To think that returning to work after three months is not that unusual?

(65 Posts)
Caff2 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:39:41

I did with both of mine, because I couldn't afford not to after the maternity pay went down a lot. A friend of mine seems to have forgotten I did this, and has just had her first, and is slagging off a member of her ante natal group with phrases like, "Why did she even have a child if she couldn't wait to get rid of him to a childminder?"

I love my children, I do my best for them, but both were in childcare whilst I worked full time from 10 weeks and fourteen weeks respectively.

FannyFifer Mon 19-Aug-13 22:40:51

I don't know anyone that returned to work that early.

thebody Mon 19-Aug-13 22:41:04

your friend is a twat.

Caff2 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:41:11

You do now! Me! smile

Sirzy Mon 19-Aug-13 22:42:26

I think it is unusual to go back to work so soon. Even so it's not for anyone else to judge - every family does what is best for them.

TylerHopkins Mon 19-Aug-13 22:42:37

My work colleague plans to come back after 3 months. She needs the money. Other people should just butt out and mind their own business.

TheTruffleHunter Mon 19-Aug-13 22:42:58

I went back after 8 weeks but then I didn't have any choice as DH & I are self employed sad

Trying not to be envious of the rest of my NCT group's daily FB updates...

I know a couple of people who returned to work after 2 weeks. They still love their kids and one of them breastfed for a year.

chickenschicken Mon 19-Aug-13 22:44:16

Cousin did this, they couldn't pay their mortgage otherwise. I'm sure her kids appreciate the roof over their heads!

Where I live (France) maternity leave is only 12 weeks so it's entirely normal.

The phrase 'why did she even have children' really needs to be banned.

gallicgirl Mon 19-Aug-13 22:44:44

Nor me but I work in public sector. I did talk to a woman working at Lakeside who had to return to work after 5 weeks due to financial circumstances.

So YANexactlyBU but your friend is being unsympathetic to other people's circumstances.

i was like you Caff - couldn't have afforded to stay off any great length of time

i am very lucky in that my DH has a flexible job (as do i) and our childminder was across the street for the times we needed her smile

Xmasbaby11 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:45:30

It is unusual in the UK, but needs must. It's easy for those with pots of money / high earning partners to sit back and judge. It is hard enough making parenting decisions without being criticised by so called friends.

Caff2 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:45:40

My partner went back after ten days, and no one suggested he didn't love his children. And we have the same job (well, you know, two jobs in the same profession, we're not sharing one) at the same pay level.

She just (unintentionally I'm sure) made me feel a bit upset.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Aug-13 22:47:38

I think it is quite unusual now and usually to do with finances rather actual desire to, as you have said yourself.

Doesn't make it wrong. Doing what is best for ones family can mean going back to work earlier than average if finances will suffer. Need money to feed and clothe children after all.

Your friend is an idiot for bad mouthing somebody for having to make that choice.

chattychattyboomba Mon 19-Aug-13 22:48:48

Very unusual.

Caff2 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:50:31

Well, a mix of replies. I have to go to bed now, really up too late, I've just seen the time! But at least I'm not entirely alone!

thebody Mon 19-Aug-13 22:54:06

I was a cm and had babies from 6 weeks to 18 months post mat leave.

all thrived and all were from loving homes. all had us as a second family ( me dh and 4 dss) but absolutely knew who were there first family. kids are fine if surrounded by love and good child care.

people need to mind their own business.

FaddyPeony Mon 19-Aug-13 22:54:51

Would have been normal in my mother's day. And is normal in places like France and the US.

I went back part-time when dd was 17 weeks. Worked out really well for us both.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Aug-13 22:54:55

I think most people here think your mate is an arse for judging OP.

3 months is more unusual than it was when I was born (late 80's) but y'know needs must. And for much the same reasons now as they were then.

Don't feel bad about yourself for making that choice. My mum went back to work when I was 3 months old and I don't harbour any resentment. Nor do I think I suffered for it. As I said, your mate is an arse.

thebody Mon 19-Aug-13 22:56:13

to add, as a cm it's not unusual at all.

TheUnstoppableWindmill Mon 19-Aug-13 22:56:47

Definitely not alone. I think 3 months is usual in the US too, though perhaps less usual here. I went back pt after 3 1/2 months due to new job opportunity I just couldn't afford to miss. Still breastfeeding and loving both work and motherhood a year on. Your friend was being foolish/thoughtless. I have a couple of friends who went back ft after 4 months for financial reasons- and my mum went back to be a full time teacher after 7 weeks with my older brother!

thebody Mon 19-Aug-13 22:57:52

to add, as a cm it's not unusual at all.

Clayhanger Mon 19-Aug-13 23:00:50

Having a year off is a recent thing! My DC were born in the 90s and the option wasn't there really. I took 3 months off for each plus the next 3 months part-time. Worked fine for us as DH and I shared pick-ups equally. Also, in hindsight it made it easier to continue having a career. Do what you need to and don't listen to your 'friend'.

HappyJustToBe Mon 19-Aug-13 23:03:03

So how long are you supposed to have off before she deems your procreation worthwhile, I wonder.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Mon 19-Aug-13 23:04:38

I hope you told your friend that she is lucky to have the option of being off for longer, not everyone is that fortunate.

I'm self employed and will probably need to start working at around 3 months as I don't get paid holidays to use up or 6 weeks full pay. I can't risk losing my clients do have to return to work, at least part time. sad

Your friend is being a judgemental cow. Not everyone gets a great maternity package or has a partner who can support them financially to have 9-12 months off!!

maja00 Mon 19-Aug-13 23:05:46

It's pretty unusual in the UK nowadays. I don't know anyone personally who went back before 9 months-ish, and having worked in nurseries can only think of a couple of babies that started at 3 months.

Whatwhatwhat Mon 19-Aug-13 23:08:44

Went back after 4 weeks and will do this time.
Breast fed (not exclusively) for 14 months first time.
I'm self employed and the main earner.

Don't worry she will feel judged one day.

It will probably include a tantrum that will only be sorted by slinging a toddler out of supermarket over her shoulder without any groceries bought.

Or maybe an incident with a mad dash for the loo with a toddler in hand ending with a puddle in a posh shop.

Or maybe just forgetting the cal pol on a crowded train with a teething baby.

You loose the smug. You do the best you can with what you have.

expatinscotland Mon 19-Aug-13 23:12:17

I had to go back 3 months after DD1, too, for that reason.

janey68 Mon 19-Aug-13 23:15:23

Not so usual these days because paid ML is longer. But not that many years ago it was totally the norm for ML to be 12 weeks. There is no right or wrong; just take a look around at teenagers and young adults who would have been in childcare at 3 months of age. Do they stand out as having some sort of problem? Of course not!

When people make that ridiculous comment 'why bother having children if you're going to leave them' it's usually means they have some insecurity of their own which they're transferring. Oh and it's funny, but they never ask that question of their husband!

VenusRising Mon 19-Aug-13 23:15:45

It's entirely normal where I am ( not uk).
I was answering emails a week after returning home from hospital as
self employed maternity pay is shit.
I breastfed for 9 months, and worked while my DC slept and I consider myself a very good mother!

VenusRising Mon 19-Aug-13 23:16:29

Yy janey, they a re insecure and have a dp sized blind spot!

Pachacuti Mon 19-Aug-13 23:17:17

I think it is unusual these days in the UK. So based on the question in your thread title YABU.

But being unusual doesn't mean it's wrong. And it sure as heck doesn't mean that your friend's attitude is acceptable.

expatinscotland Mon 19-Aug-13 23:21:16

I can't see these long mat leaves surviving for long in this economy, tbh.

caff was it a long time ago you took your mat leave?i think people forget you only get 9months smp theses days and years ago you got bugger all

cafecito Mon 19-Aug-13 23:26:35

DC1 I took >a year off. DC2, I was back full time within ~3 months

cafecito Mon 19-Aug-13 23:26:55

and agree, your friend is a twat

cafecito Mon 19-Aug-13 23:27:14

in fact, was more like 2 months

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 19-Aug-13 23:30:17

I agree with Clayhanger, my DCs all born in the 90s. I went back after 6 weeks, 4 months and 4 weeks respectively for my 3. There wasnt the option to do otherwise.

chickensaladagain Mon 19-Aug-13 23:34:59

Dd2 is 9 and I only took 12 weeks mat leave because that's all that was paid and if I remember right, I got 6 weeks at 90% and 6 weeks SMP which was under £100 a week -after 12 weeks it was unpaid

My mat leave was triggered at 33 weeks due to SPD and she was a week late so I returned at 4 weeks

I was a zombie but my partner was made redundant with no redundancy a week before she was born so needs must

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Mon 19-Aug-13 23:38:36

I don't know anyone who has done that. However, your friend was rude and thoughtless.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 19-Aug-13 23:39:23

I'm a nanny and many of my jobs have been when the mum returned to work after having bubs and they've been 3/4mths old

Your friend is an arse to make you feel bad

2rebecca Mon 19-Aug-13 23:42:55

I did but am self employed in a small business. Long maty leave is a luxury. It also makes small businesses less inclined to take on women of child rearing age. I think we've shot ourselves in the feet with prolonged maty leave. Working part time and just having a few weeks off is much better for small businesses, especially if you're going to have 2 or 3 kids.

madamginger Tue 20-Aug-13 00:07:06

When DD was born in 2006 I went back when she was 5 months old, as mat leave was only 6 months. Having a year off is a very recent thing.

NatashaBee Tue 20-Aug-13 00:28:10

She is lucky to have the choice. I know of several people in the UK who went back within 3 months due to finances. In the US where I live now, 3 months is considered a good deal and is the maximum time your job will be protected for, I know it's similar for other European countries. I think the UK is the exception rather than the norm.

kiwik Tue 20-Aug-13 00:47:56

Paid maternity is only 14 weeks here, so I went back after that each time. DH is self employed, and is ploughing money into expanding his business, so it made sense for me to get back to work and earning as soon as possible after the first couple of DCs.

StupidFlanders Tue 20-Aug-13 00:55:06

Unusual? Seriously? I only know one person who wasn't back to work at 3 months (most go back part time) and we're all professionals.

megsmouse Tue 20-Aug-13 01:13:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

waltzingmathilda Tue 20-Aug-13 06:49:22

I went back after 6 weeks, my best mate after 2. MN would have had a field day with her - she took a 6 month secondment abroad when her baby was 3 months old, long before skype etc. Perfectly well adjusted adult FWIW, no attachment/separation issues either.

Todays new mother is lucky in the respect she can be paid for so much time off. It certainly wasn't the case 20 odd years ago.

Being 'sneery' towards people who have to work is pointless. It is an extension of that NCT competitive mother shite that will haunt you until the end of schooling.

Altinkum Tue 20-Aug-13 06:59:35

I went back when ds was 15 weeks, had no choice too.

Freind is a twunt!!

PollyIndia Tue 20-Aug-13 07:05:54

I went back when baby was 2 months for 2 days a week. I am self employed, needed to keep the contract (and they weren't prepared to even wait a month). And as for pp saying you just spend less, well I am single, so not about spending, about paying the mortgage.
I carried on breastfeeding until he was 8 months old though and exclusively for 6 months (well with some expressing obviously).
One thing I have realised about this parenting malarkey is people love to judge others. You have to do what works for you.

peteypiranha Tue 20-Aug-13 07:10:53

I did and Im proud of it. It meant a total equal marriage with my husband sharing childcare and chores. I did it and it wasnt even that bad and still kept a solid marriage with my dh even though we were both in early 20s. It was our first and I did it and managed to get a 2.1 degree, still work etc and I only had 2 weeks off. I know loads a lot older than me at the time that couldnt manage that.

Dd is very confident and social now shes older.

LittleFriendSusan Tue 20-Aug-13 07:31:16

Perhaps more unusual now that SML is longer, but when DD was born in 2002 it was definitely the norm in my circle. I took additional leave so had 6 months off but IIRC the last 3 months were unpaid? Couldn't afford any longer than that, and it took us a long time to recover financially. I think by the time DS was born in 2004 SML had increased to 6m.

Quite surprised at some of the replies here actually (not knowing anyone who returned to work after less than 1 year in particular!), but on reflection I suppose a lot of it comes down to the age of your children... If you and all of your friends have younger children I guess 12m (paid) leave is more usual.

MrsMook Tue 20-Aug-13 07:45:52

It's not something many people would do voluntarily, but it does happen. My friend's husband was made redundant 3 days after they fund out about her pregnancy, and her income just about keeps them surviving. They couldn't afford to survive on SMP so she was facing a very early return to work. Fortunately he's just got a permanent job which takes them out of that position.

Another friend is self employed and RTW very early, but managed to care for DD while working in the early months, and meetings were topped up with care from GPs.

My mother RTW when I was 3 weeks. She still lived with parents so I stayed at home where my GM was a full-time carer for another family member.

I went back full time when ds1 was 4 months old.

Financially, we would have been screwed if I hadn't.

sonlypuppyfat Tue 20-Aug-13 07:58:09

I've not gone back to work after 14 years!

SprinkleLiberally Tue 20-Aug-13 08:25:31

I know mostly teachers. They tend to be back about 7 months these days. A few years back it was about 5 months.

wigglesrock Tue 20-Aug-13 08:46:12

Dd1 was born in 2005 and I was back when she was 4.5 months, I took 9 months with dd3. My sister was back when her baby was 4.5 months, that was last year.

samandi Tue 20-Aug-13 08:51:24

Why did she even have a child if she couldn't wait to get rid of him to a childminder

Does she think that most men shouldn't have kids, then?

jammiedonut Tue 20-Aug-13 08:56:30

When is the appropriate time to return in her eyes then? In the US certainly maternity leave is 12 weeks, and unpaid in many cases. A cousin of mine is in SA and had to return to work 8 weeks post c-section! If you need to go at 3 months, don't feel bad. I'd gently remind her of the position you are in and congratulate her that she isn't in the same position.

Caff2 Tue 20-Aug-13 09:32:33

Thanks for all replies - it seems it is more or less unusual depending on who you know, but I don't feel bad anymore - she was indeed being a thoughtless sod smile

forevergreek Tue 20-Aug-13 09:41:17

I think it's more normal now to have shorter leave tbh.

Most places don't offer full pay for 9 months and many can't afford the drop in pay or just smp. Especially if you live in expensive areas.

I had 4 months and 3 months and we saved beforehand to cover all of that time

Pigsmummy Tue 20-Aug-13 09:51:03

I don't know anyone who has returned so soon nor do any of my childminding friends (we were discussing this recently in terms of the youngest children that they have cared for).

Your friend was discussing someone else not you, did she know you when you had DC? If so a gentle reminder might be a good thing? But really how she feels about someone else returning to work shouldn't really upset you. Maybe the Mum in question can't wait to get back to work?

LondonMother Tue 20-Aug-13 09:54:19

My daughter was born in 92. I got higher rate SMP (90% of salary) for the first six weeks, which could start at 30 weeks of pregnancy, I think, and then a much lower flat rate (a pitiful amount, IIRC) until she was about 7 months old. I think my job was held open until that point. I knew a woman who returned to work when her baby was 2 weeks old but this was extremely unusual. Most women I knew who returned to work after having a baby took as much leave as they could afford. It's always varied a great deal by the sector you work in - as well as by financial circumstances, obviously. My employer didn't offer any enhancement over the basic state provision but that was a smallish private sector firm. If I'd been in a public sector job or working for a very large private sector firm I'd have a lot more maternity pay but I'd have had an obligation to go back for at least three months.

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