Like everyone else I'm battling with deciding on the appropriate work / home balance and childcare as I face going back to work in a month. My employer is a large multinational and has been fairly helpful in offering some flexible hours so that I can start earlier and finish earlier.
My commute is an hour and my husband and I have worked out a solution so that our DD is in nursery from 9-5 rather than 8-6, which we are pleased about but aware is still a long day for her.
However, my employer is insistent that I spend a day working until 6 for international meetings. I know this is part of the job and I don't mean to be cross, I'm just so frustrated that this would mean I'm not back until 7pm on this day which is bedtime. This is especially frustrating when I'm still feeding and didn't want to have to go back to expressing - bedtime milk from me was something I was hoping would fit into the work life balance. Yes, bedtime could be a bit later I guess, but I never really contemplated the hard hard choices we had to make until something didn't fit into my masterplan! To only see her for less than 30 minutes this day breaks my heart. I know others have to sacrifice more.
I'm not really asking for any advice I just came looking for a bit of solidarity in the frustrating juggle that is now life
I have 5 and 2 year olds and have been going through the childcare for almost 4 years now. To be honest, we are more bothered about shorter day in the childcare than DC are. DS1 is always crying for me to come to pick up him later (afterschool club), because he is always in the middle of doing something when I come and really enjoys it. And when I pick up DS2 from nursery, if it is 5pm they normally have milk+biscuit around that time and I feel like interfering. If I come a bit later, after 5:30pm, DS2 is happy to go home but there are still plenty of kids (including babies) enjoying nursery life.
Believe me, they adapt so well and they do enjoy. 1 day a week coming later - no big deal. Perhaps you could move the bedtime to after you come back.
If it continues to bother you long-term, perhaps you should look for another job? I personally continue to work in a boring not highly paid job only because it allows me to leave work 4:30 every day. I will sort something more exciting once my DC are older.
Could you take the late meeting from home on that one evening a week? If its an international meeting, I'm assuming it's by phone or web conference? I have the arrangement where I leave work quite often in the mid afternoon when I have a gap in my calendar, and continue working at home until later, working around dinner and bedtime. It can be a good compromise.