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What is worse? short of money or short of time? urgent answere required please.

(21 Posts)
TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Thu 16-Jun-11 17:30:07

I have been offered to work full time for a year or go back to my 3 days a week permanent job from next month onwards. I need to reply tomorrow, hence the urgency. smile

The facts are as follows: I am a single parent to a child who has dyslexia, ADD and a mild form of hyperactivity (mild enough to keep me running for cover most of the day IYWIM).

I am the single carer of my son, I have no family around, he doesn't have contact with his father (his choice) and I don't have enough resources to pay for extra care to have some rest. So, working hours apart, I have to have my son with me all the time, which considering his hyperactive levels, keeps my levels of stress constantly high and I am exhausted most of the time.

Financially speaking, If I were to continue working full time, once we consider tax credits and breakfast and after school club expenses, I am £50 pounds better a week than working part time. But if I work part time, keeping my finances in order will be a considerable struggle as there would be no money left to sort those unexpected eventualities like the car breaking down, items needed replacing at home and... well any holidays (please note that I have no family around so holidays are the only time I can manage to see them)

So, what is the best option?

1) Part time which would allow me some rest, and being able to support my son with his learning difficulties, and keep me permanently worrying about money, or

2) Being a bit more relaxed with money but not being able to help my son as much, and being constantly exhausted?

There is no option of working 4 days a week, if I decline the full time those 2 days will be offered to another employee.

What would you do?

HettyAmaretti Thu 16-Jun-11 17:38:46

I'd go for option 2.

Is it really the case that you'd have more rest on the 3 day week? It sounds like DS keeps you busier than any employer would. I wonder if you wouldn't be more relaxed and less tired all round with the extra hours - I think it actually might free you up to help him more with schoolwork. Money worries and physical exhaustion are are lethal combo IME and (again IME) caring for our children is more exhausting than (almost) any work because of the massive emotional investment we make.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Thu 16-Jun-11 17:50:53

The problem is he needs help or he will continue to get worse in school. And he has also being messed up recently by this divorce process malarkey...

I agree very much about the money and relaxed times at work but I feel bad about letting my son down when he needs help sad Should I feel like this or not?

AmberLeaf Thu 16-Jun-11 17:51:02

If option 1 will cover all of your needs then tbh id go for that.

Tolalola Thu 16-Jun-11 17:59:55

I'd go for option 1 and look for a bit of extra online/from home work to do for a little spare money.

FionaJT Thu 16-Jun-11 20:33:50

I'd go for option 1, providing it is basically do-able financially. If your son's at school presumably you will get some down time on your non working days. I work 3 days and when my dd started school and I got that extra time it made such a difference. And there's always a risk that you will end up spending the extra money on time saving conviniences that you wouldn't need if you weren't so frazzled.

SuePurblybilt Thu 16-Jun-11 20:39:38

May be a stupid question but have you properly looked into the tax credits etc to get a proper view of the two options? Option One may not be as bad as you think?

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Thu 16-Jun-11 21:05:04

Thank you for your answers.

Amberleaf, option1 covers all our basic needs namely mortgage and services, car expenses, food, insurances and perhaps clothing (basic). No holidays or unexpected expense whatsoever.

Tolalola, I have done a bit of online/from home work. Considering the amount of time involved when there is no structure on those days, I found out I was working far more for far less money than if I was sitting at the office.

Fiona, yes, you have a good point there, not going to work in a couple of days represent a saving in car expenses and clothing.

Sue, I have examined all the possibilities with tax credits and variations. The salary I have and the hours I do mean that if I work full time I get considerably less Tax Credits even when TC help with childcare costs. so it is basically working 2 full extra days for 50 week more which may relax the financial difficulties at home in exchange of more stress, but then I need the money.

May need to shuffle the finances a bit to see what else, if anything, can get sacrificed (I have already done the find the chepest service costs, mortgage and I do my weekly shopping at Aldi, clothes from Primark, etc.).

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Thu 16-Jun-11 21:06:01

Another interesting asect, if I work full time I get certain flexibility, if work part time, none.

Bearinthebigwoohouse Thu 16-Jun-11 21:19:20

It's a difficult one and I can see why you're torn. I get a day off a week and it makes all the difference, just to have a bit of headspace for a few hours. Is there any possibility of pay rises coming that would make a difference? Have you included the childcare aspect of the tax credits? I haven't any suggestions to make other than that, but just wanted to post in support.

Bearinthebigwoohouse Thu 16-Jun-11 21:21:02

What about school holidays? Will there be any extra expense in getting those covered if you're full time?

chickflit Thu 16-Jun-11 21:31:56

I am in exactly the same position as you, lone parent DS1 has ASD, dyslexia, dyspraxia. I work the equivalent of your option 1, I can tell you it's exhausting worrying about money constantly, every month there is something extra, the price of fuel is hammering me at the moment taking DS back and forth to his appointments every week. In the time I have off when DS isn't here I don't really have time to relax because I find myself doing jobs I can't do when DS is home.

I'd go for full time and flexibility.

Best of luck.

pearcider Thu 16-Jun-11 22:14:50

I'm in a similar situation with DD who has ADD and autism. I work p/t too, as DLA and CA/disabled CTC meant that the financial issues were eased somewhat. For me, it was more important to have time to support DD, by advocating for her (sorting out her statement) and learning strategies to deal with her issues (attending training courses and studying specific behavioural programmes).

It's made more sense for me to put my time into getting support for her at school and also getting respite from social services (she's now in a specialist unit and gets short breaks, which she wouldn't have got if I hadn't cut my hours because it takes time to push for all of this).

Do you get DLA for your son and any specialist support from social services?

lookingfoxy Thu 16-Jun-11 22:24:59

I would go for option 2 tbh.
I've just upped my hours and I do feel bad about not being with ds as much as before, but he is coping with it absolutely fine, as long as your ds is with trusted caregivers then I would go for it.
Benefits are that ds has a much wider social circle now than before and does more activities.
I really enjoy my job as well.
Not having money worries (certainly not rolling in it, but knowing I won't be totally f**** if the washing machine packs in, need a new tyre on the car etc) is a HUGE weight off my mind.
Being able to say YES to a treat for ds.
Being able to afford the extra petrol to take me and ds off somewhere nice for the day.
I could go on, you get the picture smile.
I really worried before I agreed to up my hours, but it really has worked out, I do know that if it hadn't then they would have let me reduce again, would this be an option for you?

boxingHelena Fri 17-Jun-11 01:18:05

no doubt option 2 for all the reasons people have already mentioned

gillybean2 Fri 17-Jun-11 06:27:47

How old is your ds?

Assuming he is not very young I would say Option 2.
Until recently I chose time with ds in favour of money. It's been years of struggle financially and the added stress and worry hasn't helped.

Would also add that the extra £500 a year WTC you get when you jump from part time to full time hours has made a huge difference to me. That's £10 a week extra on top of the extra pay (less the WTC credit reduction for extra pay of couse - but still net in my favour a bit).
So if you're £50 a week better off then do it. It will also mean you can afford a babysitter or activities for ds which keep him busy and give you an hour or two rest.

I now have upped my hours to ful time (30 hours pw) and it has made a huge difference to what I have in my pocket and my money worries. We're not living in luxury still, but just to have a bit of cash to go to the cinema, or soft play centre or wherever where ds runs around like mad, I get a break of sorts.
Yes I am more tired but I wouldn't go back.

Can you negotiate into the full time deal that you have the option to take an extra couple of weeks time off unpaid should you need it? That combined with some flexi time and possibly doing some work at home in the evenings (if it's an option), might mean you can have more time away visiting family or at home in holidays.

I actually work term time only now so I don't have to worry about holiday cover too much. Apart from the summer when I go in for 2.5 of the 6 weeks.
So ask about that and see what they say.

bonkers20 Fri 17-Jun-11 06:38:31

Option 1. My life is very different, but having done both options, the worry over children outweighs the worry over money. £50 will make a difference of course, but not as much difference as the benefit of the extra time.

I think working full time may result in your spending money that you might save if you're PT.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Fri 17-Jun-11 13:35:34

Hi, thank you for all your messages.

I had a conversation with my boss this morning and as she put it, it was very simple I either took the extra days or not. At the end I managed to convice her to let me start the full time in Spetember which will allow me to go for my 3 days a week pattern for a month just during the summer holiday so I avoid to pay holiday club 5 days a week and still have 4 full free days for DS and other urgent shores each week.

I guess now that I have the fulltime and certain flexibility, it is all about deciding a working pattern that keep DS and I in a good routine. I have been playing with different variations and if I start work at 8 each day, I may be able to pick up DS at end of school 3 days. I may even squeeze two hours out on my own while he is at school if I work a very long day the days he is going to after school club. All this by paying only £4 pounds more a week in childcare.

TheMotherOfAllDilemmas Fri 17-Jun-11 14:05:47

I also noticed that by allowing the other person to take the extra 2 days, I was passing the main responsibilities to her which meant also that I would be missing my place in the queue for a possible promotion. (and keeping just the boring stuff)

The £50 won't make much difference but seeing it in another way, they are enough to cover 2 sessions a week with his writing tutor. (Guess I will be still worrying about the car breaking up or something expensive in the house being replaced.... but now, there are options IYWIM

Many thanks

SuePurblybilt Fri 17-Jun-11 14:13:19

Glad it's worked out for you smile

Bearinthebigwoohouse Fri 17-Jun-11 19:13:05

I'm sure it'll work out for you. There is nothing worse than constantly having to worry about money, so this does at least ease that for you. And like you say, you'll be better placed for a promotion now. That's good news about it starting in September too.

I've shifted round my working pattern a couple of times now since becoming an LP, and I always find that once I get into a routine of knowing which days I work long days and how to organise things at home around that it gets much easier.

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