Juggling work and 2 children with ASD. I don't know if I can do it any more.

(13 Posts)
monochromeunicorn Mon 10-Jul-17 17:11:44

I have 2 children with ASD. My DH works full time and I work 3 days a week.

My 10 year old has aspergers. She currently doesn't go to any childcare before or after school or in the holidays because she gets so upset. We do the school run every day between us and my mum helps once a week. In the holidays we use annual leave or a relative will look after her. It has been possible to juggle things like this so far.

However....

My DS is 3 and has autism. He is developmentally delayed in many areas. He started preschool 5 mornings a week at the same school my DD goes to. His childminder picks him up on the days I work (he has been with this childminder since he was 1).

Due to a series of unfortunate events here I am now without a childminder and having series doubts about the suitability of DS's preschool as well.

I don't think I'll find another child minder to take him now. He's hard work. I could find a private nursery which would solve our childcare problems for a year but IME they have next to no ASD experience or training, and are run as a business so no money for extra help.

I'm considering a new preschool but we would difficulty dropping them both of at different locations at the same time, especially as DDs school is 3 miles away.
We would have no childcare in the school holidays. My family can't look after him as he's too difficult, and we wouldn't have enough annual leave.

I have no idea where DS will end up next year when he starts primary but I imagine we're going to have long term issues finding out of school care for him.

DD starts secondary next year which finishes at 2.30. I'm not sure how capable she will be at getting herself to and from school and looking after herself until we get home, at least initally. So that will probably fall on us too.

I am constantly taking time off work for appointments and meetings to do with my children. I'm currently on the floor with stress going through the EHCP process for both of them.

I'm finding it SO HARD to juggle everything and my mental health is in tatters.

I love my job (when I'm not stressed) and I don't want to quit. It isnt something that would be easy to get back into once i take time off, my skills would quickly date. I don't want to be reliant on DH and benefits as I feel it leaves us quite vunerable. I know plenty of people have no choice, but I feel i'd be intentionally putting myself in that position.

I don't know what to do sad

Any ideas? Anyone else got to this point? What did you do? Do you regret your decision? Sorry for all the questions, I don't really know where else to go for advice to help me make a decision.

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outputgap Mon 10-Jul-17 20:15:10

What a nightmare for you. Your son's school sound so awful, and it's pretty devastating that your childminder has resigned. I'm afraid I'm just offering sympathy.

I'm on sort of extended maternity which enables me to provide support to my autistic child. I don't know if I'll ever get back to work.

coffeemachine Mon 10-Jul-17 20:40:50

It's hard, isn't it?

I am in a similar position. I haven't had any time alone at home now for years now (I work 5 days).

DH works long hours so I do everything on top. No family at all who can help somehow.

If I could afford to become a Sahm I would in a heartbeat. I would qualify for CA but staying at home is still unaffordable.

I am on ADs which help a bit... maybe something to discuss with your GP?

Sorry I haven't got anything else to say. Maybe hold on until your youngest starts school - you will have 2 days 'me time' then.

GRW Mon 10-Jul-17 20:53:30

It is a really difficult decision. It sounds like it might be helpful to have some time at home whilst your DD settles in to secondary school, and to find a more suitable pre school placement for your son. Would there be any possibility of negotiating a period of unpaid leave for 3 months or so? Have you applied for DLA for your children?

monochromeunicorn Mon 10-Jul-17 21:28:34

DD doesnt start secondary till next year, the same time DS starts primary. The plan was to have them both at the same school for a year (DS in preschool, DD in y6) with the childminder to help with pick ups for DS and holiday childcare.

Now I have no childminder, and I'm having second thoughts about pre school.

It's not just time to myself (although that would be nice!) it's time to go to work if I have no childcare 🙁

Both get DLA middle rate care.

OP’s posts: |
GRW Mon 10-Jul-17 21:36:46

If you do decide to stop working you can claim Carers allowance as they get middle rate care for DLA. It is £62 a week which isn't much, but might help a bit.

coffeemachine Mon 10-Jul-17 21:46:08

what about:

- flexi time at work or change to your working hours/pattern (e.g. school hours over 5 days instead of 3 full days)?
- working from home on occasion to make up the time?
- unpaid parental leave or annual leave for meeting & appointments?
- letting DH do some of the appointments (via annual leave or parental leave).
- change of work/career to something more feasible for your situation?

Polter Tue 11-Jul-17 10:48:09

Could you reduce your hours a bit more or change your working pattern? Dh too? We managed as I worked just 16 hours and I did one short day (dp did morning achool run and I did afternoon) and one long day while dp did a short day and he did both school runs. Things have changed now and I'm not working but I too didn't want to give up work for long time as it would be impossible to get back into.

A career break might be an option to get you through this tricky period of transitions.

My ds was in a private nursery and they were brilliant, they have access to all the same support etc at the LA as state pre-schools do, so I wouldn't fully discount them.

monochromeunicorn Tue 11-Jul-17 22:51:21

I'm going to ask about either a reduction in hours or term time working tomorrow when I see my boss. I'm sure it won't go down well as I've already dropped my hours from 4 to 3 days in the last year, and it might be a no. Oh well.

Do you think I should leave DS in his preschool then?

I'm struggling to find suitable alternatives with spaces, with the 30 hours free childcare starting in September most places are full. I'm looking round one preschool with spaces on Friday. I've no idea how we'll work drop offs and pick ups if we move him though, as the timings are similar to DD school start/finish and they're 3 miles apart confused

I don't want to go down the childminder route again as I there's the risk that they can give notice or quit, and I don't want DS to messed around any more. He needs stability for the next year.

OP’s posts: |
coffeemachine Wed 12-Jul-17 07:58:34

you cannot be in 2 places 3 miles apart.

is breakfast club and after school club for DD an option so you time to reach both places?

coffeemachine Wed 12-Jul-17 08:27:57

if moving him really does not work, I'd leave him

I have left DD1 also in a setting which is not good for her - simply because I have to work and this was the only way to make the drop offs and pick ups for both of my children possible . I felt initially pretty shit about it but I cannot do magic and split mysel. Sometimes we have to make decisions to make the children fit rather than fitting our life just around DC's needs. This would be ideal but at times just isn't possible.

Shybutnotretiring Wed 12-Jul-17 10:21:58

I think there's a statistic that 70% of mothers of ASD children don't work. it isn't hard to see why. the childcare thing is such a nightmare. Burned our bridges with the breakfast/after school club. Dropped by our childminder (I'll never find out whether her tactful excuse was genuine or not). In my case only working from home and a very flexible boss/type of work make it possible. If the company you work for is like my employer you need to think carefully whether you can afford to reduce your hours because while they might say yes, they might not let you increase your hours if you change your mind later. I'm currently in a panic because I've discovered I have 6 and a half days leave to last from now until January!

monochromeunicorn Wed 12-Jul-17 12:18:36

coffeemachine no after school club at school so this isn't an option. I agree I may have to leave him in the preschool despite everything that's happened. I do feel really shit about it but mainly angry. Really really angry angry I feel like DS is being let down by everyone. It's a feeling I suspect many of you are familiar with sad

The good news is my boss is going to look into term time working for me, but it won't start until next April due to the financial year. So I'm going to use parental leave to cover holidays till then.

OP’s posts: |

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