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I need to talk about whether or not to return to work.(50 Posts)
I have a two daughters - one who is nearly three and one at twelve weeks.
My husband and I both work, core hours are 9-5 with business development etc on top. DH is full time and I cut my hours to four days when I had DD1 (and I'm on mat leave just now).
We both do the same job and it's extremely demanding. It demands a huge level of commitment outside of working hours and to be honest I feel I lost my passion for it a while back. Soooo I'm reconsidering my options re going back to work. And I don't know where to start.
I would like to stay at home with the girls for the moment. DD1 is settled and happy in a private nursery just now and will get funding next year so she could still do a couple of days there.
My big big issue is what's going to happen when they go to school. I'd always taken for granted we would use wraparound childcare but the closer it gets, the more I can't bear the thought of my little DD in P1 having to stay there till 6pm four nights a week. She'll be so tired and I know I would have hated that as a child. Also, school holidays will be no fun for them passed between grandparents (a teacher on each side) and holiday camps. I so badly want to be at home for them.
So I was thinking about looking into teacher training. I'd love to teach business management and my experience in my current job would stand me in good stead. However, I have a law degree and this is not compatible. With any subject. I would need to do a whole new undergrad degree before I could do my PGCE. I just don't think it's feasible. I could do primary teaching (I can get into that with a law degree) but I wouldn't have childcare to cover the placements at the moment. I don't think we could afford to send DD2 to nursery if I wasn't working.
DH has a decent salary. I think it would cover our outgoings but we wouldn't have much left over. I'm ok with this I think, but he's not so keen (although he's not saying no at this stage).
I feel like I'm at a crossroads and I don't know what to do
You would still need childcare when a teacher, lots of staff meetings, clubs to run, events etc. None of ours seem to leave before 5.30 judging by the cars left on the car park. Then they likely start work again at home.
Do not give up your financial independence you do not know what the future holds.
If you can go down to 4 days so can DH. That leaves just three days to cover - not so bad.
I wouldn't do a PGCE with very young DC. Yes you get the holidays off but term time it is full on. My DC are in childcare 8-6 and I work most evenings when they are in bed.
If you want to teach business management could you look into teaching adult education courses?
I'm a teacher. My kids are in childcare 7.30 - 6 most days. Holidays are good though.
You can get a childcare grant for training to teach. A friend did a primary PGCE a couple of years ago, and it will be a few years of teaching before they earn the same as they got on a funded (primary maths) PGCE year.
Could you switch in your current role to school hours only? 5 days at 5.5 hours a day or similar? Don’t go into teaching for short hours. They’re not short and it’s really inflexible.
Why don't you post this on the 'staff room' board. Most teachers need wraparound care from 7.30-6 so that problem wouldn't go away-you'd be working in the evenings too.
I work in the evenings in my current role. Well I did before I finished on mat leave. I don't mind that. But I take the point about still needing 8-6 childcare through the week. My SIL is a teacher and seems to be finished at 4pm every day (and has just been promoted) but that doesn't reflect my mums experience.
Term time working not an option. They'd probably laugh if I suggested it.
Fuck. I'm stuck, aren't I.
Maybe a nanny to collect them from school and take them home? Would that be ridiculous?
I felt the same- I can always earn money but those precious first years I will never get back. Money is not important- we have enough. It’s a very personal decision. Staying at home is hard going but worth it for me. I would make the decision from your gut and heart not whether you will lose financial independence, husband may leave, hard to get back into career etc. I speak as someone who had a job (good one) but not a “career”. Many will disagree with my advice but it is good for you to have differing opinions to help you decide what’s best for you and your family. As I said, very personal decision and you need not justify it to anyone!
I find working hard but think financial independence and maintaining earning power is vital. I would not want to be a teacher, IMO it offers worse work/life balance than many other jobs and many drop out due to very challenging working conditions.
There are other childcare options if school wraparound isn’t for you. You have help from grandparents for some of the holidays - that’s more than most.
Money IS important! Especially for those whose relationships break down or go through other difficult change. Financial security also benefits DC.
She'll be so tired and I know I would have hated that as a child
She isn't you. My dc loved breakfast club at their Primary school. They were disappointed they couldn't go to the afterschool club as there wasn't space. - so, don't presume she will hate it. I doubt she will.
Maybe a nanny to collect them from school and take them home? Would that be ridiculous?
I don't know much about Nannies, but I'd have thought most nannies would want far more hours than just after school care. It would be worth investigating though.
However, a Childminder would collect from school and take her to their house, if you preferred that to after school club.
However, you won't gain yourself time by becoming a teacher. In particular, your PGCE year and NQT year will be the theft of time. Nor, tbh, will you be likely to survive in teaching if you are only thinking of it to gain holidays at home. It is a very tough life for those who have a passion to want to teach, it certainly isn't a job to go into for an imagined better work / life balance.
You’re listing many reasons for not going back to work, and trying to find ways to make working work. It doesn’t sound to me that your work/professional life is a burning priority.
This is a shared problem with your DH. It’s not yours to carry alone. They’re his kids as much as yours, and it means nothing that he’s rather have the pay than have a parent at home with the kids. You’re as much their parent as him. You’re both entitled to your views, and given what you’ve written they’re both valid.
IMO you need to find a way to make sure staying at home works for you both. Just by way of example: I gave up a lucrative career to stay home with my children for exactly the same reasons you give. My DH was earning the same as me then. He now earns double and I’m still at home. He has undertaken (we could have done it legally but other factors meant we didn’t need to) to ensure that we own everything jointly and equally - and will upon divorce forever onwards minus anything I might be able to earn myself should we ever split and I decide to work. He will not compel me to work as my professional qualifications have lapsed and going into a new career at this age would be nigh on impossible. I am happy at home and in the knowledge I am financially secure. The children are happy. He is happy with his career and the commitments he’s made to me as his wife and to his children. It feels good.
OP what about my suggestion that DH also goes down to four days as you say you do the same job?
After school nannies do exist yes. They are hard to come by but it's possible. But won't you need a four day a week nanny while your younger child is not in school?
We're looking at this currently. M6 beat solution is for DH and I both to take apply for flexible working so we each finish at 2.30pm one day per week. Based on a 37.5 hour week (yeah right!) This means we'd both make 7% of our salaries.
It means dd will only be in after school club 3 days a week; which feels doable (she's in 8-6 nursery 5 days a week currently) and that she gets two afternoons of down time - of for after school swimming / activities/ playmates.
No idea about the holidays yet!!
Sorry if this is short. 3rd time I've tried to post it.
Are you a solicitor? My friend has just given up practising to work at the University of Law and that seems to be a much better work-life balance. It's less money but he's home earlier and can make extra money exam marking.
Good luck. It's tough when both parents have demanding jobs.
Given dcs ages I think you are overthinking this slightly right now. I can see you would need to apply for a pgce etc but I agree with others that's not the right solution.
I would go and actually look at the after school club for a start. Check you will get a place and see what they do. My dc have done this for three days a week throughout school. There's lots to do, they feed them and there are also cushions etc to flop on. I've seen kids asleep there, especially at the start and end of term. It's fine. It's handy got after school clubs too, they go to the club then straight to the after school club, no hanging around for an hour whilst you pick up younger child and have to wait.
Whatever you decide to do remember that this is a very small part of your life as a parent. Children will accept whatever you sell to them with a positive attitude. The effects of a prolonged break on your career, lifetime earnings and pension are far longer lasting and will impact on your kids too.
What job do you do currently? Being specific might help with ideas.
Teaching is not as child-friendly as you might think although of course you have the holidays.
With a teacher's workload it often depends on the school and your subject. I used to be able to get away by 4pm some days like your sil but would often take work home to do later, then there were 6 nights a year for parents evenings, a couple of open evenings, concerts, revision classes, other events, sometimes till 8-9pm. Some teachers like myself could go home and come back but others had to stay if they lived too far away and wouldn't see their children at all on those evenings. There were also weekend commitments from time to time.
Plus you still have to have childcare for your dc's inset days, illnesses etc. I did have a nanny to do after school pick up and take the dc back to the house and that worked really well. I also had a childminder who did pick ups and the dc went to hers and I picked them up later. All a juggling act but that would probably be the same in whatever job you do. It helps if you have a partner and grandparents who can help out especially if they are flexible for illnesses and emergencies.
I think you'd find being a teacher a lot more hard work and long hours than you'd expect.
How about a childminder to collect DD from school while she's still little? At least then she'd be in a home environment after school.
I'm a solicitor and this will be a problem for me in just over a year's time. My possible solutions are:
- School-run nanny. It is possible to find one as I know people who have!
- Starting insanely early a couple of days a week so that I can finish early for pick up and asking dh to consider doing the same (he won't!£
- Working a 4 day week but 'saving' the day off per week for school holidays (my firm seems to let people do this).
- An au pair (but I don't love this idea!)
Have you considered looking into teaching at a private school? You don't need a PGCE for that, do you? And certainly my old school offers law, business and economics A-level which it sounds like you could teach? I have a good relationship with my old headmistress and she's always trying to persuade me to teach but I'm wary of the hours vs. pay! I think I'd be working longer hours for less money, which even though I think I'd love it doesn't seem like a good choice when I have young children!
To survive in teaching you have to really really love teaching. You’ll spend more time with other people’s children than your own. Especially during your PGCE and NQT years.
You need the passion. Don’t do it just because you think it will help with childcare.
Don't give up your career - make it work. Can u do a day from home? Condensed hours - can DH? Childminders more homely environment than nursery.
We split our leave over holidays along with clubs and grandparents . Kids are fine
My youngest now nearly 10 and so glad I worked. Many of my friends haven't anddwuth rising costs need to but are stuck in minimum wage jobs whereas I have large earning power
Have you looked at funding for a PGCE? There are bursaries for Primary and certain Secondary subjects. Depending on household income you may also be entitled to a maintenance grant, especially having children. This may help for the year to cover nursery costs.
Teaching is difficult and stressful though and takes over your life - you'll still be planning at home on a Sunday. However the 'holidays' are useful for childcare, although you'll be planning in those too. You'll need to get some work experience in a school to support your application.
Thank you very much for the responses. I have read them all.
Ok. In the cold light of day, I can see that teaching probably isn't the solution I am looking for. I am indeed a solicitor and I know all about heavy workloads and late nights at the kitchen table and a poor work/life balance so that doesn't put me off, but I accept the hours are still long and it won't negate the need for wraparound childcare.
I am suddenly feeling really anxious about this issue. Our local authority recently brought in a 4.5 day school week so they finish st lunchtime one day per week. Whilst I accept that school is not childcare, this does in reality leave us with a problem. This is one of my working days. I have previously asked about changing it but it was turned down.
My job offers not much flexibility at all. This is one of the issues that is raised by staff a lot. They don't go for home working or compressed hours etc. DH is going to suss out what his options might be in that regard.
I have a little business idea that I was planning on working on regardless of whether or not I go back to work, but I don't feel so optimistic about it these days.
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