Back to work -- how do you handle it all? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 03-01-2004, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a four year old DS and a 20 month old DS (still BF) and have to go back to work. (DH contract wasn't renewed.) I found a great job and they're letting me work 9 - 3 and are rather flexible about child-care issues, so I'm excited, but NERVOUS.

I have some questions:

1. How to explain Mommy has to go to work to bright and overly-attached-to-me 4 year old? He's used to having me around all the time.

2. There is on-site daycare at my new employer or a dear friend who DS adores has offered to babysit at home. What's your opinion? I would have to decrease nursings (or run home at lunch, which is definitely an option) if he stayed at home. The daycare is good, not great, but it would be nice to be able to see him during the day.

3. When do you grocery shop, do laundry, etc.? Have you and DH written out whose job is whose?

Thanks for your advice.
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#2 of 7 Old 03-01-2004, 11:48 PM
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Well, to be honest there are some days when I DON'T manage : !!!!! But I'll try to pass on some 'tricks of the trade' so to speak.

1) not sure about this one. I think honesty is usually the best policy ie: daddy didn't get his contract renewed so mommy now has a job so that we can pay the bills, etc. And then maybe try & explain what sort of changes he can expect over the next few months. If you're sad to be leaving them, tell them, but make sure to explain why you must go to work.

2) I personally prefer daycare because it's a sure thing. I find that more informal arrangements tend to break down over time, & then you may not be able to find a childcare place. I've done the running back & forth thing with DDs pre-school. Didn't like it one bit & got sick of feeling like I was always driving. But that might just be me.

3) Shopping, laundry, cleaning all get done at night or on weekends. Sometimes I put a load of laundry in first thing AM, then hang it up before we leave. Nobody said laundry has to be hung out during the day either!! Ours often hangs overnight.

DH & I don't have any specific jobs set out- just wouldn't work with our relationship style IMO. I do get frustrated with this aspect of working/studying!!! I feel like a lot falls to me to do, whereas DH feels like he's being asked to do too much. Ah, that old chestnut!!!!

Get ready for the long days, IMO. For example, last night after work DH did dinner & played with the puppy (that's an important job actually!). I helped DD with homework, sorted out a few tears & dramas btwn the kids, put away yesterday's dishes, set the table, cleared out school/kindy bags, & played trains for a few with DS. Post-dinner, I gave the kids their bath & put them to bed while DH did the dishes. I then scooted off to the grocery, came home, put away the groceries & went outside to take down yesterday's laundry. When I finally sat down it was 9:45 pm. I was probably tidying up as I went the whole time- god, I can't even remember!! I think the laundry got put away at some point as well......... i was supposed to do work work last nite as well- didn't happen!!

Aussiemum (43), DH (42) DD (16), & DS (14).
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#3 of 7 Old 03-02-2004, 12:39 AM
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Is dh still working then? You said his contract wasn't renewed?
Anyway, I explain my working to my dd in terms of money. I asked her if she likes her home, and 'her' truck, and I explain that i need to work to pay for these things. And food and the odd new toy....:
She is very understanding. I also concur daycare is your best bet, they are always open, kwim?
Dh is currently SAHD, so he does all the laundry, I do the groceries, he does the cooking. When he does get back to work in the spring, we'll probably both do laundry, but he'll definitely still do the cooking :LOL
I always have 4 days off after my 4 shifts, so this allows me to catch up on housework...if I dedicated my self that is:
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#4 of 7 Old 03-02-2004, 11:33 AM
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My DH is a SAHD so our situation is a bit different. I can only address the 'division of labor' question.

We have discovered that there are certain tasks I consider a chore and DH considers to be somewhat enjoyable and vice versa. Therefore, he does all the grocery shopping and I do the laundry. We split the cooking according to who has a free moment. I love to bake, so I make bread every other weekend.

Neither of us likes dishes. We take turns.

Neither of us likes cleaning. We turn on the stereo to something fun and we do it all at once. It doesn't take too long if you have standards like ours.

I see you have quite an adjustment ahead of you. It'll take time to get things running smoothly, but the fact that you're even thinking of these issues now gives you a leg up.
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#5 of 7 Old 03-02-2004, 03:17 PM
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1. How to explain Mommy has to go to work to bright and overly-attached-to-me 4 year old? He's used to having me around all the time. Not sure but I agree that honesty and giving simple facts will probably work well

2. I love my onsite dc but it is GREAT, not just good. I was able to go over and nurse (DD is still nursing but not during the school day) and I can participate in the activities there with her. I also feel better about any emergency that might arise. I am glad that she is yards away (being at a hospital too doesn't hurt). Also, even though she is in the car, I am glad that she is away from me less since she is onsite. I have even brought into the office and onto the area where I work when I have needed to stay a little late and such.
3. When do you grocery shop, do laundry, etc.? Have you and DH written out whose job is whose? DH is now commuting so he doesn't have a lot of time either. I have a cleaning lady every 2 weeks which has really helped. I give DD the choice of riding in the sling or Ergo, coming with me and "helping" or playing along side of me or playing alone in the childproofed basement for short periods while I throw in a load of laundry, cook dinner (simple meals), etc. If she really doesn't want me to do chroes though I don't (and I try to never have "need to" situations like better do laundry or I'll be wearing dirty underwear or going Commando) LOL) and I dedicate time to her. She doesn't mind going shopping so I try to do that with her. I also get up and hour before her and exercise, pay bills if necessary (do most through automatic deductions), shower, clean up. She is very understanding and helpful. I have really tried to simplify my life by getting rid of unneccessary things, through automatic deductions and such, by being organized and by not sweating the small stuff.

It will fall into place but there will be tough days and weeks, especially if there is bad weather or around the holidays . . .
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#6 of 7 Old 03-02-2004, 09:10 PM
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Originally posted by Geofizz
We have discovered that there are certain tasks I consider a chore and DH considers to be somewhat enjoyable and vice versa.
This is exactly what we do! It's working well. DH doesn't mind doing laundry so he does all the indestructables. I still do the lights and colours because he's paranoid about reds but will not hesitate to throw a white t-shirt into a load of jeans. The vast majority of our laundry is indestructable.

I unload the dishwasher which he HATES so he loads it and remembers to turn it on. I cook and he cleans up. He's supposed to clean the bathroom because I HATE cleaning the toilet but I haven't noticed any evidence of we're still fine tuning the system!

Anyway, the idea is: work to your strengths!
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#7 of 7 Old 03-03-2004, 02:54 AM
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I can only comment on the laundry. I do mine sometimes at 3am.

Why? Because I EP, and that's usually the time I'm up anyway for a nighttime session. So once I'm done, I either throw a load in the washer or dryer and go back to bed. I figure at least this way I'm using energy at a low peak period.

I usually try to fit things in when I'm doing something else in the area. Like if I'm going to take a shower, then I'll take the extra time to clean the sink or toilet. On the phone? I'll try to fold some laundry. Since dd gets baths in the kitchen sink, I put the silverware and dishes away in the drawers and cupboards that are in close proximity to her (and gets them out of her reach!) I'm just always multi-tasking.

And besides, I'm just sadistic about keeping my house as tidy as we can possibly manage to these day. :LOL

Since you have a four year old, I think making house cleaning a family affair is a fun way to do those unwanted chores. I'm already looking forward to when dd will ask me if she can help (and she's only 7 months! :LOL)

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