How to make work and children work with half-term & holidays?
Marce asks Mum & Career
I hope this is not a really silly question. I have been raising my three year old son full-time, and am looking to go back into work part-time. Until now, I have been telling myself “It will get easier. When my son is in school, I can work!” What planet was I on?
Coming out of my bubble, I realize that, actually, school can make the work hours- time with child equation even more difficult, as there are long holidays, half-term and the unexpected to negotiate.
To get a clearer understanding, and get some ideas around how to figure it out in a way which will suit mine & my son’s life, I wanted to ask: how do those of you out there with school-age chidlren plan for school holidays? Do you take time off work? Do you use childcare, and if so, what kind? Are there some websites with advice and ideas around this that you know of?
All mums I know have children of my son’s age or younger, so I don’t know who to ask!
I am a single mother, and I cannot think what employer will allow me to take the whole summer off to be with my child…nevermind how it would work financially.
Expert Answer by Inge Woudstra – Working Women’s Expert
Not a silly question at all, as I know many of us struggle with just that one.
Personally I make do with: take our own holiday, sports camps/after school clubs that offer a summer club, and additional childcare (such as grandma, other grandparents) and some flexibility from my husband. It looks extremely daunting, as of course you also have: parent-evenings, X-mas plays, reading with your children, school closing-days for whatever reason etc. Some of those I solve with working from home for half days.
It does get easier when they get slightly older (six), as they can do more on their own, while I work. And TV of course…
I know this is what other women do:
– In emergencies: take your child to work, take unpaid leave (you are entitled to that for emergencies)
– Never take full days off for school events, e.g. perhaps you can be 2 hours late and work longer that day
– Arrange play dates
– Get your husband involved, this is not just your problem
– Get a summer-au-pair, nanny or child minder for holidays only (it is possible – just need to look a bit harder)
– Perhaps you are lucky enough to have nice neighbours, parents of your children’s friends, other family members that they’d love to stay overnight with!
It’s not easy and it does work to check whether there might be another parent in your child’s class that is in a similar situation, perhaps you could build a relationship and take turns looking after the children in holidays.
Hope it helps. I know all this as I have been looking into it to write an article. The only other place you
can find this sort of advice is probably Mumsnet. Although you’d have to dig around a bit.
It’s all about finding a mixture of all of those. Don’t look too far ahead. Just look at the next 2 holidays and how you might manage those.