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To remain working part time when ds starts school?

(57 Posts)
Fortunatepiggy Mon 15-May-17 22:55:14

I work 22.5 hours a week in a fairly demanding job so actually work a lot more than the hours I am paid but I have kept 2 days off a week to spend with my ds. I do answer the odd email or phone call on these days but they are largely free for me to do what I want with him. I work mainly after ds has gone to bed if I am busy and the other 3 days in the office. Boss has indicated that he expects me to up my hours when ds starts school in sept and I think it will be a bad career move to not look like I am committed and want to work more BUT.. I work over an hours commute away and I really want to try and pick ds up from school at least a few days a week and get to know other mums. If I stay on part time hours I could do this 2 days a week but I will be on my own all day whilst he is a school which seems like a waste when we could do with extra cash and also will impact negatively on my career. Is it indulgent to have days off when kids are at school? I should add we have no family nearby and I am also worried about him being ill or inset days. The alternative is to do my 3 days over 4 but then they will want me in the office another day and to get back for 3 I would need to leave at 1 pm. Or should I just get a good childminder to pick up ds and take on more hours but miss out on the social circle and being there for him at home time . Would welcome views from mums with school children. What's it like juggling everything? I feel we've been spoilt as he's been in nursery since 11 months which is 8.30 to 6pm thanks

ThePinkOcelot Mon 15-May-17 22:59:37

Personally I found it harder to juggle things when they were at primary than nursery as it's much shorter days. I also had 2 days at home and they were spent tidying, cleaning, washing, shopping etc. I wasn't sitting on my bum. Plus there's 14 weeks school holidays to cover.

NoSquirrels Mon 15-May-17 23:00:07

Any scope for WFH?

Compressed hours 5 days in 4, childminder for those days and 1 day a week pick up & drop yourself?

As long as you can be at school sometimes- Fridays are usual, in my experience - then you won't miss out.

Frankly, that after school slot is the opposite of quality time when they're little. They're tired, there's reading, you need to sort tea, it's fractious and grumpy a lot if the time!

Could you drop off most mornings?

NoSquirrels Mon 15-May-17 23:01:00

And yes - holiday care! Big consideration- do you have a plan?

Dixiechickonhols Mon 15-May-17 23:02:14

Stay as you are it sounds like you want to. You can spend those days off together in the 13 weeks hols. When he is in school you may be able to attend assembly/stay and play/sports day if they fall on your days off.
Is there any scope for flexibility over days so if he is ill one day or a training day you can work another day instead.

ButTheBearSnoredOn Mon 15-May-17 23:05:33

Yanbu.
I work 3 days a week with 2 children at school.
I'm not going to pretend I don't get a decent amount of time to myself and enjoys exercising etc. on my days off (as well as cleaning, laundry, food shopping, errands etc.) but I find that the children need me around more after school than they did when they were younger-homework, reading, clubs, friends etc.

I personally really value being able to take the children to and from school on my 2 days off-that walk is so important for setting them up for the day imo

And there are very few decent jobs which you can work school hours.

FreeSpiritJen Mon 15-May-17 23:07:01

Yesssss. If you can afford to work 3 days a week forever, then do it do it do it. Trust me, you are needed more when your children start school!

Notcontent Mon 15-May-17 23:07:53

Keep your hours as they are. I also think that it's actually harder to juggle everything once kids start school.

My dd starts secondary school in September and even then I think working full time would be too much as I would never see her and never get anything done at home.

TotoToe Mon 15-May-17 23:10:55

Yanbu. I work 2 days a week and have 3dc at school. It's a juggling act with their after school activities / homework etc.

Crunchymum Mon 15-May-17 23:15:23

Surely when you went PT, it was written into your contract? So WTF does it have to do with anyone else? How maddening that someone has made an assumption like this.

I have someone at work who thinks I'll be back FT in September 2019 (as that is when my youngest starts reception).... fuck off already.

ButTheBearSnoredOn Mon 15-May-17 23:21:27

i don't think I'll ever work full time again as long as finances allow it!

SomewhatIdiosyncratic Mon 15-May-17 23:22:02

I've had a series of temporary contracts and worked 3 days when both of mine were in nursery which was grand. I then worked F/T for a year when DS1 was in reception. DS2 in nursery nearly 50 hours per week was fine, but DS1 found breakfast club/ school/ after school club tough going. He'd got a lot less option for downtime and sneaking off to a quiet corner than when at nursery. He noticed that I couldn't do any school events/ assemblies etc. I also found the logistics of communications and events tough to deal with remotely.

Currently a SAHM and the pace of family life is much happier for all of us. 3 days is a good balance of time to work and well worth keeping.

Xmasbaby11 Mon 15-May-17 23:24:59

I will be facing the same dilemma next year when dd2 starts reception. My decision will be to stay at 3 days a week unless finances change and we need the money.

Reasons being:

2 days to drop off and pick up to keep in touch with teacher, chat to parents, see child in classroom environment. All very valuable.

2 days to attend school meetings or events without having to negotiate work

2 days kids can come straight home after school instead of childminder

2 (short) days to get stuff done around the house or to have time to yourself. It's much quicker getting stuff done, i.e. shopping, on a weekday, as well as leaving weekends clearer for family time.

only 3 days a week to cover in the school holidays

It's just my 5yo in school at the mo, and she really loves the days I take her in.

Don't feel pressured from work if you have a clear contract of your hours. And don't increase your hours as a trial because they might not want you to change it again. I think especially if you work 3 long days, you will benefit a lot from 2 days without work or travel, and your DC will too.

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 15-May-17 23:27:49

I work 22.5 hrs a week, but I have annualised hours and work them flexibly. My DC are primary age.

What this means in practice is that I'm in the office most days 9-3 during term time, but I work less during holidays.

I do school drop off and pick ups. Although that time after school is not exactly quality time as a pp has mentioned, it means I'm around to chat about stuff, prod them gently about homework and music practise etc. I can't see me going full time until youngest is in secondary, and even then I'm not keen.

LellyMcKelly Mon 15-May-17 23:33:26

Depending on what you do is it possible to work from home one or two days a week? My job is quite full on, but I can do pick up/drop off three days a week and then work in the evening for a few hours after they've gone to bed.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 15-May-17 23:33:27

Indulgent, yes.
Bloody lovely, yes.
Better quality of life for whole family, yes.
If you can afford it, definitely stick to 3.

Februaryjones Mon 15-May-17 23:39:29

I don't think it's indulgent at all. It enables you to look after them in the school holidays, and gives you time to do housework and shopping in the day which frees up your time to spend as a family at the weekend.

DarklyDreamingDexter Tue 16-May-17 00:00:19

Don't let your boss pressurise you. It sounds like they value your work if you are already doing extra hours, so a veiled threat/suggestion of leaving if forced to do extra hours might deter the boss from pursuing this line further. (Or a direct threat if you feel comfortable issuing it.)

If they need extra hands on deck, can they get someone in to job share with you? Stick to your guns regardless and do whatever works best for you and your family.

Fortunatepiggy Tue 16-May-17 07:35:23

Thanks for the replies. Yes I signed a variation of contract so I can insist on remaining on my current hours but it doesn't look very good from career progression point of view. I am in a seniorish role and probably could get promoted to the next level in the next few years if I did more hours, was more visible in the office etc which I think my boss assumes is what I want. If I say it's not or infer it by staying part time it will not do my career progression any good but I take your point that ds will need me more at school and all the school holidays etc to cover. I also haven't yet ruled out trying for another dc. I am 40 so need to decide on this now!! so that is also a consideration I think and would prob best to try and stay part time

Thanks smile

sweetandsaltypopcorn Tue 16-May-17 07:49:08

I worked 30 hours over 4 days whilst ds was in nursery with a 45/50 min commute and it was tough going and that was just getting home doing dinner bath and bed. It was exhausting.
I have left now due to being made redundant and have no intention of working that much again.
I want to be able to greet him from the school gates when the time comes whilst he's in primary school at least.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 16-May-17 08:16:05

The career progression is a consideration, so you're right to think about it carefully. Only you know how important it is to you and if you'll miss opportunities by not taking them now.

Perhaps a compromise of staying 3 days while your ds is in reception and then increasing your hours? Would that help?

It makes a difference not having any local help. We're the same, so dc are in paid childcare, we have no help in holidays, or when they are ill, or if there is a school event neither of us can get to. These things are easier with one of us working pt. However, in the long term I may well go ft again to progress my career otherwise I'd be stuck in the same role for years.

Madwoman5 Tue 16-May-17 08:21:30

Much harder when they start school. I have a sanity day off per week and cram in all the stuff I should have done but didn't. I can speak to teachers, tutors, get appointments for dentist, hairdresser etc. Mine are teens and I progressed from three days to four then froze it at that.

hiveofactivity Tue 16-May-17 08:31:13

Do you have a partner and if so is he going to do any pick ups/chores etc? Or will his career progress unhindered?

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 16-May-17 08:40:46

I work 25 hours a week, spread over 5 days. Both my daughters are now at secondary school and the time we have together after school is really worthwhile. It only occurred to me recently that my mother did exactly the same and in retrospect I appreciate having her around to help with revision, listen to my teenage angst etc. So now I'm doing the same.

I am in a sufficiently senior position to feel like I'm using my experience well. I probably would come under pressure to work full time if I tried to get the next step up. But I'm choosing to stick with what I'm doing, until the girls have finished school. Time is slipping away so fast and I can live with the fact I probably won't make chief exec!

MerlinEmrys Tue 16-May-17 08:42:41

I'm in a similar position. An hours commute. 22.5 hours atm, DS starts school in September... and I'm actually reducing my hours when he starts to. 18.5!

This is so I can do 3 school pick ups and because of friend/family help on the other 2 days can avoid him going to after school club. I won't avoid breakfast club though. It hey ho.

It's a nightmare really as nursery has longer hours but school is short days.

I guess the difference is that although my job has a lot of responsibility I'm not seniors f don't want to be! I plan to fill the empty days with (after housework etc) writing as I'll finally have time. Can make money from that.

If you're already doing a lot from home can you make two days wfh and go full time but still manage 2 school runs?

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