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Part time working. Five half days a week or three full days - any thoughts please?

(50 Posts)
Jemster Thu 14-Nov-13 20:19:25

I currently work 5 days a week 8.30-1.00pm which I'm struggling a bit with. Always rushing, never finish work on time, feel like I can't do a proper job in those few hours. But I do like it so I can pick my son up from school every day and be with him & dd.

Am just wondering what it would be like to do 3 full days instead. Would it be less stressful as less rushing around and trying to split myself in two each day?

I'd appreciate views from both sides. Thanks.

irishe Thu 14-Nov-13 21:28:40

I have just gone back to work, doing 3 full days. DD is 2 years old and does find the long day at nursery very tiring which I feel guilty about. The only consolation is that she enjoys nursery, but she is shattered by the time I pick her up. I did wonder about doing 5 half days but I have a 70 mile round commute which although takes only 45 mins each way is expensive in diesel. When dd is ill, it is more likely DH will take time off as he can work from home if need be, whereas my job involves appts with clients.

sittinginthesun Thu 14-Nov-13 21:30:37

Should add, I am very productive in my half days at work. Almost a full time case load. I don't think my work suffers at all. It's best for the children. It's just me who feels knackered.

Nevercan Thu 14-Nov-13 21:31:12

I do 3 full days and get lots done on the other two, plus you have more flexibility for days out, appointments etc.

Mellowandfruitful Thu 14-Nov-13 21:32:55

Three full days. It's incredibly easy to have a half day that just fills up with faff - either at work or home - and you can't get anything more substantial done as you've only got a few hours.

Cat98 Thu 14-Nov-13 21:33:56

I do half days and I think it's better for ds though I get very little time to catch up on stuff, so weekends are busy.

trixymalixy Thu 14-Nov-13 21:34:57

3 full days without a doubt!!!

gintastic Thu 14-Nov-13 21:38:24

I do 2 full days and 2 half days. My full days are very long though (8-5.30) so I work the equivalent of 4 full days, just slightly squished around. I get a lot done on my 2 long days, and I can collect 3 days a week after school. It's tiring, I'm only 6 weeks in but it seems to be working so far!

drspouse Thu 14-Nov-13 21:39:54

Another vote for 3 full days. My colleagues can just about get their heads round me not being in some days, but would blow their tiny minds if I had to leave at lunchtime every day. I do occasionally answer emails on days I work, in the evenings, which probably confuses them, but it's usually something I couldn't finish before nursery pickup but don't want to wait till Monday.

Having said that, I may switch to short days (8.30-3 or similar) when he starts school. I'd probably still work one full day, and the others short days.

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 14-Nov-13 21:45:07

I do 3 days, though I've never tried 5 short days and my situation's a bit different as youngest DC is not yet in school, so I don't have "days off" as such but am looking after them when I'm not working.

With 3 days, I suppose the good thing is that you can really "get into" the work and not have to leave feeling like you've barely got started. But I do find - in my work at least - a downside is having to catch up from my non-working days. I always dread my emails on the day after a non-working day, and it does mean if you didn't manage to get something done the day before a "day off", when you come back in the next time, people are already yelling about it as "urgent" because you didn't respond the previous day... so it would be nice not to have that.

I am wondering about whether/how to change things once DC2 starts school, so will watch the other responses with interest!

Charmingbaker Thu 14-Nov-13 21:47:43

I do 5 half days and love it. I work 8-12 and it takes me less than 5mins to get to work. My DH has DCs til 9 then we have a nanny til 12 so I only pay 15hrs a week (I'd have to pay 19hrs if I worked 2 and a half days). My kids definitely benefit, youngest has the same routine every day and I'm around after school every day for my older one.

JugglingChaotically Thu 14-Nov-13 21:51:20

3 days - less commuting less start and stop time loss.
and fewer days constantly swapping from one to other. 2 days to enjoy 100%.
For me commute was hell so
I have cut days and increased hours per day - life transforming! grin
That said. What ever works for you!

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 14-Nov-13 21:51:20

Actually I would find it hard to do short days as well cos I have to do a lot of work with people in other timezones (on phone etc) - that would be really hard if I was always finishing early or starting late, would never overlap with them... so that sort of work issues are worth thinking about too.

Mintyy Thu 14-Nov-13 21:53:01

Absolute no-brainer, 3 full days is so much better in every way!

GinnelsandWhippets Thu 14-Nov-13 21:53:40

I do 3 full days - mon, weds, fri. It works brilliantly for me & my job. I'm never out of the office long enough for work to back up/get offloaded onto colleagues. And each day feels like something new. I love it and will continue working this pattern for as long as I can!

Jemster Fri 15-Nov-13 06:32:25

Thank you everyone for all the replies. It seems the majority favour 3 full days which is interesting as I always thought I had the best of both worlds working evey morning.
I really am struggling with it to be honest. Thers are so many meetings at work that often I think I haven't actually done any work by the time I have to go.

Dc are ds 6 & dd 18 months so just paying for childminder for dd at moment. My main concern with going to 3 full days is that our childcare costs would still remain when dd starts school as they woukd both have to go to c/m for a couple of hours 3 days a week. If I remained on half days, we would have no childcare costs once both at school.

Thing is it's starting to make me really unhappy. I am rushing to get to work every morning, not achieving as much as I'd like when there. I often don't get time to eat lunch and still end up leaving later than finish time. Rush to pick up dc and then entertain them all afternoon.
No time for shopping,cleaning,cooking, anything!

I am exhausted and starting to feel really irritable & unwell. I'm not sure how long I can carry on like this. If only there wasn't the childcare cost issue, I think I would be looking to ask work for a change.

nowahousewife Fri 15-Nov-13 06:48:35

I always worked 3 full days for the reasons many above have mentioned. I think it you would feel that you are constantly running around to stand still on 5 half days.

When the DC's were pre school it gave us 2 full days together so we would do so much more on my non working days than I imagine you could do on late afternoons.

Once they were at school, we all really benefitted from me having 2 days at home as I was able to do all the household stuff so the weekends were free for family time. I also got to see my friends for lunch, coffee etc so I felt I had a life too!

Now they are relatively self sufficient teens I work freelance but still to average 3 days per week as they still do need someone around even if it is just to come home for a good natter or sound off about how unfair life is!

Hope this helps OP.

Sidge Fri 15-Nov-13 07:02:59

Your DD is so young I would disregard the childcare costs for now (as it's a while until she's in school) and do what works for you and your family NOW.

Things may change by the time she's at school, there may be afterschool club ect which works out cheaper.

Jemster Fri 15-Nov-13 07:05:07

Thank you nowahousewife. I would love to have a whole day with my dd because as you say I hardly get any quality time with her in the afternoon as my main focus then is trying to get their tea & do ds homework.
I do worry that I'd feel bad sending them to childminder after school for 3 days. This comes from my own childhood where I use to go home every day and wouldn't have liked to go anywhere else.

nowahousewife Fri 15-Nov-13 07:05:14

OP have just read about your childcare costs, would getting an au pair once they are both at school be an option? We always had one when ours were younger and it was bloody brilliant!

They do 25 hrs light housework/childcare per week as well as 2 nights babysitting. That means she could do the school drop off and pick up, get the children a snack and do their homework with them. She would still have plenty of time to clear the breakfast things, do some ironing etc while they are at school and you're at work. Also useful if she can play with one while you are listening to the other read etc.

I know it's not everyone's thing but it really can work well for all. Our DC's generally enjoyed having a fun young person to play with and 2 of them are still in touch with us!

Jemster Fri 15-Nov-13 07:18:31

Sidge thank you that really is good advice and I think you're right. I'm so worried about planninng it all out for future but right now I'm falling apart & my family are suffering for it!

trixymalixy Fri 15-Nov-13 13:22:35

The most stressful part of our day is the getting the kids up and out in the mornings and then managing to get to work on time. Working 3 days you would have two days of not doing that, I find it much less stressful just having to get DS to school.

Also work wise, I find I take about 1:2 an hour or more to settle into work in the mornings. I think I would be much more productive in 3 full days rather than half days.

JugglingChaotically Sat 16-Nov-13 11:45:01

Childcare and ongoing challenge. I recently sorted out childcare with an eye to the future. Disaster! Totally wrecked the present. So had to take deep breath (and wallet hit) and go back to full time nanny for now.
Best to sort and enjoy the present. Things will change anyway. They do with DCs and also with work and life.
So do what works for now while DD so little and try and go with the flow when things change as they do anyway every year or so.
A bit waffley sorry. But the key is focus on now and the next year - and enjoy.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 16-Nov-13 11:47:57

Definitely the full days from a personal perspective. Easier / cheaper for childcare, commuting etc. And gives proper periods of tome to do home stuff.

Definitely half days for keeping in touch with work. Depends what you do whether that is important.

bigbuttons Sat 16-Nov-13 12:02:14

I am I single mum, kids all at school. I work in a school and last year I did 3 full days, this year I do 1 whole day and 4 half days.
I prefer doing the half day option!

Groovee Mon 18-Nov-13 19:21:23

I differ every week as to what I work. 2 full days is my favourite as I then get 2 full days at home and have a half day on a Friday as the children are off Friday afternoons.

I prefer working afternoons to Mornings. If I work an afternoon, I get up and organised, can get lots of housework done and meet people for an early lunch before being at work for 12.15pm. If I work mornings, I have a terrible habit of coming in, making lunch then waste the afternoon on my bum.

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