Tuesday 11 October 2011

Do I want to Work Full-Time?

Things are changing at work, my boss of the last few years is leaving and I am now at the point where I am thinking 'do I want her job?'  I easily know the answer to that - yes I do. I have never made a secret of the fact that this was the job I fancied, it is one I have done before in other industries and call me big-headed but I think I would be pretty good at it.

(Now if you are reading this and you work at the same place as me, do not assume that I know any more than you, I am purely surmising about her job being up for grabs).

I started with my current employer just over 7 years ago and I have always been upfront and told my manager that the job I wanted was hers but for me it comes with a cost.  I am pretty sure that my Director of HR will not consider anything except full-time in that role.  Yes I could put forward for a job-share as I work now but I would need someone to share with me that I could really trust. Who knows if I would find them at that level.

So the question I am left with is 'do I want to work full-time?'  No, is my instant reaction, I am loving my balance of part-time working now the kids are at school.  Two school days to myself to get all the jobs done and some time to myself to exercise, blog, get my hair cut or even just visit the doctor without 3 parrots accompanying me.

Is an extra £23K a year worth me having to work full-time, not having a moment to myself and putting all 3 kids into childcare before and after school for five days a week.  My gut reaction was that I would not be that much better off financially and why would I do it? I felt I ought to crunch and numbers and see how it came out, childcare would be about £900 a month on a normal month and then do not even ask in the school holidays.  Over £5500 a year on childcare was what I calculated, sounds a lot doesn't it?  Even after this and the increase in tax/ NI etc I realised that I would in actual fact take home an extra £800 a month after the childcare, that's not too bad is it? About £10.80 an hour for the additional 18.5 hours per week I'd do  That could probably buy me the new kitchen that I am desiring, a couple of good abroad holidays a year or some serious spending each month.

But it comes back down to the basics - is this what I want?  To get home at 5.30pm at night and then to have to deal with 3 tired kids that have been in care since 8am that morning, to have to cook dinner or feel bad that we are eating ready food, to wash and iron in the evening, to clean on the weekends, to be grouchy with my kids when they ask to play a game with me as I have too many chores to do. Would I have to hire a cleaner, gardener?  Tell, me how do people cope with the daily stuff of life when both parents work full-time and you have young kids.  Do the chores just slip?  The other day I left work at 4.30pm (so pretty early), dh was at work until late so I picked the kids up and then did tea, baths, time with each of the kids reading or playing and I did the normal chores, washing, clean up kitchen, load dishwasher etc.  You know, just the normal and it was 8.55pm before I sat down for my time.  That really did not feel like a life I would choose to lead each day.

Surely I would miss out on the simple stuff?  When would I have the chance to capture simple moments like JJ watching the frog bounce around outside.  Like the girls running in the playground before school or decorating cakes after school.

Looking at this and thinking it thorough has been a good exercise for me.  It has showed me how little money means to me.  I have decided that even if this job was an extra £30per hour I would not go for it.  Nothing will take away my time with my children while they are small.  The girls are just 4 and JJ and is 8 and I like to help them with their homework after school, to chat to them about their day on the leisurely scoot or walk home and to drop into the park with friends on a sunny day.  Big earnings will not make me a better parent and I am glad I can see that.

Luckily I have a very sensible dh and we got on the property ladder fairly early and did not over extend ourselves, so we have no big 4 bedroom detached house to pay for and thus we can choose to live moderately and to enjoy our time together even if we do have a busted front door and a 30 year old kitchen.  Do the kids think about these things?  No, not at all.  When they are older and think back to their childhood at home I hope they will remember baking in the kitchen,  junk modelling in the dining room and playing games with Mummy and Daddy. Far more valuable memories than the after school club can provide each day.  Now if my Mum and Dad lived locally it all could be a different story...

Just to say, do not think I am judging anyone, we all do what suits us and our families.

If you work full-time do let me in on your secret, how do you keep a balance and where do you get the time from to sort the house stuff?

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