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Struggling to find work life balance(2 Posts)
I returned to work almost a year ago with the aim of pursuing a career that I had been studying for. It took me a while to find a job but eventually find one in a field that really interest me, but is a support role. I really like ‘being at work’ having been at home since having my first child (now a teenager), I really like the company, the people I work with and having an identity and purpose other than ‘mum’. However, I’m not sure that there are any immediate prospects for me to progress where I am, certainly within the next year or so, I initially took the role as I thought that the experience would enable me to progress. Also, I don’t feel that I am being appreciated by the person I work for. I feel that I am doing more than the average person in this role, because of my knowledge and interest, but I get no feedback or guidance from the person I work with and do not feel valued at all.
I have three children, two at primary, one at secondary. I have managed to agree slightly shorter days with my employer, but basically leave the house at 8am take the two to school then am home at tea time, picking the younger two up on two days. I then get in, cook their tea, and one four days out of five, I have to take one or both of the older children to clubs. Which usually means all of us getting in the car, for an hour’s round trip. By the time I get home it’s time to get the youngest to bed, then clear up, make dinner for me and dh, sort out laundry, any school stuff, homework, random requests and demands from children and then collapse. Normally sitting down to dinner with dh at around 8.45, if he is home.
DH has a demanding job, and to be honest is a bit of a workaholic. He works 13 hour days and then catches up on stuff in the evening. However, he makes a good salary, and has provided for us, without complaint for all of the years that we have children, we have a reasonably nice lifestyle and he is pretty relaxed about what I spend money on, though I don’t think I’m particularly extravagant. I am not earning a great deal compared to him, so my salary is obviously a nice extra, but we could manage without it. He doesn’t have a lot of time to do stuff at home, so even though I am also now working, it still feels like the bulk of the work associated with the house and the children falls to me.
I am finding that I can’t continue as things are. I’m constantly exhausted and feel like I am out of control as far as domestic arrangements go. I have periods where I get really organised and sort out my food shopping online and make meals in advance, but then unexpected things will happen and the organisation and planning takes a back seat. I’m always rushing, and running through my ‘to do’ list in my head, which leaves me with a constant feeling that I cannot afford to relax for a minute as something will get forgotten. I’m impatient and intolerant with everyone and just find it so hard to unwind. I’m not finding anytime to do anything for myself. As much I know this would most probably help, I just can’t find the time or the energy. DH’s work commitments mean that he is often home late or is away overnight, and once I’ve factored in all the children’s commitments, it just seems too hard to make time for myself, I would just rather collapse in front of the TV.
The other real issue is that the holiday allowance is shocking, and this is obviously a real issue for school holidays. We have some family support, but definitely not the full on hands on grandparents that many have. We have been sharing out our holiday and relying on holiday clubs and friends, but I find this really stressful, and really miss not spending the time with the children myself. I resent that I am going to have to settle for a couple of weeks family holiday in the year and that’s it.
So my dilemma is, should I leave this job in the next couple of months and take the summer off, therefore solving the problem of summer childcare, then look for something else in the autumn, hopefully less days per week. My worry is that it will take while to find something and that I will really hate not having a purpose and something to occupy my time, I really don’t want to go back to being at home full time. I also feel like I’m letting myself down after all the time and money I invested and that I should have the drive and determination to make it work. I feel massively conflicted between a job/career for myself and looking after the home and family, and at the same time not sending myself insane.
Would really love to hear your views….?
I realise this is a pretty old post, so you've probably come to a decision by now. I just wanted to say I feel exactly the same! I only have 1 child but she is only with us 60% of the time due to joint custody and I feel like the nights she is here I am crabby and intolerant and everything is just so overwhelming. I can't afford to cut my hours so I am stuck unfortunately but I understand your feelings
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