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Child's illness. Career going down the drain

(16 Posts)
EnoughAlreadyNow Tue 12-Jan-16 09:18:10

I'm a relatively new single parent (split from husband last summer), and was a SAHM prior to the split. Now I'm working in a role where cover is critical (IT related), and you need to be reliable, dependable etc.
I have a two year old son who's been in nursery since last summer. He obviously picked up all the bugs when starting nursery, and still is likely to suffer from perforated eardrums whenever he gets a cold.

I'm off work AGAIN today, because my son has yet another burst ear drum. Blood/pus on his undersheet this morning, and sure enough, when I took him to the GP they confirmed it was burst again and he needed antibiotics. Nursery won't take them for the first 24 hours when they are taking antibiotics.

So frustrated. No matter how organised I am (up at 5:30, bags packed etc), I still have to take time off at no notice and as a result look completely unreliable.

But according to my STBXH, the reason why I don't have as good a quality of life as he does (high earner) is because I don't work hard enough to have a decent job. Not that I'm barely managing to hold on to the job I have, and be the sole carer for our son at the same time.

Could seriously cry right now.

babyreets Tue 12-Jan-16 09:22:59

You have my sympathy.

I'm in the same boat today, my employer has made his displeasure known and my Ex has shrugged his shoulders via text.

I feel sick with it all.

PurpleWithRed Tue 12-Jan-16 09:23:13

I'm afraid this is going to happen quite a bit with a youngish child in a nursery. Can you change childcare and get a nanny share? or find a childminder who is able to look after DS even if he's poorly?

I assume xdh can't step into the breach (hollow laugh).

EnoughAlreadyNow Tue 12-Jan-16 09:30:01

Babyreets - same here. It would have been easier to call in sick myself. There's the assumption that taking time off for a sick child is somehow just bad planning on your part.

PurpleWithRed - need a nanny, but am in that middle income bracket where I can't really afford one but have the responsibility that needs dependable child care. Also - in an area where Nannies are seen as the preserve of the super rich (not the SE). When the marital home is sold and I'm in a position to buy again, will look into live-in au pair to help with school drop offs etc but that's a year or so off yet.

Just when you think you've got everything in hand....

Sometimesithinkimbonkers Tue 12-Jan-16 10:04:38

Ive got DS 6 and he has complex needs!!!! He's been off since the week before Christmas. Got hospital appointment tomorrow and therapy on Thursday ! I don't think I'll ever return to work!

Scootering Tue 12-Jan-16 10:12:16

I think it depends on your arrangements in terms of 'childcare': if you have 50:50 responsibility for the children then you can argue for your ex-H to take at least half of these days off (assuming they fall on 'his' days).

This is what I do with my ex-H. However, it does mean that although he is a high earner, I don't get any maintenance.

changename54 Tue 12-Jan-16 10:37:45

Yep, it's a nightmare isn't it? I mean this in the nicest way, but at only 2 years old you have years of this problem ahead of you, so is the job you are in sustainable? I'm now massively over-qualified for the job I'm in, but it has flexible work days, which is the only way I can manage things.

Also, again sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but when DS moves onto school, not nursery, he will be there for much shorter hours and fewer weeks (8:30 - 3pm, 39 weeks a year) than he is in nursery. When you add in illness, snow days, teachers' strikes etc I used to think my DCs were only in school for about 34 weeks a year.

If your XH is a high earner and you are the main carer for DS, doesn't your XH give you child maintenance/spousal maintenance to account for the fact that your earnings potential is limited by your caring responsibilities?

R0nJ0n Tue 12-Jan-16 10:44:35

Could you switch to a sympathetic childminder? DD was just the same as your son at that age, and if it wasn't for my childminder taking her when she was ill I would have lost my job. The childminder even took DD to doctors appointments for me and had her when she had chickenpox (the CM's son and the other child she minded had both had it).

EnoughAlreadyNow Tue 12-Jan-16 11:01:54

It's difficult. I can't afford to earn less than I do now; ex's maintenance can't be depended on (may decide to work abroad, and he's already dating a woman with three children). He has a child from his first marriage so maintenance is only 8% at the moment, would be even less if he moved in with a partner who has children.
Will be in a better position when the divorce goes through - substantial equity in SE house and hoping to be awarded school fees.
In the meantime I have thought about switching to a childminder, but work needs me to be available from 8 - 6. Most childminders here don't offer those hours, and the nursery at least has the benefit of being onsite at work.

Jivetoes Tue 12-Jan-16 11:40:50

You have my sympathies, it's really hard. I agree with looking for a childminder, they may be more flexible, and have different requirements. Also may well be able to help when it comes to school age. My son is 10, I'm a single parent and he has no contact with ex. He was in hospital last week due to a condition he has so I had the week off ( 3days a week) he's needing a lot of extra care as is barely walking on crutches but is trying school today. I have a great childminder who will have him for the day when he can't cope with school but it's a huge juggle and stress and I am constantly exhausted!

Flowerpower41 Thu 14-Jan-16 11:08:53

Apparently cover sick children so far as I know - you would have to naturally pay them and they are all CRB checked etc and experienced and it is minimum wage - so is an outlay - but at least you could keep your job?

Might be worth looking into.

ittooshallpass Mon 18-Jan-16 20:26:37

Would your employer let you work from home; is it possible to work from home? Even if you only manage to field the emails coming in whilst looking after your DD you are showing willing. It's so, so hard trying to juggle it all... but rest assured there are many others in the same boat, so don't feel bad. Perhaps a chat with HR could help? As you work in IT, are they not more switched on about you working from anywhere?

Noggie Mon 18-Jan-16 20:36:24

You have my full sympathy - it is so hard when you have a poorly little one and worksad my eldest had multiple ear infections when first at nursery and I just hated phoning in to say I couldn't come in. I remember almost being pleased when she was unwell on a Friday night because I had the whole weekend to get her better without having to feel guilty about work. Also made me feel quite lonely and unsupported at times as couldn't leave her with anyone else. Hang on in there - it does get less stressful as they get bigger and less prone to bugs. X

PinkFlamingoAteMyLipstick Tue 19-Jan-16 11:55:34

Sympathy flowers. I'm going to be blunt. At some point you are going to have to face the reality that working 8 - 6 as a single mum is a very tough thing to do indeed. It's tough on you and harder on your DC. It's going to get harder too when your DC reach school age. Assuming you can even find wrap around care that fits, your DC will be utterly exhausted. In your position I would advise putting in place a career strategy that includes working less hours or the ability to work more flexibly. I did two years of full time high pressure work as a single mum and I cannot describe the relief I now feel at taking a massive pay drop and working less hours. My employer has a high calibre employee (that's me grin) at a very reasonable price and I work hard for them and make sure I deliver what's needed.

Anjelika Wed 20-Jan-16 11:55:27

Sympathy from me too. I have had experience of using nurseries and a childminder. Whilst you may find a childminder who will cover 8-6 (a friend of mine is a childminder and she covers these hours) I think you'd be very lucky to find one who will take a sick child. I had a wonderful childminder for my DTs but she would never take either of them if they were ill. Also with a childminder you have to take his/her holidays and sick days into account. These will potentially mean more time off from work which you don't have to worry about with a nursery.

I can only echo what others have said about finding a more flexible job yourself - this is going to possibly be even more important when your little one starts school. Although most? schools have a breakfast and after school club, like others have said, it can be exhausting for both you and your DS having such long days out of the house. I have changed my working pattern since my DCs have been at school so that I work more days but shorter hours each day.

megletthesecond Thu 21-Jan-16 20:11:26

Going off on a slight tangent here but some time ago I did some detective work to see if any insurance companies would insure me as a single working parent against having to take lots of time off if the dc's were to become seriously ill (there has been childhood leukemia in our extended family). So far I haven't found anything.

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