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Can we talk about Stay at Home Mums

(221 Posts)
kittylester Sat 16-Jan-21 08:38:58

Or was I the only one?

We've had threads about teachers and nurses but did anyone else stay at home after they had children?

Fortunately, we didn't need any income that I might earn but I am not sure how i would have found the time to go to work.

We have 5 children (the eldest was 16 when the youngest was born) who needed fetching and carrying to school, clubs appointments etc. 4 parents who needed support and I did voluntary work.

Anyone else?

Beechnut Sat 16-Jan-21 08:48:31

I was a stay at home mum. Available for all things going on including my own siblings and father in law. I did some part time temporary work later.

shysal Sat 16-Jan-21 08:53:08

I stayed at home until the girls were at school, then worked term time only. I was sure that my being there was the best thing for them, but I did a bit of childminding, which paid for driving lessons, and fostering. I think living with those special needs youngsters some of the time was good for my girls and they grew into kind caring adults.
I loved those years and always feel sad when I hear today's parents saying they can't wait for their kids to go back to school after the holidays.

Sarnia Sat 16-Jan-21 08:53:48

I was a stay at home Mum of 5 children in the 70's and early 80's. There was not the amount of nurseries and childminders that there is today but I enjoyed being with my children and there was always plenty of housework to do. The one thing which irritates me is that the Government claimed that stay at home Mums would not lose out in their pension but it has affected mine.

BlueSky Sat 16-Jan-21 08:55:57

Wow Kitty with five children, parents that needed support and voluntary work, I think you were more than a ‘working mum’! Still we have been indoctrinated that we need a job outside the house as well!

Iam64 Sat 16-Jan-21 09:01:15

I stayed home for three years in the early 70s, with one child. Then I worked on Saturdays at a large department store. The cash was saved towards a camping holiday.
Divorce, remarriage ran alongside university and a good qualification. I had two more children but always worked from the late 70’s to retirement 10 years ago. There is choice involved and It’s important to respect that.

Esspee Sat 16-Jan-21 09:03:23

I didn’t have children to let someone else bring them up. My husband and I were a team. He earned the money while I cared for the children and ran the home.
When he wasn’t working he spent all his time with our children and me.
Had I continued working no doubt we could have afforded bigger, better houses, cars, etc. but we were happy living within our means bringing up our family.
I would do the same again.

Georgesgran Sat 16-Jan-21 09:05:14

Yes - same here. DD was already a ‘rep’ out on the road and away a couple of nights a week when DD1 was born - we were ‘tight’ for money, but up ‘til then we’d both worked 2 jobs. My son was stillborn a couple of years later and we moved to a bigger house and when DD went to Nursery, I took on some voluntary work. DD2 arrived in ‘83, as my DM became house then bed bound with RA - I’m an only child, so that became a priority most days. By now DH was working away during the week and only home weekends and pursuing his own hobbies (a sore point, as I also had to see to his hobby every day). DD1 was struggling at school - dyslexia- so I found a small prep school and she got a place there with a guaranteed place for her sister, who is also dyslexic. Luckily another family nearby had done the same and we shared the school run for some years - 30mile round trip. DM died in 1992 and DF got a new lease of life, despite being 80.
I could go on - I’d hoped at some point to find a little job, but fate was always against me. Senior school involved a 50 mile round trip, in-laws needed help, then DD2 suffered a stroke and was in hospital 2 months and away from school for 6. Without wishing to offend - my old friends say I’m the best nurse, the NHS never needed to pay! Now DH is ill, so time to get out that nurses apron again. What a life.

Anyone who says SAH Mums had it easy, needs to say that to my face! This one didn’t.

PamelaJ1 Sat 16-Jan-21 09:10:03

Same as Esspee. It was what you did when I had children.
Child care was two hours, two mornings a week at play school.
I used to bus in to the nearest small town, drop her off and wander round for a couple of hours before catching the bus back.
Shame I didn’t think of writing the Harry Potter books whilst I was making my coffee last as long as possible!

Ellianne Sat 16-Jan-21 09:13:19

I stayed at home until our children started school and a bit beyond. My own mother died days before our first child was born, and my father committed suicide shortly after. I had no siblings, so wanted to cling onto my little family as tightly as I could for as long as I could. It was like a new beginning. Plus dogs in the mix.

Lucca Sat 16-Jan-21 09:14:49

I stayed at home for five years then did very part time work until I was 40 when I trained to be a teacher. I think a lot depends on your character, strengths etc. I’m not a great homemaker and I think my kids had a better “me” for having sone work outside the home.

Grandma70s Sat 16-Jan-21 09:15:11

I stayed at home with my children, I felt quite strongly that it was the right thing to do. I had always valued the fact that my mother was there to talk to when I got home from school, so I wanted my children to have the same. I really enjoyed it, and never seriously contemplated working outside home. I regarded bringing up children as a job, and it certainly doesn’t stop when they start school. In fact, they need you more than ever then.

I suppose we would have had a bit more money if we’d both had jobs, but by the time we’d paid someone to look after the children it wouldn’t have been much more. Definitely not worth it. I would never have asked my parents to care for them. They had had their turn - why should they do it twice?

My DIL only stayed at home with the children for their first year, though her job is fairly flexible. All the same, the constant question of “Who is going to look after the children?” dominates their lives, and is a constant worry.

Witzend Sat 16-Jan-21 09:20:15

I was a SAHM when dds were very small, and only ever worked p/t later, though there were several years when I was WFH and I spent a lot more time on that than I ever did on p/t ‘employed’ jobs.

As dds got a bit older we had elderly relatives - none living close by - needing a lot of attention instead, and dh was away a lot for work, often for weeks or even months at a time. So anything more than p/t would have been very difficult, and luckily we weren’t desperate for extra cash.

More and more, because of housing being relatively so much more expensive - at least anywhere in the SE - and two salaries so often being needed to pay the mortgage - or to get one in the first place! - IMO being a SAHM has become something of a luxury that far fewer can now afford.

I’ve heard of quite a few who’d certainly prefer to stay at home with babies and toddlers but need to keep working despite childcare costs, because taking a career break for any length of time can make it very difficult to return at anywhere near the same point on the ladder.

Franbern Sat 16-Jan-21 09:31:38

My first child born in 1969. I had just a year earlier started a mature students college course, and my parents were so helpful and wanted me to continue this and offered to look after baby. Had taken hubbie and me four years for me to become pregnant. So....only way I could think of to stop them being so helpful was for me to become pregnant again quickly, and child No. 2 was born eleven months later.

No 3 was born two years on and 4 & 5 together another two years further on. We were also fostering, and child No 6 arrived to become a via that. So, with six children - with just seven years between then I was a SAHM!!!

Loved it - we were really very, very hard up - particularly when my hubbie became unable to work due to MS -but they were some of the best years of my life. Continued fostering and often had eight young children in the family. Never bored, so much to do. Really loved school holidays when we could break with routines.

Returned to work when they had all left for Uni. However all my daughters returned to their career jobs pretty quickly after giving birth. One did try - for nine months - to be a SAHM with her third, but absolutely hated it.

Each to their own

lemongrove Sat 16-Jan-21 09:34:45

I stayed at home with the children from when they were born until they started school, they were all born fairly close together so it worked out well.I very much enjoyed being with them all day in their early years, and although we had to be very careful with money doing that, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Yiayia4 Sat 16-Jan-21 09:34:45

I was a stay at home mum with three boys.
When they started school I did mobile hairdressing and it worked out very well.
I was a latch key kid so it was good to be able to be at home for my boys.

kittylester Sat 16-Jan-21 09:37:09

Forgot the dogs Ellieann and the cats and the rabbits and the gerbil and the goldfish!!

Dorsetcupcake61 Sat 16-Jan-21 09:38:54

My mum was a stay at home mum and happy to do so. In the 1960s I think it was more the norm. I had my eldest daughter in 1988 and had to return full time for financial reasons. It was surprising even then how many people assumed i wouldnt want to return. I did feel guilty although i had a brilliant childminder and my daughter thrived. On the birth of my second daughter i was able to work part time. It was a definite demarcation line. I worked 18and half hours Monday to Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon i was more than happy to be at home by Sunday evening i was looking forward to adult company and a work challenge. I continued to work p/t ,i found that teenagers need you as much as younger childeren.
For me it was a good balance. It's about choice and sadly fewer women have that choice.
My eldest daughter is a full time mum ,shes lucky in that her husband's wage makes it an option. Pre covid she worked occasionally on a bank basis. Shes an incredible mother and really approaches nurturing of grandsons as a job-with love thrown in!

JenniferEccles Sat 16-Jan-21 09:39:48

No you certainly weren’t the only one and I would say it was more the norm in the 70s and 80s for young women to give up work when children came along.

Our first home was a mid terrace on a new housing estate and it was lovely as we were all young couples having our babies around the same time. I made friends which made the transition from work much easier.

Of course I realise that some women have to work but I wanted to be at home with my children. It would have broken my heart to have handed them over to a nursery.

I’m not saying it was easy financially but we were prepared to make sacrifices and we managed.

rubysong Sat 16-Jan-21 09:40:44

I was home with my two children until the younger one was six. Then I was very part time term time only. I felt very lucky to have those years at home. My work hours increased gradually as the boys got older. It is much more difficult now I think as two salaries are needed by most couples. I know my DGCs mother (who works three days a week) would love to be at home but the children are happy at nursery and in normal times us two grandmas do one of those days with the younger one

Grandma70s Sat 16-Jan-21 09:43:17

Those of you who stayed at home until the children started school - who met them from school? Who looked after them after school, and in the holidays?

Auntieflo Sat 16-Jan-21 09:47:35

I was a SAHM, at 21 (and a bit), our first child being born in 1963, and the second in 1966, and I don't think I ever considered that I could or would, go back to work.
There were no nursery facilities, but maybe a playgroup run by the Church.
As they they became older, I did a bit of accounting work at home for pin money.
Then when they were 12 and 10, I found a part time job, close to home. I had only been there less than a year, when DS2, made his presence known. So, again I was a SAHM, until he was 12. I was with a group of mums that started up a playgroup/ nursery, that opened just in time for DS2 to attend for a couple of terms before he started infant school.
Luckily we managed financially and didn't need an income from me.
I found another P/T job, that soon became full time, and I loved it, and stayed until retirement 17 years ago.
Looking back, at the time I don't think I realised how lucky I was being able to be at home, especially as now, as Witzend says, young mums would prefer to stay at home.

Pittcity Sat 16-Jan-21 09:48:32

I was a SAHM and, like others, had to be careful with money. But childcare would've been more than I could earn and grandparents lived too far away to help. DH worked different shifts each week so even an evening/weekend job was out of the question. I don't regret a minute of it.

silverlining48 Sat 16-Jan-21 09:50:19

In the mid/late 70s when working in the local education was expected that one gave notice towards the end of the pregnancy and left work. There was no maternity leave/pay and no right to return.
With little or no childcare available, (most grandparents were not doing what we do now,) being stay at home was very common.
I don’t know when things changed and women were given maternity benefits etc but most mums I knew were all at home. It was not a choice.
I took the opportunity of taking up studies and eventually graduated with an ‘ology returning to a new job when dc were 9 and 11.

Witzend Sat 16-Jan-21 09:52:49

Re nurseries, I will admit to thinking it was a shame when Gdc1 started nursery 3 days a week at 9 months (dd worked 4 days and dh and I did another).

However I soon changed my mind - the nursery was lovely and Gdcs 1 and 2 both loved it and thrived there. There was so many varied activities that would have been harder to organise at home, and IMO the general socialising, learning to share and take turns, could only be beneficial.

It also meant that starting pre school and reception was not at all a big step for them - they took to them with no trouble at all.