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Does anyone regret becoming a SAHM?

(46 Posts)
PipandBella Mon 15-Jul-19 09:51:03

I'm having a huge dilemma regarding work. Im currently on mat leave with my second child (and also have a 3 year old who starts school next year)
I'm thinking of giving up my job to be a SAHM for a few years and then trying to find more flexible work which would fit in with family life.
My current job is a good one, professional and well paid, but is stressful and has weekend and night shifts as well as early and late shifts which vary from week to week so sorting childcare/ school pick ups is going to be a nightmare.
I always thought that if I was lucky enough to a family one day I would give up the job and be a SAHM or look for something more family friendly, and I'm fortunate that my husband supports the idea of me becoming a SAHM and we would be OK financially.
To some this decision may seem like a complete no-brainier but now it's crunch time and it's proving much more tricky than I expected!
For those who have quit work to be a SAHM do you ever have regrets and if so what are they?
I know there will be lots of benefits to being there for the children, but I know there will be drawbacks too.
Do you miss working? Do you miss being financially more independent? Has it been really tricky finding work to fit in with family life? Or has becoming a SAHM been a great decision?
I would love to hear your thoughts, any advice greatly appreciated!

MontyBowJangles Thu 18-Jul-19 18:55:26

@Stuckforthefourthtime

I dunno. I guess I came from a poor background where my family always lived in council flats/houses, living hand to mouth. Pensions were never mentioned or a thing.

Dh has savings, stocks, shares, great company and private health insurancd and a very healthy pension (or two I think) and we've only got a few more years left til the mortgage is paid off on our decent sized house. So if it all goes tits-up, we could always downsize.

daffodilbrain Thu 18-Jul-19 12:52:34

If you're naturally industrious I don't think you'd be bored. I had 5 years as SAHM and loved it now back working p/t and I love that!

yousmokedthelastoneanhourago Tue 16-Jul-19 15:29:03

For me, the hardest part of not working is the drop in money. Even if your OH earns enough for you all to live comfortably on a daily basis, only having one income has repercussions for mortgages (you are classed as a dependent), you might have difficulty financing a car in your own name etc

If you don't have any paid childcare, it can be pretty relentless. You will see your friends/family take advantage of childcare during annual leave and feel quite resentful.

Your house is messier that it was when you were working. In addition it can be quite hard to do the things around the house that you thought would be easy being a SAHM. You and your kids will mess up your house on a daily basis, you will spend your evenings tidying up.

That said, I wouldn't choose differently if I had my time again. It's been hard, certainly not the easy option but I feel it was a good decision for my kids.

Mammysboys2 Tue 16-Jul-19 15:13:09

Not meant as spam. Just giving my view on being a stay at home mum. I always wanted to be a SAHM but couldn't do it financially. So what started off as a hobby for me soon turned into a career giving me the best of both worlds, being a SAHM whilst earning. Its a real option to consider!

EssentialHummus Tue 16-Jul-19 14:34:18

Ahhh, the spam, it's burning my eyes!!

Mammysboys2 Tue 16-Jul-19 14:20:04

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Stuckforthefourthtime Mon 15-Jul-19 16:56:16

We are married. We have life insurance. I'm not bothered about a pension. It's not great being financially dependent on dh but it's not forever and I never go without (far from it!)

How can you be not bothered about a pension? Our lived experience of critical illness insurance is that that it really is a safety net to keep you from poverty, but even the best rated policies will nowhere near replace what you had from working. It's great your DH earns so much, but to me this is just such a big risk.

Like I said upthread, I loved being home, would love to be an sahm but once you've experienced what happens when the sole earning partner can't earn anymore, it makes you realised just how exposed a sole earning family can be.

Cobblersandhogwash Mon 15-Jul-19 16:49:57

Whoops. Posted too soon.

I had to be a sahm because there was no other way to enable our family really. Plus dogs. 🙄

Now I have no career to speak of and feel like a proper loser. All my university contemporaries are soaring in their careers.

I'm envious and I feel foolish.

But nearing 50, what can I do? I feel like a bit of a loser.

ChicCroissant Mon 15-Jul-19 16:49:07

The good thing about being a SAHM in later life OP, is that you already have years of pension contributions to fall back on (or I did, at least!).

I don't regret SAH at all.

Cobblersandhogwash Mon 15-Jul-19 16:47:57

I do.

gracepoolesrum Mon 15-Jul-19 16:44:35

Not me but a good friend of mine tells me she regrets it as now the DCs are older she's at a bit of a dead end in life- it's difficult to get back into work after a long gap and her husband works long hours as a result of needing to earn enough for them to survive. Doesn't mean it can't work for you but something to think about.

Iggly Mon 15-Jul-19 16:40:35

I have taken some time out of work with two school aged Dcs. It’s been great! I’ve built up some nice friends and have kept my hand in volunteering (school and charity roles).

But I didn’t want to stop work altogether- you never know when you might need to get back to work (she made redundant recently), so I would make sure you have back up plans/savings.

Chovihano Mon 15-Jul-19 16:28:37

In my opinion, very long time sahm grin you need a purpose rather than just looking after dc and housework.

To me it was my job, so a bit of housework a bit of parenting, hobbies and interests. mainly educating and socialising the dc in prep for school as didn't use pre school.
I don't go for coffees or the gym, can't think of anything more boring tbh.
I don't watch tv at all, but have the radio on if I'm at home.
The main thing for me was being able to support my dc who had gifts that school couldn't cope with, so have flexi schooled and H.schooled during this time too.
It worked for us, and no regrets.
Just starting working from home now, as was lucky to be able to keep abreast of industry changes in my field, so have picked up at senior level again.

Didiusfalco Mon 15-Jul-19 16:20:33

I ended up becoming a sahm almost by default after redundancy. It was great to spend time with dc and took pressure off home life but - now I am trying to get back into work and finding it difficult even though I have done some very part time work when a sahm. I’ve been worried about my pension and independence for a while. I would only do it in hindsight if I had a career that was very easy to step back into or had other personal wealth to rely on.

Newgirls Mon 15-Jul-19 16:12:02

I kept up freelance work while mine were little and thank heavens I did as mine are now teens and I’d be v bored without paid work to do. Plus they are expensive. But I’m glad I saw the plays, concerts, sports days etc - that time at primary goes fast really tho at time it didn’t!

MontyBowJangles Mon 15-Jul-19 16:03:38

Oh, and as they say, you will never regret time spent with your children smile

MontyBowJangles Mon 15-Jul-19 16:01:54

Thanks for that link @snowy0wl - will look into it.

OP, I became a SAHM just over 5.5yrs ago when dc2 was born. Dc1 was just turning 3. I nearly died having dc2 (in a coma on life support for a week) and hated my job (civil servant in a bitchy office). DH earns 3 x more than I've ever earned and was happy for me to give up my job. It was just a bit of a no-brainer.

The decision was made easier as you re-evaluate what's important when you've been gravely ill. And I've never had a career, just office and bar/waitressing jobs (not everyone is a power hungry career-ladder scaling businesswoman!!).

We are married. We have life insurance. I'm not bothered about a pension. It's not great being financially dependent on dh but it's not forever and I never go without (far from it!). I worked f/t from age 16 - 33 so don't feel guilty.

The early days were hard and some days dragged. I've been volunteering for four years in various places which I've found interesting, gave me a break from the kids/adult company and has enabled me to make a good support network of friends locally.

So at your age and your circumstances I'd definitely take a few years off.

I'm now job hunting and it is very difficult to find something that fits in around school that doesn't involve working with children (have decided definitely not to). But I'm studying for pleasure, and taking my time. Who knows, maybe I'll finally find a career to work towards at age 39 smile

Forever12 Mon 15-Jul-19 15:51:29

I’m in my early 40ies with one dd, gave up my job 2 years ago. I got as far as I could go in my career really and it took me some time to find DH and have a family, so no regrets at all. Planning to stay home for another 3 years and then get a part time job initially. I had very stressful jobs though, worked with some extremely difficult people and at different times experienced workplace bullying, so I don’t regret having this break from work, don’t miss it at all.

zafferana Mon 15-Jul-19 15:45:48

Do you miss working? No, not really. I was never much of a career person either and actually I was delighted when I went on ML and knew I didn't have to go back if I didn't want to!

Do you miss being financially more independent? No, because my DH has never made an issue of this and earns enough so that we've always been comfortable. At this point a PT salary earned by me would be a drop in the bucket.

Has it been really tricky finding work to fit in with family life? Yes, impossible, but that's because DH works long hours and often travels and actually the only way I could work would be if we had wraparound childcare, which is hard to find. If I have to work and do the childcare then it's impossible, ergo I don't work, but I am studying with the OU and that's been perfect, because I set my own schedule. I can now see why so many mothers set up their own businesses - it's just so they can work the hours they want to/can.

Or has becoming a SAHM been a great decision? Yes - it really has - both for me and our DC, particularly since I started studying as I was bored once DS2 started school. Studying has given me the balance and brain challenge that I missed.

snowy0wl Mon 15-Jul-19 15:38:13

One thing I found out recently - you can protect your National Insurance contributions as a SAHM even if you don't qualify for child benefit. www.gov.uk/child-benefit

Stuckforthefourthtime Mon 15-Jul-19 15:12:00

I had just quit to be an sahm when my husband became very ill. We had insurances and the lot, but what they don't tell you is that there's a long wait before payout, they are extremely specific (so when he suffered severe depression as a result of the physical illness this was treated separately, for example). The upshot of this was I went back full time. If I'd been off a little longer it would have been tremendously hard to find a similar level job, and we would not have had the same financial cushion to weather storms.

If we win the lottery I'll be an sahm like a shot, but realistically very few families these days actually have the resources to do it without a lot of risk.

Even the women saying like one pp that she'd be working for £60 a week - she'd also be making pension and NI contributions and keeping her CV alive so that if she ever needed to, she could return.

There are always reams of threads like this one on Mumsnet... www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/3638450-SAHM-6-years-Feeling-uuuggghh-Trying-to-get-a-job

herethereandeverywhere Mon 15-Jul-19 15:06:47

I managed 12 months mat leave then a further 10 months as a SAHM by which time being a SAHM was adversely impacting my mental health. All the socialising, hobbies and stimulating child-based activities were still not enough for me to feel like me.
Luckily I was offered a PT job. Still needed to juggle holidays and wrap around when they went to school but so worth it, for me.

So yes, I regretted it but was able to get back to work and rectify it.

snowy0wl Mon 15-Jul-19 15:04:29

@BostonFeri - Seems a little harsh. There are measures you can take to help protect yourself against unexpected death (eg. life insurance). On the subject of limiting your career progression, surely that depends on the career and whether you can see it as an opportunity to retrain? Staying in a job doesn't guarantee you will remain employable. I've known people who have worked in the same job for 20 years, been made redundant and then struggled to get another job because their skillset is out of date or too bespoke. There is nothing to stop you taking courses (many free ones online) whilst being a SAHM to keep your skillset up-to-date or retrain.

"Being financially dependent on your DH" - I am confused why so many people view childcare as something that is not worthy of a salary, even if it is a share of their partner's.

I'm finding this discussion very interesting, because I am about to be placed in the same position. I hated my last job and have found the last few months in the volunteering sector so much more fulfilling. I will become a SAHM in November and I'm filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Part of me misses the 9-5 office life and politics, but not enough to return to it atm, especially given the £1000+ per month cost of childcare these days.

InDubiousBattle Mon 15-Jul-19 14:44:57

That would have been my thoughts tooProfessional but they're looking to cut their hours, go pt, reduce their roles now their eldest dc are in school, so ft work seems to be less appealing now.

EssentialHummus Mon 15-Jul-19 14:14:44

Everything sar3 said. I’m not fully a Sahm - I do about an hour’s work a day to keep my hand in - but a) being in a fully flexible self-employed role and b) having money from btl property coming in (bought in anticipation of having DC) are what makes it viable for me personally.

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