2 parents working full time with long commute and toddler & baby

(37 Posts)
princessx Sat 07-Sep-13 23:29:11

I'm going back to work soon when my children will be age 1 and 2. I'm not allowed to go part time and have to work 37.5hrs per week. Dh is also full time. Dh is keen to move out of London for better quality of life, but that will add about 3hrs onto our day, with 1.5hr commute each way.

Commute still not great for me at the moment, I live in zone 2 and work in zone 1, and it will take me a good hour to get in to work.

I'm just wondering if there are examples of 2 parents working full time with a long commute. Dh thinks it will be fine, but he's basing that on himself, not understanding the weight of childcare I'm taking care of. With me away for 12 hrs a day 5 days a week the kids will become very needy.

I'm sure my health will suffer, and it will make sense for me to quit my job. But I'm trying to stay at the company to turn my job and career into something more workable.

Just wondered if anyone had any examples of both parents doing a long commute, or if we should stay put for the time being.

Metalgoddess Sun 08-Sep-13 16:04:55

Sounds awful and not a very good quality of life, hope you sort something soon

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 08-Sep-13 16:12:14

By my reckoning you'd both be out of the house for 11 hours a day during the week, assuming commute goes smoothly. It often won't then you'll be out of the house for 12 hours.

I doubt either of you would see your young DC during the week for more than a bedtime story. That's not an improvement in quality of life in my book. Of course you could do it if you had to, but getting a house instead of a flat wouldn't be worth that sacrifice for me.

The husband is a different problem. Can you look at weekends away more often? Just don't go to the same place often enough to get an emotional attactment to it.

Cindy34 Sun 08-Sep-13 16:55:51

You can get a lot of advice about nannies on the Childminders/Nannies board.
Very roughly I would say a nanny working 12 hours per day, 5 days a week is likely to cost around £35,000 once you take in all the costs involved. From 2017 that will increase as employer contribution to pension would need to be added, think that will be 3% of nannies gross salary. There is a discussion on the Childminders/Nannies board about the pension situation, for anyone already employing a nanny the start date may be as early as Jan 2015.

happyyonisleepyyoni Mon 09-Sep-13 18:53:43

OP if you are

happyyonisleepyyoni Mon 09-Sep-13 18:56:18

OP your net salary of £2000 PCM falls far short of your childcare costs £2700 PCM before considering travel and other costs.

Why on earth does your partner want you to return to work when you would be so much worse off.

I think you need a completely new plan.

dontyouknow Wed 11-Sep-13 13:28:05

We moved out of London when I was pregnant. My commute is 45 mins. DH's commute is one and a half hours to central London.

Even with my shorter commute I had to ask to leave 20 mins earlier each day (time made up by going in early) to catch a train home. We were very lucky in that we both were allowed to work at home one day so only needed 3 days of nursery. My experience of both parents with long commutes into London and children at nursery is that they often rearrange hours so one starts early but leaves early so can pick up the children, the other takes the children to nursery in the morning.

My husband would get back from work after 7, so could not have done a pick up from nursery. At a push I can get a (very slow) bus home. DH does not have that option and it is not that uncommon for there to be big problems at Victoria delaying all trains. You need to make some friends fast in a new area who you could call if you are both stuck in London!

If you both have a long commute then it should not just be your problem - you need to share drop offs and pickups otherwise I can't see how it would work if you are both full time.

littlecrystal Mon 23-Sep-13 10:50:41

OP I can relate to your post in terms of two kids, full time work, similar salary, not very helpful DH and willingness to move out of London.

DH and I work full-time and we have two DC, 5yo and 3 yo. Childcare logistics gets more difficult as they reach school – the eldest is goes to childminder+school+afterschool club and holiday club during holidays, the little one, thanks god, only goes to a nursery. We are in London zone 4 and we pay £800 for one lot of nursery. £2700 is a lot! We do not have any family members around so it is just us, and mainly me, because DH works longer hours. Our commute is 35 mins door to door as we are lucky to be on a fast train line, so normally there is no rush in the morning/evening though I can never stay overtime. Everything is working so well at the moment.. But there is a bad side to it – I have never wanted to live in London. The area is grim and gritty and though is it is a lifesaver to live here (short commute, affordable childcare etc.), I have always wanted to move out to a picturesque small town outside London.

After a long search, I have finally found that ideal place. It is 20 miles away from London, excellent area, good secondary schools, 25 mins commute by train. Seems excellent, right? I am dreading of the thought being far from London, away from my social networks, the need of rearranging all logistics, delayed trains, knowing no one, having no emergency contacts. DH and I both do not have flexibility in work so we both have to be in the office every single day. I even thought of compromising – instead of buying a house further from the station, just buy a flat very close to the station of the ideal town and so have minimal commute. I am dying to move – for myself and for the better children’s future - but so afraid that we will set ourselves into a trap hole.
Good luck with whatever you decide.

Mandy21 Mon 23-Sep-13 21:57:40

I just wanted to echo what a previous poster has said. I work 3 days per week, H works full time, but I have a long commute (1.5-2hrs each way) and the only way we have found it work is to shift our work patterns - I leave at stupid o'clock to be in the office for 7.30, leaving H to do the drop offs, and leave at 4pm to be able to collect by 5.30pm. H obviously stays late, usually getting home for about 8pm (he's only 20 mins away). I think you need to look at your circumstances as a couple, and your finances as a couple. I'd look into a nanny which would probably be cheaper and more flexible than £2700 per month. Also, you need to think about long term. I agree that your husband is being sensible in thinking about schools etc, but you also need to think about the school day. To be honest, the nursery years are easier than school days (8.50am to 3pm here) and how you manage that if you're commuting. Good luck, sounds as though you have some tough decisions to make!

Nevercan Tue 24-Sep-13 18:05:27

What do you do for a living OP? Can you do this part time somewhere else?

tethersend Tue 24-Sep-13 18:18:42

Whilst keeping her job may not make financial sense in the short term, it could well do in the long term, so the OP needs to compare not just her present, but her future earnings when deciding whether or not to leave work.

Personally, I'd be very wary of giving up work.

shimmymummy Tue 24-Sep-13 22:22:11

I work 1.5hrs away from home and so does my DH (in the opposite direction) - both commutes involve walk - train - cycle/walk. We chose to live where we do because of it is in the middle of both our work places. Our DD is 3 and No.2 is on the way - I still haven't figured out how school + nursery will work out, investigating the option of a Nanny :-S

If you choose to live outside of London, you will find a lot of nurseries are based within a stones throw of mainline stations (literally less than 5 mins walk). Certainly the case for Oxford / Reading / Bracknell / Didcot. This has made life easier for us. I work full time as does my DH - and not jobs whereby you do 9-5, but are expected to do extra. But I work at home 2 days a week, DH 1 day a week and it makes our quality of life so much better - DD gets shorter days at nursery - we just fit in the extra hours on one or two burning the midnight oil sessions a week. To get my flexible working agreement I presented a plan showing the type of work I would do at home (writing, planning) - actually not being in endless meetings has been a blessing and I have become a much more efficient and effective worker. I am always available on the phone / email / skype. And 2 years on my work are really reaping the benefits and I just got promoted. It is possible. If your work have rejected your flexible working, and you think you could do your work efficiently at home or job share, then that would be verging on constructive dismissal I feel.

OP I think you are to be commended for going back to work to maintain your financial independence and build your career.

I don't think it's just length of commute that you need to be thinking about here though. This is more or less the checklist that DH and I went through at the time (but my DH is not an unsupportive fuckwad as yours is being right now) (and many of these points already raised above):

- flexibility of hours - possibility of flexitime after 6 months;
- mobility of experience and transferability to another employer or cross-industry?
- current and future pay and remuneration; career path with this employer?
- financial cost of commute
- current childcare arrangements
- proximity to good schools (do not underestimate this! It's only 2 years until you are signing up your 2 year old for primary school)
- future childcare options given cost, school, before and after school clubs
- (big one for me, not entirely shared with DH) strength of desire to get back to work and get out of the flipping house

Good luck!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now