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About this childcare plan

(69 Posts)
Stellarbella Mon 12-Mar-18 22:04:58

Fully prepared to be told that I am BU, but here goes..

DC1 is due in September. I have a well paid job which I am pretty good at and have worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get to where I now am. I’m self-employed and it’s the kind of work where you can be forgotten about pretty quickly if you are not around for a lengthy period of time.

DH is employed and paid well, but I am the main bread winner by a long way.

After DC1 arrives, I plan to take around 12 weeks off and go back to work full time in the new year. The plan is then for DH to take a further 6 months of shared parental leave before DC1 starts nursery at 9 months.

I have since been congratulating myself for making such an excellent plan so far in advance. However, I mentioned it to a colleague today who was completely horrified. His view was that care provided by DH wouldn’t be equal to care provided by me, and that I ought to stay home for longer.

Whilst we could probably afford for me to take more time off, we do have a pretty hefty mortgage and I will have a massive tax bill to pay in January, so I would be worrying about money the whole time.

I also find the suggestion that DH could not provide the same level of care for his child as me a bit odd.

However, the whole conversation has got me questioning myself, and having never had a child before, I obviously do not know what to expect. It may be that my plan was over ambitious.


monkeysox Mon 12-Mar-18 22:08:32

Well of course everyone is different. My dd would not have a bottle so I had to care for her. You also may feel differently once baby is born.
You might follow your plan to the letter.
Be prepared to change the plan if your family need you to. Good luck

wowbutter Mon 12-Mar-18 22:09:01

I'm going back after 20 weeks and DH is then taking 20 weeks.
I really enjoy my job, and it's prt of my identity so want to go back.
There is no difference between mother and father, in terms of care.
If you are planning on breastfeeding, it may be tricky, a difficult birth no you may only feel recovered after six weeks, you may not want to return.
Or you may feel great and go back and everything will be great.
Only you know yourself.

StripeyDeckchair Mon 12-Mar-18 22:10:55

In your shoes I'd be extremely offended by the colleagues sexist attitude.
As long as you, the parents, are happy with the arrangements the go ahead, I'm sure they'll work out fine.

Stellarbella Mon 12-Mar-18 22:12:51

@stripey yes- I was rather taken aback!

So, the message seems to be, the plan’s not mad, but be prepared to be flexible. I can live with that!

peachgreen Mon 12-Mar-18 22:12:54

My baby is 5 weeks and I'd happily go back to work at 12 weeks and let DH care for her. He is just as capable as I am. Good luck with the baby!

checkingforballoons Mon 12-Mar-18 22:13:22

The only issues I can see here would be if you ended up having a particularly difficult labour and needed more recovery time and if you breastfed and little one wouldn't take a bottle. Why on earth would your DH not be able to care for his own child! Do what works for you as a family.

BackforGood Mon 12-Mar-18 22:13:26

What they seem to be forgetting is the long maternity leave folks get now is relatively new.
When I had my dc everyone went back after 3 months (or less) - that was the maternity leave that was available.
Strangely, my dc - and all their peers - have grown up strong and well, with healthy attachments and sound emotional state.

Of course your dc will be fine.

throwcushions Mon 12-Mar-18 22:14:36

I got this a lot and I'm taking 26 weeks. Just ignore them. You've got to provide for your child too. No-one ever worries when fathers do that...

Bisquick Mon 12-Mar-18 22:14:37

My LO is 12 weeks old now, and I could imagine going back to work. And my DH knew nothing about babies and had never held a newborn until we had her, but is now definitely competent enough to care for her full time. Our financial circs are the reverse of yours so I am taking my full maternity leave, but your plan sounds perfectly reasonable. Just practice with the bottle from day 1. We didn’t bother for a few weeks and now she absolutely refuses the bottle come what may. (Then again we are not as motivated to persist as you will be.)

missymayhemsmum Mon 12-Mar-18 22:14:43

Sounds like a reasonable plan A, though it'll be tricky if you also want to breastfeed. You might want a plan B, though.

HeddaGarbled Mon 12-Mar-18 22:15:41

As you are a successful professional woman, I'm surprised that you have allowed one comment from a colleague make you question your thoroughly considered plans.

minipie Mon 12-Mar-18 22:15:55

Your colleague sounds like a throwback.

Just make sure you introduce a bottle very early. For the rest, a loving father is just as good as a loving mother.

NoqontroI Mon 12-Mar-18 22:18:16

I worked part-time and so did DH at the time, and so we shared the child care. I expressed milk for the days I was at work. It was totally fine.

Enwi Mon 12-Mar-18 22:18:26

Gosh, I’m also self employed and plan to take 2 weeks maternity leave whilst my DP takes the other 50 weeks. I dread to think what they’d think of me!
Do whatever works for you. Sounds like you have it all worked out to me x

DrWhy Mon 12-Mar-18 22:18:42

A bit later than you, I went back to work at 9 months and DH did a great job with DS. It was much easier being at work knowing he was safe at home with his dad than in a Nursery with people I didn’t know when I was first apart from him. The only difficulties were expressing at work (fine as my work is set up for it but a pain for some folks), being shattered as I was still doing all the night feeds and there being relatively few places where the men’s toilet had a baby change!
I think at 12 weeks if you are breastfeeding it will be a struggle, you probably have to express every 3 hours or so and leave the bottles for your DH the next day, it’s not standard in the UK but a lot of women in the US do it so it’s certaibly not impossible. You’ll also be up either feeding or pumping at night. That said, you might have a baby that sleeps through early, you might find you prefer mix feeding or bottle feeding anyway. I’d just see how it goes.

Stellarbella Mon 12-Mar-18 22:19:01

Thanks @hedda - it’s simply that I’ve never done this before and am aware that my plan is not the norm. The responses I have received have provided a great deal of reassurance.

lostherenow Mon 12-Mar-18 22:20:34

I couldn't have gone back to work when DS1 was 12 weeks however his was a traumatic birth and he didn't sleep well at all. DH is brilliant looking after him and always has been, particularly in the early days he did loads but he would never wake up in the night, I always wake to the kids in the night not DH as he is a heavier sleeper.

So I agree completely doable if you want to in the right circumstances, but be prepared to be flexible if things don't go as planned. You wont really know how its going to work until the baby is here.

Fugitivefrombrusstice Mon 12-Mar-18 22:20:50

It doesn't sound mad at all - given your financial situation sounds totally sensible and ideal for your circumstances! It's very old fashioned to imagine your DH can't look after your child - he's an equal parent!

Stellarbella Mon 12-Mar-18 22:21:06

The tips re: getting the baby used to bottles early on are great, thank you all very much. I wouldn’t have thought to do so.

DrWhy Mon 12-Mar-18 22:21:09

Enwi depending on your job I’d probably try to give yourself 4-6 weeks to recover physically - I was still bleeding heavily at 4 weeks and totally exhausted, in no fit state to be working. Even if your DH does all the nights from the start you’ll be recovering from the birth.

jesuislepp Mon 12-Mar-18 22:22:59

We get 14 weeks maternity leave where I live and many of my friends take 10 weeks. And there is no such thing as paternity leave! Dc are in nursery or with a childminder. Your plan sounds perfectly feasible and sensible and I’d be telling your colleague to mind their own business.

DrWhy Mon 12-Mar-18 22:23:53

Good tip from minipie we started with a bottle on about week two but stopped for a week at about 8 weeks and he never took another one. Most of my hard expressed milk went down the sink until he could take from a cup sad

minipie Mon 12-Mar-18 22:30:35

Another tip - if you can afford it, could your DH take leave parallel with you (ie could he take those first 12 weeks off too)?

The reason I say this is that the first 12 weeks are often exhausting and, if you've done them alone, you may not feel up to going back at that point. However if DH has shared them with you, you will not be so exhausted.

If he can't take the time off fully then at least ask him to share the night wakings. This ties in well with giving a bottle. It may not seem "fair" if you are on mat leave but it means you'll be in a better state to go back at 12 weeks.

The other reason for sharing care as much as poss in the first 12 weeks is so he knows the baby's routine (insofar as there is one), likes/dislikes, how to get the baby to sleep, etc at the time you hand over.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 12-Mar-18 22:30:48

However, I mentioned it to a colleague today who was completely horrified.

Was he hoping to pick up some of your work? The first few months are physically hard, and be prepared not to fit back into your work clothes. After that unless you are breastfeeding there is no reason why dh can't take over.

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