I DON’T WANT A JOB – AND THAT’S OK

If you saw my last post (the one where I freak out a bit) you’ll know that I had the opportunity to return to work pretty much immediately and so had to decide quick sticks what I wanted to do.

It all came about because I’d been considering returning to work sometime this year, possibly after the school Summer holidays – emphasis on considering and possibly. While updating my CV for the first time in over ten years, and having a mooch around a few job sites I kind of applied for a job, not thinking I’d even get an interview never mind end up being offered the role. I’m still not entirely sure why I clicked ‘apply’, I obviously got carried away in a moment of madness.

I’m a SAHM of two, both of whom have been in full-time education for almost two years now.

I think once the youngest child starts school there can be an assumption by family/friends/society that Mummy will be returning to some form of employment now she has all that time on her hands. The reality of the situation is that jobs that fit nicely around school hours and holidays are rarer than steak tartare.

More likely the majority of roles on offer will require you to be available weekdays 9-5, oh and probably won’t be cool with you not working school holidays, inset days, kids-off-sick days, polling days or any days that don’t fall within the stipulated terms of your holiday entitlement. If you’re lucky you might be able to wangle the odd morning off for a nativity play, class assembly or sports day but probably not all of them and probably not for every kid, every time.

Yes of course there are breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and the option of holiday clubs. Planning and staggering annual leave a year in advance to cobble together a childcare solution that gets you through until the start of term. If you’re very lucky there may be family on hand to help on a regular basis. There are ways to make it work and families adapt and work within their own constraints to do so.

So the question is, how do you decide if you should go back to work? There are so many factors to consider, all of which vary a great deal from family to family. For some it’s a necessity financially, children are expensive little blighters and those school shoes / birthday parties / surprise eggs don’t come cheap. All your savings have probably long gone on baby wipes (along with your dreams of that holiday to St Lucia) so a few quid going  into the bank would make a welcome change.

For others it might be a personal quest to be more than ‘just’ a Mummy and regain a sense of independence or return to a career that you genuinely love and miss.

Some just find the whole idea of being at home all day mind numbingly dull.

Me? I actually really enjoy it and can honestly say I never feel bored, unfulfilled, at a loose end, lonely – whatever, I just don’t. I have six hours between school drop off and pick up which absolutely fly by. Housework, laundry, supermarket, doctors appointments, clear-outs, boiler quotes, MOTs, recycling runs, – there’s always something and all these little things get seen to while the kids are at school. This week among other things I’ve had peace to build a new set of drawers for my son, source a key for my Mum’s antique clock and replace the upstairs loo seat (all the glamour). I’m also training to run 10k in May which means I’m out most mornings huffing and puffing for a bit too.

Being able to do these things during the week means evenings and weekends are free to spend with the family, by which I mean Himself and I will ferry them around to whatever classes, training, clubs, playdates or parties are in the diary. But seriously, it makes life for the family massively less stressful on the whole which is something I see as a main consideration for continuing to be a SAHM, for the time being anyway.

Financially, well I’d be lying if I said we had money to throw around. We do not. What comes in and what goes out is very carefully managed and we live within our means to allow us the setup we have. No to fancy holidays, expensive days out or ridiculously overpriced kids magazines. Yes to budgets, meal planning and trips to the park! I’m not complaining by any means, we’re extremely lucky to have the roof over our heads and the food in our bellies. Everyday I’m grateful for the fact that being a SAHM is even an option, not everyone gets that opportunity.

Although the obvious financial benefit of being employed is tempting, chances are what we would pay out on childcare (we don’t have the option of regular family help) would take a considerable chunk of earnings over the course of a year.  Added to this the impact on family life and the fact that I’m in no way yearning to jump back onto the career ladder anytime soon means returning to work just isn’t a viable option for me/us.

If any of these variables were to change, e.g. a term time role became available or family were on hand to help with childcare then of course I would reevaluate and most likely jump at the chance to dust of my 40 deniers and get back in the workplace again.

I’d love to hear how/when you decided the time was right (or wrong) to return to work and what works best for you and your family? Maybe you have some advice or suggestions I haven’t considered. Maybe, like me you’re happy with your decision to stay at home for a little while longer while your children are in full time education? Let me know!

 

 

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76 Comments

  1. As a SAHM myself i have been told going to work is not much of an option. I have weekly visits to the hospital and also a child in part-time nursery. This made me take a look at what i can do and so started blogging myself this don’t make me millions but in time hoping to make a living from it. I love to go full time work but i just don’t get that choice xx

  2. Well, at the risk of offending other go-to-work mums I would just like to say that I actually felt relieved for you when I read this post. When you said you’d been offered the job I had thoughts of you being rushed off your feet, tired and not ‘present’ enough to enjoy your life properly. I hope that doesn’t sound too mean to other mums who have to work but I just think that running a home and a family is a job in itself and a very important position (which a few feminists might shrug off as sexist) and if you have the opportunity to not work then all the better for everyone. Life is about more than having a ton of money (& even most of that gets eaten up with childcare so is it actually worth it!?)
    I am lucky enough to have a career which allows me to work as and when I want and most weeks thats just a couple of hours. I love my job but I also love the fact I’m always present for the kids and Mr MLLH and life just flows nicer, so it makes me very happy that you are still in the ‘priveledged club’ too – we’re lucky but we also appreciate it, and must never take it for granted!*Has happy face for you*

    1. I was actually nervous about posting this as I didn’t want it to come across the wrong way IYKWIM? You’re right, the money would be lovely but I feel it would have a negative effect on our family life compared to our current setup so it’s not worth it at the moment. Oh yes I absolutely appreciate having the option as you say, I should just try to enjoy it instead of feeling guilty about not being back in the workplace. Thanks Alex x
      admin recently posted…I DON’T WANT A JOB – AND THAT’S OKMy Profile

  3. Hi, fascinating read at the end of the day it’s down to an individuals personal choice as what works for their own circumstances. Thanks for sharing, Chloe #MarvMondays

  4. You are so lucky to stay at home, my mummy works compressed full time hours and does all the house jobs too, however she still finds time to be ‘present’ and enjoy quality family time. The only thing she sacrifices is not being able to have much time to herself. She needed to work in order to pay the bills. Maybe she could be a SAHM if she won the lottery, she would love to go out for a jog and get fit 😉 #MarvMondays #BigPinkLink

  5. Thought provoking. I suspect I’ll have to go back to work for financial reasons, but from the family life point of view it would be much better if I could be around. I hadn’t really thought about all the little things I’m going to have to do outside of work hours as well as being a mum! #bigpinklink
    Kelly recently posted…Our favourite books for a 6-month-oldMy Profile

  6. Interesting and candid post. I decided to return to work when my son was 10 months old, for financial reasons mainly. It was a new job and I’ve been doing it for nearly 3 years now and while some days it bores me I’m lucky that I have flexibility to work from home and pick and choose my hours. #bigpinklink

    1. A flexible job like that would be perfect, I know what you mean, I wouldn’t be able to return to something I was 100% passionate about (unless I was extremely lucky that something suitable cropped up) it would be admin based most likely so purely just for financial reasons too. Thanls for reading x
      admin recently posted…I DON’T WANT A JOB – AND THAT’S OKMy Profile

  7. I love this post. I have turned my blog into a job and run a business from home purely so that I can be at every event going. I realise that I am in a very lucky position. I don’t think that anyone should underestimate the amount of work that goes into running a household. Sounds as though you have the perfect balance! Thanks for joining us at the #bigpinklink
    Louise Pink Pear Bear recently posted…Psssssst! Everyone is faking it!My Profile

    1. Thank you! I wasn’t sure about posting it in case it came across the wrong way but so far the comments have been very positive – phew. Its fab you’ve turned the blog into your job, not an easy thing to do and yes being a SAHM is actually quite a lot of work too isn’t it? 🙂 Thanks for hosting #BigPinkLink
      admin recently posted…I DON’T WANT A JOB – AND THAT’S OKMy Profile

  8. People completely presume that once you’re kids are at school, you must be looking to work again. As soon as my youngest started school last year, so many people said ‘but what are you going to do with yourself?’ – well actually, a billion things, that I’ve been waiting 10 years to get done! I did go back to teach last year for 6 months, but as much as people think teaching is the dream ticket as it works round the school holidays, it is such a hard job with so much planning and admin, that I was so exhausted each day. And stressed and as a result, it wasn’t fun for anyone as I was horrible to my children and my husband. So I completely relate to this post and thank you for sharing. PS good luck in the 10K! #bigpinklink

    1. I never even considered that my life has sort of been on hold for the past 8 years and now I can actually have a bit of time to do all the things I want/need to do! Teaching is such a stressful job, I completely get how that would affect you, sometimes it’s just not worth it if the end result is having a negative effect on your family life. I was a bit nervous about posting this actually as I didn’t want it to come across the wrong way so I appreciate you commenting given the fact you’ve experienced both sides of the coin! Ah thanks Susie, training getting there (slowly!) 🙂

  9. I’m one of the Mums who is really keen to get back to working on my career, but I am taking a full year off to spend with my little one first, so reading this was really interesting for me. The childcare and flexible hours is a worry for me so I’m hoping to work on a freelance basis, so perhaps that is an option? But to be honest, if you want to be a SAHM I think that’s great that you can! #bigpinklink

  10. So interesting! I left my job in London to be with the children more but not until they were 10, 8 and 6 – best thing I ever did and I don’t regret it at all. I now fit in around them everything else I want to do-holiday season was the most stressful -having someone else look after my children during the school holidays was just awful – hated every second of that – oh and the sick days and inset days – soooo stressful. Having seen that side of life I never ever complain about being a SAHM – I too just love it! #BigPinkLink
    justsayingmum recently posted…Bloggers’ Cafe Episode 3!My Profile

    1. Thanks Helen, it’s nice to hear you’ve enjoyed being able to be around for/with the kids after giving up work. Oh no I’d never complain about it either, I totally understand how some people prefer to get back to the workplace but it really depends on so many different factors doesn’t it? I feel I’ll know when the time is right. Thanks so much for reading x

  11. If you are feeling fulfilled as a SAHM, then you are absolutely in the right job! I was one until my youngest was two and then I just felt I needed something more in my life. It is such a personal choice and thank goodness, we are all different! I decided to do a personal training course at that time and we got an au pair when I qualified. I then couldn’t say ‘no’ to work and suddenly found myself on a treadmill that I was lucky enough to jump off for a bit to take the girls travelling. So, if you are happy and can afford it, I personally wouldn’t get sucked into work right now. You will know if and when the time is right. Don’t be swayed by others. Alison x #BigPinkLink

    1. Ahh thanks Alison – yes I think blogging has sort of fulfilled that feeling of ‘needing to do something’ plus I don’t just sit around watching Netflix all day, I’m always doing something. It’s one of those things that really just varies so much between families isn’t it? You’re right, I’ll know when the time feels right and at the moment it doesn’t. Thanks for your lovely comment (and how cool to be able to take the girls travelling?!) x

  12. I’m a SAHM too, my little one just turned one. It wouldn’t be viable for me to go back to work as what I’d earn would probably cover the cost of childcare – which I can do myself…Maybe in future I’d consider a job, for me it would be for the independence and not being “mummy” all the time. #BigPinkLink Becky x

    1. No I wouldn’t be earning anything like I was pre-kids so it really does make it harder financially when you have to factor in the cost of childcare doesn’t it? Thanks for reading x

  13. I could have wrote this myself! I am asked constantly what I will do when Harry starts school and whether I shall return to work, and the honest answer is – probably not. We are in the same situation financially, one wage literally covers our bills each month but with nothing to spare, but we have adapted our lifestyle and found a way of life that works for us. I waited a long time for my children and I want to be the one who takes them to school each day and who picks them up, I want to be there on the front row of class assemblies and cheering them on at sports day. Unless something drastically changed with my husbands income, we are both quite happy for me to be at home, blogging for a little extra each month, and being there for the children. Everyone’s situation is different, and as you say, that’s okay. #bigpinklink

    1. Thank you Laura – this actually makes me feel a lot better! Part of the reason I was considering going back was the pressure I felt that I’d be expected to! Maybe when the time is right, if the right thing comes along. x

  14. I have been looking for part time jobs in London but I am so disheartened to see nothing of any interest, it is all pretty basic roles and I fear I may be bored!

  15. Good on you Charlie. It depresses me that there is constant pressure on mums to go back to work especially when the kids start school. Like you, we are lucky that my husband’s wages cover the bills and that my income from any freelancing work gets us the luxuries and the extras. No matter what we do whether it’s working, staying at home or a bit in the middle, us mums always seem to feel guilty. I don’t think there’s any getting away from that. #BigPinkLink x
    Cheryl @ Tea or Wine recently posted…7 Reasons to FreelanceMy Profile

  16. I’m a stay at home mom to a 6 and 4 year olds. The 6 year old is full day 5 days a week and the 4 year old is half day two days a week right now.

    I have two full years before the kids will both be in full day school but I’m already setting myself up to return to work although not to the profession I had before marriage and kids. Is it bad that it’s that far out and I’m already having anxiety?

    My plan is to volunteer and get myself in good with the local school then apply for a paying job as soon as I can have the time to do it. Working in the school district is the only solution I can see to keep us from paying hundreds of dollars a month on daycare.

    1. I was exactly the same as you Patty, thinking about how I would deal with going back to work once the kids were both in full time education and as you can see it hasn’t worked out that way, well not yet! Hope something suitable comes up for you, don’t worry about it for now just enjoy it! Thanks for reading 🙂
      admin recently posted…I DON’T WANT A JOB – AND THAT’S OKMy Profile

  17. Such an insightful, well-written post. It’s such a grey area – for mums to work or stay at home (which, in my opinion, is unpaid work!) – but you’ve made a very important point. That if we have the luxury/ opportunity to not disrupt family life, and if childcare isn’t easily available, it just doesn’t make sense to rock the boat! Each family to its own, however.
    #MarvMondays

  18. I did smile at the steak tartare comparison, and you are right it is very hard. It was going on Maternity leave with my third that I decided the time had come. It meant a whole lifestyle change and moving to Cornwall and buying Coombe Mill. Radical I know, but it has been the perfect way to have our work around school hours and both of us see the children instead of neither of us and a nanny claiming all the glory moments. #BigPinkLink

  19. I think that as long as you do what is right for you that is all that matters. I personally needed to return to work to find me again, and yes the money helped. Now that both my two are in school I am actually looking at how I can be at home more. Juggling school runs, after school care, clubs, hubby’s shifts and general house stuff is starting to take it’s toll, and I am having the guilt of having to miss some of the girls school celebrations. But what I will say is that the girls don’t appear to be suffering. They get to see both sets of grandparents once a week and have their daddy to themselves during the week when he has days off. Every choice has positive and negatives, it’s just finding what’s right for you and your family. #marvmondays

    1. There is definitely a part of me that would enjoy the actual ‘job’ bit, it’s just all the other ‘stuff’ that is the problem right?! 🙂 You seem to have found a way that works well for your family and like you say, the girls seem happy enough which is perfect! Thanks for reading x
      admin recently posted…I DON’T WANT A JOB – AND THAT’S OKMy Profile

  20. Great post. Thank you. I am a SAHM and I love it. It’s all that I ever wanted to be. I’m a natural homebody, and I love being in my home. I have ten children, and my youngest is three years old. Sometimes I wonder, should I “do” something once he’s in school full time? And the thought never makes me happy. It gives me anxiety and pressure. I would much rather find some kind of creative outlet (that makes money) within the home than to work outside of the home. I’m sure I’ll come up with something. #BigPinkLink

  21. This is an interesting post. My children are young – I work freelance and have some childcare although sadly no family nearby to lend a hand. I’d love to work around school hours when they are older, but it depends what I can get. I think I’ve been guilty of saying to my SAHM friends whose children are at school – “but what do you do?” – when in reality I know that the SAHM job never stops whether they’re at school or not. There’s always something to do. This was definitely food for thought for me – thanks. Tabitha x

  22. I went back to work and Rev T stayed at home and got similar comments! We did the same – budgeting, parks not holidays. We also thought we were lucky to be able to have one of us at home. Whatever you do, someone will come along and tell you you’re wrong #MarvMondays

  23. Ey up! This is timely….I’m applying for a job today!!!!!!!! BUT, I feel the same as you about it needing to fit in etc….SO, I’m excited about this because 1) It’s only 12 hours a week on 2 days. 2) It’s working for the national charity the debt advice centre I volunteer at one day a week is affiliated to so it will help both these roles and means I don’t need to stop doing my voluntary work. 3) I don’t have to stop blogging. 4) It may only be 12 hours but it could lead to more 5). It’s remote working and I travel about a bit. 6) My kids are 10 and 14 so if need be, eldest can babysit if home late. 7). It’s something I’m passionate about. 8) It’s not pharmacy (my old career), thank goodness, but it uses transferable skills as I still go around visiting folks and encouraging them and checking they are following guidelines etc….Soooooooooooo, I’m praying this could be the Steak Tartare of a job I’ve been looking for…If I get an interview!!! #Dreamteam

  24. Well, I did it the other way round. I always worked until my youngest (of 3) turned 2. And now I’m at home. And my plan DEFINITELY isn’t to go back to work in September 2018 when my youngest will be in full time education. Those 6 hours do fly by! And I’m working hard to be able to create a job for myself that will work around the children and have the flexibilities that you describe. Because a full time job and 3 children in school was never going to work anyway – at first you think that when all the children are in school things are easier, but they’re not at all! As you say, there are a million reasons why you are needed elsewhere (and not in an office doing work for someone else). Money is of course a big factor, but if you can afford it or make it work I think it does make things easier for the family, as long as, of course, you feel happy, fulfilled and not bored. And like you, I don’t! 🙂 Brilliant post! Really loved your perspective. Thanks for sharing #BloggerClubUK

    1. Yes even when the children are in full time ed there are lots of restrictions and very few jobs that fit around those right? Unless you are in a very well paid role or have help with childcare it’s just not worth it in my opinion. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Sara x
      admin recently posted…I DON’T WANT A JOB – AND THAT’S OKMy Profile

  25. Love this post! As a SAHM myself, trying to work around two children is hard and somewhat soul destroying. Good to know I’m not the only one in this boat. #BloggerClubUK

  26. Hurrah to this! My eldest starts school in September and The Boy won’t be too far behind her with nursery, but when we looked at the practicalities of school drop offs and pick ups, holidays, sick days etc etc, we just can’t practically look to increase my hours above the 2 days that I currently do. I’m very lucky that I love my job and 2 days is just perfect for me. I totally agree that those child free hours during the week will allow for quality time spent as a family on an evening and at the weekend. Oh and to go for an actual run! I cannot wait! 😉 Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x
    Rhyming with Wine recently posted…#DreamTeam Linky Week 44My Profile

  27. I think it is great that you know what you want and don’t want. It’s so hard when others question our decisions. I too have come to a decision that has been questioned by others. #MarvMondays

  28. Ah this is exactly what I’m wrestling with at the moment (which you’ll see from my commentluv post!). I’m a SAHM and have been fro 6 years, but the “perfect job” just came up and I really don’t know what to do. Like you, we a little extra income would be nice (strict budgeting is a way of life for us) but we don’t have family on hand to help with childcare, and I just don’t know if I WANT to go back to work. I really love being a SAHM and having the time to do nice things for my family and always be there for school drop-off and pick-up.

    I’m so glad I read this – I was beginning to wonder if I was totally ridiculous for even considering retaining my SAHM role… #CoolMumClub
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Is It Time For Me to Go Back To Work?My Profile

  29. I’m struggling so much at the moment. I’ve supposed to have been back off maternity leave since the new year, I’ve spent most of that time signed off with anxiety. I could not stop crying at work. I couldn’t function for the tears. I work in a school, I have the term time and the 9-3. It still feels wrong. Do what’s right for you. #coolmumclub

  30. Why Charlie, I’ve really struggled with this the second time round. After having my first baby I was pretty set and clear in my mind that I would be returning to work. Second time round I’ve been really tempted to find a way for me to stay at home rather than going back to work, but the reality for us unfortunately is that we need both our incomes. To be fair, it is a bit of a choice as we need the two incomes for the lifestyle that we want to afford. However if we really scaled back we probably could make it work, but I guess I’m not sure I’m willing to make that sacrifice. I agree, being a SAHM is hard work. Its definitely a full time role and one that I personally find more taxing that the 9-5 even though it is much more enjoyable on the whole. I think you’re really lucky to be able to be able to continue to be a SAHM and don’t think either decision (to stay at home or return to work) is an easy one for any mum or any family. Great post, thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

  31. I’ve never made a secret of absolutely *not* wanting to return to work 7 years ago when my mat leave finished. I hated the thought of it, and of putting our daughter into childcare. However, our daughter thrived with the loveliest childminders (and affordable too – hence being able to even consider returning to work) and in hindsight, I’m certain I would have gone slightly cabin-feverish staying at home.. and our daughter too in school hols with me the whole time! Now ‘working from home’ is an entirely different comment…! #bloggerclubuk

  32. Trying to find a job that fits in around school hours is so difficult. I also have the added complication of needing to be able to go to regular hospital appointments with my eldest daughter. I’m very lucky though as my job (managing payroll and HR for my husband’s company) allows me to work predominantly from home and fit in my working hours around the children’s needs. I’m not quite sure what I would have done otherwise. #bloggerclubuk
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  33. It’s great to have the opportunity to be a SAHM; it’s not an easy option but so rewarding. In my case I didn’t have a choice; we rely on my income and wouldn’t get by without it. My mother-in-law lives with us, which solves the childcare problem – obviously that has advantages and disadvantages, but it’s just the way it is. Since I work in a school, I’m home by four and have weekends free and school holidays, so that’s a plus. #BloggerClubUK

  34. I went back to work part time after the birth of my third child, two years ago, having been a SAHM since the birth of my first child. The job fell into my lap (I was emailed as a result of the LinkedIn profile I hadn’t updated for five years!) and so I felt pressure from friends and family who told me I was “wasting my potential JUST being a SAHM”, and from my own feeling that it would be selfish of me to turn down the chance of a second household income so I could enjoy the ‘luxury’ of staying at home…

    The extra cash came in very handy, and allowed us to indulge in a few modest luxuries that simply aren’t an option on just my husband’s salary,but for us as a family the sacrifices just weren’t worth it. We were all more stressed out, we always felt like we were playing ‘catch up’ and my children frequently asked why they never seemed to have any time with me anymore. As a result I have recently left my job and will remain a SAHM until such a time as it is right for my family for that to change…

    Of course I feel incredibly grateful that staying at home is an option (it does take some pretty serious budgeting and significant financial sacrifices), but just wanted to say a huge thank you for writing this blog! As with most things parent-related, you feel guilty whichever route you take, but it’s great for someone to acknowledge that returning to work isn’t right for everyone, and being a SAHM is also a legitimate and valuable choice 🙂 x

  35. My son is only 2 so he isn’t in school yet, but I dread even the thought of finding a job when he does. I don’t want a job. Things run so smoothly in the house when I’m home. My soon to be husband is always fed, always has clean clothes, and always comes home to a clean house. I feel like it is my duty to run the house, and that is what I like. 😊

  36. Great, great read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about freelancing work. Love this post!!
    It’s so interesting to see the statistics of a lifestyle we are trying to make work for us.It sounds as
    if you have worked yourself to where you want to be . Congratulations and continued good fortune!

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