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If you could afford to take 12 months maternity leave, would you?

(25 Posts)
Chattanoonoo Tue 09-Nov-10 03:16:21

Currently on maternity leave with DS2, 7 months. Am due back in mid December when he'll be nearly 9 months old though only working a few days before Christmas then off until mid Jan as have accrued annual leave. We have savings and I have come into some other money, not much but enough to allow me to take a few more months if I want to. Money was one of the main reasons I was heading back after 9 months but also because I think 12 months is too long out of the office (in my job anyway as theres's a good chance of restructuring and others being promoted above me) but I do also miss work a bit and find being a SAHM very hard though of course love it at the same time. Just wondered, what would others do?

duchesse Tue 09-Nov-10 03:25:39

Honestly I think you won't regret going back now assuming you've found the right childcare for your baby. It'll be hard at the beginning with the logistics and speel deprivation, but worth it long-term. I sort of agree with you- 12 months would be a tad too long for me as well.

dinosaurinmybelly Tue 09-Nov-10 03:39:14

I think it is different for everyone. I extended my planned leave to 12 months as I wasn't ready to go back at 9 months and then I found i couldn't do it then either. It sounds like you feel ready now so I would go for it. Ideal that you can phase it in over Christmas as I imagine it will be an adjustment at first.

Panzee Tue 09-Nov-10 03:45:00

I did 12 months and yes I think it was a little bit too long for me.

Chattanoonoo Tue 09-Nov-10 03:46:13

thanks both. Just going with what feels right but there's just the guilt that if I really wanted to I could have a few more months with my children. One thing I am clear on it that a gradual return is definitely best - would hate to from nothing to full time. Heartbreaking.

joanne34 Tue 09-Nov-10 12:44:05

chattanoonoo; You sound more or less around the same maternity leave time as me.

I am going back the 6th jan and taking my annual due leave in december. DS2 will be 9 months when i go back.... anyway, basically yes if i could afford to stay off for 12 months i would ! But I cant so we have no other option.... apart from win euro lotto !

If you feel like you want to go back then do, its up to you !

I was lucky enough to take 15 months with ds1, and i loved it, but this time i miss work and we need the money.

Although i am dreading the settling at nursery as ds2 mummys boy !

chanie44 Tue 09-Nov-10 19:56:58

Hmm, this is difficult. On the one hand, I've loved being with my DS, but on the other hand, it can be quite lonely being on mat leave (I go back to work on MOnday!!!)

As a compromise, could you not go back part time and use your holiday to cover the days your aren' working. THis is what I'm doing - I will be working 2-3 days a week until the end of the year and go back full time in Jan.

My LO is 7 months and in some ways, I do think it is too young. But, then in the current economic climate, I don't want to get in loads of debt for the sake of a few months, especially if want no 2. The plus side of going back early is that hopefully, DS will be settled before he gets to the clingy stage.

Don't forget that when on mat leave, you do have extended rights when it comes to redundancies and also, they should notify you of any promotions etc.

NorkilyChallenged Tue 09-Nov-10 20:02:04

I was lucky enough to be able to afford to take a year both times and it was about right for me I think. I only work part-time since I had the dc though, so maybe that makes a difference?

Chattanoonoo Tue 09-Nov-10 20:08:47

Chanie44, I'll only be working 7 days before Christmas then using my accrued annual leave to work a 4 day week in Jan and Feb, which is so much better than going straight back into a 5 day week. Long term plan is to make a flexible working request to work a 4 day week permanently. DS2 will be 9 months in mid December. DS1 was 7.5 months when I went back to full time work which worked out fine but now I have two there is more reason than ever to be at home as my toddler loves having me around and it's amazing spending all that time with him. Good point re enhanced rights whilst on maternity leave - particularly relevant here as the company I work for is doing lots of restructuring which could affect me. Not even sure if extending maternity leave is even an option anymore anyway as there is now less than the requisite 8 weeks notice required to change my date of return so I would have to beg my employer to let me stay off a bit longer.

Chattanoonoo Tue 09-Nov-10 20:10:13

Norkily, when you say you could afford 12 months, did you use savings or just live off one wage?

NorkilyChallenged Tue 09-Nov-10 20:17:21

We lived off one wage though actually I had savings, but DH earns a lot more than I do so we can actually afford it (which is lucky I know).

create Tue 09-Nov-10 20:24:56

I went back after 9 months with DS1 and it took a year before I felt I "belonged" again, soooo much had changed. So I think 12 months would be too long from the work POV, although lovely to have the extra time with DS.

It is the first of many difficult decisions we face as working parents I'm afraid.

pozzled Tue 09-Nov-10 20:25:23

I had 12 months off and was very glad I did. I intend to do the same next time. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my DD. BUT my situation was different from yours as before I left I was very stressed at work so was glad to have a long break. And being in education it was a bit weird going back mid-year anyway, nothing to gain by going back earlier.

I think if you're happy with the childcare you have and feel like you're missing work then you shouldn't feel any obligation to stay at home.

PrivetDancer Tue 09-Nov-10 20:30:56

I think as you are already geared up to go back December and have the 'gentle return' planned, I'd probably stick to your current plan and put the extra money towards a holiday or something nice to look forwards to in the summer. Also if restructurings and things going on, might not be a good time to mess them about.

I took 9 months with my first but about to start second maternity leave (on Friday ) and will be taking a full year off this time as I didn't feel 9 months was long enough and want to make the most of it this time as probably the last time. Plus also thinking going back soon before Christmas will be good, like you, as it's an easy time of year, at my place anyway.

Chattanoonoo Tue 09-Nov-10 20:45:17

I think I feel obliged to take the extra time because I can!! Much easier if you could only take 9 months as used to be the case. I do feel 12 months out of the office is too long and that you get forgotten. Having said that, having been out for 8 months already, will another few months make much of a difference? Thing is that I have already hired a nanny with a December start and made other plans around returning then so it would mean changing all those arrangements.

pozzled Tue 09-Nov-10 21:15:29

"I think I feel obliged to take the extra time because I can!!"

Now, you know this is nonsense. You can take the extra time. You can also go back to work as you planned. Either is a perfectly valid option, and you are lucky enough to be able to choose. It sounds to me like it's more practical to return to work, and you would slightly prefer to do so.

lal123 Tue 09-Nov-10 21:25:56

I took 12 months - went back about 4 weeks ago. I was really glad I did, because that extra time with my baby (and with DD1) is time I'll never get back again. I haven't been forgotten in work at all - folk seem really pleased that I'm back. Don't feel guilty if you want to go back to work though - it's up to you.

PrivetDancer Tue 09-Nov-10 21:55:44

Agree with pozzled, silly to stay off purely because you think you should. Who do you think would be judging you if you went back? No-one would know you had the option to extend it anyway, presumably.

You're all set to go back in a month, personally I wouldn't mess that all up now unless you had actually decided you didn't want to go back yet, but it sounds like you do really, so do it and banish any guilty thoughts.

Manda25 Tue 09-Nov-10 21:57:38

I went back 2 days a week when youngest was 5 months ... and used the rest of AL and savings to cover the rest for a further 2 yrs. Not always possible ...but i believe i had the best of both worlds. I enjoyed part time working so much that 8 yrs later I am still only doing 30 hours.

fridayschild Wed 10-Nov-10 19:21:22

You do get forgotten. Especially if you have more than one mat leave - is there any chance of a DC3?

If like me you work in the sort of place where people might wonder how committed an employee you were because you are (shock) a mum, not taking your max 12 months will demonstrate how keen you are.

Take parental leave later instead when DC2 is older, if you can afford it. The child will appreciate it more at an older age.

Gangle Wed 10-Nov-10 19:41:00

Don't care what others think - I just have a nagging feeling that I could have spent longer with them if I'd wanted. You feel obliged to spend as much time as you can with them. I do want to spend time with them but I also miss work. I want to do both!! Fridayschild, I totally agree. No chance of DC3 but I've had two maternity leaves in this job within 2 years - was off most of 2008 (March to early November) and off most of 2010 (March to December) so it doesn't seem like I've been around very much. It doesn't help that my boss is American and thinks anything over 6 weeks is excessive, although she would never say that!

waterlooroadisadocumentary Wed 10-Nov-10 19:44:34

Yes I would in a shot. We are trying for a baby in the new year. I will have to go back to work as soon as possible. Really I should go back at six weeks but I will try and last out 18 weeks.

galonthefarm Thu 11-Nov-10 22:21:33

hey there, my dd is 8,5 months now and think work have just agreed to go back PT to work from Feb - waiting for the written confirmation that is a bit nerve wracking!

I am missing work a bit too and have found being a sahm hard too - love spending time with dd but miss using the old grey matter, I also spent 5 years training to do my job(am a surveyor) so its weird not working. IMO do what feels right for you. Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you should take longer, especially if you are geared up to go back sooner already. Save up the moneyf or holiday etc as others have suggested

Gangle Fri 12-Nov-10 03:24:52

Thanks galonthefarm and apologies for the name change mid thread. I am a solicitor so I've also trained for years and I happen to be in a really good, enjoyable job which is very well remunerated! Just wish I didn't feel so guilty at leaving them. I've loved my time with them but being a SAHM is SO hard and I do feel that something is missing, like you say, using the old grey matter, or just doing something for yourself. Trying to convince myself that I will still be a good mum without being around the whole time. Think my toddler will me going back to work harder than my 7 month old.

risingstar Sat 13-Nov-10 11:55:29

i took 12 months- and took a mortgage holiday to acheive this. mine ran november to november. looking back, i would have been better off either going back in september or january. i took my leave to do a 3 day week until christmas. of course, what i had forgotten was that november and december is full of idiots running to the training department saying i have only got to the end of the year to finish this project and the last thing is the training.

defo do gradual return- this is my third child and i had forgotten how they get every single illness

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