What the hell is going wrong ??

(28 Posts)

Can anyone help me work out what I'm doing wrong ?

Been back at work after 2nd mat leave for almost 2 months. Dcs are 4 and 1. I work a 4 d week but work much more hours than that.

I commute to London 1.5 to 2hrs each way 3d per wk. I leave the house before 6 to do this (to allow me to leave early enough to get home for bath time).

I feel totally overwhelmed. I have a nanny who is great but I hate having one and a person in my house. Plus it's financially crippling. I have to live with that for now.
I can just about cope with things if I have a weekend with no plans so I can get chores done. This weekend I've been ill so haven't done those things so place is a mess. Nanny is tidy if I leave it tidy. But it seems not if I don't.

At work I cannot get past my inbox of hell the mountains of crap. I've not achieved anything since going back and I'm about to be reviewed on this (due to timings of reviews) and I know I'm going to get a bad result despite being a high performer before narrowly missing promo before my mat leave.

I just feel there is no point to it. I constantly need time off for this that and the other for the kids and nothing feels right.

Maybe I just need to vent. And breathe. blushblush

Cindy34 Sat 30-Nov-13 09:28:25

Routines at the weekend may help to make the weekend more family time. Concentrate on the important things, the relationship between you and DH plus the children. Material things like the tidiness of the house is not that important.

Nanny - they should be doing various duties connected with the children, so things like children's laundry (and some may do all family laundry) including bedding, general tidy - though you have two young children so expect there to be mess. If you need somewhere not messy to chill out in, then allocate one room for that, which is kept clean and tidy, possibly to the extent that children do not go in it. Nanny is there to make your life easier, so see what they can do, within the constraints of your contractual agreement. Nanny needs to realise that if you don't have a job, they don't have a job, so it is in their interest to provide as much help as possible.

Just popped on to strongly agree with those who say that you must raise the issue of workload. If you are paid 0.8 you should only work 0.8.

Erm, I think I may also be posting that to myself.

Alanna1 Sat 30-Nov-13 09:22:27

Nothing. Its tough. I think FT is easier than PT. I found PT didn't work for me. Your nanny needs to do some cleaning - if she won't, look for a nanny-housekeeper. Good luck!

You don't mention your husband enough.

Is it maybe the case , as it is for lots of women , that your DH " helps " but that it is you who is responsible for organising the household ? Who buys DC clothes, nappies? Who manages the food in the house ( shopping and cooking) who do the kids go to if they are upset?

You have a lot on your plate! Be kind to yourself, and make sure your partner is not just " helping" but at least responsible for 50%

Preciousbane Sat 30-Nov-13 09:13:54

I worked three days FT when DS was little, it sounds ideal with two days at home and my job had nowhere near your long commute, it was only 30 minutes.

I actually found three days really hard, I felt very out of the loop. Stuff would happen. I can remember going in and saying what have I missed? Need to know? People just would not remember everything obviously then something would happen and it was, oh yeah so and so did say that policy was being tweaked nothing official yet so didn't think it was important or some such stuff.

I actually returned FT after a year of the three days. I agree use your commute time for transition. I drove and loved my 30 minutes of radio nonsense.

badguider Sat 30-Nov-13 09:06:04

I think you need to claim at least part of the commute as "you" time to aid the transition between work and home. Get a good book or podcast and take 30-45mins to just unwind and refocus from home to work or vice versa.
Unless your work are paying you for those hours you cannot be expected to work then all - it adds up to more than another day of unpaid overtime.

Use this review to ensure your workload is genuinely 0.8 and stick to your guns. Once you start trying to keep up with the full timers on pt hours you cannot go backwards so set reasonable expectations now.

In theory it's an 80% role but it's always more than that if it makes sense. I think the volume of work isn't great but only part of the problem.

I guess I need to adjust.

I hope you don't mind me asking, but has your workload been cut to 3/5th of what you were doing when you were full-time? Or are you trying to struggle through cramming a full-time role into 3 days? Or even 4 days work into 3 days?

If not, then document how you are still doing a full-time role and if you get a poor review, point this out to them and ask them how they intend to reallocate workload to reflect your new contract.

HappyAsASandboy Fri 29-Nov-13 20:17:59

Yes, I feel the same about the transition.

I work full time, with a 3 hour each way commute into London and three year old twins, who spend part of their week with family and part in nursery.

I love all of the aspects of my life. I love being a mum, I love my home (renovation project!), I love my job. I just don't have time (or energy?) to enjoy any of them because I don't feel I am doing any of them properly. I know that I am doing ok at all of them (good reviews at work, lovely children (which surely must be partly to do with me?!) and some small progress on my house, but I constantly feel like I'm robbing Peter to pay Paul sad I end up firefighting in all my lives; neglecting some of my lives to prevent catastrophe in one, then ditching that one sharpish because the other two have suffered from the neglect. I just feels like a very unbalanced way of living.

I don't know what the answer is, but you're not alone! I keep going, because the alternatives are no more attractive! I can't reduce my hours at work as my commute and nursery costs wouldn't reduce proportionately, I don't want to leave my house (which could reduce the commute and remove the renovation project) and I don't want to hire more childcare (eg ask GPs to look after kids to give me weekends off) as I feel I don't see them enough as it is. So I have to carry on! I just hope that things eventually change and a more attractive alternative presents itself!

One thing that does help me get through it is to go to bed with the kids several nights a week. My DH gets a bit frustrated at not seeing me in the evenings, but I seriously couldn't cope without the extra sleep that 3 or so early nights per week gets me. My twins didn't sleep through until 2yrs 6mo and 2yrs 9mo, so those early nights were and still are absolutely necessary to maintain what little sanity I have left!

Good luck!

BigArea Fri 29-Nov-13 19:31:31

that sounds really hard. Has the other day's worth of your workload been given to anyone else? I only ask because going FT down to 4 days is notoriously lethal - my friend works in HR for the civil service and it is incredibly common for people to be expected to do the same volume of work over 4 days rather than 5. 3 days is much more clearly part time IYSWIM.

So it's Friday night and I should be swinging from the ceilings that it's the weekend but I found my self crying into my cup of tea whilst watching Friday night tv with my dc sad

I have realised that I spend all week getting my head back into work mode then all weekend and Monday getting back into mum mode and the transition between the two is really really hard.

Weekend feels like a mountain to cross which is silly I know. Maybe it's the lack of routine or the fact that while it's a weekend it's not really a break. It's more work if I'm honest.

I must be crazy as 3 or 4 days ago when I wrote this I was feeling crazy because I couldn't face work blush

Anyone else experienced this strange phenomenon of transition issues?

Thanks everyone.

Bike- your post is encouraging. I am glad things are better for you. Im in awe of you working with a non sleeping child. Mine was like that until the month I went back to work- narrow escape!

Beast- thank you for such constructive suggestions. I will look at the options of full time and other things too... Its so very helpful. Maybe I just need a new role rather totally new job.

Minnie - thanks for the link I will look at that.

My company prides itself on keeping women in the work place so there must be options to make it work. I just need to find a way without it being negative as thats not perceived well.

Also don't grovel or apologise in your review. I get you feel bad but this isn't disciplinary. Chin up.

Unsure of your sector. Presume you wish to stay in it. Are woh options available in the sector if not firm? Have a look at capabilityjane.com. It might not provide the answer but maybe a hint? It was too snr for me but might give you a hand or something ?

Good luck.

Beastofburden Tue 26-Nov-13 20:11:50

You're = your, iPad glitch

Beastofburden Tue 26-Nov-13 20:10:01

In which case the simple answer is:

You are doing nothing wrong specifically.
This was always going to be a harsh transition,
PND takes its time to go, don't push yourself too hard.
If you hate winter that doesn't help
You are worried about the review and its making it worse.

I would suggest

Lower your standards at home until they hit reality, get help with housework
Chunk your work into smaller bits and celebrate milestones rather than completion
Pick one thing you really used to enjoy about work and try to make it happen, even if its only a quick lunch with one of your favourite people.
Think seriously about going full time and spending the money on good quality cleaner etc. if that extra day were at home, so much the better, as the balance of commute/working time changes. You get an extra day to get through it all, but not an extra commute. That may sound odd, but you're time with the children will be better if you feel less miserable. Working FT might make that happen.
Don't rule out moving to a local job, keep your eyes and ears open, but maybe don't destabilise everything right now.
Get some me time this coming weekend, somehow. Leave something to go hang if you have to.

We had to ditch the cleaner to pay the nanny.

DH doesn't know exactly. Think he feels like me tbh so I don't want to go I especially as I have Mondays with my 1 yo.

The review system means I get reviewed because I've been on role for 5 days more than the minimum to be excluded from the review period.

BikeRunSki Tue 26-Nov-13 20:04:13

I went back to work after second mat leave at the start of January this year. Apart from the length of commute (mine is an hour, into Leeds) and using a nursery rather than nanny, I could have written your post. Pretty much word for word. Added to the mix, 1 yo DD didn't sleep through reliably until a month or so ago. I used to regularly go yo work on 2 hours sleep and at times I thought I was going mad. I reckon it took me 6 months or so to get on top of things, as I developed my strategies for the whole work/commute/life/ DC balance. It's tough, but you will get there. Are you able to have a little time to yourself ever? I run in the evenings, just to get some space.

And batch cook when you can !

Thanks for the other posts.
I had to come back financially though now we pay a nanny there isn't much left. We still couldn't live as we are on just DHs salary.

I do like working and my job but I have no life at all. Tbh I'm still struggling with the back end of PND and the commute, winter, no life, no me time , no money aspects to this are making it tough.

We can't move closer to work due to costs sadly.

A local job would be better but that would completely change my career etc. maybe I have to think of that now.

I am very hard on myself I know and I want perfection everywhere or at least my best. Nowhere is getting it right now.

QueenBoudicea Tue 26-Nov-13 20:02:57

I think the shift from ft to pt is v tricky sometimes as you feel that you should do a practically ft role in less hours in return for working fewer hours. Do you think the workload has been adjusted to meet the reduction in hours?

Also how about getting a cleaner - if you can afford it and then you can use your weekends to recharge your batteries.

Does your dh know how youre feeling atm?

Beastofburden Tue 26-Nov-13 20:00:57

You may not get a bad review. If I were your boss I would not be handing out a bad review to a newly returned mother in the first eight weeks. It's an excellent way to get sued for harassment. Do you have any rational reason to fear this, or is this just you being hard on yourself?

much more likely they will use the time to ask how it's going,

Oh, and get a cleaner if you don't have one. That does ironing. And get the nanny to put the washing through, it won't kill her.

cantthinkofagoodone Tue 26-Nov-13 19:57:29

You need to be honest at work and home. The work is just too much in both areas.

I'd look to change jobs long term but short term ask for help from anyone who can give it. Also get lower standards for housework and try to be on top of things in the evenings so it's not a weekend wasted cleaning

I do have a DH. He does lots of stuff when he is here. Plus AM shift when I go early.

I use the commute to do my work right now.

I used to be full time before my second child so the lack of time is hard to adjust to.

In my head in know that it's at least 3 months to settle back (from last time) but this is hard hard hard. The though of a bad review isn't helping I must say.

BoyMeetsWorld Tue 26-Nov-13 19:56:29

Hmmm perhaps you need to re-evaluate what you really want?

Did you want to return to work, or have to? If its the latter can you re-assess whether you could look for a job closer to home with less commute or even stay at home for the price you pay for a nanny. If this couldn't work and you are the main breadwinner perhaps, could your family relocate closer to your job?

If you wanted to return to work, perhaps keep remembering that & reminding yourself why...the things you love about your job etc. as someone just about to go off on mat leave (& having done it once before) I couldn't wait to get back to work & would make all sacrifices possible (other than seeing my kids at some point each day) to be able to continue working. Nonetheless I fully expect a difficult settling back in period to begin with - its bound to be a shock to the system.

Could you talk to your employer about how you're feeling, perhaps get a fazed return?

Beastofburden Tue 26-Nov-13 19:56:23

At your stage the thing I got rid of was the commute. Somehow the commute into London was the final straw.

How wedded are you to this specific job? Could you get a more local job? There's an awful lot to be said for it, especially once they are bigger and you want to use the after school club. Just think how much better life would be, if you could walk into work, get a little light destressing exercise and maybe cut the Nannys hours as well. I went from PT to FT because of the pay cut, but boy was it worth it.

The other thing is, when did you last have your blood checked? It is very common to become anaemic, and if you are, you would just adapt to it, but feel terrible all the time.

Be gentle on yourself, two months is a fairly trivial amount of time. Your manager may be more concerned to see if you are coping than with high octane performance stuff at this stage. And you don't need to perform at top level your whole life, a year of good enough is perfectly fine.

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