I'm considering trying to return to work next year (after 2nd DC) working for myself, instead of returning to my previous job.
My question relates to consulting - and how those of you who already do this, manage to juggle childcare when you're not certain which days of a given month you might need it?
Previously I worked a 4 day week and my DC1 was in nursery 3 days and with my family on the 4th. So that was structured, regular and so on. Which is obvs what a private nursery requires. They can't just chop and change sessions ad hoc.
So if I was to work say 2-3 days a week on average as a consultant, on small projects rather than long term contracts, how on earth could I make that work with a 1yo DC2? (DC1 will be in school next year so less of a concern).
Have people successfully done this?! I'd be very interested to hear from you if so! Or equally if I'm dreaming and this is totally unachievable...
I paid for the childcare (along with my DH) so it was in place whether I needed it or not. As I was looking to replace a salary, I needed all those days to make my money. Billable work only takes up some of your time, there is lots of admin & also biz dev to keep the pipeline. I read a book when I started 5 years ago which suggested work out your fee to clients by assuming you'll work for 1/3 of your available hours with the rest spent on the aforementioned plus a bit of holiday etc.
Also, I found the prospect of having to rustle up childcare to attend a meeting or do a project an added stress I wanted to avoid.
It does mean I have to earn £0000s a month to cover my % of the joint household costs, but it is worth it in order to know that I can work.
When I first started I had a series of pt contracts/jobs that I did alongside projects, which helped with guaranteed money towards the costs. You could consider that.
There are ppl on this board that work school hours, if you do that and can find a childminder that is willing to do that for the baby (perhaps someone who has a child at your DC1's school, you drop DC1 and handover the baby, you then collect from them at the school at pick up, I was half thinking about that on a particular day) you might pay less than a nursery. Obviously you then have limited hours which can be difficult for meetings/networking meetings but might give you the flex/hours you are looking for.
A childminder might have more flexibility. I am in London and the nurseries near me are 'in' or 'out' - no flex!
Thanks MrsMargo it does help. You've made me realise that I could try putting baby in nursery as if I were going back to my 4 day week. But as you say, I will need to earn plenty to cover it. At least if that doesn't work out it is a lot easier to cancel a nursery place than it is to find one!