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Can anbody help solve a contact conundrum?

(15 Posts)
Funkywotsits Fri 09-Jan-15 21:51:01

Posted on DIV/SEP but needed more advice if poss.

I work fulltime ( Mon - Fri approx 8.45 - 4)

My wife has been brilliant re access but due to pressures at work I need some flex re when I see my children.

Currently I see them Tues/Thurs for dinner and then Sat overnight one week,then Wed for Dinner and Fri overnight following week.

This works well but I find it difficult to always ensure an early finish on "pick up days" due to the nature of my job.

We've thought about after school club but my kids detest it and if Im honest I feel guilty that this will only happen on "my days".

My wife does not want to collect them for me and drop off to my place on my days
( fair enough)
And it doesn't suit for anybody to have them weekends only as my children, wife and I are opposed to that ( children dont feel like they have had a weekend if at mine and my wife doesnt only want to have them for all the "yucky" school/homework/bed/bath/school run stuff in the week)

I know it sounds like we want our cake and eat it,but we just want the best possible arrangement for all.
Help!!!

GoatsDoRoam Fri 09-Jan-15 21:55:26

What's your question?

It seems like your best solution is to keep the arrangement as it is, do all you can to finish on time on your contact days, and/or explain to the DC that they may need to go to after-school club on those days.

Cabrinha Fri 09-Jan-15 21:58:29

Why is it Tue/Thu one week and Wed the next?
Would it help to pick days to be the same each week, so easier to plan ahead when you absolutely have to leave work? And pick least likely to be difficult days?
In my job, I know it goes to the wire on a Tue, Thu is rarely a panic day.

Can you afford to book after school club but not use it? If it's occasional that you can't leave work on time, they're not going to be in the hated club often anyway.

What alternatives are there to the after school club? Childminder? Regular babysitter just to bring them home to play in own home til you get there? Grandparents.

Are you exploiting all home working opportunity? My killer Tuesdays... I'm often back on line at 21:00.

Can you start at 07:30 the days you have them, get ahead so you have spare time if it goes pear shaped?

Ultimately though - you are a parent, you either use childcare or you tell work no. Millions of parents have to.

GreyjoysAnatomy Fri 09-Jan-15 22:04:49

Your arrangement sounds fine, though is there perhaps a way to get around it with work so that you shorten your days tues-fri but work later on Monday? eg. cut off half an hour from each day and work til 6 on a Monday? Or is it more that you overrun your day because of workload? Is there the option to work from home in the afternoons perhaps? Many workplaces offer flexi time arrangements, that could work if you are office based especially.

Funkywotsits Sat 10-Jan-15 19:01:38

Hi,Thanks for your comments.
GoatsDoRoam: Yes seems ok,but post does note difficulties.My wife feels its unfair to collect the kids and have them wait at home for me to collect for dinner if working late.
Cabrinha :Why is it Tue/Thu one week and Wed the next?
My wife and I devised this rota to allow all some time/space in the situation as its horrid for all.If they stay Tue/Thur for tea they sleep on Sat,then its tea wed and sleep Fri,allows couple of days in between.
Can afford ASC,but kids hate it and I'd feel guilty it happens only on my days as noted.Not got sitter or willing GP to help out.My job dictates no work at home opps,I work as a counsellor within schools so I'm tied to approx
Mon - Fri approx 8.45 - 4,later if emergency situation occur given my role.
Cutting or fixing hours could be answer.
GreyjoysAnatomy : As above.

DancingCrown Sat 10-Jan-15 19:14:24

IMO its really important you show your dc that they are a priority on the days you have them, as you are now only seeing them some of their week. (I am the mother to a dc who sees dad as long as he doesn't have anything else better on.)

If at all possible I would insist on finishing on time on those days. Splitting up isn't ideal and creates problems for everyone. Perhaps you can offer to work late/be on call later on other days?

GreyjoysAnatomy Sat 10-Jan-15 19:34:05

In that case I can only suggest finding someone to pick them up and take then to your house, a baby sitter or something? Or just telling your work that you have to go on time, unless your contract states that you must be available after work for emergencies then they can hardly say no.

Alternatively- Is there no way you can have them overnight one day midweek and cut the other dinner day out? You get them from school one day per week and drop them at school/mum's in the morning? Then tell your work that on that one day per week you cannot work late under any circumstances.

Or fond an activity that the dcs do want to go to and pick them up from there? I realise that would probably mean a more fixed regime but it could work maybe?

I'm out of ideas grin

Funkywotsits Sat 10-Jan-15 19:51:36

I agree Dancing,DC need to feel priority in this situation.I could stress this to employers,I guess Im scared to rock the boat as I'm self employed and do it freelance ( and only family earner).

Greys: I like midweek idea,will run it by DW again as she has said a flat no to midweek stays.

rumbleinthrjungle Sat 10-Jan-15 21:12:25

Some nurseries run after school pick ups and care for school aged children, it sounds like often by the time the children walked there you'd be there to collect and occasionally they'd stay for a short while. Might this work as a safety net so children are always met and in hand if you get held up? Not a club, just safe adults and safe place if there's a gap between school ending and you arriving.

School will know if there is a nursery that does this, or a child minder who collects daily from the school may have capacity?

Cabrinha Sat 10-Jan-15 21:26:38

How often does an emergency situation occur though?
If it's once a month, pay for ASC as back up and tell the kids (nicely) to suck it up.

They see you quite a lot - I disagree that you have to be totally focused on them on those days, unless they have very specific emotional issues that you haven't mentioned.

I think it's fine for them to see and fit into a normal adult working life.

My child spends about 4/10 school nights per fortnight with her father. He never picks up before 18:00, end of ASC. When I have her, it's because I'm working from home. So 1x per week I get her from the classroom at 15:30 (I changed my hours) and on other evenings if I can get her early from club, I do.

She knows we both work, why we work, what we do, that my job is more flexible when I'm at home, but when she's with her dad, I'm a flight away. She doesn't love her dad any less for never getting the early pick up with him.

OK, she likes her ASC. But in principle, do not feel guilty that they live the ordinary constraints of having working parents.

Can you get to the bottom of the ASC issue? If the club doesn't offer things they enjoy, talk to the club.
It really doesn't sound like they'd have to go there often anyway.

Cabrinha Sat 10-Jan-15 21:29:07

Definitely reconsider midweek stays.
Be careful - my child's teacher says with some kids she can tell when they've had one, as it unsettles them. So your XW might not be being unreasonable.
My child is fine with it (thank goodness! Teacher said she hadn't even realised mine had two homes)

Funkywotsits Sun 11-Jan-15 15:00:03

Thanks again smile

I've chatted briefly to my DW and suggested
After school club
After school clubs like dance etc
Weekends only.
Every other weekend Fri until Monday am (drop off at school)
Cutting or fixing work hours each week ,would have to get employers permission and budget as I have financial commitments all around ( Pay monthly amount to DW for running of home/for kids and pay for my own place etc) .
I could also look at take set role elsewhere on set hours ( or change job?)

She feels its really up to me to suggest how this can be resolved to suit all.

So further thoughts are keep it as it is,discuss further with work and explain situation.
I will aim to set my hours on work contact days, explain its on a week on/off basis Tue/Thur or Wed/Fri)
If any not happy I will have to assess then.
It may lead to cut in earnings if requested by employers to pay set hours but I'll assess that if and when.
Will explain to boys if needs be they got to go into ASC.
I'll give ASC a bell and check avail/flex.
I'll also on call on DW in a dire emerg if that is ok?

Big sigh!!!!

Lucked Sun 11-Jan-15 15:09:21

This is the conundrum for working parents, and sometimes kids have to suck it up because parents jobs are important. Obviously explore all options and see if there is alternate childcare is available.

I have to strongly agree with your ex that it is your responsibility on those days, it isn't her job (anymore) to facilitate your working.

Cabrinha Sun 11-Jan-15 18:54:21

It does seem like you're making a mountainous of a molehill here confused

You haven't said how often you are late, but you make it sound like occasional emergency call?

In which case, it just isn't complicated. You book ASC and the kids suck it up once a (month?).

I don't see how other clubs (dance) would work, as you still need to get them there.

As for losing money - why? You're able to do your contracted hours, just not the occasional (?) emergency.

Your wife shouldn't need to cover for those emergency work situations as they are predictable enough that you can book ASC.

For another emergency, e.g. Your car breaks down on the way to a pick up, I think it's absolutely fine to call their mother to ask for help.

I'm going to be really honest with you now... there's a fine line between discussing together and not being arses because you have kids, vs being pissed off when your XH expects you to come up with the solution, or make the decision. My XH does too much of the latter so in declaring a bias here! grin But I get this little feeling that you're veering too close to pissing her off by not just sorting it out!
What, really, is the big deal with occasional ASC?

Funkywotsits Sun 11-Jan-15 22:27:08

Agree Cabrinha/Lucked,this is an issue I need to sort.
My DW and I are seperated,whether that's for another week,month or year I cant expect her to organise my life,although some flex would help.

Its as above and kids will have to understand.
ASC is fine,Im just guilt wrapped and being over protective re seperation.
Im also being over protective of myself as I suffered a breakdown last year and burnout was part of it,but I'm stronger now,on meds and see a counsellor.

If DW and I were both at work it would just be ASC for the kids,and its not every day,every week.

Thank you all

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