle changes we could afford it. DH is fully on board either way.

Any experiences?

SallyGinnamon Sat 14-Jan-17 09:26:03

I did it after DC2, but never went back to my previous career. The hours would never fit around family life.

I was told I'd be bored but I never was. I also made my best friends at playgroups and the school gate.

I did a lot with the DC and the housework was never a priority. Fortunately DH had been a SAHD for DC1 for a while so understood how hard it was.

Once DC were at school I worked as a TA for the school friendly hours and everyone got used to that. I'm only back on a career path now, 12 years later in something completely different.

Our lifestyle had to change when I gave up - think uk camping hols - and it isn't for everyone. One or two of my friends couldn't wait to get back to work. But for my family it was the right choice and we don't regret it.

d270r0 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:31:26

Go for it, its fine. A compromise could be to take the full maternity year off then go back part time if you want to keep your job open. If you decide to quit, don't tell them yet, keep it open as long as you can through maternity leave just in case.

DireTires Sat 14-Jan-17 09:35:47

I did. I have mixed feelings about it. I have Masters degree and had 10 years professional experience, had higher earnings potential than DH (but as a woman probably less likely to meet the potential) and he was 7 years ahead of me in terms of career advancement so was earning higher than me when I quit.

I quit work at 33 and didn't go back. It's been 13 years now. I've regretted it and not regretted it, I feel like I let my parents down as they paid the expensive private University fees and living expenses in the USA for me, they did out some pressure on me after DC1 was born but that was probably more about them than me.

It I don't find being a SAHP to be boring either so didn't regret it in that regard.

WLmum Sat 14-Jan-17 09:38:54

I did - probably not the same position as you but me as the higher earner with more prospects etc. I just wanted to be with my baby and hated going back - I felt all my good energy went to work and none to my baby. I loved being at home and had 2 more dc. It is hard work and there does become a clear domestic/work split but shockingly I actually think that worked well for us.
My feeling is that work will always be there - yes the sad reality is that you might not be able to get back to what you do now/position but a more compromised one if you so chose, but young children are only so for once. You can change your mind and go back to work but can't change you're mind and get little ones back.

TDmoocher Sat 14-Jan-17 09:48:12

Do you ever want to return to your career? I had a professional career but have been away from it for almost two years and tbh I'm so behind with developments that I would really struggle with an interview now if I was to return. In my case I don't want to return to that career but it's something I would recommend thinking about.

I have days where dd drives me up the wall, I have days when I regret my decision, I have days where I look for part time jobs but on the other hand I could not have coped with the stress of my career and look after a child.

timeforheroes Sat 14-Jan-17 09:48:28

I did. I went back to work after DS, and it was fine, then fell pregnant with DTwins (a total surprise in more than one way!) when DS was 10 months old. Whilst I was teacher and deputy of department, DH earns more. Childcare for 3 under 3 was more than my take home wage. I considered P/T but all my friends that teach P/T advised me against it. Work also wanted me to continue with the role I was, which would have been unsustainable.

I find it difficult, but I think that is down to having 3 so young, Twins were premature and the early days were difficult. I try to get to groups but logistically it can be a nightmare. We don't have family locally so don't get a break to do things as a couple, whilst this doesn't put a strain on us, sometimes I'd love to just do something. All that aside, I love seeing them grow, I know I will never regret this time I have with them.

We've actually managed to save considerably more than we did before, we were always savers but now I am much more focused on our financials.

timeforheroes Sat 14-Jan-17 09:51:43

In terms of returning to work, I had planned to go to back when DTwins went to nursery at 3. I do mark exams for a number of different boards, to try and keep up to date. The plan was this may help with getting an interview come the time. We have bought abroad now and plan to emigrate this year, so it's all by the by now. Children go to school full time at 3 in the country we are moving to, so the plan will be the same in regards to me going back to work. Hopefully P/T, which is what we hope for DH and I over there.

Obsessedalready Sat 14-Jan-17 09:53:45

My contract ends after maternity leave so either I find a new full time job or become a SAHP for a few years.

I won't be able to get back into this particular career, but I wouldn't be devestated about that as it doesn't have a good work life balance with children. I have a couple of other fields I could pursue in a few years with perhaps some training.

Obsessedalready Sat 14-Jan-17 09:56:55

Thanks for all the experiences!

absolutelynotfabulous Sat 14-Jan-17 10:00:24

I did. My working hours were horrendous-six days a week; 9-9 some days. I intended to fo back at some point, but we moved out of the area and I lost my contacts.

I've never really gone back. I've never been bored. I'm working very part time now but I seem to have lost my drive blush.

I was older when I had dd-42-so financially well established. I had no childcare support either, so unable to afford to work iyswim.

I've spent the time developing an interest which could be useful as a money-earner, volunteering, doing casual work around dd and otherwise developing useful skills such as IT.

I realise, too late, that I'm now too old to be a serious contender in the marketplace and I'm not sure how I feel about thatsad.

Piglet208 Sat 14-Jan-17 10:40:34

I gave up my career in accounting to be a sahm. I was the higher wage earner but we worked out we could manage. I took a break of 7 years to look after my boys until they were both ft at school. I then retrained as a nursery nurse and finally a teacher. It took some adapting at first but I loved my time at home and I was able to do lots of voluntary work such as become a governor etc to keep my brain active. It isn't for everyone but you can always change your mind and go back to work anytime.

EweAreHere Sat 14-Jan-17 11:00:48

I did, but DH and I were both in professional careers. So we could afford it.

Have you considered it might make more financial sense for your DH to stay home if it's about having a parent home with the child for the first few years, not just you?

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Sat 14-Jan-17 11:06:00

I did. I'm now retraining for a different career. I don't regret it, but being a sahm was much harder than I anticipated. I was bored, and I think I lost my identity to a large extent. I'm much much happier now, albeit very busy.
It changed my relationship with my dh too, and not for the better. I felt less than him, somehow. And he was very very supportive and would have been horrified to know I felt like that.

I will certainly be advising my dds not to do it.

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Sat 14-Jan-17 11:08:38

I did. I know it's not for everyone, but I am incredibly happy. I plan to go back to work once youngest is 2/3, although it won't be to my old career as a) I don't want to do it again and b) once you're out, you tend to stay out.

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Sat 14-Jan-17 11:09:12

I did. I know it's not for everyone, but I am incredibly happy. I plan to go back to work once youngest is 2/3, although it won't be to my old career as a) I don't want to do it again and b) once you're out, you tend to stay out.

Crumbs1 Sat 14-Jan-17 11:09:47

I went SAHM for the first two then part-time for some 'me time' after third. Part-time was excellent option for my family. I went back full time after the youngest reached sixth form.

ProfYaffle Sat 14-Jan-17 11:17:55

I've been a SAHM for the last 12 years. Have been incredibly happy I think because I've been involved in a lot of voluntary work outside the sphere of the children/school etc. I've always had one eye on a future return and tried to get involved in things that related to my previous career or would look good on a CV. I'm planning on returning in a couple of years and am now doing what is basically a voluntary version of my 'usual' job in order to update myself.

I've always felt it was important to try and keep the door open so that I could return if I wanted to.

Obsessedalready Sat 14-Jan-17 11:36:56

I'm not worried about being bored or my relationship with DH changing. He is a good egg and we share all our money with no issues already. I'm outgoing and would definitely get involved in voluntary stuff and make sure I had time away to myself. DH would definitely not cope with being a SAHP (and therefore would definitely appreciate me and not think I have an 'easy' life). I actually really enjoy being at home and doing all the household stuff. I know it would be completely different with a baby though.

My main concern would be feeling like I had 'wasted' my career opportunities. And to be honest I'm a little worried about judgement from others. And my social circle changing. I find baby talk a bit dull (but that may change when I have one of my own)

These responses are really encouraging though. Thank you for sharing!

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Sat 14-Jan-17 13:31:09

Perhaps my post was misleading. My dh is a great guy. All our money has always been joint and he didn't expect me to do all the domestic stuff. Still, it changed the dynamic between us in ways I didn't anticipate. I was at home for 6 years total ( 2 dcs) and looking back in only really enjoyed the first 18 months. I would just advise caution and to keep your options open, if possible.

I think it very much depends on your child too. My dc1 probably benefitted most because she is a fairly sensitive child who doesn't deal well with change. My dc2 is much more easy going and I think would have been absolutely fine in childcare from an earlier age.

Obsessedalready Sat 14-Jan-17 13:43:42

I guess it feels quite all or nothing at the moment with my current situation, either full time on temporary contracts for a while or stay at home for a few years.

I definitely want to work at least part time when they hit 3, but I know it will be doing something different and I need to work out what that might be.

I just can't face the idea of leaving my baby at 12 months to work full time! It's making me so sad to think of it.

Anatidae Sat 14-Jan-17 13:52:14

I'd keep your options open. I was convinced I'd want to go back full time and then once ds arrived I realised I'd happily be a sahm. We can't because financially it won't work so I am going back to my job soon and dreading it.
You don't know how you'll feel - you might be desperate to get back (as some people I know have been) or really want to be a sahm. You need to live the reality of it I think before you commit to a choice. Looking after a little one full time has its own challenges - keep your options open

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 14-Jan-17 14:01:59

I gave up my banking career of 18 years to be a SAHP when my first DC arrived.

I'm now 10 years in and have never looked back , don't miss it and have never been bored.

I gave up with no intention of ever going back to it as the work life balance had always been awful.

I'd made and saved enough money to live the life that suited me and my family best.

Obsessedalready Sat 14-Jan-17 14:11:29

I guess I don't need to decide until I'm on maternity leave, but we have to pay back any enhanced maternity pay if I don't return for 3 months so I am feeling the pressure to decide betore. I need to find out what the situation will be with me though as my contract expires 10months after the baby is born (and won't be renewed) so I'm not sure how I would fulfill the back to work criteria anyway (unless I went back at 6 months). I'm sort of counting on not having maternity pay and a job to go back to after a year (although I will probably get redundancy).

Having to look for a full job after maternity leave does feel more stressful than returning to a known situation. But then if I hate maternity leave and I want to go back I can look for stuff after I guess!

tryhard Sun 15-Jan-17 00:01:41

I gave up a promising career that I'd worked for years to attain, and in a very status-focused profession. The 2 main things I struggled with was what I perceive to be the lack of status afforded SAHMs these days and fearing being judged by others. In the early days I'd often lie and say I had to leave my job, not that I chose to, particularly when talking to parents who work full time. I've had people say 'oh I could never do that, I need to use my brain' , 'what do you do all day?' & 'SAHMs never have anything to say for themselves because their lives are so limited', so initially I felt very judged by almost everyone. I don't have any family help & didn't send either child to nursery (they both started pre-school at 3) and even other SAHMs would tell me they needed socialisation with peers before that age (beyond the playgroups I'd take them to). I finally had a complete lightbulb moment when I read someone on mumsnet saying that a good nursery tries to recreate a home environment within the context of the child being in 1 room all day. Suddenly I realised that not only was I enough, but that this was the best fit for my family & I didn't need to be apologetic about that. So now when people ask what I do, I say I used to be an academic and now I'm at home with my DC. It has shifted things with DH, but in a good way, he really appreciates the care and support I am able to give all our family, including him, because I'm not stressed or knackered, I feel like what I do at home provides the enrichment and heart and soul to family life, if that makes sense. I can also see the benefits now my eldest is at school, I can be there for everything, and when she's had a long day, she can chill out at home with me (rather than going into after school club) & I'm there for her. And also now she's at school I can see how fleeting this time with my youngest before school is, the days can be long but the years are short 😊 It's not all roses, it's bloody bloody hard at times but I don't regret it for a second. I do volunteer work when my youngest is at pre-school and swim, taking some time to look after myself a bit. I might return to work one day, but not in my old profession, I was sick of it & have no desire to go back, I feel like I've moved on 😊

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