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Shared Parental Leave/Stay at Home Dad?

(40 Posts)
Kym134 Sun 28-Dec-14 21:28:55

Hi all,
My DH and I are TTC currently and we have been discussing shared parental leave so that I can go back to work after 6 weeksish (6 weeks and annual leave) and he wants to stay at home with the baby. Has anyone thinking about using the new shared parental leave or any experiences as a stay at home Dad as I earn a lot more than he does and I would love to be able to allow him to stay at home but all of my friends and family have said "you won't know how you feel till you have a baby and how long you want off".

Has anyone wanted only a short maternity leave and then needed longer?
Any experiences would be useful.

wherethewildthingis Sun 28-Dec-14 21:31:26

Hi, I went back to work when DS was twenty weeks, that was fine. Six weeks may be fine for you but would have been too soon for me. Also if your DH wants paternity leave rather than give up his job, you have to have the first twenty weeks in the UK, unless that has changed in the last year

Kym134 Sun 28-Dec-14 21:36:31

There is a new "shared parental leave" scheme from dec 1st 2014 which means the mother has to take 2 weeks but the rest of the year can be divided however you want between the two parents.
I get 6 weeks full pay and I love working so think now I would want to go back to work but I am worried I will change my mind!

bananas123 Sun 28-Dec-14 21:36:41

You lucky thing the new rules start in April so you can transfer your maternity to your dh. We did it and I went back at 2 weeks but dh had to quit his job.

Girlwithnotattoos Sun 28-Dec-14 21:36:59

Once you go back to work after 6 weeks or 6 months I believe that that's that and you can't go back on maternity leave, your partner/husband can pick up the remainder but again once he goes back he's back as well so be careful what you choose to do. Most people find that when the baby arrives they want more time than they think they will not the other way round. I would have stayed on maternity leave paid or unpaid for another year if it meant that my job was still mine.

Kym134 Sun 28-Dec-14 21:43:29

Bananas, how was it going back so early?

Also if I don't like it I ca n go back on maternity! The new rules are super complicated but good for parents.

Andcake Sun 28-Dec-14 21:46:08

DP is a sahd starting when I went back to work at 9 months. I have a friend who went back at 6 months with dad as sahd. I couldn't have gone back at 6 weeks - not just because I wanted to spend time with longed for ds (so many milestones in the first year) but I would have been a zombie surviving on 3 hours sleep a night - are you planning on breast feeding as only you would be able to do night feeds then.
General notes about sahd - it is marvellous and ds and DP have a wonderful bond but you need to lay some ground rules. Also my DP and friends DP who was a sahd hated baby groups - too female dominated so find local dad and baby sessions some sure start do them.

bananas123 Sun 28-Dec-14 21:53:24

Yeah was all fine. We did it with our third as I had a career opportunity I couldn't turn down.

wherethewildthingis Sun 28-Dec-14 21:54:24

Ooh you are lucky. New rules sound very fair. We loved it the way we did it and my son and husband have a truly great bond.

tribpot Sun 28-Dec-14 21:57:54

I think six weeks is too soon. If you've had a difficult birth you could still be recovering physically from that. If you went back would you have the option of working from home part of the time? How will you manage the nights, will DH be doing them so you can get some kip?

It's all very well to say you won't know how long you want off (which is indeed true) but the same is true for your DH. And you do need to factor in the earning potential.

If I were you, given you're not even pregnant yet, I would start saving up so you could afford to take up to three or four months off, buy yourself some additional flexibility.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Sun 28-Dec-14 22:00:47

How physical is your job? After six weeks you could still very much be recovering physically?

Will you ff and your partner do nights? He might need to if you don't get a good sleeper.

How would he feel if you wanted to go back on leave?

bananas123 Sun 28-Dec-14 22:06:41

If your anything like us then you won't be at all tired when you go back as you won't be doing any of the work. I can't say I feel tired as I get a lot of sleep.

NovemberRainbow Sun 28-Dec-14 22:09:36

My DD is 4 weeks old, I had a really straight forward birth, no stiches or anything needed. I really don't think I could go back to work in a couple of weeks, I am also still bleeding from the birth. My midwife said this usually lasts for 6-8 weeks.

However, you may feel fine and happy to go back.

Also bear in mind you may need to use more maternity leave than expected before baby arrives. I suffered from SPD and could not work from 32weeks and baby then went overdue by another two weeks, so I lost 10weeks maternity leave before the baby even arrived.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Sun 28-Dec-14 22:13:14

Yes. That is a big point. Six weeks of full pay is rarely six weeks after birth (unless you have lots of holiday and an on time baby )

museumum Sun 28-Dec-14 22:15:58

I started to get my brain back in working order at closer to 12 weeks and started some work at that point (self employed).
I breast fed and certainly couldn't have gone to work at 6wks due to frequency of feeding, night feeds etc.
I did express some bottles at first due to tongue tie but when that was fixed I found expressing too confining so in the end ds became a bottle refuser.

Kym134 Sun 28-Dec-14 22:23:18

Thanks for all of the comments. I work in an office and can work from home some days a week if necessary. I am saving to have flexibility if needed but my DH is more baby inclined (if that makes sense) and is happy to do nights. We could ff if needed. I would also have up to 5 weeks annual leave saved up to use before the 6 weeks ML.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Sun 28-Dec-14 22:31:56

Well in principle there is no reason- other than your own recovery - that it shouldn't work. Dads routinely go back after 2 weeks. Go for

As a tiny caveat, i say this kindly, but can you be 100% sure your DH will step up re nights and caring? Obviously this law is new. But I have seen too many disillusioned threads on MN over the years from women whose expectations of their DH (especially at night) and the reality are a gulf apart.

RandomHouseRules Sun 28-Dec-14 22:36:09

In the US, 6 weeks is fairly commonplace. (Although my personal opinion is that I wouldn't have wanted to do it - but I had a number of colleagues who did).

I know a number of people now who have done shared parental leave and it is has worked very well for them. I wish we had had the option tbh.

Blankiefan Sun 28-Dec-14 22:43:11

I went back after six months (I got full pay for 26 weeks) but was ready to return by 12 weeks. 6 may have been a bit sharp for me (emcs). If DH could've got my paid mat leave, I'd have definitely gone back sooner than 6 months.

Can you really swap back and forth on the new rules? I thought once you'd gone off mat leave, that was that...

grumpyoldgitagain Sun 28-Dec-14 22:49:31

My wife was back at work after 4 weeks with our first DD and around 2 weeks after our second DD

I don't think she ever did a night feed for either of them, if you think your DH is up to the job them do what suits you both

bananas123 Mon 29-Dec-14 05:48:38

Penguins - I think that's a bit of a sexist thing to say and is not nice to men having such low expectations of them. In rl the majority of dads do some night feeds even when at work as mums don't often bf any more.

I think it seems like its common on here for men to be useless as people are more likely to write about their problems, but it doesn't reflect most modern dads ime.

purplemurple1 Mon 29-Dec-14 07:02:38

I haven't read the full thread.

I live i Sweden where rights to share parental leave have been around a while, parents normally take a years leave as that is when you can get a nursery place.
So with DC1 I went back PT after a week and OH worked FT to 4 months, we both then worked PT for 4 moths and the last 4 months I worked FT and he worked PT. This worked fine, the only problem is we did too many hours work between us and as we both travel for work things were frantic at times, but everyone survived and neither of us sleep much anyway!
We split night feeds when both working I normally did the 23.00 and for the first 2 months the 2am feed (he dropped this naturally at 2 months), and OH did the 5am before work. I think agreeing how this would work and how to split housework was very important so we had a schedule and told each other if we needed more rest, work time etc before it blew up into a problem. Also we esp when both working PT we had a schedule and made notes on the fridge day to day on the babies naps, eating etc so you had a clue on your day how much food, formula, sleep should be expected and we could spot when DS schedule needed to change (i.e. droppin naps).

I was very glad to get back to work and have something to do during all that nap time, but I guess this will varry depending how your baby sleeps.

I'm due DC2 in a few weeks this time we will both work 50% for the whole year. I hope to mix feed for the first 6 weeks again so plan to work from home in that time and make up my lost wokr hours after if needed. OH will not take leave and will be responsible for DC1 (who will be in FT nusrsery) foir the first month. After that we will each have 1 day with both kids and 1.5 with the baby working the other 2.5 days.
The plan is to agree what the shap is doing each day, and what needs to be done at weekends and too prob split the nights initially with OH staying up until for the late evening feed and me doing the middle of the night and we will just see how it goes. Obv we can't think further until we see how DC2 is at night and if she settles into a schedule for feeds, will sleep alone etc.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 29-Dec-14 09:16:12

banana - It isn't a sexist thing to say. It's the reality for many, many women. I acknowledge that there are great men out there. But there are also a lot of women whose lovely, equal, supportive relationships are rocked to their core as traditional gender norms suddenly creep in after a baby and they discover how alone they are. I'm not having low expectations of men., I'm just urging the OP to be sure. And it isn't just on here. I have two friends, with husbands I'd have previously said were lovely and very equal, who came close to divorce over it. I also know no dads who regularly do night feeds if the mum is on maternity leave, though I recognise it should be very different if the dad is on paternity leave himself.

PowderMum Mon 29-Dec-14 09:33:49

OP I went back to work when both my DC were between 6-9 weeks old. I didn't leave them with my DH but with a nanny (my choice, my career).
They we're FF and my DH helped with the night feeds, if he had the option of being a SAHD he would have happily done all the night feeds or as many as we felt he should do as a family. As it was he did 50% of the care when we were at home with the DC.

I was recovered from the birth and ready to go back to work, I had to have a routine for the family but it worked for us.

bananas123 Mon 29-Dec-14 10:47:55

No dads that do night feeds when the mum is on maternity, really? hmm

I have met a couple of loser dads that don't but its far from real life norm.

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