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To ask how you split childcare if you and your partner both work?

(134 Posts)
MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:08:28

Long, tedious story short, my husband and I are both teachers. We work in different schools. I am a middle manager so have two areas of responsibility and a team of 8 to manage, in addition to being a class teacher, dh is a class teacher, however he works in primary so does have a fairly heavy workload too. We both work f/t. Currently, dh takes our dd (2) to nursery on two mornings and picks her up 2 evenings. I take her three mornings and pick her up two evenings. The 5th evening is split between us depending on when we have meetings etc. DD has to be picked up by 3.45. We are on a school hours contract with the nursery and would have to pay extra for her to stay later (which we cant afford). Anyway, we seem to have a re-occurring situation where dh complains that he is getting behind on work or people are commenting that he is leaving early during the week - I should point out that most weeks he stays late three nights a week and I leave 'early' three nights a week to pick dd up. I have tried my best to make it fair, I do more pick ups and drop offs than he does but cannot lose the two nights I stay behind because I have to cram in all of my meetings and extra curricular into those times. On the face of it, he gets the better deal despite a lighter workload, but makes me feel like I am being unreasonable because I get cross when he starts complaining about doing too many of the pick ups. We both have to work in the evenings in order to make the situation work, but I am happy to do it because it means that we do get to spend some time with dd (she goes to bed at 6.30 - if we picked her up any later we'd never see her). My question is this: is my husband hard done by in having to do an almost equal share of the childcare? Family members have made comments in the past about how when their children were little the man wasn't expected to do any of the childcare because he was busy working, and if he was the only one who worked I would agree. However, the fact that I am the main earner seems to fall on deaf ears. I feel a bit like I am being made to feel like a battleaxe for insisting that we share childcare and household chores, but I just cant do everything.

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:14:56

Of course you are not being unreasonable!!!

mytimewillcome Wed 30-Oct-13 20:17:21

I'm in a similar situation. I am the higher earner and expect chores and childcare to be split equally. We both reduced our working week to 4 days a week. H changed his hours to start earlier snd leave earlier so I drop off and he picks up. Children end up being in childcare 3 days a week as we have them at home with us on different days. However splitting chores equally is another matter.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Wed 30-Oct-13 20:17:37

This is very much a general point based on the fact I know what it is like having a management role in school, but would it be worth paying a little extra just a couple of days a week, if this is an option? I just know I would really struggle hugely to get to pick DC up at 3:45 three afternoons a week and from what I'm told it's worse in primary.

So YANB at all U - but I think it sounds really hard for you BOTH! smile

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:17:38

Right, got that off my chest. DH does two pick ups, I do one, vice versa with the drop offs, we each stay home one day a week.

We both have similarly paid, London based jobs, probably both get looked at askance for "leaving early" but it has always been equal between us so neither employer is hard done by.

Why does your DH think his evenings are more important than yours when you are already doing more than 50%?

mytimewillcome Wed 30-Oct-13 20:18:38

Oh and YANBU.

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:19:37

But I would agree with kettles - it may be that you can't make it work on your current arrangement so could a friend collect DD and have her for just an hour one day a week, or pay for late nursery one day a week so you both get that extra evening at work.

HappyAsASandboy Wed 30-Oct-13 20:20:35

You are not being unreasonable.

If your DH wants to live in 1950 and be absolved of all Childcare responsibilities, he will have to accept that a 1950s wife doesn't earn any money so he has to support the whole family. Oh, he can't? Well then he can't live in 1950.

Don't take on more than is fair. Don't jepodise your career to give him an easier ride - your family need your career.

To be honest, I am amazed he has the balls to criticise you for doing more than half the Childcare and earning more than half of the money. Amazing.

RubyrooUK Wed 30-Oct-13 20:22:27

DH and I both work full time in sectors where people frequently work 8-8.

DH drops off Wed-Fri and does pick up on Mon and Tues. I do drop offs on Mon and Tues, then pick up Weds-Fri.

This works for us. On the days I leave early, I go in early. On the days I drop off, I work later. It all evens out. We both tend to work in the evenings too.

I do one more day pick up per week than DH, because that suits me (I like to have more time in the evening with the kids, 3 and 7 months, although they go to bed later than your DD).

But we are also flexible and if I have early meetings or vice versa or an evening event (and again vice versa) we swap around to make it work.

I think if you both work and both have kids, you have to work together on childcare. DH and I would both love our time to be our own in terms of our work hours but we want to be parents more than that, so we have to lump it.

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:22:43

Is he complaining that you aren't doing enough or is it more of a "not enough hours in the day" moan?

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:23:58

DH hates upsetting his work colleagues, it was a 'are you leaving early again' comment that set him off tonight. He doesnt seem to get that by bringing it up at home yet again he is upsetting me. We really cant afford for DD to stay any later, both financially and because we wouldn't get anytime with her as she goes to bed so early. (She refuses to nap at nursery, so wants her bed by 6.30) We are both within a 2 minute drive of her nursery so getting there on time isn't the problem. DH does get half an hours or so at the end of the day before he picks her up, and 45 minutes in the morning. I get less because we start earlier and finish later. I knew I wasnt being unreasonable, I just needed a little back up as all of the other mothers in my life (as in my mum and MIL) seem to think I have it made having a husband who is willing to help with chores and childcare. 'Thoroughly modern', I think one of them described it as hmm

I don't know about secondary, but it is hard to leave early in primary- assuming he has to leave at 330 for a 345 pick up, he'll be lucky if all the kids have gone! - I would suggest you do two late days in nursery, one for each of you, one early pick up each, and alternate the final one ( or make it Friday and all go early!)

Coldlightofday Wed 30-Oct-13 20:24:47

I'm also a teacher, middle management. DP is middle manager in a finance firm, similar earnings.

I do all drop offs and pick ups because DP does not drive, However if I have meetings that go beyond 4.15 (contract with childminder is 7.30/4.30 term time only) the DP works at home and my AMAZING childminder drops my boy off.

I have way more work to do than finishing at 4.15 allows, so I tend to do dinner, playing, bathtime and bed then get on with work for however long I need to.

The flexibility a CM offers is brilliant - If I were you I'd take the financial hit and 'build in' some flexibility by extending nursery hours a bit - might take the stress off you a little.

Sorry, x post.

RubyrooUK Wed 30-Oct-13 20:25:33

Oh, DH earns twice my salary but thinks my career is just as important as his so has never suggested that he only do half of the pick ups/drop offs.

nextphase Wed 30-Oct-13 20:25:57

We couldn't manage 3.45 pick ups every day (2 FT workers here).
While I think the ideal of 50:50 is brill, you perhaps need to find the money to extend the hours once or twice a week - it isn't working for either of you, and you are both resenting the situation.
Or, is there a friend who would collect occasionally, in return for some school holiday caring - ie when you have time off and many don't?

monkeysox Wed 30-Oct-13 20:25:57

Don't know how you are able to yet there for so early if you are both teachers?

Even picking up for 5pm a struggle for me!

Is there no afterSchool club?

Sorry am not helpful. I have colleagues who sen. Work emails at ten pm. Crazy workload

Phineyj Wed 30-Oct-13 20:26:46

I think 3.45pm is a very early pick up (my school doesn't finish till 3.40pm) and in your situation I would pay for one 'late' evening to give you a bit of breathing space. YANBU, but if it's a recurring problem a little more £££ may be worth it in terms of arguments saved? The 'school hours' nursery does sound good though - there's no such thing round us so we have to pay till 6pm then pick up early.

purrtrillpadpadpad Wed 30-Oct-13 20:27:40

YANBU, what's your DH like with other things, eg domestic tasks, remembering to buy cards/gifts etc for family?

One thing that struck me from your post is a background cacophony of voices saying ooooh in my day, oooh poor man, ooh childcare women's work, men at work, very hard, poor men. Might be exaggerating the truth but it is difficult to try to work towards equality in your marriage, where that equality would exist in isolation, a bubble surrounded by family or couples existing in a more traditional fashion. I'm perturbed by the idea, also, that you are the main wage earner but are potentially placing your role slightly more at risk than your DH is placing his, by doing more of the childcare and perhaps not being able to do the really crap basic presenteeism stuff - when you're just in so you can be seen being in, if you see what I mean. Better to be seen being in (particularly already in, when others arrive, and still there when others are going home) than always being seen arriving after others and/or leaving before.

I haven't worked in your industry though so it might not be all about bums on seats.

Thurlow Wed 30-Oct-13 20:27:40

No, no, no, YANBU.

We both work f/t, luckily I'm 9-5 and DP does shifts so that really helps. Childcare is shared completely - actually, if anything, DP does more. Most days he either has DC for a few hours before going off to do a shift, or picks her up and has her alone after a shift until I get home. I probably get off easier blush

If you're both working f/t then it is hard and you're bound to find that it effects your work. He's being unreasonable. He has a young child, he just can't stay late every night. If he wants to change this then something drastic has to change, either you find the money for your DD to stay later one or two nights a week, or you find money for more help around the house, or you figure out if you can cope with one of you going /pt.

I suspect none of those apply, as they don't for many families, so he just has to accept this is how it is.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Wed 30-Oct-13 20:27:57

Could one of your mums help out, MamaBear?

I do really sympathise but honestly, I don't know how either of you have been doing it - as talkingnonsense says, presuming you don't finish ridiculously early and/or live on top of your DD's nursery, getting out by 3:45 is really difficult and seems to put a lot of pressure on you both.

CombineBananaFister Wed 30-Oct-13 20:29:06

YADNBU - but it does sound like a bit of a nightmare for both of you trying to juggle it. Do you have no leeway with the later childcare but then you'd miss time with your Dc? Not necessarily for him but for you with with the extra workload?
I too, am the main earner and we do longer days but less of them. I do find though that all the chores get done on my days with Ds hmm

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:30:58

We do a lot of work at home, work through lunch breaks and go in early on 'our day'. I think the arrangement works for me, but its dh who wants more time at school. I'd feel guilty putting dd in nursery for even longer, she already does almost 8 hours a day. Its hard to know what to do for the best. The petulant part of me just wants to shout at him 'I make it bloody work, why cant you?' I havent though.

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:31:04

Does DD go down at 6:30pm and stay asleep? Cos that's really a reasonable chunk of evening you have for working then.

If it's the comments getting him down (assuming colleague not manager), he can turn round and say "yes, I'm collecting my daughter, as I do on this day every week." The commenter is being unreasonable, not him in leaving - he is still getting the work done, even if it's 7-9 not 330-530, and he'll be working whilst they are relaxing.

Finola1step Wed 30-Oct-13 20:33:19

YANBU. I am also a teacher on the SLT. I also commute 90 mins each way but work four days (Fridays off). DH is a freelancer so he does all the morning routine and after school stuf (1 at primary school,1 at day nursery). I get home just before bath and bed which we share.

DH then goes back into the office and does another 3 or 4 hours to catch up on what he has missed in the late afternoon whilst with the dc. I then sort out the house etc and grab some supper. I then do the bulk of the housework on Fridays.

It means that DH and I don't see much of each other through the week but we do try to do lots as a family on the weekends.

For us it only works because DH is a freelancer. Which is tough because of lack of holiday pay, sick pay, parental leave etc. I would love to strike out on my own professionally but we need the stability of my job.

I have a number of friends who are in relationships with fellow teachers. It's really hard but it seems to work best when there is some child care later in the school day. Is there any possibility that your dc's hours at nursery could be extended on one day a week to ease the strain?

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