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Is it harder to work full time when your child is a todder, 5-9 yr old or a tweenager/teenager?

(9 Posts)
wheelsonthebus Fri 04-Jul-08 15:42:12

I have always thought is hardest when your child is v.young, but am I wrong about this?

squilly Sat 05-Jul-08 15:34:57

I think that it's harder to work full time when your child is 5-9. This is because prescohol, toddler age, my dd was in a private nursery. If I wanted to work late, I just rang them up and asked them to keep her a bit longer. I booked in extra days as needed and didn't worry about childcare for a heart beat.

Fast forward to school age. Suddenly I realise I have school holidays to cover; inset days; what happens when your kids are poorly? What if you run late in that meeting? Or you get delayed in traffic coming back through the city? Nightmare!!!!

Everyone thought I was nuts to give up work when dd was starting school, rather than rushing to up my hours, but being a SAHM now, when dd is 7? Best thing I ever did. And I know it's not possible for everyone (and wouldn't suit everyone) but for me? It made life SOOO easy. And I try to help working mums when I can (offering to help at short-notice inset days) cos I know what it's like to work and be mum.

After the age of 9/10 kids are old enough to take themselves to school (if you're close) though I think High School is probably where I'll start rethinking my work situation...maybe...then again....

WilfSell Sat 05-Jul-08 15:46:33

All my kids have gaps between them so I'm going to end up with each anyway!

But I'd say nursery is more flexible. When they're at school, if you work the things you can do are: hope your school has wrap around care, do what squilly suggests and negotiate flexibility at work for sports days etc, find a good summer playscheme or sports camp etc (all costs money though!) and best of all, make friends with the parents of your kids friends and then share kids on inset days, school holidays, after school. If you can't leave early some days, offer to trade with them so they do some after school days, but you pick up more full days in their holidays. Older kids are inevitably much easier to manage when they've got a friend to entertain them anyway.

If all else fails, take the older ones into work if you have to and you can! Park them in the corner with a stack of books and stuff...

Salla Sun 06-Jul-08 19:31:01

Hi Squilly! I'm glad to read your comment, because I feel pretty rubbish about being a SAHM, my kids are 6 and 9. Like you said, it's so much easier not to work because you can attend sport days, plays etc. and also take friends after school to play. But my confidence is rock bottom though and I'm not feeling peaceful, I'm always wondering what if I was working, what if I was living somewhere else or being another person altogether...

deanychip Sun 06-Jul-08 19:36:47

i work pt and mine is nearly 5.
pre school was hard on the heart strings as i felt terrible guilt about other people looking after my child.
now school hours mean allot of compromise and working and juggling around working hours.
i think that all ages present thier own difficulties and hurdles.

salla, you sound terribly depressed. do you think that you are?

squilly Sun 06-Jul-08 19:55:15

Hi Salla

Do you live in Sheffield? If so, come to my house for a coffee and I'll spend hours telling you why what you're doing is great. And I'll tell you all the skills you're gathering for when you do go back to work (if you decide to go back).

And do you know how jealous lots of people will be about the fact that you can stay at home and look after your kids? That you can do the playdates? That you don't have to work??

If it's really making you unhappy being at home, you need to figure out why. Do you want more to do? Do you want to train or tax your brain in some way?

I must confess I'm not a 100% go ahead type. I don't have much sticking power for anything these days (probably from being at home so much) and so I don't fancy training. But I did do a volunteer reading course and now I help kids at my daughters school who are struggling with their reading. It's really good fun and I feel like I'm doing something useful. Have you considered something like that?

I'm comfy in my own skin right now, which is kind of handy as SAHMs do sometimes get a bit of stick BUT don't let the negative press pull you down. You're doing a very valuable job right now.

If it's not enough for you, you need to find something else...not necessarily work, but how about retraning? volunteering?

CAT me if you want to talk further. It sounds like you could do with an ear??

wheelsonthebus Tue 08-Jul-08 17:29:22

i'm really grateful to read the posts on this thread; it's very insightful to be able to think about work and the problems that might ensue once dd reaches school. I was in full time work til recently (job cuts) and now I am considering what life will be like outside the workplace and can see from what has been said that there are many positives; when i was working full time and the nursery used to mention ballet shows or sports day, my stomach used to churn immediately wondering 'can i get the time off'. Mind you, now it churns worrying about money. But thanks. V interesting.

Sexonlegs Fri 11-Jul-08 21:22:47

What an interesting thread.

My dd1 started school last September and prior to this was in a private nursery/preschool. It was so easy; no holidays to cover for one. I am now half thinking that when dd2 is school age I may just give up work, as the thought of organising hol cover for 2 of them is a pain. Plus, I find there is so much admin/homework for school I could do with time to concentrate on that!

Salla, you do sound down. Can you do some studying/volunteering to give yourself another angle?

Xof Fri 11-Jul-08 21:31:17

I don't know about the teenager bit but have worked full time when mine were babies then stopped and now do it again when they are at primary school

it's far harder now. Far harder. I had full nursery care beforehand. I now have school + a nanny and the nanny is wonderful and brilliant but it's still difficult and this term, for example, if I had to go to every event my kids did (sports days, music concerts, assemblies), I worked out I'd have had to take 7 days leave. You can't win really.

But I think there is something about the way your children need you when they are at school. It's the emotional support I think. Not every day. But knowing you are there. Mine aren't great chatters but about once every couple of weeks they'll mention something that happened at school and I'll know they'll want my input or reassurance and I don't like the thought that I might be missing out on that. But I guess that's life and there are a lot of positives too.

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