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Not returning to work after maternity leave?(66 Posts)
Hi, I am just looking to hear how other people have found maternity leave and if anybody like myself has changed their mind and decided not to return to work afterwards? I'm currently on 12 months maternity leave; I've worked full time for ten years and worked through my studies prior to this. I've always worked so being at home for so long (DS is now 8 months old) has been a major shock to the system! I'm thinking about not returning to work after maternity. Me and DH are thinking I will be a SAHM while we grow our family and I will get a part time term time job once they are in nursery/school. We have arrived to this decision because we have no child care, no family support. I also do not want to leave DS with strangers until he can understand what is going on and can talk back. The cost of child care would leave little profit from my wage after travel etc. The time to get to and from my place of work would also make things impossible. I realise some people don't get the choice and I'm lucky I do. Things are financially tight but we can manage on DH wage with some cuts.
Sometimes not having much adult interaction all day can be difficult, however I actually get more sense out of my 8 month old than I did out of some adults at work. They didn't talk to you like adults and spoke to you like children a lot of the time. The negative attitudes within my work place and the way they treated me throughout my pregnancy has made my decision to leave a lot easier. I can understand being happier to go back to work if you have a better workplace to go back to. I can't guarantee I won't apply for a part time job (hopefully in a lot nicer of a workplace than my current role) at some point sooner than mine and DH's plan. For now though I'm very happy with my decision. Any negatives of being a SAHM are very quickly forgotten about when I cast my mind back to how belittled I felt at work and how undervalued I was. Every time my beautiful DS smiles at me I feel on top of the world and can see how much value I have to him.
I took 5yrs out of work after dc1 was born returning to employment when dc2 was almost 2 part time. I loved being home with them and we adjusted to a 1 wage income. I think you need to bare in mind that getting a "term time" job is incredibly hard to find (unless your already a qualified teacher of course) and also you may end up at the bottom of the pay scale if your unable to enter the working world again at the same level you left it.
I agree nursery fees are extremely expensive but they are relatively short time in comparison.
Sounds like you have made the right decision for you and your family. I took 18 months out each time and then only went back 3 days a week. I was pleased mine could walk and talk a bit by the time of starting nursery. Having kids is so amazing - it’s such a privilege to be able to enjoy them
I've not gone back to work, not really by choice (long story). I think its actually harder than my old job, which I hated tbh and some days I feel a bit aimless, not having things I need to do iyswim. But saying all that, I love being with DD, and by the new year I'm sure I'll have my head round being a sahm and when she is 2 I'll be able to look for a job and her a nursery place
I went back part time. Glad I did as I'm not sure I'd still be enjoying being at home (initially didn't want to go back). Could you try and see what you think then.. only you know.
Thanks everyone, some great thoughts. I think you're right to just take it one day at a time and see how I feel. I agree they're not little for long and it's nice to enjoy them if circumstances allow.
Just a practical question... If your employer is paying you mat pay (which I assume they are as you worked for them for so long) are you not obliged to return after mat leave for at least 3 months? (I could be totally wrong but I’m pretty sure that’s how it works with my employer- the nhs)
Mumma - most employers don’t do that nowadays. Some do but most don’t - you have to check your contract
If you want to and can afford rd to them why not! I'm on maternity leave with my second and am planning on leaving. I very much like to have something of my own independence though so have just landed a 6hr p/w job cleaning. It's a huge drop in salary from my old job but it works so much better for me and our family
Hi mummarosie1 yes I'm aware of that but no my employer aren't paying for my maternity as I opted that I didn't know if returning at the start so have been on government SMP alone.
Exactly SleepyHeadThisTime it depends on circumstances and I guess you never know how you'll feel in the near future.
I think it's a good point that Mumma raised as lot of people don't realise they have to pay it back until it too late. They should make it more clear when you go on maternity leave as not everybody is always aware. I think you can't possibly commit to go back when you don't know how you'll feel once baby arrives.
I didn’t return after DS because I fell pregnant when he was 7 months old.
I started a new job when DD was 15 months - part time and it was around DHs hours so he would have the children.
I left the job when DS started full time school and DD started preschool because my hours weren’t suitable and they couldn’t/wouldn’t change them.
I was going to look into another job this September when DD started school, but I fell pregnant again in July so didn’t seem much point!
My SIL recently went back to work after maternity leave and i see how sad she is to leave her son. So I’m really glad that I could leave work to raise my children.
Thanks buzzbuzzbumblebee. I think I would be so sad to leave DS but if situation depended on it I would have to. Do you find you're able to live okay on one wage and manage long term? Hope you don't mind me asking. It's just that's my biggest worry. We've always had both wages and Never managed on one before let alone with a baby as well to pay for. Hopefully we should be able to get by on DP's wage alone and he's had some recent job opportunities so things could improve further on that frony.
I resigned when DS was 8 months old , I could have extended my leave but I just knew I couldn’t leave him so wanted to give them a chance to keep my mat cover person. Paid back £4K and haven’t looked back. Not keen to return to work (admin role) until he’s in school and then it would have to be part time so I could support DH (he’s the higher earner) in his job and be around for School runs. We manage on one salary, it’s tight but doable (currently looking for a cheaper weekly shop!) and worth it as DS is a happy chap, I just need to make the effort to ensure he has company of his own age and doesn’t just have me as a play mate all the time.
It’s a very personal decision and one you make as a family. I know I’m lucky that we had a choice.
I was dreading going back after 14 months off (11 of those with DD). I knew my boss at the time didn’t want me back - mainly because she couldn’t fathom part time working and I wanted to do three days.
So so glad I went back. My (now) manager joined just before I went back and persuaded old boss the hours I was asking for could work and after a year of hard graft with a lot of frustration that I had effectively been demoted and had way less responsibility than before I left I finally won the respect of those around me and 3 years on I have got things as close to perfect as they will ever be. I enjoy
banter adult conversation, I use my brain, I get headspace on my commute and I’m earning decent money as I have made a part time role in a big company that didn’t value part timers, work. I’m proud the landscape in our team has changed so much.
OhHolyJesus I hear you when you say you need to make the effort to make sure your son has baby playmates. I feel the same and going to try for a second child in afew months time and that is one of my reasons. DS has no cousins and none of my friends have babies. I don't drive and playgroups other side of town and faff to get to. I did take him when he was younger to baby massage but he didn't like it & whole experience was just a hassle to be honest and I was so tired and breastfeeding at the time coupled with DS reflux so maybe not best of times I admit . I haven't tried again since. Once he's more aware of surroundings I'll try again but thinking toddler groups...
I gleefully stopped work with dd1. Then had dd2 and gleefully went back to work when she was 1. I missed the company of a whole range of adults of different ages, having a nice cup of tea and going for lunch carrying just a handbag.
I had 7 years as a sahm, mainly because my DH then worked away from home and I had gone back to work previously but found juggling being the only parent available during the week (so the only one called on when a child was sick) really stressful. We had no family nearby either.
I loved being at home but it does have significant disadvantages which you need to consider properly. It has a huge impact on both your finances now and in the future - your pension contributions for example. Your future employability and earning potential. You are incredibly vulnerable if your partner should ever decide to leave.
We continued to pay into a pension for me and all finances are completely joint.
I have gone back to work this year, and although the job is a good one, I’m paid less than half what I earned before leaving work.
It sounds like you will be very isolated if you give up work.
Would you consider applying for other jobs? See how you feel about it when you don't hate your job and your colleagues.
No I wouldn't want to at the moment due to my reasons in my thread. Thanks x
It's a tricky one! I gave up work and wouldn't have changed it for the world, however, now with grown up children, I've been out of the work place for so long, my old job is non existent and I haven't kept up with the technology required so am starting right at the bottom again. I wish I had found a part time job, no matter how expensive the childcare, just to future proof my career. That being said, I'm kind of glad I had that time with them.
PP my wage isn't very much and I'm overqualified for the role compared to colleagues so if anything I could get a job closer to home with higher pay/less hours. It's not the be all and end all career that people don't want to leave (that I can understand). I am happier to stay home with DS until he's old enough to be aware of his surroundings and possible have a second. I have he option to not have to use child care so will not use it. It wouldn't be worth my while to work and suits out family circumstances for me to stay home right now and myself. I have extensive experience so i don't think find if work will be too much of a problem when the time comes. Somebody I know found work no problem after 5 years SAHM as she only wanted a little part time job & most employers understand reason you were out of work so don't hold it against you. I'm also going on look at some working from home options to see if there's anything in can get into in the mean time.
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