Tag Archives: working conditions

Holidays. Same job in a different location?

Will this be me? Thanks to kleenexmums.com.au for image

We’re taking our big annual holiday next week and  Miss 3 is about to experience her first long haul flight.

I am very, very worried.  She’s the kind of kid other mums say things about like, “She’s very active isn’t she?” and “Usually you only see boys who won’t sit still”.

Mostly her curiosity, energy and social nature makes me love her all the more. In terms of how we spend 24 hours on a plane together, it’s a little less so.

Some people have good tips for travelling with toddlers.  The most useful thing I’ve heard is to talk lots about the trip in advance and break it up into different sessions, so we’re talking about how we’ll have our lunch and then watch some TV and then it will be time for a sleep. And so on.

But I am still worried.  The only other long flight we’ve taken was to Fiji just after she started walking, and then we were *that* family, on a plane full of families with small children returning from holiday, that others looked on with pity, a little too smugly for my comfort level.

So we’re researching travel regulations for kids car seats and sleeping arrangements at each destination.  We will be staying with friends a bit, and hoping they remain friends.  We’re also having lots of chats over our dinner table about the rules at other people’s houses, and how they might differ from ours, but we’ll abide by them anyway. I’m not sure how much a three year old can take in about potential rules made by people she hasn’t met yet, but I’m hopeful some of it is sinking in!

As always, I’ve turned to Google to help me through any problem nagging at me. The site Flying with Kids is, perhaps not surprisingly, pretty helpful.  Among a range of other tips I intend to take up, I found this one;

As soon as you board, put your pack of wet wipes into the seat pocket in front of you to keep stickiness at bay.

I will definitely be doing this.

As I see it, there are four key elements involved in making the trip a success.  I’m calling them my ‘Holiday KPIs’.

1. Surviving the plane flights without plane-wide shame or divorce.

2. Maintaining the friendships of those dear people who’ve generously agreed to host us in their homes at various locations.  The friendships have in many cases lasted many years and considerable distance, so I’m hoping they can also survive a three year old.

3. Miss 3 sleeping when we are all sharing a hotel room.  She’s a light sleeper but a fairly well behaved one, but this is a new experience for us.

4. Some time to read my novel, buy some new clothes and maybe get a massage, at some stage.

What else have I missed?  Any suggestions?

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Part time work. Tamara’s story

Tamara Kudiarskyj-Latham is a mum to Nikolai, 3 and Aleksandr, eight months

Tamara worked Saturdays when Nikolai was four months old to save for a holiday, but after six weeks decided it wasn’t worth it.  Her work on Saturdays was providing respite care for parents of an autistic child.  She returns to work today after the birth of her second son last year.

The real reason I started working Saturdays after Nikolai was born was that my husband Mark had been asked to be best man at one of our dearest friend’s wedding and the location was Bali.

How could we say no? But we had no money with a new baby. We had saved for being on maternity leave but not enough for a holiday. We made the decision quite selfishly.  We really wanted to go and this was the answer.  We didn’t feel that I would be losing time with Nikolai as I wasn’t working through the week and so, yes, the extra money was worth it.

The first few weeks were fine and it worked for us because each week we stayed focused on the fact that Mark was going to be spending quality time with Nikolai and developing a father son relationship with him, and I was helping families with children who had a disability and using my work brain again, but it did become hard work. Weekends were when we spent quality time as a whole family and what ended up happening was that I would work all day Saturday therefore Sunday would be  ‘chores day’ – shopping, cleaning washing.  I did start to feel extremely guilty being ‘the mum’ and it did bother us, so after about six weeks  I was able to find a replacement. Fortunately we did go to Bali and had a wonderful time as a family 🙂

We are in a trickier situation after having our second son Aleksandr. I was supposed to be returning to work three days per week (we had financially budgeted for this and it is what I worked on returning to work after Nikolai). However a month ago the Director of the Childcare Centre told me there was only a spot for two days and if I wanted it, I had to take the place four weeks before returning to work. This means a drop in pay and having to pay for the 2 boys to attend child care on only one wage. Hmmmm, the ruthlessness of child care!

So once again finances (unselfishly this time) have become an issue and the talk of working weekends has come round again. Yes, I have spent hours on the phone to Centrelink finding out what the maximum hours I can work before we start to lose benefits.  You have to, and I think it’s amazing we get what we do to support mums to return to work. Yes, we’ve talked about how difficult it would be for Mark after working all week and then having both the boys at the weekend, and yes, we’ve looked at it as a blessing in disguise as I will get to spend precious time with Aleksandr whilst Nikolai is at daycare for the extra day.

So here we are again. This time we are both unsure of how it will go with working a weekend but we may not have a choice.  Whatever we decide we will just do what we have to and make it work.

As for the perfect number of working days, I don’t think there is an answer with so many situations to take into consideration but I would love two days. With that combination, you still have the work balance of exercising your brain, talking about things other than your children and knowing after one day of work, only one more to go. The difficult situation especially in my job is can I get my work done in 2 days? Probably not.  And is it financially viable? Well we will see.

Does working cost too much?

I read in the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend an article about thousands of nurses threatening to resign as a result of increased costs to retrain. Apparently the Victorian Government is asking them to pay to upgrade their own qualifications and it’s not worth working anymore.  Some of them are considering other professions.

This had me doing a few sums about how much it costs me to work.

I really love my job, but sometimes I feel that, once you include work clothes, transport and day care, I don’t always “turn a profit”.

I completely understand women who don’t love their pre-kids job not wanting to go back.  Often it  doesn’t make economic sense to do so, regardless of your personal preferences.  Some days it’s worth it just so I can eat my lunch without adjusting a fairy costume from the Dress Ups box in between each mouthful.

The upside of working is that, even when my take home pay doesn’t seem that great, I’m contributing to my own retirement through my superannuation, which I know I’ll probably be grateful for later.

I know lots of women only make it work economically with the help of grandparents.  If so, did you know the Australian Government now provides the child care benefit to some families? Check out the familyassist.gov.au website for more information.  This too has an upside and a downside.  How do you talk to your mother-in-law about your toddler getting more sleep? Hmmm…

When is it worth going back to work?  How much do you need to earn before it’s worth being apart from your kids? Would you change careers to make it more worthwhile?

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