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Downsizing career after having a baby

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  • 14-11-2012 11:43am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 6


    I have a ten month old baby and am due back to work in the coming weeks. I work full time with long hours and I have no options to cut back my hours. My little boy will be in creche from 730 to 630 most days and I may have to work weekends sometimes. My husband is also working full time with long hours and often doesn't get home until after 8pm. Over the past few months I have been looking at alternative jobs which would offer me more flexible working hours. We have done the numbers and we couldn't afford for me to stay at home full time. To be honest I would like to work part time or shorter hours so that I could see my child for a few hours each day at least! How do other people manage or are we just unlucky that we both have jobs with long hours?

    I have studied for years to get my job but would be willing to take a lower paid job with better hours even if it would seem that my education was a "waste". I don't know if other women feel this way after having a child. I wish I had known that I would feel this way when I was choosing a career..... I kind of feel that the feminist movement hasn't helped women because now we have no choice!!

    BTW I know that in this current environment the fact that we both have jobs is a blessing given that many people are unemployed so please don't give me a hard time about that!


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,327 ✭✭✭Madam_X


    Look for a job with less hours. Education is not a waste just because you're not working in a related field. Working long hours with a small child is extremely hard.

    "We" do have choice btw. Your comment about the feminist movement looks like stirring. If you now regret studying and focusing on career... well, nobody forced you to. Doubt anyone will tell you you should stay in your current situation for the sake of being a career woman.


  • Posts: 50,630 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    Hi Camomiletea,

    Welcome to boards.

    You posted this thread in "After Hours" which, if you are looking for serious answers, would not be the best place for it. I have moved it to the parenting forum so that you can hear from people with similar experiences.

    The parenting charter now applies.

    Best of luck
    whoopsadaisydoodles


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,041 ✭✭✭Penny Dreadful


    I kind of feel that the feminist movement hasn't helped women because now we have no choice!!
    QUOTE]

    I understand your plight about giving up work/ changing job after studying so hard to get the career you wanted. However, I do not understand how you say you have no choice:confused: You do, you can choose to continue working as you are and not see your child overly much. You can choose to change jobs and work fewer hours and see your child more. Financially you say you cannot choose to stay at home full time. This is not down to the feminist movement. These are financial burdens.

    Good luck with whatever you choose for you and your family.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6 camomiletea


    Sorry for posting in the wrong forum, I'm new to this boards thing.
    madam x i'm not trying to stir anything with my statement about the feminist movement thing. I just feel that things have gone from one extreme to the other ie: women staying at home used to be the norm and now a stay at home mother is the exeption (maybe only in my circle of friends). Whenever I have mentioned wanting to stay at home my family and friends have looked at me as if I was mad because I have a "good job". Maybe I just need to get thicker skin..


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,693 ✭✭✭Lisha


    I downsized my career after having kids. Am still with the same company but am no longer actively chasing promotions and have also taken a job sharing position,
    I am not sorry I do not regard the times I spent in temp promotion positions as a waste
    I do not regard my education as a waste
    In time I may reactivate my career path but for now I am happy
    My kids are happy and my husband is happy and free to work long hrs albeit for not great money
    With the hrs you and husband are working you would possibly need in live in child care
    Feminism gives us a choice it is up to you to make the best choice for you and your family
    Best of luck


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,327 ✭✭✭Madam_X


    I just feel that things have gone from one extreme to the other ie: women staying at home used to be the norm and now a stay at home mother is the exeption (maybe only in my circle of friends). Whenever I have mentioned wanting to stay at home my family and friends have looked at me as if I was mad because I have a "good job". Maybe I just need to get thicker skin..
    Staying at home is just less of an option now because of financial constraints. If a woman (or man) can afford to work part-time and would prefer to, they should IMO. Full-time career is not worth the exhaustion and stress and reduced time with the baby.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6 camomiletea


    Good point Madam X, I agree with you. Maybe I'm just feeling a bit sorry for myself! I suppose I can't blame the feminist movement for my personal situation. I think for years I thought that I could have it all and now I realise that I can't do both well and I'd prefer for my career to take a hit rather than my child.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,098 ✭✭✭NamelessPhil


    What about your husband cutting his hours to look after his child, assuming your earning power is equal? Not all the responsibility falls on your shoulders.

    True feminism and equality mean that both partners take equal responsibility for their actions. If you want to stay at home and mind your child, you cannot blame feminism for giving you that choice.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 12,449 ✭✭✭✭pwurple


    If you want to blame anyone, you can blame the previous govt for tax individualisation, which no longer gives a family the financial tax break so we can afford for one spouse to go part time or stay at home. It completely crippled a lot of families, forcing a lot more women to work a lot more hours to keep up with the same bills, and no-one batted an eyelid at the time.

    Or, you can blame your current employers. I don't know the nature of your role, but a lot of jobs offer some degree of flexibility with a bit of give and take. I went back on a 4 day week initially... And aim to be back on that in 3 weeks time, but they are under pressure to finish projects now, so I am just off a 60 hr week.

    Or, you can blame your negotiating skills. Men seem to be generally better at negotiating better pay and packages for themselves. It is hard to do, talking yourself up and demanding benefits like flexibility. Especially when your natural instinct is to be self-deprecating and apologetic. You apologised right off the bat in your OP for having a good job. Feck that, you worked for it, you earned it with study and experience. If you want to negotiate reduced hours in return for you accepting reduced pay, then keep on pushing it as far as you can go. If superior says no, try next level up. It will benefit those who come along your road in a year or two as well.


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,953 Mod ✭✭✭✭Moonbeam


    I also had a good job,initially I used to annual leave to take 3 days weeks,then changed to 3 days weeks,then after #2 the childcare costs were over 3 times my mortgage so I gave up my nice job and became a childminder,I earn a lot less but after the cost of childcare and transport etc I am better off.
    Yes, I miss working in my choosen field,yes I miss having a career but I would miss my kids a lot more.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 157 ✭✭CeNedra


    Both my husband and I have very demanding jobs. This is how we work it.
    1 - A family member minds the children.
    2 - I drop no earlier than 8 am at work at 9 and work late almost every day.
    3 - My husband goes into work early (up at 5am every morning) but has to finish by 5pm as he has to pick the girls up no later than 6.
    4 - Another family member drops the oldest to school and picks her up.
    5 - I try to get home every evening before they go to bed and if I need to do more work, I do it after the children are in bed, same with my husband.
    6 - We get somebody in once a week to clean the house as we just don't have time and our house is never the way it should be as we don't have time to keep it top shape, I've given up caring too much about it.
    7 - Saturday's are when the children do activities, it means all day is taken up bringing the kids to their activities, but we haven't figured out another way yet. Whoever drops to activities also does the shopping, while the other person cooks dinners for the week for the children.

    I have just started maternity leave on my 3rd, we actually didn't plan on getting pregnant again and I was very close to another promotion (or think I was:)) but this definitely threw a spanner in the works. But then again, I will take all the leave I can and get this child to as close to 1 year old before I head back into the rat race.

    I earn more than my husband and cannot give up based on that, I think my husband would be o.k. with staying at home if it came to it, but with the family around us, I"m not sure he has to at this point.

    We are just lucky that we are surrounded by a support network, but saying that, we chose to move back to the sticks and we have few options of alternative places to work in this area. If we didn't like our work environment we'd be stuck.

    I think it is something that you have to work out very strategically. When I went back to work after my 1st I was all set to pack it in, same after 2nd but within a couple of months of going back to work I was really happy to be back working. I wouldn't do anything rash, get back into work, feel your way around and there are a lot of companies out there (especially i Dublin) who have great flexible work practices for working women who are focused on their careers.

    I was at a conference in Dublin recently (Connecting women in Technology) and I can tell you many women are juggling everything. Some need to take a breather for a few years, but as long as you have a path back to the career path, and a company that lives in the real world (values women in the workplace) then you can get it to work. You need to recognise your capability and the fact that the company benefits by having you there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,196 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy


    I think there are a lot of women in your shoes OP that would prefer to stay home but simply aren't prepared to make the lifestyle sacrifices necessary to do so (moving to a cheaper neighbourhood, giving up the second car, holidays etc.) or that have trapped themselves in the ratrace by borrowing too much during the boom to buy a house that's now in serious negative equity.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 35,320 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney


    It might not be popular to say it but you may have a point in that egalitarian movements, far from giving people the freedom to choose their lifestyles, have heavily contributed to the normalisation of a society where a dual income is a necessity in order to achieve the kind of level of comfort previously achievable with a single salary. The choice, for many, is an illusory one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6 camomiletea


    I think that we would be willing to make sacrifices to make it work but we can't move (negative equity) and we have one decent car and one useless one so can't cut back there. I have investigated flexible working but I do contract work with various different employers so it's not an option. My only option as I see it is to leave my current career and do something else. But on paper I look overqualified for other roles so my job search isn't really leading anywhere.

    I think my statement about the femisist movement is probably unfair in one way because my current situation is about our personal finances which don't allow me to stay at home and my current job which doesn't allow for me to cut back.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 12,449 ✭✭✭✭pwurple


    I do contract work too, i set out my terms in advance and the clients can either take the time I have available, or leave it. Mainly they take it, especially as I specifiy that i can be flexible and do more hours short term if they are under time pressure. Some are begrudging, but when given the choice between no hours and 32 hours, they generally tend to take the 32.

    If you are with a company that does placements, they should be doing those negotiations for you. That is their role, and it is why they get a slice off your rate. If there is anyone else in your company who is split between two or more clients, then that is what they have done there. Negotiate shorter hours with each customer.

    it might be different in your sector, but it is usually much easier to arrange with contract work than otherwise.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,196 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy


    a society where a dual income is a necessity in order to achieve the kind of level of comfort previously achievable with a single salary.
    I'm not so sure that the levels of comfort we expect these days were ever affordable on a single salary for those earning ordinary salaries. We as a society expect to be able to afford to have two cars, to live in a nice area, to afford any after-school activities our kids want to pursue, annual foreign holidays to buy a house and renovate / furnish it in the first year we buy it.

    Looking back at my own family, when my parents married they both had good jobs (the bank was the stereotypical "good job" at the time), yet still lived in a fairly spartan small 3 bed semi which it took them a couple of years to fully furnish. I was born shortly after they'd managed that and my mother left work to care for me. It was another 4/5 years before they finally had it fully decorated to their taste and had double-glazing installed. Night's out were a once a month thing and usually just drinks in a friends house, and I know their first anniversary was celebrated with a bottle of cheap wine and the first take-away they'd had in years. Our first family holiday was a ferry to Wales when I was 6.

    That was normal even for (lower?) middle-class people who had good jobs at the time (early 80's). Most of us could manage that type of lifestyle still on a single salary. Our generation demands a lot more from life and the price of that is two people having to work.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,495 ✭✭✭✭eviltwin


    My husband and I both down sized our jobs after our second child was born. We had no choice, we were both made redundant but in hindsight I think we would have looked for other jobs anyway. The jobs we had were not really family friendly. He works full time but in a different job that has better hours and I work part time.

    We've both had to take pay cuts to get the kind of hours we want and tbh 3 years in I don't mind. Of course we would like more money but we have found a way to manage on what we earn and while we don't get to have some of the perks we took for granted before we are both happier in ourselves and much happier as a family.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    pwurple wrote: »
    If you want to blame anyone, you can blame the previous govt for tax individualisation, which no longer gives a family the financial tax break so we can afford for one spouse to go part time or stay at home. It completely crippled a lot of families, forcing a lot more women to work a lot more hours to keep up with the same bills, and no-one batted an eyelid at the time.
    Can you expand on this?

    The current taxation system allows for one spouse to take all of the tax credits, giving some wiggle room to afford for the other spouse to stay at home.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,056 ✭✭✭✭BostonB


    You can't do everything unless you have some outside support like family etc. Sometimes family aren't available then its a matter of the sums deciding if you can keep working, or not.


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,953 Mod ✭✭✭✭Moonbeam


    seamus wrote: »
    Can you expand on this?

    The current taxation system allows for one spouse to take all of the tax credits, giving some wiggle room to afford for the other spouse to stay at home.

    Not exactly...

    .
    http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it2.html#section4

    "If only one spouse or civil partner has taxable income, all tax credits and the standard rate band will be given to that individual
    If both spouses or civil partners have taxable income, they can decide which spouse or civil partner of them is to be the assessable spouseor nominated civil partner and request their local Revenue office to allocate the tax credits and standard rate band between them in whatever way they wish. [PAYE tax credit, employment expenses and the basic standard rate band of €23,800 are non transferable.]"

    I think back in the olden days it could all be shared.






    I think it is a way bigger issue that people can not afford to keep working.


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  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 35,320 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney


    Sleepy wrote: »
    I'm not so sure that the levels of comfort we expect these days were ever affordable on a single salary for those earning ordinary salaries. We as a society expect to be able to afford to have two cars, to live in a nice area, to afford any after-school activities our kids want to pursue, annual foreign holidays to buy a house and renovate / furnish it in the first year we buy it.

    Looking back at my own family, when my parents married they both had good jobs (the bank was the stereotypical "good job" at the time), yet still lived in a fairly spartan small 3 bed semi which it took them a couple of years to fully furnish. I was born shortly after they'd managed that and my mother left work to care for me. It was another 4/5 years before they finally had it fully decorated to their taste and had double-glazing installed. Night's out were a once a month thing and usually just drinks in a friends house, and I know their first anniversary was celebrated with a bottle of cheap wine and the first take-away they'd had in years. Our first family holiday was a ferry to Wales when I was 6.

    That was normal even for (lower?) middle-class people who had good jobs at the time (early 80's). Most of us could manage that type of lifestyle still on a single salary. Our generation demands a lot more from life and the price of that is two people having to work.

    I imagine the only reason any family needs two cars is because they need them for two jobs so it's not really a feature of greed. Foreign travel is, in relative terms, tens of times cheaper now than in our parents' days but it's still a luxury for most people. We waste lots of money on crap gadgetry these days, granted, but we're also more or less required to invest in appliances to do all the jobs we no longer have the time to do by hand, and such appliances are now designed to fail after a few short years whereas a costly purchase for a young couple in the 70s would at least last a decade or two.

    It's virtually impossible to buy a house on one salary now; a generation ago it was normal to be able to do so, and that on modest wages (this is based just on my own upbringing, granted)

    The money, though is not where we lose out most compared to our parents. The difference is time. We simply never have enough of it and a lot of children and parents suffer, although many only realise when it's too late.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,196 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy


    Wouldn't a person staying at home with the kids have plenty of time to do all those jobs by hand?

    I really can't see why someone not working would be any more time-poor today than they were 3 decades ago? If anything thanks to modern innovations, they'd be richer in those terms?

    A family living on a salary of 40k should be able to service a mortgage of 100k or so. At present, there are 96 3 bedroom homes on Daft under that price level if you search for Dublin City (though that includes Balbriggan and other North County areas which could involve hefty enough commutes) and that's for our capital city.

    I'd agree with you to an extent on modern appliances not lasting as long as they once did, but they also cost a fraction of what they used to, often not only in relative but also in real terms.

    As the sole provider for a family of four (through circumstance rather than choice tbh), it's all about lifestyle imho. Once could argue that changes in the perception of danger and stratification of society play a part, meaning that many of us wouldn't be prepared to raise our children in areas we could afford to comfortably buy homes because of the perception of them as being in "bad areas" etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 139 ✭✭Janey_Mac


    Sleepy wrote: »
    ...

    A family living on a salary of 40k should be able to service a mortgage of 100k or so. At present, there are 96 3 bedroom homes on Daft under that price level if you search for Dublin City (though that includes Balbriggan and other North County areas which could involve hefty enough commutes) and that's for our capital city.

    ...

    As the sole provider for a family of four (through circumstance rather than choice tbh), it's all about lifestyle imho. Once could argue that changes in the perception of danger and stratification of society play a part, meaning that many of us wouldn't be prepared to raise our children in areas we could afford to comfortably buy homes because of the perception of them as being in "bad areas" etc.

    Around 40k is the average wage, which means there are a lot of people earning less. Not really a lifestyle choice for an awful lot of people, so.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 534 ✭✭✭movingsucks


    And I think its worth pointing out that back in the "good oul days" young kids would play outside all day if it wasn't raining while Mammy was in doing all the hand washing apparently.
    Now kids have to be supervised at all times or they're "little brats" running around or in imcreased danger of being knocked down or kidnapped.
    Times change.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,196 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy


    Possibly but 40k is around the national average wage and also includes part-time workers, those earning secondary incomes to the main family income etc.

    The 100k I used was just an example showing that a 3 bedroom home in the capital city would be affordable for a lot more people than one might otherwise assume. By my count, there are 950 3 Bed houses around the country listed on Daft for under 50k i.e. with a 10% deposit a 25 year mortgage would be under €300 a month (which you could literally pay for on the dole).

    And that's all based on the other lifestyle assumption that a 3 bedroom house is required for a family. The average Irish family has 2 children or less so for most, a 2 bedroom house would be sufficient accommodation.

    The only people for whom a second income is absolutely not a choice any more are those where the difference in value between the second income and the costs incurred in earning it (childcare, second car, maintaining a work wardrobe, office collections etc.) is necessary in order to meet the mortgage payments, utilities, grocery shopping etc. Generally, this means a family that over-borrowed for a house during the boom.

    TBH, my kids would spend a fair amount of their time playing outside with their friends when the weather is suitable, though we chose to rent in the cul-de-sac we live in large part because it would be safe for them to do so.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 534 ✭✭✭movingsucks


    Sleepy, are those houses or homes? Just asking because there's a big difference between apartment living and house living


  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,953 Mod ✭✭✭✭Moonbeam


    Both, you can buy a house in Dublin these days for under 115k and places like Balbriggan are within the Dublin area commuter ticket range so commuting is not expensive.
    40k is not a lot of money to raise a family and pay a mortgage on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,196 ✭✭✭✭Sleepy


    Sleepy, are those houses or homes? Just asking because there's a big difference between apartment living and house living
    Houses. I set the search to look for 3 bedroom houses in Dublin.
    Moonbeam wrote: »
    Both, you can buy a house in Dublin these days for under 115k and places like Balbriggan are within the Dublin area commuter ticket range so commuting is not expensive.
    40k is not a lot of money to raise a family and pay a mortgage on.

    There's 3 bed houses in there for far less. Looking at something I'd actually live in myself rather than just picking the cheapest heap there, this is for sale in Tallaght with an asking price of €85k. By and large, houses are currently going for 90% of asking so you'd pick that up with a 70k mortgage and 10k of savings to cover the deposit and a few grand to pay solicitors fees etc.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 534 ✭✭✭movingsucks


    Do you know much about that area?


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  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,953 Mod ✭✭✭✭Moonbeam


    I was only looking in places that I would live too:)
    Anyway we are dragging this thread off topic and downsizing houses with a mortgage at the moment is not so easy.


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