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Has anyone regretted going part time to spend time with pre-school children?

(61 Posts)
dottytablecloth Sat 10-Jan-15 19:14:03

Because financially it was a struggle?

Is it always the case that spending more time with dc is worth th financial loss?

It'll be a short term (2-3 year) thing for our family but we will be looking for lots of cheap, or free, things to do as we definitely won't have lots of spare cash.

dottytablecloth Sat 10-Jan-15 19:15:23

So the AIBU here is, would I be U to go part time for a few years even though I'd would be financially better off working, even factoring in Childcare costs?

meglet Sat 10-Jan-15 19:18:48

save it and go part time when they start school. IME they need you more then and you have to work around school hours.

backwardpossom Sat 10-Jan-15 19:23:39

Nope. Not for a second. I've been part time for 5 years now and I love it.

Sn00p4d Sat 10-Jan-15 19:25:18

I could have written this as I'm facing the same dilemma, although fairly sure I'm going part time, shamelessly following grin

MissHJ Sat 10-Jan-15 19:27:33

Nope sometimes there are more things more important than money. We had to cut back but I would not miss my son's toddler years. They are only young once and I love being around to see eveything as he is getting older.

concretekitten Sat 10-Jan-15 19:29:36

personally I think you can't put a price on being a Mum.
The early days don't last forever, I don't want to look back at these days and just remember the early morning nursery run, dealing with tired cranky kids in the evening etc.
I want to enjoy this time, although I'm constantly tired from working and caring for children, and we are always pretty broke, I know it's not forever.
In a few years when the kids are in school I will go back to work full time, we will have more spare cash and maybe even get a foreign holiday once a year.
There's more to life than just money.

6031769 Sat 10-Jan-15 19:32:22

i think it depends if you can chop and change at your job. Remember that once you've put in for part time and they have accepted your request then your employer to not obliged to let you go back to full time when you so choose. I went to 3 days after I went back to work with DS but although it wasn't guaranteed it was highly implied that I would be able to increase my hours if I wanted and now DS is at school I have just increased to 4 days. Would have been a nightmare if once I was on 3 days that was all my employer would let me have.

Unless you are in a really really well paid job then most of the time theres not a lot of difference in working part time v working full time once you have factored in all childcare costs/ petrol etc

thatsenoughelsa Sat 10-Jan-15 19:32:53

Could you try working part time, see how you get on with the financial side of things then increase your hours if you find it's too much of a struggle? When I went back to work after having DD I decided to reduce my hours from full time to three days a week. It was 100% the right decision for us. We would be better off with me working full time (although not by much when you factor in childcare costs, travel to and from work etc.) but it's so worth it in my opinion. My job is enjoyable but mentally and emotionally draining at times and I think that full time it would be too much combined with looking after DD. Obviously it depends on your individual circumstances but for me, I'd rather have less money and not be stressed out and exhausted.

Inkanta Sat 10-Jan-15 19:35:55

Best thing I did, and I wish I hadn't worried so much and just enjoyed it.

mamadoc Sat 10-Jan-15 19:38:38

Hmm well I wouldn't say I regretted it but at the time I thought it was a no brainer but now I am not so sure.

I did not enjoy it all of the time. Some of it was drudgery and housework rather than lovely times with the kids. Had I stayed FT it would not have set an unfortunate precedent for DH of me doing it all and/ or I could have paid someone else to do the housework. Have you considered both going part time eg 4 days each rather than you do 3 and DH FT?

I doubt that you will want to go back to FT when they hit school age either. I enjoy their company more as they get older. I love to spend time with my 7yr old. It's a lot easier and more straightforwardly enjoyable than the 3 year old although obviously I love him too! You and they will get used to it so maybe budget for longer term eg primary years or at least KS1. They are still little and still need you a lot when they start school.

cuppateaandtoast Sat 10-Jan-15 19:39:50

What inkanta said. I worried so much that i gave up a well paid job and had no status or my own money. But being mummy all day is the best thing ever.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Sat 10-Jan-15 19:39:53

I gave up work completely for 5 years, except for a bit of freelance work which I could do in the evenings. Money was a bit tight, but I wouldn't have changed it for anything.

As a pp said, they grow up far too quickly and I didn't want to miss anything of those lovely early years. Dh would have given up work to be with them, too, but one of us had to work and he was earning more.

iwasyoungonce Sat 10-Jan-15 19:43:54

I don't regret it as such, but it did totally skint us. I went back full time as soon as my DS started school, and just over a year later we are only just starting to get back on our feet, but still paying off debt accrued through those years I was part-time.

I think in the long run I'll always be happy that I had that time with my DC when they were tiny.

myfallingstar Sat 10-Jan-15 19:52:22

On your death bed their is no one who regretted spending MORe time with their children

dottytablecloth Sat 10-Jan-15 19:54:20

Good to hear some views.

I'm a teacher and the children will be going to my school.

Luckily I would have the option of returning to FT again up to a maximum of 3 years reduced hours.

Just have to get head round being really frugal.

nhsworker15 Sat 10-Jan-15 19:54:58

Best thing I ever did. We're lucky that we live in a relatively cheap part of the country and dp earns a good (but not huge) salary. Now that our kids are at school I love part time even more! What also helps is that my work are really good about me being flexible about my days.

Mmmicecream Sat 10-Jan-15 19:58:27

I assume OP you're talking about going FT to PT, not from being a SAHM to PT?

I reckon you might as well give it a go - especially if you can easily decide later to go FT again. I agree with mamadoc upthread though, and there are so many variables it's not something that is easy to compare someone else's experience with someone else's - some parents who are at home really do give their children more time, whereas some just end up putting their children in front of the TV more often. It also depends on the children, and the self-esteem benefits you get from going back to work.

FWIW when I went from part time to being a SAHM I was surprised that while I was with DS much more, he did end up watching MUCH more TV as well - went from 20 mins a day to up to 2 hours some day blush I found myself doing much more housework when he was awake as well, when I was working I'd do more in the evenings to maximise our time together. In terms of quality time together I'm not convinced we had all that much more. Having said that though, I still enjoyed being home more.

FourthMary Sat 10-Jan-15 19:58:45

I went down to four days a week, Fridays are very precious. Only regret is that I couldn't afford to drop more hours. Very worth being skint for.

Will really miss our special day together when he starts school in September.

Doingakatereddy Sat 10-Jan-15 19:59:58

I couldn't go PT so gave up for few years & it was best decision I ever made.

Back FT now, but i have a closeness & knowledge of the kids I don't think I'd have had if I'd worked FT (particuarly with all travelling I used to do)

LinesThatICouldntChange Sat 10-Jan-15 20:00:37

Dotty- it's such a good deal that you have the right to return to full time within 3 years- I would jump at it!
I went p/t (3 days a week) during the pre school years, and then returned to f/t the term my youngest started school. I went into a new job though, as I didn't have the right to just switch back to f/t hours.
It's not so much the short term financial thing, bear in mind that any period of p/t will knock a chunk off your pension. So I think you're wise to step back up once the kids are in a school.
So yes- my experience was very similar to what you plan. No regrets- best of all worlds !

Jengnr Sat 10-Jan-15 20:01:28

I'm pt. i'm always skint and I've maxed out a couple of cards but I'm happier than I've ever been.

Work/life balance is amazing. Do it.

EElisavetaofJingleBellsornia Sat 10-Jan-15 20:05:15

I went FT to PT and have never had a second's regret. It's been the right balance for all of us. And frugality is a bit easier with more time - going to the market for veg instead of a big supermarket shop, meals from scratch etc. Loads of free toddler groups, park time, going to other mums' for coffee. Especially as you could increase again later, I would go for it.

Flomple Sat 10-Jan-15 20:08:36

I'm with the PP who said save it for when they start school. I know I'd have thought this was crazy when mine were preschoolers but being able to give them some afternoons at home after school makes such a difference, for 4 year olds especially but also for older ones. And they do seem to need more of you after they've started school.

Flomple Sat 10-Jan-15 20:13:18

I put that badly. If you're obliged to go back to FT, then save it. If you might be able to stay PT permanently then great, do it now.

It's all v well for me to say this but it obviously depends just how skint you'd be. If FT is a necessity then there is no choice.

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