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Back to work - making it work with two kids. Please help.

(69 Posts)
BlueHat Wed 21-Nov-12 10:39:23

I'm back to work after a nine month maternity after Christmas. Please convince me that what I am trying to do is possible.

I'm a teacher and I work three days a week. I will be in work 8am-5.30pm on these days, and bring home about two hours work on those evenings. Then I'll need to put in a couple of hours at the weekend or on my days off. I know for a fact it will not be possible to get away with putting less hours in.

I have a school aged child, and the baby. They obviously require different types of childcare so they will be in two separate places. To get them to their childcare and myself to work by 8am through rush hour traffic is going to be nigh on impossible so DH is supposed to be taking one child in the morning, possibly both of them. I will have to pick them both up, and I think it unlikely that we will get back home before 6.30pm. Then I will need to do dinner/bath/bed for both of them, and then sit down to marking, etc. Then start preparing for the morning ahead - clothes, packed lunches, etc.

My thoughts on making this work are:

no TV or non-work related screen time for me on work evenings AT ALL.
no prep dinners - so beans on toast, microwave meals, etc. on work evenings.

Is there anything else I haven't thought of? Getting out the house in the mornings is a worry, I think we will have to leave the house at 7.30 or before - any thoughts on that?

Another concern is that over the course of maternity leave DH has pretty much packed up doing anything in the house during the week. He does at weekends though. I'm worried that he will find it a big shock after Christmas to start doing housework and childcare during the week again, of course he swears blind that he won't hmm. I have asked that he doesn't go out in the evenings on the days I work so that he can be there to share the whole dinner/bath/bed/making packed lunches thing, but he won't agree to that angry.

I'm also concerned that we are over estimating what it will be possible for me to achieve on my days off. I've been stunned by how much more work two children compared to one, and also by how restrictive being hemmed in by the school run is when you are at home. Also by how time consuming it is to have a child at school - remembering reading books, dress up day, sponsor forms, etc. (You would think a teacher would realise this but I didn't!)

In short, I basically think we have bitten off more than we can chew here. There will be absolutely no 'settling back in' period for me at work, I will be expected to hit the ground running and to be planning and delivering prefect lessons from day one. We can't afford for me not to work. Please tell me how I can make this work!

LauraPashley Wed 09-Jan-13 20:14:34

OP I totally feel your pain, I teach 3 days (have gone from. 5 to 4 to 3 over the course of 2 dcs) and the work is a bloody nightmare. I feel so guilty sometimes on my day off willing the baby to hurry up and nap so that I can make a start on all the tasks that are hanging over my head. Can't get dcs to sleep reliably till 8pm, then do chores etc (SHARED with dh, unevenly as he does more than me!) so it is nearly 9pm before I start work. Approx 2hrs per night, then tidy up etc...not in bed till 11:30, baby doesn't sleep well, I am knackered. I am miles behind on loads of things at work. Classroom a tip I am so fed up looking at it but can't stay past 5:30 so no good stretch of time to do displays etc.

Weekends, actually if dh were to take them eg 9-12 just one morning (he has occasionally), it makes a massive difference. But neither of us are keen to do this, plus he works shifts so works most weekends anyway!

It IS dooable but tbh I am doing a pretty shitty job at work due to lack of planning/prep time.

My main rules are:
- dh doing his share - mine does more than that!
-on my 1st day off I ditch school stuff, both day and night (I work almost every other night though)
- very organized with packed lunches, bags for school, CM etc
- I take school dinners grin
Good luck!

LittleCloudSarah Wed 09-Jan-13 16:16:57

have you considered an au pair? a spare pair of adult hands in the house to help with the laundry and help get the kids sorted out in time for school run- plus a little help at weekends once in a while if the house is a tip...

Snoopy99 Mon 10-Dec-12 13:48:09

Is there any possible way you could afford a cleaner? Even just £20 a week (ie 2 hrs) is worth its weight in gold.

tiredbutgood Mon 26-Nov-12 20:29:31

I am so glad to see that someone else has the exact issues that I am about to face, after having to return to work after my having my second child! Only i am returning the week before Christmas, so I have a lot of Christmas stuff to do on top.

I am working three day a week, Tue, Wed and Friday (as a community nurse). I have chosen a childminder this time (my 1st born went to nursery), so she can do the school run with my DS. I am worrying about how I will fit everything into my day, and that doesn't even include doing any reading or studying (which is quite important for me to keep up to date, etc). Plus, my DH does not come home until about 7:30-8:00, so i have to put both children to bed, and then do the packed lunches, childminder bags etc.

I do plan our meals already, but i find this quite hard work, or am I just making a meal of it! (excuse the pun there) lol.

Doing batch cooking is a good idea, but i do wonder when i will find the time for that.

I don't do ironing! never have done.....except for my Unifrom, and my DH does his own shirts.

But I think i could handle this better if i didn't feel a little bitter with the fact that my DH gets away with all the planning, juggling, worrying and all the other shit that comes with working part time and looking after two children. I sometimes think that women's rights and all, is biting us in the bum! Men get away with it way too easy!!!!!

Sorry, this wasn't really advice, just trying to let off a bit of steam, whilst helping you to realise that there is yet another MOTHER who has to make alot of sacrifices!

Hope that helps a tiny bit smile

SweetGrapes Sat 24-Nov-12 20:32:51

I have a nanny but for me it's cost effective as I have three dc's. It really is simpler. She gets their dinner and bath done so it's story and cuddle time when I get home.
Plus she moves the washing and dishes on - loads/hangs out washing/puts away - as appropriate. That is such a big help.
And she's not too expensive either. She is smeoone with a big career break and was looking for a job and not getting anything. Worked well for both of us as I was also going back after a big break so not really paid loads. (but in IT so hopefully on the way to 100K wink)

dreamingbohemian Fri 23-Nov-12 12:21:16

I think your DH's attitude is rotten tbh. He should definitely forego going out on the nights you work, as a general rule -- it sounds like he's refusing because of his overall resentment at your work hours. Even if he's right to be resentful, this is the situation you have now and you have to deal with it together.

I agree with Bonsoir, I think it would be much simpler to get a nanny in. Have you investigated nanny shares, for 3 days a week? (There's a section for it on Gumtree I think.) It might not cost much more than what you have now, especially if it means not having to hire a cleaner or use after school clubs and such.

naughtymummy Fri 23-Nov-12 11:57:51

But mine are now at school, so much less fun being at home than it was sad

Bonsoir Fri 23-Nov-12 11:56:59

I think you are crazy to contemplate the organisation you have set out in your OP. Get a nanny/housekeeper who will take care of your baby in your own home and run all the school-run errands for you.

naughtymummy Fri 23-Nov-12 11:53:55

See I am longing for that moment Xenia. Totally fed up of working pt.

Xenia Fri 23-Nov-12 09:51:44

Agree over the dinner point. I worked full time and whoever did the school collection always made them dinner.

When the twins were born I loved giving them their bath at night but after a few months I realised it was pretty exhausting with other children too, that the day nanny really wanted to do it and to get them all washed and ready for bed and their breastfeed was actually easier all round.

I still repeat my point much more fun to work full time so it is clear at home your role is not drudge and so you can get that head ship on £100k and employ people to do dull stuff at home and husband thinks you are Mrs Moneybags and runs around doing all he can to preserve your career rather than thinking this is Miss Pin Money so her career will always come second.

BlackholesAndRevelations Fri 23-Nov-12 06:09:17

Oo just re read your post- it's VERY early days as you haven't gone back yer! Good luck smile

BlackholesAndRevelations Fri 23-Nov-12 06:07:56

PS I agree that it'd be a good idea to get the children fed at the childminder. It means you get nice, happy chilled time after work (usually!) instead of hungry, crying, rushing around trying to get dinner chaos!

BlackholesAndRevelations Fri 23-Nov-12 06:05:11

Just a minor point... To the poster who said 70+ hours if you work in secondary: what?! Primary too!

I am full time as a teacher with two small children and it's hideous and unsustainable. Three days would be perfect for me. I'm sure as you find a routine/things settle down, you'll be fine. It's still early days. I do follow a lot of the tips above and think it'd be amazing to have two extra days a week with my children.

Nell2709 Thu 22-Nov-12 21:25:00

After much consideration and the main factor being the cost of childcare for my 2 kiddies, one at school age and one 10 months old, my other half and I decided it would be best for me to stay home and find something that fits round the kids as he is on a much higher income than me. My income would have basically paid for childcare with not much left over at all so it was pointless.
I am now doing Avon. This fits round the kids perfectly. I don't need to worry about having to take time off work for school holidays / sickness and I can still be there to drop off and pick up my eldest from school and look after my youngest during the day.
I'm building my own business and I'm recruiting representatives in my area (if anyone looking is interested please message me) so that by the time my youngest is 2ish I can send him to nursery for a day or two per week (I think it is good for him to go to build social skills etc as my eldest came on leaps and bounds when he went to nursery!) and I can concentrate on my business more!
Obviously everyone's circumstances are different, but I would say that this is absolutely something to consider. smile

BranchingOut Thu 22-Nov-12 18:59:03

I think that your DH needs to,frankly, put a sock in it when it comes to you working at home.

If he wants any of the advantages of you teaching, then he has to accept that it comes with the territory.

On the other hand, it may be worth while looking to see if other jobs are out there. Working 4 or even 5 days a week at 9 till 5 might have far less impact on your family life.

I left teaching a few years ago and never want to go back!

Mandy21 Thu 22-Nov-12 12:15:08

You need to have a conversation with your H to sort out exactly how you're going to manage it. Its not a question of your responsibility / his responsibility, you being p/t, him being f/t. I'm presuming you decided as a couple this was how you'd bring up a family and you need to organise your return to work as a family.

I have 2 at school and 1 at nursery, I work 3 days and have to work at home. I shifted my day forward if you like on the days I work, H has shiifted his back slightly - I leave the house at 6am (before anyone is up) and its down to my H to get them up / dressed and take them to school / nursery so he gets to work 9.15-9.30. Everything is lined up in the hall the night before, clothes laid out in their bedrooms. Porridge cooked the night before (I know that might be a step too far).

He then stays late at work - I collect children from after-school / nursery about 5.30pm/5.45pm, get home for 6pm. Dinner is slow cooker / meal thats been cooked at weekend & frozen then microwaved. PJs on, everyone in bed by 7pm, 10 mins reading with each child before lights out at 7.30pm. I have an hour of tidying / trying to get everything sorted for the next day, put a wash on etc, H gets back about 8.30pm, we have dinner (same as kids) then. 9-10, either do work or ironing in front of TV.

On the 2 days I'm home, I'll cook a couple of meals that I can freeze for my work days (toddler helps me or chats to me / doing colouring etc). helps with hoovering / polishing etc. Saturdays, H occupies all 3 for a couple of hours over lunchtime so I can do a bit more cleaning / work if necessary.

Its not an option to pay for help at the moment, and I agree that it defeats the purpose of being p/t if you're putting your baby into childcare. Yes, its knackering, yes, you feel like its just one routine with no time for you, but its just adjusting to it. Once you've got things sorted, it generally goes quite smoothly. But it takes recogniton from both you and your H that you both need to make sacrifices to make this work - noone is more iimportant that the other, there is no room for sexist stereotyping of household chores, you've got to split it. If you're running round like a blue ar$ed fly, then he should be too. Its about making it work as a family. Good luck!

helenovhull Thu 22-Nov-12 11:34:33

Get up as early as you can bear, you can get loads done before everyone else is up and if you go to work knowing things are reasonably well prepared for the evening you'll feel better.

Make sure you have everything for the next day ready before you start your evening work then you can just flop when you've finished.

Your DH needs to do more. Or earn more and buy in help.

Good luck! Hope you enjoy work once you're back in the swing.

BlueHat Thu 22-Nov-12 11:21:00

In that respect not repeat, ffs!

BlueHat Thu 22-Nov-12 11:20:13

Thank you, there have been some good suggestions here and I feel a bit more calm about it all...had been getting a bit worked up blush

Xenia your posts on these things are always great grin.

I don't want to be a head teacher, nor do I want to work full time at this point in my life - I don't want to be a SAHM but I do want to spend more time with my children than I would be able to if f/t. In that repeat, I am privileged to work part time.

I do agree that my husband needs to pull his weight. Bringing work home with me is a known factor in organising our childcare and home life, and it is fair to say that I wouldn't be able to walk into another job where I didn't have to that and earn the money I do. As he benefits from my income, he needs to facilitate me earning it.

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 09:59:40

LL, thanks. Sometimes this is about ceding power at home. I never seemed to have any problem thinking someone else, their father or someone looking after the children may do things differently from me, perhaps worse, perhaps better and that tolerating that difference was the price I paid for not doing that task. iti is not even sharing tasks which necessarily helps. People do tasks better if they are 100% responsible for them and the other person doesn't even have to think about those tasks.

I have by the way since learned to use the washing machine....and do bits of plumbing. He did though at that earlier stage do all the washing before disposable nappies worked and when we had 3 children under 4 all in nappies at night and had his own systems for drying them. Indeed you need to do your due diligence before marriage - has this man lived alone, does he use the washer, was his mother a drudge, does he think women only cook and men don't. Are you tidy and he not or vice versa.

I did life coach someone once and her bi ggest problem was perfectionism rather than just letting things be "good enough".

legojunkie Wed 21-Nov-12 22:30:38

2 children is not easy. angry

Llareggub Wed 21-Nov-12 21:10:00

Xenia, I think I love you.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 20:56:44

1. Get a full time job in stead and then get to be a head and out earn your other half and he will shut up and start helping.
2. I would never have tolerated a sexist man even for a day - we both worked full time. Ultimately I earned 10x what he did - we had 5 children. 2 is dead easy.
3. When we had the first ones and not much money one of us had the children all day Saturday and the other all day Sunday.
4. Sunny Jim will just have to forgo his evenings out. If he does plan to go out make him pay for and find a babysitter and you go out too to the local library to work.
5. Pathetic of him to say there is nowhere to take out a child at the weekend - there are loads of options - you can do a walk in all weathers, many museums are free, the library - thousands of options.

Sounds like he needs to go on a feminist awareness course

Also put him in charge of all cooking and all washing and you do none ever. I had a phase where my childrne's father was the only one who knew how to work the washing machine and that worked just fine.

wearymum200 Wed 21-Nov-12 20:18:24

I'm with posters who suggest buying in help rather than extra childcare; I want my days off to be child time. My cleaner is about the same cost as childcare for 1 dc for the hours she does, but I'm essentially paying to allow myself more play time with dc.
I also work 3 days per week (not teaching) and do approx 8 hours work in eve/ weekend each week. Dh commutes and is out from 0630 to approx 9pm daily and away 1 to 2 nights per week. So I do all weekday stuff.
It is possible, rigorous routines so everything flows as normal, all cooking for work days done in advance (batch cooking, slow cooker and eking out the weekend roast leftovers). My dc both have hot meals in the middle of the day and get a packed meal (which goes to work with me) in the eve, on the way home. Deffo not baths every night.
Good luck it does get easier...

PastaDee Wed 21-Nov-12 17:34:41

I can help with the mornings. I have to leave with DD by 7am and it is absolutely fine.

The trick is to get up before your DC and get dressed and ready yourself (have your shower the night before).

I'd wake the baby first putting his clothes on (laid out night before) as you change nappy and then let him feed himself a cup of milk whilst you get your older DC up and dressed.

Breakfast is served at nursery but the cup of milk helps with my guilt!

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