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Cutting work hours to cope with teenagers?

(48 Posts)
deepest Sat 10-May-14 12:53:54

We are really struggling to make this work -- ie increasing teenage emotional issues (I have 4) alongside more demanding/stressful academic support required from us, .... us getting older, more tired, less energy ..... both with very intense FT careers -- I feel it is a mad hamster wheel that it spinning out of control. Too much is a stake and this is not sustainable -- do I need to throw in the towel or drastically cut hours....has anyone else changed how they live and work when their kids become teenagers -- this is much harder to manage that when they were little....

Pennyforthegal Sat 10-May-14 14:06:44

No advice but watching.
I tend to think
A we need the miponey
B soon they will be grown up
C it's not always time well spent with teenagers as long as you are caring for them in general I mean... They need to shape up

Parliamo Sat 10-May-14 14:24:20

My mum didn't work when we were teenagers, more for health reasons, but she now says she really appreciates that time. My brother could certainly have ended up in much more trouble than he did with less supervision. I'm planning to cut my hours further down the line. (we have three, we both work ft) At the moment I can pay someone to mind my children and GP are very involved. Fast forward 10 years, and a promotion for DH (he's putting it off ATM to keep a better work/life balance) and we will be in a very different place.

So I'm not surprised you're considering a change. I was speaking to another woman last weekend who has varied her work a lot, particularly during the teenage reasons. Whenever they were putting the family under too much pressure, she reduced her hours. Now the teenagers are in their twenties, she's back on track with her career and no regrets. Talking to her gave me a lot of confidence that I will manage something similar.

Parliamo Sat 10-May-14 14:25:46

*teenage years (no reason with teenagers!)

TeaMakesItAllPossible Sat 10-May-14 14:43:52

Me. After always working FT I have gone PT for the teenage years. I finish at 4pm each day. You are not alone.

Goblinchild Sat 10-May-14 15:12:33

I did, and I wish I'd done it three years earlier.
The wear and tear on all of us would have been so much less. I agree that it was a hell of a lot easier parenting the under 12s for me.

yourlittlesecret Sat 10-May-14 16:30:06

All those who think that going back to work full time is easier as the DC get older never believe me when I say that teenagers need/benefit from having a parent at home.
A wise friend said this to me when DS1 was a baby. He is now 18 and I can honestly say this last year has been the most difficult in many ways.
I never did go back full time but DH retired aged 58 when DC were 12 and 10 and he has been at home since then. I think the DC have benefited immensely from having their DF around all the time. Always available to do the running around after school or late nights.

Goblinchild Sat 10-May-14 16:38:46

I just value being able to have uncluttered evenings and weekends with them, rather than it being crammed full with work. Being able to stay awake whilst they try and have a discussion with me is a plus.
Being able to take a day whenever I or they need me to have one. Teens and crumbling parents; I need the flexibility of deciding when I work.

Goblinchild Sat 10-May-14 16:40:15

I'm not criticising anyone who managed differently, all families and pressures are unique to their situation.

deepest Sat 10-May-14 20:44:09

"wear and tear" -- that is a perfect expression of it all. I think that I will ask to go down to 3 days and if ther say no - might just pack it in for a couple of years....present situation is ridiculous.

ssd Sat 10-May-14 21:01:17

this is a reassuring thread.

like many I always assumed I would be able to up my hours once the kids are teenagers, but its not working out like that. they still need me and Im getting older and more tired and don't want more pressure of what to do in the summer hols

so you're not alone op.

PoshPenny Sat 10-May-14 21:11:45

I did, I don't regret for a minute that financial sacrifices had to be made to make it happen. Our daughters have grown up far better for having a mother with the mental/emotional capacity to focus on them and their needs rather than being completely mentally wiped out every night by the stresses of a full time career. I got a nice little part time job instead. it was definitely worth it, and learning the meaning of "no" is a good lesson for them, half that stuff teenagers WANT, they don't actually NEED, and best of all no more working mothers guilt.

Notmyidea Sat 10-May-14 21:35:27

I've conveniently had another baby. Dh will be retired by the time he gets to be a teenager. Very thankful I've been at home for the last year and will be pt for at least the next four.

Notmyidea Sat 10-May-14 21:35:29

I've conveniently had another baby. Dh will be retired by the time he gets to be a teenager. Very thankful I've been at home for the last year and will be pt for at least the next four.

Goblinchild Sun 11-May-14 09:27:42

I know a number of teens with a SAHP who have gone through all sorts of issues from drug and alcohol abuse to suicide. It isn't a cure for all ills and worries to have a parent at home. I found that it was me who benefited the most from not being stretched so thin that I was beginning to crack.

outtolunchagain Sun 11-May-14 09:37:36

I agree , part time has been a boon in the teenage years , I know many do but I just didn't feel comfortable leaving my teens alone in the house for 8 hours a day five days a week in the holidays,playing xbox, watching youtube and eating junk from the village shop and not the healthy stuff in the fridge!

Term time being full time was not so much of a problem but the thing is when they are small you are able to control their schedule , the older they get the more you have to fit in with their schedule.Not because they are being thoughtless or difficult but just because it gets more like that especially if you live rurally like we do.

Plus I found that the emotional energy needed to parent ds1 was just exhausting , frankly it made dealing with sleepless nights and teething seem attractive !Ds2 not so bad but there are still plenty of issues to deal with and ds3 coming up behind is now 12 .Plus I have valued those years being able to build the shared memories,jokes etc

Bunbaker Sun 11-May-14 09:38:24

I agree with yourlittle secret that teenagers often need more of your time than smaller children. DD (year 9) had a very tough week last week with end of year exams every day. She needed me there to help explain some of the maths revision and OH to support her science revision.

I would like her to be able to do this on her own, but she finds it very difficult to be motivated, and she is only 13 and not mature enough to motivate herself.

Bunbaker Sun 11-May-14 09:39:36

I wanted to add that there are so many more distractions to revising these days. I can't switch the internet off as OH works from home and needs it. DD also needs it for her revision, but she also has Facebook open and I can't prevent that.

nooka Sun 11-May-14 09:41:57

I think it probably depends on the career (and of course the parents/children). My dh was a SAHD for the last few years of primary and went back to work just over a year ago. Our children are now 13 and 15. I think it's actually been good for them to take on a bit more responsibility and independence. However both dh and I are lucky enough to have jobs where we can flex our hours, work from home and as we have a very short commute we are home only a couple of hours after our children. If we still lived in London life would be very different.

If I was the OP I'd be talking with my dh about what changes could be made to make life more manageable for everyone, and if one or both of you can cut down your hours at work/work intensity for a few years then that sounds like a good solution. Just check that there are no long term consequences, and if there are that you are not taking them unilaterally.

Ledkr Sun 11-May-14 09:43:02

I always think it's easier to work f time with little ones. My 3 yr old goes to nursery while I work, end of story.
My 12 yr old ideally Ned's someone at home after school but doesn't want to got to a club, has various afters school, activities to get to and other commitments, needs help with school work, a decent bedtime and a bullet up her arse in the mornings.
I work part time. Full time would be difficult.

slartybartfast Sun 11-May-14 09:43:38

someone told me this very thing when mine were little, and i have often quoted from it.
there are less early nights for starters, even if you wanted them

anthropology Sun 11-May-14 11:33:02

I'm a single parent (father lives abroad) worked long hours since they were little and missed the signs of my DDs depression at 14. I nearly lost her, so life changed dramatically and I have worked part time or in short contracts since . Support at home, in my experience, has made a big difference to recovery in my DD and friends in similar situations . Every family situation is different, but I would like to see more gov support/understanding and workplace flexibility to allow single parents (with no financial or practical support from ex partners) to be a real presence in their teens lives, particularly when they struggle with mental health issues.

Claybury Sun 11-May-14 12:46:36

It's very annoying when people without teenagers suggest your DC's don't 'need ' you around so much because they are teenagers and not young anymore. I think child care can be delegated far more easily for young kids, but really only a parent can parent a teenager.

yourlittlesecret Sun 11-May-14 13:43:20

Yes, the days of dropping them at nursery on the way to and from work were the easy ones in hindsight.
We have one doing A levels and one doing GCSEs at the moment. Both stressed in different ways.
I don't hover over them as they are both very motivated and get on with it. I do other stuff to help, such as lifts to school (20 minutes by car instead of over an hour by bus). I couldn't do that if I was at work long hours.

Bunbaker Sun 11-May-14 13:46:51

I am so looking forward to not having to hover and help with revision. Sadly, at 13 DD still needs parental persuasion.

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