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Working parents, how do you do it?

(46 Posts)
BangOffTrend Mon 01-Oct-12 20:32:53

I'm currently a SAHM but thinking of returning to some form of work, if someone will have me after 4 years at home. 3 DC aged 6, 4 and 2. DH out of house from 7h30 to 19h30.

Can it be done without being driven mad with stress, your relationship breaking down and life being generally totally rubbish? The good food, the homework, the after school activities, the cuddling and chatting, the adult time, the washing, the everything... Just how do you manage?

forgottenpassword Mon 01-Oct-12 20:43:05

I have 3 DC slightly younger than your 3.
I am out of the house 8 till 8 every day (except Fridays when i work from home). Dh is out 7.30 till 6.30. I am lucky enough to be very well paid so it makes sense for us. BUT we have to have a nanny and a cleaner who does all the ironing etc too or we would spend all of our precious weekend time with Dc on housework. It is stressful but financially worth it in the short term at least. Also though not as pleasurable as being a Sahm for me personally, it is much less hard work being in the office.

AllPastYears Mon 01-Oct-12 20:45:44

Just don't get a job with the same hours as your DP - you will go mad! grin Seriously though, I've done both and part-time is so much easier. If you're both full-time, evenings are very short and filled with cooking, washing, baths and grumpiness all round. Also, what childcare will you use? If you have to drop off/pick up that adds on to your day and doesn't look like your DH will be able to help.

A friend once said to me that it doesn't really matter what you do at your job - all that matters is where it is and what hours you do (to that I'd add, how much they pay you!) It's nice to have job satisfaction, sure, but with 3 kids to work around I would basically agree with her.

AllPastYears Mon 01-Oct-12 20:46:42

forgottenpassword, you must be exhausted!

TheBeanAndTheBee Mon 01-Oct-12 20:47:32

Watching with interest. Have just gone back to work after almost 3 years as a SAHM. Our first weekend of both of us being at work full time was taken up mainly with washing and doing all the chores I used to do during the week. If anyone has any tips, even little things, I would love to hear them!

LadyStark Mon 01-Oct-12 20:51:41

I only have one DD and we mostly manage ok.

Cleaner, good childcare, being organised and a flexible employer helps - DP and I do drop off/pick up at one end of the day each and pick her up straight from school on alternate Wednesdays. We make sure she has school lunch so supper can be something light, or I cook a big portion of something at the weekend and make it last.

I think we have a pretty good balance but I am mostly knackered. Although I felt like that when I was at home too! I think it's the lack of lie-ins!

LadyStark Mon 01-Oct-12 20:55:11

I would recommend outsourcing everything you can afford to, get a cleaner, use a dry cleaner, get an ironing lady etc.

Don't put yourself under too much pressure at weekends to do exciting stuff, more often than not we are all happy with chilling out, park and seeing family.

Be organised! We use outlook calendars to organise time, pick ups, who is out when, what chores need to happen etc.

Flossiechops Mon 01-Oct-12 20:57:39

No it cannot be done without being driven mad unless you have a lot of help like the above poster. Do you really want to have to employ people to run your life whilst you work? Money is great but god it's not everything. I talk from bitter experience as a working mum who feels torn between needing to earn a salary and raising her children. My dh is being driven to distraction looking after the dc whilst I'm at work during the evening (I'm a nurse), this has caused friction between us over the past few years. I earn 3 times more than what I used to but I've never been more unhappy with my quality of life. Don't do it, unless your desperate, enjoy your children they are only little for such a short time.

AuntLucyInPeru Mon 01-Oct-12 21:02:23

Excellent nanny, 2hrs prof cleaner/ironer a day, Ocado, dry cleaners that pick up and drop off from the office; on-call handyman; DH who does as many pickups and drop offs as I do; online gmail family diary synched with iPhones of nanny/DH/I 24/7.

jumpyjan Mon 01-Oct-12 21:05:32

I have 2 DC age 5 and 3 and I work full time. DH works full time also (though not as long days as your DH). We cope fine, not saying I wouldn't love to have more time in the day but we manage. We are v organised, pack lunches made night before, school bag emptied and letters/ birthday invitations dealt with same day, healthy quick tea cooked for children, DD does her spellings/reading before bathtime, children bathed and have a couple of books before bedtime - DH and I have meal together and bottle glass of wine and chat about our days (the bit before all of this is rather full on and its difficult to say more than hello to each other!).

We make use of breakfast and afterschool clubs which seems to work fine, the youngest can be a bit tired some days after we pick him up though.

Its not easy but I genuinely believe everyones needs are met. Good food and prompt bedtime is a priority as is DH and I talking and eating together once DC's asleep.

I think the only downside is that I don't get much time to myself (neither does DH) as when I am not at work I feel I should and want to spend my time with the DC's.

Good luck with looking for work if thats what you decide to do.

FergusSingsTheBlues Mon 01-Oct-12 21:07:57

I hate it. I dont see my son enough. Im really well paid which makes the dilemma worse, but, no, i think its destructive to our family life and i resent it.

TheMonster Mon 01-Oct-12 21:10:05

We leave the house at 7.30am and return at 6pm. It is manageable and we make the most of weekends. Washing, shopping, cleaning has to wait until the weekend usually as I work at home in the evenings too.

Hassled Mon 01-Oct-12 21:13:09

Online shopping and batch cooking - never, ever make one meal's worth of, say, bolognese sauce when you can multiply the ingredients and have some meals in the freezer.

Make the most of bath times, make the most of the walk/drive home. You can still get the chatting time. And yes, have very low expectations re what you will achieve/do at the weekends outside the house. Don't make overly ambitious knackering plans for the weekend.

It is hard - I've had a long break and am only just finding my feet having returned to proper work rather than bits and bobs of PT stuff.

barristermum Mon 01-Oct-12 21:21:07

I've worked full time since dd was 4mths and I love it. My job doesn't allow for part time and it's too fulfilling and vocational to have abandoned or left for a large gap.

Excellent childcare is non-negotiable, supportive partner helpful and if affordable a cleaner who irons is heaven-sent.

I like my dd seeing her mum go out to work hard at a job I love. My aspirations are not wholly centred on her achievements and my dh sees my need to work outside the home and supports it as I do him.

FionaOJ Mon 01-Oct-12 21:29:53

Hi, I don't know if I am a SAHM/WOHM really! I am at home with my dd everyday, except Sat + Sun when she goes to her dads. I work 2 evenings a week, usually 6-12, then I work 9/10 hour shifts on Sat and Sunday. My dp works 12-14 hour shifts 5 days a week so we are lucky if we get one evening a week together. It's hard but worth it.

Advice would be, take any offers of free childcare from family/close friends. Cook quick, easy meals for the children. Fish fingers won't kill them every now and then. Try and eat together, just you and dp, once a week with a glass of wine or 2 and a DVD. Easier said than done though!

LadyStark Mon 01-Oct-12 21:30:52

I agree with poster who said hours are important. I am home by 5:30 two days per week, 6:30pm the other two and either 3pm or 5pm on a Wednesday and we don't leave until 7:45am. With a little one who goes to bed early, if I did much longer hours I would not see her. DP and I both very strict with leaving the office on time (will work after bed of necessary).

FionaOJ Mon 01-Oct-12 21:31:45

Forgot to add, dd goes to nursery 3 mornings a week, for 3 hours. That's when I do housework, online food shop etc. Or sleep! Don't feel guilty for a mid day nap on your day off!

BackforGood Mon 01-Oct-12 21:41:23

I think it depends on a lot of things - one of the most important being how long you would be out the house. We've always both worked outside the home, but we're both in jobs that enable us to be home by 5.30 (can do work later when they are in bed). If you have to be out for a long day, then it will be very, very difficult, and, tbh, that time when you pick them up at 5 is the hardest time when you've come in from work and are trying to deal with 3 tired children, as well as getting the dinner on, drawing the curtains, checking the book bags, listening to what they are saying to you, etc. I think I would resent the fact I'd done all the work if my dh didn't get in until 7.30.
Of course, if you can afford nannys and cleaners, etc., then it would be a different story.

Viviennemary Mon 01-Oct-12 21:41:45

I think you would be very brave indeed to contemplate a job with three children so young and your DH working such long hours. One child I found not too bad working full time, two children not possible without me getting totally stressed. But everyone's different. You may be the type of person who just juggles it all beautifully.

Viviennemary Mon 01-Oct-12 21:42:27

I think you would be very brave indeed to contemplate a job with three children so young and your DH working such long hours. One child I found not too bad working full time, two children not possible without me getting totally stressed. But everyone's different. You may be the type of person who just juggles it all beautifully.

FairyPenguin Mon 01-Oct-12 21:54:53

My DH works similar hours to yours. I work part time and have 2 DC, one at school, one at nursery. We have a cleaner for 3 hours a week (cleaning and ironing), meal plan for the week to make sure we get quick meals the nights we are late home or need to get out again for swimming lessons, get milk delivered 3 times a week, shopping delivered once a week. Pack all bags the night before and leave in hallway, make packed lunches night before ready to take out of fridge.

We have some clubs on the weekends, so DH can help/take part but also so it's less stress on me during the week. However, we have had to give up one after school activity already this school year as I just couldn't handle the time pressures of getting 2 children from 2 places after work, feeding them and ferrying to yet another location for more than 2 nights a week.

If you have friends with children going to the same clubs then maybe you can take turns taking the children. Build up a selection of quick meals to cook, takes the stress out a lot for me. We batch cook meals such as chilli or bolognese and freeze them.

MrsWajs Mon 01-Oct-12 22:00:09

I only have one DD (18mo) and a DSS (4yo) who stays at weekends. I work 30 hours a week (shifts) and DP is self employed and can work around 50 hours a week. I don't have a cleaner or a nanny and I am basically knackered most of the time! I wish I could work less but financially we can't afford it so it's just the way it has to be for now.

Longtalljosie Mon 01-Oct-12 22:00:44

I work part time. That's how! But remember that if you do work part time, your DH needs to agree to do more of the housework. You can't do everything you currently do and also work p-t.

forgottenpassword Mon 01-Oct-12 22:24:20

Definitely the more help you can get the better. If you have to do all the housework yourselves on top of both working full time you will not be happy. The key is to make sure the time you do have as a family is quality time. That helps to alleviate the guilt most of us feel about not being at home full time.

happybubblebrain Mon 01-Oct-12 22:34:24

I only have one dd. I went back to work when she was 11 months old and worked full-time for four years. Last year I decided it was too hard trying to do the housework at 11pm after a very long day, especially as I don't have any support from anybody. So now I work 4 days a week and have one day to catch up with everything. I'd love to say it was financially worth it, but it isn't as I'm on a low income inspite of having a masters degree, 3 diplomas, lots of A-levels etc.

I am a bit knackered. I should be fed up, but I actually like hard work most of the time. DD is very happy and doing very well. I won't complain too much. I certainly wouldn't say life is rubbish, a little bit of free time would be great though.

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