Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Sharing the load

I'm sat here at the computer as the kids watch Cbeebies and eat their pizza after a full day of school, followed by a very expensive and unsuccessful riding lesson. I am sitting here looking for a job again for the third time this week. Another job, because the one I have doesn't give me enough hours or earn me enough money. So I look where I always look; the local papers on-line, the horsey websites for a grooms position, I look at the agencies and then finally I depress myself and look at The Guardian. Yes there are jobs, yes I am qualified but I can't apply for them because who will feed the children breakfast, test them on their spellings and drive them to school? Who will pick them up at 3pm and take them to their various clubs, play dates and make them dinner? Because if I want to work a full days work then I will need someone to do those jobs for me. So I feel trapped, and I stare at the jobs available, go round in circles and decided to write a blog post about it instead.

Everyday he has a gruelling day. Everyday he gets up at 6.30am to catch a train to London which is nearly a one and a half hours commute. Everyday he works so hard he grabs a sandwich at 4pm if he's lucky. Sometimes he gets the early train home and manages to read to the children before they are asleep at 8pm. Most often he is later or just stays in London when work is too hectic.

We would like to share the load. He would like to take care of the children and be more involved in their life, to know what they like to eat in their sandwich boxes and who likes Cheerios for breakfast. He would like to take them to 'Street Dance' on a Tuesday - and pick P up on a Thursday to peruse the garden centres while A does her singing and drama at the school. He wouldn't mind learning how to cook dishes other than lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise, or hoovering the house and separating the washing.

And I would like to go to work again properly, to be valued for someone other than a mother. I'd like to get my teeth into something really interesting and develop it - and get paid for what I am worth. I would like to not do the washing for a week, or pack the lunch boxes and wash their hair and get screamed at. I would like to share those responsibilities so that we both know our own children equally and equally both contribute to the household income.

Am I asking too much?


  1. I don't think that's unreasonable to want such things. Sadly I think modern life makes having it very hard. If you're in a situation where you need X amount of money and can't (or won't) change that (I know people who refuse to not have new cars and 2 holidays a year) then there may be little choice.

    However if you can change a few things, maybe your partner going part time if possible, allowing you to do the same, if the opportunity exists, then what a difference that would make.

    I understand what you mean about being wanting to be valued for something other than being a parent. I'm a stay at home dad and gave up a career in IT to do it. I will never get back into the industry and wonder what I will do when the kids go to school. However we have decided that not having to rely on pre/after school clubs just so I can have a career is important so I will try and do whatever I can to be there to see the kids off and pick them up from school. If that means I'll never earn the big bucks again then so be it.

    It's tough and I may well feel just like you nearer the time. Write a list of what is important to you both and then try and figure out a way of getting it. It may mean moving, budgeting or anything else, but you may get what you want.

    Good luck.

    1. Thanks for your comment David! I totally agree with you - we (him and I) had a massive talk last night and agree money is not the controlling factor, yes we had a holiday to India this year but 2 weeks of family time out of 52 sucks. I would give exotic holidays up in a jiffy if we could all be together more.

      My kids are in school now but it is surprising how little opportunity I have to find work around this - their commitments and appointments etc are time consuming! I think my partner would find it difficult to 'give up' his career - maybe he should just change it, but making big changes is difficult.

      My usual solution is to run away and meditate up a mountain or gallop really hard across an African savannah (!) but have kids to consider now....!

    2. Galloping and meditating aside, I really love being able to pick up my children after school and be there for them always - sometimes I feel guilty for having this privilege. What I really don't like is seeing him so stressed and I would love to lighten his load.

      I have two friends who have shared the paid work and the childcare/housework but they are in the minority.

      Looking forward to the changes ahead, I have a feeling it may take time to work out but all the advice I have had on FB and the blog has been so useful.

      Cheers !