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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.

Yama Wed 30-Oct-13 21:34:22

We have two children. Dh takes one to Breakfast Club and picks up from after school club and I take and pick up the other from nursery.

Dh has taken more time off to look after the dc when they have been sick. It wouldn't enter his head that colleagues might comment.

NonnoMum Wed 30-Oct-13 21:38:55

Also, bugger the family members' comments...

If they are so bothered, they can pick up/do your housework/cook you meals/ help out when Dc sick etc etc etc.

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 21:41:50

When my dcs were of an age to need childcare, dh and I never dreamt of leaving early to save on nursery fees. Our schools would always have been sympathetic and supportive to the occasional emergency, or dr's appointment or whatever, but twice/three times every week? Er, no. We're paid to do a job, and that means being on the premises after school as well as all the work one needs to do at home in the evening.

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 21:42:27

Clam, the schools' managements are both fine with our arrangement. We both stay for our directed time hours. Many of my colleagues leave at a similar time to me for their own reasons. It is easier to work at school than at home for most though. However, when you leave is up to you as long as you stay fir your directed time (at least it had been in every school I have worked in.) It is hard work, but I manage to meet all of my contractual obligations and then some. As does my husband. His colleagues should not be able to dictate our childcare arrangements when his boss is fine with it.
Useless, with all due respect, despite our salaries, we would struggle to afford it. It isn't quite as simple as that.

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 21:44:14

Directed time is (or was) until 4.30pm.
And I reckon that, if colleagues are beginning to make comments about you/him leaving early, then Management might soon change their stance.

MiddleRageSpread Wed 30-Oct-13 21:45:06

You are both putting yourself under immense presure here - you need to pay for one longer day at nursery and somehow cover the cost. Your childcare bill will go down once your DD is 3.

It may cost more money, but that is cheaper than resentment building up between the two of you because you are spreading yourselves thin.

On your current arrangements YANBU, and he is not hard done by. But he is being subjected to unreasonable critical comments - possibly because of sexist assumptions that men aren't expected to go off on the nursery run. Is his school completely happy with his leaving in time for the nursery run? If so he needs to address these comments head on.

I am in a two-working-parents family and we split all parenting and domestic responsibilities 50/50, including covering sick days, buying birthday presents for other children's parties, attending said parties at soft play, Dr and other appointments, everything. It can't work any other way.

But sometiomes you have to work as a team to enable each partner to do their 50% in the way that suiots their work pattern. I mean the amount of parenting is shared but the list of exact tasks and timings may not match symetrically.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Wed 30-Oct-13 21:50:11

week 1 DH works 6am-2pm mondays and friday i do both pick up and drop off. MIL does tues, wed,thurs drop off. Pick up DH and I

week 2 DH nights. I do all pick ups and drops off mon and fri, DH tues, wed,thur drop off.

week 3 DH afternoons, DH does all drop off I do all pick ups.

go back to week 1.

OP yanbu

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 21:50:21

All I can tell you is that that isn't the case in the schools we work in. Dh can choose to take his PPA at home if he wants (although he doesn't, some of his colleagues do.) Some members of staff at my school have their PPA timetabled for the first lesson so that they can come in late after they have done the school run. We have the same flexibility after school too, unless there is a meeting or a directed time slot on the calendar.

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 21:53:06

It must be a horrible feeling, that your colleagues are watching the clock with regard to your working patterns, and making comments about it. If your dh is feeling the pressure, on top of the normal pressures of the job, than it is not unreasonable for him to mention it to you - assuming he's not expecting you to pick up the slack when presumably you have the same problem. Maybe he was broaching the issue of extending nursery hours in a roundabout way?

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 21:54:23

Surely PPA time is for Planning, Preparation and Assessment, not for doing the school run?

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 21:56:02

Anyway, that's beside the point. If both your Management teams are happy with the hours you are on the premises, then any colleagues offering opinions need to be given short shrift.

sleepdodger Wed 30-Oct-13 21:57:59

We both work ft and use ft nursery 8-6pm and then take it in turns for pick up and drop off depending on schedules
Surely if you both work ft you could afford a later finish part of the week to give you an easier work balance without hugely changing your daughters balance?

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 21:59:12

I agree it must be awful, but he was angling for me to do more. I think I will have to mull it over and come up with a plan. Im grateful for all responses anyway.

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Oct-13 22:02:23

I do my planning and prep 7pm till 9 usually. I still do my PPA, as do my colleagues, just in our own time. Regarding finances; there is more to it than salary; mortgage, bills etc.

Spikeytree Wed 30-Oct-13 22:05:29

Directed time in my school is 10 minutes before the school day starts and 10 minutes after, unless it is meeting night, twilight or parents evening. Directed time until 4:30 every night would push us way over 1265 hours. I stay till after five most nights, but do sometimes push off at 3:25 if I have an appointment or need to get to the bank etc.

I think you either stay as you are or you pay for more childcare. You can't compromise your career by giving up more of your time in school.

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 22:06:49

By the way, I hope Mr Gove (or his wife) is not reading this thread. You know he's angling to get rid of PPA time? I'm pretty sure he would have An Opinion on what he would consider teachers "shirking."
Flexible working practices won't register with him; that's just for MPs!

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 22:10:00

spikeytree All teachers are (legally) expected to be on the premises 10 minutes before and after the school day, but that is different from 'directed hours.' I remember very clearly when the idea was first brought in, in the late 80s, and it is until 4.30 every day. There was outrage, as so many teachers stayed way later than that as a matter of course, but there was a period of time shortly afterwards when many were out the door by 4.31 on principle.

DP is a primary teacher, and only has a 10 minute commute. I work in a university and have 1 1/4 hr commute. I am also the higher earner. I'm currently on Mat Leave with DC 2 but DP has always done the drop offs every day, and does pick up 3 days a week at 4pm. My parents do one day, and I do compressed hours (in theory) so finish at 1pm on a Friday, when I pick DD up. We have to work it that way, as not only would it not be fair to DD, but nursery isn't open early/late enough for me to do the childcare run. This was part of our agreement, and to be honest, I think DP enjoys it. When I get home, I do bath, story, etc, and he gets on with work. We are very lucky that my parents are very local, and can help out if we're stuck.

I'd agree that if you can't get additional family/friends help, you probably need to look at extending the nursery hours, at least once or twice a week.

Spikeytree Wed 30-Oct-13 22:31:15

Directed time in my school is 8:35-3:25. It is in my terms and conditions.

Spikeytree Wed 30-Oct-13 22:41:07

OP, this article might interest your partner

Permanentlyexhausted Wed 30-Oct-13 22:48:51

YANBU but I would look again at paying for your daughter to stay the extra hours since the early pick-ups seem to create a lot of stress for you both and tension between you.

ThePitOfStupid Wed 30-Oct-13 22:48:52


If he is angling for you to do more, what comments does he think you will get?

BrianButterfield Wed 30-Oct-13 22:53:09

DH and I are both teachers. I have been doing drop off and pick up as DS's nursery is literally across the road from school. I do manage to get him before 4 about three days a week, but I couldn't manage a 3.45 deadline every day. And to get there before 4 I am in school at about 8.10 every morning. I was going that early to catch a train but without trying to get public transport after 4 is better. I would never ever sign up to a 3.45 finish - I'd even be wary of 4.30. DS can stay until 6 and although he has never been there that long, it's nice to have that extra wriggle room in our schedules even if it means paying for it.

stealthsquiggle Wed 30-Oct-13 23:02:43

Well that's a pointless statement, uselessinformation, unless you know where the OP lives and what their financial circumstances and childcare costs are.

OP I think DH just needs to get tougher about the comments TBH.

DD's class teacher has his 2 nursery age DC in his classroom with him until school starts (when a TA from the nursery comes to collect the and another class teachers LOs) and I would damned well hope that he gets no more comments about it than his female colleague does.

LittlemissBT Wed 30-Oct-13 23:07:24

I get in early and leave early or get in late and leave late - managed round shifts etc. Anyway two colleagues once tried to get me into a conversation about how theyd feel guilty clocking off early ... - I just simply said 'well I come in early so leave early and dont really give a f* what other people think' - I think it made the point that they shouldn't moan as theyre never there watching the sunrise - could he try the blunt approach? Ps im not usually that quick and I even surprised myself grin

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