Work from home parents - how do you structure your working week?

(9 Posts)
EssCee Tue 27-Sep-16 16:42:40

If you work from home with school aged children, what's your working pattern?

DD has just started Reception and I'm finding my days really fragmented, which just feels quite unproductive whilst being frenetic at the same time, really.

Before she started school, I generally worked 4 days. DD was at my mum's for 1 longer day, preschool for 3 days (and 1 day off with me). I now have 5 days and they are a real mish mash of things - everything just seems to merge together and I never get to switch off from work (or the home stuff that needs sorting out).

What works best for you? Do you use after school clubs? If you have home stuff or errands to do, do you reserve this for when you have kids in tow?

FV45 Tue 27-Sep-16 16:45:45

I use after school clubs. I rarely do non-work stuff during the working day otherwise the lines get blurred. However, my computer locks down every 55 mins and you'd be amazed what you can do in that 5 min break (laundry, chop veggies, quick tidy, look something up).

How many hours do you work?

EssCee Tue 27-Sep-16 17:09:15

FV45, it's really variable but I would say between 25-30 hours per week, currently. I have two members of staff so should probably do more hours!

I'm probably not setting enough limits though. I thought I'd try doing the gym (2 x per week) in the day and work in the evening instead. I don't think this helps, but I don't think it's great if either me or DH are dashing out of the house to do our fitness stuff, as it was feeling too rushed.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 27-Sep-16 18:47:04

Not really answering your question as I have 7.30 - 18.30 childcare x 5 days in place, but I'd agree about working in slots, I do 45 mins. I set the timer on my phone. After that I then do something else - hang out washing, tidy up etc.

I go to the gym at 6am whilst DH does getting dress/childcare drop.

Is it worth trying to be really detailed about what you spend your time on and see if your ideas match the realitiy. I think it is very easy to over/underestimate what time things take.

So, you DC does 9 - 3.30. Depending on how far on the school you might actually have 9.30 - 3.00 to work which is 5.5 hours, which is 27.5 hours. Again depending on your gym/what you do I imagine you are loosing at least 4 hours, with me it is more like 3 hours (drive there & back, 45 min class then shower after).

Are you looking to deliver 25-30 deliverable hours, if so, you then need to add on another 5/10 hours for admin, email management etc.

I'd limit the home stuff during the day. Hanging out washing & loading the dishwasher at least keeps me moving. I'd start thinking about what you can do once DD is back. Obviously you don't want to be in a frenzy of house admin, but equally you might not want to be doing evenings etc.

Also, does your DP (if you have one) assume you are there to manage the house as you are working from home, therefore not helping as much. If he has an office job, he can still make book dental appts etc.

EssCee Tue 27-Sep-16 19:48:57

Hello MrsMargoLeadbetter!

My husband runs our dog early AM and leaves for work at 7am. Then back at 6.30pm. So, no scope for being around to help with school run or going gym early myself.

I think I probably need to sort out some after school clubs. At the moment, we are doing play dates, going swimming... All very nice but taking time/headspace to organise and energy to actually do. I would kind of feel it's hard to justify going the gym in school hours and paying for after school activities, if it's mainly for childcare reasons though. Silly? Maybe, but maybe I need to just get over that one though!

EssCee Tue 27-Sep-16 19:49:21

Hello MrsMargoLeadbetter!

My husband runs our dog early AM and leaves for work at 7am. Then back at 6.30pm. So, no scope for being around to help with school run or going gym early myself.

I think I probably need to sort out some after school clubs. At the moment, we are doing play dates, going swimming... All very nice but taking time/headspace to organise and energy to actually do. I would kind of feel it's hard to justify going the gym in school hours and paying for after school activities, if it's mainly for childcare reasons though. Silly? Maybe, but maybe I need to just get over that one though!

EssCee Tue 27-Sep-16 19:51:46

Oh, I should add that I'm not a freelancer/contractor so time does not directly equal money in my case. I used to work many more hours but I now have 1 x FT and 1 x PT to support me, and I delegate as much as I can to them.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 28-Sep-16 09:24:54

Ah, just realised who you are. Sorry! Great that you have 2 staff working for you.

I think you cannot do it all. Which is easy for me to type, less easy to do/think.

As you are running your business, it is up to you how you work. If you can afford childcare so you can fit in more stuff, then that is ok.

I do also think it might be a bit 'dangerous' to not have DD exposed to any form of childcare/extra curr stuff. I assume you'll need some cover in the 12 weeks of school hols.

I have seen some SAHM's who return to work struggle with their kids entering childcare when they are a bit older & not used to it.

I think you have 2 things going on:

- time management/ways of working

- expectations around you/your work/DD & childcare

I know I feel guilty a lot of the time for usinf childcare etc but we want the income working brings and DS gets to hang out with his mates at the after school club.

Not sure if that helps.

EssCee Wed 28-Sep-16 10:53:44

Yes, it's me! Thanks, yes that helps.

DD is really keen to go to an after school club. I just hadn't organised anything as I thought she would be really tired after school. (You see all these threads about how exhausted they are after starting Reception - but actually she has been really full of beans). I've sent some emails to hol clubs, so I'll see what comes back!

Hols are a mix of GPs, holiday club, annual leave... so thankfully have it covered.

I think I probably am trying to do too many things, as in some ways I have the freedom to do so. But, I will try out a club or two and see how it goes. Maybe it'll settle down after a term or whatever... guess it's still early days.

What is clear though is the need for me to set firmer boundaries around work/play!

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