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Help: Working parents with school aged children
How do you fit in your friends?

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#1 Overtherainbow

Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:53 PM

I work 4.5 days per week in a salaried position that equals 60+ hours per week work time.  Including 1 hour in the middle of a Saturday.  40 hours of this must be at work, 20 hours of it is flexible between home and work.   I love my job, I'm passionate about it and I am prepared to put in the hours to see the outcomes I desire.

I have 3 children, 1 with moderate special needs that requires extra assistance.  They are involved in weekend/afterschool sport that involves 4 hours on Saturday and 3 afternoons.  I take my laptop to their sport if it's my turn and work on it there.

DH is a very committed parent/husband who helps out with bed time duties, homework, cooking, sport runs, etc.  He also works fulltime 50 hours most weeks but goes through busy months of working 13 hour days including weekends and can't help out at all.

My day involves getting up and hanging out the load of washing that's gone on over night, putting on another load, getting kitchen and bedrooms done before work.  The evening involves getting folding done, supervising 3 kids music practice and homework and making sure general living is tidy before getting back to work.

I have a cleaner who does ironing, floors and bathroom (not shower or bath though).  Weekends I still need to dust and catch up on washing.  I know it sounds like a lot of washing but I still have 2 bed wetters, if both wet that means an extra 2 loads of washing.

I have only  seen my parents twice this year and I have friends who now say they'll catch up on holidays because they know it's almost impossible until then.  I have a close friend who I have to make time for this week as I haven't seen her in a month and feel I'm neglecting her.

I do play sport once per week on a employee team.  It's close to home and takes 1.5 hours from leaving home to getting back and it is one way to make sure I get some exercise.  We all have work to do though, so none of us hang back to chat.

How do you fit your friends in?  Right now I find between family, house and work, I have no extra time/energy left.  How do you do it or am I just dreaming that I can have it all?  Is facebook the only way I'm ever going to speak to friends again?

#2 Expelliarmus

Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:56 PM

Friends? What are those?

#3 akkiandmalli

Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:59 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 05/05/2012, 12:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Friends? What are those?

lol i am the same except i go 1-2 times a month to a knitting group just to get out...
i have a few close friends i see a bit but thats it.

#4 Mrs.Brown

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:04 PM

have a cleaner who does ironing, floors and bathroom (not shower or bath though).
Can I ask, why doesnt your cleaner do the bath and shower?

Your life sounds really full on, when do you sleep?

Maybe you need to let go of some of the household duties for a while. Dust wont grow mushrooms, the folding pile wont care if it isnt done for a couple of weeks.

I work a small percentage of your hours and my house hasnt been dusted for months! And folding? Well I actually did mine last week after the pile in my room was looking like Mt Everest lol. I have learnt to let go of things and not stress the small stuff

Edited by Icehouse, 05 May 2012 - 01:11 PM.

#5 halcyondays

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:17 PM

I work a lot less than you do and I outsource a lot more. Could you get the cleaner to do the dusting and the showers and bath? When I was busier, I also hired a high school student to do the evening folding and clean up after dinner, entertain the younger child. That way I could do the homework/music practice, get kids to bed and then get straight back to my work. I also shared the sports run with another team member so I took the kids one week, and their family did the next. I didn't have 3 kids at 3 different sports, though!

DH does all the washing, I do all the cooking. I get the cleaner to do the sheets and change the beds.
I make it a point to meet friends once a month. If it means I have to cancel kids sport that day, it just has to be.

Sorry, I'm no help to you, I just don't see how you can fit it all in unless you get someone else to do the sporting stuff occasionally.

#6 JustSmileAndNod

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:21 PM

I am not full time at the moment but I have been on and off, husband also works above full time hours. Two kids under 5. I still go out quite a bit with friends  once a week  or have them and their kids over. Can you plan a weekend away with your girlfriends?

#7 JustSmileAndNod

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:27 PM

Sorry just realized you work about 60 hours a week? That's a bit crazy. THe weeks I worked that amount are tough. Perhaps schedule time ahead of time for friends and not give it up for anything?

#8 JaneMummy

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:34 PM

OP I'm in the same boat.

Life is a current daily battle of logistics.  Friends have dropped by the wayside as I just don't have time and that is the one thing I really hate.  I have just joined Facebook in desparation to keep up SOME form of contact.

I have no answers, just empathy and understanding.

#9 JRA

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:45 PM

OP I am sorry you are finding life so hard.

Sadly the simple maths is that if you are working 60hrs per week, as does your husband, there is going to be very little time for friends, once you take into  account children's activities that your children are doing and other things.

Please don't beat yourself up for not making time for friends, there are so many hours in the day.

A couple of things to think about:
- Prechildren when you were working 60hrs and your husband the same when did you catch up with friends. I know when we were like that we really only could catch up with friends on weekends.  So you probably had very little friend time then, so now with that AND children, you will have little or no friend time. So once again, don't beat yourself up over it.

- Are you friends similar? If they are of that nature where they are also working 60hr weeks with children, they will have the same problems.

Good luck

#10 ~Delilah~

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:47 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 05/05/2012, 12:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Friends? What are those?

Same here. I go to work, come home, kids to school, sleep, kids from school, family stuff, kids either go to bed at home or I drop them off at my parent's house to sleep while I go to work. Repeat and rinse.

#11 jojonbeanie

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:49 PM

I have a couple of very busy friends I chat with by phone in the car while we are commuting.

#12 JRA

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:51 PM

I have a couple of very busy friends I chat with by phone in the car while we are commuting.

I have to say car phones are awesome for that.

#13 BearBait

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:02 PM

Appears to be the life when a basically full time working parent.  Plus you have 3 children, its a lot of work.  

My thinking is that its only for a few years and I do find the family life rewarding.  There are only so many hours in the day.  
However I live in an area where I have friends within a 1km radius so we are often after work in the park to watch the kids play while we chat for 30 minutes that type of thing, so I still feel I have the adult release time outside of work.  

For your situation & since you say you'd like to fit in more 'me time' with your friends I'd look at increasing the work done by your cleaner, possibly getting a nanny/babysitter for a few hours per week if budget permits.  

Its tough being a working parent, and everyone has their own reasons for being on that particular treadmill (not always because they want to buy an Audi!).

#14 whatnamenow

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:19 PM

When i was working full time outside of the home my friends and i used to meet up in a tiny patch of lawn next to her work once a f/n.  As my work was more flexible i would be the one to grab the thai ( our fav place used to have the order ready as a standing order so i just had to run in pay and grab ) and we would meet up for her lunch half hour.  It wasnt much but it was enough for at least both of us to know the friendship still mattered to us.

Now i work from home doing FDC.  And while i still work 60 - 80 hours a week at least i pick the hours and get to spend it with my kids.

#15 Rosiebird

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:30 PM

But when do you volunteer?  tongue.gif

#16 whatnamenow

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:49 PM

QUOTE (rosiebird @ 05/05/2012, 02:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But when do you volunteer?  tongue.gif


Cant you read the OP's mind that she does 50 hours a week of volunteer work but 'doesnt like to brag about it'  laughing2.gif

or maybe she just pays her levy so she shouldnt have to do it. Tounge1.gif

#17 lizzzard

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:07 PM

We are in a similar situation, and we have a nanny who works 3pm till 7/8pm each day. She is our sanity saver, and I really don't know how we'd cope without her. She ferries my daughter to afterschool activities, cooks DD's dinner (DS is fed at preschool), supervises homework and baths both children. It just means that when we arrive home at about 6:30pm, and I know I'll have to get back online to work again at 8:30pm, all I need to do between those hours is relax and chat to the kids, and cook/eat my dinner.

I know its simply not an option for some people, but we sacrifice alot (e.g., buying our own home) in order to afford a nanny - being relaxed and happy is of more value to me than most other things original.gif

oh, and as for friends....well, i tend to do lunches during my work week, or sunday brunch is quite nice too... Exercise is just not happening at the moment - I used to do 1x 7am class on a Saturday morning, but I'm too exhausted every week to get there at the moment!

Edited by lizzzard, 05 May 2012 - 03:09 PM.

#18 -al-

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:09 PM

My friends who have children are easy, we catch up on occassion at a park etc where the kids can play - find one that has a good cafe close.

Childless friends I often meet for coffee and cake after the kids are in bed (when DH is home)

Other family friends we just have over for meals of a weekend.
The house work will still be there when you get home, so might as well stop and enjoy life for a moment to avoid it becoming an endless painful cycle.

#19 Overtherainbow

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:12 PM

I actually volunteer one Sat. morning per term and on my half day.  I just didn't feel it was relevant.

I think pp are right about making it a priority.  I don't want to use a car phone as it's a good chance to chat to my kids and I find handfree more distracting than normal phone.

I have made a time to meet my friend and I'll just cut back on some sleep to make it happen.  As for sleep I usually get to bed at midnight and wake at 6:15 on weekdays.

I am happy with my life.  I enjoy my job, I lve my family and have some balance there, it's just fitting in friends.  I'm obviously not alone though and feel better knowing that.

I don't know why cleaner doesn't do bats/showers I think it's lack of time.  3 hours fairly big home.  I don't want to pay more hours as the job isn't as good as I'd like and the budget only goes so far.  Unfortunately, no Audi here and mrtgage, school fees and daycare are all hungry beasts.

#20 SecondLife

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:15 PM

Yikes! I have less kids, less work (40 hours), and I outsource more. I have a cleaner, and she will fold the washing if it's there - can you get your cleaner to come twice a week, and fold washing, and do the dusting and shower/bath? They could probably even run a load or two of washing for you while they're there. Then on the odd evening, you can leave your DH with the homework supervision, and go out with friends. Having said that, I have very few friends, and see them very rarely! Most of my 'catching up' is via FB chat late at night. My kids are of an age where they're in bed by 8pm, so I (mercifully) do get a couple of hours in the evening where I could go out if I so desired (must admit though that normally I flop in front of the TV with DH!). Good luck!

#21 Gangnam Style

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:56 PM

I'm contracted to do 35 hours a week, but I probably do more than 40. I also travel an average of three hours a days to and from work and the school run.

I guess I'm fortunate that my children's father really does do his fair share of child rearing, and the household chores that go with them as we are divorced and have shared care of them. This leaves my Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights free for "me" stuff, friends, and housework.

I usually see friends on Friday or sometimes Saturday evenings (my family babysits), or Saturday or Sunday lunches (with our kids). And every few months I get my act together and invite a bunch of friends over for dinner or a long lunch on the weekend. A couple of times a year I get a girly weekend away with a bunch of old mates as well. It's not a constant social whirl, maybe something once a fortnight on average, but that, facebook and email keeps me in touch with my friends.

#22 Sophie11

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:59 PM

I must say im almost jealous of your busyness....I work from home - 30hrs...do advertising stuff...and just seem to have spare time everywhere...
pays good...

looks like we are moving and I will have to get a real job but kinda looking forward to being busy...

Im bored....

Bet I will forever look back and think how good was my life...

#23 Canberra Chick

Posted 05 May 2012 - 04:58 PM

I have dinner with my mother's group once every 6-8 weeks, I have bookclub one night a month and my friends who live nearby who aren't involved in those 2 things I see in the school holidays (they're SAHPs and I take 50% of school holidays off - DH does the other 50%) but we're looking to try and meet up a bit more on Sundays now DS's swimming has moved to a weeknight.

#24 tanyak1

Posted 05 May 2012 - 05:02 PM

DH and I both work FT (DH works different shifts) and we have 3 kids (2 at school, one younger), with sport, dancing etc.

I recently saw my 2 best friends from uni for the first time in a year. I see one other good friend maybe twice a year (she lives 2 1/2 hrs away) and my other good friend who lives about 20 minutes away maybe 4 times a year. The school mum I'm friendliest with I see maybe once a week, as she drops one of the girls off after dancing, and perhaps 2 times a year for social occasions.

So really I don't see my friends nearly enough - thank goodness for Facebook is all I can say!

The 'friend" I spent the most time with was my sister, we'd get together at least twice a month, but she just moved to Perth (I'm in Sydney).

#25 whatnamenow

Posted 05 May 2012 - 05:13 PM

QUOTE (summerdaze @ 05/05/2012, 03:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I actually volunteer one Sat. morning per term and on my half day.  I just didn't feel it was relevant.

Sorry OP,  myself and the other PP were joking around cross referencing another epic thread.

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