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Been back to work for 12 1/2 days - complete rant!

41 replies

gosh2 · 05/03/2003 15:01

I went back to work over 2 weeks ago, at the end of the first week, nursery phoned me to say DD was "ill"! So I picked her up. She was hot, it was hot in the nursery and she was tired, by the time I got her home she had fallen asleep in the car and had cooled down. Not so ill then.

The second week, there was a burst pipe and DD had to be at home with me. Try sending emails with a 5 month old screeching, so worked in the evening.

This week,it was the turn of DS to just about sabotage my career. Monday vomited, but nursery didnt call me. Today (Wed) took him in, and he was like a limp lettuce. Dropped him off, worked like mad all morning (knowing he would need me to get him). Phoned nursery to see how he was and said I would go and get him.

I am now at home with him and his sore tummy thinking, how much more can I take?!! DH cannot take time off, he is on call. I work in the computer industry (very male).

Either I am getting paranoid or I am thinking I will be next for the chop, when the next lot of redundancies come around. The thing is that when I have to look after the children I make up the work, doing what I had to have done that day in the evening. Even though in between the washing machine, the dryer the ironing, the sterilising of bottles, making of meals, I dont have much time in the evenings. So it is a bit of a sacrafice.

Anyhow just wondered how many others panic and think , this is so out of my control. I think it is so unfair, but is it me making it unfair? Would it not be better to work P/T?

I have tried to discuss this option with DH but he won't hear of it, he has said that if I work P/T I may as well leave as they won't take me seriously. I have worked so hard to get to where I have that I know part of that is true, but the higher up the more pressure and the more work is required.

I just think I feel pulled in all directions, and all for the children or work. Not for myself anymore. Oh God sorry everyone! just had to think it out in an email.

OP posts:

iota · 05/03/2003 15:11

Gosh2 the first few months are hard as the baby will pick up all sorts of minor ills due to the exposure to other kids. It does get better as their immunity builds up - both of my 2 had perpetual colds, eye infections, upset tummies at first. I went back to work f/t after ds1 and p/t after ds2.
Hang in there, don't make any snap decisions take time to decide what you really want. At the end of the day, it's you who will carry the stress of being a f/t working mum, not dh


gosh2 · 05/03/2003 15:18

Iota I am quite tearful now. I know you are right, it is early days and they both need to build up their immunity. But the fact that DH just cannot take time off when they are ill really does add to my stress. It does make me in effect a single parent, as I alone have to deal with every drama. But I don't know if I am that strong.

OP posts:

iota · 05/03/2003 15:24

gosh2, I really feel for you. My dh works away from home a lot of the time, and I refer to myself as a part-time single mum. It's no joke is it?
I went back to work because I felt isolated at home with a small baby all day and no dh to talk to in the evening.
Before I had the kids I was career orientated, but now I just want to do my 7.5 hours a day. You may find that your priorities change - that's why I decided to go p/t - it balances the work/life ratio. The only thing you don't get is a life of your own - unlike dh who is living it up in various hotels on his expense account. Do I sound bitter?


helenmc · 05/03/2003 15:31

Gosh2 - big cyber hug, there are lots of mumsnetters who will give you all the encourgament they can. It may seem never ending at the moment but it really really does become easier as they get older. My dh did an OU degree and his holiday was spent writing essays and my holidays was taking time off work for sick kids/harvest festival etc etc. Mine are 6 and 9 now and I've had 2 days off because of a bad cold in the last year.
i cut my hours to 9-4 but since I'm in the office everyday, everyone forgets I'm part-time. I've also decided to put 'career' on hold until they are a lot bigger.


Meid · 05/03/2003 15:35

gosh2, I have much sympathy - see the thread I started yesterday on back up childcare.
I have been back at work for 10 months and am beginning to wonder if I can go on much longer working full time. Like you, I seem to be constantly needing time off - either the nursery call me, we had drain problems last week, tomorrow I have a doctors appointment... I could go on. Like you, there are rumours of redundancies at my place and I just don't want to constantly rock the boat for myself but it is out of my control.
I have days like you, where I drop dd off knowing she's a bit unwell and then madly get on with my work dreading that call.
It isn't easy being a mum and unfortunately I don't have the answers but it might help knowing you are not alone.


gosh2 · 05/03/2003 15:36

No you don't sound bitter. I understand this. Yes my DH is living it up as well. He does compensate for being away and brings me back amazing pressies.(I am so material) He is away until tomorrow night, normally away Tues til Thurs. Also I am too tired to really miss him. But would just like to "share" the burden of when the children are ill, and it not to be so one sided.

My priorities have changed, I won't do late nights (can't) any more in the office. I now work in the work time - no time for chat, rarely move from my desk all day. However our (DH and I) still have mortgage commitments etc, that we both need to be working to fulfil this.

I am chilling out a bit now since you have been counselling me! I don't feel so lonely, I don't feel like it's just me who gets annoyed that the responsibility falls on my shoulders.

OP posts:

gosh2 · 05/03/2003 15:39

Last message was to Iota.

Meid I read your thread, but felt I couldn't add my thoughts as it would have stolen your thunder.

I really am finding that working F/T with 1 is a DAWDLE!! 2 is twice as stressful as it doubles the chance of the nursery phoning!!

Oh God how I dread answering my phone these days!

OP posts:

Meid · 05/03/2003 15:47

No worries re my thunder
Hopefully someone will have some practical advice for you, or at least you find it theraputic to know you are not the only one suffering in this way.
I am thinking about speaking to my bosses/HR about my problems, they at least might be able to put my mind at rest regarding job security.
Have you thought about being upfront with your employers about your fears, and how hard it is to catch up on work out of office hours? They might be able to offer some solutions or maybe understanding?


gosh2 · 05/03/2003 15:56

Meid I did try to speak to boss yesteray. We were working on a bid that has to be out on Thursday (worth about £14 million or so) - part of my stress.

He wanted me to attend a meeting on Monday at 10am, I said last week can it be midday, as 10 - on a Monday is bloody diff round the M25 etc. So I left home at 5.30am (up at 4.30) and got to the meeting at 9.30. He said, see you can make it - no problems!!

Yesterday I said it was very difficult for me to get to the meeting on time on Monday, had to get DH to take kids to nursery (he was then late) another black mark for me! I said to boss I am finding myself a bit swamped at the moment, and feel you are dumping work on me like the old days but my situation is different now, I cannot cope like I used to. Well he just looked at me like I was speaking chinese. He doesnt have children, and is a work a holic, so noone will make him redundant.

I feel he now is convinced I cannot cope, and now takes to calling me around 8pm to check if I got things done. This is how I used to work, never switched off. Now I have so much more to do in the evenings and have to go to bed so much earlier, that I don't want work calls in my home time. I need to flag this to someone else dont I?

OP posts:

iota · 05/03/2003 15:58

pleased to be of service Perhaps I have a new career beckoning.
When dh is away, after all the chores are done, I mumsnet, looking for something to make me laugh and it usually does.
I don't usually mumsnet at work, but today is pretty slack


iota · 05/03/2003 16:09

Gosh2 - sorry our posts crossed. Your boss is a complete git and needs a good kicking - should I send the boys round?
At least my workplace is family-friendly, and I don't get stress from my boss - it's bad enough having all the other stuff to cope with.


Meid · 05/03/2003 16:16

Your boss sounds awful.
Sometimes a way of dealing with a stressful situation is to find strength and something positive from it - why not think of it as your mission to put things straight in your workplace, for yourself and anyone else there in the same situation.
As you say, perhaps speaking to someone else, rather than your boss, might be of more use.
Good luck.


Bozza · 05/03/2003 16:42

Gosh2. Stop taking calls from your boss in the evenings immediately. Stick that answer phone on. That is completely out of order. Has the man not got a life?


gosh2 · 05/03/2003 16:48

No he has no life. He has a wife but he works the whole week and doesnt see her (she is probably quite delighted about the situation!). NO joke though. Yes it is affecting me. If he was phoning on a night when DH was home, DH would go mad. He would answer the phone and tell him I can speak to him in the morning and then probably sulk with me thinking something was going on.

Oh the time, oh the energy!

Seriously though, I need to handle the situation before it ends up costing me my job. I have decided to speak to another female, much older than myself who has grown up children, and who was concerned I was going back to work for him on my return from maternity leave. She has spoken to him, and said he is not to drown me with work and told him I should not be on a bid on my first day back!

I'll speak to someone else tomorrow, will update then. I feel I have aired something, I feel quite good, I don't feel like I am failing any more. Thanks, you have all been supportive.

OP posts:

Bozza · 05/03/2003 17:23

I definitely think you should not be answering the phone Gosh2. Also sounds like you might have quite a useful ally in this woman. Surely it takes the first couple of days back just to trawl through all your e-mails, re-familiarise yourself with things. When I went back to work I had several hundred e-mails.


GillW · 05/03/2003 18:51

gosh2 - get yourself one of those phones or gadgets which displays the callers number, oe even better one of the phones which you can set to a different ring tone for certain recognised numbers, then if you recognise it's your boss calling you out of hours you can just let the answerphone do its job!

I have a horrible feeling that I'm soon going to be in the same boat as you. Having just (I thought) won a battle to not have to go to London more than once or twice a week (which involves getting up at 5), the boss I agreed that with has just been replaced by one who's like yours. Iin fact are you sure we're not working for the same guy - I'm in the computer industry too and this new chap is a childless workaholic, who spends the week down in London but lives up in the North East, so thinks my objections to 5 hours a day travelling are pretty insignificant. He's already been calling meetings in London starting at 5.30 in the evening, and he's told me to look into how much season tickets cost compared to daily rail tickets. Doesn't bode well for it sticking at once or twice a week.

Hopefully I can hold off any changes for another month until the the new regulations about the right to ask for flexible working comes in, which least gives me a stronger case for refusing. As far as I can tell from what I've seen about the changes, if you have young children or dependents you have the right to ask for flexible working, and the request has to be considered. If it's refused you have to be given the reasons in writing, and you have the right to appeal to a tribunal if the reasons given aren't good enough.


seahorse · 05/03/2003 19:04

Gosh2, Iota

you must be really exhausted - I gave up the mad career track since I too was in a male dominated industry and felt that even if I went back fulltime I would have to work long hours and go on trips abroad to get promoted - doing the 9 -5 wouldn't have been enough - I can honestly say I've never looked back - set up on my own and business is going really well now - Someone (famous I think) said that you never hear retired people saying that they wished they had worked more but you often hear people saying they regret not seeing more of their family.

Work is Work - unless it is your vocation then it is a means to an end - tell your boss to stick his phone calls and reappraise you life - having worked hard for 'something' all your life as your dh says is not a good enough reason to kill yourself to keep doing it - I know exactly how you feel though - I did the uni, profesisonal exams, treadmill thing - I felt I was giving up everything I stood for but I don't ever regret it now


Batters · 05/03/2003 19:39

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GillW · 05/03/2003 22:08

If anyone wants to disentangle the legalese, the info on the new flexible working rights is here , and here , and the details of why they can refuse, etc are here .


gosh2 · 06/03/2003 07:22

Going into work now. You will never guess, DH felt so bad about all this landing on me that he came home last night and has said he can help this morning if I am home midday to let him get to a meeting in London after lunch.

That is only today solved. But it feels so much easier. I know this is a one off, the rest of the time he may not be able to shuffle meetings.

You are all right - and a bit devious GillW scans her phonecalls! - no you are all right, I do not need to answer that phone (mobile - you don't thinnk I would give him my home number do you) and I do need to put my family first. I want to be the sort of mother who is glad to see her children at the end of the day and who enjoys bathtime and doesnt see it as a fight and screams at them to get them to bed. Sometimes I am the worst mother.

I think it is too early to decide over the P/T issue. Yes it would stop any promotion dreams - not that I have any right now. I feel a lot more +ve today. I will speak to one of the more senior women today.

OP posts:

Azure · 06/03/2003 08:52

Gosh2, I sympathise with your situation. If your boss's current behaviour continues it may even be considered constructive dismissal. Is getting a nanny rather than having the children at nursery at all possible? If the children are sick, you would not need to take the time off work.


helenmc · 06/03/2003 09:39

Gosh2 - have found (haven't it all yet ) this - hopefull its helpful
balancing act


jac34 · 06/03/2003 11:29

I went back to work F/T after having my DS's, and found it very hard. I really stressed myself out about not giving 100% to my family, or my employer. I felt really unreliable when the boys were ill and used all my annual leave, trying to cover when they were too ill to go to nursery.
I gave it from the September, until Christmas, to see how things went, but had to face up to the fact I just could not cope.
I now work 3 days, I'm still busy but, can manage it very well. It makes the illness thing easier, as there are less days to cover at nursery. Two years ago DH dropped a day as well, which makes things even easier. We only have 2 nursery days to get them through if their a bit off colour, and gives us more flexability in swapping with each other.As we were also paying child care for two, it's saved us a fortune as well, does not quite make up for the loss in wages but goes alot of the way there, and makes for an easier life.


jac34 · 06/03/2003 11:40

Just wanted to add, I also was worried about promotion, but have decided that I could not cope with added responsebility for a few years yet, so thats on the back burner.
As for your bosses attitude, do you think he would concider P/T even if you wanted it, sounds like he's out of the Ark.
I don't normally work on Friday but have to go to a conference this week, so DH and I swapped SAH days, I've got today off instead.
I also think if your DH still wants you to contribute finacially, he should be prepared to take the kids to nursery and anything else that makes it esier for you.


scoobysnax · 06/03/2003 13:15

My employer is quite progressive about the work life balance, in response to huge rectruitment and retention problems. In recognition that it is common for 2 parents to be working with children in daycare both mothers and fathers are allowed up to 2 single days extra leave each year to care for sick dependents. This can also be used by anyone else, parent or not, for caring for older relatives or other dependents. It is given at your manager's discretion. Could you discuss progressive practice like this with your HR dept? And maybe your dh could do the same? My employer has 5,000 staff on the payroll by the way and has adopted this practice for economic not humanitarian reasons. Good luck!

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