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Going back to work

(6 Posts)
LeoTheLateBloomer Sat 02-Jul-11 11:45:19

I'll try to keep this uncomplicated:

I left a teaching job that I loved in April last year just before DD was born (not my choice. XH insisted on moving away from the area)

The plan was always for me to find another job once my mat pay stopped but the timing coincided with us splitting up.

So I'm not working, have DD who's 14mo and I'm receiving income support. Because I have a mortgage I'm not allowed to work if I want my housing benefit and council tax benefit to continue, so I'd have to be earning a certain amount for the numbers to all add up.

It's not so much the financial side that's worrying me.

I don't feel ready to leave DD. I live 3 hours away from my immediate family and so would have to rely on CM or nursery which I really don't want to do.

The other thing is that I have a fear of change and starting a new job becomes a really emotional event. Teaching jobs are as rare as hen's teeth around here and it's so hard just going through the application process, let alone interviews and then doing the job itself.

I've considered doing something other than teaching, but to earn the money I'd need I'm looking at working full time. It makes me want to cry just thinking about not being with DD for all that time. (Plus I have a dog so I'd need to make arrangements for him).

My separation is still very recent so I'm aware that I'm still coming to terms with lots of emotions regarding my marriage.

I'm worried that a) I'm being lazy in not getting off my backside and earning my own money and b) I'm going to lose my confidence and skills in teaching if I leave it too long.

I suppose what I'm asking is, what were your experiences?

gillybean2 Sat 02-Jul-11 16:23:43

Have you looked at entitledto to see what WTC & CTC you would get working. You may find that covers the loss of housing benefit and council tax benefit.

You will also get help with your childcare costs as a single parent.

When do you think you will be ready to leave your dd in some kind of childcare? Do you intend to send her to a nursery? What about when she starts school? This seems to be the real issue for you I think.

I didn't go back to work till ds started primary school. And then it was only part time at our local play group. After a year I then got a part time job in the sector I had previously worked in prior to ds. Now he's at secondary I'm full time but I do work term time only which helps a lot. The thing that made it easier for me was fnding really good reliable childcare.

Once you are ready look at your childcare options. You may find an au pair or a day nanny works better for you rather than a childminder or nursery. Or you may find those suit you/dd better. Or you may find it better to move back closer to your family and have them help you out instead.

You will find a time comes when you may feel ready to return to work. Don't feel rushed or pushed into it. But bear in mind the government expect you to work once your dc reaches a certain age and that age is being lowered all the time. So looking at your options sooner rather than later, and keeping your feelers out for teaching jobs in your area now may mean you find something by teh time you are ready to consider it.

mrscolour Sat 02-Jul-11 17:53:01

I am a primary school teacher so I understand the issues you have.

I have found that WTC is a non-starter as a teacher as you have to work 16 hours to get it and any help towards childcare and only your contact hours with the children that count. So I work 2 contracted days a week but that counts as about 11 hours a week even though I actually work much more than that. If I upped my hours to 16 or more then I'd be earning too much to get WTC as I'm UPS1 so I can't win!

Don't feel you have to rush into another job, your dd needs you and you shouldn't feel ashamed to be concentrating on her until she is older.

But, if you do want to stay in teaching then you may want to keep a foot in the door. Is supply an option? Do you have any friends who you could ask if you wanted to do the occasional day? Not sure how that would affect your benefits.

An ex colleague of mine who was a single parent from the start never came back to work but took up childminding instead which meant she could use some of her skills from teaching and still be with her daughter.

LeoTheLateBloomer Sat 02-Jul-11 18:38:59

Thank you both.

I wasn't too worried about working out the finances as I've been seeing a lovely CAB lady who can do calculations. However, I hadn't realised that about the teaching hours. That's really rubbish; I'm on M6 so might well ahve the same problem sad

I'm already keeping my foot in the door by volunteering in a Year 1 class at a local school, although even that was possibly dodgy when I mentioned it to my benefits advisor (normally any voluntary work whilst on benefits should only be for charities). I've also been advised to become a governor so I can keep up to date with changes which I think is a really good idea.

I'm basically relieved that you've both said not to feel rushed into it. My cousin was talking about it last weekend and made me feel guilty for not paying my own way so I've been worrying that perhaps I should be doing something.

I really want to wait until DD's in school if I can.

Thanks again.

jugglingmug Sat 02-Jul-11 22:02:09

Lone Parent Advisor is wrong (as they so often are!), you can do any voluntary work, in fact they should be encouraging you to do it.

Is there any chance of miving back home? Nearer to family and friends.

rebecca71 Fri 08-Jul-11 12:05:32

Still early days, so I'd echo that you shouldn't feel rushed into anything at the moment. But I would keep your situation (emotional and practical) under review rather than looking at when your DD goes to school. Maybe give yourself 6 months of not worrying about work, then start making enquiries to see how you feel then? IME, the longer you are out of the workplace, the harder it feels to get back in (and possibly the harder it is to get a job, even if you do keep your hand in).

Also, I've just gone back to work after a year out and have found it a really good boost to my self-esteem which has helped me get back on track after quite a difficult year. I see that you loved your last job, so I'm guessing you were probably a very good teacher and got quite a bit of job satisfaction from it?. I find concentrating on my job a good distraction from family/home issues and I also like having the break from my kids (much though I love them!) and interacting with adults.

Going back to work is a scary prospect, but once you have given yourself time to recover and think clearly again, you might find it's actually a very positive thing. I hope so anyway!

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