To work 12 hours a day for 3 years with 3 Dcs under 6?

(153 Posts)
forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 15:43:05

I have 3 Dcs 5 and under. I have a very stressful job which involves long hours, averaging about 12 hours a day but sometimes longer. I am a pretty laid back person so can cope with the stress but am very into my kids so I am sad not to spend more time with them. But if I carry on with my job for next 3 years I am fortunate enough that I will be able to save enough to privately educate my children up to end of primary. But is it worth it?

LoopsInHoops Sat 05-Jan-13 15:43:55


HollyBerryBush Sat 05-Jan-13 15:46:30


KobayashiMaru Sat 05-Jan-13 15:46:45

thats up to you.

Yes. Your time with them is the most valuable thing you can give them.

girliefriend Sat 05-Jan-13 15:48:00

No, do you see them awake? My dd slept 12 hours a day at that age (infact she still does!!) so when do you see them?

It doesn't seem like a very good balence and you don't get this time back when they are little. I can categorically say your kids will not thankyou for it, private education or not!!

Bilbobagginstummy Sat 05-Jan-13 15:48:26

Massive grin at the first 3 posts.

Think that's a fair summary of the responses you'll get!

The question is is it worth it To You?

poorbuthappy Sat 05-Jan-13 15:49:42


HannahsSister40 Sat 05-Jan-13 15:50:55


Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ceebie Sat 05-Jan-13 15:51:48

Not sure if people are answering AIBU or is it worth it?
AIBU - yes
Is it worth it - No

NaturalBaby Sat 05-Jan-13 15:53:20

what's the alternative?
I'm a sahm, we've remortgaged to privately educate our 3 dc's!

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 05-Jan-13 15:53:54

Private education to the end of primary school is not enough to compensate, I don't think.

I expected you to say you could retire. That would have been worth it.

catgirl1976geesealaying Sat 05-Jan-13 15:54:20

Up to you isn't it?

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Sat 05-Jan-13 15:55:15

Where is their other parent and what are they doing?

forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 15:57:22

I see them in the mornings for an hour or so and they go to bed late so have half an hour with them in the evenings and put them to bed most nights. Also never work at weekends and devote all my time when not at work to them. Am not so worried if I lose out really - just want to do the best I can for them. I wonder whether they will remember me not being around much if I stop in 3 years?

Wilding Sat 05-Jan-13 15:58:22

Unless you're in an area where the primary schools are truly beyond the pale then no, I wouldn't have thought it would be worth it. Why are you so bothered about privately educating at primary level? Your children won't thank you for it later on and you'll miss out on a lot - will you even see them apart from at weekends? It's putting a lot on your partner, too; are they happy about you leaving all the child-rearing to them and never being around to help?

MrsBW Sat 05-Jan-13 15:58:38

My mum had private education during primary then had to go to state school for secondary.

She hated it... The kids at secondary teased her mercilessly for being 'posh'

Also... Does a private primary education give them enough of an advantage to compensate for never seeing them?

Personally (and in an ideal situation), I'd work fewer hours, save for longer and give them a private secondary education.

But that's just me :-)

YANBU for wanting the best for your children.

HollyBerryBush Sat 05-Jan-13 15:59:24

No, they won't care whether you are there or not provided their needs are being met.

I'll always vote for education over anything else.

forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 15:59:59

Other parent works full time too but he is back home by 6.30 every night.

purplewithred Sat 05-Jan-13 16:02:27

How do you know you will stop in 3 years - what about their secondary education? why do private for primary then state for secondary? When you get there you may well want them to go private for secondary school - what then?

I would base your decision on whether you are happy now - not on some hypothetical future

Nanny0gg Sat 05-Jan-13 16:02:37

It's unlikely the eldesst will be able to continue going to bed late as her education (private or otherwise) will suffer.
However, if you think it's worth it, no argument to the contrary will sway you.

But I wouldn't do it.

Nanny0gg Sat 05-Jan-13 16:04:50

No, they won't care whether you are there or not provided their needs are being met.

Surely, one of their needs is to see/spend time with their parents, no?

And OP, what care do they have? Nanny? Nursery? CM?

Moknicker Sat 05-Jan-13 16:07:00

Im guessing from your post that you want to give you kids the best possible academic outcomes.

Recent research (FWIW) has shown that the home environment is three time more important than school as a predictor of academic success. RIch kids who go to private schools but with little parental involment do worse than normal kids who go to state schools but have parental input.

The question you need to answer is that if you go to work for the next 3 years for 12 hours a day - who will provide them with that input at home. If your husband can do it or an excellent nanny can, then perhaps it is worth it. If not, then you need to be around.

Good luck with your choice - really hard one I know.

timidviper Sat 05-Jan-13 16:08:23

Why ask if YABU when you are "not so worried" about it.
Guess it depends on your definition of "the best for them" and you are the person who makes that decision so other peoples' opinions really don't matter.

FWIW I have always managed to work part-time, when DCs were young I worked 3 long days a week, once at school did short days so could drop off and pick up but my job allowed that. With hindsight, I loved my time with them when they were little but being clean, fed and safe was maybe more important to them than having me there. The years I felt they needed me most was the senior school years, when many mothers had returned to longer hours thinking their DCs needed less looking after. The drive home from school was when I heard about their day, worries, etc. On the odd days I worked till later they'd be watching telly or on the computer and I would just get a grunt from them!

Ephiny Sat 05-Jan-13 16:09:04

I think you'd be better off saving for private secondary education, rather than the other way round. But otherwise, if you have the opportunity to put in the hours for a few years now and make enough to put your family in a strong financial position - I would jump at the chance.

I am guessing most people (rightly or not) are assuming you're the mum. Because lots of fathers work long hours (and for a lot longer than 3 years!), and it's rarely seen as anything other than being a good dad and providing well for the family.

teacherwith2kids Sat 05-Jan-13 16:10:13

It depends a lot on a variety of factors:
- Are you happy?
- Do you have very good, loving childcare, and can that continue once the oldest starts school (the transition from 8-6 nursery to 9-3 school with 'filler' childcare is something I have observed lots of families finding tricky - but if, for example, you are already using a fabulous live-in nanny who will remain in post, then that's not so much of an issue)?
- Do your DCs have another resident parent, and how much are they around?
- Are you happy with the input that your children have from their primary caregiver/s (obviously not you), in terms of values / social and moral development / early education?
- What are the primary schools around you like? As a gross generalisation - though there are any number of factors that affect the decision either way - in comprehensive school areas it is usually more worthwhile to send your child state for primary and private for secondary than the other way round.

I made a very different choice - to be a sahm until my children started school, and then to train for a job which occupies me at least 60 hours a week (though it doesn't pay for anything much!) now that they are older. However, I can also see me making wholly different decisions under different circumsrances, so it is definitely one where you need to weigh up different factors against one another.

legoballoon Sat 05-Jan-13 16:14:12

What are the state primaries like in your area? Not all private schools are the same, the teaching in them is not necessarily better than that offered in local state schools.

If your local state primaries are 'good' or better (using the full range of information at your disposal, e.g. OfSTED reports, visits made as prospective parents, information from other parents etc.), you may find that you'd be happy educating your kids in the state system. You could pick up any shortfall in sporting or cultural activities with paid for after school clubs/weekend activities 'en famille' (e.g. trips to museums etc.) and the extra contact time you would have with them (as you'd be able to reduce your hours of paid employment).

If your local state schools are dreadful, would a move be possible? Or would you consider Home Educating?

The other thing that occurs to me is, whilst you have greater influence over the 'moral education' of your children (once they reach their early teens, their friends and media will play a larger part in this), you can still have an impact on the people they grow into. Personally I'd invest the money in private education at secondary level if the local state schools weren't any good (or put the money aside to fund a move to a place with better state schools) - they could then do their secondary stint somewhere where the ethos was more aspirational, classes were smaller, access to wider range of extra curricular activities etc.

If you considered that route, you'd have the primary years to work part time and save for the secondary years - so you'd get more time with your kids but still invest in their education at more of a crunch point.

Just throwing these into the mix for your consideration.

However, WRT to the question of whether you are BU to work FT or not, as others have said, that is totally your call. Some may have very strong opinions one way or the other, but until we can walk in each other's shoes, it's impossible for one parent to comment on another's work/life balance.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 16:14:38

I would have hated to work 12 hours a day with three small DCs, but have many, many friends who have done so and are still doing so and are fine.

IMO the secret of success is masses of help in the house - a nanny and a cleaner and 7 day a week coverage, so that you have no chores ever.

namechangerforaday Sat 05-Jan-13 16:18:10


It absolutely isnt worth it - and I can say that because I did exactly the same, worked 12 hour days and went without maint to keep DC in private school (exh paid fees in lieu of maint my choice).

I have a 12 year gap between DCs and I absolutely regret all those missed hours with DC1 - they are so precious those early years, you never get that time or chance again.

I always say you borrow them for 5 years, then they enter school and start to grow away from you.

namechangerforaday Sat 05-Jan-13 16:19:39

Also having kept oldest DC in private - if I did have my time again, Id invest the money in moving to a nicer house in an area with good schools rather than paying the fees.

namechangerforaday Sat 05-Jan-13 16:20:24

Sorry for 3rd post, to add DC didnt suffer, it was me who missed out.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 16:23:13

"I always say you borrow them for 5 years, then they enter school and start to grow away from you."

There is truth in that, and the more time you spend together when you can, the greater the bond and it does increase their feelings of security.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Sat 05-Jan-13 16:23:41

I think purple is right.
Focus on your and their happiness now, not the future. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
Is this arrangement making you happy or do you feel you and they are missing out? Are they happy?

forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 16:24:44

They have a fantastic nanny who they have had for 5 years and who they love. They are very well cared for and happy (i think) but I do feel sad that I am not there more. I don't want to carry on forever with these hours as i do think dc will need support with homework etc more when older and i would need to carry on indefinitely probably to pay for more expensive secondary private. Dh and I are discussing a 3 year limit at which point I would scale down what I am doing.

thebody Sat 05-Jan-13 16:25:31

Not be for me but we are very lucky that here in worsc our catchment state schools are outstanding and loads better than the local private ones.

But it's your choice.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 16:26:08

Go and live somewhere where the secondary schools are good and free. Honestly - if the cost of private secondary schools is two parents working flat out, it isn't worth it.

Viviennemary Sat 05-Jan-13 16:26:21

It's entirely up to you. But why not educate privately from secondary onwards if private education is the way you want to go.

No. I'd move in the catchment of an outstanding secondary school.

Officedepot Sat 05-Jan-13 16:35:19

I would say it's not worth it. At that young age surely having Mum around is worth more than private ed? Unless the state primaries in your area are totally rubbish.

I can understand working to give your kids a better start in life, but don't see the point in private primary ed unless state ed totally awful in your area.

Also what's the point in private ed to end of primary - would you not be better off saving the cash for private tutors to get them through GCSEs and ALevel? To top up the state ed so to speak?

Although I am a bit biased as I am from a family where the one who had state education throughout (me) got the best grades at school and now earns much more than a couple of my cousins who had private ed at primary and secondary level

CaHoHoHootz Sat 05-Jan-13 16:37:27

It depends........

Personally I wouldn't do it just to pay for private education unless the local schools were awful, but that is more for you than for the DC's sake. I might do it for the extra money and because I valued my career.

Is your DP able to get home any earlier? I guess he only has an hour or so before they go to bed??? If you don't see them much during the week but DP is about then probably ok for the DC's.

If you can afford good help (childcare, cleaning etc) then at least you will have plenty of relaxing free time with them at the weekends, rather than you having to race around doing lots of chores and being tired and stressed out.

There is no reason it shouldn't work but you can always see how it goes and if. It does cause problems later on you can have another think about it.

Personally, I don't think it is a great idea to keep them up late just so that you can see them. It is hard for you but better for them to get their sleep. It sounds as though they may be getting up quite early as it is.

Having a great nanny obviously makes the world of difference.

My, now young adult aged, DC's experienced times when they were younger when my DH was working long hours or travelling but it hasn't made any difference to their relationship with one another.

whois Sat 05-Jan-13 16:46:28

I wouldn't recommend doing private primary then state secondary. You're kids will take a huge step backwards! If you want to go private and can't afford all the way through then save it for secondary school.

Lots of men work long hours so I don't see the problem with a mum doing it. Would be nice if the dad could be at home more but if not then you can have a lovely nanny and no ill effects to the children.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Sat 05-Jan-13 16:57:39

I think it's probably a bad idea to give them private primary then state secondary. If the schools in your area are OK, then state primary is not worth it but private secondary might boost their results. If the schools are shocking then the transition to state secondary is going to be terrible. If the schools are great, why bother? I don't understand the logic. Also, my theory is that state schools and tutoring can be good. If the school costs 10 grand for example, that would pay for a massive amount of tutoring.

Or, just move somewhere with good schools.

Bet you wouldn't stop in 3 years though.
I know people in high flying careers and can't think of one who would be prepared to give up either the status or the income.
They will get home one day and say where are the children? They will have grown up and gone....

Ephiny Sat 05-Jan-13 17:07:30

Paying for private primary but not secondary only makes sense to me if it was to give them an edge in getting into grammar school or getting a scholarship/bursary to a private school. And even then it might make more sense to send them to state primary but pay for extra tutoring. Otherwise surely they'd get more benefit from the private schooling when they're at the GCSE/A-level stage (or whatever it'll be called by then!).

Not that it means you shouldn't work the long hours now and save up for the future, of course. Especially if this opportunity isn't likely to wait for you. Putting in the hours now could also give your career a boost, improving your long-term earnings and prospects, and maybe allowing you to be more flexible later.

socharlotte Sat 05-Jan-13 17:10:58

YABU.They want a mum who is there not some quaint uniform and posh friends.if you are going to pay for private education, pay for secondary , not primary.

NotForTurning Sat 05-Jan-13 17:22:33

Hang on....Why isn't your OH asking the same question - or has he? Does he work equally long hours? Is he fretting about not spending enough time with the DCs?

Why should it be you who's wondering whether they need more time with you there? Is your OH wondering the same thing? Has he sat down with you over the last few years and suggested he cuts down his hours, so that he can be with the DCs more?

If he IS there and works shorter hours than you, then they have one parent who probably gets to wake them in the morning and put them to bed at night, most nights.

If BOTH of you work equally long hours, why should this be YOUR dilemma and not his?

In most cultures, it's people other than the parents who raise the children - whether that's a relative, an older sibling, a community 'collective'. So, given this, then your excellent nanny is just carrying on an age old tradition really and your DCs get the opportunity to bond with other adults in their loves as well as with their parents.

All that said, if you personally feel and believe that only you - not your OH but you - are the one by whom you most want your DCs to be influenced in their earliest years, then you'd probably want to see them for at least some of their waking hours and at the weekends.

But I come back to my question about whether your OH is equally worried about not being present enough for the DCs in their earliest years?

LadyMargolotta Sat 05-Jan-13 17:28:10

It's your decision. But if you work 12 hours a day, five days a week for the next few years, there is the chances that you will miss out on a lot of their learning and developmental.

Half an hour in the evenings split between three children is nothing.

Do you want to be able to help them with their homework? Comfort them when they have fallen out with school friends? Give them extra one to one time if any of them have special needs or special educational needs that may not be obvious at this time?

You might be able to do it, but I know that I can't, and these are the things that I refuse to miss out as a mother.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 17:33:01

"But if you work 12 hours a day, five days a week for the next few years, there is the chances that you will miss out on a lot of their learning and development."

I agree, and I would add that not just you, but also they, will miss out on a lot of learning and development. Parents make a huge difference if they are there.

Pooka Sat 05-Jan-13 17:35:45

No. Private school in primary not the be all and end all.

McNewPants2013 Sat 05-Jan-13 17:36:21

My time with the DC are more important. 1/2 hour before bed is 10 minutes each and there is no way I could only see them for that amount if time.

Lizzylou Sat 05-Jan-13 17:36:31

Hmm, well you are obviously asking the question because you are having cold feet.
Personally? No I couldn't do it. BUT it has to be your choice and what you and your family are happy with.
I also agree that private primary is only any good if the aim is to get the DC into good Grammar schools afterwards.

What does your DH think? Who looks after the DC whilst you both work? Do you have domestic help (as Bonsoir outlined)?

annh Sat 05-Jan-13 17:42:32

How do you manage to see them for an hour in the morning and put them them to bed in the evening? Say they wake at 7 and you leave at 8, then don't return until 8 - they are not going to bed until at least 8.30? And they are aged only 5 and under? It't not really fun time for anyone is it? In the morning you are getting breakfast, shower, trying to get put the door and in the evening you arrive when everyone is tired and have to get them into pyjamas and brush their teeth? When do you actually "see" them as opposed to just getting through the necessary routines?

scottishmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 17:48:37

yes.if you can adequately cope with demands. of work, you've got good nanny
don't know your circumstance re schools, but if you can afford it, up to you
working will do them no harm despite what mn naysayers will say,or dodgy books

Fluffy1234 Sat 05-Jan-13 17:50:16

I agree with the others who have said spending on private primary over secondary is a bit odd. I would go for the other way around myself. But regarding the 12 hour days it's up to you. If you posted and said I need to work 12 hours a day to feed and house my children no one would have said that's a bad idea. Have you managed to save a lot already towards your childrens schooling?

WifeofPie Sat 05-Jan-13 17:52:40

YABU unless your partner can try to get home earlier or SAH altogether. DH works crazy long hours and I don't work at all. There's only so much a nanny can do. How do you fit in all the other things that need to be done for a household/family of five and get a bit of QT with your kids if you're both working very full days? I suppose it might be do-able if one or both of you is willing to forgo a lot of sleep?

Fairylea Sat 05-Jan-13 17:53:44

For me being a sahm is more important than anything else now. When dd now aged 9 was little I worked full time in a very demanding managerial position and then part time for several years. At the time money was important to me and I was very ambitious etc. When I had ds 7 months ago I looked back on the time I had dd and realised I missed so much. I can't get Tthat time back and I didn't want to do it again.

So now I am sahm and I love it. I don't want to miss anything. It all goes so fast.

I'd rather sacrifice a 35k salary than miss time with my children.

But that's just me. Private school wouldn't even be a factor for me. I went to private school myself but we have moved to a better area (Suffolk) rather than stay in south London so we have good state schools instead.

everlong Sat 05-Jan-13 17:59:30

Why not just save for secondary private and have time with them now?

scottishmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 18:19:00

also ask some real life folks, the mn jury is predominately precious moments crew
financial solvency, saving for something and being able to pay it is v fortuitous
post on going back to work topic for some mn balance.

Ephiny Sat 05-Jan-13 18:31:48

Btw when I say save for secondary, I am not saying don't work the hours. I'm saying do work them, and put the money in the bank.

Is the salary really only 35k though? shock I wouldn't work 12 hour days for that!

TunaPastaBake Sat 05-Jan-13 18:31:52

Pay for secondary education.

MrsLyman Sat 05-Jan-13 18:34:40

If you were a man no one would bat an eyelid at you doing this.

scottishmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 18:48:37

if a man posted by working he'd afford to private school 3kids hed get plaudits
woman posts,she gets teeth sooking and its only money,you'll miss precious moments
such is the sexiest stereotypical attitudes levelled at women,v wimmin know yer place

forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 18:50:34

Thinking was to move when Dc are older to a grammar school area or somewhere where state secondaries are good. They are awful where I am. Thanks for all your replies. Definitely need to give this some more thought!

izzyishappilybusy Sat 05-Jan-13 18:51:31

It doesn't harm dcs but as a mum working those hours I missed so much

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 05-Jan-13 18:52:56

"If you were a man no one would bat an eyelid at you doing this."

I would.

Working half your life for 3 years is a massive commitment for anyone, woman or man, parent or not.

It's only worth doing if the rewards are amazing and you are not doing it to the detriment of other things that matter to you.

Private school just for primary doesn't seem worth it to me. Other things might.

izzyishappilybusy Sat 05-Jan-13 18:52:58

SM that's not true - we don't like DH working ot either because of missing time with dcs - he could earn £10-£15k more on shifts but I'd prefer to be broke and him be home.

scottishmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 18:54:37

I never considered I'd missed,I thought more of contribution and gains
dads are never judged so harshly,people not think dad bad when they work hard
I don't consider we've lst out by working,was always part of the plan

Fluffy1234 Sat 05-Jan-13 18:55:17

Op have you thought about moving now to somewhere with good primary and state secondaries?

izzyishappilybusy Sat 05-Jan-13 18:57:42

I have a second family - I spend a lot more time with dcs round 2 - I know I missed it - I so regret all those hours spent in work. DH same.

motherinferior Sat 05-Jan-13 19:03:11

I am a huge supporter of women's right to work as much as they want, whether or not they have kids; but personally I don't like working 12 hours a day and I definitely don't think it's worth it just to pay for private ed. But then I don't like private ed for anyone.

chandellina Sat 05-Jan-13 20:06:15

I'm out of the house about 11 hours a day, four days a week soon to be five days, and have two under five. I don't think that is unusual.

My pay doesn't cover our nanny so I'm paying to work but I don't really think twice about it because I enjoy my work and my children are well loved and happy.

We could afford private school either way but our local state is lovely.

DixieD Sat 05-Jan-13 20:23:42

What...surely this is what at least one parent does in every home and nit just fir 3 years for the luxury of private education either?
DH is out of the house 12 hours a day. He leaves at ten to 8 and is home between half seven and eight. Kids up at 7ish, bed at about twenty past eight. Home all weekend. Just like OP then. Nobody ever judges him though. Wonder why that is? My three are 6 and under as well.
I work three days but am gone from before they wake until about half four/ five. So I only get the dinner, bath, bed time rush so not exactly quality time.
OP do what works for you. It's not that unusual the amount of time you spend away from your kids, really it isn't. People are assuming your a woman though and apparently we get held to different standards.

NaturalBaby Sat 05-Jan-13 20:29:13

If you're happy with the nanny and the kids seem happy then it seems to be working well for everyone, so I'd carry on as you are - if you're really happy with the way things are?
Even though I'm a sahm and 'there' for them all day every day, I don't actually spend that much quality time with my dc's because I'm so busy doing other stuff. Dh spends more quality time with them and he works similar hours to you.

chandellina Sat 05-Jan-13 20:42:44

Yeah, I should add my dh is also out of the house 11 or 12 hours a day. So he's there in the morning and I do bedtime. We both spend all weekend with the kids and I don't anyone feels deprived. One to two hours in the evening is enough for me.

forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 21:12:42

I am indeed a Mum, not a Dad. I do enjoy some aspects of my job but like many of us would probably prefer to work part time (not really possible in current job - those that have tried it always work on their day off but still get paid less). My thinking is that if it is only me that misses out and my dc benefit by me working like a nutter short term then its worth it. But not if it harms them.

3smellysocks Sat 05-Jan-13 21:12:48

In your shoes I'd keep kids in a good main stream primary school but pay for private and secondary level. There will also be uni to consider.

DPotter Sat 05-Jan-13 22:07:58

only u can decide if working 12 hrs a day is worth it; however what I would say is that things change when they get to school (private or state) and they start noticing the parents who do go to assemblies / christmas concerts etc and ask why you don't. also childcare does become more of a juggle for school age children - holidays / sickness etc.
personally I'd go for state primary and private secondary with tutoring at primary if necessary - that or move
ps - used to get real stick from my DD when I couldn't go to concerts / assemblies at primary - now she's at secondary I'm not allowed across the threshold of the school !

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Sat 05-Jan-13 22:22:24

There is a big difference between being out of the house for 12 hours and working for 12 hours.

Mumblepot26 Sat 05-Jan-13 23:06:49

YABU, the most valuable commodity you can give your children is time......

rainrainandmorerain Sat 05-Jan-13 23:16:55

i suppose it depends partly on what having your children privately educated means to you. As someone else pointed out - if it is academic success, then home input and support is more likely to help them than private education.

but then maybe you have truly awful schools in your area. Dunno.

Hand on heart - if you said that you loved work, that you find spending more time than you currently do with 3 under 5 year olds awful and unfulfilling, then i would think fairly straightforwardly that you are better off as you are.

But you say that you feel sad you are not there more.

So... I would try and be there more with your kids, if it makes you happier.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 05-Jan-13 23:21:10

What about after primary? Isn't it more usual to do state primary private secondary? Then you'd have longer to save and more time to help them through primary?

Fairyegg Sat 05-Jan-13 23:37:58

But how would your dc benefit from you 'working like a nutter?' Private education, especially at primary level, isn't going to benefit them more than having you around. That's not to say you can't work,but 12 hours a day, along with a dh who works long hours, is hardy of benefit to your children is it?

minouminou Sat 05-Jan-13 23:41:11

I'd go for private secondary education. Gives you a bit longer to save and explore trust fund/tax break etc etc options.

A pp who talked about her mum going from private to state has it right, sadly. Do it the other way'll make more difference in the long run to their life chances, too.

dabdab Sat 05-Jan-13 23:45:03

No. In my dad's words, 'when people are on their deathbed, they never say 'I wish I spent more time at work'. You will never never get those years back.

chandellina Sat 05-Jan-13 23:50:50

I think I would have major regrets on my deathbed if I hadn't fulfilled some career ambitions because I was busy changing nappies.

cestlavielife Sat 05-Jan-13 23:55:53

If you can afford good nannies cleaners etc and really do spend time with them in weekends and holidays it isn't so much of an issue. But not to be able to ay private education.

But as another said above, the time they really need you around is when they older say from eight or nine upwards when they need much more emotional support and also teen years when having a parent around can make all the different.
If working now those hours puts you ina position to get a well paid eighty percent or sixty percent contract in four years time then do it.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 06-Jan-13 00:16:22

heh - chandellina, I think I would have awful regrets about not having fulfilled career ambitions (or any ambitions) if all I had done instead was change nappies.

But luckily there's so, so, so, so, so much more to being the parent of under 5's than that.

As a feminist, self employed main breadwinner in the family, I'm no stranger to the difficulties of working and having babies/small children at the same time. I've never seen why having a successful career (or it is atm, at least) means having to be dismissive of what being a parent involves.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Sun 06-Jan-13 00:54:46

I hate to sound the feminist crusade klaxon, but there are hundreds of thousands of men doing so with no need to nervously consult parenting boards to double check its okay.

You do what you believe is best for your children.

And I will tell you, having a mother that did similar hours to you provided me with so much inspiration and respect for her.

Contrary to popular belief, SAHM/PTWOHM does not always equal closer bonds or a better childhood.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 06-Jan-13 01:27:14

I think sounding the feminist klaxon is fine!

But to point out....

The OP is not saying 'I love my job but I feel guilty working/should I give it all up?'

She has said she feels 'sad'. That she 'misses out'. She says that if working like a nutter (her words) means that only she 'misses out' but her children are fine then she will keep doing it. She enjoys 'some aspects' of her job - but would like to go part time, and doesn't have the option. So she is thinking both of herself, but also very much in terms of doing 'what is best' for her children, as you put it, euroshopper.

Which is okay, isn't it?

I'm sure sahm/ptwohm doesn't always equal close bonds or a better childhood.

But I'm equally sure that for an individual wanting the best arrangement for them, and trying to find the happiest and most fulfilling outcome for themselves, it is worth exploring, esp where there is some ambivalence about work.

Sweetiesmum Sun 06-Jan-13 01:35:49

If your children could say, as adults what they thought, I believe they would say no.
They would of course understand if you had no choice to work 12 hours to manage bills/living expenses financially. Maybe their education is made positive through what the child makes of it, given the strong influences of a happy home life.

I imagine they may cherish precious memories of their mum playing with them, spent doing the simple things in life like learning to cook, making a mess out in puddles, picnics, etc .
Your children are likely to value your input into their education(your time spent teaching/learning together as well as money into schooling/extracurricular activities). But I believe they would cherish your decision not to trade so many hours (12 a day)during their early childhood years. Routine is really important and comforting but only part of a loving childhood

Catchingmockingbirds Sun 06-Jan-13 02:14:06

It's not worth it, yabu.

Why private primary, why not private secondary? Or save for all of their Uni fees? Or to give them all reasonable deposits for a first house?

Mosman Sun 06-Jan-13 02:23:50

Do it yourself, I'd rathert home ed than work and put them into private school having not had the attention in the early years.
They need to go to school - any school, knowing their colours, their alphabet and tbh able to read ideally. They should be able to write their names and identify their stuff, take themselselves to the toilet and eat their lunch unaided. If they can change into their PE kit that's a bonus.
Worry about getting all that sorted and your children will do brilliantly at the local primary and you will look 10 years younger.

NaturalBaby Sun 06-Jan-13 08:52:39

I've recently heard/read that it's better to pay for private primary as it teaches them good study habits from the start and they'll be trying to catch up if moving from state primary to private secondary-there would be loads of extra tuition to get them up to the private level.

Mayisout Sun 06-Jan-13 10:15:02

It depends if the DCs are well cared for by others. If they are, are happy and have a secure carer/s and aren't being rushed from place to place then it's fine. You're the one missing out OP.

financialwizard Sun 06-Jan-13 10:26:51


Fwiw I am just starting a job which means my nearly 3 year old will be at nursery 11.5 hours per day. This is because my husband is due retirement from the forces in 3 years and I need a 'safe' job by the time he gets out. I am highly qualified for the role I have taken and there is no option for part time unfortunately.

Our plan is that my husband will work part time hours when he leaves the forces to ensure he is home when dd finishes school.

Both Primary and Secondary Schools are ofsted rated 2 and above in the area we live in so that is not something that we feel we have to worry about, they also have a good reputation with parents.

Imaginethat Sun 06-Jan-13 10:53:40

I was interested in your question early on in the thread asking whether your children would remember you not being around much in their early years.

Yes, absolutely they will. They may not articulate this with words but their memories will be mostly of their days with their nanny. Their days with their nanny become their lives, their memories, imprinted in their very beings forever.

The 0-3 years are the formative years and this includes emotional strength, attachments etc.

I am not suggesting your children are not or will not be attached to you or are emotionally unhealthy, I am just saying that you will not have the influence on them that you would if you were with them more. And that may be absolutely fine.

achillea Sun 06-Jan-13 11:03:21

I think it's up to your children - what would they want you to do? If they are happy with the childcare arrangements as they are, and with Dad putting them to bed you can carry on as you are as you enjoy your work and that is what makes you tick.

My guess is that your children would want you and their Dad to be at home more and go to the local primary school with local friends.

I don't think this is a yes or no decision and it certainly shouldn't you that's forced to make the compromise alone.

scottishmummy Sun 06-Jan-13 12:16:00

expecting children to make adult decision that has significance is preposterous
really,it such bizarre suggestion.child hasn't the capacity,or range of experience
I dont ask my kids to make such decisions.chose cereal,yes.discuss mum career,no

lubeybooby Sun 06-Jan-13 12:54:48

You will bitterly regret it when they are older. Not worth it at all.

scottishmummy Sun 06-Jan-13 13:10:26

why would one regret being solvent,having fact likely enjoy and be satisfied

financialwizard Sun 06-Jan-13 13:23:55

Agree with scottish why would the op regret it?

I am of the opinion that both parents working shows a good example to children, however I am not arrogant enough to believe that everyone should feel the same, or that everyone's circumstances warrant it.

lubeybooby Sun 06-Jan-13 13:31:24

Anyone who thinks money and totally unecessary private education is more important than time with children baffles me. They aren't little for long.

I got out of the rat race and went self employed so i could have more time with my DD, having realised her childhood was just whizzing by while I was working so much. I still regret bothering even though I realised quite quickly where priorities should be.

Work, be solvent, have a career yes. 12 hours a day though? no.

scottishmummy Sun 06-Jan-13 13:37:16

Ime,only those who don't have to worry about money,say it's only money
work doesn't need to be a rat race at all.employment can be stimulating and fulfilling
we all value or want different things,in op case she wants private ed,so needs to work

Bonsoir Sun 06-Jan-13 13:43:27

"work doesn't need to be a rat race at all"

Easy to say for those with public sector jobs, scottishmummy grin. Try the real world and open your eyes...

scottishmummy Sun 06-Jan-13 13:45:53

I won't be reprimanded by a housewife who fannys about all day

Greythorne Sun 06-Jan-13 13:49:05

I agree with scottishmummy that asking children to make this kind of decision is beyond ridiculous.

Parents make important decisions because they are adults and can see the biggerr, long term picture.

BornInACrossFireHurricane Sun 06-Jan-13 13:50:55

I personally wouldn't do it for the sole purpose of funding private primary education.

scottishmummy Sun 06-Jan-13 13:51:30

I give my children age appropriate choices. I'm the capable adult I think the big stuff,not them

MadameGazelle Sun 06-Jan-13 13:55:41

Definitely no - I was privately educated from age 4-16 but in order to do this my parents worked 6 days a week and we never had time as a family. As a result of this I work 2.5 days a week, my children go to the local state primary but we I'm there for the school run, homework, bedtimes and we always have a family holiday in the Summer. Time with your children far outweighs a private education IMHO and I speak from experience.

financialwizard Sun 06-Jan-13 14:10:10

Lubey I genuinely think it is good that you had that option and took it because it worked well for you. However there are not many professions/jobs that give that option.

Everyone on this board has different family set ups and different priorities and I feel it is unfair to slate anyone's choice given the diverse membership. All we (as a collective) can do is offer our differing opinions and insights into what works for us.

teacherwith2kids Sun 06-Jan-13 14:31:43

There is no single right answer to this. As adults, though, we need to weigh up what would create the greatest 'sum of happiness' for the whole family.

So if, for example, a great part of your personal happiness and self-worth is linked to your job / career, then the loss of that would not compensate for the marginal benefit that the children might receive through you being at home more.

Or if you need to work 12 hours a day in order to provide a roof, food, warmth and clothing, then again the benefit of that far outweighs any disbenefit to the children of you being out of the home.

['You' by the way, is purposely gender-neutral - it could equally apply to male or female parents]

On the other hand, the marginal benefit to an already financially-secure family of being able to provide private schooling for several years vs spending more time with the children when very young is a much more finely balanced 'sum of happiness' equation, in which the balance is tipped by other factors such as current main caregiver, quality of alternative schools etc.

Every family will have a different 'sum of happiness' equation.

Just as an idea, though - you mention moving to a different, perhaps 11+, area once the children are secondary school age, in order to get round the 'only able to afford private for primary' issue. Could you not plan to make a move much earlier, to an area with great state primaries and good secondaries (whether selective or not) and therefore take yourself out of the binary 'work excessive hours / need to pay for schooling' vs 'work fewer hours but be limited to less good state options' dilemma?

rainrainandmorerain Sun 06-Jan-13 14:36:46

There's a sensible response, teacher. Nicely put.

JenaiMorris Sun 06-Jan-13 14:44:40

You are assuming that if you move to a grammar school area, that your children will pass the 11+ rather than ending up at the secondary modern.

I do not think your project is worthwhile if it is to pay for private education, however it most certainly would be worthwhile if it means you are in a position to earn a good salary and work more flexibly and fewer hours once your children are older.

People overstate the importance of parents being there all day during the early years, and understate the importance of being around more when they're at secondary age. Anyone can change a nappy or wipe a snotty nose or sing nursery rhymes. Once they get to 10 or 12 or so they very specifically need you to be available - not to supervise but to be able to respond as and when.

Astelia Sun 06-Jan-13 14:44:59

I did this OP and I would do it again. However the one thing that I didn't appreciate at the time was that my health and DH's was good and stayed good despite massive pressures. If you feel it is starting to affect your health then reconsider.

NaturalBaby Sun 06-Jan-13 15:01:17

'People overstate the importance of parents being there all day during the early years...Anyone can change a nappy or wipe a snotty nose or sing nursery rhymes.'

The first few years of a child's life are the most important in terms of forming secure attachments, emotional stability and so on. The OP has a lovely nanny who she is happy with to be with her children in those vital years.
Young children don't just need someone to change their nappy and wipe their noses.

Sarraburd Sun 06-Jan-13 15:05:31

Whoever upthread said working 12 hours is different to being out of the house twelve hours - 12 hours plus commute is not enough sleep for them under five for you to do bedtime too. Get up early, see them in the mornings, and get the nanny to do bedtime.

DH does similar hours but puts in alot of quality time over the weekends and although he does miss not having more time (esp for plays etc which he often has to miss) he has a g

Sarraburd Sun 06-Jan-13 15:06:17

Damn bloody phone the buttons are too close together, posted too early!

DH has a good relationship with our DCs and provides very valuable input for them.

JenaiMorris Sun 06-Jan-13 15:16:00

If putting the hours in when children are small means that you're able, when they're a bit older, to go to school plays and the like then it could well be worth it.

I totally understand that the early years are important for forming attachments, Natural. But now my child and his friends are at secondary age I see the parents who were all sad about babies of working mothers thinking it's OK for their 12yo to be home alone for hours on end after school. It's through necessity maybe, but if they'd been less head-tilty about poor, poor babies in nurseries years ago, they would have had more options now. That's what I mean about overstating.

JenaiMorris Sun 06-Jan-13 15:16:25

But again, I don't think it's worth it just to pay for private education.

noviceoftheday Sun 06-Jan-13 15:32:44

I don't think there is one right or wrong answer because it is such a personal decision and depends on so many things. Those who think on the basis of a few words in your OP they can give a definite answer yes or no, just surround arrogant.

Is there flexibility in how you work those hours? Can you work from home. I have played around with my working hours since I became a parent and changed it to suit the circumstances as my dcs grow (I have 2 under 4). At the moment I spend 2 hours with them in the morning and an hour in the evening. I work with people who are on the East and West Coast of the US so leave at 6.30pm, home at 7pm and can do conference call at 8.30pm if needed. I know this is very flexible but would you be able to do anything like that at all?

Also if you are working long hours then it's important to make sure that your weekends are really for the kids. In my case, between our nanny, cleaner, ironing lady, gardener and handyman all the chores related to the house are taken care of so our entire weekends are focused on the dcs.

NaturalBaby Sun 06-Jan-13 15:40:00

I understand what you meant Jenai - the main reason I have such a good relationship with my mother is that she was always, always there for us after school and made sure that she talked to us about anything/everything we needed to talk about.

I'd rather spend more time with my dc's and move to a better catchment area.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sun 06-Jan-13 15:41:30

It doesn't matter which one of you is there more but one of you needs to be. Imagine growing up hardly knowing your parents? That would have bothered me as a child much more than whether i could go to a posh school or not.

OP would you work for 12 hours a day or would you be out of the house for 12 hours a day (or do you WAH or have a tiny commute?)
If you can move to somewhere with great secondaries, why not move somewhere with great primaries and secondaries?

I think in this case you should do what works for you as a family. If you earn the most, which I assume you do, can your DH cut back a bit without wrecking the financial plan?

forgottenpassword Sun 06-Jan-13 22:05:27

I am out of the house for about 13 hours a day. About an hour of that is commute altogether so commute not too bad. I am the bigger earner but Dh runs a business so hard for him to devote less time to it than he does. Perhaps we should just think about moving

financialwizard Sun 06-Jan-13 22:18:10

Moving might be an option. Does your company have offices in UK you can transfer to, even if you cut hours? Would your husbands business projection change if you moved? playing devils advocate

Decisions like these are so difficult to make!

crookedcrock Sun 06-Jan-13 22:46:34

Baby /toddler years are a critically important time for dev. of child. If poss I'd spend time with them while they are little. Imo this wd benefit them much more than private primary ed.

Astelia Mon 07-Jan-13 00:01:52

I'm with Jenai on this one. I did work all hours when they were small but went part time when youngest was 11 as it was an option then. It worked well for us.

achillea Wed 09-Jan-13 01:38:30

scottishmummy I didn't suggest the children should decide - I said what would they want you to do? To think about this from the child's point of view. This is all about them, whether they get the privilege from education or whether they will get more from a homely upbringing. What will make them better people?

OP has come here because she doesn't think it's working out the way things are at the moment and wants to know how to make it better. My suggestion is, to take a realistic hard look at what would suit her children and the wider family - but more importantly, to get DH to be involved in that too. He is expecting her to make all the sacrifices and all the decisions and that's not right. If he thinks dcs should have a SAHP then he should be prepared to offer to do it if OP isn't ready for it.

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 07:33:15

It's really important to listen to your children's opinion about family logistics. IMO children bear the brunt of negative externalities of parents' decisions far, far too often.

scottishmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 07:36:26

child want/request is not same as adult informed decision.lacking adult capacity
adult will look at current and future consequence and bring an depth and perspective child can't
this isn't a child centric situation,it's bigger and it's an adult decision including chikdren

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 08:03:30

You dismiss the experience of others very quickly, scottishmummy - that is one of your consistent traits on MN. As a parent, IMO you need to pay very careful attention to what your DC tell you about their experiences and to take their long-term well-being into account, even if it does not fall in with your own personal agenda planned from before their conception smile.

noddyholder Wed 09-Jan-13 08:05:10


NaturalBaby Wed 09-Jan-13 09:46:37

It goes without saying that a child request is not the same as an adults informed decision... but this is about the child, who is a valid individual with his/her own human rights. Parents often realise far too late what their child thinks/feels about decisions that have been made for the child's benefit, decisions which may have had a detrimental effect despite the good intentions.

dikkertjedap Wed 09-Jan-13 09:55:06

As others have said: only you can decide whether it is worth it.

Personally, I did not find it worth it and resigned from my highly paid and very demanding job to a new career which totally fits around my children (with huge drop in income).

I am now not able to afford private education. I don't mind as I believe that many children who do well learn more at home than at school and do so well at school because so much is done at home (not necessarily formal learning, but lots of informal learning plus the general environment, books, discussions, museums, etc.). I am very happy to have quit my previous job and being able to spend lots of time with my dc.

However, in your case, only you can make this decision as it depends on your priorities/interests, both for now and in the future. It is all good and well to want to spend lots of time with your kids, but also ask yourself, would you want to do lots of activities with them or would you find it boring, etc. Not everybody likes it.

valiumredhead Wed 09-Jan-13 10:04:43

No, they won't care whether you are there or not provided their needs are being met

Do you really think that?

I worked for families as as nanny with babies from birth until the children went to school so I was very much a member of the family and the children had always known me but they still needed and wanted their mum and dad.

If what you say is true then no child really needs to be fostered or adopted if all their needs are being met in a children's home/orphanage.

In fact kids don't need their parents at all and should just be shipped off to boarding schools and never allowed home until they are adults wink

GothAnneGeddes Wed 09-Jan-13 11:47:27

Such a depressing view some people have of children, you'd think they were talking about a pet.

Considering the number of threads on here with people talking about their childhoods and that their thoughts and feelings then were ones they would stand by now, I really wouldn't be so quick to dismiss their opinions.

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 12:27:57

My DCs are at private school but I would not have worked the hours you described in order to send them. I took a career break from work and we waited to make a final decision once I was back at work after 5 years off. I would not have given up that time at all. We said we would leave it till secondary and see if we could afford it then.

I still would not work all those hours to keep them at the school (neither would DH) and I hate the 2 days a week I leave at 715 and get home at 6pm, the other days I do drop off/pick up.

I don't think having them at a private school is THAT important.

MrsMelons Wed 09-Jan-13 12:31:09

Also - the schools in our area are truly awful so they wouldn't be at nice schools instead but I still would never give up my time with them unless I had to in order to feed us or something (in which case we'd of course do whatever we could even if it is working 12 hours a day) but not for a luxury like private schooling.

wisemanscamel Wed 09-Jan-13 12:45:45

What MrsMelons said - if you had to do it, fair enough, but this is a choice that you are (both) making on the children's behalf. Your nanny is bringing up your children for you at the moment. She is no doubt loved by them and may be excellent.

But your reward for all this is private schooling for them at primary level and a feeling of sadness? Doesn't seem like a good deal to me.

scottishmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 21:00:51

I don't defer adult decisions to young children, lunacy to suggest otherwise
if i asked my dc shall I go to work today?theyd no chose to stay home
however in world of adult responsibilities and commitments I don't defer to the dc

Bonsoir Wed 09-Jan-13 21:08:52

scottishmummy - but surely you think you have a parental responsibility to pay a great deal of attention to your DCs' feelings?

LynetteScavo Wed 09-Jan-13 21:20:31

MN is weird. Usually posters declare mothers working harms DC in no way at all...women should work, blah, blah, then you get a thread like this where a mother admits to working full time to pay for private education and people are; Ooooh, no, don't do it!

As you already have the job, and a great nanny in place then I think in your position I would carry on. I think going into a new job and new child care with 3 DC this age would be tough, but you're not in that position.

Personally I wouldn't spend the money on primary education, OP. I would keep it to pay for secondary. or some really nice holidays

LynetteScavo Wed 09-Jan-13 21:23:15

this isn't a child centric situation

Yes it is. It's just that the adult can see the bigger picture, and therefore is able to make the final decision based on that.

Savechamges Wed 09-Jan-13 21:38:13

I don't think the children would suffer so much for 3 years but you will miss a lot, I miss those years lots of fond memories... Both in school now life is very different!

extracrunchy Wed 09-Jan-13 21:45:07

I'm an ex nanny and don't want to make you sad but you are missing out on a LOT, and so are they. And state education can be excellent, depending on where you are.

BlastOff Wed 09-Jan-13 22:12:33

Is that 5 days a week you do 12 hour days?

I do 12 hour days three days a week and HATE it, but my job demands that, there is just no way round it. I would do anything to be a SAHM but we are in negative equity and in debt, so not even selling up would allow it. It makes me extremely sad, and if I had a choice I wouldn't be doing it.

I think I will always regret this as I love the two days I have with them, but I don't know how to change the situation we're in.

Oblomov Wed 09-Jan-13 22:19:22

Not all children have great memories. I had a very happy childhood but don't have any memories about being a very young child.
What age can you remember back to? Some people remember things aged 3, others can't remember before 6!!
I was partly privatley educated, but I don't rate it 'that' highly. But if you want private, I also agree with others that you shoudl be concentrating on secondary rather than primary. Both our local primary and secondary are one of the best in the whole country, apparently, so there is no need for me to educate my sons privately. I am concerned that the schools local to you are so bad. As others have suggested, I think moving is the most important issue here.

Shagmundfreud Wed 09-Jan-13 22:43:33

Oh gosh - stay at work.

Gawd knows your dc's won't achieve anything in life if they go to state schools.

batsintheroof Wed 09-Jan-13 23:01:50

I always wonder what people think is important in life with these sorts of threads. I personally think that state schools provide a rounded and richer understanding of people from diverse backgrounds. If we are talking about eductation- private schools win hands down, but its very insular and weird environment to grow up in. I don't think it's worth the money at all but then education itself isn't everything for me.

stopgap Wed 09-Jan-13 23:44:24

I live in NYC, and this is a commonplace scenario (I am currently a SAHM to a seventeen-month-old but plan to start working two days a week in a few months).

In any case, maternity leave here is usually 12 weeks, and then people with careers in banking, law etc. go back to 60-hour work weeks. I see their toddlers and young kids with nannies in the park, some content, some utterly miserable and vacant-looking, and I often wonder whether it's worth it.

I don't care who is around more--mother or father (incidentally, for me, it was my father, and we've always been much closer)--but I do think, at least for the formative years, and if finances allow, it's good to have one parent at home or working part-time.

Bonsoir Thu 10-Jan-13 10:28:53

Oblomov - "Not all children have great memories. I had a very happy childhood but don't have any memories about being a very young child."

The issue is not so much one of conscious memories as one of unconscious memory. When a very young child is happy and secure "in the moment", he/she carries that feeling through to later childhood and adulthood and it is a bedrock of strength. A very young child who is unhappy and anxious is much less likely to be a happy secure adult for the same reason.

mummytime Thu 10-Jan-13 10:59:01

Private school is not always better than state. The benefit of involved parents is proved.

So I'd say its not worth it.

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