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School holidays

School holidays and 2 FT parents - how??

65 replies

Canigotosleepyet · 19/08/2022 10:08

Looking for advice/thoughts please - have just been offered my dream job. Whoop! But the reality of making it work with 2 kids and a DH who is largely unavailable worries me. Mostly the school hols.

Extra detail - DH’s job is self-employed (so secure) but client-based. He currently works 12-14-hour days including some travel and client entertaining. Visits other UK base about 1 night a week adhoc and European trips for 2 nights once or twice a month again with little advance notice, plus client golf some evenings and weekends.

I am now part time self-employed - consultancy/freelance so almost entirely able to work round school pick-ups/clubs etc. But do plenty of evening work to make up for that flexibility. DH does no school holidays cover (another thread) and takes only 3 weeks off a year which we usually spend on holidays and visiting family abroad together.

Kids are 8/11. How could I cover 14 weeks of school hols with 27 days holiday?! Would hope to work 2/3 split office/home. Are other people’s jobs flexible enough to allow some 9.30 drop off/4pm pick-up from clubs? Kids now too old /opinionated just to book entire weeks at local daycare options… Do people buy extra weeks holiday? Grandparents not an option.

Am I crazy to give up entirely flexible part-time work for a full time job (that pays almost entirely the same as current work but has greater job satisfaction/more advancement opportunities)?


OP posts:

Youcancallmeirrelevant · 19/08/2022 10:10

Your DH has to change how he works. His career is not more important than yours, and childcare is both your responsibility.

Most school holidays there are holiday clubs etc that you pay for.


trulyconfuseddotcom · 19/08/2022 10:16

Your DH needs to be involved in this and start pulling his weight. Quite often, it ends up being that the 2 adults rarely have the same week off because they need to use their annual leave for school holidays. Plus also holiday clubs - lots of 8-11 year olds go to them for just this reason. It's tricky but possible, so long as both parents are seeing their children as a shared responsibility. Don't let someone else's failure to parent make you lose out on an amazing opportunity!


Trainto · 19/08/2022 10:20

I’m sure you could find interesting holiday “camps” that your children would like. They can’t be too old and opinionated for everything surely?

Or pay for a nanny/babysitter. When I was a (fun, responsible) teenager, I was often paid to “supervise” older children - a cheaper option than a full on nanny.


Mumspair1 · 19/08/2022 10:22

Many, many kids of these ages attend camps. Even if your dh just worked a standard job just like many others, the kids go to camps.


Canigotosleepyet · 19/08/2022 10:24

Thanks both. I do currently use holiday clubs as my clients generally need support over the hols/summer, but I can dial back the work a little and work around everyone else. Just wondering how you get around clubs that are 10-3 and a 20-minute drive from home etc when it’s just you.

I realise dp needs to step up here. But their job pays x3 my own and effectively we can survive on their salary and my salary pays for the extras. Am told I’m being unreasonable…

OP posts:

ScarlettOHaraHamiltonKennedyButler · 19/08/2022 10:25

Holiday camps. There are so many now but some can be really expensive. Childminder could be another option.

Yes there are lots of flexible jobs, DH and I are so lucky we can split drop off and pick ups. We also have good leave allowances and helpful grandparents though. There are breakfast and afterschool clubs for those who can't do drop offs and pick ups but again can be expensive.

Your DH really should help though, I don't get why you let him away with not doing any holiday childcare cover.


Beekeepersapprentice · 19/08/2022 10:26

Everyone I know splits their annual leave so they take (for example) 1-2 weeks together and then 3 weeks separately each so that covers 7-8 weeks. The rest, people use holiday clubs. Your children might not get to choose to be so opinionated - they might just have to get on with it... Also most people I know would leave their secondary age child to themselves during the holidays so it probably is only the 8 year old you need to worry about for the next 3 years. Most 8-12 year olds I know really enjoy their holiday clubs.


Starship951 · 19/08/2022 10:27

Well next year they'll be 9 and 12.
If you could work from home more flexibly then it can work.
I would've left mine alone for a day here and there at that age.


Sanch1 · 19/08/2022 10:29

We buy extra holiday, cover some weeks just one of us, so we dont take all our leave together. In the shorter hols like half terms we each take a day off, have them at home a couple days while we work from home, and we have help from a few people that will have them the odd day here and there. DH and I both deem ourselves equally responsible for childcare and we both temper our employers expectations around school holidays so they know that we cant go on overnights, we make up for that in term time.


thecartofhelena · 19/08/2022 10:31

i always employed a local teenager at generous rates for the hols, they came to me, I gave them an outing allowance, and with one exception it worked brilliantly for several years until I could leave the children on their own


MerryMarigold · 19/08/2022 10:37

You can hook up with other families and share a bit of childcare. I think the 11yo can have adhoc days alone. Are there no relatives from either side that the children could visit for a week or so, even if you spend the weekend taking them? (My friend takes her kids to get mum in Germany!).


cantkeepawayforever · 19/08/2022 10:37

The thong is that your dh has become used to a family set-up that allows them to work exactly how they want to, take minimal holidays etc, and not think at all about the practicalities of family life. This is a) very easy for him in terms of mental load and b) scary to change, because his beliefs about whether it is possible to be more flexible have never been challenged.

You have 2 basic choices here - either you accept the status quo (with you being flexible and taking the career / job satisfaction hit) OR you have to work out a way of properly sharing the mental and practical load of childcare (your job satisfaction and progression is not less important just because it is lower paid, you have just been accept this).

Once you have worked out which choice you are making, THEN you can work out the practicalities - he takes more holiday and does childcare in it; you both use holiday clubs and share the later starts / earlier finishes; you both use family support; you employ a nanny / au pair etc. All of those require you to be partners who take responsibility for your children, so if that is not possible, you will need to stick with the status quo.


AquaticSewingMachine · 19/08/2022 10:38

Holiday clubs and camps. At that age I did sports camp, arts and drama camp... It was great. Clubs round here often run all day.

Your kids will cope.


MerryMarigold · 19/08/2022 10:38

To HER mum (not get mum)


CMOTDibbler · 19/08/2022 10:38

We used clubs, found the ones with longer hours (sometimes you need to ask for the extra), WFH and ds amused himself, split up all our leave so we only had 2 weeks a year together, and when desperate used PGL holidays to cover weeks when I was travelling. And to some extent ds had to suck it up and go to clubs he wasn't massively keen on. I had a spreadsheet of everything possibly available in the whole area - have you looked at what is near the new office? At one point dh was taking ds to a club near to the office he needed to be in two days a week which was an hour away.


mumonthehill · 19/08/2022 10:39

At 9 and 12 they should be ok if you have any days work from home, you split your leave as best you can. Holiday clubs if you can. DH earns a lot more than me but when I went back full time he had to step up for child care, it is the only way it works. We have 1 week booked off together this summer, other than that we have split leave . We plan months in advance so I know if either of us is away with work and book leave as soon as I can. It is very difficult.


mindutopia · 19/08/2022 10:41

You and your Dh are both self-employed so should have plenty of flexibility. We use holiday club (8:30-4:30). We both take time off. I take AL but Dh is self-employed so he just takes the day off or does mostly admin that day.

I would expect a 8 and 11 year old to be able to keep themselves busy while you wfh in the house some days.

Coordinate play dates with friends so you get a whole childfree day when you need to go into the office and then return the favour on your day off.

Then obviously your Dh needs to sort out his availability and be present. My Dh is self employed (company director with several employees and multiple sites to manage) and probably in a similar financial position. Earning well means you can afford flexibility. Dh regularly takes days off to take the dc camping or biking. It’s much easier when you’re self employed than if you say, work in retail with little control over working patterns.


parietal · 19/08/2022 10:43

we got a summer au-pair some years. if you have a spare room to fit them in, then you can get a student from overseas who wants to hang out in the UK for 6 weeks and will pick the kids up from camp or take them on day trips.

it was a big squeeze in our house to fit in the au pair, but it was worth it for a short time.

Also, for older kids then places like PGL do residential summer camps


Canigotosleepyet · 19/08/2022 10:49

Thanks all. Thecartofhelena - a teen is a really good idea.

Does anyone negotiate fully wfh for summer holidays etc? Or move to a 4-day week? I see that family holidays would have to change too.

OP posts:

HairyToity · 19/08/2022 10:49

My husband is a farmer and he doesn't pick up much slack. He will occasionally cover a few hours childcare, here and there.

We just make it up as we go along. I have a friend where we have a reciprocal relationship, I look after hers and she has mine.

I also have an understanding boss, so the holiday club of choice is very close to work. I do the last two hours of day working from home (kids are tired so happy to watch a film).

Half days annual leave work quite well. There are often clubs that will cover morning/ play dates/ screen time, have even taken my laptop into soft play and worked previously.


Ameanstreakamilewide · 19/08/2022 10:52

Youcancallmeirrelevant · 19/08/2022 10:10

Your DH has to change how he works. His career is not more important than yours, and childcare is both your responsibility.

Most school holidays there are holiday clubs etc that you pay for.


It's funny how the dad in these scenarios always works 100 hours a week, with international travel and with important clients, etc, isn't it?? 🤔

But the mum's job is magically elastic and can contort itself like a pretzel.

The OP's husband has to change the way he works, it's as simple as that.
Some of his clients will be parents, I'm sure, so they aren't instantly going to abandon him.

The bar for men with childcare is on the fucking floor.


Abraxan · 19/08/2022 10:56

If he takes more holidays and reduces is hours, what impact will that have on your husband's work pay/family income?

Will you be able to absorb the extra costs and lower pay as a family?

I think maybe you both need to sit down and work out the best way forward as a family for both of you in terms of what the family needs and what you both want.


AlpacaBag · 19/08/2022 10:58

I do a 4 day week, as do a couple of my friends so I have their kids on my day off and they have my son on their day off. Mine never liked full weeks of holiday club stuff but the odd day is fine, and husband and I take different holiday days to cover any gaps.


HorribleHerstory · 19/08/2022 11:01

When you need to go to work, kids don’t get to be opinionated about it. They do get to be too old for it - ie the 11 year old is bordering on being old enough not to need childcare or camps so you’d only really need to think about the younger in the mid to longer term. It’s only for a couple of years and then they are both old enough to not need care.

but it’s not up to them! They go where you tell them, end of story really.

my kids don’t go to camps or clubs that drop off at 9.30 or pick up at 4, I can’t do that. The only time they go to camps that start after my working hours is when they are getting themselves there, which is perfectly possible with local groups and then they are only home alone for an hour or so.

they do have a week at a friends and I in turn have their DC for a week in the summer, minimum. They do a local play scheme, but the teens stay at home and dip in and out of activities.

we have traded working patterns so that I only work six days but shorter days and he works four days but longer days


Phineyj · 19/08/2022 11:01

I think the clue here is most of us are sharing it between at least two people

Being self-employed, high paid and senior should make it easier to pitch in, not harder. What reason does your DH give for not participating?

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