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to think I have the perfect solution to the school hours/school run problem?

(55 Posts)
Tortoiseonthehalfshell Tue 01-Jan-13 12:15:54

Not really. I just want you to all pick holes in my Grand Plan, please, so I don't fall into any pitfalls. This is my first child to go to school, I have no idea what I'm in for. My apologies for the unlikeliness of bunfighting.

Right. So, somewhat unbelievably, DD1 is going to be of school age next year.

DD1 has a best friend, and over many many playdates her mum and I have also become very good friends. The friend is also starting the same school. The mum is a single parent, her DD is an only child and will stay that way. We live about a 2 minute drive/15 minute walk away from one another. She runs a shop another 5 minutes drive from my place; I work a fair way away but drop my car at a bus station 5 minutes past her place. So the map goes like this:
My bus station -- primary school -- her place -- my place -- her work with none of those distances being over 5 minutes drive.

So. She doesn't open till 10am, I work best doing early hours. So our plan is simple. I drop DD1 off at hers at 7am, fully uniformed and packed, she and best friend have breakfast together. Her mum does school drop off at 8.30, gets time to sort herself out before going to work even if morning is chaos. I pick up both girls and either take them to mine until she drives past and picks her up at just past 5pm, or drop hers at the shop - I have to go past there anyway to pick up DD2 from daycare. So I'm thinking, on days DD1 has an after school commitment, I'll drop off the friend with her mum, otherwise I'll just keep them both and feed them as needed.

Is this actually the world's best plan? Or is it just asking for trouble? Would it in fact turn out to be an enormous imposition to have someone else's child dropped off 3 or 4 mornings a week expecting breakfast? What have I missed?

DozyDuck Tue 01-Jan-13 12:18:43

I think as long as its 'even' then it's ok, but what about if one child/ mum is sick?

SavoyCabbage Tue 01-Jan-13 12:20:42

It's either pure brilliance or an utter nightmare.

I think you should set a date to review it, half term maybe, so you can both decide if it's working for you.

I think when there are moments when you are hating it, you have to remind yourselves of the money you are saving.

exexpat Tue 01-Jan-13 12:20:46

That sounds reasonably well balanced, but if you want to hear of any possible flaws - what happens when one of the children is ill? A lot of them seem to spend reception getting every bug going. Also, what if the girls have a falling-out or just drift apart, and don't want to spend several hours a day together in addition to spending the school dy together?

Iactuallydothinkso Tue 01-Jan-13 12:21:24

Ok, sounds great. In practise.....

What happens when the girls fall out? And they will. Probably with alarming regularity, particularly I have found in year 2!!!

Then what happens if one of them is sick? Will you still do the journey or let her down or take your sick child with you? Or you and the mum fall out? Or one of you is constantly late and this annoys the other? What if you end up doing more, will you be resentful? What is the other child hates your cooking or your child hates their breakfasts?

It's a minefield! Think long and hard about committing to something that could be very problematic. Clearly, I have the voice of experience!

MammaTJ Tue 01-Jan-13 12:21:33

You need to discuss what happens if either child or either parent is ill.

Also if the girls fall out, how will you both deal with it?

happyinherts Tue 01-Jan-13 12:22:15

Perfect in theory. There will be days when it won't go to plan so you need a Plan B in case of sickness and think of Inset Days.

Also bear in mind that's an awfully long day for a little one to be out and about if you're going to drop her off at 7am. She's going to get tired, irritable and annoying but if this is the only arrangement possible at the moment, so be it. Hope all works out successfully

No, a lot of people do it.

But you must have a plan b for sickness, emergencies etc. Especially as she is a single mum, it could be a lot of pressure if she isn't feeling well one morning.

Although by the sounds of it, you could probably go into work a little later in exceptional circumstances and work through lunch possibly?

mum11970 Tue 01-Jan-13 12:23:26

Lots of schools run a free breakfast club in the mornings, does your school have one? This would save you being reliant on anyone, as pp said could be brilliant or a disaster.

littleducks Tue 01-Jan-13 12:29:20

It depends on the relationship between the girls and the mums.

There will be days the other child will wind you up, and unlike your own kids you will actually wish you send her home!

Last year I dropped dd off at 8am (school starts) and my friend/dd's friends mum took her to school. There were things that niggled me, they ate chocolate cereal for example when dd was used to porridge/weetabix. Its hardly a big deal, but this little things do irritate after a while. Don't underestimate this.

I had all 3 of her kids of three weeks while she was abroad in return and do pick up and run to an activity when she hasn't a car at home.

This year we have changed arrangements a bit, I pick up her dd once a week from school. She is on my emergency list and my first port of call if I get delayed (I work/she is a SAHM).

dixiechick1975 Tue 01-Jan-13 12:29:46

It may work for a short while but what will happen when the children start doing lots of different after school activities or want a friend home for tea.

7am is also a very early start, your daughter would need to be up 6am ish. She may wake up early now but school can be very tiring.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Tue 01-Jan-13 12:31:34

Savoy, it's not the money of OSH care, really, it's that it'd just be nice to avoid it in the early years, and also DD1 has at least one after-school-hours class now that she wants to keep up and OSH means she'd not get to it.

Plan B - my husband has a pretty flexible job, so no reason he couldn't just do the school run and get to work late/come home late if need be. We just can't do that every day. I do realise we're lucky, we've both taken massive pay cuts to ensure flexible family friendly jobs though.

Is the morning run much more horrific than the afternoon? Does this look fair (we have same amount of hours of childcare) but will actually be a nightmare? I worry about DD1 turning up in the morning and making it impossible for the other mum to wrestle hers into uniform/bag/etc.

Happyinherts, surely this arrangement - over at a friend's place, with whom she has been close since they were two - is better than paid care, though? What do you suggest, that I cease work?

MamaChocoholic Tue 01-Jan-13 12:32:22

my mum did something like this with my best friend and I through the first few years of primary. I'm sure we did fall out sometimes, and we certainly grew apart as we got older, but it worked well. for me as an only child, it exposed me a bit to what having a sibling might be like. when I moved schools at 7, we set up similar arrangements with my new best friend. that worked so well we went on holiday with each others family for years.

ds1 has started school this year, and whilst he's only had half a day off after a playground accident, at one point over half his class were off. so do work out now what your backup will be in case of sickness.

CaptChaos United States Tue 01-Jan-13 12:33:49

Could be fab, could be the world's worst, plus what happens in school holidays, half terms etc?

littleducks Tue 01-Jan-13 12:35:42

I find the afternoon school run worse, kids are tired (and starving hmm) occassionally really grumpy if they have had a bad day and not really in the mood for company, traffic is worse.

But then I have never done morning with an extra child under normal routines, its different with houseguests.

happyinherts Tue 01-Jan-13 12:38:11

Tortoise - huh? Are you confusing my post with someone else's? Of course your arrangement is better than paid care, I just meant bear in mind that it's a long term and your daughter gets up early and will get tired and irritable in that it won't all be plain sailing. I wished you good luck with it - I wasn't knocking it.

WipsGlitter Tue 01-Jan-13 12:38:46

Personally I can imagine nothing worse than another child in my home at breakfast time. It's hard enough chivvying my child let alone another one! as someone else said you will be getting up very early to get there for 7. But if you can make it work fair enough.

Oh and dont pay attention to school run nightmare bollocks. Its only a car journey not crossing the Alps!

Think it sounds like a good idea, and you do have back up arrangement in place. IMO, mornings I find easier, as there is a set routine and a deadline to get out of the house, so the children just get on with it. After school - and I do this for a child in my DS class- can be harder work, as they are more likely to be tired and fall out etc. only thing is if your friend is always feeding your child, and her child is not being fed/ fed as often may be a bit unbalanced, but otherwise I think sounds good.

FleeBee Tue 01-Jan-13 13:00:52

My oldest DC started at the same school as my neighbour's DS so I offered to take her son & my child instead of him going to breakfast club. It's only been 1 term & there has been a few awkward moments, I do feel our friendship has changed. Sometimes I wish I hadn't offered.
However you are helping each other so more balanced than my situation. Good luck

Joiningthegang Tue 01-Jan-13 13:16:37

Sounds brilliant to me! Do have plan b just in case! Why not agree to do it for a trial term with no expectations on either side and if it works well just keep going?

Soumds ideal, and you sound lovely x

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Tue 01-Jan-13 13:23:07

Sorry, happy - I think I was reading you as "it's a long day" meaning I shouldn't subject my child to being away from me for that long. Apologies. Really, these girls have been best friends since they were two, and both of them see each other's mother as a surrogate family member, so being at her house is hopefully the next best thing to being at mine.

But! Good point that it might mean getting up earlier than otherwise needed. I genuinely hadn't registered that, because at the moment I'm dropping her off at nursery at 7.30 in order to get to work on time, so in my mind this is an improvement.

I'm cheered by the fact that some of you think mornings worse, and some of you think afternoons. Chances are we'll come out fair, then.

To be honest, for her the alternative would be: switch to another primary, not as good, that's close enough to her shop that she can close it for fifteen minutes and go collect her daughter, who then sits in the back room with a DVD for a couple of hours. Or paid care. My alternative is to switch out with my husband so one works early, one works late and we have hardly any time awake together; we have an hour's commute each way, each, so it would mean me leaving home at 7am and him getting home at 7-8pm. It's doable, but this arrangement would have to be pretty awful to be worse for all of us, you know?

DeWe Tue 01-Jan-13 15:50:41

Several things come to mind:
Firstly, apologies if I may have missed it, but has the other mother expressed any desire to share transport? If she hasn't then coming in with a formulized plan may be really offputting for her. I would say unless she's said "you sort out the details" then I'd go for sitting down and discuss anyway. I'm not sure from the way you've written whether this is a joint plan or you thinking it will work out this way.
Secondly: In my experience girls who spend a lot of time outside school together end up getting a bit of a sister relationship. That means sibling quarrels. When I've done more pickings up etc. of one particular child the children have often (after a while) got on worse in a lot of ways.
Thirdly: I would hate for a child to be dropped off at 7am. I get up at 7am with my oldest, who leaves the house at 7:45, my other two don't get up till 7:45, which is plenty of time to get ready. But adding another child makes it much more hectic as well.
Fourthly: You say "if my child does afterschool club I'll just drop her to her mum." I would feel very awkward about relying on someone who had to do an extra journey, rather than just pick up with their daughter. What if her daughter wants to do an afterschool club too?
And lastly. You need to work out sick times. Your dd is ill, her dd is ill, either of you are ill... can work out to quite a few days. You need to know where you are so you don't get the "oh heck what do I do panic!" Also you need to be aware there may be days where they finish early-like the end of term.

You asked for holes, and these are what I can see. It may work brilliantly. It may not once you try. I would make sure you have an exit plan that you can both use, either a review time, or some other way that the arrangement can come to a natural end without resentment.

tiggytape Tue 01-Jan-13 16:12:19

You'll have to try it and see.
The obvious pitfalls are sick days and after school clubs or playdates.
If your DD makes a new best friend at school, are you going to still take her DD home whilst your DD goes elsewhere for tea?
If her DD is off school with chickenpox for a week what will you do about school drop offs?

Then there's unknowns like resentments if she turns out to be a terrible timekeeper and drops both girls off late everyday despite your own DD being at her house by 7am. Or if your DD is fussy about breakfast and the other mum doesn't force her to have some so sends her to school hungry?

it will probably be fine but you'd still need a back-up for some days.

werewolvesdidit Tue 01-Jan-13 16:13:19

I think you should offer to pay your friend for it.

maddening Tue 01-Jan-13 17:09:30

If your child is sick it causes fewer problems than if she or her dd was sick. For you iy would mean going to work late at short notice whereas she would have the whole day to sort out childcare or she could pop out for 5 mins to pick up her dd and take her back to the shop.

She also doesn't have to vary any journeys whereas you might drop her dd at hers. You get a little more flexibility.

So all in all it's very fair - you both benefit in different ways but you require more backup than she does.

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