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Steppenpig

How Do Working Mums Cope

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The "Make me a German" thread reminded me that I had an argument with my sister the other day. She is constantly moaning about how getting married and having kids has prevented her from working and leading a fullfilling life, and I point out that she has had a few opportunities to work in cafés and coffee bars, but she gave them up after a few days (!) because she always feels that she should "be there" for the kids 24/24 and 7/7. I try and point out that it is her own mad psychology (presumably due to the traditional role models of our parents), and the kids love being with their dad, and would probably love being on their own a bit more too (they are 12 and 8).

Ironically, hubby has a really flexible job (sort of teacher/trainer thing) and I'm sure would happily work less, but she actually uses his erratic work hours as another excuse why she can't be out of the house more. (I haven't spoken to hubby, but he is relaxed liberal guy, has looked after kids on his own for the odd week here and there, but probably does also have the sort of unthinking assumption that the mother is basically responsible for their upbringing)

Financially, they have quite a modest income, but inherited a load of cash, so quite comfortable at the moment, although I worry that as they approach pension age, they might suddenly find out all their friends with high powered careers have raced ahead of them. I assume it would make zero difference to their finacial situation if she did work, because of tax credits etc.

I sort of think the problem is really that man/woman mars/venus dilemma, in that she really just wants sympathy and appreciation for her role as wife and mother, and I keep annoyingly coming up with suggestions and solutions, but anyway, my argumenting falls down when it comes to the Summer holidays. Now, I have worked with plenty of mothers with kids, and I know this is always a problem, but somehow it does get resolved. So, finally:

How do working mothers cope with school holidays, when they don't have grandparents or relatives to help out with child minding, and presumably the economics of daycare or whatever make it not worthwhile?

[edit: sorry, probably too much information. I guess just writing it down is therapy for me too, I'm sort of worn down from listening to it for 10 years]

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How do working mothers cope with school holidays, when they don't have grandparents or relatives to help out with child minding, and presumably the economics of daycare or whatever make it not worthwhile?

Holiday camps. They're not over-regulated so even high quality options in the heart of the stockbroker belt are surprisingly reasonable.

http://www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/page.asp?section=892

A day of varied activities including inflatable fun, playstore, sports games,swimming, trampolining and arts & crafts for 4-13 years plus Early Bird early drop-off and Chill Out late pick-up options at Woking Leisure Centre.

Junior camps are now divided into three age groups, 4-5 years, 6-7 years, 8-13 years to ensure that children get the best from their activities.

Monday - Friday 9am - 3.30pm

Junior camp £25 standard, £21.50 key status, £10.80 key concession

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At ages 12 and 8, there's loads of stuff they could be doing during the holidays, and they certainly don't need their mum 24/7 any more by then! Most lads are itching to go out and do stuff with their friends by age 8.

I'm a single dad with a 9-year-old son and work almost full time, albeit for myself. My lad spent last week playing football (£10 / day, 10 till 3; played at another lads house till 5). He's at a playgroup with various activities this week and next (£25 / day, 8 till 6), and he'll be playing tennis during the last week of the holidays.

Edit: Also, many of these kind of activities are offered at discounts to siblings, often at half-price.

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Thanks for the holiday camp suggestion. Actually, now I think about it, they were booked into one for a couple of weeks, but got injured (possibly genuinely, who knows?)

Just thinking out loud still - 25 quid is probably good value, but it's still a bit expensive for middle aged person starting out in the job market. And although bringing up children requires you to be really efficient, I imagine it must be quite intimidating to think that that is yet another thing that you will have to sort out for every day of the holidays, as well as doing a "proper" job. I can see that just sitting at home and being frustrated instead starts to look pretty attractive.

Most lads are itching to go out and do stuff with their friends by age 8.

It's funny actually, they really just don't go out and play with their friends much at all. I know they do have friends, and they just go to the local school, so they must live less than a mile away. They only seem to go to stuff organised/supervised by the parents, or else just hang around the house, on their own. They never just visit other friends' houses, and hardly ever have visitors except for arranged events. The eldest isn't really very sporty at all.

Can we make this into a sort of domestic catch all thread? Do other people's kids just go out and play normally with their friends like we did when we were kids?

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It's funny actually, they really just don't go out and play with their friends much at all. I know they do have friends, and they just go to the local school, so they must live less than a mile away. They only seem to go to stuff organised/supervised by the parents, or else just hang around the house, on their own. They never just visit other friends' houses, and hardly ever have visitors except for arranged events. The eldest isn't really very sporty at all.

Can we make this into a sort of domestic catch all thread? Do other people's kids just go out and play normally with their friends like we did when we were kids?

All my kids (8 and 4) and their friends want to do is play in the house. I hate it, my wife says it's OK so I always end up having to put my foot down and kick them outside.

We've just started letting my 8 year old out to call for his friends, but it's clear some of the other parents think we're crackers. One said she would let her son out, but would have to see him across the road. The 'road' is the cul-de-sac they live on. The degree of paranoia is absolutely mental, and I have to say it's mainly the mums.

When I was my son's age we were out doing all sorts, and where we live he could have all kinds of adventures with his friends, if only enough parents would let theirs out too.

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She is constantly moaning about how getting married and having kids has prevented her from working and leading a fullfilling life

The only thing preventing her from leading a fulfilling life is herself.

If marriage and kids are cramping her style, she could always walk out on her family. You could suggest that.

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All my kids (8 and 4) and their friends want to do is play in the house. I hate it, my wife says it's OK so I always end up having to put my foot down and kick them outside.

We've just started letting my 8 year old out to call for his friends, but it's clear some of the other parents think we're crackers. One said she would let her son out, but would have to see him across the road. The 'road' is the cul-de-sac they live on. The degree of paranoia is absolutely mental, and I have to say it's mainly the mums.

When I was my son's age we were out doing all sorts, and where we live he could have all kinds of adventures with his friends, if only enough parents would let theirs out too.

My parents and friends parents gave all of us freedoms, to go out in the morning and come back later in the afternoon (no mobile phones then)....we did all sorts, went on bus rides to interesting places, played down the park, built camps in the woods, stayed out all day in the sunshine at the local lido, built swings and dams across the stream, climbed trees, picked blackberries, fell over, took risks but survived.....our kids today have lost that sense of freedom we had then....parents are far too fearful and protective. :(

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The only thing preventing her from leading a fulfilling life is herself.

If marriage and kids are cramping her style, she could always walk out on her family. You could suggest that.

Yep, there's nothing more cringeworthy than someone in their 30s or 40s coveting the lifestyle of an affluent 20-something about town. If they're parents even more so.

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My parents and friends parents gave all of us freedoms, to go out in the morning and come back later in the afternoon (no mobile phones then)....we did all sorts, went on bus rides to interesting places, played down the park, built camps in the woods, stayed out all day in the sunshine at the local lido, built swings and dams across the stream, climbed trees, picked blackberries, fell over, took risks but survived.....our kids today have lost that sense of freedom we had then....parents are far too fearful and protective. :(

I think 8 is a bit early for going off on unsupervised bus rides. Are you sure you're not thinking of when you were a little older than that?

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I think 8 is a bit early for going off on unsupervised bus rides. Are you sure you're not thinking of when you were a little older than that?

....eight a bit young to go on long journeys with other eight year olds....but I took my younger sister to the local park when she was eight. ;)

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Yep, there's nothing more cringeworthy than someone in their 30s or 40s coveting the lifestyle of an affluent 20-something about town. If they're parents even more so.

:lol:

You must know me and I am cringeworthy

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....eight a bit young to go on long journeys with other eight year olds....but I took my younger sister to the local park when she was eight. ;)

How old were you at the time?

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How old were you at the time?

Depending on what sister you are talking about twelve.....there was normally a group of friends together, safety in numbers. ;)

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Depending on what sister you are talking about twelve.....there was normally a group of friends together, safety in numbers. ;)

I don't see any difficulty with a bunch of 12-year-olds going off by themselves to the park, as long as they promise to stick together and not leave anyone behind. The only problem is likely is be possible complaints about feral kids from twitchy neighbours and child-haters.

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I don't see any difficulty with a bunch of 12-year-olds going off by themselves to the park, as long as they promise to stick together and not leave anyone behind. The only problem is likely is be possible complaints about feral kids from twitchy neighbours and child-haters.

How times have changed......it was encouraged in those days, kids inside on a nice day was looked down upon, remember there were no programmes on telly, three channels nothing on in the day, no computer games or computers....if you didn't go out to play you would drive your parents as well as yourself insane....we did play outside in the road, games like hopscotch and french skipping, ball games of all sorts....neighbours were obviously nicer then. ;)

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....neighbours were obviously nicer then. ;)

I'm not sure they were. Back in the 70s/80s - my mates and I would regular disappear for the day to climb trees, ride bikes, explore derelict buildings, build bonfires etc. The local busy bodies were always grassing us up to our parents or the local bobby.

How do working mums cope? Large parts of our office have practically shut down as both mums and dads disappear off to look after their kids. I've come to dread someone in my team announcing that their kid has reached school age. Can't be helped I suppose but I haven't had a summer holiday in about a decade as a result.

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When I was eight I ran free in the fields, perched in trees, forded rivers in my wellies, and conquered the ocean with boats made from polystyrene fish boxes.

And now my empire is all ashes.

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I'm not sure they were. Back in the 70s/80s - my mates and I would regular disappear for the day to climb trees, ride bikes, explore derelict buildings, build bonfires etc. The local busy bodies were always grassing us up to our parents or the local bobby.

How do working mums cope? Large parts of our office have practically shut down as both mums and dads disappear off to look after their kids. I've come to dread someone in my team announcing that their kid has reached school age. Can't be helped I suppose but I haven't had a summer holiday in about a decade as a result.

Why dread when they reached school age....surely a child under school age requires looking after in the school holidays also......anyway I would have thought the best time to travel for your hols would be outside the school holidays, the costs half and you don't have places and planes heaving with excited, bored and sometimes naughty children.....anyway they are looking to cut all these unnecessary holidays soon that I think are far to long, soon children and teachers will have to work for longer........working mums in my time got 25 days hols max per year. ;)

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I struggle with the holidays on an emotional level as well as the logistics of it all.

I hate leaving my kids and would much rather be home filling the washing machine and cooking tea, particularly because my 9 year old wants to be out all of the time and i wont let him go out unless I'm home. He's like a child of the 70's and I do my best to make sure he gets out as much as he can. He'd happily go out with his friends at 8 am and come back when he's hungry. There are a group of kids in our street between 8-14 and they go up the park, walk to the stream, which he informed me they'd paddled across the other day, go in each others gardens and do trampoline tricks. I try my best to inform him of dangers such like when he went to the stream and getting him to wear his helmet when he's on his bike. Interestingly I can't get my other two, 16 and 11 out of their rooms.

I'm very relaxed about him playing out and before we moved I let them cycle to school on their own at 8 and 10 despite having to put it writing to school . My feeling is that if more parents let their children out to play and popped their head out now and then to see that all was well then there'd be more parents checking on all the kids. I make no bones of telling the kids off if I see them being silly and wouldn't criticise an adult correcting my son.

Balancing work is getting easier with a 16 year old to keep a check on things. I run my own business and set it up so I could work around the kids however it has got bigger than me, made me the main earner and I find myself running a full time business in part time hours even during school time.

I have no help from family. We've never had much support so have had to work around the children. I've used a club this week for 2 of my kids, first time during this holiday just so I can go into my office and give my job full attention and catch up a bit other than that I've been going in some evenings so I'm home in the day. Mr B has taken a week off work to cover another week.

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Mine have been raised as free-range kids from very early days. I think they first started riding bikes around the place aged 8 or so (no helmets much to the irritation of other parents). Similarly they get a bus pass for the hols and have done from about 10 or so. This gets them into the local town and a couple of local cities - and on to the rail network. We are also fortunte in living near the coast so they have a range of beaches to ride or walk to; ranging from the heady heights of consumerism (a solitary ice cream van) through to a very quiet place with no road access.

So they've pretty much had the same out-doors, tv-free hols as I did. But the reaction from other parents is often interesting. Fortunately they go to school which is even more laissez faire than us.

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Why dread when they reached school age....surely a child under school age requires looking after in the school holidays also......anyway I would have thought the best time to travel for your hols would be outside the school holidays, the costs half and you don't have places and planes heaving with excited, bored and sometimes naughty children.....anyway they are looking to cut all these unnecessary holidays soon that I think are far to long, soon children and teachers will have to work for longer........working mums in my time got 25 days hols max per year. ;)

Apparently, pre-school kids go to minders etc - even during normal school holidays. My idea of a perfect holiday is chilling at home or walking/cycling around the local area. That's not impacted by kids being off school. I'm done with travelling lots -and why bother when you have beaches and mountains on your doorstep.

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When I was my son's age we were out doing all sorts, and where we live he could have all kinds of adventures with his friends, if only enough parents would let theirs out too.

When my younger was 12, she and a schoolfriend decided they'd like to go on a day trip to Calais on their own, train from London and ferry from Dover. The other mother never thought I'd agree, and I never thought she would. But they went - supposedly to practise their French as well as having a parent-free adventure. I will admit I was having a few kittens till they were safely back.

The other mother and I were branded mad and dangerous by many of the other parents. one of the other kids wasn't even allowed to go shopping locally on her own on a Saturday.

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...

getting married and having kids has prevented her from working and leading a fullfilling life, and I point out that she has had a few

...

Odd. Working is exactly what prevents me from leading a fulfilling life.

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One of the reasons I decided to live in rural suburbs/countryside is that it is a better environment to bring up kids in. They can get away from traffic, into the fresh air, and generally have a good time. Not sure it is any safer, though, falling out of trees hurts.

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