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The life of a working parent bring its own challenges and expense, with the latest research from the Family and Childcare Trust highlighting that the average nursery place now costs more than £6,000 a year. That cost – £115.45 a week – means that finding somewhere convenient, reliable and affordable is vital, but it’s far from the only issue to address. Here are 10 other problems that the working parent will face:
Everyone knows the feeling of being tired at work. But the working parent? That’s another level. Especially after being kept awake in the small hours by your wee small bundle of joy.
Colleagues at the office will undoubtedly be chatting about what they saw on the television last night or at the weekend. For the working parent, it’s as likely they’ll be more up to speed with the plot lines of Peppa Pig than Game of Thrones. Not that watching children’s television is something to be afraid of – much of it can be quite fun for an adult too.
You might spend your days in high-powered meetings and being looked up to as a trusted member of stuff but, for a working parent, the second job starts when you leave the office and that’s when the tables turn. It’s a job with its own set of skills, mindset and terminology and the ‘boss’ probably cries. A lot. Don’t expect a pay rise or much praise either…
The working parent needs to swiftly shed their smart suit and dress post-work, Superman-style. Nice clothes might impress in the boardroom, but a baby will happily see them as target practice for well-aimed bodily fluids.
Where you work is always important, but it’s even more vital for the working parent, who will never want to be far away from their child – whether that’s popping home in an emergency or being near to their school. Whether you are looking for career opportunities in York or London – transport and proximity to the home are something that the working parent must consider and might well shape where you choose to work.
Most people keep their mobile to hand ‘in case’ – but, for the working parent, the first thought isn’t so much ‘PPI’ as ‘is my little one alright?’ when the device starts ringing.
It may be the child going to school each day, but the working parent needs to know their times tables from their periodic table – especially when it comes to helping with homework. It can be a daunting experience too, with more than half of mums and dads lacking the confidence to help their children tackle the work they are set.
A working parent will often need a good relationship with their employer. They might need to make up extra time for getting in late to fulfil the school run taxi duties or leaving early for parents evening.
The working parent may well not be home until past 6pm and careful planning is needed to make sure there is food on the table for all. Many will need to be an expert in cooking and preparing in advance. Smart use of time, resources and the fridge is essential.
Working parents may be adept at managing meetings and work deadlines, but they’ll need to translate that into their home life if they’re to get any time to themselves. A successful schedule is needed to make time for that book you’ve had your eye on or to dip into that DVD box set.
*Sophie Davidson is an experienced freelance writer, specialising in education and schooling.