We’ve been thinking about it for 2 years now...🤔

(27 Posts)
MollieParks Sun 21-Jul-19 21:50:06


I hoping to hear from some families of 4 that have 2 working parents. We’ve been thinking about having a 4th for a couple of years but never really made a decision! My dd’s are 8,7 and 5 (we had them close together) and all at school.

We both work full time, my work is flexible (no option from wfh though as it’s not that sort of job) and my husband works shifts.

If we had another I’d drop a day and work 4 days a week and my husband can work a lot of weekends to be around during the week.

My mum lives next door and is retired and I think we would be able to ask her to look after a baby 1 day a week and probably afford nursery 2 days per week.

My question to families with 4 children with working parents is basically does it work?! Is it possible or am I deluded?!!!

My girls are such little angels, get on so well, rarely argue and genuinely are pretty easy children to have around so from that point if view I can’t see any challenges as such.

Thanks in advance 😊

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AllSweetnessAndLight Sun 21-Jul-19 21:57:53

You need to ask your DM before having another baby if you need her to do childcare on a regular basis. What is your backup plan if she can't help you?

Monday55 Sun 21-Jul-19 21:58:40

What's the contingency plan if one of you lose their job?

SophyStantonLacy Sun 21-Jul-19 22:01:29

We don’t have 4 kids & we don’t both work full time so what do I know! But, with your age gaps wouldn’t the 4th be a challenge to fit into your lifestyle? We have 3 kids, currently 11, 8 and 4, & it can be a right pain having a spread of ages like that.

BananaSpanner Sun 21-Jul-19 22:06:17

Surely you would ask your mum before you contemplate trying to conceive whether she would be willing to contribute one day per week before you asked MN. Or you could do what my SIL did and just get pregnant and then announce the days they required mil for childcare hmm

MollieParks Sun 21-Jul-19 22:19:45

Wow! Your SIL was brave! 😂

I should have said I’ve had conversations with my Mum about potential future childcare and she would be willing to help. If she didn’t however, my Husband would just ensure she doesn’t work that day. I also have lots of close friends and my in laws close by, all of whom could potentially help out. Or if none of that worked I could drop an extra day from work.

My question was more around creating a balance of having 4 children and being working parents rather than my childcare options as we have plenty, we’re very lucky 😊

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MollieParks Sun 21-Jul-19 22:23:20

Thanks for the reply 😊 I think age gaps can work really well, I wouldn’t be particularly worried about a 6 year gap, I’ve got lots of friends who have that and bigger and it seems to work...I’m sure there are challenges whatever age!! When my youngest was born my others were 2 and 3 so I think those challenges we had when they were younger would be much harder than just planning activities to suit everyone 😊

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MollieParks Sun 21-Jul-19 22:26:17


Sorry, I’m not sure I understand your point?? What would losing my job have to do with having 4 children??

If we ever lost our jobs (although highly unlikely in the sectors we work in) then we would just get another one 🤷🏼‍♀️

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Monday55 Mon 22-Jul-19 07:06:07

@MollieParks was only asking because most benefits are being capped at 2 kids now.

so if you where to be made redundant or break up with your partner (which can happen at the same time) it's something worth considering if you'll be able to provide for 4 kids & still keep your sanity.

MsTSwift Mon 22-Jul-19 07:09:17

Really?! Climate catastrophe round the corner and you are planning a 4th child?

minisoksmakehardwork Mon 22-Jul-19 09:31:53

My advice would be not to rely on your 'plenty of childcare options' unless that involved full time, paid for childcare.

We have 4 children. When the twins arrived I gave up work (planned as childcare outweighed my income). My parents and in-laws already provided some childcare in conjunction with regular paid care for our older two, but my parents in particular were adamant that they could not help us with the twins.

Just because your family are fine with providing care at the moment, doesn't mean it is sustainable long term. My in-laws adore their grandchildren but over the last 10 years, fil health has declined noticeably, and it's only because our children are older and much more independent that they still visit for whole days and for sleepovers.

I'm not saying don't do it. But is working from home an option for one of you? It makes it more feasible. Days when one child is sick, you won't want them to be going off to family with the others in case it spreads, and spreads to your childcare. It's unfair to ask granny to look after a sick child if it risks her catching it. And if she is sick, she might not be able to look after small children. The next person on your list might be busy that day. The third you can't reach. Do you see what I mean?

I'm now looking at working from home options around studying for a degree part time. It means by the time my degree is finished, the younger two will be starting secondary school so I will be much more able to find a full time job outside the home.

MollieParks Mon 22-Jul-19 19:29:58

Thank for all your replies 😊😊😊

Childcare really isn’t an issue though, even in the unlikely event that no one could help one day per week, my Husband chooses his own shifts so weekend working, night shifts or working on my day off will work nicely, childcare is not a concern of ours luckily.

What I was really hoping for is to hear from parents with 4 children who both work and some input about how it works, is it doable, what are the challenges (apart from the obvious time constraints!) if we decide to have another I would hope to go back to work after a year 4 days a week. Is that a bit ambitious? Does anyone else manage this?? If so are you still sane 😂

I’m very lucky that work is very flexible and can swap days working if needs be.

Thanks again everyone 😊

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Abstractedobstructed Mon 22-Jul-19 19:34:41

I have 4. I worked 4 days a week til I had number 4; I then dropped to 3 days as I was on my knees with exhaustion having always found 3 easy enough. Now they are older things feel very much easier.

minisoksmakehardwork Mon 22-Jul-19 23:07:24

@MollieParks - it would appear a lot of larger families aren't in the position you are with regards to childcare. Hence difficult to find 2 working parents who also have time to be on here. We can only offer our experience.

I still don't think you quite get the issue childcare can create. But I will put that aside.

Dh is self rostering so assume I'm a wahm with 4 dc in school. Mine are all 2 years apart. When the twins were born I had 2 newborn babies, a 2 year old and 4 year old.

You think your mum will have baby one day a week and your can probably afford 2 days nursery.

So before you even think about conceiving, you need to have that talk and work those figures out. Salary sacrifice childcare vouchers can put a big dent in nursery income so look into that as well. Also consider that apparently age and number of previous pregnancies can also raise your likelihood of multiples.

Dh can work a lot of weekends to be around in the week.
Do not under estimate how hard 4 dc on a weekend can be when there is just you. The baby needs a nap and you've got 3 children who naturally want to play and do things. Or be ferried to friends houses/parties. Or you just want to get out of the house. I know you've managed with 3. But be honest as to how that has been for you. And add another baby.

Just how flexible is your work? What would you do if they declined your request to drop to 4 days a week due to 'business need'? Unless you are self employed you can not guarantee that would be agreed.

Your girls are angels now. But they are close in age and used to each other. How did they react when a new sibling came along? Assuming you get pregnant soon, there will be at least a 6 year gap between youngest and baby. And imagine what that might be like when your girls are teens, with their baby sister knocking about. My nieces all have 5-7 years between them. The eldest in 19 and the youngest is 3. The older one moved out as soon as she could as she was fed up with being 'mum' to her siblings.

At the end of the day, it is your choice. But take off the rose tinted glasses before going through with it.

MollieParks Mon 22-Jul-19 23:36:40

Thank you all for you input, albeit a little off point!

To clarify (without wanting to sound like like I’m gloating but feel I need to say this to get my point across! 😂) money, childcare etc is luckily not an issue. We own our house outright, I could afford not to work, childcare could be paid for if needed (so yes, I do get the childcare issue, maybe you it’s you who doesn’t?! 😂) My work is flexible because I’m of the nature of the business and my position in said business and the fact I have built the business myself.

What I wasn’t after was several unhelpful posts about childcare and patronising comments about how I should think carefully etc...obviously I have thought carefully (read the title of the thread) and am an experienced parent, I do not wear rose tinted glasses and am quite aware of challenges that lie ahead when the teenage years loom! I would never expect my eldest children to play ‘mum’ and I’m sorry your nieces experience that, I don’t blame them for moving out!

What I was hoping for was to reach out to other working parents for some tips, advice, stories on how other working families manage daily life.

I’m guessing I’m in the minority and there are no other families like ours...that just makes me feel even more lucky 😊

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thepotatoesofdefiance Tue 23-Jul-19 09:06:45

Wow what a lot of unhelpful judginess on your thread MollieParks. This is the larger families board right? OP asked for advice from those in a similar position not judgement from those who aren't.

That said, I'm not quite in your position grin but I have just discovered I am pregnant with my 4th, smaller age gap than yours. Currently not working but aiming to be studying part time from when the baby is about 9 months old and be working close to full time within 3 or so years, DH is full time, so I have been giving some thought to this situation!

We had a period of both working full time from when DC2 was 6 months old, with a long commute on top and no family support, until just before DC3 was born. It was perfectly manageable, but the key issues we faced were dealing with illness (needing to take days off as we had no family nearby, difficult if they became ill during the day as we were both 1.5 hours away for work, would you be reasonably close by?) and fitting in all organisational stuff (especially doctors, dentist, things that are generally only possible on weekdays, plus there will be all the school stuff for you). No difference there from 2 dc to 4 other than scale, so I guess you already know how much of an issue this is likely to be. If your DH works shifts and you will be off 1 day during the week then that might be easier for you? We did find we got very little time with the children though, but weren't getting home until 6.30 and they went to bed at 7 as they were little.

In case these are useful, my main concerns at the moment are
1) how much stress will be added to morning / evening routines by having 2 or even 3 settings to drop off / pick up every day before getting to work (assuming all your girls are currently in the same before and after school care?),
2) can you deal with temporary disruption if baby is unsettled / doesn't sleep, keeps everyone up at night and generally takes all your attention beyond the 1 year mark (DC1 didn't sleep well until 2.5 so always a worry for me!),
3) washing...
4) the biggie for me: with both of you working full time will you be able to squeeze in enough 1 on 1 time for each child especially as they begin to approach the pre-teen years? Will you still be able to facilitate at least some opportunities to go to friends houses / have friends over, do some extra-curricular activities, help with school issues and homework for all the kids? Will there be any time left for you and DH to relax and spend time together? I won't lie, this one does worry me, but because of where we are most kids get themselves to and from friends / sports clubs from about 8 years old and we find little bits of 1 on 1 time works quite well (e.g. extra 15 minutes for the eldest before bed each night, take the middle one with me to the bakery while DH is home with the others for half an hour at the weekend etc.), so I'm hoping we'll find a reasonable balance.
Easily available childcare and family support of course makes all this easier.

I'm expecting to need to be much more organised (which doesn't come naturally) and keep a tight schedule to keep on top of the washing everything! I also expect we will lose a bit more of our evenings for a few years to organisational stuff, but hoping to protect an hour or so to eat and sit together as that's what keeps us sane. As long as we get that and about 6 hours sleep a night (outside the newborn stage...) I figure we'll manage!

At the end of the day it's never going to be easy of course but it does sound like you have everything in place to find a good balance.

MollieParks Tue 23-Jul-19 12:33:20

Thank you thepotatoesofdefiance! This is really helpful and actually all your concerns are pretty much the same as the ones we currently have, and yes time is definitely the big one!!

I think it’s easy to let time go together as a couple so I agree we would definitely need to look at that to make sure we have time for each other.

It sounds like once you have done your studying you will be in a similar situation to how we would be if we go ahead with number 4, I take my hat off to you embarking on studies...good for you!! Us women are pretty amazing aren’t we?!!!

Thanks again for taking the time to give some input, you seem to have a really positive attitude and I’m sure you’ll be amazing with your 4th...good luck 😊😊😊

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trilbydoll Tue 23-Jul-19 12:38:11

If you've got 3 lovely dc who get on I'd be worried about upsetting the balance and messing up the dynamic, but I'm naturally quite pessimistic! The other thing is if dh is doing shifts, are you going to end up dragging the baby out at night to get the older dc to and from activities? Doesn't matter to some people but if you prefer a routine and baby asleep by 7pm it might be a bit tricky to manage.

Nesssie Tue 23-Jul-19 12:48:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MollieParks Tue 23-Jul-19 13:27:56


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MollieParks Tue 23-Jul-19 13:29:44

That’s a good point trillbydoll, I hadn’t thought of that, thanks 😊

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ElliT Tue 23-Jul-19 13:54:57

How would going from 3 to 4 affect your working life ? You've done it 3 times before so you should know by now what sort of affect it's going to have

TwistyTop Tue 23-Jul-19 14:09:10

If you're managing fine with 3 and you're really keen on a fourth then I would just go for it. Just make sure that you and DH carve out some time together to be a couple. It's easy to lose sight of that when you both work and have lots of young children.

I'm amazed that only one person has chided you about the environment. I was expecting this thread to be full of that shit. For future reference, MN is quite hostile to larger families (lots of smug snobs living in an echo chamber) so you always have to be thick skinned when posting about stuff like this!

MollieParks Tue 23-Jul-19 19:41:45

Thanks ElliT and TwistyTop 😊

I’ve been quite surprised about how hostile and generally rude people have been on this thread. I was under the impression this was a supportive place. I’m more than happy to receive constructive feedback and criticism but the way it has been delivered and the attitude of people has been surprising to say the least.

I’m a woman’s woman...I have had to work extra hard to get where I am because I’m female and I will always support, encourage and try to see the best in other women and understand their situations. I sadly have not been afforded the same respect here. I have been brought up well, to be polite and kind.

Maybe it’s because the anonymity of posting under a pseudonym? Maybe people dislike other people too easily these days?

If anyone is reading this...be kind to one another, in a world where we can be anything we want, don’t forget we’re all human.

I won’t be posting on Mumsnet anymore, once was quite enough for me!! 😂

Peace sisters xx

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chopchopquick Mon 29-Jul-19 10:05:33

We have 3 and both work full time. It is tough at times especially as the older 2dc do a lot of activities all over the county so have no end of training and fixtures throughout the week and weekend. Another slight challenge to our dynamics thou is we have a big gap between dc2&3 so that does add another aspect. Based upon three children, if I had the option to give up work for a few years I would. Would be great to focus on just the children and have some time for my husband and myself to. Jobs and careers will always be there in the future. As you mention you are financially stable so have the option not to go to work, surely that would be the answer if you were to have dc4. Our time is arranged with military precision but this causes a lots of stress as we have to stay on course. It’s also tiring to have to stick to a schedule all the time. We both have some degree of flexibility with our jobs but there is always an orthodontist appointment, Doctors appointment, school play, school parent session, school sports event (loads), end of term events, friends parties etc etc to juggle and this can be a challenge even with flexibility from our jobs. Then there is the school holidays to consider. We have recently been through a spell of the childminder being ill which was a big headache. I am never up to date with house work, use the slow cooker a lot, plan meals in advance. I always make sure I do at least one load of washing in the morning and then another in the evening. We do manage it all (just) but it is plan, plan, plan. Despite the chaos we love having three dc. We would love to have dc4 but only if one of us was able to give up work and at the moment this isn’t possible. So I guess through all that waffle what I’m trying to say is that if you want to have dc4 and can stay at home this really would enhance your experience of being a family of 6 rather than fighting to juggle with it all.

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