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Is it harder for mothers than for fathers to go back to work?

(18 Posts)
emkana Sat 19-Feb-05 22:57:49

Hello all,

in Germany mothers can take up to three years (unpaid) leave from work after the birth of a child. Or the father can take this leave - yet only 2 % of fathers do. Now there is a big debate going on if this is due to society's expectations and the fact that usually fathers earn more, or if there are other reasons.

I personally found that it would have been near enough impossible for me to go back to work after dd1 was born - I felt such a strong strong need to be with her. Dh, on the other hand, would like more time with his children - but didn't feel the same way as me.

If this leave was available in this country, would you/your dh take it? Would it matter to you if it was you or your dh?

vict17 Sat 19-Feb-05 22:59:09

I think it would definitely be me who took it as dh would go potty being at home day in, day out with ds

purpleturtle Sat 19-Feb-05 22:59:46

Pre-children I would have said dh could stay home, thank you very much, I'm going back to work. But once dd arrived, like you, work lost its appeal, and I've been happy to be a SAHM for the past 4 years, with no plans for getting a job!

spod Sat 19-Feb-05 23:01:35

i'd want to be the one who stayed home, i cant leave dd! it dont feel right.

HunkerMunker Sat 19-Feb-05 23:05:02

I stayed home with DS because I was nursing him (still am). I'm back 18 hours a week now and DH looks after him for about 14 of those. He loves it (and Toys R Us do too - DH insists DS wants to go there - he's 10.5 months old!).

We couldn't afford either of us to be off unpaid for any length of time, and I wouldn't leave DS because, as I said, nursing and working full time isn't something I personally could do - I do express for the 18 hours I'm not with him, but more than that would be hard (went back when he was 6 months and not eating anything). But notwithstanding the practicalities, DH would have been happy to have him full time. Not sure if I'd have been happy to leave him full time though...actually, I know I wouldn't!

winnie Sat 19-Feb-05 23:05:24

I would love dh to stay at home with the children. I think he would like it too but only for a short time (rather like an extended holiday).

lucy5 Sat 19-Feb-05 23:07:03

I know I would take it because I had 4 years off after dd, obviously I didnt have a job to go back t. I think however much a man loves his child, most men just dont have that same feeling of wanting to be with their child all day, not the same intensity. My dh is a house husband (not through choice) at the moment and is doing a brilliant job, but working is integral to who he is. He definitely doesnt have the same sense of fulfillment(sp) as I did and given half the chance we would both swap back.

janeybops Sat 19-Feb-05 23:13:11

when dd was born I went back to work when she was 7 months, and tbh I couldn't wait to get back to 'normal' again.

however after the birth of ds I initially went back to work full time but found it too hard. so am now part time. this is ideal for me, not sure i could do the full time sahm - would drive me potty. like to be me and not just mum iyswim

i have been off work for the past 3 weeks for various reasons (illnesses, bereavement, holiday) and I am looking forward to going in on Monday!

ScummyMummy Sat 19-Feb-05 23:17:54

Mr scum and I prctically came to blows over who got to stay home with the boys when they were tiny. Neither of us wanted to go back to work. Happy days.

edam Sat 19-Feb-05 23:30:52

I got the impression that it was becoming more common for German women to take the major part of the maternity leave but then handover to the father for the last leg. However, this was at a major multi-national (US) corporation - their R&D is based in Germany and apparently they have quite a few couples who are both employed there. So presumably not a typical sample.
If it was on offer here, I'd do the same - take, say, two years and then dh take the third. Dh did murmur about becoming a SAHD when ds was born and I was shocked to discover how strongly I felt against it - something very deep-rooted, for me, about being the primary carer for my baby.

edam Sat 19-Feb-05 23:32:39

should add, actually we've both ended up working full-time – dh does one afternoon from home and I do one day from home. Ds still in nursery those days but cuts out the commute so we get to pick him up earlier.
I'd far rather work part-time but financially not an option (I'm the breadwinner).

emkana Sun 20-Feb-05 12:11:39

would be interested in more opinions!

Twiglett Sun 20-Feb-05 12:14:18

I personally believe there is a far stronger initial bond between a mother and child than between a father and child .. I think that's just biology

I am not saying there cannot be a strong bond between father and child .. there quite patently is .. nor that in some partnerships the male has the stronger bond but in the MAIN .. it is biology and hormones

Twiglett Sun 20-Feb-05 12:15:16

I think its a similar argument to saying men and women are equal are the same

yes they are equal .. but the same? .. gawd no, we are delightfully different as genders and that's what makes it fun

emkana Mon 21-Feb-05 08:57:43

one more bump...

for the working crowd!

FineFigureFio Mon 21-Feb-05 08:58:43


Ameriscot2005 Mon 21-Feb-05 09:03:12

DH can't wait to get back to work after time off with the children

marialuisa Mon 21-Feb-05 09:49:31

DH is not interested in little babies and he did not have (i would say still does not have) the same overwhelming need to spend time with DD that I do. He argues that mothers are no more special than fathers but TBH I think that's just his justification for making me work!

I know it's not PC but i wouldn't want him doing the childcare whilst I was at work. He's too selfish and there's no way he would take the time off work anyway. He loves it too much.

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