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How do you work full time when the children start school?

(183 Posts)
mummyclare Wed 24-Sep-08 10:47:02

It's a year off for us but I've been panicking for some time. We have had luxury of workplace nursery so far. I am going to try to reduce my hours - but that's only going to help with some drop-offs and pick ups and will do nothing for hols. Also local playscheme takes from 5. So what are you meant to do when they're still 4?

Help please. All ideas warmly welcomed.

etchasketch Wed 24-Sep-08 10:48:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

witchandchips Wed 24-Sep-08 11:01:00

*after school club
*taking it in turns with dp (one does long day while other stops work at 2.30)
*combining forces with another family or two. we'd look after 3 children on tuesday 3-7 but be able to work late monday and wednesday

this does not solve the problem of what you do with one child in nursery at work and the other at school near home though!

WideWebWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 11:06:38

It's a fking nightmare tbh. Sorry, I know that's not much help but it is. Because you have to cover school holidays etc too. (see other threads, we are talking about it on the Ruth Kelly thread).

earn as much money as possible, have a big house and get an au pair. And a housekeeper/cleaner. And accept that oyu need to bank plenty of holidays to attend school events etc.


have a sahp

pay someone to do pick ups
arrange playschemes for the holidays
get a term time only job
arrange flexible hours, you or dh
job share

NormaSnorks Wed 24-Sep-08 11:11:12

Sorry - am with WWW on this - it IS a nightmare, which is why this is the point so many people give up work/ go freelance (I did).

Whatever you have in place is almost as stressful to manage as a full-time job too . We've had au pairs, and they are quite a good option, but after a while you may be concerned that your child is reading magic key with a Slovakian accent grin.

My neighbour's little boy was due to start school last week, and she had a 'lovely' childminder' lined up to pick him up 4 days a week (she works 4 days). Sunday night before, CM calls and cancels shock - she is still left in limbo, and her work are getting arsey etc etc

Nightmare. Sorry.

kama Wed 24-Sep-08 11:11:30

Message withdrawn

Kewclotter Wed 24-Sep-08 11:12:39

my childminder will do school pick up I hope.

Kewclotter Wed 24-Sep-08 11:13:32

also lucky hat our local school has an breakfast club and an afterschool club.

snickersnack Wed 24-Sep-08 11:14:12

It's an absolute nightmare. We're fine at the moment as my youngest is looked after by our nanny, who is doing the school pick ups and drop offs, but I can't think what we're going to do when he's of school age...esp as dh refuses to even consider the idea of an au pair.

kama Wed 24-Sep-08 11:15:13

Message withdrawn

mummyclare Wed 24-Sep-08 11:19:36

So panic is the correct response...

Has anyone made serious use of holiday playschemes - like for weeks at a time??

PrimulaVeris Wed 24-Sep-08 11:19:46

Nightmare. Only a couple of childminders collected from my dc's primary and they were fully booked. No afterschool club. Zilch.

So renegotiated with employer on part-time flexi contract, so I work during school hours. Bye bye hopes of promotion and interesting work - but I do thoroughly enjoy the afterschool hours with dcs.

Eddas Wed 24-Sep-08 11:22:35

childcare is the bane of my life atm! DD starts school in jan, ds is still little (he'll be 20 months by then). So far this year i've had SIL helping out, then changed to a day nursery and am now trying to find a childminder to have ds during school hours. I haven't quite worked out what'll happen to dd during the holidays!

I'm actually hoping that once ds starts school (3 years timegrin) that I can change to work term time only. I have yet to ask my employer, but my job(accountant) is such that it's quite quiet in the summer and I have 5 weeks holiday to use so that'll cover all bar 8 weeks of holidays anyway.


I'm also beginning to become self employed incase my employer doesn't like the idea of term time onlygrin It seems to be the only way to guarantee term time only working.
I didn't realise it'd be this bloomin hard <<<shrugs shoulders in defeatist way>>>

PrimulaVeris Wed 24-Sep-08 11:24:51

Oh holiday playschemes ... during school hols I work usually 3 days on, 2 days off. Use the only (absolutely excellent but expensive) scheme that operates 8-6 ie working hours all holidays (except Xmas - another nightmare). All the rest in the area are more 'things for children to do' and tend to be odd weeks, often sports themed (we are not sporty family) with hours like 10 to 3, or 11 till 2. My dd is now 12 and finding care for that age group is nigh impossible.

Grandparents have been wonderful helping out over the years, but they are getting on a bit now and I feel not appropriate to continue that arrangement for much longer.

Sorry, that's probably not what you want to hear. Does depend what your area has to offer though.

Kewclotter Wed 24-Sep-08 11:24:52


The club runs from 3.15 until 6.15pm
On certain days the club offers a specialist activity, for example on Tuesdays it’s Drama Day. Other specialist include PE, gardening and Art. Children enjoy a light tea or snack which is in line with the healthy eating policy which runs throughout the school. The afterschool club costs £8.50 per session

OrmIrian Wed 24-Sep-08 11:26:14

Well we managed with a mixture of working from home, part-time, gps (v occassionally), nice neighbours from time to time. Holidays - same as above but also taking leave, and holiday clubs.

Wish there was a quick fix but there isn't IME. It's a (as I beleive has been mentioned) a nightmare.

TigerFeet Wed 24-Sep-08 11:26:38

I cut from FT to 21 hours per week when dd started school - three slightly short days a week instead of five full days.

I drop her off every day and CM picks her up on the three days I'm at work.

DH and I will do our best to cover holidays between us and grandparents are thankfully able to step in during holidays as well - although none of them live locally so dd will go to them or they will come to us. We'll probably only get one or two weeks together as a family in the summer, outside of that it will be one parent or the other at home with dd whilst the other works.

I deliberately chose 3 days a week rather than 20ish hours during school hours only (ie no childcare needed in term time) so that holidays will be easier to cover. At worst dd will only be in holiday schemes or whatever for three days a week during the holidays.

It's not easy but with good childcare it's not insurmountable.

WideWebWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 11:27:03

You'll be like this

PrimulaVeris Wed 24-Sep-08 11:29:33

Exactly, www!!!

Grammaticus Wed 24-Sep-08 11:32:39

You'll be like that if you think about it in advance all in one go, but if you look at it only two holidays ahead to make plans, you can usually work it out. Don't look at the big picture, just look at the first half term and christmas - can you make them work? Do you get extra time off work at Christmas? Can one of you take days off while the other works? Would your LO like a special overnight stay with GPs to make mince pies and crackers? (you can cover two days that way!)

LadyMuck Wed 24-Sep-08 11:33:09

Panic is definitely the correct response. Flexible working is great whilst you can get it, but ime you get less sympathy from work as your kids get older yet you clearly have more of a problem re school holidays etc. Most women that I know who had children in their 30s and well-paid jobs (say £80k+) still stumbled when their children started school.

Amongst my friends, people use holiday schemes to cover half-terms, 1-2 weeks at Christmas and Easter, and up to 3 weeks of summer hols. But a lot of it depends on the children themselves, and the schemes which can be very variable (and when you're used to things such as staff continuity etc, or even trained staff it can be a bit of a shock). My children have hated them. I ended up with getting phone calls at 11am asking me to pick them up. And whilst one hardens oneself to dropping off a crying toddler at nursery, when that toddler is 7 it is a whole new challenge.

Au pairs are that extra pair of hands that you need for drop-offs etc. You will get used to recruiting them. I almost think that a successful recruiter and retainer of au paris should be counted as a skillset on one's cv.

You also need to befriend all of the other working mothers within sight (especially the ones who teach your children ime). There is a sisterhood out there. Non-working mums can also be your friend.

LucyJones Wed 24-Sep-08 11:33:32

we use breakfast and afterschool club on the 2 days I work
in holidays and staff trainign days they have holiday club 8-6 for £20

Grammaticus Wed 24-Sep-08 11:33:36

If you reduce your hours, you might be able to compress them into fewer days in the holidays.

Grammaticus Wed 24-Sep-08 11:34:28

Yes yes make friends with other mums

compo Wed 24-Sep-08 11:35:33

'DH and I will do our best to cover holidays between us and grandparents are thankfully able to step in during holidays as well - although none of them live locally so dd will go to them or they will come to us. We'll probably only get one or two weeks together as a family in the summer, outside of that it will be one parent or the other at home with dd whilst the other works.'

we're the same as Togerfeet in this respect
No chance of a summer holiday togther as have to take leave separately to look after dcs

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