Back to work 3 days or 4 - help me decided please!(11 Posts)
I am currently working out my return to work after my mat leave for DC2. I am in the lucky position that my work will allow me to return either 3 days or 4 and we could just about afford me to go 3 days.
I was in a manager position at work pre DC2 - the management side of the job is the bit I really enjoy. The non manager work is OK an work is nice enough but my strength is definitely on the managerial side. If I go back 3 days a week I couldn't continue to be a manager so work would become much more a 'job' rather than a career iyswim.
I'm really struggling though with the thought of being at work more of the week than I am with my DC. I would be able to wfh one day on the 4 day a week job so would see them a bit more then, plus due to my DP's job I have them on my own most of the weekend. We have a lovely nanny. I should also add that I am just not cut out to be a SAHM although I wish more than anything I could be. I have to be honest and know that I'm not particularly good at being a mum
It's strange because I didn't struggle with this at all with DC1 - although I went back when he was 14 months and DC2 will only be 10 months. Plus had PND with DC1 and not nearly so bad this time.
I know I am very lucky to even have this choice but I really am struggling to decide which option to go for. I am finding myself feeling so guilty and upset that I can't think clearly. Any advice would be much appreciated!
Why can't you be a manager on a 3 day week? I'd be a a bit worried that work are demoting you!
I work 4 days and it is good.
If it's the managerial aspects you enjoy, I'd consider going for the 4 days option particularly as you can work from home on one of these days.
I work 3 days per week and sometimes I do get quite bored. We end up doing the same most days and, like you, I feel I'm not really cut out to be a SAHM so more time at home can sometimes be a struggle.
I get the chance to do overtime on some weeks so I enjoy my days off more because of that. I worry about housework piling up but do manage to get most of it done when I'm off.
I would say 4 days, based purely on my experience!
Thank you everyone that's really helpful. That was the way I was going in my thinking I just need to get over the guilt now!
Greeneggs - I can see why work think being a manager three days a week would be difficult (unless I could job share). The manager role involves quite an active involvement in the technical aspects of my team's work and they often need to talk things through, have work reviewed to right deadlines. I'm not sure I could do a good enough job three days a week - I wouldn't like the team to feel unsupported for two days of the week or the other managers to have to cover for me.
Could you do 4 shorter days - then you are there for your team and can do the role that suits you but either start later or finish earlier and thus see more of the children?
I only have one child and am self employed but I found on three days I was always stressed and behind and found it hard to leave on time. Now I work four days I find I can actually do my job in the hours and leave on time and not think about it when I'm not there.
Four days is right for me.
I'm guessing your children are not school age if you have a nanny?
I think there is definitely a big difference in doing 3 or 4 days. Depending on what industry you are in, 3 days a week will impact on your career - you are seen as a part timer and will be treated accordingly. Having said that, you may actually work more outside of your working week because you are away for longer and some things can't simply be left for 2 days without a response, whereas things can tick over if you're only out of the office for 1 day.
IME, a 4 day week is very similar to a 5 day week, except for the money. No doubt your role will not be decreased, they'll just manage with you working 4 days. That means in lots of cases you're doing a 5 day week in 4 days, but only being paid for 4 days.
From a home life point of view, I loved doing 3 days despite the knock on effect to my career. I am now on 4 days because the children are at school and it is hard. The guilt of them having to go to after school clubs (although we have an after school nanny 2 nights a week) and potentially having to say no they can't do rainbows / beavers / local netball club etc simply because we can't get them there (they're at the after school club till 6 say, rainbows starts at 5 for example) is difficult. It also is a bit manic with all the reading / homework / just to-ing and fro-ing that goes with school. I would bear that in mind when making your decision - the nursery / nanny bit is quite easy
those were the days compared to juggling it all on a 4 day week with school aged children.
Thanks so much for all your views - it really helps in thinking things through!
I saw my boss yesterday and we had a good chat - I think I am going to try going back 4 days, with one day at home and he has said he is fine for me to leave at 5 on the dot and get in late if I wanted to ( he takes his kids to school in the morning). I have lots of holiday so will use that up taking one morning a week as holiday for a couple of months ( the morning I wfh so there shouldn't be much disruption). Will then reassess in 6 months.
Part of the decider was that thinking about it I have much more control of my hours and work etc than as a manager, so think perversely it might be easier to make things work. We shall see!
Mandy - thanks for your input I've always thought things might get harder at school age! I'm hoping by then I might be in a position to move to three days!
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