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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.

Loopytiles Sat 02-Nov-13 22:49:59

Yanbu to want your dh to share the care, but yabu to want to both work FT but one of you to collect dd so early 5 days a week, unrealistic for work.

EST0106 Sat 02-Nov-13 22:26:17

DH and I both work full time. He does all pick up and drop offs, a) because he nursery is next to his work and the opposite direction for me, b) because I condense my hours into 4 days so subsequently work longer days mon to thurs so I can have Fridays off.
He works 8.30 until 5.30pm so they don't get home until 6pm, and she's in bed for 7. You a very lucky to be able to pick up so early, that's the middle of the afternoon!! I'm sure you'll make it work, and be happy at how fortunate you are, and I say that in a nice way, you are lucky!!

Xmasbaby11 Sat 02-Nov-13 21:56:20

DH and I both work full time and split nursery runs about 50/50. I'd say you are doing amazingly well to pick DD up between you at 3.45 every day. Since it is obviously causing problems, I'd extend the nursery hours for one day a week. I think it's expecting a lot for either/both of you to leave so early several times a week. I have many teacher friends with young children and none of them leave work before 5 (and they then work in the evening), so I can imagine it's not the norm to rush off.

lade Sat 02-Nov-13 21:35:39

I thought at present, he mostly did the three evenings.

I was proposing, she always did the three evenings, fixing them to set days, the OP moving extra curricular to a lunch time (being voluntary, she can do it when she likes, I always did / do mine during the lunch hour), leaving two after schools for meetings (although, aren't we only supposed to have to do one a week? Or has that changed??). Plus, the crucial part: making the hours clear to bosses / colleagues. This, I cannot stress enough is very important in having supportive colleagues.

Every school I have ever worked in have had set 'meeting days' for after school meetings, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to stick to these / lunch time meetings.

ThePitOfStupid Sat 02-Nov-13 19:55:27

Lade, that pretty much is what they are doing, except day 5 is switched depending on who has meetings, which most weeks is DH.

Objection Sat 02-Nov-13 19:39:03


You say you can't afford childcare - not even a couple of hours at a childminder? Maybe two afternoons a week at a childminder may help?

I don't know where you live but CMs round my area charge between £4-6 per child per hour. So maybe £20 odd a week?

lade Sat 02-Nov-13 19:21:56

I'm a teacher, and I would suggest that your DH took your child to work three mornings and picked up two afternoons, and you dropped off two mornings, and pick up three afternoons. You could then get in early on those three mornings.

In my experience, it is easier at secondary to do more of your work at home. If you managed your days, you could follow leaving early by getting in early the next day, so that would allow you to prepare for that day.

Also, I find that if you have fixed days that you leave early, colleagues know when to find you, when you're not around... They find it easier to manage / work with.

I often leave straight from work, but my colleagues know my 'late' days and work around that (I have responsibility too). When other people know the score, it's easier for them to know when you're going to be around / not available etc.

And ignore family / other comments.

MamaBear17 Sat 02-Nov-13 19:16:33

Thanks again to all who have responded. Just to clarify - I think I already said it somewhere in here before - it is NOT my husband's team who have commented. He works in KS2, It is teachers from foundation stage that have made comments. The two teachers in his team, the head of key stage and the head of the school are fine with our arrangement.DH double checked with his team and they basically said as long as he pulls his weight, which he does, they don't care what he does. The two people who commented do not work directly with my husband, so are not affected by our childcare arrangements and, imo, shouldn't be commenting.
As for my family, I know they are being U. It undermines my confidence at times but I do try to ignore them.

Wuldric Sat 02-Nov-13 18:49:24

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

Wrong family mate. Absolutely ridiculous behaviour. Do not stand for it.

clam Sat 02-Nov-13 18:46:02

A lot of primary school work is team-based. And it's quite difficult to manage that if people aren't there during the only available times to meet, which is usually after school. That might be why his colleagues are becoming vocal. It's just not appropriate to say "none of their business." It is their business if it impacts on their ability to get the job done.

KeepingUpWithTheJonses Sat 02-Nov-13 18:32:59

Df and I both work full time. We have ds1 in full time school and ds1 in am nursery from 8.50 - 11.20.
Df is off on a Wednesday and I work compressed hours (11 hour days) so am off on a Thursday and Friday. We're both off on a Sunday.

So our only childcare is on a Monday and Tuesday, where ds2 goes to a childminder 11.30 - 6.30 and ds1 from 3.30 - 6.30 (df picks them up after finishing) and both of them from 8.45 - 12.10 on a Saturday.

We're lucky in that both of our jobs are flexible, so on a Monday and Tuesday df takes his lunch hour 11-12 to pick ds2 up from school and drop him to the childminder and I take mine at 3-4 to do the same for ds1.

I don't know how people with standard 9-5's afford childcare tbh (if they have young kids anyway). We pay enough as it is, 9-5 for 5 days would be a huge stretch.

Bue Sat 02-Nov-13 18:17:50

I think YABU in having your DD in a full time school hours only contract, tbh, although I do appreciate that M2 pay is really low! (And I see you are going to put her in for an early start once a week, which I think is a good idea!).

I know a lot of teachers (and am married to one) and leaving at 3:30 on a regular basis is not a practice I am familiar with, so I can understand that it doesn't go down well with colleagues. Flexibility is very important but I also think there needs to be a reasonable assumption of core hours in any workplace, or how do you plan things? Run meetings?

BackforGood Sat 02-Nov-13 18:04:22

Same here Clam, and I also agree this is about being a Primary school teacher, and what the expectations are for that role, and not about him being male.
Peanate - It is your business when you work in a situation where you need to sit down with a colleague to plan things or moderate things,or share information, and that colleague isn't available often enough.

clam Sat 02-Nov-13 14:10:57

So, tell them that!
I must live in a parallel universe to some of you because in my world, all the blokes take care of their kids, cook, do their share of chores and pay their way. It's just not an issue.

But I repeat, the OP's dh's colleagues don't appear to be making remarks because he is male and rushing off - just that he is rushing off.

50shadesofmeh Sat 02-Nov-13 08:54:49

I have it implied all the time Clam ' oh the kids dad has them ?' When I'm on 3rd 12 hour nightshift.
Or ' how do you find time to do housework?'
Er there are 2 adults in the household.

ShinyBlackNose Sat 02-Nov-13 08:08:35

How do we split the child care? We both work shifts, he's full time and I'm part time. Due to the shift pattern DH works I work on his days off, when he's at work I'm off.

I think there are supposed to be three days a month when we are both off, but various things get in the way and we can easily go a month or more without spending a single day together as a family.

So, whoever isn't at work is responsible for child care. I'm responsible for housework and gardening.

clam Sat 02-Nov-13 07:49:29

"Bugger the people who seem to think men should somehow not take part in sorting out childcare"
But, apart from a couple of relatives (whose opinions, frankly, don't count in this case) where has it been established that the work colleagues are objecting because he is male?

Peanate Sat 02-Nov-13 06:24:08

Oh yes 50shades. The anger that I had after that final comment to me. It's quite frankly none of anyone else's business what your arrangements are with management / HR in terms of flexible hours for childcare (assuming you aren't taking the piss of course).

OP - as someone said upthread, your DH needs to man up and tell his colleagues to back off with the out of line comments.

50shadesofmeh Sat 02-Nov-13 05:58:24

In this house 3 kids both of us work full time shifts, I do lots of night shifts so does husband we split everything 50/50 all childcare , household chores etc its great and totally ideal if you ask me. Bugger the people who seem to think mean should somehow not take part in sorting out childcare, it makes me angry actually.

Peanate Sat 02-Nov-13 05:28:12

DH and I both work FT and juggle the kids between us. One if us drops them off (so is a bit late), and the other leaves a bit early to collect them from after school care. We swap out depending on who has meetings.

DH hasn't had any negative comments as far as I know (he's relatively senior so does his own thing). I'm mid level, and have had a fair few snarky comments in my direction. I've had an arrangement with work that I can leave Hal an hour early when I need to pick up, and I balance that out with starting early, and I'm always happy to work late or weekends when it's busy.

I've just had an incident where someone was majorly out of line with a comment to me about it, so I got HR involved (advice from another senior person). I've since had my contract amended to take the fixed hours out, and replaced with an average of 40 hours across the week. So far so good.

It's TOUGH balancing kids and FT work. Especially when you have unnecessary and snarky comments to deal with. I think the most important thing is for you and your DH to be understanding of each other's pressures and pull equal weights. I'd also highly recommend finding the money for that extra day of care if you can.

MamaBear17 Sat 02-Nov-13 01:49:33

Dh is m2. Only just starting his career really. I am middle management. We have a big mortgage.

TeacupDrama Thu 31-Oct-13 21:27:51

I am struggling to understand how two FT teachers not anywhere near the bottom of pay scale but in middle management roles can not afford 2-3 hours child care extra a week, something somewhere does not add up,

maybe OP could suggest that if DH would prefer to do more of his work in school rather than at home that he paid for extra childcare

nextphase Thu 31-Oct-13 20:07:50

Sounds like an excellent solution - his problem, and his answer to it - hope the cash flow stands up to it.

DoItTooJulia Thu 31-Oct-13 20:06:04

I think your DH needs to find something to say to his detractors!

Along the lines of, yes. I leave at this time on x day and x day every week. I've been in since six thirty.

Or next time the colleague who says it rocks up at 8am say to them, late again?

This would really piss me off. He needs to manage his colleagues responses and not let them affect him!

Good luck sorting it out!

ThePitOfStupid Thu 31-Oct-13 19:47:46

Sorry clam, you did blush

But I have experienced people making "part-timer" comments just for the sake of stirring, not cos it affects them at all.

Sounds like a good solution. OP.

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