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Ideal world: 4 kids and working??

(18 Posts)
BabyInWaiting Fri 14-Jul-17 11:30:56

Just curious how possible it is to work with four young children and have a good work-life balance?
(This is in an ideal world - I understand there are many reasons people do and don't work, many out of people's control.)
I currently have 9,7, and young baby. My DH works long hours - many evenings- but is around mornings and Friday to help with childcare. I worked very hard to qualify in a popular and competitive profession (took over 10 years -PhD level) and want to continue working - currently work 2.5 days but on mat leave. Job is also quite stressful but I also love it.
Just considering can you comfortably (stress levels and childcare costs) work and organise a home - be around for four children? Or would it be too hectic?
Just thinking it might be nice for baby to have a playmate as such a large gap in DC2 and DC3 (7 year gap). Would there be an age gap people would recommend for easiest senario? I am 35 so a have few years but not many to have a fourth! Should I stop at 3 kids?
Thank you!

AnythingNotEverything Mon 17-Jul-17 19:44:24

Can I join you and listen in?

I have three - one almost grown up, and two little ones who would be 4.5 and just 3 when we would like their sibling to arrive (possibly!). Middle one would be starting school soon after, current youngest home for a year then starting school, and I'm wondering what work would look like.

It seems hard enough now but maybe it's easier when they get to school? Am I kidding myself?

Chewbecca Mon 17-Jul-17 19:49:40

My only female colleague with 4 children has a great nanny. She works full time.

Have several male colleagues with 4 children too, all have stay at home wives.

Erratica Mon 17-Jul-17 19:56:18

A nanny would help. I work part time with 4 and that's stressful enough. I suppose if my husband was flexible it would help but he works long hours. I'm always rushing. I'm never on top of anything.

FishySea Tue 18-Jul-17 18:01:30

I did it. Children are now 20, 17, 14 and 13.
There was not a suitable childminder around and nursery fees for 2 preschoolers plus afterschool care for 2 was so expensive it cost the same to have a nanny. She lived out. I worked full-time. It worked very well for us until the youngest started school, then we switched to childminders.
It worked well but I had to establish clear, firm boundaries with work. Weekends and early evenings were for the family.
I used to worry if the kids knew the difference between me and the nanny. They did! Weirdly, even eldest barely remembers her, though they were happy with her at the time.

supersix Thu 20-Jul-17 21:57:57

We do it - sometimes I honestly don't know how though!! We have 6 children ranging in age from 9 years to 10 weeks. We both work fulltime (I'm obviously on mat leave at the moment & as a teacher, my hols are the same as the kids which helps a lot) & my DP has his own business, so there's a bit of flexibility there. When I go back to work we'll have 3 in childcare while the older 3 are lucky enough to have their Granny after school until one of us gets home. It's chaotic. It's crazy. It's a constant juggle but I love it & wouldn't have it any other way!

Needmorechocolate Sun 23-Jul-17 19:18:44

Anything is possible but you need to seriously think about how things will work in practice. I have 4 (7,6,4,2) and work part time but I really found it hard going back to work after number 4, it just seemed to tip the balance for me. I've just had to cut my hours down further to fit everything in.

I think it helps though if you love your job because then you will make it work no matter what the situation. I don't particularly like my job so I probably have a negative view!

sunshineunicorn Mon 24-Jul-17 12:23:03

I have 4 - 13,8,5 and 1. I work as a TA but not at my kids school. I have an awesome childminder.

HollyHollyHo Mon 24-Jul-17 12:25:53

I have 4, (12,10,8,2), single parent

I work about 28hrs a week. You need to be an epic organiser, everyone has to work together as a family. It is doable

Lindtnotlint Mon 24-Jul-17 12:26:51

Great nanny. (Have 3 and work).

christmaswreaths Mon 24-Jul-17 14:12:56

Dh and I work full time in high pressure jobs and have four children ages are: 12, 11, 9 and 8. It was tough when they were young as all very close in ages. We did have nursery and nannies - now we rely on afterschool care for younger two.

It has been/is stressful and I wouldn't say we have a great balance - I have zero time to.myself.. But it will come I think in a couple of years or so..

The single biggest help was a flexible employer - I have worked from home and so has Dh, etc.. We also have very generous annual leave allowances which help cover things.

I found primary school the absolute worse time for juggling work with school plays, bring a bear picnics, sports days, nativity, etc times four. Now the eldest two are at senior school, doing two sets of primary stuff feels much more manageable!!

BabyInWaiting Mon 24-Jul-17 17:34:54

Thank you for the replies. It seems like great childcare and flexible employer are key to making it work. Maybe the large age gap between DC2 and DC 3 will work in my advantage in regards to managing the demands of primary school.
Suprisingly it seems a bit easier this time having children at different life stages - baby with school aged children - rather than all three doing the same stage.

Think I will see how things are going back to work and whether another baby may still feel wanted in 3-4 years time.

It has been so interesting to hear how others have managed with 3 or 4 children and working - and the children's ages when it feels more demanding.

YoureNotASausage Thu 27-Jul-17 06:38:36

I'll have 4 in Jan (4, 3, 2 and newborn). I've an excellent nanny but also work from home so can see them throughout the day and start/finish work and be with them immediately.

Boredboredboredboredbored Thu 27-Jul-17 06:46:09

One of the GPs that I work with has 4 dc and had them all within 8 years. She still works a couple of days a week but has a Nanny. I think that works out best cost wise and time wise.

Tumbleweed101 Thu 27-Jul-17 06:55:08

I've got four with a bigger age gap between older two and younger two (now 19,17,11 and 8).
We used to work opposite shifts to avoid child care costs (care work). I've been a single mum since youngest was two so initially worked part time using the 15hrs and exP for childcare and once youngest started school got full time term time work in a nursery which allows my younger children free before/after school care and on my longer days my mum helps or exP. However now my older children are grown they also help look after their siblings.
So it can be done and older children can help out as they all grow up.

Ineverpromisedyouarosegarden Thu 27-Jul-17 06:57:12

I work 2 days, DH works full time. Four kids 17,15,12 and 9.

It has always worked out fine for us.

goingagain Thu 27-Jul-17 19:44:26

I have three (currently 5, 2 and 1) and am pregnant with number four. Up until about three weeks ago I worked full time as a lawyer in the city. Husband also has a high pressure city job. Impossible to do without a full time nanny. I constantly felt like I was doing neither jo to the best of my abilities and chasing my tail.

Resigned, as I was hardly getting any quality time, and we are in a financial position for me to be able to do so. A couple of weeks after I resigned I found out I was pregnant with number four.

It is definitely doable dependent on your profession. Mine involved cross border transactions on very tight timeframes. It just wasn't working for me.

Babyroobs Sun 30-Jul-17 21:56:55

I have 4 children although they are mostly teenagers now. I have always worked part time since they were all six months but in a job which I was able to do around my dh's work. I'm glad I managed to keep a career going.

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