Monday, 21 March 2011

Becoming a stay at home mum aka SAHM

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was made redundant - the company I worked for went bust - I would say it was down to the credit crunch, but it was really because *the man in charge* was a bit of a *swear word of your choice*. - If you want a mental image - He turned up in the mornings in silk PJ's and chain smoked cigars in the office for which the £50 fines he regularly received were laughed at.

I have a degree in Marketing and Advertising and about 8 years or so experience in marketing - mostly online marketing. I worked hard for my career and took it very seriously. I won awards for my achievements and seemed to have a good reputation in my field.

When I was 9 weeks pregnant, My hubby and I took a trip to new york - we had used some of our wedding present money towards it as it was our way of celebrating our first wedding anniversary as we had got engaged in New York.

I was out of the business for only 5 days - before I left, the websites I managed were doing well, I was confident it would hold up whilst I was away and I was feeling very optimistic for the next year - I'd just had another 6month marketing budget signed off, I had adverts in Vogue and several parenting magazines, a cross promotion with mama mio and cupcake mummy and I had just planned the Christmas Campaign.

When I got back, I found most staff members in floods of tears and bags of nerves - there were rumors that the company was bankrupt and some people had been put on gardening leave, I thought it was rather odd seeing as I'd just had so much work signed off by *the man in charge*. It didn't take me long however to find out that half of the things I'd had approved, hadn't even been paid for and the company was in months worth of arrears with my email marketing provider, website provider and other advertisers which I used.

Thing were looking worryingly indeed...

When I arrived the next morning, I found out the website had been taken down and half of my marketing tools were frozen - I wasn't told this was going to happen - I had to find out myself through my usual morning checks.

By the end of the day - all the staff were taken into a room and told as a group by some man we'd never met that the company was in administration.  All sacked basically in a mass group without even a slight appearance from *the man in charge*

That was that, I was owed almost a months salary - I got less than £200 of it, I had to sign on for job seekers allowance for the first time in my life and the *man in charge* had put my marketing reputation at risk.

In normal circumstances I wouldn't have been worried but because I was pregnant, I was very worried! I'd never been unemployed for more than 2 weeks and because of my skill set, I had been poached by several of my previous employers. I had recruitment reps tell me that because I was pregnant I would find resistance - which I did - and obviously legitimate reasons were given to why I wasn't a suitable candidate - usually because the company was "restructuring". I even found discrimination at the Job Centre! Once I reached 27 weeks pregnant - I was no longer deemed "employable" and forced to move from job seekers allowance to maternity allowance - This would mean that 1) I was no longer an unemployed stat and 2) Maternity Allowance would end before my baby was 6 months leaving me with no income. At 27 weeks I was more than capable of doing my job and really do think it unfair for the government to decide otherwise. Had I still been in employment,  I would have worked for 11 more weeks (that's almost 3 months).

Before I became a Mum I was determined to get back to my career, however in reality, my career would not have worked with a baby - I was on a commuter train to London by 7.30am and not usually home before 7.30pm, marketing also involved a lot of corporate entertainment and out of office hours events. It's not your 9-5 job within a 10min commute and certainly wasn't flexible on the hours!

So 21 months after baby was born, I find myself pregnant again and a stay at home mum - SAHM. My days are filled with playing cars and colouring in and I wouldn't change it for the world! It's far more exhausting and harder than any of my marketing jobs and the only goody bags I get these days are poo filled nappies!

Each day holds some sort of a challenge - Take today, there was a poo in the bath and a puke incident when my little one tried a plum tomato and didn't like it - Before I was a mum, I'd never changed a nappy and I really couldn't deal with sick, poo or snot! Now I can deal with all three at the same time and not even bat an eyelid - although it does still freak me out if I get some under my finger nails.

I try to sneak off during Alphablocks if I want to go for a wee alone - but mostly I'm not alone, instead I have a giggly toddler intent on dropping toys down my jean legs by the way, I get to wear jeans whenever I want now, instead of all black shift dresses and towering heels - actually, I miss my black dresses and heels some days but would look totally OTT in one on the swings in the park.

Housework is 1 step forward 4 steps back, Polish the bookcase and turn round to find a toddler in a pile of mess, but I am learning tricks to get things done.

When I clean the bathroom, I stick little man in a bubble bath with lots of toys - he loves bath time so really doesn't mind a bonus one - If I'm thinking cleverly, we will have done finger painting first! It gives me the freedom to scrub the rest of the bathroom - My top tip for cleaning the loo is to drop 2 high strength denture cleaning tablets in the bowl. White wine vinegar cuts through build up on the shower screen and an old tooth brush works wonders around the tap fittings.

When I'm preparing food I try to keep little man involved in some way - even if he just has a pan, spoon and dry pasta and if I really do need a moment to try and wash up (we haven't got a dishwasher *sob*) Either peppa pig or alphablocks will keep little man amused for exactly 3 minutes.

In the mornings, he plays naked (it's the only room we have wooden flooring!)  in the bathroom while I have a quick shower, after which I run little man a bath and he has a bath while I get dressed and do my makeup - the key is making sure you have everything in the bathroom ready before you shower! We started doing bath time in the mornings instead of night time as I found he can't get sleepy afterwards - I think all that playing gives him more energy rather than burning some off!

One of the hardest parts of becoming a SAHM is the loss of income, I'm now completely dependant on just hubby's income, the government says he earns too much for us to qualify for any help - If that really was the case, I'd love to know why we always end up buying reduced food, using my ever growing barclaycard for nappies and digging out money from behind sofa cushions to pay for milk, There are very few luxuries, no magazines, no premium make-up, no holidays and I haven't had my hair cut since august to name a few! One salary isn't quite enough, there's a little shortfall just for basic living but we're determined to muggle through - Both me and Hubby had our mums at home until we were at school and I do feel that for our family it's something important to us - At 20 months, my Son can recognise numbers up to 10 and knows Blue, Red and Green - I'm sure this can be attributed to me being a SAHM.

I haven't lost all my old ambition - I think it's something built into me, I'm considering a few small freelance opportunities that will fit in around my family life and I'm also thinking of way into the future, starting up a business venture or two - Although, most days I don't even get a moment to have a cup of tea to myself! - Me time? what's that? oh yeah, it's on a dusty old shelf along with my heels, reading books, lie -ins and sleep! Almost 2 years and counting since I had a whole nights sleep!

I can't wait to see how baby2 due in June is going to turn our world upside down! It's taken all this time to find ways of attempting to manage the home I wonder which routines are going to still work out for us!

Emma in Bromley x


  1. Emma, another great post. Funnily enough in the middle of a childcare blog post myself for Planet Tots. May just have to rewrite to include a reference to this if thtas OK!

  2. Hiya Kim, Thank you, and would love it if you referenced my post! Can't wait to read your post. x

  3. Excellent post Emma - really good insights.

  4. I'm shocked that you were forced onto Maternity Allowance that early! Crazy rules...

  5. Thank you x it is crazy! That was in 2009 but I believe the same rules still apply. Way too soon to write off a pregnant woman!


Thank you for your comments

Emma x