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Coordinating Work Schedule with Childcare
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Coordinating Work Schedule with Childcare
I am so upset about this issue... I just don't know what to do.
I am working part time and currently looking for a full time job.
(I have a law degree and legal aid/nonprofit experience). My
part time job is really just for experience that will help me
(hopefully) get a full time job, as it does not even cover the
cost of child care. We desperately need a two income household,
as my husband is an architect with a salary in the 40's after
taxes. It's not minimum wage, and I understand that this would
be a high salary to some people, but with our monthly student
loan payments things are really, really tight. We're young, but
not that young (30 and 32) and our kids are 5 and 3.
My husband works really long hours and is often home after 10pm,
so I am responsible for picking up our kids from daycare at 5:30.
Well, I have gone on more than one job interview where this was
a real problem. We live in Berkeley, so if I work in SF I have
to leave around 4:45 to pick up our kids in time. I have offered
to come in at 6:30 a.m., and also to take work home and work
weekends to make up for the fact that I have to leave at 4:45.
But the fact of the matter is that most of the offices I am
applying for consist of people without children who are available
to work late nights if need be. I just had an interview where
this came up, and I was so disappointed because I was so excited
about the job otherwise.
How do people do it? Do they all hire babysitters to pick up
their kids from daycare at 5:30? I just can't bear to do that,
plus I can't afford it. I feel like I will NEVER find a full
time job with this restriction. I mean, when everything else is
equal, an employer is going to hire the candidate who doesn't
have to leave every day at 4:45 - especially in this economy when
there are so many candidates to choose from. I feel like I have
to be upfront about this during interviews, though. It is just
so depressing. Any advice?
1. There are fabulous daycares that end at 6. I dont know where
you live, but check BPN - this exact issue has come up before.
2. you are not under any duty to disclose (and employers can't
ask whether) you have kids at the interview. schedule stuff is
something to talk about ONCE YOU HAVE AN OFFER.
it can be done
Yes, you can hire a babysitter to pick your kids up from daycare
at 5:30. The babysitter can watch the kids until you get home.
We have had good luck finding a college student to do this. We
pay $20/hour, and you might only need a hour or two per day,
which may not be unaffordable if you have a full-time job in the
legal field. No comment on ''bearing'' it.
Babysitter picked up the kids
Stop bringing up your situation in interviews! It is illegal for them
to ask you ANY
personal questions during an interview (NOTHING about marriage status,
age, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.), and if you
don't bring it up,
don't allude to it, etc., then they will not know. (I once interviewed
a woman who
was probably eight months pregnant, and DID NOT bring it up
hired her. She was great!) Go forward in your interview as if you are
possible candidate, you want this job (if in fact you do), and THEN when
you start to play ball.
It is illegal for a job offer to be rescinded, so once they offer you
have a couple of
advantages. 1) You know they want to hire you. 2) They can't take it
doesn't mean that you can make them do whatever you want, but it does
there is room to negotiate the terms of employment. What scenarios can
Come in early, come in one weekend morning, leave at 4:45 three days per
stay late two days per week--get creative! Maybe you could find a
is a high school student who really won't charge much for a couple of
Please, let go of your need to disclose all during the interview; I can
you are removing yourself from the running before you even shake hands
the room. If they offer, THEN that is the time. Don't feel guilty for
parent the way you want to parent.
Best of luck!
If they ask you if you are available to stay late, say yes. Your
husband should be able to pick up your kids on those rare occasions
when it is necessary for you to work late(he can't need to work until 10
pm every night,
can he? If his firm is so busy, he should be making way more money).
need a childcare situation that enables you to stay at work until 5 on a
Either talk to your current daycare to find out if there is any
flexibility (if it
means losing your child, they might be willing to keep him or her for
minutes some additional charge). Alternatively, you can also get a
pick up your child -- that's what I do. In some ways it is a luxury - I
manage without it, but it does make my life a lot easier. The sitter
groceries for me, can get dinner started, and put in a load of laundry,
makes my return home much less frazzling.
One thing I did was find childcare that closed at 6:00. It
helped a little bit. I chose not to work in San Francisco or
over the hill, not only to cut down the commute time but
because I was terrified there might be an earthquake or some
disaster that would prevent my being able to get to my kids. Or
if my kids got sick or hurt and needed to get picked up from
school quickly I didn't want to be across the bay. I turned
down promotions that would have required travel or overtime. My
professional life suffered but I made peace with that. That
makes me sound too zen about it - it did stress me out at times
too, and I had work hassles and bad vibes from bosses and
sometimes co-workers and often felt bad I couldn't work as hard
or as long as I wanted to. Once when I was lamenting my plight
a co-worker reminded me I had chosen to have children - at the
time I was looking for sympathy and thought the comment was
rude, but it always stuck with me because for me that's what it
boiled down to. Sometimes I would arrange trades with another
parent to take turns picking the kids up from preschool and
then the other parent could work a little late, but this was
not on a regular basis. It really helps to be friendly with
other parents in whatever childcare situation you have in order
to do trades like that. Staying home with sick kids is another
difficult issue when working full time... Once my kids got to
middle school and could walk home by themselves it was a whole
Been there too
Hi: I'm also an attorney and have managed to work part time since
having my children. The pick up was also a big deal for me. I'd
be happy to talk to you off the list if you'd like -- just
contact the mediator. I don't think you should mention your
requirement to leave at 4:45 at the interview. It just gives the
employer a reason to not hire you. You want to wait until they
make you an offer and then you are in a better position to
negotiate. You could say something like, ''It is very important to
me to get all of my work done, but I have to leave at 4:45 to
pick up my children, so I will bring work home and get it done in
the evening, if necessary.'' Just try to convince them that you
will get it all done, somehow, just not necessarily from 9 to 5.
If they are sticklers for having you there during certain hours
it might not be the best place for you anyway because children
get sick, etc. If they really like you, enough to offer you the
job, they might be ok with a more flexible arrangement.
#1 There are preschools that go until 6 pm if you can get there
#2 On the other hand, if even 6 is going to be cutting it too
close, you might want to put your kids in a program that ends at
normal school time (3) and have a babysitter pick up the kids at
that time. You'll save on the afterschool program and it might
be more fun for the kids and babysitter to be able to play at
home/park/etc instead of being the last kids at school and then
still be with a babysitter.
#3 There are a bunch of lawyers at my daughter's school who seem
to be able to pick up their kids at least some days by
organizing a special schedule, like an extra long day in
exchange for a short day. As you get more seniority, you will
have more flexibility.
I have a few suggestions
1) find daycare that stays open til 6 (they do exist) - that
would allow you leave after 5
2) don't even bring this up at interviews. If you are working an
8 hour day then leaving at 4:45 (or 5:15 if you find later day
care in my opinion is not something that you need to clear with
them). I certainly did not ( I sometimes leave at 4:15 from a
high pressure financial firm in SF) - that said I don't have to
leave at that time every day. While I never discussed this at the
interview (I didn't hide that I had kids) once hired I told them
I need to either do daycare drop off or pickup and have found mgt
to be very supportive.
3) Why is your husband not doing some of the pickup? His salary
doesn't sound like it justifies the long hours. Can't he help out
at least while you get settled into a job. Usually once you are
there and have established relationships and proven yourself -
changing your work hours tends to be a minor issue.
I am a full-time attorney, and leave my office in SF at 5:00
p.m. nearly every day. I've been doing this for almost 4 years
and haven't been fired yet :) Here are my thoughts:
- see if you can find a daycare that's open until 6:00 or 6:15.
Being able to stay until 5 may make a big difference. It seems
fairly normal to leave then, less so to leave earlier.
- you will probably need someone to pick your kids up on
occasion. Maybe your husband can pick them up occasionally, or
maybe you can hire a babysitter, or rely on a friend, etc.
Generally, my husband does drop offs and I do pickups, but there
are days that we switch, and days when one of us does both.
(Best estimate: 3-4 times/month.) Flexibility is key. So is
the ability to work from home in the evenings or on the
weekends, if that's an option for your position.
- I wouldn't mention the need to leave at 4:45 or (hopefully)
5:00 until you have the job offer. Employers shouldn't ask
about your child care arrangements (they *can* ask if you'll be
available to work late, if that's a requirement), and there's no
need for you to mention them.
Sadly, our society and workplaces are not set up to be very
helpful to real people with real lives and real issues, and the
number of flexible workplaces is small, though growing. If the
job is entirely inflexible but otherwise great, I would consider
1. You could find a daycare that is open a little later. My son
goes to a preschool that stays open till 6 - you could leave
after 5 that way, which might help.
2. If this job, that seems so great, is so inflexible on this
issue, even when you have offered a number of alternative
solutions that would probably, in fact, be perfectly adequate in
terms of your productivity, maybe it isn't as great as it seems
on other levels too. Inflexibility in one area probably bodes ill
for flexibility, creative solution-finding, and respect for the
non-work lives and priorities of employees. Doesn't sound so
great to me.
Lots of good advice posted already, but here's my perspective.
I'm a lawyer (and even a litigator) and have worked part time and
flexible schedules since my kids were born. One thing that has
been critical for me is having at least a couple of nights a week
that I plan to stay late. It keeps me from falling too far
behind, it gives me those few hours when workday craziness,
conference calls, meetings, etc. are pretty much over and I can
take care of getting that letter out or whatever deadline is
bearing down. And the law field, rightly or wrongly, still has
some pretty strong ''face time'' culture, so this allows me to be
physically present for at least some late nights. It also lets
you support other people on your team who pick up the slack for
you on nights you leave early - ''why don't you go home, I can
make sure this one gets out tonight.'' Coming in early can help
you, in terms of getting work done, but you might need to be
available on the backend some days. Having either a spouse or a
sitter who picks up the kids a couple evenings a week makes a
huge difference. We hired a college student who gets the kids
from school, supervises homework, dinner and bath. Oh, and I
100% agree you are crazy to even bring this up before you get a
job offer. And yes, you need a really good emergency backup plan
(neighbors who will swap with you or whatever). In fact, you
might arrange enough backup for the first few months to stay late
most nights, while you are on your learning curve and while they
are learning how much they love you - then you can cut back on
the late nights and take more stuff home.
Both my husband and I are graduate students at Cal and have a 4-
month-old baby currently attending daycare at an on-campus
daycare facility. We are in the same program and will have
identical schedules for 10 weeks come January 2008. We live in
Berkeley, but our schedules in the first part of Spring require
us to be in the Sunset district in San Francisco by 8am and has
us finishing at 5pm M-F. While the University daycare is an
unbelievable deal for us, earliest drop-off is at 7:45am and
latest pick-up is at 5:30pm. This creates a HUGE problem for
us. We don't have family nearby to help, and while our mothers
are more than happy to fly out to help, they're both over 70
years old and will have trouble driving and/or handling his
size when January arrives.
Does anyone have any suggestions on what we can do for these 10
weeks? Hire someone for early morning and late afternoon?? We
don't want to give up our spot in daycare only because of 10
weeks of a scheduling problem. Any advide that you might have
would be greatly appreciated.
My advice would be to hire one (or two) of the Student
Assistants at the center to do your morning drop off/afternoon
pick up. The SA's are well-trained group of students that
already know (or will) your child. Runner-up, would be to find
another student. There are lots of great Cal students looking
for jobs, so it shouldn't be hard to find one.
Another ECEP parent
If you can get in contact with other parents and teachers at your day care, I would bet
that you could find someone who would be willing to take care of your baby before and
after day care hours if you paid them for their time.
Have you made friends with any of the other parents at the school? One of them
may be willing to have you drop off your child at their house early AM, take to
school for you, and bring back at day's end for you to pick up at their house. OR,
sometimes you can ask one of the teachers at the school for the same
arrangement--offering to pay them for that service. OR, if the moms are there, but
you don't trust their driving, maybe a parent or teacher would be willing to do pick
up/drop off for you so the moms don't have to drive.
don't give up your daycare
You could advertise on the UC Berkeley student job website and
hire a caring undergraduate student with experience with infants
to handle the drop off and pick up. With a little luck, you
will find someone who could be helpful with occasional
babysitting in the future after the 10 weeks are up. Good luck!
Yes, hire someone at whose house you can drop off and pick up
your baby. Maybe, ideally, someone else with their child in the
same campus daycare! Otherwise, another student who could come to
We are looking for the first time into preschools for our almost
3 year old daughter and are finding that a lot of the schools
only have programs from September to June. What do other working
parents do with the kids during the summer? Much as we would
love to,we certainly can't take the summer off of work! Also,
one school that we looked at told us that only 15% of the kids
stay for the "afterschool" program. What do the other 85% do? I
can't believe that 85% of families have one parent at home every
Can any working parents who have kids in preschool already tell
us how they handle all this?
-new to the preschool scene
I asked myself the same question many times when my daughters
first started preschool. As full-time working parents, we
would have loved a full-time year-round preschool experience,
but that was not the prevalent model at the time. We had a
half-time nanny who picked our kids up after school, brought
them home, and stayed with them until we arrived. We shared
her with another family who needed morning help. Luckily, the
other family was flexible about sick days, which you didn't
mention but are a real inconvenience for working parents.
For the summer, there are numerous summer schools and camps,
including some at the preschools themselves. I believe that
summer school at preschool is preferrable to summer camps
because it saves the adjustment period especially for younger
children and because summer camps are usually for a week or two
and you have to piece together the summer with many different
locations. It would be worth checking into this before
choosing a school. I believe Hearts Leap School at the Julia
Morgan Theatre is now a year-round school with an extensive
after school program and there may be others.
Until schools adjust to working parents
You didn't say where you've been looking at preschools. If
Oakland is a possibility, Lakeshore Children's Center on
Lakeshore Avenue is open year-round. In fact, Lakeshore has
only a few holidays and it's never closed for an entire week --
no Spring Break, no winter holiday week. There is information
on LCC in the archives. It's a great place. My daughter
started there when she was about 3-1/2 and at 7, still attends
the before and after-care program for school age children.
We are lucky. I work part time, so my child is in preschool half
day, and I pick her up. A less-than-full-time work schedule for
at least one parent seems to be common at our preschool, which
does offer a full-day option as well as the 8:30 - 1 schedule.
Our preschool is open as usual during the summer. My husband
works full time, but has a flexible schdule.
That said, our preschool is closed for five weeks a year (one
week spring break, one week in June, one week in August and two
weeks in December.) I get three weeks of vacation a year. We
often have to scramble during these breaks, or if our daughter is
ill. I wonder how families where both parents have full, rigid
Well, I don't know about other parents, but I didn't choose one
of those schools. When I was calling around to find out about
schools I didn't even bother looking at some thing that didn't
fit our schedule... I was surprised to see how many there were,
but I guess there aren't as many people out there with two
parents working 8-5 as I thought. I didn't look at anything that
opened later than 7:30, or closed before 5:30. I also didn't
look at any school that took more than the standard holidays off
plus a two week vacation. That narrowed the choices down quite a
bit, but I decided that I would rather choose a school that met
my needs and had other families with those same needs then go
through the hassle of making secondary arrangements, and have my
kid feel bad that he isn't going home when everyone else is.
You didn't mention where you live, so I don't know if our daughter's
preschool would be an option for you or not. It's in Lafayette and is
called White Pony. Our daughter has been going there since she was 2. My
husband and I both work full-time and chose this school because it is a
great school, and because it has the best schedule for working parents of
anyplace we'd seen. It almost never closes. The only time the school is
shut down tight besides the standard holidays that most folks have off from
work is the week before Labor Day and the day after Labor Day. So you're
talking about 6 workdays per year that we have to take off to take care of
her (we don't have family in the area, so this stuff is very important to
us). It's really incredible. During school breaks there is daycare. The
school is open from 7am-6:30pm Monday through Friday (preschool itself is
9am-12pm). We do before and after care and our daughter is there everyday,
all day. Good luck!
How odd that the school is closed during the summer and that
only 15% of the kids are in aftercare, I have never heard of
anything like that. Most of the schools that I have looked at
are open for most of the year, closed a week or two during the
spring/summer/winter, and have before and after school care. I
actually find it easier to deal with a preschool, which is open
from 7:30 to 6 everyday and during the summer, than with an
elementary school, which does have afterschool care but is
closed all summer. I would recommend that you continue looking
at preschools since (I think) most have extended care and are
open in the summer.
In a couple of months I will start a job which requires me to leave very
early in the morning, before I can drop my son off at daycare. Does
anyone else have this problem? Do people hire mother's helpers to stop by
and basically do early morning daycare, then dropping their children off
later in the morning? I checked the website and I found out about a
kid's taxi service, but I think I might need someone actually at my house
to get him ready -- he may still be in bed when I leave. Do people ever
hire babysitters or nannies for just a few hours in the morning?
I'd appreciate any advice you might have.
Due to early morning work commitments we have had to hire childcare workers
to get our kids up, dressed, fed and to school for several years now. We
have found two sources to be the best for finding the right person. Local
college students are often interested in this work - the early schedule
appeals and several students have dropped our kids off and gone on to their
own classes over the years. Our kids have enjoyed their energy in the early
morning too. You will also find that some full time childcare workers want
to supplement their incomes with an early morning job - we have found people
through using the UC Parents website, as well as advertising at on a college
student electronic employment BB that the UC Student Employment office
recommended to us - not sure of the name, but you could get it by calling
the Student Employment office there.
When my job changed I had to commute to Santa Monica 3 times a week and my
husband was often out of town. I approached our old preschool teachers,
found 2 of them that were willing to come to my house at 7 am, dress my
kids, feed them breakfast, and get them to school. They switched off so each
did it just once or twice a week. Obviously you'd rather be there in the
morning but this worked for us. I paid $25 per day for about 1-1/2 hours of
work (but I have twins). I think you can find sitters that would like 2
hours early in the day.
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