On Lack of Organising

And I haven’t got myself organised to post anything.

So far this week has been quite painful, DW was taken to hospital with appendicitis, it was keyhole surgery so she was out by Sunday, she took Monday off work and went back Tuesday. Now, you might ask “Why has she gone back to work so quickly?” Well, the short answer to that is we need the money, its rent day on Friday and we’ve got to have the £1250 together to pay it.

We’ve been living a hand to mouth existence over the last three years, because the independent school fees were such a millstone around our neck, we’ve got into a right pickle with stupid debt. The independent school have been really nasty, they knew we were having a lot of difficulty with paying since July of last year. We informed the independent school we were pulling them this term, but they convinced us to keep the DDs’ there until we found a new state school. They’ve now issued us with a bill for next term, because they claim they were not informed (eg they never got the letter that was handed over to the school office). So we’ve been stung for another terms fees even though our children are not attending the school.

So currently our debts stand at:

  • Debt 1: £800
  • Debt 2: £1400
  • Debt 3: £2000
  • Debt 4: £1700
  • Debt 5: £400
  • Debt 6: £200
  • Debt 7: £7000 (Independent School)
  • Debt 8: £425

In total £13925, I know there are people who are in a lot worse debt than that. In theory IF I was working as well it would only take 17 weeks to pay it off, using just DW’s salary. But, I’m a stay at home dad (SAHD), school term ends on the 4 April and the DDs’ have two weeks off. So starting next week, I’m Job hunting, I hope to get a contract by the beginning of May, but that brings with it a whole raft of extra cost: Child-Care.

I don’t think people realise the complexities of child-care for a middle income family in London, with no external help.

As we live in Zone 3/4 of London, it generally takes 45 minutes to one and a half hours to get to where employers cluster. So given that the DDs’ can be dropped off at Breakfast club at 8am sharp(ish) one of us needs a Job 45/55 minutes travel time. It’s realy annoying that employers now-a-days really want their pound of flesh for the wages and expect an employee to do unpaid overtime by starting early and finishing late. The After school club finishes at 6pm on the dot. So the juggle is going to be who does what in the to-ing and from-ing of the school run.

 

Ok! So on paper, it seems pretty simplistic one of us starts work early and finishes early, one of us starts late and finishes later.

  • The person who starts early, does the school collection.
  • The one who finishes late, does the take to school.

Not quite, say the one who finishes early, gets caught up in work related matters and can’t leave, then the other parent has to pick up the slack and even though they started work late has to finish early. We’ve tried that in the past and it’s ended up as a loose-loose situation. The sacrificing partner ends up resenting the other partner, and there-in lies the road to hell and a dysfunctional family (our family is borderline dysfunctional as it is). Not only the emotional cost to all this, there is a financial cost too, the additional hours at school (even though its a state school) comes to nearly £2k for the term. Also, I don’t think people realise the amount of trouble you get into not collecting your children on time from school.

When we were both working two and a half years ago, we had a Peruvian Nanny whose had to collect the children at 3;30pm, bring them home and look after them until 6;30pm. She was late so often picking the DDs’ up that I got issued with an ASBO. Little did I know that schools can do that, and of course its the parent or guardian who gets it, not the hired help. I will stress that we’ve had other nannies since then who have been brilliant, our first foray into paid childcare was a disaster – I hope we’ve learnt from it.

So how are we going to get the School Work balance? Well! at this moment I’m looking after the children, organising getting a job isn’t hard. I can do interviews between 10am and 1pm, I can take and answer recruiter calls in that time too. The complexity comes once an offer is made and accepted and how long to the start date (that amount of time is critical to getting organised). The first week is the toughest, balancing who has what role in the childcare. Followed by learning the behaviours in a new job, like am I expected to stay until 7pm because its the culture. What is DW’s work schedule and how are the children going to respond to the change. So as you can guess I’m not looking forward to getting a job.

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