Full time Working commuting mum struggling(11 Posts)
Hope I have posted this in the right place, I'm a previous lurker newbie poster 😀
My DS is 1 year old, I'm lucky that he is a good sleeper and a general joy although becoming more of a handful as he has boundless energy!
I work full time commuting 1.5hrs to London as does my DH. DS goes to nursery three days a week, DH looks after him the other two as he works shifts. DH and I get Sundays together but that's it as he works 10 hour shifts which with the commute is a long day.
I wanted to go back to work because I've worked hard to get where I am in my career. I also wanted to afford to create a better future for DS and give him the opportunities I never had. So I made a deal with my employer to change my hours so I could start earlier and finish earlier to allow me to pick DS up from nursery three days a week. This didn't go down well with my managers at the time but they were forced by HR to agree! My boss had made it clear part time wasn't going to be an option despite the companies new flexible working policy. DH did a similar deal with his work so he could have fixed days and do the drop off to nursery.
I've been back at work for 6 months. All was fine and I loved my job, fitted back in. But now I feel less valued and that it is impacting on what I do. I can't attend the social side as I'm leaving 'early' although as I point out to colleagues I also start early so do the same hours as them. I'm constantly frazzled tired and emotional which is not great as I am less resilient for dealing with crap from other so called colleagues. Lately I had a run in with one who seems to be hell bent on making my life a misery. It's made me question everything including why I am doing this job when at the moment it is no longer making me happy. I am becoming a bit of an insomniac 😫
I am so conflicted as I want to spend more time with DS and feel a terrible mother as I only really see him weekends and when he is tired and grouchy three evenings a week after nursery! It takes me Saturday to catch up with chores and recover from my working week so I am not at my best for one of those days. This was my choice but I am finding it increasingly hard to be away from DS and DH and DH has signs of separation anxiety too at drop off.
I could now put in another request for part time working as annoyingly one of my male colleagues was granted part time work as he is coming up to retirement (by the same manager, who has three kids btw so should understand 🙄 (his wife is a SAHM though so I don't think he gets why I want to work). Also I worry part time working will be more stressful as trying to fit same work into part time hours and will damage my career prospects. Having a kid has not taken away my ambition, I would one day like to get up to a associate director level (long long way off yet lol).
I feel trapped in my current job as what employer would be able to take on the same flexible working agreement? Working closer to home would be great but it's a massive pay cut so childcare costs then become an issue, family are too far away to help.
I just don't know which way to turn. I dream of giving up the job (although in my heart of hearts this is not really what I want) and spending all the time with DS. Realistically in our current situation we couldn't afford for me to do this as my salary is the higher and we have high mortgage costs and some other debts. We could live a simpler life downgrade our (already too small) house but not sure we would enjoy the loss of space and privileges such as holidays and nice food #firstworldproblems I know!!! I'm very fortunate DH is supportive and pulls his weight around the house and with DS.
Anyone out there have any advice from their experience or can reassure me this gets better?! Or am I just trying to have it all which can't be done?!
Oops sorry I didn't realise this had become soooo long a post! 😂
Ok didn’t want to read and run
Been there done that
What I’ve learnt:
1. They lied - you can’t have it all and do it perfectly - you can have it all and compromise - some things have to give a bit - only you can know what things
2. Advise throwing out old ideals - start afresh with what you need want and expect - write a list of what is important to you - be brutally honest .... then work step by step to get there - this may mean a different job closer to home ... a full time nanny .... a different house .... renting not buying .... etc etc ... all depends on what your list is
You’re the main earner, so perhaps consider - does DH really need to work? The way we’ve swung this in a similar situation is for DH to stop work. I’m ambitious and earn a lot more than him so we made a family decision to prioritise my career over his. I work the same ft hours I did pre DC, and can continue to progress in my career. No childcare costs, no pickup or drop off stress. We can afford to have a nice house and food etc (the holidays have needed to be switched to a cottage in Devin rather than abroad but we can still have holidays), we really wouldn’t be much better off if he worked and this is much nicer. May not work for you but is a thought...
The nanny option 3 days a week might be a good one for you? No need to drop off or pick up at nursery would save you some time. It also might give you the opportunity to do some of the social thing sif your DH can get home earlier than you sometimes. Expensive yes but would only be for 3 years and you have to weigh up that cost with the benefit to your career over that time
Or is working from home one day a week an option?
I would explore all your options including finding another job closer to home . Your reasons for keeping your career going are really important ones, it's a case of tweeting how you manage the rest of it!
Another factor is do you plan to have more DC? Think about your maternity leave in that situation.
And remember I don't think any of us no matter what our working situation is think that we got it right, we are all struggling with getting it right !
Good luck with finding something that works
Based in on what you’ve written, I think you are just adjusting to the new world. It’s hard when you go back to work and everything is the same but everything is different.
My personal motto is do it all, do it badly. Not because I want to but I really want a career, a family and a life, something has to give and you I cant give everything 100%, so I do what I can to give it all going.
What can you change out of the things that are dragging you down? Can you afford a cleaner? Can you work from home 1 day a week? Could you stay occasionally later for social activities?
Not sure what industry you are in, but going part time may mean you get a full time job to do in less hours and less pay for it, so be careful when negotiating.
Being a working mum is about playing the long game. Your DS is tiny at the moment and it feels like it will always be this way. But all of a sudden they are bigger and start loving nursery, with all the children and activities etc. and it’s less of a battle.
There’s an eye opening thread on here: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/amii_being_unreasonable/3067572-To-ask-how-having-children-affected-your-career
Have a read, don’t rush into anything and decide what your long game is.
Sorry only just picking this back up now, thought MN would notify me if I got replies, perhaps it did and I missed it, story of my disorganised life! 😬 Where has November gone I need it back?!
Things are a bit better, have some leave to look forward to very soon and so will actually get to spend quality time with DH and DS 😀
Thanks all for your replies, it's comforting to know that everyone seems to struggle with this. Some people appear to just make it look effortless but perhaps they are the swan peddling desperatley under the surface to stay afloat 😏 I would like to at least look as though I have my sh*t together on a day to day basis lol.
@OldGuard starting a list of priorities sounds sensible, sometimes it's hard to see the wood for the trees!
@ProseccoPoppy my dh loves his work so I couldn't ask him to give it up, it's his dream job and he has worked hard to get there, although there are no prospects for promotion he doesn't mind. It's very niche so no other employer even offers the same type of work, another reason I feel I need to keep my job in case, his job could also potentially be automated one day.
@Rainbowqueeen I had considered the nanny option but it is very expensive, and seems to be a lot of hassle given by what some friends have had, you are stuffed if they decide to hand their notice in and you have zero time to look for someone else 🙄
@GiGiraffe thanks for the link that certainly makes eye opening reading!
I think for now perhaps I just keep muddling along and just say everything is in 'review'. Its just the mummy guilt and which comes to bite every now and then. Christmas time off will give some space (hopefully!) to think. Going to get a grip on our finances so I can figure out if we can afford any extra help.
I know it's not useful or what you want to hear, but something has got to give, you really can't have it all, as pp said. Trying to do the same after DC as before is pretty much impossible unless you have a fantastic support structure in place. But not having family to help means youll be paying for it, which brings its own difficulties. I guess this is why so many families (mine included) have to have one sahp or someone working shifts at a lower level job than previously which fits in with the family. Someone will be there to make you feel guilty whichever you choose!
Oh OP- I was you after my baby was same age, I promise. I know exactly how you feel. My main advice would be don't do anything yet. Take some time over Xmas to wind down and think. You're worn down, your resilience is low. But you're doing great.
I wouldn't quit, or go PT. firstly your son is in a good position if he's with a parent 4 days out of 7. That's so positive.
Secondly I think you both need to look at changing your lifestyles. How about moving jobs? I have found a lot of FT working mum friends have left their companies for others after maternity. It can just be really hard to come back.
Eventually, what DH and I both did was quit and take local jobs. I'm in a profession where that was possible (admittedly not easy- I was lucky the opportunity came up as they're not common) and DH started contracting.
can you start talking to recruiters? Just get the feelers out. See what's out there.
And your DH- he's the lower earner so he should be trying even more to take a role which makes life easier (apologises if he's ie.. a nurse where shift working is enviable) shift work is the worst even though it allows him days off in the week.
Secondly, your childcare- is DS thriving? Happy? If not explore options there
It's all about choice. Your set up allows you the luxury of so much choice. It doesn't seem like it as you are so low at the moment, so take the holiday period to reflect and recharge.
Good luck and massively unmumnetty hugs. I know exactly how you feel
Could you move to a different part of the country where housing is cheaper? If your dh job exists outside London and you could then have a career change to something that paid less but was less stressful.
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