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To work 12 hours a day for 3 years with 3 Dcs under 6?

(153 Posts)
forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 15:43:05

I have 3 Dcs 5 and under. I have a very stressful job which involves long hours, averaging about 12 hours a day but sometimes longer. I am a pretty laid back person so can cope with the stress but am very into my kids so I am sad not to spend more time with them. But if I carry on with my job for next 3 years I am fortunate enough that I will be able to save enough to privately educate my children up to end of primary. But is it worth it?

Ephiny Sat 05-Jan-13 16:09:04

I think you'd be better off saving for private secondary education, rather than the other way round. But otherwise, if you have the opportunity to put in the hours for a few years now and make enough to put your family in a strong financial position - I would jump at the chance.

I am guessing most people (rightly or not) are assuming you're the mum. Because lots of fathers work long hours (and for a lot longer than 3 years!), and it's rarely seen as anything other than being a good dad and providing well for the family.

teacherwith2kids Sat 05-Jan-13 16:10:13

It depends a lot on a variety of factors:
- Are you happy?
- Do you have very good, loving childcare, and can that continue once the oldest starts school (the transition from 8-6 nursery to 9-3 school with 'filler' childcare is something I have observed lots of families finding tricky - but if, for example, you are already using a fabulous live-in nanny who will remain in post, then that's not so much of an issue)?
- Do your DCs have another resident parent, and how much are they around?
- Are you happy with the input that your children have from their primary caregiver/s (obviously not you), in terms of values / social and moral development / early education?
- What are the primary schools around you like? As a gross generalisation - though there are any number of factors that affect the decision either way - in comprehensive school areas it is usually more worthwhile to send your child state for primary and private for secondary than the other way round.

I made a very different choice - to be a sahm until my children started school, and then to train for a job which occupies me at least 60 hours a week (though it doesn't pay for anything much!) now that they are older. However, I can also see me making wholly different decisions under different circumsrances, so it is definitely one where you need to weigh up different factors against one another.

legoballoon Sat 05-Jan-13 16:14:12

What are the state primaries like in your area? Not all private schools are the same, the teaching in them is not necessarily better than that offered in local state schools.

If your local state primaries are 'good' or better (using the full range of information at your disposal, e.g. OfSTED reports, visits made as prospective parents, information from other parents etc.), you may find that you'd be happy educating your kids in the state system. You could pick up any shortfall in sporting or cultural activities with paid for after school clubs/weekend activities 'en famille' (e.g. trips to museums etc.) and the extra contact time you would have with them (as you'd be able to reduce your hours of paid employment).

If your local state schools are dreadful, would a move be possible? Or would you consider Home Educating?

The other thing that occurs to me is, whilst you have greater influence over the 'moral education' of your children (once they reach their early teens, their friends and media will play a larger part in this), you can still have an impact on the people they grow into. Personally I'd invest the money in private education at secondary level if the local state schools weren't any good (or put the money aside to fund a move to a place with better state schools) - they could then do their secondary stint somewhere where the ethos was more aspirational, classes were smaller, access to wider range of extra curricular activities etc.

If you considered that route, you'd have the primary years to work part time and save for the secondary years - so you'd get more time with your kids but still invest in their education at more of a crunch point.

Just throwing these into the mix for your consideration.

However, WRT to the question of whether you are BU to work FT or not, as others have said, that is totally your call. Some may have very strong opinions one way or the other, but until we can walk in each other's shoes, it's impossible for one parent to comment on another's work/life balance.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 16:14:38

I would have hated to work 12 hours a day with three small DCs, but have many, many friends who have done so and are still doing so and are fine.

IMO the secret of success is masses of help in the house - a nanny and a cleaner and 7 day a week coverage, so that you have no chores ever.

namechangerforaday Sat 05-Jan-13 16:18:10


It absolutely isnt worth it - and I can say that because I did exactly the same, worked 12 hour days and went without maint to keep DC in private school (exh paid fees in lieu of maint my choice).

I have a 12 year gap between DCs and I absolutely regret all those missed hours with DC1 - they are so precious those early years, you never get that time or chance again.

I always say you borrow them for 5 years, then they enter school and start to grow away from you.

namechangerforaday Sat 05-Jan-13 16:19:39

Also having kept oldest DC in private - if I did have my time again, Id invest the money in moving to a nicer house in an area with good schools rather than paying the fees.

namechangerforaday Sat 05-Jan-13 16:20:24

Sorry for 3rd post, to add DC didnt suffer, it was me who missed out.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 16:23:13

"I always say you borrow them for 5 years, then they enter school and start to grow away from you."

There is truth in that, and the more time you spend together when you can, the greater the bond and it does increase their feelings of security.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Sat 05-Jan-13 16:23:41

I think purple is right.
Focus on your and their happiness now, not the future. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
Is this arrangement making you happy or do you feel you and they are missing out? Are they happy?

forgottenpassword Sat 05-Jan-13 16:24:44

They have a fantastic nanny who they have had for 5 years and who they love. They are very well cared for and happy (i think) but I do feel sad that I am not there more. I don't want to carry on forever with these hours as i do think dc will need support with homework etc more when older and i would need to carry on indefinitely probably to pay for more expensive secondary private. Dh and I are discussing a 3 year limit at which point I would scale down what I am doing.

thebody Sat 05-Jan-13 16:25:31

Not be for me but we are very lucky that here in worsc our catchment state schools are outstanding and loads better than the local private ones.

But it's your choice.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 16:26:08

Go and live somewhere where the secondary schools are good and free. Honestly - if the cost of private secondary schools is two parents working flat out, it isn't worth it.

Viviennemary Sat 05-Jan-13 16:26:21

It's entirely up to you. But why not educate privately from secondary onwards if private education is the way you want to go.

verytellytubby Sat 05-Jan-13 16:26:46

No. I'd move in the catchment of an outstanding secondary school.

Officedepot Sat 05-Jan-13 16:35:19

I would say it's not worth it. At that young age surely having Mum around is worth more than private ed? Unless the state primaries in your area are totally rubbish.

I can understand working to give your kids a better start in life, but don't see the point in private primary ed unless state ed totally awful in your area.

Also what's the point in private ed to end of primary - would you not be better off saving the cash for private tutors to get them through GCSEs and ALevel? To top up the state ed so to speak?

Although I am a bit biased as I am from a family where the one who had state education throughout (me) got the best grades at school and now earns much more than a couple of my cousins who had private ed at primary and secondary level

CaHoHoHootz Sat 05-Jan-13 16:37:27

It depends........

Personally I wouldn't do it just to pay for private education unless the local schools were awful, but that is more for you than for the DC's sake. I might do it for the extra money and because I valued my career.

Is your DP able to get home any earlier? I guess he only has an hour or so before they go to bed??? If you don't see them much during the week but DP is about then probably ok for the DC's.

If you can afford good help (childcare, cleaning etc) then at least you will have plenty of relaxing free time with them at the weekends, rather than you having to race around doing lots of chores and being tired and stressed out.

There is no reason it shouldn't work but you can always see how it goes and if. It does cause problems later on you can have another think about it.

Personally, I don't think it is a great idea to keep them up late just so that you can see them. It is hard for you but better for them to get their sleep. It sounds as though they may be getting up quite early as it is.

Having a great nanny obviously makes the world of difference.

My, now young adult aged, DC's experienced times when they were younger when my DH was working long hours or travelling but it hasn't made any difference to their relationship with one another.

whois Sat 05-Jan-13 16:46:28

I wouldn't recommend doing private primary then state secondary. You're kids will take a huge step backwards! If you want to go private and can't afford all the way through then save it for secondary school.

Lots of men work long hours so I don't see the problem with a mum doing it. Would be nice if the dad could be at home more but if not then you can have a lovely nanny and no ill effects to the children.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Sat 05-Jan-13 16:57:39

I think it's probably a bad idea to give them private primary then state secondary. If the schools in your area are OK, then state primary is not worth it but private secondary might boost their results. If the schools are shocking then the transition to state secondary is going to be terrible. If the schools are great, why bother? I don't understand the logic. Also, my theory is that state schools and tutoring can be good. If the school costs 10 grand for example, that would pay for a massive amount of tutoring.

Or, just move somewhere with good schools.

SecretSquirrels Sat 05-Jan-13 17:05:30

Bet you wouldn't stop in 3 years though.
I know people in high flying careers and can't think of one who would be prepared to give up either the status or the income.
They will get home one day and say where are the children? They will have grown up and gone....

Ephiny Sat 05-Jan-13 17:07:30

Paying for private primary but not secondary only makes sense to me if it was to give them an edge in getting into grammar school or getting a scholarship/bursary to a private school. And even then it might make more sense to send them to state primary but pay for extra tutoring. Otherwise surely they'd get more benefit from the private schooling when they're at the GCSE/A-level stage (or whatever it'll be called by then!).

Not that it means you shouldn't work the long hours now and save up for the future, of course. Especially if this opportunity isn't likely to wait for you. Putting in the hours now could also give your career a boost, improving your long-term earnings and prospects, and maybe allowing you to be more flexible later.

socharlotte Sat 05-Jan-13 17:10:58

YABU.They want a mum who is there not some quaint uniform and posh friends.if you are going to pay for private education, pay for secondary , not primary.

NotForTurning Sat 05-Jan-13 17:22:33

Hang on....Why isn't your OH asking the same question - or has he? Does he work equally long hours? Is he fretting about not spending enough time with the DCs?

Why should it be you who's wondering whether they need more time with you there? Is your OH wondering the same thing? Has he sat down with you over the last few years and suggested he cuts down his hours, so that he can be with the DCs more?

If he IS there and works shorter hours than you, then they have one parent who probably gets to wake them in the morning and put them to bed at night, most nights.

If BOTH of you work equally long hours, why should this be YOUR dilemma and not his?

In most cultures, it's people other than the parents who raise the children - whether that's a relative, an older sibling, a community 'collective'. So, given this, then your excellent nanny is just carrying on an age old tradition really and your DCs get the opportunity to bond with other adults in their loves as well as with their parents.

All that said, if you personally feel and believe that only you - not your OH but you - are the one by whom you most want your DCs to be influenced in their earliest years, then you'd probably want to see them for at least some of their waking hours and at the weekends.

But I come back to my question about whether your OH is equally worried about not being present enough for the DCs in their earliest years?

LadyMargolotta Sat 05-Jan-13 17:28:10

It's your decision. But if you work 12 hours a day, five days a week for the next few years, there is the chances that you will miss out on a lot of their learning and developmental.

Half an hour in the evenings split between three children is nothing.

Do you want to be able to help them with their homework? Comfort them when they have fallen out with school friends? Give them extra one to one time if any of them have special needs or special educational needs that may not be obvious at this time?

You might be able to do it, but I know that I can't, and these are the things that I refuse to miss out as a mother.

Bonsoir Sat 05-Jan-13 17:33:01

"But if you work 12 hours a day, five days a week for the next few years, there is the chances that you will miss out on a lot of their learning and development."

I agree, and I would add that not just you, but also they, will miss out on a lot of learning and development. Parents make a huge difference if they are there.

Pooka Sat 05-Jan-13 17:35:45

No. Private school in primary not the be all and end all.

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