Tigerlilly Quinn: Four days a week

Monday, 29 December 2014

Four days a week

Tom surprised me with another post he wanted to share with you guys (I think the fame from the last one went to his head ;)). I've been meaning to mention for a while our work situation and when I mentioned it to Tom he said he would really like to share what it meant to him and why it what the decision meant for our family. I also wanted to note that I realise we are very lucky to be in a situation which allows us this flexibility, it's something I am thankful for daily and will never feel complacent about. 


After a lot of thought I recently dropped my hours at work to four days per week.  So far it has been one of the best decisions that I have made.

With Fritha working freelance, Wilf has been going to nursery two days a week, but Fritha really needed another day.  Wilf loves nursery and would be happy to go there more often (in fact he did do three days a week for a bit), but this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me and Wilf to spend a bit more time together.


One of my part-time colleagues recently retired, so when we recruited a replacement this allowed me to drop a day. This wasn’t something that Fritha and I rushed into without any thought, and I spent a long time working out if we could afford this move.  What became apparent is that although I now work 20% less time, my income has not dropped by the same amount once tax, student loan repayments and pension contributions are taken into account.  Then if you factor in the money saved from a day’s child care, the difference is really not that big.  When I looked at the number of pounds worse off that I would be, and then I asked myself would I pay that each week to spend a day with my son, it was an easy question to answer.

The best thing is that it now gives me and Wilf a day just for us (sorry Fritha).  I love our family time at the weekend, but it’s great for me and Wilf to be able to go on nature walks or play in the park, just the two of us.  Normally during the week I would only see Wilf after work, so although we enjoy a bath and a story before bed, he is always tired.  It has also meant that Wilf has been able to see a lot more of his cousins as we can now meet up with my sister.  So far we have been to a soft-play (which Fritha is not a fan of) and to a toddler dance class (which was a big hit with Wilf).

As we approach a new year I’m really looking forward to all the adventures that Wilf and I will share.

What set up do you have in your household? I'd love to hear your thoughts on sharing childcare and working hours. 

39 comments:

jude said...

my DH and i decided to move to the u.s. after living in spain 6 years because we know that our son will have better opportunities and at the same time decided to forget about certain luxuries like going out to eat, better car, vacations so that our son could have the greater luxury of having one of us with him at home. so in this case DH is now a stay home daddy while mom brings home the bacon. best decision we ever made. it's great to see that daddy's are taking on more responsibility. cheers to you and your family.

Cariemay said...

How lovely for you all! We're still trying to figure out how to arrange the work/childcare distribution when my maternity leave ends but I know we've contemplated both doing four days to split it equally. It sounds like four days is really working for you.

Poppy Lewis said...

Loved reading this - you won't regret it! My other half also dropped a day and went down to a four-day week a few months ago and it's been the best decision we've ever made. They both love having a whole day together, it's been lovely to see their relationship grow xx

Jen Stanbrook said...

What a lovely post, and such a great opportunity for you all. We talked a lot about doing this, but in the end the opportunity never really arose. Last year, my OH had an unexpected 3 months off, which spanned the school holidays. He'd never spent that amount of time with the girls and it turned out to be very precious. Hope you continue to enjoy it.

Jenni said...

This was a really interesting post, we are in a similar situation as from January we will both be working 3 days a week. Because of the cost of childcare for two children it is actually better for us both to work part time. Like you said, working less doesn't necessarily mean less money and the benefits for the family are fantastic. I hope you and Wilf have a lovely time exploring together!

Laura Nelson said...

This is a great post and so nice to hear of another Dad being able to see his child more often. I always think Dads miss out as they're typically seen as the "bread winners" however I think it's really healthy for a child to spend quality time with their Dad whenever possible. I know dropping a day of work won't be right for everyone but if you can do it then fantastic :)


The other half and I are lucky enough in our situation as I work part time and he works from home however all will be changing soon with a new baby due in 11 days and the other half taking on a new venture! As a family you sort of work it out between you though and do what's best for everyone :)

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Katherine said...

I love reading about how different people work their childcare and get dads involved. I work 2 days a week, my husband condenses 4 days into 3 and uses a bit of annual leave so that he can look after our little boy on the days I work. We were only going to do it for a year but have been doing it for nearly 2 years now. It was great for me to be able to go back to work without stressing about how Bagl was doing at a new childminder, and they love their days together. It does mean money can be tight and my husband doesn't have much leave to play with (we can be creative though and I sometimes take leave so that he can go into work, I usually try and get it to coincide with something fun to do), but it really works for us all.

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fritha strickland said...

oh wow! I bet that was amazing for you all, I find it really interesting hearing about shared childcare in other countries and how in Germany a father can have 6 months off paternity leave, which makes our 2 weeks seem a bit rubbish! x

fritha strickland said...

thanks so much Poppy! I'm so glad to hear that! x

fritha strickland said...

It's early days but it already feels like it's always been like this in a way! I'm so grateful we had the opportunity to do it x

fritha strickland said...

I think that's it, you have to weigh up whats more important to you and what you would be willing to give up. We for example think that driving is hugely expensive so we don't have a car (or have ever really been able to learn) we also don't go out all that much (which is helped by lacking in babysitters!) although we do always go for brunch on a Saturday as it's literally one of my favourite things to do ever ;) My dad looked after us whilst my mum went to work. It made me very close to my dad which I'm thankful for. Thanks for reading! x

fritha strickland said...

Thanks Jenni, that sounds like a great set up! (Tom)

fritha strickland said...

I definetly agree about it being healthy for dads to spend more time with their kids if possible, especially one on one time. Your situation sounds brilliant! x

fritha strickland said...

That sounds great, how lovely that you are able to work it so you can both be his sole carers! x

Colette B said...

What a really lovely position to be in and what precious time you have "bought" with your son as a result. My husband does take the occasional day's holiday to allow me to do an extra day's teaching or attend blogging events and I know he enjoys those days but he also says he couldn't stay at home full time either ;) x

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Mummy Giggles Blog said...

Lovely post. We are currently trying to decide what to do when my maternity leave ends.
Feels such massive decision, wanting our sons needs at the centre of it. Love your set up

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