Just want to do the right thing :-(

(21 Posts)
Djembe Mon 05-Nov-12 11:00:43

(have namechanged as this might out me)

I handed in my notice as a senior teacher, intending to be a SAHM. Finances have proved to not make this workable, and poor DH is stressed to the hilt trying to get promoted about two grades so that we can afford for me to be at home.

Now DS is 11 months and I need to start looking for part time work I think. I just can't get my head around it though and feel panicky and depressed about it. I was psyched up to be a SAHM and have total baby brain and lack of ability to put myself forward.

I know loads of people do it, I know lots of people go back to the same job part time or full time. I'm finding it really hard sad

My main angst is that I literally don't know whether it is best for DS if I am at home with him or if it's actually in his best interests to be in nursery for 2/3 days. There is so little unbiased info available. All my NCT friends who are returning to work part-time think the nurseries they've looked at seem fab and really beneficial for their babies. I feel like 1yo is so small, so young to cope with a full day of nursery. DS struggles to stay happy and playful for a 1.5hr baby group at the moment! I guess a half day twice a week would feel better.

I just don't know sad if it's going to be miserable for him I don't want to do it and I will work on Saturdays doing tuition, which I have been doing now for 2 months but find it intrusive to our family time and home generally as we have a small house I have to kick DH and DS out for a few hours while I work, and the house has to be clean and tidy by Saturday morning.

Urgh I'm aware this is an incoherent rant. But I can't rant in rl because DH is under so much pressure, and my NCT friends are all happily returning to work.

Please someone tell me what to do?! sad we just thought we could make it work and we can't. Am I too late even, to get any kind of childcare from Jan if I can find something?!

fatfingers Tue 06-Nov-12 05:38:54

Have you investigated childcare yet? Your ds doesn't have to go to nursery - what about a childminder? If I were you, I would visit some childminders and nurseries and see what you think then. You don't need research to tell you what to think - trust your own instincts when you visit childcare settings.

Are you interested in looking after other people's children? What about childminding yourself? Could you work evenings (tutoring?) when dh finishes?

For what it is worth, I went back to work very reluctantly twice. Both times, my dcs were around 7 months old and they went into nursery. I felt like my heart had been torn out, I felt guilty but they had a great time. I ended up leaving my career and working from home as a childminder to be with them but I hated that, as I felt like my house wasn't my own and I didn't get to spend quality time with my children.

Eldest is now 8 and over those years, I have worked part time, full time, worked from home, not worked at all and I can honestly say there is no perfect solution but dcs have been happy no matter what! They now go to a cm before and after school and they love her, I have money to send them to the clubs they want to go to and we still spend lots of time together. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't spent so long worrying and being eaten up with guilt because it is a waste of energy.

Nice to be able to stay at home when dcs are little if you want to and can afford it but a lot of people can't so we have to find a compromise somewhere. Good luck smile

janey68 Tue 06-Nov-12 07:09:53

I agree. You need to try to dispel from your mind this idea you have that there is a 'right' way which will make your child turn out ok, and a 'wrong' way which won't. Life isn't like that. There are numerous ways of doing things and how your child copes will depend on numerous factors such as personality, resilience, you and your husbands attitude to life etc

Also don't underestimate your child's fathers place in all this. You say he's already stressed with being pushed into seeking promotions to make up the shortfall of you not earning. A stressed father is not a recipe for a happy family. I've see this type of situation before- where dad works all hours in a ridiculous job simply to enable mum to not work. It may work for some families but very many thrive on a better balance so that both parents work but neither is having to stress themself out like that.

As a personal anecdote, I had a short maternity leave with dc1 because legislation used to be different; and then longer with dc2. If anything, in the short term dc1 settled more quickly in childcare . In the longer term, there is no discernable difference in their confidence levels. People sometimes get very Hung up on being at home until the child is a certain age, but there is no magic 'rule'- a child in good quality appropriate childcare at 3/ 4/5/6 months is going to be fine. My older work colleagues mostly returned to work when their babies were very small- often 12 weeks as ML was even shorter then. I have met a number of these children (now adults!) and they are absolutely fine, normal successful people.

Try not to stress, look around at all your options for childcare. Also remember that childcare doesn't mean your child will be forced to "play" all day. Child-led care allows for lots of down time, naps, solo activities as well as some group play. My children went to a cm which was really just following the normal home routine, and then a fabulous nursery which was more structured but with a child led approach- my two adored it.

janey68 Tue 06-Nov-12 07:38:40

Ps another tip: don't be afraid to mix and match your childcare to what suits your child at a particular age. Mine did cm and nursery when younger. Now they're at school, they go to their lovely cm before school every day, and after school club 3 nights a week but they still go to the cm the other 2 nights as it provides a good balance- she lets them chill out with a bit of telly.

In holidays, we use clubs and play schemes, but this was the first summer I felt the eldest was outgrowing it so next long holiday I intend to find a local student who can provide au pair style care. My kids are at the age they don't need constant supervision, they are happy playing alone or together or the eldest going round to a friends etc but they obviously need a reliable adult on hand.

My children see it as perfectly normal that mum and dad work which to me is a healthy resilient way to be- they know they are loved and cared for and if anything it's all made them happy independent little beings

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 06-Nov-12 07:48:00

Can you definitely not cope on husbands salary for a few years? We've seriously tightened ours belts but looking back I'm so glad I got that time with my children. I'm going to look at returning to pt teaching in the next year or two so I know this 'poor' state isn't forever. Honestly I went down the buying nothing,second hand everything route and although at times it was hard I'm glad I did.

Can you do exam marking? That's the other thing I'm thinking about doing.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 06-Nov-12 07:50:50

Ps. Not that I think everyone should be a sahm but like op I had planned to be for a while! In my ideal world I'd like to be the primary carer until 2 or have a good nanny for that age. A nanny was out of our price bracket. My now 3 year old will be fine with out of school care but I'm glad I laid the foundations.

Whatever you decide try not to beat yourself up about. It.

Djembe Tue 06-Nov-12 11:42:45

Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. I know you're right, there is no ideal situation and really kids turn out fine regardless. I was just psyched up to be a SAHM and am still in denial. DH is ambitious and amazing at his job, he'd be seeking promotion regardless - we are quite young, so we would be able in a few years to afford for me not to work, as he climbs the greasy pole, but it's this upcoming year that is the problem! It is such a short term thing. If DH is promoted (find out Thurs) <bites nails> then it will help a bit, my tutoring should be enough. Hadn't thought about exam marking, will look into that today so thanks for the suggestion. Really don't fancy childminding tbh - I like my own child, other people's meh wink DH will also pay off his student loan next year which will make a difference. We're talking a current monthly deficit of £500, and that is with buying nothing , eating cheap food, not going out etc. I was psyched up to be totally skint, but we can't get into debt, not when just scraping by is costing us £500 a month more than we have! We had such a luxury lifestyle before, and did't appreciate it! We had debts to pay off though, of which we are now free. We have a small, falling-to-bits key worker house but mortgage is still cripplingly high, that's the main problem (as for many people I'm sure) in the SE. I'm totally left-wing and agree with supporting people on low incomes where necessary, but an article in the Guardian last week said that a couple on £42k have the same income as a couple on £22k by the time tax credits etc are applied. That is our situation pretty much. Don't jump down my throat for mentioning that, I'm not feeling like I'm entitled to be a SAHM, just confused and disappointed that we can't afford it when on paper we should e able to sad

showtunesgirl Tue 06-Nov-12 11:48:08

OP, definitely have a look at CMs. If you find a fab one, it can be great. I'm only early days into it at the mo as I've just gone back to work last week but DD is thriving there with a very experienced and caring CM. I feel that she gets a lot of individual attention which is right for her at the moment as she's 11 m/o. When she's older, we may reconsider and she may go to nursery but CM feels right for us at the moment.

Djembe Tue 06-Nov-12 11:51:48

Where do I even start looking for a CM though? I'm sorry, I know I'm being totally pathetic (in fact can't stop crying sad ) but I just didn't pay any attention to all the antenatal and postnatal childcare info as I smugly thought I didn't need to. Will they do half days? How many other children will be there?

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 06-Nov-12 12:11:20

What are your outgoings? If you know its definitely short term is there anything you can cut. Interest only on the mortgage fora year? (only saying this as its short term and you're young otherwise its a bad idea!) will you realistically make much money teaching after cc, running another car (possibly), etc? Remaining in work can be very good for career long term but may not actually make you better off this year.

Have you included child benefit and tax credits which should go up after your birth?

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 06-Nov-12 12:13:47

Cm there should be a list at local information service. You're not at all pathetic. I'd be upset in your position (althoughbizarrely would like to be back in work and with 2 children it would actually cost me to return to work!)

showtunesgirl Tue 06-Nov-12 12:19:20

OP, don't cry, we're here to hold your hand! smile

I found my childminder by advertising on a local internet forum. Is there anything like that for you?

CM have restrictions as to how many they can and some CM do do half days. It might be worth hopping over to the CM threads to ask for advice on there. At my CM, the most she has is 3 a day including my DD.

Djembe Tue 06-Nov-12 12:23:08

Can't go interest only on the mortgage as it's an utterly shite rip-off posing as a good deal for keyworkers, which has trapped us into a 7% rate forever until we move, which we can't because we're in negative equity.

There are literally no part-time teaching jobs available, cutbacks mean heads won't employ new part-timers, and I can't do supply as it'd surely be impossible to arrange childcare based on 'I might be out working this day if I get a call'

Currently bombarding 200ish schools with my CV saying pleeaaase employ me. Seems the least bad option. Doesn't solve the childcare problem but might find me decent work.

Grhhhgrrgh

Djembe Tue 06-Nov-12 12:49:38

Thank you all who've posted. I have hauled my ass into gear and found a childminder who lives on my street. I have left a garbled message so hopefully she'll call back and have space, and be some kind of Mary Poppins superwoman type.

I feel much happier with the idea of a childminder than nursery, which just seems so hectic to me. Childminder is meant to be more of a home environment which doesn't terrify me so much. 2 days. And work will be good for me, won't it - I will be able to get dressed properly and have adult company. These things have a way of working out for the best, don't they? It'll be fine.

Aboutlastnight Tue 06-Nov-12 13:00:27

"You need to try to dispel from your mind this idea you have that there is a 'right' way which will make your child turn out ok, and a 'wrong' way which won't. Life isn't like that"

^ this is one of the most sensible posts I have ever seen on mumsnet.

FWIW I gave up my career and was a SAHM for about 6 years while I had 3 children. We started to struggle financially and it took its toll on DP trying to be breadwinner when self employed.

I now work part time and the extra money has transformed our lives - we can afford winter boots/coats for the children, we have moved to a bigger flat, we have booked a holiday for next summer. And I feel more confident with my own income. Also childcare has been good - not perfect, but frankly I am not perfect either.

The best thing about working though, is that there is a more equal distribution of labour, DP has been forced to take more responsibility for our children and I am really pleased to me showing my girls that thus family set up can work.

bigkidsdidit Tue 06-Nov-12 13:03:25

I also felt nursery was totally wrong for my DS, who is very quiet! I have a wonderful CM who loves him and he loves her. He pushes me out of the way in the morning to get into her house for a cuddle (and a play wih her bob the builder dressing up kit)! I really believe going to her has enriched his life.

I felt the time before going back to work was much more stressful and worrying than actually being there, so cling onto the fact that what you are feeling now is the lowest point.

Being in debt is a killer for a happy family life. A few hours a week with a good CM is no comparison smile

When DS2 was just 1 I decided to go back to work, and ended up going FT although my then preference was for 3 days. I put both DSs (then 3 and 1) into FT nursery, and they loved it. I never regretted it! I did however look at a few options, and this was by far and away the best nursery for my children. They are now 8 adn 5, and very happy, well balanced children.

Good luck with your decision.

Djembe Tue 06-Nov-12 13:15:35

Thank you About and bigkids

I'm still sat with tears pouring down my face. It's so hard not being able to talk to anyone in rl about it. Everyone thinks we're loaded cos DH works so hard. It's not fucking fair. I feel like I'm having all this angst that everyone else just gets on with. It's so good to rant on here and get sympathy and amazing practical advice. Yes DS is quiet and I really think nursery isn't right for him, not yet, but if a good childminder will work then yes, my income would make such a difference - we could get a cleaner, and afford days out as a family at weekends. I am actually hating the pressure to have the house clean for Saturday morning to tutor.

I am being so rambling and self indulgent on here so again thanks thanks thanksto all your helpful posts. thanks

bigkidsdidit Tue 06-Nov-12 13:21:03

If not here then where else smile

Btw I found my CM on childcare.co.uk, I interviewed four. I chose mine because at the interview she didn't sit and talk to me but rather played with DS.

Good luck.

showtunesgirl Tue 06-Nov-12 14:32:51

OP, it will be ok. Seriously. Two weeks ago I was sobbing at how I felt like I was "giving up" DD. But you know what? She's gone to the CM and she hasn't grown two heads and still loves her mummy and daddy.

A great "side effect" from going to the CM is that after I pick her up and given her a cuddle, a short play and dinner, she's been sleeping 730-7 every night! grin

CakeInMyFace Thu 08-Nov-12 13:18:39

I'm about to start work in a few days after a year and a half at home with my DD. It's nice to hear that the few days before you go back are the hardest - they definitely have been for me. I'm hoping that when I actually start next week it will be enjoyable to be back in the working world.

I get how you feel about a CM - I was the same as you until I met with 5 CM's and not one of them was right. I even started settling my DD in with one and 5 days later I pulled her out again. I was so stubborn about nurseries I didn't give them a chance. I would suggest going to see both some nurseries and some CM's. I was lucky enough to get a nursery place last minute and tbh it's actually the better place for my DD and they are actually much more caring and loving to my DD than the CM was. I only wish I had done it sooner as it's been an intense settling in period.

Only you know what is best for your LO, but keep an open mind and make sure you go through all the options first.

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