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How do you make it work when both work full time?

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#1 Rachaelxxx

Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:51 PM

My husband and I have been together nearly 20 years, we met when I was 20 and over the years the dynamics of our relationship has changed as we've grown our family, career path changes and so forth.  My husbands career is doing really well and I've stayed at home raising the kids and only having to work p/t (15 hours a week), so for the most part it's been a win win for everyone.  

Next year I start work full time (school hours) as our youngest starts primary school and to date with the exception of my husband going to work and back again, I do everything.  We've spoken at great length about how things will need to change next year and he will have to pick up some slack, but seriously with the hours he works, I can still see myself being lumped with it all  cry1.gif .

How do you manage, what works for you.  How do you survive marriage  wink.gif , raising a family and then both returning to the work force full time without killing each other or less drastic, not feeling like it's all one sided  tongue.gif

#2 Unatheowl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:02 PM

Dh and I work full time, together in our own business.  Adds a whole other layer of stress blink.gif

I think the single most important thing we do to try to regain sanity is to spend time together and with the kids without being rushed or stressed.

We do this by having a cleaner and someone who does our housekeeping duties like ironing, changing sheets etc.  yes, it can be expensive but the amount of angst and stress it saves is priceless.  In the evenings all I do is cook and go to sleep. On the weekends, we relax or go out somewhere.  No pile of washing etc weighing on my mind, no fights about who does more or less.

#3 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:03 PM


Edited by Tyrone Finkelmeyer, 26 March 2013 - 08:41 PM.

#4 Rachaelxxx

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:08 PM

The hours will be 8.45am - 3.30pm and that's going to feel like full time to me  laugh.gif .  I'm pretty organised in the mornings as it is and our school has a lot of homework, so I try and split that up and do half in the mornings and half in the evenings (I will have the 5 girls in primary school next year).  

Unatheowl, I guess that's the thing for me, I want some down time with the girls and my husband as well.  I don't want to feel like it's all just go go go.  

The girls play Netball on Saturdays and that takes up half the day which is fine, but I guess I'm just trying to avoid feeling resentfulness because of the hours I'm working and doing everything else.

#5 Babetty

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:11 PM

Also think about what can be not done - with all kids at school, tidying up toys etc might be easier, perhaps plan on simpler meals, cook enough to eat leftovers.... think about all the things you currently do and what can be eliminated.

What jobs can your husband do on his lunch break at work? Maybe he can take over paying all the bills, popping out to the post office, picking up milk / bread etc on his way home from work...yes you might still be doing the 'big' things like cooking dinner because you work shorter hours, but he might be able to pick up many of the little but time consuming things.

I also second getting a cleaner. Ours comes fortnightly, but the house stays a lot cleaner when people aren't home every day.

#6 Unatheowl

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

QUOTE (Rachaelxxx @ 28/12/2012, 04:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Unatheowl, I guess that's the thing for me, I want some down time with the girls and my husband as well.  I don't want to feel like it's all just go go go.  

The girls play Netball on Saturdays and that takes up half the day which is fine, but I guess I'm just trying to avoid feeling resentfulness because of the hours I'm working and doing everything else.

Yes, I think it is really important.  Feeling overloaded or resentful can build up and cause a lot of problems.  My solution was to remove the cause of the angst.  I also felt so overwhelmed by housework and so stressed about it hanging over my head all the time that I was snappy and not nice to be around.  Now we come home to a sparkling kitchen and I can actually feel the stress of the day leaving me and am grateful for it every day.

#7 *Lib*

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:16 PM

We both work full time, we share the care and the house work.

#8 Overtherainbow

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:17 PM

We both work full time.  DH does most of cooking, I do most of cleaning. We share laundry and other jobs.

A good calendar is a need.  We often meet at kids arvo sports and chat while we watch.  

Not sure on age of girls but our kids are responsible for their own rooms, emptying bins and wiping down their bathroom/toilet.  

I used to work school hours and found it was no big deal.  Get washing, dishes done before work and ironing, cleaning afterschool.  It's working 8-6 now that I find hard to juggle.

#9 MsDemeanor

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

I think that you will find it quite easy, as the PP have mentioned you won't be working full time, working school hours will mean you won't have to juggle pick ups, dinners etc.

#10 whatnamenow

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:35 PM

The other thing that DH and I do when we know its going to be a stressful time of change is admit that to ourselves.   We both apologize to each other and admit over the coming weeks/months we may say things we dont mean or regret and we re-iterate to each other that no matter what is said we do still love each other and have intent to stay together.  Works wonders.

i second the cleaner, and the cooking double or triple batches of some things.  Just before DD was born i cooked up 5 kilo's of mince into a pasta sauce and made about 3 lasagne's and about 5 lots of spag bog sauce.  Fantastic for one night a week off cooking.

Also ask??  Ask him what roles he is planning on taking over now that your hours have increased.  Dont ask him what tasks he would like too as this is not an option.  I hate doing washing but DH doesnt mind it so he does that.

#11 lozoodle

Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:53 PM

I do it all, his hours are too long.

Saturday mornings he takes the girls out and I get time out

I'm over it.

#12 kwiggle

Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

I have no wisdom for you OP, I'm joining the party soon!  Both DH and I will be full time (50+ hours per week each) in Feb, so I'm going to try to work out how not to murder him if he doesn't pick up some slack!

I have, however, been stressing about it myself, so have been madly researching how other people do it.  I have found this website which is very American and proscriptive (they seem to have a spreadsheet for stuff I've never even thought about!), but might be worth a look for you too:


Good luck with it all wink.gif

#13 Corella

Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:39 PM

Being organised comes in lots of different ways - we use a Google calendar to co-ordinate who is where and doing what, and we have a menu plan that's 30 meals that rotate roughly monthly. We pay for a cleaner and while I put the child to bed DH does a quick tidy up and the dishes.

#14 Jane Jetson

Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:34 PM

We've been doing this since DD2 was very little and it does get tiring. It does help that I work from home a lot, but I'm still working not doing the washing, and my hours are long and often annoying, so it requires a fair bit of organisation.

Probably what works for us best is (as others have said!) having a cleaner. She's only a couple of hours every fortnight, but it means that no matter how rushed we get, the important things *are* going to get done and the house won't descend into hoarder-ville. Not only does it mean the windows get washed properly etc, but we have to clean up the night before she comes so that she's cleaning, not tidying, so we are stopped from getting too messy.

That said, I think it's important to realise that the house does not have to look like Betty Draper and her housekeeper go over it from top to bottom every day. Relaxing your standards of housework is liberating. I don't get that much free time and I want to spend it reading or shooting zombies, not deep cleaning the toilet.

As others have said, meal planning, cooking in batches and freezing is great. Slow cookers are brilliant in winter. Eating quick meals like chops and salad or whatever, instead of doing proper Cooking, every night can be done pretty easily and healthily, too. There is nothing wrong with eating shop-bought schnitzels instead of making your own, either. There's a lot of corners you can cut without spending too much money or time.

And he's going to have to do his fair share. I work longer hours than DH and so it often falls to him to pick up slack, or to be the one bringing a sick kid home if I have meetings/deadlines, but it's not fair to leave it all to one person and so I do it too when I can. The load does need to be negotiated and shared. From the outset, make sure your DH really does understand that he's not just getting more free money in the house and no extra responsibilities.

#15 Expelliarmus

Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:38 PM

We live in a pigsty during the term ... oh wait that wasn't helpful was it? Tounge1.gif

I wish I knew, OP. I wish I knew.

#16 Jane Jetson

Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:41 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 28/12/2012, 06:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We live in a pigsty during the term ... oh wait that wasn't helpful was it? Tounge1.gif

You say that like there's something wrong with living in a pigsty...  laugh.gif

#17 *Lib*

Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:46 PM

To make the school days easier, I ALWAYS pack the lunches the night before. Get uniforms out and ready and all DD needs to do, is get dressed and have breakfast.

#18 Expelliarmus

Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:46 PM

Just call me Weasley ...

#19 Mozzie1

Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:54 PM

If you have 5 daughters and the youngest is at primary school, the oldest must be old enough to help out I'm guessing? I don't mean major stuff, but maybe your older kids could cook a meal a week each, or be responsible for washing clothes etc... For some pocket money. The burden shouldn't fall entirely to you in a 7 person household.

#20 cesca

Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:55 PM

I've been stressing out about this recently too!  DH has always been the full time worker and I've been the primary care giver, with working 10 - 15 hours pw as well.

I'm now struggling to find a part time job, so am now applying for full time positions.  It is scary!  

DH has never had to step up and do school pick ups or drop offs. He's never been to any school meetings, sports days etc.  He's never done housework (well, he does a small bit, maybe 5%).  So as far as he's concerned, me going to work full time means either I continue to do it all, or his life suddenly gets a LOT harder, LOL!  He's actually seriously told me that if I get a full time job then he will quit and become the stay at home parent, as it's just too hard logistically otherwise.  The kids are 9 and 10 now!  He just wants to play golf all day... rolleyes.gif

Anyway, my big struggle is that my kids are real homebodies and the barest mention of after school care or holiday care has them screaming in protest.  They love just hanging out at home in the holidays and after school.  They hate being busy.  My mothering instinct really struggles with the thought of them being unhappy.

I also suffer from anxiety and depression and being rushed doesn't work for me.  It's a hard one.  I wish life were easier.

#21 Canberra Chick

Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:02 PM

OP, I work 8.30-2.30 five days a week and it is fine. I chose to do those hours after having DD, and I had been working full time before then.

My new hours are a breeze! I collect DS from school, go home and start prepping dinner, bring in the laundry, have a snack and then we collect DD, come home and I finish off making dinner and packed lunches. I find it is a great balance between work and home. My only trouble is when I have an all day training course. Then DH collects DS and takes him back to his office. DH does DS's drop off usually, but if he wants to fit in a gym visit I can drop both kids off and still be a work by 8.40 (my work has flex).

#22 knittingkitten

Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:05 PM

We both work full time. Kids are long daycare and school. DD goes to after school care. To break up the week we do the following:

Monday: DD has a babysitter picks her up from school and helps her with homework etc. They hang out and play Uno etc. Babysitter sometimes cooks dinner.

Wednesday: DS stays home with my wonderful in laws. Both kids go to swimming lessons after school with them.

It also means either of us can work late those nights. DH also brings work home to do after the kids are in bed. We also have a cleaner once a fortnight and I do washing most nights and hang it up in the dark.

It works for us. We are better off financially if I work and I'm happier than when I was the full time mum.

#23 ubermum

Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:08 PM

We both share all the responsibilities. If he is working and I'm not, I do the majority of child and homecare. Next year, I will be full time and he will be running our own business around my shifts. Whoever is in the house will do what needs to be done there. We are a very good team.

#24 tanyak1

Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:14 PM

I think you need to both sit down and agree on who does what, when and how often, instead of expecting that your DH will know what to do and then you get resentful when it doesn't get done. I have learnt this from experience and need to take more of my own advice! I've been back full time for 18 months after SAHM/part time work for 10 years, and DH is a full time shift worker (varying hours). I've spent lots of the past 18 months quietly fuming and working myself to the bone when at home while DH spends his 'spare' time working on his car or at the pub. It needs to change next year so I don't go bonkers, so we ahve spoken about it a bit, and we'll sit down to work out the details soon.

#25 Elemental

Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:14 PM

Outsource what you can, have proper grown up conversations and don't let resentment build. Easier said than done, but also important. It's far too easy to just pick up the slack and never talk about it until you reach boiling point and explode. You have to be realistic as well - if one person is doing much longer hours or shift work/travel then expecting them to have a 50/50 household workload with you just won't work.

Our cleaner is expensive but worth every penny for that to just not be something else to do. There are no gourmet meals in this house on weeknights either when we're both working.

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