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Struggling to work with no nursery

(88 Posts)
moomoobaabaa Sun 19-Apr-20 10:04:08

We both work FT, now both WFH, and we have one preschooler aged 2. Neither of us are key workers so we have no access to childcare. Usually our child goes to a great private nursery.

Our employers are letting us work at odd times as we can't both do 9-5. This means we are up early and working till late, with one of us 'on duty' with childcare or working. When DS goes to bed often one of us is still working and the other does the dishes or tries to do a load of laundry.

We have zero me time or family time. We are stressed. I can't see how we can continue like this longer term.

I don't believe private nurseries will be able to reopen any time soon, as little kids can't be looked after while social distancing. They need touch and cuddles, they need help feeding and toileting.

We are really struggling fitting in full time working hours for both of us. Not sure of the point of my post it's just a rant I suppose. I feel so tearful and hopeless sad

Have others in a similar situation got any advice? I'm thinking one of us needs to quit or both need to go PT, which will really hurt our income especially since we are still paying partial nursery fees.

OP’s posts: |
Eeyoresstickhouse Sun 19-Apr-20 10:08:15

Could you ask to be furloughed?

I am now on furlough, but before we were in the same situation and it was hell. It was impossible to get much work done and we were knackered from working early and late to make the hours up.

moomoobaabaa Sun 19-Apr-20 10:14:42

I'm not sure. I didn't realise you could request to be furloughed? My employer are busier than usual as a result of Coronavirus and all employees can work remotely. There is work for us to do. Would I be eligible? I just assumed I wouldn't be but perhaps I should ask them.

OP’s posts: |
ZsaZsaMc Sun 19-Apr-20 10:16:33

We are in the same situation and it’s so tough. We’re either looking after our DC (also 2) or working - we are constantly switching over and doing nothing else. The house is a complete state!

We have both done a little work this weekend to get ahead for the week - can you do that? I don’t really have a solution but I agree it’s knackering!

ZsaZsaMc Sun 19-Apr-20 10:17:24

@moomoobaabaa I think you can be furloughed for childcare reasons too - check out pregnant then screwed for advice

PaddyF0dder Sun 19-Apr-20 10:19:42

It’s tough. We’re both NHS workers, but as we’re not front-line covid staff, we didn’t get the kids into a hub school. So we’re at home with twin 2 year olds and a 5 year old.

I’m able to work full time from home. Wife isn’t. It’s a claustrophobic, stressful existence.

BriefDisaster Sun 19-Apr-20 10:21:16

My employer are letting us work whatever hours we can and still paying our normal hours so I am working slightly reduced.

This is great on the face of it but leaves the major problem that I am still fully expected to still do all of my work which is a)reactive so can't be planned and b) very busy.

I am stressed and have terrible headaches every day. Cannot keep it up much longer tbh so looking at taking leave (leaving me with none when schools go back) or going unpaid which would be ok to an extent as we are bit spending as much but I don't think it woukd go down well dropping the rest of the team in it with one person down when we are so busy.

So I feel you OP but sorry I dont know the answer.

Xenia Sun 19-Apr-20 10:21:44

1. It is possible on 11 May nursery will open with schools a bit later (see Daily Mail.... today)
2. It is not illegal for someone to come to your house to care for your child so you could look amongst the 1m universal credit claimants for someone prepared to do that if you can afford it even if they have to move in and sleep in the child's room for the duration just so you can get some work done. And yes the regulations do allow people to move - see www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/regulation/6/made

LittleLittleLittle Sun 19-Apr-20 10:25:47

@Xenia The Times have been pushing that story for a few weeks.

Gibbus Sun 19-Apr-20 10:33:40

I hear you, it's so difficult trying to work whilst also making sure that your child is not being neglected.

I'm WFH with my DS who has just turned one and I'm so resentful of DP who gets to go to work in his office all week. I'm still having to do 8-5 mon-Fri with no flexibility. It is so stressful, I'm hoping the nursery reopens after these 3 weeks and I can go back to the office. I promise not to moan about having to go into work ever again.

SquigglePigs Sun 19-Apr-20 10:44:09

We have the same problem with a 16 month old. We've both cut our hours to 4 days and then tag teaming fits a bit better. Using a few hours of leave a week to bring it down further. We also have a hard cut off of 7.30pm where we both stop and we're keeping Saturday as non-working. Need that for our sanity as like you say this is going to carry on a while. We're lucky both of our employers are being as flexible as they can.

Sunshinegirl82 Sun 19-Apr-20 12:34:17

You can request to be furloughed if you can’t work due to childcare responsibilities. I am currently on mat leave as youngest DC is 11 months but I am due back soon. We also have a 3 year old so will the have to consider this option ourselves.

workingfamilies.org.uk/articles/coronavirus-furlough/

We both have client facing roles so there is just no way we can both work and simultaneously look after a baby and a toddler. It wouldn’t be safe.

Rumblebear Sun 19-Apr-20 12:41:28

Exact same here, 3 and 1 year old. It’s horrible. So stressed. I’m considering taking leave and effectively going to a 3 day week. It’s having a massive negative impact on my mental health. WFH itself is great, both wfh full time in stressful jobs with 2 small children is a nightmare. And people pay lip service to “having to look after yourself” but work still needs to get done...

boatyroo Sun 19-Apr-20 12:52:47

I have a 3 year old and 1 year old, we are both working from home and it's really hard. My team either don't have children or have wives who don't work so I don't think they realise how hard it is. We are trying to coordinate so we don't both have meetings at the same time at least but my meeting times keep changing last minute which makes planning ahead really difficult. I have been usually just having my meetings in the day then doing other work in the evening but there's no time to relax now without feeling like I should be catching up on work.

MabelMoo23 Sun 19-Apr-20 14:33:07

I was exactly the same with a 4 and 2 year old and it’s absolute hell. I’ve been furloughed now (everyone has so I didn’t request it) and it’s such a relief and a weight off my shoulders.

You can always ask to be furloughed although they don’t have to see yes

10storeylovesong Sun 19-Apr-20 14:38:31

Honestly, it's difficult, but I think it's just something you have to get on with. DH and I are both frontline and work shifts. We have a 2 and 7 year old with no childcare. We have to work our shifts around each other which is extremely difficult,eg, next weekend he's working 7-3 during the day, then I'm working 4pm - 2am, then he's working 8am - 8pm (so I have to get up with kids after getting to bed at 3am) and then I'm working a night shift so 9pm-7am, so after approx 3-4 hours sleep ill have to go 24 hours until the next morning before going to bed. It's really difficult, but it is what it is and there's nothing we can do about it.

missionalmostimpossible Sun 19-Apr-20 16:35:53

We are both WfH full-time in high level, senior jobs, and have a DS3 and a DD2 (she also has SEN), and finding it manageable now, although it was pretty challenging at the start (mainly because I am part of the response team for my 3,000 person organisation, so spent almost all day for the first week in meetings).

What I found helped was:

1. I'm a real early bird, so am up each day by 6am, and working by 6.30am, so I'm able to get quite a bit done before anyone else in the house wakes up.

2. Creating a home rota, with one of us on 'childcare', and the other on 'work', then breaking for an hour's lunch and switching over.

3. Blocking out chunks of time in our work calendars where no meetings should take place, which our bosses have agreed is fine.

4. We've agreed to stop work by 7pm, by which time we've done as much as we're going to do that day.

5. We have separate areas in the house for work and play, so each of us can focus on what we're doing, which has meant that our rate when we're on might even be higher than when in the office!

If you've tried all the above, and still finding it difficult, you'll probably need to ask to be furloughed. Some people at my work have had to do this, as childcare issues have meant that they're not able to work.

moomoobaabaa Sun 19-Apr-20 16:48:28

@missionalmostimpossible You start at 6.30 and both finish work at 7pm, so that's only 12.5 working hours. How do you both fit in a 7 or 8 hour working day to that? Plus a lunch break each?! I just don't understand. Is one of you part time?

The problem we have is that we are both full time at 37.5 hours per week, so 7.5 hours per day each, so we need to find 15 working ours a day. Plus at busy periods our employers expect us to work extra hours as needed to get the job done.

OP’s posts: |
SaltySeaBird Sun 19-Apr-20 17:00:28

Similar but also have 7 year old I’m trying to homeschool. I did request to be furloughed but it wasn’t possible (others have). I’ve had a pay cut but still working full time as is DH. Both from home. I consider us lucky to still be working but it is hard and stressful. Our employers are great and pretty understanding when we’ve had a bad day. It’s hard though and I feel bad when I see others who are furloughed spending time with their children and doing lovely activities while we start early, finish late and feel stressed!

AnotherEmma Sun 19-Apr-20 17:07:46

A few options:
1. Get a (young, healthy) nanny to come to your home. You would have to be comfortable with the risk level (ie would nanny be working for other households or just you, who else do they live with and do they work outside the home)
2. You and your DH both reduce your working hours, by taking annual leave or unpaid leave, until nursery reopens
3. You or your DH ask to be furloughed

I have friends who have done 1. DH and I are doing 2. Personally I would be reluctant to do 3 because I would miss work and would go crazy looking after my preschooler 24/7. Some parents might be fine with it though!

Ratbagratty Sun 19-Apr-20 17:16:01

Have you tried going to either of your employers and explaining the situation. The government have said that employers need to recognise people wfh with children will need some sort/reduced hours.

@missionalmostimpossible had given you some great ideas to get a work/ life balance which you desperately need.

I'm a key worker and my oh has to have my DC. He and his employer just have to deal with it. I'm sorry but this is a shit stuation, you need to find a way to work it out for the whole family.

hopelessatthinkingupusernames Sun 19-Apr-20 17:17:15

DH has been working 7am-12pm then I’ve been working 12.30-5.30. His work have said just to do as much as possible and not to worry but I’ve had to temporarily reduce my hours (although now looking like I’ll be furloughed). Reduced pay for my reduced hours is actually okay since I’ve no nursery fees to pay or train ticket to pay for

missionalmostimpossible Sun 19-Apr-20 17:18:04

I generally do the 6.30am - 12.30pm shift, DH does 1pm-7pm, or sometimes the other way round. Whoever's doing the evening gives the children dinner at 6.30pm, then the other joins at 7pm. So if you look at it in hours, we're working 6 intensive hours each (we're contracted for 35 hours per week each which is full-time for us both), with lunch crossing 12pm-1pm.

It is doable now, the first couple of weeks were horrendous because I had to be in meetings almost from 9am-3pm, which didn't allow for DH to get his work done in normal hours, or for me to do much actual work.

Now we've agreed our rota, things are much smoother. We really have to stick to it rigidly, and support each other with a bit of flexibility. We have also said to our employers that we may not always be available immediately, but with a couple of hours notice, could jump on a call.

We are lucky in that the nature of our work is not immediate, or customer facing, and is more about deliverables (I'm in finance, DH in IT), so that may have helped us to get a bit of balance.

We have also started meal planning and have made a weekly menu, as well as batch cooking on the weekends. This means during the week we are able to throw on some rice, pasta, or potatoes to eat with pre-prepared sauce and vegetables.

missionalmostimpossible Sun 19-Apr-20 17:30:38

I forgot to mention we save all our washing until the weekend, and do all four loads in one day (each takes 2.5 hours). If I was you I wouldn't think about washing during the work day, as it's something that can wait until you're less stressed.

We also do all dishes after each meal. We don't have a dishwasher as our kitchen is an awkward shape and there wasn't one fitted when we moved in, so it's all done by hand. Due to having batch cooked on the weekend, it doesn't usually take more than 15 minutes, as there are no big pots.

pitterpatterrain Sun 19-Apr-20 17:38:30

Age 2 is hard, our DC are 3 & 6
They get tv time 8-12
Then me or DH with them, split 12-3, 3-6
Both together then until they go down to sleep.

I either work late, 9pm onwards, or wake up at 5.30 and do early (and when it’s bad do both)

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