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How do other people manage work and school hours? (very obvious question but really worrying me

(22 Posts)
peakaboo Thu 21-May-09 08:29:36

How do you manage to combine work and the school drop off/pick up when you live and work about an hour apart? This is not my situation yet (DD now almost 2, in nursery on campus in central London where I work flexible part time hours) but it worries me greatly that I will not be able to work even part time and get her to and from school when she starts. We live only 8 miles from where we work but the commute is always at least an hour, and have no family help and no friends we could do lift shares with. We are at the point of thinking we need to move house to be closer to work but it's so pricey here and we don't know if it has to be that drastic a solution. How do other people deal with this sort of situation?

shinyshoes Thu 21-May-09 08:42:13

The school where my children are have an afterschool club where the childminders look after them until 6.00pm. (on lower incomes who are on tax credits, they pay 60% of the cost.)

Breakfast club starts at 8.00am so if I need to go to work early I can drop them off there and I finish work early.

Are you friendly with other mums, would you be able to arrange where one mum picks your child up one day and you pick them up another day?

I only have to fufill 19.5 hours a week (3 days) and I have a lovely sister that picks them up for me.

cece Thu 21-May-09 08:46:30

I drop mine off at a chidminder local to the school. She takes them to school for me.

peakaboo Thu 21-May-09 08:50:09

Thanks for the suggestions - I hadn't realised childminders do that (relatively new to the UK, not really sure of how childcare works). Only one of our local schools has breakfast or aftercare and it's hugely oversubscribed.

More broadly, do you think it's worth moving to have work/home/school closer to each other?

HSMM Thu 21-May-09 09:09:49

I am a childminder and I take children to school and pick them up from school. I also look after them during the school holidays. There should be a list of your local childminders on the internet. Try www.childcarelink.gov.uk, or ask the Early Years Department at your local council.

peakaboo Thu 21-May-09 09:14:47

I'm looking at that site now - thank you so much for the link. I wish I'd known about this ages ago.

Surfermum Thu 21-May-09 09:15:36

Is the commute that much if you avoid rush hour? My work is only half an hour away provided I leave at 9. At 8 it's a different story.

I do find it's more worthwhile to do two long days because of the distance as well. If I am collecting dd from school I have to leave by 2.20 and I hate it, I feel rushed all day as I know I am on a deadline to leave.

I am lucky on the days I work that my parents will collect dd from school - but there is the option for her to stay at after school club until 4.

stealthsquiggle Thu 21-May-09 09:22:10

If your work is location-dependant (i.e. you definitely have to physically be there and will do for the forseeable future) then it may be worth considering moving, simply because you may otherwise end up resenting all those 'lost' hours spent commuting.

DH and I are lucky in that when not travelling for meetings we can work from home - so we juggle school hours with a combination of After School Care, holiday clubs and an understanding mother (mine). If you have no family close by you will either need a childminder or a friend with whom you have have some sort of reciprocal deal.

peakaboo Thu 21-May-09 12:30:27

The commute is a bit easier if I leave later and I may be able to juggle it if I don't do pick ups. I think I'm so used to - and enjoy - seeing DD off in the morning and picking her up that I'm trying to squeeze work into doing both, and don't think it will fit.

I honestly never realised before just how tricky the "ordinary" situation of being two working parents could be. And that's only the commute! And both DH and I have understanding employers and the possibility of flexibility.

lisad123 Thu 21-May-09 12:35:46

My DD1 get dropped at CM at 8.30 and she walks her to school with her dd. On Mondays I finish at 2.30, and same on Weds which gives me enought time to go and collect dd2 for mums and be at school to pick up dd1. On Tuesday dd1 goes to breakfast club and tues after cm picks her up and i collect when i finish work about 5.30pm.
I only work 3 days so is easier.

I would look inot finding a good cm, or after school club tbh, or look at finihsing earlier some days and working from home if possible.

ramonaquimby Thu 21-May-09 12:37:23

I use a combination of the breakfast club at school and a childminder - I need about 30 minutes to drive to work (doesn't always take that long, usually 20) wouldn't want it to be any longer tbh

stealthsquiggle Thu 21-May-09 13:01:10

peekaboo I think you have a cross-section of the sort of jigsaws that people end up with there.

I am about to sit down with spreadsheets, diaries and collection of booking forms to put together this years summer holiday jigsaw which is an entirely different problem hmm

Kiwinyc Thu 21-May-09 18:41:56

I have 22 mile commute which I drive 3 days a week, it takes about 45min, up to an hour to get home. When necessary we use a combo of Breakfast Club (opens at 8am) and Afterschool Club (goes until 6pm)and I do pickup once a week (leaving work at 4.30), DH does the second and MIL does the third. We also have a younger one at Nursery, but that is open from 8-6 so in the morning we do one child each on our way to work as they're in different directions. (Both school and Nursery are 5mins walk from home too) I also have flexihours which makes it easier. I am about to increase to 4 days of work but the 4th day will be at home.

When you get to know other parents/children in your area you may find that you have some backup with them too, as we do.

It takes a bit of juggling but if you have a bit of flexibility and share the responsibility with your DH its all doable.

Acinonyx Sat 23-May-09 11:03:35

Dd starts school this year and she has a CM 3 days/week. I'm hoping to work 3 full days, possibly taking her to CM early who will then take her to school (or I might be able to to that and work late) and collect her. Then I will work 2 half days and collect her myself. That's the plan.

hellywobs Wed 03-Jun-09 12:35:07

I live in Hampshire and work full time in London, with one day at home.

Mon, Tues, Thrus and Fri take son to childminder who drops him at school.

Mon and Fri childminder picks up and I leave office at 4.20 (work through lunch) so I can collect him from her house by 6.

Tues and Thurs husband does pick-up as he does flexible hours.

Wednesday I do drop off and collection.

womma Thu 25-Jun-09 11:12:51

Hello Peakaboo - your cirumstances sound very similar to mine, one hour commute and working in central london in a job at the university.

Is it possible to arrange with work that you do a certain number of hours a week from home, e.g. 5 hours a week in the evenings/weekends? That would enable you to leave earlier to pick her up (if that's what you'd like to do?)

I also have a colleague who has a very long commute, but starts work at 7.30am (her DP does school drop off) and then she leaves at 2.30 to be back in time to pick up and cook dinner etc. She gets to have a quiet train early on and have some time at her desk before everyone else starts calling her which she says in invaluable and her most productive time.

It's definitely worth asking around your colleagues to see what other people have arranged to cover their childcare, I've been amazed at the way some people have been able to do it and it's really helped me plan my return to work.

There's no way we could afford to move closer to work, and I feel we'd be giving up nice things like a garden if we did.

Good luck with everything!

titchy Thu 25-Jun-09 12:33:57

Home needs to be near school definately.

I just about manage this - again a journey over well over an hour to a university in central(ish) London (snap Womma!). We have a rota of 4 mums (and dads) who share the morning school run. DH works at home one day a week and takes a car load of kids to school - I leave very early. On 3 of the other 4 days I leave very early, and dh drops our dcs round at whichever parent is on school run rota that morning. He then gets the train to work at about 8.30 and gets to his office just before 9.30.

On the 4th day I do school run and work a ridiculously short day considering the commute time. But it gets my hours in.

womma Thu 25-Jun-09 12:48:18

Gawd - maybe we all work together?!

StealthPolarBear Thu 25-Jun-09 12:53:30

I've also been wondering this, and how people manage the holidays - looks as though I need to find a good CM

dollius Thu 25-Jun-09 13:01:35

This works best if you can both take some responsibility for the childcare - eg DW does drop-off and DH does pick-up.

If it's all on the shoulders of one person, it will be very tough.

I know of quite a few couples who share in this way, and it works very well and means one isn't having to sacrifice career etc more than the other.

titchy Thu 25-Jun-09 13:27:04

Ooh what a thought womma!

karenleigh Tue 14-Jul-09 12:08:38

Message deleted

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