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to consider upping my working days to get a "rest"

(86 Posts)
pamelat Thu 06-Oct-11 19:37:19

..... from my very loved, but very exhausting, 3 and 1 year old.

I work 3 days a week. Unfortunately we don't have family childcare so they go to nursery on those days, which is expensive. They love it though. I am fortunate that I do earn some money once the childcare is paid out but not a lot, it covers the childcare and about £40 extra a day.

At nursery my children are apparently angelic. They eat and they don't whine.

I have Thurs and Fri "off" work and find that each week I find myself longing to be at work. They moan, whine, argue with me (the 3 year old), refuse to eat (the 1 year old). My 1 year old (DS - 16 months) wants to be carried if we stay at home or wants to run away from me if we go out. We normally go out so I find myself with an escapee. I feel he's still too young to be left to get on with it, ie) in soft play etc so I follow him around, with my 3 year old (nearly 4 DD) then upset because I'm not with her - I can't win?

If we stay in, its worse. DD (3) would happily chill, watch tele, cut and stick etc but DS is a nighmare constrained in the house.

I love them with all my heart and enjoyed a years maternity leave with each of them but now I am back at work, it is by far the easier option emotionally.

I dont want to turn this in to a huge working mum versus SAHM but I wondered if I am a complete and utter cow to be considering a 4 or even 3.5 day working week to just buy myself more space?!!

SootySweepandSue Thu 06-Oct-11 19:40:11

What do you think would be best for your kids?

pamelat Thu 06-Oct-11 19:40:51

ps) My mum, MIL and some friends tell me my children are more demanding that others, my mum, MIL and DH say its because I have made them that why (too much attn/picking up/allowing options etc etc etc) so maybe I'm just paying the consequences now.

NonnoMum Thu 06-Oct-11 19:41:41

Totally sympathise. Work part time and have 2 and 3 year old in nursery.

Some suggestions -
put them in for an extra half day whilst you run around doing all those houseworky jobs. Then have a 'normal' half day and a 'treat' day...
put on in for one day, one the other and have a special day with each of them.
- put them both in for the extra two days and just a a special family weekend.
- do as you suggested - work a bit more and let them enjoy the routine of the nursery??

I work strange hours and am trying to have a once a fortnight 'treat' day with mine.

Good luck whatever you decide...

pamelat Thu 06-Oct-11 19:45:28

Sooty I think what is best for them is to keep it as it is, 3 days nursery and the rest with me (and DH at weekend).,

I just dont understand why their behaviour is so much worse with me than at nursery, especially DS.

Nursery says he plays independently, never with me about. It just feels constant.

Today I have taken then swimming (he hated it and tried to escape in to the big pool), DD loves it so then she gets upset that we have to leave etc etc. I made lunch beforehand and we tried to eat it out, DS threw it on the floor. DD then upset as I say we need to go and get him to bed whilst she can eat hers at home (poor girl). He sleeps nicely (2 hours) and DD and I have a relaxed time. We then go to the dentist in the pouring rain, possibly one of the most stressful half hours of my life. We go to the supermarket to buy a few items, DS refuses to sit in the trolley so I stupidly let him loose and he runs off from me laughing, with me having to grab him etc etc etc, he then screams as he doesnt want holding/nor to get back in the trolley.

In fact writing this, DD has been fine really, bless her.

mummylikescava Thu 06-Oct-11 19:46:04

Not at all. I had twins (now 11) and although I didn't admit it at the time I did exactly the same thing blush

I actually went one step further than you though. I increased the nursery from 3 days to 5 days but only increased work to 4 days. So I had 1 day to sort the cleaning, laundry, bills etc etc. And chill a bit. Bad mummy!

It worked well though. We had the weekends to do fun stuff as a family and they really enjoyed nursery. Every families different and you have to do what's right for you.

pamelat Thu 06-Oct-11 19:47:45

Thanks Nonno, can only afford nursery if I work so any extra time there would have to be with me working but I like my job and its flexible/close to home etc.

More than anything, I would like them to be how they are at nursery! smile

NinkyNonker Thu 06-Oct-11 19:51:48

He is probably clingy/wanting to be with you precisely because he isn't at other times. I don't mean that to sound critical, it isn't your fault and is prob quite natural. Hopefully will improve over time.

Yama Thu 06-Oct-11 19:53:32

I have never considered working anthing other than full time.

Like you, I loved both my year long maternity leaves.

Both my dc have followed the same pattern. Angelic and adored at nursery - totally exhausting, whiny and demanding at home.

Nothing to feel guily about.

cantpooinpeace Thu 06-Oct-11 19:54:55

I have just upped a day after 4 years part time.

Ive thoroughly enjoyed these years but the last 6 months have been nothing but what you described - whining, fighting arguing....the usual stuff. Either it's got worse or my patience has and now sadly I see work as the less stressful option after years of ploughing through my shifts to get time off with the kids. Obviously I love the kids more than anything but I also really enjoy my job (have got a new job now).

Upping my hours has given me a much needed financial boost, the opportunity to make more of a difference at work and one day less of constant housework mixed in with trying to have fun with two frustrated kids. I do miss my 4 days off now it's three but this months pay packet has been lovely and given us some financial breathing space again.

My patience seems to be improving too and I love coming home to them. Upping the extra day coincided with DD starting school and DS starting pre school and this was a Huge factor for upping my hours.

IMO Y are not at all BU smile

Yama Thu 06-Oct-11 19:56:07

My older dc (dd) is now in P2 at school and is a delight at home now. Actually, she has been great since she was about 4.

And ds was totally exhausting, whiny and demanding at home before he started nursery at a year old.

jamaisjedors Thu 06-Oct-11 20:01:18

Do you have quite a relaxing job?

If so maybe up your hours to do an extra day?

I found my "day off" with the children utterly exhausting for years but now they are 4.5 and 7 it is more enjoyable and I appreciate the change.

But tbh at that age it IS exhausting, especially as it sounds like you are are trying to get other things done on those days too (dentist, shopping).

I go to work for a "change", but it's not really a "rest" as I teach. However, when they were tiny I would often stay on for a couple of hours after work getting bits and pieces done in peace and quiet rather than go home (DH was picking them up).

Maybe part of the problem is feeling you have to make those days perfect when you are with them and then being disappointed when they are not?

jamaisjedors Thu 06-Oct-11 20:02:46

BTW - re the being angelic for other people - I think they often are. Our childminder tells us how wonderful and "good" both DC are, and they are angels at school too - but we REALLY struggle with DS2 and always have.

Unfortunately they often "take it out" on those they love best.

tiredemma Thu 06-Oct-11 20:04:30

I find days off in the school holidays hard work. I often offer to work overtime.

(and I work on an extremely challenging all female psychiatric unit in a secure hospital)

pamelat Thu 06-Oct-11 20:06:12

Oh forgot to say that although I am contracted to work 3 day weeks, up until last week was booking every middle day as annual leave to use up holiday, and saving money by children not doing that day at nursery (so paid for the day and no childcare costs smile) However, this week it was lovely doing 3 days blush that middle day "off" was always stressful.

I really looked forward to today as had missed them, although I pick them up from nursery at 430pm on my days at work anyhow, but its just been stressful and everything I described.

I know DD would be upset if I worked more, say 4 days and its her last year before school. In an ideal world I'd like a day with just her in this last year but can't engineer that around costings.

Its just very hard work, and whilst my work isnt relaxing, anything has to be more relaxing than this?!

LingDiLong Thu 06-Oct-11 20:07:52

Ouch! That's some nice, supportive friends and family you've got there OP. Love the way your DH apportions the blame to you too, does he not parent his kids at all then?!

Whilst I can understand you just wanting to escape the hell that is whingy kids, I don't actually think upping your hours is the answer. At some point, you are going to have to spend time with them, there is no escape! And the less time you spend with them the harder it is to find coping strategies and a way out of the whingy hell I would have thought. I know my DH finds the kids more stressful than me (I am a SAHM) and I reckon that's because I have got my little routines and coping mechanisms all sussed out simply from being with them so often. Poor DH goes from the relative orderliness of work to the chaos of kids and just doesn't have the wealth of time to work out what easiest, less stressful way of doing things is.

Oh and your 16 month old sounds just like mine, she is also angelic when we are at mother and baby groups, I keep being complimented on how good natured she is, she bloody well isn't like that at home!

My advice would be, work out, say, the first 3 things that are really ruining your days with the kids and try and find a strategy to tackle them. Along with your DH - seen as he seems to think he has the answers!

Whelk Thu 06-Oct-11 20:17:06

You need to think about what's best for everyone particularly your children.

It is exhausting at the stage your dc are at and I think many of us have had the same thought but I promise it does get easier as they get older and can play with each other. you don't want to miss out on the magic stage when they are playing happily, while you have a coffee and read a paper!!!

I'm going to go against the grain and say that although I think nursery is fine as part of a child's week, I think children need the nursery experience to be balanced with being at home/ park doing normal stuff with their parents and kind of learning how to be part of a family.

The role of a mum/dad is to discipline the children as well as love and have fun with them and I think if you tough it out for a bit and be relentlessly consistent with your discipline and even a routine that works for you eventually you will be rewarded with having lots of fun time with them in a few months. I don't mean scaring them with discipline, just clear boundaries about what is and isn't acceptable. Nurseries just can't do that stuff for you. You will be rewarded with lovely kids who are actually lovely to be with and can chill out without constant stimulation.

What about both you and your dh/p working 4 days so you each have a day with them other than weekends?

pamelat Thu 06-Oct-11 20:17:38

Thank you smile DH has his own parenting style but he is far more tolerant/relaxed than me. He can watch tele (his own programme!) in a room with them. I could and would never do that. I find just being with them/particulary the younger one fairly stressful as he is accident prone. As soon as I sit down I am sat upon. I dont think DD would " let" me put "my" programmes on. And she'd soon need "juice" "water" etc, and I dont even mind that, I think thats being a mum

My "minds" are

DD's attitude/negativity.
DS's whining
DS's refusal to or poor eating.

Definately my top 3 stresses.

I dont feel I'm really in control of them at all times!!! If at all with DS, he laughs if I say no, runs away, throws bowls on floor etc. I dont remember DD being as bad.

pamelat Thu 06-Oct-11 20:20:41

Whelk DH has a very unsecure job, no flexibility and probably won't exist in 12 months (the job!). Its all or nothing for him.

PS) its only the afternoons about 4pm onwards when I am losing the will. I would like childcare from 4-7pm in an ideal world, and yet I always pick them up 430 on my work days and then thats fine!!

Its just me grin

Whelk Thu 06-Oct-11 20:21:22

God reading that back that sounds terribly super nanny and smug. I didn't mean it to. It;s just that those coping mechanisms/ routines another poster describes are your saving grace,

It's bloody hard work with a one year old who wants to be carried around,

LingDiLong Thu 06-Oct-11 20:26:49

pamelat, you sound like you might be putting quite a lot of pressure on yourself on your days off. Maybe you need to find a way to allow yourself to take a bit of a break? Even if it's putting on a family friendly DVD for you and your DD to snuggle up and watch together at nap time.

My 16 month old is seriously hard work, much harder work than my other 2 ever were. She's just so busy, she never sits and plays, she's always on the go.

Whining/negativity are difficult things to gain 'control' over, sometimes it's about finding a way to keep yourself calm and unstressed while they're doing it. Sing a song, count to 10, something, anything. Sometimes you can only change your reaction to stuff. Eating wise, my baby is a pest too. I take the 'you can lead a horse to water' view of it, I offer her healthy food and refuse to stress beyond that. I can't force her to eat it. I try and look back on a full week of her eating and usually can see that's she's not so bad even if individual days can be awful.

isthisweird Thu 06-Oct-11 20:27:15

Honestly?

I'm a SAHM to a 3.1 year old and a 15mo and you do sound like you're making a bit of a meal of it to me, sorry.

LingDiLong Thu 06-Oct-11 20:31:27

Er, isthiswierd, you're a SAHM to YOUR 3 and 1 year old not the OPs. How could you possibly know that she's 'making a bit of a meal of it'??

isthisweird Thu 06-Oct-11 20:33:21

I don't KNOW for sure that she is.

But everything she's said sounds pretty standard to me. In fact, she's said the 3 year old isn't really a problem at all.

The other stuff, yes, that's what 16mo old babies do. You have to watch them like a hawk, that's just life. The baby even sleeps for two hours solid in the afternoon. Doesn't sound that bad to me.

aldiwhore Thu 06-Oct-11 20:34:55

Pamelat I'm a SAHM but know EXACTLY where you're coming from. You do what it takes to strike the pefrect work/home/life balance and do not feel guilty.

In some ways its easier to either work full time or SAH full time than to work part time (not for everyone) as you get into a groove for at least 5 days a week. There are pros and cons to all life styles and choices, you do what you feel works best, for both you and the kiddles.

YANBU to feel the way you do.

It would be U of me to tell you what to do.

Good luck and wine hope you find a solution quickly.

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