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Can I ask how you arranged work/childcare with DP after first baby?

(26 Posts)
NotJust3SmallWords Tue 09-Jul-19 08:47:28

Hi everyone!
Me and my DH are hoping to start ttc our first in the near future. We're sitting down soon to work out what options we have regarding juggling work and childcare.

We both currently work FT and have commutes of 90 minutes to 2 hours each way (so we're out of the house about 7am to 7pm), although we both work from home 1 or 2 days a week.

If we're lucky enough to have a LO then this is obviously not sustainable and we're both pretty open to all options and know things will have to change. He could potentially be a SAHP, one or both of us could look at getting new jobs closer to home (which would pay less), we could try to go part-time (although I'm not sure how realistic that would be with my current job).

I'd be really grateful to hear what other people did in this respect as I want to make sure we're as informed as possible and come up with a realistic plan! It just all feels a bit overwhelming! grin

Cuppa12345 Tue 09-Jul-19 08:53:47

I work full time with a 2 hour commute to London. I went back when LO was 9 months and she goes to a childminder 3 days a week. I work flexibly so can start at 10am or finished at 3.30pm depending on whether my husband can pick up/drop off to nursery. I just need to make up the time on other days. The other two days are split, 1 by my husband and 1 a grandparent (rotates between my mum and husbands mum).

My husband works for the police so works very crazy shifts. This probably helps us a bit as he has at least 1 day off in the week when LO is not at the childminder (which is set days) . But the downside is I'm either working or with LO so feel like I have no downtime. Husband often gets a day at home when LO is at childminders.

It's not a long term solution as the grandparents can't commit and I'm pregnant with another one and two would be too hard for them to look after frequently. I need to look for work locally after I go back after second child.

RonaldMcDonald Tue 09-Jul-19 08:57:38

We worked similarly and had a nanny and au pair.
I would warn against SAHPing unless desired and 100% agreed by both partners. It is hard work and observationally expectations placed on that parent are high and can be fraught with arguments and disappointment. For many a long period out of work horribly impacts their ability to ever gain a job at the same level again and you need to carefully consider pension implications for the SAHP
Try to get roles closer to home, ask for flexibility, gain help from those you know, get a great nursery and au pair.

AugieMarch Tue 09-Jul-19 09:01:41

I work 4 days, dh works 5. We have 2 dc, aged 9 and 4. We make it work by tag teaming drop offs and pick ups. He does all drop offs for both dc on his work days (1 at school, 1 at preschool with a 10 minute drive in between the 2 drops offs). I do all picks ups. I start work early and finish at 4pm. He starts late and finishes around 630pm earliest (we both have office-based jobs). It's a juggle but the easiest way to for us to make it work.

crosser62 Tue 09-Jul-19 09:06:26

Do you have any family nearby that could help out?

I had to gently re jig my working hours and recruit mil to help out with ds1. Which worked ok albeit I survived on zero sleep for the first 3 years plus a busy, high pressured stressful job was not great.

The trouble came when school started as catering for those hours was impossible and very very difficult especially summer holidays, covering 6 weeks was a nightmare plus all the other holiday they throw in.

Child no 2 I had to give up my job completely and change to a job that had better hours. That was 23 years and top of my game down the sewer.
It’s hard, tends to fall into place but takes some doing.

QforCucumber Tue 09-Jul-19 09:08:50

Both of us work FT. Me 9-5 DH 8-4. I do nursery drop off and he picks up.
Ds is in a nursery local to home as we work in opposite directions and so the one near home made more sense for us.
He is 3 now, neither of us reduced days/hours we are both still 5 days a\ week. However our commutes are under 30 mins each.

OverthinkingThis Tue 09-Jul-19 09:09:26

DP and I both work full time but our commute is only 15-20 minutes. Our workplaces are close to one another so DC attends nursery full time near where we work. We have no family or other help locally. DP gets flexi time which helps with things like DC medical appointments etc.

As long as you can cover mortgage and essentials, my advice would be to take the hit on salaries and look for roles closer to home. The quality of life you'll gain without that commute will be immense with DC.

babysharkah Tue 09-Jul-19 09:13:06

DH is a teacher so no flexible options for him, of course the huge upside is that we have permanent holiday cover.

I went back three days a week, hour commute each way, jigged my hours around to start at 730 and get home early. Mum and mil did childcare. Then when they went to school I changed my hours so I can do all drop offs, but get home later (730). DH is usually able to pick them up from after school club which finishes at 6.

I then picked up to almost full time but I work 2 days a week at home so I can do normal pick up at 3.

shopaholic85 Tue 09-Jul-19 09:53:58

Our DD is 2.5. We both work p/t with with two days that overlap, so DD goes to a childminder those days. My DH does drop offs and pick ups, as he works closer. We are lucky that we can just about afford to both work p/t, but will increase our hours when DD starts school, so that we can start saving.

NotJust3SmallWords Tue 09-Jul-19 22:25:05

Thanks all. It's really useful to hear everyone's experiences smile

mummytooneprincess Tue 09-Jul-19 22:37:51

I work 3 days and work an extra night shift at the weekend one or twice a month. My husband is self employed and does 4 days. My daughter spends one of my working days with my husband, two days at nursery and my husband is around at the weekend to cover any extra shifts I work. We don't have any local family to help out but this works for us

CountFosco Tue 09-Jul-19 22:39:22

After DC1 DH went down to 4 days a week. I returned to work pregnant and so was FT but used annual leave to work 4 days a week, my pregnancy went over 2 holiday years so this worked. Very jammy. Second maternity leave DH went back FT then we both went 4 days a week when I returned to work and worked shifted hours so one did drop off and one did pick up. After a few years DH got a very local job and went FT again (but no commute so could do dr appointments, school sports days etc) After our youngest started school we both went to 90% and so DC are only in wrap around care one afternoon a week. Basically we kept changing and tried to keep it as even as possible between us. I wouldn't want either of us to give up our financial independence so choose local work or work where you can WFH as much as possible.

NotGenerationAlpha Tue 09-Jul-19 22:44:12

DH works locally so he does both pick ups and drop offs. We can both work from home so that adds a lot of flexibility for illness. DH can also swap weekends for work days to cover school holidays.

Ultimately to have both of you working full time, you will both need flexible jobs with little to no travel and a easy commute.

NotJust3SmallWords Thu 11-Jul-19 17:39:13

Thanks everyone. There's some useful advice here I think, which I'll bear in mind smileTo be honest it's reassuring to hear that people do manage to juggle everything (even though logically I know that everyone with children must do this!) It all just feels like such a big undertaking right now!

eurochick Thu 11-Jul-19 18:19:37

We both work full time with around an hour's commute. We are out of the house 8:30-6:30 absolute minimum. We had a full time nanny when our daughter was little and now have a nanny share with another local family as our daughter is at school.

In my view it's really important to make sure both parents are hands on from the beginning. Otherwise one, inevitably the mother, becomes the default parent and will always be the one to take time off if the child is ill, etc. Their career suffers, they become the lower earner and their and pension suffers.
One look at the relationship board shows how it goes wrong for many, many couples.

Like the poster above, I feel like I never get any downtime - I'm either working or doing childcare. It's pretty hard. It gets a bit easier as they get older.

HavelockVetinari Thu 11-Jul-19 18:29:08

To begin with we both worked 10 days over 9 so each had a day off per fortnight. Then DH went 4 days a week (I was chasing a promotion to the level that he'd got when I was pregnant so it was my 'turn') and I got promoted and carried on having a day off a fortnight. We're TTC number 2 - if we're lucky enough to have a second we'll both go to 4 days a week.

We use nursery on the other days. It generally means paying for a lot of days we don't use (DS often sees his grandparents but I don't want to breed resentment by using them for formal childcare) but luckily we're relatively high earners.

SMaCM Fri 12-Jul-19 06:35:24

You might find a nursery or childminder that works 7-7. A nanny is more expensive, but might do those hours.

Sometimes parents switch hours, so one works early and one works late and childcare is 8-6.

Some people commute with their children and put them in childcare near work, but I wouldn't recommend that if you can avoid it.

CountFosco Fri 12-Jul-19 06:42:32

The first few years are really hard but it's worth it eventually. Oh, and outsource as much work as you can. Get a cleaner, a window cleaner, a gardener, someone to do your ironing, an au pair etc etc, whatever you need for it to work. Because in the blink of an eye they have grown up.

Zone4flaneur Fri 12-Jul-19 06:48:30

DP took a bit chunk of Shared Parental Leave both times and I went back at 7 months ish. I'm the higher earner.

I do a compressed week - 5 days in 4- and DP does a 4 day week. We deliberately haven't moved from our easy commute (about 40 minutes) and we also used a workplace nursery so commuted with the kids. This worked well for us- we got to use a lovely workplace nursery, no panicking to get back in time and extra time with the children. We've only had to take a sick child home a couple of times and it's not awful! There are usually big tax advantages with salary sacrifice as well.

We have no other help at all. I often do a day from home - not the same one and I do also travel which is trickier. When they were small we'd pay extra nursery days to cover that but it doesn't work with school as after school club isn't flexible so DP usually ends up taking a day or 2 off but has a big holiday allowance and usually some flexi too.

We are public and voluntary sector so earn OK but not megabucks. For what it's worth the second child has been where the stress and juggle really kicked in.

ConstanzaAndSalieri Fri 12-Jul-19 06:55:31

After splitting maternity leave, we both work four days a week with baby in nursery three days a week. Eldest started school when I was off with #2, and now I have a third. School runs are much easier when someone is off on maternity/shared parental leave! However normally we have a mix of drop offs/swapped favours/breakfast and after school clubs. One of the benefits of us both working four days a week is that we have two out of every five days of school holiday covered. If one of us takes an annual leave day that only means finding holiday care for two days. Sometimes grandparents come to visit, more often we do a swap with another child and use holiday club.

Hardest thing for me is coordinating meals/school requirements/general life management with coming joke at 5.30-6, wanting to see my children but not to delay bedtime too much. There are many after school (but not at school) opportunities that my eldest could do if there was a stay at home parent but then there would be no money for them.

trinitybleu Fri 12-Jul-19 06:58:45

Pre school, OH worked fairly locally but I was 50 mins away so we chose a nursery close to his work and one of us dropped off about 8am and the other picked up about 6pm. I then went contracting so was all over the place, but him being so close meant he could actually do both ends if needs be. And cover emergencies like the day the carbon monoxide alarms went off and the kids had decamped to the local dentists waiting room!

Then, find a school with good wrap around. Ours (2 different schools) did 7:30 til 18:30.

TeaForDad Fri 12-Jul-19 07:03:26

DW had one year mat leave then we both went to 4 day weeks.
3 days for dcs in nursery.

It's ace

Teddyreddy Fri 12-Jul-19 07:51:41

DH had a 1 hour 45 minute commute each way when I went back after DC2. I'm more local with a 30 min commute. Our nursery is open 7.30 am to 6.30 pm (round here it's the only one that is open that long). His commute meant he could either help with the morning but get home after the kids had gone to bed (7.30 to 8 pm ish), or leave ridiculously early (5.30 am ish) and get home 6 ish to help with bedtime.

I found it very hard doing mornings / bedtime by myself after a busy stressful day at work when the DC were also overtired from nursery. If there were two of us doing such long commutes I'm not sure it would be sustainable.

Friends with two long commutes got a nanny which worked fine - loosing the nursery drop off / pick up from the day makes it more manageable and I don't think children get as overtired in a home environment. They have since moved to a childminder but that does mean one has to start early / one late as she's not available for quite such long hours.

DonnaDarko Fri 12-Jul-19 07:56:36

DP and I work full time and until recently I was doing a 1. 5 hour commute into London. Our nursery is open 7:30-18:30 but I couldn't never do pick ups and drop offs. DP used to drop me to the station then go drop DS off at nursery.

We found it really hard though cos sometimes we weren't getting in until 7! I've managed to find a job working from home full time so now I can do picks ups and drop offs if I need to (the nursery is only a short walk away). The boys are usually in by half 6 and I have more time for cooking and sorting the house before they get back so I can say our lifestyle has improved quite a bit!

I know not everyone can WFH full time (I feel so lucky) but it's definitely worth looking for a job closer to home.

Lazypuppy Sun 14-Jul-19 21:56:38

Both me and dp work ft monday to friday.

We both only have a 20min commute. Dd is at the nursery at my work so i do all drop offs. My dp does all pick ups

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