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2 commutes, one toddler

(45 Posts)
missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 19:34:04

Hope someone can offer advice really.

Had an awful few years with my husband / employment and through no fault of his own he's been in and out of work since we had our DS ( nearly 3) and had 3 jobs with varying gaps of unemployment Inbetween. An inheritance kept us afloat financially on one occasion, a parental loan has kept us going this time.

He was laid off after 12 months in his last job at the start of October, and has finally been offered a new permanent role. He's been to lots of interviews, had 2 offers that fell through in that time, and honestly we have had a really tough time between us. In fact it's affected me so much that I have just returned to work after being signed off with stress since before christmas. He has had a good, solid offer this weekend. Nice company ( but small), decent pay. In London. 90 mins min each way.

We live on the south coast, just outside Brighton. I work 4 days per week in a fairly demanding job 30 miles away in a town west of here ( so the opposite direction to my husbands new role) We have a great childminder and I commute by train. I work at home one day per week.

Reluctant to give up my job ( we could probably just scrape by on husbands new salary) because it's stable, a good employer, and after all the insecurity of the past few years it just feels too risky for me to leave it.

We have no family near us, very alone really in that respect.

I'm so pleased my husband has work, but really anxious about both of us commuting in opposite directions and me doing a nearly FT job, plus all pick ups and drop offs responsibility too. His previous roles were either more coal or offered telecommuting. This one will be London 5 days per week.

Any tips? Is it a recipe for misery long term. Any ideas? Moving closer to my work would make my husbands work a 5-6 hour round trip btw.


CarriesPawnShop Sun 19-Jan-14 19:40:22

Are you planning another child? Because childcare for two DC and then before/after school care could mean a nanny in your own home which would mean less to worry about.

Thing is, when you have one child in one place all day the childcare issue is relatively straightforward. Your worries are illness and transport. When you factor in other DC and being in different places (school etc) then the potential for it all to go wrong becomes greater.

Does either of your employers have an emergency nanny scheme? Mine has a nanny agency on the books that will find you someone to cover the second 24 hours of an illness that CM/nursery would not take the child with (or if your nanny/CM is ill).

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 19:43:49

Hi carriespawnshop,
Thanks for the reply.
No, not planning on any more DC due to our situation. Unless anything major changes but I'm pushing 38 so looking less and less likely.

I don't feel we could adequately emotionally or financially support another child, which is sad as we'd always dreamed of having 2. Having said that, I realise how lucky we are to have one healthy beautiful son so no regrets.

addictedtosugar Sun 19-Jan-14 19:44:55

Have toddler in childcare in home town, so that either of you can pick up.
Is there any possibility of DH dropping off on way to station some days, and then you can get a really early start those days?

Can you look for a new role nearer DH's London job to allow for a move?

It can work - we don't have the commute your DH has, but we both work FT, with no family around, and DH regularly travels, leaving it all to me.

Congrats to yuor husband.

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 19:48:36

Hi addicted,
No chance husband can do drop off since his train leaves still 7 am. CM drop off is 7:45 to allow me to arrive at work at 08:30 so that I can leave at 5 to collect at 5:30.

I'm really reluctant to leave my current job because a) it's stable ( we've had so much instability) b) it's pt with decent pay and benefits ( hard yo find)

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 19:49:35

Thanks by the way off the congrats.

I know I don't sound it, but I am pleased

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 19:51:02

When I say PT it's 4 days.

I made the mistake of reading another thread on here when everyone said it'd be a nightmare, maybe it won't be so bad?

Avalon Sun 19-Jan-14 19:53:53

Different childminder with earlier dropoff?

addictedtosugar Sun 19-Jan-14 20:02:19

Its totally doable.
How badly will the childminder be if your train is delayed 15-20 mins? I have a little lea way between usualy pick up and nursery closing, and have needed it some times.

Its getting trickier now DS1 is at school, but at the moment we are taking the expensive, easy option, of having DS1 and DS2 in the same nursery, with them doing the school runs. Makes school hols much better! Don't know what we'll do when DS2 goes to school!

Any change is hard, and its going to take some adjusting to. Other things to think about: batch cooking, or quick meals - I have pasta sauce in the freezer, so can have dinner on the table 15 mins after getting through the door, or cook the night before.

Just a thought: might a car make life easier, rather than the train? That might be a very "round here" view - there is no public transport within 3 miles of my work, and I suspect the nearest bus route is further from DH, so we wouldn't manage without a car.

Also, online shopping. Saves ages. Try a couple of supermarkets, and when you find your preference, sign up for the delivery deals. Not that expensive.

And Plan, plan, plan!

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:03:03

Thanks Avalon,

He's been with the same minder since he was 1 and so am reluctant to Move him, he's happy there which enables me to go to work.

She's been flexible at reducing his hours to help our finances whilst keeping his space during successive periods of unemployment too.

She's in the next town along towards my work, 3 miles along the coast. ( I drive him there, park and walk to the station) as she lives right by it. We will have to move him when he starts school as she won't be able to do drop off as it's too far.

lotsofcheese Sun 19-Jan-14 20:04:01

Would you consider dropping a day at work?

We have a similar situation; DP was made redundant, then out of work, part-time work & now self-employed on a monthly contract. We work in opposite directions (but have shorter commutes than you). DP works down South overnight every week. We have 2 DC & no family support nearby. So I do all drop-off's & pick-ups.

I reduced my hours to 2.5/3 days, as it made little difference income-wise after childcare & travel costs.

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:05:51

Thanks for the tips addicted. If you think of anymore please feel free to pass them my way.

I think it'll be stressful but then with one home working day and one day off maybe I am stressing unnecessarily.

Driving to work would take a lot longer than the train. It's a crap road and when I used to drive it regularly took 70-80 mins. Train takes 45. It's shoreham by sea to Chichester of anyone is interested!

Childminder is in lancing and gives him 3 meals too.

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:09:01

Hi lotsofcheese.

I'd love to drop a day at work, I think it's very unlikely I'd be able to.

We are a US owned company and culturally it's shifting towards less flexible working rather than more. I was one of the last team members to return from maternity leave to be allowed a 4 day week.

I am wondering if they may allow me to work one more day at home informally though...

So try for sounding moany, it's actually encouraging to hear from people in similiar boats who have made it work most of the time and are relatively sane...

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:11:07

Sorry addicted, forgot to reply to one element.
Childminder is brill, I have very rarely been late and she has never made a fuss or charged in those occasions

cupoftchai Sun 19-Jan-14 20:12:14

Don't give up your job!

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:13:48

Don't worry cupoftchai I don't intend to.

We need the stability as well as the money.

Also, although I'd ideally live to work less to spend more time with my gorgeous son, I do enjoy the stimulation of work and have lovely colleagues. I've been there 12 years.

BikeRunSki Sun 19-Jan-14 20:15:07

DH and I commute in the same direction (for some of the way), both about an hour ish, although dh is often away from office and sometimes not home for a few days. We have one child at school, one at nursery, so two pick ups. It's doable. In fact better to be in opposite directions in case roads/trains go pear shaped and you are both on that direction!

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:17:41

I suppose my thing is that my husband will be out 7-7 5 days in one direction, I will be out 7:30-6 3 days and 9-5 2 days.

I guess it won't be forever .

All tips on shortcuts and buying in extra help very appreciated.

antimatter Sun 19-Jan-14 20:18:03

It isn't long before your dc will be at school.
Take each month at a time.

Don't forget to plan to keep each few days off your holiday entitlement to take just to relax every couple of months.

Financial stability is going to make massive difference to how you feel about the whole situation.

Good childminder is like a gold grin

When is your dc due to start school?

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:18:18

Sorry should have said 7:30-6 3 days, 9-5 for one day.

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:21:38

Hi antimatter.

He will be 3 in May, so I guess he'll start school maybe September 2015 or spring 2016.

Good tip on holiday entitlement. I used a lot this year to cover CM holidays because my husband wasn't able to I'm his last job.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 19-Jan-14 20:28:24

Have you got room for an au pair? That would be your best bet I think.

cupoftchai Sun 19-Jan-14 20:34:05

Sorry meant to say more than just that! That's good though. I am in the boat u have just departed with job seeking husband and it is very stressful. Wouldn't like to give up own stability, income, future opps if he got something even if it was well paid!
On the actual practical points u raise, sorry, not v useful. Can u realistically do all pick up sand drop offs?

lotsofcheese Sun 19-Jan-14 20:36:27

I'm another who recommends bulk-cooking & freezing at weekends. When DP is away, I have my shower & wash hair the night before, which gives me more time in the morning. I often eat my breakfast at work at my desk. And buy my main meal of the day in the work canteen so I only need soup at night. Clothes are laid out the night before & packed lunches made. We also shop online.

It is really hard though. But when you have had redundancy, unemployment & instability, it's a better option. Hang in there - it will get easier (well, that's what I tell myself)..,.

missfliss Sun 19-Jan-14 20:46:34

Hi outraged
An au pair crossed my mind, but if memory serves right ( we had au pairs caring for us when we were little) they only tend to stay for a short time don't they? So what happens with the gaps in between

Hi cupoftchai , sorry to hear re your situation. I feel for you. Apart from anything job hunting takes so much time and effort doesn't it. No family time at all. Every interview was like doing exam prep so I was taking son out as much as possible alone at weekends so that poor exhausted and down hubby could have a chance at doing all the prep for each interview. It sucks. Massively. Hope you get an upturn in luck very very soon. In answer to your question, yes I can but only if train is on time, and it means having to not attend any meetings that might run outside those times which I worry about (from a point of view of pissing my employer off).

Thanks lotsofcheese.. Those are all great tips. I rely on a shower to wake me up in the mornings, but could definitely still wash my hair the night before. Any tips on getting reluctant toddlers out of the door and in the car for 7:30 sharp?

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