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Full time working mums - effect on your kids?

(30 Posts)
Moknicker Fri 21-Dec-12 01:15:32

I have two DCs 3.5 and 2 yrs. A potential job offer has 50 hour weeks and DH also works long hours. For me part time will not be an option if this job comes through. I either have to take it full time or not at all.

We will have a nanny for the kids.

Please let me have your thoughts on what you think the impact on your children have been - short term and long term. Has it been positive? Negative. Do you regret it or was it the right thing to do for your family? Is it worse for boys (2 year old is a boy)


SageMist Fri 21-Dec-12 14:34:34

Difficult to answer really. I've worked full time from when my kids were babies. Before school, the eldest went to a child minder, the youngest to a nursery. During school years I used before and after school clubs and holiday clubs and relatives.

My children have coped least well when they didn't know what to expect, so a planned timetable suited them best, up on the wall if necessary. I found school holiday care more of a challenge than anything else, and we've had to swap holiday clubs a couple of times to find one that has suited us.

DS is now all grown up now and, as far as I can tell, is none the worse for having full time working parents. DD is 11 and absolutely loves before and after school clubs, but is not so keen on holiday clubs, so we try and keep that to a minimum.

The thing is to try and make sure that time spent together, evenings and weekend for us, contain a lot of child centred activities, to make sure they have enough parental attention.

Plenty of children have both parents that work full time, so they're unlikely to be unusual in any way.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Dec-12 14:37:08

Yes, try to ensure that you don't spend too much time outside work on chores and errands (so think about outsourcing those, as well as childcare) so that you can really enjoy your children and they get plenty of attention.

When they get older, residential summer camps can be much more fun than a nanny in the holidays.

Moknicker Fri 21-Dec-12 16:04:26

Thanks Sagemist. Reassuring to hear about your experience.
Bonsoir - were you working full time as well - how old were your kids when you started?

BackforGood Fri 21-Dec-12 16:17:01

It's always going to be difficult to answer, as there is no "control" is there - you can't peep through into another world where they are living the life they would be if you'd stayed at home.
For most people, accepting a job with that many hours, is something they'd do through economic necessity, so obviously it would make a vast difference - in a positive way. there's also the state of your own 'wellbeing'. Some people love being a SAHP, for others it would be hell on earth.
For mine, me working is all they've ever known, so they don't have a comparison, but I worked FT from when dc1 was 3 months, and then was fortunate enough to work PT after my mat leave with dc2. I just couldn't have kept the FT up, tbh. We were really short of money, but my weeks were about 60hrs of work, and with a baby and toddler I just felt I wasn't doing anything properly.
As long as pre-schoolers have a consistant carer, they will be fine, it's whether you can cope with the tiredness that is the quesstion I think. But then, it's down to what you would have to miss out on or economise on if you don't accept the job as well. Not many of us would work if the money weren't an important part of our family budget.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Dec-12 20:44:38

Moknicker - I don't work, but I have many friends around me who went straight back to work when their children were very little (I am in France) and the ones whose marriages and careers have survived (vaguely!) the pressure are the ones who prioritised their relationships with their children and partners over all else.

Shakey1500 Fri 21-Dec-12 20:54:57

I've returned to FT work, DS is 5. DH also works FT and is on shifts.

DS has coped very well, but has always thrived on routine and knowing in advance what's happening. A large whiteboard in the kitchen filled in on a Sunday by all of us lets him know what's happening the week ahead.

When DH is on "earlies" it's also a very early start for DS and I involving a 15minute walk to nursery at 06.45am. He's normally well behaved but had a complete meltdown one morning last week. And I just thought, do you know what, I don't blame you. I tend to pick my battles even more now. Fridays I finish a little earlier so that's our "treat day".

Housework (apart from ironing!) is crammed into Sat mornings to leave the rest of the weekend free.

Won't deny it's bloody hard at times but I'd rather do it than not.

Bonsoir Fri 21-Dec-12 21:05:17

Oh, Shakey, 6.45am walk to nursery sounds really tough for both of you!

housesalehelp Fri 21-Dec-12 21:17:33

I started work full time - 37 hours is in september - youngests is 2 - however have a fair amount of flexaiblity - and DH as well - kids are fine - both boys -I am tired and get very little "me" time - and agree outsource everything you can so that you can concentrate on kids when you are home

Shakey1500 Fri 21-Dec-12 21:19:05

It is Bonsoir, especially in the freezing cold! Fortunately DS has always been an early riser (dropped his naps early as a baby) so waking at 5.30 is no great shakes for him.

I put his uniform on the radiators to play the wriggle-into-warm-clothes-game (gets it on at least), then we turn into "intrepid adventurers" for the walk "battling" our way through any weather (coz that's how we roll wink ), obviously we always triumph against the weather being the superheros that we are. We see the moon and stars so we giggle that we're being "naughty" being out so early. All very upbeat. Inside however, I'm a wreck! I look like a pack horse with my work bag, his sandwich bag, book bag etc. I hope desperately that the nursery is open on time else I'll miss my lift, worry that school will ring with an emergency and I'm 40 miles away, worry he'll miss me too much, worry that he won't eat his lunch. And then I work a full day grin

Still worth it though!

BrianButterfield Fri 21-Dec-12 21:29:18

I know the pack horse feeling - I commute on the train with DS in his pushchair and as well as nappy bag/my work bag I always have at least one plastic bag of something hanging off the handles, sometimes two or three, and the other day a full homemade Nigella Yule Log on a festive plate as well. I had a mile walk in gale force winds at the other end too, which was fun. All in the dark (though more like 7.45 than 6.45). I do feel sorry for myself at those moments but it's not so bad overall, just knackering. And we enjoy our holidays (DH and I both teach) and as we both work FT have the money to go away 2-3 time a year, buy any present we want for DS, have all the food and drink we want for Christmas, and basically enjoy ourselves without (too much) worrying about money (of course everyone worries in this day and age but I feel like we're pretty well off in comparison to some people).

Moknicker Fri 21-Dec-12 22:26:40

Shakey/Brian - hats off to both of you.

I dont need to take the job for the money - its more to get back into the workforce, restart my career etc - so I suppose "selfish" reasons from a family perspective. Back - from your post, I take it you think then it isnt worth it.

I would gladly go to work (love DCs but I find it hard) if I could do so guilt free and knowing it wont come back to bite me in the future if the DCs need therapy coz of it.


BackforGood Fri 21-Dec-12 22:39:48

Well, it's very individual.
I thought I could do it all, but got to the stage where I just felt I wasn't doing anything well enough. Might just be me, but I doubt it. That said, there's no way I could have been a full time stay at home Mum. Maybe it would have been easier with the money for a cleaner and perhaps a nanny rather than having to get them to CMs, etc. Also, perhaps in doing a job where I could have been more flexible with my diary. It's so difficult to compare, as we all have such a different combination of circumstances. smile

Zhx3 Fri 21-Dec-12 23:15:40

I just returned to work full time. Prior to that I've spent the last 4 years either on maternity leave or working 4 days per week.

Returning to work FT (promotion smile) has been much tougher than I thought. When I tot it up I probably work about 50h per week. We have use a nanny/nursery/after-school club combination which isn't the cheapest, but I think is an all round good solution. Our nanny is great, we are lucky to have found her. She provides great care and is very flexible. And the nursery are great too, the younger dc love going.

The children seem to be ok... At least one of us is home by 1815 most evenings and we leave at around 8am normally. I work from home one or two days a week too, which helps. I'm sure they would like to see me more and have become clingier, it isn't that long since I was on maternity leave so I think they will take some time getting used to it.

I have to plan the week quite rigorously to feel as if things aren't running away from me. I have two sheets on the fridge, one with the weekly meal plan and one with the plan of everyone's whereabouts and daily activities (on Powerpoint blush). It's nice because dd can also get her homework in and have friends round. I tend to cook or prep most of the meals the night before, which I probably don't need to do, but I can't quite relinquish yet. Knowing how hard it can be to cook when all dc are grouchy or the toddler is having a velcro day!

At the moment it is tough but I think it will become easier as the children get older, and as I become more familiar with the job. I am sure it is the right decision in the long term - for everyone.

I have found it harder with my boys than my girl, but that might be because she is the eldest.

difficultpickle Fri 21-Dec-12 23:30:15

I've always worked full time. Ds went to a CM from 9 months, 7am to 6.30pm (some nights 7pm) so was out of the house 6.45am to 7.15-7.45pm. Easy when he was little, harder once he started school and homework appeared. He went to a school that offered wraparound care 7.30am-6.30pm and holiday clubs but I still wanted to be around to help with the homework some evenings (the school offered homework clubs).

He is now 8 and weekly boarding (chorister). He is happy, sociable, has boundless confidence and is a very loving and lovable little boy.

One thing that I always prioritised was attending nursery and school events, even if that meant using annual leave. Easy to do when he was under 5 as I would then just take unpaid parental leave for annual holidays. Harder once he turned 5 but I now do a mix of annual leave and working from home (if it is a quick event like a morning assembly).

The hardest thing I find is sometimes the lack of notice for school events. I can't drop everything to attend an event with only a few days notice. This term I missed ds's school play as I was abroad on business and I've yet to make it to a school match this academic year.

Only you know what is right for your family. Quite a few of ds's old schoolfriends' parents have been decidedly sniffy at the fact ds is now at boarding school but it is what ds wanted to do and works for us.

higgle Sat 22-Dec-12 14:52:41

I've always worked full time and when my children ( 2 sons) were little I often worked 70 hours a week with the support of a cleaner, nanny and a DH who sorks office hours. In my experience you need a nanny who you can rely on, trust and delegate to. The nanny is the expert so don't micro manage her. My sons went to a prep school and stayed late for activities so they didn't miss out on any of the things that parents usually have to take children to. The school did hotel boarding but we never actually used that.

DS1 went to Oxford and is happy and settled in independent life as a civil service fast tracker, DS2 will be off to university next year and also got good GCSE grades, seems well adjusted and liked. Don't worry, they will turn out fine - the only thing that might stop this happening is if you ago;nise too much over it.

higgle Sat 22-Dec-12 14:53:19

P.S. I hated school events and was very pleased to have an excuse not to go to them.

Yama Sat 22-Dec-12 15:12:02

I have always worked full time. We have one child in school, one in nursery. Dh does school run (before and after school care), I do nursery drop off/pick up. Both have short commutes.

Dh and I share school events, sickness and pick up each others slack if one of us has a busy week.

Both dc seem happy. This is life for them. We all leave in the morning, we all come home at night. Early nights for them as they are up so early (am).

You asked about boys. Our youngest is a boy and is also 2. If anything he has coped better that dd. He had less change to deal with in early life and is a stickler for routine. The only time he gets upset is if I pick him up before afternoon snack. smile

Yama Sat 22-Dec-12 15:12:58

Up at 6.45am that should've read.

PowderMum Sat 22-Dec-12 15:31:26

I have worked full time, never less than 45 hours per week since both my DC were 3 months old, employing a nanny on a live out basis solely to look after the DCs nit to do errands or chores up unitil the youngest went to secondary school I can honestly say neither have shown any negatives from this experience, I have managed to juggle any sickness or school events with the support of my close family and to cope with a husband that travels abroad on a regular basis. Both DCs are in the top 10% of their peer group and expected to do well in their exams and at university and have had the opportunity to travel around the world. They have tried many extra curricular activities ans stuck at those they enjoy. My career has continued at the same rate as my peers and I have never had the guilt feelings that many others experience.

orangeberries Sat 22-Dec-12 20:31:54

I think generally people who don't have family around or a close network of friends as emergency backup struggle a lot more.

Most friends I know who work full time have nannies or use nurseries but have grandparents or relatives doing emergency backup, attend some school events and even do the odd errand or extracurricular with the children.

In the absence of this is is very difficult because any small hiccup is yet another crisis, unless you have a hugely understanding employer.

scottishmummy Mon 24-Dec-12 00:21:43

we plan and it works,both work ft.unproblematic
happy kids,they know they loved,we happy to regrets at all
plan,lay out clothes night before,online shops.get used to the hmmface and precious moments crew

Mosman Tue 01-Jan-13 15:00:32

We've both worked full time since September, prior to that I worked full time and DH was very flexible.
TBH it hasn't worked out at all, even with a nanny it's quantity time not quality with little kids. The older they get the more they need you and I find that all their little "problems" come gushing out at 8am on a Monday morning.
UNless you are earning serious money, £60k plus and can pay people to take away all the drudgery of housework and have two dedicated days of child centred activities I don't know why anyone would voluntarily put themselves through it tbh.

lljkk Tue 08-Jan-13 19:58:44

2 parents working 50 hour weeks is more than full time, though, there should be a phrase for it. Super-Full time?.

My parents both worked ordinary FT (so 37-42 hour weeks). I was raised by nannies & housekeepers which was fine, but I don't know what it would be like if they both had worked 50+ hours. Maybe better? wink

theoriginalandbestrookie Tue 08-Jan-13 20:05:07

DH works f/t and I work p/t so am able to pick DS from school 3 days a week.

I just got contacted about an excellent opportunity with a really high day rate far more than I am on at the minute, but they wouldn't want anyone p/t, had to be f/t minimum of 40 hr week.

I decided that I didn't want to do it and I'm glad to say that DH backed me up. DS likes being at home, isn't one of those children who revels in organised activities. DH works pretty long hours, so if I were to work long hours too I'm not sure who the uniform/school organisation, meal planning, sticking a load in the washing machine would fall to and yes I know we could do it in the evening but I prefer to mumsnet and write my novel oh and spend a bit of time with DS.

I guess it also depends on the job. If you love what you do, or value financial independence very highly then you will find the sacrifices worthwhile or indeed you won't see them as sacrifices.

One thing I have learnt is that nothing is in stone. If you want to why not try it for 6 months and see how you get on.

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