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Balancing DC and returning to work - how?!(20 Posts)
I'm trying to get my head round my options.
I'll (hopefully) be returning to work in a few months.
Pre-DC I used to be very employable, hopefully I'll find I still am!
My dilemma is this - we live in a small town where the wages are poor. There's a city about 1.5 hours away by public transport (or 45 minutes if I learned to drive and got a car), with better paid, more interesting jobs.
With me being out of work for so long, and also DP's business not doing as well as we hoped (improving, but slowly!) we have got into debt and really need some money coming into the family.
DP goes to the city up the road 3 days a week, and works from home the rest of the time. His hours are relatively flexible.
Financially, I should go get a full-time job in the city. It'd also likely be a job that's good for my career. But if I do that, I'll be out of the house something like 7:30-6:30. I'll never see the kids! DD gets up at 8pm and goes to bed at 7! DS is slightly later with an 8pm bedtime. I'm not sure I can do that to them. They're 3 and 6.
But the alternative is to get a job in my hometown that will enable me to spend more time at home. But it's likely to be an admin job I can do standing on my head and I can kiss goodbye to getting back into my career. Even if I find something I enjoy, it'll still be rubbish wages as they are in this town. So we'll be stuck in debt and skint for years to come.
DP has tried everything to improve his business and also tried job hunting, but nothing has come up. It's basically up to me to bring some more money into the family now I think.
I'm so sick of being skint! But I don't want to leave the DC.
Are there other options I haven't thought of? (Move?!)
Part-time in the city could be an option, but last time I looked I found decent part-time jobs are like hen's teeth!
But maybe I need to prioritise looking for part time. But even then, say I worked part-time 3 days a week I'd still be travelling 9 hours a week on top of my work hours. Spreading part-time over more days wouldn't make sense in the city as the commute is so long.
Can't afford to move nearer to the city btw. If we moved it would need to be somewhere new entirely.
I retrained so that I could work from home. 15 years on I'm retraining again (slightly!) because I'm sick of myself . So that's an option.
Move closer to the city/interesting jobs is another option, as you say.
If you want a 'quality' job, but PT, there's the option to take a FT post and ask for PT hrs or jobshare later, that's a bit of a gamble.
What industry are you in?
Yes as above post indicates, you could retrain in order to work from home. What kind of jobs would be available in your local area, if you worked from home?
I don't know what the answer is. I think the situation you want to avoid, being out of the house for a lot of hours, not seeing your kids in the week, is the reality for a lot of working women.
My kids are 6 and 8, I leave the house at 7.30am and am back by 7-8pm most days. We adjusted by letting the kids stay up later, they go to bed about 9pm so I get to see them for an hour or so. It's not ideal but we don't know any different, I can see how it would be really hard to suddenly start living like this when you've been around for your kids.
Move closer to where the work is might work out better for both of you. If you are that employable you could apply for a full time post and ask for say 3 or 4 days at interview. Also definitely learn to drive.
Better to move now while your DC are small, but it's a hard call.
I do same as Caravan and put kids to bed later. Kids seem to deal ok with it. Alternative would be not to see them during the week.
Thanks for the replies
I can't retrain, I retrained not long ago! I need to get back to work.
We can't afford to move any nearer to the city, prices go up steeply the nearer you get. If we're going to move it would be to a new area, but DP would have to give up his job, which is in an industry with very few openings.
I can get a decent job in marketing / digital marketing / business development, that sort of thing.
I am useless at working from home! I've found I need the separation of work and home environment to be productive. My other half works from home quite happily given the chance, but it's not for me. Also I haven't seen one decent working from home job advertised locally. But I like your thinking! Maybe there is some other option I haven't thought of?!
Caravanoflove can I ask, did you do that when your DC were little? My youngest is only 3 (well, nearly 3!)
Tangerine, yes I've done it since both were born. My husband is self employed so able to pick up a lot of the slack which helps and I make sure we always have a holiday to look forward to and quality family time at the weekend. We do some wonderful things together as a family and people often comment my children have the happiest lives out of all children they know. Not seeing them much in the week means we don't take our time together for granted. Saying that, I would love to have the chance to be at home with them but I'm the main earner so just not an option for me.
Move closer to the city or learn to drive! You really need to drive to get your career options open. Spending 90min on public transport when 45min will do is a complete time waster. I drive an hour to work, around 35 miles, one way. My career choice would be very limited if I limit myself to the local city. I leave home at 7 and back by 4. Then continue at home till DH takes them home around 5. I also work from home about once a week but it isn't set on which day. That would be doable for you seeing your DH should be able to do pick up and drop offs? Would your industry allow remote work? Then you can do a mixture of home and office based workin?
FWIW I have done that since my children were 7 months. Youngest is 4 now. They genuinely seem fine with the 9pm bedtime. I work one day from home so they do go to bed a bit earlier Friday to Sunday. The advantage of working is that I can afford to pay someone else to do all the cleaning and ironing so weekends are just for me and the children to spend quality time together.
Ps I think no way of doing this is likely to be perfect. There will always be compromises to be balanced against the benefits. If it were me, I would apply for a full time job in city and if offered then see if you can negotiate one day working from home/an earlier start or finish time one or two days. If your DH is at home 2 days during the week and you are home at weekends plus perhaps WFH one day or coming home earlier a couple of days then your DC would only need to go to bed later a couple of days a week and you would see them a good amount most days too. I know that WFH not what you want to do but if you could do it one or 2 days and still see the DC it may be ok. The trick is anyway to think about what compromises might work for you.
How about finding a local boring job but go in mentally just for 6-12 months, and use some of the extra pay to get your driving license and car? So longer term the aim is to get better job in big city, but meanwhile you get to practice juggling work and home.
If you can handle working from home for a while until you get back on your feet, look nationally for a role, not locally! Local ones tends to be dire! Charities, for example, have the occasional home based role. It is hard to get back into where you were. I am way down the ladder for the sin of wanting to work part-time... Mummy track strikes again! Do think long term though, childcare costs will reduce for you in future.
Where are national jobs generally advertised?
"Move closer to the city" I wish, but just not possible!
3 bed house in our area about £180,000.
3 bed house in the city about £280,000!
Well, do some planning. So if you earn X more, could rRaise Y more on the mortgage. Maybe worth it. All stuff we all try to grapple with, no easy answers. National sites? Well, I don't know your industry but there's the Guardian, charity jobs and job site etc for starters.
The solution is not to put £100K on our mortgage!
We'd never pass their new affordability checks, even if we wanted to.
Thanks for all the advice people, it's helped a lot, even, perhaps especially, where it's been something I don't want to do! It's helping me work out what works for us as a family.
I've been doing some job searches today. There are jobs in my hometown I could take. The pay is not as nearly as good as in the city, but that's offset a bit by not having to get a season ticket or pay extra childcare fees for commuting time.
Also the jobs advertised currently in my town are typically a bit of a step back in my career. But that's the compromise I think I'm happiest to take.
If I go rung or two back down the career ladder, but can be out of the house from 8:40 to 5:20, that works for us I think.
As the DC get older - and I learn to drive, that's got to be on the cards sometime soon! - then I can widen my options for the future.
Give it a year or two and learn to drive and see what's out there.