Annual leave when you have kids sucks! 

Annual leave when you have kids sucks! 

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I’ve previously told you guys how much I think childcare sucks, well you know what else sucks, annual leave from employment when you have kids.

Unlike before you had children, you no longer get to spend it on fun things but merely to cover childcare when your kids are sick or it’s school/nursery holidays.

Today my baby is sick again, as is often the way when they start nursery, they pick up everything going and you end up paying more money for them to be off than to attend. My daughter started attending nursery one day per week 2 months ago and she’s had maybe 4 days of that off sick already, plus 1 off for our holiday, therefore so far we’ve paid for her to be off more than she’s been there, as well as the costs for her big brother that fall outside his free term time 15 hours. Fun.

mammy and Lena

Pre kids, annual leave was used for fun things – holidays, a day out, a day chilling, catching up with friends. With kids, the vast majority of my annual leave is used for the kids being sick. Today I’ve paid £85 (for both kids to attend nursery as its half term) just to take a day of my annual leave to stay home and care for a crying baby who vomits on me all day. A far cry from my previous annual leave jaunts. It actually costs me almost £100 to take a days holiday and do nothing! I’m not even going to imagine what £85 could have bought me if this was a genuine day of holiday!

I have a 4 year old and 1 year old at the same nursery. Or as I like to affectionately refer to it, the Germ Cesspool. My 1 year old is picking a lot up at the moment as she’s not been exposed to many of these germs before. This coincides with my return to work under a new manager so I’m making a terrible impression with my frequent last minute messages how I can’t go in because my kid is sick. Plus it makes managing my workload more difficult with last minute unplanned absences.

sick baby

Then, when you get past the costly nursery stage and you aren’t using your annual leave for your kids being sick you then have to start using it for school holidays. Our son starts school in September and we don’t have family close enough by to help us out on weekdays. Mine and my partners annual leave entitlements combined fall short of the amount of school holidays there are so I’m not sure how we are going to manage childcare then. I guess we’ll figure it out along the way but it’s not easy is it? There is unpaid parental leave but you need that money to pay for the nursery costs for your sick kids to not attend.

Humans propagate humans. It’s kind of our whole raison d’etre. Shouldn’t we be making it easier for parents? Without ‘the village’ or close familial support, parents are penalised logistically, financially and career wise. It’s not a sustainable system to rely on grandparents, especially with rising retirement ages. I appreciate that nurseries have to cover staffing costs when there are last minute illnesses but it’s high time we started coming up with some more sustainable solutions for working parents. I, of course, would like to think of some myself but I’m too damn tired from never getting a break to think of any. I just know we all deserve better than this crappy system we are stuck in.

How do you cover child sickness and school holidays as a parent? I’d love to hear your workable solutions in the comments. I need all the help I can get!

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8 Comments

  1. May 31, 2016 / 14:16

    It sucks doesn’t it.

    Parental leave covers you until your kids are 18 now. Steve and I used it A LOT in the early days and just sucked up the cost 🙁 It’s a nightmare.

    I’m very lucky that I can work from home now but my problem is when my kids are ill I can’t work which is hard when I have deadlines. Hmmmm…….I don’t really know if there’s a solution to this problem if I’m honest? Esp as most of us live away from parents or have parents who work themselves.

    I remember growing up if I was ever ill my grandparents would pick me up from school. Those were the days eh!

    • May 31, 2016 / 14:24

      Those were the days! I’m envious of the people who still have that! Thanks for the update on parental leave, I’ve corrected that now. Thanks for your comment.

  2. May 31, 2016 / 18:20

    It is rubbish really!
    Fortunately if we don’t use a space at nursery and can give enough notice they don’t charge us.
    My other half has just gone part time so we have the week covered by one or the other of us except for Wednesday. So the boys only go to nursery one day a week now. When they’re in school we will both drop hours so that we have the whole week covered between us so that we’ll be able to pick them up and drop them off. It’s hard, we’ll have no money, but we’ll ever able to spend time with the kids. I didn’t have children for someone else to look after them; as you say, the days are long but the years are very very short indeed.

    • June 2, 2016 / 05:59

      That’s great that your nursery doesn’t always charge you. I wish more did that! I’m hoping Mark can drop hours too, he has an application in but his first request was denied so he’s trying to negotiate. Fingers crossed. We feel the same way about being broke but getting more time with them.

  3. June 1, 2016 / 21:12

    Ah pet sounds like things are all just a bit shit at the moment, whereas I can’t really offer much in way of advice I had offer an open ear or meet for coffee (or something stronger!) if you ever need it! X

    • July 25, 2016 / 19:15

      What a kind comment Helen! I’m so sorry I didn’t see this till now!! Xx

  4. rockandrollpussycat212
    June 2, 2016 / 13:15

    It’s rubbish. I worked 50 odd hour weeks prior to Eli and then for the first 6 months after returning to work after maternity. It was a bloody nightmare. I went part time around a year ago. Best decision I ever made. I’m lucky that my job is pretty well paid so the pay cut meant we didn’t just have to eat Aldi beans, but it’s still hard work. We still rely on my poor mam so much though

    Cat x

    • July 25, 2016 / 19:10

      Yeah I love working part time too. The current system means you either bankrupt yourself with childcare costs or rely on family! I feel happier when they are with family but then you feel guilty. It’s a minefield! Thank you for your comment.

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