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to ask how working parents cope with child illness holidays etc?

(20 Posts)
pink84 Mon 17-Oct-11 16:52:33

I am a SAHP whose youngest is at nursery. Will be started reception next year so I am thinking about returning to work.
DH has a high powered job with a long commute so ultimately I will be the one called upon when dc are ill etc.
Also how do yuo cope with school holidays? Looking at cost of kids clubs I am concerned that I will end up working for nothing over the summer. (Maybe a job in a school is the answer to that one)

squeakytoy Mon 17-Oct-11 16:54:22

Many rely on the help of relatives. If you dont have them around, then it is more difficult.

LydiaWickham Mon 17-Oct-11 16:56:35

relatives and working for nothing/a loss over the summer - worth it as long as over the whole year you're 'up' compared to not working for the whole year.

MumblingAndBloodyRagDoll Mon 17-Oct-11 16:57:23

My friend has a childminder...she prefers that her DC is in a home environment and she also relies on family and friends if the CM is unwell or on hols.

Acekicker Mon 17-Oct-11 16:58:28

Holiday clubs and grandparents for the holidays, massive juggling of leave between the two of us and understanding bosses...

I count my lucky stars every day that me and DH have all the above available to us.

Pancakeflipper Mon 17-Oct-11 16:59:10

I use a neighbour ( ex-teacher ) who will have my eldest 1 day a week.

I use our tennis and sports clubs that run school holiday clubs. And then use my holidays.

When ill - I take leave from work. I try to make hours up at home but otherwise it is annual leave or unpaid leave.

Sam100 Mon 17-Oct-11 16:59:20

I work from home if one of the kids is sick - I am lucky that work allow this and provide the kit so that I can do so - most of my work is pc based and I can log onto the network from home and get all my files. School holidays - I take holiday and am allowed to take up to 2 weeks unpaid leave so combine this with a bit of grandparent support and a bit of clubs to cover the holiday period. Means I very rarely have holiday that is not with the kids - unlike dh who seems to think that his holiday is purely for his own purposes and told me at the end of the summer holidays (just after I had used up all my holiday) that he had 5 days left to take by christmas and was pondering what to do with them!! I told him - as a treat - he could use them to cover all the hospital appointments that our dd has this term as I had been stressing about how I was going to do them, given I had no holiday left!

whackamole Mon 17-Oct-11 17:03:36

My work allows a week paid, then anything else is unpaid parental leave. I can use holiday allowance, but only if there is 'time available'. (This I don't get - if I'm going to be off, then I can't come in just because they won't pay me. Surely it works in their favour if they pay me for parental leave?)

However, they have the right to say that if I take more than the 'norm' they will class it as unauthorised absence and I may be disciplined. This has so far not happened, they have been really good to me. Particularly as since Jan both boys have had chicken pox resulting in 4 weeks off (shared between me and OH) and mumps which was 2 weeks off. Last year, there was more illness but shorter duration. OH also takes time off, they are less strict and will allow him to use holiday time, they also allow him to make time up on other days - I work 9-5 and he works 10-4 spread over 25 hours a week. (Not by choice BTW it was that or redundancy).

We don't have any family or friends that could look after the children when we are ill. There was one incident where both myself and OH had a really vicious stomach bug, we had to ask a nanny that we interviewed but didn't take on to have the boys for the day, as we were both so ill we couldn't get them to nursery. That was an expensive day - no pay for either of us, then paying out for nursery and a nanny!

youbethemummylion Mon 17-Oct-11 20:53:54

We split the holidays between me, DH and 1 set of Grandparents. It basically works out that me and DH only manage about a week a year off at the same time as each other. Also requires an understanding boss and having time off unpaid for that unplanned time off for illness, school shut cos of snow etc.

smokinaces Mon 17-Oct-11 20:59:25

I didnt cope!! I ended up being very fortunate to be able to get a job term time only. This summer was a nightmare with just 1 child to try and palm off on various people and pay out for holiday clubs for - and DS2's nursery fees doubled as there was no government grant. I am still in arrears by £100 now as I am desperately trying to pay a bit back each month.

I am thankful that next summer I wont have this worry.

However, trying to work whilst having 2 children needing various paed appointments and hearing tests, operations and test is a real nightmare. I am having to literally juggle every day. Thank god my kids arent ill much (touch wood)

Sorry, but after 3 years of being a single working parent can you tell I am rather fed up of juggling it all?? Needless to say their Dad doesnt take any time off for their appointments or illness. (though his girlfriend did helpout for a few days this summer when I was desperate)

Sidalee7 Mon 17-Oct-11 21:24:56

Juggling. I took 2 weeks off in the summer hols, this is almost half my holiday allowance. Friends, mother, ex mil and ex h help out...breakfast club and holiday clubs at playschemes.

It is manageable though. Illness - you just need an understanding boss and make sure your dh takes it in turns with you to have a child illness work from home day.

Jobs in schools highly competitive as everyone wants one for the holidays.

malakadoush Mon 17-Oct-11 21:42:40

Grandparents have them 2 days every holiday week, I work flexi so take every Friday of the holidays flexi, then we split the other days between us, or they do the odd day at holiday club. Constant planning and juggling though. I'm lucky though my employer is very good and I have a laptop and access to the network from home so can also work from home. (which only works when I can get my eldest daughter who is 15 to be around too!)

Hardgoing Mon 17-Oct-11 21:49:25

Same as everyone else, I use a mix of : grandparents (mum twice a week in hols, other grandparents a week or two a year), childcare (local council holiday club cheaper than the school holiday club) and me taking leave/working from home. Even if you DH works away/very hard, he still must have leave too and as someone else has pointed out, no reason why he shouldn't use it to cover half-terms or holidays, my husband is taking a week off for half-term and I am working it.

It can be done, though. I tend to keep the same days every week, so grandparents on certain days, holiday club other days to make it more of a routine and less like complete chaos (only partially successful!)

BOOareHaunting Mon 17-Oct-11 21:54:29

I work in a school grin

I am an LSA atm training to be a teacher. My Dad who's retired will have DS for me unless he is vomiting in which case he'll stay with me.

Also I find working in a school means they are understanding when off with sick child (first day paid) as they moan when parents send in sick kids so can't really moan when we don't!!!

BOOareHaunting Mon 17-Oct-11 21:55:32

Should add I'm a LP though so that may change things as work understand I'm the only 1 who can take time off iyswim?

stealthsquiggle Mon 17-Oct-11 22:01:09

Yes, you probably will end up working for nothing in the summer, OP.

Other than that - the answer, as you may have gathered, to how working parents (lone and otherwise) cope is "with difficulty".

Dozer Mon 17-Oct-11 22:05:50

"DH has a high powered job with a long commute".

Not a lot will change until men - and women - seek more flexibility from employers. Easier to make working work when both partners' work is taken seriously and both do their share of childcare etc.

sunshineandbooks Mon 17-Oct-11 22:12:46

It's hard. Unless you've got really close family or friends to help out, it's really difficult unless you work in a field where flexible working/working from home is realistic and you have an understanding boss.

I work full time. I don't have any family so I use a professional CM to do after school/holiday care. Before my DC started school I used a mix of the CM and a nursery. Both forms of childcare were wonderful. I chose them carefully and never regretted my choice. However, there are quite strict rules surrounding illness and if you only have professional childcare to rely on you will end up taking some time off for illness. That's where you really need a good boss and friends/family who can step into the breach at short notice. I am under no illusions that if I hadn't had the boss I had, I would have joined the ranks of single mothers on benefits.

Only 1 in 5 working mothers rely on professional childcare. I suspect that tells its own story.

I don't mean to alarm you - after all I've managed it so it must be doable - but definitely do your homework. Plan on who you're going to use, have a backup, think about what you'll do in emergencies, find other parents who can help you out in a fix, and find out company policy on time off for sick DC etc (legally they have to allow you to have it, but if you have more than they deem normal they can let you go as a result and many will insist on you taking unpaid leave, while others may be more generous).

Try not to think of it as working for nothing over the holidays. For a start, your DC are 50% your DH's, so he should be paying half, but also keep in mind that work is about more than just money, it's about independence and challenge and can have significant effects on your self-respect, fulfilment and long-term earning potential, especially when your DC get older and childcare doesn't cost as much.

Good luck. smile

DrCoconut Mon 17-Oct-11 22:33:28

I found it easier to spread the costs of childcare over the year. I would put the same amount away each pay day and then draw on it when needed rather than spending all at once in the holidays. My situation is different now in that between us we can just about cover it but I would do that again if I needed to.

PattySimcox Mon 17-Oct-11 22:36:08

DH works in a FE college so cannot take leave during term time - being in a different county his holidays are often slightly different to the DCs so it pretty much means it is down to me to cover it.

I have been a SAHM for a while so have helped out others, but have started working one day a week so juggle shared childcare with dsis in the holidays.

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