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To request that I can leave work for 6pm to be home for DD bedtime *every night*?

(115 Posts)
1catherine1 Sun 25-Sep-11 20:14:18

I'm a teacher and am in a core department with 5 full time members of staff, one of whom is on a temporary contract. The teacher on a temporary contract is never asked to do anything outside of the usual 9-3 with the exception of the planning and assessment. Out of the remaining 4 teachers I am the only one who has a family. This is what makes this so difficult. Two of the department (head and second) are both women who chose not to have a family, the other in the department is a young man who I believe just hasn't got around to it yet (I'm assuming as he told me he loves babies and kids). My DD is 6mo and I only returned to teaching full time at the start of this term.

Now my department are fantastic and very understanding but I'm feeling a little torn and guilty. Each night our bedtime routine includes her supper at 6pm, then into a clean vest and sleepsuit, followed by cuddle time at 6:30pm. Cuddle time involves the two of us lying on the sofa and her relaxing and having her final feed (BF) of the night which lasts about 30 to 40 minutes until she falls asleep next to me. She stays cuddled up with me until 7:30pm when I take her up to bed. She often wakes up as I take her up stairs but she quickly goes back to sleep when I put her down.

My problem is that I am only asked to stay later than 6pm 6 times a year. 5 parent's evenings and open evening but I really don't think my OH could get her to sleep without booby so staying would mean she gets upset waiting for me. For parents evenings this would mean that all my appointments would have to be finished for 5:45pm which isn't that unreasonable I think, but for Open Evening which runs from 6pm to 8pm it means I would have to miss it completely...

AIBU to ask to not have to be there? It would only be this year as she is still so young confused I have already asked and my HoD was fine about it but told me I had to ask the Head who reluctantly agreed - but made me feel rather guilty for asking. Although tbh I gave the reason that I had no childcare and I couldn't ask the (onsite) nursery as they shut at 5:30pm - which is true as my OH is working that night.

fivegomadindorset Sun 25-Sep-11 20:17:10

YABU, what about the working parents of your pupils who can only get to you after 5.45pm?

worraliberty Sun 25-Sep-11 20:17:22

6 times a year??


AlpinePony Sun 25-Sep-11 20:18:03

Yabu to think your husband has no role to play and that he's incapable.

HecateGoddessOfTheNight Sun 25-Sep-11 20:18:24

erm. well.

This is one of those ones that it's impossible to decide from outside grin you feel how you feel and what more is there to say?

I mean, for me, it's a grand total of six nights in an entire year and not a big deal, and it's part of your job and it means a lot to parents.

Imagine when your baby is at school and you are a parent wanting all the info and you don't get to meet with the teacher so you don't get the feedback on your child... (I sense an AIBU in waiting grin )

However - it's how you feel and you can't really tell someone that they don't have a right to a particular feeling, even if it doesn't make so much sense to you.

girliefriend Sun 25-Sep-11 20:18:46

I don't think yabu as your little one is still so little!! And it sounds like the time you have together in the evening is very precious.

They are only babies for a very short period of time in the grand scheme of things so yanbu.

ginmakesitallok Sun 25-Sep-11 20:19:05

sorry but YABU. If you were my DDs teacher and couldn't make ANY of the times when I could see you because you were putting your DD to bed I would be confused

NinkyNonker Sun 25-Sep-11 20:20:06

6 times a year? Yes, definitely Yabu. I say that as a teacher and the mother of a fairly nork dependent baby.

scuzy Sun 25-Sep-11 20:20:23

surely you can express and give your OH that time with your dd. be good bonding time for your OH. otherwise you'll be on here in another few months saying your dd wont settle for night for your OH.

in relation to your work women fought long and hard for fair working hours and if you turn around and refuse that 6 DAYS A YEAR to do your job its taking the piss.

SansaLannister Sun 25-Sep-11 20:20:24

It's only 6 nights out of the year?

I think YABU. It's understandable, but it's PFB and she will settle with her dad if you aren't there.

She's also not going to stay that young forever.

5.45PM can be very unreasonable for parents, particularly those who have to re-arrange their own shifts and childcare or those who have any sort of commute.

One of my children has learning disabilities and parents' evenings are important to our catching up on her progress.

HecateGoddessOfTheNight Sun 25-Sep-11 20:20:30

Oh, meant to add - don't work to create dependence on you. Your baby has 2 parents who should be equally capable of caring for her. Don't start down the 'it must be mum' route. It isn't healthy and it WILL come back to bite you in the bum! grin

Tewkespeggy Sun 25-Sep-11 20:20:41

i dont think you are being unreasonable sisnce your workload on those days can be covered by your colleagues.

i wouldnt fret about the temp thought, that goes with the temp territory- keeping down costs.

I'd not worry at all and make the most of your (v.short) time with your baby

donthateme Sun 25-Sep-11 20:21:14

Worth a try but tbh I wouldn't be overly impressed as your head of dept or head teacher. Presumably this is part of your contract and 6 times a year is nothing really. Might also be a good idea to get your child to settle to sleep without needing 'you there. After all, if you got unexpectedly held up or taken Ill etc your dh and baby might have a really hard time. I don't think you should assume your Child will remain like this 'for the entire year either. She'll be 18 months old by then and may have a very different routine.

CubiksRube Sun 25-Sep-11 20:21:58


Your OH will be incapable of getting your DD to sleep (and indeed of doing anything you say he is incapable of doing) until you leave him to do it. My DP is 'incapable' of doing lots of things, until I leave the house and then they miraculously get done to a surprisingly high standard.

And if it helps, my DS is 7.5 months, I went back to work when he was 6.5 months, and have missed about four bedtimes ... he is still fine, remembers me, loves mummy best, etc etc. grin

troisgarcons Sun 25-Sep-11 20:22:32

Ummm ~ fence sitting on this ~ bare in mind I have children and I have nearly always worked full time ~ I have never pulled the 'need to be home' card ~ sorry but if you want to work AND have a family then you have to remember you are picking up a nice salary and you should fulfil your work obligations.

It pisses me off no end as a parent to be told So-and-so isn't at parents evening because of 'commitments'.

RupertTheBear Sun 25-Sep-11 20:22:41

I think YABU too. I missed DS's first birthday cos it was parent's evening. I have huge sympathy for working parents being one myself and try to make it as easy as possible for them to see me. Some of my colleagues do everything they can to avoid making appointments after 6pm but I feel that is really unfair - after all parent's eve is part of our contracted hours.

whostolemyname Sun 25-Sep-11 20:22:42

I dont think you are being unreasonable OP. Its only for one year (so one night). Your priority is your daughter, the school will manage fine without you (not to be rude!) so don't let them make you feel guilty. The baby moments are very precious.

halcyondays Sun 25-Sep-11 20:22:51

It wouldn't make any difference to me as our school has all their Parents "Evenings" in the afternoon anyway.

fivegomadindorset Sun 25-Sep-11 20:22:56

Tewkespeggy, sorry but I would like the teacher of my child to be present at parent teachers evening, not having written notes for a colleague to pass on.

whostolemyname Sun 25-Sep-11 20:23:52

And if the parents really want to see you personally they will need to be more flexible themselves and take annual leave/ flexitime or whatever.

peppapighastakenovermylife Sun 25-Sep-11 20:25:24

I am on DC3 (he is 13 months). This week was the first time ever I haven't left work at 4pm to pick him up blush. He was breastfed to sleep til a few weeks ago and he genuinely needed me there. I even sometimes came home (30 mins drive) and then went back again when he was asleep.

I am in academia though and had no appointments. Although I turned down a job interview because I couldnt get back to him at 5 months - but he was EBF then so was a bit different (and my heart wasnt in the job). Anyway I digress...just saying I understand.

I think perhaps you need to play it by ear though if it is an appointment that is important. She is 6 months - so maybe until christmas explain you need to be home but after that I bet DH would be able to get her off if really needs be. Big difference between a 6, 9 or 12 month old

whostolemyname Sun 25-Sep-11 20:25:28

And and and, if the headteacher has already agreed it, don't sweat it OP. You have permission not to be there so take it!

JarethTheGoblinKing Sun 25-Sep-11 20:26:37


lecce Sun 25-Sep-11 20:26:43

I kind of agree with the above comments, but, as a teacher, I think YANBU re the open evenings. Ime, there is no need for every teacher in the school to be at them. My school has a policy of everyone being there and it is pretty pointless and just makes everyone needlessly exhausted.

I think it is going to be very hard for you to end parents' evenings before everyone else though, and it really isn't fair on parents who can't get there early. I think at least you should offer those parents a phone-call at a time that is convenient for them, even if you have to do it from home.

The only other thing I would add, as someone who was in exactly your position with both my dc, your baby may well surprise you and prove to be more adaptable than you are giving her credit for at the moment! If you don't try it, you'll never give her and her dad the chance to overcome this between them! Mine did smile

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sun 25-Sep-11 20:27:15

Ooooh, tough one. I will face this problem in a year or so (on maternity leave at the moment) but tbh I think YABU. It is only 6 times a year. It is presumably 'directed time' (that you're being paid for) and if DD takes a bottle for the rest of the day when you're not there then presumably she'd take one in the evening?

Could you start varying the bedtime routine a little (say once a week OH does bedtime on his own once a week and you do it on your own another night?) so that LO gets used to some variation? That way if you ever have to be anywhere else (or just want a night out!) she'll be able to settle too.

Until this year I was one of the only members of my dept without children, which meant that I was invariably expected to stay for open evenings etc when my colleagues (many of whom were paid more than me as they've been teaching longer) said they needed to be with their children. Tbh, I always resented it as it was so blatantly unfair so I've already explained to my DP that he will need to do several nights a year on his own so that I can do my share of school stuff and that he'll have to collect LO from nursery or stay home if LO is ill at least half of the times it happens as I don't want to be one of 'those' teachers who is always off with their child, although that is a whole different AIBU

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