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Returning to work or not? (Long sorry)

(38 Posts)
ZogandMog Tue 27-Nov-12 09:43:31

Hi mumsnetters

I am in a bit of a dilemma and need some words of wisdom before I make a decision. Have name changed for this and will not be going into much detail to avoid being recognised.

I am currently on maternity leave and due to go back in 3 months. I do not know what decision to make regarding returning to work or quitting job and finding a new one. (well I do know the decision I want to make but I am under a lot of pressure to decide the other option).

Pro's of returning to work

-Will provide financial security (although high risk of redundancy)
-My OH wants me to go back
-I'm scared of not finding work and us struggling etc

Cons of returning to work

-I hate my job
-I hate my work place (bullying of most staff memebers; underhand tactics)
-I have worked in this job for 5 years and feel like it has a negative impact on my life
-This job makes me physically unwell (with the stress) and has had a negative impact on my mental health (When the stress becomes too much at work, I have bouts of depression)
-I commute a long way to/from work on public transport (2 hrs each way)
-I travel on public transport for hours each day as part of my job
-I am physically unwell (recovering from surgery and worried that returning to work place would cause me to have another bout of depression (I am coming to terms with a traumatic birth where my baby and I nearly died)
-I have stopped sleeping properly (finding it hard to get off to sleep/waking lots throughout the night since thinking about going back to work)
- I have a constant feeling of dread in my belly (like a knot) since thinking about going back to work
-Despite promises around help with housework when I go back this will not happen (I do mostly everything whether working fulltime/part time or sahm)

I work with vulnerable people so I have to be on the ball and provide a high standard of care. The decisions which I make can be extremely tough and I am dealing with people's problems on a daily basis. The job is emotionally demanding and can be heart breaking. I feel that now would be a good time to hand in my notice as they have a replacement for me and I feel trapped in the job (I do not want this to have an impact on the people I work with). If I go back then my OH says I will have to stay a year and I dont think I will be able to. Obviously financial security is a big factor (I have 3 young children).

What would you do? TIA

Rockchick1984 Tue 27-Nov-12 11:08:20

If you didn't go back to work and couldn't find another job, what situation would that put you in? Eg would it mean no treats and budgeting well, or would it mean mortgage, bills etc wouldn't be paid?

If you went back and were made redundant, what sort of payout would you get? Is voluntary redundancy an option? If you were made redundant, do you have mortgage protection in place so things may be a little easier financially (this wouldn't cover if you took voluntary redundancy though)?

Would you be looking for a job in a different field? If not, would you not be looking at moving from one stressful situation to another?

Could you afford to take some unpaid leave to extend your time off? Could you start job hunting now so that potentially you already have a new job to go to rather than waiting the 3 months? Did you get any pay over SMP, and if so would your employer make you repay it?

If money was no part of the plan, what would you do? If you are going to be responsible for housework, you need to allow budget for a cleaner as a minimum, or put a housework schedule into place for you and DH as its unfair to expect one of you to do everything if both working!

These are the questions that immediately popped into my head when I read your question, I think it depends on your answers to them as to what would be best in your situation smile

ZogandMog Tue 27-Nov-12 11:56:30

Rockchick1984 thank you for your reply.

If I didn't go back to work and couldnt find another job then we would be able to cover bills and rent etc but we would not be comfortable and would have very little money for anything.

Redundancy payment would be about a months wages (£650). Voluntary redundancy would be an option but I have already been redeployed and when I had the option to take redundancy my OH put avlot of pressure on me to take the redeployment option rather than getting out. This made me very unhappy as I had loved my previous post and that had made me stick in the work place. We dont have a mortgage.

I would be looking for a job in the first post rather than my current position but one which is closer to home so that I am not travelling so much. If I couldnt find work in this field then I would look for jobs in a similar field.

I could afford to take unpaid leave but I know that my OH would not allow this. He would pressurise me into going on sick leave. I've already started job hunting. I think the problem is that I have to give my notice in a few weeks or I will have to go back and work two months notice. I know that I would not be supported once back in the work place to go for other jobs by OH. I didnt take extra maternity pay as I had promised myself that I would not be going back and did not have to go back to fulfill conditions of extra maternity pay.

If money was not an issue then there is no way that I would go back. Not in a million years. I feel like I need to put my emotional and physical wellbeing first but obviously its like catch 22 because my kids come before me (if that makes sense).

I would not be able to get a cleaner (OH would never agree) although I might be able to get a car if I passed my driving test which would ease the burden on me considerably.

Thank you again for your reply. Sorry that my reply is so long. I cannot talk to my OH about this decision (he says its all my decision and refuses to speak about it).

ZogandMog Tue 27-Nov-12 11:57:42

* not stick in the work place- I meant stick with the work place

Rockchick1984 Tue 27-Nov-12 12:29:13

Can I be completely honest? If your DH refuses to discuss it and says its your decision, I would be handing my notice in! Either he accepts its your decision, or he helps you to find a solution which works for you both.

Remember that if you don't go back to work there, you will save on travel expenses, until you get another job you will be able to shop around more so saving money on food etc. would you be eligible for any tax credits or would DH's income be too high?

Your emotional and physical well being needs to take priority here, your children will always come first but I'm not sure how that is relevant here? Look at it another way, they will have a happy, healthy mum which has got to be good for them!!

Ellypoo Tue 27-Nov-12 12:37:20

I'm sorry, but it doesn't sound like it's all your decision at all - it sounds like your DH is putting you under a lot of pressure, which isn't going to help your feelings of dread about going back at all. It seems like you need to discuss this together and go through all of the options in as unemotional way as possible - and talk through things that would need to be put in place before you were to go back as part of the discussion - ie getting a cleaner in to help (why is he so against it?), passing your driving test before you return & geting a car to reduce your commute and travel time out during the day. Would it be possible to go back part time perhaps?

Good luck with your job search - I really hope that you manage to find a solution that suits you.

ZogandMog Tue 27-Nov-12 12:40:14

Thanks Rockchick. I agree. If he won't talk about it and says its my decision then he has to accept the decision which I make.

We get tax credits but Im not sure if we would loose them if I resigned.

I meant that I don't want to make a decision which may mean that my children go without if that makes sense. It feels like a scary decision to make. I agree though a happy healthy mum is good for the kids and I have noticed how much happier the children have been since I am away from that place (They had really early starts and late evenings to get to/from nursery).

I have got an option to join up with an agency to do some work if I could not find a permanent job but you guessed it my OH has issues with this idea and does not want me to do this.

Xenia Tue 27-Nov-12 12:58:08

Why should he keep you? What if he came in tomorrow and said he wants to take 2 years off an dyou solely support the family? Would you do it for him> I suspect not so I think it's only fair you both work.

Also you're fed up at home after the baby. The distraction of work eveni f it's just a moan about colleagues will cheer you up no end and make the family and your husband happier. It will also ensure you are both protected if the marriage ever were to end as both of you would be in full time work.

Also you could go back and then try to find a job you like from the security of being in full time work.

Rockchick1984 Tue 27-Nov-12 13:33:11

Xenia what makes you say the OP is fed up at home after the baby? Plenty of parents (myself included) have happily given up careers after becoming parents and have no regrets, for me personally being a SAHM is fulfilling, my husband respects my choice as it also works well for him (if I had returned to work he would have been doing at least 50% of childcare and housework as I worked longer hours than him, he likes to know that he's not coming home to a dirty house, a list of jobs to do, and no chance to sit down and rest until our son is in bed.

Obviously for you, you are happiest when employed however this isn't the same for all parents (and I do say parents as I don't think it's exclusive to mums). When OP has said how desperately unhappy she is in her job, I think telling her she would be better going back simply because in your opinion someone can't be as happy working in the home as working in pai employment is pretty unhelpful!

Zog are your children old enough to understand that there wouldn't be as much money for treats? If you are able to do agency work if struggling financially, I don't see any objection that your DH can make - presumably if the roles were reversed and he was so depressed at work you would support him leaving and looking for another job?

afterdinnerkiss Tue 27-Nov-12 13:49:01

OP really sorry you are in this dilemma, (hugs).

another aspect to think about, as you say that the job is taking a physical and mental toil on you, is whether the return to work is sustainable in the long term. you might very well take the brave plunge back only to have a meltdown a few months later putting you in an even worse position.

i will have to make my own decision to return to work next year and even though i have a decent enough office job i know i have been flat-out exhausted for the past 3 years before DD came along - and cannot fathom managing work plus childcare - with all income lost on childcare.

only you know what you can manage.

ZogandMog Tue 27-Nov-12 14:03:27

Ellypoo- Thank you for your reply. I think if I were to go back then I would definetly have to have some kind of plans (cleaner/driving etc) in place as that would help considerably. I'm not sure why he is against a cleaner (maybe because he has me!). I am already part time (struggling with childcare and full time work) so at least I wouldnt be in work all day every day.

Xenia- firstly my OH does not keep me nor would I expect him to. We are suppose to be a partnership and yes actually I would support him in anyway possible if he was as unhappy as me in his job. His health has actually benefitted considerably from me being part time and on maternity leave as I am taking on more and more of the burdens. Also i have never said that I will not work. I am trying to make a decision regarding returning to a work place which has a very negative impact on my life which also has strong implications for my whole family.

Xenia- I am not fed up of being at home. My ideal situation would be to be a sahm but we cannot afford it. I would however like to work part time and be able to look after my children on days off without being sent into a severe bout of depression where I end up on medication!!! My colleagues would also not cheer me up. Some of them are bullies. Part of my problems around giving my notice is because I know that my decision will impact on my family unit. Your comment was very unhelpful and did not reflect the advice I was looking for. Please read OP.

Rockchick- thank you again for your replies. Your questions have given me food for thought and allowed me to express my feelings (I dont have anyone else really to talk to about this). I think that the agency work would be a very good back up and I still have several months to find work and sort out finances as much as possible. My eldest would understand and has actually been much happier since I havent been in work (he picks up on the stress levels). I would definetly support my OH in leaving work if he was as unhappy as I have been for the past few years.

ZogandMog Tue 27-Nov-12 14:08:39

afterdinnerkiss- thank you for your reply. I think that longterm this is definetly not sustainable. I know that things will take its toil on me and I will likely end up on sick leave (I dont want to do this as obviously it is damaging to my work place/bad for my work record).

I would like to find a job (in an ideal world) that was similair to my first position before deployment as I loved that job or if not a job in a similar field.

MamaMary Tue 27-Nov-12 16:48:34

OP, it seems clear to me that you should not go back to this job. It is clearly having a hugely negative impact on your health and your family life; and probably on your relationship with your DH too.

Tbh your DH doesn't sound very supportive at all - it seems he is putting pressure on you to go back to something you hate. But if he's told you it's your decision, then make your decision: don't return to that job.

ZogandMog Tue 27-Nov-12 18:39:04

MamaMary-thank you for your reply. my oh isnt supportive where my work is concerned.He has just got home& said I will have to pay money back to the employer and we will loose tax credits. I feel so trapped:-( . Nothing is going to change

lookingfoxy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:51:24

As far as I know you will not need to pay anything back to your employer, you are entitled to your maternity pay.

As for losing tax credits, put your details in here and that will tell you exactly what you will get.

ZogandMog Wed 28-Nov-12 08:10:42

Just wanted to say thanks again for the advice. Had a talk with OH and I'm going back. He has said we will loose the house if I dont go back. So I have no choice.

Rockchick1984 Wed 28-Nov-12 08:28:17

You need to ask him what measures he will help you to put in place then for coping - cleaner, him taking on more responsibility around the house, driving lessons so at least it's a shorter day for you.

Why does he think you will lose the house? Have u sat down and gone through the finances together?

I really feel for you, I had a horrible experience at work while pregnant and ended up with anxiety and depression. There's no way I could have gone back to work there after having my son (I was incredibly lucky that my DH agreed, and supported me becoming a SAHM even though at times its horrible being skint). Does he really understand what he's expecting of you?

Katisha Wed 28-Nov-12 08:36:46

What are the sums in terms of paying for childcare? Will pretty much all your salary go on that or not?

A four hour commute does sound rather counter-productive on top of everything else.

IF there is a high risk of redundancy is there any chance of volunteering and getting a pay off?

Inclusionist Wed 28-Nov-12 08:51:13

Surely £650pm does not cover 3 childrens' full time nursery fees?? That would not come close to covering one set of full time nursery fees where I live!

How much money will you actually keep after sorting the children out? Would it be possible to earn the same amount doing evening/ weekend shifts somewhere?

Torres10 Wed 28-Nov-12 08:59:12

Personally, I would go back and start looking and applying for something more suitable now. It is always easier to find another job when you are in one and if you quit you don't know how long it will take to find another job and you could end up financially stretched.

deXavia Wed 28-Nov-12 09:20:03

God so many questions here
Have you seen the figures that say you'd lose the house? It sounds very strange and IMO controlling of your DH to claim this? Obviously if you've done the maths and that's the case them yes I guess there is little choice.
What is your contract with your employer re return to work? Some employers pay more that statutory maternity leave which you have to pay back if you don't return - is this the case and what are the terms?
Can you start back and look for another role - why would your DH be unsupportive of this? If the issue is financial then as long as money comes in who cares where it's from?
What can you do at your current job to make changes - can you do reduced hours, one day at home to do paperwork (but also reduce stress) - any sideways shifts/redeployment?
And - frankly for me the biggest - exactly what is going in in your relationship? Sorry this is personal and beyond the scope of your OP so feel free to ignore. But seriously a DH this unsupportive and controlling is very worrying - unless there are contributing factors ie he is highly likely up be made redundant/comes from a particular difficult background regarding money ... but whilst that may excuse his worries it doesn't excuse the attitude and way he is treating your concerns.

ZogandMog Wed 28-Nov-12 10:10:22

Rockchick- I have spoken to him about what is going to change. He has agreed that he will take the eldest to breakfast club and help with picking him up on days where I am working long hours. I am in the middle of arranging a childminder who will pick the babies up/return them from my house so these are massive positives. Ive told him Im starting driving lessons again straight after Christmas and Ive told him he will have to pull his weight around the house. We have spoken about the finances and our figures differ considerably. I think he is saying we would loose the house as a way of controlling my decision to be honest as he knows that I would not jeopardise things for my children.

Katisha- 1/2 day at the nans (2 children); 2 full days at childminders (2 children) and 1 child at after school club/breakfast club 2 days a week. Going back we will be £350 a month better off. We are eligible for help with the paid childcare from tax credits. With the childminder picking and returning my kids up from my home and help from OH/nan around childcare I will be able to get the commute to about 3 hours as I was previously doing lots of dropping off and picking up which was making my hours ridiculously long. Voluntary redundancy may be an option although I wanted to put myself forward for this previously and I wasnt able to as my OH felt that it would put us in trouble.

Inclusionist- Luckily I am only part time and 1 child is at school. I would also have 1/2 a week childcare from the children's nan/childcare support from tax credits which will help us so much. £350 a month better off. The original plan was always that I would get evening work/weekend work instead of returning to this job as my OH would be able to cover all childcare while I was working but for want of a better word my OH has said no to that now.

Torres10- That's what I am going to do. I think its the only way Im going to manage.

deXavia- I am planning to look at all the figures again today by myself as he was quite secretive when we were working out the figures (he was working out childcare help on the computer but I never saw the screen). He is controlling thats for sure. I deliberately didnt take enhancement pay as it was always the plan that I wasnt leaving. Yesterday my OH said that he found out I would end up paying maternity pay back but I dont trust him on that one. Need to find out more info. OH is supportive of me finding a new job whilst in this one although I have to find a job that is exactly the same money or more. If the salary was less then I cant go for it. I have been told by my manager that the cases I work with are becoming more challenging so I am going to have to think of strategies and stress relievers to help me. Appropriate childcare arrangements and driving lessons would make my life very different to the way it was before maternity leave. I need to look after myself better and not put my needs at the bottom of the pile, Im bad at this but know I have to improve. My relationship at the moment is very difficult. He does not understand my work role at all and it is a constant strain between us.

Thanks for your replies

Xenia Wed 28-Nov-12 10:43:29

It sounds as though he is going to be more helpful as he should be if you return full time. Most couples where both work full time are happier than where one is overly burdened at home. Also if you get back to the job you hate you can immediately look for another full time job from a position of strength and in employment - much harder to find work when not working.

My points were valid. Women at home have much worse mental health than working women. If you go back to work you might well cheer up and it sounds as if it will keep your husband happy too and there is nothing wrong with that in relationships. The more women we gvet in the workplace and in due course earning more and indeed on the board and outearning their men the better. See if you can set yourself a task to earn 2x your husband's earnings.

Lovestosing Wed 28-Nov-12 10:44:32

OP your OH's attitude really, really bothers me. He says now he will do housework, I very much doubt he will as he will be the one working full time so that will be a perfect excuse for him to do nothing, like you said he never has before. He doesn't seem to care about your happiness at all. I just hope you're able to find another job, your life is going to be incredibly stressful otherwise.

ZogandMog Wed 28-Nov-12 11:33:42

Lovestosing- Thank you for your reply. My OH's attitude bothers me too. If he does not fulfill his promises then I am likely to be taking me and my children out of this situation completely.

I put my foot down this morning when he announced that hes getting a new computer at Christmas (he has had 2 already in the last 2 years) with our money and before anyone says he works fulltime and he should have nice stuff. Yes this is true but I dont buy myself much I make do and I think if I am sacrificing my health to return to a job because I would be putting my family in financial difficulty (as he is saying) then I will n0ot tolerate him buying loads of unneeded stuff.

Xenia- Thank you for your reply. Unfortunetly there are a few issues with me working full time. My current job is part time. I was originally full time years ago but I had to reduce hours because I was struggling with working full time/commuting for hours and doing all housework. I became very depressed and was in bad health. I was later redeployed (part time position still)- massive cuts to my work place. If my OH had been more supportive and also pulled his weight then I probably would have been in much better health now to be honest. Also working full time I barely saw my child ( I now have 3) and was ill every weekend with the stress so had no quality of life (apart from being ok for money- ok not rich). In regards to cheering up. I am not unhappy being on maternity leave as my daughter and I nearly died 5 months ago I am grateful that we are alive and spend every day enjoying being around to see my children grow up. I don't think you fully understand my posts or the situation which I am in. I do agree that it is easier to find work when you are in work- that's one point which we agree on.

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