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Do you regret giving up your career to be a SAHM

(219 Posts)
Sofshiz Mon 22-Jan-18 14:21:48

I am 28, have a two kids under 4. I've been working since I was 15 as student jobs, got myself a degree and masters and worked in my marketing field until now. I haven't progressed amazingly but content with where I am (given I been on maternity leave twice).

Now I am at a stage where my salary doesn't really justify me working when I take childcare cost into account. So I'm really just working to keep my career not to make any money. My husband does well enough to support us.

A bigger part of me wants to quit, stay at home and look after my kids (I really want to be there for school drop offs and pick ups which I currently miss out on 3 days a week with nursery). Once proper school starts it will be even harder/impossible to do without help of my mum or childminder.

So my question is, do you regret having given up your career to be at home? I guess this would mainly be good for me to hear from mums of older kids and have had few years at home to really have the chance to see if they regret it or not? Am I being stupid to be fully dependant on my husband, throw away my education and the 6 years of professional experience I've built up?

peachypetite Mon 22-Jan-18 14:23:58

There was a depressing article recently, in the Guardian, about the effect motherhood has on careers. I think you would be best to keep up your job, from previous threads I've read on here, it can be very difficult to start working again once you've got a significant gap.

Bluntness100 Mon 22-Jan-18 14:25:32

Well I don't for a moment regret not giving mine up, because I progressed, I was never financially reliant so if my marriage had ended I could have coped, and our standard of living is better with two salaries coming in.

By giving up, you're giving up a lot more than just your career, your giving up financial independence, reducing your families over all standard of living, and giving up your future career path, as well as possibly drastically reducing your pension.

Some are ok with that, me, nope, not my bag. Kids are young only for a short period.

otherdoor Mon 22-Jan-18 14:26:28

Very interested in responses to this . I'm considering becoming a SAHM too. Right now I honestly couldn't care less about my career but I wonder if it's just because I'm still in the thick of it with sleepless nights and not much time to myself and will change my mind in a few years...

ohamIreally Mon 22-Jan-18 14:27:17

From a different perspective I am very glad I didn't give up my career. Those early years were hard and a slog but my H walked out on me when DD was 5 and we have a good life because I am quite well paid. I shudder to think what might have happened had I given it up. The more senior you get the more flexibility you have too so that's worth bearing in mind for the future.

Yellowmellow66 Mon 22-Jan-18 14:32:07

Is ut just 3 days per week you do?

CompassionateKebab Mon 22-Jan-18 14:34:26

I definitely don't regret continuing working. Many years on I have been promoted and have a job giving me a high degree of flexibility and ability to work from home some of the time. I have found this especially useful as my dc enter their teenage years with all its stresses and taxi driving.

MrsMarigold Mon 22-Jan-18 14:34:36

Yes, don't do it. It is very disempowering.

Headinthedrawer Mon 22-Jan-18 14:35:16

I dont regret being at home with them...I loved it and wouldn't change that for the world.However I'm now having to retrain at 45 which is lengthy and expensive .I have worked since they went back to school but the pay is peanuts (admin in schools) and I don't use any of my old skills (was a nurse ).Couldnt see how I could have worked as a nurse with 2 under 2 and a husband who works long hours so my registration had to go.

InDubiousBattle Mon 22-Jan-18 14:40:42

My dc are still young but my sister gave up work to be a SAHM and doesn't regret it one bit. Her dc are young adults now (18, 19 and 21)and she re trained after several years out and is now a teacher. She split up with their dad years ago so is alone now and just about to buy her first home alone. Several of her friends were SAHP s and they all went back to work eventually and non say that they regret the time they spent at home when their dc were little.

Umakemefeellikedancing Mon 22-Jan-18 14:41:28

I didn't really have a 'career' as such so it made sense for me to be SAHM and I don't regret that. My dh earns very well and if it all goes 'tits up' (which I don't think it will) but if it does then his money is my money (well half anyway) and even if it wasn't half it would still be enough, I would survive. He would ensure that I was ok but yes if he cheated it would be shit but we have a joint account which I have access to. I wouldn't have married him if I didn't think he was a decent man. I'm sure there will be people on saying I'm wrong though.

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Mon 22-Jan-18 14:45:08

I became a SAHM after having dc1 four years ago. I don't regret it at all. That being said, if I could have done my previous job part time, then I would have given that a go. I couldn't, so I didn't.

I will be going back to work within the next 2 years. I don't expect it to be easy, but I'll get there in the end. It'll be a career change so I'll be starting at the bottom, which I'm fine with. I still have at least 30 working years ahead of me - I have plenty of time to focus on my career again.

StopCallingMeShirley Mon 22-Jan-18 14:53:24

There are moments when I regret not giving mine up. They are rare though. I watch my peers who have given up struggling to get back into the job market having criticised me for my choice, and feel quietly relieved that I made that choice. Friends who have struggled to buy homes, have holidays etc. (I am talking about peers from the same socioeconomic background).

Do you have pensions from work? It may not feel worth it in the short term, but when you are older, it will have been. Your kids will be in school in a blink and you will have made it harder to get back to the same level.

Sofshiz Mon 22-Jan-18 14:53:41

Very interesting responses. Please keep them coming.

In to Yellow, I do full time but 3 days in the office, 2 days at home.

Bluntness100 Mon 22-Jan-18 14:55:52

My dh earns very well and if it all goes 'tits up' (which I don't think it will) but if it does then his money is my money (well half anyway

I'm sorry, but if you split up it's not. Spousal maintenance is very rare. If it goes tits up, it's his money.

Sofshiz Mon 22-Jan-18 14:57:40

Bluntness, I assume she might mean in terms of their house (if bought) etc

phoenix1973 Mon 22-Jan-18 14:57:54

I had a job, not a career. It MAY have been better to return pt (not family friendly employer or colleagues) but I could not. The pay was not good enough to continue, no prospects for development. Not worth leaving my child for.
Another, younger lady pregant when I was, actually told me she would return to work f.t and claim sp benefit and child care (she was not a sp, she lived with her partner). She suggested I did the same.
However, I'm pretty much fucked work wise now. I do contract work and my current job finishes at Easter.
Applying is like pissing in the wind. I've had pt admin work since 2012, but will probably end up doing ft temp work this year. Dull. Low paid. Office based.
The best I earned was 2003 and I have not seen the same job advertised at that pay since. Nowhere near.

Bluntness100 Mon 22-Jan-18 15:00:53

Bluntness, I assume she might mean in terms of their house (if bought) etc

She specifically mentions his earnings in that sentence, but agree she would be entitled to half of what came into thr marriage, ie house equity and possibly even a share of his pension. But she would not likely get a share of his earnings, not with no kids at home and being able to work.

Which leads to the other point, what happens if your partner loses his job, or becomes ill.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 22-Jan-18 15:00:53

I worked full time after my first and gave up work after my second (as a solicitor). There is a 9 year age gap so I was 38 when I gave up after my second. My husband is also a solicitor and was a partner earning a high wage so we are lucky that our standard of living has not really changed.

I have done some part-time work as an in house lawyer (one day a week term time only when my son started school) which I only gave up when the company relocated the in-house legal team to a different part of the country.

I now do some invigilation work at my son's school.

I have been lucky enough to go to every sports fixture he plays in (he is very sporty) and I love it - I know this can be a "chore" for some parents. I can also go to all school assemblies, plays etc and all the things I feel I missed out on when my oldest was at school and I had to work full-time. I am around the house and we operate an open door policy so I feel like I know his friends well and I wouldn't have changed it.

At various times I have been on pre-school committees, PTAs and acted as a governor. I was also a Trustee of a Children's Hospice.

However, I do appreciate that I am in the enviable position of not having to worry about the financial side of things.

FurryTurnipHead Mon 22-Jan-18 15:04:05

I don't regret it but was probably naive about how hard it would be to get back into work. I was in a professional career with a good salary. Consciously was a SAHP until DS went to school, and have since been18 months unemployed. And that's applying for some very low level stuff. Am finally about to start a new job, but in totally different line of work, and the lowest salary I have ever earned.

I also worry a bit about the lack of pension contributions etc over past few years, but that's my own fault for not being organised about it.

Would I do it again...? Probably, because we only have one child, and despite it being the hardest thing I ever did I think for our circumstances it was the right thing. But the world is much tougher when you've been out of work for a while. I would strongly recommend if you do it, that you find some voluntary work. I did 4 different roles during my time off and without these my CV would have looked very bleak, and any answers to interview questions would have been very out of date.

trilbydoll Mon 22-Jan-18 15:05:09

Nursery fees are a relatively short term cost. The price of holidays now dd1 is at school does not seem so bad compared to the nursery fees we are saving! Depends how upset you would be in 5 years if you couldn't get a similar job, how much do you like what you do?

Wawawaa Mon 22-Jan-18 15:09:24

I had a career break of a few years, not to have children but to be with my then partner who was living overseas. For a couple of years I did a job that was completely different to my career. It was incredibly difficult to get my actual career back on track and I almost gave up but had a fluke lucky break after another couple of years of applying and luckily after much wobbling am back on track. But its definitely not easy and I can see how doing this is the end of any financial security for many women.

Paintspotsonthefloor Mon 22-Jan-18 15:11:37

Been a SAHM for the best part of 22 years. Gave up a professional career.

In a way, I don't regret it as it was very much what I wanted at the time and I am very happy that I was there for every home time, every school event. If the children were ill or injured or had an unexpected day off, I was there, there was no additional stress of finding childcare or squaring time off with employers.

The shine went off being a SAHM a few years ago though. I tried to go back to my profession but found it too changed. It was only then that I realised every ounce of self confidence had seeped out of me over the years. I don't feel I am qualified to do anything now, and I struggle massively to find any occupation outside the house. I have no financial independence (that might actually be a good thing as I do feel that if I had had money, there were plenty of times I would have walked out of my marriage - maybe being 'stuck' here has made me work harder at the relationship?) I am overwhelmed right now with the feeling that life has passed me by.

So my conclusion? If I had my time again, I would do as you are doing. I would work part-time even if all my earnings went on childcare. It will pay dividends later. Perhaps when your children reach the age of 8, or maybe even when they go to secondary, you will be able to increase your hours and you will have money coming in. Meanwhile, you probably have enough flexibility to shift your hours around to suit your children's needs and you are keeping your skills up to date.

GeekyWombat Mon 22-Jan-18 15:14:32

Watching this thread with interest. I haven’t given up my career, but I’m in a similar field to you (think marketing / PR / editing / web) and have gone part time working from home. I have a long term contract with one firm for a fixed number of hours a week and then pick up other shorter term bits here and there. Mostly it can be fitted around free nursery hours and it means that if when the DC get older I decide to go back properly full time I don’t have an awkward gap on my CV.

DH earns considerably more than me and works a very intense job with little flexibility for working from home / having a day off if the kids are ill is really frowned upon. So from our perspective it makes sense me doing this.

I love spending a lot of time with the kids and knowing on a sunny day I can bundle them out for a breakfast picnic and pick up my work later in the day, but I do worry about my prospects longer term if I want to make my career more intense again.

Ooogetyooo Mon 22-Jan-18 15:21:20

I think if you can work from home 2 days a week it sounds like a job worth holding onto and I say that as a sahm for the last 12 years.
Pros for keeping job- financial Independance, chance to increase hours when children are much older, pension contributions, own identity and life outside home.
Cons for keeping job- paying out for nursery, childminder or before and after school care, juggling with your partner for days when children are ill, school holidays, inset , snow days etc. Constant whirlwind of keeping all those balls in the air. I see friends of mine who have it all and they are constantly knackered. Depends what your partners contribution will be obviously.
The longer you are out of job market the harder it will be. Do I regret it? Yes quite often it eats away at me .

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