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Working mums please come and talk to me about your work/life balance, how many hours you do and what you think of my return to work plan

(36 Posts)
Wishfulmakeupping Thu 18-Apr-13 07:05:05

Intrigued to know what other working mums are doing how old baby will be, how many hours they will go back for it if you've already returned how its working for you and baby.

My plan is go back when my dd will be around 9 months.
Working hours will be 32 hours over 4 days (hopefully 8.30 until 4.30) I'm lucky enough to have my mum looking after dd but might just ask her to do it for 3 days, I'll have dd on my day off and then nursery for a day.
My partner usually finishes around 4 so he will pick dd up I can be home by 5ish if I can start work earlier.
At weekends I'd like us to be able to spend as much time as possible together so was thinking of hiring a cleaner for a couple of hours in the week to do bigger jobs then all we need to do is the everyday tidying?!

Does my plan sound workable? I'm already dreading going back and it's not until nov!

lydiajones Fri 19-Apr-13 17:23:37

I would do 2 morning of nursery if your grandparents are happy to pick up at 1pm. That way it is not too long a day for your baby, gives your parents a break as chances are your baby will sleep on those afternoons. It also gives you more flexibility as you may be able to book extra hours at the nursery if your parents want to go away or are ill.

Beatrixpotty Fri 19-Apr-13 14:39:18

Your plan sounds good,lucky you have GPs around to help.I went back to work when DS1 was 8m and found a really lovely cm.I felt happier leaving him with a family environment than at a nursery.After DS2 I went back when he was 12m,he had to go to nursery though with his brother but it was fine.I've just had DS3.I think I'll have about 11m off and will be employing a nanny as will have 1 in reception needing 3pm pick up & 2 younger ones.Since having DCs I've worked anything from 2-4 days per week ,9-5.30,3 days per week worked best for me in terms of work/life balance.

Jessepinkman Fri 19-Apr-13 00:06:22

We had gp prepared to look after our dc, we went for two half days at nursery so they knew the day wasn't too long, and I think twice a week at least gets them into the routine more.

It also gave our nanas a lie in twice a week.

When they get to school age and you think your childcare issues are over, is when they begin.

Your set up sounds fine, btw, I'd just go for two mornings rather than one whole day.

AuntySib Thu 18-Apr-13 23:51:14

Sounds like a good plan. my only reservation ( based on personal experience) is that one day a week at nursery might be problematic, in that a week is long time for a baby, who may find it hard to settle. I did try one day a week with a second childminder, who was very nice, but the upset it caused DS3 and me made it unworkable.
BooCanary mentioned that 2 half days at nursery ( or even 3) might work better, and I agree, simply becuase it will then be more familiar.
I'm not entirely convinced by the benefits of nursery until at least 2 though, think baby might be happier with granny while it's little.

DuelingFanjo Thu 18-Apr-13 23:34:50

I went back full time when ds was between 9 and 10 months. Was very lucky to get him into a nursery across the road from work and I was able to go and breastfeed him at lunchtime. Once he hit a year I stopped going over but sent breast milk then after a while he switched to cows milk.

Settling in was awful, and although he loves it there we do have some days when he just doesn't want to go, even to his favourite carers.

On the whole it's been ok. My mum has home one day a week - she comes and picks him up and lives abt five miles away, I pick him up.

I work 9.30 - 5.30. I tend to spend a lot of time with my son (he is 2 years and 4 months) as his bed time is variable s we often get a lot of the in the evening for fun like painting, playing in the garden, gong to the park etc, though winter was annoying.

He eats with us at around seven pm. I try to be organised enough to have five outfits ready for me and him which i Prepare on a Sunday. Weekends are basically devoted to him and to family time, though we see parents and in-laws or other family a lot too so can't always do what we want. I do tidying, cleaning, washing etc. the evenings if at all - I am a slattern so I don't really care about having a clean house.

I have several baskets in which to dump crap if I need to tidy up in a hurry.

I think you are lucky to have a husband who can pick up your child early and so long as you are organised things will go well.

Yardarm Thu 18-Apr-13 23:24:14

In our experience they settled into nursery fairly easily at about 7-8 mo, 2 mornings a week and I think the nursery experience was a very positive one for them. A mix of nursery and Grandparent care is probably the best of all worlds if you are working 32 hours if your mum is willing to make such a big commitment.

RMSeries2 Thu 18-Apr-13 23:13:58

We have no family nearby so that's significant difference, although they do pitch in occasionally. One GP initially offered to do 1 dpw childcare (coming from 2 hours away) but I declined as it was too uncertain (what happens when there's snow/when she's ill/when she has a better offer etc).

I worked 4 dpw from when DC1 was 9mo. He went to nursery 4 dpw. After DC2 I went back to work when she was 9mo as well (DC1 was 2.9). Went back 3dpw. Both jobs were in 'the city' but I have basically taken a career step back to be able to work 3 dpw rather than 4 and have taken a pay cut. However, it was a good choice for me. When doing 4 days/week I was definitely working almost the same as full time hours (although my hours were always 'more than full time' anyway). I felt quite resentful and often stressed. I spent a lot of my days off on email and having to work while DC1 napped etc. While I now keep an eye on my email on my days off, I do not feel guilty if I don't do so for several hours and I really feel like I manage the time in my job and with my family much better now. Having said that, I'm only financially able to afford to do what I do now because DH's salary props us up.

Nursery, from a young age, has been wonderful for us. I feel quite sad that DC1 is moving on soon. DCs both love it and DC1 has wonderful friends that he's known since being genuinely tiny. Both settled quickly, although probably a couple of months before there were no tears at all on drop off. Really (touch wood) very few bugs indeed - and their immune systems are probably all the better for those they have had. We use an independent, slightly chaotic, but very friendly nursery - rather than our other local option which is a very structured chain nursery where the facilities are excellence but it felt a bit more impersonal to me somehow.

For me 3 dpw is a fabulous balance. I'd go stir crazy with the kids all week - wonderful as they are - but I'm just not the type who could stimulate kids to the extent they deserve if I had to do it all the time. We would all hate it and they would be entirely bored if they had to spend all their time with me (and me too). But with 2 dpw at home with them I can think of enough interesting things to do that we all have a nice time most of the time. I feel very very fortunate indeed to have been able to found this sort of balance.

Lulabellarama Thu 18-Apr-13 21:10:49

Bugs aren't inevitable, but they are extremely likely

forevergreek Thu 18-Apr-13 20:20:42

As grandparents are offering that sounds great.

Instead of paying for nursery place a few days, could you maybe pay for your mum to have a cleaner come to her house a few hours a week to help. Then once she is 2 she could start pre school every morning for a few hours. So it would be just over a year of full time care.

doublecakeplease Thu 18-Apr-13 19:57:23

I know that some children struggle to settle but others don't. We had one settling session and DS has gone in no bother since then. i never get so much as a backwards glance (sob) and he loves it - pretty much climbs over his key worker to get into the room!!

Each to their own but i personally don't think it's too young for them to go to nursery!

quietus Thu 18-Apr-13 18:21:45

It is great if you could involve your parents as much as you can because (in my opinion) 8 month old baby is still too small for the nursery. The poor little thing can't even walk properly, let alone communicate with other children. A combination of grandparents and nursery would work fine.
Once you start working you will actually realise how better organised you will become. Because you won't have so much time to waste, you will do more and you will be more productive. That has happened to me.
As my partner lives in another town and there is no family around, I had to set up a very strict schedule which actually works well: 1. getting up and 6 and fixing lunch for the nursery 2. 8-9 nursery drop-off 9-5. work 5-6. nursery pick up 6-onwards - dinner, play, bath time, etc.
The worst thing for me was my DS crying every morning because he didn't want to go to the nursery, but that eventually stopped as well.
As for the nursery bugs, we had at least one/month. i am lucky enough that i have a job which can be also done from home, otherwise i would bankrupt!!!!
I don't have to wish you a Good Luck, as I am sure that you will be fine!


TiredFeet Thu 18-Apr-13 17:15:45

bugs aren't inevitable though lulabellarama, DS has been at nursery for nearly two years now and has only picked up one bug in all that time.

Lulabellarama Thu 18-Apr-13 16:45:57

I'd also avoid nursery if possible, if only to minimise the amount of bugs your child will be exposed to and pick up (which you will then also get)

BooCanary Thu 18-Apr-13 16:42:54

I agree that 1 day in nursery per week is unsettling. My DCs nursery won't accept children long term on just 1 day per week for that very reason (although they are OK with 2x half days).

I have worked half days, every day iyswim since DD was 8mo. She started nursery at 8mo and she seemed very young. DS started at 12mo which was much better.

I use nursery to cover all my working days but my parents step in to cover illness or when I need to work longer hours. I found part time hours perfectly manageable when dcs were babies, but once DD started school, and after school hobbies, it got very busy. I wish I could afford a cleaner cos I am rushed off my feet most days.

One thing to note, I thought it was going to be a nightmare (juggling work and children) but its actually easier than I'd thought. You just need a cast iron routine, back up plans and good organisation and ignore the messy house . Good luck.

KatyN Thu 18-Apr-13 15:23:04

My little man does one day at nursey and he's fine there. Ir probably took about 3 months for his to start going without a few tears but now he reaches out (6 months in) to his carer. In the first 3 months (of horror - tears for both of us) he also had quite a few days sick.

He also started at about 10 months and I don't feel it was too early. We don't have family near by so GP care wasn't an option.


sedgieloo Thu 18-Apr-13 09:05:41

I was thinking along the same lines of motduesoon

It could be a bit unsettling at this age. It's a personal thing, but I would keep the care in the family as long as it worked well for everyone.

JassyRadlett Thu 18-Apr-13 08:59:20

Absolutely workable. I do FT hours over 4.5 days and so does DH, the time during the week with DS is really precious to us.

The only word of warning from me was that we started with 1 day of nursery a week and DS didn't settle, at all. It was horrible. Once he was up to 4 days he was absolutely fine. Separation anxiety can be a real issue for some kids, so I'd keep it under review.

saycheeeeeese Thu 18-Apr-13 08:17:18

My DD loves her Nana more than me and only spends 2 day with her grin
It's a grandmother's perogative im afraid, they never say no and always have sweets.

doublecakeplease Thu 18-Apr-13 08:15:28

Sounds like a really good plan. I went back when DS was 7 months. We're all (me, DH, DS) out of the house from 7.15 till about 6 ish. Jealous of the cleaner though ;-)

Both Grannies do a day with DS (we are very lucky) and he's in nursery 2 days. Works perfectly for us. If one Granny is ill / on holiday the other Granny or nursery do an extra day. If you only use your mum have you thought what you'd do on her holidays etc?? Nursery also means DS socialises and we don't feel like he's being 'brought up' by our parents (lovely as they are)

dizzy77 Thu 18-Apr-13 08:12:33

It's worth thinking about the non-financial "cost" of GP childcare. Whilst my parents are great and love having DS for a day, its a lot of work for a recently retired couple in their 60s with early mornings, long relentless days etc, and I was concerned at the outset they'd find it hard. Settling "ground rules" (nicely) at the outset and talking about what might go wrong and how you'd address it is really important.

dizzy77 Thu 18-Apr-13 08:09:44

I work 3 days (long commute) and DH also commutes, working 90% of his hours over 4 days. Went back when DS was 11 months and he's been in nursery 1 day and with my parents for 1 day. Didn't have the problem pp mentioned about him settling with nursery just one day: they've been great and whilst we had a bumpy patch a few weeks in (and again as he moved up to the next room) he loves it there and has a great time. I think of it as a big day out with lots going on once a week. Plus just having one day in nursery means there is only one day where its a problem if he is sick - so far, touch wood, we've managed through a combination between me, DH and the GPs.

I'm paid for 21 hours but realistically do more like 28, I'm ok with this as my 35 hour full time job was never just that. It also took a good 2-3 months for me to settle, work out my boundaries, what I was willing to do on my non working days to demonstrate some flexibility and what was unreasonable. I asked for 3 days at the outset (with one of those at home) as my experience of others working 4 days was they got paid 80% of the money to do 100% of the job: it gave (and gives) me scope to request more hours if I need to where I think they'd be less willing to entertain dropping back at a later stage. The wfh was my negotiating point - it never really worked as I hoped in that there was usually a reason to be in the office on the day I'd planned to be out so I "gave that back" when the arrangement was reviewed 3 months in.

Sharing drop offs/pick ups/sickness cover with your other half and planning swaps between you and your work diaries for when things need to change (eg planned late working, nights out, early mornings etc) has been key. It's still all held together by Sellotape, if something breaks it all needs looking at again, but having plan a, plan b, plan c in mind helps.

Wishfulmakeupping Thu 18-Apr-13 08:08:57

And my mum really doesn't want her to go into nursery either but I don't want to burden my poor mum too much she already does a lot for my niece. And I hate to admit it but am worried dd will love my mum more than me if she's spending 4 days a week with her sounds like the most selfish person ever sad

MOTduesoon Thu 18-Apr-13 08:02:40

Wouldn't recommend nursery for such a young child if you have lovely parents wanting to look after her.

Wishfulmakeupping Thu 18-Apr-13 07:55:51

Sorry I would be doing 8- 4.30 4 days so paid for 32 hours Iyswim.

The nursery side isn't definite and my mum wants to have dd for the 4 days and she would be brilliant with her she looked after my niece and took her all over but not sure. For those of you with grandparents doing the childcare has it been ok??

My mum wouldn't be able to take dd to nursery as the closest one is still too far away and isn't very good either was planning on one close to my work. But when dd is old enough there is a fab playschool round corner from mums which she would be going in a few mornings a week

Figgygal Thu 18-Apr-13 07:36:25

I do 32 hrs mon-thu dh has ds thursdys i have him fridays it has worked since he was 7mo, i have loved being back to work and he loves it at cm.

I would say make sure you have accounted for a break in your hours legally you have to take out 20 mins in 6 hours so i think you might not get away with 8.30-4.30. I usually do around 8.30-5.00.

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