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To be a stay at home mum

69 replies

wwwwwwwwwwwwww · 10/07/2017 14:42

So I've decided (always knew) to be a stay at home mum. I'm perfectly happy to do this with childcare costs being so expensive in London it won't make a huge financial difference, but even if it did I'd probably stay at home.

I've been shocked by how much people have questioned this choice and expected me to justify it. People keep asking about going back to work and are shocked when I say I'm not (well outside the home). Yet nearly all the mum's I know returning to work express unhappiness. My mother worked when I was a child and was in the minority. I'm genuinely surprised by how unusual people seem to find it. I've found myself justifying it due to the cost of childcare etc. As people seem so judgmental of me doing it just because I want to and feel it's best for my child. I think happy parents are what's best for children generally so if other parents want to work good for them. I also know it is a financial need for some. Though with the cost of childcare near me you'd have to earn a lot to make it worthwhile. Am I missing some social etiquette for this? AIBU to leave my career to be a stay home mum, because I want to? People also make comments that we must be loaded (I wish!) which I find offensive. Though obviously we can afford to eat and put a roof over our heads on one income which I know is fortunate. Some of the people saying it though a certainly more affluent they just have different lifestyle expectations. I don't know if I'm be overly sensitive. I just as surprised being a sham is seen as such a radical choice. I am generally a quite and conservative person so I also find it surprising that people think what I'd view as private family dynamics as up for public debate. Then how many children you're going to have seems to be as well.

OP posts:
ProudBadMum · 10/07/2017 14:45

Just ignore what other people think and do what you want. It's your life not theirs.

BlackeyedSusan · 10/07/2017 14:51

I suspect if you were going back to work you would get questioned about where you were leaving baby and probably some comments about how "it is wrong" for baby to be in child care.

if you were going part time you would get both sets of questions and about being able to afford it.

whatever option you choose it will be the wrong one for some people. the dads though rarely get comments, unless they choose to be sahp.

Lurkedforever1 · 10/07/2017 14:53

Honestly op try not to take it personally. It has nothing to do with being a sahm, and everything to do with the fact you're a mother and therefore fair game for judging and criticism. Tell them all you are going back part time. Or ft and your dp being a sahd. Or you'll both be ft. You'll get an equal amount of criticism whatever you do.

So just do what works for you and ignore

motherinferior · 10/07/2017 15:05

Make your own decisions but please don't assume that others are all riven with guilt and pain - I for one couldn't wait to be back at work. And while your mother may have been in a minority where you lived plenty of mothers have always worked (mine did and I'm 54).

It's up to you what you do.

Coddiwomple · 10/07/2017 15:13

I've done both, and I have heard a few unfriendly comments each time, whatever you do, you cannot win, so ignore ignore ignore!

I can understand why spending more or less time with your children is a sensitive subject. What I don't get is why so many people -just look at this forum - seem to think SAHM are boring and have nothing to talk about! Not many of us have such a fascinating job - mine is ok, but not a very interesting conversation piece - and many workers live for the weekend. Being at work and taking care of your kids at the weekend means you have much less free time to do anything interesting, or at least non-child related. It baffles me, I am sure I had more things to discuss with my DH when I was staying home.

Enjoy your time at home, and don't forget you will become very popular when the kids are at school and have what seems like endless sick days/ strike days/ INSET days/ half terms etc...Grin

wherearemymarbles · 10/07/2017 15:17

No, its up to you and your partner. My wife ended her career when she went on maternity leave. Its what she wanted, we could afford it and we both thought it was in the best interests of our children. Now they are at school she works 25 hours a week at their school and has no interest at all ongoing back to her old career (even though on paper it would probably pay 6 times more than she earns now)

Bluntness100 · 10/07/2017 15:20

Do what you want, this argument has been done to death on here. Yes stay at home mums are on the decrease, doesn't mean it's a wrong decision. Bit surprised by your comment working mums are unhappy though, I wasn't,and no one I knew was. Each to their own, stop being so judgemental.

Have you discussed what will happen when free nursery hours, school comes into play, will you go back or are you giving up for ever more ? Worth discussing with your husband as that can often be a bone of contention.

I'd also think about if you were to split could you cope financially if uoud been out of the job market for a long time.

WinnieTheWitch50 · 10/07/2017 15:20

I've always found that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't (I've been both) just ignore, you don't have to justify this to anyone.

EssentialHummus · 10/07/2017 15:26

You don't have to justify this decision to anyone, but pls don't add fuel to the fire by commenting on the unhappiness of working mums. Everyone does what works for them in their circumstances.

Luttrell · 10/07/2017 15:28

I've done it for almost a decade and the sneering, insults and people outright turning their back and walking away is still shocking ('You don't work? I suppose we won't have much in common.) Just the other day a MNET post cautioned the OP against 'consorting with housewives' and to stay away from 'low earning women'.

It's one of those areas, like changing a surname, that a 'correct' way to behave has been decided and anyone who deviates is treated like dirt.

Just use it as a filter to avoid dickheads. They can be quite fun to mess with.

Ollycat · 10/07/2017 15:28

Do what's right for you and your family OP. Mumsnet does seem to have a view that SAHM's are dullards and will be left destitute when their husbands leave. Most women I know left their careers to be SAHM's - most were high flying professionals- barristers, doctors etc. I was a SAHM for 7 or so years and now work part time for a pittance in a job I'm vastly overqualified for but I'm happy and have no regrets.

Changedtocovermyass · 10/07/2017 15:32

Yup. In my experience you get nothing but criticism for not working. Especially on MN! Certainly I've let friendships drift where they do the "it's ok for you but ineed more stimulation and would be bored all day".
Yes dear. Of course they're so much more interesting and necessary than i am. Of course they are Hmm

number1wang · 10/07/2017 15:33

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wwwwwwwwwwwwww · 10/07/2017 15:33


I know not all working mum's are unhappy. Some of my friends like to work and good for them. Most the mum's I speak to though expressed regret about end of maternity leave, to the extent I wondered if it's something you are meant to say whether you mean it or not. I hoped I'd expressed in my post that I genuinely believe that is parents are happy working or not I believe it creates a happy home and happy children.

My husband is happy for me to be at home. I am truly fortunate that he just wants me and my daughter to be happy and will support my choice to stay at home for as long as I believe I should. Should I want to return to work he would support me. I am a qualified teacher so returning to work after a break is possible though probably not to my leadership role. I don't anticipate a divorce

OP posts:
snowgirl1 · 10/07/2017 15:34

I think you can't win whether you work or not. Maybe some of them are a bit defensive if they perceive your 'I feel it's best for my child' as criticism of their choice/need to work, i.e. they think you're implying that they're not doing their best for their child.

jeaux90 · 10/07/2017 15:35

Been back at work since mine was 5 months old she is 8 years old now. You do whats right for you.
(For the record I wasn't unhappy nor did I feel guilty.....don't see why I should, men don't)

MagicMoneyTree · 10/07/2017 15:38

Don't take it personally. You'd get the questions whatever you'd decided. Just so happens that yours are related to questions about staying at home. Those who return to work get questions about are you ft/or? Blah, blah... just ignore it.

Mymouthgetsmeintrouble · 10/07/2017 15:42

I had a horrible experience at a baby group where another mum laid into me for being a stay at home mum , she was better than me because she had a very important job in a school , i said good for you but you really shouldnt judge others just for making different life choices to you , some months later it came out that the very important job in a school was voluntary and was used as a cover to spend time with the headteacher ...... who she was shagging

wwwwwwwwwwwwww · 10/07/2017 15:44

I see what you mean about expressing it as what's best for my child snowgirl1. I think it's best for her as I would be unhappy and stressed at work and I think she'd pick up on it. Rather than the only good option for a child is to have a stay at home mum.

I know for my mum the good option was to work. For me the good option is to stay at home. Different things work for different families. My mum did not encounter this degree of interrogation about it though. Even though her choice was an unusual one in the community I grew up in.

It sounds like from everyone's responses i'd get quizzes either way. I was surprised as I thought people would treat it as a more private choice for each family.

OP posts:
CloserIAmToFine · 10/07/2017 15:44

OP, few people "anticipate a divorce." I'm a SAHM too so I'm not saying you need to go back to work, but you do need to make sure you are saving for retirement and ideally have your own savings as well. My marriage is rock solid as far as I know but life is long, and you really do never know.

pinkdelight · 10/07/2017 15:47

It's up to you, but mumsnet is full of stories of women who're screwed because they've given up their financial independence. Not saying you won't be fine, but don't go into it blythly because you've always wanted to stay home. Best to have back up plans.

Ecureuil · 10/07/2017 15:49

I'm a SAHM and I get all sorts of negative comments. And lots of veiled comments like 'I value my independence too much' or 'I'd be bored without my career'. I try and let it wash over me to be honest... my family, my decision. I had a very well paid career before DC and I know I could get back into it if I chose. I have a private pension. I have savings. No one else's business except mine and DH's, I'm not expecting them to pay for me.

ImAFurchester · 10/07/2017 15:57

YANBU at all if it makes you happy.

HOWEVER I think it makes a huge difference how old your kids are. If you'd asked me when my son was 6 months old I'd have said I'd happily stay at home with him always. I desperately didn't want to go back to work but I work in the public sector and would have had to pay back my enhanced maternity pay if I'd not gone back for 3 months after maternity leave. So I went back very grudgingly, determined I would leave after 3 months and become a SAHM.

To my surprise I really enjoyed going back to work and my son loved nursery too. Now he's a toddler I'm delighted I'm not a SAHM - I would really struggle, I know.

So no, YANBU, but equally don't be embarassed or ashamed to change your mind. Kids change the older they get, and being at home with a newborn is v v different to being at home with a toddler.

WankYouForTheMusic · 10/07/2017 15:58

I was surprised as I thought people would treat it as a more private choice for each family.

Hahaha really?! No, I'm afraid everything you do is fair game now. Starts with how you behave when pregnant, moves on to how you give birth, how you feed your baby, weaning... and then this. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but it's how things are. All we can do is refuse to engage in it ourselves.

Just the other day a MNET post cautioned the OP against 'consorting with housewives' and to stay away from 'low earning women'.

To be fair, that was one of Xenia's incarnations. She's always been a bit, erm, niche like that.

crazypenguinlady · 10/07/2017 16:07

Do what is best for your family and don't justify it to anyone else!

I'd love to be a SAHM for a few years until DC is in school and DP also supports that decision. However, we have discussed it and decided that it is probably best for our family in the long run, for several valid reasons, if I do return to work after maternity leave but on a part time basis. We are very lucky though in that my mum is more than happy to look after DS, and is able to.

I know a few SAHMs, they love it and as far as I know, have never encountered negativity. And they also have lots to talk about Smile

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