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50/50 childcare driving us insane

(8 Posts)
helenbryce Mon 25-Jul-16 19:30:28

Hi.
my husband and I have a lovely 18 month old daughter. We both work in healthcare (he's a nurse I am a carer/senior carer) when my paid maternity leave finished I went back to work with the idea I would would work 1 (12hr) day a week whilst my husband worked 'full time' and had her on the day i worked. For obvious reasons daycare is not an option when you need to be att work from 7.45am till 8.15pm! We thought I maybe would do two shifts some weeks or maybe more during school holidays when my mother could help (she's a teacher) to keep the money up. 11 months on I am working at least 2 12hr shifts a week but mostly 3. This means that my husband and I are almost never off together, and as both of us work 12hr shifts we don't even have 'evening' time together. We have done 19days in a row before having a day off together! I think this is starting to cause issues with our relationship and our daughter. We are lucky as out daughter has a very relaxed (mostly!!) temperament and adjusts well. But there are little things that are starting to get bigger. My husband allows her to do things that I don't (eg go into our room and jump on the bed, play in the kitchen, bathroom- I should point out we have a REALLY SMALL flat) or go out without wearing reins, or pull all the books off the shelves, so I always seem to be the horrid mummy who stops her doing these things. When I have her I also do washing, tidying, cooking, etc etc where as my husband doesn't, although I spoke to him and he is starting to change. I feel like I can't ask him to do things differently as he has her as much as me. I have also just been diagnosed with folic acid deficiency which causes weakness, tiredness, muscle spasms and pain along with other things. I can't afford to be signed off, my husband tells me to reduce my hours (I am a bank worker) but in the next sentence will tell me we can't afford for me to work less. I don't know any other mothers (with kids my age) who work at all, let alone basically full time! My husband and I argue constantly, and i just don't know what to do. If I say our daughter has been a madam or whatever that day his response is that she is always fine for him and I obviously cannot manage...

SmallBee Mon 25-Jul-16 19:37:44

I haven't got loads of advice but didn't want to read and run.

I think it's great you are stepping back and not micro managing your DH 's parenting style however you do both need to agree on a consistent set of boundaries and rules for your DD. Otherwise it will be really confusing and frustrating for her which might cause her to behave badly through frustration. Can you both sit down and work out which things are rules because of safety issues and therefore must be kept to? Rules that you have because it's annoying when she does it or similar can perhaps be negotiated. But you definitely need to be a team when parenting her.

With regards to your jobs, are you both really happy in them and enjoy them? If not and you just have a job to earn money could you consider a career change to find something with better hours? (very easy for me to suggest this and another thing to actually do I realise!)

Dudess Mon 25-Jul-16 20:42:09

Hi, I'd support the shared boundaries, and also a possible job change for one of you. This is easier said than done, but is there a way of you booking time off together to talk about your options? Or maybe consider paying childcare for part of a day...childminders may offer longer hours for parents who do shiftwork?? Or could one of you take a period of leave? You may be entitled to free nursery places when your daughter turns 2, if not 3, too? Have you worked out what your bottom number is financially? When you're working every hour, and have no time to think it's hard to imagine things are worse than they are, but they're not when you look at things on paper.

The hardest thing I've had to do is give up work (I'm a Teacher), and I do temporary/casual when my DD is in school/with grandparents.

Each stage is temporary at the moment; childcare will ease up!

helenbryce Mon 25-Jul-16 20:43:26

Thanks for the reply!!! I have tried to explain to him that boundaries need to be 'set in stone' if you will. For instance I don't allow her in our room to bounce on the bed as it is not safe if I am not in there so think it should just be out of bounds full stop. My husband and I both take medication and I just can't be sure that the room is not hazard free... I have tried explaining this to him but he says 'she likes it!!' i have also suggested we pack up our bookshelves (I know it looks impressive but we really don't need the complete works of Marx and Hegel on show right now) so I can spend less of my time telling her not to pull books off shelves! I don't want to paint my dd as a devil but i do think the fact that daddy let's her do this and mummy doesn't is confusing her, and sadly mummy gets the worst reaction! With regards to jobs we are both relatively happy (although massively underpaid) I have a degree and am looking to change jobs but I) need to get my drivers licence and 2) we are in the process of trying to get a mortgage so I need to stay where I am until that is sorted. Again thanks for the reply. I sometimes think that as my husband is basically a 50% carer (neither he or I know any other dad's in this situation) he NEEDS to prove he can do it, so cannot ever admit that dd might sometimes drive him crazy!!!

Caterina99 Tue 26-Jul-16 18:26:08

It sounds very difficult and you both must be exhausted. Definitely establish some consistent rules and get your DH on board. For your DDs sake as much as yours, as it must be confusing for her.

Regarding your work patterns, unless you are able to change your shifts or have reliable family members to help you out, then you will have to use paid childcare. Some childminders may do longer hours, or you could look into a nanny or au pair? Or perhaps a babysitter if it's only a few hours between nursery/childminder and you or DH coming home?

helenbryce Wed 27-Jul-16 00:07:02

Thanks for the replies all good advice and I really appreciate them. We had a massive argument last night about it, which although unpleasant seems to have cleared the air somewhat. We could get tax credits for childcare but hubby is dead set against her going to daycare. At the moment I have worked out I need to work 6 full shifts a month, and so for the next 2 weeks I am only doing 1 and a half shifts. Then my hubby has 2 weeks holiday and we have decided that for at least 1 week, prob 10 days neither of us will work. As someone suggested I think some proper time together will help. As we are trying to get a mortgage atm me changing jobs is not something I can consider really until the mortgage is sorted, but after that a job change is the plan. As for the parenting styles, I think I will have to choose my battles. And also let dd draw, tear etc daddy's books until he starts to think that putting them out of harms way is a good idea... Hopefully it will get sorted, and have

Thomasisintraining Wed 27-Jul-16 00:20:35

To be honest Helen I think you need to stop thinking your parenting is the default parenting and focus more on the absolutely necessary outcomes, eg the books need to be cleared up, the medication always needs to be out of reach, a wash needs to be done each day, ironing etc and he needs to incorporate that as you are doing.

DH has always been a bit more lax than me, it has meant that our kids, climb higher, explore more places and frankly become more confident that than they may have become otherwise because I am a bit like you and naturally more cautious. We have never used reins on 3 children, there is nothing wrong with them and I am totally not against them but it is perfectly fine not to have them especially for one child. I think you will just have to find common ground for your boundaries and you will need to give some ground as well as him.

As regards your working hours that sounds like it is going to take a little more time. I know others in your situation who worked opposing shifts. It really does take its toll so I would definitely try to get a balance with that. flowers but as you say now is just not the right time.

attheendoftheday Sun 07-Aug-16 17:36:28

I'm a nurse too and I think that working opposite shifts and never seeing each other is pretty standard, it was what we did too. Our dds are now 5 and 3 and we've now got a childminder and have changed roles and hours so we have time together. Just hang on in there and remember it won't last forever.

I think you're lacking in your communication to agree on shared parenting approaches. It does sound a bit like you want your partner just to parent like you, but that's not really fair. It might be easier and fairer to change some aspects of your own behaviour rather than asking your partner to change every time (eg. putting medication somewhere out of reach rather than banning entry to the room.

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