Positive full time working Mum stories please(13 Posts)
I am returning to work after 9 months maternity leave with my second child and need to decide if I return full or part time. I am lucky enough to have both options. The only differnce being salary really, the p/t role is a step back and less money each month, it will cover childcare and leave a little (very small amount) ontop. The f/time role is a career job and pays well enough for some luxuries. I am really torn and looking for some positive full time working Mum support and experiences.
I go back to work on Monday f/t, so whilst i can't give you a positive story I can sympathise with your dilemma! I decided to go back full time partly because I have seen so many friends struggle to progress with their career having made the decision to go part time - they often seem to stall, and partly because I really enjoy my job. I have worked hard to get to where I am in my field, and I know that stepping away would be detrimental. I have loved my year off with my DD, and I adore her more than anything else in the world, but I feel very ready to return to work and get back to being myself. She's settled in really well at nursery so I know she's going to thrive there, and I do feel that being at home for much longer isn't going to do me any good. Having said that, I expect I'll feel horribly guilty on Monday morning...
Can you explore flexible working with the f/t role? I've spoken to my manager about condensing hours and working from home. I also intend to do some long days and some shorter days so that I can pick DD up a bit earlier a couple of times a week.
I do feel that there are a few raised eyebrows when I say to people that I'm going back full time, but at the end of the day, it'll make me a happier and more fulfilled person and therefore a better mother. Good luck with whatever you decide!
I went back full time after DD and she went to nursery full time from 10 months. The first 6 months were hard- she was poorly constantly, no sleep etc. But from then it has been OK and I have been promoted twice. My career is going well, DD is great, has had a really successful year at school. My house is a mess except in the day my cleaner comes! However, have just discovered I am expecting baby number 2 (extremely unexpected... DD is nearly six!) and I have no idea how I will feel, all being well with this pregnancy, with two children. It certainly can be done, however!
I worked full time after my ds was born for two years and will be going back full time after ds2 soon. Main motivator is financial for us. I am the main earner and we need the money. Part time wasn't an option either in my job.
I think it's okay. Positives are you get the best of both worlds. After mat leave, it is so nice to be able to go to the toilet without company, drink hot tea etc. I also value being able to use my brain in a different way. You obviously get those benefits being full time or part time.
I have friends who did part time. One went to full time quite quickly as she felt she wasn't doing her role effectively and it was impacting her career progression. Others were happy for a career to stall a bit. And actually some are doing well in a part time role career wise.
Do you have a friendly boss or mentor you could discuss it with? I guess you need to figure out are you happy for your career to potentially stall? Do you work just for money or want to go further? Can you get back on with career progression easily in a couple of years? Is part time definitely going to limit you or can you manage your boss to make it clear you are still career focused? Btw I do think it's sad that part time can sometimes stall careers as we should be in a place where flexible working is the norm for men and women but in my experience people assume you switch off the career when you go part time.
It is hard to juggle everything with full time work so it can definitely be easier to be part time. Full time also means you only get the tired grumpy time with your kids in the week so need to make the most of weekends. You need to be super organised. I try and get most errands and housework done in the evenings after the ds are in bed (which makes me exhausted ) so I get family time at the weekend.
I guess what I am trying to say in my longwinded sleep deprived way, is it depends on what is most important to you, how organised you are and what the long term impacts if your decision are. Either way good luck. I know it is daunting going back to work after maternity leave but it will be fine.
I asked similar the other day tho my circumstances are different. Got some helpful positive stories
Good luck with whatever option you choose!
It works ok for me, I had moved away from my home town and didn't have a huge group of friends and I think it has been easier to manage without trying to keep up a big social life and work and look after the dc, it was a bit of a shame not to see my maternity mum friends though
Agree with the house getting less messy - and dropping standards! We are very organized, we all eat together, and leftovers go to lunch boxes, the same meals every week. Leave as little to chance every day, and each parent has their responsibility (I do drop off and clothes washing, Dp pick and food planning/cooking)
Luckily we have shortish commutes, there is no option for part time, there is a bigger trend of working from home one day a week which I see takes some pressure off - one day saving the commute hours and being in for online food shops and washing etc
Good point in the other thread about planning for sickness - it always comes in waves
I'm full time and have been since my three DC were small. It was very hard when they were younger (sole parent) but I have no regrets now and would do it all again to be where I am now career-wise. I have a close loving relationship with DCs.
I paid to have extra help at home where/when I could afford it and lowered many standards at home (still do).
I've always worked full-time because I'm the sole earner, so it isn't a conversation I really had to have with myself. I would avoid thinking of your salary as covering childcare (even though logically the income and expense start at the same time) - childcare is a household cost and your DH is implicitly funding it as much as you are, however the money is drawn from the family pot.
I would consider where you want to be in five years' time. Another trap is to see work purely in terms of how much money is left over after childcare. Unfortunately, although this should not be true, your earning potential and seniority in five years' time will be significantly impacted by the decision you take now about f/t vs p/t. For that reason alone I would start off f/t and see how it goes - so that at least you will know what both options would have been like.
The advantage for me (in addition to having no choice) is that with greater seniority came greater flexibility. I now work as a consultant and largely from home, which has been fantastic in terms of balancing my obligations as a parent, a carer and the breadwinner. It's definitely true that dc still need you as they get older and I appreciate being able to do get to all school things without having to negotiate them (in fact the only one I missed in 7 years of primary school was a reading morning that I didn't realise all parents were meant to attend rather than just those who went in to hear reading anyway - ds was the only child without a parent at the event and I still feel guilty about it three years later!).
In order to have considered all the options, rather than (say) 5 days for your DH and 3 for you, what about 4 days each?
I went back to uni when my DD was 9mo to do my teaching course, so almost full time. I'm now in a teaching job so ft and DD stays with DP (he works shifts) or my parents during the day. She is at playgroup once a week (increasing to a day and a half by the time she is 3) and does an activity a day most weeks.
It's hard. I don't get in till 6 some days so I only see her for a couple of hours. I also have work that I can't help but bring home so sometimes my weekend doesn't really feel like a weekend but I have to just power through so that I get some time off.
Good luck with going back to work. It will get easier.
I have two children age 17 and 9 and have always worked full time. Nobody ever commented on it being unusual or suggested I should be part time back then (not to my face anyway!). Went back to work at 4 months with first baby who is now 17 and 6 months with second.
We needed the money, I needed the adult company and I'm now no longer spending money on childcare but teenagers are expensive!
I was lucky to have fab childcare and the flexibility to be home for the big stuff like Christmas plays, school stuff, sports etc. My husband also finishes work earlier than me so did and still does the school pick up.its hard when kids are little financially and sometimes emotionally (hey we women always feel bad about something!) but gets easier as time goes on. I make no judgement on anyone else and expect the same courtesy from others who choose to work, stay home or whatever!
I have enjoyed my career and my children and have no regrets!
I went back to work full time after my first. I also had an hours commute each way. The first week was tough but admittedly I felt I should ring the nursery during lunch to get an update...that just made me miss my baby! After that I stopped ringing and didn't have pics up on my desk or anything and I found it was fine as I just didn't really think about my child whilst at work so it kept me on track. Nursery rang on the few occasions something was up.
The worst part was being so far away as at least twice I had to go collect my DD and had an hours stressful drive before I could get to her.
I found getting a work/life balance hard in that evenings I'd get home just as she was going to bed then I'd have to spend ages getting everything painstakingly ready for the next day then sat down for an hr to eat and went to bed. Weekends I'd then feel guilty as if I had to spend every min with DD to make up for working.
I went back PT after my second and mentally it's been much more positive. More days at home than at work. I feel able to say yes to social invitations without my children easier than I did before. Also now they're at school I have the ability to talk to the teachers and pick them up and catch up properly on their school days instead of only being chummy with the brekkie and afterschool club supervisors. Doing the drop off and collection at least once a week is important if you're able (in my opinion)
Full time is certainly doable, it's just not for everyone
I went back to work full time when DD was 10 months. Going part-time would've required dropping several levels and we just couldn't afford it. Now I work from home one day a week, which means I get to spend the time I'd normally spend commuting with DD. Makes it much better for me.
On the plus side full-time means my career hasn't stalled and that's better for our family's financial security. I make myself feel better by telling myself that me working ft means DD can have swimming lessons, dancing lessons, a bike, a scooter, visit petting farms, soft play etc. I don't feel we just get the tired, grumpy end of the day. It makes me value the time I spend with her - she's just started school and I love the random chats we have on the way to breakfast club.
It also means my pension isn't getting impacted. Boring and sensible, but it's not just whether you can afford to go part-time now.
I had the first year at home with my girls but then went back f/t. More than f/t as a hospital doctor. Long hours and nights and an erratic schedule. I pretty much always had someone collect them from nursery or school as I could never guarantee I could make it. I remember from my childhood my mum forgot to collect me - how traumatic!! I love my career and I love the time I have with them. They are both growing up to be great girls. I couldn't do it without a fantastic man though, and I fully recognise he is the key. And meticulous planning.
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