I want to leave and start something on my own. But my husband is not working as well and I fear my daughter will feel bad to say that both her parents are not working. What should I do? I have enough money saved to give her a reasonable future. My husband earns a good pension.

She has always seen me working and gathers comfort and pride from that. My work is killing me and devaluing me. I want freedom and need to look after my health. Also I have a dream close to my heart. I want to follow that dream. If I succeed I could earn money AND be happy. If not there is not much loss of money.

So my daughter and what she feels is holding me back and I am feeling more and more fatigued in body and soul. I love her, she is a temperamental child but sometimes selfish like many children are... PLEASE HELP. Tell me I am not selfish in choosing something good for myself however my daughter says she feels about it... Am I being a good parent when I choose to follow my own dream? Time is running out an changing me into an empty money earning shell...She is just a young teenager and may not know better... but still... I can see the pride in her eyes (or whatever I imagine it to be) of having a high flying working mom ... Edit: My daughter's age is 14 and I'm from India.

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    You think your daughter will feel bad -- have you actually asked her about this, or do you just have suspicions about her feelings?
    – Acire
    Mar 31, 2015 at 16:08
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    You've prudently got the worst-case scenario covered so that she'll be ok even if everything goes wrong - so you don't need her permission. You're already doing right by her (even if she doesn't realise this). You're entitled to your own career preferences.
    – A E
    Mar 31, 2015 at 18:55
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    I think it might be relevant to know your daughter's age and where are you from (or the cultural context, at least). Mar 31, 2015 at 19:24
  • 1
    Added. Check edit.
    – user14322
    Mar 31, 2015 at 19:51
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    @Erica: I have asked her about this and she was specifically against this.
    – user14322
    Mar 31, 2015 at 19:53

6 Answers 6


Be honest about why you are leaving. It sounds like a really terrible job that is giving you nothing but a paycheck, and you don't necessarily need the paycheck. That's a wonderful reason to leave. "This is making me very unhappy, I want to follow my dream, and here is my plan for enacting my dream."

Focus on the positives. You aren't very specific about what your dream is, but "I could earn money AND be happy" -- I'm guessing starting your own business? Going back to school to change careers? Still, it's clearly something besides "sit at home all day doing nothing." This can actually be a very empowering experience for your daughter, since she'll have an example of somebody really, truly following their dream. You're deciding not to take the easy road, and you're not settling for a mediocre career just for some extra money.

Have her be honest about why, or even if, she feels this is a bad choice for you.

  • If it's shame at having "unemployed" parents, talk about how a "job" isn't the only way of being productive. Would she rather say "my mother works as [blah]" or "my mother is [doing cool dream-following work]"?
  • If she's worried about money, talk about how your finances are in good shape (not specific bank balances, just general reassurances so she knows you've put thought into this and aren't throwing her future away).
  • If she thinks your dream is silly or pointless, tell her why it matters to you. Tell her how draining your current job is.

The bottom line is you need to understand why she doesn't like the idea in order to convince her it really is the best way forward. This lets you focus your reasons when talking about the switch.

By having any part of this conversation, you're opening dialog and encouraging honesty. Even if she doesn't really understand, you have explained your reasons and shown that you care about her input even though the final decision is yours. If you want your daughter to be able to talk to you when considering her options when she has to make a tough choice, lead by example.

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    Thanks Erica. I know it's finally my decision. Just needed some support, if not from within the family, then from outside!
    – user14322
    Mar 31, 2015 at 20:05
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    My daughter is younger, but when I was considering a change of occupation for somewhat similar reasons, she found my emotional well-being to be very compelling. Helping your daughter frame a "justification" and a way to take pride in your choice should help her. I think you should go for it :)
    – Acire
    Mar 31, 2015 at 20:07

I am was born and raised in Asia and spent some time in the US for school and work. I can say that I have seen both Western and Eastern ideologies from both family and friends. In the Western world, it is more about chasing your dream while the Eastern, it is more about taking care of the family and name no matter how bad it gets. What you are experiencing is a very Eastern approach of seeing life. None is more right or wrong than the other. It is usually based on current circumstances.

What I would suggest is to close your eyes and imagine that you have another kid (very young like 5 years old). He/she has an ambition to do something outside the regular norm. What would you say? Every parent would definitely deep down inside see their kid chase their dreams. The question then would be, did you yourself do that and thus set a good example for him/her.

I have a very good American friend with whom I spent Christmas with his family years ago. His grandmother was very proud of him. He decided to go to an arts college despite getting scholarships to Harvard and MIT. She said that perception of happiness is not as important as personal happiness and even if he were to be happy spending his life shoveling sand into the sea, it was the right thing for him to do.

Kids may not know these especially when they are young. Always comparing the status of their parents and family. But, one day when they are older, it is the examples their parents set which would greatly help them much more.

  • "..even if he were to be happy spending his life shoveling sand into the sea, it was the right thing for him to do." Love it! btw, welcome to the site. Apr 1, 2015 at 5:53

When you travel by plane, they always tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first and THEN help your child put on her mask.

You can't be a good parent feeling the way you do about your job.

One of the most important things a parent can do to educate her child and prepare her for her adult life is to model healthy behavior and self-advocacy.


A young teenager in any society is likely ill-equipped to make wise decisions for adults. I understand that you love her and you want her to be happy. To that end, as a parent you owe her love, shelter, food, stability, some amenities and guidance. It sounds like you've given her that and more. Now, maybe you can teach her the importance and rewards of respecting the needs of others.

Being strong enough to follow your dream after having gained financial security is a valuable lesson, perhaps much more valuable than the example of selflessness you would set in giving in to someone else's (in this case, her) wishes.

Do what your heart and mind tells you is right for you, and I wish you all the happiness you hope for with this courageous change. Your decision to take care of yourself is a very admirable one, and sends a strong positive message of self-respect and self-care that your daughter may very well benefit from in the future.

  • 1
    Perfect answer.
    – A E
    Apr 2, 2015 at 20:55

Perhaps explaining to your daughter that entrepreneurial efforts in many ways are more work than just accepting someone else's job.

It's always been my opinion that conventional employment is not worth the praise it is given. To be sure, many conventional jobs are noble ones. I respect a road worker job far more than criminal defense lawyer and I think the pay ratio is way off. So to best combat that it is my opinion that following what you dream of, success or fail, is worth more than whatever minimal satisfaction may come with doing someone else's job for whatever the nominal salary may be.

Having a family makes that harder to do. You have to factor in how your choices will affect their comfort and happiness. If you say you are financially stable, then your biggest hurdle is your daughter's opinion of you. Saying your mom is happy is certainly worth a lot more than saying your mom endures a job she hates. Especially if there's no financial issues surrounding it. It's hard to defend your daughter's opinion in that case. Being unemployed and being self employed are not the same thing. Even if self employed means starting small and growing.

Worst case, you learned a lesson and go back to work? I don't know what your plan B is, but if you are indeed suffering at your job your daughter should be able to see that and encourage you to reach for something more.

Is there a way to integrate her into your plan? Maybe she would be more excited if it was something she could do with you. I sew on the side. My oldest daughter seems to like that I sew and she likes helping too. Plus, I think it's healthy for kids to know that sewing isn't tied to a gender. The same way that owning your own business isn't tied to a gender.

If she doesn't get it now, she will eventually. And she will probably be so much more proud of that than if you stayed in a place that was making you sad.


First, it's important that you and your husband come to an understanding about this first. That's more important than your daughter, who is not mature enought yet to understand everything. You and your husband must be a united front. If the two of you are at odds about what's happening, your daughter will surely be confused as well. When you start a business, your husband may seem to be on board initially, but if he later realizes he didn't have a realistic expectation about how long it takes and how much work it takes, it will ultimately lead to some very negative stress between you. Find statistics on success rates and time-to-profitability data for the kind of business you are contemplating and discuss them realistically with your husband before you start.

Second, you must create the understanding with your family that you have not stopped working, but that you are working in a different way. In fact, starting/running a business is likely to be much more work, more risk, and more stress, than most jobs. Ultimately, you'll have more freedom, more fulfillment, and hopefully more money, but it will be a long road. If your family doesn't recognize what you are doing as hard work and important, you could end up with more frustration than you have right now.

I suggest that you clearly define hours when you are working and resist demands on your time during those hours. You should get up and start work, and end the day, with the same regularity as with your job. You're unlikely to be able to fit everything you need to do for starting a business within a 9 to 5 framework, so be realistic about the time demands. During work hours, you should not be expected to shop, do chores, run errands, have leisurely conversations, etc. On the other hand, there's a temptation to go to the other extreme. Many business owners become workaholics, and spend almost every waking hour on the business, including weekends, without any breaks, for years on end. That will put a different kind of stress on your family life, so you should resist that as well.

Set goals before you start. If you can't run the business successfully in less than X hours per day, and you never have a weekend free, and you can't afford to hire more help, and it's not growing, you have to admit at some point that the business isn't working, even if it's profitable.

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