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What age were you when you went back to work full time after being a SAHM?

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#1 Wineandchocolate

Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

[I originally posted this in the 'older mums' forum, but it's not getting much traffic there!]

For various reasons, DH and I didn't have our first child until I was  38, the second one at 40.  Until then I had a highly paid job (probably  overpaid for what I was actually doing) and DH worked fulltime.  Our youngest now still has 3  years before starting school and I am considering being a SAHM with both of them until  then (they both currently attend childcare full time but I recently  finished work as i was on a fixed term contract).  I am really having  trouble finding another job and we can't afford to keep sending them to  childcarecare on the chance I will find work soon.  So I'm thinking of taking  them out of care and staying home with them.  But that means I will be  45 by the time I'd be re-entering the workforce.  I know 'younger women'  have this sort of gap in their careers all the time, but I'm worried  about how much harder it will be then compared to now to find work  again.  My work is in a fairly niche area so jobs are hard to come by as  it is.

So...what do you think?  At what age did you (will you) be returning to work, if at all?

#2 Chchgirl

Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:44 AM

I had my first daughter at 30 and second at 33..I stayed home and started re-training at 37 and re-entered the workforce at 38 while training for a couple of years, then changed careers again.

I had no issues as I was retraining and age was no barrier in that case.


#3 Beancat

Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:52 AM

This is a good topic OP.  I have not quite got to your situation but have been wondering about re-employment.
I had DS when i was 34 (I went back to work bw babies when DS was 9mo) and DD when 37 in jan this year.  I am now pregnant with No 3 and have decided there is no point going back to work for 4 months, so will be out of the workforce for two years.

I have however retrained as a secondary teacher over the last couple of years, but will be 39 when I re-enter the workforce either in my old area or teaching.

I think I will go ok when I re-enter as I can demonstrate I was at least studying while on mat leave this year, so have kept my mind/skills active.

Could you maybe do some professional development in your area OP while being a SAHM?  Another option to keep your skills up, is there any type of volunteer work that fits your skills, ie i know a few accountants who volunteer as the kinder treasurer while SAHMs.  I think if you can demonstrate you have been active in your profession, albeit not necessarily paid, while you are a SAHM this will help you re-enter the workforce.

#4 Lagom

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:05 PM

I think I will go ok when I re-enter as I can demonstrate I was at least studying while on mat leave this year, so have kept my mind/skills active.

I agree with keeping skills up to date but I think it's sad that there is an idea that being a SAHM means your mind isn't active.  Off topic but I find that insulting.  Just because I'm not in paid employment doesn't mean I spend my time staring at the walls/TV with my mind turning to mush.  Not sure what other Mums do but I certainly don't sit around doing nothing with my brain (unless you count wasting time on EB.  wink.gif)

Edited by amabanana, 28 November 2012 - 12:06 PM.

#5 bubblegummum

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:15 PM

I went back at about 33yo.  So my gap was when I was younger.  Now in my 40s I constantly hear that it gets harder to change jobs, find jobs & get promotions from your mid 40s.  I hadn't really thought that ageism would kick in that early (I know it will depend on skills, demand etc).

I've always thought that the assumption is that after a break of several years your skills and knowledge may not be up to date rather than your brain has turned to mush.

#6 Ally'smum

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:18 PM

I would pull them out of childcare and stay home, but keep your eye on job ads, if something comes up that looks really good, apply and see how you go.

A lot can change in 3 years and you can change your mind about what you are doing at anytime. If you need to go back then be open minded about what you can do, once you are employed it is much easier to move around.

As well, look after yourself, you can go back to work as a 'young' 45 rather than an 'old' 45.

The most I am having as a break is two years, I need to work to pay the mortgage and despite having worked for 18 years, I still don't have a 'career' as such, hope to have one before I retire...

#7 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:22 PM

I had my first at 30 and have gone back 2 days. I am pregnant again and will be going back on maternity leave next year, so will be returning part time mid 2014. I'm hoping for one more child after this one but will not go back full time while they are little. I don't particularly want to go back at all but need to keep a foot in the door.

I don't anticipate retuning to full time work until I'm pushing 40.

I think if you can study something in the meantime if you are able to is a good idea, but like pp its very insulting that if you're not studying or working you are assumed to have no brain.

#8 Wahwah

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:29 PM

This issue plays on my mind often. That if I decide to go back into full time work I'll be in my mid 40s. And that maybe some young whipper snapper in HR might think I'm out of touch.

I had my first at 35, went back to work for a year when bub was 12 months and then stopped work again at 37 when number two came along.

I want to keep my options open, while having no interest in full time work at the moment. So I've been able to keep my hand in by doing freelance work for the past few years and that way I can at least show that I've maintained some connection to the workforce. If I wasn't doing this I think I'd pick up a course or a couple of subjects here and there to show I'm still engaged with my industry.

I think I should be ok to get a job in the future so long as I maintain my contacts. Plus I work in a female dominated area.  

OP could you do any consulting or freelance in the future given you are in a niche area? Even just a little occasional project might be good.

#9 lizzzard

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:37 PM

What kind of industry are you in OP? I think different industries are more/less forgiving of a career gap. For example, IT strikes me as one of the tougher ones given the pace of development /change in that field.

#10 JRA

Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

I had DS when I was 37, nearly 38, I went back "casual" in IT when he was 3, I was 41 and a bit.  I have been working "casual" or "part time" ever since.  

I work in IT in value add role, consulting, sometimes training, I mainly contract to the software vendor who I previously worked for.

The only reason I don't work FT is because I don't want to. they are harassing me continually to go back to FT

#11 Chchgirl

Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:11 PM

I forgot to add I never went back to work full time, and only recently work full time flexi hours because I work for myself. I've worked for myself for about three years in two roles.

#12 SeaPrincess

Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:51 PM

I had my children at age 35, 37 and 39.  I went back to work part time earlier this year, but on a very casual basis. I am currently working for my old boss in a similar role, but for a different organisation.  I am not planning to work full-time until 2015 at the earliest, when DD starts full-time school, so I will be 45, but I may stay part-time even then.

I am fortunate that I have been able to start back at work in my same field, and I am now waiting on a call after interviewing for a more serious part-time job which my boss recommended to me.  If I get this, I would see myself working part time for the next 2 years, then when I'm ready to go full-time, for it to be in the same place.

#13 cesca

Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:10 PM

I had my first at 30, my second at 32.  I'm now 41.

I went back part time by the time my babies were one, but VERY part time, i.e. 10 - 15 hours a week approx, in a variety of casual roles.

In an ideal world I'd never work full time again, and neither would DH, but part time roles are hard to come by. At least, part time jobs that pay more than $14 an hour are!

I am currently job seeking again.  I'm finally realising my age may count against me, as I would be going into entry level positions that would lead into a career type job.  I am only now considering full time work, after 10 years out, but would prefer 20 - 30 hours per week.

#14 Copper and May

Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:03 PM

I had my first baby at 22 and my second at 25 and my third at 27. Then I stayed home to look after them until my youngest was 18 and had a car, so I retrained on computers and was able to get a job in a medical clinic at 45. I had been out of the workforce for a long time, but I had kept up with things by being a secretary for various hobbies and I kept my brain active. I retired 6 years ago and I keep my brain active with this computer and I trained for two years to be a breastfeeding counsellor and now I go onto the helpline for 4 hour shifts, twice a month.  eexcite.gif

#15 Overtherainbow

Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:15 PM

I was a young mum in my early 20's when we had our first and was only just getting my career established.  I worked casually in my own business in my career and casually in unskilled work until my youngest reached 3 yo kindy, then returned part time.  Full time now.

Though I was working casually, I usually worked 20 hours, some weeks 60 hours.  The hours worked in with DH though so no cc was needed.  Most overtime was paid which was lovely.

I had no issues returning to the workforce and I've already turned down a promotion because I'm not ready to commit to more hours (already working 60 hours most weeks).  I am at the younger end but I also had less experience.  

The best decision I made was to sta connected to my industry though as I coud prove that I coud make a difference in the industry and that I had kept up with changes.

Sorry,  I was 30 :-)

Edited by round the twist, 28 November 2012 - 07:20 PM.

#16 vanessa71

Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:36 PM

I became a SAHM when I had DD when I was 34, I haven't been back to work since (didn't have a job to go back to), but I have applied for a couple just to get some interview experience. Unfortunately, I don't even get call backs, so haven't really had the interview experience.

#17 knittingkitten

Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:47 PM

I had DD when I was 34 and DS when I was 37. I returned to work at 40 (and a half wink.gif)

#18 Jembo

Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:42 PM

This time I am 38 when I returned, I have kept pretty busy in between with a small home based business since he was born, but returned to paid work this year.

#19 cinnabubble

Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:47 PM

I have never been a SAHM, just some maternity leave, but I'm 43 now and I wouldn't like to be trying to get back into the workforce after too long a break at this age.

#20 jayskette

Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:52 PM

I always imagined I would be a SAHM for 6 months at the mininum and 2 years maximum, depending on family financial situation, but after having looked after a baby for ONE day... I might revise the minimum to 6 weeks lol

#21 Wyn99

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:02 PM

I had my children at 33, 35 and 37. Except for 12 mths mat leave with No. 1, and 6months with 2 & then 3, I have worked casually/part-time always. I *hope* to return FT (school hours if possible) when the youngest starts primary school, still 4 years away. Don't miss FT work at all - did it for 15 years prior to kids.

#22 .Jerry.

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:05 PM

I only had ten months off (plus one month sick leave and six weeks holidays) after having Molly.  Went back to work aged 38.  Still going.  original.gif

#23 Nofliesonme

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:08 PM

QUOTE (amabanana @ 28/11/2012, 12:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree with keeping skills up to date but I think it's sad that there is an idea that being a SAHM means your mind isn't active.  Off topic but I find that insulting.  Just because I'm not in paid employment doesn't mean I spend my time staring at the walls/TV with my mind turning to mush.  Not sure what other Mums do but I certainly don't sit around doing nothing with my brain (unless you count wasting time on EB.  wink.gif)

Ooohhhh I like this. original.gif very true

#24 strawberrycakes

Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:13 AM

I left my job of 7 years at age 27 & I returned to work this year almost 5 years of being a SAHM at age 32.  TBH I found it very difficult to get a job due to being out of the workforce for so long & because I don't have a 'career' the industry I was returning to needed up to date skills, I am studying for that so I think in the end that helped.

#25 Guest_Dinah_Harris_*

Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:30 AM

I had a high-paying job in banking when I had my first baby at 28.  It's the sort of job where you either go back full time or not at all, so I didn't go back.  I had my second and final baby at 30.
I have completely changed my career focus and am re-training, too.  I start my Masters degree next year.  It's something I can do from home, organise my own hours and in a few years when the kids are in school, can become as busy as I like, still from home.
The money will be woeful for a few years, but that's a sacrifice I've decided (and can afford) to make.  the best part is that I'm really passionate about it and it satisfies my creativity.

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