Hello, I'm contemplating going back to work full time now that DD is well settled in reception. I don't want her to have to do too much after hours care so DH will do drop off and work late and I'll start early and do pick ups and maybe work a little in evenings if poss. I am going to interview soon and will request this working arrangement (or perhaps even reduced hours slightly).
I could do with some advice on how to cope with working full time. DH helps at home but we do find it difficult to keep the place tidy when we're both working. I could get ironing done and thinking of a cleaner but I wonder that I'd clean before the cleaner as I'd not want them to see it mucky! I need advice too on how to cope with school holidays. DD is pretty shy and so big clubs may not suit her. I do have nearby grandparents but I don't want to burden them too much as they aren't that fit these days. Also I worry about sick days (DD is asthmatic and tends to need days off with minor bugs that others would normally go to school with). I'm exited about going back to work but I do worry that home/family will suffer for it...the extra income is necessary though!
If you can last out financially, it might be worth postponing job hunting until September (or only applying for jobs where a September start would be ok). If you're concerned about holidays, that means not having to worry about the summer (bearing in mind that you might not be able to take much leave over the summer and also that some holiday clubs don't take Reception children).
My main tip for working full time (DH and I both do, in an arrangement vaguely like the one you are aiming for) is to be very organised.
The night before get everything ready. Make your DD responsible for packing her own bag and putting out her school uniform (check at first by all means!). Then the morning should just be a quick breakfast and get ready and go.
I have a repertoire of menus that take 30 minutes to prepare and cook - and do some batch cooking for the freezer.
While dinner is cooking/being prepared I chat to the DC/listen to reading/sort out post.
After dinner the DC have to tidy the lounge while DH and I stack the dishwasher/clean dining room. Basically the idea is that the place gets left pretty much tidy before DC go to bed.
With 1 DC you can then take it in turns for one of you do to bedtime and the other to sort washing/do general tidying/collapse in a heap.
Put a load of washing in before bedtime and hang out in the morning. Be ruthless about not putting stuff in the wash until it really needs it, and this will pretty much see you through the week (might need to do extra load occasionally at w/e).
We have an hour at the weekend where we clean the worst bits - also thinking about a cleaner as this just digs into family time. We strictly stick to an hour and everyone pitches in, so not so bad though.
I've always used holiday clubs and DH and I take "opposite" leave. If you/DH can work flexibly you might be able to, say, work 3 days hours in 2 and then have a day off. With holiday clubs ask about to see what DD's friends go to - though my DC have been to clubs where they know no one and had no problem fitting in. You'll find as they get older, they actually ask to go anyway!
YOu can also "child swap" with another parent i.e. you have theirchild one day while they work, then they have yours another while you work.
You and DH both need to cover sickness. WE vaguely take it in turns, with a nod to anyone has anything very important on having to prioritise it.
Finally, I don't know what sort of job you're looking for, but be aware that companies may not be as flexible as you want - especially for new employees, so it's worth thinking about a plan B.
Wow thank you so much for all that great advice redskyatnight ! Organisation is really the key isn't it. Unfortunately, my return to work is long long overdue and the right job (that I've been holding out for since dd started reception) has come up and I have a good chance of getting it so I can't afford to pass it up. I understand that the company is fairly flexible and family aware but then I've heard that before and been knocked back for wanting slightly reduced hrs. If I have to look at alternative arrangements, then we'll just have to see our way through somehow. Fortunately, dd's best friend's mum works full time and I could see a way to sharing the burden of childcare with her in the hols. Also the school club does take reception kids but DD would have to have one of her friends there with her. She did go once with her best friend and said she had a great time until another friend of hers told her it was horrible and now she doesn't want to go again