To not make my mind up about going back to work.(17 Posts)
I have been going round and round in circles for months now so I'm asking here in the hope of gaining some outside perspective.
I have an 11mo DD and I have been working from home (for myself) pretty much every day since she was born. It has always been during her nap times, or I may grab 5 minutes here or there if I'm desperate. It has been stressful trying to get my work done to put it mildly.
She is a wonderful baby and the light of my life. We have an amazing bond and we have barely been apart at all in those 11 months.
My dilemma is - the business is successful because of my input - if I stop working the business ends. I have just about managed to keep my head above water this past year. In 2015 when my baby is 1 I feel I have the option to go back to work P/T, which means leaving her with someone else for half the day Monday to Friday, or I can carry on as I am and keep my head above water for another couple of years until she goes to preschool.
I can't make my mind up about what is best for DD. Would I be irresponsible to not go back to work? I have enough money to keep us going - me going back to work would just ensure she gets private schooling and other luxuries such as holidays.
My heart is telling me to stay home with DD and not worry about the business until she starts preschool.
Argh. I am a single mum by the way and her daddy doesn't pay maintenance so she has just me to rely on. I really hope I don't come across as spoilt. I'm really not. I know I'm really lucky to even have the choice.
if working PT would only be to pay for private school and luxury hols you'd be mad to go back... Not many people can stretch to private schooling by working 2.5 days a week, especially as a single parent!
Is there a middle ground - put DD in childcare a few mornings a week and ramp up your own business?
Or can you time your work to coincide with her naps? That way you are only missing runup to naptime, naptime, and a grouchy hour or so after. Not much of a sacrifice to keep your career going and make enough extra to pay for private school etc!
I would personally keep your options open. I went back to work slightly tentatively at 12 months. From 18 months onwards I found the toddler stage desperately hard, and have been so relieved that I work as it's kept me sane. DS has been in nusery for 4 days a week for a while and has done so well there, he's had a much better experience than he would have at home with me, snapping and feeling like a failure as I'm not much good at the toddler stage. Of course, your DD might be a delightful toddler, and using some childcare to keep working doesn't necessarily mean nursery - childminders are also great. I also think it's easier to get them settled into childcare earlier than at the pre-school stage if they've been used to being with you day in day out.
I think you'll find it hard to keep your current pattern going before too long. Naps will get shorter, she's likely to get more demanding when awake. Presumably if you don't need to work you are living off savings? Realistically they won't last forever and keeping your hand in now will give you an income long term.
I'd look at carving out proper time for doing your business if it is making you money. Just a couple of hours added to nap time might be well worth it.
As a lone parent have you looked into whether you get the free nursery hours from 2 rather than 3?
Thanks for the replies. Sorry I should have been clearer - when I say going back to work it would be for myself, just working at the office for set hours (probably about 4 hours) each day rather than winging it from home.
The difference really would be - if I don't go back to work I carry on feeling quite internally stressed due to constant juggling. or I go back, earn (potentially) a lot of money but DD goes to childcare for 4-5 hours a day.
Your situation sounds perfect to me! Although I would consider doing at least one full day, alongside some half days but giving yourself a full day off too. Toddlers tend to be nicer in the mornings, so you could short change yourself if you did mornings. If you're going to use childcare try and get them to do the hellish 3-5pm stint!
I see. Congrats on your business by the way, it sounds like it's flourishing.
I still say split the difference. Try 3 x afternoons or something and see how you get on. Work a couple of specific evenings too, and have others off if that's possible. Being less wrung out is good for your efficiency at work, and toddlers sleep less than babies while making more noise and requiring at least as much watching.
I would carve out some work time for yourself. There will be times when you'll really appreciate it. As others have said, you could do the fun part with your toddler of morning activities and lunch. Then work 1-5pm. A chunk of that will be sleep time so you won't be missing out. I often work this way.
The only problem is finding someone who wants to nanny for those hours. The easiest way to find somebody would be to share with a local family with school aged children and take the time from 10-2pm.
Private schooling is just not worth this.
I don't know amothersplace my wages could pay for DS to go to private school, but we've opted out of that so they're just savings, but working has kept me sane. I could never have predicted when I went back to work just how vital it would have been for me. I found the newborn -16 months stages a breeze, it wasn't until the strong willed toddler stage hit that I realised how much I needed a break.
As the OP has so much flexibility I think it's worth everything!
Your DD won't nap forever, so don't assume you'll get the amount of time you do now to grab time here and there.
There's also the risk re relying solely on maintenance if something happens to your DD's father. Your DD would only be in nursery for a short time each day, could you do 1 full day to give you a full day at home and then 4 mornings at nursery? If you have one that's got a good pre-school attached then you can continue for pre-school at the same place.
IMO it really depends where the money that you're currently surviving on is coming from, and if it might stop.
If I had the choice then I think I'd go for two years doing it as you are, then part time. By 3 they definitely benefit from nursery and by 2 I think they'll get something out of it and be fine there. You will probably want to be back at work by then too.
When DD was 11mths old, I desperately pleaded with my boss for another 3mths off as I couldn't face "abandoning" DD with a "stranger". At 14mths, I skipped into work leaving a howling toddler at nursery so relieved that I was going to be able to get a cup of tea in peace, eat a meal I hadn't cooked and not have to cajole someone else to eat it & then wipe down the floor & walls afterwards, that I wasn't going to have to fight a dozen battles over minor things ... and those dozen battles were just the battles I picked to fight.
I'd keep things ticking over as they are but just be aware that your DC will change a lot over the next few months and you may want a break from parenting, especially as you are a lone parent.
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