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.. to consider working FT with three children under 5

(144 Posts)
harrowgreen Wed 28-Jan-15 14:18:25

when we don't need the money and DH has a very demanding job....

DD1 is 4.5, DS 1.11 and DD2 0.1 (4wks).

I was a professional in the City before DD1, but never went back after maternity leave and have spent the last few years working mainly in the charitable sector on a pro bono basis;

We're now done with having children, and I want to go back to work.

I've been offered a job in the profession I used to work in, but it's full-time. We're no longer in London so it's not crazy hours (core of 9-6), but DH is out of the house for at least 13hrs/day, sometimes with overnight travel, so can't help with childcare in a practical sense. So I'd need help getting DD1 to school and DS and DD2 to nursery (they can all start by 8am), and picking them all up. DD1's school offers after-school care until 6pm (for an extra charge) and nursery runs until 6pm also. DS is really settled at nursery already (he goes PT currently) so I wouldn't want to move him.

I can't work out if going back would put our family under intense stress. DH has a very healthy salary, so we don't need the money (it'd cover childcare but that'd be it). I wouldn't go back immediately (I'm EBF and will do until 6m and will then continue to BF for the full year), but likely late summer.

The job would be great, but I'm not sure if it'd be great enough to warrant this huge change in lifestyle for us all. Working PT there probably isn't possible, although some working from home might be allowed.

If I don't take this job I have another option in the charity sector which would be part-time, flexible, mainly from home and give me great exposure. Money would obviously be minimal in comparison but, as I said above, that's not a huge concern. However I'm not sure there'd be the intellectual stimulation of the professional role.

Thoughts?

iseenodust Wed 28-Jan-15 14:25:35

It's doable clearly as some people do it but I wouldn't do it unless I had more support around than a never here husband. Are your parents/sister/best friend willing to do the odd pickup or days in the school holidays?

cailindana Wed 28-Jan-15 14:27:14

Every set up has its own drawbacks and benefits, you have to decide what works best for you. I know it's hard to decide without knowing what it's actually going to be like but be honest with yourself about what you really want and then go from there.

Staying at home/working part time has the benefit of time with the children, flexibility, not having to run days with military precision, but it has the immense drawback of stalling your career, and, if you don't really want to do it, it can be soul-destroying.

Working fulltime is has the benefit of more money, more variety, the ability to develop your career but has the drawback of less time with the children and of being very tiring and full-on.

Remember that you can always take the fulltime job and then quit later on if needs be.

Is there any scope for your DH to cut down his hours or take a less demanding role?

You can always buy in the help you need to keep on top of things - cleaner, ready meals etc.

LemonYellowSun Wed 28-Jan-15 14:27:16

I think it will be very hard to cope with all that - I certainly wouldn't do it. Coupled with homework in the future, and being the only one who would be able to take time off when children are sick....

I would go for the part-time role, and maybe go full time when they are all a bit older. But thats me...

Chippednailvarnish Wed 28-Jan-15 14:28:12

I'd get a nanny personally and go for it. If you don't like it you can always leave...

harrowgreen Wed 28-Jan-15 14:40:20

Some really good points, thank you.

A big concern I hadn't thought of is who'd be around in the case of illness/emergency etc. With three children, that's going to happen, and it would always be me needing to cover it.

I'm not sure how long the charity job will be available for / if I can put it on hold whilst I find my feet in the new role. Kind of feels like I have to choose now.

My parents are about an hour away, so could help with childcare in advance, but not in an emergency.

When I worked PT before the baby, DD1 said that she was looking forward to the baby arriving 'because then you won't have to work anymore Mummy', which is playing on my mind. I know children can do really well with both parents working FT, but whether it's optimum I'm really not sure.

MamaLazarou Wed 28-Jan-15 14:42:25

I couldn't do it but it might work for you. Instead of going for non-challenging part time or challenging full-time, could you find a happy medium?

MamaLazarou Wed 28-Jan-15 14:43:14

Why would you have to be the go-to parent for illness/emergency?

WhereIsMyFurryHat Wed 28-Jan-15 14:45:35

I think you'd need a nanny for that set up. I think it would be perfectly do-able with one but a logistical nightmare without one.

Twitterqueen Wed 28-Jan-15 14:46:45

I did it - and with a selfish twat of an (ex) H who did bugger all around the house or with the children. I enjoyed it very much - probably more than I would have enjoyed staying at home with 3 under 5s all day every day.

I enjoyed it - more than I would have enjoyed staying at home with my 3 under 5s I suspect. I was driven by the fact that exH kept changing jobs though and I couldn't stand the uncertainty of not having a regular salary coming in.

It's up to you really. My 3 have turned out OK!

FayKorgasm Wed 28-Jan-15 14:47:27

I would do it harrow. Although I think a nanny would be a better option.

fermerswife Wed 28-Jan-15 14:48:09

If money is no object could you get a child minder that comes to your house, does the school runs etc kids are at home and you don't have to run around picking them up? He/she would cover the occassions of illness etc.
I think working full time with 3 would be difficult but not impossible but as a few others have suggested could you work part time? Being a full time mum is not for everyone - now I am back at work after maternity leave I definately find that I am a better mother but then I only have one!

NotYouNaanBread Wed 28-Jan-15 14:50:56

I'd be inclined to take the charity role. If the professional role was going to leave your family substantially better off after childcare then that would be one thing, but it seems really full on for something that isn't actually improving your standard of living in any way - in fact, it sounds like it would diminish your standard of living as a family because

a) stress
b) children simply never seeing either parent during the week
c) sick children = extra stress for you as husband essentially absent

And the money practically cancels out.

I'm very much in favour of equality in access to work between parents of young children - my own DH was a SAHD for two years so I could work - so this isn't about "stay at home and breastfeed for the rest of your life" but I don't really see what you would gain.

The charity role sounds perfect, and if it comes to an end, the exposure you mentioned could help you move into something similar afterwards.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 28-Jan-15 14:53:49

Nanny all the way if you do go back. Full time nursery really isn't ideal for the under 2s for a wide range of reasons, and it gives you coverage for the school age child's holidays. And don't underestimate the luxury of that extra half hour's lie in for all of you that you gain from not having to do a double school/nursery run.

tootsietoo Wed 28-Jan-15 14:55:15

I think in that position, I'd get a great nanny (assuming you can afford it). Then you don't have to worry about the sick days and the inevitable domestic stuff that comes up during the working day. Then it would be a lot more do-able.

My two are 7 and 8 now, and I never went back to my professional job after the second maternity leave. I've worked for myself doing bits and pieces of things for three years, in school hours, but I have been grinding my teeth in jealousy at my friends who kept working full time when their children were young. Some of them are flying now and I feel as if I'm back where I was in my mid-twenties, career-wise! BUT - and it's a big but - I have spent every possible minute with my children, and I will always always have that. I have to say that I didn't enjoy a lot of the pre-school years, but I can feel proud of myself for doing it! Like another poster said, it is about what works for you. You are in the enviable position of having choice.

Oh, and the husband with a demanding job - I have one of those too. I stuffed myself really by making career choices which meant I earned a lot less than him so it had to be me who worked less when we had children. But it still makes me mad that no one, least of all their partners, asks these fathers to consider doing a bit less work and a bit more spending time with their children!! You could try it….?

Fillybuster Wed 28-Jan-15 15:02:05

I would look into getting a nanny, which would address both the daytime childcare for both the under-2s and remove the pressure on you to do school run, or worry about getting home in time for bedtime if the trains aren't running to time!

I went back ft at this point, with that level of support, and am still glad I did it smile

Good luck!

PuppetPeppa Wed 28-Jan-15 15:09:22

I think that the only way that this could work well would be a Nanny.

I work full time and sometimes frequently have to travel for meetings. I use a Nanny for two days and a nursery for three, I am stressed on Nursery days and wish I could afford a full time Nanny tbh.

Get the Nanny to take little ones to Nursery/Activities etc.

lillibeta Wed 28-Jan-15 15:13:45

Personally, I'd go for the charity role until all kids at school. At that point I would have firm words with DH. Your career has taken a back seat for a few years, now it's time for you to be the main priority. I think if both partners take the hit in turn, there's less career damage than if one person completely downgrades their job for 10 years.

mommy2ash Wed 28-Jan-15 15:31:29

I wouldn't do it in bazillion years when you don't need the money and won't actually be earning. personally I don't think it's fair on the kids

bigkidsdidit Wed 28-Jan-15 15:34:50

I would do it with a nanny but not with nursery - you'll have too many days off sick.

indecisiveithink Wed 28-Jan-15 15:41:18

Can you negotiate 3.5 or 4 days? Can you get a nanny and cleaner so all chores are always done?

stealthsquiggle Wed 28-Jan-15 15:42:55

You would need a nanny. A good one. No way would it work with nursery, as there would be too many days when one or other DC couldn't go.

If you can get that in place, then I see no reason why not. I don't buy in to the "it's not fair on the DC" argument. Is it fair on the DC to have a bored and frustrated parent who is desperately missing the intellectual stimulation and may be missing out on a crucial phase of career development, thus limiting their (and the familiy's) future options?

..of the three, it will undoubtedly be hardest on DC1,and they will need more than their "fair share" of your attention when you are home, but having role models of 2 working parents will also have most impact on them.

Good luck, OP.

anothernumberone Wed 28-Jan-15 15:50:25

A nanny and a cleaner would make a huge difference if you are going to do it.

I work full time in term time and had 3 under 6 when I went back to work still bf number 3. It can be tough but it offers a lot. If one of us were to quit it would be Dh, as I am the higher earner but it is not really an option financiallly for us, also I don't think he would get the personal fulfilment as a sahd which is important too.

littlejohnnydory Wed 28-Jan-15 15:54:42

I definitely wouldn't. You'd never see your children and their childhoods pass so quickly. There's plenty of time to work those hours when they're older

outtolunchagain Wed 28-Jan-15 15:55:43

I was in almost the exact same situation as you about 10 years ago except my dh was out if the house even longer hours!

I went for the charity role, there are days when I look back on the days in practice and wonder if I made the right decision but over all I think I made the right one .

If you do do it though I would definitely go down the Nanny route because then you are covered for illness etc as well , plus the hassle of getting all three out of the house on your own with the right kit by 8 is just horrendous .

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