Originally, I planned to take six months maternity leave, add my annual leave and go back to work when DS is almost 8 months.
That was before I had the baby... Now I'm seriously freaking out about this plan.
First problem: I need to notify work by May if I am to return after 6 or 12 months.
If I were to return to work as I planned, my DH or my mum would do most of the childcare (DH is currently unemployed; if he remains so he will be a SAHD, mum stepping in occasionally). I work in a sector where we have fairly flexible hours and can work from home around 2-3 days a week.
What I'd like to hear about is this: what's life like with an 8-month old? I'm asking because ever since DS was born, all I kept hearing is 'it gets easier' but for me it hasn't. I know that the following months will each bring new developmental challenges. My problem is that DS is already one of those 'difficult' babies who never settles, catnaps, can't get into a routine etc.
My worry is: I currently spend 90% of my day calming and settling him. I can't do anything else. Is this likely to improve hugely by 8 months? What are kids like at that age? I don't want to return to work when he's 8 months if it means I will spend most of my 'working from home' days trying to settle him. I plan to start weaning at six months. Is this going to be another problem I have to factor in?
So, tell me straight - what would I be letting myself in for if I went back to work with an 8 month old?
I would say that 8 mo are brilliant but hard. Likely to be mobile. Weaning. Learning lots. You will spend your days preparing food, feeding and clearing up food.
I went back at 6.5 m while my dh took 3 months maternity. He's now back pt since DS was 9.5m.
I would however say that I cannot see how anyone seriously does a full days work from home if they are supposed to be in full charge of a baby. If your dp is to be sahd then he will need to be primary carer, if you are to actually get any work done.
One other thought though... Being ft parent is great for dads. Dh and I miss out on a lot of the angst my other mum friends feel with their partners who just don't get what it's like to be home all day in charge of the baby, and not just for the odd day here and there.
Do you have to work from home... Why not work from the office or wherever? If you want to then go for it. Responding to every cry doesn't have to be just your job, and lo may benefit from having a wider support network. It's obviously up to you but don't let 'the guilt' drive it all...
Truthfully, if you are going to be workin from home you need your baby to not be there! Can your mum take him to her house for the day? Can you work from your office or the library? Oh, and the problem will potentially not get any easier as your DS gets older - I'm currently doing an OU degree and when DH is looking after DS he still comes in all the time and I find it hard to follow a train of thought - there's no way I could be doing a paid job whilst he toddles around the house!!
Hsmm - Ds only seems to settle for naps after a prolonged period of bfing and rocking. Until we resolve that, DH looks after him when DS is awake, nappy changes, has bath time etc.
The thing is, I don't really want to work from home, I much prefer going to the office and library. But, I'm thinking that since I have the option, I feel like I ought to stay at home! And if I hear DS crying for hours like he does now, I find it really hard to not go in!
But, home working aside, I suppose I'm just wondering what I can expect from an 8 month old? What if he refuses to wean? (Does that happen?) What if he doesn't grow out of catnaps? How sick do they get at that age? Are they still teething? What about separation anxiety? And so on. I'd just like to know how that has an effect on working life, whether working from home or office.
It just seems easier to take another six months and deal with that, but I really want to go back to work
Factor in that offices may not allow wfh if young children involved. If you are on a meeting call and not watching the baby who is? They would def ask for another adult to be around as throws up difficult responsibility questions.
I planned to go back at 9 mths. I'm glad in hind sight I didn't. At a year I had seen most of the firsts and felt my baby was far more able to cope with being left for extended periods of time. I didn't want to go back but also felt more mentally ready to go back.
I was tgen made redundant. Happiest bloody day ever!
Can you not for now use your keeping in touch days? Tbh reading this you don't feel ready to leave your baby even if you are ready for more mental stimulation a bit. If you have an option for 6mths take it. It's not long. Think how fast it just went. It won't harm career that much right now.
If you have options and financial areas allow it staying home is worth it. Or could you even ask for a staggered return of say 2 days going to 3 then to 4 over a few months....?
DH worked from home with the me and the DC there. It was fine. You do need a separate space and to be absolutely ruthless about your working space/time though (i.e no one goes into your "office", you can't be disturbed while working). Personally I'd think it was easier to not work at home though. plus you will get adult contact by going into the office.
None of us can really tell you what your 8 month old will be like. At that age my DD was angellically sleeping for 3 hours in the middle of the day, happily eating off spoons, but refusing finger food and sat and cooed most of the in between times. Whereas DS scarecely slept at all (morning or night), ate everything before him but made a huge mess and screamed whenever I went out of eyeshot. And neither of them were mobile. Being able to go out to the office was a welcome relief with DS but a huge wrench with DD.
My DH works from home when I am at home with the kids and when had a baby of 8 months. The only way that can happen is because we have a coverted attic and you can't hear what's going on downstairs. An 8 month old is a lovely age but can require constant attention esp once they start crawling they get into everywhere.
If you are going to be able to hear the baby and your DH whilst working then it's going to be a big distraction and you would probably be better off working in the office.
I went back to work when DD was 8.5 mo and was very glad of that decision. I was going a bit bonkers on mat leave and was desperate to start using my brain again. I think I probably had similar concerns to you in the early months as DDwas also a high-needs baby when she was little (up until about 4 mo she was a terrible napper, wouldn't be put down, refused to go in a pram, etc) and had a hideous sleep regression between 3 & 6 months old. But by 8mo she was on a regular 2-nap-a-day routine, eating 3 meals, etc. She also by some complete and total fluke started sleeping through the night three days before I went back to work.
I agree with what others say about working from home though. I can only work from home on days DD is with childminder. If I worked from home on the day DH looks after her (we both do one day each) then I'd get nothing done - but we live in a tiny flat. If we lived in a house where I had a separate study/office then I think it'd be fine.