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to not enjoy my 'days off' with my kids?!

(50 Posts)
lightsussex Thu 22-Sep-16 08:55:15

I work three days a week in a relatively high pressure job. Days are hectic, with the children, animals, general household stuff, legging it around getting everyone to where they need to be on time, with everything they need! However, despite the chaos and stress, some days, once I get to work and have a quick five minutes with a nice hot coffee at my nice clean desk and think ‘phew’!!

I think the problem is that I still try and do some work on my ‘days off’ (I hate that phrase…how is it a day off looking after two U4s?!). My job isn’t a 9-5 so clients will still contact me with something that needs an ‘urgent’ response. I know need to be stricter, and that things can wait till I’m back in the office……I should just stick my ‘out of office’ on, but I also feel this sense of responsibility to work, perhaps as I feel like I need to prove myself, as if its some kind of weakness to work part-time. So I think this is something that I have created myself, rather than something that work have imposed on me. As such I struggle with the contrast between the days, and to switch off completely.

I thought working three days and having days at home with my children would be idyllic, but the reality is just so different. I also end up doing the bulk of the household chores on my at home days as it has all built up whilst we’re both at work.

I find myself enjoying my work days more, and I feel so guilty about it! I almost feel envious when I hear my husband driving off in the morning, then there’s that sinking feeling when I hear my oldest padding around the floor at 6am…thinking of the long day ahead with playgroups, parks, crafting, tantrums, nappies, the constant demands….ok I’m going to say it… as much as I completely and utterly love my children, I think I find being a mummy just a little bit boring…. How bad does that sound?!! What a bad mummy.

Jackiebrambles Thu 22-Sep-16 08:57:36

I work 4 days and my days in the office are massively easier than my day at home! I also have 2 under 4.

I do often wonder why I thought part time was a good idea. If I had my time again I may well have worked full time!

witsender Thu 22-Sep-16 08:59:04

You need to find some.better activities! Any beaches/forests near you? What's your garden like?

wenchystrumpet Thu 22-Sep-16 08:59:57

You're not alone. Have a look at the 'I hate being a mummy' thread in chat.

ApocalypseSlough Thu 22-Sep-16 09:00:20

Not at all wink
You're doing it for them, not you. Go with the flow and lower your expectations for the days at home.
WRT work, do put your out of office on. I'm amazed at how many people I try and contact in a daily basis aren't there, but meh, it gets done.

wenchystrumpet Thu 22-Sep-16 09:00:39

You're not a bad mummy by the way. Or you wouldn't care.

wenchystrumpet Thu 22-Sep-16 09:01:14

Can you go back to five days?

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 22-Sep-16 09:05:08

And this is why it's annoying how people say being a SAHM is easier. Everyone I know says working a few days is so refreshing and comparatively relaxing. Obviously not if you do an 18 hour day fishing in the North Sea, but anywhere you can pop out for a coffee break and read a good novel on the commute home (not to mention going to the toilet alone) you have it easier.

YANBU. Kids are bloody hard work! But one day you'll look back and remember so many beautiful things you might have missed and be thankful. Try to enjoy it. It doesn't last long. That said, I'd love a coffee break right about now.

civilfawlty Thu 22-Sep-16 09:11:02

Just wanted to suggest a handling strategy. When this was my world, I realised part of the issue was trying to juggle work and parenting on my "days off". But then I realised if I was in a three hour meeting on a work day, no-one would be able to get hold of me. So I applied the same logic to home days, and just turned my work phone off for long stretches. Somehow just being in one place made it all much better. (Which is not to say that looking after toddlers is easy, or easier than going to work!)

No, YABU, work is lovely if you enjoy your job and you even get to have a lunch break!

Have you thought about both of you going part time? Both me and my husband went to 4 days and so shared the chores/fun days/bad days which has made it much easier. You get more time at work but the kids still get the same time in parental care. If you can arrange your days at home on a Monday or a Friday it helps I think, it's easier to switch and possibly to feel more able to properly go out of office.

Jackiebrambles Thu 22-Sep-16 09:28:44

I agree you must turn your out of office on. My kids are 1 and 3 and I don't get any down time with them on my day 'off' with them. I may be able to check email whilst the little one is napping but I can't actually work so it's actually better if I don't check my email because it just stresses me out if I do!

pictish Thu 22-Sep-16 09:29:02

Everyone is different OP ad motivated by different things. I love spending time with my kids and always have but I have friends who feel as you do about the activities, playgroups etc. It's just not their bag.

"But one day you'll look back and remember so many beautiful things you might have missed and be thankful. Try to enjoy it. It doesn't last long."

I do agree with this. You'll be so glad you took the time because before you know it, they are up and off, leaving you to it. My eldest is nearly 15 seems like like he got there in the blink of an eye.

Artandco Thu 22-Sep-16 09:32:28

You need to not to loads of chores and work then on off days, go out with the children and do something nicer

You and Dh do the chores on work days before or after work. Ie load washing machine before work on a timer, so it turns on an hour before your due home

lightsussex Thu 22-Sep-16 09:33:18

I do need to be stricter at turning my phone off and ignoring my emails...I have got better but its like I need to keep on top of things. I will probably go back to 4 days once my oldest is at school but that seems like a long way away at the moment!
I don't often get a proper lunch break but really do relish the few quiet times I do get. Even being in the car by myself can be bliss!!
I don't think that I could share the days with my husband as his work aren't the most flexible.
Yes, kids, whatever your work/home/childcare arrangements are, are just hard work!!

MrsMook Thu 22-Sep-16 09:33:50

Working part time can result in the worst of both worlds with pre-school children as there's all the baggage of work/ home/ parenting. Depending on the job, you can end up with less quiet time on the non work days which is pretty relentless. In recent years I've worked full time and part time, and being with two young children is fairly comparable with teaching teenagers (although own children win due to less paperwork)

I've just got to the stage where the older one is in school and the younger one is in nursery. That's a game changer!

I love my children dearly, but they've also made me appreciate the extent of my need for personal space.

shovetheholly Thu 22-Sep-16 09:36:19

Could you increase your hours by a day a week and employ a cleaner to take on some of the work? Then you could enjoy a lovely day with your kids on the one remaining day, doing things that enrich your life?

GingerbreadLatteToGo Thu 22-Sep-16 09:38:57

Change something, or several somethings.

First - turn the 'Out of office' on, you're being paid to work 3 days, not 5. The world will keep turning, truly. UNLESS they are equally flexible & you can arrive late, leave early, take a couple of hours to see the school assembly etc. Then fine. But it's not one way traffic.

Second - get a cleaner. Find a good one through a friend, write a list of what you want done. Outsource as much as you can afford to, but prioritise the things that YOU want done.

Third - think about WHY you do paid work three days & 'stay home' two days. S it to 'catch up on jobs'? Is it to do xyz? Is it to ENJOY the children? Is it so that they aren't in childcare 5 days? Once you have sorted out the MAIN reason, then focus on that one thing & do it well. It will probably mean quite a big change in how you structure those days.

Work on it for a few weeks, changing things as you go and if in a few months you still hate it, you need to decide whether it's actually a good thing for you/your family or not. You might need to 'suck it up' until X point in the OR you might decide that actually everyone is better off if you go to 'paid work' 5 days a week & outsource more housework & childcare.

yorkshapudding Thu 22-Sep-16 09:39:10

I think it very much depends on the nature of your job. I previously worked three days a week in a very stressful and emotionally draining role. I found it impossible to 'switch off' on my non working days. I was either fielding constant calls from work or worrying about what i'd be coming back to after my days off. When I was at work I felt that I never had enough time to get everything done and when I was at home I felt guilty for obsessing about work when I was supposed to be enjoying my time with DD. Now, I work full time (term time only) but in a less stressful role. I have less time with DD during term time, but the time I do have is more fun, more relaxed and never gets interrupted by phone calls or emails from work. We're all happier as a result.

Could you think about looking elsewhere for a role that won't encroach on your home life so much? Even if it means working more hours it may mean less stress.

mouldycheesefan Thu 22-Sep-16 09:39:58

I hear you op.
Put out of office on, you are unavailable. Check emails quickly after kids have gone to bed if you must.
Hire a cleaner. Outsource ironing and gardening.
These will make a big difference.
If you can't afford a weekly cleaner then a fort nightly one or a monthly blitz.
If you can't afford a gardener to do one day per month, a weekly lawn mow would help.
Book the kids into some kind of activity for an hour on your day off so you can have a coffee.

LivingOnTheDancefloor Thu 22-Sep-16 09:47:11

I am in a similar situation, but on my days off I don't work at all, don't check emails etc. My colleagues and clients know it and it is fine.

I really enjoy the days with my children, so much more than when I was a full time SAHM! But I have to admit I don't do household chores during those days, instead I do fun activities with them and/or things I will enjoy too like going out for lunch or coffee. When they nap, I just relax.

Hufflepuffin Thu 22-Sep-16 09:48:15

COuld you have two set times a day when you respond to emails? So either naptime (or a specific time when the children watch a specific amount of TV) while you respond to emails, and then again when your DH gets home?

foursillybeans Thu 22-Sep-16 09:49:23

Honestly it sounds like you are over scheduling your time at home. You don't have to do it all. Crafting, playgroups, parks....if you don't like it find something you do like. Don't follow the crowd in terms of parenting. Find things that you do like to do. As pp said look for beaches or forests or nature reserves and go there instead of the park. Do you like bike riding, buy a bike with seats and pack a picnic (or buy it ready made, eat in a cafe) and go cycling for the day. Fancy trampolining then find a centre and see if they do sessions. Do you like eating out? Then just take the children out and try all the local cafes week at a time. Find a favourite and go every week or every fortnight.
Don't try and have a perfect house. Just have days where you do no housework.
Wrt work I think you do need to put your out of office on. It took me a while to learn this. You aren't been paid for that time. Why work for free? Your colleagues in the office are being paid at the same time as you are working for free. Sometimes it helps to remember that. Work ocassionally will need attention outside your office hours but set boundaries using out of office settings on email, voicemail, etc.

callycat1 Thu 22-Sep-16 09:51:24

Me too, OP, I hate it, I'm sat in my dressing gown watching Jeremy Kyle and I know DS gets more out of being with his childminder then me.

Mycraneisfixed Thu 22-Sep-16 09:56:20

Yes spending a lot of time with little children is boring!grin
I have grandchildren now, one of whom (age 8) I look after while parents are at work. When mine were little I stayed home for a while, worked part-time or full-time so I've experienced all scenarios. The best times were working part-time when the kids were past primary school age.
When you're a full-time SAHM you get yourself into a routine so you're out of the house a fair bit. You'd go mad otherwise staying home all day.
When you're home with them on one or two days it's a lot harder as you're still in work mode and their day is different too from their normal routine.
Try to plan your days off so you all know what you'll be doing. No surprises and no panic thoughts of "what the hell am I going to do with them all day?".
I don't think I really enjoyed my children much when they were young, but I've enjoyed every minute with the grandchildren.

PaulDacreCuntyMcCuntFace Thu 22-Sep-16 09:59:54

I manage a team and some of my staff are PT. The golden rule - which I encourage - is to make sure they have their out of office messages on, for the days that they don't work. Their email signatures also have a brief note about their working hours at the bottom - e.g. My office hours are Mon - Weds 09:00 - 15:00 which helps people understand their availability and plan accordingly.

I have very firm views on people working out of hours (although sadly my boss is not nearly as understanding, so I struggle with it myself - however I work very hard to make sure that my staff don't end up in the same boat). An element of it comes with the job and seniority but I make it clear to my PT staff that they should not be checking emails or doing work on their 'off days' because they aren't being paid for that work! A bit of flexibility is very welcome - especially if it's busy - but doing out of hours should be the exception rather than the norm.

The problem with picking work up out of hours is that very quickly people will expect you to do so. There's a timeline to it:
At the start: Thanks so much for doing XYZ, I know it was your day off.
A short while later: Are you OK to pick this up? I know it's your day off but you are usually about, aren't you?
Not very long after that: Why didn't you respond to XYZ on Wednesday? I know it's your day off but we rely on you and you usually respond to things...

So, as a manager (who is currently starting a bit late this morning in an effort to take some time back!!) TURN YOUR OUT OF OFFICE ON!!

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