I don't know about other people or stats, but I can give you my experience with 4 children.
With DD1 I went back after 1 year and left a day later as I couldn't face it. (Long commute, long hours, very stressful job).
When DS1 was 8 months I found a new job full time (working from home). It was tough.
With DS2 I went back when he was 6 months - also full time - it was really really tough and most days I felt exhausted/ready to break down. I did also have 2 other very small children though so effectively 3 children 3 years and under!
With DD2 (my fourth), I took nearly 2 years off and went back when she was 18 months (started mat leave very early on) and went back 3 days a week. This has been much easier for me - although I was still worried about leaving her, I didn't have to worry about things like weaning/walking etc and I knew she was more independent. She settled in fine at nursery after about 2 weeks she wasn't crying when I dropped her off and trotted in herself.
Based on my own experience I would say that if you can afford it, having 1 year or more off is easier on yourself - but that's only my experience having done it both ways! Having said that, it was harder this time to get back into a decent role and my career has suffered this time whilst it had not the two times before - but I think that is probably more to do with the fact that I am part-time than that I had more time off, or maybe a combination of both.
start negotiations now with work about part time flexible etc and get that sorted but take full year off! I did this, got three days a week after first DC. Then with 2nd I walked out on my last working day and barely had any contact, walking back in 52 weeks later to my existing contract. BLISS. If you know you will get part time hours to suit then relax! Just organise childcare as well so its not all a late minute panic. Money wise, well, you might get some tax credits as you haven't earned so look into that, otherwise cut your cloth accordingly and hang on in there! I confess to racking up £3k on a 0% credit card though in the 2nd six months but my washing machine blew up ! Good job I am earning a pittance after childcare to pay that back.
Just make sure you're not just pushing the problem back by 3 months. Childcare is expensive now and will be in 3 months time, though you'll just have no income for those 13 weeks putting yourself in a bad position.
Working from home is fine but you will still need childcare for those days. You cannot look after a baby and give a good days work to your employer.
IME most people take 9 m. I'm just coming to the end of my leave & will be 11 m & a week including 2 weeks AL. I was originally going to take a year(+leave) but dh took redundancy last year and now has a lower paid( more family friendly job) so I cut my leave short. I've done bits of KIT to earn scraps of money in the last month.
I took 6 months with mine as that was the maximum back then. Looking at colleagues who are having babies now, most seem to take a year. However, they do seem to have more problems with settling their children into childcare (a generalisation obviously, but it does seem to be the case). So its swings and roundabouts. A full year is easier for mum, but children tend to cope better with settling into childcare if they are younger. I also agree that you need to think about whether you are simply postponing the issue- the childcare will cost just as much in 3 months time so the extra weeks probably aren't worth getting into debt over. And whether you work at home or in the office, your employer will expect childcare to be in place, therefore the only saving you might make is if you have a long commute and can cut down childcare hours
I have just gone back after 6 months. Would appear to be the only person I know who has gone back this soon - a couple of people have gone bact after 9 months but most take the full 12 months. I can only speak for myself but I feel great about the timing, plus it was a financial necessity, DD is happily settled in nursery. By the time she's old enough to have separation anxiety, I'm hoping nursery will be such a familiar place that it doesnt really have an impact.
Most of my friends took 9 months mat leave and added their annual leave on to that.
I took 12 months mat leave plus 6 wks annual leave with DS. I'm so glad I did , I found the first 6 months with a new baby really hard and only started to enjoy my time with him after 6 months.
Will be taking 12 months with DC2 aswell.
I actually found I survived OK on MAT pay as my outgoings reduced a lot: No train fares to work, smart suits, lunch at Pret or drinks after work. I economised a lot on food by meal planning and cooking from scratch and we cut back on luxuries like holidays.
Im taking a year. Also worried about money, only taking it coz the fwa not going quite according to plan.... Shall see what happens.... Am very relieved though to have extended, serendipity and all that :0)
I took 9 mths last time and hated going back ft as dd became poorly and I was pg. This time I am taking 12 mths plus al. That said last night I was shocked to read that wtc will stop for the last 3 mths as I am not classed as employed. Sorry to hijack but does anyone have any experience?
I took 2 weeks annual leave, 12 months maternity, then 4 weeks annual leave. Most people I know take 10-12months and add a chunk of annual leave. A couple of friends going back to work full time, eased into it my shortening their working week by taking annual leave e.g. Fulltime contract but worked 3 days a week for a bit, then 4 days, then 5. Could that be an option?