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Work Fulltime, kids started school - seriously how do people find the time.....

(54 Posts)
Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 14:01:53

Hi there

After a seriously long break from MN, I am back with my tail between my legs looking for some advice/support since my twins have started school.

I have worked full time since they were 5 months old, so they are nursery raised boys. I had my third child in Feb and he is now at the same nursery.

The twins started proper school yesterday and as a consequence I start work later so I can drop them off - this means I have to finish later also, so DH picks the twins up from after school club about half 5 and I pick 6mo up from nursery about 5.45 ish. I got in about 6.15 last night which is about bathtime for 6mo, so he went straight upstairs - and then twins get in his bath water and then straight to bed.

I found 'homework' in their school bags after they were all soundly asleep and thought when the fook am I going to get time to fit all this in. Not only do I only see them for about 45 mins in the evening, I will not be able to do the required sit down a read with them time individually. And wot about when they get older and need outfits making, or they have PROPER homework - am I damaging their education by working these 8 hours a day?

I have considered dropping some hours and having a pay cut, but not sure if the reduction in pay negates any benefit of not having to pay for after school club.

Does anyone sucessfully work full time, have their kids in school and feel they have a good work/home balance?

For 4 years me working has been fine, so didn't think anything of them starting school - but 2 days in I feel guilty as hell, skint and really really tired.....

CMOTdibbler Fri 04-Sep-09 14:08:47

So, get home 5.30, have a snack, do their homework with DH, you come home, chill out and maybe do some reading together / they can read to the baby, then go to bed at 7. They have a bath in the morning, when you have a little more time with them.

If they need outfits, ebay is a wonderful thing, and as they get older, they can do their homework at after school club, then you just look at it with them.

My DS is still at nursery, but my colleague has worked ft since her DS1 was born, and now has a 15, 8, and 2.5 year old, so has got it all down to a fine art ! I've been taking lessons...

BonsoirAnna Fri 04-Sep-09 14:12:16

Could you start work earlier in the mornings, get your DH to get the children off to school and then you could end your day earlier?

Or could your DH do homework with the twins as soon as they get home?

I don't think you can do both morning drop off and end of day homework. Your DH needs to do one or the other.

Fennel Fri 04-Sep-09 14:16:56

It's unusual for them to have much homework at this age, can you leave it til the weekend, also any reading practice can be done at weeknds if weekdays are too busy. As they get older they can do homework without so much input from you (my 9 and 8 year old only have a few minutes homework a week still, I think that's quite normal, they do it one evening but we get on with other things. And the 5 year old only gets reading which we do when/if we have time, not every evening.

You get used to it, it gets easier when the baby gets bigger too.

you don't have to make outfits, I never do that. my dcs use the dressing up box or they make their own or they go in normal uniform.

Lanky Fri 04-Sep-09 14:25:26

Do you have the sort of job where you could work from home one or even two days a week? I work from home one day and I find it does help to take the pressure off and means I can pick up DS much earlier than normal.

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 14:25:56

i think because its all new to us, we didn't realise homework was something they'd have to do will now incorporate it into the home routine when DH gets in - so yes, he will do that part. I can't start any earlier as DH can't start late - he works on a service desk and starts at 8am at the latest (plus i asked my boss about starting early, but there just isn't the work to do at that time in the morning)

The thing is we both want to do the spending time with the kids thing - DH will miss out on DS3 as I will be getting him in at 6.15 and then sending him straight to bed. Not sure bathtime will work in the morning, I get up at 6.30 as it is (twins are already up), shower and then take them all down for breakfast at 7. Twins eat brekkie, DS3 has bottle with me. Half 7 DH off to work, we all go back upstairs, twins get dressed, DS3 gets his bum changed and then dressed, then they all sit on my bed while I do my make up and hair (yes yes, it does take me that long to look anywhere half decent!). Back downstairs about 8 ish - I do a few odd jobs (load washing machine, stick dishwasher on) and we leave about half 8.

I think if I cut my hours by 2.5 a day, I can leave at 3 pick all 3 up and do homeworky stuff then - it will mean getting reaquainted with the kitchen and having to cook them all a meal every day, but surely thats doable? Anything is better than this guilt and constant feeling of missing out on the important stuff....

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 14:27:13

Lanky - i asked about that the first time round with the twins, was told flatly no, so didn't even bother this time....

Fennel Fri 04-Sep-09 14:27:59

It's probably exacerbated for you by working with baby and 5yos too, presumably you've worked for years but with children the same age, so similar needs, and now you have distinct needs of baby and 5yos to fit in, as well as work and school.

It does settle down. it's very early days yet for you all to get used to a different routine.

clemette Fri 04-Sep-09 14:33:59

I will be facing this in January so no tried and tested ideas BUT I plan on doing reading/homework in the morning before school. And I will try to make it so that DD stays up a little later in the evenings, even if we just cuddle for a bit in front of the TV - just so we can connect each day.
I am very anxious, but we will make it work. If you think back to when your twins started nursery you had all of these feelings for a few days I bet, but your family will adjust smile

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 14:35:27

I agree that one day a week of reduced hours/working from home/not working goes an awful long way to keeping everyone sane.

The only solution I can see is that you do a rugby-style pass of DS3 to DH as you walk in the door and he does bath while you see the twins/ read with one or other of them (one a night and DH does the other one?)

Don't worry about outfits, those are definitely optional/can be bought (although I choose to do them (in the middle of the night), but that's because I am stupid enjoy it) but I did find that DS was quite upset if I couldn't meet him from school one day a week - it depends how many are going to after school club, really - it is always a small minority at DS's school and he felt a bit left out. One day a week of guaranteed Mummy-picking-up-at-home-time has made life easier (and given me a fighting chance of getting to know other parents) - if it's do-able, of course.

Transition from full time nursery to school is a shock to the system (for parents) - what plans do you have in place for holidays?

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 14:41:11

thanks Fennel, I think you may be right - if they'd started school and we didn't have DS3, I would just get in, we'd take a twin each and do reading together, job done. But DS3 is now a big chunk of our evening, namely because he is such a joy to be with that we both want our fair share of cuddles and kisses before bedtime and even the twins miss him during the day so want to have some brotherly bonding time too. Ds3 is not a demanding baby, we could leave him in his little activity station while we did stuff with the boys - but deep down we don't WANT to, we've missed him and want to make up for that.

The school did say in their meet and greet session last term that they preferably want us to do reading every night and not at bedtime since they are tired then. They said not to do it all at the weekend as they need us to back up what they have learned in their school day so it sinks in quicker.

I don't know, I think I just feel a bit like the school aren't very sympathetic to working mums almost like we are not expected to work - that everyone has about 3 hours after school to get all this stuff done with their kids. They even on about taking these stuffed toys home and filling in a daily journal about what they get up to!?

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 14:46:45

stealth - they will be going back to their old nursery for holiday club and me and DH will sharing some half terms and taking a week off each to cover some and cuts costs.

Another thing that upset me was that DS3 was the last one at nursery last night - felt so guilty!

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 14:50:42

Schools are not, generally, IME/O, sympathetic to working mothers. It's particularly hard if you are in a minority (3 or possibly 4 of DS's class' mothers work, including me). You can save yourself heartache by not taking it personally (it isn't personal, and IME you can't change it).

Is your bathroom big enough for you and DH to read with one twin each while DS3 splashes? Otherwise bedtime it is - DS quite often reads to me at bedtime, approved or not (he reads to me then I read to him) - or in the morning (twins snuggle in bed and read with you for 10 mins at some stage?)

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 14:53:12

Don't even get me started on the 'last one there' - DS was first in and last out at holiday club, DD is often the last one at nursery.

Oh, the guilt... I can't quite work out what all the other parents at DD's nursery do, though, because it is not like I am late - I can be 20 minutes early for theoretical pick-up time and she is still the last one there hmm (she loves it, though - 3 carers all to herself grin)

Fennel Fri 04-Sep-09 14:54:07

I wouldn't worry too much about doing exactly what the school suggests, IMO if you're broadly supportive they don't care too much exactly how you do it. they like parents who read, even if you only do manage it at weekends or in the holidays. Most of our teachers have been quite sympathetic to working parents with several small children, lots of the teachers have children too.

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 14:58:23

titchy bathroom - but i could have one twin in with me and dh in bedroom with the other i guess, while ds3 drowns everyone. It doesn't help that they both been given different tasks to do - so we can't sit them both down together and do it all at once (I think they knew we would scrimp on time if they both had the same tasks, so thwarted us!)

why do i feel like its me back at school with homework to do!

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 15:01:15

It sounds like they are 'larks' if they are already up at 6:30am in which case it might be better to try and find the 10 minutes in the morning?

(I say this with no experience whatsoever as my DC have to be dragged out of bed to have any chance of being at school/nursery in time hmm)

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 15:03:05

they have always been early risers which was perfect for nursery run days, but a bit too early now school has started! Luckily DS3 will sleep until he is fetched for milk - so can get a lot done before he needs feeding.

Tortington Fri 04-Sep-09 15:08:31

do their homework whilst tea is cooking

if there is too much homework - you just have to grow a pair and tell the school that 5 yo's don't do more than 5mins.

school is to educate them - if they aren't getting the education from school - change the school - but dont feel guilty that you aren't doing a sheet with 5 yo's

you also need a notice board

for meetings and sports days and school trips and when they need money in for the puppet theatre coming to school

you also have to train your children to hand you the letters

or remember to search their bags

some schools are really up on the information technology ere ( bout time)

and you can log into the school site and see what is required of you when - see if this is available

notice board a must

strict bath and bedtime

they don't need a bath every night

and fun with mum and dad is as important

Tortington Fri 04-Sep-09 15:11:51

change out of uniform hang it up

it doesn't need washing more than once a week if you have two jumpers each ( i have twins too)

this way the school uniform is ready and waiting for the morning

no fucking about

bags get ready night before

Have a place for shoes grin i know i know i know sounds THE most obvious thing in the world - but seriously get a shoe box or something becuase placing school shoes together underneath the stairs - doesn't cut it

the shoe fairy fucks off with one of them before monring and then you are FUBARED

moondog Fri 04-Sep-09 15:13:55

It's a simple case of organisation.
I work f/t, have a dh never home (abroad for long stretches) and 2 kids.

Some things have to go so other things stay.
In my case, what has gone is tv.
No great loss.

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 15:23:21

LOL at custardo's shoe fairy.

It's the hairbrush fairy who does her evil stuff in our house every night. I swear we own dozens of the bloody things and I put them in sensible places the night before, but can I ever find one in the 10 seconds I have in which DD will actually stay still to have her hair brushed? Not a chance! (and not doing it is really not an option - she can pass for worzel gummidge when she gets out of bed in the morning)

Shoes get lined up with bags and coats next to the door before I go to bed.

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 15:24:09

thanks custy - they have tea at after school club, so don't have to worry about that at home.

And yes organisation is the key - thanks to years at nursery, our morning and evening routine is pretty water tight, but it's just the lack of any REAL time with the kids because I leave work later than before. At nursery you picked them up, got them home - read books, talked about the day, had snacks and went to bed, now I get in, say hi, then we halfway up the stairs already....just saddens me that we are missing out simply so we can have a nice house and a car that runs!

moondog Fri 04-Sep-09 15:28:25

I suppose it is a question of priorities, but then I have made several difficult choices including having a dh who is always away so that we in turn can afford material trappings.

How are weekends?

Meeely3 Fri 04-Sep-09 15:35:36

weekends are fine - since DH and I both work we take the early mornings in turn (both twins up at 6am generally, but will play in bedroom til about 7), so Saturday is my lie in and Sunday is his.

Saturday is "go and see friends day" as DH plays rugby, do mums and tots stuff, go to the park, catch up with my girlfriends too - then sunday is family day - garden stuff, out for a walk, family sunday dinner, then sofa time in the afternoon/evening!

everything has been great til yesterday to be honest - its just hit me how much more they are going to need me now and perhaps its time to reduce my hours and fetch them from school and doing more with them. I know DT2 would be over the moon if I did, DT1 would go nuts as he likes the computers in after school club and DS3 doesn't give two hoots - he could be anywhere and he'd still be smiling!

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