Schools almost out – find out how our veterinary parents manage through the summer hols

As school is almost out and we begin to look forward to the long summer holidays, we started thinking about how we all manage the tricky demands of work and childcare during this time. The thought of school holidays seems like it should be an idyllic time as we are longing for that relaxing family holiday we’ve booked or maybe looking forward to the sun-filled day trips to the beach or just the knowledge of those relaxing routine-less days we can have with the kids doing fun stuff at home.  In real life however, it can be a very demanding time for some of us and can actually takes precision planning to ensure we have got the cover right for our little ones. Whether you work part-time or full-time, chances are you will need child care cover at some point over the summer period so we asked you recently for your tips on how you manage the summer and this is what you said:

Helen This year my little ones are going to some Summer Schemes and they are loving it. Eats into your wages but they’re happy.

Lizzie Unfortunately I have to get into debt. My wage doesn’t cover my 2 children into care. It breaks my heart but love my job so much.

Lucy I generally use a mixture of childminder, parents and school clubs but it can be a tight on an RVN wage, but it’s just about being organised and having a supportive partner and family and it can be done, you may end up tired and grey by the end though.

Hannah Thank god for grandparents, friends, holiday entitlement and a very very understanding husband! And copious amounts of coffee too.

Kerri We have to be super organised to book in with grannies and aunties, my husband and myself very rarely take annual leave together as there are too many weeks to cover during school holidays! But still wouldn’t change anything for the world, some days the profession is exacerbating, but I am so proud of what we do!

Beverley I use a mixture of having a friends kids and she has mine, my parents and a holiday scheme. I’m lucky I only work 4 days a week. We’re also looking at the idea of hiring a childminder for all the kids in one practice and sharing the cost between us! My husband is also taking some leave to have our girls some days. Our holiday clubs are run by a nursery so it would be good to have one more suited to older children and a little cheaper too!! Those mugs are fab. We’re short staffed this year so it’s extra hard and going to be a long 6 weeks.

Nicola Jane  I work part time 14 hr night shifts and was a single parent for 8 years so was extremely grateful for my mum looking after the kids overnight. Was tired the next day but I managed!

Caroline My bosses and work colleagues are awesome and because my partner also works shifts, my head nurse will try to work my shifts around his where possible and if that’s not possible, I use a fabulous playscheme at my local leisure centre which keeps my son busy and active all day.

Sarah I work 24hrs/week (mon-wed). We’ve got 2 week hol as a family, 2 weeks covered by grandparents and 2 weeks of hol club. This is the first summer hol we’ve had to worry about as my daughter is 5 and her nursery were open all year round so fingers crossed our plan will work!! No idea what I’ll do if it doesn’t!

Sarah Jane Takes a lot of planning!! Far in advance which I never used to be able to do until I had kids…. I have four kids ranging from 2 to 14, so often their hols run from different dates. A mixture of nursery, summer camp, us taking separate holidays, having friends kids so they can have yours when stuck and ferrying kids up to Scotland to Grandma. Changes every year and as they get older. Trick is to be adaptable.

Gemma Find yourself a good husband (that works from home) and leave the kids for him!

Natalie I’m very lucky to have an amazing husband who very much steps up to the mark! I work 3 days a week and my husband works shifts as he is a police officer, so between shifts and holiday entitlement we just about manage to sort out our 3 kiddies. It can be a real challenge at times especially when we’re both in roles when we can be kept on unexpectedly! But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Anna Having my own practice and my daughters spending all their holidays at work with me was a good way of making sure they didn’t want to be vets!

Jennine Marie Job sharing with another colleague who has children is a great idea. The childcare can also be shared so one person looks after all kids in a morning while the other person works and swap over in the afternoon.

Nicole I’m a vet nurse and single mum. I have a brilliant childminder who looks after my daughter three times a week, I work Thursdays as flexi time which involves just doing insurance paperwork and marketing so I’m not on the normal rota if I need to take the day off unpaid, if I do work then the grandparents help out. I have Fridays off all year. I also try and book at least 2 weeks of my annual leave during the holidays so holidays can be shared out fairly between staff and to make sure I get some good time out with my daughter. The other two week holidays are used for when my childminder needs to take time off…it’s certainly a juggling act sometimes but I have great support from family, childminder and friends!

Joanne I work part time, other half works some days from home, grandma is 3hrs away but comes to stay for some days, holiday at grandmas, swap long playdates with other families. We’ve an aupair at the moment, she covers up to 30hrs a week but it’s not a permanent thing – our house isn’t big enough! If we both worked full time they’d have to go to a holiday club a lot.

Claire I work part time, which makes things easier. Most of my working days will be covered by our childminder (who has the youngest two days a week anyway, as he’s not at school yet), so that’s straightforward enough. When she’s on holiday in August, we have asked grandparents to help out. I can see it being more of a challenge once they are both at school.

Amy From September I will be starting to try and juggle working and school times. I’m dreading it and the cost. I thought I would be better off not paying nursery fees but it turns out before and after school clubs work out the same price. A career break maybe the finically better option for us, which is a shame as I love my job. It is good to hear how other people manage it.

Kate My little girl starts school nursery in September so I’m dreading managing school hols. Im guessing g me and my husband will take different holidays so we can do as much as we can but I’m very grateful and lucky to also have retired parents so they constantly help me out. Me and my husband both do on call work so no 2 weeks are the same. It’s certainly a juggling act.

Nikki Here in New Zealand we have some good holiday programmes run by the groups that do before and after school care at the schools. (Cause lets face it we all need that as well). Luckily thanks to grandparent help this holidays we won’t be using the programme but we only have a 2 week break down here where it is winter! I agree it takes a lot of planning and I have already asked for leave for the next lot of holidays. Thank goodness daycare doesn’t shut down and I don’t have to worry about the little one.

Catriona I work a 0.5 rota with Vets Now and managed to get the whole summer hols off with just 3 night weekend inthe middle. I’ve only used 5 days holiday. It works well if you don’t need to work full time.

Simonne I work 24hrs a week but rely on my excellent child minder who has looked after both my children since they were 8 yrs old.

Katrina Fortunate enough to be in a position to up my hours in the school holidays as my husband is a teacher.

Esther Bother on law a teacher ad only lives down the road. So no break from the kids for him and when their on holiday mother in law steps in.

Inga-Lill Single mum, so have live in au pair/manny & time with their dad. In an emergency – in the prep room at work…

Kirsty Lianne Grandparents…. be lost without them. I also have Fridays off & book some holiday days in.

Sam Give the kids to the husband to take to work (self-employed)

Vikki I married a man who can “work from home”

Jessica This problem is part of what has stopped me having kids so far. The idea of finding childcare that fits with these crazy long hours is scary!

Lizzy They never set equations like school holidays in my maths AS level lesson! 17 weeks of school holidays a year; 5 weeks annual leave each for hubbie and I… He gets some banked hols from working on his days off which really helps. We really want to balance working with the children also having a fun holiday, spending time with us and having adventures. This summer its me off 1 week, then hubbie off 2 days and friends some time at his practice, then he has a week off. One week for older girl at Scouts Jamboree while younger boy does a bushcraft activity week, then 1 week sailing course locally, one week with granny and grandad finishing up with the whole family in France in a tent for a fortnight. The cheeky 2 days before they start back on a Wednesday is a kicker for which I’ve scraped some TOIL. Just don’t mention sports days, Christmas plays, concerts, meet the teacher days…

Tracey Single parent so it’s hard, my parents are my main sitters and school clubs and some time with his dad who takes holidays at different time to me, I also take all my holidays in school holidays to reduce the need for childcare. But hard especially the cost of clubs and pick up and drop of times don’t always fit in.

Wendy Although my kids are grown up now I remember this juggle very well my husband and I owned a mixed practice so we’re often working at the same time. I found that a child minder the best option although expensive she was happy to be flexible and would ha…See more

Kerry I stick my kids in a big crate… towel over the top and some torches and voila a secret den!

Do you have any tips to add?

We would love to hear about them – you can comment here or on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/veterinarywoman/