to ask your advice/ experience about returning to work after maternity leave.(17 Posts)
I'm due to return to work in four weeks after ten months on maternity leave. I know that I don't want to return to work full time (37 hours) as I just I'd like to be able to spend some quality time with DC and also just won't be able to fit everything in.
My employer is flexible and would probably go for whatever (reasonable) hours I request, including working some hours on Saturday when DP is off and can look after DC. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to work from home though.
I don't want to drop too many hours as we can't afford it so am looking for some advice as to what to do. I can't be in work very early - as CM is only open from 8am and it takes me up to 45 minutes to get to work - and have to pick up by 5pm.
My plan was to take one full day off during the work to spend with DC but am looking for ideas and what other people are doing. I obviously want to achieve the best mix between having a better work/life balance and not losing too much salary/ pension. What has worked out well for you?
I do 32 hours in 4 days. Friday off. Works really well for me. Also can you not look for a more flexible child minder who works until 6pm. 5pm is a silly time for pick up.
I would strongly suggest that your dp (if you have one )does some of the pickups or dropoffs otherwise it is going to make you life quite difficult.
Apart from that one friend of mine does a few hours on a Saturday. I think she works Monday, Thursday and Friday half day, then half a day on Saturday.
Sorry to rain on this, but please don't get your hopes up for reduced hours yet. My employer is "really flexible", for other jobs with less customer service interaction. I, however, had a choice of FT, 1/2 time or leaving, and have to work until 5.30pm to hand over to colleagues, although there never is a handover needed.
I wanted 4 day PT, and other colelagues have got this, but my employer takes it on a case by case basis so just because someone else got it, won't automatically mean that you do.
If you are due to go back in four weeks you may have needed to bring this up with your employer before now - check you policy.
IME the only way is to drop some hours and take the financial hit. I know someone who did a compressed week - 8-6 three days but it was a nightmare and there was a lot of resentment towards her.
Agree you need to find a more flexible childminder or nursery - ours is open 7.30am-6pm. What do you do? Working on a Saturday would be a nightmare.
I second pp who said to get your dp to do some pick ups and drop offs. My set up is no help to you s I do quite a lot from home but I do all pick ups and drop offs of two kids at different places and I've become pretty resentful of it. Dh often goes in early for a meeting or stays late to get things done and I never have that option, even by five minutes. Although I am flexible with m working from home I have definitely missed things at work by having no flexibility at all with my time at work.
Thanks for your advice. My DP unfortunately won't be able to help with drop off and pick ups as he has to be in work earlier/ later than I do so that'll be my job. I'm thinking maybe a 28 hour week at the moment but would have to brace ourselves for the drop in income.
Cleggsie I would seriously look into getting some childcare which will enable you to take equal roles in parenting.
Will your dp expect you to take all the time off when dc is sick ? I know you say you don't mind now, how will you feel in 10 years ? I think it is really important to establish that you are working parents early o
Can your partner agree to either take some leave/work shorter days for a week or so when you return to work, just to let you settle in a bit before having to struggle with everything?
Is it possible for you both to drop a few hours, if that will allow you to get a pattern that works for you and your employers? Agree that it seems a bit one-sided at the mo, I am also going back to work (though I have longer to go than you) and am hoping that we will be able to put DC in childminders for part of the week and both get some time to spend with him for the rest of the week (though have yet to discuss this with our employers, so will be watching this thread for tips).
Other thought: if you're doing ALL the pickups/dropoffs & reducing your hours to do so, can your partner do his bit by doing all the sick days instead?
cloggsie has your DH actually asked for flexible hours? His employer is just as obliged to consider his request as your employer is obliged to consider yours.
If you can find a childcare that is open slightly longer hours and you can both adjust your days to facilitate pickup/dropoff you would be in the best position to get the most hours in while still getting time with your DC.
Thanks for the great ideas. Some unfortunately just won't work for us though DP could possibly arrive at work a little later which would mean he could do the drop off, even if a couple of times a week, but the CM is a car journey away and I need the car to get to work!
I do 3 days 12hr x 2 and one 10 hrs shift on the 12 hr days my DH drops and picks our DS up tea, bath bed everything then on the Friday DH drops off and I pick up and I get 2 days off in the week and I do 1/7 weekends and I get them days off. My DS goes to nursery hours are 8-6pm. But this was not my chosen rota as my work refused mine.
I've recently gone back 4 days a week. The drop in income sucks but I love having that day off with my DC, just me and her.
My DH and I travel in and out to work together and drop DC off at nursery on the way. He used to go in earlier but he has had to make compromises.
It's hard work, but we're getting used to it. We take it in turns to do bath and bed while the other one cooks. Housework mostly gets left to the weekend, otherwise we'd get very little downtime in the evening.
I think it helps massively having a partner who does their fair share. I think to make it work your DH will have to step up, and I would also look into different childcare. 5pm pick up?! Crazy!
It also helps that I like my job and feel happy to be back.
The set up you negotiate now with your DP will be the set up that stays in place forever and a day. You really need to think about the precedent you are setting by doing all the drop offs and pick ups. Think about car-sharing or biking to work, maybe?
Can your partner start work very early (e.g. 7am) in order to do the pick up at 5pm? You can do drop-off in the morning and finish work a bit later than you normally would. Or vice versa.
Hang on - let's do the maths. Childminder 45 mins from work and open 8 - 5. So the only hours you can spend at work are 8:45 - 4:15. Assuming just 30 mins for lunch (any less than that is just not realistic long term) gives you just 7 hours a day so no scope for any flexibility at all here. What happens if there is a road closure and you are diverted via timbucktu on your way to work. You will have no scope to make up the time?
I think you either need a new job (which allows home working), a change to your husband's job or a different childminder.
To be honest it sounds like the childminder is not ideal. If she is a car drive from home and then 45 mins from her to work and she is only open 8 - 5 then it doesn't sound ideal. If you have to do all the drop offs / pick ups could you find one closer to work so you are a bit less under pressure?
Yes, it's tricky. I think I'll have to ask CM to extend her opening hours and also drop a few hours. Hopefully it'll work out ok.
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