How do lone parents do it?

(5 Posts)
meatliqour Wed 24-Feb-16 20:33:15

How just how do you do it?

I've been fortunate enough to find a very flexible, part time (ish!) role.

But I still have the worry that if my DC is sick I have to take time off (I am completely a lone parent) no back up at all.

DC only goes to childminder for the hours I work (cheapest option)

Work are asking more & more of me, whilst I am grateful to have this job, my DC has to come first, at what point do I push back & risk losing this job.

I sometimes wonder if the anxiety & worry of losing the job is worth it!

nothingcomestonothing Wed 24-Feb-16 22:13:08

I suppose it depends on what flexible means in this job? Like you I am my DCs only parent, however I am fortunate to have my dad who's retired and lives quite locally, to help out with childcare in a pinch. My day to day childcare is childminder for DC2 and after school club for DC1, then in school holidays they both go to the childminder when I'm at work (I work 2 1/2 days).

My job isn't flexible though - I work the same days and hours every week, when I went back after mat leave the days were dictated by what days the CM had space. Sometimes I get asked by work if I can swap a day - I generally don't do it, but if I can once in a while it means I've got a bit of time off owed to me, which I can save for a day a DC is ill/parents assembly/nativity etc. Can you do that? Either swap a day of CM or pay for an extra day of CM once in a while, on the understanding with work that you will save the time owed and use it when you need to be off with DC? I suppose I'm saying it has to be quid pro quo - if work expect you to flex to suit them sometimes then they return the favour and by the same token, if you know you'll need work to let you change around to fit DCs needs sometimes, you need to be flexible when they ask as best you can.

If the situation is more about work asking you to go above and beyond but not offering anything in return, I guess you need to be clear about what you can and can't do. Do you have a clear contract, does it set out core hours or maximum hours, how is the flexibility worded? If all of the flexibility is going one way, maybe it's ultimately not worth it and you could look for something with fixed days/hours but term time only? It's not easy either way - I'm lucky to have my dad as backup, but other lone parents do manage with less help - childcare swaps with other parents, working from home in a pinch. Best of luck.

ittooshallpass Thu 25-Feb-16 21:57:37

I work full time (can't afford not to). Hours are meant to be 9-5.30. I requested 8.30-5. As after school club opens at 7.30 and closes at 6. This was agreed, but I do have to keep reminding my boss that I HAVE to leave at 5. School is a good 45 minutes from work. It's stressful, but it is what it is.
I have no local support, but am blessed with a very healthy child. Have never been called to get her... she's in Y2. And was only off with chicken pox for a few days. This was covered by parental leave policy at work.
School holidays are a nightmare. I usually end up packing her off to family 2 hours away. Not ideal as we both miss each other like crazy, but at least it's free!
It's all one big juggle!
That's how lone parents do it!!

megletthesecond Thu 25-Feb-16 22:04:50

I work part time but managed to stand my ground and get unpaid parental leave for school hols and unpaid days off when the dc's are sick. No flexibility, personally I'd rather have flexi and be able to have some time in credit but all parents are entitled to the unpaid leave so I've gone for that. I have 4 weeks paid leave plus take 3 weeks unpaid so I juggle holiday club and grandparents for the rest of the holidays. Childcare is so expensive it was the same to take a financial hit in my wages than pay for childcare.

I don't step up much at work. I very much keep my head down and try and get through the day. I'm too tired to take on extra responsibilities and I don't want to screw up. It's hard.

rookiemere Thu 25-Feb-16 22:06:13

I'm not a single parent but I am pretty much singlehandedly responsible for all school drop offs and pick ups and any child sicknesses as DH is a contractor so doesn't have any flexibility.

In your post you say that your work is expecting additional hours from you. Not sure what job you're doing, but is it possible to work from home with a laptop if its that sort of role?

If it's not you need to start being a bit firmer at work. You simply can't work extra hours as that's why you went for a part time job. What is it you do if you don't mind saying, and what are they expecting you to do?

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