Help! Not sure where to post. I can't handle my working hours anymore and other things, practical help needed.

(19 Posts)
MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 20:43:55

OK I'm a bit muddled at the moment but I'll try my best to explain the best I can.

I have 2 DC aged 7 and 3. The 3 year old is quite demanding although lovely. I am effectively a single parent as I am currently separated from their father due to lots of relationship issues (too many to go into here, honestly not abusive, just he is so withdrawn from family life, he works long hours and we didn't get on even when he was on short periods off work like annual leaves etc, I am depressed etc, constant arguments, resentments etc).

I was at SAHM for first year after my 3 year old was born, which was OK. I then went back to work (my old job) which was OK, quite good flexible hours because I am mainly self employed doing it, money ok, but it's NOT in the field I ultimately want to be in, which is healthcare. I cannot do the degree I want to until DC are older (ie 13 and 17 or so) for logistical reasons, placements, childcare etc.

Last year I left my self employment and took on a job as a HCA. The main reason was to be more involved in the work I ultimately want to do. I love the job itself, but I think the hours have been building me up to a kind of nervous breakdown shock.

My contract is 24-36 hours, so it shouldn't be so bad in theory. However little did I know they would compress my rotas so, for example, I can be doing 2 x 12 hour shifts , a day off, another 3 x 12 hour shifts then 4 days off. Or 7 half shifts in a ROW then a week off. It changes all the time, and is a logistical nightmare with childcare and weekends are frequent. DD school is miles in the opposite direction from DS nursery and I don't drive so need to get up at 5am if starting at 8 and make 3 bus journeys in the freezing cold to before school care and MIL before I even get to work. And need to arrange cover with afterschool childminder for DD and exMIL/exP if I'm working backshift or 8-8 (often).

Another stressor is that I've never got on with my exMIL. I feel she undermines my parenting of the DC, believes women shouldn't work, will say things to DS like "don't worry we won't tell mummy you were naughty it's our secret" (other people have told me, even DD), and every single rule / behaviour me and exP have put down she overrides and does what she likes anyway. She does not discipline DS and he has unbelievable tantrums for like 24 hours upon coming back from a few days at nans (if I'm on 2/3 twelve hour shifts in a row for example). He gets stablised at home, then off to nans again next time I'm on shift.

I never thought it would be so hard sad. I feel I am on a rollercoaster, I constantly forget things (shopping, gas and elec top up, paying different bills, school things, appointments, phonecalls) and dread Social Invitations because it's yet another thing to plan for. My house if frequently a disaster area because I have no time for housework. When I do have time I blitz it, but in the intermediate times it stresses me it's such a tip.

I NEED to hand it my notice and gain back some semblance of a life. The hours are killing me. I have been low level depressed for a while, especially with the break up (in Feb this year).

The salon I used to work in has offered me 3 set weekdays Mon Thu Fri 9am - 5pm and I am going to take it. Small drop in income but do-able for my sanity.

But . . . . . I am seriously in such a state mentally (feels like too many things have been whizzing around my head for so long, my brain is mush and I have NO MOTIVATION whatsoever, just want to lock myself in house but can't - is this depression?) I can't see a way out.

Also, I have never actually handed in notice before, don't know how to go about it? I am chicken and a coward of telling my boss and colleagues who have all been so nice to me and inclusive, I am scared of "doing it". confused.

I feel ill at the thought of the week ahead too and the impending festive season. Ex P gives very little help and only on his own terms and my family live about 40 mins away. I feel I am coming down with a virus to to top it all off, and this week I have -

Mon - kids to school and nursery, shopping, housework, DD party for 3.5 hours (argh - other people!)
Tue - up at 5am and working then pick both kids up, my work christmas childrens party (argh) - if I see boss was planning on handing notice in.
Wed - work all day, DS away will miss him
Thu - work all day DS still away will miss him
Fri - morning get DS back but he will be tantruming having been at nans argh, then my work's adults "black tie" dinner I have paid for and both Dc would have to go back to MIL AGAIN , and I'd need to find something to wear. not going, can't face it but need an excuse
Sat - up at 5am for work, 12 hour shift ! then friends xmas night out (not going will be too tired will need excuse)
Sun - up at 5am again for work.

I can't do this! I feel like I just can't face all these people, business, I feel depressed and down and "spent" What do I do?

Sorry this post is a huge venting exercise.

What, step by step would you recommend I do? May also post this is mental health. x

OodKingWenceslas Sun 09-Dec-12 20:55:56

Think handing in your notice will make a huge difference for now. Routine will help you. & the kids. Don't worry about work , they will be used to people wanting more sociable hours.

Have you seen GP?maybe counselling/ADs may help.

Check out benefits with your new income & use childminder rather than MIL/xh when possible if they are more dependable.

Get set hours in place with xh for the kids & make sure he's paying his way.

OodKingWenceslas Sun 09-Dec-12 20:57:12

Oh & get signed off if needed.

LaCiccolina Sun 09-Dec-12 21:08:01

Take a breath!

You have several very different issues. Re your present job, at what point was it explained about how rotas would work? Before you signed a contract? After? After probation period finished? Are there specific reasons why u are being asked to work in this fashion? When did these become clear? Answers to these could help us fathom it out. Assuming u want us to as its hard to tell as u then later talk about a new role...

Regarding your new role, write a letter. Dear x, it is with great regret that I am writing to inform you of my decision to accept another position. I have sincerely enjoyed my time and appreciate the assistance that you hAve offered me since joining the team. Best regards Y

You can put in that's its due to hours if you wish. That might give ur boss a push to offer less arduous hours. Figure out what u will do if they do. Do not hand the letter over until u have signed a new contract and returned it.

Your mil issue (or was it dm?) should perhaps begin to resolve if ur hours improve. That said you will have to accept that people have different ways of approaching the same issues so you cannot completely specify what she must do. Ds is definately playing you off. Rise above that. Hard in practice but necessary.

Good luck

LaCiccolina Sun 09-Dec-12 21:10:33

Dognammit! Forgot to put in letter that you will be leaving on ex date and are tendering your resignation. Can't see what I'm writing in phone!

bbcessex Sun 09-Dec-12 21:21:34

Bless you - am just about the log off but didn't want to read and run.

Wow - reading your list of activity for the week; I'm not surprised at all that you feel overwhelmed, especially with what's been going on in your personal life. I think you deserve a HUGE pat on the back for keeping going so far - you're obviously a really strong, able person (irrespective of how you may temporarily feel).

I can give proper advice without really knowing the ins and outs, but I would say that maybe go and see your doctor first BEFORE you hand your notice in... you do sound like you may be be a bit depressed (and not surprisingly), and maybe they would sign you off for a short time to allow you to catch your breath.

With a bit of a break, you may come up with a strategy that would allow you to keep your HCA job.. or you may decide to go with the Salon job anyway.

Either way - take it easy and be kind to yourself... you have a lot on your plate and by the sounds of it, you've done pretty well through a really difficult time xxxx

bbcessex Sun 09-Dec-12 21:22:20

can't = not can durrr..

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 21:36:41

Oh thanks everybody. smile

I have literally never had to hand in notice before, so had no idea how it is supposed to work.

I feel so pathetic because it is a close knit team, I'm invited to xmas parties etc, they have made me welcome over the 9 months I have been there and I feel stupid and like others manage to do it, but I just can't take it any more.

In answer to the questions,

I have counselling already since June (due to the break up amongst other things), and it really has helped me clarify things and come out of the worst of my depression, but it is gradual and I feel I bit off more than I can chew with these hours. half the time I have to cancel the counselling too because my time is so limited.

Ex has never officially (on paper) moved out . But physically has (in person - he has been living at his mothers since Feb). So our finances are still tied . But I've been to CAB and worked out if he officially leaves financially we will be OK - I will get tax credits for the shortfall.

The issues with MIL are just the tip of the iceberg really. I was really stupid to allow her this much influence of having DS so often, she is a dangerous person (emotionally), prone to fits of hysterical behaviour, has screaming matches CONSTANTLY with exP (me and ex never did this in front of Dc but the atmosphere must have been bad) to the point DD tells me about them shock. Won't respect a word of what me or exP say as parents, thinks she knows best in every which way, has actually said recently the children need protecting from me because I am all about money and not caring about children leaving them in childminders at all (god forbid to earn a living!) and they need protecting from exP too apparently because he disciplines DS too harshly and she is going to phone Social Services (I don't think he does anything wrong or out of ordinary at all, nor do my friends or family and I am shocked she would say that about her own son - I think he wants to come back here and reconsile because living with his mother is stressful, but I don't want him here when he refuses to resolve issues).

Re the shifts - I was put on a 24-36 hour contract, and the previous manager (who has left) told me this would be either 4 x 6 hour shifts a week , or 3 x 12 . I presumed a week as being 7 days Mon - Sun. I have found it doesn't work like that, it's Thursday to Wednesday. So I could be doing all my hours for one week Monday to Wed and all my hours for the next Thursday to Tuesday - making me on 7 days in a row shock. Then I get a week off , but the compressed week exhausts me and is affecting kids negatively, I am a SAHM for a week then hardly see them the next week.

What does signed off mean? Can you get signed off sick by your doctor and hand in your notice whilst signed off sick? Are you allowed to do this? If so, that sounds like a good option right now. I am not sleeping well either, can't sleep until 1/2am with thoughts whizzing around then up at 5/6/7 again either with DC or on days off with more thoughts lying awake.

I don't think there is any specific reason but the place does have a high staff turnover and staffing problems and they are really unsympathetic to people needing flexible hours I have found, by observing others being constantly knocked back for the "needs of the business" (quote). Those who have worked there the longest get the best hours, newish staff (less than 5 years) seem to get landed with all the weekends and stressful compressed 2 weeks hours in one (like me). They just slot you in where needed , the attitude is you are lucky we are not asking you to do nightshifts (contracts say x amount of hours per week to be worked over a 24 hour period thu - wed)

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 21:45:03

Just read that back, and feel like the MIL thing needs clarification.

She honestly sees normal things which normal parents do as being wrong and damaging to children. Like putting children in a childminder AT ALL - "they could be doing anything to the children" (but school and nursery fine, brownies etc fine) hmm.

She thinks ex P is a bad father deserving of Social Services referral because he does such horrendous things like shout at DS (3) for misbehaving (like hitting the dog, tantruming etc) - I mean who hasn't raised their voice at their child! Or for lifting him and putting him in the bedroom and shutting the door on him telling him to stay there for 5 minutes until calmed down in a stern voice. She says he is "abandoning" DS hmm

OodKingWenceslas Sun 09-Dec-12 21:50:55

Yes re signed off.if you want to continue/go back to that sort of work might be worth thinking of bank shifts eventually when you have a routine set up, that means you can give them availability, rather than the other way round.

Cut as much contact with XML as possible, leave your xh to deal with her.

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 22:09:29

Ok thanks. I am worried about everyone, other staff asking why I'm leaving, prying etc I may just burst into tears the way I feel so overwhelmed or stutter and try to over justify and look mad!

So I have clarified that I have to either -

Go in on Tuesday and hand in notice, speaking to manager (hopefully she is there, if not will write letter dating it Tuesday and hand to her in person, don't want to let it drag on and on waiting to pluck up courage to speak to her argh).

or

Go to doctors tomorrow and get signed off work with my stress or depression etc for, say, 2 weeks - then write letter of notice and post it to boss, maybe call them also (no idea what the 'done thing' is in this situation). And just not go back?

Hope I have got this right?

Yeah, I don't deal with her if I can help it, I minimize mine and DC time with her but she would FLIP if I didn't let them go to hers, and obviously ex P has to see them (a whole other story in itself what is happening he wants back I am too stressed, he won't communicate blah blah blah) , so I will let her see them but not excessively as he won't need to be there if I'm on normal childminder friendly hours and hopefully I will gain back control of DS in particular, I feel she is actively undermining me and DS relationship with her comments and the lack of consistent boundaries is confusing the hell out of him.

x

OodKingWenceslas Mon 10-Dec-12 12:46:04

I bet it's quite normal for people to leave for more stable hours. They won't think much of it.

stowsettler Tue 11-Dec-12 09:37:41

Something's got to give in your life, it's as simple as that. You have another job offer, which is stable hours and will give your life routine. Get out of your current job ASAP.

In your position I'd be straight down to my GP, explaining the stresses in your life. It's likely they will sign you off for a time, but in the meantime get your notice in sharpish. It's up to you how you do it - personally I'd maybe try to see my manager face to face to let them know and hand them the letter, but it may be just as appropriate to post the letter. It really depends on how you feel about it.

Oh and personally I'd definitely explain in my notice that the working pattern was the deciding factor - after saying how much you've enjoyed working there. It's not unreasonable for a single mother to need a degree of stability in her routine.

Snowflakepie Tue 11-Dec-12 10:48:26

Get signed off, you sound exhausted. Then send the letter and make it clear that you have enjoyed the work and the team, but that the hours are just not possible owing to children. This is completely understandable. Get some rest and get your DCs away from your MiL who sounds batty. Try to enjoy Christmas knowing a weight has been lifted, you're doing right for your family and you can get your own health back on track. Making the first step is the hardest but it seems like you know what you have to do, that's the biggest battle. Well done for managing this far, you have done an amazing job in very hard circumstances. Hugs to you, good luck x

bunchofposy Wed 12-Dec-12 13:23:49

Congratulations!

You are doing an amazing job juggling all that stuff, go easy on yourself.

I only have one DC, but no way I could manage shift work. Although I sometimes crave a more exciting, worthy career, set days with manageable hours works best for me for the forseeable future.

I would also get signed off, resign, take the other job, and you may find that you feel better just for having a stable pattern in your life. And with more control over your working week and work/life balance, you will have more control over your family life, and won't feel so overwhelmed by your mother in law. It sounds like you just lack confidence at the moment because of the situation you are in.

Work and relationship struggles are bound to fog up your mind. Fingers crossed all that will improve in 2013 now you've a new plan - good luck!
x

bunchofposy Wed 12-Dec-12 13:24:37

ps I meant congratulations on your new job by the way (just realised that sounded odd out of context!)

BobbiFleckmann Wed 12-Dec-12 13:35:15

get signed off, then BEFORE sending a letter of resignation, have a conversation with them about whoever sets the shifts and discuss whether it can be more balanced so that you never work more than four consecutive days. you may not need to quit, and if they value you, they'll help. Oddly, from that perspective, taking time off sick may be a benefit in pushing them to reorganise your hours (have you had a year's service yet?)

OodKingWenceslas Sat 15-Dec-12 11:29:05

How are you op?

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 15-Dec-12 15:20:52

How are you op? I would definatly see the GP and get signed off then ask to meet with your team leader and explain that work is causing you to be depressed and stressed.

Ask if they can hel you, tell them your relationship has broken down.

They should want to support you, work shouldn't cause so much stress in your life and those shifts sound unmanageable.

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