General pressure of family life!

(7 Posts)
Shelduck Fri 08-Jan-16 08:51:13

I have two DSs (3yo and 9mo), and I'm starting to feel the pressure of life with two children now, and I'm having a bit of a wobble. Just wondered if someone could give me a little pep talk?!

DH and I work full-time, both DSs are at nursery, and our day is pretty full-on in terms of getting to work on time, getting home to get the boys to bed at a semi-decent hour, followed by preparing everything again for the morning. There's no slack in the schedule. Our parents have always helped out with childcare on an ad hoc basis when they can, but they all have increasing health problems, so I'm not sure how much longer that will continue, and I'm also frustrated that I don't have time to be able to help them more. And now that we're paying for childcare for both boys, we're feeling the strain financially for the first time too.

Basically, I'm feeling squeezed on all sides - time, money, support, annual leave - and although we're doing OK, I feel like that OK-ness is pretty precarious! I've no reason to complain - I have a wonderful DH, two happy healthy boys, a nice home, a nice job and lovely supportive boss. I'm just suddenly feeling as if it would only take one small thing to go wrong for the wheels to totally come off, and I don't like feeling that vulnerable. I'm putting it down partly to January blues, but I think it is partly about the health problems my parents have. Even if I've not needed their help, I've always felt reassured knowing I could always ask if I needed to.

Is this all pretty run-of-the-mill for everyone?

Binkybix Fri 08-Jan-16 19:39:20

I've got a 3mo and 2.5yo and it feels quite similar. And I'm not even back at work yet. I completely empathise with the way you've described things!!

Luckygirlcharlie Fri 08-Jan-16 20:29:02

This may not help at all but as you're already paying for 2 nursery fees have you looked into how much more paying a nanny would be? Where we live the difference is negligible so we quit nursery and went full time nanny and I find it so much less stressful in the mornings and evenings and of course you don't have to pick them up if they're ill. Sorry if it's totally unhelpful. Otherwise all I can say is it sounds like you're doing brilliantly and having a great DH is key so you also sound lucky. Hope things get a bit more peaceful! X

Joneseygirl77 Fri 08-Jan-16 21:22:37

Yep totally empathise and I've only got one 21mo. Dh and I both work full time and although we are both home based, we do have to travel around the UK a couple of days per week. We don't have much family support so I feel like I'm planning my life away! We have to plan ahead so much to make sure one of us is local in case of illness etc. I really enjoy working though and couldn't be a sahm (total admiration for those that can though) But I feel like I spend my life rushing around and evenings organising everything but I just assume that's being a parent of small children!!

Chin up though January is a rubbish month and ok-ness is fine smile

strawberrybubblegum Sat 09-Jan-16 08:17:17

It might help to think through what scenarios you're particularly worried about: i.e think through the consequence of something happening, then the consequence of that, and the consequence of that etc. You'll eventually get to an 'oh, well that wouldn't be disastrous moment (a friend was taught to do this when he was getting help for anxiety) or else you'll find something you might like to mitigate against if you can.

Eg. If one of you lost your job, what would you need to give up to make the books balance? Redundancy would give you some time to job hunt (and maybe you want to mitigate some more with a cushion of savings). If you couldn't find a job, then stop childcare and that parent looks after kids for a while, friends undoubtedly happy to provide cover for interviews. Tough but not disastrous.

If one of you ends up unable to work but also unable to look after the kids that's much harder. I'd strongly suggest you look into Life Assurance and also Family Income Assurance (which pays out if you're unable to work). There's another type called Critical Illness cover, which covers specific illnesses. You should think about what you actually need to insure against, then speak to a broker to work out the best thing to get. Expensive but important.

If your parents need some extra help, think through options of how you can do that eg accessing NHS help, taking compassionate leave (what are your company policies?) taking unpaid leave (financial cushion again?), can other siblings either give time or help financially if you take unpaid leave?

By the way, you're not imagining it. this amazing TED talk talks about how our lives are so much more precarious now that dual income families are the norm. Basically, costs - especially housing costs - have increased to reflect the higher family income (through normal supply and demand economics) but families have lost the 'slack' of an extra adult who is in the home and in emergencies can care for sick/elderly family members, or get some extra paid work (for extra money - in contrast to the situation where they are already working and that money is allocated). You also have twice the risk of one of the working adults getting ill or losing their job than a single income family. It's worth watching.

strawberrybubblegum Sat 09-Jan-16 08:19:20

Oops, wrong link!!
here it is blushblushblush

Shelduck Sun 10-Jan-16 11:06:57

Thank you so much for your replies and suggestions! Good to know I'm not the only one!

lucky I don't think a nanny will work out better for us, but tbh my real childcare headache starts when DS1 starts school in September, so I need to be thinking about different options for then, I think.

strawberry Yes, I do think through worst case scenarios and, as you say, realise that things would be tough but I would manage. The trouble for me is that I can quite easily get fixated on all the what-ifs and start to convince myself that something is definitely going to go wrong. So I have to tread the line between thinking thinking through worst case scenarios to realise it wouldn't be so bad, and not keep dwelling on them - an anxiety-management minefield! But yes I made sure we sorted out life assurance before DS2 was born, and we looked into the other things but they didn't work as well for us as just trying to save. DH and I agreed we also need to make sure we take care of ourselves, so I really need to get myself booked in for a smear test, for example.

And thanks for the link to the talk - I was riveted! Good to know that this is a wider problem. Also reminded me that things could be much worse. More children in the US in households affected by bankruptcy than by divorce....wow!

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