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Returning to work in 3 months - feeling very irrational...

(10 Posts)
NewChoos Mon 05-Sep-11 08:01:02

Title says it all really. I really need to get some perspective - I am having sleepless nights over this. DS is 5 months, I have provisionally said I will return in December although I could have longer off as have lots of annual leave left and also could have longer on stat pay. I have (almost) decided to go back in Dec as I think it will be worse if I put off returning in a way.

I go through phases of not liking my job (nhs very stressful and yuk politics at times) but also have a good job and have worked hard to get this position. It's quite a unique job and so I would find it hard to get this type of job again if I had a career break.

I am concerned about balancing the demands of the job now (not helped by having a back stabber on the team who has been the manager while I am away) and also about continued mutterings about changing work patterns which I would find difficult to manage (covering different area 2 days a month, so feel this would add to my stress, as I would need training and takes me away from my actual job - it's just a cost cutting tactic which a lot of people are opposed to. So far my manager has said I don't need to do this, but she's leaving so no idea what new persons view will be).

I don't think I am a full time SAHM but know I will miss Ds dreadfully - feel tearful already at the thought but know it possibly won't be as bad as | think. Although I will be out of the house at 0630 and back at 1930, so won't see much of DS for 3 days a week. If I didn't work, we would probably have to move to a smaller house and make lifestyle changes. DH supportive in whatever I do.

Sorry this is a long post and I'm not even sure what I'm asking! Any opinions/advice appreciated.

cjbartlett Mon 05-Sep-11 08:04:06

I'd try and enjoy your three months at home firstly
Then I'd go back and see how it goes
It might be better than you think
Could you cut down your hours further so you're doing 9-4 3 days so you see ds a bit more?

pinkytheshrinky Mon 05-Sep-11 08:20:31

How lovely that you husband is supportive about all this - I really don't have any advice apart from suck it and see but honestly if you cannot bear the thought of leaving your baby (and those are very very long days) then don't do it - you cannot get this time back after all. I have four children (cooking number 5) and worked all the time (because I had to) when I have the first two. I stopped working just before I had number 3. I have to be honest I am bored out of my mind sometimes but frankly it is preferable to leaving them, particularly when they are very small - 5 months is very tiny and it is hard to imagine 3 months time isn't it? The first few months are so all encompassing it seems impossible that you could tear yourself away.

I know it is easy for me to say but try to enjoy these three months and not be filled with dread - despite your job being unique it does sound like there is a lot of trouble brewing there and you have to ask yourself is it really worth it?

There is of course a compromise - just earn less money job and this might be the middle ground you need - as I said they are very very long days.

Sorry nothing helpful to really add but so sorry you are in turmoil about this.

NewChoos Mon 05-Sep-11 09:36:07

Thank you for the replies. I have so much whizzing around my head - I need some perspective.
I could do shorter days but I think I'd need to increase my days in work to 4 if I did this (additional day in nursery) as not sure my job could be done in less hours.

There may be trouble brewing but I would assume if I have some rights to protect my job especially as I am dropping my hours, so I could argue this against the case for being pulled to another dept for 2 days.

I think it's all the uncertainty that's causing more stress. I have worked there for more than 10 years and apparently have been missed.. so I am hoping there will be flexibility when I return. I am thinking ahead too much, even worried about having a 2nd child and how we will cope with 2 in nursery and then school runs etc! We are planning TTC Spring next year due to my age, so we'll have 2 close together.

But I guess somehow we will manage and we'll work out what's best <hopeful>

Jules125 Mon 05-Sep-11 10:18:25

Hi NC,

No comments but only sympathy as I feel very much the same (trying to return to my senior and unique public sector job with nearly 9 mo DD now). Settling in at nursery has gone very badly so far as we have both been ill and I've delayed going back one month. I do want to work (its a good job, we need the money - I am main breadwinner, and jobs like this are hard to come by at the moment) but its so very very hard to leave her and I feel such guilt when I do. I have been tearful too.

I think you should try to enjoy every moment of the last 3 months and just not think about work in advance. I need to give this arrangement time (at least a couple of months to see if DD settles better) and then review things. If need be I'll drop the nursery and get a nanny. Its unlikely I'll decide to be a SAHM but I could work more at home.

Ask me how I'm feeling in another 4-6 weeks :-)

gourd Tue 06-Sep-11 11:20:13

Your messsage made my eyes fill up too! I hated leaving my 9 MO to return to work but I managed to negotiate a four day week. Can you apply for reduced hours or job share? Can you afford to do that? If so, do apply for that now as it took my emplyers a few months to sort out, so initially I did have to work full time. The extra day at home makes everything a lot easier - I get to bed earlier on Thursdays, becuse I don't have to get LO's food, clothes, nappies etc ready for next day or my own work clothes and food (I cycle in and change at work). I also only have to plan and cook 4 meals (2 x 2 pots of curry/stew etc) at weekends to warm up during the week for evening meals (don't have time to cook on work days). It also measn I dont have another 2-3 hours of commuting that week, which also reduces teh cost of working/commuting if I am in teh car or sing public transport instead of cycling due to poor weather. Above all, it means I get one quality day a week with Lo, just the two of us, when I dont do any housework and I don't do shopping, or cooking (except for our evening meal-which I have time to prepare whilst LO naps in the mornings), and that quality time with LO was what I was really missing when I rerturned to work full time.

I am now on 80% of my original salary so a day a week is just about doable for us although it means no eating out etc. I don't save anything on childcare, but both I and partner get childcare vouchers from work which totally cover the childcare cost and make it tax free which helps a lot.

I disgree with the above posters a little though - You DO need to think about work now. Once you have made some sort of decision based on research, you will feel better about things and can stop worrying quite so much.

It is very important that you consider travel time, the time you will now have to spend at weekends doing things that you cannot get done in the week etc before you make any decisions. you also need to introduce your child to childcare gradually (i.e. a couple of hours with whoever you have chosen as your provider) before they spend a whole day there. I found a wonderful CM and I know my LO is really happy with (it is immediately obvious) which is a huge relief and makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing even though I still miss being with my baby. You do need to be really sure of the childcare provider and be happy with your choice before you return to work, or you will feel much worse about leaving your baby. Do some research now - go and visit CMs, nurseries etc, read Ofsted reports, make a shortlist and also ask your friends for recommendations. Do use your instincts too - you will know if the care giver seems a good choice for your baby. I went to see a few CMs and whilst there was nothing wrong with any of them, only the one I chose stood out as being really enthusuasitc about her job and loving children - which IMO they do need to do. There was something about her attitudes and values that clicked with mine, and that is important if the care giver is to spend more time per week th your child than you do! Our CM also clearly loves being with my child and it shows in the way they interact and the way my baby is devloping into such a contented little girl, and that isn't something that any qualifications or experience can replace. I couldn't have found a better CM and LO is thrilled to be dropped off evey morning -I actually feel a bit jealous as she sems to enjoy being there so much! You do need to think about childcare now, as places fill up (esp CMs - as they are only allowed to look after one baby) so finding someone good isn't always that straightforward.

NewChoos Wed 07-Sep-11 15:04:39

Thanks so much for the replies - I am feeling a little better. I have decided to do 3 days a week, they are long days but I will have 4 days with my baby and will be able to make the most of these days as we won't have financial concerns. I also think I will be a better mum if I do have time out of the house. I have discussed with DH that I will drop my hours if getting in so late is awful, but I have to counter the price of my train ticket with the amount of hours I do (plus the cost of childcare!) and can't really drop below 28 hours.
If the politics at work become awful, I can consider my options again - I do have a tendency to worry before things have happened.

jules125 I hope you and your DD are feeling better now and that the nursery transition becomes smoother.
gourd I am aiming to be super organised to cut down on any stress. I think we have found the right nursery and am in the process of arranging a 2nd visit. DS will be there 2 days a week as my sister has kindly offered to have him for the other day.

donthateme Fri 09-Sep-11 07:03:49

Glad you're feeling more positive.

The only thing I'd add is that the reality of doing the job will be easier than the worrying and imagining what it will be like which you're experiencing now. Honest! With the first baby, you just have no idea how you'll cope, but you just do. It sounds like you have built up a good reputation where you are, and that people are missing you, and no doubt there will be a lot of relief when you're back if some people in the team aren't too nice. Your baby will be 8 months when you return which will be fine; I returned when mine were 6 months as my maternity pay ran out then and tbh I think settling them with childcare is so much easier than if they are a year upwards

CultureMix Fri 09-Sep-11 21:31:35

Just a few words to add some support.

First of all your baby will be different at 8 months from the 5 months now. Sounds obvious but really makes a difference (it's nearly double his current age smile) and by then both he and you will be more ready for a change. In fact by that point you may really be wanting the change of scene that work provides, and that still leaves you 2 days + weekends with your little one. Though it definitely is a transition returning to work and you start appreciating what your fellow parent colleagues deal with...

I would raise a question about returning in December - although as it's an NHS post may be different, don't know. You might get all geared up to go back to work for Dec.1st, then 3 weeks later everyone including you goes on holiday for a couple of weeks and it could really interrupt the new routine just as it's starting to get bedded in. Or maybe year end is really busy whereas January is more gradual which might be a better time to start?

Also are you certain that your arrangements a) for nursery re start date and b) with your sister are solid? as you really don't want these falling apart just as you're getting back into things.

And finally (I keep banging on about this cause it really was a factor for me and I just hadn't considered it with DS1 - duh) how much flexibility - if any - do you / your DH have in case your DS gets sick? As he will, no doubt about it, and not just on your 'off' days. So need some sort of plan for this.

DreamingofFour Fri 30-Sep-11 21:11:06

I have a similar type of NHS job, and like you have been in the NHS for quite a while. Almost everyone I know in the NHS is stressed about the future/re-structuring at the moment, and it sounds like it is hard for you to stop worrying about work even tho you are away at them moment (I also struggled with this). One good thing about having a kid is it does help you detach slightly from the internal politics, so you may find that just by being away, you have gained a new perspective.
Going back 3 long days a week has really worked for me, I have days of being the 'work me', and days of being the 'home m'e, and I am better mum for it! As to when to go back, I have returned at different times (4 mths for DS1 and DD1, 8 mths for DD2) and can honestly say that it is always difficult - ie there is no perfect time, to a certain extent you just have to dive in. Starting in december not a bad idea since you have xmas to look forward to, and I would suggest having some hol booked for about 6 or 8 weeks after your return, again to look forward to. I have found it helpful to make a list of all the things I need to look up before I return (new guidelines, check my computer log in etc) so that I feel confident on the first day. Finally, I found that the first six weeks after my return were very difficult, so don't make any big decisions in that time, just keep going day to day and allow yourself the possibility of reviewing the situation after 6 to 12 weeks. I used to cry every evening when I got home in the first few weeks, but it was good to give myself the permission to resign if I still hated it after 3 months. Good luck!

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