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The age old question - how do you do it all working mums!(62 Posts)
I cannot be the only mum out there who has a child, a job and a commute. I cannot be!
But yet I can't seem to see a good and healthy work/life balance after my maternity leave. So how do you super women (and men) do it?
I have a career I am very proud of, and an almost 10 month old DS that I'm even more proud of. Ecstatically so! My DH is military, so we are relatively limited where we can live, both because of his work and because of finance. So I live a committable distance from work.
I have recently 'done the maths' as far as me getting back to work goes and I've had the horrid realisation that I'm going to get home from work after my DS goes to bed, and my DH has to take him to nursery because I have to leave too early in the morning. We have no family nearby, no chance of working from home, and not enough money for me to work part-time... and the thought of not seeing his lovely little face all week hurts.
Men in similar fields to be, talk fondly of local Nursery's that their children go to, but when I ask what the pick up time is it's always too early, and who really wants their child to spend from 7 to 7 at a nursery every day?
How do you guys do it? Is there a trick I'm missing? Do I need to adorn a red cape and wear my underwear on top my sensible trouser suit and learn to fly as the speed of a train?
Are you returning to the same job? Can you negotiate your hours and cut down by a few a day? This is what I'm hoping to do for the exact same reasons, so cut down from 35 to 30 hours a week. It's going to be hard financially but I just can't handle being out of the house at 7am and back at 7pm.
I couldn't handle it all so took a sideways move to a different office.
It's tough. I work four days and normally one day a week at home. We stagger drop offs and pick ups so DD is in nursery for less hours. So every other day I'll do drop off, get in to work late and leave late while DH does pick up, and vice versa. My tips are get everything ready the night before, get a cleaner, and be very firm about your hours. I have a strict rule about never taking work home or checking work emails outside work hours. If I haven't got time to do something, I say no. This is a very different attitude to how I was before kids.
I also have a young child, a full time job and a long commute. When I went back I asked to work from home 1 day a week so that I could see my daughter during the week. When I actually started I found that I really struggled with not seeing her enough. Luckily they agreed to let me wfh 2 days a week. It kind of means I'm stuck in this job as I can't imagine going back to 5 days a week in the office now. DH does nursery drop off /pick up because he works locally.
Oh, and batch cooking at the weekend and internet shop. Use your commute for life admin (assuming you are not driving).
It's very tough. Every single mum I know personally ended up either working part time, or at least some time from home.
The alternative was to keep the baby up late, and hope they caught up on their sleep with an extra long nap at nursery (works for my Spanish family, and for one UK family I know).
I ended up working shorter days, simply because I couldn't imagine not seeing my children during the day.
Can you start earlier and finish earlier, or start later, finish later? So you're doing the same number of hours but get a bit of time with baby either morning or evening.
DH or I drop the DDs (21 months and 4) at nursery at 7.30 and pick them up at 6. Come home, have a snack and chat about their day, then bath and story. No TV, just chatting and reading together. They go to bed at 7 - any later and they are insane.
It's not as much time as I'd like but it works for us. We keep weekends low key and do lots together then.
I like my job and it's important to me, so we make it work. My girls are well attached and love nursery; DH and I parent pretty equally.
If it's right for you you'll figure it out
I don't know how you do it and am, genuinely in awe of parents
mums that I know who manage to have a career and a family and make it work. Hats off to you all
I cut my lunch hour down to half an hour and leave half an hour early and have one day off in the week. Works so well, love my day off in the week.
Honestly I struggled. I dropped down to 3 days a week after DC1 - this was always the plan. The commute combined with hildcare times is the killer as you have said. Now DC1 is at school I have dropped down to 2 days a week. Trying to work out how to drop those hours further or find a job closer to home. Sorry if that wasn't what you wanted to hear!
I couldn't handle it so left my job and found one WAH. Took a significant salary drop (that was somewhat mitigated by the reduced childcare bill). Since then I've clawed my way into a decent role WAH that pays a comparable amount of money. To be honest, despite the initial salary reduction, I've never looked back. My work/life balance is immeasurably better.
Until DS was one I left the office at 4pm, then did two hours of work once he was in bed. I then changed jobs and work 8.30-4.30 so I can pick him up from nursery at 5. I am now looking at retraining and will hopefully be in a position to work slightly longer hours once he is about 7.
I think when they are tiny it is about getting through it. Could you get a job closer to home?
I walk one way to work, but if I take a bus the other I will try and get life admin out of the way, so online shop, emails etc. No work at home at all, and I try and get all the washing and cleaning done during the week so we can go out at the weekend. Most of my cleaning is done by baby wipes.
That's for all the posts! You're all wonder women!
I'm an editor, so I have to work in the office (edit suite) with clients on their clock. There's none of this 5pm home time stuff, it's all dictated by them. The industry is such that if I say I can't they will find someone who will
I think organisation is the key to a lot of things (as many have said) but I can't see away of getting those hours down without loosing my job, or only getting the dregs left that no one else wants to do.
Not personal advice as I only work part time and neither of us have a long commute so my DS goes to nursery and DH and I share the drop off and pick ups, but a friend with a full time longer hours job has a nanny. Obviously more expensive, but no drop off or pick up, don't have to worry (as much) about sickness, although of course you are screwed if nanny is sick. Nanny does all housework related to child, so keeps on top of kitchen, does child's laundry, batch cooks for them etc. She also has a cleaner. She said she tried nursery but trying to get back for 6pm every night was extremely difficult and would have cost her the job in the end. Her DH has an even more high pressured job with longer commute so he was little help.
Oh lubi I feel for you
I'm very lucky in that (i) I have a 40 minute commute (ii) DS' nursery is a 5 minute drive from home so easy to incorporate into said commute (iii) my hours are 9 - 5 and I'm employed in an organisation where can actually leave at 5 (I occasionally deal with emails at home in the evening but there's no expectation). There's no 'superparent' about it. It's just luck/circumstances.
Have you looked into whether there's a decent nursery near your workplace rather than your home? then you could commute with your little one and spend time with them that way? I know a few folk who do that successfully. Also means that if there's a problem at nursery you're not too far away.
I made a career change before baby. There was no way I could be a civil engineer and see my child at all. I'm now a PA, so I got to flex my hours so I can do a pick up and drop off every day. I also requested one day off a week, so I work Mon/Tues, off Weds and then work Thu/Fri, off Sat/Sun. My hubby cooks every day (he's a chef). We clean on weekend evenings when baby is asleep. My commute is short as I live near town, so I get two hours in the morning and an hour and a half in the evening. My weekends are clear for family time only. I also wake up at 4am to workout, get ready and then baby wakes, so it's all about him. I'm 40, so not having a big career doesn't bother me much. I did the race since I was 15 with two different careers and even a competitive sport career on the side, so I'm more than ready to relax and enjoy life more now.
I'm a lawyer and went back to work full time just over a month ago. My commute is 30-40 minutes by bus depending on traffic and my official hours are 8.45-5.30. DS goes to nursery next to my work as it wouldnt be possible for me to get home in time to pick him up from somewhere close to home (all the ones round here close at 6). We leave the house at 7.30am and get back about 6.15pm. It's actually very nice to have DS with me on the commute, it's a whole extra 1.5 hours a day I get to spend with him. Would that be an option for you, looking at nurseries near your work?
It does mean it's more difficult for DH to share the drop offs and pick ups, as he doesn't work in the same direction, however he does work from home 2 days a week so on those days he picks DS up before rush hour which is also nice as he gets some one to one time with him.
On the days I am picking DS up I have to be very disciplined about leaving the office dead on 5.30, which was unheard of before I had DS and most of my colleagues stay much later. When necessary I log back on in the evening after I've put DS to bed. There is a 2 hour window (5.30-7.30) when I am absolutely unavailable but actually I've been pleasantly surprised so far at how accommodating my colleagues and clients have been, so it may not be as bad as you think.
Nursery feed DS all his meals so I don't need to worry about cooking much. We have a cleaner and I use my lunch hour to catch up on all life admin.
We're only 5 weeks in but it's working well so far.
My ds is 13 months. I went back to work 3 months ago and have a career that I love but thankfully we aren't expected to work late.
I have a Monday off
DS in nursery 7.30-5pm and thankfully likes it
So I will get in a lot earlier than you as I get home at 5.30, cook (or reheat stuff I previously cooked). Aim to have me, ds and dh fed and away from the table by 6.20pm. We then have 40 minutes of play. 7pm it's bath and and then bed at 7.30
Then downstairs and tidy up to he chaos from cooking / feeding / playing. We don't do any of this while he's up as we cherish this short window of time
Sort his nursery stuff for the following day, have a general tidy. Sort the washing out etc.
I try and maintain a tidy house. I'll then dust on a weekend. Vacuum whole house on a weekend but the downstairs will get a brief once over a few times in the week.
Bathrooms get a thorough clean on weekends too. Food shop done online and delivered on a Monday.
It's hard, sounds a lot harder for you. I rarely sit down before 9.30pm and I go to bed at 10.30. But the house is always tidy and maintainable so we can go out as a family over the weekend and spend less time cleaning. Some weekends I won't clean! Who cares if it's not been dusted for a week....
I hope you sort it out. Good luck
Could you extend your mortgage ? Ours will not be paid until I'm 70 but I am able to work 3 days. They are only little for a short time. You may regret not having that time with them, you won't look back and regret working less. Just a thought.
When I was pregnant with DS I worked 9-5 and dreaded the idea of him being in nursery 8.5 hours, 5 days a week and me only seeing him about two hours a day and so after Mat Leave I went to a different job. The new job involved longer days (I would be out the house for 14 hours) but it meant I only had to work three days a week so I had 4 full days of being at home with DS. On the days I worked I would see him for 20 minutes in the morning and then that would be it and sometimes I would go 48 hours without seeing him at all. I found it really hard at first and missed him terribly but I felt those negatives were outweighed by the positive of us having 4 days a week together.
It's a balancing act I think and you seem to be in a very difficult position OP.
Clothes out the night before
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