I'm hoping I can get some advice from people who have gone back to work after their DC1s to help me with my dilemma!
DS1 is 9 months old and I return to work as a secondary school teacher in 1 months time (just before the Easter holidays). I have a new job from September at a school that's closer to home that's 4 days a week. I've asked my current school for 4 days a week for the summer term that I'm there and they have said that they need me full time from Easter to May half term and then I can be 4 days a week from May half term to the summer holidays. Each half term is 7 weeks long. The amount I'm paid for the 6 weeks of the summer holidays is determined by the amount I'm paid at the end of the summer term.
So when I do the income and childcare (really lovely nursery that I think DC1 wil thrive at) cost sums, I'm £1000 better off if I say "thank you, but no thank you, I'll come back full time for the whole of the summer term". But I don't know if DC1 would be happier if I went back full time for the 7 weeks to half term and then 4 days a week for the 7 weeks from half term to the summer holidays. So I don't know what to do.
Alternatively, take the money and plan some nice things to do with DC over the holidays with it? It doesn't seem to me that it will make enough difference for the sake of 7 weeks to cause the timetabling hassle (and will the nursery agree to it anyway?) Will you get some regained time from your exam classes, if you have them, meaning less work to take home?
If it was a long term thing, I'd choose the 4 days.
But it's only one term. You have to go back for the first 7 weeks full time. This is the trickiest as you are re-establishing all your routines. The second 7 weeks I'd be tempted to do full time too. It's only 7 days that you lose that you could spend with your DC.
It will go quite quickly, then you'll have the holidays to enjoy together and your new hours in the new school to look forward to.
Going back to work seems like a real wrench, and I was dreading it. But when I finally went back it suddenly seemed like I was never away.