To think, actually, WOH gets harder as they get older.

(451 Posts)
Tournament Thu 16-May-13 19:29:38

I've worked (at least p-t) all my life. It was a choice for me, I wanted to get out to work, keep my career etc, although I did very much step back for a while, I always kept my hand in IYSWIM.

When DC were tiny, there was always some feeling of guilt at not always being there, but the day to day practicalities were easy. You got them up and dressed, bundled them in the car, handed them over to GP, childminder or nursery and then it was someone else's job to do everything for them until it was practically bedtime. They were cared for, fed and entertained without me ever really having to do anything. (When I was at work). I'd collect on my way home, take them home and put them to bed.

Now they're 9 & 11, there's homework to supervise, clubs to organise, taxi services to provide, sports and school events to watch (or to have to explain you can't) friendship issues or other worries to listen to and if I'm not around after school, they can't have friends back and they can't go to other's houses.

Iggi101 Thu 16-May-13 19:40:09

I'm experiencing all of those things with my five year old already. Hoping by 15 he can take himself to clubs and friends' houses.

DrCoconut Thu 16-May-13 19:41:54

Definitely NBU. The worst age is top juniors/start of secondary. Too old for childminder but not old enough for prolonged period at home alone.

DeskPlanner Thu 16-May-13 19:44:11

I know I'm being stupid, but what does WOH stand for.

meditrina Thu 16-May-13 19:46:09

Yes, I think the primary years are easily the most hostile to WOH (work outside home).

Bonsoir Thu 16-May-13 19:47:11

If you don't mind leaving your baby/toddler all day in the care of someone else, then yes, probably when they are tiny is the easiest time to outsource childcare. The logistics and the range of skills you require as a parent become more complicated with every passing year!

Bonsoir Thu 16-May-13 19:48:06

The final year of school presents new and unimagined challenges for parents grin

Xiaoxiong Thu 16-May-13 19:51:48

I was told exactly this when DS was born - that when they're small they'll love anyone who loves and cares for them, but over time increasingly they really need you (ie. parents) and no one else will do.

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 16-May-13 19:54:22

I agree. When DS was pre-school age he went to a CM so if I had to work late or unexpectedly I could ring her up, also he was unable to vocalize any complaints about my shortcomings grin

Now he is at school he seems to keep a tally of the children that don't go to after school - although as he only goes twice a week he isn't that unfortunate.

Also (age 7) he has suddenly started to get a lot of homework. It gets given on a Monday so I can dish it up over the week so that he doesn't have to do too much on my longer work days because by the time we have dinner it is 6.30-7.00 by that stage.

We only have one, so it's not too bad coordinating play-dates and activities. I take my hat off to anybody who works and has more than one child.

BlackholesAndRevelations Thu 16-May-13 20:00:24

This is exactly what I'm afraid of.......

FariesDoExist Thu 16-May-13 20:02:16

I see what you mean but its financially crippling when you have two little ones both at nursery. So WOH is bloody hard whatever age they are!

FariesDoExist Thu 16-May-13 20:03:59

I see what you mean but its financially crippling when you have two little ones both at nursery. So WOH is bloody hard whatever age they are!

Tournament Thu 16-May-13 20:08:18

Oh I know Faries, I was talking only about the practicalities of it.

Being away from them for long periods when they're tiny is emotionally very hard, but so is not being there when they need you as they get older Bonsoir

Chottie Thu 16-May-13 20:16:06

Actually, I think teenagers need you more.....

All those hormones, teenage angst, exam choices, college /uni choices, collecting from parties miles away, keeping their feet on the straight and narrow and avoiding the drugs /drink / drop out trail......

Tournament Thu 16-May-13 20:16:19

Practicalities = The day to day tasks involved in caring for the child(ren) - obviously financial concerns are practicalities too. smile

messalina Thu 16-May-13 20:41:01

I agree. My DD is in Reception and I work FT. I have found this year harder than when she was at nursery all day. Much more to organise, she is also more tired at the end of the day and prone to be grumpy. And the homework of course.

jacks365 Thu 16-May-13 21:14:41

Wait till year 7 too young to leave for a full day in the holidays and childcare for that age is hard to find.
Each age has its own challanges.

SarahJessicaFarter Thu 16-May-13 21:19:37

This is just what I needed to read. Yanbu. I have just given up full time work. I have a 5 yr old and an 8 yr old. They need me more now than they ever did before. We're going to extend the term of the mortgage, sod the savings and fancy stuff and I'm going to work school hours only. They need us now. And for the next 10 yrs. Tough decision? It wasn't in the end! I'll work my arse off when they go to uni.

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 16-May-13 21:19:39

Oh another thing I have thought of.

I am p/t and now DS is 7 people have started hinting that I should really go back full time as he isn't a baby any more. When in fact DS is a lot more aware of being in after school and holiday club and isn't one of those children who enjoys it.

I will stay p/t as long as possible. I have sacrificed a lot in my career to make it happen and it gives me the work/life balance to make it possible and means I'm not horrendously frazzled and not a nice mum all of the time.


I got made redundant two and a half years ago.

We managed to eek out redundancy payment, tax rebate and a little inheritance out to cover almost two years. But now I need to get a job. Unfortunately the kids (who are 9 and 6) have got used to having me around, available for school stuff, and I've got used to being involved and don't want to give it up, plus I realise how much they need me for reading practice, homework, etc. Childcare provision won't accommodate that. DH is, understandably, hassling me to find something as money is tight - we're racking up the credit card debt. He'll never understand that I think that's a price worth paying for a few years to be around for the kids though.

I am looking for a job, but as so many on here know finding something which works around the kids is not that easy. Yet if they were both still daycare nursery age it would be a doddle. Crazy, isn't it? sad

stopmovingthefurniture Thu 16-May-13 21:29:43

These are your children. It is your responsibility and your privilege to 'do things' for them. How can you say without any shame that you never had to do anything for them when they were small, as if that was a good thing? And now, it sounds like they're involving you a lot more than your attitude deserves. I wouldn't bother complaining about this, as in no time at all you will be begging them to give you a moment of their time. .

Amaris Thu 16-May-13 21:32:25

I was wondering if it was just me. I don't even bother with the homework but all the other stuff I struggle with - I'm a single parent and I'm in the process of giving up a full time senior management job to go freelance because I can't cope with everything, and wondering if I'm just pathetic! DD is year 5 and I definitely think she needs me more now, though I do also wonder whether it is just cumulative years of tiredness!

DeskPlanner Thu 16-May-13 21:32:31

Thanks. Spent ages trying to wirk it out.

ssd Thu 16-May-13 21:37:54

kind of agree with stopmoving

this line from your op rankled me

" They were cared for, fed and entertained without me ever really having to do anything"

no wonder you're finding it harder, but is it because they are older or because you're having to do stuff now?

Pigsmummy Thu 16-May-13 21:44:47

Noooooooooooooooo, not harder?!?!

Amaris Thu 16-May-13 21:45:22

When they are younger you need to spend more time giving them attention, but in some ways it's more simple and less emotionally demanding than having to negotiate friendship troubles, or making choices about which activities to do or not do and maintaining relationships with their friends' parents etc. so I understand what OP means

Gingersstuff Thu 16-May-13 21:51:56

I completely agree OP. DS is 9 and DD is 13 next month, they need me more now than they ever did and I have to work FT to keep a roof over our heads. Childcare for an almost-13 yo is almost impossible to find. It's not getting any easier sad

NonnoMum Thu 16-May-13 21:52:35

Nnoooo! This isn't the thread I need to read right now...

(because I know you are right...)

Notcontent Thu 16-May-13 21:54:01

That is sooo true!!!

I have also always worked and went back to work when dd was quite little - I had no choice. But I was lucky enough to have a lovely part time nanny and I never felt bad because all of dd's needs were being met by someone else while I was at work. It's different since she has started school. Ideally I would really like to be there for her after school, to supervise her homework, etc. Now that she is older her needs are more complex.

They will keep growing up won't they!

I agree with you OP, I work FT but only 3 days as 14hr shifts.

Now the Dcs are 6 and 8, i'm finding it so much harder than when they were babies. Thankfully our childcare is provided by family, so things like afterschool clubs and homework can be accommodated, but the guilt I feel for not being able to watch DS's dance performance next week is awful. Not least because he knows, he can verbalise his disappointment, and even though his GM will watch, its not the same as mummy.

Also the sheer organisation, regardless of how efficient I am, still involves 2 lots of uniform prep'd for each day, who will pick up/ drop off/ do dinner, brownie/ beavers/ dance/ football/ swimming kits to be washed and packed, and organising friends and social events.

and this " They were cared for, fed and entertained without me ever really having to do anything" is so true.
As they grow, their interests expand, the thoughts and discussions expand and debates form. They are no longer content with being fed, watered and kept amused, now they want opinions, research based facts and the opportunity to develop ideas for themselves.

Now I am actually considering going part time!!!

parabelle Thu 16-May-13 22:05:31

I have a 5 year old and a 9 year old and am seriously thinking of going part time. It's just a nightmare trying to work full time. Have previously had very flexible hours so they're only in childcare 6 hours a week. Changing jobs in Sep and they'll be in same 6 hours but it'll be over four days and I'm not sure how we're going to cope with me doing pick up just once a week. It doesn't feel enough.

peteypiranha Fri 17-May-13 06:53:23

No Im finding the opposite. I am working full time until January and then back to part time. I love full time, and think its way better for dd. She does reading and homework every night. Shes with all her friends, and is never bored and if I come before 6 she gets upset as her friends arent leaving yet.

I am really panicing on how to break it to her she wont be going to after school club in January. Its going go to break her heart. I am even considering paying out my wage for her to at least go a couple of days as dont want to upset her.

MrsLion Fri 17-May-13 07:26:12

Yanbu. I have always worked, with ft or pt.
Many people insisted 'oh but it'll be so much easier when they start school'
Actually its a lot, lot harder. I'm finding the guilt now Dc1 is at school, a lot worse than when she was a 10 month old baby.

Tiredtrout Fri 17-May-13 07:38:30

I have a 12 yo and a 16 yo, they both do out of school activities and I work shifts full time. Even though I know they are happy and fed and have all they need the guilt gets you if I miss on of their matches, or parades, they email their homework for it to be checked or printed and no matter how late I work I still need to get up to see them off in the morning. I often work a week of lates where I hardly see them and the 12 yo still insists on sitting on my lap for cuddles my first night off. When they were tinies it was so much easier as they just didn't worry about who looked after them now they do

Mutley77 Fri 17-May-13 07:43:09

I think you're right. When we re-located for DH's work I left a brilliant job where I could do school run every morning and at least 3 afternoons - I could therefore facilitate everything that DC's wanted to do in terms of activities and playdates and feel like I was there for them. The job was flexible to allow for going into school for assemblies/volunteering etc. The stress sometimes nearly killed me but I appreciate how lucky I was smile

Now we have re-located I am not sure I will be able to find a similar flexible job and therefore will probably make the call not to work which is something I feel v sad about. Currently due to have DC3 in a few weeks so that will keep me busy for at least a year but after that I will definitely have cabin fever if I can't have a job to fit around the kids.

nokidshere Fri 17-May-13 07:55:20

I am a wahm. I have no idea how we would fit e everything into my two young teens lives if I wasn't (although obviously I would if I had to). Emotionally they need me around much more now than they did as toddlers/young children. And the amount of homework is soul destroying sometimes.

As a childminder I accommodate young people. I don't so much as "look after" them, more provide somewhere for them to hang out and be safe. I treat them like my own boys, they slob around with their phones and x-boxes, are allowed to go out and about (with lots of precautions in place) and have their friends round whilst they are here...and obviously they get fed!!! I have children between the ages of 10-15 who don't want to spend all day alone.

meglet Fri 17-May-13 07:58:58

Yes, harder IME too.

Nursery was open all day, all year round. Then school hours and term times threw everything up in the air. They need time for reading, checking school bags, homework etc.

I work p/t and am hoping to gradually swing flexitime / working from home as the dc's grow older.

JeremyPiven Fri 17-May-13 08:13:04

Oh sad
I work virtually FT, both DCs still in nursery.

I really would like a DC3 and don't have a lot of years left to mull it over. But my big fear is that it will all get harder when they start school, and we won't cope with everything (let alone if there's 3 of them)

No way we would manage if I gave up work due to mortgage alone

Llareggub Fri 17-May-13 08:18:31

Yes, I agree. I've worked full-time, part-time and not at all. I now work part-time in a very flexible job for a charity. I could earn more in the private sector, working full-time but could never hope to get the flexibility I enjoy in this job. I need to work though, both for financial and emotional reasons.

The holy grail is working somewhere that measures work in terms of outputs, not presence in the office. I consider myself very lucky that I have found that.

Def harder, busier, more emotionally draining. But more fun than toddlers.

wordfactory Fri 17-May-13 08:35:20

I think it goes in waves.

I found the start at school very difficult to juggle and indeed gave up work then.

I then worked from home for many years. But now my DC are young teens, they are out of the house a lot, and I have been able to re look at my work life.

Whoops, I realised it was for woh parents. But honestly, I think it's harder also for those who don't work full time, work from home or don't work.
It's harder, more hectic, but more fun.

Hassled Fri 17-May-13 09:06:51

With my older DCs, I went from FT to PT when they were 11 and 9 or thereabouts, for all the reasons the OP describes. It does suddenly seem get so much harder - and then even in the GCSE years you have to factor in the time for all the relentless nagging that has to be done.

Grammaticus Fri 17-May-13 09:21:52

Yup - 9 and 11 is when I gave up work, too. They are now 12 and 14 and I am currently torn as to whether to apply for a part time role that has come up at the charity where I volunteer. When you're a volunteer you don't have to work school holidays.....

soverylucky Fri 17-May-13 09:31:53

We are also finding the practicalities harder now that they are at school although it is cheaper. For example we could drop them off at nursery earlier than what we can drop them off at before school care club. They need a lot of driving around to dance, sport, brownies etc.

Irishchic Fri 17-May-13 11:27:20

I have five dc and my days are an endless round of school runs, ferrying kids to soccer, hockey, rugby, tennis, swimming lessons and music lessons to name but a few! The eldest is nearly 13 and as the younger ones get up in age I see it getting even crazier. Saturdays and sundays are taken up with kids matches and they have to be driven to the venues which are sometimes up to an hour away, so there is no let up even at the weekend.

I am a SAHM. I have NO IDEA how I could manage all this and hold down a job, i reckon i would have to hire a taxi driver to take them everywhere whilst i was at work!

DontmindifIdo Fri 17-May-13 11:46:17

irishchic - as the former child of a WOHM, what you do is your DCs do less. We had very few opportunities to do clubs and sports - brownies and then scouts, but that's it. anything else had to be run by school and in school time. you'll probably find few of the other DCs in your DCs groups/clubs have 2 full time working parents -unless they are rich enough to pay for a nanny still.

I'm currently at the pre-schooler stage with DC1 and pregnant with DC2, I'm tempted not to go back, not just because the costs are going to be very high for full day care for one and wraparound care for the other (as DC1 will start school shortly after i'm due back to work), but the logisitcs will be tricky.

Nursery, you just turn up, they say 8am but will be flexible from 7:30am so you can be at work for 9am, pick up by 6pm is easy to sort, and DC1 stays in the same location all day on my work days. I could pick a nursery based solely off location and how good I thought it was, so found one that's halfway between our house and the train station. But when DC1 is at school, I'll have to find a childminder who'll do the school run to his school, which will probably mean doubling back on myself on the way to the station. I need to use childminders because before/after school clubs rarely give enough time/flexibility.

Iwantmybed Fri 17-May-13 11:48:57

Noooo! I'm just at the start of the cycle please don't tell me it gets harder.

I'm praying it's rose tinted glasses talking....

Mumsyblouse Fri 17-May-13 11:53:00

I think school-hours imply that one parent will be there to drop off at 9am and pick up at 3pm; and it is irritating trying to fit around that (afterschool club/family combo), but I can't say I find the actual parenting is harder than parenting say a toddler! My two are of an age where they can get themselves a drink/snack, play together, they can go whole hours running around without me constantly having to intervene.

Homework- weekends or even mornings, worst comes to worst they go into homework club at lunchtime. Reading- this is a nice activity, I do 15-20 min with youngest before sleep (her turn, then my turn).

Emotional side- yes, things blow up, but not that often.

Perhaps you've all forgotten what it's like to have a small baby and a toddler going 'muuuuumeeeeee' every five seconds!

Mumsyblouse Fri 17-May-13 11:57:44

With sports- I think you have to decide if you as a family want to make the sacrifice of weekends and evening practice. If your child is great at it loves it, gets a lot out of being on a team- make the sacrifice. But I do see people dragging their sons out to football who don't seem that into it (or ballet or whatever) and I do wonder why? It's not compulsory to go to sports/music/dance/languages/arts classes all week- nice to do one or two things, but it has to fit in with the whole family's needs.

I have dropped one Sat morning activity because the stress and hassle required to go to it was inverse to the children's pleasure in it. The world doesn't cave in if you stop piano lessons (unless that's their one particular love in life).

olgaga Fri 17-May-13 12:13:40

It's definitely busier and emotionally demanding when they get older - for the simple reason that life is busier and more demanding for them.

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 17-May-13 12:20:35

I have a 4 and 14 YO. I think the Primary years are hardest logistically if you are working, especially in the first couple of years.

Right now, things are pretty easy. We have one in nursery/pre-school and the other in year 9.

I'm dreading DS2 starting school in Sept. There is an after-school club but (obviously) it's just not the same as nursery care or a parent.

DS2 benefits from having a parent at home when he gets home at 4.15, just for guidance etc, but his activities and school events are mainly later or involve lift-sharing and (importantly) seem to be much better organised in advance so you can have dates in your diary. Many Primary events seem to be of the form "we need some parent helpers for xyz tomorrow" or "please come along to the end of term church service at 1pm and feel free to take your child home afterwards". Dreadful for working parents.

Wishihadabs Fri 17-May-13 12:22:49

I could have written your post OP. At the moment DH and I split it (I do Mon, Tue he does weds, thursday - nanny/house keeper comes on Friday) I would dearly love to return to work ft (for all sorts of personal and professional reasons) .However I have literally no idea how we could possibly manage, unless the dcs curtailed their activities and social life. They now give me an unmitigatedly hard time about going to the afterschool club (happens about twice a month).

stopgap Fri 17-May-13 12:27:28

Though my parents both worked full-time (and sometimes irregular hours) when I was small, it always felt like they were around. But when I was a teenager, I distinctly remember feeling abandoned, as they didn't show much of an interest in my interests (or they were far too busy). They took their foot off the gas pedal, and probably came to 1 in three school plays, and never any sporting matches; when I was bullied at that age, I did not turn to them, as I felt I was little more than a lodger. As a result, I look back on the 14+ years with quite a bit of sadness, and a resolve to do things very differently.

You are NBU in the slightest.

GladbagsGold Fri 17-May-13 12:31:27


OP is right, logistically it is harder when they are at school and have cubs/rainsbows/football/swimming/friends/assemblies to arrange.

BUT - you get to sleep more. This makes a huuuge difference. And you are more practised at being a parent. So it will all be ok.

LandOfCross Fri 17-May-13 12:32:04

Completely, completely agree.

I waited until mine were at school to get a degree and now my career is going great guns.

I need to be around more. DD has friendship issues. They need homework help. DD2 has numerous music lessons after school that I need to ferry her to.

Teacher meetings, after school activities and lots and lots of talking... it's so much harder than when they were small.

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 17-May-13 12:33:18

True glad true! My lack of sleep is truly self inflicted. My evenings are busy and the time when everyone is in bed is just so delicious.

Swings and roundabouts.

YANBU. I was presented with a note from school this morning inviting me to a class event next tuesday at 11:30am. Which is apparently 'really important to attend' WTF? So now I either piss my boss off by leaving at 11am and coming back at 1pm in the middle of a really busy week with very little notice, or a upset my child as all of the other parents will be there. Not an option for DP to do it as he works over an hour away.

The whole system is build around being able to drop everything at a moment's notice, which just isn't realistic.

Wishihadabs Fri 17-May-13 12:42:50

Our PTA meets at 230pm on a day when I work, sorry no can do !

LandOfCross Fri 17-May-13 12:43:06

I agree enjoyingscience

Governments penalize parents the world over if they want to stay at home, but then schools have teacher training days mid-term, early closures and unmissable midday meetings. angry

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 17-May-13 12:46:01

enjoy I can't understand why schools do this. Most school teachers are working parents themselves so they must know how it feels to be torn.

And the lack of notice would drive me mad. I am able to have a certain amount of flexibility at work, but not at the drop of a hat.

peteypiranha Fri 17-May-13 12:47:27

It depends how flexible your jobs are. Is your dh hands on? We both work full time but between us volunteer at the school, dd goes to rainbows, individual swimming lessons, all discos, plays etc. As parents we would never miss any of these things and between us we just arrange it.

Dh even volunteers and runs the cake sales. We work 80 hours between us but are a lot more present up the school than most.

Chandon Fri 17-May-13 12:56:10

What would the solution be? After school clubs that are AT the school would be best, wouldn't they?

Most of my friends who work full time, or almost FT work it out through a network of friends (one set up between 3 sets of parents, 2 kids each, they all have seven seaters and take them all home in turn).

Private schools offer flexible pick up times ( after school club AT the school), could this be introduces in primaries And secondaries? The building is there anyway, you just need a professional team to move in after the teachers leave.

Miggsie Fri 17-May-13 12:57:20

I'm finding it the other way round - DD is far more self reliant now and just does stuff without needing my assistance. When she does need me it is more complex emotional stuff but this doesn't require me to be available at set times. I don't supervise her homework and if she is struggling she talks to the teacher - I take the view that is what teachers are for and the teahcer should know DD's weak points, not be presented with a potted verison of what I know about things.

The thing that has increased is the number of out of school activities - but that is a conscious choice, I think kids should do exercise and stuff outside the home so DD does sports and drama. It is annoying sometimes but I'm coping. I tell DD in advance if something can't happe, she doe snto expect me to be instantlyavailable at all tiems for all things, I just can't be - either DH does it where possible or I nowhave a circle of friendly parents who give lifts to matches and games he I can't.

I don't see it as harder - but there is a shift in emphasis. I als make sure DD understands the entire household does not revole around her, there are others who have tings to do as well. I also don't ocnsider it my duty to"do everything" for her. In a few short years she will be an adult so I reckon she shoud start practising for that asap.

Agree with the school holiday issue though - DD has grown out of summer camps - what IS the alternative?! Thining back though, I spent school holidays at home on my own...hmmm

peteypiranha Fri 17-May-13 12:57:59

All schools have after school clubs these days dont they? There are none in our area that dont have them. On top of that they are private ones starting from 7.30. here.

Babelange Fri 17-May-13 12:58:57

Can I challenge the free-time/sleeping more notion... 2 working parents here. One with secondary school homework every night, the other no longer able to amuse himself. The homework will suddenly be remembered at 7.00pm as I walk in the door and will require either DH or myself to go to the shops to buy cookery ingredients (with prior knowledge, this would be something that we could have picked up en route home). DS12 will suddenly need support in alegbra etc which will require putting reading glasses on and racking memory (more than 30 years ago...). They will amuse themselves (fingers crossed) for about an hour whilst we eat - but this will be combative eg. nerf gun warfare. They will be sent to get ready for bed at 9.00pm but will require an hour of chasing around upstairs before they have cleaned their teeth, got into bed. Younger DS will stall and NEVER even read a single page from his book. Elder DS will complain about how tired he is. By which time it's my bedtime. No point looking in the tv listings for any programmes which start before 9.00pm and even then they are watched +1 or on demand later. Running an occasional bath for either DC removes a huge dent of what little free time there is. DH will, after you have tucked yourself in bed, play guitar downstairs or watch a crap movie. He will fall asleep on the sofa til 2.00am then come to bed and snore loudly before his alarm goes at 5.30am. Press REPEAT!

serin Fri 17-May-13 12:59:47

It might get harder for a bit but then it definitely gets much easier.

Secondary school kids catch the bus to school and home again.

If you bribe them they will babysit for you grin and they will spend the money on clothes that you would otherwise have had to buy them anyway (win win)

They can also be trained to lay the table and get dinner started, walk the dog, stick the laundry on etc.

I am still working on getting them to tidy their bedrooms though......

Want2bSupermum Fri 17-May-13 13:03:48

I am expecting things to get harder. We are in the US the schools here finish so early. They don't do enough sports, art or music so either we go private or stay with the public system and supplement.

It is going to be very difficult to fit everything in. Neither of us work 40hrs a week and leaving early is impossible for me for 4 months of the year.

BsshBossh Fri 17-May-13 13:04:47

I agree OP and count myself very lucky that I've been able to be a WAHM just before DD started Reception. My working hours are flexible so I can host playdates, take her to activities, play with her, help her with her school work, be with her. I had no guilt when I worked out of the house and had to put her with a CM all day long as she was happy, so I'd have no guilt (I'm guessing) having after school care (CM, club, nanny, au pair) arranged for her now. But yes, the practicalites are very easy now I work from home.

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 17-May-13 13:09:23

Babel I don't wish to sound harsh and I realise your post was somewhat tongue in cheek, but it sounds like you and your DH need to take control of your household. It sounds like the kids are running the show.

A child old enough to go to bed at 9pm should not need chasing around for an hour before they brush their teeth! Likewise running a bath....for a child at secondary school?

Are you both out of the house from before school until 7pm? What are the children doing until you get home?

Irishchic Fri 17-May-13 13:09:53

Mumsyblouse I totally agree about not dragging them off to extra curric stuff just for the sake of it, and they dont all do these activities, just 2 or 4 each a week, but three of them are very sporty, the older ones, so this does mean that i am tied up a lot with taking them to and fro.

I stopped taking dd2 to Ballet when i realised she was not that committed to it, and i wasnt prepared to waste a saturday morning and petrol. So i do only do those things that they love or have an ability for as i am actually quite lazy and a bit selfish and am not prepared to run myself ragged on on unecessary trips to activities.

And also agree with dontmindifido, certainly if i worked ft or even pt, they just wouldnt have the opportunities to do all these things.

SomeBear Fri 17-May-13 13:11:52

YANBU. Working whilst bringing up children is undeniably hard, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I've found it is definitely harder with school aged children simply because they have their own lives rather than just being an extension of yours. DH & I work FT, he is a lorry driver so cannot guarantee to be home at a particular time so I have to compromise and work most of my hours over the weekends simply because without family support, it is impossible to work the logistics of childcare.

peteypiranha Not all schools have after school clubs, no. We have a breakfast club on Tuesdays and only specialist clubs on Mondays and Thursdays - football, which DS absolutely hates and Morris dancing. I hate living here and it's one of the main reasons why I want to move away!

We are both working, and it is difficult at the moment because DH was between jobs for a bit, ie at home, and the boys got used to this. He has just started a job 2 hours away, so he stays at his sister's during the week. So i get to do all the emotional / practical stuff during the week.

I can't complain too much as we have an AP who is brilliant and who the boys really like. He takes them to clubs - swimming, cubs, piano, tennis etc during the evenings. I spent last night turning a t shirt into viking chain mail and checking they had read their books (and watching Game of Thrones), and then this am, DS2 told me he had homework. Aaargh. We get up early and so there was time to do this (and I work from home on a Friday too).

Without the AP it would be a nightmare. Impossible actually. We are in London and are fortunate that all the activities are walkable / cyclable.

I think you are spot on OP.

DisappointedHorse Fri 17-May-13 13:16:07

God yes, I completely agree. When mine were both in nursery I looked forward to the school years, envisaging much more financial freedom, independence etc. Is that how it feels? No.

At nursery, they just used to have a reheated portion of whatever I'd cooked the night before and I knew they had a hot, healthy meal for no added expense. Now it's either school dinners which, while not outrageously expensive, still cost over £80 a month. I could do packed lunches but then if I wanted them to have a hot meal, I would have to start cooking dinner as soon as we got home and the logistics of that don't really work for us.

We have the clubs and after school club as they collect afterwards so it's double the expense there and the lack of consideration for working parents is a massive bugbear for me. I recently had less than 2 days notice for a big school event. The child could only take part if the parents were available to attend workshops. I was on a training course, DH in another town and we had no opportunity to arrange anything. I had to have a very disappointed child and a huge amount of guilt over an event the school had known was coming since November.

When they were little you collected them from nursery, fed them, played with them, loved them, cuddled them. Now it's all arranging sleepovers, trips, Brownies and cubs, arguing, friend angst, vetoing of video games and TV and standing over them with a big stick because they don't want to do their homework.

I do think they are more funny, interesting and lovely than ever now though smile

TigerFeet Fri 17-May-13 13:17:15

I wouldn't say it was harder but the challenges are certainly different. I have a biggish gap between mine so have both scenarios atm. Dd1 needs help and support with homework and reading etc, and also wants friends round after school sometimes or to go round to a friend's house herself. I work till 5 and due to commute etc we don't get home till gone 6 so none of the above possible on my three work days. Dd2 otoh is at nursery and plays with her mates all day, her day is certainly easy in comparison to mine and dd1's but then she is 3 yo and we are 39 and 8 so better able to handle it grin
I do feel I miss out on a lot with dd2, I definitely did with dd1 as woth full time when she was small.
Logistically it's way easier to woth with just preschoolers, or at least it is/was ime, but there are other issues around nursery in the main being emotional and financial.

QueenCadbury Fri 17-May-13 13:21:56

Haven't had a chance to read all the replies but I totally agree with you. I always thought it would get easier once they're at school but it doesn't. Their needs are easily met in the early years and and in some respects nursery is so easy in that you don't have to think about meals etc. I think mine (age 5 and 7) need me far more to be around at home now hence the decision when I had dc3 (nearly 2) I didn't return to work.

Babelange Fri 17-May-13 13:30:29

bonkersLFDT20: DH works 7-4 (not flexi, it's his job) so he is looking after them - younger usually does a club after school/goes to CM in the gap. DH is no entertainments officer - he's been at work all day too.

Do you actually have children? Perhaps you are the smug parent with tame little kittens instead of children...?! My comments were to be taken tongue in cheek as life ebbs and flows - this discussion is a chance to air these things.

BUT DCs have developed minds of their own. Oh they were perfect Gina Ford babes. Now they are feisty and opinionated. They bench mark their lives with other children (and the grass is always greener). They complain. They've had great after school carers in the past. DS2 has the stamina of an ox. The only time I have seen him genuinely tired recently is when I made him watch Gardeners World last Friday - he was begging for bed.

OwlLady Fri 17-May-13 13:31:19

I found it impossible once my youngest started school and I gave up working a few months after. But my three are all at different schools, 18 miles apart...which doesn't help!

curryeater Fri 17-May-13 13:32:30

This is a very interesting thread, although it makes me feel a bit doomy. My dcs are 4 and 2 and the 4-year-old is making proper friends (I mean independent friends, not just hanging out with the dcs of my friends). I had a text from a friend's parent asking her over to play, with me, after nursery. I can't say yes, she can go to some house I have never been with adults I vaguely know by sight (who seem very nice, but, you know). I can't tell the CM she has to hang out some other house, with her other mindees, nor should the friend's parents accommodate a CM and a small tribe of children. So we are working something out, but it makes me feel like a git that everyone assumes there is a parent available in the background, and there isn't, and honestly I am wondering if there should be, because there will be more and more of this.
I am neurotic about this because I remember my teen years as very lonely and difficult because my mother worked so hard she had no time to be involved in my life (my dad was obviously irrelevant, as dads were in those days), so she didn't know my friends or their parents (or rather the people I pathetically cravenly was trying to make friends with), so every time I was invited anywhere, I couldn't go, and it was gutting.

SusanneLinder Fri 17-May-13 13:40:26

Perhaps you've all forgotten what it's like to have a small baby and a toddler going 'muuuuumeeeeee' every five seconds!

I have a 14 year old that does that! grin

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 17-May-13 13:42:34

That's a hard one curryeater.

I have to say that I'm not overly bothered about other parents reciprocating our invites as DS is an only and I'm just happy that he can have friends over to play at least every so often.

Maybe not suitable at nursery age, but could you maybe arrange a mums night out on a Friday night so you could get to know the other mums from nursery, then feel more confident about your dc going there without you - which they tend to do from P1 onwards.

I have to say we are quite lucky, DS goes to a fee paying school and they try not to make assumptions about parents being available at short notice, apart from Sports day. Same thing has happened as last year, first thing I know about it is an email from the PTA asking if parents can man the tea stall on such a such a date, cue frantic looking at diary from me and figuring what work meeting I can skip to be there.

tiggytape Fri 17-May-13 13:44:41

Totally agree. Financially it is cheaper but logistically it is much harder.

Childcare is geared up for well, childcare - you can drop them off early and pick up later and their needs are met.

School is geared up for schooling. They have frequent holidays, they have projects and homework that need parental help, they have friends and clubs that they want to go to in the middle of the afternoons, they have parents evenings at 4pm and school assemblies at 11am.

After primary, the move to teenage years brings them full circle of needing you a lot more emotionally again plus they still have school activities and projects that need your input and of still have long holidays to cover when they are too old for childcare but too young to be left home alone for 8+ hours a day for weeks on end.

BoffinMum Fri 17-May-13 13:44:55

I certainly find the older ones harder than the younger ones.

In addition to the usual responsibilities, the biggest problem is that we are supposed to host exchange students regularly, but they aren't allowed to travel on the train to school, instead we are seriously expected to drive them in and back for 2 weeks even if they are 15 or 16 and other pupils will be with them on the train or bus to make sure they don't get lost. As in most families both parents work, making this completely unrealistic, many families have refused to host and the school is always scrabbling around for volunteers. I am sure this will eventually kill off the exchanges.

BoffinMum Fri 17-May-13 13:46:22

Is there anyone else who wishes you could buy into holistic support for the over 11s, where they got the kind of proxy parenting kids get in nurseries? (age specific, natch).

MummytoMog Fri 17-May-13 13:46:44

I don't know about it being harder when they're older - we're planning on getting an au pair once ours are a bit bigger, but right now we can't generally afford to have someone full time, so childcare is a total expensive hideous nightmare.

In contrast, we'll be fine once they're in F/T education as we could afford a CM to drop off and pick up, or an au pair plus to do it everyday. What we can't afford is £2K+ a month for full time childcare for a 2 and 3 year old. Mind you, mine purposefully go to bed late (8.30-9pm) so I get a good hour with them after work, so I'm used to having quite a lot of input during the week.

MammaTJ Fri 17-May-13 13:54:50

I think yours are at the hardest age OP. They want to do things and enjoys clubs and such but are not old enough to take themselves independantly.

Child care for that age, especially 11 year old is hard to come by too.

curryeater Fri 17-May-13 14:01:58

the thing is, I am enjoying my children more and more the older they get. I was devoted to them as babies but I hadn't worked out whether or not I actually liked them; and looking after them felt very physical and relentless and I am not a very physical person. Now we have a laugh. I like chatting, drawing, sticking, making, thinking, joking, singing, all that kind of stuff so it seems hard that someone else is doing all that. I wouldn't swap a year now for maternity leave, because I'm glad it was me who looked after them day and night when they were tiny, and I'm glad they were breastfed. But I am missing them far more than I ever did when I was without them as babies (not that I was for long, and hardly ever, and yes it did make my breasts ache then and at least I don't have that)

edam Fri 17-May-13 14:03:23

I found it much more difficult when ds went to school and even more difficult now I'm back working full-time outside the home. Nightmare trying to find before-school care for a 9yo- we have ended up with me having to get my boss to let me start later yet still needing to rely on other parents to walk him up to school. After-school is less tricky as there's an after school club but I'd rather he was with a childminder as there's more chance to relax -just can't find one that picks up from ds's school, has a space and is open until 6.30.

At least when he was younger I could just drop him off at nursery and pick him up on my way home from work. Then I had a live-out nanny for a while - that was bliss but impossible to afford these days.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 17-May-13 14:10:32

I think it is not harder but different (so far - mine are Juniors age).

The thing I find most stressful are the demands made of the school,in so far as attending stuff and having to deal with so much paperwork all the time. There's always something needed or something not to forget.
I find school holidays are at times a bit easier than term time as childcare is on my terms,whereas school is on their terms (not moaning about it btw,just saying).

But...BUT.....They can now get themselves ready for school.Bath themselves.Do most of their homework themselves.Tidy up after themselves.
I'm not having to spend half the evening making purees and dealing with crying and late feeds.

No doubt things will be different again as they enter secondary school.
Now that's the bit that scares the hell out of me grin.

Wallison Fri 17-May-13 14:12:15

I actually find it loads easier now that the childcare doesn't have to be full-time. Also, there are all sorts of practical in-the-home benefits to having an older child - my DS will hoover, and tidy his room, get his own snacks and drinks and help with the cooking etc - which means that I'm not constantly running around after him and doing housework etc so we have more quality time together.

I suppose it depends on your expectations of how things will pan out - I always knew that I'd be paying out childcare costs for well over a decade because if there aren't two parents then obviously there isn't another person to juggle and shift things around with so I'm just happy that they've reduced so drastically since he's been at school. Our school is really crap at giving notice though, which is a massive bugbear of mine and despite repeated complaints from me and others they aren't getting any better. It makes me really upset when I have to miss events that are important to my DS, when I could have gone to them if only I'd been told sooner than the day before.

Wallison Fri 17-May-13 14:16:30

X-posted with you VerySmallSqueak but I agree with you on pretty much every point! Have to say I am loving having an older child and seeing his life and vistas opening out for him; it's most rewarding. I am also dreading secondary school - it feels very much like uncharted territory!

arcticwaffle Fri 17-May-13 14:20:36

I have found it got easier all the way from babyhood, in terms of being a WOTH parent. Maybe we've been lucky in that all 3 of our primary schools have had good flexible before and after school care, but I'm finding it far far easiler these days (dc are 13, 11, 9).

It was quite tricky when we had dc in school and nursery, so 1 or 2 on 5 short days + long holidays, and the other 1 or 2 in 3 long nursery days. That was the hardest bit for juggling.

And nursery was the hardest for babies getting colds, or conjunctivitis, or teething.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 17-May-13 14:22:13

Wallison .I kept nagging about the lack of notice.After about 3 years of doing so,things have improved dramatically.

I couldn't believe the lack of notice at times - or the letting you know a date,but not a time.
I need figures.Exacts.Sometimes things can work out to the minute if necessary.

It's also details that are important.
Is it a 5 minute assembly where you won't be seen in the crowd,or are there coffees after where all the kids go to their parent(s) and hang out with them for a few minutes? Little details like that can make a real difference when you decide what you can and can't make.

My main bugbear now is lack of communication when you aren't able to pick them up from school yourself so don't see class windows and noticeboards......

Wallison Fri 17-May-13 14:23:44

Oh God yes, the endless bugs of baby and toddlerhood were a nightmare. Emotionally, in that it's horrible seeing them suffering and also logistically in that it's a nightmare taking time off work at short notice.

Wallison Fri 17-May-13 14:26:46

Glad to hear things have improved for you, VerySmallSqueak - here's hoping that my endless griping will have a similar effect. And I agree with you on details; I don't get any from DS, so really need the school to tell me everything. Which they don't, half the time.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 17-May-13 14:29:11

Oh arctic with two close together I found I had a run of several years where one was always in a different setting to the other (CM,school,nursery,pre school) and the amount of illness was almost unworkable with because they were perpetually picking up every bug known.

It took until my youngest being halfway through infants for things to settle down.

amazingmumof6 Fri 17-May-13 14:34:49

tournament - I think you've just described exactly why I never want a FT job (if I can choose to carry on being a SAHM).

I once read an article about this exact issue/topic - they asked the children what they thought about being alone after school until the parent/s came home.

they were teenagers (aged between 13-18 if I'm correct) and their answers and wishes were an eye-opener for me.
some said they were actually scared being home alone or just disliked having to eat dinner on their own and that they simply missed their parents, their company and so on.

I think it was in a Reader's Digest magazine about ten years ago - if I find it I'll copy it.

Disclaimer: I know some WOH parents already feel guilty about "abandoning" their children, whatever age, so I'm not saying this to make matters worse.
it's just that I (and whoever wrote the article) were surprised that more teenagers did care about mum being home or not than we realize - even if they don't admit it!
I told my mum about that article and she got immediately offended and defensive, thinking I was critical about her going to work.
well I wasn't as I knew & understood that she had no choice, but to work FT!
so for those who don't have a choice to WOH or prefer it - I'm not wearing judgey pants, please don't get offended! smile

TheSilveryPussycat Fri 17-May-13 14:40:41

Haven't read all this (but will) just would like to have an old gimmer rant about the old days, when despite many women being SAHM (with Home Responsibility Protection for their state pension), homework was unheard of until secondary school.

And at secondary school we had a strange thing called a Homework Timetable - hist, maths, Monday, physics, French Tues etc. so everyone knew what was what. My DC, who are now young adults, never had such a sophisticated organisational tool, just a notebook with random tasks assigned, which made things much harder than they needed to be. (And don't get me started on 'make a model of a trebuchet' for history homework grrr)

arcticwaffle Fri 17-May-13 14:47:38

I had 2 full time working parents and we liked coming home to an empty house (I did it from 8 up, but with siblings there too). Less of the intense parental gaze. You could watch Tv and make snacks without hassle.

And my dc enjoy this too, the 11 and 9yo have come home alone/together for 3 years now. They seem quite happy. They do their homework, mostly, without our intervention, whether we are around or not. And when we do come home we can pick up the pieces and chat to them, they don't need us there for the whole 6 hrs between getting home and bedtime for that.

Tailtwister Fri 17-May-13 15:13:32

I think it depends on the school set up tbh. If they have a good after school system then they actually get to access more extra curricular activities than I ever did with a SAHM. DS gets half an hour early birds in the morning where he gets to indulge in his current craft obsession and the after school care is amazing. Clubs, supervised homework, cookery club, loads of sport etc. It's all pretty much the same for us as it was with nursery, except slightly less guilt inducing.

We still do loads of stuff as a family, but it is hard going for us. Swimming classes start at 7.30am on a sat, which is pretty brutal after a long week. I work part-time right now, but will go up to 4 days once DS2 is at school in a couple of years.

When DS1 was in a pram, 17 years ago, I met an old colleague who had given up work many years earlier (so probably early 1980s before part time contracts were common) ,when she had a family.
She told me it was just as important to be there for them when they were older, if not more. I was hmm.
Mine are 15 and 17 now and she was so right. Family life gets better as they get older and I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of it. I do work a few hours a week but it has never impacted on them.
I now look back at my teenage years with two parents at work and too busy to notice us when they weren't.

cestlavielife Fri 17-May-13 15:24:05

i agree. emotional needs need prioritising as they get older. up to six or seven life is quite simple.... a good nanny/chidminder/after school club etc is fine...then they start to question things more, develop their sense of self,have more worries, etcetc...

KinkyDorito Fri 17-May-13 15:24:36

Just exhausting. FT work and mum to 2 - one is 14, one is 4. Both come with their own challenges in terms of my time. DD (14) is autistic so not very independent and she had cancer. I feel like my life is a whirlwind of organising and fetching things for people and making sure everyone is where they are meant to be. This is compounded by DH being unable to drive. My house is just horrendous. I don't know why I put myself through it, but I'm main earner and we are trapped into needing the money that comes in from both of us.

I was wondering about advertising an unpaid "internship" for a maid personal assistant. wink

Sooooo tired. Role on half term!!!! grin

Snugglepiggy Fri 17-May-13 15:25:06

When my DDs were tiny we had planned for me to be a SAHM but the recession of the 90s and collapse of DHs business meant I was back at work full time when the youngest was just a one year old.For a decade I dashed around like a hamster on a wheel juggling a demanding job with shifts and home and the DCs but when the youngest was 11 was fortunate enough to step back and take a few years to be at home for them - and I loved every minute.It was tempting to carry on earning, but I was exhausted and by being more careful financially and having less extravagant holidays than some of our friends we managed.
They are all grown women now,and despite some teenage battlegrounds we have a lovely relationship, them as sisters and me as their mum.They have said several times how they appreciated in hindsight that I/ we were around for them and their hobbies,sports and exam times.Even if it did't seem so at the time.And in hindsight I see how teenagers in particular want to,talk and open up to you when they want and not when it fits into your work schedule.
But as I say I was incredibly lucky to have a choice.I appreciate that.And some of my friends thought I was mad to give up as they got older.I now work harder than ever running my own business from home, but really love the that when they come home I still get to spend time with them,and sometimes they come home in their holidays to help me out when the business is busy,or cover for me if I need time off.Lovely.But everyone is different.

Snugglepiggy yes exam times. There is a period of consecutive years of exams form the age of 15 to 18, double when you have DCs two years apart. They are stressful and hard work.
I have DS1 doing AS levels just now and while I can't help him with the work he really appreciates me being around to offer support and cook special exam breakfasts.

Dragonwoman Fri 17-May-13 15:53:59

You are allowed to say no to after school activities, playdates or school meetings and concerts you know.
If it isn't convenient we just don't do it. We as a family all benefit from having 2 wages coming in, so sometimes sacrifices concerning time have to be made. There is no point in feeling guilty if you are doing your best.
I'm sure fewer people than you think manage to attend every school meeting.

lemonstartree Fri 17-May-13 15:57:17

couldnt agree more. Mine are 14,11 and 8. I have to work FT for financial reasons but it is MUCH harder now...

mizu Fri 17-May-13 16:56:51

I definitely find it easier now financially and emotionally - when my two DDs were in nursery - albeit an on campus nursery - I was constantly knackered and struggled with work.

Now they are 7 and 8 they do everything together and help me round the house too, they can do loads of stuff themselves. But:

I am P/T (3 and a half days and an evening) and my timetable changes a bit each year so after school club is an issue as there are massive waiting lists for it. I waited over 2 years to get them into Monday after school and will not need it next year but will need Wednesday instead which is not possible...........

Also, they have homework and spelling tests and clubs and they need to be nagged to do stuff.

I am the one who has to fit work around them as DH is out of the house from 4.30am til 4.30pm. I am always the mum racing into the school playground as I have legged it back from work in the minimal amount of time possible.

All in all, I am much happier now, having babies/toddlers is SUCH hard work and my girls now are much more fun now they are a bit more grown up.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 17-May-13 17:03:03

Are school aged children really harder than one melodramatic three year old girl and one 18 mth old boy bent on destruction of both self and environment?

Sobs quietly. I thought it was all going to get easier!

Surely you don't have to do more for them? I mean with my two I spend the whole day doing everything little thing for them and clearing up the attendant mess. Surely this has got to get easier when they can feed dress toilet etc themselves.

God I hope so!

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 17-May-13 17:15:59

Um. You cant ALL be single mums. Hardly anyone has mentioned men in all this.
Ok, one womans man is lorry driver. Maybe someone elses works away? But they can't ALL! Why is it just the women stressing about work,kids,school hours,homework, ferrying to rainbows? I am only asking, coz I thought that if you had a man, they might do some of that stuff...( I dont have one, and you all sound like single mums to me). No wonder you are all finding it hard.

Llareggub Fri 17-May-13 17:19:16

I am a single mother.

IfNotNoThenWhen - I am a single mum smile

I agree there is a difficult childcare age, which for me is now. DS is 11 - year 6, and DD is 8 - year 3. DS hated the last year in after school club so now they walk home together after school one or two days a week depending on my work/study commitments. It has actually been okay despite my initial worry.

They are not old enough to stay home in the holidays all day, and they have outgrown the cheaper holiday club, therefore I now have to pay out for the more adventurous and expensve holiday clubs.

Bampsadaisie - You don't necessarily do less but the stuff you do changes I suppose. So rather than feeding them, you have dinner then do homework together. Rather than bathing them you have to have a half hour debate on whether a shower is necessary (DS seems to require this anyway!).

zamantha Fri 17-May-13 17:41:20

Junior years are tricky with childcare because you are usually working around afterschool club schedule and when they are sick it is tough. with Young pre-schoolers I had GPs which was mostly wonderful - but oh no it is not harder now - toddlers are so demanding and i never had a full night's sleep.

2 teenagers now and it is just lovely - they need us. DH won't go for promotion to support studies but I agree downthread family life is better.

take heart new mums - it is rosy around the corner.

amazingmumof6 Fri 17-May-13 17:43:55

bumpadaisie whoever said things gets easier as they grow lied!
small kids small problems, big kids big problems.

yes they can get dressed but they make more mess too! and so on.

I'd rather change a nappy then deal with bullying IYSWIM.

so the phrase you are looking for "things get different! "wink

meglet Fri 17-May-13 17:49:28

I'm a single mum and it's getting much harder. I'm going to have 2 teenagers to keep on the straight and narrow in 8yrs time. I'm not going to work full time until they're at Uni.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 17-May-13 18:02:47

Thanks amazingmum

I think I will just move away quietly and have a glass of wine, it is after 6!

Its just dawned on me that my image of what its going to be like having them both at school (them looking cute in their uniform, having nice intellingent chats over a family supper, children doing lots of stimulating activities and loving them, children have a wide and varied social life and being popular not to mention ace at school and cruising through without any difficulties) is perhaps a bit, erm, unrealistic!

jacks365 Fri 17-May-13 18:06:17

Uni, thats another one. Doing all the open days with dd1 was hard going and impossible if I'd been working. Thankfully I was on maternity leave at the time.

Right now I'm hand holding as one doing gcse and one doing AS lvls yes the toddler is hard work but it's simple and uncomplicated the teenagers stretch me and my skills more.

wahwah1270 Fri 17-May-13 18:06:21

It is very heartening to read this thread. I too so feel like am missing out on so many school related events now dd is in reception. didnt feel half as guilty knowing she had round the clock care at nursery and that all her friends parents' worked siimlar hours

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 17-May-13 18:11:39

I think the first few years, before they go to school, are quite tough. You then get a few years that are relatively problem free - you have after school clubs, au pairs, and little stress. You don't need to turn up to every minor school event and can lie your way out of it "Oh yes of course I was at Harvest Festival - I was behind the pillar in church/behind the vicar's unfeasibly tall sister, that's why you didn't see me."

Then they hit secondary school age. Can you leave them at home for a few hours after school on their own? How long for? Until 6.30 is probably alright, but what if you have to work late or get delayed? And at this age, it does have to be you who goes to watch football/basketball matches (and take them there and bring them home again). And what do you do about school holidays? Too old for school holiday club, so what then?

Bumpsadaisie older children are not harder than babies and toddlers. There is none of the drudgery and physical drain and tiredness.
They are easier and more rewarding as they get older. The point is though that they still need you, just in different ways and having a parent at home is important to them.

peteypiranha Fri 17-May-13 18:30:43

My parents worked full time, and my after schools were a whirlwind of social activities. I was quite popular so never bored or lonely.

I think it depends on how robust your childrens personalities are, and how much they have to do. Nowadays its even better there are so many clubs and activities for teens to do after school I am very jealous!

BlackholesAndRevelations Fri 17-May-13 18:33:40

arctic- your children were home alone from the ages of 6 and 8? [shocked]

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 17-May-13 18:39:28

Ah, OK, lots of single mums then!
What about the rest of you though?

I am totally unashamed to say I have one child and he does zero after school/weekend "activities".
We dont have a car, and everything involves needing to drive, or relying on rubbish buses. There just isn't time/energy for swimming club/gymnastics/beavers etc.
I just don't need to make life harder for us than it is.
He doesn't seem bothered.
When he really wants to do something out of school, I will make the effort, but until then, I don't think it's necessary. He goes to tea at friends etc but that's it.
The only thing he going to do that is extra curricular is learn the piano, but that's not optional! (Plus I can teach him.)

arcticwaffle Fri 17-May-13 18:50:20

Sorry no I was getting my dds mixed up. The current 13yo and 11yo have been comign home together/alone for 3 yrs. So the younger of those was nearly 9 when she started doing this. She's a very sensible dd and we live in a safe area.

Current 9yo is too dippy and still goes to after school care.

musicalfamily Fri 17-May-13 18:51:33

I also remember the younger years as massively hard work, mainly because of the constant bugs, tantrums, sleepless nights and constant tiredness. Also didn't like the guilt of leaving them at nursery and I had children that didn't like being left much. I remember working in a constant daze and feeling exhausted all the time.

Now that I have 3 at school and 1 in preschool is hugely better. They hardly ever get ill and as I have flexibility of working from home it is much easier to continue working in the event one of them is a bit unwell as the 7 and 8 year old are quite happy to lay on the sofa and watch TV/doze etc.. whilst I have my laptop out and work and take calls.

Also I find the time we are together is more pleasurable, you can have a good chat, a laugh, a nice civilized dinner. Yes it is a bit of a logistical nightmare organising clubs/activities/homework/friends for tea but I don't miss the baby/toddler years at all and I definitely don't think it is harder now. Also as a final note, most parents go back to work when the children are at school so there is definitely a social shift in that sense, which helps with the guilt!!

DontmindifIdo Fri 17-May-13 18:59:41

IfNotNowThenWhen - i can only work now because I'm not single! I can only do one of the nursery runs, so DH does pick up. However, realistically, after DC2 comes along and DS is at school, as my earning potential is less than half DHs, it doesn't make sense for us financially if one of us is going to make the call to be at home that it's me. Even if we did what some did here of us both going part time, the loss from his wage wouldn't touch the increased income from not paying out childcare.

But even if you are spliting drop offs and pick ups between you, the simple fact is that anything after pre-school age where you drop at one location, pick up at that location, you already had every working day covered (not just term time ones and having to sort round holidays), you can pick a nursery/childminder that fits in with your work commute (not having to think about how close it is to another location, ie the school for school runs to be possible), is just a lot lot harder logistically. (That's before you even factor in that you will have to say no to more clubs/sports etc if your childcare solution is anything other than a nanny who can do the running round for you).

If those tricker logistics are split between two people, great, but that doesn't change that it's harder than before.

The actual parenting might be easier and more fun, and the costs lower, but looking at it as someone who's going to be moving from one to the other shortly, it just looks like the planning and the potential for things going wrong as sooooo much worse once they are school age.

arcticwaffle Fri 17-May-13 19:04:45

Ifnotnowthenwhen, I have a DP and he does half the drop-offs, pick-ups, emergency and holiday days, activity chauffeuring etc. It does make it a lot easier, it halves the logistical problems.

Clayhanger Fri 17-May-13 19:18:38

I would say older kids are less tricky since they can take the bus (we live in London so no lifts needed- really glad we never moved to the country). Actually I have adored the teen years. It's madly busy and occasionally you drop the ball but it's been great. I've always worked and the upside is that I am senior enough simply to take the odd hour off when I need to, and we've also had au pairs in the spare room for years. So it's not all bad! I don't mourn the toddler years particularly.
And I love that my dc still need me emotionally, want to talk through friendship issues and so on. Before you know it they're going off to uni sad

girliefriend Fri 17-May-13 19:33:37

YANBU although I don't feel as guilty about leaving dd now age 7yo as I did when she was younger I still can't imagine working f/t.

Am dreading the age 10 - 12 as God knows what I will do for childcare, she has already outgrown the cm to a certain extent and hates the after school club so <shakes head despondently>

peteypiranha Fri 17-May-13 19:35:19

Dontmindifyoudo - Most parents just drop off to one location even when they are older thats either school clubs or a private club. It doesnt make any difference to nursery for any of the parents I know. Its not stressful at all thats what people pay the clubs for to do the ferrying around, homework, meals etc.

BlackholesAndRevelations Fri 17-May-13 19:40:35

Ah I see, arctic!

Of my two brothers, one walked home by himself when he was about 9 (I was in secondary so walked home myself anyway) and the youngest one could barely be trusted to walk to school til about year 9! Everyone's different grin hope mine can be independent if I ever let them

Wuldric Fri 17-May-13 21:01:22

It doesn't get any easier, does it?

funnyperson Fri 17-May-13 21:46:26

If I'm really honest the key need of the children in their teenage years was for a reliable 24/7 chauffeur.

mam29 Fri 17-May-13 21:48:43

I am currently sahm mum but did work and used nursery 8-6.

but since dd1 started school often pondered on how hard must be.

They did a breckfast club at 8am
some parents said that was too late.

They did after school club bu was £7.50 for 3.15-only until 5.30
which most parents said was too early so used childminders.

There communication wasent great often potices on classroom windows I missed.

Things that went in bookbags that if said child hadent put it in her draw and lost it.

In recepetion year we must have had 30party invites as 45intake and sometimes 2parties on one day.

There were so many day events

end of term mass
buddy lunch
meet and greet with teacher
nativity only daytime
again mini beast play in afternoon.

husband works a lot of hours , no family support so its very hectic.

she did a few out school clubs

3 in total.

holidays there was outside provider that ran 1weeks out of 6weeks in summer hols and odd weeks but never full amount of time.

They have least 16weeks off a year and average worker only gets 6weeks holday leave.
inset days never totally set at start of year and can be odd days.

we since moved schools.

good thing is

they use text and communication good
they offer day and evening nativity.
they have lots of after school activity clubs but dont offer childcare and all clubs stop at 4.15 or 4.30.

bad news is the clubs can stop radomly and get text its raining so need to pick up your child

or teachers too busy term 6 yet needed after school club 2day a week as have 2schools 1.2miles apart by foot.

I think private schools do offer better package for working parents.
State uk edcation some schools offer some good childcare but its patchy.

I only have 1 in school.

but last school was excessive homework parents with 2+used to say took them ages.

Another mum at nursery had junior, reception and nursery and finding childcare in holidays for all 3age groups huge headache.

milkybarsrus Fri 17-May-13 21:55:31

Haven't read all the posts,but, I have to teens 19 and 16 and a 7 year old, my mum used to say little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems, and I think there is some truth in that. I don't have bad teens, but they need me for chats etc at very late hours, and the 7 year old at 6 in the morning! Parenting means there isn't a lot of me time, but, I wouldn't change it for the world.

working9while5 Fri 17-May-13 22:01:31

My mother worked and I hated being home on my own every day after school. It didn't help my sister was seven years younger than me so no great company, just representative of a list of chores that needed to be done more than anything. My mother was also away most evenings and was a single mother, so it really was very lonely. I would have started around 11 I guess, so had a four year old to look after. After school activities? What were those?

I'd hope to be around if I can manage it. Not every day necessarily, I think the odd day or two to be home alone and make your own snacks and watch TV is good for you. I just wouldn't want to replicate it as it was for me. I'm lucky though, my job is 2.5 days term time only so I am hoping when dc are in school to make this five short days.

Oxpops Fri 17-May-13 22:28:01

Well I'm hoping when DC are older my morning won't be like this:

DC1 shouts "mummy" at 6am and I shoot out of bed to her so she doesn't wake DC2(who I spent 2hrs trying to get to sleep the night before and who has woken 6x in the night). I get her some milk to drink and try to occupy her

DC2 wakes 20 minutes later.

I take both downstairs. DC1 wants me to play "schools with her". I try to play for a few minutes but DC2 is calling for me in other room and wants "boobie".

DP emerges and I try to get upstairs to take quick 5 minute shower and get ready for work. DC1 joins me in the bathroom and wants to help but this only slows me down. I ask DP to dress DC but DC1 is determined to stay upstairs.

I go back downstairs and try to make breakfast. DC1 needs a poo.
DC1 instructs me in the various things I need to do in the school game. I am trying to play and make breakfast at same time.

Breakfast is on table. DC1 too busy to eat at moment- lots of cajoling and reminders. DC1 sits down for a few minutes to eat half of breakfast then gets up to play again. DC1 fights with DC2 and both screaming whilst I leave room to make own breakfast. Breaking up of fight and high level diplomacy required.

One child dressed by DP, DP leaves. I eat breakfast whilst playing with DC1 ( I play incorrectly and this causes a sulk, tears or worse).DC2 potters.

At some point DC1 refuses to go to school or get dressed or wear proper shoes.

Finally everyone dressed and ready to leave. Run round trying to brush DC1 hair. Persuade DC1 to take off pink shoes and put school shoes on. Put DC2's shoes and socks back on for the second time.

Wait for DCs to choose a toy to take with them- much procrastinating- just about to leave(ah forgot to brush teeth).

Much encouraging and jivying on way to school (millions of bags, lunchbox hanging off puschair).End up carrying scooter as well.

Deliver one to school then walk half a mile to take other to nursery. Then get on bus to work (Bliss) .Finally get to work 1.5 hours after leaving home.

Surely it HAS to get easier

PogoBob Fri 17-May-13 22:36:30

I work, DH is a SAHD and this thread captures the exact reasons I would happily have him not return to work when our youngest starts school.

Obviously I would never stop him from working if he wanted a job outside of home life but as long as he is happy to be the main carer and run the house I will happily provide the financial support. It helps that he has a lot of hobbies that give him to interaction / challenges etc. that people often look to work to provide and we've always had a totally joint approach to finances.

Pippenguin99 Fri 17-May-13 22:42:43

Wuldric - and most other posts on here - actually I'm going to go completely against the grain and say I think it does get easier, to some extent anyway. My dcs are 6 and 9, tbh we are very laid back about homework but it does get done (just about on time!) and actually they're doing very well at school, and although my two bicker a bit it's so much easier to reason with them than when they were toddlers. I also felt they needed me more when they were younger as very young children need you to "shock absorb" their strong emotions, which is quite (very) draining. Now, they are lovely kids (ok, I may be slightly biased), we have interesting chats and it is soooo lovely to have my lie-ins back! I've been working four days a week, as a childminder so I've been able to be there for my kids, although with other kids in tow, and I'm about to take on a different ft job, although I'm lucky I'll be able to finish at 3 most days.

You have more experience as a parent too when your kids are older, so you kindof roll with the punches more. I would really hate mums of toddlers/babies to read this thread and start panicking! I remember being quite desperate at times for things to improve when my two were going through the tantrumy phase, which I found awful, especially on little sleep! I don't want to count my chickens but, at the mo, things are def better than before.

Pippenguin99 Fri 17-May-13 22:46:45

Oxpops - I totally remember those days! That's what I meant when I said things DO get better - it's still a bit of a pain getting my two to school in the morning, but they're trained now to get up at reasonable time/have breakfast/do teeth/get dressed/do hair/get bags ready/out the door into car within 45 mins - totally boring routine but it works. Keep the faith.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-May-13 22:47:45


No you'll be mopping up vomit because they are too pissed to manage it themselves. They'll be sitting on the loo telling you how much they love you, your the best mum ever. This will be their first night out drinking with friends and they won't know when they've had enough. you could have one of them setting fire to the house, refusing to admit they smoke. Friendship problems, romantic emotional stuff. lots of hormones, insecurities.
The worst one for me was having to talk to ds17 last year, when a friend committed suicide. Seeing him go through the upset and grief was heart breaking. sad
No it doesn't get easier at all. I am a sahm and the emotional support my dc have needed just on a day to day basis grows during and after puberty.

timidviper Fri 17-May-13 22:48:31

Mine are grown up now but I really think the teenage years were the most vital for me to be there. I have never for one minute regretted not working full time and forgoing a certain amount of career progression.

OhLori Fri 17-May-13 22:52:36

Of course it gets easier, unless you were never there in the first place!

Oxpops Fri 17-May-13 22:56:59

Sounds grim Morethanpotatoprints Ah you see I was a very unusual teenager (never smoked, never got pissed, never went out late with friends, suffered emotionally but hid a lot of it from my parents) although my mum probably went through a lot I didn't know about because I was that sort of teenager that didn't have many friends and got bullied etc

I don't know which teenagers I'd prefer really.

Still at least I will be able to speak to my DP in daylight hours without being drowned out by screeching- or perhaps I won't.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-May-13 23:12:09


No its not that grim really, just good to be warned I think grin

I did find that during high school there was a need to bridge gaps in several ways. I'm not suggesting its the same for everyone though. Ds1 school completely missed careers advice, writing cv, interview techniques etc. I spent a long time doing this with him, helping with homework. Not doing it for him but explaining what was required. Ds2 was hard work as only diagnosed with Aspergers at 17, he was the house burner. Not deliberate of course.
The answering back, cheek and suddenly calling their dad mate. Dh was not a happy bunny the first time ds1 called him this. I think poor ds1 can still hear the rant.
The drunkenness was ds1 and only once, he knows I wouldn't stand for it regularly and he was legal.
You sound like you had a really tough time Oxpops, sorry you had to go through this. I think anything that a person feels they missed out on or suffered they somehow make a subconscious decision to make sure it doesn't happen to their dc. My dh was the same and suffered awful emotional physical and financial abuse as a child. He bottled it up too, your dc will be fine because they have you. x

Oxpops Fri 17-May-13 23:17:47

morethan Well you sound as if you've given your kids wonderful support and I hope one day they will appreciate that.

My life hasn't been so bad- I had a really good childhood- it was the teenage years that were pretty lonely but I'm thinking that the teenage years are tough for everyone (in different ways),

Thanks for your good wishes!

Pippenguin99 Fri 17-May-13 23:19:02

Sorry to hear your story Oxpops - that sounds tough. As morethan says, your kids will probably be OK because you'll be aware of emotional issues xx

Oxpops Fri 17-May-13 23:27:45

"Still at least I will be able to speak to my DP in daylight hours without being drowned out by screeching- or perhaps I won't."

Meant to clarify I was referring to my two children here who seem unable to let DP and I have any sort of conversation without fighting/singing or drowning us out in any way they can!

Do teenagers let you talk? I'd heard they could be silent and moody and it was quite difficult getting them to talk.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Fri 17-May-13 23:29:12

I sometimes think some parents make life hard for themselves by trying to do to much with their kids during the week. The kids don't have to do after school activities and they don't have to have friends over during the week.

Talkinpeace Fri 17-May-13 23:33:22

skimmed thread
too much effing martyrdom
yeah, we were latchkey kids and we hated it to we get to be there when we can
but if we have to drop them off early and pick them up late - homework gets done
and with secondary schools and door keys : I come home and check the homework
stop helicopter parenting FFS

kids kicking off : that is what meal times are for : if the adults eat slowly, the kids scarper (Jane Austen sussed that one)

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 17-May-13 23:34:13

Why do teenagers need chauffering 24/7?
(genuine question)
I don't recall ever getting driven around by my parents. In fact, a lot of the time, we had no car, so not an issue!
I had a bike, I walked, I had a bus pass. If I went out late,I took a cab.
Not sure I would want a 16 yr old daughter taking a cab on her own, but with friends I would be fine with it.
I grew up in a town though, so I suppose if you live rural it's different.

losingtrust Fri 17-May-13 23:34:26

Single mom here too and my 12 year old is really easy. He does all his homework, is now old enough to come home on his own and at secondary no real parent in put. My dd (8) though. Probably the hardest as she is always planning things with friends, wanting me to go to school events, very attention seeking and quite hard work but I keep thinking only a few more years and she won't want to see me as much so try and go to as many things as possible. Only do 4 days a week as lucky enough that this is enough for mortgage and bills. Whilst full time would be good financially I think the dcs would miss out more. A friend who worked full time has a dd (19) who accuses her of always putting work first which I know she doesn't. It is very hard to balance the money and the dcs but a lot does depend on your dcs. My ds is generally happier to be left but dd never has been. Anyway we all do what we think is best and there are so many people that moan about single mothers living off benefits but I completely understand sometimes.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 17-May-13 23:58:40


I think there are several reasons for chauffering teenagers, but perhaps not 24 hours. grin]

A woman I know drops her dd in town and picks her up when the dd wants to come home she is 14, wanders the streets, hangs out in park. My friend has 3 dc and is always taking one or more of them somewhere.

Social life, hobbies and interests, town, clubs pubs etc. School, if no alternatives.

They do it for safety, control, peace of mind, to feel needed, probably lots more too.
I didn't do it as I didn't think it was helping them, they asked if it were something they couldn't get to on their own.

nooka Sat 18-May-13 06:13:40

My children are almost 13 and 14, and at the moment I'd say we have the easiest time that we've ever had with both of us working full time. We all get up, the kids help with dog walking/lunch making, we all scramble for breakfast/showering and then we all get the bus together as it goes past both kids schools. They have a couple of hours at home before we get back from work, when they do a few chores and generally relax. It took them a little while to adjust after dh went back to work again (he was a SAHD for a few years, which was a great luxury for all of us) but I don't think that they are unduly suffering.

Th summer holidays are going to be interesting though!

Morloth Sat 18-May-13 07:29:31

Where I live pretty much everyone has two working parents and the schools/clubs know this.

So meetings that parents need to be at are arranged for evenings, we are given loads of time to know about stuff in the school day, many of the extra curricular things actually use the school premises and the afterschool club will take them.

DS1 does chess club, soccer, band, swimming and maths club this is all possible even though DH and I work long days because the clubs around here know that if it is going to happen then they are going to need to happen around parental working hours. The things that are run by volunteers are run by working parents as well so they need to happen in the evenings.

The infrastructure here is pretty amazing TBH it was one of the reasons we chose this area. The high school while not technically having 'care' available in the afternoons does have many clubs that run on school premises which the kids can go to so they are not home alone for hours until a parent gets in.

So no, in my case I don't think it will get harder (if DS1 is anything to go by) but it will certainly get cheaper as far as childcare goes.

AnnoyedAtWork Sat 18-May-13 07:35:27

It was so much easier when dd was in nursery not school! Now the emotional demands from her are a lot higher not to mention practical school stuff (fish costume with 1 wk notice anyone?)

HandlebarTash Sat 18-May-13 07:39:00

I think it does get harder. I'm a primary school teacher so I see what it takes to facilitate the social lives and hobbies if ten year olds, and their emotional dramas, and the academic support, etc.

DH remains convinced it will only get easier as they get older and then I'll be able to work full time! Don't think so mate.

Queazy Sat 18-May-13 07:46:47

I don't agree with stopmoving or ssd- I think the poster is saying she didn't need to do the same level of activity when picking the kids up - they were cared for all day. Older children, as everyone says, have different emotional and practical needs than a small baby. There's no need to make this woman feel guilty for even more -I'm sure she did a lot for her baby! I'm really conscious it's only going to get harder and from what I've seen with friends, that's when they draw on family support or carefully selected childminders - I don't even know where to start with care for a 15 year old so lots of learning to do between now and then...! smile

Xenia Sat 18-May-13 08:23:56

Much easier than with babies waking you at night whilst you work full time etc.

We had a nanny who looked after the younger ones in the day and then did school collection and cooked their dinner.
Another option at one stage we had someone who did the housework in the morning and then school collection etc and she was specificalyl paid to drive the children around to very distance parties weekend after weekend for a period when the girls were 7 - 10 and friends' parties could be 30 - 45 min drive away.

Another option was someone hired just to collect children from school and look after them here until 6.
When women make wise career choices it means they can afford care for their children which results in the child not having to miss having friends round etc. It all comes back to feminism and the need to ensure girls are directed to high paid interesting work rather than call centre and care jobs with minimal GCSEs.

Also of course fathers do everything 50/50 in normal non sexist homes Women silly enough to marry or endure sexist men of course have a harder time.

thecakeisalie Sat 18-May-13 08:36:13

I don't have the experience of older children as eldest is only 3.5yo but my thoughts are that regardless of whether it gets easier or harder you have to live in the moment.

The big problems don't have to be dealt with all at once and it can look scary when you start considering all the difficulties of all the various ages at once.

Being a parent is hard regardless of whether your sah or working but we all do it because we love them and their worth all those amazing moments!

(Having said that I look forward to maybe getting a little more sleep when their older!)

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 18-May-13 08:46:48

Babies waking up at night - kind of depends when you go back to work. I chose to take 11 months off, by the time I went back to work he was a good sleeper. He used to sleep into 8.30 am at weekends, wish he would do that now grin

I believe the point that is being made on this thread is that working through early childhood can be easier by the availability of round the year care for long hours. Once they start school then there are assemblies, sports days, and school holidays to contend with.

You can outsource a lot I agree, and if you are lucky enough to be well paid - because luck is certainly part of it, then you can afford great wrap around care.

Bizarrely though I, and DH for that matter, don't wish to outsource certain moments. Last year I was unable to attend DS's sports day because I had an "important" teleconference. All good, DH went instead, turns out that DS won every race he was in. I was gutted as I got the texts through. Yes DH was there so that was great, but this is our DS and his special moment and I missed it. This year both DH and I are making plans to be there.

I agree that women should have equal opportunity to highly paid jobs and men should do 50/50. However I'm very happy that I have structured my job so DS can have friends over ,we have some relaxed time together and I can generally attend the important events. DH works longer hours so it would seem strange to insist on 50/50 but for the important things for DS like parents evening, making sure he does his homework and being involved in his development DH certainly plays his fair share.

Solopower1 Sat 18-May-13 09:41:31

SSSh! I tell my daughter (mother of 2 under 3) every day that it will get easier. Imo it does, it really does. It also gets more difficult in other ways, of course, but then you as a parent are better equipped to deal with it, ime.

I've tried everything in my 35 years of uninterrupted full-on parenting. P/T and F/T work, childminders, mother's helps (I know - that's what they were called), having someone to collect them from school and stay until I got home, afterschool clubs, family, friends, holiday clubs, and as a last resort leaving the youngest unsupervised for an hour or two after school from the age of 13 (which was horrible for both of us, and I would not recommend it).

Early teens was a difficult time for me with my youngest and I would have loved somewhere like one of the posters above provided for younger teenagers.

It is worth it in the end, and it doesn't last for long. Each stage is over almost before it begins, ime. You will look back and think 'I did something that was really important, not just for me but for everyone around me. I managed it. I got through.'

Solopower1 Sat 18-May-13 09:42:40

Also, things have got better and there are more after-school clubs, which was what really changed our lives for the better.

Obviously more affordable and better quality childcare is needed, but isn't the key to this flexible working hours as well ? I really can't see why that seems so difficult for some employers to set up. I would have thought that it would be to everyone's advantage, including the employers' - who often have children too.

Back2Two Sat 18-May-13 09:48:35

Women silly enough to marry or endure sexist men of course have a harder time.

Lovely comment Xenia.

You feel you somehow have the right to make this statement and not be ashamed of yourself.

You consider yourself a feminist and cannot see the irony when you make statements like this.

Real sister hood in your heart.

funnyperson Sat 18-May-13 09:58:57

The concept of the 'womanly' caring role is an important one: it isn't just about the practicalities of cooking, feeding, washing, chaufferring, which can be shared or delegated or paid for, it is about the emotional support and guidance and sharing life's experiences, successes and failures, making choices and passing on the benefit of one's own experience and coping strategies and protection. These things become crucial from about 5 onwards, especially 11 onwards, though it doesn't matter whether it is mum or dad, but preferably it is both, and a whole lot of other relatives and friends besides, who need to be available for the children as they grow up. Not all the time. But enough time from mum for mum to be a useful grown up rock in their emotional lives.

funnyperson Sat 18-May-13 10:00:14

Mine always got worried if I didn't work. They needed to be sure the bills were going to get paid and they needed to be proud of me.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 18-May-13 10:06:43

Actually, I think you would have to be pretty silly to endure a sexist husband, so I would have to agree with that.
Also, what solopower says about , well a lot, is true! There is better wrap around care now. But also, there is more parental guilt. When I was a child and both parents worked we had a string of home helps who would do school pick up and get us tea. That was until I was around 12 and then we were on our own, with neighbours we could call on in emergencies. I do remember getting a bit bored and lonely in the holidays, but it was ok.the trouble is, I think, parents kill themselves scheduling endless activities from age 4 onwards, schools have way more assemblies and days that parents are expected to attend, and we all agonise over whether we are doing the right thing for our children.
Its too much. I also agree R.e flexible working and employers. The only way I can manage to work ft is that I can do 2 days from home. It has changed my life! The trouble is, that most employers won't let employees do this, because, yes, they have children, but the top bosses making decisions are usually men. Childcare is still very much seen as a womans problem.

imaginethat Sat 18-May-13 10:22:25

I hear this a lot but my experience is that life is much easier now both are at primary school. I love after school, picking them up and hearing about their days, the homework is no big deal and they are still little enough to be content with going to the park/library/being home. We only do 2 extra-curricular activities, used to do more but it was a bit too busy. Life is calm and the kids seem happy with the simple routine. And I find it a lot easier than baby and toddler days although they were lovely too.

Solopower1 Sat 18-May-13 10:42:38

IfNotNow, the guilt, the guilt! Imo the only thing that helps is if, when you look back, you can honestly say you thought really carefully about each and every decision and did the best you could in the circumstances. That helps a lot, because how can you be blamed for doing something that you truly thought was best for everyone - even if it turns out to be a mistake? And you have to be vigilant, so that when something starts going wrong you can change it asap.

Being vigilant involves, in my case, not overworking and getting enough sleep! Because when I am continually mulling stuff from work over in my mind, I am not aware of what's going on with the rest of the family.

What also helped me was when someone said it was OK to be a 'good enough' parent.

I'm not sure there is more guilt now. There does seem to be more of an actual expectation that women should work outside the home. But this expectation could make people feel less, rather than more, guilty. If society expects you to go out to work, but doesn't then provide the childcare and flexible working arrangements, how can it be your fault if your children grow up unhappy?? Not very helpful to think like this of course, but still ...

In some cases, I feel we bully each other into making choices that are not right for us or our kids, which is sad.

And the reason we often feel we are failing is because we are trying to do something that is really difficult, so we make mistakes.

HighBrows Sat 18-May-13 10:42:45

* ensure girls are directed to high paid interesting work*

The problem is if every woman did this (I'm assuming the men are already doing this) then there would be no one to care for the kids!

Seriously for a society to work we need proper affordable childcare for all so we all then have choices, real choices.

I have 3 kids 17, 12, 11 and I have found they need me more then when they were babies. Yes they can cook, do chores etc but emotionally they do need a parent just that little bit more. However there can be balance once our needs as parents aren't totally subsumed and ignored.

Women silly enough to marry or endure sexist men of course have a harder time.

Well of course that's just common sense, the relationships board is full of women putting up with a man-child. These men do exist and generally just further burden the woman.

Solopower1 Sat 18-May-13 11:04:10

In the 1980s, if I had decided, as a single parent, to stay at home to look after my kids and to go on benefits, no-one would have criticised me for it. People would have thought, right, someone has to look after the children, so why not their mother? People would have understood that it is extremely difficult to do two full-time jobs (three, if you count the housework) and would never have presumed to tell others that they had to work themselves so hard.

(On the other hand, there were fewer job opportunities for women and even less childcare, so I am not harping back to better times. Just kinder ones, maybe).

Iggi101 Sat 18-May-13 11:27:47

The problem with not marrying a sexist man is that it is very easy for men to appear feminist in outlook when living the life of a single, childfree man. Living together or, in particular, having children often seems to force the unlikeliest of couples into very traditional gender roles. That first maternity leave usually alters everything. sad

AnnoyedAtWork Sat 18-May-13 12:09:06

Amen to that iggi

AnnoyedAtWork Sat 18-May-13 12:11:56

My DP found it hard to adjust to living together (I already had dd) and he is in no way sexist. But always contributed 50% plus to housework and dc responsibilities and still does although happier now he grew up a bit! I think it's hard for both men and women to go from the "single life" & by that I mean no dc - to running around like a headless chicken with no time for yourself

Saddayinspring2 Sat 18-May-13 12:41:31

I find with ds , 11, I have a lady who picks him up from school, takes him home, does tea and tidies a bit in the kitchen and sorts out the washing . She cleans on other days too.
When he goes to secondary she will be at the house when he gets off the bus and continue same for a while.
This ensures I can work full time, someone sensible is keeping on top of the house and an eye on ds while he is at the imbetweenie stage. Tbh I will probably keep her with me even as he grows over the next few years... It's nicer for him and overall costs are not too bad, about £. 150 to £200 per month max and saves me cleaning all day Saturday.
Childminding when he was younger meant he had a bit of company but wasn't home or fed till late and that's why we changed.

Saddayinspring2 Sat 18-May-13 12:43:00

She is not a childminder but used to be Housematron in Boarding schools so she knows what she is doing!!

AlienAttack Sat 18-May-13 13:28:06

saddayinspring2 I'm staggered you can get all that help for less than £200 per month. A quick calculation suggests that's £50 per week, so for 5 days it is £10 per day. Assuming "after school" means 3.30to 6pm, that suggests you're paying £4per hour?! Below minimum wage. Where I live, a childminder or a cleaner would require at least £7 per hour...let alone if they were expected to be a childminder and a cleaner at the same time!

Saddayinspring2 Sat 18-May-13 13:41:23

No, don't like to say too much in case this is seen but 7 pounds per hour. My dh has half day per week so only four days and only in term time and not when we have annual leave... This all arranged to suit her choice of hours at the start.

Saddayinspring2 Sat 18-May-13 13:42:45

She cleans separately once a week. Ds fully independent, about half of the time she is here she sits down and watches a DVD with him etc or he is in an after school activity [ smile]

mrscraig Sat 18-May-13 14:53:16

I have found this too.

I went back to teaching when dd1 (now 10) was 6 months old. I have now changed my part time hours to five mornings a week as this will hopefully be far more beneficial to her (and my other daughter) than three whole days.
I thought they would 'need' you less as they got older but actually they seem to need you more, just differently.

I think for the first time since I had my children I might just be able to strike a work-life balance (am keeping fingers and other parts crossed!).

itsallshitandmoreshit Sat 18-May-13 15:15:47

I actually really disagree. 3DCs and definitely easier the older they get.
I've always had the feeling I've had very difficult babies/toddlers though.

thebody Sat 18-May-13 15:21:16

Little ones are a doddle ( generally)

Until you have teenagers with the usual baggage of hormones, drinking, influences, sex, GCSEs and then uni.

Crippling uni fees as trust me no student can actually 'live' on the loan as it all goes in rent.

My youngest is 13 now And although all of mine have been good kids its much much easier when you know where they are and who they are with.

When they are out and about that's when you really understand how truly heart wrenching parenting is.

stepawayfromthescreen Sat 18-May-13 15:31:49

I'm really not sure I'd want to outsource their entire childhood to staff, Xenia style.
The hackneyed old phrase 'why have 'em?' springs to mind.
Nannies all week and then paid weekend staff to drive them to birthday parties??? Wtf?

thebody Sat 18-May-13 15:50:13

Yes agree step.

Not all of us are working to pay for staff to outsource our kids.

Most work to pay for the essentials and that's got bugger all to do with feminism or choices.

LittleFeileFooFoo Sat 18-May-13 15:55:41

I take my dc to work with me, so I am hoping it gets easier once he is at school because I'm now doing two jobs at once!

morethanpotatoprints Sat 18-May-13 16:31:51

The body,

totally agree teenage years are harder. I guess you just have to trust that everything you do with them during childhood pays off.
Its easy when you have control over friends and where they go, its great to have a certain influence.
I found that after 15+ they tend to come back to you in a more grown up way and can talk without the hormones having an affect.
13 -15 they lose their backbone, or so it seems. They want to stink in bed and vegetate like a lump of jelly. They sometimes regress at this stage and its like having a toddler that doesn't move till midday. grin

working9while5 Sat 18-May-13 18:25:55

Morethanpotatoprints, that's a great description. I only have teeny weenies right now (3, nearly 1) but I've worked in secondary schools and they are such babies at that age and it's great when they snap out of it!

Saddayinspring2 Sat 18-May-13 19:36:57

In my case, only went back to work a few years ago..this was the only way to do it. I guess we all have our own story.

funnyperson Sat 18-May-13 20:35:33

'working to pay for essentials' is an interesting concept as it assumes that childcare is not an essential.

hefferlump Sat 18-May-13 20:53:56

Completely agree. My DS is 5 1/2 now and I am leaving my job at the end of this year. Both of us are finding it increasingly more difficult emotionally and practically. Very fortunate that I am able to do this and I can't wait to be able to drop him off at school at 'normal' time and collect him later on when school finishes instead of after school club.

I'm a single parent in my 40's now. Need to take time out to look after both of us.

sherbetpips Sat 18-May-13 22:38:17

Finding it way harder with every year, dreading seniors.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 18-May-13 23:03:03


Ah, it is a shame I think that so much is put on them at this age. I have 2 ds who have been through this stage and dd 9 yrs, still to come yet.

Personally, I have never seen working to pay for childcare as essential, but i didn't want to continue with a career. I know some people see it as a way of life and essential to daily living.


Good luck to you. We are so lucky if we can make these choices. Please don't think me silly but I used to take wellies to school if it was raining and we'd jump in puddles and get soaked on the way home, or good weather straight to the park. The hours after school before bedtime are magic.
You both will have such good fun and I'm so pleased for you grin

somanymiles Sun 19-May-13 01:50:42

I think it is just different, not necessarily harder. I have DS1 who is 13, DD who is 10 and DS2 who is 2. I am at home at the moment, but worked part-time last year. I have worked part-time, actually up to .9FTE since DS1 was born. Full time just eludes me because it just takes one child to be sick or in crisis mode over something and the whole house of cards comes toppling down. For the older children they can be left on their own quite a lot, BUT homework is more crucial and sometimes you do need to help them, if only by cracking the whip and turning off FaceBook, plus emotional issues like girlfriends crop up and you need to be there to deal with it.

For the little ones they are more likely to be up in the night or sick, even if they are with a childminder during the day.

I have a big gap with my lot, and I must say it has not been easy because I got used to having a bit more freedom with the big ones - you can't excatly phone up a two year old and say "I'm going to be a bit late home from work, love, so help yourself to a slice of toast if you get hungry."!

NannyPlumIsMyMum Sun 19-May-13 03:59:41


I posted a very similar comment the other day .

I find it more exhausting than ever now ( and I have a very unsympathetic boss sad).

Xenia Sun 19-May-13 09:18:04

stepm, wasn;t really like that at all. We were like the parent about who had some to collect from school do tea and homework supervsision and left at 6pm. I do not call that outsouring it all to staff.

When the older 3 were little and their father was working on Saturdays we did have someone who took whichever child was at a Sat pm birthday party there and back and that really helped but it meant we or I was home with the baby and the toddler whilst the 5 year old was being driven around.
The same when we had 5 children - we had someone for ap eriod on Sat and Sunday 9 - 1 who looked after the twins except when I was breastfeeding them. It was not that we were ignoring the family. It was that if one gorgeous young sixth former who adores babies and wants to give them 100% attention for 4 hours you then have time for the other 3 children and GCSE questions and/or reading the paper.

olgaga Sun 19-May-13 10:05:05

I imagine life is easier full stop if you want to employ someone else to do your parenting - and can afford it.

Not everyone wants to parent via a third party though, or could afford it even if they wanted to.

If you do that right from the start, as Xenia has, and your children don't know any different, I imagine it works quite well.

I wouldn't want to be the parent or the child in that situation though.

Saddayinspring2 Sun 19-May-13 10:20:54

I think it's nicer for a child to ne able to eat at home, free of all school bags and to relax, go to scouts etc rather than be stuck in after school club where they hang around waiting to go from about finish and round here, anyway , is deadly dull.
The working day does not and will not ever finish at three pm. That is a fact. So if you want to resurrect your career and help with finances, it can be a good way ( for me from age eight or so) to have a well looked after child and still manage to work full time.
Thankfully I finish by five on routine days , shift working slack has to be taken up by my dh... I had to wait many years for his shift working to finish before taking that role on myself. You have to combine your children's ages and needs and finances and available care into it all to get something that works.

Do I sense a sort of inverted snobbery here where people don't mind at all about after school care but seem to be being stuffy about care provided by an employed person within the house? Even if the hours are the same?

Saddayinspring2 Sun 19-May-13 10:21:23


Bonsoir Sun 19-May-13 10:22:58

It is fine to outsource childcare - the issue is the extent to which you need to do so. Most high-paying careers require an awful lot of personal investment - I don't know anyone with a good job in their mid-30s (or older) who can get home for 6pm every night. Or even any night.

Saddayinspring2 Sun 19-May-13 10:43:14

Hence the lack of women achieving the higher levels in their careers.

Bonsoir Sun 19-May-13 10:46:46


Xenia Sun 19-May-13 10:48:13

I don't agree. I earn rather a lot. I work based at home. The commute is zero. Also most two career couples share home so one gets home earlier one night and the other the next. You can pick up emails once you are home and people get used to the time you do leave. Loads of women own businesses and set their own rules. However I certainly agree that those women and men who like their work (and families) tend to put a lot of effort into both and to be successful at anything often means working hard.

however there is working hard and working smart. If I earn the UK minimum weekly full time 2wage in an hour (which I think I just about do) then I am working smart rather than hard. The fact I choose to work more than one hour a week I suppose is a choice but then it is a choice not to be on benefits in the UK. if people think parents and children including fathers should never be out of the sight of a child under 5 then the logical conclusion is never work and claim off the state, both of you so each child has 100% of a parent.

Women married to sexist men of course have a much harder deal. If you earn double what your husband does it is unlikely he will expect you to be the one rushing home every night and you'd be a fool to get yourself into that position. Much better if you try to leave work at 5.30 or 6 on 2 nights a week, he does 2 more and the nanny stays until 8 on the fifth night.

Bonsoir Sun 19-May-13 10:48:14

I also think that this is the only real issue stopping women from scaling the same career heights as men en masse. Everything else misses the point.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sun 19-May-13 10:48:47

There is nothing wrong with having help in the house, and, with several kids of differing ages, its a good idea. Having an extra adult to help out would take the pressure off, and allow the parent to be less put upon, and maybe get a bit more actual relaxed time with dc, which is better than one frazzled, knackered mum trying to do every little thing.
I think that your set up is a good one sadday. It us nicer for dc to be at home, and its a nice job for someone if they are paid ok. My mum is still in touch with one of our childminders! She was great- she was laid back, but was there if we needed her, usually just to chat to.

Bonsoir Sun 19-May-13 10:49:40

"Also most two career couples share home so one gets home earlier one night and the other the next."

No they don't. They have someone else take care of the DC.

Your personal, anecdotal story is not representative of the constraints of institutional/corporate life, which is the reality for nearly everyone.

Xenia Sun 19-May-13 10:51:43

We cross posted. Bs means that sexist men cause failure of female careers or she logically must mean that - that where men exopect women to bury their careers on the altar of male career ambition they and their families suffer for it. If instead you share your desire to be home for bed time etc when children are young then it works out much better all round.

Also bear in mind the time when children are little is very very short even if you spread it over as many years as I have. I am almost into my fourth decade as a working mother with children - youngest just left prep school, oldest 28. So that 30 year career as a mother which will in due course be a 50 or 60 year career as a full time working mother most of it will be with children who are not under 5. So if we accept the period when they are under 5 is very hard whether you are working or not or part time as not you can do a lot more favours for your children and you and your long term earning potential if you dont' lose your never and go part time and lose 50 years of earning power at £100k a year or whatever just so you have a few years of doing the terribly dull school run and cooking endless meals at 5pm. It is not worth it.

Bonsoir Sun 19-May-13 10:52:57

Don't put words in my mouth Xenia. This is not an issue of sexism, it is an issue of parenting (and I use that word on purpose).

emskin Sun 19-May-13 11:13:52

i love working,im alone parent working pt.i think it gives me self worth and gives my son a good work ethic

Iggi101 Sun 19-May-13 11:19:19

"cooking endless meals at 5pm" - that is my absolute least favourite time of day! Sometimes I put them in the car and they eat at the local supermarket cafe - is that outsourcing of parenting as I'm not cooking?
I think most people would agree that working five days a week and not seeing your kids till 8 o'clock at night is not a good thing But we then all disagree about exactly how much time away from a parent is a good thing. Some dcs with a sahm spend a lot of after-school time in clubs, so not seeing anyone for those times. (By the way how does any child go to scouts in the afternoon? They are evening groups, and need to be given they are staffed by adult volunteers with day jobs!). Some people are also very lucky to have family to help them out, and those who rely on paid help to go to a party etc presumably don't have a gran popping in to do the same.
I have chosen the part-time route post ML, and while I'm not in any high-flying field (education) not wanting full-time work just now rules me out of a new job or a promotion. Have hit a wall in career terms. I do hate it when we end up talking about out-sourcing parenting. Never seems to be an issue for men to hand it over to their partners does it.

Xenia Sun 19-May-13 11:33:42

Iggi has it. These comments are never directed at men. They are never told why did you have children at all if you work. Women are.

Both of us chose to get home by 6 or 6.30 most days. Obviously that does affect your working life in many careers but I know a lot of men who like to get back to do bed time stories etc too. If you have more than two children it is very helpful if both parents are there. My father even in the 1960s did that - he often did a story to the youngest whilst my mother did the oldest.

We also ensured we lived near where one of us worked which helped too.

I do encourage my children to pick careers where ultimately they might work for themselves or set up on their own. It can give you a lot more money and power and control over your life and is one reason women are particularly good at running businesses.

I would say to younger women play the longer game - think about your 30 years post children and what you think your career will be like at age 50 - 75 or 80 or whatever and whether you will like that work and whether it will pay what you want it to pay.

Saddayinspring2 Sun 19-May-13 11:35:29

It's difficult to generalise.
If there are two parents at home then seeing one parent at five thirty pm and the second at seven pm is acceptable. In my case once a week I am not back until 11 pm.I would not outsource that to my lady, only to dh.
It also depends very much n the child. My elder children were very lively and needed a lot of careful parenting esp when together, my youngest ds is very easy going .

AnnoyedAtWork Sun 19-May-13 11:37:45

I agree the ideal for dual career couples is to take turns coming home in time for pickup and dinner etc and that is what we do. Because we earn similar money - I earn a bit more actually - there is no question of my work getting second priority.

However I agree with both points of view as I think it is really really hard without a nanny or similar and there seems to be a huge leap from jobs where it's possible to regularly leave "on time" and jobs where you can't, with nothing in between.

If we had another DC we would have to have a nanny and I would see less of the kids cos it would be easier not to HAVE to come home which would be a shame. But I think that nannies can help if it means that the parents get quality time eg for 1 hr after dinner rather than me trying to cook and blackberry and organise everyone then losing my rag cos I'm stressed!

peteypiranha Sun 19-May-13 11:39:33

I agree with xenia all full time working couples I know have one parent home before the other, and it just swaps round.

Wishihadabs Sun 19-May-13 11:53:36

We pay our housekeeper £12 p/h she is around 3:30-7:30 on Fridays (the one day we both WOH). So the dcs can chill in their own environment, she also cooks us all dinner smile. Not cheap though and is deliberately Friday's so no homework. Personally I wouldn't want this solution everyday.

Parajse Sun 19-May-13 11:56:06

My solution at the moment is to take DD to work with me. I'm a dance teacher, so she just joins in at the back of my/my colleagues' classes, which she loves, until my mum can pick her up. It works brilliantly at the moment, but I'm dreading the day she decides she doesn't like dancing anymore! I'm incredibly lucky to have a job that means I can do that though.

totallystumped Sun 19-May-13 14:03:23

I'm a single mum with a fulltime job and I find it harder now that mine are 12 and 13. When they were younger I got longer after they went to bed to do "stuff" I wanted/needed to do. Now I find I'm running out of energy by "bedtime" and getting hardly any "me" time. I'm even one of the lucky ones in that mine aren't too demanding and are capable of whipping up the evening meal if I've had an especially bad/tiring day (so I suppose there is a bit of swings and roundabouts)

Xenia Sun 19-May-13 14:39:53

Agree with ts, that you lose the evenings when you have teenagers. There comes a point when you may go to sleep before they even do. We have almost 24/7 someone awake - if you add 3 teenagers to two working parents plus twin babies feeding every few hours at weekends you might get teenagers in bed to noon with babies having been up since 5am.

The classic solution if you had a spare room was a cheap au pair once children were at school although we never did that as I did not want someone living in. There are loads of unemployed out there are present and plenty are very bright university students who are good with chidlren if you live in a town. I f you advertise you will get masses of people who can do school collection bring children back to your house cook for them and make sure they start homework/do music practice and work from say 3 - 6pm weekdays. It can be worth taking that hit on cost if it means you can keep a career on track which you will then enjoy for 20 years after children leave home when a lot of ex housewives get rather fed up have no money and their husbands disappear with the money with a younger woman.

losingtrust Sun 19-May-13 18:31:30

To be honest I like having time with my 12 year old ds in the evenings. Dd in bed and this really is the time when we talk. At weekends when they are both up late and manic, I am lucky enough to have another sitting room although we have film nights and stuff. I find it nice although sometimes I do need to work evenings from home but just work in the same room. Key for working while being a parent is getting to a decent level in your career before having kids so you can choose your hours and be respected even if you leave at 4.30 to be home with your kids - many men do leave early now too. My age group men seem to be child friendly. When I was married we used to work different hours around the kids but as some have suggested my 50/50 man became a man child. He is back to 50/50 now he has no kids and moved far enough away to be out of the link. I had a woman who came in the mornings and paid £8 per hour. It worked well which meant I could go to work early and leave early.

BlackholesAndRevelations Sun 19-May-13 21:42:41

Xenia- just one little thing. Not all of us have the ability or potential (or good fortune) to earn £100k a year. I'd say you were in the minority really.

LongStory Sun 19-May-13 21:45:28

My 13yo DS asked me the other day if I could go full time, so we could get more stuff and go on a proper holiday!!!

Permanentlyexhausted Sun 19-May-13 22:54:45

I'm certainly finding it harder as they get older at the moment although having my children in two different primary schools isn't helping. I expect things to get slightly less manic come September when they are both at the same school.

We both work full time and arrange our hours to suit. When DH isn't home in the mornings, I am, and vice versa for the afternoons.

MoetEtPantsOn Mon 20-May-13 01:08:50

I wanted to add to the mix that the wrap around care at my DCs' school is full with a 12 month waiting list. So you can't just assume they will get in and the decision to work or not is in your hands. I have a toddler at daycare and to pay for an after school nanny in addition would mean it wasn't worth me working. So I don't any more. It's a great novelty this year to have two free days to myself but can see it grating long term.

Xenia Mon 20-May-13 11:31:26

Black, yes but just because people are female does not mean they are not clever or hard working enough to earn £100k and their men are (not that I could easily live on as little as £100k anyway)..... and the same principle applies if both husband and wife earn £20k a year - you share things fairly and do not prioritise a man's career just because he has a penis. Yours is just as important. you are just as important. That leads to happier relationships - fairness and sharing and mutual respect of the career of the other.

Bonsoir Mon 20-May-13 13:39:35

"That leads to happier relationships - fairness and sharing and mutual respect of the career of the other."

Yes, Xenia, and your suggested course of action, which of course you followed yourself, led to your long, happy marriage that will end with "and death..." hmm

Iggi101 Mon 20-May-13 17:23:37

Hard to argue that mutual respect of each other's careers is a bad thing, surely.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 20-May-13 18:44:12

I guess at the end of the day,I doubt that any forum populated mainly by men has a thread on it about how working gets harder as their kids get older. And for every woman who says " dh does 50/50" are 99 women who give up the very idea of a real career, because they are held 100% responsible for childcare.
Of course, being a Lp makes it a lot harder to have a real job, but having a husband does not appear to me to make it half as hard. Whereas having a wife...

Ledkr Mon 20-May-13 18:49:57

I've always thought this tbh. Even when they are teens it's hard cis they mess up your house, have all their mates in, eat all the food and run up big phone bills.
Much easier when babies.

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 20-May-13 20:09:53

I find it a little sad that a lot of these threads get derailed this way so they turn into a "aren't you stupid for marrying a man who doesn't do exactly 50% of the childcare what a complete fool you are" rather than discussing what is actually an interesting topic in it's own right.

The topic posed by the OP is does it get harder to be a WOHM as DCs get older. I guess to avoid all this circular discussion which seems very similar to countless other threads, we could perhaps make it neutral as in does it become harder to be a working parent as they get older.

Maybe I'm just sad, while I agree that it becomes a bit logistically harder as DS gets older ( and yes I know I'm lucky I only have one - believe me it was not our personal choice to have it that way) but I also want to be there for him. I want to be there at his sports day, parents evening, have his friends over and pick him up from school a couple of days a week so he can play with his friends on the close.

Yes I guess I could work 5 full days a week and DS would survive. He would go to the after school which he isn't particularly keen on and would do his homework exhausted after dinner.

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 20-May-13 20:16:55

And Bonsoir, whilst I'm not sure how long your post will stay up I have to agree with what you are saying. Mutual respect of each other to me is not just about what job you do, it's also about your parenting and mutual respect and appreciation of roles within the household.

I took a step back at work and one of the reasons was to make sure I had a strong and healthy marriage. DH was unable to do 50% of childcare and household chores as he just isn't here that much during the week. He's a contractor and doesn't have the option of quitting work at a certain time 2 days a week, if he did his contract wouldn't be extended and we would have no money to pay the bills.

I was getting more and more exhausted and enjoying being a mother less and less, so I took the decision to cut back my work to support my other roles. I guess I could pick it up when DS gets older, but actually I like my life a lot better now and I'm a nicer mother and wife.

Everyone's circumstances and personalities are different, I hate this one size fits all version of feminism.

Joiningthegang Mon 20-May-13 20:29:14

Not read all of this but yanbu

In some ways much harder - what child are is there for 12-14 yr olds so that I can work in the holidays?
Constant things on at primary school in the middle of the day - oh the irony of missing a safeguarding board to pick up a poorly child
But as others have said they aren't as constant as they were and I get more sleep.

Maybe not actually harder op, just constantly different and I feel I am constantly blagging this parenting malarkey

stepawayfromthescreen Mon 20-May-13 20:30:57

Xenia, you talk about what's right for a happy, equal relationship, but you got divorced didn't you? 2 parents working full time puts massive strain on a marriage. All the stats point towards kids doing better when their parents stay together, so your comments about kids with 2 full time working parents doing better seem a tad misjudged.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 20-May-13 20:33:15

I think you have just made my point originalandbest.

Saddayinspring2 Mon 20-May-13 22:42:23

Don't get personal towards Xenia.. She is simply saying that women should look at the longer picture and not give up their careers for their husbands careers! Yes to that

Iggi101 Mon 20-May-13 22:48:01

I do wonder what all these (there are a lot mentioned on MN) men who work away from home, or exceptionally long hours, would do should they ever find themselves as a single parent - say, widowed. There is a real get-out-of-jail-free card handed to men I think. Many women seem to think "I can't take that job, the hours won't fit with my other responsibilities", but men think "I can take that job and then dw will need to stay at home".
btw I sometimes give advice on dieting threads, yet I am fat, shoot me now hmm

Iggi101 Mon 20-May-13 22:49:10

stepaway have you found research that shows divorce rates are higher amongst couples who both work full-time? If not your argument is, as I rather suspect, a crock of shit.

BlackholesAndRevelations Mon 20-May-13 22:52:13

Sadday- my point was that not everyone is as bloody rich as she is and therefore can't afford to make working worthwhile. That comment about not being able to survive on as little as £100k a year (or whatever it was she said) made my blood boil.

If there's little financial reward for "outsourcing" hmm your children's upbringing then what's the point in them struggling, you struggling, your partner/husband struggling?

In answer to the op, I'm cutting down my hours because I couldn't ever imagine not being there for my children when they finish school, at least some of the time.

stepawayfromthescreen Mon 20-May-13 22:56:37

where did I quote divorce stats for full time working parents?
Oh, that's right. I didn't. What I said is that 2 full time working parents puts huge strain on marriage. It's hard keeping all the balls up in the air.
I should know. I tried it.
And I do think it's hypocritical for a longtime prolific poster, who's evangelical about the right way to co parent, the right way to have a 'non sexist, equal relationship where everything is scientifically split 50/50, to neglect to mention the fact that her relationship didn't remain intact.

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 20-May-13 22:58:48

Is there any evidence to support the claim that two parents both working full time puts massive strain on a relationship?

Purely anecdotal, obviously, but the evidence among my family and friends would suggest quite the opposite.

stepawayfromthescreen Mon 20-May-13 23:00:26

I think it's disingenuous to present an argument, implying that you've got the perfect formula for a modern marriage when the reality doesn't reflect that.

stepawayfromthescreen Mon 20-May-13 23:01:38

Is there any evidence to show it?!!
Are you kidding?
It's all over bloody Mumnset all the bloody time!

Permanentlyexhausted Mon 20-May-13 23:05:50

Is it? I can't say I've noticed. Having kids certainly puts a strain on a relationship but I can't recall noticing more complaints from working parents than SAHP. Maybe I don't look in the right forums.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-May-13 23:14:29

I do agree with "Stepaway*

There does seem to be a lot of threads and posters saying that 2 parents working puts a strain on their relationship.
I think the difference is that maybe we all tend to notice the opposite to what we do, more than our own situation.
I think childcare and what people expect from the other is the biggest strain.
But yes there are many AIBU threads where the subject is about roles and responsibilities in terms of both working.

Dozer Mon 20-May-13 23:21:42

It's good that xenia is flying the flag for women aspiring to high salaries and men doing their share of childcare etc.

I don't have a problem with the argument that DC benefit from parents spending a lot of time with them. But why is it almost always the women who go PT, "work to rule" or are the SAHP?

olgaga Mon 20-May-13 23:24:21

[[Working women are more than three times more likely to be divorced than their stay-at-home counterparts Working women are more than three times more likely to be divorced than their stay-at-home counterparts]

You can read the full study here

Xenia aren't you always telling us how you ended up paying 60% of your joint assets/£1million (varies according to thread) to you ex-husband?

That's encouraging! grin

stepawayfromthescreen Mon 20-May-13 23:25:35

but when Xenia refers to sahm's in her derogatory way, talking about the 'dross drudgery' of domestic work, talking about her island and how difficult it is to live on a mere 100k, she alienates alot of people.
It cancels out the positive, frankly.

olgaga Mon 20-May-13 23:25:48
Joiningthegang Mon 20-May-13 23:48:40

I haven't read the link - are sahm less likely to be divorced because of the fear of being single - lack of income from own work etc mean that they put up with more ?
Just wondered

Joiningthegang Mon 20-May-13 23:52:13

Skimmed it - so essentially working women are more independent, confident, and would feel they could manage without a husband.

I would rather be a working woman who would feel able to get divorced if the need arise that reliant on my husband and feel unable to leave

Divorce isn't a bad thing if the relationship is not good

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 20-May-13 23:58:02

What iggi said at 22.48. Exactly that.
This is not a wohm/ sahm debate.
Those debates are pointless. Men don't have those debates. Have you never noticed that? Because they just assume that, if they need to work longer hours, or work away, etc, their wife will adjust as needed. I am not an advocate of never seeing my kid. As a lp I have only recently worked ft. But I do wonder how much better my career would be if I had the kind of traditional wife I so many mnetters seem to be.
And btw, marriage itself is bad for women. Statistically, married women have shorter lives than single women. On the other hand, statistically, married men live a lot longer than single men. Funny that.

TokenGirl1 Tue 21-May-13 00:15:33

Thank you for this post.

You've just confirmed for me that I'd be silly to apply for the 3 day a week post that I've seen recently starting the week that my dd starts Reception.

My gut feeling was that three days when she would be without me would be too much and that she will really need me to be there.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 00:35:37

it's always a bad thing for children though, so it irks to hear Xenia talking about positive healthy relationships when every study ever carried out since studies began indicates that divorce harms children. Xenia says that 2 fulltime working parents is best for kids, but with those divorce stats, who's she kidding?

Saddayinspring2 Tue 21-May-13 03:47:14

But there is no link I'm aware of between working parents and divorce?

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 05:40:30

Yes financially independent women are more likely to have the freedom to leave a bad relationship so maybe that's why more are divorced! I know which I would rather be - always have the choice and money gives you autonomy if the worst should happen and your relationship break down.

As several have mentioned below, the problem is that childcare and so the career sacrifice to do a less well paid job / part time / one with less prospects nearly always fall on women. Why should it be ok for dads to just see their kids at 7pm and at weekends but not for mums?
Also many men do turn sexist once kids come along.

I reckon the best way to combat this is to make sure you earn more money than the man you marry BEFORE you have kids - then you can't be forced to give up your career automatically. All women can do this - make wise choices - women are already considered subservient in society so we need to push hard the other way to balance this out!

I would never sacrifice any part of my career unless my OH also committed a similar sacrifice (eg both work 4 days, or WFH one day). That's a rule to protect myself and also to keep out relationship on an equal footing.

I also think that both working only puts a strain on the relationship in the way that it's busy and stressful to juggle everything BUT I read that relationships where one is sah and the other commutes to work in another town have the highest failure rate because they end up living separate lives. I think the traditional separate roles make it harder to empathise and admire each other, even if your OH works nearby.

Mominatrix Tue 21-May-13 06:12:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Iggi101 Tue 21-May-13 07:36:13

"where did I quote divorce stats for full time working parents?
Oh, that's right. I didn't. What I said is that 2 full time working parents puts huge strain on marriage."

Your argument that having two parents working was bad for kids relied on this: saying the children need two parents together, parents more likely to get divorced if both working, ergo both working bad for kids. Your argument relied on the premise that both working leads to divorce.

There are numerous threads on mumsnet too from women saying they are unhappy with dh's attitude now they are sahm, or that they resent the uneven distribution of money or leisure time - unless someone has the time to trawl through the site tallying how many dissatisfied threads are started by wohm as opposed to sahm, I don't think we can use mumsnet as conclusive evidence of anything!

peteypiranha Tue 21-May-13 08:15:23

If your working its much less likely have the types of arguments you read on here about on here about housework/childcare. When one is at home the default is often they are the skivvy, and the working partner gets to go out more and have an easy ride.

If your both working parents, and always has been then ime the set up is much more equal. It depends what you want but I dont want to show my daughters that all I do is run around after others completely sacrificing myself like some other mums I know.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 09:21:03

from the couples I know who divorced, all of them (except one)had 2 fulltime workers. The couple I know best, it had nothing to do with the financial freedom of the woman (they're both screwed financially by divorce so she'd chuckle at that notion, frankly) and everything to do with them being ships in the night. They both commuted, dropping their child (they only had one child, should be easier right?) off with cm at 7am, picking him up at 6.30, trying to do everything (having it all not the same as doing it all, sadly)...they grew apart and he is now in a new relationship, has had another baby and his girlfriend is a sahm. Coincidence? Depending on where you're coming from, you can read all sorts of reasons into the divorce rate of 2 fulltime working households with kids, but ultimately need to remember the affect divorce has on kids, which is always shattering, no matter how many times people harp on about 'resilient kids'

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 09:25:00

and yes, have a look at the study upthread. 2 fulltime working parents = considerably higher divorce rate. Yes, working women might have more financial freedom, but that's often not enough to finance 2 households following divorce. That's not the real issue, as far as I've witnessed. The real issue is the stress of managing a fulltime career, a house, children and the balls come crashing down when the juggling becomes unsustainable.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 09:36:28

and to give this thread some perspective: this is in response to Xenia ad Infinitum saying that the best thing for children is always 2 fulltime working parents. From the child's perspective, this is absolutely not true.

Oblomov Tue 21-May-13 09:36:41

I am not sure which bit I have found hardest. Or fear, that I have the worst to come -teenages - Kevin and Perry type moods and hormonal angst.
I found toddler hard. I limit ds1's activities, so I only do drop off a couple of times a week. Ds2 starts school, so then I will soon have 4 activities to contend with. And thtas only limiting them to 2 each. Plus school short notice for trips and mufti days and dressing up days, drives me mad.
Many of ds1's friends can not come round for tea because they only have one night off a week!! - busy 6 out of 7 nights, so I am told.hmm - inbetween, guitar practice, swimming, judo, violin, football all weekend etc. Apparently.

LedaOfSparta Tue 21-May-13 09:57:33

You are so so right! My baby is perfectly happy at pt childcare but the activities of my older boys take some coordinating. That's also without the 'school day' things they are horribly disappointed about if you can't attend. This week at Infants and Juniors we have a funrun (today), a school play (thurs), a picnic (thurs) and a maths morning (fri ), thankfully I'm on maty leave at the mo but it'll be nigh on impossible when I'm back at work.

peteypiranha Tue 21-May-13 10:49:34

Stepawayfromthescreen - Thats all anecdotal. My life is a breeze compared to before as the housework has gone down by about 70% as no ones in.

If a persons marriage is so weak that working full time stresses them out then it wouldnt last death, illness, or actual real stresses anyway.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 11:50:34

'My life is a breeze'
Said no working parent.

Xenia Tue 21-May-13 11:58:31

Mom, that's a rather unfair quote. The press never print what you say. First of all it isn't what was said. Neither of us would ever use that appalling word "kids" (verboten in my home) and secondly their father worked until 6 at school and 1 - 2 evenings a week and taught pupils all day on Saturday (and often played the organ on Sunday). We shared a work ethic. It is however accurate that as he worked near where we lived he usually got home first but even so I was always back around 6.30 just about most days and then from 94 worked from home.

Also it is potentially an outing that quote so I'd rather people did not do that.

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 12:25:00

and then from 94 worked from home

Surely you must see that wohming until the age of 94 is only available to a limited few?

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 12:25:01

Xenia it does out you, a quick googling of that quote leads to your personal website with names, addresses and email etc. so I hope Mumsnet removes it quickly.
Xenia, why can't you just accept that other people don't want or envy your life? You might enjoy being exceedingly busy and outsourcing the children, seeing a lot less of them. But most people are not happy with that sort of existence. I work a lot less than you do, with fewer children, and feel stretched. Also, it's quite dishonest of you to imply that you have the perfect family life, because you didn't stay together.
Yes, sorry, that is personal. But you've mentioned it before on here, and it's a crucial missing part of your argument.
I absolutely abhor your attitude to people who look after children and do domestic work. I assume you feel this way about the women who run around after you so you can work 13 hours a day? That they are poorly educated numpties happy to contend with the dross drudgery which is so beneath you? You might have scaled the dizzy heights career wise, but your attitude to other human beings is shockingly lacking in empathy and tolerance. I don't think the career achievements mean a single thing if you have such a negative attitude to other human beings.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 12:37:42

and if we were all working from home setting up our own businesses etc. who'd teach your kids in their private schools and treat them when you take them to the hospital etc? Who'd serve you in Waitrose and who'd take your rubbish away? Oh, that's right. Those silly fools who take those poorly paid 15-50k jobs! The stupid idiots!

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 12:39:16

but to be fair, I am seriously impressed that you can earn hundreds of thousands of pounds and own your own island whilst posting so frequently on forums like this!

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 12:45:28

I have no history of mental illness, but it is quite possible that I would have topped myself had I had to stay at home. I like a clean house. I even quite like cleaning. I like my children.

But 24 hours a day doing that would have sent me round the twist. Where's the adrenaline rush? Where's the joy of a complex problem? Where's the stress - everyone needs a bit of external stress just to keep motivated and keep going. A lot of career people feel that way. That's the gulf in comprehension.

There's the money aspect too. If you earn over £100k, which does not seem a lot to me - then it actually doesn't buy you a lot. Particularly in London. I don't know how Xenia managed to send 5 kids to private schools if she only earns £100k a year.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 12:54:09

everyone needs a bit of external stress just to keep motivated and keep going

No they don't!
The time I spend at home is far more relaxing (although not without complex problems or stress, lord knows where you get that amusing generalization from!) than the time I spend at work.
And if you 'would have topped myself' well.. that says more about you, your personality, lack of imagination and motivation on your part, perhaps. And frankly, if you've never done the sahm thing beyond a few months maternity leave, you're poorly qualified to judge.
And as for adrenaline rushes... perhaps it helps that I'm an older Mother. I find adrenaline rushes somewhat overrated these days!

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 13:04:15

I'm 46 - that's quite old really smile

I don't believe that a sahm faces any complex problem-solving. Just a bit of logistics, a lot of squalling children and housework. So no, it wouldn't suit me and I do think that many women are being short-changed from having lovely challenging careers. Don't get me wrong, I like baking, but it's not remotely challenging.

We are digressing though - as we so often do when Xenia introduces the wohm versus sahm thing. Yes, older children require just as much attention in a different way. It doesn't get any easier.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 13:07:07

Just a bit of logistics, a lot of squalling children and housework

I spent eight years as a sahm and I don't recognise this description at all.
How many years have you spent as a sahm, Wuldric?
Oh that's right, none because it would make you top yourself

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 13:10:29

I spent 8 whole months smile Four months for each child smile

Towards the end of each maternity leave, I found myself cooking ever more complex and elaborate meals. Just to keep myself occupied, really. At the end of one such effort (okay I admit that three courses is OTT on a Tuesday night) DH looked at me, and said 'I can't eat any more. It's delicious, but I can't eat any more. You absolutely need to go back to work!' Was true smile

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 13:13:31

Don't think there is a better way it depends on the people. I can see how working couples might grow apart if they are like ships in the night, you have to schedule dates, but equally if one works and one doesn't there is more scope for resentment and even being left for someone "more exciting" outside the world of kids and housework. It is what works for your relationship. I would resent it like hell if I stayed at home and id be bored. My oh would also find me less interesting as I would myself feel that way.

Unfortunately there are not many jobs (with prospects etc) that allow you to help your kids with hwk etc and be around a bit more.

Definitely helps to get more senior before you have kids (I had my dd young and it's hard to compete with childless people).

Xenia Tue 21-May-13 13:13:56

I simply encourage women to take their rightful place in the world along side men as equals who aspire to be leading surgeons not just care home workers. Too many women have far too low expectations.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 13:15:28

And in answer to original post, I feel more needed by dd now she is 8 than when she was tiny. Or even 4/5. I would love to work 5 days in 4 or something but not possible in my profession. I feel I am missing out but the alternative seems to be to give up completely on career!

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 13:16:45

Xenia is right we must take our place as rightful equals to men - why should they not have to make these difficult choices?

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 13:20:34

have far too low expectations.

Low expectations or different desires, different priorities?
My Mother worked in a care home for ten years.
She has no doubt that her presence in that home helped make the final years of the residents better. She wasn't paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a year like you Xenia, but her job was just as important as yours is. I know you don't believe that a care worker does as important a job as you, but you are wrong.
And Xenia, plenty of people would find your work very boring.
I find the law boring.
I considered studying Law, having a good first degree and wondering about a career change. Law appealed because it pays so well. But the more I investigated, the more I realized I'd struggle to stay awake doing the coursework, it was so deathly dull.
A career in Law is not for everyone.

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 13:25:05

If your children squall, you are clearly abnegating responsibility for complex problem-solving wink. Housework is not in the job description of a Stay At Home Mother (read the words carefully).

One of the great attractions of being a SAHP is the creative freedom to live your life as you see fit and outside an institutional / cultural framework. No-one is telling you what to do and you can do as much of it as you wish. Of course, many parents lack the imagination and skills to seize that creative freedom and so cannot see what they would do left to their own devices. Those parents are, indeed, better off in a workplace that structures their day and gives them the purpose they are unable to find for themselves.

Mumsyblouse Tue 21-May-13 13:25:42

Having looked at the Relationships board, I think one reason that many women do not leave their high earning partner if they are a SAHM is because they are financially scared to leave and feel unable to support themselves or their children in anything like a basic standard of living. I have read so many posts saying- I'd love to leave, but I can't, where would I do, how would I earn a living? There's always benefits, or attempting to get maintenance, but I am really saddened by how many women are trapped by this.

I don't think it's that working parents divorce as they are both stressed, but there is some evidence that WOH mums are more likely to have affairs, which is fairly obvious as if you are home all day there's no-one to have an affair with. So, to the extent that you are limited in your economic and romantic choices as a SAH mum, you may be less willing to leave. I don't see this as a good reason to always have the woman at home though!

peteypiranha Tue 21-May-13 13:28:12

Stepawayfromthescreen - Im sitting on the beach right now during my lunch break. No kids, no stress. I get all my washing and ironing done for me. The kids arent messing up the house. I love full time I have to go back to part time in Jan and I am dreading it.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 13:30:02

don't kid yourself Mumsyblouse, the working Mum's are affected too. Running 2 households following a divorce is expensive for both Mothers and Fathers. And since most women work these days, it's mostly working Mothers who are getting divorces!

Xenia Tue 21-May-13 13:31:49

I think it is hard to know if women or men with jobs have more affairs than those without. The mother at home carrying on with the milk man/pool boy/gardener or whatever is not that unusual a scenario. The point for equality though is that women are constantly made to think about work and children and men aren't - except in non sexist marriages.

(I think I tend not to say what I do or what I earn but I certainly think if women (and men) can pick work which will fascinate them for 40+ years they tend to have a better life than if they pick work they do not enjoy and if you can also pick work you love and is high paid - eg owning a string of care homes as a good few women do rather than on £6.20 an hour working in them - you will probably find life is easier).

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 13:36:49

& if you don't work and spend all your time "parenting " cooking and cleaning up after your husband, what are you other than a servant to others? How can you be a positive role model? I suppose it's fine if you think women's function is only to breed and raise the next generation. Sorry but I want more for my life than to be a convenient babysitter while men go and experience the world.

Some people women don't seem to have their own identity beyond being defined as a parent. It makes me angry that women still put themselves in this position.

There is also evidence that kids these days suffer from over parenting don't know how to use their imaginations or be bored. It worries me how the recession has increased the prevalence of sahm. We are seriously going back to the fifties.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 13:42:12

only to raise the next generation
You say that like it's a bad thing!

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 13:42:36

yy - being a house-elf is not a good career choice and nor does it provide an adequate role model for womanhood.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 13:43:41

Madame laBean, what a thoroughly condescending rant that was.
I hope you don't work in diplomacy.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 13:46:15

Raising the next generation should be a joint responsibility of both parents so that they can be their own people too.

Xenia is right - women are constantly made to consider work v children and men are not because all the childcare stuff is assigned as the woman's responsibility automatically. Men are not attacked for wanting to be dads and also have a full time job. In an equal relationship both parents should share the earning and the caring responsibilities.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-May-13 13:48:33


hark at you grin
Tell it how it is.
Having a great day with dd today, we have been to the library, had cake in town, yummy. Bit of maths and English and now she is practising her music and playing with her dad, the most beautiful duets. We are then going to do a bit of history, then to dance classes.
Dh will cook in between teaching a few students and then free for time together tonight.
I too would find far too many restrictions as a wohm. I have even managed a few business deals and a bit of admin as well and its not 2pm yet.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 13:52:21

Morethanpotato, how do you and your dh earn a living? Your day does sound great. I would love it if there could be a happy medium (with the dad doing his fair share!) but for many people there doesn't seem to be one.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-May-13 13:57:53


We have a small LTD company that does lots of musical stuff really. Dh is the musician and I do the business bits and pieces. I have always done this but only just now going to claim a wage and be employed.
We travel a fair bit, but only this country, although dh works abroad quite often.
Our youngest dd is 9 and H.ed since september, she loves music and would practice all day if I didn't keep her focussed on Maths English etc. grin Its great for us as never been conventional types, every day is different and has new challenges.
I know its not for everyone, but it suits us.

stealthsquiggle Tue 21-May-13 13:59:23

Had to scroll through a lot of bun fight to find the OP, but I agree. I have told several colleagues returning from ML to make the best of those early years. It's not about outsourcing parenting - you may well spend as much time with them, but nurseries, CMs, etc fit (within reason) around you, not vice versa. Suddenly when they hit school age, they need you to fit in with their timetable and they feel it much more keenly if you can't be there, no matter how much they accept the realities of life. It is hard to see how thrilled your 10yo is that a parent is there to watch him play in a match without feeling guilty about all the times when neither of us can go, even though he would never actually ask or expect us to be there.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 13:59:27

Eg to do a job that allowed me to start at 9 & be home by 5/6 and not have emergency lates, I would have to take a 60% pay cut and childcare around school hours would cost same as my take home. Granted, OH would pay half but the job would likely have to be something rote which means i would not enjoy it and there would be no point me working ... Or i would have to be self employed but not very easy to do. Etc. THat is why the "happy medium" is hard to find!

CaptainSweatPants Tue 21-May-13 14:07:33

uni t*hats another one. Doing all the open days with dd1 was hard going and impossible if I'd been working. Thankfully I was on maternity leave at the time.

I work at a uni & very few students come with their parents . They're nearly 18 fgs!!!

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 14:11:05

& we also would not have been able to afford to get on property ladder had I not got this job. Now we can look for a bigger house so will have room for dc2 when we decide to ttc.

OH earning megabucks and having the choice for one partner not to work is a luxury but is rare- most families need 2 incomes to get same standard of living that was possible on one not that many years ago (eg own your house, have a car & occasional holidays)

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 14:12:15

that's rather odd. I went to a Uni open day and the vast majority, over 90%, had an adult (parent/relative) with them.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 14:24:59

Ah, so I can see exactly what your problem is laBean.
You have no choice. You have to work.
So not really feminism, just basic economics?
But that doesn't excuse you taking the piss out of women and men who do have a choice.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 14:31:41

house elf?
next time there's a debate on here about what sahm's should call themselves, nevermind full-time mother or 'at home with the kids', use your proper title of house elf, rofl! (sadly it wasn't a joke)

curryeater Tue 21-May-13 14:37:10

MadameLeBean: "There is also evidence that kids these days suffer from over parenting don't know how to use their imaginations or be bored. It worries me how the recession has increased the prevalence of sahm. We are seriously going back to the fifties."

I disagree with this. I believe that SAHMs of the 50s, or housewives as they were called then, were looking after the house and their husband, not their kids. (I remember the 70s, though not the 50s, and that was how it was then in my neck of the woods). Children played out, babies sat in prams, mothers were within shouting distances in case of broken arms, not hovering about going "and do you you remember the difference been cumulus clouds and cirrus clouds?" (If the arm turned out to be just sprained, you got short shrift for making a fuss)

Nowadays WOHPs work in other locations where they are not even in shouting distance, and arguably the children get more attention as someone has to officially take this role on and therefore professionalise it.

I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing. My mother exerted an unusual degree of control over us as medium-sized children but I still felt that no one gave a shit about me. I read threads on here about how much people love their children nowadays, and how concerned they become at things that no one ever noticed in the past, and it makes me sad for how we all were then. We were just a rabble of feral, abused, ignored, smacked, bullied desperadoes, lips stained with kia ora, surviving on desperate barter of chews bought with found 1ps, always only one mojo away from being made to eat bitter privet.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 14:53:21

I do have a choice. I choose to have a fulfilling career. I could afford to live in a small town and rent, and have an pt admin job or rely on OH's wages only , if we didn't live in London. The only reason we live here is because we both work here and it doesn't make sense to have 2 commutes. My point was that MOST families cannot survive on 1 income. Theoretically my household could. However owning my home is important to me where kids are in the picture.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 14:56:42

And please don't twist my words. I was not talking about my own situation. I clearly stated before that I could have opted not to work in my example about taking a pay cut.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:00:45

so what you're saying is that you have to work? So no choice then, basically? Which is the same thing.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-May-13 15:03:41


Don't forget latch key kids and how your mum was looked down upon if she HAD to work. How the man wasn't considered a man if he couldn't provide for his wife to sah.
Ah the good old days of playing out, making dens, mum being home, grin
The problem is now if you actually choose to live like this you are wrong according to many. Obviously don't like the first bit of no choice.
I also agree on a happy medium and feel it is necessary for men to take a share in childcare and domestics. personally, I would never want 50/50 and most men don't either. i do believe we are feminising men too much and they will end up following their heart in the end, leave their wife who requires to do 50%. i have seen it already in a few couples we know. Everytime the wife was surprised the dh didn't want to be mummy all the time but daddy sometimes. Its only my opinion but I like my man to be a man and not a woos.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 15:11:15

No I don't have to work at all. We could live reasonably on oh income. I choose to have a career. I'm going to stop answering your question because you continue to twist my words!

curryeater Tue 21-May-13 15:12:13

Me too, morethanpotatoprints. I think that men should be men, and women should get addicted to gin and valium in desperation at their tragic lives.
Not really, btw.

Actually I couldn't disagree with you more.

I think that children are better looked after than ever before, women have better opportunities than ever before, men are perhaps a bit less sucked up to than they used to be, but, oh well, they'll get used to it. Most of them.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:14:35

*& we also would not have been able to afford to get on property ladder had I not got this job. Now we can look for a bigger house so will have room for dc2 when we decide to ttc.

OH earning megabucks and having the choice for one partner not to work is a luxury but is rare- most families need 2 incomes to get same standard of living that was possible on one not that many years ago (eg own your house, have a car & occasional holidays)*

Your words laBean, not mine!

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:16:38

you couldn't have got on the property ladder without a job, so you had no choice to be a sahm. Maybe that's why sahm's make you 'so angry' which is frankly a rather odd and ott reaction to sahm's unless there's a reason you feel so resentful.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 15:21:52

My working improves our prospects for the future and our standard of living now, yes. That is true of everyone! I maintain that I do have a choice! We as a family could live reasonably on one income.

However I think it is important for women to be independent and have a career and that is why I do not stay at home and why I am not having dc2 yet. And why I still would not stay at home if we were millionaires!

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 15:22:42

We could have, but yet and not in London where I work.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:25:55

I don't believe anyone who says they'd continue to work if they were a millionaire, sorry. I just don't. Especially someone who says that sahm's make her 'angry'
If a sahm told me that working Mums make her 'angry' I'd assume she had a chip on her shoulder. And I'd probably be right.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-May-13 15:26:21


I wasn't saying that men shouldn't take a share, I'm so glad we have moved on from the stereotypical 1950's housewife and Husband bread winner.
I just think that we shouldn't pressurise men into doing more if they are not willing. This surely has to be as bad as expecting a woman to be a sahm when she doesn't want to.
I know some men are happy doing 50% of childcare and domestic and thats fine. My dh isn't happy to do this and I wouldn't push him, the same as he doesn't expect me to decorate, manage the house and car maintenance as I don't want to.
If it suits your family there should be no problem with the choices you make. IME problems can arise when one or both partners feel railroaded into something that isn't them or their choice.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 15:30:40

It makes me angry because I am a feminist! If there were just as many SAHD I would be less annoyed. And yes if we were millionaires I would probably change what I do, but I would not ever spend my life as a housewife.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:33:52

No, you are not a feminist.
A feminist supports the woman who wants to be a sahm as much as she supports the wohp.
You can call yourself a feminist, but it doesn't make you one.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 15:35:51

You have no idea what feminism is. It is not about the individual. It is about the structural oppression of women.

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 15:38:49

I could have stayed at home. Made economies. Forwent nice holidays. Sent my DCs to state schools. So I did have a choice. I chose not to stay at home (for reasons - see below).

I don't know if feminism can be so simply defined - as being the defence of a woman's right to choose. Yes of course she should have the right to choice - but there comes a point when those choices impinge upon others. Take the right of a woman to choose to be a prostitute, or a house elf. Both those choices impact a lot upon other women - whose husbands use prostitutes or who then expect their wives to be house-elves.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:40:11

rubbish! You have no idea what it is.
Feminism isn't about playing patriarchy at its own game, it's about making society a fairer place for everybody. It's about freedom and choices and respect. When you say that sahm's make you 'angry' that's just about the most anti feminist statement you can make. I am staggered that you can't see that.

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 15:42:16

Rather a house-elf than a corporate drone wink

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:43:30

Unbelievably this isn't the first time a poster on Mumnset has compared sahm's to prostitutes. To be fair, the last one to make this comparison admitted the next day that she was pissed when typing.

ChocolateCakePlease Tue 21-May-13 15:45:18

"I don't believe anyone who says they'd continue to work if they were a millionaire, sorry. I just don't."

Ooo i would. It would be a different type of working though - it wouldn't be a job where you had to do all the hours god sends for a crap wage, where you begrudge every minute doing it. You could do a job or create a job that you enjoy doing and that you find fulfilling.

It would be nice to take time off to travel if i were a millionaire but i couldn't think of anything worse than just doing everything as leisure all the time. I would like to have something to else other than that such as a job i love and enjoy doing.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 15:49:08

Yes chocolate cake, it wouldn't resemble any 9-5 drudge though, would it? A fun business venture, perhaps. I'd do that. Pay others to do the bulk of it and pop in every other day to oversee things. Yes, that would be okay!

amazingmumof6 Tue 21-May-13 15:53:53

chocolatecake unless they are Forrest Gump!smile

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 15:54:07

I know someone who recently sold his business for EUR 50 million and then went to California to set up a new business. He was bored being retired in his mid-30s.

curryeater Tue 21-May-13 15:55:04

"I just think that we shouldn't pressurise men into doing more if they are not willing. "
what if the women aren't willing? Then what?

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 15:56:06

So the fact that overwhelmingly the SAHP is female and women have to bear the cost and responsibility of childcare and they are the ones to sacrifice careers is not a feminist issue? Surely that isn't "fair"?

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 15:56:51

But I know dozens of millionaires who keep on working - it's not the money, silly!

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 16:11:27

no, it's not a feminist issue. When a woman gets pregnant, gives birth, breastfeeds, takes maternity leave etc. there's a stronger likelihood of her being pulled to the role of sahm. Dads do it too and that's great, but women have a greater biological pull to their infants. That will always be the case until this planet burns away for the last time a billion years in the future.

jacks365 Tue 21-May-13 16:14:36

Captsweatpants we were travelling all over the country to unis that she simply would not have been able to get to without me driving. (No easy access to national travel where we live).

If you work at a uni you should know that open days are mostly done in year 12 so they are 16/17 my dd is one of the youngest and was only 16 when we started and as someone else stated 90% of parents attend.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 16:18:19

and I'm 99% certain that most women arn't working so they can bang the feminist drum. They're working so there's food on the table.

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 16:30:50

I'm not working to bang a feminist drum.

I am working because it is interesting goddammit. Interesting and fulfilling and provides stress and grief and heartache and immense satisfaction.

And I feel that my whole gender is being betrayed into baking when they can bake as a sideline and have loads of fun earning shedloads of money.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 16:52:57

who are you trying to convince wudric and why are you so angered by sahm's? Why is it even any of your business? (utterly utterly baffled)

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 16:57:26

I do think people come on here with issues and that's why they're angry.
If they were truly happy, they wouldn't have to keep banging on about it, as if to convince themselves. And being 'angry' about sahm's is just weird. It's very odd.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 16:58:40

and I can't believe I've wasted a day off work engaging with this bollocks. I'm doing what my username says now and stepping away from the screen.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 17:02:41

Oh and as for baking being a sideline, tell that to Mary fucking Berry..
Right, I'm really off now..

Xenia Tue 21-May-13 17:16:40

It affects our daughters and their prospect. Every woman who sacrifices her caerer for a man makes it harder for women to get on and helps this planet ensure men continue to own 99% of the world's wealth. It is a huge and important political issue.

Let us leave banking to men as it's dull anyway and do interesting work. Baking epitomises so much which is wrong.... first of all the food - sugar, flour and all that junk which kills you and makes people fat never mind affects their brains and secondly the fact muggins mummies get lumbered with it and are conned into thinking they like it because that suits men to keep women chained to kitchen baking poison.

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 17:19:03

That isn't true, Xenia. Other women's choices don't affect women's career paths. Don't blame other women for your own career disappointments.

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 17:20:37

Fortunately in Paris there is zero temptation to bake - there are pâtisseries galore that do a much better job than any home baker.

ChocolateCakePlease Tue 21-May-13 17:22:22

Xenia - most proffesional bakers, as in bakers who make bread, rolls, morning goods etc are men. It's only thought that women do it most because the media make a fuss of women starting cupcake businesses etc. If you went into a real bakery with bakers who work nights it will mostly be men you find.

losingtrust Tue 21-May-13 17:23:18

Working women may be more likely to be divorced because they can cope financially and practically on divorce so the argument that two working puts a strain on marriages cannot be judged on how many get divorced. Sorry if argument has moved on since then.

Wuldric Tue 21-May-13 17:26:11

Other women's choices don't affect women's career paths

If only ...

Can you not accept that individual actions build into collective actions that in turn build into societal norms?

So for every woman who becomes a prostitute or a lapdancer, it debases us all?

ssd Tue 21-May-13 17:27:39


"I don't know if feminism can be so simply defined - as being the defence of a woman's right to choose. Yes of course she should have the right to choice - but there comes a point when those choices impinge upon others. Take the right of a woman to choose to be a prostitute, or a house elf. Both those choices impact a lot upon other women - whose husbands use prostitutes or who then expect their wives to be house-elves."

seriously, you talk some amount of shite

I thought people like only existed in bad channel 4 late night debates...seems I was wrong

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 17:28:54

No, it doesn't debase me if another woman becomes a prostitute or a lapdancer. You need to detach yourself from others.

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 21-May-13 17:32:16

I know I said I was going, but fuck me...are you really putting lap dancers and prostitutes into the same 'examples of female jobs to be frowned upon' as sahm's?? Really? Really?

spacegoat Tue 21-May-13 18:04:38

2 points.

1 If a man decided to leave the 9-5 corporate rat race and do something he enjoyed instead, he'd be unlikely to be told he was letting down his gender, or that his decision impacted on all other men.

2 A recent article I read by a psychologist stated that those who tried to persuade others that their decisions were the only correct ones, and that their way of life was the correct way, were seeking reassurance. They wanted to persuade in order to convince themselves that they were right after all.

peteypiranha Tue 21-May-13 18:07:55

I personally dont care what the wider world do, but admit I would be disapointed if my girls didnt grow up and work.

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 18:15:10

peterpiranha - will you support your daughters' careers by being the adjustment variable in their families, ready to pick up emergency childcare, holiday care etc?

peteypiranha Tue 21-May-13 18:19:57

Yes I will, but most people I know that both work full time dont need to use their parents.

AnnoyedAtWork Tue 21-May-13 18:20:48

Thank you Xenia. Yes this is exactly what i meant. not about banking or baking (!) but it's true that the collective action of many many individual women sacrificing their career and autonomy so that men can carry on working after kids DOES affect all our prospects and our daughters prospects (eg the fact that employers continue to discriminate against women wrt maternity leave). This wouldn't happen if it was the norm for leave to be shared and for women to have careers - men would have to be more involved because they can't assume there is a wife staying at home!

I don't think wuldric meant to equate sahm with prostitutes - she is simply highlighting that other women's choices do affect all women. And women are pressured into sah by society (eg if it doesn't make financial sense for both parents to work, the woman does it, because she earns less, because of the pay gap, etc) so it IS a feminist issue whether you like it or not!

Bonsoir Tue 21-May-13 18:29:51

Maybe most parents aren't judgemental? If you have a strong position about your adult DCs' lives, you need to be supportive of that lifestyle.

Back2Two Tue 21-May-13 18:30:49

those who tried to persuade others that their decisions were the only correct ones, and that their way of life was the correct way, were seeking reassurance. They wanted to persuade in order to convince themselves that they were right after all.

Yes. This whole repetitive argument which Xenia leads the way on is one which "doth protest too much". If you're SO bloody happy with your bizarre one sided view on life and happiness just leave it to the plebs to wallow in our ignorant misery. After all, someone's got to clean your toilets and look after your kids whilst you whistle off to work each day.

Look, we will all no doubt be influential in teaching our children, be they male or female, to aspire to whatever goals and roles in life that WE put value upon. Many of us value so much more than WORK and SHEDLOADS OF MONEY ..... Money which is appears you need to earn to pay someone to look after your children for the majority of their life.

Whatever....each to their own. I'd rather clean the toilet in my own home and spend time with my children, than spend my life in offices working with people who value £££££ Above all else in life. Just not my bag.

peteypiranha Tue 21-May-13 18:31:36

I know my parents would be very disapointed if I stayed at home to. I dont think there is anything wrong with that tbh.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-May-13 18:47:06


Ah, that is sad sad. My parents just wanted for me to be happy and lead a fulfilled life, they would never have been disappointed in me. We feel exactly the same about our dc, it would have to be something pretty bad before one of our dc disappointed us.

peteypiranha Tue 21-May-13 18:51:43

I suppose I personally would see me not working be viewed as pretty bad by my family. My parents would want to know what I was doing, and why I wasnt bothering or being the best I could be.

Its just the way Ive been raised so just want the same for my own children really. Again couldnt care less what the wider world or anyone outside my family decides to do.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-May-13 18:54:31


They tend not to like it when you hit a nerve. The anti feminism and letting the side down is the usual ches