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TTC with no regular job?

(59 Posts)
DuddlePuck Sat 17-Nov-12 11:43:03

Long time lurker here! Been going back and forth on this in my mind and thought it'd be good to have some impartial advice...

We are not TTC yet - had 'the chat' with DH not long ago and he said he was as ready as me to have a baby, but wanted me to have a full time job with mat pay first.

I am a supply teacher so don't get great mat pay, but would be entitled to SMP, DH is in sales so his pay fluctuates. It's ok, but there's no way we could live on his pay alone.

Full time teaching takes over your life, and having seen other people go through pregnancies doing it I am in awe of anyone who can teach full time and keep a house in order and not go into total meltdown. The thought of applying for full time positions just to get mat pay also seems a lot little inconsiderate to the schools I would be applying to.

I have done lots and lots of sums (this is pretty much taking over my life at the moment) and worked out that if I can work my arse off for the next few months and save up £4,000 ish then I can in theory have 9 months off on SMP and go back to supply teaching part time afterwards.

Is this total insanity? Anyone in a similar position?

I know babies don't happen magically overnight, but I'm desperate to start trying as soon as possible - the idea was to get a job starting in Jan and start TTCing in the early summer...

Crinkle77 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:21:49

Another consideration is do you have someone who can babysit at short notice when you go back to doing the supply work?

smileyhappymummy Thu 22-Nov-12 11:20:35

I think you're being very sensible. My situation is a bit similar, I've just had dd2 (now 7 weeks) and work as a locum doctor - so again, no work, no pay snd maternity allowance only. We planned ahead, saved and sccepted that while I'm off we will be digging into savings. However, I worked up until 3 days pre elcs, only 2 days off sick - one advantage is you can reduce the intensity of your work if youre not feeling great but don't need to be off completely. I know not everyone will be lucky enough to be as well as I was in pregnancy but it is possible...
I'm also really pleased that this time I'll be able to go back to work gradually e.g. Start off with just a day a week and build up - will start when she's 3 months old but not go back completely till she's a year, much nicer than with dd1 where I was still on my training scheme and didn't have an awful lot of choice but to go back full time at 5 months.
I do agree with another poster though who said that babies work out much more expensive than you nititially think - its hidden costs rather than baby stuff and clothes tht add up.
I also think thwt if you wait for the perfect time to have a baby sometimes you could end up waiting forever...
Good luck with whatever you decide!

Bellebois Thu 22-Nov-12 11:14:08

I am a teacher, had my DD whilst working full time. I went back after 9 months, which felt right at the time, but with hindsight, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. My DD got sick constantly, (really sick, perforated ear drums, pneumonia) at her nursery, which we loved, BTW. After 3 weeks back we quit -DH is also a teacher- and have been teaching overseas for the last 3 years. ( we found better life balance, but not for everyone)

You don't say what area you teach in (infant, senior, subject) but perhaps check out different types of schools nearby, especially if you are able to start mid year, there can be great jobs which pop up. You might be surprised what comes up. Don't worry about going on mat leave if you were in a full time job (you need to be in it 3 months to qualify). As someone mentioned up thread, you can apply for part time/flexitime after mat leave, although the school (as I understand it) is under no obligation to agree to it. Also, some schools tie your mat pay into a contract which is conditional on you returning to the job after your time off.
Good luck with it all!

posyplum Thu 22-Nov-12 10:46:02

Also, I haven't found having a baby (now toddler) as horrifically expensive as I thought it would be... we've inherited bags of clothes and toys from people, shop at charity shops, ebay and car boot sales - you also don't go out as much and we don't really fancy expensive holidays far away now we've got a toddler! xx

posyplum Thu 22-Nov-12 10:37:22

Hi duddle. I felt I had to comment as you seem to have had some quite patronising responses! I just thought I'd add, that a family member of mine had just qualified as a teacher when she decided she wanted to start a family, at about your age. She did some fixed term contracts, but was supply teaching when she got pregnant. She got Maternity Allowance (bit like SMP) then went back to supply three days a week. She then had another. She decided she didn't want a permanent contract while having children, as supply gave her more flexibility, and she didn't miss out on maternity benefits as she got MA. She has now got a permanent part-time position within a school, her youngest is almost 3 and she feels ready. I don't know what the job market is like for supply but I thought I'd give you an example of how it has worked well for someone. And she is a very sensible, planning type of person, certainly didn't just 'give in to her hormones' hmm

Fwiw, I have a DD, and I didn't want another straightaway... she was over 2 when I started to think seriously about it. Friends have done similar. Who is to say how you will feel after having one?

Go with your gut instinct I say. You've done the planning and sums, had 'the chat'... good luck! xx

Hippymama Tue 20-Nov-12 10:05:32

I would go for it. You can plan all you like but life has a way of doing this you don't expect.

My husband and I both had good jobs with good incomes. We put off trying for a baby because we wanted to be secure first. Then I was made redundant following a long period of illness and the only job I could find was on half the money I had earned before. By this time I was 31 and desperate to begin trying for a baby, which we did. Despite my working fulltime in a permanent job, my mat pay was smp only but when baby came along we managed.

Babies cost as much as you let them. If you buy everything new, designer clothes, posh pram etc then yes you will need a lot of money. We bought a lot of thing second hand, were given an awful lot of handmedowns and bought other stuff in the sales. It can be done very easily with a little imagination.

My dc is now one and my husband was made redundant a fee months ago. He has found a job but is on a lot less money than before. Our family income is half what it was three years ago, but we manage to have a very nice life and are happier than before. Good luck op smile

DuddlePuck Sun 18-Nov-12 16:16:29

angeltulips, I do sound wet when you put it like that blush. It's not the full time work I'm afraid of, I have done a job previously for a few years in which I regularly worked 70+ hours a week. As a supply teacher I intend to work 'full time' (so 5 day weeks) for as long as I can before getting pg to save up the funds, and whilst pg for as long as it's feasible. It's the fact that SMP is less than contracted mat pay (though not as much as I was expecting it to be) and I will need to find something else to supplement my income during holidays etc - as someone else said, if I don't work, I don't get paid.

I found full time permanent contract teaching took over my entire life - I do all the housework, cooking etc and found that washing wasn't getting done, the house was a tip etc... you can easily work 7am - 6pm, then evenings and weekends too if you're just starting out and want to give it 100%. Added to that the fact that I am wary of ending up in another situation where I am intensely unhappy and feel that I am tied in because I have to be there for maternity pay, I am trying to work out how reasonable other options are.

I would LOVE to be a SAHM, but know that there is no way we will ever really be able to afford for me not to work at all, so P/T work is inevitable, along with all the childcare costs etc that go along with it.

I need to have a good look at possible childcare options it would seem, before deciding to stop applying for jobs (not that there are many about...), and think about our general budgeting too.

I am quite willing to take risks, which I know isn't always a good thing, but both my DH and I are in agreement that we want to still be quite young parents (please don't slate me older parents, it's just the way we feel and we are lucky enough to be in a position where we can at least consider having children in our late 20s/early 30s.), so the clock is ticking and I'm hoping we can make things work sooner rather than later.

Thank you for all the advice smile I'm off to get my jotter out and do some more sums... as well as checking how many months I have left of my pill and ordering folic acid by the bucketful...

thebody Sun 18-Nov-12 15:34:19

Well you can wait and plan and find life bites you in the arse.

It's never a 'good time' to have a baby unless you win the lottery.

We had our first 2 very young and it was very tough, we cut our cloth and I was a sahm who childminder for grocery money.

Ff 10 years and we had 2 more, we had more money but its still tough.

Now oldest 2 grown up and younger ones 12 and 11.

We nearly lost older dd in feb and I had to change career and now a TA.

My point is you never know what's round the corner and its always possible to economise and manage.

Go for it.

MummytoKatie Sun 18-Nov-12 15:22:10

The other thing I have just thought of is that of the 8 couples in our NCT group two knew that things would be really tight before they had the baby. Two have now split up.

With one of the couples there were other reasons why the relationship would have problems but for one the rows about money was a significant factor.

Obviously the plural of anecdote is not data but it is a scary fact.

angeltulips Sun 18-Nov-12 14:59:57

So at the moment, you don't have any children, your DH works 8am-7pm 6 days a week and you don't even work full time because you found it "too stressful"? You sound a bit wet generally, I'd work on that first.

If you want to be a sahm then you need to talk to your dh properly, because at the moment you've got him working 11hrs a day 6 days a week, and then doing ft childcare on his only day off whilst you go to work part time for pin money. If I were him, I'd be slightly scared about that arrangement - it sounds incredibly stressful.

MummytoKatie Sun 18-Nov-12 14:51:56

I'm a big fan of getting your ducks in a row before you have children because once you've had children you are too d@mn tired to start fiddling round with quacking things.

Yes - you can raise children on very little money - there are people on mn who I think do this incredibly well - but it is an extra source of stress and having children is stressful enough without adding more.

To give an example - the winter that dd was a baby there was about a month where the temperature outside didn't go above -5 and regularly went below -10. (We live in the North.) So we left the heating on 24/7. Think our fuel bills were horrible that quarter and I felt bad about the environmental impact but we could afford to do it so we did and so didn't have to worry about dd breathing cold air.

2aminthemorning Sun 18-Nov-12 12:26:05

You should probably go for it. In the current climate, there's no such thing as security anyway. If you wait too long, you could be forking out for IVF, which will put paid to any plans financially. I agree with you about full-time jobs and being a mummy - it's bedlam and if you don't feel you can do it, you shouldn't have to. That said, it might be worth considering again whether you do think you could manage it, because it would make a lot of sense to get pregnant with a job behind you.

I do think all this is different depending on whether you yearn to be a SAHM (in which case you should be prepared to make the necessary financial sacrifices) or actually want to be a working mum from quite early on (in which case it does make sense to get your feet under the table first).

Don't worry about it not being fair the school to take maternity leave early. The reason you're able to do it at all is because society needs children and it also needs women in the workplace. You may be sure you wouldn't be allowed to do it if there wasn't a clear benefit to everyone.

whois Sun 18-Nov-12 11:51:14

People have babies with minimal income and make it work.

However the 'having a full time job was too stressful' reasoning doesn't sit well with me when you could get a full time teaching job, be in it for 2 or 3 years and then TTC with maternity pay and knowing you had a decent job and salary to go back to.

You're young still, I'd wait and get myself secure but then I'm risk adverse and getting on at work is important to me. Obviously you're more broody and romantic about the idea of surviving on one salary with a dp who won't be around much as he's at work.

FlangelinaBallerina Sun 18-Nov-12 09:09:43

If you're going to do it, go into it with your eyes wide open. You'll make the finances work, people do because they have to, but be aware that it won't be easy.

People have mentioned tax credits. If you and DH work FT you're unlikely to qualify for anything unless you're both on not much more than minimum wage. For one child, if your joint income is 26k or more, nada. Universal credit is coming in and I've read that the limit will be even lower, probably low 20s. You would probably qualify for child benefit, which covers the cost of nappies and either formula or the extra food you'll probably eat when breastfeeding.

Babies are cheap in some ways, in that you can get lots of things second hand. I felt the same as honeytea before having DD (3 months) but now very much agree with the poster who talked about unforeseen expenses too. DD is also a one woman muslin ruiner, although in her case she helps with laundry by chewing dried sick off her bibs when I'm not looking. A lot of the expenses with babies can be mitigated to some extent, a lot can't. Your utility spend is bound to be higher.

Odds are that you'll have morning sickness, as 90% of women do, and probably some other pregnancy symptoms too. With this in mind, you'll be doing very well to get through the pregnancy without taking any sick days or holiday. I don't know what the arrangements for supply teachers are, but I'm guessing you don't get paid when you don't work. Most people find pregnancy utterly exhausting too, so I doubt you'll be able to work absolutely solidly until 38 weeks or whenever you'd want to stop. You therefore need to factor a certain number of unpaid/sick pay days into your budget.

Check that you'll qualify for maternity allowance, if possible getting as many working weeks behind you as you can before TTC. I'm currently living on this along with DH's salary (I've been out of work for 1 month in the previous 4 years and of course it was the one when I got knocked up). We find it manageable, but then we have a HA house and live in a northern city. Your living expenses may be higher. I wouldn't fancy it in a private rental in the south east, for example.

Also, childcare. Your plan to do supply is probably sensible but it does mean the childcare will be more difficult, and also I'm guessing you wouldn't get childcare vouchers either? So you'll need to consider this too. Perhaps tutoring in the evening might be a more viable option until future DC reaches the age of 15 free hours of nursery a week?

PorridgeBrain Sun 18-Nov-12 07:52:07

YANBU - in fact I think you are being very sensible.

A lot of companies (including mine) only pay SMP. I had to save up mat leave money before both of my pregnancies which is exactly what you are planning.

I also think you are being very realistic and thinking ahead in recognising that supply teaching is more child friendly than ft teaching.

To the poster who thinks teaching is the best job to have with children, I'm afraid I disagree. Yes holidays are sorted but what about the rest of the year.? You can't attend their school plays and assemblies, you still have to start and finish work before and after school times and if they are sick its hard to take time off to care for them.

higgle Sat 17-Nov-12 23:19:45

I was 27 when I got married and waited until I was 34 for DS1 because I wanted to ensure we could afford to be parents, that I was doing the right thing with my employer and that work/money problems wouldn't weaken our relationship. I got pregnant first month of trying - very shocked by that- despite being on the pill since I was 16. I can't understand how, if there are just the two of you, you can't cope with full time work. What would you do if you were single? Surely being a teacher is just about the best job to fit in with being a mother as you won't have the holidays to worry about once your DCs are older.

GaryBuseysTeeth Sat 17-Nov-12 23:16:03

Go for it whenever you and DH feel ready.

Next summer DH could lose his job/you could get ill etc (basically, you don't know what's around the corner), so if you're sure you want kids don't wait for a 'what if' plan to happen.

However, bear in mind that you may change your mind about working after baby (you may never want to go the toilet alone again, you may excluisively breast feed for the first 2 years & not want to work then) so make sure you've thought about everything.
Coola makes a great point about the unexpected cost of babies!

Good luck in what you decide.

CoolaSchmoola Sat 17-Nov-12 23:07:59

OldMumsy grin I just snorted cherryade (would prefer to have said alcoholic beverage of some sort but DD teething so I'm on the pop - literally!)

CoolaSchmoola Sat 17-Nov-12 23:06:20

Re carseats - they're like crash helmets/riding hats - everyone knows they should be replaced if they've been in a crash - but people always forget/don't realise they should be replaced if they have been dropped, even just from the car to the ground.

Lots of people accidentally drop their carseat - they're awkward things to move about. The majority don't replace them. But a drop can cause a weakness that would render them unsafe in an accident.

Two things I personally would never have second hand are mattresses and car seats. Whilst people know all about the crash replacement, most don't know about the dropped replacement, and because of this if they did drop it they wouldn't change it and wouldn't cross their mind to tell someone they were selling it to, and if asked probably wouldn't remember they'd done it.

OldMumsy Sat 17-Nov-12 23:00:50

No go for it, I have been wondering what I can spend my tax on.

CoolaSchmoola Sat 17-Nov-12 22:59:09

As I said in my previous post - it's not the obvious costs like clothes and equipment that are expensive - it's the hidden things, that you don't notice so much individually, which, when added together, do cost quite a bit more.

Things like utilities. My DD was incredibly sicky, very bad reflux. We could use four muslins and two bibs for every feed. It was fairly normal for her to wear 4-6 babygro's and vests a day. The amount of laundry we did more than tripled (I felt like Widow sodding Twankey!). And with that there was increased use of electricity, water, detergent, fabric softener - we were using three times as much of each as before - and the costs went up, a lot.

If you are up in the night you may want a light on, maybe the tv/laptop too? Perhaps the kettle for a drink.... All at a time of day when previously you wouldn't have been using any electric at all - so another small increase in costs - but it could be every night for months, and those small increases soon result in a big increase. Plus in winter it might be cold, so you may flick the heating on for half an hour, or turn the fire on for a bit whilst you are up in the night.... Another small increase that will add up.

We have a water meter.... Our bill DOUBLED in the first six months after DD was born. It's gone back down now she's older and isn't going through clothes like a hayfever sufferer goes through tissues, but it wasn't a cost we anticipated at all. Likewise the electricity went up, as did the gas.

All little things that you don't think about... If there's laundry - you wash it, it's dark at 3am - you stick a light on, you're bored at 3am - put the tv on (or MN!), cold at 3am - stick some form of heating on. But these are all things you won't be doing now - because you'll be in bed sleeping and you'll only have the laundry for two people lucky buggers.

You can't buy gas, electric and water on Ebay or get it second hand unfortunately!

Wallison Sat 17-Nov-12 19:13:14

Yes, that's the kind of thing I was talking about. The only reason you're supposed to get a brand new one is because they aren't safe after a crash, but if it hasn't been in a crash and you know it hasn't then it's fine.

And there's nothing wrong with second-hand - I got so excited getting all the clothes for my son, washing and folding them, imagining him in them - it didn't matter a jot to me that they weren't new - they were still lovely and still for him and if anything they were all the more special because my lovely friends' boys and girls had worn them and we had shared memories of them now - they talked about which ones they had particularly liked and what they thought would suit my son etc.

honeytea Sat 17-Nov-12 14:52:32

I agree we have a second hand car seat but it is from a family friend so I know they have not had any crashes.

Wallison Sat 17-Nov-12 14:50:18

I meant getting a second-hand car seat obviously - you do need a new mattress.

Wallison Sat 17-Nov-12 14:49:40

I agree that babies aren't expensive and that the only things you need to buy new are the cot mattress and car seat - and to be honest even with that if you can get one from someone you trust and know it hasn't been in an accident then it is fine. I got everything second-hand and people bought loads of stuff as presents anyway. In the case of his pram I think it had seen something like five kids through their babyhoods. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this for a buggy as they just aren't as robust but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the one I had. They don't need lots of expensive kit or clothes or whatever. Even as they get older, I would say that the main expense is new shoes and paying for activities - again, everything else can be bought second-hand, even stuff like games consoles if you really want to go in for that sort of thing. Even with activities, unless you do something like horse-riding or tennis lessons or whatever, they don't cost that much, and going to the park is free and you can do it all year round. I'm always a bit hmm when I read articles about how much a child 'costs' - where on earth do they get these figures from?

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