AIBU...to still be seriously considering going back to work FT in an actual office and getting a nanny?

(93 Posts)
IHideVegInRice Sun 05-May-13 22:47:02

For 3ish days a week (more if I can) I try to work from home, so that I can spend time with my small children and DMiL who is wonderful with them. Great. Except, it doesn't work.

I was on a conference call last week discussing a horribly tricky technical issue which needed my full attention, and I had DMiL popping in every few minutes throughout the 2 hour callto ask if I wanted tea, biscuits, coffee, milk, sugar, to look at DS' drawing, for DD to show me her new toy which I bought so have obviously seen before, if I wanted egg or tuna sandwiches, if it was ok for the kids to touch my 6foot + harp - NO! She doesn't seem to have grasped that if my office door is closed I really need some peace, even though I've explained a million times and I normally have it open and don't mind a bit of chatting and helping her out with washing up etc etc.

She means well but it's an absolute nightmare and I'm working until 3am most nights to cover off the stuff I can't get done with her flapping during the day so I'm now really tired and really stressed and working all over the bank holiday weekend and generally feeling like having a rant. DH is working more than ever also so I feel responsible for being around in the week, but we have broadly the same job so it's tough.

I'm seriously thinking about getting a nanny and going back to working in the office as it would mean a clear distinction between work and home, spending time with my family or at work without this horrible blend of the two, but it's a commute and I'd be looking at 10 hours at least in the office. I'm not sure it is the best thing for DCs though: DMiL is absolutely fantastic with the twins and a good, wise role model for them. She's energetic, takes them to the park etc and we really enjoy our lunchtime strolls together which I think is real quality time during the week. DM would be horrified and I'd never hear the end of it and I'd probably cause a massive rift in my family for being some evil career woman and not caring about family etc etc etc and I suspect DMiL will be privately angry but more than anything very hurt which I really want to avoid.

I have no idea how to handle this situation but something needs to change here because my head is going to implode. I couldn't reasonably expect DMiL to have the children full time, and when I do make an appearance at the offce DH finishes to collect them and then works in the evening. He completely understands the situation, and knows why I'm stressed and the pressures I have at work but at the same time we have this massive issue with our mothers meaning we are effectively keeping them happy but having a shite time ourselves. A friend helpfully suggested we move house...!

sallycinnamum Wed 08-May-13 08:31:24

I work from home in an office we had built in our garden and I have a lovely lady who looks after my DC four mornings a week.

She has very strict instructions not to disturb me and so far it's worked perfectly.

I have the afternoons with the DC and will be able to take and pick up my DS when he starts school in sept.

The money I save from not commuting and lunches etc is nearly £300 a month.

Definitely look at getting childcare if some kind alrhough I'd kill to not have to pay nearly all my salary to the nanny!!

2rebecca Wed 08-May-13 08:56:02

Why would you only get a nanny if you worked away from home? I would discuss with your husband and MIL the fact that you working from home isn't working due to the interruptions and that you're looking at options including getting a nanny or having the kids in nursery some of the time.
Initially I'd try talking firmly to your MIL saying you know she means well but when you are in your office can she please pretend you aren't there unless it's an emergency as it is making working from home too difficult. Ask her if the childcare is too much for her and she'd rather come less often. If she promises not to disturb you then keeps doing it you could look at staying in the house but getting a nanny. Mine went to childminders(part time) and they enjoyed going as they had other kids to socialise with. Alternatively could your MIL not have the kids in her own house?

Mnetter111 Wed 08-May-13 09:05:58

One of the hardest things for both me and my friend (both worked in it consulting) is that we just couldn't put the hours in as before without compromising our sanity/quality of life. We have both had to accept more junior roles, and accept that finishing at a reasonsable hour/not putting in the constant overtime has consequences...it does hurt and people don't understand but we went through a lot to have dd...

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 08-May-13 09:08:42

It sounds like a great job and you don't sound like an arsehole smile

Wrt treating this like a work situation, I meant that more for dealing with MIL. You need to get across to her that she is not doing her 'job' effectively, in a firm but friendly manner that keeps her 'on board'. And if that doesn't/hasn't worked then think about how you would escalate. Don't get tempted to do some aspects of her job yourself (eg picture admiring smile), even if you like doing them. Give MIL as much structure and trust as she needs so that she can make decisions herself and not need to come to you. And for those where you want input (lunch, harp), tell her what you need in advance (eg tell her you'll discuss lunch plans in your coffee break or you're happy with anything except egg mayo, and the DTs are allowed anywhere in the house except x, etc).
It sounds a bit cold maybe when I write it out like that, but I thought it might help to view with a work rather than home perspective.

Mnetter111 Wed 08-May-13 09:10:21

Ps I also work from home, and I work til 11/1130 but take out 330-7 to be with dd. I guess I'm saying I think it's a very hard road re your workload and DH doing a tough job too even with a nanny and MIL.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 08-May-13 09:16:19

I don't think you should go back to work in an office and be pushed out of your own home because your MIL can't/won't understand that you can't be disturbed sometimes.

I think you need a very firm conversation with her about how grateful you are for the help etc but that you do need to set times when you will and won't be available and can't be disturbed.

Then you need very clear boundaries; put a Do Not Disturb or These Are My Office Hours sign on the door and only emerge from your office for lunch/breaks/seeing her and the DCs when you've said you will.

And lock the office door until she gets it!

2rebecca Wed 08-May-13 10:06:16

Is there a good reason why MIL can't have the kids in her own house? Even if they were just there mornings or some days it would get them out of your hair and I'd have thought she'd prefer it as well as most people prefer being in their own homes and she'd feel less like an unpaid nanny and more like a granny helping out.

Fakebook Wed 08-May-13 10:11:35

Sorry I only got as far as the mention of your harp. grin

Get a nanny.

IHideVegInRice Wed 08-May-13 11:36:26

Fakebook, I have a harp in my house because, as I've said elsewhere, I very nearly went into music instead and I still play for the odd wedding etc, as I play at professional level. Anyway, back to the actual point of this conversation: DMiL doesn't want to have the children at her house, is the bottom line. She is exceedingly houseproud and I actually think letting DTs loose in there might finish her off. Her house is also a bit of a trek from the park and local toddler groups they go to, and as we have their playroom and garden play...contraption at ours it makes sense to have them here. I need to move my office though - for some unfathomable reason I'm right downstairs next to the kitchen and playroom, which isn't helping - I'm going to have a subtle clear out, and move upstairs next to the dining room citing internet and phone line problems in the basement. That way it'll be extra effort to come and speak to me grin 2rebecca - I'm considering getting a nanny full stop! It would save a lot of angst - nursery would be fine but we'd still need some care after hours and possibly someone to drop/pick up the DCs also. It's easiest to have a nanny I think as long as I arrange plenty of playdates for mixing with other children, activities etc. DH is working away and will be back tonight so will have a sit down discussion and plan. Thanks so much for your advice and sharing your experiences here, it has been so useful. Also thank you to the poster who reminded me how much easier it'll be when they go to school and not to give up now only to find it's all ok in a few years. Absolutely spot on - at this precise moment I want to quit; but that's because I slept for 4 hours on monday and didn't go to bed at all on tuesday.

FarBetterNow Wed 08-May-13 21:21:34

It must be difficult too for the DCs to have Mum at home but not available.
I remember Carol Thatcher saying she would come home from school, desperate to tell her Mum something really exciting only be told 'Not now, I'm working'.

I'm going against everyone here and say if you enjoy spending time with your DTs at home, go for it and be a SAHM.

You will feel like a different person within a couple of weeks.

I think it is wonderful to spend lots of time with them and not be stressed out about a job and deadlines etc. Funds allowing, of course.

Could you develop your harp playing?
Though lugging a 6ft harp to various weddings could get quite stressful!

Best wishes to you and your lovely family.

IHideVegInRice Wed 08-May-13 23:31:12

And so, the nanny search commences.
DH and I will be drawing up our criteria, which includes a tolerance for their grandmother, this weekend. We're looking to have a nanny for 4 days, but DMiL will be free to visit and play whenever (assuming she still wants anything to do with us...) The 5th day will be DMiL in the morning then I will have the afternoon off to do something fun with all of them. In 4.5 days of concentrated work time I ought to be able to get through it all, and include any meetings etc needing to be done in the office. Having a nanny should give me some flexibility in terms of when I hold these meetings so won't have to cram everything into a single day, and also hoping this will allow me to start working early morning and be done by dinner time.I'm feeling so much more positive about this, and want to thank everyone again for the suggestions etc. DH was a bit shocked this evening I think having been away and returned to find me slightly tearful and looking a bit shocking (face imploding!) and has started looking for solutions right away smile
Next stop is deciding how and when to tell DMiL and what to do about her wrath!!

IHideVegInRice Wed 08-May-13 23:37:42

FarBetterNow - I'd prefer to remain working but the working from home scenario is my attempt at being with DCs as much as I can. Becoming a pro harpist would be amazing but the practicalities less so. It's actually not too bad to transport a harp with the various covers and trolleys though one does need a really big car!

IHideVegInRice Wed 08-May-13 23:38:21

Anyway I'm off to bed - has been a VERY long day! Thanks again all grin

Kiwiinkits Thu 09-May-13 22:52:50

Good luck, veg. Sounds like you've made a good plan.
Speaking from experience, it can be hard for kids to be told 'not now, i'm working' so I think moving the office upstairs is a good idea. Really lock the door and make it a hard and fast rule with your nanny that you're not to be disturbed during the day. Otherwise you'll have the Carol Thatcher effect.
Like I said, I speak from experience.

Present the plan to MIL as a fait accompli. Up front tell her that you've loved having her around and that she's done a brilliant job. Really emphasise how wonderful she's been and focus only on the positive. Don't say anything negative: basically just say that you and DH think a nanny is the best solution for this stage in all of your lives, but that Mil is welcome around any time she likes. That ought to leave her happy.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 10-May-13 09:28:45

That sounds like a good plan OP. You might find you MIL is relieved to have less of the pressure of childcare on her. Have you raised it with her yet?

I haven't read this all as it's too long and I am working from home today grin

However if it hasn't been suggested before, would renting a workspace local to you be an option? I am sure it would be cheaper than a nanny - you could go there to work and pop home/meet them somewhere for lunch. It would mean a smaller commute so not as much time out the house but for all intents and purposes, you would be "at work" you could even say that it is a branch of your work rather than something you rent yourself ;)

If you rented it all week then your OH could use it on th edays you go into the "real" office and it would make his commute smaller too.

5318008 Fri 10-May-13 11:51:42

Even from your OP it is clear that you are kind of 'playing' at WFH - ''For 3ish days a week (more if I can) I try to work from home, so that I can spend time with my small children and DMiL who is wonderful with them.''
So your body language won't match what you say to MIL, or to the children for that matter, hence the interruptions.

Work and spending time concurrently with your children is an oxymoron, it's not possible, unless you are a childminder of course!

Do book the children into formal childcare, off-premises, and thank MIL profusely for being amazing, she has done a wonderful thing, saved you shedloads of £££ by doing the care for you and DH.

motherinferior Fri 10-May-13 11:55:46

I exported my children four days a week to a childminder and came home to work grin. In truth there was NO WAY I could imagine meeting my deadlines with children around. I do bodge things together in the holidays now they are much much bigger, but that is because they can run their own lives.

IHideVegInRice Fri 10-May-13 16:29:20

I would describe the telling of MiL as an absolute fucking disaster. DH and I decided it was best to just say it rather than pretending all was ok and deceiving her so we did that last night and we made it more about the DCs than my job but she saw straight through that one and it all got quite personal and ridiculous. Think my big fat Greek wedding. On steroids. But not Greek. grin
We are getting a nanny though. DH feels really strongly, bless him, that I shouldn't have to give up my career because we have children. I know there will be a whole raft of opinions on this but the point remains - I worked like an absolute dog to get to my position and I'm not throwing that away because my DMiL thinks I'm out of my mind to get a nanny.

IHideVegInRice Fri 10-May-13 16:34:10

For a very brief period we were entirely without childcare but luckily my lovely DSis (SAHM) is going to tide us over

motherinferior Fri 10-May-13 16:36:21

Good call. Sorry it went tits-up but no way can you go on as things are and I agree it would be madness to chuck in your career.

5318008 Fri 10-May-13 16:46:18

yes, well done; difficult convo for you all

IHideVegInRice Fri 10-May-13 19:16:10

In hindsight we should have done it from the start - I don't know anyone else who relies on family care for up to 70 hour working weeks! That said, it's not just the childcare that needs tweaking: I really have taken on too much stuff at work, which I can't delegate to a member of my team so have had some informal discussions about shunting some of the less specilaised stuff sideways. After ML I'd gone back and fallen into the role of new recruit so was trying to impress but it wasn't really necessary so I'm also dropping the non-essential crap as well for a month of two and need to learn to say no more!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 21:02:04

Hooray, sounds like excellent progress!

blueshoes Fri 10-May-13 21:31:37

Well done OP and your dh's attitude is a great support for you.

Given the choice of location, I would prefer to work in an office than from home and given the choice of childcare, would choose paid childcare over unpaid family any time. It is the least stressful and most efficient option.

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