Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Life after a SAHM?

So, we got THE letter today. The one that tells you which of your two choices for a school's nursery your child has got into. The one that also tells you which days and times they have been allocated. This is quite significant in our household because firstly, it means our baby girl is growing up way too fast and is now old enough for school's nursery and secondly it means there is a possibility that some of my time will be freed up and I can contemplate stepping back into the working world.

M is currently in a local playgroup (sadly shutting at the end of this term), as of this week she now goes 4 times a week, from the new school year she will attend 5 days a week, 2.5 hours a day. I'm thinking with the aid of a childminder (yet to be found), some clever logistics (yet to be discussed) and a bit of give from Himindoors' work (yet to be seen) I could possibly go back to part time work.

The possibility of going back to work doesn't scare me half as much as the realisation that my little baby is going to be 3 years old next week and will be in a big school's nursery at the end of summer! But that mushy, sobbing, clingy mommy post will have to wait for another day as tonight it is all about the "mommy returning to work" discussion in our house.

First a bit of history: I never actually thought I would be a SAHM. I was always very ambitious and, before and during pregnancy, I crowed to anyone who would listen about how I would definitely be a working mom. No aprons and homemaking for me, I was going to mother in stiletto's! Somewhat hypocritical and from my current SAHM status I can admit that a) I was wrong and judgemental and b) I have worn mostly converse and pumps since pregnancy and beyond.

How did I get here then?

From a Marketing job in an oil company, I took a year's maternity leave. I didn't return to that job as they needed full time, I could only give part time. I then took a part time post in a Marketing Communications Agency. This worked swimmingly for a good 6 months, with a combination of nursery and a daddy who worked in his own consultancy business from home... until said daddy took a full time role in a big company and all the childcare arrangements had to shift. Part time wages, childcare costs and a few other factors led to (drum roll) SAHM. I kept a hand in my CV with occasional freelance work until October last year and then took to Twitter and more recently blogging to keep abreast of market trends, company's news and an attempt to keep my skills (and brain) fresh.

At first I flitted between loving my decision to missing an office, to loving the time with my girl to thinking I was drowning in ballet and crafts. In all honestly mostly loving it, I have really cherished the time with M and am proud at how my hard work to keep us busy and stimulated has really paid off (i.e. a year on and I haven't found myself rocking in a corner once!). However, I always envisioned that I would go back to work, either when she starts school nursery or when she starts school. Some small part of me has always clung on to that ambitious woman in the stiletto's (not least because she was a lot thinner than the woman I am today!). This is the current discussion and really there are more questions than answers.

For instance, does being a SAHM affect your CV? Does it affect how potential employers view you or your experience? Do you abandon your old career path? Can your old career path be resurrected? Do you apply for jobs on a level that you were on before stopping work or do you put yourself back at market entry level? Do you beg and explain that although you are 1 (2 or 3) years out of the game you are still capable, hard working, enthusiastic and have that thing were you do way more than you should in a job and work after hours just because you have "a good idea"? Phew.

And then, do you get a childminder then a job or a job then a child minder? Which is it, dear readers, chicken or egg?!

Am exhausted just thinking about it, so think I'll just have a small vino before bed and put my head in the sand a bit longer. It is almost summer holidays after all...


  1. I'm no expert, but I think you need to emphasise the NEW skills you've learned since becoming a mum. Maybe you're a different person now and are interested in different things. Make the most of that and think about how those changes could make you a better employee, possibly in a different area? I'm doing a different (slightly similar but better) job since becoming a mum. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have got the job a couple of years ago, pre-baby though.

  2. Good point Molly , thanks for the comment. You are right, I will be different in some areas and have new skills to contribute, so possibly thinking less about fitting back into the old mould and more about what's new and improved in this model. x