To think one of us needs to work less hours

(13 Posts)
AlleyCatandRastaMouse Wed 02-Mar-16 18:53:56

Hi All,

I wonder if you can help me by telling me if I am being unreadable and possibly help me think a little more rationally as I am a bit all over the place.

My son was diagnosed with Level 2 ASD 3 weeks ago. It really did not come as a shock although I guess we were expected a milder diagnosis. However I am feeling very at sea with it all. There just seems so so much to do ringing around, filling in forms, dealing with queries on top of day to day stuff. It is not UK so might be a little different.

My main problem really stems from the fact that both DH and I work full time and have 3 children, another of whom has some learning difficulties. Where do we find the time to deal with all of this and attend the endless appointments? I spoke to DH and suggested we consider me going part time but since I am the bigger earner by a reasonable amount and even with part time hours I have limited flexibility as part of my job requires face to face from me, it does not really make sense to him. He has huge flexibility to do the additional work but because he works for himself he has to put in a lot of hours one way or another. I just do not see how we are going to get it all done unless one of us steps back although it is not clear if we can afford to do this. AIBU to want one of us to take a step back and to want it to be me.

Any thoughts appreciated.

MrsH1989 Wed 02-Mar-16 18:58:45

It is not unreasonable for you to WANT to do this. It would be unreasonable if you cannot afford to and do it anyway. I don't see why your DH wouldn't agree providing you can still be comfortable.

FigMango1 Wed 02-Mar-16 19:04:53

I think as he is the lower earner and more flexible he should be the one to reduce hours even maybe go one day less?

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Wed 02-Mar-16 19:14:06

Yes Fig you probably have a point there. He definitely has more flexibility.

Bogburglar99 Wed 02-Mar-16 19:14:16

flowers and brew.

I don't think you are at all unreasonable to want to, or to feel that parenting three children, two of whom have additional needs, may require more time than you can carve out of two full time jobs. It's also the mental resilience - I have a 9 year old DS with SEN and very challenging behaviour and supporting him properly needs me to be mentally on top of my game an awful lot of the time. No chance for a spot of benign neglect while I recharge batteries from the working day! I continue to work part time for that reason, although he's in full time school.

Having said that, I wouldn't do anything in haste. Have a think about the financials, give yourself time to process DS diagnosis, think about what his needs are likely to be into the future (will there be loads of appointments forever, or is this just a short term thing related to diagnosis?), think about what you need to keep you going - retaining your job at some level might actually be really important to you. Can DH go part time, or can you both do a bit less? If DS was eligible for any benefits similar to DLA in the UK, would that help you to reduce hours?

Lots to think about but at the basic level, no you are not unreasonable to think about it. You might like to pop over to the SN boards where a lot of posters have had to consider how/if to combine work with being the parent of a child with additional needs.

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Wed 02-Mar-16 19:31:49

Thanks bog

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Wed 02-Mar-16 19:53:38

Ok not sitting on my laurels here. I spoke to DH who actually suggested what Fig suggested about going part time. I think it probably is me being unreasonable now but I cannot see how it will work. His company cannot develop or possibly survive without him driving it forward ans maybe I want to be the one who cuts back because like bog said I am finding my mental Resilence, a fantastic way of expressing what I feel, waning under all of this. I just feel lost and very stressed.

Kleinzeit Wed 02-Mar-16 20:06:06

My thought is that YANBU to want to cut your hours. I do think that four kids - two with SN - and two parents working fulltime is a pretty demanding situation.

My DH works full time and I had been working part time and I stopped work altogether around the time my DS was diagnosed with an ASC. I spent an endless amount of time doing paperwork and getting stuff organised for him, as well as going to appointments and accompanying him to social events because he couldn’t be safely left. I also had to deal with his behaviour which was exhausting in itself and learn about ASCs and about how to parent him. (You might know more about this already though?) And finally I had to deal with my own emotions about it, which was also exhausting. I do remember having naps during the day when DS was in school!

I told my DH that we do keep an emergency cash fund and that this counted as an emergency and I wanted to stop work at least until DS had the right support and things were more stable. DH was not totally happy but agreed with me stopping work, and a few weeks later he agreed that things were now much calmer at home and running better, and even that he felt better himself as a result. We were able to claim some disability and carers' benefits which made up for about half of my lost salary. It took a couple of years before DS’s behaviour stabilised enough and I could arrange childcare (etc) that would meet his needs safely, and then I did return to paid work.

Anyway. What I mean is, your situation is different from mine and I’m not sure about how the practicalities of your situation would work out best but YANBU to feel that you need to change things in one way or another as a result of your DS’s diagnosis. {flowers]

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Wed 02-Mar-16 20:58:47

Thanks Klein you are definitely coming at it with similar thinking to me.

I was very unclear in my OP I have only 3 children, even the thoughts of 4 is enough to make me dive under the duvet and never come out after all this :-).

I wouldn't make any decisions yet. You've only just had the formal diagnosis. Will the number of appointment etc. stay high or tail off a bit as support and plans are put in place? If there is an initial pile of stuff to do could you take some parental leave from work to give you a couple of weeks to find your feet and then reassess what works best?

Your higher income may be very important if you need to pay for help or therapy. (I have a friend with a son with severe ASD who spent a lot on school tribunals to get him into a specialist school which really suits him)

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Wed 02-Mar-16 23:01:55

Parental leave is what I want alright but u fortunately we are only allowed to spread it across the year in our work. Thanks Chaz and everyone for your input and I know you are all right on the knee jerk reaction flowers

For info, I think the rules for parental leave are a bit different if your child receives DLA so you can use it for odd days (as well as weeks) rather than being limited to taking whole weeks off. Might be relevant in the future?

HeddaGarbled Wed 02-Mar-16 23:49:08

I don't think that either of you need to reduce your working hours in order to go to appointments, make phone calls and fill in forms. If more care is needed at home, that is different. If the children are at school most of the time, a parent at home without them is a luxury which should only be indulged if you are comfortable that you can afford it.

If there is a lot to be done at the moment, a week's leave for either of you could be helpful.

In my experience, the meetings are never on your days off anyway, so someone will have to do some juggling to be available.

However, if you are having a lot of disturbed nights or drama filled mornings and evenings, a full on full time job on top can be a killer and in these circumstances, the possibility of one of you stepping back time is worth considering.

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