Advanced search

To ask how you coped as a single mum who works full time?

(23 Posts)
Flamingo1980 Wed 23-Dec-15 19:02:00

I'm a single mum to a nearly three year old. (Sperm donor baby so no father involved whatsoever) Since she was born I have been working bank shifts as a nurse as and when I can get childcare which averages about 20 hours a week. I saw a job advertised in a clinic working 9-5 for much better money than I'm on now, better prospects, chance of promotion, nicer colleagues etc etc and applied for it never thinking I would get it as it was really popular and lots of people went for it. To my surprise, I got offered the job and accepted it and it's due to start in January.
I'm now starting to worry about the prospect about being away from my daughter from around 8.30 until 5.30. (We live near the hospital)
Now, I KNOW people do it, I know that. Im all for the working mothers empowering themselves and doing both, I just didn't actually want that many hours when I'm all my child has got for a parent. I'm just starting to feel bad about the prospect of her being in nursery 4 days a week (my mum will have her for a day too).
I will go from seeing her five days a week to two.
A bit of a backstory fuelling my anxiety is that my friend who is in the same parenting situation as me has worked full time in london since her child was a year old. This involves her being away from her now five year old from 7am till 7pm. Her child has spent a great deal of time with child minders and nurseries and god knows who else and very little time with her mother. This little girl is one of the most insecure children I've ever met and spends a lot of time telling her mum she hates her. It may not even be connected but it must be a little bit. It's heart breaking and I'm so worried it will happen to me!
Can anyone who has made this transition offer me some comfort and advice on how you coped and how your kids coped? And how to keep your child happy and secure?
I'm starting to regret taking the job and if it seems like the wrong thing to do I may decline it as I'm just so unsure now...

Flamingo1980 Wed 23-Dec-15 19:03:33

Sorry just to add it's obviously 9-5 Monday to Friday I didn't state that for some reason.

Girlfriend36 Wed 23-Dec-15 19:08:05

You will be fine grin

I am in a similar situation but a few more years down the line as my dd is now 9yo, her father may as well have been a sperm donor as he has no involvement.

I now work 30 hours also a nurse and it is tiring but it def makes you appreciate the time you do have with your child, plus (am assuming NHS) we do get good annual leave entitlement. I would also take the job as it is, see how you go and if you want to reduce your hours you can request it after 6 months or so.

Also with working full time the key is to get properly organised with online shopping, a cleaner (if poss) so that the time when your not at work will be quality time with your dd not spent cooking, cleaning or shopping!

BlueJug Wed 23-Dec-15 19:11:20

I struggled but my kids were fine. I was exhausted - but maybe I would have been anyway. My DD, now 18, loved the fact that I worked full time.

Do it. Use a childminder or nursery that you are happy with and do it.

Show DD that you are a strong, independent woman who can support herself and her child through a profession that she is good at.

AutumnLeavesArePretty Wed 23-Dec-15 19:12:26

9-5 is very standard hours, once they go to school it's not much longer than school hours anyway.

We have all used childcare in our friendship circle, none has had problems. Same when they go school, they don't lose the parental bond.

Shakerlackerboomboom Wed 23-Dec-15 19:13:11

I am doing exactly what you describe and it's true, it works.
My dd loves it and we have great family days together
It's me that has the guilt mind!

antimatter Wed 23-Dec-15 19:13:56

I would not assume your dd will act the same.
First of all you won't have 12 hurs away from her. You will have routine.
Stick to the routine. Plan everything as far in advance as you can, make lists, keep calendar with all parties and engagements and you will be just fine.

Make sure you have at least 2 early nights a week yourself so you won't end up permanently exhausted.

I ma sure you are already telling your dd about things about to change. There may be books out there which could help.

I became single mum much later, when kids were 12 and 14 but even so above advice applied to me too.

I can't comment what makes your friend's dd insecure but she for sure have more unpredictable weeks than your dd is going to have.

decisionsdecisions123 Wed 23-Dec-15 19:19:36

I was actually going to come on and say that working close to home and having childcare in the vicinity is very very helpful and it sounds like this is the case!

Lucyccfc Wed 23-Dec-15 19:37:09

Congratulations on the new job.

I have been a single Mum since DS was 2 and work full time. He is a very secure, happy young man and is very proud of me working. He tells people he wants to be a Manager like his Mum when he grows up and drive a Mercedes lol.

I have recently just got a new job, which means working locally 9-5, which is brilliant considering my last role was a national role with lots of travel.

My advice (for what it is worth) is to plan, plan and even more planning. Have a big calendar and write everything on it and batch cook. We sit down at the table and eat together every night and catch up on our days at school and work. Make the most of bath time and sit and read before bed. Great quality time. Do 30 minutes cleaning, ironing or cooking, after DD is in bed and then sit and chill for a while. I am usually in bed by 10 to 10.30.

We cram loads of stuff into our weekends, so my DS doesn't miss out on us doing things together.

DrewsWife Wed 23-Dec-15 20:02:01

I worked 5 days a week in a very busy Jobcentre when my first was three. I had her in a nursery near me. She thrived. She loved the staff. She had an adventure every day. She is now grown.

Now I have a one year old. I'm a student nurse and I'm fighting my way through lectures, placement and cramming information for essays.

He goes to a local nursery. Thrives. But I struggle.

Flamingo1980 Wed 23-Dec-15 20:08:00

Ah thank you everyone for your advice and encouragement. Funnily enough when I m said 'cope' I meant from a perspective of missing my daughter and also from her being secure. I didn't even think about practicalities like online shopping, cleaners and early nights!! All good advice though I will definitely take it.
I was thinking of putting her in the hospital nursery so I can visit her at lunchtime?? That's as far as I got.
I like the 'two early nights' advice. (Considering I'm in bed already and it's 8 o'clock...)

Potatoface2 Wed 23-Dec-15 20:12:14

i was a single parent working nights (nurse, lots on this thread)...i struggled (didnt get tax credits/free child care back then) was tired all the time, cant remember having a full 8 hours sleep for years. i dont regret a minute of it....i think it made my child what he is today, he knows the meaning of working hard to support a family (hes 28 with children of his own)so proud of him

pretend Wed 23-Dec-15 20:24:55

Absolutely go for it.

I worked from DS being 6 months old. For two years he was at a child minder 7:30 to 4:30 weekdays. He loved it and his child minder is like an extra granny to him.

A year ago I had the opportunity to work shorter hours for more money which I leapt at. He now does 4 days 8:30 to 3pm at nursery. He's outgoing, flexible, got loads of friends and is a happy and relaxed boy. If you have well chosen childcare that you trust, don't think twice.

On a practical level, hot meal at nursery at lunchtime and a quick snacky tea will save your sanity, if possible. Also bath twice a week max as every night takes time and isn't necessary. Set aside two hours on an early weekend morning for cleaning whilst dc has breakfast and watches tv, get a tumble dryer....

It's doable. I agree early nights will be the difference - when youre tired everything gets on top of you and it feels hopeless. It isn't, you just need to give yourself a break every now and then.

Take the hit now, it'll be worth it in the long run.

Flamingo1980 Wed 23-Dec-15 22:02:37

Really positive stories here I love it!

Potatoface2 Wed 23-Dec-15 22:17:23


FlatOnTheHill Wed 23-Dec-15 23:45:06

OP when I saw the heading of your post it struck a chord with me.
Im single mum since my DS birth. He is 15 now and maternity pay was slightly different back then. I had to go back to working in the City of London when DS was 12 weeks old...yes 12 weeks. It was heart wrentching. But I needed to be back full time for the money as DS father was a complete ass.
My mum had him 2 days and 3 days nursery. It killed me at first and the guilt was terrible. But do you know what. And I truely mean this. Me and DS are so close its untrue. Can honestly say he is a normal balanced loving boy.
My son knew no different as i worked from when he was so young. It was me doing all the unnecessary worrying. OP you have to remain strong and positive and you will be fine. I did it and still do. Please keep us updated and dont worry smile

TiredButFineODFOJ Wed 23-Dec-15 23:56:20

My mum is a nurse- shift work including nights. I went to family/childminder a lot.
I grew up under the impression that studying and working full time shifts and being a mum was expected. Now I work full time no kids I do not know how the hell she did it and have even more respect for her.
I've never doubted that I could grow up, have a career and kids. Each to their own but kids and career was never either/or for me. You will be an amazing role model.

antimatter Wed 23-Dec-15 23:58:10

I have no experience but some say not to visit at lunchtime as other kids won't have that interaction and it breaks everyone's routine but maybe someone else has different experience. However closeness to your workplace would save you unnecessary commute so I would do just that for as long as is possible.

catrin Thu 24-Dec-15 00:41:58

Congratulations on the job!
Without wishing to be flippant, I am currently facing another (alternate) Christmas alone, as dd is with her father. When you have an utter twat for an ex, you wish to be in your position!

I work full time. I don't see enough of her as I would wish to. However! We are the girl team. We do girl stuff (at your dd's age this was nail painting and bubbles and kite flying and baking) and we have THE BLOODY BEST TIME together.
Everything feels hellish, that is one of the nasty bits of parenting, the ability to feel you are fucking up regardless of what you do. Just love her, be as present as you can when you are there.
When I've been completely consumed in other shit - separation, manic times at work, family shit - I tell her. Mummy adores you but she is feeling a bit rubbish at the moment, so can't be very exciting. How about...?! Pizza and a film in mummy's bed?! PJ day on the sofa with a picnic?! Doesn't take much for a child to feel loved. Love her lots, take interest in her day, have her pics from nursery in pride of place. Tell her (bits of) your day. Make it yours together. It is good, it really is smile

Ineedtimeoff Thu 24-Dec-15 00:55:36

Congratulations on the job

I work full time and have done since DD was 3. She is now 6.
I have recently been promoted and now have a more senior role with more responsibility. I work 40 hrs a week and travel 40mins each way. I'm exhausted. DD is exhausted. It feels like we are always functioning at full capacity with no margin for error. I feel like I'm doing neither role very well just now.

She went to a fantastic nursery from 1 - 4 years and made great friends there that she still keeps in touch with. It's got harder since she has gone to school. She doesn't particularly like breakfast club or after school club and she's quite anxious and clingy about being left just now.

Sorry for not being more positive!

Good child care really helps and having a good back up plan should your child get ill and during holiday times.

I wish you luck!

Ineedtimeoff Thu 24-Dec-15 00:57:58

Oh, I second making sure you spend even half an hour together everyday when you are focusing just on your child. we have a bath together almost every night. that is where we chat and re-connect. That sounds very American but you know what I mean!

Flamingo1980 Thu 24-Dec-15 09:36:37

I like the idea that we get to spend more quality time together , and have a routine. We don't have a routine which I don't like that much.
I'm happy to see I can hopefully have the option of cutting down my hours after six months if it's not working, I'll keep that in mind when I start to wobble!
You lot are so kind and reassuring, thank you for taking the time to reply xx

planter Thu 24-Dec-15 13:46:20

Lovely post Catrin, I agree with every word!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: