Back to work - making it work with two kids. Please help.

(69 Posts)
BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 10:39:23

I'm back to work after a nine month maternity after Christmas. Please convince me that what I am trying to do is possible.

I'm a teacher and I work three days a week. I will be in work 8am-5.30pm on these days, and bring home about two hours work on those evenings. Then I'll need to put in a couple of hours at the weekend or on my days off. I know for a fact it will not be possible to get away with putting less hours in.

I have a school aged child, and the baby. They obviously require different types of childcare so they will be in two separate places. To get them to their childcare and myself to work by 8am through rush hour traffic is going to be nigh on impossible so DH is supposed to be taking one child in the morning, possibly both of them. I will have to pick them both up, and I think it unlikely that we will get back home before 6.30pm. Then I will need to do dinner/bath/bed for both of them, and then sit down to marking, etc. Then start preparing for the morning ahead - clothes, packed lunches, etc.

My thoughts on making this work are:

no TV or non-work related screen time for me on work evenings AT ALL.
no prep dinners - so beans on toast, microwave meals, etc. on work evenings.

Is there anything else I haven't thought of? Getting out the house in the mornings is a worry, I think we will have to leave the house at 7.30 or before - any thoughts on that?

Another concern is that over the course of maternity leave DH has pretty much packed up doing anything in the house during the week. He does at weekends though. I'm worried that he will find it a big shock after Christmas to start doing housework and childcare during the week again, of course he swears blind that he won't hmm. I have asked that he doesn't go out in the evenings on the days I work so that he can be there to share the whole dinner/bath/bed/making packed lunches thing, but he won't agree to that angry.

I'm also concerned that we are over estimating what it will be possible for me to achieve on my days off. I've been stunned by how much more work two children compared to one, and also by how restrictive being hemmed in by the school run is when you are at home. Also by how time consuming it is to have a child at school - remembering reading books, dress up day, sponsor forms, etc. (You would think a teacher would realise this but I didn't!)

In short, I basically think we have bitten off more than we can chew here. There will be absolutely no 'settling back in' period for me at work, I will be expected to hit the ground running and to be planning and delivering prefect lessons from day one. We can't afford for me not to work. Please tell me how I can make this work!

diddlediddledumpling Wed 21-Nov-12 10:42:39

You can and you will. I did and I think you sound much more organisd than me!
I'm a teacher going back to work after Christmas and I'll hold your hand if you h

BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 10:43:18

It's currently taking me well over an hour to get myself and the two children out the house for school. And it takes me over two hours to cook dinner, eat dinner, bath children and get them into bed. If I can't cut that down, I will have to give up sleeping!

diddlediddledumpling Wed 21-Nov-12 10:43:30

Oh ffs! See, I can't even get this right!

I''ll hold your hand if you hold mine!

reindeerjumper Wed 21-Nov-12 10:44:12

Casserole batch cooking at weekends to defrost in the week? You need to eat well if this going to work, because if you or the kids get ill that's when it really turns to shit.
Realising that some nights it's ok to go to bed the same time as your kids helps too

diddlediddledumpling Wed 21-Nov-12 10:45:06

Your dh needs to step up and definitely not go out on the nights you're working. He should appreciate how much you've been doing while on mat leave and that work now needs to be s

diddlediddledumpling Wed 21-Nov-12 10:46:18

Split between the two of you. So on nights when you're working, he has to do baths, get stuff ready for next morning, check uniform clean etc.

BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 10:46:26

I can't go to bed early because I have to work in the evenings. I suppose I could at weekends?

poachedeggs Wed 21-Nov-12 10:46:53

OK, I'm going to be brutally honest here. You just will. It'll be shit - you'll be tired, it'll feel like a treadmill, your mind will work overtime constantly.

But it's one of those things that constantly gets easier. The DC get older, you get better at managing, your DH learns to step it up. You haven't got an option I imagine.

I've done this (throw in a shift-working DH as well) and it is a bloody juggle but doable.

Can't you send them both to a childminder for simplicity?

Buy a slow cooker.

Plan meals.

Have a diary and use it (DH and I theoretically sync Google calendar).

You will cope though. You just will.

poachedeggs Wed 21-Nov-12 10:47:52

MN I don't teach but work weird hours much of the time.

poachedeggs Wed 21-Nov-12 10:48:35

MN = NB (Prepare to lose your mind wink)

BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 10:49:04

diddlediddledumpling I agree with you but his argument will be that we have both been at work all day, so why should he do ALL the childcare/housework in the evenings? Obviously, I have to keep working at home but he'll just say 'find a job where you don't have to do that then'. If only....

poachedeggs Wed 21-Nov-12 10:50:50

Uh cos you're still working?!

Simple. "No sex - haven't got time. Now if you'd only put the DC to bed for me ..."

BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 10:52:22

We couldn't find a childminder who would do the eldest's school run AND take them before 7.45.

I am dreading this, all I can see is drudgery, hard work and feeling exhausted for the next fifteen years.

BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 10:53:31

Sex? What's that?

Seriously, he wouldn't care grin

pepperrabbit Wed 21-Nov-12 10:54:55

They don't need a bath every day, I gave that up when I went back to work!
Does your childcare provide breakfast? I'd get mine up, dressed and in the car before they'd actually woken up some mornings. They'd get breakfast at nursery/childminders, same with dinner if at all possible.
Get all the clothes, bags, lunches ready the night before.
Get a BIG diary, write down all the school events in it as soon as you get the letter.
Ask the childminder to do reading with your elder DC maybe 2/3 days.
You will cope, DH might get a bit stressed but you have to work together.
You'll be surprised how much you achieve, and don't set unrealistic lists of never watching the tv etc, you need downtime too.
HTH

pepperrabbit Wed 21-Nov-12 10:55:50

I type too slowly! You've moved on to sex. grin

sausagesandwich34 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:57:00

it is hard work, the first month will fell like hell on earth but it gets easier

second the batch cooking

can baby go to nursery for half day on one of your days off to give you time for work at home, and then be strict with yourself about actually doing work rather than housework?

Procrastinating Wed 21-Nov-12 11:04:18

drudgery, hard work and feeling exhausted for the next fifteen years.

Yes that is about right.

Don't expect too much of yourself, setting ourself rules like 'no screen time' is just a way to make yourself feel guilty and awful when you don't live up to it.

Can your DH have the children all day Saturday or Sunday? I find one day a week (I do 12 hours work that day) to get all preparation and marking done is much better than doing it in bits.

It feels impossible but you will muddle through.

BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 11:04:51

Yes, breakfast is provided. Eldest DC used to have breakfast at home and then again at breakfast club <greedy> but that can stop. Eldest DC is at an out of school club, so reading there not an option.

I am seriously considering having the baby at nursery for half a day on one of my days off. This was the mistake I made with the eldest, once he was two and had stopped sleeping during the day I could not anything done on my days off. In hindsight I wish we had done that but we felt we couldn't afford it at the time. I think I will look into that, sausagesandwhich34

threepiecesuite Wed 21-Nov-12 11:06:20

I teach 3 days a week too but only have one dd who is 2 and goes to nursery when I work, I drop her at 7.45 and get to school 8.15.
School days are a whirlwind of rushing, chores, planning and bonecrushing tiredness but my days off are a godsend, we have a quietish winding down day at home the first day, she still has a nap so I do chores then and make a homecooked tea, the second day we go out and about doing activities.
Things that make my life easier:
Online food shopping and delivery
Batch cooking
Sending a load to the ironing lady every now and then
Not doing work or answering emails on days off
Leaving go of the guilt about not being in school full time or with dd full time! This one is very important.

diddlediddledumpling Wed 21-Nov-12 11:10:53

Looking back on when I went back full time after ds2, it was drudgery and hard work, but I didn't get time to think about how hard it was, because you just get on with it. I've been off on mat leave with ds3 all year and going back full time in January, with the hope that come Sept I'll be part time.
Can you have a calm and reasonable chat with dh? If you've both been working all day, how come it falls to you to also organise the family? That's not even taking into account the fact that you won't actually have finished work. And assuming you've been teaching for a while, there's no other job you could walk into that would bring in the same income that you both depend on.
Otherwise, think of what will work to get him on board. If he has no clean clothes for work? If he gets ready meals at 10pm for dinner?

Yorkpud Wed 21-Nov-12 11:18:26

Get husband to take children out every Sat morning from 9-1 so you can get work out of the way then.

Pay for nursery one morning a week/breakfast club (get husband to drop) when you are off and do some work catch up then?

That should give you 8 extra hours time to work in so maybe you won't lose relax time every night.

Pay for cleaner, school dinners.

Yorkpud Wed 21-Nov-12 11:19:00

When both kids are at school, don't increase hours!!!

BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 11:25:18

diddlediddledumpling no, there is nothing else I could do now that would bring in anywhere near the same income. Much as we both wish there was.

He struggles to understand the workload, I've been p/t for five years but the amount of work I do at home is probably about the same as when I was full time. That's what he struggles to understand, but it's just the way the profession has gone. And of course, it's harder to do your planning at the weekend when you've got DC in the house. "Your work dominates this household" is an oft heard complaint around here. And it's true sad

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