i work four days a week 9-5pm and although i would like to finish at say 2/3pm i dont think i could work an extra day to do this. on the od doccasion when i do finish early the time is eaten up any way because i end up doing extra housework and thinking to myself "oh i dont need to rush because i have a few extra hours" and before i know it the time has flown by and i am no further forward because of i have taken it easier. at least with working 9-5 i have the extra day to myself
When I first went back after ds1 I did 3 normal days, I now do 4 short days (9am - 2pm). I have a 15 min commute and the boys start school at 8.45am, so I do drop-offs and pick-ups. I much prefer to be able to be there with the children before and after school.
The commute makes a difference though, if I had an hour each way I would be much less keen to be going in on an additional day.
In the holidays I can flex it and do 3 longer days so that I can have 2 weekdays off with them.
In my experience (having done both) it depends on the nature of the job - admin/more routine work then 4 days probably easiest as you get to spread time with children. Employers often like it as well as you are in the office/around more physical days.
If job is quite intense/pressure then for me works much better if you can have one focus in a day e.g. job or home. Doing a stressful job then rushing out of the door straight into 4 hours of full on childcare is really tiring, and means that you don't give 100% to either, and have no time to yourself to wind down.
I wanted to work 4 or 5 short days a week instead of 3 normal days but I would have ended up having to pay for 4 or 5 full days childcare while only working the equivalent of 3 days work. In the end I couldn't afford it so will be working 3 days a week instead.
This may be less of an issue for you though if you have a child in school and one soon to start pre-school.
yup depends on job and communte 20 hours a bit less than standard hours also if you could do the school run with the 4 days hours I would tend to do that - but if not then I would go for 3 days - and also depends on what cover you have for holidays as obviosuly then 3 days would be bettter
Three longer days, definitely. Then you can completely forget about work on the other four days. I work shifts and my usual shift pattern is 4 hours a day late afternoon/evening 4 days a week. I find the days I work are completely dominated by work. DS goes to nursery at 1pm and I find by the time we're up and dressed there's not much time to do anything except maybe go to the local shops or park (don't drive, bane of my life). After traipsing back from the nursery, which is a good half an hour's walk from our house, I have about an hour before I have to leave for work. Eat a bit of lunch, check my e-mails and it's gone. Sometimes I do something different like one 12 hour shift and one 4 hour shift and I find that so much better. The 12 hours is exhausting but once it's done it's done and you're more or less free for the rest of the week.