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First Child - Returning to Work Quickly

(170 Posts)
SJDiggle Mon 10-Feb-20 11:56:50

Hi all,

Long time lurker - first time post. Just looking for some (hopefully!) neutral opinions/advice. My DH and I are at a point where we are thinking about children but we are trying to be sensible and consider finances etc.

Realistically we could probably only financially afford for me to take 6 weeks maternity leave (before my policy drops to 50% pay).

I already work 2 days from home and would probably see if I could increase that to 3 when I return to work but my question/AIBU is would it work with a 6 week old baby being looked after by a child minder/nanny during the day twice a week? DH leaves house at 8:30am and one of us is normally home by 5pm

We won't have help from family - My mother works and the in-laws are 3 hours away and no grandparents either.

Happy to hear all opinions and thoughts!

BurneyFanny Mon 10-Feb-20 11:59:17

I went back to work after 10 weeks (usual in my part of the world) and even then it was tough. Six weeks is going to be very very hard. Avoid unless you live in the States and have absolutely no other option or something.

umberellaonesie Mon 10-Feb-20 12:00:02

What childcare would you have for your days working from home?

2020runner Mon 10-Feb-20 12:00:27

So will you be working from home 3 days and in office 2?

Who will have baby when you are working from home?

Will you be breastfeeding?

Tbh I dont think it would work but obvs it's not my life. Can you not put off ttc for a bit and save?

Parkandride Mon 10-Feb-20 12:01:32

Some American sources might be more useful as this would be quite a standard maternity leave there.
You could add some holiday days too.
Can you save during pregnancy to cover any further time? 50% pay is pretty decent when many just get statutory pay so with a little extra saving you might be ok to extend a bit to allow you to recover a little more.

Also check your husbands shared paternity leave policy to see if he could take any time with less impact on pay

SJDiggle Mon 10-Feb-20 12:04:21

Hi - just to add I'm not in America, am UK based

okiedokieme Mon 10-Feb-20 12:04:41

Working from home and caring for a newborn isn't really possible, babies are a full time job near enough (you might manage 3-4 hours work during naps but not all babies nap even that much!). I think you need to have plans in place for if you cannot cope, it's a lot to try to do

BetaCarotene Mon 10-Feb-20 12:06:44

I had six weeks (not in the uk). His nanny brought him at lunchtime and I expressed.

Are you planning to work from home and look after the baby at the same time? That is going to be hard.

GrumpyHoonMain Mon 10-Feb-20 12:06:54

i take it you’re in the States? If so do check if you do get access to pumping time and a private pumping room / lactation leave / discounts for local to work childcare. Also many companies will provide leave on top of the leave provided by insurers plus allow you to take annual leave - so you may be able to add on at least another 4 weeks.

BuffaloCauliflower Mon 10-Feb-20 12:07:34

You will still need childcare working from home, you can’t work whilst caring for a small baby.

50% is still pretty good as a policy. Are you absolutely sure you can’t afford to take more? Save a bit longer, cut back somewhere? The childcare will be very expensive for a small baby so might negate what you’re earning anyway. Not to mention leaving a baby that’s so little.

Elephantonascooter Mon 10-Feb-20 12:08:59

Not a chance in hell. Sorry op, just being honest. There is no way that will work

yikesanotherbooboo Mon 10-Feb-20 12:10:05

20 years ago it was usual to go back to work at 11-12 weeks and I knew several women who went back earlier but I think you would need proper full time child care. New born babies can be quite chaotic and planning eg to work in the evenings while your DH is around might sound like a plan but is likely to be gruelling if you are having very broken nights.

TrashKitten10 Mon 10-Feb-20 12:13:00

It sounds like you're planning to work from home and look after your newborn at the same time which really isn't realistic or fair to you, your baby or your employer. I think you really need to look at your budget and assume that going back to work full time means full time childcare and see how your numbers work.

CheesyMother Mon 10-Feb-20 12:16:17

It really depends on how easy the birth is and how easy the baby is! There is absolutely no way I would have been able to go back at 6 weeks - but my baby was 7 weeks premature so I hadn’t even reached my due date by then... I went back at 39 weeks once statutory pay ended, but had done some KIT days before then to boost my income. It was pretty tough even then as my baby was not a good sleeper...

If you get 50% pay after 6 weeks, are you on full pay for the first 6 weeks? You should be able to save something out of that as you won’t be commuting etc. And surely you can save some of your salaries beforehand - if you can’t save at all right now then how are you going to be able to afford any childcare when you go back?

I’d really advise taking at least 12 weeks if you can. Remember that you can use holiday to extend your time off and that you might be able to do some KIT days (but check how much you will be paid for them - some employers set off maternity pay against them).

You’ll also get child benefit from when the baby is born (unless you/your partner is a high earner - but in that case I would have thought you’d be able to save enough to cover some of the shortfall once you drop to 50% pay).

FaFoutis Mon 10-Feb-20 12:19:20

I worked from home while looking after my babies. It is possible but it is awful, I really wouldn't advise it.
You don't know how well you will feel after the birth. Your plan sounds like it might not be good for your mental health. I'd take the 50% pay for a while.

Bibidy Mon 10-Feb-20 12:23:54

Hey OP,

Could you put some money aside during your pregnancy to boost you for a few more weeks after it drops to 50%?

As others have said, you absolutely won't be able to look after your baby when you're wfh and your work probably wouldn't accept that if they ever found out.

Schuyler Mon 10-Feb-20 12:24:01

Would you work allow you to work from home with no childcare? I’m sure most places have it in their policy that you must have childcare if you work at home.

I used to look after a young baby (started when baby was around 10 weeks) while her mum worked from home. It was only 3 hours every afternoon but her mum found it hard to hear the baby cry, even when I was tending to her, and to ignore it and not respond. She said her instinct was too strong.

CheesyMother Mon 10-Feb-20 12:25:09

Also, even if you are able to work from home without childcare for a newborn (I wouldn’t have been able to...) you definitely won’t be able to do this once they are a bit older! You need to budget for childcare for all the time both of you are at work.

Does your partner have any enhanced shared parental leave pay at all?

KittenVsBox Mon 10-Feb-20 12:26:21

A couple of thoughts.
If the nanny/childminder is doing 2 days a week, who is covering the other 3 days? You cannot expect to get paid by work and look after your child FT.
If you finish work before you go into labour, that is also part of your maternity leave -so baby could well be less than 6 weeks old before the full pay period ends. Also, if you are off ill with anything pregnancy related from 36 weeks maternity leave starts. If baby arrived at 42 weeks, that is your full pay period over when baby is born.
Have a look at childcare costs (FT costs), and compare to your drop in pay. You may find the difference is less than you think.
Check your preferred childcare will take babies that young - some have a minimium age much higher than 6 weeks.

It will be exceptionally hard, but not impossible, to go back that early. Look into getti g you or your partner off for a longer period if at all possible.

Letsallscreamatthesistene Mon 10-Feb-20 12:29:36

Wowzers I was planning to go back to work after 6 months and was panicking slightly about it!

50% isnt too bad, but if you cant manage it i'd really try hard to save money beforehand. Also can you save up some annual leave that'll let you go on full pay for a bit afterwards? For example, im planning on going back after 6 months, but then take some AL afterwards that ives saved that'll see me up to 7ish months.

NoRegrets123 Mon 10-Feb-20 12:30:37

Not a chance in hell I could have done that. Babies are so much work and they normally go through a really difficult phase at around 8 weeks (just after you've gone back to work). I was also recovering from an EMCS and still didn't feel right at all at 6 weeks.

I would put it off for a few years and save up. How old are you if you don't mind me asking?

gwenneh Mon 10-Feb-20 12:31:08

You really won’t be able to work from home with no childcare and a newborn. It will be fine for the first two or three sleepy weeks, then it becomes a shit show. I’m doing it at the moment with baby #3, voluntarily so I’m picking my own workload and hours, and it just isn’t pleasant. If I were being assessed on my performance right now I would be in trouble but as I am still technically on leave I can let things slide. Unless your employer is extremely forgiving this is not a situation that will work.

Tombakersscarf Mon 10-Feb-20 12:32:10

I don't think you can afford to have dc as things stand, sorry.
There will be a lot of other expenses to come and if you can not survive at all without two full time salaries I don't see how it can work.

PineappleDanish Mon 10-Feb-20 12:33:05

YABU. And totally unrealistic. You can't work at home and be in sole charge of a baby too.

Hugtheduggee Mon 10-Feb-20 12:34:19

You can work whilst caring for a newborn to an extent (well I could) as long as they nap well. You certainly wouldn't get a full day done, but probably 4-5 hours and then do some more I'm the evening. BUT:

1) the amount you can do will decrease with time. Sleepy newborn gets replaced by active baby, and then toddler. I work from home whilst caring for my 9 month old, and on a good day can manage 3-4 hours in the day, and more in the evening.

2) it's knackering and restrictive. Its hard to go out to baby groups because as soon as they are asleep you are logging on. You have zero downtime, and you are likely to have very disruptive nights so concentration and staying awake will be hard.

You'd be better off with spl, or taking longer (with the hit) or getting more childcare. If you want to get a full day work in, you need at least half a day childcare, in my experience. And you'll still be running yourself into the ground if you're not careful.

In short, possible but not easy for very short periods or when they are tiny. But it'll get harder.

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