I’m feeling very conflicted at present. I’m a single mum to a 18 month old Dd. I currently work three nights over a fortnight and earn just enough to get by, with an occasional treat for my daughter. But have lots of time with my Dd. I have the potential to earn pretty good money, but it’d mean that I miss out on a lot of time with my Dd. I’d have to do long 12-14 hour shifts at least 3-4 days a week.
So what’s more important for my Dd? Me being there, or her being able to do more activities, have holidays and live in a bigger house? I’d also love to be able to save to give her a lump sum of money when she’s older, but can’t save money at present. It’s very hard to know what the right thing is to do
I personally wouldn't worry about the lump sum. My lp friend went without for many years to save for her ds. When he was 18 she gave him 7k and he wasted it in 10 months. Not a jot to show for it. One dd and a dm only need a 2 bed house. Your time is precious to her until school age when I would say is the right time to increase hours. Imo.
Time. I say this as a FT mum who works flexible hours. DH and I have given up tons of career opportunities for the kids. And we don't regret it one bit (and DH has always prioritised the kids over family). My mum also worked FT and she said when I had DS1 that quality time was a con- that all kids want is time and so when I was off work not to plan stuff but to just spend that time with them.
Unfortunately the answer is different for everyone. DSis (also a single parent) made the decision to take time off from when her DS was 18months to reception age. She loved it, but now he’s a teenager she constantly worries about money, especially university fees.
DP and I both work full time and our DC have been in full time childcare since they were 9 months. We are saving as much as we can so that we can fund university and a housing deposit, and ideally so I can go part time when the DC are older.
One question I would ask is whether your potential to earn will increase? By working now I am still moving up the career ladder, taking time off would make that impossible in my field. But if you are working in a job where that’s not the case I’d be more inclined to have a few years out...
Providing her and your basic needs are met I would stay continue doing the same as you are. Kids at that age don’t need an expensive foreign holiday, they don’t care if they dress is supermarket/basic clothes or designer. All they want is food, love and warmth. Once she is at school you may be able to commit to more hours.
Having said that, her going to childcare/staying with a relative for a few days a week is not going to cause her emotional issues or ruin your relationship.
I work part time to allow more time with ds. He loves going to childminders a few hours a day. When he’s at school I can change my hours to suit school hours.
Time now. When she's about three and of an age where she can really communicate with others and so will maybe get more out of childcare and bond well with other kids and staff, then I'd say go for the money.... perhaps... it's a tough one!
I think it’s a hard one and I also think it changes. Sometimes I have enjoyed working more and other times I have craved more time with the kids. The thing you definitely don’t want is to always be in a rush, stepping your child in and out of their car seat, saying c’mon c’mon, always rushing through dinner time. But if you can work and still go at a child’s pace a lot of the time then that’s perfect.
At that age, I would say time. When she's older, closer to preschool/school age, I would want to start shifting to earning more and planning for the future (easier because you'll get funded hours at nursery/free school).
Thank you all. It’s interesting that we all have different views on what’s important. It’s so hard to find that balance. I think I’ll feel guilty either way. I think I’m going to increase my hours slightly, so we have a little more money, but not lose too much time together
I would say to meet in the middle too. There's no point in working 12 - 14 hour shifts x 5 or 6 days a week unless you have to, as you'd never see her, but 3 days a week gives you plenty of time (not sure how your childcare works as obviously it would be difficult and expensive for long shifts, but then I'd have though it was difficult for night shifts too). Or another night shift a week (does that mean you then sleep all day? Will depend on the job / what time counts as 'a might shift'). Also it needn't be the same now as when she moves to school, or when she gets that bit older.