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To ask how you split childcare if you and your partner both work?

(134 Posts)
MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:08:28

Long, tedious story short, my husband and I are both teachers. We work in different schools. I am a middle manager so have two areas of responsibility and a team of 8 to manage, in addition to being a class teacher, dh is a class teacher, however he works in primary so does have a fairly heavy workload too. We both work f/t. Currently, dh takes our dd (2) to nursery on two mornings and picks her up 2 evenings. I take her three mornings and pick her up two evenings. The 5th evening is split between us depending on when we have meetings etc. DD has to be picked up by 3.45. We are on a school hours contract with the nursery and would have to pay extra for her to stay later (which we cant afford). Anyway, we seem to have a re-occurring situation where dh complains that he is getting behind on work or people are commenting that he is leaving early during the week - I should point out that most weeks he stays late three nights a week and I leave 'early' three nights a week to pick dd up. I have tried my best to make it fair, I do more pick ups and drop offs than he does but cannot lose the two nights I stay behind because I have to cram in all of my meetings and extra curricular into those times. On the face of it, he gets the better deal despite a lighter workload, but makes me feel like I am being unreasonable because I get cross when he starts complaining about doing too many of the pick ups. We both have to work in the evenings in order to make the situation work, but I am happy to do it because it means that we do get to spend some time with dd (she goes to bed at 6.30 - if we picked her up any later we'd never see her). My question is this: is my husband hard done by in having to do an almost equal share of the childcare? Family members have made comments in the past about how when their children were little the man wasn't expected to do any of the childcare because he was busy working, and if he was the only one who worked I would agree. However, the fact that I am the main earner seems to fall on deaf ears. I feel a bit like I am being made to feel like a battleaxe for insisting that we share childcare and household chores, but I just cant do everything.

Phineyj Wed 30-Oct-13 20:33:29

Just seen your second post. If your DH is that sensitive to comments he perhaps needs to cultivate a bit more of a brass neck and work out some suitable rejoinders. Maybe he already feels a bit odd one out (there aren't many male primary school teachers are there?) so is sensitive? Not that that helps you!

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:35:23

Also - tell him "It IS hard. It IS a compromise. ANY solution is a compromise that doesn't involve a live in nanny/housekeeper. One working, one SAHP, two part time, two full time, one part time and one full time - EVERY option is a compromise, both of you are compromising and it just has to be the best of the compromises. Which it sounds like it is, basically."

This bit isn't easy. It really can't be. It just is.

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:35:47

He finishes at 3.05, I finish at 3.15. DD's nursery is practically at the end of the road from his place of work, and a two minute drive for me. I have 20 minutes at the end of every day to get my stuff together (to take home to do) and get out. It isn't a problem really for me, but someone made a comment to dh tonight about him 'leaving early' and now he is moaning. He has moaned before, but usually after someone has said something. My friend suggested maybe he feels like he looks as though he is 'henpecked' to his colleagues? I dunno. Thanks to all for the replies though smile

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:36:06

Move my close quotes to before Which, if you please!

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 20:38:33


So it's not the situation, it's the comments.

I think it's true that men get more comments than women doing this (blame the patriarchy) BUT he is acting in the best interest of his family and his finances in doing this, so the commenter is insignificant.

Is it a colleague or a manager?

UpsideAndAround Wed 30-Oct-13 20:41:16

My husband is a headteacher and I am acting up as an acting head for a short time. It's tough, I've been lucky enough to get a nanny though and I feel much better than I did when ds was young and in a nursery. I know they nap and relax in their own house. Instead of that tired upset post-nursery time we have quality evening time. Is it totally unrealistic for you to look into a nanny or nanny share?

Frankly he needs to toughen up a little. Primaries will take more and more time, but I've always been strong. I do a good job, stay a few late nights and work every minute I'm there so it can't be faulted that I did the job that needed to be done.

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:43:02

Colleagues. His boss is lovely and very supportive of family situstions. ThePitofStupid your posts ate really making me laugh!

nextphase Wed 30-Oct-13 20:45:00

Do DH's work colleagues see the 2-3 very early mornings and late nights he puts in as well? Or do they just see the couple of late starts, and early finishes?
I pulled a stupid day at work on Tuesday - by chance the crisis happened the day the kids were with my Mum, so finish time wasn't an issue, but only 1-2 people saw me there at silly o'clock. And they didn't see me back at my desk at 7.30 this morning.
Equally, when I end up bringing stuff home, they don't notice the work done between 7.30 and 10pm.

Is it a case of him needing to educate his colleagues about what is happening.

I still think you need to consider one later afternoon a week. If she is starting to drop a nap, when do you get your 15 free hours? That should ease the childcare bill, and allow the freedom of one later evening a week.

Notmadeofrib Wed 30-Oct-13 20:47:36

Surely he is contracted later than the 'school day'? Does he make it clear he works at home?

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 20:48:34

DH and I are both SLT.

I drop DS at his childminder's at 7.30am each as I can get from there to work for 8am. DH leaves at 6.30am to miss the London traffic.

I leave at 2.45 to pick DS up at 3.15pm twice a week, this is a special arrangement with my school as part of a retention deal. I leave at 5.30pm to pick up at 6pm another night. Twice a week DH leaves at 4.30pm to pick up at 5pm and I stay late.

My arrangements have been no problem. I can't tell you how much DH's (female) Head disapproves of the two nights a week he leaves at 4.30. All wrong!!

We have decided we can't keep it up and we are both going to step off the rat run.

Mosschopz Wed 30-Oct-13 20:49:04

I'm an assistant head at a secondary school, DH works in the private sector but I'm the higher earner. We had to move nurseries as our previous one closed, it was near my work and I did pick-ups and drop-offs. Now we are using one round the corner (on DH's suggestion as he wanted to be more involved) and DH drops off DS every day at 8.30 en route to work, I get him every day about 5.15pm. Much fairer and DH is happy to do it, as he should be. grin

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:50:11

Not for another 10 months! DD has never been much of a day time sleeper to be honest. She dropped her last day time nap just before her second birthday, but sleeps 12 hours a night. I might look in to doing an early start once a week so that he can go in earlier.

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:55:01

He has a weekly meeting that he had to stay for, but once the school day is over you are planning and preparing, you are allowed to do that at home. The reason most teachers stay until 5-6 at night isn't because they have to. Planning and prep is easier to do at work than at home.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Wed 30-Oct-13 20:58:19

DH and I split 50:50, I do nursery drop off three days a week and collection 2 days a week - he does the reverse. And it is all planned around when I will need to be/am likely to be late home from work.

Tell your DH to get a backbone. And also to ensure he is in the staffroom every mornign and to ask the people who are making comments "what time do you call this? I've been here for hours..."

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 21:01:40

Glad I'm cheering you up!

I like the "what time do you call this?!" suggestion above.

ZenNudist Wed 30-Oct-13 21:03:10

I think your dh needs to man up & deal with these comments! If someone says 'leaving early again?' Say 'I wish, I'm late to get dd again!' Etc don'tet them get away with it, make it clear what your working arrangements are, challenge them by asking if they have some kind of problem with the hours arrangement that he has (presumably) agreed with management.

Omg to have from 630 to yourself. You both sound very lucky to get to finish work so early & have such convenient childcare arrangements. Plus the school holidays. It isn't all bad.

I sympathise with you as I think your dh sounds less than supportive. Have you asked him what he wants to do if he is complaining? Perhaps he'd like to go pt if its all getting too much for him.

As for your MIL etc putting pressure on you to do more I'd be giving that very short shrift and laughing at comments about modern men and women etc. It's not something that you need to give headspace to. Their problem. Tell dh to give up worrying about it too.

Btw- my dh does his fair share. I work 4 days but earn more. He does 2 days away from home but does pick up & drop offs the other 2 days. He also does more housework.

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 21:05:21

"Leaving early again?"
"Well, I tried to persuade nursery to let DD toddle over on her own, but they didn't go for it."

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Wed 30-Oct-13 21:12:37

Well - there is a happy medium. Trust me I don't always hang around for ages but even just 'normal' tasks of calling parents, putting in detention slips, clearing the classroom, and so on - I'd struggle to have done by 345 to be honest.

But then our school day only ends at 330!

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 21:19:30

Well, to look at it from the school's point of view, surely their priority is to have staff members doing the requisite hours - once called 'directed time,' (and I accept that 99% of teachers work at home as well. That's kind of standard). Maybe his (and your) colleagues feel that it is unfair that someone should be going home early so often when they're expected to stay on site.
I'm not sure this is about what is fair between the two of you and each pulling your weight. If you both have commitments at work, then you should be fulfilling them, and if that means finding childcare to cover the hours, then that's what you need to do. Like a lot of other people have to do. Or push your child's bedtime later. Not ideal, but then nor is leaving work early.

MarlenaGru Wed 30-Oct-13 21:23:04

Are you married to my DH?
We have an au pair which helps but I think we should make every effort to put our DC to bed each night which means DH does it if I nag him and I do 4/5 nights. He says he "can't leave because people will be annoyed" but of course I have to leave my similarly paid, professional job at 5 4 nights a week and have a thick skin about it.

To be honest it is the belief amongst his colleagues that their wives do the childcare. Fair enough but how is a woman supposed to have a career?

maddening Wed 30-Oct-13 21:25:57

dfiance works 7-3 and I work 9-5. I do all drop offs and df does all pick ups. Dfiance does cooking and baths I do more tidying up of an evening.

df gets the better deal imo as he just gets himself up and out in the morning and pickups are more relaxed than trying to herd a toddler in the morning - which is stressful but df would find mornings far too stressful.

Plomino Wed 30-Oct-13 21:26:25

Of course you are not being unreasonable ! Up until a year ago , DH and I both worked full time shifts as police officers . We arranged it , with work's permission , so that we worked opposite shifts , so that only one person worked a day , but that would mean one of us would be working 365 days a year . We arranged it so that on the last night duty , I would finish at 3.30am , then drive the 100 miles home , getting in just before 5am , then hand the car keys to the DH , who would then drive my car to the station just in time to catch the 5.09 train to get to London for 7am . I would then grab 2 hrs sleep , then get the 5 kids to school , put the animals out , then go back to bed until 2.45 , then get the DC's that needed picking up from school at 3.30 . We did this for nearly 7 years . It also meant that child care was split exactly down the middle too .

It's bloody hard graft , frankly . But no one , including DH has ever ever said anything derogatory . If they wanted my skills full time (and both DH and I have some very specific specialist skills that few have ) then this was the compromise , take it or leave it . They took it .

uselessinformation Wed 30-Oct-13 21:27:15

I'm a teacher and you could afford the extra nursery hour, for one child, on two teacher's salaries.

uselessinformation Wed 30-Oct-13 21:28:21

Teachers' salaries

NonnoMum Wed 30-Oct-13 21:33:11

You need to pay extra for childcare and stop playing silly buggers.

That's coming from a family of two teachers.

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