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AIBU to want 9 months maternity leave?

(101 Posts)
Niki93 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:46:51

Hi there.

Im 15 weeks pregnant with my first pregnancy. Im 26 years old and work full time in a fairly emotionally draining and stressfull job. Me and my boyfriend sat down to discuss how il use maternity leave and we both decided it would be great for me to take 9 months off. This would consist of the first 5 months on full pay (my employers policy states this for my length of service) the last 4 months on SMP. We’ve already saved up alot together to make sure we have enough financial stability to tie us over those last few months on SMP which is fairly low income. I wanted to take 9 months to make the most of bonding with the baby etc. However, certain friends and family have made comments suggesting we’re being unrealistic by wanting that much time off work and that we wont be able to afford it as we need to oay our mortgage etc. Boyfriend works full time and is supportive for me to take the 9 months while he works. We’re fairly sensible with money, always have been. Am i being unrealistic wanting that much time off? What are other peoples experience of maternity leave? What is the average amount of leave to take for most women in the uk?

spanieleyes Sun 17-Nov-19 19:49:10

I took nine YEARS off!
If you want to and can afford to, why not?

cadburyegg Sun 17-Nov-19 19:50:13

YANBU at all if you can afford it. smile

I’ve been on maternity leave twice. I had 12 months off first time round and 11 months second time. Most women I know took between 9-14 months off (they used annual leave/unpaid leave for the extra). It’s the norm where I live, although obviously there are a couple of people I know who took less.

Babyroobs Sun 17-Nov-19 19:50:20

Most people I know take a year but obviously it depends on circumstances. I went back to work when my first two kids were four and five months old as we lived in a country where there was no such thing as mat pay ! I also went back very part time. With my third child I took 13 months off as I had 3 kids under 5. When I had my fourth I only took 6 months as we were broke, again only went back for two shifts a week so it was manageable. You do what you can afford and you are definitely nbu to take nine months off if you can afford it.

june2007 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:51:30

I think that sounds reasonable. Though finances may take a hit. Even if you do go to work though you would still have to consider the childcare costs so some find not much better off. I have also known parents to take children out of nursery as they felt they went back too early.

hammeringinmyhead Sun 17-Nov-19 19:51:46

I took a year. Nobody was rude enough to question it but if you must answer friends and family just say you saved to cover the loss! Honestly your income will never be the same as it was with childcare, 3 people to feed and house etc so I didn't really see what difference a few extra months of being a few hundred down on SMP made, when starting nursery and being a few hundred down that way was going to be our norm.

Liland Sun 17-Nov-19 19:52:05

Take as much as you can afford to and are happy to, they grow so fast! I was only able to take 13 weeks post c section as my micro company needed me back (but I work from home with my baby except a few mornings of nursery, so not missing it all).

I am the only woman I know working full time with children, and the only woman who took less than the full 12 months. There are so many people doing different things, some women really dont get on with maternity leave and feel isolated. Feel it out as you go, and do what works for your family. Everyone is different smile I'd be a sahm if I wasnt the main breadwinner, but needs must!

CareOfPunts Sun 17-Nov-19 19:52:36

Most people I know have 9 months off, it’s hardly unusual. So of course you wouldn’t be U to do what most people already do

AdriannaP Sun 17-Nov-19 19:53:44

I took 10 months - it was a big financial hit but in retrospect I wish i would’ve taken the full year. If you can afford it, take 9 months. You won’t regret it, especially if you have to return to a stressful job. Enjoy

sar302 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:53:57

Well, you know how much money you have coming in and how much you spend - you should be able to work out from that how many months you can afford to have off. Don't listen to other people, they don't know your finances, or your personal circumstances.

If it's any help, what we did was work out how much money I was going to get over the year off (3 months full pay, 3 months half pay, 3 months stat pay, 3 months nothing I think it was) and then distributed that evenly across the year (so divided it by 12). So say I go paid £2000 in January, I might only actually contribute £400 to our pot in Jan, and put the rest away. That way, we had less income throughout the year, but no massive drops when the pay ran out.

Best of luck. If you can do it, I would. They get so much more fun around the 6/7 month mark!

WinkysTeatowel Sun 17-Nov-19 19:54:12

Do what works for you. I took 6 months with my first and 13 with the second. I would say that I found I spend far less money when on mat leave which helps.

Walnutwhipster Sun 17-Nov-19 19:54:19

What on earth does it have to do with anyone else but you and your partner!

Stegosaurus1990 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:55:13

What have your finances got to do with your family? If you can afford it, that’s up to you!

meow1989 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:55:46

If you can afford ot, definitely do it. I took a year off with ds and dont regret it for a moment. Remeber you accrue annual leave whilst you're off on maternity leave so you could extend for a couple of weeks by technically "coming back" but using your excess annual leave straight away. I did this so as well as my 12 months mat leave I got a months paid leave right at the end.

BackforGood Sun 17-Nov-19 19:55:54

It really isn't anything to do with anyone else. If you and dp are happy, and you've thought about budgeting, then do what is best for you.

You really don't know how you'll feel until you get there anyway. Some people are itching to get back, others dread the idea of going back. Others change the balance by perhaps going back a bit earlier but going part time.

One thing that you might not know is that quite a lot of babies (so not all) do have a bit of an issue with separation at about 9 - 10 months, so it isn't the easiest time to start leaving them, so it is certainly worth 'getting used to' going out and leaving the little one for short periods before you go back to work rather than it being 'all or nothing' at 9 months.

runoutofideasnow Sun 17-Nov-19 19:55:53

Most people I know take a year plus their annual leave.
I hardly know anyone that took less than 9 months, the only ones being self employed or in not very secure employment.

lookatthebabypenguin Sun 17-Nov-19 19:56:15

If your financial planning covers what happens when you go back in terms of childcare costs (i.e. Taking nine months won't leave you in such a precarious position you struggle to go back) I don't really see the issue.

Polly111 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:56:54

Take no notice of them, it’s none of their business really. If you’ve worked out that you can afford it then it should be fine.

I had 13 months off with both of mine (including annual leave) and went back part-time after the first.

oblada Sun 17-Nov-19 19:57:53

Surely you won't have cost of childcare, travel to work etc so it won't be such a massive hit? Babies don't have to cost much. I took 6 months the first them and 9 months each the next 2 times. All that was always at statutory minimum (so 6 weeks at 90percent then SMP flat rate - which isn't that bad tbh) and we managed perfectly fine. Took 6months the first time due to work commitment not finances. Husband works FT and earns a similar salary to mine.

WhatsMyAgeAgain0 Sun 17-Nov-19 19:57:56

I work in payroll for all sorts of businesses from small to large and pay 100s on maternity leaves a month.

It is very rare for a woman not to take 9 months off.

The only ones who tend to return to work early are high earners with lots of responsibilities like secondary school head teachers or lawyers etc.

Pomley Sun 17-Nov-19 19:59:26

Most people I know took at least a year off, I would have thought it'd far more unusual to take less than 9 months than more. Take how long you can afford, and how long you feel comfortable with.

oblada Sun 17-Nov-19 19:59:34

In my experience separation anxiety is worse ard 12-13months.

Otherwise most women I know have taken a year, a minority have taken 9 months. I don't know any having taken less.

PavlovaFaith Sun 17-Nov-19 19:59:42

I took a year x2 smile

Your friends/family ABU

lynzpynz Sun 17-Nov-19 19:59:49

I took a year off, and we saved hard to cover the time I was on SMP and no pay too. If you plan ahead you can manage and although you need to cut back - it's sooo worth it if you are lucky enough to be able to do it! Remember you'll also accrue annual leave during maternity so that will be able to be used to extend your maternity too whilst being paid xx

OhWellThatsJustGreat Sun 17-Nov-19 20:00:20

It's got nothing to do with any of them!!!
I'm taking 9 months at statutory as that's all the company I work for offer. You've got a brilliant deal there and as it sounds you've got the back up you need in savings, you'll be fine!
DH wages cover all our bills and although we're stable, we should have been sensible and put a bit more away in savings as we have spent close to £5000 on our pup this year in vet bills. Not ideal, not predictable, but that's life.

Congratulations and enjoy your new baby and however much time you take with them.

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