I’m a mother of two young children, both in the early years of primary school. I’ve been working full-time from home since the beginning of the pandemic.
While I definitely enjoyed some of the advantages of working from home, like not having to commute, there are also disadvantages.
Like many parents, I was juggling working full-time with minding my kids when they were off school due to the restrictions. I struggled with this, but we got through.
The thing is, my kids are getting their summer holidays shortly and I don’t think I can cope again with them around the house while I’m trying to work.
I also think it’s not fair on them to be cooped up at home while I’m on the laptop, seeing as they can be out and about a bit more now.
My husband works part-time off farm, half days. Obviously, there was nothing much we could do about getting childcare during the lockdowns, but for the summer, I want to get childcare in some form to take the pressure off.
The thing is, my kids are getting their summer holidays shortly and I don’t think I can cope again with them around the house while I’m trying to work
He says he’ll look after the kids when he’s home from work, but I know even though he’ll try, there’ll be something happening out on the farm and I’ll be the one landed with the majority of the work. They’re too young to be out on the farm unless there’s someone there to constantly keep an eye on them.
Also, I work at the kitchen table mostly and he comes in chatting, makes his lunch and then leaves a mess.
What can I do to avoid this situation for the summer? I’ve broached the subject already, but he keeps saying he’s more than happy to take responsibility of the children.
What do you think I should do, Miriam?
Dear Worried Mammy,
Thank you very much for getting in touch. I am sure very many parents around the country are navigating similar situations, so don’t feel you are alone on this one.
It seems from your letter you already have a fair idea what the solution is, and that is getting childcare.
I would sit down with your husband and say that while you appreciate him offering to take up the mantle, you think it would be easier for you both and the kids if you were to either get someone in to mind them or drop them to an external childminder.
Make the point that between his two roles, he also has a full-time job.
Be firm on this, while it will be a cost, it is definitely worth it to take the pressure off you all
I know you have already had a conversation, so what I would suggest doing this time, to tip the scales in your favour, is coming ready with a plan.
Do your research first, ask around and see who might be available locally. I am unsure from your letter if crèche is an option or not? Do you have younger nieces or nephews off school or college for the summer who might be looking to make a few pound?
Be firm on this, while it will be a cost, it is definitely worth it to take the pressure off you all.
You have also mentioned in your letter that you work from the kitchen table. You are not the only person I know in this situation.
Maybe you and your husband could have a look at a long-term office for you at home. Is there any room or farm building you could look at converting?
I have friends who do not have spare rooms and the children primarily occupy the sitting room, so I know you may not have too many options. But seeing as working from home could be around in some form for some time, maybe you and your husband could have a look at a long-term office for you at home. Is there any room or farm building you could look at converting?
For now, if the kitchen is too busy, don’t be afraid to commandeer another room. Could you put a desk in a corner of one of the children’s rooms as a temporary solution?
Wishing you all the best,