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To tell my DH I want to reduce my hours after Maternity Leave?

(202 Posts)
QueenofmyPrinces Mon 05-Feb-18 14:26:59

AIBU to ask you help me with reasons why going back part time is the best option for me?

I’m a nurse and work full time over 3 days. On the 3 days I work (I don’t do nights) I’m out the house from 06.45am until 21.15pm and needless to say, on my days off I’m pretty tired.

DS1 is almost 4 and will be starting school in September. I returned to FT work after he was born and found it draining. On the days I wasn’t at work I felt too tired to really enjoy spending my time with him and due to me ‘only’ working three days a week the majority of housework and childcare fell to me simply because I was home more days a week than my DH was. He works 5 days a week, leaves the house at 7.30am and is home by 5pm.

I’m currently on Mat Leave with DS2 and plan to return to work June/July time when he will be about 10 months old.

My DH has assumed I will be going back FT again but the thought of it fills with me dread. It was a tiring enough way of life with just one child, never mind two. I plan on talking to him about me going back part time and working two days a week instead of three, so 25 hours a week instead of 37.5.

Our childcare fees are pretty minimal anyway so I can’t even use the excuse that dropping my hours will save us money, because it won’t. If I reduce my hours my monthly take home pay will be £700 less and only save us £160 a month in childcare.

Me and DH live a comfortable life and we can easily afford for me to drop my hours but I’m not sure he’s going to be too enthralled when I suggest it because I think he will think, “Why should I have to work full time when she doesn’t?”

I just want to be around more whilst the boys are still young and be able to enjoy them without being knackered all the time.

I know again that if I return FT all the housework will fall at my feet too because I’ll be doing it whilst I’m at home 4 days a week so DH won’t even have to worry himself about that. I will just feel like I work FT, pretty much do all the housework, the childcare, the general Mental Load etc all whilst being exhausted from my 14 hour days.

I’m sorry this has been long, I just wanted to provide a thorough description of our life and situation.

I guess I just need help in trying to help my DH see why me dropping my hours is beneficial for us a family.

Bluntness100 Mon 05-Feb-18 14:30:52

Well to be honest, it's not beneficial for him, and it's arguably not hugely more beneficial for your son. It's really more beneficial for you.

I think though he has to take his share of the housework and mental load. It's not fair if he doesn't. So either he steps up or you get the reduced hours. It's not fair for you to do it all.

Wetwashing00 Mon 05-Feb-18 14:33:15

All the reasons you listed you should tell your husband.
Tell him you are tired and unhappy working full time.
It would be beneficial for the family if you’re happy and not suffering will the stress of balancing it all.

jemjemjem50 Mon 05-Feb-18 14:34:10

I know you're not going to want to hear this but I'd love to compress my hours to the extent you do.

Could you work the three days and drop an hour and a half a day? At least then you would drop to 33 hours a week.

Calvinlookingforhobbs Mon 05-Feb-18 14:38:50

It will enormously beneficial for your kids, and for you. If struggle to be with someone who wouldn’t priorities the happiness of my family over a perceived right to ‘fairness’. Go back part time, enjoy the kids, enjoy your life. It’s all there is

Calvinlookingforhobbs Mon 05-Feb-18 14:39:28

sorry for the typing errors.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 05-Feb-18 14:40:58

jemjem - don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful that I do a job where I can work full time over three days but it’s so tiring. It wouldn’t be so bad if work was pleasant but the ward is so understaffed and the pressure is horrendous and so by the time I get home after 13 hours of it, I’m about ready to cry.

I love my job but it’s not a family friendly one in some ways. It’s great I get to be home more often but the knock on effects of such long hours do impede on the family.

I would give anything for a 9-5 job.

RosyPrimroseface Mon 05-Feb-18 14:45:27

i think you go back part time, AND he steps up and does more in the house. You need the old classic, equal leisure time. If you spend your 'home' days caring for your children and doing as much household stuff as you can while that's happening, then once he gets home all the remainder of household stuff should be shared.
And maybe he does have the same choice as you? Could he do 4 days/week, save on childcare expenses, and pick up all the slack at home, then you might not be so exhausted after 3 x13h days?

Steeley113 Mon 05-Feb-18 14:46:42

I’m a nurse and I totally get it. I have 2 kids and Work 36 hours over 3 days. There is this expectation that because you are home most of the time, the work load always falls on you. I’m pregnant with my 3rd and have put my foot down. I’m not cleaning on my days off, I’m not doing all the homework, I’m not doing all the shopping. He’s had to start doing more! If you need to drop your hours, even just temporarily, then do it. Maybe then he will realise he needs to take on more.

Akire Mon 05-Feb-18 14:50:54

Maybe you need to phrase it that you will keep full time
Hours if he pulls his weight at home. You can’t do full time and all home stuff.
On 3 evenings you work he’s going have to sort shop cook meals, run Hoover around, stick a wash on etc. So the day or so following 3 days the house isn’t complete disaster.

Both of you can then get on top of it at weekends. If he dosnt then I’d presume it means he dosnt mind drop in income so you can do his share at home.

Rest mental load work out between you.

worridmum Mon 05-Feb-18 14:53:45

would you be able live off your part time wage or would your husband have to increase his hours to fund you being able to stay at home?

I had a friend that expect her husband to do all the over time + take all the extra hours possible and do 50% of the house work so she could go part time.

She did not understand when he put his foot down ether they move to a cheaper area (she did not want to move) or they dont go on holiday / massively cut back on luxaries as he was not going to be working extra hours so she can swan about doing what she wants.

Steeley113 Mon 05-Feb-18 14:54:03

@Akire the likelyhood is she has to work weekends too. I find this, after my weekend on he’s not done any jobs on top of just looking after the children and I spend my next few days off catching up.

mammymammyIRL Mon 05-Feb-18 14:54:45

Just an idea but why don't you get a cleaner for the household duties & shop online for groceries & see if that helps you to feel less tired on your time off? Then review the working hours after 3 months of that?
I know getting a cleaner in made a big difference in our house

BettyChristmas Mon 05-Feb-18 14:58:35

Give him two choices - you drop to PT or works 3 days and with the extra £540/month you pay for a cleaner or whatever you need to to make your life easier. Plus you get him pulling his weight on stuff he can do.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 05-Feb-18 15:03:29

Yes I do have to work weekends and even that I hate because it means it’s a day where we don’t get to spend it is a family. On an average month I work 5 weekend days out of 8.

I wouldn’t really expect my DH to do much on his weekend day when I’m at work because he’ll have both boys and it can be a nightmare trying to find time to do housework with both of them at your feet. Plus, when he’s been at work Mon-Fri I want him to be able to spend his weekends with the children and doing things with them instead of housework and mundane tasks etc.

I’ve thought about suggesting a cleaner so I may well do that.

Financially we could easily cope on me reducing my hours - my DH would have to work more or anything like that in order to make up for my reduced income.

Argeles Mon 05-Feb-18 15:04:23

Not at all unreasonable op.

We are in the 21st century, and women supposedly have equal rights and free choice blah blah blah. Well it never seems that way, because as soon as a woman quite rightly suggests that she wants to reduce her hours, or become a sahm after childbirth, it’s like we’re expected to just double, triple, quadruple our workload - struggle juggling everything.

I’m very fortunate in my opinion to have been able to become a sahm. I delayed becoming a Mum in part because I was totally terrified that I’d have no choice but to continue teaching in a Secondary school, working and travelling ridiculously long hours and hardly seeing my baby. Money is incredibly tight, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Women used to be expected to become mothers and do nothing else. That obviously wasn’t perfect for many women, but now we’re expected to do everything. That’s far from perfect to me.

Good luck with dropping hours. I’m sure your DH will understand.

StarlitTrees Mon 05-Feb-18 15:04:49

Unless you work 12-13 hours on a busy, understaffed ward, you really won't get it.

The physical and emotional exhaustion from busy, stressful shifts.

Plus the mental load of having to be in control of most of the family plans, appointments, liasing with nursery, organising anything that needs doing around the house e.g.workmen.

Then managing all the housework, household planning and cooking.

After having my first son I returned to my ward for 2 long shifts a week.
So whilst it IS lovely only working 2 days i litterally find everything falls to me because of it.
My husband literally just goes to work and puts one of the boys to bed when he gets in. I don't have too much of an issue with it. I do work less days after all, it's how it naturally falls, but it is very tiring.

So no, YANBU to want to lower your hours. Though beware, if you ever want to go for any band 6 roles, ive found most vacancies require 30h plus, so have missed out.

MissDuke Mon 05-Feb-18 15:05:43

Made me think of this op! I also work long days and oh my goodness it is exhausting! Perhaps put it to him that you will do the odd bank shift to bump up your pay now and again, at least then you can do it when it suits you? YANBU at all.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 05-Feb-18 15:05:51

I meant to say that my DH wouldn’t have to work more.

Bad typo smile

StarlitTrees Mon 05-Feb-18 15:07:19

Saying that I have found my head is not at work as much as it used to be since dropping my hours. It's certainly easier to deal with work stress now I'm not there as much, especially with semi-fixed shifts.
That seems to have made the biggest impact. My shifts aren't all over the place. I have a few days off together to recover!

BiddyPop Mon 05-Feb-18 15:08:34

Part of me is thinking about outsourcing more of the house parts with the £700-£160=£540 more into household budget if you keep to FT hours. That includes online grocery shopping, clever grocery shopping (part-prepped ingredients, good quality jarred sauces instead of having to cook from scratch, etc). Having a cleaner once a week/fortnight.

DH also needs to step up - ironing is not a necessity (or is something he can do), bathtimes need more involvement, he needs to washup after dinners if he hasn't been involved in prepping them, etc. And on your working days, he does the cooking.

But that all assumes that you feel up to keeping going. And it sounds like you hate work on top of the drugework at home. (Well, not hate work, but hate and are getting drained by current working conditions).

Do both of you get some free time to decide what you want to do yourselves to unwind? Whether that's a bath at home, long walk, round of golf, meeting a friend, doing a hobby/sport etc?

Do both of you get quality time with DCs that you can enjoy them when young?

If you were to drop hours, would you have the opportunity to increase them again in the future if you wanted to?

Do you have savings, or the ability to put away savings, on the reduced income?

It's a combination of trying to see what suits you better, what suits DCs better, and what suits family overall better.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 05-Feb-18 15:12:32

missduke and starlit - I don’t think a lot of my family and friends really understand why it’s so exhausting. They think I’m joking when I say some days I’m lucky if I even get lunch. I remember on one awful shift I had some breakfast at 8am and then didn’t get my lunch until almost 6pm because of how busy the ward was.

I have thought about Band 6 jobs but at the moment it’s not even something I’m considering as the boys are my current priority but in a few years or so I would probably look at going back up to full time and then looking at Babd 6 opertunities in the future.

I think I’m going to tell my husband that I’ve got 30 years left of being in my career to worry about promotions and the like, but that the children are young for such a short period of time that it’s them I want to focus on for now.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 05-Feb-18 15:20:08

Biddy - we put money aside every month into our savings and even though I’m on maternity pay we are still able to put £500 a month away. If I go back on PT hours I will obviously be earning more than what my Maternity Pay is so savings shouldn’t be affected.

In general, whilst I’m working full time, me and DH have about £1’600 left over each month once everything essential has been deducted and that amount is then split between savings and individual spending money.

In my eyes the fact we have so much left over each month means that financially, me dropping my hours wouldn’t be a problem, but my DH might not see it that way.

Plus, as has been said, I could always do one or two bank shifts a month to bring in more money too because I will have more free time in which to work one.

Cel982 Mon 05-Feb-18 15:23:11

I think you're absolutely NBU, OP, and I'm kind of surprised at some of the lukewarm responses here. If you can afford to do it and still - as a couple - pay the mortgage and put food on the table, I think it's a no-brainer. You'll feel less stretched and your children will benefit from having you home more - and both of those are things that your husband should be invested in. Have the conversation.

SnippitySnappity Mon 05-Feb-18 15:26:32

i'm not sure this isn't a bandaid to solve the wrong problem - that you are both working FT and your DH isn't doing his fair share of the at home stuff?

If you reduce your hours, whatever he IS doing, he'll do even less.

I agree with the poster who said you should use the £700 pm to pay for help you don't get from your DH - cleaning, buying more meals in etc.

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