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Do I need different childcare or do I move *long*..?

6 replies

Traineetoddlertrainer · 16/03/2012 22:50

Right.. I need help and I hope that you I am a LP of a 5yr old DS who just started reception last year. DS's dad lives about a 40 minute drive away, and DS currently goes to stay with him every other weekend. This arrangement works pretty well, we all have a fairly amicable relationship (been split for 4 years). XP complains about the journey, but won't move closer BTW we both moved from the town where we were originally about 3 yrs ago.

The town that DS and I live in is, on the surface, great. It is regularly on "best places to live in Britain" lists. The schools are fantastic, right through from his current primary round the corner, through to 6th form. We live within walking distance of town, wonderful leisure facilities and it is really easy to get to the countryside (I love cycling and walking/slowly getting DS into the same!). It is also about 15-20 minutes drive from work, which works really well for me being able to (as an example) go to see DS in his school play, then whip into work.

So all good so far. Until it comes to work.. I love my job, have wonderful flexible employers, the hours are great and am working well through a career, but I work for a global company that expects travel. It is just what is done - some of our staff even split jobs between the US & here. So far I have been able to avoid most of the travelling, covering stuff in late night conf calls and the ilk, but as the scope of my job expands it is becoming more & more evident that I need to travel more than I do, just to get things done. Travel mostly US & Europe, not all the time, but prob at least every 2 months or so. I need to work out how on earth this is going to fit in with DS.

At the moment, day:day childcare is wraparound childminder, with 1 day / week at home. I have a trip to the US coming up and, after a lot of begging, XP is going to look after him for the week, which, at present, means taking DS out of school as XP lives so far away. which is fine in reception, but really not tenable (or good education wise!) as a long term plan.. Oh, and no other family support locally (I thought I could jet in my mum but she's just too fragile really to look after a energetic small boy for a week..:(..).

So I need to work out what to do to support this travel thing on a longer term. What the hell can I do, wise MNers? One option is to move closer to DS's dad and put DS into a local school. I rent, am good at moving, like the area and the schools seem pretty good. In theory, XP could then look after DS when I am away and also do the school run. He doesn't work Angry so it could possibly work. It would also (in theory!) mean that he could do regular activities at weekends, rather than being restricted to a weekday night for continuity. BUT (and it is big but) XP can be a real obstructive pain in the arse when he wants to be and while we are civil at a distance, I'm really not sure if he could be relied on on a regular basis... I also originally left him as he was an emotionally abusive control freak who gave me grief if I even glanced at another man in the street and a very large part of me is terrified that he would just never leave me alone if I lived closer to him. It would also cost me a fortune in petrol to get to work, treble the commuting time and be as stressful as hell trying to fit in school plays etc., around work..

But what else can I do? Please please give me some ideas. If I don't move, I need to look at childcare. I don't really know anyone well enough round here to ask them to help to this extent (it is also a huge ask). What sort of childcare would be best for this, as well as covering the day:day wraparound? Would an au pair possibly work (I have a spare room) or would overnight care be out of usual remit? Nanny would be great, of course, but I'm not exactly flush of cash, so need to look at reasonably priced options. TBH The thought of leaving DS with anyone apart from family fills me with horror, but I can't see any other option..

Or should I just change jobs/scale back what I do and just suck up the limitations of not being able to travel? Should I just accept that I can't have it all? Or is there anything else I haven't thought of? Any ideas really welcomed - this is going round & round my head and I just need to get it out here. Many thanks if you have read this far and any thoughts very much appreciated..!

OP posts:
smackapacca · 17/03/2012 00:00

Didn't want to read and run.

I think I'd look at either changing jobs or employing a Nanny/Au Pair.

Moving closer to XP seems to have too many pitfalls, and it looks like you'd be 'beholden to him'. Also for the week that you're away, why isn't XP going to bring him into school? I understand it's 40mins away, but if he doesn't work then what's the issue?

I might be reading between the lines but it sounds like XP has all the arrangements made to suit him already?

Traineetoddlertrainer · 17/03/2012 08:51

Thanks for replying! I didn't realise it was such an epic till I posted..Blush

At the mo XP's car is off road (and likely to stay so - he does live a very hand to mouth sort of existence), so it is all public transport to get anywhere. Doesn't worry me of a weekend visit as long as he manages to bring DS home at a decent time (I do the drop off), but really couldn't work for the school run.

But, yes, the "beholden" things is key. I guess I need to look at the job or something else childcare wise. Thanks for another perspective..

OP posts:
WhenDoISleep · 17/03/2012 09:03

I wouldn't want to move closer either.

Is the only reason that he won't take DS to school that his car is off the road - if so he needs to find a soloution because even though DS is only reception age, it sets a precedent for the future with regards him looking after him during term-time.

What about him hiring a car for the week?

Boysrstupid · 17/03/2012 09:13

For this first wk i'd insure xdp on your car and leave it with a full tank for the school commute. Why on earth you would allow ds to miss a full wk of school when he has a parent available to take him is beyond me.

For future occassions (if xdp is employed by then) I suggest you research local childminders. Some do offer overnight/longer term care, my old childminder would have done this. You could then use this provider for your wraparound needs so ds is familiar with care/setting whilst you travel.

It may not be ideal but parents make compromises every single day. If you want your career (which you are perfectly entitled to) then you may have to settle for something less than ideal. Expecting ds father to pull his weight in the meantime does not make you 'beholden' to him.

Traineetoddlertrainer · 17/03/2012 11:41

Again, thanks for the suggestions. Lots to think about. Good idea on letting XP have my car - didn't think of that one. Will also sound out my childminder. Glad I posted.

OP posts:
HappyAsASandboy · 17/03/2012 12:31

Lending him your car for the week sounds like a good plan, though 40 mins each way will make a long day for DS.

Is your relationship with exH good enough for him to stay at your house for the week and walk DS to school?

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