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Wanting to work but childcare problems

(10 Posts)
lukeymom Thu 21-Jul-16 23:16:14

I am a single parent of two boys 7 & 4. I had my kids later in life,so I get tired more easily.I find by late mornings I am so tired I just need to nap but half the time don't get a chance,I end up having to see to my mom as well as she needs help with stuff that my dad can't do for her.
Before I had my kids I working full time cleaning ,whether it be offices,libraries for the council or domestic cleaning apartments in the city centre. Oh and I had two jobs cleaning doctors surgeries next door to each other. When I was having my first child I gave up the council job and city centre jobs. After having my first child I went back to work just doing the doctors surgeries.They were nice people to work for but I hadn't planned to continue this line of work in the future.I had other ideas. I had extra financial help through income support. I was also living with my parents who looked after my baby while I was at work.
I had my second child after seeing my ex a few times .After going on maternity leave,I decided not to return to my jobs.
The past year I've thought of what job I really want to do I would consider a Caring job,a nursery assistant, a delivery driver,a postal worker,even a Book keeper. I done an Open University course which was free,basically an introduction to it. It was informative,quite difficult but I managed to get throughout the tests and got a certificate of completion.I had planned to enrol in the complete course in order to get a recognised qualification. I do like numbers and am good at Maths. I ideally would love to work for myself and earn good money.That's what I need now for me and my kids. Not just living day by day scraping by. I could work from home that way while they're at school. I'm seriously thinking more about it . Failing that I will need to pull my finger out and do another job what I've listed. I have been looking for these type of jobs and have applied to at least 6 including my CV but so far no success.
The Jobcentre have told me I have to have an interview with them every three months now my youngest is 4.As far as I know my benefits will be stopped when my child turns 5. We live in a flat ,have done almost 3 years and feel I need to earn enough to cover rent,bills,food as well as clothes and everything else. Also what about childcare? My parents are too old now to cope with my kids who can be a handful (I'm thinking during school holidays). Also private childcare is costly. I saw a place near me asking for £30 a day.I know I'd get help with tax credits to pay part of it but it depends on how much I earn really. If I got a low paid job ,working 16 hours then surely it's not going to pay me to get childcare. I'd feel I'd be working for nothing. Also what happens if my kids get sick and need time off school? Or I get a call to pick one of them up. All this is a worry to me. I don't want a job that tires me out either .I also what if an employer refuses to employ me on a flexible basis. These are things I need to think about. It's mainly the childcare issue,the cost and who will have me kids if I get a call from the school. I feel my kids are still young,they need me there for them.My youngest is starting school soon and has speech problems I'm having to help him with,with instructions from a speech therapist. The homework they do especially in Reception is quite tough and challenging for a 4 year old so that's another pressure I need to be there for. At my time of life I don't need too much stress.
I have been earning a few pounds the past months on commission selling make up and skin care from home,but unfortunately isn't enough. I also cleaned a ladies house for a bit of pocket money,the past 2 years .She had increasingly ill health and I helped with other chores as I went about things. She really appreciated my help. Sadly last week she tested to say my help Isn' t needed now as she is moving away to be by family as she hasn't long to live.As you can imagine I was quite shocked. So that come as a bolt out the blue. I just need guidance here on how it will work out for me when I finally get a job. I'd ideally like a home working job,being self employed. Thanks in advance.

IceMaiden73 Sat 23-Jul-16 08:45:37

Well done on doing the bookkeeping course, however, that is just the start of things. Sitting an exam and the reality of bookkeeping are very different, you need to get a job somewhere to gain some practical experience before you go self employed. Day to day you will come across many things that you will not have been taught. You also need to get used to using different software.

Sounds like a really tricky situation, I hope you sort something out

SitsOnFence Sat 23-Jul-16 08:57:23

I'm really sorry, I don't have any practical advice. I just wanted to say that you seem really nice and that I hope it all works out for you. I manage to work flexibly from home, but it's in a career that was already established pre-children and, even then, I've taken a few steps down the ladder in order to get the flexibility I wanted. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it's easier to do something you already know. I know you don't want to continue cleaning, but can you think of any way of using the skills and contacts you already have in a different way? Not always possible, I know.

Have you talked to your GP about the tiredness? Could just be 'regular' tiredness, but could also be something like anemia, depression, etc, which could be treated.

insancerre Sat 23-Jul-16 09:17:06

Have you thought about applying for term time jobs in schools or preschools / nurseries?
I employ a term time cleaner and a term time admin in my nursery
We also have other roles such as nursery assistant and lunchtime cover
Our nurseries also have holiday clubs and staff get 25% discount on fees

My friend's husband is a head teacher and he is planning on employing a housekeeper to keep the school clean and tidy during byte school day. This is in addition to the corners and caretaker

Have you had someone to look over your CV?
They might be able to help with the layout,grammar spelling etc as a lot of CVS end up in the bin because of silly mistakes

Also, its not normal to need a nap in the morning. I'm 49 and work 50+ hours a week. I'm normally asleep by 9 at night but can stay awake in the morning. Get yourself checked out by your gp

memyselfandaye Sat 23-Jul-16 09:27:29

Did you like your cleaning jobs? I know you want to do something else, but could you not start your own cleaning business?

There always seems to be threads on here wanting to know how to find good reliable cleaners and you could choose your own hours.

It would'nt cost much to start up, you could get some leaflets and cards printed and advertise on facebook and the local paper, add an ironing service at £5 a bag.

Would it be worth giving it a go?

ouchmyfanjo Wed 27-Jul-16 07:20:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 27-Jul-16 14:47:38

I agree with the others that level of tiredness is not normal. I have suffered from that kind of tiredness twice both were chronic health conditions now I have the right treatment I don't feel so tired.

Emergencyigloo Sat 30-Jul-16 13:28:36

I was until a few months ago a lone parent, with two age 7 and 9.
I'm 48 this Autumn.

I went back to work when my youngest was 6.

I had no childcare help from their bio father or my extended family, or friends. I relied totally on childcare providers, in my case a local charity school holiday club.

I work flexible hours between 20-25 a week 9.30-2.30 so it fits around school hours.

Tax credits paid me £850 a month plus 75% of childcare costs. That's as a lone parent. I don't yet know how much tax credits I'll get in the foreseeable future as I've now moved in with my partner.

So yes, you can afford childcare working 16 hours a week.
You just have to bear in mind they ask you to calculate the average weekly cost of your childcare over one year, and they then pay that average weekly, or monthly.

For example, my childcare costs this last tax year were about £5.30 a week on average but I still had to find lump sums of what I actually have to pay the childcare provider which is £170 for a week.
Tax credits pay your childcare costs over the year. They won't give me £170 every time I need a week's childcare.

So you need to save those lump sums up every time school holidays come round and you have to pay for childcare.

How to get school time hours
I worked for two different firms, both of which allowed school hours, despite not actually advertising such hours.
I just asked about it at both interviews. The interviewers were also both mothers which may have made them more flexible about hours as they understood my responsibilities.
One was the boss so she was happy to negotiate hours with me, but the other was just a training supervisor and at first she was worried my hours request would muck the HR department around offering different set hours to individuals. But she wangled it with HR because I pressed her to. By pressed I just mean had a chat about it, explained how it wouldn't affect their business, how I'd keep it quiet and not mention it to other employees, etc.

In my experience, the notorious end of the job market will be more flexible with your hours just because they have a high staff turnover. I'm talking telesales, temp contracts, catering, etc.

I currently work an ad hoc hours temp contract 9.30-2.30 which is perfect school hours.
Ask your temp agency to investigate new small business startups in your town as they often require temporary or flexible employees whilst they get their business going.
It's also easy to find these businesses yourself - just check out the most cheapest commercial units (offices or industrial) in town and they'll have new businesses moving in all the time. You can even get cash in hand by offering your admin or cleaning services to one of these businesses if you just walk round a start-up industrial estate or cheap commercial offices complex asking about work.

I work in one of these places, and another business down the corridor from me got his teenage daughter a job just by asking us if we needed a cleaner. Making yourself known is useful. They are friendly places, everyone's starting out together. And they're in bed with temp agencies.

Finally, you won't be working for free if you get a part time job of 16 hours. You're very similar to my situation as regards older lone parent, similar age kids. I get around £850 month in a Working Tax Credit, 75% of my childcare costs paid for by tax credits, a wage of £136 a week, Child Benefit of £136 a month, and if I was eligible housing benefit and council tax benefit too (I'm not eligible because of savings).

The school holiday childcare weeks will seem like you're working for free, but it's what you have to accept if you want to have a work ethic. Otherwise, really, just watch an episode of those People On Benefits (the ones who make a career of it insisting they're 'entitled' to) and see if you want to live like that forever..

Emergencyigloo Sat 30-Jul-16 13:31:18

Blimey that's a long post grin

Temporaryanonymity Sat 30-Jul-16 13:38:38

I'm a lone parent with boys aged 9 and 7. I've always worked full-time.

I rely on before and after school clubs to make it work. School holidays are a pain, it can't be a coincidence that teaching assists jobs are so sought after by single parents.

Agree with what others say about seeing your GP. This level of tiredness is not usual at all. I'm in the gym 3/4 times a week; if I don't I find I am more tired. It's essential that we look after ourselves as lone parents. How is your diet?

I don't mean to be negative but home based jobs are very hard to come by.

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