TTC with no regular job?

(59 Posts)
DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 11:43:03

Long time lurker here! Been going back and forth on this in my mind and thought it'd be good to have some impartial advice...

We are not TTC yet - had 'the chat' with DH not long ago and he said he was as ready as me to have a baby, but wanted me to have a full time job with mat pay first.

I am a supply teacher so don't get great mat pay, but would be entitled to SMP, DH is in sales so his pay fluctuates. It's ok, but there's no way we could live on his pay alone.

Full time teaching takes over your life, and having seen other people go through pregnancies doing it I am in awe of anyone who can teach full time and keep a house in order and not go into total meltdown. The thought of applying for full time positions just to get mat pay also seems a lot little inconsiderate to the schools I would be applying to.

I have done lots and lots of sums (this is pretty much taking over my life at the moment) and worked out that if I can work my arse off for the next few months and save up £4,000 ish then I can in theory have 9 months off on SMP and go back to supply teaching part time afterwards.

Is this total insanity? Anyone in a similar position?

I know babies don't happen magically overnight, but I'm desperate to start trying as soon as possible - the idea was to get a job starting in Jan and start TTCing in the early summer...

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 14:04:17

As far as child care goes, my DH has his day off in the week so can cover one day at least. The agency I work for are good about allocating specific days, so while I might not get work all three days every week, I would be able to specify that I, for example, do Mon - Wed and so would know when I had to find child care for.

I am also looking into the possibility of doing some private tuition as additional income. I could do it from home or in the evenings and weekends and it would allow me to work one less day during the week.

DumSpiroSpero Sat 17-Nov-12 14:05:38

How about compromising and looking for a permanent but part-time teaching job? You would have much more long-term security and automatically have a part-time position to go back to if you feel it is unlikely you will want/be able to work FT once a baby does come along.

TBH whilst schools factor these things into their budget and parents generally have to suck up staffing changes regardless, you will probably not make yourself very popular with your colleagues if you do the job just long enough to qualify for MP, take your leave, come back on a p/t basis and then go off again in a year or so to have a second child.

WheelieBinRebel Sat 17-Nov-12 14:10:54

I can totally see where you are coming from, when you want a baby that's all you can see, it's a real heart ruling head situtation.

I have been where you are now, I don't work in teaching but work in another profession that it can be hard to get a permanent position so was doing agency work. My hormones won in the end and we went ahead and had the baby naively thinking it would be fine. Wrong!

We struggled massively with me on SMP and only qualifying for basic tax credits as a result at the end of some months we were paying for groceries on a credit card. We got into a right mess financially and are just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel 4 yrs on. Part of me really wishes I could have been more patient, however I would not change my DC for the world.

Bear in mind that if your DH is working FT and you have been working then you will probably not qualify for very much in the way of tax credits. Also would you have someone lined up to look after the baby when you go back to work, bearing in mind nurseries want you to commit to set days and supply teaching is pretty ad-hoc.

WheelieBinRebel Sat 17-Nov-12 14:11:44

Sorry cross-posted, you answered the childcare question!

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 14:12:28

My thoughts exactly DumSpiro, but part time teaching positions are even more scarce than full time positions. The best way to go pt is to go back on a reduced timetable after mat leave. I am applying for any that come up though.

Can't remember the name, sorry your post is on the previous page, but someone asked about working right up to the Due Date. I would try to work as late as possible. The situation would be much the same for permanent contract work as for supply, but with supply the issue would most likely be travel time rather than paperwork and extended hours for staff meetings etc.

loveroflife Sat 17-Nov-12 14:13:45

"honeytea Sat 17-Nov-12 13:44:33
I would say go for it and have a baby. I think it depends alot on what kind of parents you want to be, do you want to have a new full nursery set up and ever "educational" toy and new clothes and expensive baby photos and the "best" pram?"

Just further to the above, I can honestly say that I have never looked at or even noticed what kind of pram, outfit, nursery trapeze set, educational toy or god knows what else another dc has. The baby doesn't care or even know if it's got a £3 babygro on or a £15 ensemble - no one cares or even notices (apart from some parents, if they are that way inclined).

Buy a load of basic babygros from the supermarket and rotate these at home - dc will be sick, poo in them, etc. Then have a couple of little outfits that you can rotate when you go out. My son has literally a couple of pairs of dungarees and some cords and they just get rotated when we go to different places - a baby doesn't need to have a different outfit every day. I buy all his clothes in the sale or exchange with others as I am very mean and believe children's clothes are the biggest rip off ever.

I honestly only spent money on coffee and cake when ds was born and that was for me meeting new friends in coffee shops. If you are really strapped just arrange playdates at each others homes - then you won't have to spend on cake! All clothes were given and there was such an excess of babygros I took them back and got gift vouchers that I saved for when he was older. I told friends I would be doing this and they didn't care - they would rather he wore something and used it months later than me waste their money on a babygro that stayed at the bottom of the drawer. I got his lovely bath stuff (oilatum) on prescription, infacol and even nipple cream. I don't know anyone who went out spending money on classes, outfits, toys etc - they nap so much in the beginning and you'll want to join them, not hit the shops!

You shouldn't worry about sounding responsible. If you want April as a start date do that, or start in Jan (after a boozy Xmas) do whatever suits YOU and DH. Research what you're entitled to, and do a budget for each month and bear in mind that after 9 months it might not be financially viable for you to go back to work and pay childcare. You may have to stick with the evening work and get DH to look after dc at night - this may be more economical. My friend tutors in evenings as that way she doesn't have to pay for childcare in the day.

Don't forget to start taking folic acid when ttc btw.....http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/fertility/fertility_preconception.shtml

HippieHop Sat 17-Nov-12 14:19:16

I have known a few people who have put off having a baby for various reasons only to regret it (I'm sure a few wish they had waited also, but have not voiced this). Of course being sensible with regards to your financial security is important, but I also think that you can ever only ever be ready to a certain extent.
Personally, I would do what you can over the next few months with regards to saving, cutting back, earning any extra money then start trying.

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 14:26:10

loveroflife thank you for being so positive --and telling me what I want to hear- smile I actually can't wait to start the folio acid - it's one way I can feel like I'm actually doing something!

Might wait until I've got a few quid squirrelled before I try having this conversation with DH, but I've certainly got a lot if thinking to do re: being prepared long term as well as for the pg and mat leave.

Thanks for all the advice. Next door's baby is howling as I type... And I still want one, I'm smitten.

nellysaidno Sat 17-Nov-12 14:28:45

With your DH working 8am-7pm six days won't it be tricky to fit in evening/weekend work though? Also you will have to budget for days when you can't work because your dc is unwell, there will always be unexpected situations with young dc.

Wallison Sat 17-Nov-12 14:49:40

I agree that babies aren't expensive and that the only things you need to buy new are the cot mattress and car seat - and to be honest even with that if you can get one from someone you trust and know it hasn't been in an accident then it is fine. I got everything second-hand and people bought loads of stuff as presents anyway. In the case of his pram I think it had seen something like five kids through their babyhoods. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this for a buggy as they just aren't as robust but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the one I had. They don't need lots of expensive kit or clothes or whatever. Even as they get older, I would say that the main expense is new shoes and paying for activities - again, everything else can be bought second-hand, even stuff like games consoles if you really want to go in for that sort of thing. Even with activities, unless you do something like horse-riding or tennis lessons or whatever, they don't cost that much, and going to the park is free and you can do it all year round. I'm always a bit hmm when I read articles about how much a child 'costs' - where on earth do they get these figures from?

Wallison Sat 17-Nov-12 14:50:18

I meant getting a second-hand car seat obviously - you do need a new mattress.

honeytea Sat 17-Nov-12 14:52:32

I agree we have a second hand car seat but it is from a family friend so I know they have not had any crashes.

Wallison Sat 17-Nov-12 19:13:14

Yes, that's the kind of thing I was talking about. The only reason you're supposed to get a brand new one is because they aren't safe after a crash, but if it hasn't been in a crash and you know it hasn't then it's fine.

And there's nothing wrong with second-hand - I got so excited getting all the clothes for my son, washing and folding them, imagining him in them - it didn't matter a jot to me that they weren't new - they were still lovely and still for him and if anything they were all the more special because my lovely friends' boys and girls had worn them and we had shared memories of them now - they talked about which ones they had particularly liked and what they thought would suit my son etc.

As I said in my previous post - it's not the obvious costs like clothes and equipment that are expensive - it's the hidden things, that you don't notice so much individually, which, when added together, do cost quite a bit more.

Things like utilities. My DD was incredibly sicky, very bad reflux. We could use four muslins and two bibs for every feed. It was fairly normal for her to wear 4-6 babygro's and vests a day. The amount of laundry we did more than tripled (I felt like Widow sodding Twankey!). And with that there was increased use of electricity, water, detergent, fabric softener - we were using three times as much of each as before - and the costs went up, a lot.

If you are up in the night you may want a light on, maybe the tv/laptop too? Perhaps the kettle for a drink.... All at a time of day when previously you wouldn't have been using any electric at all - so another small increase in costs - but it could be every night for months, and those small increases soon result in a big increase. Plus in winter it might be cold, so you may flick the heating on for half an hour, or turn the fire on for a bit whilst you are up in the night.... Another small increase that will add up.

We have a water meter.... Our bill DOUBLED in the first six months after DD was born. It's gone back down now she's older and isn't going through clothes like a hayfever sufferer goes through tissues, but it wasn't a cost we anticipated at all. Likewise the electricity went up, as did the gas.

All little things that you don't think about... If there's laundry - you wash it, it's dark at 3am - you stick a light on, you're bored at 3am - put the tv on (or MN!), cold at 3am - stick some form of heating on. But these are all things you won't be doing now - because you'll be in bed sleeping and you'll only have the laundry for two people lucky buggers.

You can't buy gas, electric and water on Ebay or get it second hand unfortunately!

OldMumsy Sat 17-Nov-12 23:00:50

No go for it, I have been wondering what I can spend my tax on.

Re carseats - they're like crash helmets/riding hats - everyone knows they should be replaced if they've been in a crash - but people always forget/don't realise they should be replaced if they have been dropped, even just from the car to the ground.

Lots of people accidentally drop their carseat - they're awkward things to move about. The majority don't replace them. But a drop can cause a weakness that would render them unsafe in an accident.

Two things I personally would never have second hand are mattresses and car seats. Whilst people know all about the crash replacement, most don't know about the dropped replacement, and because of this if they did drop it they wouldn't change it and wouldn't cross their mind to tell someone they were selling it to, and if asked probably wouldn't remember they'd done it.

OldMumsy grin I just snorted cherryade (would prefer to have said alcoholic beverage of some sort but DD teething so I'm on the pop - literally!)

GaryBuseysTeeth Sat 17-Nov-12 23:16:03

Go for it whenever you and DH feel ready.

Next summer DH could lose his job/you could get ill etc (basically, you don't know what's around the corner), so if you're sure you want kids don't wait for a 'what if' plan to happen.

However, bear in mind that you may change your mind about working after baby (you may never want to go the toilet alone again, you may excluisively breast feed for the first 2 years & not want to work then) so make sure you've thought about everything.
Coola makes a great point about the unexpected cost of babies!

Good luck in what you decide.

higgle Sat 17-Nov-12 23:19:45

I was 27 when I got married and waited until I was 34 for DS1 because I wanted to ensure we could afford to be parents, that I was doing the right thing with my employer and that work/money problems wouldn't weaken our relationship. I got pregnant first month of trying - very shocked by that- despite being on the pill since I was 16. I can't understand how, if there are just the two of you, you can't cope with full time work. What would you do if you were single? Surely being a teacher is just about the best job to fit in with being a mother as you won't have the holidays to worry about once your DCs are older.

YANBU - in fact I think you are being very sensible.

A lot of companies (including mine) only pay SMP. I had to save up mat leave money before both of my pregnancies which is exactly what you are planning.

I also think you are being very realistic and thinking ahead in recognising that supply teaching is more child friendly than ft teaching.

To the poster who thinks teaching is the best job to have with children, I'm afraid I disagree. Yes holidays are sorted but what about the rest of the year.? You can't attend their school plays and assemblies, you still have to start and finish work before and after school times and if they are sick its hard to take time off to care for them.

FlangelinaBallerina Sun 18-Nov-12 09:09:43

If you're going to do it, go into it with your eyes wide open. You'll make the finances work, people do because they have to, but be aware that it won't be easy.

People have mentioned tax credits. If you and DH work FT you're unlikely to qualify for anything unless you're both on not much more than minimum wage. For one child, if your joint income is 26k or more, nada. Universal credit is coming in and I've read that the limit will be even lower, probably low 20s. You would probably qualify for child benefit, which covers the cost of nappies and either formula or the extra food you'll probably eat when breastfeeding.

Babies are cheap in some ways, in that you can get lots of things second hand. I felt the same as honeytea before having DD (3 months) but now very much agree with the poster who talked about unforeseen expenses too. DD is also a one woman muslin ruiner, although in her case she helps with laundry by chewing dried sick off her bibs when I'm not looking. A lot of the expenses with babies can be mitigated to some extent, a lot can't. Your utility spend is bound to be higher.

Odds are that you'll have morning sickness, as 90% of women do, and probably some other pregnancy symptoms too. With this in mind, you'll be doing very well to get through the pregnancy without taking any sick days or holiday. I don't know what the arrangements for supply teachers are, but I'm guessing you don't get paid when you don't work. Most people find pregnancy utterly exhausting too, so I doubt you'll be able to work absolutely solidly until 38 weeks or whenever you'd want to stop. You therefore need to factor a certain number of unpaid/sick pay days into your budget.

Check that you'll qualify for maternity allowance, if possible getting as many working weeks behind you as you can before TTC. I'm currently living on this along with DH's salary (I've been out of work for 1 month in the previous 4 years and of course it was the one when I got knocked up). We find it manageable, but then we have a HA house and live in a northern city. Your living expenses may be higher. I wouldn't fancy it in a private rental in the south east, for example.

Also, childcare. Your plan to do supply is probably sensible but it does mean the childcare will be more difficult, and also I'm guessing you wouldn't get childcare vouchers either? So you'll need to consider this too. Perhaps tutoring in the evening might be a more viable option until future DC reaches the age of 15 free hours of nursery a week?

whois Sun 18-Nov-12 11:51:14

People have babies with minimal income and make it work.

However the 'having a full time job was too stressful' reasoning doesn't sit well with me when you could get a full time teaching job, be in it for 2 or 3 years and then TTC with maternity pay and knowing you had a decent job and salary to go back to.

You're young still, I'd wait and get myself secure but then I'm risk adverse and getting on at work is important to me. Obviously you're more broody and romantic about the idea of surviving on one salary with a dp who won't be around much as he's at work.

2aminthemorning Sun 18-Nov-12 12:26:05

You should probably go for it. In the current climate, there's no such thing as security anyway. If you wait too long, you could be forking out for IVF, which will put paid to any plans financially. I agree with you about full-time jobs and being a mummy - it's bedlam and if you don't feel you can do it, you shouldn't have to. That said, it might be worth considering again whether you do think you could manage it, because it would make a lot of sense to get pregnant with a job behind you.

I do think all this is different depending on whether you yearn to be a SAHM (in which case you should be prepared to make the necessary financial sacrifices) or actually want to be a working mum from quite early on (in which case it does make sense to get your feet under the table first).

Don't worry about it not being fair the school to take maternity leave early. The reason you're able to do it at all is because society needs children and it also needs women in the workplace. You may be sure you wouldn't be allowed to do it if there wasn't a clear benefit to everyone.

MummytoKatie Sun 18-Nov-12 14:51:56

I'm a big fan of getting your ducks in a row before you have children because once you've had children you are too d@mn tired to start fiddling round with quacking things.

Yes - you can raise children on very little money - there are people on mn who I think do this incredibly well - but it is an extra source of stress and having children is stressful enough without adding more.

To give an example - the winter that dd was a baby there was about a month where the temperature outside didn't go above -5 and regularly went below -10. (We live in the North.) So we left the heating on 24/7. Think our fuel bills were horrible that quarter and I felt bad about the environmental impact but we could afford to do it so we did and so didn't have to worry about dd breathing cold air.

angeltulips Sun 18-Nov-12 14:59:57

So at the moment, you don't have any children, your DH works 8am-7pm 6 days a week and you don't even work full time because you found it "too stressful"? You sound a bit wet generally, I'd work on that first.

If you want to be a sahm then you need to talk to your dh properly, because at the moment you've got him working 11hrs a day 6 days a week, and then doing ft childcare on his only day off whilst you go to work part time for pin money. If I were him, I'd be slightly scared about that arrangement - it sounds incredibly stressful.

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