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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To preface, I have barely worked for 4 yrs now and am desparate to get back to it, even though DD is just 7 months. I have searched for work where we live and I could set up stuff for myself freelance but nothing truly exciting. I just interviewed for my absolute *dream job* but it's in London, which would be at least 2-3 hrs commute each way! It's by train, so I feel I can use that time to sleep/read/knit/relax. When I applied for the job they said it was 1 daya week, so i figured DH would be home and I would build up a reserve of milk during the week and DD would be fine. In the interview they let me know it will quickly build to 2 days a week. I'm now waiting for the callback and am wondering what I will do if I'm offered the job. 2 days doing such a huge commute seems insane, and since my parents are in London I think I would have to somehow do an overnight, at least every other week. But I still have never had a night away from DS, let alone DD, and can't imagine how that would work.<br><br>
Anyone done something like this? Am I crazy even thinking of it? We certainly wouldn't be making any money with this job, considering train expenses etc, and I don't know if the stress would make things tough for our family, but the otherside is I'm miserable at home full time and this is a rare opportunity....<br><br>
Any word of advice happily received.
 

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You seem to have said everything yourself about whether its a good idea or not.<br>
On one side you have<br>
- dream job/rare opportuniy<br><br>
On the other side you have<br>
- being away from DS and DD<br>
- No monetary benefit<br>
- bad commute<br>
- nights away from home<br>
- nights away from DP<br><br>
It seems pretty heavily weighted if you ask me. If DD and DS could give thier opinion, I bet they would want to see their mum every night...not to mention DP. I know the pull of a "dream" opportunity can be very hard to say no to, but it should be a red flag that this job is not the right one if the only reason for taking it one can come up with is selfish (for lack of a better word) and the sacrifices all on other people. There will always be other opportunities. Perhaps you need to lower the bar when you look closer to home for the sake of your family.<br><br>
Just my two cents...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the replies, and some very thought provoking questions.<br><br>
I guess I should give a little more background, though it may not help since the work i do can be hard to explain! I'm a music therapist and specialise in working with traumatised children. I thrive in working cross culturally and have been passionate about wanting to work with refugees for some time. Now to do that you have to be where the refugees are, of course. There is a huge somali population where I live but it has been very hard trying to start projects here partly because I don't have specific experience or training, and partly because it's a small city with not so many resources.<br><br>
So then along comes this job working as part of an internationally renowned human rights organisation with child refugees who have experienced torture. The job involves training, would give me a solid foundation in the work, gives the opportunity to transfer should we want to travel (they work in mexico and guatamala) or if we -very likely - move back to the US. They are also interested in supervising PhD research projects, which is exactly where I see myself in a few yrs time. That, plus the fact that the work itself is so profoundly important to me..which is why the monetary part is not too important. We would make a few extra thousand pounds a yr, but I would be doing what I can do in the world to ease suffering; something i've always placed much higher value on than making $.<br><br>
Now, of course, my own children's rights and needs come first. But I think I'm being too hard on myself stressing about this. I've been more or less a full time mother for four years and have also learned that sometimes DP makes a much better stay at home parent than I do. I wouldn't do this job if it involved day care, and yet millions of women put their children in day care full time from an early age; so why should I feel so bad about a couple of long days and maybe one night away?<br><br>
When I was a kid we lived in the sticks and my mum had to live in London all week long to work and come back at weekends. It was temporary; eventually we moved to London (as we might end up doing over time), but even then she worked nights. I rmember it was hard on us, but the other side is I have a very strong relationship with my dad who took care of us.<br><br>
bluebottle, to answer some of your good q's, I guess I've explained why I can't do my work from home, but in regard to the train q yes I think that time will help me decompress after some very stressful work, and that the physical distance would actually help me separate out my life a bit. At the moment I'm with my kids 24 hrs but don't feel truly present any of the time bacuse part of me wants and needs to work. My hope would be that if I got this then I would be able to really truly be with my children the other 5 days...and they get to be with their great daddy the other days...<br><br>
So I guess I'm being pretty defensive, even though I'm not really sure how this would all work out...this is an ongoing dilemma for me, how much to sacrifice, what to prioritise as a mother. I think the biggest thing for me is having learned that sacrificing everything is a big mistake (did that when DS was born, upped and moved to somewhere there was no work for me; never again). Now it's all about finding a balance...<br><br>
I'd love to hear any more thoughts now i've given some background....course I may not be offered the job and this will all be mute; they were very put off by my distance and I think by me having small children, even though I don't think they're allowed to let that influence their decision?
 

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If you found super reliable child care in London your children could do the commute with you. Could you do 2 days one week one the next or 1 and 1/2 days each week.<br><br>
If it is your dream job I'd go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pranamama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If you found super reliable child care in London your children could do the commute with you. Could you do 2 days one week one the next or 1 and 1/2 days each week.<br><br>
If it is your dream job I'd go for it.</div>
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yes i think the alternating weeks might work...hmmm, I wondered about the childcare in london, just for DD. Too bad there's no creche at this organization, and I don't want my parents to take care of her particularly. But if I did an overnight with my mum maybe she could have her just for a morning; meanwhile DS is at kindergarten and Dh could work. Boy it's a juggling act!
 

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You have already received some great advice. In the end, I think you need to go with your gut and if you think that it will work and your partner is supportive, you can make it work whether you do the overnight, have a DC travel with you and find childcare in London or whatever. If you feel it is truly right for you, you will make the arrangements. Being passionate about it and having it fulfilling may likely resonate with your children who can pick it up from you. You can also share with them what you are doing, the children and their challenges, etc. I work with war torn regions and people trying to rebuild their justice systems. Even though DS is only 2, I explain everything (within reason and age appropriateness of course) and I swear he gets it. He sees that I am happy about my work and actually supports me in his 2 year old way. I travel with him as much as I can and he feels part of it and knows where I go and what I do. Anyway, I just want to ditto what a PP said about a good idea to reiterate to them about having things handled and a partner supportive because although they aren't suppose to consider your personal situation, they can't help but do so and it is important for you to advocate for yourself and alleviate any concerns they may have.
 

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I have to say, I would take it too, and work out the details--I've known someone in a very similar situation (except she had to drive, and she was a faculty member, so taught 2-3 days/week), and she stayed with her parents 1-2 nights a week with her son.<br><br>
We've done a number of commutes, from the very crazy to the only pretty crazy (south bend, in-seattle, wa weekly commute for my partner when our daughter was 6 mos to 15 mos and now a biweekly albany, ny-columbus, oh trip for me for 6 months out of the year--our daughter is now 2.5) Neither of these involved financial gain--they were/are all for other reasons that we're very invested in for the good of our little family--they also have involved regular plane flights (my now 2 short 1-hour hops every other week seem like a piece of cake compared to my partner's weekly x-country flights!!), so the train seems like a dream to me!<br><br>
But for us it's been important to be able to do fulfilling work (one of us is in publishing, the other an academic), and work towards being both able to do what we want to do in the same place...<br><br>
I know this kind of stuff is unimaginable to many--feel free to pm me for logistical or other details!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all for the great advice and support. It's been a hard thing to talk to people about because they can't even fathom why I want to work with kids who've been tortured (or that kids even ARE tortured), never mind spending 4-6 hrs a day commuting. Put like that, it does sound crazy, but as my DH says, when you've found your calling you have to just go for it. He has been fantastic about it and is happy to do childcare 2 days a week and maybe work some evenings or weekends. I think he actually relishes the idea of having alone time with the kids (i.e. without me interfering!), even though they'll be LONG days...and I KNOW he wants me to be happy and doing what I need to do.<br><br>
simcon, yes the train seems like a dream to me too. Everyone here complains after public transport but after driving 5 days a week from oakland to petaluma, ca (should be 40 mins; took anywhere from that to 2 1/2 hrs sitting in stalled traffic each way), that it's even an option seems good to me.<br><br>
Calvin's Mommy, wow your work sounds fascinating. You are totally right about the importance of our kids understanding what it is we do. I feel quite passionately that I want my kids to see me as doing my work outside of the home. I worried that DS would be jealous (working with OTHER kids playing music? WHAT?!) but when I worked in a school here he would help me pack my instruments, suggest activities, and always ask me about my day afterwards <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
Now...all that has to happen is I actually get OFFERED the darn job. I still haven't heard a thing. I'm not getting too upset yet as they would have had a hard time reaching my references. I also think she wanted me to really think about it for sometime rather than leaping blindly in. But maybe they just found someone else they preferred...I've no idea at this point. I've thought about calling back but the more I thought about it I was actually pretty clear in the interview that I had travel and childcare sorted. I think I'll give it till Friday anyway.<br><br>
Thanks everyone for the encouragement <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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I think its really important for parents to also be able to follow their professional calling. I think "martyr mommies" are a really bad example to their children and I don't think its possible to be the best possible parent if you resent what you have given up for your kids. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, I know that not all parents (of either gender) feel they have a calling beyond parenthood. And it would seem hard to resent giving up a mundane, just-a-job sort of job to be a really good parent. But it seems like you have a special gift and (at least the potential) a special job. I think you should go for it.<br><br>
Personally, I think asking kids to travel that much would be really hard, so I vote for leaving them with your partner if that works. Otherwise, find a good nanny. Plan on working out your schedule so you can pump as long as your younger child wants to breastfeed during the day. Since you are staying at a house for your overnight, you can freeze what you pump for the following week.<br><br>
I don't know what the protocall there is for job hunting, but if you were in the US, you should definitely followup if you haven't heard anything. Send a brief, professional letter expressing your interest in the job, your availability for both the immediate one day and the impending two day schedule, and your accessibility at home should they need you on off days. Highlight one or two reasons that you are uniquely qualified for the job. Since you have already talked about your children (which I wouldn't have advised, but too late now), maybe you could point out how having kids makes it easier for you to relate to those you will be working with? How you can talk "mom-to-mom" to the mothers of these kids? You need to make both the kids and the commute into a plus from their eyes.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, mamas, I didn't get the job. I just got a rejection letter saying they took a long time to decide because it was a tough decision figuring who could best meet the needs of this post. Maybe I am wrong but my gut tells me I was really strong in the running until the whole commute/childcare issue came up. I've got some good advice from a friend in the know who says they stepped over the line legally at many points and thinks I should get some advice from the equal opps board. Then phone these employers for some feedback about why I didn't get the job and bring the issue up with them.<br><br>
I guess here in the uk they have to ask everyone the exact same q's. With me they did that and then said we have one other q for you about your location and then went into a 1/2 discussion of my situation. For some stupid reason (too long out of the workforce I think) I brought up my kids, at which point they should have said, that's not our business, or we have an equal opps policy and can be flexible around your childcare needs. Instead they asked how old my kids are, what my childcare situation is, and..the worst in my opinion, said "well what would you do if your daughter got chicken pox?" Really obnoxious, and I think not legal.<br><br>
Maybe I'm off about why I didn't get the job, but I feel really strongly that their thinking was biased because of all those q's and that that is not ok. I don't want to make a big case against them but I do feel I have to speak up and give them feedback, for the sake of other women. Given the nature of the work especially (working with people from all over the world) you'd think they'd have a really strong equal opps policy.<br><br>
Ah, well, I'm very sad about it all, very disappointed and frustrated (we've had an incredibly hard time getting work here in the uk, aand never ever did back in the US), but I have to say a little bit of me is relieved to not be adding all that stress into my life right now. On the other hand I saw another job in a different department of the same organization and I'm thinking about applying to that...all this advice here about the commute has been very helpful in affirming for me that I can do it if I really want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Aha, I just found this on the website of the equal opportunities commission:<br><br>
I have 2 children under the age of 5. I recently attended an interview and the employer asked a series of questions about my child care arrangements: what I would do if the child was sick; whether I could work overtime at short notice; and whether I intended to have any more children. I did not get the job, and I think it is because the employer did not want to employ a woman with young children.<br><br>
It is acceptable for an employer to ask questions at interview to find out whether the applicant can meet the needs of the job in hours, overtime, mobility etc. However, this should be done by asking all candidates the same questions, which should be gender neutral. For example, it would be reasonable for an interviewer to ask "You will occasionally be required to work away from home. Will you be able to do that?". If you attend an interview where you are asked a lot of questions about your childcare arrangements, or your marriage/family plans, you would be entitled to assume that the interviewer was making discriminatory assumptions about your ability to comply with the demands of the job and you can challenge this. Whether you succeed with a claim of sex discrimination will depend on whether the tribunal accepts that the questions were genuinely asked of everyone and were reasonable in view of the nature of the job.
 
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