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...

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 17-Nov-12 11:56:36

You'd need to work ft for a year before you were entitled to the full package surely?
So take what you are legally entitled to, plus on your return you could negotiate a jobshare.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sat 17-Nov-12 12:03:03

If you can't afford to have a baby with the way things are at the moment, then you shouldn't be having one. You have to do what you need to do to get yourself into a position where you can afford it.

I agree that applying for jobs just for the maternity pay is inconsiderate not only to the schools, but the children who's class you would lead. If you are going to take a full time class just for maternity pay, then IMO you should be prepared to go back to the job afterwards. If you're sure you will only want to be a part time supply teacher afterwards (which could be difficult with the short notice to sort out childcare) then just keep doing what you are doing for long enough that you can save up the money you need.

nellysaidno Sat 17-Nov-12 12:04:29

Your DH sounds sensible, your plan sounds quite risky in the current climate. The problem with budgeting so tightly is that it often won't allow for unexpected events. Your pg may affect your health more than you expect, or your baby could have problems meaning you couldn't return to work quickly, or you could have twins, or your DH's pay could reduce more than you expect.

I wouldn't be too concerned about being inconsiderate to schools - these things are factored into their budgets, and it shouldn't surprise them if a woman of childbearing age goes on mat leave. There are other advantages with a permanent job - you can request flexible working, pension etc.

F/t teaching is demanding of course, but then so is dealing with a newborn, so you will have to work on those energy reserves! And your DH should be doing his bit to keep the house in order, it shouldn't be all down to you.

I'm sure you have done all the sums - but believe me, there is no way you will have calculated the true cost of a baby. They are expensive - and a lot of those expenses are unforeseen. It's not just about equipment and clothes, although they are expensive enough, it's all the other little things that add up like they're going out of fashion.

My DH and I both had good, well paid jobs and we still found having DD a financial shock. And that was with doing all the sums, budgeting like fury and me getting a full maternity package.

That said we waited until we were in a position to afford it financially and then discovered I have PCOS. It took four years and a lot of treatment to conceive DD, so not sure I would have waited if I had known before hand.

You'll manage, people do - but and it's a big BUT - it is horrible being skint with a child. DH has just taken redundancy and due to us moving countries as a result I have had to leave my job too. Our income has more than halved overnight - and I feel sick thinking about how we're going to manage. I feel guilty every time I have to choose the cheaper option. Things will ease when I get a job - but for now, stressed to the max over money and it's not fun.

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 12:15:24

Outraged, if I were to get a ft position I would def intend to go back, hopefully part time if possible. I'd have to work for pretty much a year before I went off, so would have to factor that into my plans too.

Nelly, I was waiting for someone to mention DHs contributions! He works 8am-7pm six days a week. He is getting better at clearing up after himself, cooking occasionally etc, but I do cut him a fair bit of slack. and have accepted that the house will always be a tip

I just feel like I have been waiting forever, so I suppose I'm looking for any way at all that I can speed this up! I am not known for being patient!

ImperialBlether Sat 17-Nov-12 12:18:23

How old are you?

I'm a full time teacher and work with a lot of women. We've all had children and gone back to work. Not sure why you think that would lead to melt down. You're entitled to ask for a proportional job, ie .5 or .6 - you might find that more manageable.

If you are under 33 or so, I think you should definitely wait until you can afford a child.

Our biggest single expense in the first couple of months was takeaways (yes you read that right!)

DH was working very long hours, I was so busy looking after Queen Reflux and cleaning up her oceans of puke (slept through from five weeks - barely napped) all day that I didn't have time to prep in advance and when he came in late we were both so knackered and starving that neither of us could muster the energy to actually cook a meal, so phoning pizza dude was the easiest only option if we wanted to eat.

We were spending between £30 and £40 a week - so up to £180 a month on junk. But it takes a while to get into a workable routine, and to not be knackered unless you have a baby that sleeps and naps too.

nellysaidno Sat 17-Nov-12 12:18:44

How old are you both? It sounds like it would be in your interests to wait, but as Coola says, you need to take into account the effect that might have on your fertility.

CremeEggThief Sat 17-Nov-12 12:25:22

I also think your age is a big factor in this, although it's difficult getting any sort of teaching work anyway sad.

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 12:28:10

I'm not very old really blush at least in childbearing terms, not too far off the big 30 though. I know people have babies plenty older, but I'm thinking if we don't start for another 6 months or so, then it takes longer than expected, then I'd like two ideally... I have babyitis so badly I sometimes feel like my heads going to explode with all the plotting...

Imperial, I had a seriously shitty time last year, working full time, was thoroughly miserable and the thought of getting a job and going through that again makes me feel physically sick. I know you can visit, talk to staff etc, but you never really know what a place is like until you get there. It's also knocked my confidence a lot and I really don't feel good enough to take on a full time position. I guess there's more than one issue at play here...

Meh, thanks for the advice ladies, Especially about the cost of takeaways! Not something I'd even considered!

ImperialBlether Sat 17-Nov-12 12:42:10

OK I'm going to repeat what I've said before on these threads.

You are feeling broody. Having a child will not stop that. There are women on these boards with several children who still feel broody.

Once you have your baby you will probably find that you immediately want another. That's your hormones at play, just as they are now. Does that mean you would immediately get pregnant again? Some do.

Get to understand your body. Your body is producing hormones which make you want to get pregnant. If we didn't have those hormones, the human race would die out. The hormones don't consider whether it's a good time for you in your life, they don't know about your finances or your relationship.

Take charge of your body and don't be ruled by your hormones. Get your life in order. If you want to marry before having children, do that now. Get yourself a full time job; if you don't take to teaching, then try something else. Maybe you'd be happier as a classroom assistant or doing something completely unconnected to children. In my opinion it's good for you to work full time and have something to go back to when the children are born/older. Tackle that first.

Once your life is in order and you have a nice home, a stable and committed relationship, a full time job and some savings, think of having a child then.

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 13:04:16

Um, while I get your point imperial, I am in control of my hormones, otherwise I would have stuck with the job I had before rather than retraining and would have hopefully been lucky enough to have a baby years ago. If you'd read the original post carefully you would have noticed that I am happily married, it was our choice to be married before starting a family, but wouldn't have been a deal breaker for me. We also have a house with a mortgage that isn't unmanageable, so apart from my job, most things are stable and committed.

I have considered becoming a teaching assistant, but as my annual income would be considerably less than what I make on supply (even taking holidays into account) I would consider that to be the less responsible option.

If I do decide to stick with supply we will not be TTC until I have adequate savings to cover at least 6 months of maternity. I suppose I was really looking for those with experience of having a baby whilst on an unreliable income.

loveroflife Sat 17-Nov-12 13:19:23

I say go for it! Life is too short and if you are coming up to 30 that is an ideal age, why don't you see what happens? I think on average it takes 9-12 months to conceive (need a reliable source though?) It took me 6 months with no.1 and over a year with no.2. The thing is you WILL survive - you have the best of 9 months to do extra shifts, get a second job if need be to save as much as you can and you still will be entitled to SMP - is that £500 pcm?

The thing is there is never an 'ideal' time to have a baby, one can never afford it and I do honestly think babies cost as much as you want them to cost. e.g beg, borrow and steal for hand me downs - don't BUY everything new. Get a buggy from birth from Ebay, breastfeed if you wish to save on formula. The only new things we bought were a mattress for cotbed (Amazon) and carseat and buggy. People can be very generous and if not go to the NCT second hand sales, charity shops and when dc is born just go to all the free classes like stay and play, singing at library etc.

Of course when the babies grow they do start costing more but again that is really controlled by you, how much you can afford and want to spend on classes, clothes, gadgets. Good luck.....

loveroflife Sat 17-Nov-12 13:22:23

Also, have you researched child tax credits, child benefit and see what you will be entitled to on your DH's salary - that I'm sure will help you.

AlwaysBizzy Sat 17-Nov-12 13:27:30

DuddlePuck..you asked frr advice & was rude when Imperial offered hers. I refer to the 'if you'd read my post carefully' phrase, which was unecessary as Imperial was not being unkind. Perhaps you are too young and need to mature a little more 1st before having children.
I did none of the things Imperial suggests & whilst happy I started my family...i could have waited until life was more secure & stable.(I was 30 BTW).
This would have stopped me from going back to work when my child was 3 months old which broke my heart. Many years later, I still don't forgive myself for having done that. However, I am intelligent, headstrong & take full responsibility for my actions, financially & otherwise...but it was still my heart that broke.

blonderthanred Sat 17-Nov-12 13:42:27

DH and I waited. We kept saying, in a couple of years. When things are more settled. Then things were taken out of our hands and we had to wait a few more years for health reasons. Started trying age 34, conceived a year later, our beautiful baby was born 3 weeks ago and I'm now age 36.

We're still not rich, or even secure. We can make it work and eventually having a baby became more important than having everything perfectly in place. I would honestly have to say that I wish we'd done it years ago. Yes, having a baby with no money is not easy but it doesn't sound like you're on the poverty line and it seems like you've thought about how to make it work.

If you had a burning desire to get a ft teaching job and a happy side effect would be mat leave benefits, by all means go for it. But personally I would say don't put off something you know you want to pursue a route that might not work out how you are hoping, especially when the thing you really want might have unforeseen delays of its own.

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?

I disagree with those people who say babies are expensive, we are expecting our 1st in December and have spent very very little. We have nearly nothing new and we don't have lots of the things I see as extras like a swinging chair and lots of lovely outfits. Our baby will be warm and fed and loved and for us that is good enough. We have asked our families to give us baby things in place of birthday/christmas pressies we have been kindly given the car seat, sling and pram that way.

I think your idea of saving is a good one, don't feel worried about spending loads of cash on takeaways, if that isn't in your budget you just won't be able to spend it, frozen pizzas would be a cheaper alternative.

What would be your childcare plans once you go back to work? I would personally feel more worried about that cost that the cost of a new baby.

Viviennemary Sat 17-Nov-12 13:49:31

Won't it be difficult to get childcare if you are a supply teacher. That would be the thing that would worry me most. You could delay for two or three years I think considering you are under 30. Or even longer. If you decide to go ahead would private tutoring be an option instead of supply teaching.

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 13:49:34

Lol, it says a lot about my state of mind that I am homing straight in on your post loving and ignoring the very valid and helpful advice of others!

I have always been very much 'make do and mend'. I have a few friends who have offered their baby stuff ( whilst doing the standard 'you'll be next' comment...), and everything else will come from eBay/free cycle etc except the absolute essentials. I am also starting some evening work, it's not much but will give me about £100 a month that I have earmarked as the baby fund.

To make myself feel better, I think I'll tell myself that April is our 'start date' and then reassess finances before we actually start trying... Does that sound fairly responsible?

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 17-Nov-12 13:56:46

I love the fact that people say babies are not expensive!! Childcare alone can eat up a hefty chunk of a salary without food, clothes etc. you only have to look on he for posts moaning about costs of new shoes, childcare, school events etc.

Your DH is being sensible, finances should always enter the planning of a baby. If you truly want one then why would working full time before out you off.

honeytea Sat 17-Nov-12 13:57:02

The only things you need new are the car seat and cot matress, ebay is great for bundles of baby clothes and in my experience you get flooded with gifts and secondhand clothes.

My other advice is to start shopping/collecting things as soon as you find out your pregnant, i know some people like to wait till after the 20 week scan to make sure everything is ok and maybe find out if its a boy or girl. I found we saved loads buying stuff in the sales, things like a snow suit/pram suit were a couple of pounds reduced from 20/30 pounds in the spring sales.

DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 13:57:34

And I apologise imperial if I came across as being rude, I felt a little put out that it seemed to be assumed that certain aspects of my life which I consider to be stable and committed were the opposite. As general advice though, I do appreciate the statement that it is wise to have as much as possible in order before starting a family. If as a couple marriage and a mortgage are important to you (and they are to us) then it will certainly be a lot simpler to do that first.

maybenow Sat 17-Nov-12 14:03:09

I am freelance and so will only ever get SMP - I am saving like crazy and am going to ease into working a lot sooner than I would have if I were full-time employed. I think i'll probably only take about three months off totally, then do my KIT days then go back at about six months (but 'back' means back to my desk in the house so even if we haven't sorted weaning or whatever that should be ok, i will try to find a cm very close to my house or if worst comes to worst i'll work evenings and weekends while Dh does childcare).

If you get pregnant still working supply, will you be able to do that right up to due date? Or will it get too hard? When will you go back to supply shifts? I'm guessing that they can be quite lucratiave compared to a staff job? So will it mean you can work fewer days?

jellybeans Sat 17-Nov-12 14:03:40

I would say go for it. We started with nothing but were very young (teenagers). Things have only got better. I am a SAHM but worked f/t with first. Love working and love having kids but not both at same time! Part time is no option for me due to DH's job so I SAH and love it. I do study and volunteer though to keep links going should I want/need to work. I agree that childcare could swallow most of a second income. Have you looked into tutoring etc and maybe you could work around your partners job? It's often never a 'right time' to have a baby. I sadly know a few who waited for the right time and now it is too late or they are tied to two incomes full time and long for one to cut back or stay home.

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.

MummytoKatie Sun 18-Nov-12 15:22:10

The other thing I have just thought of is that of the 8 couples in our NCT group two knew that things would be really tight before they had the baby. Two have now split up.

With one of the couples there were other reasons why the relationship would have problems but for one the rows about money was a significant factor.

Obviously the plural of anecdote is not data but it is a scary fact.

thebody Sun 18-Nov-12 15:34:19

Well you can wait and plan and find life bites you in the arse.

It's never a 'good time' to have a baby unless you win the lottery.

We had our first 2 very young and it was very tough, we cut our cloth and I was a sahm who childminder for grocery money.

Ff 10 years and we had 2 more, we had more money but its still tough.

Now oldest 2 grown up and younger ones 12 and 11.

We nearly lost older dd in feb and I had to change career and now a TA.

My point is you never know what's round the corner and its always possible to economise and manage.

Go for it.

DuddlePuck Sun 18-Nov-12 16:16:29

angeltulips, I do sound wet when you put it like that blush. It's not the full time work I'm afraid of, I have done a job previously for a few years in which I regularly worked 70+ hours a week. As a supply teacher I intend to work 'full time' (so 5 day weeks) for as long as I can before getting pg to save up the funds, and whilst pg for as long as it's feasible. It's the fact that SMP is less than contracted mat pay (though not as much as I was expecting it to be) and I will need to find something else to supplement my income during holidays etc - as someone else said, if I don't work, I don't get paid.

I found full time permanent contract teaching took over my entire life - I do all the housework, cooking etc and found that washing wasn't getting done, the house was a tip etc... you can easily work 7am - 6pm, then evenings and weekends too if you're just starting out and want to give it 100%. Added to that the fact that I am wary of ending up in another situation where I am intensely unhappy and feel that I am tied in because I have to be there for maternity pay, I am trying to work out how reasonable other options are.

I would LOVE to be a SAHM, but know that there is no way we will ever really be able to afford for me not to work at all, so P/T work is inevitable, along with all the childcare costs etc that go along with it.

I need to have a good look at possible childcare options it would seem, before deciding to stop applying for jobs (not that there are many about...), and think about our general budgeting too.

I am quite willing to take risks, which I know isn't always a good thing, but both my DH and I are in agreement that we want to still be quite young parents (please don't slate me older parents, it's just the way we feel and we are lucky enough to be in a position where we can at least consider having children in our late 20s/early 30s.), so the clock is ticking and I'm hoping we can make things work sooner rather than later.

Thank you for all the advice smile I'm off to get my jotter out and do some more sums... as well as checking how many months I have left of my pill and ordering folic acid by the bucketful...

Hippymama Tue 20-Nov-12 10:05:32

I would go for it. You can plan all you like but life has a way of doing this you don't expect.

My husband and I both had good jobs with good incomes. We put off trying for a baby because we wanted to be secure first. Then I was made redundant following a long period of illness and the only job I could find was on half the money I had earned before. By this time I was 31 and desperate to begin trying for a baby, which we did. Despite my working fulltime in a permanent job, my mat pay was smp only but when baby came along we managed.

Babies cost as much as you let them. If you buy everything new, designer clothes, posh pram etc then yes you will need a lot of money. We bought a lot of thing second hand, were given an awful lot of handmedowns and bought other stuff in the sales. It can be done very easily with a little imagination.

My dc is now one and my husband was made redundant a fee months ago. He has found a job but is on a lot less money than before. Our family income is half what it was three years ago, but we manage to have a very nice life and are happier than before. Good luck op smile

posyplum Thu 22-Nov-12 10:37:22

Hi duddle. I felt I had to comment as you seem to have had some quite patronising responses! I just thought I'd add, that a family member of mine had just qualified as a teacher when she decided she wanted to start a family, at about your age. She did some fixed term contracts, but was supply teaching when she got pregnant. She got Maternity Allowance (bit like SMP) then went back to supply three days a week. She then had another. She decided she didn't want a permanent contract while having children, as supply gave her more flexibility, and she didn't miss out on maternity benefits as she got MA. She has now got a permanent part-time position within a school, her youngest is almost 3 and she feels ready. I don't know what the job market is like for supply but I thought I'd give you an example of how it has worked well for someone. And she is a very sensible, planning type of person, certainly didn't just 'give in to her hormones' hmm

Fwiw, I have a DD, and I didn't want another straightaway... she was over 2 when I started to think seriously about it. Friends have done similar. Who is to say how you will feel after having one?

Go with your gut instinct I say. You've done the planning and sums, had 'the chat'... good luck! xx

posyplum Thu 22-Nov-12 10:46:02

Also, I haven't found having a baby (now toddler) as horrifically expensive as I thought it would be... we've inherited bags of clothes and toys from people, shop at charity shops, ebay and car boot sales - you also don't go out as much and we don't really fancy expensive holidays far away now we've got a toddler! xx

Bellebois Thu 22-Nov-12 11:14:08

I am a teacher, had my DD whilst working full time. I went back after 9 months, which felt right at the time, but with hindsight, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My DD got sick constantly, (really sick, perforated ear drums, pneumonia) at her nursery, which we loved, BTW. After 3 weeks back we quit -DH is also a teacher- and have been teaching overseas for the last 3 years. ( we found better life balance, but not for everyone)

You don't say what area you teach in (infant, senior, subject) but perhaps check out different types of schools nearby, especially if you are able to start mid year, there can be great jobs which pop up. You might be surprised what comes up. Don't worry about going on mat leave if you were in a full time job (you need to be in it 3 months to qualify). As someone mentioned up thread, you can apply for part time/flexitime after mat leave, although the school (as I understand it) is under no obligation to agree to it. Also, some schools tie your mat pay into a contract which is conditional on you returning to the job after your time off.
Good luck with it all!

smileyhappymummy Thu 22-Nov-12 11:20:35

I think you're being very sensible. My situation is a bit similar, I've just had dd2 (now 7 weeks) and work as a locum doctor - so again, no work, no pay snd maternity allowance only. We planned ahead, saved and sccepted that while I'm off we will be digging into savings. However, I worked up until 3 days pre elcs, only 2 days off sick - one advantage is you can reduce the intensity of your work if youre not feeling great but don't need to be off completely. I know not everyone will be lucky enough to be as well as I was in pregnancy but it is possible...
I'm also really pleased that this time I'll be able to go back to work gradually e.g. Start off with just a day a week and build up - will start when she's 3 months old but not go back completely till she's a year, much nicer than with dd1 where I was still on my training scheme and didn't have an awful lot of choice but to go back full time at 5 months.
I do agree with another poster though who said that babies work out much more expensive than you nititially think - its hidden costs rather than baby stuff and clothes tht add up.
I also think thwt if you wait for the perfect time to have a baby sometimes you could end up waiting forever...
Good luck with whatever you decide!

Crinkle77 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:21:49

Another consideration is do you have someone who can babysit at short notice when you go back to doing the supply work?

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