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"Few mothers drop out. They tend to drop from good jobs into bad ones."

(57 Posts)
curryeater Mon 16-Sep-13 11:07:00

I find that quote terrifying, because that is exactly what I am seriously considering at the moment. DESPITE the fact that I know from PERSONAL experience that the best-paid jobs are actually the easiest!

Yet somehow - because my life isn't working, because I am exhausted, because I am not coping, because I desperately want to sort out the dcs socks and tights and never ever ever have time - I have found myself considering applying for a local school-hours admin position.

This is bonkers. I will never be able to afford child care again. I will be stuck. I will be bored out of my mind and insulted and demeaned while people swan about saying "get one of the girls to do it", throwing crap at me. what was I thinking?

but what can I do instead?

What are your thoughts, please, clever women of mumsnet?

GatoradeMeBitch Mon 23-Sep-13 19:50:16

Two of my close male relatives married women who were their superiors at work, and earned more.

In both cases after they had their first child the women dropped out of work, one now works weekends at a supermarket, the other is training to be a childminder. There was no suggestion that the men could be the care providers and the women keep their better paid jobs.

LifeBalance Sun 22-Sep-13 20:42:39

Yes MH
I agree with that one too. But then having decided that I was NOT going to go down that lane, I have decided to up my hours. I am now working 4 days and not back at home until 8.00~9.00pm.
I still do all the drop off at school but if there is an issue such as illness, it's DH who has to step in.

Do I like it? I only have to do that for a few months before I can go back to 2 long days and 1 school hour day. And as soon as I can I WILL do it because I've just learnt that wanting to protect your career should not be done at the detriment of your home life.

The balance is hard to find though.

And it is also very hard to accommodate the career of 2 individuals, even wo children. Try to move to a different job for example. As soon as you talk about 'higher levels' of qualification/position, it's likely to mean that you have to move too. If your partner has a similar ish position and the same 'need' to move to get a promotion/move on in their career, it can become extremely difficult to protect both career.
I know quite a few people in that place and each time, one of them had to step down (even if slightly) from the 'race' to allow the other better opportunities.

ModeratelyObvious Sun 22-Sep-13 17:34:46

Yy MH.

MysteriousHamster Sun 22-Sep-13 17:33:45

It's a funny old world, isn't it? Apologies for the cliche.

My husband has since the beginning, been a pretty much equal partner re.parenting. Half the nappies, half the nights (apart from breastfeeding), half the baths, even a day working from home to look after him. Same with housework. He cooks more!

But I'm the only one who has even considered moving to a 'shit' job in order to work locally/part-time and be more available for housework/childcare. It wouldn't actually be a shit job, I appreciate, I just mean something that wouldn't mean moving forward in my current career trajectory. Why is it something that 9/10 times only women consider?

It sounds fine in principle, but once you do it you're going to be the one covering every sickness, gradually taking on more housework and wifework, reducing your financial independence.

DuckToWater Sun 22-Sep-13 16:58:09

OP, you are probably chronically sleep-deprived. I was, two years ago when I tried to go back to work after having a second child. I managed it for two years then massively burned out. It has taken me two years to sort myself out physically and mentally. Nowadays I'm probably only moderately sleep deprived but I feel a lot healthier, have lost some weight and have mostly got my mojo back. I'm now monitoring my sleep and paying more attention to my bedtime routine.

What I would say is if you do take some time out to do something else make sure it really is an easier option. Also you can go back to your previous line of work when the children are older. It's a damned sight easier for me now with an 8 and 4 year old than it was with a 5 year old and a baby/toddler.

And get a different cleaner, you really don't want snippy notes to add to your stress.

BasilBabyEater Sun 22-Sep-13 16:49:10

Yeah, I mean this stuff is very difficult to make hard and fast rules about - what is one person's reasonably relaxed but hygienic standards, might be someone else's OCD fanatical Monica-from-Friends-needs-effing-therapy-to-sort-it-out-fast standards, or needs-Kim-and-Aggie-health-hazard-slob-NOW standards; they're subjective aren't they.

But what decent people do, is take into account what is comfortable for the people they live with and try and reach that standard of comfort, within reason. I'm a bit of a slob, but if I lived with someone whom I knew felt stressed and unhappy about my slobbiness, I'd make a bloody effort to ensure that I took their comfort into account in my approach to our domestic arrangements, just as I'd expect them to take my comfort into account.

I think there is too much lowest-common-denominator stuff going on in these discussions sometimes; people say we all have to negotiate and yes we do, but FGS, shouldn't we all be negotiating upwards rather than downwards? Shouldn't adults living together be trying to improve each other's comfort, rather than making an agreement that they will put up with making each other uncomfortable? I just find that really a really bizarre aspiration, but perhaps that's why I'm single. grin

LifeBalance Sun 22-Sep-13 15:57:38

No, you're a shitty person if you refuse to take the trouble to do the bits of housework that are your responsibility to a reasonable standard.

even though I have learnt hat it can be hard too to accept that he can do just as well as I can too

BasilBabyEater Sun 22-Sep-13 14:20:45

No, you're a shitty person if you refuse to take the trouble to do the bits of housework that are your responsibility to a reasonable standard.

If people are happy with oven chips every night, that's fine, there's no problem. But if one party isn't, then to deliberately serve them every time it's your turn to cook, is shitty behaviour by any standards surely? Why wouldn't you try and make the environment and experiences of the people you live with more positive and happy?

Like I said, no problem occasionally - but as a passive aggressive strategy to punish someone else for making you do that chore - that is shitty behaviour.

Pickturethis Sun 22-Sep-13 14:14:06

You're a shitty person if you don't cook from scratch regularly?

I don't cook from scratch regularly, because I find it boring and time consuming.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 22-Sep-13 14:11:10

But many women also cook shit food and do the laundry badly. Oven chips aren't popular because of all the SAHDs or single men. They're popular because of women who buy them as a quick way to do tea for their families. If a man who worked out of home had a go at his stay at home partner for not cooking from scratch he'd be out of order. Women who assume their standards have to be adhered to are also out of order. Couples need to come to a happy compromise that they both are comfortable with.

BasilBabyEater Sun 22-Sep-13 14:03:38

Hmm, see I don't buy this thing of accepting men can do it badly, we have to eat shit food regularly because they can't be arsed to think about nutrition/ don't see dirt etc. Have shrunken clothes regularly and dye having run into white blouses because they can't be arsed to work out how the washing machine works because he can't do that, because he's really good at all other machines but just not that one? No.

Women learned, so can they. There is nothing wrong with having pizza and chips occasionally, of course there isn't - but pizza and chips every time because I can't be arsed to take responsibility for that bit of the domestic labour? No, not acceptable, if you do that, whatever sex you are, you're short-changing your partner and your children and you're a pretty shitty person tbh.

OP there are a couple of threads here which might help

this one's more about principles, wifework etc. one's full of incredibly practical and useful tips on getting organised and has revolutionised my household

HoleyGhost Sun 22-Sep-13 02:50:32

What I meant about the weird clothes is that properly sharing responsibility means accepting that your dh won't do everything your way, to your standards.

If he takes over e.g. food shopping and cooking as suggested above, you will have to let go of responsibility for that area, even if it means regularly eating frozen pizza and chips.

It is not easy when you have been used to taking responsibility for every area, but compromise is necessary.

HoleyGhost Sun 22-Sep-13 02:35:43

You need a break.

Re. the weird clothes - my dh does this too. It is maddening, especially as I will be judged for the small child looking like a 'total embarassment' but so what?

This stuff doesn't really matter. Your dc will get more aware of appropriate clothing as they get older. It is not really a problem if they are dressed strangely now.

I would forget potty training your 2 yo until you are in a better place. Maybe counselling might help with that? Your GP may be able to advise.

kickassangel Sun 22-Sep-13 01:53:49

Curry, what would happen if you were away from work sick? I know it can be terrifying, and make you think that you will lose your job, but what if you took a week off self cert.? Tbh, I think you could talk to a gp and be signed off for a while under stress.

I have been where you are, but my situation was resolved by moving country, and actually it changed to situation rather than resolving it.

Is there any way you can get two full days to yourself? Literally away from everything? Then have a day or two at home to try and get yourself, your head, your house sorted out? It won't resolve the relationship, but it will give you a chance to know if it is the stress making you crazy, or the relationship itself.

WeAreSeven Sun 22-Sep-13 01:01:16

curry, wrt potty training. This was an issue for me when ds3 needed to be trained.
I picked a weekend when I was off on Saturday which doesn't happen too often. From Friday afternoon he went into pants. He had accidents, I changed him, then I sent him into nursery saying he was in pants, not nappies. They took over. He did have a few accidents with them but was trained reasonably quickly.
I would assume a CM would be expecting that most of the children in her care will need to be trained at some stage and that it doesn't happen in a weekend? So long as the child has shown signs of readiness, that shouldn't be a problem.

If you work, FT, you do need to delegate some of these tasks to other people. And not feel guilty over it.

MadameLeBean Tue 17-Sep-13 10:12:03

Can you move companies? Good luck with everything try not to think about all the issues at once x

curryeater Tue 17-Sep-13 09:20:13

Thanks everyone for all your help with this.

I do get in a spin when I am overtired. Should probably just put some Bach on the headphones, do some easy work, and come back to it some other time. but I am glad I talked to you all yesterday and had some good advice.

The job thing - is supposedly in flux and help will be coming next year - but I have been waiting and waiting for a year so far and no one is even talking to me. I am slightly nervous of my new(ish) boss is the problem and don't like to ask for things, or imply I am inadequate while he is getting to know me and making decisions about my future.

Thanks everyone for putting so much thought into all this crap for me.
I will have to do serious amounts of real work today and will try to do some domestic lists later

ModeratelyObvious Mon 16-Sep-13 23:49:08

Good luck curry

minipie Mon 16-Sep-13 22:52:32

ouch curry that sounds tough. Could I add to your list (sorry) "have words with work about some sort of deputy for me"... it is unsustainable to have a job where you cannot go away ever ever...

good luck, hope you feel like you can clear the decks a little. fwiw I don't think ltb would help.

curryeater Mon 16-Sep-13 20:51:39

ha ha ha holidays. that is a huge part of my problem - taking a couple of weeks off is a nightmare for that too. Last year I didn't and had a mini-breakdown. This year I did and suffered hard before and after.

Here is my plan of action:

go to bed early (today)
make lists of things to be done and suggest who will do them (tomorrow)
get counsellor (sometime) (maybe just for me first)
Talk to CM about potty training (Friday)
Consider parental leave (look at the money and consider that first)

I think I need to crunch through quite a few things before getting to ltb. I don't want to and I know I have ishoos that have nothing to do with him.

thanks for your help everyone

x <- couldn't help it, sweeties

minipie Mon 16-Sep-13 20:08:47

Agree a little bit with Madame about letting others both DH and colleagues take responsibility for their own failures to do what they've been asked. Though obv at work you would need to come up with some way to ensure your superiors knew it was their failure not yours.

so with DH - try to make sure that if he cocks up his tasks, it backfires on HIM not you - so for example make him responsible for food shopping and cooking supper for you both (if he fails then he won't eat) rather than DCs clothes (where if he fails, DC suffer but he doesn't). We kind of do this - I know that DH is crap at all things child related, so I do those, but to compensate he needs to do well over 50% of all adult related tasks such as cooking washing up laundry etc.

On parental leave, you say "you need to give a month's notice, so it is not something to be done in an immediate crisis, and if not an immediate crisis then what justification do I have for this upheaval? c. what upheaval? Well, the cost to my family in £; and at work, no one does what I do and it is often time sensitive. Taking a fortnight would be a right headache."

Parental leave is not for immediate crises. That's what emergency leave is for. Parental leave exists specifically for your situation IMO - basically where the work side of the work family balance (ha) has taken over and you need to redress a bit and catch up with your dcs. I know what you mean about it being a complete headache for your work, but you must take holiday occasionally right? So they must be able to manage without you sometimes? Think of it as an extra bit of annual leave - yes you'll have to time it sensitively but it can be done. I do think this is an example of where you could leave tasks to others, even if they're not done to your high standards in the meantime.

BelleCurve Mon 16-Sep-13 17:47:38

and don't stress about potty training. DS was at CM fulltime, I was working no time to "train". They will work it out.

BelleCurve Mon 16-Sep-13 17:45:10

also maybe consider getting an au pair. still not foolproof and you do have to manage the process but at least you know who is "boss".

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BelleCurve Mon 16-Sep-13 17:44:11

give some more thought to ltb. the relationship dynamic sounds screwed up, and I lived like this for a long time. it is actually so much easier being an lp (with a well paying job admittedly) than tiptoeing around this bullshit all the time.

Read wifework. My now XH didn't last out the week once I read that an realised how difficult he was making everything

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