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Should I increase my work hours?

(10 Posts)
pollyhadadolly Thu 02-Nov-17 09:09:49

I’m very conflicted and really worried. I am a lone parent to a son and have been since his birth 14 years ago. My son has never known his father. My own family live all around the world and we maybe see them every 3-4 years for a day at a time. We’ve all grown apart and they’re just not a very caring lot. My son has no discernible relationship with any of them. By his own mouth he’s said they are ‘nothing’ to him. I’ve been working since my son was 2, gradually building up from 18.75 hours a week, then to 25 hours, and for the last 4 years, 30 hours a week (over 5 days). I recently applied for a new job within the same organisation (NHS) and I am due to start it on Monday. It is a promotion and I am long overdue for it, having stayed at the same grade for 12 years and working way above my pay grade, simply because of the availability of jobs above a certain grade at anything other than full-time hours. When this job, that I am due to start on Monday, was advertised the job advert/job description said “part time hours will be considered”, so I thought ‘Yes’! I wouldn't have applied for it if it hadn't said this. On the second interview, where they offered me the job, I asked if they would consider 30 hours, I was told ‘No’. Apparently they didn’t realise they’d put that on the paperwork. They said they might consider it after a few months but they’d see how it goes. I don’t even know if I can do three months. My current role, which I am due to finish tomorrow is 5 mins away, and the new one is 45 mins away. In addition to the extra 7.5hours work, I’ll also be adding 7.5hours of a commute. That’s an extra 15 hours a week out of the house when, quite frankly, I’m already struggling. This year I got a new line manager and she turned out to be an absolute bully, which is what gave me the push to look for a new job. But the ‘promotion’ doesn’t really pay that much more – despite being two grades higher.
People have this idea that at 14 years old he can look after himself. Of course he can get himself a snack and, hopefully, not burn the house down. But, he’s got no family, he doesn’t go out with friends (because all the kids that do ‘go out’ just hang around the streets and, thankfully, that doesn’t interest him), there are no after school activities for his age group (the local sports provision is woeful), and he actually needs me more now than ever on an emotional level. I don’t want him to ‘go off the rails’ because I’m not around and he’s lonely. I grew up emotionally, and physically, neglected and I swore I would never neglect my son. I’ve been ‘doing the right thing’ for so long – but I’m tired and I don’t know if I can do any more. I’ve suffered from clinical depression for over 20 years, and whilst I manage quite well most of the time (even if it is a bit like a ball and chain), I do have occasional bad flare ups when I’m feeling really lonely, stressed and unsupported. I don’t want a cleaner in my house when I’m not here, and I’m happy enough to do bits through the week and at weekends. I don’t have anything else to do at weekends – no money and no support has gradually obliterated any social life, and the ‘friends’ I do have are more acquaintances. I really do, genuinely, have NOBODY to call on. I feel like the extra hours are just a step too far. My first priority is to my son and if I work these extra hours then I’m losing sight of my whole reason for living – i.e. to be a good mother to my son. I would really appreciate any thoughts on the following two options. Do I:
a)Take the new job for the small amount of extra money, thinking only of the long game – i.e. career advancement, and leave my son vulnerable and myself even more worn out, or …
b)Go and speak to my boss today and ask if I can stay on, and forget about career advancement for the next few years, and just accept that I’m making a positive choice to be a better mother to my son, and accept my limitations.
I can’t shake the thought that women are now expected to do the job of what would have been 2 people. Work full-time and be a good mother/keep house? Is it possible with no support? Should I just resign myself to low-paid and mind-numbing work for the wider good of our lives? Or should I progress at work, leaving us in more precarious position. It’s a ‘cost/benefit’ thing really. The trouble is, the longer I leave ‘progressing’ the less likely it is to happen and if I don’t take this job I am worried that I’ll end up being stuck in a rubbish job, on low pay, well after my son grows up. Should I just take this opportunity and hope for the best, but terrified that if it doesn’t work out, I’ll find myself unemployed. Is it better the devil you know than the devil you don’t? Is it worth the risk? Have I worked this hard for 14 years to be a good mother only to fall at the last hurdle?
Please don’t attack me and tell me how rubbish I am – I don’t think I could take it. I’m looking for constructive thoughts and shared experiences, not abuse. Thanks 😊

Starlight2345 Thu 02-Nov-17 13:39:44

I would seriously consider the job . I know people who have really struggled to cope financially when child tax credit stop . You aren’t a bad mum putting food on the table . I imagine you are going in on lower end of the scale but will increase

hmmwhatatodo Fri 03-Nov-17 20:03:47

What times are you and your son out of the house now and what times would it be with the new job? How much more extra money a year would it be? Any other good points like more holiday/pension/whatever? I suppose my situation is fairly similar and I am out of the house 9.5 hours a day 5 days a week.

Akire Fri 03-Nov-17 20:10:09

Sounds harder with depression. 40 h would be normal plus 45m
Travel. Let’s say leave house 8.15 presume son leaves school around them. Then work 9-5.30 and home 6.15. So so be home 2h on own if not at clubs etc?

That’s still lot of evening together to cook chat. Agree about tax credits once they stop you be paying full rent and living on 30h that be hard. But depends when next job like this would come up again so close?

Mambot Fri 03-Nov-17 20:29:06

I just want to say I read this and thought how strong you are, not how rubbish you are. I'm a single mum to a 2 year old now and I work 40 hrs a week but my mum helps with childcare so I'm not in such a tough position.

My father died when I was ten though, and I grew up just me and my mum. She was out of the house when I got home from school until 7 in the evening. I never went out with people where I lived as, just as you said they just hung around and I wasnt interested. I don't feel I suffered for it at all, there would always be a marmite sandwich and a little bar of chocolate on the kitchen counter, a note with a cartoon everyday and water in the kettle and a cup ready for tea. When she came home at seven we sat together sometimes and had dinner and watched TV. I remember the time really fondly.

I don't know if that helps, but the main reason to reply was just to say I feel for your situation and you are definitely not rubbish! ❤

Love51 Fri 03-Nov-17 20:34:04

Clinical or admin? My mum did nhs admin full time from when I started secondary and it was great because she started at 8 and was home for 4.20 usually. Obviously if you're assisting surgery or something flexi time doesn't work in your favour so much.

PollyPelargonium52 Sat 04-Nov-17 08:13:54

You must encourage ds to go out with friends. My ds was antisocial until only recently. It started to worry me. He is 12 and a half and goes out Saturday afternoons with boys who go out on their bikes and eat at McDonalds then back to one of the boys' houses. Then recently he has started hanging around with two other friends e.g. Sunday afternoon or Friday evening.

I would work more hours personally and not fret. We have no family support or help from the ex either it is just one of those things.

PollyPelargonium52 Sat 04-Nov-17 08:16:15

I am planning to extend two days of my work soon and was thinking of having a slow cooker to sort meals etc. Hope this helps.

scrabbler3 Mon 06-Nov-17 23:46:56

If it helps, I think it's the norm for 14yo to come home before their parent/s at least a couple of days per week. He certainly won't feel unusual compared to his classmates. And presumably he doesn't go to bed before 9ish, which means that you'll see each other for a few hours, unlike working parents of preschoolers who often only have an hour with them.

If you claim tax credits, you'll be probably expected to work full time when you migrate to UC so it's worth pre-empting that now so that there's no panic when the letter arrives from DWP.

Yika Wed 08-Nov-17 07:50:48

I think you should take the promotion - you need this boost - and reconsider household help. A cleaner is a must. Perhaps find someone who could come at the weekend initially until you have built up trust? Or someone who could come several days in the early evening to straighten up and help prep a meal?

If you are able to request part time again further down the line, it would be a shame to pass up this opportunity.

Worst case scenario: if you found it didn't work for you, could you downgrade again to a similar role to your current one?

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