to sometimes think that SAHMs are "living the dream" and really envy them

(462 Posts)
Fizzler99 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:54:29

Ok so I don't have kids yet.

I work ridiculously long hours (as in out the house 6.30am-8pm minimum and often work late nights and weekends too). I have a long commute each way (can't afford to live where I work as property so expensive) and the job is very, very high stress. I earn a decent wage, but I am quite junior so I'm not on mega-money despite what my friends and family seem to think

I don't intend to keep this job forever, but I need to establish myself in my choosen career then I can hopefully 'down-grade' to something less stressful.

One of my colleagues has just given up work to become a SAHM. It just sounds like living the dream. No more waiting on cold station platforms for delayed trains at 6.30am, no more hideous commute, no more stressful job and nagging boss and office politics, no more late night working and surviving on takeaway or the contents of the office vending machine for weeks at a time. I am so jealous! envy

Please give me a much-needed reality check. Please tell me the reality of being a SAHM. For those of you that have gone from having a quite high-flying career to SAHM, please tell me how the two compare. I think I really need a reality check!

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 11:11:12

I hated my job. I stopped working before I got pregnant in agreement with DH but far prefer having DS to look after - it gives a purpose to my days that being just a housewife didn't. I was crap at domestic stuff anyway. If anything I'm far more efficient since I've had a baby - probably because I've less time to work with!

My baby is sweet-natured and very easy-going, and I suddenly have a social life that I've missed since I stopped working (my fellow NCT mums have become good friends in the last 6 months and we all live close by). For me it's living the dream. But getting sick in your hair just after you've washed it is a bit wearing. Also while he's getting more interactive and enchanting as he grows, he's also getting to be more of a handful, and we haven't even started teething yet!

Lovelygoldboots Thu 24-Jan-13 11:11:51

I am guessing you are quite young because this sounds pretty immature. All I will say is this. Life is hard, there is no Shangri la whatever you choose to do.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:12:12

Some SAHPs really enjoy it.

But even for them I'm sure every day isn't a whirl of joy and glamour. And I know lots of friends who SAH and wish they didn't. They're not unhappy but it's not as they would wish.

I work from home mostly and do a job that the world and his wife want to do...but it has its ups and downs.

I think the best thing is to make the absolute best of what you've got, change it for the better if you can and not to hanker after what you can't have.

WorraLiberty Thu 24-Jan-13 11:12:31

I wonder if the OP's job is an internet researcher? grin

PartTimeModel Thu 24-Jan-13 11:14:14

"Well, for a start, as a SAHM with small children, your hours would massively increase!"
I think this is actually the case for ANY Mum not just SAHM's. I work FT and am also a Mum - surprisingly I still have parenting responsibilities and demands outside of office hours.

namchan Thu 24-Jan-13 11:15:12

I was incredibly unhappy on mat leave with newborn and a 16 month old-no way i could be a sahm. No money, can't drive, no toddler groups, nobody around to talk to, lack of sleep, literally never having one moment when I was alone, even when I went the loo I had to have at least one of the kids with me; it was awful. I went back to work 3 days a week, very low paid admin job so not a career woman at all, when my mum retired and offered to have kids twice a week. I am so much happier, despite office politics, commute with a train packed with school children, etc

It's different for everyone and entirely dependant on your individual circumstances.

Thingiebob Thu 24-Jan-13 11:15:14

Ok so I don't have kids yet.

Then you have no concept of what being a SAHM entails and therefore cannot make an accurate assessment. In fact until you experience the utter relentlessness and exhaustion of parenting, you really have no idea.

Oh yes, forgot the housework part! Do not underestimate the sheer volume of extra housework that two small children and an adult create, it is relentless. I used to go weeks before having to clean the dining room floor, WEEKS! shock We would be up to our knees in it if I left it weeks now grin

ubik Thu 24-Jan-13 11:16:18

Indeed.

Forget about 'fair' or 'living the dream,' do your sums before you start ttc. Think hard about the future, discuss with your partner. Look at the cost of childcare. Look at your future earnings and prospects. Remember these are his children too and you are a team.

Life gets harder when you have children and suddenly it's time for big girl pants.

wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:29

startail that is the situation many of my friends are in.

They happily gave up big careers for their babies and enjoyed the early years. But now our DCs are teens they can't get back in to employment and they can see this is how it might be.

Don't get me wrong, they're mostly well off. Not miserable. Not at all. And not vulnerable financially. But many are bored and unfullfilled.

Crinkle77 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:36

I think there are positives and negatives to being a SAHM as there are positives and negatives to going back to work. The compromise might be working part time? Although some of my friends have dreaded going back to work after maternity leave because they want to be at home with their children whereas my sister said she came back to work part time to have a break from the kids (said tongue in cheek). The one thing I would hate about being a SAHM is not having my own money.

Annakin31 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rikalaily Thu 24-Jan-13 11:20:11

I've been a SAHM for ten years since my first child was born, I enjoyed it at first but another three children later, my future job prospects are now rubbish and I'm finding it soul destroying. No time off, no time to myself (literally haven't had a day (or night) child free in 2.5years since my last child was born) When I'm ill I have to carry on as usual, I miss chatting to colleagues and meeting new people, I miss job having job satisfaction. I don't drive so literally stuck in all day every day, don't bother with toddler groups etc as they are so unfriendly here unless you already know someone there. I clean the house and cook the meals and wash the clothes, turn around and it's all back to square one so feel like I'm losing a battle every day. I used to feel like I was contributing something positive to the household by staying home for the kids but now I just feel useless, the shine of being a SAHM wears off after a while when you realise you literally don't have a minute for yourself. By the time the kids are in bed I'm too knackered to enjoy the peace sad.

I'm applying for a pre access course this year to start the ball rolling on retraining so I can have a career when the kids are older, I'm excited but scared because my workload will be higher and life still has to go on at home as dp works long hours.

If I could do it over again, I'd return to work after having dc1. Working is hard but you feel like you still have your identity, you're not just 'mum'.

nokidshere Thu 24-Jan-13 11:20:24

I have been a wahm for 14 years now. When the children we babies it was knackering physically but lovely to be with them. When they were pre school age it was completely exhausting but quite fun. When they started school it was bliss. Now they are 14 and 11 with a whole new set of challenges.

Sometimes its good and sometimes it's crap.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 24-Jan-13 11:21:25

I am a lawyer, used to work for a BigLaw firm in the city. Long hours, weekends, the lot.

These days I work part time in a different so as to stay home with the v young DDs on the other days - and get home in time to share the dinner/bath/bath wrangle with my partner on the days I do work. I'm very lucky that I found the job I did; often it's all or nothing, so part time in a quasi legal job is the holy grail.

But.

I watch my erstwhile colleagues climbing up the ladder; I left that firm because they couldn't accommodate my need for flexibility. I listen to people swapping war stories of court battles won and lost, and my stories of potty training battles fall short. I look at my bank balance and wince.

And I love my DDs. I love them to bits. I'm a great mum, I put a lot of effort into it and I have built a community of mums and family friendly volunteer work and enrich my life where I can.

But there are days where I wake up, and I think Am I seriously expected to entertain two small demanding children all day? On my own? And feeling sick, or just blech, doesn't affect that. There's no possibility of calling in sick. Or taking it easy. It is what it is, and what it is is relentless. Having had the high flying, high pressure career doesn't make motherhood feel easier by comparison. Honestly. It doesn't.

Annakin31 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:22:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 24-Jan-13 11:23:08

I worked for 18 years in a very stressful job in London before adopting my first DC and giving up work.

I'm now 6 years into my life as a SAHM.

I don't miss the office politics and the long hours but I didn't mind the commute and I really enjoyed the afterwork social side and the occasional boozy lunches!

For me the first few years looking after a baby and then later a toddler and a baby were very very tiring but lots of fun. I had the freedom to decide how I would spend my day. I met loads of other mums and built up a great social life and have made a few very good friends. I took up running , went to the gym more and had lots of coffee mornings. I threw myself into my new life and loved every minute.

Once they start school it becomes less relentlessly tiring but you suddenly start being a slave to the school run. I walk four miles a day doing the school run! Then there's the homework to organise ( I know all parents have to do this though) and the ferrying around to various after school clubs and having DCs friends kids over for tea. I always imagined life would get easier once they were both at school but if anything I'm more tired!

But it isn't stressful. I can stop at any point if things are getting too busy. I am in control of my life and can make it as busy or as easy as want it to be.

My main memory of my working days is the constant health damaging stress and for a little while the bullying boss I had the misfortune to work for.

I do occasionally get a bit down and a little bit bored but I did when I worked ( more so actually)

I have no plans to return to work unless something comes up that really appeals to me. I've been doing voluntary work and will increase that as the kids get older.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 24-Jan-13 11:23:54

I wasn't a sahm as such but I was at home all week with my dses, working weekend nights as a nurse while DH had the dses.

Work was my saviour, I wouldn't have given it up for the world despite it being a very stressful and demanding job.

Looking after children all day long is very demanding, relentless and can be slightly soul destroying. I love my dses and don't regret the time we had together but when they were tiny it was a relentless merry go round I couldn't get off. I used to envy people with childcare!

The grass is always greener.....

Mrs3chins Thu 24-Jan-13 11:24:05

Before I left my job to start mat leave I had no intention of going back, I imagined lazy days with no stress and fun filled coffee and lunch dates. Now I loved my mat leave but by 9 months I was itching to get back to work - something I never imagined!! Being a SAHM is incredibly hard work and sooo tiring and yes it can be stressful! I love my little boy so much but I needed time to be me again at work and I also needed a break for 3 days lol! I also now appreciate the time with my son so much more because ive missed him while at work. So although I'm not much better off financially by working, having the best of both worlds works perfectly for us.

Badvoc Thu 24-Jan-13 11:30:04

A sahm is 24/7.
No pensions, no sick pay, no holiday.
And as for 6.30 being early...purleeeze.
Ds1 woke at 4.30 am for months.
Add to that no respect and its not exactly a bed of roses.

FlatsInDagenham Thu 24-Jan-13 11:32:50

It's both rewarding and exhausting. I love being my own boss and I love being with my DC. But I work 24 hours a day, minus the 15 minutes it takes DH to bath the girls every other night, and the 1.5 hours I go to a slimming world group once a week. I don't get time to do any hobbies and I can count the evenings out I've had in the last 5 years on one hand.

Mind you, although I do sometimes feel envious of DHs life - adult interaction, respect, freedom of movement and the change from 'work' to 'home' every day - I wouldn't like to swap with him. In fact, he used to be the SAHP while I worked full time and we swapped last year. I miss certain aspects of working but I choose to be a SAHM because I want to be with my DC.

Timetoask Thu 24-Jan-13 11:40:50

Op, I start by saying that you are definitely doing the right thing, work really really hard whilst you are young and childless, climb up that ladder, get lots of experience, make contacts, save money, spend money, work hard and have fun.

When children arrive things change. There are lots of women who manage to keep up the same work level, but I honestly don't know how they do it.

When my DC were little, I found being a SAHM really boring. It was stressful as well because my eldest has special needs. Luckily my DH is a wonderful and supportive husband. I went back to work when eldest started school. AND I LOVED BEING BACK AT WORK.

However, three years later, I found it too difficult to manage being a good mum and being fully available at work (working in IT). I left my job, and I am now really enjoying being a SAHM.

The DC are a little older, more independent, much more interesting. I just love being able to collect DC from school, chat about their day, play a board game if we feel like it, or just read, or cook together. I have time to help with music practice, just love spending proper time with them and not cram it al at the weekend.

Having said that, if I could find a part time job, I would take it.

cory Thu 24-Jan-13 11:41:34

Your title reminds of that bit in the Narnia story where they come to the Island Where Dreams Come True- and then realise not all dreams are happy ones grin

I enjoyed many aspects of SAHM. But it's less hard work to be back at my old job.

Booboostoo Thu 24-Jan-13 11:50:54

Aspects of being a SAHM are wonderful, like being there for all the first moments, the bits where the baby/toddler is playing nicely with you, laughing, doing things together, etc.

On the downside:

- if your DC is a poor sleeper it's a 24/7 job and it's really tough to keep being patient, understanding and cheerful.
- at some point you get seriously fed up with building blocks, matching colours, etc and no adult conversation all day long.
- there is no room for sick days or taking time off
- often there is the assumption that you will take over all household chores
- everything takes longer to do because you are either being interrupted or the toddler wants to help or the DC is totally uncooperative.

and you get to change ALL the shitty diapers.

bedmonster Thu 24-Jan-13 11:54:00

I love being a sahm. Would never have imagined just how demanding, full on, thankless and exhausting it would be but now dc 3 is here it feels totally natural. I've got into my stride now!

But sometimes id love to be Dp, who will sometimes phone me from work and say he's going for drinks when he's finished.

For me, going out for drinks involves feeding 3dc, bathing the baby, trying to at least brush my hair without a drama happening in the house (straightners are out of the question!), homework with the dds while plucking my eyebrows, taxiing dds to and from a club, putting the baby to bed and then crossing my fingers dp will make it home reasonably on time grin

It's not always like this, and for the most part its enjoyable for me as I have a good social life but before you have dc its impossible to understand how much your life changes.

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