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How do you juggle childcare and working from home if your partner works, too?

(148 Posts)
SoCloseToLosingIt Mon 27-Apr-20 15:13:41

If you have small children and both parents need to work from home, how do you do it?

We are taking turns: in the morning one looks after the kids while the other works, and viceversa in the afternoon. After putting the kids to bed, we both always have work to catch up on.

Surely we are not the only ones in this situation - how are other people managing it?

It is destroying us, but we can see no alternatives.

Taking days off would be worse because we would have more work to catch up on afterwards.

Part-time is not an option. It is not offered explicitly and, judging from the experience of colleagues who did it in the past, you risk getting 50% of the pay for 80% of the work.

We can't resign. We need the jobs. If we were sure everything will go back to normal in 3 months, we could even consider some kind of unpaid leave for a short period of time, but, with so much uncertainty, it seems wiser and more prudent to hold on to the jobs we have.

We have a nanny, that we continue to pay, but she is not coming - we feel making her come would be against government guidelines and common sense, because it would mean sharing the lockdown with her and her family, and I am not sure we can trust her entire family is behaving sensibly.

I don't know how much longer we can go on, to be honest. One more month like this might be manageable, but any longer would be a huge challenge. I strongly hope a softer lockdown will come, where maybe offices remain closed but at least the nanny can come (she can drive to ours).

Of course in a crisis like this everything must be put into context: we do appreciate how incredibly lucky we are that we continue receiving our salaries, and for office jobs which can be done from home - we are not risking our lives with no PPE or anything like that. But I was curious to hear from other people in similar situations.

OP’s posts: |
Barbie222 Mon 27-Apr-20 15:21:47

Really sorry to hear this. Would the nanny consider joining your household?

SoCloseToLosingIt Mon 27-Apr-20 15:26:51

We had thought of that but unfortunately that's not realistic, for a number of reasons I'd rather not get into.

OP’s posts: |
NotGenerationAlpha Mon 27-Apr-20 15:27:29

How little are your children? Mine are 9 and 5 and honestly I don't know how anyone with a child younger than 4 or 5 can juggle effectively WFH and childcare. I felt incredibly lucky that my 5yo can be occupied with a screen, and also the 9yo took care of her when they aren't fighting.

Heads off to anyone who can manage a toddler at home alongside work.

Mybrowneyedgal Mon 27-Apr-20 15:28:19

You are not alone OP. Currently doing the same. Similar to you we split the days, then both work in evenings and weekends. Try to make sure we have one day off work free but this isn't always happening. And I eat my meals while working to free up non work time to exercise.
Its really shit and I don't know how long I will manage for. A nanny is not an option for us.
If you are a key worker you could look into local childminders.
I've probably not been helpful but you're not alone

NotGenerationAlpha Mon 27-Apr-20 15:28:21

I mean hats off not heads off blush

Hedgehog26 Mon 27-Apr-20 15:29:36

I’ll be returning from mat leave to wfh soon so any tips would be great

Yurona Mon 27-Apr-20 15:30:35

We work in 1-2 hours “shifts” taking turns. Start at 6 in the morning, finish around 10 in the evening. Do emails while looking after kids. Both absolutely exhausted

fishfingersandtrashtv Mon 27-Apr-20 15:33:18

I don't.
I have a toddler and a pre-schooler.
I am underperforming every day....waiting for it to be raised as a performance issue.
My husband is facing furlough or unpaid leave. He is tired of working through the night.
We have given up.
In my team, I am the only one. Everyone else has stay at home partner or live with parents who do childcare.
I have anxiety attacks every day about this.

Wnikat Mon 27-Apr-20 15:34:21

I am getting to the point where I am going to have to hire a nanny. I don't really know if it's allowed but I'm self employed and losing work that I need to pay my bills. I have a 4 and a 2 year old and my husband and I both work full time and it's just not working. I don't know about the rules but surely we're all going to have to get used to some risk of getting the virus if we want to keep our livelihoods?

EasterIssland Mon 27-Apr-20 15:37:34

630-230 I work. After that TIL bed time I take care of my son (2yo)
Husband until 1 he takes care of son. The. On my break I take him out for a walk and he falls asleep. So we both work during that time and he carries on until 8-9-10pm some nights
Not ideal but it’s the only thing we can do not to fall behind our job commitments and childcare

CuckooCuckooClock Mon 27-Apr-20 15:49:07

We’re really struggling. Dc are 6 and 9 so need entertaining but not close supervision all the time.
I’m trying to squeeze in emails while watching them and doing the rest in the evening and weekend. Dh is pretty much 9-5 at his desk.
I’m so tired I could cry. Just having a cuppa while the dc play but the 9yo just accidentally kneed the 6yo in the teeth so maybe they do need more close supervision.

Nitw1t Mon 27-Apr-20 15:55:30

DC 4 and 6. I start work about 6am, DP starts work about 11 am after which they are pretty much parked in front of a screen until 3/4ish when I can clock off. We take breaks when we need to, both our employers are very understanding. We've both WFH most of the time for the last year at least, so one good thing is that we're quite used to it and have separate workspace etc.

We are being attentive and educational at the weekend.

Meredithgrey1 Mon 27-Apr-20 15:58:27

When they announced the schools/nurseries would close, DH, DD and I moved in with PIL. All four of us are working from home and tag-teaming looking after DD who is 10 months. We couldn't do it with just the two of us and working full time.

pfrench Mon 27-Apr-20 15:58:28

Loads of people doing what you're doing I think. My partner works mornings (gets up at 6 to do that) until 12.30, I work 1 - 6. I'm a teacher, so at the moment when I'm not in school my hours are more flexible, so sometimes he has meetings in the afternoons etc, but his team have all negotiated with partners that they work mornings.

We have both had to work some evenings. I always work evenings, that's normal!

pfrench Mon 27-Apr-20 15:59:30

Oh, and child can watch TV/play on a tablet, as much as she likes after 4.30. So we can both work after that until dinner time too.

Inconnu Mon 27-Apr-20 16:01:54

In your exact situation I think that most people are continuing to use their nanny.

shittingthreeeyedraven Mon 27-Apr-20 16:02:40

Bloody nightmare! DH and I are teachers so can’t do ‘shifts’ to take it in turns. We’re basically playing pass the baby and dc is spending a lot of time on our laps in our lessons. They are 1 so can’t entertain themselves for more than a few mins. It’s seriously hard but what else can we do?

SpudsAreLife84 Mon 27-Apr-20 16:02:55

Nannies are still able to work OP.

pfrench Mon 27-Apr-20 16:02:57

And, he's having to take leave on the days I'm in school because we didn't get a place for child as a key worker's child at her school. Not sure how they were able to tell us there were no places, but still. If this goes on until September, partner will have used all his leave just on covering me working, which is a bit unfair. Less unfair than losing an income, but still unfair.

Peonyonpoint Mon 27-Apr-20 16:03:01

Similar to @Nitw1t but I can’t work during the day barely and am too tired at night so am working both weekend days from about 12/1 to about 10.

Massive project finishes in less than three weeks so just keeping eyes on that. DH works for old fashioned multinational in another country and they assume it is fine for him to work 10-7 every day at least and me to work around that. confused

nuitdesetoiles Mon 27-Apr-20 16:08:14

DC 13 and 10 so direct sv not completely necessary but nagging, cajoling, lesson planning, checking and general mithering is. Both retreat to a screen if you don't keep on top of it. DS 10 getting bored, apathetic and grouchy, no decent quality of education here.

We're both key workers although not frontline so wfh. We both have relentless meetings via Microsoft teams, never any time to work on the actions from the meetings or paperwork so will no doubt be pulled for that soon to add to the stress.

Have friends where only one parent works and or is furlough so can devote to their dc and sorry to say I know we're all stressed at mo but when you both do it's impossible. End of.

fuggyfush Mon 27-Apr-20 16:08:59

DH and I do 2 hours of formal teaching a day each, plus extra couple of hours supervising the various zoom music lessons etc. Usually one covers am and one does pm. Children are free from 4pm.

Ages 6 and 10. Even last year, with a 5 year old, this would have been far far harder.

DH is working from early morning until midnight, from home. I am working pt and catching up during day/evening. We are knackered. Thankfully both employers are being supportive and flexible. We've both done video cons with small children on our lap.

Breadandroses1 Mon 27-Apr-20 16:10:42

It's really shit. We have a 6yo and 3yo.

We're doing-

Me 7am to 9am
DP works 9-1
I work 1-6

DC 1 is doing hardly any school work, we are knackered and grumpy all the time and I can't get any serious work done because one of them is always getting distracted and coming to find me. They're also watching shitloads of Disney+.

Work are headline understanding but we are both also technically key workers (Whitehall) working on CV related issues so there's massive social pressure to keep turning work out (for me especially). While also having massive social pressure to keep the kids out of childcare and school.

I'm having a crap day today. Not sure how much longer we can keep it up tbh.

Longjo Mon 27-Apr-20 16:22:57

Lone parent here with young DD. Working usual full time hours of 9am-5pm with many meetings and homeschooling. It's non stop and a constant juggle. I feel like I am 'on' constantly and am trying to go to bed much earlier. I find going out every day for fresh air with DD helps but today I woke up already exhausted. If there are 2 of you can you stagger shifts?

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