Working and 3+ DC's(9 Posts)
We are considering DC3. Dd is 4 and full time school. Ds is 2.5 and due to start full time in September (currently in nursery 3 days a week). Dparents help out a lot, bless them. Ddad has recently retired and both are really starting to "enjoy" their lives now, regular holidays, recent caravan purchase etc etc. I couldn't expect them to help out with a baby too. I went back to work when dd was 7 months, but left to become a SAHM 8 months later. Had ds in the meantime. Went back to work when ds was 18m old and was definately ready and am loving the balance I have now. It would probably mean putting very young dc3 into nursery and I already hate the thought and they're not even made yet!
I suppose I'm just wondering, how do you all manage? Childcare wise? Did/do you have to put a young baby into nursery? How to you manage numerous pick ups/drop offs? And ultimately the emotions that come with leaving the baby at such a young age?
Let alone getting you all out of the door on time
I used a Childminder. Much preferred the similarities to being at home from the more "institutionalised" setting of a Nursery.
Getting out of the door on time does demand military precision, but, however long you are at home with your baby, it's always a bit of a wrench to think about going back to work, but, IME, once you are at work, then it's fine. It's just 'what you do'. As long as you have every confidence in your childcare, you begin to realise how easy it is compared with older dc who begin to want to go to other afterschool things, when you are at work.
I went back to work after each of my DCs and am due to go back to work soon after having DC4.
I'm lucky that I'm not going back until DC4 is 10months so that helps but it will still be hard to leave him! I also have quite a flexible job so i can sometimes vary the way I work my hours across the week to fit in with school etc.
I'll use a mix of childcare, nursery for DS3 and DS4 on a couple of the days, Parents and/or in-laws for DS4 on other days and DS3 at pre-school. DC1 and DS2 are at school and I've got after school club booked and I'll use a local holiday club in school hols.
It is a nightmare trying to work it all out (and the costs are horrendous) but I think I've got it sorted!
I have no doubt that I will be very stressed going back but ultimately I'm sure it will all work out (fingers crossed).
I am sure that whatever you decide to do will be the right thing and like backforgood said, it just becomes "what you do"
tbh, child3 was a disaster for me childcare wise. In retrospect, it was an excellent reason not to have a DC3. I literally needed 3 different providers in different places (driving around). I quit work when DC3 was 14m old, for many yrs, because I couldn't hack the juggle any more. We only manage now (4 DC) because both DH & I work PT flexitime.
We were lucky and my parents did our childcare- I only ever worked p/t though.
How is your child only 2.5 but starting school full time in September?
When I had dc3 I went back to work full time when she was 5 months old. Dc2&3 went to the same nursery and dc1 went to breakfast and after school club which was run by the nursery we used so just one place to drop off and pick up. Nice and easy.
I'm looking into going back to work again now dc4 is 20 months. Dc1&2 are now in secondary school so no childcare needed for them for just an hour in the morning. Dc4 will go to nursery and dc3 will use the breakfast club run by the nursery so again just one place to drop off in the morning. Dh is home by 2pm so no need for after school care any more thankfully.
During half term dc4 will continue at nursery, dc1 will stay at home (he's 14 now) and dc2&3 will go to different members of the family dependent on Dh's days off (my sister is a sahm, fil is retired, mil is off Wednesdays, my mum is off thurs & fri, dh has a rolling day off each week and my dad works shifts so his days off change weekly). It'll be a faff during school holidays but we have lovely family who are happy to take the kids if needed.
We had 3 under 5 for a while which was not pretty. I find working much easier than being at home, I quickly go crazy on maternity leave. Between us DH and I work 9 days a week (luckily don't need to do masses of overtime) and we have no family close by.
The DDs are at school and go to the after school club at the same nursery as DS so we have a single pick up, the nursery is fantastic and doesn't have high turn over of staff so DS has lots of the same carers as the DDs did when they were there which is lovely. DH works in the town we live in so does the school run in the morning on his bike, I get up early and go to work (I have a 30 minute commute) and leave early to do the pick ups each evening (if I need to stay late DH can do the pick up if need be).
School holidays are a mix of an excellent holiday club that take kids up to 14 AND covers the full working day (a brilliant find), DH or I taking annual leave (we both take the maximum our employers allow, including the options to buy leave), a tiny amount of childcare from the grandparents (less than a week over the whole year), a tiny amount of all day playdates with friends, and DH taking some unpaid parental leave over the summer (this is the first year we have done this so we'll see how it goes).
We spend about £15K pa on childcare and also have a cleaner. We should probably get a gardener as well TBH. Once DS starts school we are thinking about getting an au pair for increased flexibility. Having a small child in nursery is the easy bit, as the DDs get older they have various after school activities that we need to ferry them to.
I'm in Belgium so it's a slightly different situation. But DS1 age 6 and DS2 age 3 are both in full-time school (like kindergarten). They go in the before school club at 8am and the after school club till just before 5pm as do lots of their friends. DD1 is 6 months and about to start crèche full time. I work 36 hours/week and DH works 30 hours/week and we manage the kids around work commitments. In the holidays (incl. 9 weeks in the summer) we use a combination of holidays, grandparents (either they come to us or one/two kids go to them), and holiday clubs (called "stages" here) - mostly sports and art things, and parental leave (special holiday given to all parents with statutory pay). It all works OK usually
Thanks for all your replies, it's really interesting to see how you all juggle it. I suppose whatever happens you just manage don't you?
rollonthesummer We're in Wales. Dd was 3 at the end of the August, she started full time 2 weeks later. Controversial as it may be, I knew it was the right decision for her. Ds's birthday is a week before hers, so we will have the same option. Although I am not sure full time is right for him, much to family's disagreement (a whole other subject). We do have the option of starting part time, but starting at 3 is the norm here either way. Legally you can still choose to send them at 5, though.
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