What should I do? Tell me and I'll probably do it..

(20 Posts)
scortja Wed 22-May-13 17:23:19

I'm not sure what to do about my situation and if anyone has any advice I'd really like to hear it.. I can't decide what to do on my own..

I've just gone back to work after a year out on maternity leave. DS1 is now 4 and DS2 is just over 1. I work full time but three days from home, two in the office. The problem is that on my days at home I look after one or both children. And I'm not really coping with it.

Is anyone else in this situation?! I have to be at my computer pretty much the whole time so the children mill about looking for things to do. I set up drawing or painting etc but they don't stick to it and it just ends up being a mess to clear up that adds to the stress i feel.. We can't afford to put them both in fulltime and I can't work part time in the job I'm in now.

If we borrowed a little money we could put them in fulltime until DS1 is in school - but - I don't want to. DS2 is not so keen on nursery despite them being lovely and cuddly..

I would be able to take voluntary redundancy and live frugally on that for nearly two years (perhaps 18 months if honest) but I am worried that I won't get another job, will miss out on my pension blah blah blah.. I also worry that I won't be able to cope with fulltime parenthood - I did have a hard time on maternity leave although going back to work played on my mind a lot..

I don't have any family or friends I can call on so its hard to get a regular break..

Oh dear - this is very long.. I think my gut is telling me to spend more time with my children but I do worry.. Am also very 'fragile' right now - in therapy and very unhappy - basically not sure if I should continue with a situation that is very stressful or if it would be a case of out of the frying pan etc..

Errgh - thanks for reading.. xx

zigzoo Wed 22-May-13 17:40:46

Gosh - that sounds very hard.

I can't imagine getting any serious work done at home with a one year old.

Before giving it up could you try to explore an alternative?

Where do the DC go on the two days you are in the office? Can you work longer hours on those days?

Could you catch up hours at the weekend? Do you have a partner around? Could they flex their hours - start earlier/later - do a 4 day week?

Can your work (and any partner's work) provide childcare vouchers. They result in a net saving to the employer as they save employer's national insurance. You would then get £234/month/partner without having to pay tax or NI.

Could you look on childcare.co.uk or gumtree for a babysitter/mother's help who could look after the DC in the house so you can work but you are available?

Any family who if not confident to have sole care could come round and help entertain the one year old?

Presumably your 4 year old has the 15 hours free per week in termtime?

If you have a mortgage have you considered going interest only for a few years to pay for childcare?

Do you contribute to a pension? If you stopped that and freed up £ but kept your job then in the long run that might be sensible.

alarkaspree Wed 22-May-13 17:41:05

This sounds really hard. In fact, without having direct experience but as a mother of two children with a similar age gap, I'd say it's an impossible situation, so it's no wonder you feel incredibly stressed and anxious. I don't want this to sound harsh because I really sympathise with your situation, but you need to change this situation for your children too. The early years are really important for their development and they need better quality interaction with an adult during the day.

Do you enjoy your job and find it satisfying when you are working in the office without distraction? If so, I'd say you should try to work out a way to stay at work and get some additional childcare to make that situation more manageable. Could you maybe stretch to half days at nursery? If they were doing something structured and interesting for half the day, they might be able to entertain themselves for the rest of the day.

If you don't enjoy your job then take the redundancy and look for something else when your older one is at school. With the caveat that I would be wary of making irrevocable changes whilst you're feeling mentally fragile.

tethersend Wed 22-May-13 17:44:52

Have you asked work if you can go part time? If you're thinking of leaving anyway, you've nothing to lose by asking.

They may even rather have you part time than lose you altogether.

scortja Wed 22-May-13 18:52:32

Thank you so much for your replies..

I initially asked to go part time and my manager said that I could work four days.. it wasn't really what i wanted but accepted anyway.. then a colleague made it clear he wasn't happy and they kind of reneged.. my manager also pointed out that if i went part time and then still wanted redundancy it would affect my payment..

I don't enjoy my job - its a dead end and it makes it harder to leave/ignore the children for it.. BUT for what I do I am well paid and a few people think I should be grateful for it..

I do think it having a negative affect on the children. Plus I kind of want to have more of an influence on them - between nursery and my PIL my oldest is obsessed with tv and those horrible magazines.. he 'doesn't like going outside' and seems to lack interest in things if he hasn't seen it on tv.. He's more interested in looking at toys to buy than actually playing with the toys he has.. perhaps that's normal?! (I really hope not!)

alarkthatcouldpray Wed 22-May-13 21:50:18

I couldn't really conceive borrowing money to pay for childcare I didn't really want to use. It is bad enough working just to cover childcare costs but to actually rack up debt to do so just strikes me as madness. Maybe if it was a stepping stone to higher things in your career but you say it is a dead end job you don't especially enjoy. If you want to spend more time at home and be more engaged with your kids I would give up your job. There will always be the Voices of Doom who say you are crazy to give up a job/what about your pension etc. but there is no guarantee about pensions these days really is there? If you are flexible about what you would consider doing and able to live frugally (and be happy doing so) there is no reason you are freezing yourself out the workplace.

As for trying to work with children at home, no wonder you are being driven mad. I use my home as my work base but work (freelance, very PT) out with the home. If I have to make a phone call or send one work related email in the course of a day that I'm at home with the DCs, I consider it quite an achievement if I manage it. I really couldn't imagine doing actual work requiring concentration under these circumstances. If I was faced with the choice you are, I would give up my work.

I do believe the people our children spend time with are the ones who influence them most and in the important early years I think it is so important to make sure these are the right people.

annh Wed 22-May-13 23:52:01

Are your employers aware that you are looking after your children while they are paying you to work from home? I can't imagine many companies being happy with that arrangement. I'm surprised they didn't specifically check that that wasn't going to happen while you were at home. If they find out that could open a whole new can of worms for you.

Could you employ an aupair who could have the children for at least some of the time that you are working? They are not supposed to have sole charge of babies but it would probably be ok if you were in the house as well?

scortja Thu 23-May-13 09:33:34

I'm going to take redundancy.

It's hard because my manager does know that I have the children at home - he's been as flexible as he possibly can be (no one else knows) and I still can't handle it! I just hope I'm able to go soon now I've made the decision.

And that I am happier as a full time homemaker..

happyyonisleepyyoni Thu 23-May-13 14:19:47

OP, you have made the right decision, well done.

As you have found out, it is not realistic to work from home and look after pre-school children.

I hope your therapy is helpful.. Try not to let worries about the long term spoil the present day. The time until your kids are in school will go by fast, I hope you can relax and enjoy it.

scortja Tue 09-Jul-13 16:40:22

Hello - my redundancy request has been rejected.
I think they want me to walk and I'm not sure what to do..

They want me to stay in the same role with a different manager - its kind of the worst thing that could have happened. My manager was the good thing about my job! I just don't know what to do..

They say that the change of manager is absolutely NOT related to my request but I feel that it is. They won't 'forget' that I asked about redundancy so I can't go back..

I don't know if there is any advice that can be given but I'm distraught.. I just don't know what to do.. I don't want to give them the satisfaction of walking..

jollyjester Wed 10-Jul-13 22:34:30

Hi Scortja, new to this thread but wanted to see how you are?

Can you appeal the redundancy? Your local citizens advice could maybe help?

What about a career break? I don't know much about them just trying to think of solutions for you.

I hope it works out for you.

What about them agreeing to part time work and then reneging on it - did you get that written down at all? On email? You may have a case for some kind of breach of contract (I'm sure I've read this somewhere - might be worth checking out). I'm sure you are looking for other part time work - does it seem like there is anything out there? How much do you need the money from your work - could you leave work and then just do some poorly paid or voluntary work one or two days a week to maintain your sanity / your skills? It sounds really tough!

BlackSwan Fri 12-Jul-13 23:02:45

What about an aupair? Or someone coming in to help for a few hours on the days you're working from home. I wouldn't get any work done at home if I were taking care of 2 kids - no one could!
Don't panic & don't walk. The manager may be new, but the work is the same? You're earning money and employed, that counts for a lot. Good luck.

scortja Mon 15-Jul-13 09:40:26

Thanks for replyng - I wasn't excpecting anyone to!

I feel really moany at the moment so I apologise..

Basically - at the moment my job is really basic, I've been doing it for five years and I'm very unhappy because people keep vaguely hinting that I'm destined for big things and have lots of potential (I'm 36 BTW so starting to find this patronising - and blatanly untrue) - but nothing happens..

The job is so basic that I won't be able to find anything like it outside this company - and if I did the wage would be awful - a £15 000 pay cut at the very least..

I can't afford a big pay cut especially if I have to put both children in nursery full time (which I don't at the moment because I'm killing myself having them at home PT).. I'm also not THAT keen on putting them both in fulltime - and for a job I don't like..

Even if I could find another job for similar pay I don't actually like the work - I stumbled into it and don't enjoy it/have no interest in it..

From a selfish point of view - I would like to have some space to think about what I should be doing. I really like the idea of doing a valuable job - but what? I'd also love to look after my children more - I'm not sure if I could handle fulltime with no money though so a 'nice' parttime job would be good.. Fulltime homemaker with a bit of security (ie the redundancy money) would have been perfect..

I'm becoming a little (scarily) obssessed with the idea that you only live once - that this is it and if I don't make the right choices then I've really screwed up.. And not just my life but my childrens...

I am meeting with my new manager today. He isn't a bad guy but I think he wants to make sure he has someone to do this work. No doubt he will promise some future reward that never materialises. I am not sure if I should take him at face value which I'm starting to think is the 'nice' thing to do, or to plan my exit which would be the smart thing to do..

Sorry for babbling..

If the job stays the same - if he doesn't take away my flexible working - then I will try to find someone to look after the children at home for 4/5 hours while I work..

Nothing in my discussions with HR etc has been written down! I am terrible at this kind of thing - I had thought everyone was fair and straightforward but now realising that 'the company' is the most important thing to then.. which I guess makes some kind of sense..

Hi scortja. Sorry to hear you're having such a tricky time.

That's positive that you now know you'd prefer to be at hone/with your children, so you can use this as your base to make your decisions from.

Def seek help from Citizens advice. See where you stead in the PT and redundancy conversations. You'd be surprised at how a new, knowledgable viewpoint can shed new lift. Also invaluable for employment issues like this is ACAS - google for helpline number. They can give free employment issues advice. I've found than brilliant in the past.

If you're worried about pension etc can you start a private pension and put the min in from your/your DPs money/saving so that mentally you feel like there's a pension running, then up the amounts when you go FT or back to work.

I know it's annoying for them to renage in promises, but if you really can't get PT/redundancy and you still want to be at home then leave anyway. Do what's right for you. It's amazing how little you can live on once you're not paying for childcare/commuting etc. it just may take a different expectations.

These done great advice above too.

Hth

CinnamonAddict Mon 15-Jul-13 10:28:32

Hi OP. You are in a job you don't like. Why not find out what you would like to do?
Besides the problem of childcare (why can't you afford it if the job is so well paid?) you are young and want to struggle through this time with little kids doing a job you dislike?

I am about to change career, and am finding out about going back to uni to do a MSc, even though I have a degree in something completely different. The fees scare me tbh. But I want to leave my current profession and want to do something I enjoy and I find worthwhile until I retire. Take a look at your whole situation and maybe speak to the therapist about it.

I'm older than you (4years) and my youngest starts school in September, so I am a little bit better off childcare wise. But I seriously wished I had started down the route of retraining earlier, part time. I could be qualified and working in my chosen field by now.
Good luck with whatever you do, but address the childcare issue at home as I could never imagine getting any work done with a 1yo. That's impossible.

laverneandshirl Tue 16-Jul-13 11:05:30

Hi OP, are you able to consider working 5 days worth of hours but over 4 days i.e. 9.5 hours over 4 days = 38 hours?

Maybe that would give you one quality day at home with the kids and some time to think about how to retrain? I couldn't work with a 1 yo at home.

Speaking as someone who worked in a well paid but hellish job for 10 years I am so much happier (was on verge of breakdown!) since we downsized our house and I am around for the kids/sch run and able to think about/plan retraining. Our house is now a teeny 2 up 2 down but the kids are much much happier and life unbelievably more relaxed. I know it's not possible for everyone.

scortja Wed 17-Jul-13 09:21:41

Okay well, my new manager wants me in the office 4 days a week and won't agree to less days overall.. He is okay with me starting at 8 finishing at 4 but I basically couldn't work at all if this wasn't the case.. He pretty much admitted it was him that stopped the redundancy going through because he likes having me produce this stupid twice daily report thing (it's the worst aspect of my job and the thing that I really really don't want to do anymore)..

My job isn't particularly well paid - its well paid for what it is.. A monkey could do it.

Our house already is a teeny two up two down in a bad London neighbourhood so downsizing isn't really an option. My husbands job will always tie him to London sadly.. Would love to move somewhere else even just for a little while..

So I am going to have to quit and find some shitty part time admin job.. Which I think are actually quite hard to come by! Really feel like a failure.. So angry but not sure if it should be at myself or at the company or new manager..

Chocotrekkie Wed 17-Jul-13 10:00:02

I think you have a few issues here and there are solutions depending on what you want.

1 - you hate your job and want another one. Fine but it is much easier to get a job when you are in a job. Concentrate on looking for something else on decent money which will be the hours you want. I don't know about London but this is hard where I am.

2 - childcare. I think you are stressed because you are trying to do what is 2 full day jobs at once. You just can't really do any real work when you are looking after small children and you are getting stressed because you are doing a half effort at both.
Is "I hate doing that report" is actually its complicated and boring, the kids keep interupting when you are concentrating and would rather be playing with the kids.

Be very careful with part time work and childcare - working 10 till 3 sounds fab until you realise that the nursery/childminder will probably charge you the full day rate so you are paying the same money as you would for 8-5.

If I were you I think I would grab the 4 days 8-4 for good money and sort out childcare for these days.
You mention your dh - can he do the childcare drop off and you go in even earlier ??

And childcare isnt just for a few years - its actually harder if anything when they start school.

When you've shown your boss that flexible, part time work is good he maybe more open to dropping a day/few hours/ that elusive term time only job we all dream of !

Hi Scortja
Does your 4 year old start school in September? That should free up some money.
Does your new manager want you to do yournew hours immediately or can you negotiate starting them in September?

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