to wonder how we are going to manage when I start working fulltime?(51 Posts)
Before I get flamed, I realise we are relatively lucky and that there are many people here on MN and IRL that manage much more difficult lives. However, I would still welcome advice for those of you who have done it all before.
I have just got back from maternity leave and am about to be made redundant from my lovely part-time job. I am in a senior role within my (male-dominated) industry and although there are new jobs out there, none of them is part-time. DH works in the same industry and is about to start a new full-time job. We have a toddler and a baby. The toddler goes to nursery part-time and the baby is looked after by a full-time nanny.
I have been working part-time since DC1 was a baby, but the job has always fitted around our family, so we have become quite reliant on me picking up all the family-related jobs: I take the children to their hospital appointments (usually at 2/3pm during the week), I talk to their teachers, I do the shopping, run the household, cook, organise our and our children's social lives, extracurricular activities etc. I have not quantified this in hours per week, but ti is quite a lot. It is rare that I get time to read the paper, let alone watch TV or do something for myself. I do read MN while breastfeeding DC2.
Now I am concerned that once I start a new job, I will basically need to leave the house at 8.15 and not return until 6.30 (possibly 6 if I am very lucky). DC2 still wakes and feeds several times per night and DC1 has just given up his nap, so on most evenings he goes to bed at 7. DH at the moment leaves the house around 8.30 (usually walking DC1 to nursery once or twice a week) and returns around 6.30 (which is early for his job). DH goes to the gym during lunchtime at the moment, I am supposed to have an exercise class one evening a week but dread it and hate that it sucks two precious hours out of my week.
I am worried that the children will almost never see us and that I will have to take time off from sleeping to do household chores (online shop, batch cooking, etc) and that it will always end up being me who has to take time off for hospital appointments, teachers, etc. Consequently, I think children, relationship and work quality are going to suffer.
However, I know there are plenty of women in senior jobs who have working husbands and children and manage it fine, so please do come and tell me I should not worry and just do what you do (with details of how to do it, please).
Or you could buy in some help (nanny, cleaner) with your additional income which would free up some time.
Both parent home by 6.30 and leaving at 8.30 is hardly woe is me!
Sorry, no advice
This is (one of the reasons) why I don't think I can work full time. Realistically, it just won't work. My husband's job is quite demanding, and someone has to do all that stuff.
you just manage. there are no set guidelines and rules you just do. you have to be flexible and not expect things to be as they were. so the housework builds up a bit, you dont always get to go to your exercise class. but look at it as a positive thing! your extra income that you can inturn spoils the kids a bit more on hols or something ... work enviroment/social side/making new friends. your DC1 wont always wake and feed at night it will get better as you know yourself. be tough at first but try not start this new chapter with a negative attitude about it.
You'll cope - how many appointments do your children have? And the nanny will take the children to any activities or playdates. And your dh will do his share too. Unless its a hospital appointment, I arrange GP visits for as late as possible, and optician/dentist things your nanny can go to or you can book into what I think of as maintenance days. I fill these with boring but necessary things and get it all over and done with.
Online shopping only takes minutes once you've set it up (if you commute, you can use the Ocado app on the train), the nanny can cook tea for the children, and the idea of batch cooking is to cook double or triple what you are making anyway and stash the rest - not take time off to cook.
Don't over think it. People manage in all sorts of situations.
Before I had children, working a full week seemed 'enough' to me: by the weekend I felt I needed the whole time to unwind and have 'me ' time. In other words, I couldn't imagine fitting even one child into my life! Then after having dc1, we established a routine and trundled along- but I couldn't imagine how people coped with a second child. Then we had dc2.... Do you see what I'm saying? You can't picture it in your head beforehand but you WILL manage
We do have a nanny and a cleaner but the stuff I am worried about is that which cannot be delegated: cuddles, stories, hospital appointments, teacher meetings, shopping, cooking, arranging stuff (insurance, admin, playdates, social lives)...
Also, I should have said that leaving at 8.30 and returning at 6.30 would eb the best possible scenario but is unlikely to work, at least in the beginning and certainly not reliably.
Agree with other posters, it is REALLY hard at first to imagine how you will manage but you just do. DH and I both work full time with 1 DS. I drop him off 8am at the CM and pick up at 5pm, 5 days a week. In traffic it takes us nearly an hour to get home so we don't have dinner until 7.30pm most nights. We often meet DH after he finishes work and all go straight to the supermarket to get the shopping done. We try to plan meals for the week in advance so we know what we're having and have everything we need in. Housework does go out the window for us, we have to accept that most of the housework will only get done at the weekend. It doesn't leave much time for family activities so we have to decide priorities eg It took us about 2 months to get around to putting up a towel rail in the bathroom just because we prioritised going out to play with DS in the snow/trip to the park together/walk into town to do some clothes shopping rather than getting jobs done in the house. We can both live with this, if you're more houseproud than we are then maybe a cleaner is a good idea! Good luck OP!
Hospital appointments, organising admin etc all has to be crammed into lunchtimes at work
or in our case forgotten about on a regular basis
When we were in this position - both out all day 8-6 and DH frequently abroad we managed with a)a cleaner b) a routine- each iron own work clothes on Sunday c) bottle of wine, pen and paper on Sunday night to go through weeks post/pay bills etc d) as much shopping done online as poss
Once a month get out calendar and plan in when meetings at school/appts etc are and agree who will cover what and stick to it so everyone has time to plan meetings around family stuff/take half days etc
Its tiring and the weeks seem a bit relentless sometimes but organisation, compromise and discussion are the only way forward.
You need to change your mindset before you start. You do not need to do all the non-outsourceable stuff. You need to do exactly half of it. Half the medical appointments, half the shopping and cooking, half the admin/housey stuff.
Half. Half half half.
So easy to slip into you still doing it all because you previously have, but it's really important that both your lives change, not just yours.
Hi. You WILL manage. It sounds like you are both in senior roles, so there should be no automatic assumption that it is you who takes time off. We do the doctors' appointments, parents' evening etc in strict rotation (unless there is a particularly unmissable meeting - and if we both have them we have to toss for it!). Take a few hours annual leave if you have advance notice and the company frowns on parental leave. Are there any opportunities to work at home if you know in advance you need a couple of hours in the day for meetings with teachers - you can make up the extra in the evening. Is there a train option for commuting? (If so, work on the train). Let the housework go a bit. Contract out what you can afford. Service washes, cleaner, online shops. Good luck!
Oh yeah, and you need a family calendar with columns for every member and put in days where you expect to be back late/away and cover plans
It sounds like money is not a problem so I think you will be fine.
I work FT, always have done and manage perfectly well. My job is very flexible though and childfriendly so appreciate that I am lucky in that respect!
In addition to your normal childcare, why not employ an aupair who would do a bit of cleaning and ironing and could run errands?
Agree with flowery. You are also entitled to holiday from work, so you/or your dp take a half day for hospital appointments, for example. Have you thought about the nanny look after both kids at home? This would save on time spent to/from nursery and on consultations/planning to have clean clothes/nappies/other stuff to take.
I think you are reasonable to be concerned. This is one of the reasons I have not gone back to work. Once it has become the norm that one person sorts out all the household/child stuff it can be quite a struggle to share again.
I would write out a list of all household/child related tasks, regular vs occasional and sit down with your husband before you go back to work and agree who will do what/how you will together manage this new situation.
Otherwise the real likelihood is you'll end up trying to cram most of it in yourself.
The fact you've also go a senior role works massively in your favour. There's no reason why you shouldn't split everything 50:50 with your husband but probably best to set some clear groundrules and expectations right at the start.
Shopping - do it online
Cooking - batch cook at weekends
Insurance/admin - come on, seriously, you can do that in the evenings
Hospital appts/ teacher meetings - take holiday from work/unpaid - again it's not like this every day!
cuddles - get up early and have as many as possible/lots at weekends and days off
Social lives - children's? - seriously. Yours - babysitter/careful planning/friends round
Stories - lots in your free time
I am a lone parent who works and I manage all of these things (without a nanny). You'll be just fine, life will just take a bit of adjusting that's all and your DH will have to do his fair share.
YANBU to wonder it will be a big change for you. Any big change can generate feelings of worry.
You will manage though. Prioritise and be organised and you'll get there.
Its not hard once you get on with it.You do things slower when you dont work, and surely a nanny does loads?
I think you sound pretty lucky to have a nanny and a cleaner. Lots of people manage with intense jobs with having to perfect the 6pm pick up from nursery and the 8am drop offs. You become more efficient. You do things on the bus\train\walking etc. online shopping online admin and you will have two days off a week as well as evenings and mornings for cuddles etc.
Given you do seem to have a lot of unnecessary outgos(cleaner, nanny AND nursery) if you don't want to do your job then perhaps you shouldn't. I like working and I manage to fit every thing into my life and do exercise and have a social life. My DC is very happy too.
You just manage. Your nanny will keep lots of things going, and it will be her that picks up the slack wrt cuddles am stories Sadly, that is the reality of working full time long hours - you're left with the tesco shop while your nanny did 5 bedtime stories
There are things you can do to help yourself. Do your online shop at lunchtime and agree with your nanny that she'll unpack it when it arrives. Do your admin and correspondence from work at lunchtimes.
Your hours are fairly good TBH, so I don't think it will be too bad, though it will be a shock at first!
Good luck! It is an eternal balancing act, and someone/thing loses out each week. It is rewarding to keep your career and income though, so if its FT or nothing, I think you're making the same decision I would
Is there any other alternative to working for someone else full-time or staying home? Could you free-lance or start a company to work for yourself? Or find some-one to job share with?
At the moment it might seem that this difficult new situation is going to last forever but as the DC get older their needs will change (except the cuddles) and the routine would have changed anyway.
Agree with all posters saying make sure it's 50/50 with your dh. It's hard as you end up doing a lot more 'stuff' when part-time, I'd talk to him now so he knows things need to change.
I know it's never very helpful telling someone they don't have it too hard, but really the amount of support you are buying in will ease a lot of stress - a nanny must be great for being able to take kids to clubs/playdates etc, and will come to you in the morning rather than vice versa - sounds perfect! (Still not sure how you currently work part-time but have a full-time nanny). Once you have got a new job, either you OR your dh (or both) are entitled to request flexible working, remember.
I really feel for you and your situation. To me, working 8.30-6.30 every day would be horrible. My dd is still very little and goes to bed at 7pm so I would really feel aggrieved if I were in your position. (I am a working mum too, but I am a teacher so 2 nights a week I leave work at 3.30 and I am able to work for a few hours once dd has gone to bed. The other nights I have to stay until 5 but hubby leaves early and picks dd up). You have had some really good advice about balancing things above, I hope you manage it.
I did full time for 5 months, but the pay wasn't enough to support a cleaner, nanny, extra help. It didn't work out.
My friend is in a senior role and her DH works shifts.. maybe the shifts help, and the fact that they can afford domestic help, plus our local nursery is very good, open early and closed late.
It's very hard to give a definitive answer!
The only real advice I can give is that sometimes the thought of something new is overwhelming, only by doing it do things fall into place. I would certainly negotiate the hospital appointments with your employer... they may be able to work in some flexi or parental leave for you. HR in my experience are usually extremely good when it comes to at least trying to create work/life balance. (I'm not sure I'd mention it at interview unless they bring it up).
Good luck. I'm afraid I have to quote my Granny again, another of her favourite sayings was "suck it and see, you might like it" this doesn't often translate into modern times without an arf.
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