Other mums returning to work full time- want to support each other?

(476 Posts)
Tweet2tweet Sun 29-Dec-13 21:52:01

I just wondered if there are any other mums returning to work full time in the next few months who want to start a support thread? I am and I'm feeling really anxious. I'm also fed up at the shocked looks I get when I say I'm going back full time. It's not a choice but a necessity.

So anyone want to join and we can talk about how we are feeling and give some virtual hugs when needed?

Parentingfailure Sun 29-Dec-13 21:54:33

I'm in. I've just dropped my hours to 41 over 4 days so I at least have one day off. Have been working 50-60 hour weeks prior to this.
The guilt is enormous, mutual virtual support would be great!

Tweet2tweet Sun 29-Dec-13 22:01:20

Wow- 41hrs over 4 days, that's incredible. I hope that you're able to switch off from work completely on your day off and weekend. Don't feel guilty, I'm sure you're working because you need too. You've also juggled things to get that extra day so well done for that.

kiwikaterpillar Sun 29-Dec-13 22:04:30

Count me in. I go back to work in February (full time) as I am the main breadwinner. I'm dreading missing my beautiful baby girl and anxious about things as she hasn't really taken enthusiastically to solids (lucky if she eats two mouthfuls) and we tried replacing a bf with a sippy cup and formula yesterday and she only drank 20mls. Feel like when I go back she'll starve hmm- even though I know rationally she won't. (She is just a boob monster). Just adds to the stress. We are lucky that DH will be able to become SAHP but I still don't want to leave my wee one, although to be honest I do love aspects of my job so hoping it will go ok. Wish I could have my cake and eat it wink.

Parentingfailure Sun 29-Dec-13 22:37:09

I went back full time when Dd was 10 months and would only take the boob. I was working 60-70 hour weeks as a junior doctor and although it was a blur she coped and bf till 3. It was a good way to connect after work. She is 6 now and doesn't remember me working those hours, nights and weekends, birthdays and Christmases.
Ds is 3 and I worked part time for a bit (30 hours) but as I was still a junior doctor I just wanted to finish my training and be a consultant. I also felt like I wasn't doing anything well (home or work).
I currently work 3 long days and one short (8 hour) day and things are better. This is classed as part time in my career!!
Ds is 4 and still breastfeeding, but I also feel guilty about that as I think he won't give up as I am damaging him by working so much.
Very few mums in our area work so it is difficult to have a moan!
I am finished in under 2 years so will earn more and work less. Doesn't stop the never ending guilt though!

chanie44 Mon 30-Dec-13 06:41:22

I'll join you.

I have two, 3.5 and 1. When I had my first, I felt like I was the only person to return to work full time and all the other mums I knew returned to work part time or not at all.

When I had my second maternity leave, I realised how much ds had benefitted from being at nursery, even if he didn't like me leaving him initially. He is a happy, well adjusted boy.

My niece and nephew also went into full time childcare (as did me and my siblings ad cousins) and we've all turned out okay!!!!!

Tweet2tweet Mon 30-Dec-13 06:46:24

My dc won't take formula either kiwi, I agree it just adds to the stress! Have you tried fruit puree to start the solids going? Sometimes sweet food helps. Great that your DH will be with little one, we both will be working

Sounds tough parentingfailure, though try not to be hard on yourself. The fact you're still bf is amazing.

noisytoys Mon 30-Dec-13 06:57:27

I've been back at work full time for 3 months now once you get in feb swing of it you'll be fine. I wouldn't go back to part time because part timers are seen as a nuisance at work and not pulling their weight. Even people working condensed hours are seen as part timers! Thankfully I have a 9-5 job so it fits around school hours.

kiwikaterpillar Mon 30-Dec-13 08:51:20

Thanks for the tip on the fruit purée Tweet and also the reassurances about the ability to continue breastfeeding when I'm back at work Parentingfailure. I'm hoping that I can continue to bf morning and night (and probably all through the night knowing DD!)
I know what you mean about part-timers being viewed in a negative light when back in the work force. Despite my work place playing lip-service to flexi-working and work life balance in practice the culture doesn't support that at all. Especially if you want to progress any further up the greasy pole. It is a very male dominated and alpha male/aggressive environment and I'm worried that I may struggle with that upon my return, it has been nice being at home and not having to be "on" all the time.

Tweet2tweet Mon 30-Dec-13 21:00:45

I work in what is supposed to be a very friendly family environment and they won't let me adjust my working day by 1 hour. It's surprising how organisations can be when they are asked to put words into practice! I've really enjoyed being with my family too. I have to say though I think I would find it hard being a stay at home mum. It's just a shame there's no way to able to get the first 3 years off like they do in some Scandinavian countries!

BraveLilBear Tue 31-Dec-13 04:46:07

Hi I'll jump on board if I may. I'm going back to work first week of March, DS will be 7 months.

I feel like a doubly bad mother as I'll be full time - and he will be in nursery full time too.

The only positive is that the nursery is literally 5 mins from my office so I'm considering a lunchtime breastfeed. I had planned to day wean but have recently read research about how boys should never be put in daycare until at least age 3.

I'd love to work part time but there is a precedent tjat mothers returning to my role in the past have been made to do a different job if they want part time hours. DP also wants me to be full time so we can move to a better area before DS is in school.

It seems that everyone I know is going back part time and has family childcare - I suppose it is jealousy but I just feel really sad that I'll be abandoning DS!

I also feel pressure to get him onto solids quickly.

Glad it's not just me smile

IceNoSlice Tue 31-Dec-13 05:03:28

Reading with interest. I'm in a different position as returned to work FT last August but about to go off on mat leave again in Feb.

Please don't take research into the 'damaging effects of childcare' too much to heart - I'm sure there is other research that supports childcare are being beneficial for their development. I know that DS gets a huge amount from nursery - the social interaction, socialisation, stimulating activities and seeing his peers develop has helped him in many ways, eg eating with cutlery, sharing etc. I am planning to keep him in nursery for a few days a week whilst I am on mat leave with DC2 as I really feel it is good for him.

As for how it feels to go back to work - take it easy on yourself. Imagine it a bit like a new job and give yourself time to readjust. Not all return to work experiences are bad- I was happy with how my bosses treated me. No condescension. And they have been flexible when I needed it in return for me being flexible for them (working after putting DS to bed on occasion etc).

I also work in a high pressure, competitive, male dominated environment. But I have found more confidence in my abilities and greater efficiency (less likely to put up with crap from colleagues or to engage in nonsense office politics). So have a bit of faith, you can do it.

Polyethyl Tue 31-Dec-13 05:17:09

I'm going back full time from Monday and miserable about it. But I'm the breadwinner. It all seems so pointless - sitting in an office and moving bits of paper around, endless meetings and agreeing with whatever the boss' s latest idea is.... when I would rather be at home playing with my baby.
I'm confident I have picked a nice childminder - but it's still going to be a hell of a change for the baby to adjust to.

Kelly1814 Wed 01-Jan-14 16:12:54

Yes, me! I'm in a country with 45 days maternity leave. My DD will be 4 months when I go back in feb 1st.

AHardDaysWrite Wed 01-Jan-14 20:37:52

I'll join in please. I'm back on Monday, FT. I'm a secondary teacher, head of a key department, and at the moment I'm wondering why the hell I am putting myself under this huge pressure when I have two small children (eldest is 3, youngest is 8 months). I went back on a four day week after dc1 but I've now changed jobs and my new position is FT. Even the extra money won't help as it's being swallowed up by another day's nursery fees! We have no choice though - I'm the main earner, we have a huge mortgage, and I live in an area where jobs like this one are in short supply - if I didn't do it now, I wouldn't have another opportunity like it in a hurry. Plus, I don't think I could be a SAHM - but I would ideally work a three or four day week, not FT. It is hard when all my friends with babies work PT and I'm the only one going back FT.

I worry that dc1 had me for an extra day as I worked a four day week on my return from his mat leave, and then he's had me whilst I've been off on this mat leave, but poor baby dd has only had me for 8 months and now I'm going back FT (and she will be my last baby, so no more ML in the future with her) - I keep fretting that this will affect my relationship with her and mean she's not as bonded with me in future as ds is sad I really hope I'm being stupid thinking this, but it's hard not to. I'm still bfing and hoping I can keep that going morning and evening and probably all night so that will help a bit.

Sometimes being a modern woman feels really crap - I would actually love to be a 50s housewife right now, just for a few years!

daisywaisydoo Wed 01-Jan-14 20:44:43

Ah I love that I've found this thread smile I'm going back mid-March fulltime because as others above have said, I can't not go back fulltime.

BraveLilBear I'm exactly the same, they all either live at home anyway or have their mum/aunt nearby who is going to watch baby while they work. As much as they sympathise and act like they're in the same boat I just want to scream at them that they're not!!

Tweet2tweet Wed 01-Jan-14 21:40:29

Don't worry, aharddaysnight. Research says being with your children for the first 6 months ismost important. You and I sound like we are in similar set up. Wishing you the best for Monday.

I'm back in March too. Does that make a few of us back then? In many ways I'm dreading it, more so than after last mat leave. However I'm hoping will be better once back. I just wish my department were more supportive. I already feel overlooked and not even back yet!shock

BraveLilBear Thu 02-Jan-14 01:00:04

Daisy I think that's the hardest thing - having to be sympathetic to everyone with their part time hours and family childcare when I just want to scream 'I should be so sodding lucky!'

But then I know that's mean because it's crap to have to leave your baby in any circumstances.

AHardDay I'd also trade in my independent career woman past to be a 50s housewife right now. Never thought I'd say that!

kiwikaterpillar Thu 02-Jan-14 06:40:31

I know what you guys mean re people complaining about having to work part time... It is completely irrational but I can't help but seethe inside. My ideal would be to work a 3 or 4 day week but I should stop torturing myself with that dream now. Out of my antenatal group I am the only one who is returning full time. I feel incredibly guilty but on the other hand I have worked hard to get to this point in my career and it will be a positive influence for my DD to see me working. Well that's what I tell myself when crying myself to sleep again when counting down the days to my return.
I am really beginning to worry about the possibility of resenting DH who will get to be at home, God that makes me sound like a bitch. I should really count my blessings.
Do any of you have to travel with work? I travel on occasion but I have managed to at least have the travel put on hold while breastfeeding. Will just videoconference in from office/home depending on time difference. Never know, work might end up preferring it as would save on flights/hotels.... Wonder if u could convince them of that?wink

EagleRay Thu 02-Jan-14 09:52:12

Hi - what a great thread! I've got 11mo DD and am going back to work in just over a week's time. It's actually a new job as am self employed and so didn't have a job to return to.

I feel like I've been preparing to return to work forever as started applying for jobs back in October (DD started part time at nursery then too). It took longer than I thought to find a job and will be working 5 days a week as wouldn't have got past the interview stage if I'd said I was looking to work any less than this. It feels a bit daunting starting a new job, but on the other hand there's nothing invested emotionally and I will just be a new starter rather than someone returning to work after having a baby (but god the pressure!) Oh, and it's a fairly short contract (3 months) and so it doesn't feel like it will go on forever. Am hoping to take some time off again with DD before finding more work (although not sure how things with work with stopping then starting childcare again)

Kiwi I've been told that there may be some travel with work but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it! DP works away most of the week and I don't have any family nearby so support is very limited. Despite not having family help, some relatives haven't held back in their opinions of me returning to work full time hmm

Oh, and on top of everything else, there's one day of the week that the nursery is full and so I'm busy ringing round today to try and find a childminder, who seem to be non existent around these parts.

Very interesting hearing everyone's stories and wish you all good luck.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 10:54:39

You'll never be one of the mother superiors who never misses a precious moment.because you'll be at work
Mummy guilt is setting self up for constant angst.the biggest myth we ever get sold as women was have it all
You need to be pragmatic,you'll not be there 24-7 if your working,but you'll not have given up career,or your vocational stimulation
You'll not be singing wheels on bus,but you will be maintaining your career

You compartmentalise you slip effortlessly Into work mode,because you can because you need to

You need to toughen up to the face That the precious moments crew have
You need to be impervious to the comments,like choosing not to let strangers raise your kids
You can have fun and ham up the avaricious mum stereotype who cares not for the kids

I'm happy to maintain my hard worked for career and be a good role model
I didn't want to enact the mum at home,dad work familial patriarchy

Chacha23 Thu 02-Jan-14 11:08:47

I refuse to feel guilty about returning to work. Historically, babies have always been cared for by a whole group of people, not just by their mother. And as a woman, I actually really want my DD to grow up with a mum who is not defined by motherhood, but who has a career and a life of her own.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 11:20:43

I see the boys in daycare is getting referenced,If you mean steve biddulpph raising boys, do be aware its not universally accepted research.
Big hoohaaa on publication,but subsequently when looked it the research methodology is poor,his summary and conclusion has been challenged.a cursory google you'll see. But he is the go to author on mn for the precious moments crew. as it adds bit ooohh it's science to their nursery is like a gulag speech.
the author has a vehement anti nursery bias. Interestingly he did used to be advocate of nursery and write books supporting it
He did a mn webchat,didn't present well at all

There is no good robust research that definitively proves working is detrimental. The jist is get good,reliable childcare and it'll be okay

Do lose the mummy guilt,honestly stop it
Housewife is a middle class affectation, it's a post war thing.women have generally always worked.

Just wanted to offer thanks because that was me this time last year. I was absolutely dreading it, but it has all worked out fine. I'm sure it will for you all too.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Thu 02-Jan-14 12:03:15

If its any consolation op, it does go the same the other way too. I am Sahm. And I choose to be but in real life I can never actually say that for fear of offence!

I was questioned about 6 times by a mother who went back to work as a matter of course at 9 months. "So when do you go back" "Why are you not going back" " But what job did you do?" " is it because of the expense of child care"

on and on, I wanted to scream I don't want to work for these few years while they are little!

As a sahm I have had this too many times to mention, as painful for you to say your going back, its just as painful for sahms to say, I choose to stay at home!

BraveLilBear Thu 02-Jan-14 12:07:59

Thanks backto glad to hear it went better than you thought! Congrats on being a working mum - I decided while pregnant that all working mothers are heroes smile

Scottish I read Steve Biddulph most recently, had read Oliver James previously who says exactly the same.

Will get googling for counter evidence, thanks.

Bonsoir Thu 02-Jan-14 12:11:22

"Housewife is a middle class affectation, it's a post war thing.women have generally always worked."

Where is your research to back up this oft-repeated myth assertion, scottishmummy? You do realise that married women (not even just mothers) were not allowed to work in many occupations until the middle of the 20th century?

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 12:15:57

Oh don't get me going on ojames and his affluenza book.women know yer place opinion dressed as hard fact
Tbh it's beyond me why any working mum would read either oj or biddulph
They gave v limited,stereotypical pov on muthas and society,cushy mummy at home,man work.eschew the pursuit of money,pursue fulfilmenr yada yada

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 12:24:14

A cursory read of any social science book will demonstrate women work, pattern and demographics and that housewife was a position for affluent minority
Yes some professions barred women entering,mc women.the tiny minority,in fact these mc women would have employed female as cook, governess or domestic help
Majority Women and children worked in factories,in fact they were favoured in certain roles eg textiles and factories. Women worked in domestic service too
Women and their children worked until various factory acts and education acts until compulsory schooling(which was unpopular)

TheABC Thu 02-Jan-14 13:28:58

Jumping on the thread! I am going back to work in March -hopefully part time, but that's something I need to negotiate with my employer (any tips?).DS is a total boob monster, but thankfully will take a bottle. I am hoping to get by on food and expressed milk whilst he is at nursary -has anyone done this?

Big hugs to everyone; let's stamp that mummy guilt out!

Bonsoir Thu 02-Jan-14 13:33:46

scottishmummy - those cooks, governesses etc would not have been mothers. When (if) they became mothers, they stopped working.

It is a huge fallacy to think that mothers working outside the home is some kind of Western societal historical norm. It isn't. Historically,where mothers worked, they did so out of economic desperation or they did piece work.

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Thu 02-Jan-14 13:39:13

I'm in. I'm due back at the start of April. I need to see my boss to discuss a flex working request and I'm really nervous. I've got PND as well and I'm really nervous about the whole thing if I'm being honest. I used to be so confident at work but now I'm a wreck.

carlifer101 Thu 02-Jan-14 13:46:07

I'm in! I'm due to go back to work at the beginning of June when DD will be 7 months. To add to the anxiety of leaving her (albeit with my sister, who she already adores) I'll be going back to a job that my heart really isn't in anymore, that has a new manager and new ways of doing most things. Really not looking forward to it. Every time I think about it, my heart sinks! ��

Swanlike Thu 02-Jan-14 13:47:18

Erm Bonsoir, that's not true - the great majority of working class women continued to work outside the home, usually in factories, as domestic servants or in shops. Been looking into my family history and got back to early 1900's - as far as I can see most women in my family had jobs for their whole lives of this kind. Of course it's inpossible to know whether it was part time or full time. Both my great grandmothers and one of my grandmothers worked their entire lives, due to economic necessity and also because they enjoyed getting out of the house. Only my maternal grandmother was the stereotypical 1950's housewife and so seems like an anomaly in my ordinary working class background.

It's normal to have to work, but it's everyone's individual choice how they live their lives. I will be returning to work shortly for 4 days a week, because that's what I want to do and I've worked hard to get my career to where it is and don't want to lose that.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 13:48:25

That's not true,in factories, in domestic service children were employed as help
Even if woman did lose domestic job by getting pg there were other employment
Children were routinely employed being small and quick were employed as chimney sweep,factory,coal mines
Good to see we agree women did work,did do piece work were available. they weren't housewife unless had prosperous husband.
The reality is most women worked in local industry, factories,agriculture,there was no social support.those who couldn't work were destitute or in poor house

Housewifery and dependence on a male wage not a norm for women
Only the affluent had that lifestyle
And yes housewifery is a post war affectation,women worked both wars with men away,in jobs traditionally considered male preserve.it was that significant contribution that drove female emancipation. Also drive in societal changes in women expectations

Bonsoir Thu 02-Jan-14 13:51:29

Not only is that not true, but I would greatly question the wisdom of holding up a fictional society of working DC and domestic servants as one of a desirable normality to which we should aspire to return.

Wishfulmakeupping Thu 02-Jan-14 13:52:23

Can I join you all going back on mon part time dreading it feel so nervous about how my dd will cope and just going back to my job I honestly can't remember how to do anything!

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 13:56:47

Nothing I've said is factually incorrect Go do some book reading bonsoir,
there plethora of literature out there about women and working
Housewifery is a post war affectation,I suggest Betty Fredian good start

Bonsoir Thu 02-Jan-14 13:57:44

I am extremely well read on this topic scottishmummy (clearly much more so than you). I suggest you read something that doesn't only tell you what you want to hear.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 14:04:54

What are you disputing?
Housewifery was a preserve of rich,dependent in male wagefact
Upon marriage a prosperous woman surrendered her property and monies to her husbandfact
No universal social provision so those women who didn't work were destitute or poor housefact
Children worked as sweeps in service and in factoriesfact
Women worked in factories,agriculture,significant contribution to industrial revolutionfact
Women made significant contribution in what had been considered male jobs in both WW fact
Housewifery is apost war affectation,not representative of women's employment or contributionfact

As I said do some book learning, Betty Fredian is v good

Bonsoir Thu 02-Jan-14 14:08:07

Her name is Betty Friedan. She is many years out of date. I read The Feminine Mystique in about 1975 and already found it dated. I wonder which century you are living in, scottishmummy, that you have recently discovered what she wrote and attach much importance to it?

Maybe you should get out of your institutional mindset and explore a little?

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 14:11:04

That's your only come back,can't address the substantive points so nit pick author name
Clearly you have no adequate answer for other facts
As I said do some book reading

Bonsoir Thu 02-Jan-14 14:12:51

There aren't any substantive points, just myths flying about. As I say, take a look at 21st Century reality smile. I understand you are very cross about the past, but really, get over it.

blueshoes Thu 02-Jan-14 14:14:37

Hi Tweet, just wanted to wish you support.

I too was anxious about going back after my first, albeit pt, though now I am back to ft. Motherhood guilt is not a given. So long as you choose your childcare sensibly and make adjustments from to time as your circumstances change, there is no reason why you cannot concentrate fully at work safe in the knowledge that your children are thriving and cared for.

See this other thread about how it is not uncommon for working mothers not to miss their children when at work: here

Going back ft has the advantage of making your job more interesting and challenging. You also feel better engaged as an employee and more valued as a team member. I can say that having worked both pt and ft. Don't beat yourself up. You will be laughing in a few years time when you have been promoted whilst your pt mates might be stagnating.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 14:17:01

Ok,so re-read my post the list. As I asked what parts of are myths?
There a plethora of good evidence to support assertions I've made
In social and economic text. Have you read any such texts?

Bonsoir Thu 02-Jan-14 14:21:26

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 14:25:57

You're being rude to avoid addressing the facts I listed,facts you dispute as myth
So I know you're being avoidant,I can see that in your attempting to introduce personal dynamic
So please do unpick the myths

Housewifery was a preserve of rich,dependent in male wagefact
Upon marriage a prosperous woman surrendered her property and monies to her husbandfact
No universal social provision so those women who didn't work were destitute or poor housefact
Children worked as sweeps in service and in factoriesfact
Women worked in factories,agriculture,significant contribution to industrial revolutionfact
Women made significant contribution in what had been considered male jobs in both WW fact
Housewifery is apost war affectation,not representative of women's employment or contributionfact

blueshoes Thu 02-Jan-14 14:26:47

Bonsoir, I am sure you can rebut a point logically without resorting to personally insulting scottish. Insults are the preserve of someone who does not have a leg to stand on intellectually.

I am interested and waiting to read a logical rebuttal, as opposed to unsubstantiated sweeping assertions, on your part.

KongKickeroo Thu 02-Jan-14 14:59:48

I'm going back soon, DS will be 11 months. I will be part time (3 days a week) but also have to do some evenings and weekends, so can I join? Please? smile

He is also breastfed and my biggest worry is that he doesn't eat that well. He has just started settling in sessions at the nursery though and they are so brilliant there, it's really put my mind at rest that he will be well looked after. He seemed to love the stimulation and seeing other children; he gets bored very quickly at home with me grin

I am lucky in the sense that every single other mother/parent I know works outside the home (other than those on maternity leave) - in my own family, among my friends, etc. Some part time, some full time, but it's just seen as the norm and everyone just gets on with it. I have no one to make me feel guilty, so I don't!

Tweet2tweet Thu 02-Jan-14 15:19:35

Bonsoir, may I suggest you continue your discussion via PM. You have insulted me on a previous thread and now you're insulting another MNer. This is a thread for support and empathy so it would be good to be able to maintain this theme.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 15:23:32

Gosh no I don't want a pm from her
I did digress,partially because I recalled a woman insistent it that was evolutionary destiny
Women stay in home/cave after baby.men forage in cave/office to provide

In same respect I was able to disavow her of said opinion

SeriousWispaHabit Thu 02-Jan-14 17:13:10

Just joining in to offer support.

I work FT, and DDs are 5 and 3. I have been FT as a GP partner since DD2 was 18 months and before then I was doing 3-4 days (8-6.30 ish) a week.

I would love to spend more time with them, but wouldn't want to be less than full time. I make it work by being very organised (in theory!) and by spending virtually all of my time not at work doing stuff with them.

When I went back and they were babies, I carried on breastfeeding no problem, they just 'reverse cycled' and fed all night (I quickly learned to feed lying down and asleep!!). DH is very supportive of my career and we each pull our weight with domestic stuff. We are lucky enough to be able to afford a cleaner and we have a nanny for half the week, who does a lot of stuff like washing and ironing, the online shopping order and general tidying of the house. If she ever leaves, we're in BIG trouble!!

IceNoSlice Thu 02-Jan-14 17:28:48

Hi folks, please don't let your thread be derailed.

ABC if you want to maximise your flexible working request, my advice would be to present a business case for it. Say how you will make it work, advantages to the business (could you offer flexibility?) and be prepared for how you will address any concerns they might raise about customers, colleagues etc. And when you are discussing it, switch the emphasis from you/your baby to the business/role. Go in with some bullet points. Hope that makes sense.

AHardDaysWrite Thu 02-Jan-14 17:36:09

I'm really angry that this thread was derailed. This is a support thread for FT working mums. The clue is in the thread title. Please respect that when posting.

Elfonashelf, with respect, you are not in a comparable situation as you have the luxury of choice. You have chosen to be a SAHM. Those of us posting here have no choice about working FT (and it's not practical or realistic to say "have a smaller house then" - I for one would not be able to work PT even if we downsized as DH is a student). You can't choose a lifestyle and then moan about the comments you get.

RedPencilPot Thu 02-Jan-14 18:24:31

I really like the idea of this thread and hope it can continue as support for each other.

I had to return FT to my teaching job in September- I debated over dropping to a 4 day week for ages but as I'm the main earner and 4 days in teaching is quite intense- I decided to return FT.

I do feel incredibly envious of people who can afford to work PT- everyone I know has retunerd PT after their babies, so it's nice to find people who are in the same position.

I'm not choosing to work FT, for me, it's a financial necessity.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 19:19:49

I really wanted to return ft was always they plan.booked nursery place 12wl pg.mft nursery from 6mth old
I think attitudinally you need to be Guilt free,and able to compartmentalise
At work,get I. Professional mode,dont sit moping or wistfully obviously missing baby. Your paid to get on with it,paid in absence if being with your baby

Practical stuff
Take a favourite blanket,toy to nursery.familiar object
Give nursery written bully points what works for your baby,little nuances and tricks

Lay out your week clothes,outfit,accessories
Layout baby clothes for week
Bills all on direct debit
Phone banking
Cook in bulk and freeze, portion it up.take out portion in morning put in fridge to defrost
I made own baby food,again bulk cook and freeze

I'd stopped bf at 6mth when attended nursery.so wasn't an ussue

Negotiate what work can become at home - and make sure it gets done.on time and be reliable

Accept you'll miss some stuff due to work commitments - your child won't suffer attachment disorder if you're not present every party,nursery play

kiwikaterpillar Thu 02-Jan-14 19:39:47

Good luck for Monday AHardDaysWrite. Let us know how you get on.
I have decided to spend the next week getting everything ready (sorting out my first weeks clothes- slight issue being that none of my blouses/dresses fit over my 30G bf boobs shock, freezing some meals, updating our wills which has been on my to do list forever etc) so that I can just relax and hopefully enjoy the last 3 weeks at home with DD. Think we will do some nice, simple things together like feed the ducks, go swimming (which she loves) and go to the beach. I'm guessing that she may end up bf all night upon my return but as we co sleep after the first waking it shouldn't be a huge issue. Hopefully she will be taking a bit more interest in solids then also, she will be 9 months old when I return in February.
I have to go to Aussie for a week with work at some point (I live in NZ so not a massive long haul flight!) but thinking I may ask to pay to take DH and DD with me as they can have fun seeing the sights/friends in Sydney and I can still bf morning/night. Do you think that would be reasonable to ask/do?

noblegiraffe Thu 02-Jan-14 19:40:24

I'm returning to work on Monday sad My contract is only 3 days a week but I'm a teacher and the timetable means I have to teach 5 days a week, and I normally work about 40 hours so it doesn't feel that part time.

I am worrying about the logistics of everything, I'm going to have one in school and one at a childminder so I think I am going to mainly spend my work-free time shuttling children from one place to another. This won't leave me much time to actually do anything with them and I worry that DC2 won't get any attention because DC1 will need help with homework and reading and then it will be dinner and bedtime.

I think I'm going to need a cleaner. A cook would be nice too! The first few weeks will be hell until we settle into a routine I think.

diege Thu 02-Jan-14 19:46:36

I'm another one returning full-time in March when baby will be 6mths. Doing 2 days a week from mid-jan (and adding on hols owed) but have wangled working from home for those 2 days which I'm pleased with grin.
This is baby number 6 and have returned to work with each. My job like many others doesn't do part-time well, though I do have the luxury of being able to work from home 1, sometimes 2 days a week.
Not wanting to flame the totally bizarre comments from Bonsoir further, but I've published in the area of women and work and I can confirm that yes, the 'housewife' concept is indeed a modern (ish) creation (post-war) - in the eyes of many (eg. Ruth Lister) it was constructed in part to legitimise the move back into the private sphere for women post-war, and the closure of free state nursery provision.

Theonlyoneiknow Thu 02-Jan-14 20:02:52

I'm here too. Have been full time after both lots of maternity leave and the guilt never goes away. I have two DC in full time nursery.

We do cope but it's hard. I find menu planning a necessity, meals need to take 20 mins tops to be on the table otherwise DD gets to bed too late which is no fun for anyone.

I am often met with a hmm face when I say I work full time but they don't understand it's not through choice!

drawohamme Thu 02-Jan-14 20:09:37

I'm in too, back full time at Easter and there will be travel too. Started DS in crèche part time so we can both get used to it - keep thinking it takes a village and a happy mum is a happy baby.

borntoread Thu 02-Jan-14 20:16:14

After 4 yrs of being a Sahm I am about to go back to work full-time while dp becomes a sahd to our 3 dc - 4, 2, 5 months. I am dreading it and feel so sad that I won't have the same chance to be at home with my baby as I was with the other two. I am delighted they will be minded by their dad but so sorry it's not me. I was planning to keep breastfeeding evening and morning but my milk disappeared as soon as I dropped a couple of day feeds, the same happened with my other two so I should have known but am extra sad about that.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 20:23:03

Can you all see the +ve of working for your family and yourself
Contribute to family wages
Mum as Role model working won an in career
Maintain and enhance career

I've never heard man express guilt about working,they get plaudits for supporting a family and working.

VJsmom Thu 02-Jan-14 20:45:56

I'm going back to work PT (3 day week) and dreading being away from my DS for this amount of time. I'm also thinking "shit, how the hell am I going to get him ready, drop him at nursery and get to work (which is 15 mi,es away) for 9!!!

Would love to be a SAHM but really can't afford it. Sob hmmsad

noblegiraffe Thu 02-Jan-14 20:51:44

I don't want to be a sahm, but that doesn't mean I'm looking forward to going back to work!

cheminotte Thu 02-Jan-14 21:12:50

Good luck to all of you! I went back full time when ds1 was 6 months old. Then part time after ds2. Now full time again.
Plan a long weekend a few weeks after you start to give yourself something to look forward to and if you can use accrued leave to delay the return to full time eg by using a day or two per week thats good too.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 21:20:33

Get groceries delivered,less hassle than traipse round supermarket with baby
Book regular hair appts
Project any know nursery appts into work diary soon as become known

Zamboni Thu 02-Jan-14 21:36:20

Can I join in? Been back FT since May. DC 2.11 and 14 months. Always worked FT. I'm lucky to enjoy working but people often looked shocked or sympathetic when I say I work FT. IRL I don't know any other FT workers who have such small children.

Theonlyoneiknow Thu 02-Jan-14 21:49:19

Am deffo doing the online shop
Good idea about hair appts as by the time I realise I need one I can never get one.

I have bought a chalkboard for the kitchen to help with keeping all my reminders very visible!

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 21:54:46

We work out daily who collects if we get the call,depending on who's got what on
If you know that in advance it's less hassle,you feel less reactive

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 21:58:44

You need to quickly get it detail of any ill call from nursery.eg can they give calpol monitor temp and call you back
Get a schedule from nursery what med they will administer
You need to provide meds and sign a consent sheet.buy a stock med to give to nursery

Jsa1980 Thu 02-Jan-14 22:00:00

Going back in May, part time three days a week. It seems to be the norm in my social/family circle and as Kong said we just get on with it. I'm actually starting to look forward to it and going to try and make the most of the time I've got left. If I had to go back full time I would but the expense of child care doesn't make it worth it.

Ilanthe Thu 02-Jan-14 22:36:00

I'm going back on Monday too, been off for a year. DS2 is 9mo, DS1 is 4. I work full time but squash it into 4 days, including some work from home in the evenings and weekends. I'd rather just do it normally over 5 days tbh, but this is the compromise DH and I reached.

It's going to be hard work but worth it. I enjoy my job and I'm not giving it up. I've been promoted twice since DS1 was born. I go back on Monday to even more responsibility, though no extra salary.

EagleRay Thu 02-Jan-14 22:47:20

Some good tips here re dealing with the practicalities of running a household and working. I've started restocking the freezer with home cooked meals, all weighed and bagged into single portions as I will be eating alone most nights after work!

The clothes thing is scaring me (have similar boob problem to you kiwi) but have a couple of nice new items of clothes which accommodate the sack of potatoes larger figure I have become...

My diet/healthy eating normally goes to hell when I've got a lot on my plate but this can't happen this time! I'm going to be in a very rural location and have no idea what, if any, catering there is on site so plan to stock the fridge with tons of salad ingredients that can be packed up easily each evening.

Still BF but need to be finished with it by end of Jan for medical reasons - can see interesting times ahead with this one. However, DD will be a year old by then and am doing my best to cut down feeds.

Swanlike and Diege - were you both on the 40+ mums to be thread at some point? I realised the other day that because I'm now 42, I've been in the world of full time work for 25 years, which possibly explains why I feel quite happy dipping in and out of work on short term contracts and pottering around at home the rest of the time.

Scottishmummy the illness thing really scares me as DD has been constantly ill since she started at nursery, and we haven't even done any of the biggies such as chickenpox and HFMD yet! My backup plan is flimsy due to lack of support network, and I don't have the usual employee rights. However, DP has bought extra annual leave this year, plus I have the name of a local emergency childcare co, which will hopefully cover the days where DD cannot be in nursery, but would be ok without me being at home.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 22:56:25

Kids will initially get ill at nursery.you'll get chickenpox,conjunctivitis etc.new peeps,new germs
If you can you make plans,you think how,and who'll respond when baby ill
Be as open with your work as you can,if you have limited back up tell them.be as transparent as you can

Theonlyoneiknow Thu 02-Jan-14 23:04:47

Conjunctivitis is a pain, normally not unwell with it (in my expérience) but the nursery has an exclusion policy unless they have had eyedrops for 24hrs. It winds the GP practice up as they say no point in eyedrops but yet kids cant return to nursery without them !

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 23:13:10

you can buy the eye drops Chloramphenicol over the counter,stock up a good med kit for baby at home
My nursery didn't exclude,but did require you supply eye drops
I think be transparent,open with work,if you have limited support tell your work this

Theonlyoneiknow Thu 02-Jan-14 23:20:29

I didnt know that, why have the GPS never said, strange! Wonder If they would,be free under the minor ailments scheme?

williaminajetfighter Thu 02-Jan-14 23:27:32

Watching this post as I'm back at work in May and have the fear - absolutely dreading going back but it's less about being apart from DD2 and more that I don't like my job!!

Speaking of Betty Friedan an American Jlist wrote a book called a The Feminine Mistake - a take on the title of Friedan's famous book. Apparently it's about the importance of women continuing to work and have an income/financial independence after having kids. Lots of anecdotes about women leaving the workforce for 5 years then finding it impossible to pick up where they left off. Anyway it's meant to be a good read-- must find some time from newborn to check it out.

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 23:28:52

Yes, Chloramphenicol free and eligible under minor ailment scheme

Fluffylox Thu 02-Jan-14 23:29:03

Can I tag on for some support please??! As it's now January I am now on a 3 week on Monday countdown to the dreaded return to work and feel sick to the stomach about it! Baby is 7 months but also have a 3yr old and feel just as awful at leaving the eldest as the baby. Will have to go back full time, was ft after eldest too and life just seemed like a constant juggling act I just cannot imagine how I'm going to cope getting 2 chd ready and out in the morning. Have enjoyed mat leave so much feel have bonded so much with eldest during my time off and life with 2, house to look after, nursery runs and helping out with self employed DH's paperwork is busy and fulfilling...however financially we cannot afford me not to work so I just need to get over it :-( think it is even worse going back 2nd time too as after the 1st I knew it would really only be matter of time before I'd sprog out again! Wouldn't mind so much if I was a big earner but not really so feel like we are losing out on all angles...

scottishmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 23:35:48

Freidan is classic read,and yes lead to others to explore phenomena further
never experienced guilt,but I've met many precious moments mamas who expected
I think a lot of tight planning and sharing with partner,anticipate crises think through your what if plan

jane1903 Fri 03-Jan-14 00:00:07

I am so in admiration of all of you: either a SAHM or a back-to-worker.

I am 68 years old and a grandmother. I went back to work in February 1980 (4 days a week because I was doing a BTEC in Business Studies on one day). My three children were 21 months, just under three and 4.5 years. I needed to work although I really, really did not want to. I had to work because our mortgage had gone up from 10% to 17% in one year (under the then Labour government in 1978– so it really does not matter which party you vote for!!!!!!).

When I went back to work 4 days a week, all my salary went to child care: a lovely lady who came 5 days a week to look after my three little ones. She worked for us for ten years – and was brilliant – but she could not be employed now because she did not have the so-called qualifications she is supposed to have these days. I do so worry for you all about the cost of child care – and the sometimes spurious tick box qualifications they seem to have.

I started in my company as a lowly tea-maker – and went on to be a director of the company. I worked 24/7 - 365 days a year. I only did it because my DH had a very low income and high aspirations (he came from a relatively well-off family – I came from a family with nothing).

I would not do this again. I loved being at home with my children, buying stuff in charity shops and jumble sales, making stuff with them, preparing food at the weekend so we could all eat family meals at 7.00pm etc etc. Yes, I reached the heights of my profession – but at great cost to my personal well-being and involvement with my children as they progressed through life.

To make you working mums feel better, my children (the oldest is 40+) do not feel they were neglected (DH was a very laid back dad too, when he was at home and not playing golf, fishing or watching TV cricket or rugby – and let them do whatever they wanted to do!!), But I was exhausted most of the time and wish I had not had to work.

I wish I had been there when they came back from school so that I would have known first-hand how much they had enjoyed the day, been bullied (two of them were – one severely as I later learned), helped them to settle to homework, welcomed their friends home with tea and sympathy etc etc.

However, you all have such difficult choices – my beautiful daughter is expecting her first baby in April/May. There is absolutely no way she can afford not to work. I really fear for her and her lovely husband. They are both on low salaries and we do not live locally so we cannot offer child care on a long-term basis. And the option of making do, as I did, for a few months/years with my babies is not open to them.

This is not a war between SAHMs and working mums – these days, working for most new mums is an absolute necessity.

I love you all – and, as I was told by a lovely, wise relative in 1973, just relax, enjoy your baby, it will all go too fast – and your ways will be his/her ways. I found that very comforting when confronted with all the conflicting guru baby advice!

Grizzlygrowler Fri 03-Jan-14 00:11:13

I go back in 3 weeks ft into 4 days. I'm grateful for the 5th day off but because of my situation (cannot afford not to work and my profession does not have pt options) it's a 100 mile round trip to work shock

This means me and ds, 7 months, have to be out of the house at 5.30 in the morning and I won't be back until gone 6 �� by which point he'll be on the wind down for bed. Where's my time with him?!

I really don't want to take anything away from anyone but as someone who is going back ft I really do get peeved with pt people comparing. It's not the same, I would give my right arm to have the option to go back pt and claw back as many precious hours with ds as I can.

I'm so anxious at how I'm going to cope, ds isn't sleeping through after a spate of illnesses and dh works away during the week. I'm exhausted now so how am I going to be then?!!!

BUT my main cause for concern is the grief of the loss of time with my little legs.

Wah wah wah. Excuse me whilst I go have a pity party...

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 00:16:47

Hey,interesting post.you need to mentor us,to get some vavavoom.given your career climb
No it's not a war,but there plenty distractiom and noise.and I do think working mums need to fight their corner against the face the tsks etc
Really,you must hang about elaborate more on all stuff you've done. I agree no harm to kids if mum worked.both my parents did.i was 1st in family to go to uni,which for me was a big deal

Fluffylox Fri 03-Jan-14 00:23:37

It is so hard you really feel like you should have it all and want to do it all, I'm from a working class family but high achiever throughout education, first to go to uni etc so always felt pressure to "do well for myself" although career (so far) never really taken off in a massive way, deep down for the next few years at least all I want to do is be a mommy-clean, play, read, teach and be there for my precious babies as I'm so aware that they grow so fast and you cannot rewind the clock...part time work of maybe 3 days would seem a nice balance but full time especially when there is part of me that feels the need to make career progression just feels like a massive sacrifice to family life, I guess nobody ever said it was easy being a mother...

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 00:43:36

Biggest myth we ever got sold was have it all.no one has it all.its all compromise
But then we saddle ourselves with guilt,take shite from other women.no man ever gave me the face or precious moments speech
Housewife is a post- war construct,most women didn't have opportunity or finances to not work.certainly in my family the women work,that's my observed experience
At uni I met folks who's mothers were housewives,and this did shape their expectation of marrying well,with expectation prosperous husband be the earner

jane1903 Fri 03-Jan-14 00:57:24

Hello scottish mummy, fluffylox and grizzly growler - don't know where you all live - I am in Spain at the moment( and not sure what order all your responses came in).

I am not political, not PC, not women's lib (in the strident variety - but hav led the charge in the past and am sad that things are still not right in terms of equality - but not sure how they ever can be - back to OP!!!!!!!)

But, in rsponse to OP:

"Tweet2tweet Sun 29-Dec-13 21:52:01
I just wondered if there are any other mums returning to work full time in the next few months who want to start a support thread? I am and I'm feeling really anxious. I'm also fed up at the shocked looks I get when I say I'm going back full time. It's not a choice but a necessity.

So anyone want to join and we can talk about how we are feeling and give some virtual hugs when needed?"

I just want to say, I am here when needed and will happily expand on my limited (very old!!!) experience. But my experience is mine - and yours will be different.

As an ex-working granny (with two beautiful grandchildren in Singapore) and my lovely daughter's baby due in UK April/May I just wanted to say that you will all make your way well with your beautiful children.

Happy 2014 and I am particularly thinking of you lovely mums on your journey back to work. You will survive!!!

Dizzybs Fri 03-Jan-14 01:05:55

I am preggers with third and will return to work ft as I did with my now 6 year old and 14 year old. Although it is out of having to due to being main bread winner it is also a balance I like. My children have excellent work ethic and they are both very sociable and confident which I feel was strongly developed through full time child care early on!
There is no perfect formula re working/staying at home and I have friends that feel guilty for not working and others that have the working mother guilt!
Good luck with getting back into the swing of things!! X

Grizzlygrowler Fri 03-Jan-14 01:12:08

I think it might make me mental, stood round the water cooler doing peek a boo for a cheap laugh, shhing clients and stroking their face to sooth them hmm

How the fuckety fuck do I talk to/interact with peers again?

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 01:19:16

Compartmentalise,those skills still there just been dormant on mat leave
As I see it Snap back into work mode,work demeanour in work.lose the mumsy anxiety,
don't gang on about kids,guilt,juggling and how tired/guilty one is.its boring

Then get home,out work clothes snap back to being mum

muddylettuce Fri 03-Jan-14 01:25:54

Marking my spot, I go back in February. For 32 hours as opposed to my usual 60. I'm ignoring it for now and trying to make the most of this month sad.

jane1903 Fri 03-Jan-14 02:04:06

Dear grizzlygrowler

Yes, that will be my daughter's schedule too (but she will be doing it 5 days a week full time).

I don't know what to say - except that, when he comes home you can have your (limited) really precious time with him.... and weekends will be amazing. Very soon, too, he will be able to extend his time with you to (say) 8.00pm before he goes to bed. So long as he has good day time care he will always love you and know you are his mum. You have spent 6/7 months with him 24/7 - he loves you, knows you and will adapt to whatver comes next because you have been with him. Remember my lovely relative's saying: "your ways will be his ways".

Please, please, please don't beat yourself up... and DON'T LISTEN to any of the part-timers, SAHMs.... you are doing your best and he will always love you,

Also, I hesitate to say this...... make sure you keep him awake (and feeding)as much as you can during the day in the few weeks before you return to work... in my experience, that means he will sleep longer at night.

Apologies if you already know this - but if he's sleeping a good 6 hours during the day and, most importantly, having most of his food during the day he should be ready to sleep well at night! He needs at least 12/16hours sleep a day: make sure he gets most of them at night!!!!!!

Before I went back to work with my three (different schedules with each of them), I basically breast-fed them on demand from day one DURING THE DAY so they were really full when I put them down at 10.00pm-ish and then, from birth they all gradually cut out the 1.00am-ish feed,

So, they were sleeping basically from 10..00pm to 6.00am (one of mine managed this from 7.00pm to 6.00am at 7 weeks,,,, the other two took a lot longer!!). You will just need to make sure that the day care people keep him awake (and wake him to feed) during the day.

This worked for me 36/40 years ago with my three - so hope it might work for you!!!! Oh -and, by the way,the longest I managed to breast feed was 4 months.... it was not easy (and, certainly, in 1973 when I went back to work when my son was 5 months old there were no concessions with employers!!!!)

"BUT my main cause for concern is the grief of the loss of time with my little legs" Oh, how I understand this - my first day back at work (but it was only part-time) in November 1973 (he was five months old) is emblazoned on my heart for ever. But you have their whole amazing future ahead of you - enjoy it (and be prepared to be really p***ed off when he is 14 and unable to rouse himself from the pit before 2.00pm on Saturday!!)

Love you, hugs... just keep going - whatever you are doing is just fine! And good luck with your return to work.

purplemurple1 Fri 03-Jan-14 06:18:02


I'm went back PT after a couple of weeks with my first work trip with out him at 3months. Tbh I enjoyed it i think it will be harder when he is older and minds me going away. I'm actually looking forward to being back a bit more and being able to go out to work and do my hours without trying to also look after the baby. I figure you could miss their first word, step ect popping out to the shops so its not a reason to feel guilty about working.

We are lucky though as one of us will be off for the first year so we can share the sahp role and not use a nursery until he is almost one. Also this is pretty standard over here (non UK) and most babies go to nursery betweeen 1 and 2 and there is no 'mum should stay home' attitude the child is the responsibiltiy of both parents, and normally you both work and juggle the holidays/evenings etc.

I really feel sorry for those of you in the UK it seems so old fashioned/idealistic in comparison.

(We had DS sat on the edge of the field at 4 weeks while we picked our veg for a few hours, I think that is much more the old faishined way really.)

nooka Fri 03-Jan-14 06:53:49

My children are teens now, but I went back to work when ds was 6 months and then again when dd was 3 months (had started a new job and didn't have extended maternity leave). It was hard work but really OK. Much helped by the huge luxury of having a nanny, and then when they went to nursery of having happened to have bought a flat opposite a good nursery.

Like scottishmummy says it helps to think of all the dads who go back to work with no-one making any comments about the quality of their fathering. Remember that the important first is when you first see /experience something, and that even if you were at home you might well miss the first smile etc (and the second, third, forth, fifth etc are just as wonderful in any case).

The key to surviving the stress of it all is to be as organised as possible and not to worry to much about things being optimal. Muddling through is just fine too! Someone worried about bonding earlier, so I just thought I'd say that although I left dd earlier than ds we have a very close relationship (mostly because she is really very lovely!) much closer in fact than my relationship with my own mother, who was a dedicated SAHM. I think that it's mostly about the quality of the relationship, and when you are not home as much perhaps it's easier to prioritise? Or it may be totally about personality, and nothing to do with when you go back to work.

Pitmountainpony Fri 03-Jan-14 07:38:54

I am sahm. A happy one. But I just read lean in by Sheryl Sandburg.....I think if I had chosen to return to work, a book like that would have got me in a good mindset. It is honest about the costs...of both returning to career and sahm...but positive.

Flambards Fri 03-Jan-14 08:36:35

i'll join. Ive already got one 3 year old who has been in nursery since she was 8 months and I'm going back off mat leave in march so ds will be going to nursery too. My job is an odd one so I can volunteer for part time hours if I want (and if I could afford it) but since there's no real way of enforcing this, I'd be largely just volunteering for a pay cut without any way to be sure of less work, iykwim.

To be honest I'm more upset that Im missing with time with dd than with ds. DS is 6 months old, a shouty, whingy bog standard baby and to be honest I'm looking forward to a break, but DD is a lovely intelligent lively 3 year old with her own opinions and is great fun to be around.Babies are mostly boring, but I do feel i'm missing out now with DD. I wish that you could chose when to take maternity leave. If so I'd have been back to work around about the time the bleeding stopped, looking forward to spending time with him when he's more fun grin

diege Fri 03-Jan-14 08:50:35

I'm really enjoying reading all these posts, esp from mums who are now grandmothers and have some great advice. I'd also like to read 'The feminine mistake' book mentioned - sounds fascinating.
eagle, yes I was (and still am, cheerleader only) in 40+ mn thread, but the ttc one. I had my first dc at 31, and my last 2 at 41 and 43.

You know I was thinking of this thread when I woke in he night for dc6's feed (he actually didn't wake - first night of sleeping through, yah!!) and I can honestly say guilt isn't something I actually think I experienced when returning to work with any of them - anxiety initially, worries about whether nursery would be able to follow my 'routine', concerns about the train not getting back in time for pick-up etc etc, a few pangs of sadness and a teary 5 mins on first day, but never actual guilt. I suppose I see guilt an implying I've done something wrong, being guilty of something, which I don't think I have been confused.
The sickness thing is a worry, though from my experience it really helps to sort out which of you is going to cover when the sickness happens. Make sure nursery/childminder know too who to ring first - personal gripe is that they always ring me though it takes me 2.5hrs to get back from work (don't ask) and 20 mins for dh angry.
I really hope this thread keeps going and builds as we all start back, and that new joiners can feel supported. In an ideal world of course we wouldn't need this thread at all, but until that magical day it'll be a great resource smile

Tweet2tweet Fri 03-Jan-14 09:29:35

Thank you to all the latest posts. I'm so happy that the thread has returned to being about support and empathy.

It is so kind that some of the grandmas have contributed. Wisdom and experience are such tremendous things so a big thank you for sharing. I know I may post in future for more advice from you!

If it is helpful to anyone I came up with the following strategy after my first and hope to continue when return to work after second. I can't afford a cleaner, though would love one so the following plan is way I manage to do as much as possible so weekends are just for family, though my DH has to work evenings and weekends too:

Do online shop at work during lunch break. Have a saved shopping list so just revisit basket to update or add any changes, takes about 15 mins usually.
Have a 14 day meal planner. This can be rotated to make it a bit more exciting and have a mixture of homemade meals which work for two days and some semi prepared meals such as pasta with pasta sauce. My planner consists of:
Veg chilli
Veg lasagne
Quiche and potatoes, veg and salad
Veg haggis with carrots and potatoes
Sausages and mash
Gnocchi bake with salad
Thai Laska
Pizza (Saturday night is pizza night, family tradition!)
Fish with veg and chips
Veg spag Bol

We are mainly vegetarian household but most of the above can include meat.

DH cleans bathroom and does hoovering
Mon evening sort out any paperwork bills, birthday cards etc
Tues evening clean kitchen
Wed evening put wash on timer for hanging out in morning before work, repeat on Thur and fri
Thu evening change bedding, towels etc
Fri evening dusting
I tend to spend no more than 45 mins on each of the above tasks so that I can have a cup of tea and tv/book before bed

Coping with tiredness:
I take Sprirulina supplements, avoid caffeine and try to reduce sugar intake. I try to make sure I do some exercise each day, mostly just walking but out in the air.
I go to bed by about 9.30, to cope with the daily 5am starts. Any chance I get for a rest I take!

For all of you due back this month, sending lost of love and hugs. Post on here once you're back if you need a boost, the first few weeks are the hardest.

Iwillorderthefood Fri 03-Jan-14 11:07:14

I will reiterate this is not a war between FT and SAHMs. However I must say for all those mums who are forced to go back to work full time, there are probably a similar amount who are forced out of the workplace as it was just not cost effective to go back to work. I am working from home with very flexible hours now and am very very lucky. However, I was forced out of the workplace as covering the cost of childcare, plus commuting to London meant I cleared £40 a month if I was lucky. This was not a choice, suitable jobs that paid enough to cover costs locally were practically non existent and so reluctantly I stayed at home for three years. Yes I got to see my children every day, all day, but at the risk of sounding awful, this was not a choice. I felt guilty for not working, and for the example I was setting by being economically dependant on my DH. The pressure of this set up on our relationship has been immense.

Lastly, I would like to reiterate what was said about children in childcare, when I was working, I thought the benefits to my children of being in childcare far outweighed any negatives. Children are very adaptable, they do not know what the social norms are, and will adjust to the arrangements put in place for their care, so feelings if guilty for what it might do to them are natural, but not really necessary. Best of luck to all of you that are going to start work soon.

tomverlaine Fri 03-Jan-14 12:38:03

Just wanted to add support to all of you. DS is now 3 1/2 and I've been back at work since he was 7 months full time. I work in massively stressful job/long commute- DS has been in nursery part time and with SAHD rest of time.
I would say it gets easier over time. Things that help - ensure that you are happy with the childcare- I loved DSs nursery (it took him ages to settle though as he went too little so it was always new which was massively stressful on both of us)-it also suited me location wise as it was in my office which reduced the time pressure. Have a schedule that suits you- DS has always gone to bed late (900) which was hard work but meant that I got to see him and do bedtimes (tiring but worth it for me), I also work from home one day a week. Don't sweat the household chores- we have a cleaner, i don't iron I shop on line.
Learn when you are doing too much- DS was breastfed but in the early days i was expressing during the day which was draining in everyway.

It was difficult I did (do still tbh) resent that DP has it so easy and doesn't appreciate it - i have spent years tired and feel that I have compromised both at work and at home - and it is hard to find any me time. I do have to travel with work- i delayed as long as I could and the first long trip I took DS with me- I now just spoil him while I'm away.

Is it worth it? well I have a very well-paid/aspirational job and a DS who is a total mummy's boy - and given i had no choice thats the best I could hope for!

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 12:47:32

It's interesting a lot of women prefix working with explanation have to
Never heard man explain had to work I wonder why women do feel need to explain?

diege Fri 03-Jan-14 13:41:14

Interesting point scottishmummy. I both have and want to work (ie, I still would even if I didn't have to financially) but agree with what you say about many women. I think it's down to what women might deem to be a socially-acceptable response rather than something heartfelt tbh.

On a separate but related point, a colleague of mine did some research with others into giving up work and financial issues that asked (one question amongst many) how many people would give up work if they won the lottery (million £ plus). 94% of women said yes, 96% of men said yes. Daily Mail got hold of the study and headlined you've guessed it with the 94% figure that affirmed their belief that really women only work because they had to. My colleague was appalled with how the research had been twisted.

ManualSpaniel Fri 03-Jan-14 13:56:32

< lurks >

Am back to work in May, was supposed to be 1st February but I've put it off. We had a sudden influx of cash to tide us over the non pay part of Mat leave. Dreading it, but hoping my boss won't be an arse and will agree to me doing 4 days.

workingmumto1 Fri 03-Jan-14 14:20:52

Just thought i'd say that I went back to work ft when my dd was 7 mo, by choice, and she is now a wonderful, happy 19mo. I'm now the main bread winner after my dh become ill and had to take a pay and responsibility cut for health reasons. I'm now 11 weeks pregnant with my second and planning to go back to work at a similar time and dh will become a ft sahd (nursery costs here are ludicrous). I'm still one of the only mums I know who a) is working ft & b) enjoying it. It is hard work but my dd is getting a happy mummy and if I'd been a sahm I wouldn't have been. It's such an individual choice, and what works for some families just won't for others; I wish everyone well and I totally agree that there is nothing to feel guilty about. I'd imagine that the guilt is more likely to affect your family than working (or not).

minipie Fri 03-Jan-14 14:29:03

I went back to work a couple of weeks before Christmas, but that was just a "warm up" really, it will kick in properly on Monday sad

I don't have to work financially (we could manage with DH's pay) but I like my job and I like working and tbh I really don't mind seeing a bit less of DD. (I love her to bits but am not good at spending 24/7 looking after small children!) She only sleeps 8pm till 6am (yawn) and I leave 8am and get back 7pm so I see her for 3 hours a day on work days - and when she's up in the night - and all day at the weekend. I also don't work Fridays so see her all day then. We have a fantastic nanny and I know DD is happy so no guilt.

So far so good, right? BUT (and there is always a but) I do have two problems.

One is that my job is usually a very long hours, 5+ days a week job. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it in shorter hours and 4 days. There are no role models. I expect there will be quite a lot of late evening and weekend working which is exhausting when I don't get much sleep due to Dd anyway. Less demanding jobs don't really exist in my field.

The other is that although both DH and I are working, I seem to have ended up responsible for virtually all of the house and baby related admin -morning handover to the nanny, nanny pay, arranging (minimal) social life, bloody Christmas cards and presents, buying DD clothes and kit, etc. DH and I share cooking and laundry and we have a cleaner but I can't seem to split this "wife work" with him, and it's only going to get worse when we have more DC and they are at school.

We'll see how it goes, I guess.

SleepymummyZzz Fri 03-Jan-14 15:18:13


I have been back at work for two years now but still would love to offer my support. In many ways it does get better as you find quicker techniques for doing mundane things and learn to say no to unimportant things but the fact remains for me that it is hard to only see your child for an hour or two a day during the working week. For what it's worth he is fine, a real mummy's boy and my best friend! On the downside other things have had to give (sex life for one, seriously it's been a year!) and gym sessions aren't as regular as I'd like. It is bloody hard work but wouldn't change it. You will be fine, but you will deserve lots of big hugs on the way!

Want2bSupermum Fri 03-Jan-14 15:27:03

I wanted to stop by and share my experience of returning to work. Here in the US you neigotiate your maternity leave. With DD I took 6 months off and with DS I took 8 weeks off due to the timing of the pregnancy. Ironically it was easier returning to work with DS.

I follow the mantra - Don't explain don't complain. You will always come accross women who stayed home and think everyone else should too and vise versa. In your mind thank them for identifying themselves as someone you don't want in your life and move on.

When you go back to work EVERYTHING changes at home and I suggest you have an open mind about your schedule at home. You (and I mean you and your OH) need to be organized. There are some fantastic threads on MN with ideas on how to get organized. Best move I did was to make breakfast our family meal.

minipie Fri 03-Jan-14 16:40:08

That's a nice idea supermum, I may steal that for when dd is older.

JethroTull Fri 03-Jan-14 18:11:44

Reading this with interest as am planning to go back in March. Am hoping to go back part time at first as DS will only be 6 months.

Want2bSupermum Fri 03-Jan-14 18:31:07

Minipie - It works really well for us and I started it when DD was about 9 months old.

What field are you in? I too have long hours and have managed to figure out some ways to get work done.

kiwikaterpillar Fri 03-Jan-14 18:45:30

Minipie, I too am worried about "wife work" issues with DH potentially arising. He is going to be a SAHD and I don't expect him to do all the chores but he just doesn't seem to even recognise that some things need doing/the fairies don't do them! For example anything to do with organising activities for DD, keeping in touch with HIS family, meal planning/cooking, sorting out our pets, birthday/Christmas gifts the list goes on really. It drives me mad now and I am not going to spend my weekends doing this and looking after DD while he gets to do his hobbies. He has decided that while at home he will be able to train for an iron man and another event here where you mountain run/ kayak/ cycle from one side of the island to the other. I'll be lucky if I get time on my own to get a shower at this rate! Not sure how to fix this, without listing everything that needs doing and dividing it- but I feel like I shouldn't have to do that.
Apologies for the rant.

minipie Fri 03-Jan-14 18:48:35

City lawyer. The issues are going to be, first, whether the sheer volume of work means I end up working most evenings and weekends (manageable short term but not sustainable long term) and second, what happens when something has to be done on a Friday or in the 6 till 8pm window when I'm not really available... Any ideas welcome!!

minipie Fri 03-Jan-14 19:03:49

Ah kiwi I think you have it worse than me! DH has long ago given up on any time consuming hobbies, he goes for the occasional run and that's it. It helps that for years DH has had unpredictable and long work hours so any regular hobbies were seen off by that. anyway my "rule" is that for any time I have to look after DD on my own at the weekend because DH is out doing a hobby/with friends/etc, he will have to look after DD on his own at the weekend for an equivalent period so I can go out. Can you institute this rule? It may feel a bit petty but it's only fair after all.

Hopefully once he is a SAHD he'll have to get better at the wife work tasks - at least it means he'll have to notice (surely?) if there is no food for DC, their clothes don't fit, etc. Whereas DH is blithely ignorant of all of this...

Zamboni Fri 03-Jan-14 19:04:41

minipie I am also a lawyer, although large regional, not City. The way I cope is to leave on time but make it clear I will be available again after 8pm. It seems tough but in reality most things can wait a couple if hours. On rare occasions when I cannot physically leave then either DH has to deal with it or if I know in advance I can get my DM to come (she is 200 miles away but with notice can help).

It is impossible to be available to work like you did before DC unless you have a spouse who SAH and is totally available. This was very hard to accept and of course can cause an issue in the hours you are perceived to be doing.

As a result, I often work post-bedtime and make it clear I have done so. I am also in the office very early each morning - those pre-5am starts are good for something!!

Ultimately if I had to be at work outside my usual hours and it can't be covered some other way then DH would just have to deal with it. We both agree my job is more important (main earner) so if it came to the crunch he'd have to deal with it.

As for wife-work - no idea. I do it all and it drives me insane.

minipie Fri 03-Jan-14 19:15:26

thanks Zamboni. DH is the main earner so I am doing mornings as well, and there's usually no chance he could leave early at short notice if I can't get away. most of the senior people at work have SAHPs, the whole set up seems predicated on that <sigh>

you're right though that the occasions it can't wait till after 8 are limited - it's just in my old life I wouldn't have let it wait, so it feels like bad performance... going to have to let that go I guess!

I think I may have hijacked the thread a little blush

Phineyj Fri 03-Jan-14 19:25:43

I would like to join please. I went back last September when DD was 8 months. She goes to nursery 3 days, is with my DM one day and with DH the final day. I supposedly have a 0.8 job (teacher) - I calculated that should get the job down to 50 hours pw or so (plus commute of 10 hours) but I do feel at times as though I've taken 20% pay cut but still have the same amount of work, as I have to work every day.

On the plus side I enjoy my job and DD has settled into childcare really well and has a ball with DM and DH on their days.

DH doing a day has helped a bit with 'wifework' as surprisingly he has taken on organising things that day and even does a few errands for me sometimes. I still feel I do more than my fair share of the planning and budgeting the rest of the time, but it's progress.

One thing we argue about is that I have to work for at least 4-6 hours at the weekend and at least 4 evenings a week (have to - can't possibly keep up with the workload otherwise). DH feels it's unfair that he doesn't get much 'hobby time' at weekends - I feel he has those four evenings that I don't get, plus he doesn't have to work at the weekend. It would really help me if he would book a regular activity with DD at the weekend so I don't have to negotiate each one individually.

Do any of you have tips on this? It is my main worry/guilt issue, as I can't do an adequate job without this weekend work, plus I am head of department and there is paperwork that must be done.

Zamboni Fri 03-Jan-14 19:33:30

minipie I totally get it. And yes, when most other people don't have the same childcare responsibilities it can be hard. Which is why I make sure that my extra work is public. I never unnecessarily send emails to people at that time to makes a point about working at home oh no

It takes a hugs mindset change to be able to walk out on time because I need to get the DC or get home do DH can go to work. But I am much more efficient at work so this can happen. Definitely appreciably more efficient now.

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 20:07:42

What do you all consider wifework to be?only task a man can't do as dad is bf
If tasks aren't equitably shared that's not wifework,thats he pull his finger out work
The significant shift as parent us the i to we and loss of spontaneity

LauraBridges Fri 03-Jan-14 20:28:20

I am with sm and dismayed sadly by the views on the thread. Many women who work full time do it because they like it and it can be the right thing to do and it benefits their children. I suspect once everyone is back they will find it all works fine.

Ph, you could try splitting the weekend with him. We had periods where I had the children alone on Saturday and he had them on Sundays then we could work or do what we wanted or do domestic stuff without the children. Most couples sort it out reasonably fairly.

Also works well if you can alternate who has to rush home from work first.

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 20:44:03

I've never felt guilty,nursery booked 12wk pg.i was desperate to return
Biggest change was lack spontaneity,couldn't just go shopping after work
But both need to accommodate the change,wifework is a crap construct to explain how more work,stress laddled onto women

If you're doing work and then so called wifework,you're needing to have a serious cards on table as a couple

I'm uncomfortable with the term,uncomfortable with the ohh men,and us women do the wifework - stop being a doormat,don't do wifework

blueshoes Fri 03-Jan-14 20:44:45

Minipie, if you and dh work long unpredictable hours, the best childcare option is a live-in nanny, if you don't live near family who can help out.

kiwikaterpillar Fri 03-Jan-14 21:15:26

In respect to wife work, yes DH and I need to have a frank discussion and I'm sure we will navigate things ourselves in time. Life and our relationship will continue to change and evolve over time. We haven't got the balance right at the moment but I have faith that we will get there. I was expressing a concern I have, as I thought other posters may have experienced something similar and have some tips and also in part because in verbalising my fears helps me to decide if I am being unreasonable or not.
I also find the judgement about being dismayed re some of the views in this thread about being concerned/ anxious about going back to work not particularly helpful. I have a challenging and interesting job that for the most part I love to do. That doesn't mean to say that I am not nervous about how returning to work will impact my relationship with my DD (and also my DH) and I know that I will find the transition period difficult.
Anyway.... We tried giving DD another bottle yesterday and she drank 30ml so things are improving and DH is less worried about DD starving herself when I will be back at work.

Phineyj Fri 03-Jan-14 21:20:27

We do split the weekend Laura. I would just like some acknowledgement on DH's part that the time needs to be actively split, as at the moment he seems to feel I'm not pulling my weight at the weekends. I don't think he realised pre-baby that his weekends/leisure time would be impacted to the extent that they are. I think on the whole women are more aware that this will happen.

It was not an issue before I went back to work. Up till then we were able to split everything quite amicably.

noblegiraffe Fri 03-Jan-14 21:22:55

My DH and I have just sat together to figure out our morning routines, e.g. 6:30 I'm in the shower so you are getting DS up, then I will get DD up while DS is having breakfast and you go in the shower.
We've done a little timeline for each of the 4 of us until we leave the house.
As my hours vary, so does childcare and who is dropping DS off at school. We've ended up needing 4 different routines over a fortnight.
I'm not going to know whether I'm coming or going in the mornings for a while.

Phineyj Fri 03-Jan-14 21:24:31

Kiki, I hear what you are saying. I found it was quite easy to plan so DD was not affected too much by the transition (for one thing the nursery had a very sensible transition policy - 1, then 2, then 3 hours for several weeks before she started full days) but my relationship with my DH has suffered because we are like ships that pass in the night a lot of the time.

Trivial things like my MIL complaining that she hasn't had baby photos for ages upset me -- it was no trouble to do that sort of thing before I went back to work but I can't prioritise it now. Getting DH to do things like that (wifework I suppose) takes longer than doing it myself!

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 21:25:45

Good you feel you can bth have that discussion about task allocation
Mummy guilt yes I do think it needs a discussion,it's not a given,but it's expected
I had conversations folk started with you must be dreading return etc. why? must I be,but not my partner?
why is the assumption one will feel guilt,or need to.Explain return to wrk
Mummy guilt is all over this(and numerous other threads).im not saying don't have it,I'm asking why,and exploring the social inequality of no one ever rolls eyes when man goes back to work

As I said no man ever commented,rolled eyes or gave me the precious moment speech,only women

If one feels guilty,I'd say explore it.the emotional,social and cultural expectations of motherhood.but no woman needs to wear it like a yoke

kiwikaterpillar Fri 03-Jan-14 21:51:12

Scottish mummy, I do think you have valid points re guilt and societal expectations. My DH has had mixed reactions from friends and family when he announced he was going to become a SAHP and finish studying/retraining in a different field. I think most people had assumed we would get a nanny and although most of our friends have been supportive the older generation have not been backwards in coming forwards around their views and the odd personal attack towards me. Indeed it seems that other women have been the least open to/supportive of our plans which is a shame and I hate to admit this, but I can't help but get a little upset by their comments (I am ashamed that I let them impact me, but that is the truth of the matter).
I also know that many of my (male) colleagues will let their delightful views on " a woman's place" be known upon my return. It will be hard to not lamp them!wink

GiraffesAndButterflies Fri 03-Jan-14 21:51:59

<dives into thread gratefully>
I am so glad to have found this thread!!

I'm going back in March, will probably be ft but working a 9 day fortnight. Wanted to go pt but turned down and I'm gutted (company have done everything by the book but it's a completely emphatic no apparently) sad

Basically it means I'll have to look for something new and closer to home, because I can't see how I will manage this without being exhausted. DH is very supportive but he can only do so much!

I am very cautiously optimistic that I may have the right skills to transfer into something closer to home with better hours. But basically it will be some months of exhausted hell until I've worked off the maternity benefits and don't have to pay anything back, and then I'll leave. Not what I wanted at all- I have a job I love, if only I could do it for 4 days a week. sad

Ilanthe Fri 03-Jan-14 21:53:29

I love my job and I'm pleased to be going back but I am nervous about it. Less so the childcare thing - done that once, DS1 loves nursery. Rather, I feel out of the loop with work - lots of legislative changes in 2013 and all the reading in the world is no substitute for working through them. I also have the probably unwarranted, but still nagging feeling my maternity cover was bound to be better than me.

I'm sure by March it will all be working smoothly. No issues with wifework, now we have a cleaner that's split pretty evenly. I'm happy to run errands as I work in a town centre as opposed to the middle of nowhere like DH but he has to ask me, MILs birthday card won't magically turn up.

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 22:03:10

Hell don't be ashamed of getting emotional,it's human it's how we are wired
I suppose you need to perfect neutral face whilst thinking oh spdounf bog off
Also it's not your responsibility to explain to others.so Long as you and dp are tight

Ratbagcatbag Fri 03-Jan-14 22:13:17

I'm back ful time amd have been since sept when dd was6months old.

One mega thing helped me, a timer on the bottle steriliser, set for around 5am, so when I get up bottles are ready sterilised for childminder. smile

Prep everything the night before, get a cleaner if possible, share chores with other half.

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 22:22:11

Prep,prep,and prep more.clothes. For week. You and baby
Food prepared in advance,online. Shop
Treats for getting through week,takeaway once week
Buy a stock of neutral birthday cards, some neutral kids presses in sale. For the last minute stuff. Buy wrapping paper happy birthday,Sellotape,some neutral adult stuff. If you get duplicate pressies keep and regift

Theonlyoneiknow Fri 03-Jan-14 22:24:51

I take bizarre pleasure in laying out all their clothes for the working week on a Sunday night.

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 22:32:35

Lay out mine,and kids clothes for week.it v satisfying
Pack all bag sect in advance,big humungus board for invites,etc
Well stocked med kit for us,girl weans

IceNoSlice Fri 03-Jan-14 22:41:27

Theonly out of interest, where do you lay the clothes out? I can lay out one outfit (ie the next day) for me, and I kind of order my wardrobe into days but I have no space to lay out 5 days of clothes...

scottish some good points about guilt, thank you. I also don't feel guilty for enjoying my work and for other people caring for DS especially as he obviously enjoys nursery. A few pp have made a bit of a point about how the have to work ft and have no choice. As though, given a choice, they would not choose ft work. There is an implicit message in this that choosing ft is therefore bad, bad, bad. Why? Can't we support each other as ft working mothers without it being divided into those who have to and those who want to? It is still bloody difficult to keep all the balls in the air.

minipie you mention that you won't be at work on Fridays - and ask for views on what to do about situations where work must be done on a Friday. I'm not a lawyer but similar (big 4 accountant) and IME, it is easier to work a 4 day week by taking a midweek day off. Often deadlines seem to be set for 'the end of the week'. Fine if you only have your own work to organise but harder when you have juniors or external inputs to your work. But if you can't get something done on a Tuesday or Wednesday it can usually wait until the next day IYSWIM.

Theonlyoneiknow Fri 03-Jan-14 22:42:12

I made,my own monthly planner chalkboard today for the kitchen wall. Have space at,the side for the weekly meals so I know what we are having ahead of time, then squares for each day and space at the bottom for reminders. This will be the year I make time for me too to do exercise and some if the hobbies I used to do pre DC. Not sure how I will fit it in but am determined! Running helps clear my brain !

Theonlyoneiknow Fri 03-Jan-14 22:43:46

icenoslice, I just lay the DCs clothes out on the floor, usually in a neat pile so each day is on top of the other.

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 22:47:14

I note on here posters have made the have work explanation as opposed to simply I work
As if the act,of working without needing to work,is indicative of bad Mutha
That's the thing,why need to prefix. It at all

IceNoSlice Fri 03-Jan-14 22:48:13

Re wifework, we call this "house management". In some ways one person needs to be in charge to make sure tasks get done - ie I am in charge of meal planning, grocery ordering, household accounts, DS's stuff (eg car seats) and birthday cards/presents. But you can split tasks - DH deals with insurance renewals, utilities, cars, DIY/maintenance etc. We split cooking and have a cleaner. It works for us and neither feels under appreciated.

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 22:51:01

Clothes,on hangers with underwear,accessories.and pack bag night before
Dp sends his shirts to be laundered

scottishmummy Fri 03-Jan-14 22:54:00

I agree on term house management,tasks aren't women's or wife's wrk
There's an aspect of inadvertent martyr in wifework,not to mention stereotyping

DIddled Fri 03-Jan-14 23:31:33

Thought I would throw in my experience as an 'oldie'. I returned to work when my son was 5 months old in 1998. Full time in a new job and my husband (police officer) started plain clothes training at the same time with all sorts of bizarre shifts. Lucky in that I paid my sister to mind for me as she was off with her own anyway, she was brilliant. He went into nursery when she has her second baby. Meant a long drive at start and end of day though- she lived a way away.

So, we were a family who were always up and out early, time pushed etc. At times it was hellish and when he started school I used to be very jealous of the part time or stay at home mums ( I was one of very few full time workers in reception year ). Had a fantastic child minder though- from reception to year 6.

Fast forward 15 years, I have a well mannered articulate son who is in a grammar school requiring a long journey, which he is happy to make. All those years of having to be organised and up and out have made him very resilient and self sufficient. Indeed I believe that seeing us work hard has instilled a similar ethic in him. He doesn't seem emotionally scarred (crosses her fingers he doesn't go off the rails later smile )

I'd have loved part time to be honest, but it simply wasn't an option as I had to work round DH shift pattern. But it can work. Good luck to you all- and Happy New Year.

Grizzlygrowler Sat 04-Jan-14 00:17:41

I'm not implying that going back ft is 'bad'. I'm saying that I don't feel ready to return to work yet but out of necessity have to and do not have the option not to or to work pt. Obviously, from a mental pov, there's a massive difference between someone choosing to go back ft and those who have no option. Yes the practicalities may not differ all that much but where you're mentally prepared it makes huge difference. Each to their own, I'm jealous of those that are wanting to and are ready to go back in themselves.

working9while5 Sat 04-Jan-14 00:28:11

Remember there are people on the other side too. I wish I could work more than I do but financially it's not viable due to childcare costs.

When I went back after ds1, yeah, I didn't mind the reduced hours initially, it eased the transition.. and after a few months I could pick it back up to 4 days and I did.. but it just turned out that the cost of commuting really hit us hard, and when I had ds2 there simply wasn't the same option as dh was refused flexible working. He tried to look for another job, so did I but there was just no employment opps and there hasn't been since.

I don't find it easy being at home 3 days without dh. It's work too, fuck all this "precious moment mama" business. I don't mind singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and I do enjoy and indeed value some of it.. but 7.30 to 6.30 each day? Not so much so. I would be much happier to have shorter working days 5 days a week, or any manner of other permutations and combinations.

In terms of the broader discussion about mummy guilt and all that, I don't think there's any need to do down the decisions or situations of any other woman as in reality it tends to be complicated. Dh would have loved to do a 4 day/4 day week and we could have financially managed two in childcare during these years with only 3 to shell out for.. but society doesn't tend to support men's decisions where it is anti-status quo and there are all manner of barriers to equal childcare arrangements for the majority of couples. He earns more than me... again reflecting societal imbalances etc (I have higher educational qualifications) that make me the more likely to reduce hours blan blah.
I support any woman's decision but let's not have it that women working full time are soldiering against the patriarchy while women who sah are propping it up. Patriarchal biases and injustices are there no matter what you choose - only a very few "lucky" women don't somehow feel the effects of reduced opportunities in one way or another in a way that just doesn't affect men, who just blithely carry on in the main without giving it much thought.

ThreeWisePerpendicularVinces Sat 04-Jan-14 00:31:35

Can I join? I go back to work in just under 4 months and am feeling apprehensive about it.

I've worked hard to get where I am and am the main wage earner - I can't do my job part time so have to go back full time. I've no problem working, but really don't want to be so far from my baby. I have a reasonably high pressure role and don't want to get sucked into 70 hour weeks again.


TheABC Sat 04-Jan-14 00:40:43

Thankyou,*icenoslice*. Will put my thinking cap on as I will be seeing them in a few weeks time.

scottishmummy Sat 04-Jan-14 01:05:11

Reading the thread 9whilst5 it positively aches with the looks,the precious moments speech, the disapproval of working mothers have experienced

You know what i didn't invent the precious moments crew I met them numerous guises over the years,they did the head tilt,the precious moments speech. Came online,hey they inhabit the web too

Why do you think people here got the sadface,are referring to the comments.the tsk. Can you see the disapproval posters are talking about. So you know what it's got everything to do with attitudinal,behavioural disapproval of women's choices as manifest in the precious moments, if it was not there mothers wouldn't need support

And I was bored bro majority mat leave,bored of singing wheels on bus

kiwikaterpillar Sat 04-Jan-14 02:07:03

Just getting back in track again, hope Monday goes well for those posters are returning back to work, I think there are a couple of you. Will be me in a months time so looking forward to hearing how it goes and for any tips! wink

Pitmountainpony Sat 04-Jan-14 07:24:01

My neighbour is a sahd...two under 21 months.
His wife had the big wage so it made sense for him to stay home.
It,s funny as when we get together for play dates, I get a real insight into how it is being a man, at home all day...he finds it hard to clean the house..baby is only. 5 months, but manages dinner most nights.....but his wife seems to expect the lie ins at the weekend as if her work is more hard....and she is so strict about what he spends. Checks receipts....for coffees or sodas....anyway I learn a lot watching him...he is so laid back.....does DIY as soon as one kid sleeps whilst the baby is in the chair....let's them cry longer than I would and jokes he wouldn't want his wife to see him doing that....but who knows maybe it will make them resilient...but the men in his life, his dad and f i l really cannot comprehend how a man can be the stay at home parent.
But he is actually very good at it. I do reflect that in his case his wife is tougher on him than any husband would get away with...so maybe she does not totally appreciate what hard work a 21 month and 5 month are day in day out ...it is an interesting gender role reversal to observe.

Pitmountainpony Sat 04-Jan-14 07:34:11

My point is that if staying home to look after your kids makes you miserable, or your work makes you so much more content than being a stay home parent, then as long as you get good child care, it may well be the best course of action for someone to work.
I do feel sorry for people who want to stay home, but can't and maybe those are the ones uncomfortable about returning to work.
But honestly it is a full time job looking after more than one child, so if you are working and someone else is looking after your child...children, then in theory it should not be too much more work....as your child is messing up someone else,s house, creating washing up for them not you....so in a way, the work is the work, you just get paid for the paid work....so maybe helpful to think of fit that way.
I as a sahm get sick of the odd person, who inevitably returned to work the self, asking when I will return to work.
Erm I am working...and if I return to work I have to pay someone else for the work of raising my children, which is what I would rather do than teach other people,s children and work crazy hours. The point is mums need to stay healthy and sane to be good parents and I do think that some are more suited to returning to work, than full time at home motherhood which is equally hard as most hard jobs, in my experience.

Zamboni Sat 04-Jan-14 08:31:04

pit that's interesting about your neighbour. While I work FT, DH works around me so does SAH 3 days a week. I suspect there are things he preferred I didn't know about how much fireman Sam is watched in an average day but the kids are happy and we agree on the main things. I definitely agree about a relaxed approach benefitting the kids. My DM once visited and spent the day with DH and DC. They went for a walk and despite being told to be careful, DD sat in a puddle. I would have been annoyed, DH just laughed, DD just laughed. DM said it was nice to see that approach and how secure DD was in it.

bigkidsdidit Sat 04-Jan-14 09:17:58

Hello smile

I o back properly on Monday (have done days here and there and a short day on Friday) after mat leave #2. DS 2 is six months as was ds1 (now very nearly 3) when I went back.

DH and I are unbelievably lucky in that we work on our own and are on projects which are results based, so we set our own timetables. I tend to work 6.30-3 and DH 10-6.30. So they boys are with the cm 9.30-3.15 ish. At the moment this means we get a lot of time with them but next year it will mean I can pick ds1 up from school most of the time. I realise how lucky I am. I do do a few evenings a week once they're alseep but they both go to bed at 7 so I can fit more in.

I don't feel bad about working mainly because I have a really superb cm who takes them to playgroups, little outings etc and it is only my boys plus an after schooler with her so not a big group. Sometimes I feel like I ought to feel bad though! I am the only one of all my friends who has gone back ft but then most I them are teachers and obviously have much longer / more rigid hours than I do.

I'm looking forward to getting dressed up! Bought some lovely work clothes in the sales yesterday smile

IceNoSlice Sat 04-Jan-14 09:25:09

ABC I was thinking about your discussion more - and something else occurred to me about delegation. If arguments are being put about fitting all your tasks into fewer days. Could you propose to train junior staff to do some aspects of your role - hence benefitting the business in terms if flexibility, career progression for other people etc? Then you could focus on overseeing them plus the more interesting and complex things you do?

Wishfulmakeupping Sat 04-Jan-14 10:22:04

bigkid you sound so positive about going back on mon wish I could be the same but I am a total bag of nerves worried if dd will be ok without me the boobs and generally about returning to a stressful work environment sad think their will be tears on mon morn might have to take my make up so I can retouch my mascara covered face!

ThreeWisePerpendicularVinces Sat 04-Jan-14 10:57:05

Wishfulmakeupping, I really hope it goes well. My friend has just gone back to work after 8 months off - she cried the first 2 days, but is fine now (she's been back 4 weeks). She emphasised how much having a set routine helps, and is already noticing that her DD is far more confident after going to nursery, and is really happy there.

bigkidsdidit Sat 04-Jan-14 11:31:25

Wishful I was like that last tkme. This time I'm fine because it has worked out ao well with ds1, we are such a tight unit and adore each other and have a great time. And he is such a happy little soul too. So I'm confident it will turn out ok smile

Carlat86 Sat 04-Jan-14 11:46:12

Count me in, I go back in 4 weeks time. I have to go back early as our mortgage lender won't sign off on the mortgage unless I am back at work. DS will be the youngest at crèche at 6 months old. I feel so guilty but need to do what's right for the family. DP is condensing his hours into 3 long days to save on childcare and so at least one of us doesn't miss out on important milestones.

working9while5 Sat 04-Jan-14 12:41:47

"So you know what it's got everything to do with attitudinal,behavioural disapproval of women's choices as manifest in the precious moments, if it was not there mothers wouldn't need support "

That's a patriarchal product SM though, don't you see? It's there whether you stay home or go to work. Do you honestly think there's anyone at home Loving Every Moment of clearing up/nappy deadlines any more than there are women at work enjoying every crappy deadline and office politics as though either were the pinnacle of human achievement?

The disapproval comes out of the patriarchal attitudes that affect all of us as mothers, we're trained to buy in to the myth of motherhood as almost holy while fathers just get free choice and it sets up this artificial divide between mothers based on where they spend the majority of their days.

The reason that there aren't fathers having this discussion all over the net is because it's a patriarchal construct designed to make women doubt themselves when very, very few women just "carry on as normal" even if they go straight back into the same job working the same hours. Very few women get to work at exactly the same pace without making sacrifices, whether this is just working a bit more sleep-deprived than normal or missing days due to sickness or having much less money. An awful lot of men barely even register the change in their lives.

Meanwhile you hear justification from most women... oh I just couldn't BARE not to see them all day... I want to be a feminist role model.. I worked hard for my career and I'm not going to give it up... why have kids if you're not going to see them.. I wanted to raise my own... I am bored by kids and think anyone with half a brain is too... young children really need their mums... only dull as dishwater women could be satisfied spending time with kids... we needed the money.. we are lucky we didn't need the money so I could be with my children when they're little... I can't imagine missing out on that... I can't imagine being such a dull woman as to need to spend time with kids... blah blah blah blah.

Most men are NOT having these conversations. At all. They're just getting up, going to work, getting promoted, coming home and having exactly the relationship with their children they always expected they would have (whether they've been at home all day or at nursery etc). It's just a non-issue for them because whether you stay home, go to work, do part-time this stuff is seen about a MOTHER'S identity always. No questions for the dads.

THAT right there is the feminist issue and it would behoove us all to just climb off the wagon and refuse to play either part in the game, to avoid the soundbites that are passive-aggressive putdowns of other women's "choices" and to say for a lot of women despite all our luxuries and privilege IT STILL SUCKS even if we get a "choice" on the surface. The day men are wringing their hands in angst about how their occupational choices will affect their child's development I'll feel differently...

Want2bSupermum Sat 04-Jan-14 13:38:39

minipie Im in audit so work 6 days a week for 21 weeks which is about 80-100 hrs/wk and go down to a 60 hrs/wk for the rest of the year. Everyone tells me to go part time but now way am I doing that because you end up working full time hours anyway plus it sends the wrong message that you on the mummy track.

I have tried a few things and one that really worked well was working from home one day a week. It gives me back up to 3 hours of commuting time which I use to catch up. If I am taking the train into Manhattan I have 38 mins each way to respond to emails or read up on research. I hate driving and I am looking to transfer to another group which is city based so I can make better use of my time. The city based groups have better clients too that are understanding of family commitments.

I was going to comment on your use of the term 'wifework' but didn't have time yesterday as my call finished! In our home we have housework and it is done by everyone (apart from the baby). DD is able at 2.5 to dust and load the washing machine. She is also capable of sorting her laundry into darks and lights. Chocolate buttons or M&Ms are your friend in training your child.

Im married to a man who manages $150 million of sales of pork and has 15 direct reports. He is 2nd in command of US operations of a EUR6 billion salughterhouse group. Quite frankly he is more than capable of figuring out that the DC need snowpants in December. He also has a PA and I make full use of her for sorting out DH.

minipie Sat 04-Jan-14 13:49:52

Oh by using the term "wife work" I certainly didn't mean that the wife should do it all. Quite the opposite. the term is intended to signify that wives for some reason tend to end up doing all this house management stuff even though their DHs are perfectly capable, and that this is wrong. it's the title of a feminist book I believe.

Yes my DH should certainly be capable of working out that DD is bigger/the weather has changed so needs new clothes, and ordering her some new stuff. But somehow he never does. I am not sure how to fix this. I will have to think of various areas of home/child admin which are "his job" and I just do not do, I think.

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Sat 04-Jan-14 14:12:22

Scottishmummy well said!

Want2bSupermum Sat 04-Jan-14 14:18:12

Im with working9while5. There is an awful lot of sexism in the UK. It is very passive in the workplace because the government have tried to legislate against it. However, don't be fooled. IMO the whole set up in the UK stinks and women have a raw deal. Part of the reason I wanted to go back to work after having DD was because I want change the status quo for women. It was tough going back after 8 weeks but I created a name for myself by coming back so quickly and doing a great job.

I follow the mantra 'Don't complain. Don't explain.' Meetings are done via telephone whenever possible. I listen in and get my work done. If I need to take notes for minutes I dial in using my computer using a program that transcribes the converstaion. If people start talking over each other I ask them to repeat what they said so the program can pick it up. If I am up all night with the kids I don't complain. People don't want to hear it. I don't explain why I can't make meetings either. Its simple, either you can make the meeting or you can't. I schedule time out in my work outlook calendar ahead of time so others can see I am not available.

Zamboni Sat 04-Jan-14 14:32:10

want2be that's really interesting. I often find myself explaining my non-availability and apologising. I guess I often want to make it clear that I am not available because I have to be at home because DH has to go to work I have in the past joked to my boss that if he wants me available 24/7 he needs to pay me enough so I can afford for DH not to work at all. Rather than simply appearing as if I don't want to work/go to an event out of usual hours.

workshyfop Sat 04-Jan-14 14:33:52

Hello, count me in too. I'm going back to my full-time position in April when DD will be 11 months. I went back FT after my first too, when he was 6 months. He's now 5 and in Reception.

Worried that it will be harder to get back into it this time after being off for longer. A lot has changed at work, acquisition etc and my team and boss have been picking up my role between them. Also the thought of gong back to the exact same role bores me, I'd like a new challenge. Hopefully I'll be able to find something to keep me interested. Hard because can't take on too much as will be knackered enough with the family stuff (dd still not sleeping through). Finding a balance is not easy!

Sleepstarved Sat 04-Jan-14 14:47:39

I am due back mid-March and am in dispute with work about dropping two days a month.
I requested it, they said no. I am appealing.
Part of me wants to stay at home full time but I know that I would go stir crazy eventually, but also I don't want to leave my girls.
Anyway, I have no choice, financially I have to go back as I am the bigger earner and DH does not even have a contract at the moment.
Big plan was that we both work four days and have three days of childcare on the crossover days, but not sure is that is going to work now.
Am getting a bit depressed about the prospect of having to go back full-time.

blueshoes Sat 04-Jan-14 14:49:34

Supermum, I agree with the 'don't complain, don't explain' approach. Just be very matter-of-fact about it and get on with it.

My colleague who has just had her first baby goes out of her way to explain how her complex nursery pick up arrangements affect her weekly schedule. Frankly I don't think it is necessary since people in my office don't really mind either way any way so long as she manages her own work load and is flexible during her time at home. It reinforces the idea that women who come back to work after having children need special concessions in the workplace. They do, but not to the extent of making a song and dance about it.

Men don't generally look apologetic or feel the need to big up their father credentials at work.

working9while5 Sat 04-Jan-14 15:08:25

Yes yes yes Want2b.. my manager is just amazing at this. I have never once had the sense she feels "guilty" or needs to apologise/explain why she can't do something. She works 7 to 4 and is out that door at 4 come hell or high water and is very highly regarded within our broader organisation. Contrast this with most female colleagues (including me!) who are sat frowning over their diaries, feeling pulled/torn etc and worried because they can't do x or y or z.

I think that for survival, it's important not to get sucked into what you "should" be doing as an identity thing.. leaving aside stories of what or who you should be, at home or at work and just getting on with what needs to be done in the same way as pre-kids... as stuff that needs to be done, not some big marker of character/importance/identity. That's the trap. Am I good enough as a mother? Am I good enough to progress at work? A lot of it is bollocks.

On the other hand, there are undoubtedly structural, cultural and institutional inequalities that disadvantage women. Everything from bloody advertising for cleaning fluids and vacuum cleaners to the media obsession with mothers' role in "developing" children (linking this nebulously to everything from cot death to adult mental health issues) and industries with deliberately difficult and family-unfriendly work policies for men AND women with no real economic basis. The SAHM/WOHM "debate" arises out of the frustrations that we all inevitably face as being part of this world where laughably most believe "feminism has done its job" and there is equality of choice for men and women with children in the workplace. Like heck there is.

working9while5 Sat 04-Jan-14 15:13:02

And also, the fact that again and again I see this:
"Big plan was that we both work four days and have three days of childcare on the crossover days, but not sure is that is going to work now" (and that was my plan too) and there's NO way of it happening... says to me that we have a LONG way to go. In the vast majority of jobs there should be no reason why a four day week can't be arranged, the fact most still can't access what's essentially a very minor adjustment especially as anyone who has ever worked four days knows that you end up being treated as full-time and often working out of hours is just wrong IMO.

Tweet2tweet Sat 04-Jan-14 15:13:10

I never bring my personal commitments to the work place but, since having children, if I can't make a meeting the first thing I'm asked is is it because of kids! No one else is asked, just me. In addition they have started to book meetings last thing which run over forcing me to leave 'early'. I asked to start very slightly earlier each morning to leave a bit earlier to collect kids and they are ignoring my request.
I have received exceptional performance payments year on year, take on additional responsibility, work beyond my grade, but I may as well be whistling into the wind. All this from a 'family friendly' employer.
I really hope things are better when I return. Like you workshy, I'm thinking a new challenge might be good!

monicalewinski Sat 04-Jan-14 15:32:38

Just wanted to jump on and give my support to you all, too.

I went back to work ft after 6 months with both my boys - the build up and the self-inflicted guilt is the worst bit, within a couple of weeks you will have snapped back into work life and your children will be spectacularly unbothered re being 'abandoned to strangers and childcare'.

I had no family nearby and have moved a few times since mine were born so have used all sorts of childcare - childminder, nursery, before/after school clubs - each have their pros and cons and each have been completely fine, and loved by my kids.

If you ever feel down, then I would recommend re-reading scottishmummy's posts - she has a very good way of cutting through the guilt crap! Like she says: organisation, compartmentalise work/home, and ignore ignore ignore the inevitable comments and headtilts from the 'precious moments crew' - you will have many precious moments, and your kid will know who their mum is etc etc.

Best of luck to you all, there is nothing to feel guilt about! Xx

FreeWee Sat 04-Jan-14 15:57:50

I go back to work on Tuesday when DD will be 10 months old. I'm doing 26 hours instead of 37 but I am dreading it being a full time job in part time hours. I have to go back as DH is doing a PGCE so we are living on fresh air at the moment. I'm also worried because DD is really settled into a routine at home which just isn't practical from a CM. She sleeps 9.30-10.15 and 2 till 4. That's just not going to work for a CM. I struggled with it as it meant I was housebound in the afternoons but she sleeps 19.45 to 07.00 so why would I mess things around in the day? I'm worried the lack of sleep at the CM will impact on her sleeping at night. Then I really don't know how I'll cope working whilst exhausted sad Any words of comfort from those whose routine was upset by childcare necessities and came out the other side unscathed?

bigkidsdidit Sat 04-Jan-14 16:34:12

Ime once they routinely, reliably sleep through the night you can alter naps a bit and they just adjust. Ds1 sleeps 10.30-12 with the cm but 1-3 at home and it's fine. They all find their way - hey are more adjustable than you might think.

IceNoSlice Sat 04-Jan-14 16:35:06

Freewee my DS went from 2 to 1 nap at around that age. See if you can push the first nap back a bit and then gradually shorten/drop the second. Safeguard nighttime sleep by not allowing sleep after a certain time (was going to say 3pm but I see that you currently have a 2-4 nap so maybe no later than 4pm).

My DS (16mo) naps 12-2 ish now and has for months.

bigkidsdidit Sat 04-Jan-14 16:40:17

Wow, that's early Ice! Ds1 didn't drop to one nap till he was 2.

This sort of thing is so worrying before you go back but it all sorts itself out in the first week or so smile

Hi all, great idea for thread.

I'm back to work on Fri, LO is just turned 1,

Could just about afford not to work as DP is well paid, but did not want to be a full time SAHM (without any local family support) or let my career stagnate, or lose my financial independence.

Agree with so much that has been said up thread about guilt etc. LO has been left twice at nursery so far and both times has been hysterical. His sobs started me off! He is also on the cusp of walking and yes I will be sad if I miss the 'precious moment' of his first steps!

The nursery does seem lovely so I am just hoping he adapts soon, as soon as the tears stop I think I will be able to relax about it.

CaptainCunt Sat 04-Jan-14 16:59:38

Hi all. Great idea for a thread, I'm worrying about going back at the end of February. DS will be (only) just over a year so I'm wondering whether to just wean him completely in the day and breastfeed morning and evenings only. We're still doing on demand at the moment though he's a reasonable eater. I'm sad about stopping and don't know how to go about it. As a side issue, I hate my job. smile

Want2bSupermum Sat 04-Jan-14 19:18:08

Minipie Sometimes you need to let the ball drop. DH didn't have snow boots for DD and it snowed. He called me to tell me that DD needed snow boots and I told him that he needed to sort it out through getting them 2nd hand or driving around. Two days later he didn't have any so I called around and found them in toysrus for $4.19. I had him pick them up.

Christmas cards are sent out by DH. His mother complained about not getting a card and said it was my job. I told DH if he could mail Christmas cards to his customers he could do the family ones at the same time. It took three years but he is doing them now.

I don't put up with the status quo. We are told all the time that we should be caring, sweet, quiet and put others ahead of ourselves. Forgot that. If I don't look after myself I can't look after anyone else. If he wants to get laid I need time to exercise so I have some energy, therefore he needs to look after the kids/ get the breakfast table ready/ get the kids dressed.

FreeWee Don't worry. At 10 months they need 12-14 hours of sleep a day. If you know the child slept for 8 hours during the night then communicate that to the CM. I found that my DC fit into the schedule set in daycare after about a week. The open communication comes from the parents not from the CM. They know what they are doing. With DS he sleeps in the stroller all the time for up to 3 hours at a clip.

duskymoon Sat 04-Jan-14 19:37:47

I've done all the variations of work and SAHM I think - my DC are 5 & 7 now. With DC1 I returned 3 full days - that was fine and a good balance but the drop in salary was big. I then took redundancy and had DC2 and was a SAHM for 2.5 years. I enjoyed it and, with a toddler and a baby, was happy to be at home. I then worked freelance for 2 years juggling school nursery and school picks up - found this quite stressful and difficult to manage. Now all DC are at school, I am working 30 hours a week but trying to compress a full time job into that time as the job is no different!

Now the DC are older it is the right balance for me and I am glad I was home when they were little. It hasn't done my career too much harm as I have kept my hand in. Keeping on the career ladder is always the argument put forward for not taking a career break, but it doesn't seem to have played out that way for me, so I wouldn't say it is not a defacto outcome. Without a doubt though, being at home with 2 preschoolers is a very hard job. I find being at work much easier than being at home, mainly due to the headspace you get - though I guess it depends on the stress levels of your job.

I don't think of my children at all during work hours and switch roles the minute I leave.

scottishmummy Sat 04-Jan-14 19:56:17

I don't frame work discussion around the kids,if I can't make meeting I say can't make it
I don't say can't make it because domestic commitments I just offer an alternative date/time
I'm not defined solely by having kids,I'm not solely defined by being mum.its multi-factorial

scottishmummy Sat 04-Jan-14 20:08:11

I live by lists.amazon prime is useful for sending gifts,birthday stuff too
Dp sorts his own cards,present,he's adult up to him to remember who and what
I don't see it as my role to chivvy him along about occasions,anymore than he chivvy me

GiraffesAndButterflies Sat 04-Jan-14 20:23:00

I like the sound of the 'don't complain, don't explain', thanks for that tip Supermum!

KongKickeroo Sat 04-Jan-14 21:40:00

This is a great thread - and thank you very much to the posters who have been there and done it for contributing, it's so helpful. scottishmummy I agree 100% with everything you have said. DH doesn't feel guilty for going to work, why on earth should I? Ultimately it's all for the benefit of our family as a whole.

I was wondering - how do you handle talking about your child(ren) at work? I am guessing it's best to keep it to a minimum, but am sure I'm going to be bombarded with questions. photo requests etc when I go back and don't want to seem rude.

Pitmountainpony Sat 04-Jan-14 21:50:36

Well said wanttobesupermum....
Yeah we all do those sound bites.....because there is this antagonistic conversation around stay at home versus working mum. We should be grateful when we have the choice really, for either of thoses paths.

scottishmummy Sat 04-Jan-14 21:57:54

Baby photos etc,well I sent some to colleagues when on mat leave,on return chose moment
It's legitimate to talk about baby but you don't want to become the I'm bereft I'm guilty cryer
I sent some the weekend before I went back,so they all saw,and nice way keep in touch

Want2bSupermum Sat 04-Jan-14 22:23:12

Tweet No one has ever asked about my availability but if they ever said something like that I would say something sharp like, 'Why would you think that?' and walk away. It is none of their business as to why you are not available. I try my best to not do calls after 5pm and I ask why they are scheduled for an hour. Our office hours are until 6pm so I don't see why we are scheduling calls after work hours. Hardly fair on the other teams who don't work late.

KongKickeroo Sat 04-Jan-14 22:37:53

Thanks scottishmummy I understand what you mean, that makes sense.

GreatSoprendo Sat 04-Jan-14 22:43:00

Great thread - I'm back at work next week working FT compressed over 4 days, with 9m DS going to nursery. FT in my place tends to mean 50+ hours so I'm a bit concerned about how it's going to work out but feeling confident I can make it work (somehow!) with the aid of Blackberry and laptop after DS is in bed.

Freewee - if it helps, my DS has a similar routine to yours at home with a 2 hour sleep in the afternoons. He's been doing a day a week at nursery since Oct and has not yet managed more than a 30 min long sleep there, but it really hasn't made any difference to how well he sleeps at night. He just comes home from nursery VERY tired, but if I'm home with him the next day he's is back to his usual 2 hour afternoon nap routine. It's definitely taught me that he is much more adaptable than I thought, and can cope with different routines on different days.

I'm really excited about getting back to work! Of course I love my DS more than words can say, but I also love working and am sure I will enjoy my days with him so much more when it's not all day every day. I don't feel guilty about leaving DS for work at all - but then I've been leaving him at nursery once a week for 3 months now so had plenty of chances for both of us to get used to it.

Really appreciate the 'don't complain, don't explain' line - excellent advice!

scottishmummy Sat 04-Jan-14 23:13:15

I get deliveries to work.amazon prime is godsend
I've never made a school costume,hell that's what ebay for. I never do any PTA stuff,the school sooks can do that
for the really short notice parties I Keep stash of neutral cards,paper and generic gifts,I re-gift duplicate gifts.means you're not charging about short notice trying to buy something. Adult gifts I've bought some stuff in sale

I have a drawer in kitchen,full of bumph,paper,Sellotape,cards,stuff to gift

Clayhanger Sat 04-Jan-14 23:43:34

Totally agree with scottishmummy and working9while5. You do click back into it. My DDs are teens now and I have always worked FT. (No guilt, though occasionally I envy my SAHM friends for their coffeetimes if it's a nice day..) in fact I have to tell you that they recall virtually nothing of those years when they were at nursery and "being raised by other people", ha!
My DDs are proud of the fact I'm working and have told me that consistently. I was lucky in that I didn't have a commute and DH and I have always parcelled out tasks 50/50. We'd diarise ruthlessly so each of us could stay late at work twice a week if necessary. Oh, and weekends are pretty much sacred. I'll check the blackberry so that I don't have a Monday morning crisis but that's it.

The first 5 years we were broke. Childcare took up virtually all our money and we couldn't afford holidays or anything but the most basic DIY on the house. But that passes; I am now in a senior role in publishing and am now so used to working at top speed I have become very efficient at home. The advice upthread about getting stuff ready on Sunday night is spot on!

I strongly recommend Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In which is very good on giving tips on how to look at your career and not be scared of going for a senior role. Women hold themselves back too often and we need more women doctors, financial directors, head teachers, lawyers etc. Don't feel guilty about your achievements. Don't ignore office politics - I'm not advocating crappy political behaviour here but watch how the men behave and make sure you're in the room for every major decision. A lot of women don't play the political game (sanely) but it's important to be able to read it.

The best thing I did in retrospect was forego a bonus 6 years ago and instead negotiated extra holiday which I still have. Obviously this is dependent on your industry - teachers couldn't get this but worth considering if you're in professional services.

Sometimes I think that some women feel doubly guilty - first for being a mother at work and secondly for being a woman who's good at her job.. The more senior you get, the more you can call the shots. If I have to go to their school, I just go. If I had been PT and had not progressed I would have had to get official time off, permission etc.
Best of luck to all of you going back smile

OwlCat Sat 04-Jan-14 23:48:09

What I find hard is missing out on friendships. When I was on maternity leave and then worked part time, I used to go to playgroups and meet up with other mum friends that I had met through various groups. Now they all see each other during the daytime on weekdays and people generally consider weekends to be family time, so I feel like friendships are drifting. My job is okay but sometimes I don't speak to anyone all day, my husband isn't very social so we don't really have any couple friends, and my pre-children friends don't live nearby. I have no opportunities or that much time to make new friends. The lack of social interaction/opportunity to just have a chat with friends gets me down.

ThreeWisePerpendicularVinces Sat 04-Jan-14 23:51:41

OwlCat, I'm worried about that too. I've made some lovely mum friends and don't want to lose them.

Theonlyoneiknow Sat 04-Jan-14 23:58:48

My mum friendships have definitely been affected by working FT. Everyone else only works 3 days so they all meet up during the week for play dates etc and when we all meet up in often haven't a clue what they are talking about :-(

Theonlyoneiknow Sun 05-Jan-14 00:00:44

owl I am similar re : the lack of social interaction outwith work. It's so hard though as I have so little free time but I have said to myself that that has to change this year.

working9while5 Sun 05-Jan-14 00:17:12

If you can at all, try to have some interests outside of work and home.
This year at various points I've been in a choir, done another evening class, hoga, wccasional weekend art workshops and tbh they are much much more socially fulfilling than mummy friends. Whatever floats YOUR boat. I find weekend workshops great, it's like dinner party chit chat without the pressure. Singing makes me feel amazing. I've also made some friends and invited them over etc.

I know it's different for everyone and some people have made good friendships over the early years but I found it to be mainly polite chit chat and endless chat about the minutiae of child rearing in a way that just didn't do it for me. I don't particularly enjoy talking about my kids outside of my family or with very very close friends.

Having said that I have an online group of about 22 from an antenatal thread I was on with ds1 and we are on Whatsapp now five years later and have been through a lot with bereavements, affairs, unemployment and just general Friday night chit chat. We meet about four times a year and there is always someone available 24/7 who can answer the practical kiddy questions about how much milk an 18 month should have, is this something I need to take them to doc about and to rant about the shit days where they're hyper and won't sleep/are acting up... but there is total and utter honesty, no grandstanding or pretending to know all the answers or adherence to parenting 'styles' etc . I need them as a support.. I really do. Once it's not anonymous and you've met the showboating and Grand Positions of online fora just fade out and you get good support.

I think it is helpful to have honest female friendships with other women but it is also a bit like uni... it takes a while to find people you really click with vs are thrown together with by chance but have sod all in common with.

It is v v important not to get into a situation if possible where you both work f/t but he still socialises/plays football/watches rugby games over a pint while you just work and rear kids. Have seen this happen with loads of my friends and it lends itself to huge resentment.

Theonlyoneiknow Sun 05-Jan-14 00:31:27

I used to do lots of sports pre DC but they take up a lot of time (climbing, surfing etc) I can't just get out and do those now without pre planning so have taken up running and cycling so that I can at least get out for 30mins of exercise.

I am also planning on starting crafty type evening classes maybe knitting or crochet or something. Chance to meet new people and have a chat. I think I got a shock last year at how much more time consuming juggling two DC and a full time job was compared to one DC. But now, we have a routine that works so it's easier and both DH and I have said we need to make time for ourselves this year, both as a couple and as our own person.

working9while5 Sun 05-Jan-14 00:46:20

Yeah it's all about the sleeping arrangements... until evenings are yours it is pretty tough. That was why I had started weekend ones, 2hr ones locally some Sats. Running really works for anyone who can do it (dodgy knees here!)

Well LO has been vomiting profusely so there goes settling in session on Monday!!

My NCT group are almost all going back full time. We have promised to meet once every eight Saturdays with the kids and once every eight Saturdays for a girls night.

Want2bSupermum Sun 05-Jan-14 01:54:22

Meriingue Think about how your family will organize themselves if you child is sick. I have 4 people on my list who I can call at any given time. One person owns a restaurant and they have about 5 or 6 college students who could look after a sick child so DH and I can go to work.

I overlooked this when I first went back. I do advise on having a plan figured out with your OH because DC get sick all the time. I got fed up with daycare calling me when DH was around the corner so I stopped answering my phone. Sounds cruel but it got them calling DH first. Only once was DD so sick that they called the doctor. I was 90mins away so called DH's driver from the local taxi company and had him pick up DD. We met at the doctors office. Have all of this planned out because your kids will get sick on the day you have a very important meeting or a deadline and your DH is 2000 miles away!

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 05-Jan-14 02:01:25

Yes I'm worried about keeping in touch with my NCT group too. I don't make friends easily, there's no one at work I see socially (nor do I want to). But our NCT group has meshed really well, and I don't want to lose those friendships sad

kiwikaterpillar Sun 05-Jan-14 05:50:15

Good tips on the hobbies etc. DH and I are in the process of negotiating this now. We hope to continue to go tramping and climbing as a family at weekends with other friends who have children but he had originally thought that he could book himself up every evening with ice hockey etc. After pointing out the error of his ways it seems to have finally clicked with him that this is about us as a family and team! I am hoping to join a local choir and get back to running.
Now I just need to work on household tasks.
Also love the mantra "don't complain, don't explain".

louloutheshamed Sun 05-Jan-14 08:18:29

This is such an interesting thread.

I went back fr after my ds1 when he was 11mo.

It was fine, probably because I was happy with childcare, short commute, fab supportive dh, like my job.

Now I'm off again with ds2 and I really don't know what to do about going ft or asking to go down to 4 days. Am veering towards ft for various reasons.

So this thread is helpful to me!

ImpOfDarkness Sun 05-Jan-14 08:34:15

DS is ten weeks today. I'm going back to work tomorrow, as I have no more ML (not in the UK). Gulp. Fortunately only a few hours a week to begin with. My main worry is DP working nights, not sure how we're going to manage.

roseinwinter Sun 05-Jan-14 08:35:24

Can I join too please? I'm going back to work four days a week (hopefully). Both DH and I have demanding job with long hours so I have no idea how it's going to work. DD will be in nursery 4 days - I've never left her for more than a few hours before. I'm trying not to panic at the moment but I'm dreading it.

cheminotte Sun 05-Jan-14 09:31:03

Lots of really valid points about maintaining friendships and interests outside of work. I do yoga one evening a week which is pretty sacred. I have some good friends there and we catch up after the class. I also go running one weeke mrning. Now the dc are a bit older (3 and 6) it is hard to choose between seeing their friends and mum or my friends with their dcwhen I have time off in the week without dpi eg in school hols.

BraveLilBear Sun 05-Jan-14 09:42:25

Don't explain, don't complain is fantastic, thank you.

I also feel a lot less anxious about damaging my son in daycare, although I think I will try to maintain lunchtime breastfeed initially.

How have people managed the hand back from mat cover? I am quite concerned re this. I am fairly confident she is not more able than me but she'll have had 8 months fostering relationships with my contacts, and won't have had to deal with all the crap I had to deal with before I went off so I am concerned that she will bebetter pperceived than me.

The director has told me he wants to keep her on if his restructure plans are approved. The additional problem is we don't have a line manager at present - she was incompetent and eventually got rid of while I've been off. I see myself as a frontrunner for the role (when eventually it is advertised) but there are no guarantees.

If I end up on the same level as my replacement I will be very upset.

Am I being unreasonable to feel like that?

BraveLilBear Sun 05-Jan-14 09:44:18

Massive good luck to those heading back Monday and Tuesday - fingers crossed it goes ok!

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Jan-14 09:52:50

My maternity cover was crap (teacher) so at least I know my classes will be pleased to see me!

Back tomorrow, haven't slept well this last couple of nights, I suppose I'm feeling anxious about it all. Have been planning my lessons, sorting out work clothes, routines, meal planning, today will be batch cooking. It's all a bit hectic rather than enjoying the end of maternity leave. Probably shouldn't have left it all till the last minute, but Christmas was busy!

Want I think we are stuffed for when LO is ill and can see us both having to take a lot of family leave this first year. We have no family close by, no SAHM friends (who in any case would presumably not want their own children infected). I have a couple of single friends who work flexibly who might occasionally be able to step in, but no one I can really rely on. DP and me have agreed we will take alternate days off to look after LO; if we have pressing meetings then we will need to negotiate.

Re some of the discussion up thread. I find it hard not to get worked up about "the patriarchy" sometimes but I don't want to spend my time being bitter and angry about it as it does my mental health no favours. At the end of the day I have to live in the society we have (whilst of course working to change it subtly eg modelling an equal partnership to my kids).

I also don't want to cut off my nose to spite my face, ie work long hours just because DP is working long hours... Ultimately I guess I think that it's not so much that women need to model how men act in the workplace, but that men could take on more of how women approach work.

I haven't read Lean In, but doesn't she basically advocates that you need to put career first? I do love my career, find it v rewarding, but if push came to shove I'd pick DS first, of course. I know many men who put career way above family and I'd hate to have that kind of relationship with my kids.

Luckily I work in the quasi public sector, in my organisation about 75% of staff are women. So sanity prevails. It is expected that people leave at 5pm and do build up and take time in lieu when overtime is necessary.

We also chat about our kids a lot and no one sees that as problematic. Not in work time but on lunch etc. or making small talk after a meeting - the way a bunch of guys might talk about sport. Actually, the men in our organisation are v similar and always showing you baby pics.

I previously worked in private sector professional services and can't imagine how parents cope... It would have been hell for me I think.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 05-Jan-14 11:43:15

Yes, good luck to all those going back this week.

Bravelilbear I don't think you are bu at all. I can see what you mean- you don't want the excellent work you can do to be overshadowed by someone else's good work, just because theirs is fresher in everyone's minds. I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions how to proceed though but I sympathise!

LauraBridges Sun 05-Jan-14 11:45:54

Good luck. I always went back full time, a long time ago now and I have the wisdom of the years to say it really is all fine and lots of advantages for the children and families too. i was content to Lean In. Also my career was first not second in the marriage. Also we had back ups of back ups. You can always hire an emergency nanny. If you work at a loss that one day because of the cost that does not mean you are silly. It means you are preserving a career which could last you 40 years so it's a kind of investment in your reliability. Also befriend local old ladies many of whom are great with babies and happy to come over for a day if your child is off sick and childcare is hard to come by.

bigkidsdidit Sun 05-Jan-14 13:39:28

I also don't have any backup for when they are ill but DH and I alternate days. In that respect a cm is better than a nursery I think (nanny even better obviously) -my cm takes them with everything except vomiting / diarrhoea, they just have a peaceful day at home. If they are ill and want mummy of course I stay home but I have heard friends being called to pick their dc up from nursery because they have a cough / runny nose - CMs don't do that ime

TheLastJammyDodger Sun 05-Jan-14 14:44:01

I am back to work FT tomorrow. DS2 is 6 months old and will be going to nursery FT. I am lucky in that my working hours are fairly flexible so that I can take DS1 to school and then take DS2 to nursery. DS1 will go to a CM after school for a couple of hours each day. I will miss the boys, but overall I am looking forward to going back to work. It feels like I'm back to normal. I've enjoyed ML, but did feel a bit like I was living someone else's life (if that makes sense).

I've really enjoyed reading this thread. It's really reinforced my decision to work FT. Best of luck to all those going back tomorrow smile.

blueshoes Sun 05-Jan-14 18:24:52

Bravelilbear, I understand the insecurity of having to hand back from your competent maternity cover who has had a year to impress your boss and colleagues. As I believe you are going back ft, you are in an excellent position to be back in people's faces to regain the confidence of your colleagues, particularly with your wealth of experience as compared with your cover. People will be watching you to see how your having children changes the way you work. In fact, some might already have assumed you would be less committed, not necessarily in a let's-write-her-off way but even in a well meaning way, but even that is somewhat insidious if these people have a say on your progression or bonus.

Which is why it is important to continue to show commitment and surprise your colleagues. "Don't complain, don't explain" is excellent, particularly if you work in a male-dominated environment (I don't know if you do). Continue to be flexible (work on blackberry at home or take calls occasionally) and cultivate back-up childcare. Don't always be the one to rush home when your dc is ill or childcare breaks down. If it is your dh doing it, casually let your colleagues know so that they know you are sharing the load with your dh and you are not automatically the one on the mummy track.

Of course, you won't be able to be as available as your childless colleagues or colleagues with SAHP partners, but every now and then select a few things that showcase your commitment that make the most impact on your colleagues, for example attending a work or social meeting outside your working hours that has a lot of senior management present or volunteer to come in for an important event on a day you are supposed to be working from home without making too much of a big deal of it.

It will challenge people's preconceptions and reinforce your commitment whilst continuing to deliver your excellent work on top of that. It sounds tiring but don't let go just because you are a parent. In the office, you are first and foremost an employee so just be mindful to take steps to preserve your position.

I write as a pt-er who returned from maternity leave who was usurped by my maternity cover and then subsequently as a maternity cover who usurped a maternity returner by my showing lots of flexibility and commitment despite my having 2 children.

louloutheshamed Sun 05-Jan-14 18:37:18

Blueshoes its an interesting point you make about letting work know if your dh has taken time off for dcs illness etc.

When my ds had chicken pox earlier this year he had to stay off nursery for a week. We made alternative arrangments but there was still one day I couldn't cover so I had to take one day off. The cover manager (am a teacher) wanted to know why the burden wasn't being shared with my husband when in actual fact he had already done two days. (He's self employed).

I was quite exasperated and it made me wonder if I should tell them whenever my dh is covering illness so they know, even though really it's just nothing to do with them! But I agree it should be shared wherever possible as if its always the woman then you're really just saying your job is less important than your husband's.

The thing is, there are a few husband/wife couples on the staff at my school and they don't seem to insist on the same equality if either way it impacts on cover!!

LauraBridges Sun 05-Jan-14 18:46:08

What blues says x 10. Very wise advice.
Some women think they will be noticed if they just work hard adn keep their head down. Instead you have to do that and also do what many more men do too - which is publicise what you do, in a subtle sense show off, make sure they know how good you are not just that you happen to turn up 9 - 5. It's a kind of self marketing and picking carefully those things that matter.

I remember eg going to one set of lectures every quarter in a lunch hour when the oldest children were very little because the other set/group I could have joined which was similar had its lectures at 6pm every quarter which would have been much worse. So it was a tactical choice which worked best for me.

Also if you can reply very quickly to emails then whether you're in the bath at home or holding a screaming toddler at 7pm in the house you can still appear more efficient and better than someone flicking through the newspaper at 7pm in the office who is staying late to ensure his wife does the whole bed time routine before he saunters home for his dinner.

scottishmummy Sun 05-Jan-14 19:14:59

We work out in advance who'll take dp if we get the call,prevents that panic,gives order
It is absolutely clear It isn't automatically me cause I'm mum.we do try share equitably and time off.again this is a conversation with partner that you must share commitments and don't sleep walk to the mummy track.
If you've got no family near,or back up,I'd discreetly discuss with manager best to be transparent,so they know your situation .be clear you could take calls,work on PC etc when at home if this is applicable.

Ilanthe Sun 05-Jan-14 19:34:38

It used to drive me mad when nursery automatically rang me rather than DH, although they'd been told DH was 10 minutes away with a flexible job and I was an hour away. It was hard to bring it up without sounding heartless though.

I do the occasional meeting on my day off / lots of stuff in the evenings / extra stuff to show my commitment. I'm also always available by email. I also learnt very early on never to mention the fact I worked 4 days. If a meeting was scheduled for a Friday 'oh I'm not in that day', not 'I don't work Fridays'.

I am also worried people will think my maternity cover is better than me and not want me back. He's contracted till end of the financial year so there will be some overlap and anything he's been doing that works well I'll take on and run with it. Funnily enough despite being male, he also does the same full time over 4 days I do for childcare reasons.

Still, I've not been at work since 21 December 2012. Tomorrow I start again. Gulp.

Theonlyoneiknow Sun 05-Jan-14 19:43:24

Good Luck tomorrow everyone!!!

I was also very worried about my maternity cover being better than me, but once I had been back in the job a couple of weeks (and they had left) it was like I had never been away. He was 'alright' and it was left at that. My first mat cover was awful though and left my job in a right state!

Sumirechan Sun 05-Jan-14 19:59:50

I'm finding this thread very helpful as I'll be back at work Tuesday week after 10 months off and am a bit anxious. DP will look after DD who is 7 months old for 3 weeks, until she starts part time for the first six weeks at the creche where I work.

I think it will be fine because even though I have enjoyed the time at home, I also want to go back to work and do other things and see a wider variety of people. I look forward to having a family and work life, just have to try and be flexible I suppose and not expect too much.

Tweet2tweet Sun 05-Jan-14 20:00:58

Big hugs to everyone going back tomorrow. You will be great and just have this thread mantra 'don't complain, don't explain' to get you through. Oh and maybe treat yourself to a first day back nice lunch, even if it's just grabbing a sandwich and having a 'me time' 1/2 hour where you don't need to juggle kids and eat ;)

OwlCat Sun 05-Jan-14 20:29:42

Thanks for this thread, it has inspired me to join an evening activity rather than just feeling sorry for myself about missing out on seeing mum friends during the daytime in the week/losing out on friendships smile

scottishmummy Sun 05-Jan-14 20:51:42

Re:friends.baby groups friendships are often forged to get though the fug of new baby
But they need a enduring rapport to endure,something other than baby stuff
Some baby group friendships will wane,some won't.if someone wants to see you to maintain rapport they need to compromise,see you AL or weekend.if they don't/won't then it will wane. It depends whether the friendship is adequate And can sustain a change
I did used to see someone I knew from baby group when I returned, but her near constant i do know how you do it Was an issue and mono topic of babies wasn't enough to sustain
I do maintain contact with few I met baby group,they all returned to work

Zamboni Sun 05-Jan-14 20:56:16

Good luck to those going back this week!

scottishmummy Sun 05-Jan-14 21:00:40

Ime,the anticipatory nerves are worse than the reality,you'll all be fine
Ease in,absolute no dwelling,no guilt.just get in with it.and compartmentalise
Get all stuff. Ready tonight,big squirt perfume in morning you'll be good to go

EagleRay Sun 05-Jan-14 21:36:33

Meringues I'm in a similar situation regarding illness as have no family nearby who could help, also DP works 100 miles away (and stays away most of the week). There will be days where he can cover though as he will be here first thing Monday and Thursday mornings, and is a permanent employee so does have some flexibility when it comes to time off. I'm a contractor and will try to avoid taking too much time off as the contract is only for a few months and don't want to jeopardise it.

Interesting reading about taking over from maternity cover - I'm quite lucky that I'm not in that position as I'm starting a new job in a new company. However, over the many years I've been working, I've done maternity cover roles three times. The first couple of times I can remember slightly insensitive comments when the person on maternity leave visited the office and colleagues said "it's been AWFUL here without you" in my presence! I didn't have the confidence back then to brush it off and it was really hurtful. The last time I did maternity cover, I was warned that the woman who was on maternity leave would feel insecure and probably be quite challenging to deal with, and then I was kept on anyway, which made things worse! During handover before she left, she was quite relaxed and said just to do things my way, then when she came back she picked over all my work and criticised everything. I left soon after anyway as found a better job! Anyway, not everyone behaves like that but it does feel really good to be doing something new and meeting new people when I go back in a week's time.

By the way, working on the principle 'the more you do, the more you can do', I'm hoping going back to work will give me the motivation to do some of the things I never got round to doing on maternity leave, such as reading books and also going out to the pub once in a while (even if it means having to hire a babysitter). I've also recently taken up weight training, which I do with a personal trainer on Sat mornings, so will keep that up and also do my exercises at home in the evening.

Good luck to everyone going back tomorrow - do report back!

I'm hoping the same, Eagleray!

Laughing at befriending little old ladies. Has anyone here used sitters.co.uk? Thoughts??

Sleepstarved Sun 05-Jan-14 22:13:42

You all seem like such confident, career women.
Don 't get me wrong, I am in a really good job, one of the best in my field but I just don't have the same passion for it anymore.
I wouldn't go back at all if I didn't have to financially.
DD1 may have SEN and I feel one of us needs to be around and DH and I are both very protective of her and with DD2 I am enjoying having a baby without all those kinds of worries.
I sound really wet but I don't want to miss out of them being little. For me, I don't think I'll be someone who will look back when I am old and wish I had worked more. But then maybe I am just saying that as there is no prospect of me being able to stop anyway!

JetSetWilly Sun 05-Jan-14 22:25:59

Am signing in and will join in more when I have some time as I'm frantically getting all paperwork housework done and enjoying the last few days with my DCs before I return full time on Wednesday. I cannot wait!

Have had a mixture of part time work maternity and consultancy work whilst the DCs were young and now ready to go back. During that time I've also studied and now having passed my exams I need to work to qualify (the consultancy work having dried up).

I have managed to get a job locally (9-5) after sending my cv on spec so after working in the city for the last 15 ish years this feels like part time anyway! I should be able to walk the children to school before work and then be home by 5:30

My eldest is at school and my youngest is starting this September. I would have preferred starting full time in September but beggars can't be choosers... I'm a lone parent and it was getting hairy on the money front. I also really enjoy working so was finding it very hard being at home when youngest was at nursery.

Looking forward to chatting to you all and good luck to all those starting this week!

scottishmummy Sun 05-Jan-14 22:31:56

You know what a little front goes long way. You act confident,folk are reassured
Also I read it's that reality check.you're employed because you can do job
Employer has that faith in you.you too need faith.so good luck all returners

Scottish yu mention Steve Biddulph used to write in support of nurseries, do you know what changed?

scottishmummy Sun 05-Jan-14 22:41:23

I read he claimed he had some epiphany that capitalism was omnipotent,killing families etc
So he wrote a for profit book,made money telling others what to do
Oh the irony

When i read it that bit (and that bit only) sounded like it had been written by a man running a cult! So that would explain it

Iirc he was happy for fathers to work wasn't he? Part of the capitalist machine. Just not the mummies

scottishmummy Sun 05-Jan-14 22:46:41

Read him v carefully he uses caveats like I don't need facts,this isn't about science
He's oft quoted by the precious moments crew,to try substantiate nursery is grim
He is much loved by people who like OJames.that affluenza,women know yer place psychobabble

scottishmummy Sun 05-Jan-14 22:49:22

The brand of capitalism that keeps women at home,buying men's pants,domestic stuff
Yes both oj and biddulph think female should be primary carer.ok men work mind
Essentially patriarchy reworked with smattering of woo it's science

working9while5 Sun 05-Jan-14 23:43:21

Nursery staff sometimes do babysitting, this has been great for us! Not all settings allow it but great if you can sort a regular sitter.

working9while5 Sun 05-Jan-14 23:45:18

Also I seem to recall there is some caselaw about splitting childcare cover equally btw man and woman.. too late to google but think you are supposed to show equal effort for it to count as discrimination if they kick up fuss about it.. or something like that

Want2bSupermum Mon 06-Jan-14 03:09:38

I have no family or friends close by that are able to look after the kids - we live 3000 miles away from our parents and siblings! I have sought out people who can help us with cover. One person is an owner of a restaurant. Her waitstaff are often not busy during the day and she has sent over one of her girls to look after DD before. You need people who are available during the day on short notice. My neighbour who looks after the kids has three children. One works early hours in the morning and the other works in a restaurant. If my neighbour can't look after the DC her kids can split the work between them. Get to know your neighbours... See who works, who likes kids, who is home in the mornings, afternoons etc. 16-18 year olds can make great sitters during their holidays.

Sadly all the nurseries round here ban key worker babysitting... I know as I asked on all the visits!

I wouldn't trust any of the teeny boppers on our street to look after my 1 yo! But sure this will get easier as he gets older...

Poor little sausage slept through last night, he only ever does that when he's ill. He hasn't thrown up since Saturday night so debating whether to take him for his settling in session this morning...

atthestrokeoftwelve Mon 06-Jan-14 08:46:46

elfontheshelf- I know exactly where you are coming from.

When I had my first child I had a great career as a research scientist. I had fully intended to go back to work full time when my baby was 6 months- I wanted to and we needed my income.

When the time came though I felt very differently.
Staying home with my baby felt the most important thing for me.

We sold our house and moved to cheap rented accommodation.
I became self employed and worked part time from home, fitting my hours around my baby's naps and when my OH was home from work.

Everyone thought I was mad- my family told me I was throwing away my career, friends thought I was nuts- I came in for a lot of criticism.

Now that mey children are almost adults I look back and don't regret my decision for one moment.

I am still self employed- the business proved lucrative, we managed to buy another house some years down the line but most of all I have enjoyed that very fleeting time of my children's early years.

LauraBridges Mon 06-Jan-14 08:57:01

And I don't regret for one minute going back full time when they were very small, best decision I ever reached. Life has been very very good. So we all take our own decision on these things.

atthestrokeoftwelve Mon 06-Jan-14 09:17:51

Laurabridges- of course- we all have different priorities.

minipie Mon 06-Jan-14 11:23:50

I also learnt very early on never to mention the fact I worked 4 days. If a meeting was scheduled for a Friday 'oh I'm not in that day', not 'I don't work Fridays'.

This is an interesting point. I'm not sure I would do this. People are going to figure it out at some point surely, so why not be open?

Similarly I'm not sure I will follow the advice about sending emails at 7pm during bedtime, or attending meetings on my day off work, or outside work hours, just to show commitment. I'm not going to interrupt my time with DD unless it's absolutely necessary (just as DD will not interrupt my time at work unless absolutely necessary).

That said, in my case I've been mummy tracked anyway, simply by virtue of going 4 days a week. I don't think any amount of being seen to be keen will change this sadly. So I've nothing to gain by extra work. It would be different if I was the main earner and needed/wanted promotion.

Minipie I agree. I like that the culture in my current workplace does not expect employees to work overtime in evenings etc, which I don't think is conducive to a healthy work life balance.

I think balance will be the key word going forward...

blueshoes Mon 06-Jan-14 12:04:18

Minipie, if you are resigned - I would not say 'happy', because you probably are not - to being sidelined on the mummy track (as I was when my dcs were very young and I was a pt-er), I can understand why you don't feel you have to take any of the advice mentioned.

I find that now my dcs are schoolage and I am working ft, I am less tolerant of being unfairly sidelined. I also need the money now that the children are getting more expensive so I now WANT promotions and bigger bonuses for my efforts, even though dh is the main earner. FWIW, I took both my maternity leaves and went pt in one job. Then slipped off my overtly mummy cloak, changed jobs and reinvented myself as a ft-er in my new firm - that way, there was no history of my being on the mummy track and I could be evaluated on a clean slate.

In other words, feel free to thrash your commitment credentials in one job and then re-surface in another if and when you are ready.

LauraBridges Mon 06-Jan-14 13:54:23

Thre is always that difference. I lean in and earn quite a bit and am more than happy to send emails at any time. Other women and a good few men don't. We all just take the choices we want and they lead to particular results. As long as all mean and women know the consequences of leaning in and out there is clarity and people make an informed choice.

Changing jobs for promotion and higher pay can be a very good plan and a fresh start if you can find another job. Women tend to stick in the same job too long whereas higher pay usually comes through a good few sensible career moves to different employers asking for more pay every time you move.

Ok so a question for those who have been there before... If you had a baby who howled like mine every time he was left... How many settling in sessions/ full days did it take until that stopped??

EagleRay Mon 06-Jan-14 15:00:21

I'm a first timer but DD has been at nursery since oct. She's been fine when left apart from last few sessions where she's clung to me and screamed! Each time though, she's stopped crying as soon as I've left.

No idea how helpful that is - I accept that DD may do this sometimes but what's important to me is that she soon settles and enjoys the rest of the session.

She cries when I turn up to get her too confused

Tweet2tweet Mon 06-Jan-14 15:11:42

To reassure regarding the crying. It is temporary and a phase linked to separation anxiety. Most likely once you are out of sight the crying stops and smiles start. Then when you're back they start again because little one sees you and thinks 'yeah, forgot you'd gone, will cry now and forget again in 20 mins'! Some argue that it is healthy for kids as they learn that you may go but you also come back and this develops a strength. Main thing is to be consistent with drop off and pick up times and don't have lengthy, emotional farewells. A confident hug and kiss goodbye is best.

Easier said than done I know but it does get better. I talk from experience.

Want2bSupermum Mon 06-Jan-14 15:19:21

mini It boils down to the dont explain part of 'dont complain, dont explain'. If someone wants a meeting on Friday you are not available. Let them figure out why. If you explain they will put you on the mummy track and you can kiss career progression goodbye.

Just because you are working four days a week doesn't have to mean you are on the mummy track unless that is what you want. Plenty of men and women are on 4 day schedules at my employer and get promoted with their peer group because they have demonstrated the required skills to perform at the next level.

meringue DD started daycare at 3 months so never cried once until she was almost 2. She cries now when we leave the house but the trick is to distract her. As soon as we have left she gets on with the day. DS is 10 months and hasn't cried once.

LauraBridges Mon 06-Jan-14 15:21:07

Agree with tweet. In fact lots of babies will scream blue murder and toddlers cling to you if you want to leave them to go to the loo - this is not something that just applies to working parents. It can apply to going out to the shops without them so don't let it cause any guilt at all.

They like consistency and certainty - that XYZ happens at ABC time every day in the week without fail. That is what comforts them. So if you can stick to the same carers/pickups and same meals and bed time routine every single night they feel safe and secure.

minipie Mon 06-Jan-14 16:43:00

I see what you mean Supermum but I think "I don't work Fridays" also fits with don't complain don't explain doesn't it? (I would never say "sorry I don't work Fridays as I have to look after my daughter"). It also has the benefit of making it clear that I won't be available for a meeting next Friday or any other Friday either.

I agree in theory 4 days shouldn't mean mummy track... I think it does at my firm though, or at least it means no promotion to partner. TBH I don't mind being mummy tracked as long as I still get good work and decent pay, it might take a bit of the pressure off re client marketing and so on. Again, this would be different if I was the main earner or was very ambitious to reach the top.

blueshoes Mon 06-Jan-14 17:30:05

minipie, if you are a lawyer in a law firm (particularly City), then it is either go hell for leather for years and years if you want to make partner, or not. It is all or nothing. If you go 4 days, I don't think you will realistically make partner in a very competitive environment as against your peers who work ft and more.

You are presumably very well paid for your 4 days, even after pro-rating. If you are happy with that and your firm allows you to 'coast', rather than up-or-out, it is not a bad place to be. I understand your drivers as your opportunities for promotion are somewhat limited short of going for gold.

cheminotte Mon 06-Jan-14 18:14:21

The problem with the mummy track is it sneak up on you. You think you are happy just doing your job at worrying about promotions and then you realise someon with less experience than you has been given a job that was never advertised and people just assume you would not be interested if they even thought of you, quietly workingaway doing 5 days of work in 4 days

IceNoSlice Mon 06-Jan-14 20:54:41

I agree with the points raised about not just quietly keeping your head down and hoping bosses will just notice how much you're doing - I have seen how it pays to be vocal and make sure your efforts are noticed.

I am determined not to be mummy tracked. I had a frank discussion with my bosses about a month after I started back stating what I was doing over and above the 'day job' (marketing, targeting clients etc) and asking what more I could do. I told them I wanted promotion and was prepared to work for it - and to consider me for challenging assignments. But I have done the whilst remaining office based (as opposed to working away) and mostly during normal hours by cutting the crap (no FB or MN at work, short lunches) and getting on with it.

I'll have to wait and see on the promotion though - it is an annual process in August. I start mat leave again in Feb...

Theonlyoneiknow Mon 06-Jan-14 21:11:03

How did everyone get on back at work today? I picked DD up from nursery and they said she hadn't napped which I was a bit gutted about. That's the first time ever she has missed a nap. Its normally 2hrs. She's only 18mo so it meant a mad rush with dinner bath and straight to bed as she had been up for 12hrs straight sad lets hope she naps tomorrow!

sconeswithcream Mon 06-Jan-14 21:26:35

I'd like to join please! back to work full time in march when my little boy (first child) will be 6 months. I'm a teacher and head of 2 big departments so long days ahead and can only be full time. We've just sorted a childminder and and planning to start dropping bfeeds. ( am v sad about this but there is no way I could find the time or the relaxing situation to express at work! )

kiwikaterpillar Mon 06-Jan-14 21:31:17

Theonlyone hope that your DD naps tomorrow. I'm sure she'll settle into a routine soon enough.

I need to get better at making noise about the extra responsibility I take on etc but it seems so false and I feel awkward about doing it, I also think that it should be very evident to anyone higher up worth their salt. Men seem so much better at marketing (or bulls*****g) themselves at work.
I have until now relied on being very efficient, capable etc to put me in good stead but a couple of points up the thread about ensuring your contributions are acknowledged and "out there" along with a point re women tending to stick in the same organisation rather then move jobs have struck a chord with me and are definite food for thought.
Good luck for those in their first week back.

scottishmummy Mon 06-Jan-14 21:33:38

IMO,the significant thing is baby will be different in childcare.and we need to accept that.different environment different stimulus.they'll be different. I wouldn't worry about naps.may well be that routine changes at nursery. Nursery is safe,adequate but nursery isn't home -so expect changes.

Kind of what I started off saying,you accept you'll not be available all times,you'll never have the spontaneity of the housewives. This is pragmatically what we trade when we return. On other hand you'll have maintained career,be financially contributing,using your skills

I make sure I attend the important stuff and on those occasion dp collect if able
Go to some social stuff,keep a profile.build professional and personal rapport
I was listless,missed work on mat leave.love my weans but hell no way I'd give up work

noblegiraffe Mon 06-Jan-14 21:36:32

I am so tired, DD woke me three times in the night. The childminder said she was very good all day, only cried a little bit in the morning, ate a good lunch and had a nap (in the buggy, good luck to the CM getting her to nap in a cot!), so that's all positive.
But when I got home from work I was shattered and just wanted to sit and drink a cup of tea instead of playing with the DC which I felt a bit crap about. Then once they were in bed, tidying up the kitchen after dinner took ages and now I'm supposed to be doing more work for tomorrow.

It's going to be a bit of a slog. I should feel better once DD starts sleeping better though.

On the work front, I was worried that I had forgotten how to teach, but once I was in the classroom, it was easy. Muscle memory or something smile

Thanks... I've been told he's been crying almost the whole time I've been gone but he wasn't actually in tears today when I picked him up so feeling a bit more positive now.

Welcome to the joiners.

Please could I gently ask we keep the time of the thread supportive? Finding some of the comments made a little intimidating... I don't think it helps anxious mums to be told what we must and must not do; what we will or won't achieve etc.

*tone not time sorry

scottishmummy Mon 06-Jan-14 21:41:15

Mine ate a gargantuan range of food at nursery that was declined at home
I think just go with flow,nursery is different fir them.can't expect it to be same
Watching the burgeoning friendships was nice,and all the social confidence

scottishmummy Mon 06-Jan-14 21:46:26

I can't see anything unsupportive on thread?
It's useful IMO it be able to have a frank discussion about returning,and other mums strategy,experiences,thoughts
Can be hard RL to get people to discuss this or share without fear of inappropriate disclosure later

Ilanthe Mon 06-Jan-14 22:02:18

It was me who said I don't let on I don't work Fridays. This is 'clients' rather than colleagues, in the main. The way my profession works my clients could become my employer one day and I don't want to be written off before they've even read my CV, assuming I want the mummy track. My colleagues all know and it's a recurring out of office in my diary titled non-working day.

Also, it's unfortunate but I already have to be twice as good to be recognised simply by being female, I'm not adding the stigma of part time to it as well. It's not fair, I don't like it and it shouldn't be like it, but you can often be seen as less competent simply by not working full time. And who make up the majority of part time workers? Women. It's a viscious circle. And it is so true that men big themselves up. I know of several instances when someone has said oh I know so and so, he's <job title> and I've thought, no he bloody isn't the lying bastard.

Anyway, work was fine today. Pretty quiet, caught up on emails mainly. I've got back to back meetings tomorrow which will generate a load of work so it'll be busier from then on.

DS2 was fine at nursery, had more sleep and more formula than I manage to get him to have usually. It tired him out, he was fast asleep before 7. I'm utterly shattered though, DS2 was up for the day at 4.30am with a feed at 1.30, before which I didn't manage to drop off, so I'm running on very little sleep.

louloutheshamed Mon 06-Jan-14 22:03:32

Today I have watched a ted talk and an interview on you tube with Sheryl Sandberg and ordered her book.

I would really recommend the ted talk as so many of her points pertain to this discussion.

Scone- I am a teacher too (but not hod) and I went back ft after ds1. (off again with ds2) and I kept up bf for 6 months after going back, just the bedtime feed, I found it a lovely way to maintain the connection with my ds, do don't feel you need to stop bf if you don't want to.

IceNoSlice Mon 06-Jan-14 22:16:30

loulou what is a ted talk?

IceNoSlice Mon 06-Jan-14 22:21:10

meringue your post has puzzled me. Do you mean that you find things like 'don't complain, don't explain' unsupportive as it tells anxious mums what we must or must not do? I personally find that phrase a really sensible approach - and hadn't heard it before someone posted it here.

SophiaMaddie Mon 06-Jan-14 22:43:14

This will be me soon. Seeing my boss sometime this week and going back to work part-time in May.I am so not looking forward to it. Maybe I will win Lotto and pay off the mortgage, cars, etc. smile by then. God help me!

Theonlyoneiknow Mon 06-Jan-14 22:50:52

The thing is she has been at nursery since April last year and has never had a problem napping there till today. Maybe the two weeks at home has out her out of kilter with her nursery routine. They said she just wasn't interested in sleeping as was too interested in what else was going on!

Did my first day of the 30 day shred today. It's only 20mins so easy to squeeze in once DCs are in bed. Feel good about it!

Hope you get a better nights sleep tonight ilanthe and noblegiraffe

Tomorrow is another day!

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Mon 06-Jan-14 23:09:30

Just to say - keep with it - you are all doing so well. This was me 15 years ago with DC1 - I was the only mother to return after mat leave, and although it was tough, it was absolutely the best thing I could have done, because when DC2 started school, because of my track record I was able to negotiate a term-time only client facing role (not education - sales, earning 6-fig salary) - unheard of in my industry, and thanks to bosses who had seen I was a serious committed worker and so trusted me to work unusual hours. It meant that I had a professional career and was able to deliver and mostly collect DC from primary school, and attend assemblies, nativities, sports days, and had the school hols with them (albeit with some blackberry/phone work in school hols). I never would have got that if I hadn't worked in the nursery years - and now they are teenagers and don't need me around I am so glad I was able to be there for their primary school hols. The nursery years are actually the easiest - gets harder with school.

bickie Mon 06-Jan-14 23:43:49

Not much to add but a lot of support - and the encouragement that you will all be fine. I was you 14 years ago and now so happy that I kept going with my career. My 3 children adore me (most of the time) they are thriving at school and sociable - so don't believe the crap about damaging them/your relationship. I have lots of SAHM friends who I made both at baby stage and through school - who have often helped me out - and I make sure to repay them with nice dinners and wine! You can keep up those friendships - don't need to be at coffee mornings to do it. You do miss moments - of course you do. But you also miss a lot of the competitive/ crap that my SAHM friends complain about that really starts to kick in when all their DC's are at school - there are a lot of empty hours to fill in a few years time. And don't feel bad about being a mother at work. Feel proud you are helping to put food on your children's plates.

Want2bSupermum Tue 07-Jan-14 00:53:31

Mini If you say 'I don't work on Fridays' you are explaining why you can't make a meeting. If you say 'Fridays don't work for me.' you are not explaining anything. You are just saying that day isn't good for you.

meringue It is upsetting to hear your child has been crying throughout the day. I would see how he does during the week. I explain to DD that I am going to work. Children adapt and sometimes they pick up on things you are tense about. Hopefully as the week progresses you are more relaxed and your new routine becomes established.

Mrs y, am interested to kmlw why it gets harder at school? I have two dcs, one in y2 and one who will be starting reception this year. Im looking forward to them botb being at school as I think my life will be loads easier.

cheminotte Tue 07-Jan-14 07:21:46

I would say school is harder as you don't have 51 weeks of childcare available so you have to plan your annual leave to cover as much of the holidays as possible while saving some for illness and unexpected closures such as Ted days or polling days. And schools have eats which parents are encouraged to attend, minimum of one per term ime which depending on the time of day they are held, how many children you have and how flexible your employer is, can add up to lots of time off. Last term for 2 dc I had 2 harvest festivals - didn't go to either as had only just started New job, dp went to the one for our younger dc; 1 class dancing display - had pm off to see that, 1 meeting with senco - worked from home; 1 nativity - worked from home and a Christmas service - pm off to attend. And amazingly only 2 sick days all term.

LauraBridges Tue 07-Jan-14 07:37:41

It is interesting that those women who work full time and want to get to the top and are very ambitious who might point out on this thread how to "lean in", how you build a personal brand at work, get promotions and exceed others and learn how to show off at work about how good you are might be regarded as being unsupportive of other full time mothers.

Surely it's inspiring. You can work and not lean in - fine your choice or work and lean in and either is a perfectly acceptable choice but I don't think censoring those of us who love achieving really helps other working mothers. Those who are not interested in pay rises and promotions can just ignore posts which are directed at that kind of thing. The main thing women need is knowledge - that if you do X you might achieve Y etc. Then you make your choices based on the information.

I didn't find it harder when they went to school at all compared with under 5s. The hardest period whether you're at home all day or working full time is when you aren't getting sleep and that passes as they get a bit older. A lot of people when the oldest goes to school still need full time childcare for the toddler so the use the same person - childminder or daily nanny or whatever to do the school collection. When the youngest is at full time school then things like after school clubs or hiring someone to do daily pick up and work 3 - 6 and ideally full time in holidays works well and I think it's much easier as they get older. Now I have teenagers it's a walk in the park. (By the way we used to love it when the toddler did not have a nap as it might actually go to bed on time. the downside of a slightly lazy day nanny is they have the children sleeping most of the day to make their day easier - we definitely had that at times - and then a very lively child that evening not wanting sleep).

I think it's up to women how they explain absences. For me it's just depended on the context - when I felt successful, high paid and at a boss level kind of job I've no problems saying I'm going to a carol service or sports day - it gives you a connection to male clients actually who often take time off for the same reasons. When I was junior it was wiser to say I have another meeting or I am not free then.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 07-Jan-14 07:39:04

I think school years can be difficult.
My son has never had the best of health- including lots of tonsilitis over the years, eventually having surgery.
I also find that when one child gets an illness requiring time off school the other child catches it hot on the heels- as others have said there are so many times when parental attendance for school events is desirable- seeing them off on residential trips, sports day, school concerts, nativity etc.
No employer would have put up with the illness and sick days my kids have had over the years!!

I suppose I feel im doing most of that but with two drop offs and sometimes two pick ups. Looking forward to them being in the same place!

sconeswithcream Tue 07-Jan-14 08:22:57

thanks loulou. am hoping to carry on feeding morning and evening if I can. would be gutted to give up completely now.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 07-Jan-14 08:34:16

I agree with MrsY - it gets harder as they get older. Nursery is easy as it carries on throughout the year. School is more difficult unless your school has a good after school and holiday club, or you have an au pair or childminder who can collect and entertain during holidays.

Mine are now in their teens, and I am finding it harder still. It is more difficult to miss a football match - at this age, it has to be you, rather than someone else cheering from the sidelines on a cold and wet Saturday morning. It needs to be you at the school play where they have a major part, rather than being one of sixteen sheep in a nativity, where they won't miss you in a heaving school hall full of parents. They need more support as they come up to their exams, with choices of subjects, revision schedules etc etc. They need you to be there for them, not a nursery, not a nanny or childminder, no matter how lovely they are. On the plus side, at 12 and 14, they are quite happy to stay on their own or see friends in school holidays, so the need for, and expense of, holiday club falls away.

louloutheshamed Tue 07-Jan-14 08:34:35

A ted talk is like a short 15 min lecture by an expert/high profile person on a given topic.

You can follow them on fb or loads on you tube

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 07-Jan-14 08:43:45

"No employer would have put up with the illness and sick days my kids have had over the years!!"

My elder DD was severely asthmatic as a child, with all of the accompanying issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia and stints in hospital. Employers do put up with it - you don't get "free" days off, you just take annual leave. I used to stash away 10 days annual leave to take care of DD1 when she was ill and DH did the same. And it is easier these days with mobile working - if your child is lying wanly on the sofa watching CBBC or drifting in and out of sleep, there's no reason why you can't be tapping away on the laptop. If one of us had a "couldn't miss" meeting, then the other one would step in with the childcare. If you're a hardworking employee that doesn't take the piss, employers are usually quite accommodating. And if they are difficult, then you just go higher up the food chain, and/or stand your ground and explain who will do the work when you are not there/how you will make up the time if necessary. Go in with a fait accompli, and very few bosses will be able to say no.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 07-Jan-14 08:48:40

MrsS- I'm afraid using up my leave wouldn't work either- with so many school holidays there simply wouldn't be enough of my annual leave to cover all absences from school.
My OH works very long hours and is often away on business trips- so can't be counted on to look after children during time off from school.

blueshoes Tue 07-Jan-14 08:50:39

I found the early years harder physically because of the disrupted sleep, teething, potty training, and the fact the children needed so much of your attention. But nursery was 8am - 6pm and I have cover over all that time if I wanted to use it fully.

However, I find the school years (particularly primary) more difficult logistically. At primary school, they are not old enough to do things by themselves or get to places by themselves. They still need quite a lot of input from parents, in terms of school finishing at 3pm, school holidays, homework, playdates, afterschool activities, outside school activities, holiday activities and the plays (and their costumes!), nativities, assemblies, parent-teacher meetings, sports day etc that Mrs Young described. The admin that comes home in my dcs' schoolbags is unbelievable. You have to be very organised to stay on top of all that.

A professional nanny can do some of that, but they are expensive. I have a live-in aupair that does the schoolrun and afterschool activities and does backup when the children are ill, but the admin and attending plays etc still has to be done by me and dh.

Also, I find there is a lot more socialising between parents at the schoolgate than at nursery. So it is good to do the schoolrun occasionally - I work one day a week from home to allow me to do this - to catch up with the regulars at the schoolgate and get the latest intelligence. Right now, I am looking at 7+ entry for my ds, so it helps to tap into the intelligence network of schools in the area. I am good mates with a few super-engaged SAHM mummys who love to tell me what the best activities, teachers, school uniform sizes are which I lap up in the limited time I have with them.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 07-Jan-14 08:55:11

Atthestroke - apart from a family holiday and the odd day off, I used school holiday clubs for all holidays (and a week with granny and granddad to break it up). So it can be done, or, as I said, you can work from home from time to time in most jobs.

kiwikaterpillar Tue 07-Jan-14 08:55:56

Scones, I'm planning on continuing to bf DD morning and evening/night when I return to work in February. She won't take a bottle at the moment, a little stressed about that, but she is at least beginning to show a bit more of an interest in solids (fingers crossed). I know what you mean re bf, I've surprised myself with how much I love doing it.
I am actually beginning to look forward ( a little!) to going back to work now. I think this thread is helping me to get my head in the right space and address some of the concerns/doubts I had been having. Sure I'll have another wobble at some point but for the moment feeling a lot more positive.

blueshoes Tue 07-Jan-14 08:59:56

MrsYoung has a good point about one of the benefits of showing commitment now is the ability to negotiate more flexibility from your employer later.

It is one of the reasons why I went ft. I had just made a sideways career change into a different but growing field and wanted to gear up on the knowledge, experience and seniority as quickly as I can so that for my next move, whether internally or in another job, I would be senior and experienced enough to negotiate my terms.

I made that jump 2.5 years later into a new cushy job and now work one day from home in the morn. It helps as it gives me some space to attend to the avalanche of school and social stuff now that the children are older. Which is nice.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 07-Jan-14 08:59:56

blueshoes- I so agree about the school intelligence thing.
The amount of information gathered in the playground is astounding- not just idle gossip- but about teachers who are planning to leave, changes in the school structure, etc. I did a lot of classroom volunteering at primary school, also was a school governor for a few years.
The involvement with the school was supportive to my children and helped build good relationships between me, my children and staff.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 07-Jan-14 09:00:01

I've also had jobs that involved a lot of travel - if my child was ill, I simply postponed the trip, or sent someone else if DH was unable to step in for whatever reason. This seems to only work if you are very senior (so they sing to your tune, as it's you they really need to see, and if you postpone for a week or send your sidekick, then they suck it up) or very junior, when someone else can easily be sent in your place.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 07-Jan-14 09:02:33

MrsSchadenfreude again you are lucky to have willing and able grandparents. I have no family support.
Of course I agree about working from home- I have worked full time since my children started school ( I am self employed) and able to increase or decrease my working hours depending on holidays/term time.

blueshoes Tue 07-Jan-14 09:09:37

atthestroke, that sounds great. My level of involvement with the school is not a fraction of yours but it is still good to know what is going on, even if it some high political drama about how the new school uniform will look! I do suspect that my absence at the school gate and lack of agitation on my part for my dcs means they don't get good roles in the school play or the best teachers in the next year group but hey ho, my dcs seem to survive.

On holiday cover, another option to consider is a summer aupair who just works for you over the summer. You would need an extra room to house her if she is live-in. If you have more one child, it works out cheaper than an a holiday club.

LauraBridges Tue 07-Jan-14 11:10:46

I always saw it as a massive advantage of working full time that I was not obliged to do a single iota of socialisation or chatting to other parents actually but that is probably just my personality. Some people are more sociable than others.

On summer holidays first we had the toddler's nanny of course when the bigger 2 were at school so that was covered. When the youngest was 5 one of the children's schools had a holiday club so they did a week in there. Some did summer camps for a week or two - I think never more than 3 weeks in the summer. We tried to have a 2 week family summer holiday abroad. At one stage the after school collector who worked 3 - 6 was also free in holidays so she did it. I think because our pay was enough to cover the cost of these things we were okay. It is harder if that is not so.
We never had a summer au pair but as mentioned they can be a good solution too. When our oldest used to have a 2 week October half term when no one else did she went to her grandparents in Yorkshire for a week. I think she must have been about 8 or 10 and we put her on the train in London and they met her in Yorkshire. She was quite a sensible girl and I think her grandfather used to take the train back down with her so may be she was accompanied some of the way. It certainly helped with that week.

For those with little babies I used to breastfeed immediately before I caught the tube to work and then as soon as I got home and I'd make sure I left on time and then fully fed all weekend (and all the night feeds so as I never had a sleeping babies) and was in a job where I could just disappear twice a day to pump at work which is not possible in some jobs.

minipie Tue 07-Jan-14 12:00:38

Supermum yes "Fridays are no good for me" is better, thanks.

Reading the recent posts I am a little daunted by the school years and all the parental involvement/admin required! However, my parents both worked (long hours) during a lot of my school years and it worked - though we had a nanny which helped, and I didn't really do any extra curricular activities.

Actually I don't think it is the end of the world if a parent can't make it to every school play and sports match... mine didn't and it didn't kill me.

kalidasa Tue 07-Jan-14 14:20:46

Interesting thread. DS is 13 months, I went back to work early (5 months) as I'd been off sick the whole (nightmare of a) pregnancy. We are planning to try for no. 2 this summer. Personally I found the pregnancy/first few months the worst bit by far, I am much happier now we are past that stage, but I was unlucky with the health stuff obviously. Very scared of doing it all again but we really want DS to have a sibling.

Uneasypeasy Tue 07-Jan-14 14:41:05

So pleased to gave found this thread, going back FT next month when DD is one, and feel physically sick when I think about it. I was never a "baby person" and didn't think I would have any problems with this when we planned it during pregnancy, but the thought of leaving her at nursery 5 days a week, 7:30 to 6pm makes me actually cry. I've also found that out of all the mums I've met during maternity leave, I'm the only one going back full time. I feel terribly guilty, like I've got it all wrong sad - but we'd struggle financially if I did stay at home. I also feel like my workplace has changed so much while I have been away that I no longer "fit" there. I suffered from work related stress from the high pressure role a few years back, and I'm starting to feel it coming back, which worries me, too. I honestly have no idea how I will do my job and be a mother! Will read all advice on here avidly!

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 07-Jan-14 14:56:50

uneasypeasy- I do sympathise- ultimately it's a choice you have to make.
I started working from home whan my youngest was 6 months old because I couldn't bear to leave my babies. Part time at first- and we did make sarifices but built up my hours and my income over the years- and I am still self employed working from home.
In fact I love it so much that even now my kids are teenagers I wouldn't want to swap what I do for an employed job.
I love the flexibility it gives me.

On the other hand you may find working again it easier than you think and your baby may love day care- but it wasn't for me.

I took a leap of faith an it has worked out better than I had imagined- all things are possible

scottishmummy Tue 07-Jan-14 15:15:46

its immaterial what other mums do,youre going back.comparison is pointless
i was in minority in baby group who returned,and no point dwelling on that
imo.you need to be guilt free and compartmentalise.this is what you need to do for family

scottishmummy Tue 07-Jan-14 15:20:26

uneasy have you been in touch with work prior to return to talk about role,demands etc
it may help have a meeting prior to go back,sorry you fell stressed or its not fitting
asak what induction,tasks and expectation there are of you on return.do you have a HR dept who can support?

kalidasa Tue 07-Jan-14 15:31:07

All of my NCT group has gone back, and almost all full time I think (one four days) but friends a bit further on have said that the real crunch is after no. 2 - the number going back full time after the second is a lot smaller. Is that the experience of others on this thread? I really can't imagine not working and part time just doesn't really exist in my field (and seems to be career suicide where people have done it).

I just felt that there was a little of the "it's my way or the highway" vibe coming from the Lean In contingent... It feels a little oppressive to me, as if the message is we must work lots of overtime, out of hours etc, or fail to progress.

I think success can be achieved whilst working sensible hours but then I work for a genuinely family friendly employer where around 75% of the workforce are female, and as I said up thread, sanity prevails grin

In other news, DS had a good time at nursery this morning. Only cried for 5 mins then got on and played. Hooray!

scottishmummy Tue 07-Jan-14 15:41:56

i dont think thtere is a lean in vibe or a contingent
its quite refreshing to have this discussion it doesnt often happen and imo its useful to hear how others manage.i dont think anyone needs to heed all advice,but also no one need tippy toe for fear of offending anyone else

kalidasa Tue 07-Jan-14 15:43:10

I know what you mean meringues (though actually I liked the Lean In book and thought it was useful in lots of ways). I do think that how these debates come across and how relevant they seem depends hugely on your working environment - I can see that women in very male-dominated or quite family-unfriendly (or just clueless) environments - which includes me to some extent - can feel they have to be a bit "all guns blazing" in a way that might seem rather overblown or aggressive or unnecessary to women working in quite a different environment.

Having said that, I do think it's really important to be able to say: I am working because I enjoy it and find it fulfilling (not necessarily or only because I have to / for the pension / for future security etc).

I am very ambitious re: my job, and I haven't found that's changed at all having had the baby - in some ways I actually feel more career focused rather than less - but I don't work in the evenings or at weekends (or almost never), which is very unusual in my field. I made that decision several years ago though, it wasn't a post-baby thing. To be honest, most weekends I would rather do a couple of peaceful hours of work! But I think committing to not doing so is important for our family life and general long-term sanity and balance.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 07-Jan-14 15:46:25

I agree and it depends how you measure "sucess".
Motherhood and raising children is very undervalued in this society, women who are seen to stay at home or work part time are not considered very important.

We can even see that in the dire salary that nursery nurses and day care providers earn.
Life isn't all about scrambling to the top-there is far more to life than a big salary cheque and expense account.

Raising children is probably one of the most important and priviledged things we can do.

Lets not undervalue those women who want to conserve their energies at work to utilise elsewhere either by refusing to join in the scramble for promotion, work only part time or decide to stay at home.

SquealyB Tue 07-Jan-14 15:46:28

Enjoying reading this thread - I am back at work full time but flexibly (ie core hours 8.30-4 in the office Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri and at home wednesday). DH works full time too. Started back in august and my daughter is now nearly 1 yr old (eek).

No option about going back either as I am the main breadwinner at home too. Also no family about as parents live in Spain, MIL lives 1.5 hrs away so at the moment just us and Nursery although we have an au pair starting in Feb to help with collection/drop off unexpected appointments etc.

Keen to hear others experience and offer support. x

SquealyB Tue 07-Jan-14 15:50:40

For the avoidance of doubt - I do actually really like my job (and despite missing my DD) I like having something that is all mine!

I think the whole Lean In debate is interesting and shouldnt be used to box people into one category or another. Surely feminisim is about having the option to be career orientated or not?

minipie Tue 07-Jan-14 15:51:10

meringue you are very lucky in your employer! I think in many/most pressured workplaces it's impossible to reduce your hours/out of hours commitment and still be promoted just as if you still worked a billion hours a week. So the advice on leaning in, overtime etc is there for those who want to be promoted in this environment. Personally, I don't mind my career being hindered a bit, as long as it stays at a level I'm happy with, so I can ignore/adapt those bits of advice.

Uneasypeasy Tue 07-Jan-14 15:51:53

Thanks scottish - I received a letter from HR at work saying there would be a return to work induction and they would contact me nearer the time. I've only done one KIT day, back in October, which was actually me attending an annual meeting that I lead every year with an external body, so not so much a KIT day! (I also didn't get paid for it yet, but that's another issue! And a reason why I didn't do anymore!) I feel work do "talk the talk" about staying in touch etc, but the reality has been very different, which is probably why I feel so out of the loop now, all the effort to stay in touch has been on my side. I think that is all adding the anxiety!

Want2bSupermum Tue 07-Jan-14 16:03:40

DH works for a company that expects wives to support their DH's career. I am the only working spouse. I have 2 DCs and I am the only working mother in my group below Partner. All the other parents are male and their wives are home with the children. Thats their lives but I have chosen to go a different path.

If I spent all my time looking at what others have and don't have I would have nothing for myself. If you don't want to work full time but need the income I would suggest you consider self employment.

Best quote from DH's boss: The bigger the child, the bigger the problems. I am dreading the start of school and expect I will need to work something out with my employer where I work from home from 6pm-10pm instead of 2-6pm.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 07-Jan-14 16:12:19

ant2bSupermum- my OH works for a company like that. Was only allowed 1 day off paternity leave with each of our children, all his overtime is expected and usually unpaid.
If he insisted on his lunch hour he would be out the door- never mind calling absent to look after a sick child.
He would be laughed at.

Want2bSupermum Tue 07-Jan-14 16:34:41

12 The irony is that DH has far more flexibility in his job that I do. He is in sales so is out and about. No one tracks his whereabouts! In December he was taking the kids to the doctor and doing the supermarket shop during his 'working day'. No one knew he was doing this apart from his PA who would never say anything because she too thinks the set up needs to be overhauled.

DH wasn't given any paternity leave. When DS was born he took the day off. DS was born at 9.11am. At 2pm he had his semi-annual MRI booked. He went from his MRI to daycare to pick up DD and returned to the hospital at 8pm to have dinner with me. The following day he was back at work. I came home on Thursday night at about 8pm. DH went into work on the Friday leaving me with the baby. I had a CS too so had a hard time getting up and down the stairs. We live 3000 miles from family (for DH's employers benefit) so no grandparents/family available to lend a hand. Trust me when I say I will never forget what they put me through. For a Scandinavian company they forget their home policies very quickly when it suits them.

noblegiraffe Tue 07-Jan-14 16:58:48

Second day back, I had a free period today and was completely on my own own in the department office getting my planning sorted.

I have to say I really enjoyed the peace and quiet!

LauraBridges Tue 07-Jan-14 17:16:10

kalidasa, same for me too. In fact for years wen people have asked me abou how I cope with children and work I say if you have children you tend to work harder as you have more financial responsibilities (you can hardly disappear to find yourself in a commune if you have to pay for a family) and that tends to shut up those people who ask that question only of women and never of ambitious men.

Want, the plan to allow men and women to split the lead will be very helpful particularly for those of us women who earn the larger salary and whose careers come first in the relationship. My daughter's boss did this - she had 3 or 5 months off and then her husband had 6 months off looking after their first baby. (They had or have the same employer and it had a generous leave arrangement for men and for women when babies come)

OwlCat Tue 07-Jan-14 17:29:29

I think where you live makes a big difference. Where I live, mums who return to work FT or even PT are in the minority. This is because there are a lack of career-type jobs within commuting distance and childcare is expensive meaning that people effectively end up paying to work. I used to collect my DD from her nursery at about 5.20 pm and she would always be the last one there, often by a few hours. After-school clubs are also unheard of.

kalidasa Tue 07-Jan-14 17:50:42

Yes good point owlcat about geographical location. We live fairly centrally in London; my sister who lives in rural Devon is in a very different situation.

Laura my DH and I are planning to split the leave after our next baby. Ideally I would go back after 6 ish months and he would do the second half, though the exact timings will depend a bit on where we are in the academic year. Ideally I would like a spring baby and to go back to work in October.

scottishmummy Tue 07-Jan-14 18:34:53

I've never heard terms lean in,or considered don't explain,don't complain.interesting
What was important to me on return was,what was important before I left eg doing job well.major difference is factoring in baby and that loss of spontaneity
I live in city,but where I live lots of mums give up work become housewives. Baby group was where I met the precious moments crew up to that point I'd no experience return to work was a contentious issue. In my work colleagues had baby,came back.so that was my direct experience.

I do think adjusting ones language to explain availability is interesting,in that one can simply say ,sorry unavailable bit suggest another date.as opposed to explanatory oh my childcare explanation.

Want2bSupermum Tue 07-Jan-14 19:40:09

Laura Sadly DH is the breadwinner. He earns a whopping 8x my salary now! If he was working in HQ he could take the time off but no one at his level does this. Having done a 6 month and 8 week leave I can say returning after 8 weeks was easier in some respects.

Scottish I didn't really have anyone to speak to about issues I faced when returning to work. My 'Don't complain, don't explain' approach came about through watching the men at work. They are often up all night with the kids but you would never know this because they don't mention it. DH's boss turned down a meeting with the CEO of the company because he was visiting a college with his son. His reason was simple, 'Sorry that time doesn't work with my schedule, lets have our assistants work out a time that does work.' He is still employed and no one thinks any less of him. If he had said he couldn't make it because he was taking his son to go look around a college (that his son didn't want to go to!) the CEO would have been miffed and wouldn't have changed his flight to enable the meeting to take place.

scottishmummy Tue 07-Jan-14 19:44:20

I think the gender approach in language is interesting.yes I've seen guys simply say not available
As opposed to a heartfelt convoluted explanation of domestic factors
It's like don't be the distraught woman at work crying over baby picture and project

LauraBridges Tue 07-Jan-14 21:16:57

Yes, just say not available and hopefully they will assume you are very much in demand (for work) and the best in your field and they are very lucky to get any of your time next Tuesday because they will assume Friday is crammed with much more important meetings that they are offering you.

Things that helped me returning to work first time a good few years ago was occasional NCT meetings for working parents - everyone worked full time so that was helpful. Also I sent for a time to lunch time meetings of ParentsatWork for women working in the City of London which was even better as the full time working mothers (and this was 25 years ago - these issues are not new) there had similar careers to mine. These days we are lucky to have the internet to learn about other happy full time ambitious or unambitious working mothers.

Tweet2tweet Wed 08-Jan-14 08:28:12

That's great noblegiraffe, good to hear all is going well.

For some ft returners it's fine to go back and put things on pause for a bit. I sometimes wonder whether it's good to do this if you're not in an ideal job and when dcs a bit older look for a new job and new start.

Bit anxious about all this talk about how tough it gets when they go to school. I already find it full on! Was hoping things might be a bit calmer by 5 and over shock

suchnonsense Wed 08-Jan-14 09:03:33

I'm just marking my place really, but am finding these discussions incredibly interesting and helpful. I returned to work full-time in October, after a second 8-month long maternity leave. My work is reasonably accommodating, but it's the kind of career that can't easily be done PT, long hours are expected, and unfortunately I earn significantly more than DH, so alternative options are limited.
I'm slightly terrified about the idea that this gets harder as the DCs get older (mine are both nursery age), but am interested to see the different ways people manage.

So nice to be on a supportive thread where every other person isn't banging on about how "money isn't as important as the precious moments" - it's often not so simple - we'd be living in the garden shed if I didn't work!

LauraBridges Wed 08-Jan-14 09:12:50

I think it is much much easier once they are at full time school although I know some above don't agree. For a start you sleep at night which everything easier.

Suchn, I wouldn't say it is "unfortunate" you earn a lot more than your husband. I would say that is absolutely marvellous and a very good thing on all kinds of levels and makes life much better not much worse.

suchnonsense Wed 08-Jan-14 09:50:41

LauraB - you are right, of course! Sometimes though, I do wish that the financial burden of the family didn't rest quite so heavily on my shoulders!

Poloholo Wed 08-Jan-14 10:17:36

I went back FT when DD was 9 months a year ago. It was tough as I'd moved jobs and was more senior but was getting little sleep as DH was away a lot and anyway she would scream for me hysterically if he went. Things improved a lot when we managed to get her to sleep better when she got a little older.

I also followed the "don't complain, don't explain" mantra. Which for me meant keeping children issues out of earshot of my boss, my peers, my clients and my reports to avoid being labelled as "mummy track" which I've seen happen with others if they are perceived as being focussed on their children most ML. I never talked about tiredness, being up constantly in the night, the terrible headaches from being chronically exhausted when I was getting no sleep. I didn't discuss childcare headaches, getting covered in sick when walking out the door, worries about DD's health. If someone asked how she was I'd happily talk about her and if they expressly asked show a photo on my phone and would mention what we'd done with her if someone asked about my weekend or whatever but didn't anchor my personal work discussions around her.

We have a nanny which cut down the childcare issues substantially but I never apologised to anyone for leaving at a fixed time in the evenings when work allowed. I would mention it in passing when DH took time off work to look after DD. On the odd occasion where I cracked and got in a bit late having had no real sleep until 6am I would just block my diary marking it personal and no one would ask questions.

I regularly work evenings and weekends and would make a point, where appropriate, of emailing colleagues and clients during those times so they knew I was working. I tended to work one evening late in the office most weeks to clear backlogs. I delegate as much as possible within the team and try not to micromanage. My boss is happy as long as there are no problems for him so I make sure that there aren't so he leaves me to get on with things.

I outsource as much as possible. Online grocery delivery which nanny puts away, cleaner does laundry and cleaning, nanny does DD stuff and runs errands. Amazon Prime for most birthday presents. Online shopping and direct delivery for new baby gifts etc. I'm lucky we can afford to do all of this but means that the time I do get with DD and I can focus on her and not be running around doing chores as much. Although the household management is largely still there.

IceNoSlice Wed 08-Jan-14 11:33:21

Thank you poloholo, some good suggestions there on outsourcing as much as possible. We don't have a nanny and our cleaner doesn't do our laundry but apart from that I try to do similar to you. In addition, DH takes the ironing to work and has it collected and delivered back to him.

LauraBridges Wed 08-Jan-14 14:07:14

Polo, that is exactly what I have always done too and it works (and some of my children are adult now and we can see the good result in them. I can only see benefits for my children in the fact that I worked full time and in my career in that I just got on with it.

We also order the food shopping on line. The older children have the password and even add their things to the Tesco basket on line. It is delivered or used to be when the cleaner was here so she even put it away. She also puts the washing away and we iron nothing. However over 20+ years life has often varied. When I was younger there was no way we could have afforded a cleaner and things like that. Things change over the course of a life.

Poloholo Wed 08-Jan-14 15:47:47

The internet has been a massive help to parents who both work. I do the online shop on my mobile and the nanny adds on what she wants for her and DD. I still end up buying food in person but not the whole shop. I remember having to go shopping with my parents every Saturday morning as a child and the thought of having to spend my precious non working time dragging a toddler around Tescos every Saturday is horrific.

scottishmummy Wed 08-Jan-14 19:28:48

Internet is great,delivery groceries.amazon prime.click and collect.all a boon
Please don't prefix earning well with an unfortunately It's to your credit

suchnonsense Wed 08-Jan-14 20:10:23

Re. the "unfortunately", I know, I know..... I'm just feeling a bit grumpy about it at the moment as I would quite like to move on from my current employer (for a variety of reasons, none particularly child-related), but feel a little bit "trapped" by the fact that we rely so heavily on my salary.

I'm loving all the time-saving tips. Internet grocery shopping is a total lifesaver, as is Amazon Prime. We also use a local dry cleaner who picks up and drops off in the evening, saving an errand at the weekend.

At the moment I'm putting together a rolling 40 day menu planner, so that the internet shopping becomes even easier - we tend to spend ages on a Sunday evening deciding what to eat the following week, and totally lacking in inspiration. I think a list of favourite/easy recipes would be a real time-saver.

We also have a cleaner twice a week, and make sure we get up early enough that we are completely ready to go (shower, dressed, make-up, hair, bags ready etc) before we wake the children up.

We use a nursery rather than a nanny, which makes childcare more of an issue that it could be, but to be honest I rather like the discipline of having to pick them up at a certain time - at least then I know that one of us is guaranteed to spend a couple of hours a day with them.

scottishmummy Wed 08-Jan-14 20:31:50

Earning well isn't solely a male activity.good example for the kids,mum works hard

LauraBridges Wed 08-Jan-14 21:12:34

And also decide what is important to you and what isn't. We had various periods when it was a massive relief not both to eat together every night ( I accept many couples do love eating together) but stopping it fora while so we could both just grab when we wanted whatever food we liked without having to have some kind of formal meal was a wonderful. I know people won't agree with me but do analyse what matters for you and what doesn't. Our nanny fed the children before we stopped work,. It doesn't mean you don't talk to each other but it means the hassle of an evening meal disappears. It particularly works if you have an office canteen or school or university lunch at work anyway.

eagleshepherdess Thu 09-Jan-14 09:07:23

I return to work FT March 2nd when my DD will be 12 weeks old (also have DS, 3, and returned to work when he was 9 mths - BF to 11 mths).

I now live in a country where 45 days leave is the norm and managed to take a few weeks more. I am the main breadwinner.

Want to carry on breast feeding, does anyone have advice on expressing at work? Or whether it's a good idea to go home in lunch hour to BF (home is 20 minutes by bus from office), when I don't normally have a fixed time to eat lunch and almost never in the past had a 'lunch hour'? Only place to express is glass walled boardroom which is only meeting room, office is open plan. Two toilets for men and women, not sure if they have power sockets.

If DD were older I would be more confident my supply would adjust to mornings and evenings but worried that as she'll be 12 weeks will need to express in day time to keep up supply. Other option is for DH to bring her to work around lunch time and I can BF in car. But am not sure if I would want to tell colleagues I am doing this. I am the only mother in the team, everyone else is either much younger - barring my boss, who is male, and one older female colleague who doesn't have children.

If she were 6 mths and on solids etc when I went back I would have no compunction at mixed feeding with formula, but would really like to make EBF work. Just not sure if I am setting my expectations too high - hard enough to manage FT return to work and going back into a really busy stressful job without trying to keep up day time BF and expressing...

Thanks guys - it is an interesting debate. Just not quite what I'd envisaged from a thread for mums returning in January to support each other!

Kalidasa I agree with every word of your post. I am also ambitious and love my job but decided a long time ago that working lots of eve/weekend overtime was antithetical to my quality of life. I was single and childless at the time and sure I would have stayed that way if I'd continued to work all hours!

Anyway I can retire to the postnatal thread for some emotional support so no harm done grin