Knock-on effect

My decision to leave work has had a knock-on effect on other people, which I hadn’t really considered until it happened. For me, being able to take my kids to school every day and pick them up again, as well as be there to help them with their homework, was something I really wanted to do. I wanted to make life easier and better for all of us and this seemed like a good way to do it.

But as I spend more time with my kids, everybody else spends less – and both the kids and the other members of the family have realised they’re going to miss this.

For nearly nine years, my husband has taken the kids to school on a Monday morning – the only part of the school run he’s ever been involved in. He stuck to his Mondays religiously, despite the pressures of his own work and he enjoyed this bit of time with the kids.

Last Monday morning he realised he wouldn’t be doing this any more. He set his alarm for 6, got up and went to work (something he hardly ever manages, Monday or otherwise). Then the kids realised Daddy would never take them again and they felt a bit sad.

Tuesdays were always my worst nightmare – the one day of the week I had to get the kids up early to take them out of the house with me and drop them at my mum’s. They got to see their baby cousin, my parents walked them to school and picked them up again. Then my mum made them tea at her house. They hated getting up early, but they liked their time with Grandma and Grandpa and their cousin. They are already making plans to have regular meals there anyway on Tuesdays. My mum and dad will miss them – they’ve been looking after the kids for more than 12 years, since my eldest was six months old.

On Wednesdays my mum and dad had the kids at my house. Again, they walked them to and from school. My mum chatted to people in the playground. She will miss that interaction and some of the other grandparents will miss seeing her. My daughter’s best friend will miss laughing at my niece being funny in her buggy.
For my part, I will love the walk to school, love having the extra time with the kids. I will like being in control of their homework and knowing that it’s really being done – and done properly.

But there are downsides too. I hate cooking, I hate cleaning up from cooking and I hate the endless battles over food. Now I’m not going to get my two days a week off from this. Nor will my husband make the packed lunches two days a week to help me out. Packed lunches will be my responsibility five days a week. And I hate doing packed lunches.

And my daughter has taught me a fair few new ‘rules’ I hadn’t even realised existed. Apparently we are supposed to set off for school at 8.25 (personally, I favour 8.35). After school and before dancing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays she has toast and orange juice. She sets off for dancing at 4.23pm precisely and has a sweet in the car (there are no sweets in my car). On Wednesdays she takes two custard creams in a piece of foil to dancing (in my book it’s EITHER custard creams or toast). I suspect she’s going to be disappointed with my less precise parenting.

It’s only a few days in, who knows what other changes we are yet to encounter as we all adjust to our new way of life.

Work-redundancy-kids-school-packed-lunch

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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16 Comments

  1. This post illustrates so well how every parenting choice ends up being some sort of trade-off. Took me back to when my children were that age. Beautifully written, Sarah. HMSx

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    • Thanks, HMS, what a lovely thing to say. Really appreciate your comments.

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  2. No I hadn’t considered how it affects other people either. You will find a happy medium over time and also reinvent your own rules too. It is the greater good at the end of the day and you being happy will have a positive effect on the the whole family.

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    • That’s the most important thing of all, Nikki! As long as we can be happy that’s all that really matters (even if I do have to make more packed lunches!).

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  3. Maybe you could reinstate your mum and dad picking them up one of two days a week once you’re established in your new career. In two years my parents will only see z at weekends as he’ll be at school and they live 40 mins away. Or I’ll have to drag them to mine mid week once a week at least 🙂

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    • I think I may have to do that once my work takes off (if it does!). It will be nice for all of them and I will get that bit of extra time to work. Your parents will miss Little Z when they don’t see him as much!

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  4. Could hubby not continue with the Monday drop off – I know he doesn’t need to do it out of necessity but there is no need to change that routine. I’d keep the afternoon visits to the grandparents too, that way they’re not missing out either and as for the lunch boxes – can they make them themselves (my older ones do) xx

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    • Very sensible getting your kids to do the lunch boxes Kara, I think I need to do this! Although no doubt it would require supervision! Hubby is a complete workaholic, so much as he enjoyed that time with the kids, if he can get to work earlier, he will! I think they’ll still go to my mum and dad from time to time, but not every week as I want the time with the kids myself!

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  5. I noticed this when i went on maternity leave with my youngest. My mum had them 1 day. My fil another and daddy a day at the weekend. I was there all the time and they missed bits.

    20m on it’s all change again. My mum is no longer nearby. Fil is at hand when ever i need him. (he couldn’t cope with all 3 anyway). We always have bacon butties at my in laws on a Sunday.

    It is hard but you will all soon adjust. Mine will have to again shortly as i will be working as a childminder soon.

    Good luck.

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    • Wow, working as a childminder will be a big change! These routines do change from time to time, although my kids have had theirs for a very long time, with only the after school activities changing. We will all get used to it. I certainly like having more time with them.

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  6. I wouldn’t have considered that either, parenting is just one lifelong learning curve isn’t it? Hope you all find your new groove quickly xx

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    • It certainly is! Thanks very much, I’m sure we will find it soon enough! x

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  7. Things will settle down soon all change can be hard to adjust. I really want to be able to do the pick ups & drop off’s when my son starts school in September but I can’t afford to quit work so will have to compromise that I will have to share that simple pleasure with the childminder.

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    • It really is a simple pleasure, Mummy to boyz, and I shared it for so many years with my parents. My kids went to after school club for many years too. I’m glad I’m going to be there for them for the next few years now – as long as I manage to get some work of course!

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  8. Thanks, Izzie! It must have been strange for them at 18, but nice for you to enjoy those last few months with them before they went to uni. My kids haven’t had that freedom, so don’t think they will resent me being at home, even though they will miss my parents and their cousin. x

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  9. Im with you on the cooking and cleaning Sarah, I get feed up with thinking of ideas. Aww maybe you can still get others to help out sometimes… love your new WordPress, been so busy catching up on phone, I forgot to say 🙂

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