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Commute Leigh on Sea

(38 Posts)
Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 14:17:18

Hi all, so DH and I are having a second viewing for a house in Leigh this week. Exciting! The house is 20min walk to the station, which is great.

However, in spite of hearing that the commute to London is great, I've realised that the 20min walk brings the commute to 1h30 for me and 1h15min for DH sad Everybody I talk to says it's going to be nightmarish with kids and that it will put a strain on our relationship. Ironic, considering we're thinking of moving to Leigh in order to offer a better life to our children (we loose a bedroom closer to London and there they have the sea, etc.).

My colleagues say that 1h30 is too much, that if there is an emergency you need to be able to come far earlier than that, that coming back at 7pm is too late when you have toddlers etc.
I'm now lost. We were nearly ready to make an offer and now I everything seems impossible.

What is your experience? I hear mums saying how great the commute is all the time here so maybe you can reassure me?
DH and I will both commute daily and have a 9-5 type of job. DH isn't flexible but I might be able to work from home one day a week when children come.

Would love feedback. Thanks so much!

cestlavielife Mon 25-Jan-16 15:22:48

so you have no children yet?

if you can work from home more days and so can dh it will be fine - but both of you being 1.5 hours away with kids can be problematic unless you have someone closer who can eg pick up in emergency, meet teacher at a and e when one falls at school or can get there in half hour to pick up if child sick at school.

you dependent on train to get back so train goes down and you both stuck?

can one of you transfer job to be nearer? or do you have family nearby who can step in when you have children?

if you paid v well and can have live in nanny it would be ok.

cestlavielife Mon 25-Jan-16 15:25:05

and how many trains per hour are there? if you have to wait 15 minutes til the next train or more and you need to get back urgently then that's another 15 minutes - meaning say school call you and it's urgent actually from leaving your office you wont be back for 1.45 hours...or more.

ok if someone else is on hand eg live in nanny/family.

BackforGood Mon 25-Jan-16 15:41:25

I can't comment on Leigh, but personally, I wouldn't want a 1.5hr commute (presumably + waiting for the train time?) each way, each day even now my dc are older and I don't need to be back for them. When they were tiny, it would have been impossible. Apart from anything else you will struggle to find childcare from before 7.30 in the morning and also after 6.30 in the evening, unless you are in the financial position to be able to afford a nanny.

NerrSnerr Mon 25-Jan-16 15:47:05

Do you have children yet? With a long commute like that you're probably going to need a nanny unless you want the children to do the commute with you and be at nursery near work.

swquestion Mon 25-Jan-16 15:49:15

I would be wary of this. Toddlers go to bed about 7pm. To see my 15 month old for an hour from 6pm (before his bed at 7) I have to pick him from nursery at 5.45pm which means leaving the office no later than 5pm and I work in central London and live in zone 2. If the child has d&v or an eye infection appears the nursery wants you there as fast as you can to prevent the infection spreading to others. Can you find a house within 3-5 mins walk of the station? Bear in mind the childcare location also - maybe research nurseries and childminders. You don't want to find you have to walk ten mins in the wrong direction, then turn around to go to the station...

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 25-Jan-16 15:54:19

I used to use that line to commute from Southend to Basildon and the service was crap, it was often quicker to cycle than get on the train. It wasn't uncommon to sit on a stranded train between Pitsea and Benfleet stations for hours on end. Has the service improved because if it hasn't I would seriously look for somewhere else to live.

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 15:54:55

Hi, thanks,
No, we don't have kids yet. Just got married two months ago and thinking of having a family, so moving out of London to afford a good family home first.

We're sadly both London-bound for work with our industries not existing anywhere else. DH can't work from home but I should be able to do so once a week (fingers crossed for twice a week - depends on willingness of my bosses)

We don't have family in the UK, we're both from abroad sad So nobody in Leigh but nobody anywhere anyway. We think we'll have an au pair and are factoring it in with the move (aka we need bigger house to have the aupair or have the grandparents staying when they visit from abroad). I'm not familiar with how it works when the kids are smaller but we might try to have a (shared?) nanny instead of sending them to nursery, depending of what costs less.

I had never thought about that, but a colleague who has kids has mentioned the emergency school thing as well. DH could go more quickly than me, within 1h15min. The thing is, I'm not sure how much of your life you should build around the possibility of you kid needing you while they're at school. I don't remember (and my mother doesn't remember either) a time when she had to pick me up from school. It's usually pretty clear in the morning if the child is sick or not and in doubt I think I'd just keep them and take the day working from home. And if they break a leg... well... we'll be here as soon as we can. Never happened to me, and touch wood, won't happen to ours either.

To be honest, we want 2kids, potentially 3. So ultimately we will need a 4 bed house if we want an au-pair and have the potential to host our own parents when they come to see us. Coming within London, we either lose the fourth bedroom entirely (so kids sharing forever, much smaller home altogether, more difficult to have an aupair so more money spent on childcare) or we're in zone 5/6 and it saves us about 20-25min maximum for the commute. It's substantial, but still leaves you with parents taking 50min at least to come to you if there's an emergency, and coming back around 6.30pm anyway. Not sure it makes a massive difference in their daily life whereas the space, quality of the schools, access to the sea and countryside and possibility to have grandparents leaving with them for weeks for time to time seems a healthy lifestyle we'd like to give them.

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 15:57:21

HI Hell,
Interesting. So that was the C2C line? Everybody says marvel about it. Except in the last few weeks, when they've apparently changed the timetable but they're backtracking it seems. It won the "most reliable" trainline award it seems. Will see how we feel tomorrow at peak time, might be an eye-opener.

VagueIdeas Mon 25-Jan-16 15:59:26

That's really a standard commute if you live in Essex. I used to commute from Basildon to Oxford Circus and 90 mins was par for the course. I'm now in Billericay and DH's commute is 90mins door to door, pretty much.

Considering you don't have children yet, I think you have plenty of time to figure out what you will do re. wrap around care for school aged children.

Either that or don't move to Leigh. Or consider changing career once you have a child to consider.

It's tough. I'm a SAHM and genuinely don't know what I will do when I want to start working again.

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 16:05:11

Hi SW. I'm not sure about toddlers needing to go to bed at 7pm. I've asked my mum who confirmed she's never put me to bed before 9pm (we're French, we might be weird haha). I've read that they need around 11hours sleep or a bit less but with a nap when they're under 3. So that would work fine if we don't wake them up before 7.30/8am.

We haven't taken the decision as to how we would do childcare yet. We've researched schools and nurseries, we're close to many so it depends which one would have space then. We're also thinking of sharing a nanny, having a live-in nanny before an aupair. Worse case scenario, I should be able to leave later to take them to the nursery some days (I wouldn't need to leave the house before 8am anyway on a normal day but should be able to push it back)

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 16:10:22

Thanks Vague Ideas. I might consider changing career at some point. I could easily become a French teacher. Less interesting, but more time for the kids...

What I was hoping for, was to work from home two days a week. Then the three remaining days don't sound that horrible for the kids, do they?!

The plan is to start trying for a child before the end of the year, so I know we have time to figure it out, but if it works relatively quickly I wouldn't want us to realise we need to sell the house in two years when I go back to work :S

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 16:11:19

But I guess, if most Essex families do it, then it must be working for many of them. I can't believe all the Leigh mums are either locally employed or SAHM.

Dolly80 Mon 25-Jan-16 16:12:15

I don't know about Leigh on Sea but when my daughter was 10mths old I went back to work 4 days a week, with a 75-90min commute to North London.

I loved my job but found the travelling a lot to deal with when trying to get back to a little one. Also, if anything went wrong with public transport it could very quickly become 2hrs each way.

I ended up changing to a full time job 30-40mins commute to/from East London. Was so much easier and less stressful (although I then moved to a job 15mins drive away but that was a career not commute led choice)

Dolly80 Mon 25-Jan-16 16:13:43

I agree though that lots of parents must commute from Leigh on Sea & Southend areas so it must be bearable.

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 16:14:08

SW, the thing I don't understand is how the kid could go to nursery in the first place with D&V or eye infection. If they spot, I assume so can the parent, and in that case we stay at home with the kid. I might be naïve and I imagine you don't spot things 100% of the time, but again, I remember I just wasn't sent home in these cases.

I wouldn't have dreamt of commuting with the baby, as I think it's too tiring for them (and for me!) but maybe it's an interesting idea? There's a nursery next to my work.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 25-Jan-16 16:15:40

I live 7 miles from the City and my commute is an hour door to door at peak times. I have colleagues who live in Sevenoaks/Ipswich and Tunbridge Wells who have similar commutes but live 40 miles outside the city.

I could be home/at the school in 30 mins in a cab which gives you some peace of mind but I have only been called home once, at peak rush hour so I left at 4 and got there for 5. Unless your child has been in a major accident it's unlikely to ever be that time critical. You will need a childminder/aupair/nanny once they are at school anyway for wrap around care so in an emergency they should be able to pick up for you.

If the house is perfect for you, then I would buy it. Having the extra space to host an au pair / grandparents will give you a ton of flexibility later to cover school holidays etc. Look at your options to cycle/scoot/run to station and shorten your 20 mins walk. You'll sprint everywhere once you have kids anyway.

Choose childcare that's appropriate for your jobs or it will be incredibly stressful. If you want more than 2 kids then the cost of childcare is going to be punitive and a fulltime nanny will cost you circa £35k a year out of your taxed income. Look to change jobs to one which is right beside Fenchurch St [?] so you can sprint for a train. You will need to be there for a minimum period before you will get enhanced mat pay. Start planning basically.

Oh and while this is property and not Relationships, you are starting on a bad footing if you assume that you are the one who will have to WFH and that your DH cannot. There are very few jobs in the City that can't be done from home [for regulatory reasons]. The world is changing for men too and employers are having to wise up to equal parenting responsibilities.

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 16:19:02

Thanks Dolly! Strangely, I had never thought of changing employer to reduce my commute and that might be hard as they all seem to be in the same area, but that might be a lead I'll look into. East would be quicker. But maybe by 10min.
Finding a house nearer the station might reduce again by 10min (with another compromise to make, of course, always!).
I'm not sure 30min would make a difference.

We can't live in zone2-4 if we want more than 3beds! So the choice is really commuting for 1h v/s 1h30.
I'm just wondering if the extra 30min makes a massive change in the life of the kids v/s the quality of life Leigh and a bigger house gives them (access to the sea, grandparents and aunties coming to stay with us etc.).

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 16:24:48

Thanks Threadsoftly! Love your insight smile
Will look into Fenchurch area for jobs in the future. Not much in the City for me atm as I work in a creative industry but who knows.

Haha, I love your relationship point. You're right, and until last month DH could work from home even more easily than me. Unfortunately, he has now move role to have a more 9-5 job which will help him come home even earlier than me when we have kids, but unfortunately there's a lot of face time involved with meetings, outside conferences etc. so he's been told that while he can work from home if something arises punctually (sick child/delivery), he won't be able to do it on a weekly basis. True though that we could discuss HIM changing job again when we have kids so that we can take turns WFH! ;)

Dolly80 Mon 25-Jan-16 16:27:30

To be honest, I don't think my 10mth old daughter was directly aware of the impact of my 90min commute. However, I was so tired from it that the day I took off in the week (as i'd reduced to 4 days) was spent not doing all the wonderful mother/daughter things I envisaged but instead laying around feeling exhausted!

Could you buy a 3 bed in zone 2-4 then move up to a 4 bed further out after baby no 1 or 2 is here? Could you stay in Leigh for a week and see what the daily commutes like? You might do the latter and love/hate it.

cestlavielife Mon 25-Jan-16 16:30:27

if grandparents likely to come and live for extended time and help out then that changes things a little...

i also have dc who never went to bed before 9 pm!

i dont think the after school time is such a big deal if they have great nursery/child carer - you will be there for bath/supper/bed and there earlier on days wfh and also on weekends nice environment by the sea. if you love the house and place then go for it. but have competent au pair or someone at home or near by you can call on.

extra 30 mins from station to home does make a difference - try and get easy walk/bike ride to station if you can.

cestlavielife Mon 25-Jan-16 16:31:57

and as was said - it wont be the DC that find the commute hard - but you might...

sacbina Mon 25-Jan-16 16:42:32

Sorry not much help. I'm still laughing at the idea of children sleeping for 11 hours and you being given the option of waking them in the morning. Ha ha ha
I have 5 and 3.5 year old. Both with colds at the moment, which is quite a common state of affairs and both awake 3-4 times last night. I wouldn't want to then commute for 3 hours of my day on top of that.
It's obviously doable as many do it. But how much of the countryside, sea are you going to get to enjoy when stuck on a train waiting to get home? How much of your kids lives are you going to miss?

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 16:53:51

Thanks C'estlavie and Dolly. You're right. It seems more ok if it has an impact on me rather than on DC, but I need to make sure DH and I aren't too exhausted when we're around. Good point.

My work involves a lot of work at home (reading mostly) which I imagine gets harder with little ones, and I had somehow imagined the 40min train ride + 20min walk as a time when I can get reading done (aka more free time at home) and unwind. I guess tomorrow will tell me if that's entirely naïve: if you can't get a seat and want to kill people, that might be counterproductive.

Easy ride to station... Leigh is on a hill grin. Would be great downhill in the morning but not sure I'd have the energy to work on developing my thighs in the evening lol. Might have to focus on properties that are just a bit closer to the station, although not sure how often they come around.

Buy 3bed first and then move... yep, I guess we could. Not in zone 2 (too expensive) but 3 maybe (ok, dull, tired looking and small properties are at the top top top end of our budget) and zone 4 would work. That was my original idea. DH not so keen about paying for stamp duty + moving cost twice though + worried we'll be priced out of the nice properties/close to station in Leigh. But for the interest of the kids, that might be worth thinking about...

To be fully honest, I think we would have at most grandparents on DH side maybe one month a year at most (coming from Oz so don't come often but for longer) and my mother twice a year for a week, but she could come more often (4-5) if we needed her to cover school holidays. She's going towards 70 though, so she might not be the most dynamic childcare person in ten years.

Tabyria Mon 25-Jan-16 17:06:07

Thanks Sacbina. I don't say they sleep for 11hours straight but that I've read they don't need more than that when calculating bedtime etc. in normal time. Of course, when sick, things are different. But yes, my mum woke me up every morning when she left for work (I remember her perfume and make up!) and my nanny/babysitter would then give me breakfast.So yes, she "missed" my mornings, which I might not do as I can leave later. Dad would pick me up from school at 4.30pm and give me a snack, and mum would arrive at 6pm. So yes, she "missed" some of the afternoons too. I would play/do homeworks while she cooked/talked to Dad and we would eat together around 8pm. I would go to bed at 9pm and she would sing me a song. Do I have the feeling that she "missed" much of my life? Really, no. I don't have much memories before being 4 but after that I certainly remember sharing meals, signing songs, smelling her perfume and hugging her every morning and night...

She was a teacher, so she was her during my holidays, which makes a difference, especially during the summer. But that's funny, I don't remember these days when things were different. I don't think that striked me as important as a kid, to have her around more or not, strangely enough.
I won't have that, unless I become a teacher again. But I will be able to work from home once a week (and I hope twice), and take days off to go to school events etc. which my mum always missed. I also start later, so can have breakfast with them instead of just giving them a perfumed hug. So I hope they won't be more traumatised than I have been (aka not at all).

Then on weekends, instead of being stuck at home or go to a local square (which I did), I hope they'll be able to spend time with their grandparents from overseas, learn a different language with an aupair who will bring something more into their lives, go to the beach and build sandcastle on a whim, learn how to sail, go for hikes with the dog. Even during the week, I can see how we could just pop down to the beach to meet DH at the station and have a surprise fish and chips just to celebrate a specially sunny day, and go to bed that tiny bit later, the head full of memories and sun. I tend to think this is what matters most.

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