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3 full days or 4 short days at work?

(27 Posts)
Mouseinateapot Fri 20-Sep-19 19:35:10

I'll shortly be returning to work after maternity leave and have agreed with work to reduce my hours to 21 hours, which can either be worked over 3 or 4 days. I've got a baby who will be going to nursery and a 3 year old who is at a nursery attached to a school, so does school hours and will be starting school next year.

I'm torn between working 3 full days and having a childminder collect him after school for those days, which I know he will find tiring as he is already exhausted at the end of the nursery day. Or I could work 4 shorter days, collect him myself but would have 1 less day to spend with the baby and would have to do one extra day of 2 lots of nursery drop offs and pick ups and getting to and from work which is tiring for me and takes up a fair chunk of time to do. I just can't decide which is best. I'm not sure if I'll just feel like I'm constantly in a rush to get somewhere of i do the 4 days, but will i miss not picking my older one up from school for those 3 days? Does anyone have any advice?

Cuppa12345 Fri 20-Sep-19 19:40:22

Is your commute far/costly? If so, 3 long days may be better.

I can't help otherwise as I work 5 long days and see my 15 month old at weekends. Either way sounds bliss tbh.

Mouseinateapot Fri 20-Sep-19 20:38:31

No I can get the bus so it doesn't cost that much. I know, I'm really lucky to have this choice to make, I just can't make my mind up as to which would be best for both me and the kids!

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 20-Sep-19 20:39:52

3 long days

Applesandpears23 Fri 20-Sep-19 20:41:46

Think about how easy it will be to change between one option and another. Ie if it is easiest to start with 3 days and move to 4 if you don’t like it then I would try 3 first.

Teachermaths Fri 20-Sep-19 22:29:39

3 long

moreismore Fri 20-Sep-19 22:35:23

I agree 3 log days, they’ll adjust quickly and it will be easier for you. As PP said you could potentially move to 4 short days if it doesn’t work?

KellyHall Fri 20-Sep-19 22:38:33

Definitely 3 long days.

Less commuting time spent away from dc and bigger blocks of time with dc.

Shylo Fri 20-Sep-19 22:41:25

3 long days for sure - far better to have two whole days when you don’t need to rush

Ciwirocks Fri 20-Sep-19 22:44:24

I had the same dilemma and work 4 days but both of my children are in school. It’s a lot of running round but when I worked the longer days I struggled to read with them and get homework, tea, bath and bed done at any reasonable time. They can also do after school clubs because I am there to take them and I like doing the school pick ups and hear what kind of a day they have had/ know their friends and friends parents and teachers as well. I wouldn’t change even though I would love an extra day off in the week. Any chance of working 3 days and then switching when your youngest starts school?

WYP2018 Fri 20-Sep-19 22:45:29

I’ve done both, 3 long days is better. You’ll still be around for the school run 2 days. Mine used to complain they couldn’t go to after school club when I worked short days to pick them up!

Ellieboolou33 Fri 20-Sep-19 22:59:24

3 long days, which is what I currently do, both have pros and cons but I like having 2 full days off.

jannier Sat 21-Sep-19 08:39:45

3 long days, dont forget a childminder can adapt to your child if he needs to chill he can.

moreismore Sat 21-Sep-19 09:01:39

I agree 3 log days, they’ll adjust quickly and it will be easier for you. As PP said you could potentially move to 4 short days if it doesn’t work?

CeeceeBloomingdale Sat 21-Sep-19 09:02:44

3 long leaving an extra quality day.

YobaOljazUwaque Sat 21-Sep-19 09:15:26

I would way rather do 3 long days than 4 short.

Are you doing this entirely on your own or is there a DP/DH in the picture? If so could he structure his hours on those 3 days of the week to do 3 of the 6 dropoff/pickups?

Nottalotta Sat 21-Sep-19 09:20:27

I thinkni go for 3 long, if the childcare can feed them their dinner. This makes a huge difference to me as otherwise we don't get home til 6.30pm and they are in no mood to be waiting to eat, cranky and tired. It's hard work even trying to reheat something with tired clingy children. Whereas, I get mine hone and can chill our for half an hour with them then start bedtime. Much more relaxed for every one.

Ifeellikedoing Sat 21-Sep-19 09:22:30

3 long days. If your commute is not long then they won’t be very long days anyway as you’re only doing 21 hours a week. Believe me the rush around in the mornings is just as tiring as the pick up in the evenings. Reducing this to 3 days would be a dream!

northerngirl2012 Sat 21-Sep-19 09:29:28

3 long days, it’ll be easier to cover if they’re ill at all.

ColumboOnTheCase Sat 21-Sep-19 09:32:40

I do 4 short days, mine are primary age I do drop offs and pick ups and only need paid childcare during school holidays. My work is reasonably flexible and I can switch days if I need to so that I can attend those all important assemblies etc. However I would love another day off might not feel so shattered all the time!

If I had under fives that weren’t in school I would definitely opt for 3 long days as you are already paying for childcare.

FunkySnidge Sat 21-Sep-19 09:33:07

3 long days. Your older one will get benefits from a good childminder environment and it gives you much more flexibility for the rest of the week.
What will you do in school hols?

Northernsoullover Sat 21-Sep-19 09:36:06

I worked 3 long days and it was so much easier to cover sickness. It was down to luck that they mostly got ill on my non working days.

Mouseinateapot Sat 21-Sep-19 09:52:19

Thanks for all the replies! I think 3 long days does sound the car easier one to work round until they're both at school. DH works away so we can't rely on him being around at any particular times so although he will help when he can, I need to plan as though he won't be there at all. Thanks everyone!

WombatChocolate Sat 21-Sep-19 09:54:20

Personally I’d do the 3 long days. You’ve already got the luxury of doing pick ups and drop offs at school 2 days a week when Rome comes.

In my mind 4 short days is exhausting and the gain not enough. The gain is you do pick up and drop off and the kids are at home more each day. This only matters so much once they’re at school and in my mind is less of a benefit if the alternative involves 2 days where that happens as you’re not at work anyway.

Downsides are 4 days of travelling, the rush of getting in and away for short days, possibly with no lunch break and those 4 days being break neck speed for everyone.

Personally, being in childcare for a bit longer isn’t a big negative if you’ve got some days where they are with you and all of you can be more relaxed on 2 week days. They do pick up on your stresses.

Personally I think that flogging yourself to be there for drop off and pick up 5 days a week is over rated. It is definitely great to be at the school gate sometimes if at all possible - you keep in the loop, kids like it, you get home sooner, you get to know parents, you’re part of it - but you don’t need to be there every day for that. Even once a week delivers some benefits. Being there on 2 days for both pickup and drop off is pretty good and you’d be fully focussed and relaxed, not zooming off and worried about delays or charging in frazzled.

Make the longer days work as well as you can for the kids. Get the childcare to appreciate the kind of thing they need and you’d do at home and make sure things like food are sorted there to save a job when you get home so you can have some fun time. Def don’t have childcare feeding them and then cook again when you get home. Too many people make things more difficult than they need to be.

Mouseinateapot Sat 21-Sep-19 18:26:22

Wombat, thank you for the detailed and thoughtful reply, that makes a lot of sense. I think you're right, I'd be so frazzled with all the rushing about over 4 days that I think I'd be tired or stressed when I was with them anyway. I can probably focus more on them if I separate it into 3 days at work and 2 for them.

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