Gay/lesbian parents in West Sussex/Surrey?(3 Posts)
My wife and I live in Worthing and would like to start a family later this year. In order to do so, I need to find full-time, permanent work so that I can receive maternity pay (and so that we can get on the housing ladder). However, nearly all of the suitable roles I find are in the M25/Surrey area and would require at least 2 hours of driving per day (which for me is too far, too expensive and too tiring).
We had wanted to stay closer to the coastline because, with Brighton down the road, we feel that the children of gay parents are more likely to attend schools in the area. It is really important that any children we raise do not feel isolated - we don't want them to be the trailblazers, we want the path to be already worn (even if only by a few footprints). However, the children may not appear at all if a permanent, full time job cannot be found. We're in our mid-30s so don't exactly have loads of time to play with, and the pathway to getting pregnant may take more time than we anticipate, hence why I'm putting the feelers out now.
So, what I'm really on here to ask is... are there any particular areas in Surrey and West Sussex where gay families live? And if so, what is your experience of being a gay family in these areas?
Any contributions to this discussion would be really appreciated.
Hi Watershipdown27. I would say that you are probably trying to plan too many things, too far in advance. At the moment your priority is to find a permanent job and get pregnant. If you find a job, you'll have to be in it for a while before you accrue the right to maternity leave (I think) - certainly you will if you want to get any enhanced maternity cover (SMP is only £140 a week!). Then you need to get pregnant. So all told, the soonest you might have a child is probably a couple of years from now even if all goes to plan as quickly as possible.
It's then another 4 years + before your child has to start school. That's plenty of time to move house to get into a good catchment area / move back to Brighton, if that's what you want to do by then.
I don't know whether my experience will be of particular use, as it's personal to me, but in terms of being gay and having kids thing, I live in Surrey with my partner and my 2 children (early teens). We are just starting IVF to have a baby together. We know quite a few gay people in the area, though the only gay parents I know live in Hampshire. My own children have experienced absolutely no problems at school or socially relating to me being in a same-sex relationship. I did initially tell them there was no need for them to talk about it at school, as I was worried they might be teased. However, times have changed a lot since I was at school (in the 90s), as same-sex relationships don't seem to raise any eyebrows in their social circles.
Unrelated to the gay element of your questions, is the how to plan moving area. I would just say: do what's right for you NOW (which seems to be to relocate for work), and worry about the future later. I moved area with my DC right before the first was due to start school aged 5, and again right before he was due to start secondary school aged 11. Both of these moves were for work reasons, both worked out ok. You can only do what's right for you, right now.
Thank you so much for your response to my message.
Wise words, eloquently given. Thank you for prioritising for me - like you say, I am trying to plan too many things, too far in advance, and as a result I am feeling totally overwhelmed and have put too much pressure on myself. I think it's because, in an ideal world, we want to buy a house with the view in living in it for at least 8 years - but life doesn't always work out like that. That's why finding the right area matters. However, like you say, the best thing I can do right now is finding a permanent job and getting pregnant.
My understanding of statutory maternity pay is that I must have continually worked for an employer for at least 26 weeks up to the qualifying week, 15 weeks before the due date; so I would need to have worked for the employer just before conception. I think that's right? Correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, regardless of whether it is right or not, pregnancy is something that is harder to achieve, whereas finding the permanent job is something that is definitely in my control so a very good place to start.
Thank you for giving such valid and unbiased advice - it was what I needed.
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