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If your dc are two and a half years apart...

(10 Posts)
Milkymickey Tue 11-Feb-14 11:45:58

...can you tell me what it is like during the period when the youngest is 1-2 and the eldest 3.5-4.5?

I need to decide how many days to return to work for. At the moment i am not enjoying having two at home at all. I struggle with the noise and multiple demands, the lack of downtime, and all my favourite activities with one (swimming, cafes, shopping) are much harder or impossible.

Part of me wants to go back to work to escape, part of me thinks i must be a complete wimp, as stay at home mums manage five days a week and i am thinking of max two days at home in the week...

BingoWingsBeGone Tue 11-Feb-14 11:50:00

Mine are 21 months apart and I went back to work 2 days a week. Now they are both at school (7 & 5) I do 24hrs a week.

I couldn't manage the 5 days at home either. When your eldest is eligible for 15hrs preschool a week, that will be easier for you, especially if you can get 2.5 days rather than mornings or afternoons only

screamingeels Tue 11-Feb-14 11:55:08

I'm guessing the individual charcters of children, make the biggest difference. Our toddler was a dream, easy going, amenable the 3.5 to 4.5 year old was a demamding nightmare. Luckily weather was good that year and we went out a lot, also elder went to nursery 2 days a week.

Two years on 3.6 yr old is demanding, nightmare; 6 yr old becoming focussed, co-operative delight. So i think its being 3 which is an issue!

Milkymickey Tue 11-Feb-14 12:12:21

Ha, dc1 is currently in nursery three days a week anyway - i so am a wimp!

MasterFlea Tue 11-Feb-14 12:13:24

I think that there is no right or wrong answer. It is about what suits you.

I have a 2 yo and 4 yo. I am home 7 days a week and sometimes (like today) I envy DH as he goes out the door. I do enjoy it most of the time but some days I don't and i am just waiting for DH to come home so I can hide for half an hour.

Mostly, they play well together and with naps, mealtimes and playing, the day flies by. I'm expecting no3 in May and am trying not to think about how I will manage then.

Do what is right for you. There is no medal at the finish line.

I am at home because it suits our situation. I am doing what I want to do but even still it has its shitty days.

QueenofKelsingra Tue 11-Feb-14 12:35:44

I'm a SAHM to DS (4) and DTs (21m). the days when I have all 3 home are very hectic and hard work. mostly its fine but some days I am clock watching for DH to get home! DS1 is in pre-school 2.5 days which is lovely for all involved! quality time with the DTs and then after school time with all 3, its a nice balance!! this age now is harder than the newborn days to be honest as they are all mobile yet wanting/needing very different things/activities.

you have to do what is right for you, if you think 3 working days and 2 home days is the right thing then go for it and if it doesn't work out look to change it to something more suitable. there is no shame in wanting to work FT, pre-schoolers are demanding and very hard work! happy mum=happy children.

CaptainFabulous Tue 11-Feb-14 13:08:12

Mine are 17 months and almost 4; I went back 3 days then begged for a 4th!

I do find being at home pretty hard, although they are now starting to play together quite nicely so don't need my constant attention.

I found the hardest part was when the youngest was around 9-10 months and still needed a lot of babying. It's certainly a lot less stressful these days!

Wingdingdong Tue 11-Feb-14 13:39:33

Mine are 2 this month and 4.6 (in reception). Tbh since DC1 started school it has been completely hectic and neither child has had enough attention. DC1 needed a lot extra just due to starting school and phonics/reading/number practice etc (and demanding more attention due to jealousy). DC2 was just at the stage where you couldn't take your eye off him for a second and couldn't play by himself etc. there have been many days when I've wished I've been at work full time and have regretted taking an extra year's sabbatical!

However, I think it's been important for the DC to have me around as much as possible for such a transitional year. I think the jump from nursery 3 days a week to school 5 days a week has really affected DC1. Before September we did actually start doing things properly together as DC2 was just getting old enough to appreciate activities/trips and not need the buggy quite as much.

I guess your decision needs to be made with a medium-term viewpoint and with an eye to practicalities. Do you have another full year of nursery or will your DC1 be turning 4 before Sept? If a young Reception starter, I'd recommend trying to work as few days as possible (3 rather than 5 if that's your choice), not least because you'll save yourself the headache of trying to organise pre- and after-school childcare, and secondly because sending an absolutely exhausted and ravenous 4yo straight from school to a CM or club, then picking them up even more exhausted and possibly more ravenous 2 hrs later, then getting them home, fed, bathed AND then trying to do reading practice is a total nightmare! (DC1 does a couple of after school clubs, those evenings are hell for me and very little quality reading or indeed anything else gets done). Pretty much every YR parent I know has been dealing with behavioural issues due to tiredness which are just starting to get better, halfway through the year.

If you've got another full academic year before school and your DC will be one of the older ones, tiredness may be less of an issue and the timing of your return to work would be less of a shock.


neolara Tue 11-Feb-14 13:48:58

I have 3 kids and there is 2 1/2 years between dc1 and dc2 and also between dc2 and dc3.

IMO, when the younger ones got mobile they became much more interesting for the older ones. When they began to talk, even just a little, they became even more interesting. This meant that the older ones started to play a lot with the younger one and everything became much easier for me. I think by the age of 2, the younger ones were playing very well with their older siblings.

They are now 9, 7 and 4 and a total gang. They get on brilliantly. The 2 1/2 year age gap wasn't planned, but I think it's a great one. They are close enough in age to play well but the gap is wide enough that there is little competition.

addictedtosugar Tue 11-Feb-14 19:37:52

Smaller gap than you, but 4.5 and 2.5 atm. They adore each other.
I work 5 days (work rejected reduced hours, so this isn't my first choice).
I agree that the homework / reading that comes back from school is hard to fit in - everyone wants food and needs attention between 5 and 7, and its very hetic.
DS2 is also going through the terrible twos, and that can be very tiresome.
My ideal would have been 3 or 4 days at work.

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