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If you had the choice would you work part time or full time when DCs are all at school?

(14 Posts)
AngryFeet Sat 02-Jul-11 18:46:27

I am coming up to a bit of a cross roads in my life and have been struggling for a long time with what to do when my youngest starts school. Well that happens this Sept and I still haven't decided!!

I have two DCs and I have worked part time since the first was born in 2004. I used to be a PA but after having my daughter started doing some book keeping work as it was very part time (1 day a week) and flexible so I didn't use childcare at first (worked from home). When DD was 5 and DS 3 I moved jobs (still book keeping) and did 2 days a week and my MIL looked after them for a small amount of money. The job is very well paid, close by and flexible which has been a life saver. However it is fairly mundane and I work alone in an office most of the time which means work is very lonely.

I thought for a while about doing a degree and toyed with some ideas (teaching and nursing mainly) as I would love to get out of the office based role and make a bit of a difference. But I decided that the struggle to get the degree itself would be too much as we needed my salary. I did apply for a job in London as an accountant and got down to the final 3 even though I am not qualified I just have lots of experience (6 years now) but didn't get it. The salary was very good which has boosted my confidence.

Anyway I have two choices facing me. I can:-

Stay in my current job and instead of working two full days spread the hours over 3 school days so my Mum and MIL don't have to have the kids anymore (although they are both a bit sad about this) then in school hols go back to 2 full days a get help from them. With my 2 spare days I can have one at home doing housework and the other volunteering

OR

I can go back full time. I would need to commute to London (20 mins train ride away) and the childcare means that on the salary I expect we would have an extra £500 a month.

I have never had a 'proper' career and I would kind of like to have one, plus the friends I could make at work would be great and time off from housework etc would be great (I would definitely get a cleaner and noone would be in the house much of the week which would cut down on mess). But I would see my kids less (just weekends and holiday time as they mornings and evenings would be rushed I suppose). Is that worth it for £500 a month? We don't NEED that money as DH has just had a great payrise and promotion. But part of me thinks I am a youngish mum and I want to get somewhere and have good money when they are teenagers and when they leave home so DH and I can travel etc etc.

Arrrggghhhh! Too confused! Help!

molemesseskilledIpom Sun 03-Jul-11 08:42:03

Stay in your current job, spread over three days. Dont get childcare if you dont need it. Get your teaching degree, but do that part time as well. You can make new friends at uni any spare days can be used in a school.

twinklypearls Sun 03-Jul-11 08:48:16

Part time, sadly I do not have a choice and dp does part time instead,

PotteringAlong Sun 03-Jul-11 08:56:28

I'm a bit of a long term plotter and planner and, if you don't need that £500 then I'd say go full time and save it - look at it as a university fund for your DC (if they want to go) or family holiday of a lifetime or your pension pot - it's £6000 a year to save without trying and, if they're at school, a good time to do it.

Ambi Sun 03-Jul-11 09:05:28

Def part time. You'll appreciate why after a couple of months full time. I used to be part time, 3 full days: Tu/We/Th which was fab. I realise now that it suited me best, didn't have book a holiday to go to Doctor / Dentist. House was maintained, got to spend time with DD and run all the errands.

Now it's a whirlwind from Mon-Fri, the bare minimum is done at home, I get to spend an hour and half with my DD each day until Sat when I just want to sleep.

Other Mums are prob more organised than me and like full time, I don't, I hate it and 20 holidays a year is just rubbish.

janey68 Sun 03-Jul-11 09:19:33

I would go for the full time post, because everything about you screams that you really want to get out there and make changes in your life. If you had already achieved a career, then some part time 'fitting around children' job might suffice- but you haven't, and I get the feeling you want to experience that while you're still young enough to get trained up and establish yourself.

And you are absolutely right- before long your children will be pretty independent (though very costly!) teenagers and then adults- and your work life will be all about YOU , so far better to have something you feel passionate about for the next 20/30 yrs of working, than to just plod on in a job which isn't fulfilling you.

People are sometimes very resistant to using childcare , and move heaven and earth to avoid it or use cheap relatives- but honestly, get good reliable care and you're sorted- your children will be happy and equally important, so would you.
I do know some people who are happy and fulfilled with downgrading and doing less 'stretching'part time work, but without exception they had all gone a long way in their careers 'pre children. You haven't yet, and I think you'll always yearn for that if you don't. Good luck

rainbowinthesky Sun 03-Jul-11 09:23:09

I would go for the full time position. I have always worked full time (bar one year of 3 days) and couldnt imagine not having a decent career. What about your pension, earnings and life after dc are older, what if you and your dh split up?

twinklypearls Sun 03-Jul-11 09:26:05

I used to think like that rainbow but am now of the opinion that no pension is worth time with your children if you can afford to make that choice in terms of current finances.

Sadly I can't although the current hacking away of my pension means that I am currently taking a " fuck it " approach and thinking of trying to find a part time post.

rainbowinthesky Sun 03-Jul-11 09:28:38

Really? I see my mother (who always worked full time and long hours) now in her 70s struggling on a basic state pension (never paid into one) and dont want to end up like that. WHo knows what the state pension will be in 20 years time.
I earn a lot more than dh though so of someone was to go part time it would be him.

AngryFeet Sun 03-Jul-11 17:56:50

Thanks ladies. I certainly have some serious thinking to do. My main problem really is I can't really imagine what job it is that will fulfill me. For me to get the extra £500 a month I need to be earning £34k. I can do that but it will be in an office based role like the book keeping I do now or PA work. I have to wonder whether when I got there if I would be happier than I am now. It is not my ideal career. I would love to do nursing but that is not something that can be done part time (the degree I mean) so would mean getting into debt and since we have been in debt for 10 years and have fought long and hard to get out of it is it worth getting back into it for a career I would possibly love but that doesn't pay well.

I talked to DH about it today and he said that I am so good at organising - I know it doesn't sound much of a skill but I am REALLY good at it grin that I could probably do very well in a lot of roles and maybe I should wait until DS is settled in school, keep my job and maybe do a day volunteering in my local hospital or hospice like I wanted to but keep an eye out for a job that really excites me. I think I will do this with the idea that I will be going back full time but not just to a run of the mill job that will bore me to tears in a month.

I appreciate that I am very lucky to have this opportunity to make a decision. I have already had so much time with my children that I don't think I would feel guilty going back to full time work. It's not like I would never see them!

anniemac Wed 06-Jul-11 23:47:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cat64 Wed 06-Jul-11 23:59:29

Message withdrawn

jellybeans Thu 07-Jul-11 00:07:59

I would choose part time every time. I would also avoid a long commute. I have done f/t, p/t and SAH and p/t was quite nice. I can no longer do it because of DH's hours. Luckily I enjoy SAH too. I agree with the person that said,'of the opinion that no pension is worth time with your children if you can afford to....'

Rarily Thu 21-Jul-11 20:48:27

Hi Angryfeet, - I am a nurse lecturer and we have lots of mature students coming in to do nursing, and many with children. As you probably know nurses are due to still get a bursary for their education. I don't know how old you are, but we also get some men and women who come once their children have grown up - these students are in their fifties and have lots to offer the profession and have the advantage of fewer responsibilities at home. During the course many students work long days in clinical practice (policies about this vary with institutions) - this amounts to three days a week work, working from around 7.30am to 9pm. Going into nursing (or any other degree) at the wrong time is a nightmare - studying is hard going, takes your attention. THe students with children that I"ve seen succeed without too much angst are those who are extremely organised - they fit their study into predetermined time slots, keep to them and also can carry on with the rest of their life. After qualifying the pay is fairly decent (once you add in unsocial hours) although the current NHS cuts have meant that more senior and well paid posts are at risk.

As for myself - I'm currently working part time and finishing a phd as we're required to do this now. I love nursing, but especially love teaching (I thought the idea of one of the others above (sorry can't find the post!) to do an OU degree part time (whilst working part time) was a great idea - one year's pgce isn't too hard, and you could always get out to the local schools to volunteer and this would help in the future. BUt remember, all jobs have their down sides and the grass isn't always greener - we just imagine it to be.

For myself, despite the temptation to go more full time with the extra money and I suppose career progression, overall I can't wait to be properly part time again with the opportunity to be involved with the details of my daughter's life that only part time work allows for.

Good luck with your decisions.x

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