Part time working. Five half days a week or three full days - any thoughts please?

(50 Posts)
Jemster Thu 14-Nov-13 20:19:25

I currently work 5 days a week 8.30-1.00pm which I'm struggling a bit with. Always rushing, never finish work on time, feel like I can't do a proper job in those few hours. But I do like it so I can pick my son up from school every day and be with him & dd.

Am just wondering what it would be like to do 3 full days instead. Would it be less stressful as less rushing around and trying to split myself in two each day?

I'd appreciate views from both sides. Thanks.

SecretRed Thu 14-Nov-13 20:31:52

How old is you dd? I work 10-2 every day and although the hours look like a doddle I am struggling as I have a 2 yr old and I feel like I never see him.
I think factoring in travel times helps too. My commute is 40 mins which is a bit of a chunk out if the day when you are only paid part time wages.
I am currently looking for a 3 full day part time job to do instead (although they are like gold dust around here!)

massistar Thu 14-Nov-13 20:33:24

I do 3 days full time. Find it much easier to get my head round those being my working days. Also love love love my 2 days off!

Crikeyblimey Thu 14-Nov-13 20:34:34

Three full days vote from me.

I did 5 days 9 till 3 when ds was small. I NEVER got anything done in those 2 hours except cook dinner and school run.

At least with 2 full days at home you will be able to avoid the cleaning / washing marathon every blooming weekend.

Sidge Thu 14-Nov-13 20:34:47

I prefer full days at work and full days off. I have worked school hours term time only but found it really hard going, as I was either at work or with the children and didn't feel like I had any time to do the dull day-to-day stuff so ended up doing it all at the weekends.

At least with full days off you can get more done IMO.

RedPencils Thu 14-Nov-13 20:36:24

Full days for me. I tried half days but I never had time to get anything done. Once I'd got home, has lunch, tidied up breakfast stuff it was time for school pick up. With 2 full days not working I can get all shopping, cleaning and laundry done so the weekends are free.

CaterpillarCara Thu 14-Nov-13 20:36:45

I do five half days. I value the afternoon time to sort out the house, cook dinner, etc. But I really, really miss being able to do things that take all day - go into town, go on a school trip, etc. I think three full days would be better.

RedPencils Thu 14-Nov-13 20:37:33

Plus of course you only have 3 days of commuting costs.

Ilovemyrabbits Thu 14-Nov-13 20:38:03

Half days will disappear into the ether and you'll rarely get as much done during a half day as you will on a full day off. Also, you have travel expenses for every day, or parking expenses, or coffee every day, etc, etc. You don't get the chance to switch off from work mode. It's a tough one, because you will undoubtedly feel the disconnect of part time work by doing 3 days, but ime 3 full days at work is best.

We used to make the two days I wasn't working 'Mommy & Babyrabbit' days and she still talks about those days now she's 12 and pre-teeny.

I currently work 4 part days and I wish I could compress my part days into 3 full ones instead.

sittinginthesun Thu 14-Nov-13 20:40:50

I work five half days. I am generally knackered, but really value being able to pick the children up from school and supervise after school activities and homework. my eldest, in particular, needs his downtime with me at home.

I am, as I say, generally knackered and have very little "me" time

aufaniae Thu 14-Nov-13 20:41:04

I had exactly the same question a couple of years ago, when DS was 18 months.

I went for 3 full days, mostly as I'd get more time at home, as only 3 journeys to work not 5.

But also I found having whole days off worked well for us.

littleblackno Thu 14-Nov-13 20:42:40

Another vote for full days. I've just switched to doing half days and although it's nice picking the kids up. I don't really feel with all the stuff they do after school that i'm really getting much extra time with them and I miss my days off to get 'stuff' done. I've got a new job i'm starting after xmas and will be going back to full days.
Travel time does make a big difference. My current job i have a big commute which is one of the reasons I change hours. My new job is just up the road - wish i could start it tommorow!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Thu 14-Nov-13 20:52:22

I do same as you and it works most of the time (although term time only). I do like being there for pick up/clubs etc and it's fine. 3 days would be nice though (bet they would feel longgggggg at first)
Don't forget any childcare costs for longer day.

scottishmummy Thu 14-Nov-13 20:57:24

Full days

Ellisisland Thu 14-Nov-13 20:59:11

I have a 20 month DS and I work 3 days 9-4. I much prefer it to over 5 days as I get 2 full days of just me and DS and then the weekend with DH as well. I think if I did less hours but over 5 days it would feel as if I was working full time anyway because every week day would have to be planned around work iyswim

SaltySeaBird Thu 14-Nov-13 21:00:42

I vote full days as well. I used to do five half days and felt I was working all the time and the rest of the day vanished. Changing to three full days made a huge difference, much better quality time off.

holstenlips Thu 14-Nov-13 21:02:12

Ive done both and find three full days much better. More productive at work and better home / work balance

I do half a week over 3 days, which I find works really well. Does mean I need after school club on 2 days though.

deepfriedsage Thu 14-Nov-13 21:03:17

Another vote for full days.

Before the DCs were in school I did 3 full days as I preferred that. Now I work those hours over 4 short days so I can do pick up. Personally I hate it, there's never enough time at work to actually do anything. I end up checking emails in the afternoon. It also means 4 rushed mornings. From the point of view of the DCs they love it. It means I pick up every day, we have time for activities, and homework. We can have friends over to play etc.

In the school holidays I swap back to 3 full days and its easier for me! But I wouldn't go back to that in term time as I feel we need time after school to relax as well as do the ever increasing amount of homework

I do 10-3 for 4 days and the other day is a full time day but to be honest I feel like I am full time every day. My kids are junior school age so there is a lot of ferrying around to be done after school to various activities or supervising homework. The most housework I can get done during the week is to keep on top of the washing, and to do one food shop mid-week. Occasionally I find time to Hoover mid-week too.

Ideally I would like 3 full days or 3.5. Then I would be able to catch up on housework on my days off while the kids are in school. And have it all done by the weekend. We would have better quality family time at the weekend instead of catching up on housework. I would have more "me time" and I dare say I may even be able to fit in some exercise somewhere. There is just no time left the way things are at th moment as I'm either at work or seeing to the kids.

That said, I often wonder who it is that ferries kids around to activities/social stuff when their parent is working full time. Do grandparents do it? Because it is not possible if they're in after school club or a childminder. I wonder if my kids realise how lucky they are to have me there for them after school most of the week and to not have to get up early in the mornings to go to breakfast club? And I wonder if they realise that it means that I get no time to myself whatsoever? Probably not! With my hours I feel that the kids get the best deal - I certainly don't!

BikeRunSki Thu 14-Nov-13 21:22:32

Full days

My commute is too far to justify for half a day

BikeRunSki Thu 14-Nov-13 21:25:03

Also, I don't really get my brain into gear much before lunchtime. I would never get anything done at work of I only worked mornings.

DownstairsMixUp Thu 14-Nov-13 21:27:19

I work four days a week, four hours each time. I'd much prefer 3 days 8 hours a day tbh.

Ps I do sometimes get a bit jealous when I see some kids having a LOT of input from their grandparents whilst their parents work fulltime ie school drop off/pick up, ferry to swimming lessons etc, give them tea. The parents are getting the benefit of a full time wage yet the kids are still getting the care and attention they need from family. I suppose it's very tying for the grandparents though. See - there's always SOMEONE who gets the better deal and someone who gets the slightly shittier end of the stick when it comes to school age children and Childcare.

irishe Thu 14-Nov-13 21:28:40

I have just gone back to work, doing 3 full days. DD is 2 years old and does find the long day at nursery very tiring which I feel guilty about. The only consolation is that she enjoys nursery, but she is shattered by the time I pick her up. I did wonder about doing 5 half days but I have a 70 mile round commute which although takes only 45 mins each way is expensive in diesel. When dd is ill, it is more likely DH will take time off as he can work from home if need be, whereas my job involves appts with clients.

sittinginthesun Thu 14-Nov-13 21:30:37

Should add, I am very productive in my half days at work. Almost a full time case load. I don't think my work suffers at all. It's best for the children. It's just me who feels knackered.

Nevercan Thu 14-Nov-13 21:31:12

I do 3 full days and get lots done on the other two, plus you have more flexibility for days out, appointments etc.

Mellowandfruitful Thu 14-Nov-13 21:32:55

Three full days. It's incredibly easy to have a half day that just fills up with faff - either at work or home - and you can't get anything more substantial done as you've only got a few hours.

Cat98 Thu 14-Nov-13 21:33:56

I do half days and I think it's better for ds though I get very little time to catch up on stuff, so weekends are busy.

trixymalixy Thu 14-Nov-13 21:34:57

3 full days without a doubt!!!

gintastic Thu 14-Nov-13 21:38:24

I do 2 full days and 2 half days. My full days are very long though (8-5.30) so I work the equivalent of 4 full days, just slightly squished around. I get a lot done on my 2 long days, and I can collect 3 days a week after school. It's tiring, I'm only 6 weeks in but it seems to be working so far!

drspouse Thu 14-Nov-13 21:39:54

Another vote for 3 full days. My colleagues can just about get their heads round me not being in some days, but would blow their tiny minds if I had to leave at lunchtime every day. I do occasionally answer emails on days I work, in the evenings, which probably confuses them, but it's usually something I couldn't finish before nursery pickup but don't want to wait till Monday.

Having said that, I may switch to short days (8.30-3 or similar) when he starts school. I'd probably still work one full day, and the others short days.

I do 3 days, though I've never tried 5 short days and my situation's a bit different as youngest DC is not yet in school, so I don't have "days off" as such but am looking after them when I'm not working.

With 3 days, I suppose the good thing is that you can really "get into" the work and not have to leave feeling like you've barely got started. But I do find - in my work at least - a downside is having to catch up from my non-working days. I always dread my emails on the day after a non-working day, and it does mean if you didn't manage to get something done the day before a "day off", when you come back in the next time, people are already yelling about it as "urgent" because you didn't respond the previous day... so it would be nice not to have that.

I am wondering about whether/how to change things once DC2 starts school, so will watch the other responses with interest!

Charmingbaker Thu 14-Nov-13 21:47:43

I do 5 half days and love it. I work 8-12 and it takes me less than 5mins to get to work. My DH has DCs til 9 then we have a nanny til 12 so I only pay 15hrs a week (I'd have to pay 19hrs if I worked 2 and a half days). My kids definitely benefit, youngest has the same routine every day and I'm around after school every day for my older one.

JugglingChaotically Thu 14-Nov-13 21:51:20

3 days - less commuting less start and stop time loss.
and fewer days constantly swapping from one to other. 2 days to enjoy 100%.
For me commute was hell so
I have cut days and increased hours per day - life transforming! grin
That said. What ever works for you!

Actually I would find it hard to do short days as well cos I have to do a lot of work with people in other timezones (on phone etc) - that would be really hard if I was always finishing early or starting late, would never overlap with them... so that sort of work issues are worth thinking about too.

Mintyy Thu 14-Nov-13 21:53:01

Absolute no-brainer, 3 full days is so much better in every way!

GinnelsandWhippets Thu 14-Nov-13 21:53:40

I do 3 full days - mon, weds, fri. It works brilliantly for me & my job. I'm never out of the office long enough for work to back up/get offloaded onto colleagues. And each day feels like something new. I love it and will continue working this pattern for as long as I can!

Jemster Fri 15-Nov-13 06:32:25

Thank you everyone for all the replies. It seems the majority favour 3 full days which is interesting as I always thought I had the best of both worlds working evey morning.
I really am struggling with it to be honest. Thers are so many meetings at work that often I think I haven't actually done any work by the time I have to go.

Dc are ds 6 & dd 18 months so just paying for childminder for dd at moment. My main concern with going to 3 full days is that our childcare costs would still remain when dd starts school as they woukd both have to go to c/m for a couple of hours 3 days a week. If I remained on half days, we would have no childcare costs once both at school.

Thing is it's starting to make me really unhappy. I am rushing to get to work every morning, not achieving as much as I'd like when there. I often don't get time to eat lunch and still end up leaving later than finish time. Rush to pick up dc and then entertain them all afternoon.
No time for shopping,cleaning,cooking, anything!

I am exhausted and starting to feel really irritable & unwell. I'm not sure how long I can carry on like this. If only there wasn't the childcare cost issue, I think I would be looking to ask work for a change.

nowahousewife Fri 15-Nov-13 06:48:35

I always worked 3 full days for the reasons many above have mentioned. I think it you would feel that you are constantly running around to stand still on 5 half days.

When the DC's were pre school it gave us 2 full days together so we would do so much more on my non working days than I imagine you could do on late afternoons.

Once they were at school, we all really benefitted from me having 2 days at home as I was able to do all the household stuff so the weekends were free for family time. I also got to see my friends for lunch, coffee etc so I felt I had a life too!

Now they are relatively self sufficient teens I work freelance but still to average 3 days per week as they still do need someone around even if it is just to come home for a good natter or sound off about how unfair life is!

Hope this helps OP.

Sidge Fri 15-Nov-13 07:02:59

Your DD is so young I would disregard the childcare costs for now (as it's a while until she's in school) and do what works for you and your family NOW.

Things may change by the time she's at school, there may be afterschool club ect which works out cheaper.

Jemster Fri 15-Nov-13 07:05:07

Thank you nowahousewife. I would love to have a whole day with my dd because as you say I hardly get any quality time with her in the afternoon as my main focus then is trying to get their tea & do ds homework.
I do worry that I'd feel bad sending them to childminder after school for 3 days. This comes from my own childhood where I use to go home every day and wouldn't have liked to go anywhere else.

nowahousewife Fri 15-Nov-13 07:05:14

OP have just read about your childcare costs, would getting an au pair once they are both at school be an option? We always had one when ours were younger and it was bloody brilliant!

They do 25 hrs light housework/childcare per week as well as 2 nights babysitting. That means she could do the school drop off and pick up, get the children a snack and do their homework with them. She would still have plenty of time to clear the breakfast things, do some ironing etc while they are at school and you're at work. Also useful if she can play with one while you are listening to the other read etc.

I know it's not everyone's thing but it really can work well for all. Our DC's generally enjoyed having a fun young person to play with and 2 of them are still in touch with us!

Jemster Fri 15-Nov-13 07:18:31

Sidge thank you that really is good advice and I think you're right. I'm so worried about planninng it all out for future but right now I'm falling apart & my family are suffering for it!

trixymalixy Fri 15-Nov-13 13:22:35

The most stressful part of our day is the getting the kids up and out in the mornings and then managing to get to work on time. Working 3 days you would have two days of not doing that, I find it much less stressful just having to get DS to school.

Also work wise, I find I take about 1:2 an hour or more to settle into work in the mornings. I think I would be much more productive in 3 full days rather than half days.

JugglingChaotically Sat 16-Nov-13 11:45:01

Childcare and ongoing challenge. I recently sorted out childcare with an eye to the future. Disaster! Totally wrecked the present. So had to take deep breath (and wallet hit) and go back to full time nanny for now.
Best to sort and enjoy the present. Things will change anyway. They do with DCs and also with work and life.
So do what works for now while DD so little and try and go with the flow when things change as they do anyway every year or so.
A bit waffley sorry. But the key is focus on now and the next year - and enjoy.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 16-Nov-13 11:47:57

Definitely the full days from a personal perspective. Easier / cheaper for childcare, commuting etc. And gives proper periods of tome to do home stuff.

Definitely half days for keeping in touch with work. Depends what you do whether that is important.

bigbuttons Sat 16-Nov-13 12:02:14

I am I single mum, kids all at school. I work in a school and last year I did 3 full days, this year I do 1 whole day and 4 half days.
I prefer doing the half day option!

Groovee Mon 18-Nov-13 19:21:23

I differ every week as to what I work. 2 full days is my favourite as I then get 2 full days at home and have a half day on a Friday as the children are off Friday afternoons.

I prefer working afternoons to Mornings. If I work an afternoon, I get up and organised, can get lots of housework done and meet people for an early lunch before being at work for 12.15pm. If I work mornings, I have a terrible habit of coming in, making lunch then waste the afternoon on my bum.

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