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I wanted to start a new thread for this because it has become an increasingly difficult problem for my H and I and I imagine others who have small children may be dealing with the same thing. I'm looking for advice from anyone who has had issues with child care that have negatively impacted your ability to get 15+ hours of UA time a week.

My H and I pretty much never get 15 hours of UA time in any given week. We're doing good to get any at all really, and some weeks we don't get any. My H wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work and is gone 12 hours a day, so he has to go to bed early. No matter how early I put the baby down, we just aren't going to get much UA time in the evenings. On weekends, we spend lots of time together, but the baby is always with us. We only have one teen at home (DS 16), and though he will very reluctantly babysit once in awhile, I can't really ask him to watch her for 15 hours a week. Money is nonexistent. We just can't afford to pay a sitter. We try to hire someone once a month for a date night, but even that is pushing it.

What made me start thinking about this is that our anniversary is next month and my H and I really wanted to spend a couple of days alone. We've only had one night alone since the baby was born 2 years ago, so even though we can't afford to do anything, just having some alone time would mean so much. So, we asked my H's sister to babysit, since she's about the only family nearby who is physically able to do it (our parents are older and have health problems). She turned us down, claiming she wouldn't have room since her 3 step-kids would be with her during that time (even though she has kept several of her H's nieces/nephews when they had his kids over as well and managed to have room for all of them). My SIL has never baby sat for any of our children. It's not like we ask her for baby sitting all the time. In fact, this is the first time we've ever asked. Her solution was that we should just take the baby with us if we want to go anywhere, which sort of defeats the goal of having time alone.

This has been a huge trend in both of our families. Everyone in our families thinks that if you have kids, you shouldn't leave them. They believe that married couples don't need date nights or time alone. There is no support whatsoever from either of our families in this and there never has been.

It's very frustrating for me, because I know my relationship with my H is suffering because we have little to no time alone, but I don't know what to do about it.


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Originally Posted by writer1
My H and I pretty much never get 15 hours of UA time in any given week. We're doing good to get any at all really, and some weeks we don't get any.

I know you know that you can't have a good marriage like this. But I wanted to reiterate it.

Quote
My H wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work and is gone 12 hours a day, so he has to go to bed early.

Why is your husband gone 12 hours a day? If this is a 5 day job (please tell me it's not 6 or 7!), this adds up to 60 hours a week.

Good old Dr. Harley strongly recommends that a job not take up more than 50 hours per week including commute time. Is there anything you guys can do to decrease the number of hours your husband's career is draining away?

Can you and the baby get up when your husband does so that the baby's wake/sleep cycles might adjust and the baby might go to bed earlier in the evening and give you guys some time? You can put blackout curtains in the child's room if you need the child to be going to bed in daylight hours.

Have you added up all of the time each of you are spending in the week to find out where it is going?

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On weekends, we spend lots of time together, but the baby is always with us.

That's something, at least, but it's not undivided attention time.

I know how hard it is to try to do this without the support of family. If we didn't have our evening time, I don't think we could make it.


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Could you work part time and bring in enough money to pay for childcare while you are working and childcare for UA time?


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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What hours are your husband home?
Where do your older children live?


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What time does your 2 year old go to bed?


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Anyone you can swap babysitting time with?

You watch their children one Saturday, they watch yours the next.

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Marcos: My H only gets paid for 8 hours a day, but he has a total commute time of 3 hours (1.5 hours each way), plus an hour for lunch. He can't cut back on his hours or he would no longer be full time, and we can't afford to live closer to his work. He works in Orange County, and the rent out there is more than his take-home pay.

I am trying to adjust the baby's sleep schedule so that she goes down earlier, but I really can't imagine waking up at 4:30 every morning. I am not a morning person at all.

I have been looking for a job for awhile, but unemployment here is atrocious and I haven't found anything that would even cover the cost of daycare while I'm at work. I used to work retail in the evenings and on weekends, but I've been trying to avoid going back to that since it would make the UA time even less.

Prisca: My H gets home around 4:30 in the afternoon. We spend most of our time together in the evenings, but the 2-year old is there, so it doesn't technically count as UA time from what I've been told. He's also home on the weekends, but again, most of the time it's me, H, and the baby. We do have a little extra time in the evenings on weekends after baby goes to bed, since H doesn't have to get up the next morning. But I don't think it adds up to nearly 15 hours.

DS 21 just moved in with my in-laws an hour and a half away to work and go to school. DD19 is in college and has an apartment near campus. DS18 is still in juvenile hall until Nov. 22, but may be going to live with my in-laws as well when he gets out so that he can work. There just aren't many jobs or opportunities way out here where we live.


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Originally Posted by 4hope
Anyone you can swap babysitting time with?

You watch their children one Saturday, they watch yours the next.

We've thought about trying this, but we're older, so most of the people we no don't have little ones anymore.


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I may have missed where you said what time your toddler goes to bed. If I did, I'm sorry. My 1-3 year olds go to bed at 7, so I'm assuming yours is similar. I'm going to throw out a rough schedule here -- it might not exactly work for your situation, but it might help give a place to start brainstorming.

I'm not a morning person, either. But, if you were getting 8 hours sleep at night, you might be able to adjust. Especially if you're getting to spend time with your husband.

4:30pm-7:00pm: Family Commitment time (2 1/2 hours)
7:00pm: Toddler in bed
7:00pm-8:30pm: UA time (1 1/2 hours)
8:30pm-4:30am: 8 hours sleep
4:30am-5:00am: UA time (30 minutes)

With that schedule, 7 days a week, you will be getting 14 hours UA time, 17.5 hours Family Time, and 8 hours sleep every night.



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Nothing like being told over and over and OVER that you ought to do something you have no way of doing, is there.....

I feel your frustration, writer1, and I have read enough of your story to know that you guys are barely making it, have almost no family support, have had problems with your other kids, and generally feel like you are on your last stretch of strength.

And I assume that you have grown accustomed to eating and having a roof lo these many years, so cavalierly cutting your H's work or some such isn't an option.

If I lived there, I'd babysit that sweetie for free, dangit! I miss babies.

You may be like me. A mantra wasn't enough. I had to go with a reality based combination approach, and now DH and I are more content and in love on on solid ground than we have been in years.

I hope that something gets easier for y'all soon.

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The key to mine and Markos UA time is a tight schedule like that. Otherwise, we would never see each other enough. We do not have family that can babysit on a consistent basis, and we don't have too many friends that I feel comfortable asking for babysitting.


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Actually, the baby goes to bed around 9. Late, I know, but nowhere near as late as she used to go to bed. Her sleep was really messed up in the first year of life. She would often be awake until 1 a.m. and then up again before 6. She sleeps through the night now, but I have a hard time getting her settled down, especially since our house is small and every little sound is audible from every room. We use a fan in her room for white noise and that helps some.

Luri (can I still call you Luri?): I may have to get unused to having a roof over my head. Our house recently entered into foreclosure. We still aren't sure when we have to be out, but we don't have anywhere to go as of yet. Of course, the nice bank just sent me a letter saying that if I send them $10,000, they will take the house out of foreclosure and we'll be good. I checked the money tree in the backyard and the prospects aren't looking great. Does anyone know anything about robbing banks?


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This job market is bad but being faced with foreclosure priorties need to be changed. First job for you, second job for your H. 15 hours is nice. Keeping a home is nicer.

I need a second job myself. This economy it's hard finding the first job for many yet a second.

Why is it always easier to tell how then to do?

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Road, I think it would be much easier for me to find a job somewhere else. Even my H can't find a job where we live. He has to commute 50 miles each way, which simply wouldn't work for both of us with a 2-year old and a 16-year old teen who has to be transported 6 miles each way to and from school (no bus). I can't imagine both of us doing that commute and being gone 12+ hours a day. Where I live is fairly rural and the unemployment rate is 16%. What few jobs there are pay minimum wage, so I would lose money if I had to pay for daycare.

My H is trying to find a job in a place where there will be more opportunities for me to find work and somewhere with a lower cost of living. I just hope we find something before we end up homeless. It's a race against time at this point. Saving the house is pretty well beyond our means.


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Usually you can stall an eviction for a year. Laws vary by state.

Have you written the bank asking for a reduced mortgage? You can write the request as they would be better off and lose less on this loan if they can reduce your payment vs a foreclosure.

We got our monthly payments reduced $100. Lucky we have always just made our payments on time. Always close.

Just too many people looking for work. As many are I have been unemployed or under employed for 3 years. No health insurance, lucky not sick. No cash left set a side for an emergency.

I don't know how you got through the legal fees for your son. Not asking just reflecting.

I read where you had no hot water. If you had a cell phone and could do without a house phone then cutting of the house phone that should of freed up enough money for a new hot water heater.

Just keep looking for ways to cut your living expenses. We turn our heat down 55 at night and our thermostat never sees anything past 65. When I'm the only one home during the day I'll sit with a coat and hat. When my hands hurt from being cold I'll put on gloves. So I can keep the heat at 61-62 during the day.

You have a 2 yo at home and can't be this cheap with the heat. You just have to say going to a movie is too extravagant for you and don't spend. A meal out you tell yourself the same thing.

People confuse wanting with needing. My dad would say how bad it was growing up through the Great Depression. He had to do without a lot.

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Road, sorry you're having a hard time too. I know we aren't the only ones. Things are tough all around right now.

I think I'm fairly frugal. I cut coupons and buy our groceries at a local discount store. We have a very basic cell phone plan with not a lot of minutes, so I don't think it would work to lose our landline, or we would probably go over on our minutes. I live in So-Cal, so we don't use the heater too much. The AC is another matter. During the summer, it's almost always over 100 degrees here and my house is old and not terribly energy efficient, so we have to run the AC a lot. Still, I keep the thermostat between 78 and 80. Even with that, our summer bill can easily be over $200 a month. We're still paying down our bill for August and getting disconnection notices, and it's been in the upper 90's here the past few days, so I've had to turn the AC back on.

As far as my son's legal bills, my H cashed out his extremely small 401K Plan to make the down payment, then for several months, we were using our house mortgage money to make the payments. We still owe him some money too.


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Writer-
What about bartering for childcare services?

I have a day desk job, and I have a 2nd job that is rather specialized. I've bartered my 2nd job services for child care. I don't do it often, but it's a win-win for everyone. Can you barter writing services? Tutoring? What about house cleaning..I'm sure you could take your 2 yo with you to clean house.

What about bartering child care services with another mom? I would assume your city as a craigslist..How about you post an ad there? Or post something at the grocery store or news paper? I believe our "mommy" instinct is often very good, and as long as you trust yourself, it is possible to find a caring, responsible adult to watch your child.

What about jobs that you can take your child to? I know, for example, in my city there are a few businesses that run "stroller workouts" for SAHM moms. Also, I've seen where daycares allow the worker to bring in their kids for minimal costs. What about offering some pet care services? If you have a stroller, you could strap the 2 yo in it and walk a dog..In my town, I also see help where single parents are looking for a mother's helper, to do laundry, clean, etc. You could bring your child to those sorts of jobs.

Have you checked out local places of worship with schools attached? As part of my child's parochial school, volunteering is mandatory. Maybe you might find something like that?

Finally, do you have any resources such as this?http://www.archrespite.org/

My city's respite center takes kids even, even overnight, when parents are stressed and need a break.

Have you checked into places like Angel Food Ministries or Project Share? If that is less expensive than what you spend on food, you might be able to find a couple of dollars..






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This august we had two hot weeks in NY. I had been cheap with the AC all summer. But with kids home and guests I keep the AC on 75 to keep out the humidity. Afternoons the house would hit 80. The electric bill was about $275 that month.

My wife couldn't believe it was that much. She never complained that I only used the AC maybe three more days this pass season since then.

It also renewed the importance to keep the heat extremely low. Save a semi splurge if someone gets sick. We have thought about getting rid of our land line.

$60 dollars a month doesn't sound like a lot though every bit saved helps. But I have a lot of resumes out there with that number on it. Odds are I'm not going to get called but I can't take the risk of not being reached for a job interview.

Outside of that you and I just have to reduce overhead just as all the big corporations. We never have enough money that some can be saved for a rainy day

Our income tax refund has been our emergency money for the last three years. And last years emoney is gone.

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Originally Posted by writer1
I am trying to adjust the baby's sleep schedule so that she goes down earlier, but I really can't imagine waking up at 4:30 every morning. I am not a morning person at all.
I was going to suggest waking up at 4:00 am so you have 30 minutes each day alone with him. It sounds aweful but you can do it. Others have. I presume you are a stay at home mom? If not, there are still ways around it but if so it's even easier. Get up early and have coffee together every day. He may appreciate having you to help him in the mornings. When he leaves for work, get the baby up and start the baby's day that much earlier.

You say he goes to bed early. This way, you will go to bed early as well. You can always get another 30 minutes quality time in bed before you both fall asleep.

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Originally Posted by writer1
I am trying to adjust the baby's sleep schedule so that she goes down earlier, but I really can't imagine waking up at 4:30 every morning. I am not a morning person at all.

Would it be horrible of me to call bullpuckey on this? Terrible at all?

BULLPUCKEY!

I spent the past 2 years on graveyard shift, and intermittent graveyard on and off for 11 years before that.

Now, I HAVE to get up to be to work at 6AM twice a week, and at clinicals 6:25 another two days a week.

Now it's no problem at all, because I have retrained my sleep cycle - it's a developed habit.

Funny thing is, it takes more time to develop a healthy habit than an unhealthy one, and it takes more time to break an unhealthy habit than a healthy one.

However, if developing this habit allows you to have coffee every morning, and chat with your H before he heads off to work, I'm sure the reward will make it easier to maintain.

Last edited by HeadHeldHigh; 11/05/10 11:20 AM.

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