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To work or not to work?

(16 Posts)
shell96 Sun 23-Aug-09 00:36:18

I am currently on maternity leave with my first child and am LOVING being a mum and being with my baby!!

I'm due to go back to work in about 6 months and already the dread of this is keeping me awake at nights. I would love to be able to stay at home with him but financially i dont think it will work.

Realistically we could probably manage on my DPs wage but it would be a struggle and would mean no treats, holidays, nights out, etc. Also i feel it is unfair that i should demand to stay at home and he should support us (i know he would love to be a stay at home dad).

So really my quandry is not whether or not to work but really what work to do and how much - i could go back to my job full time, go back to my job part time or go self employed and work from home and care for my son myself. There are good and bad points to each option so does anyone have any opinions or experiences of this?

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Sun 23-Aug-09 00:43:03

I was at home with dd until she was 4, we really struggled financially but despite being someone who adores her job I am glad I did it, especially for my first (and as it turned out only child). It is suc a magic time. I did little bits of voluntary work and some paid session work but usually took dd to work with me.

When she turned 4 I worked 2 days a week, she was in the nursery attached to the school I was teaching in so it was not too bad.

So I would say one of you either at home or part time if it were me. But ut isnt , its you smile. If dh wants to stay at home is that not a possibility? If we were every lucky enough to have another, and sadly we wont be I would probably take 6 months maternity leave and then dp would stay at home for a few years,

shell96 Sun 23-Aug-09 00:52:38

Well DP has made a few jokes (i think vaguely serious tho smile) about staying at home with him when i go back to work and i'm starting to think that this may be a serious option and as i earn more than DP would make sense as i could work less hours than he would have to for the same money so then we could all have more time together.

Although i will hate leaving my son i would much rather him be cared for by his dad than a childminder so there would be some comfort in this.

I have to return to work for at least 3 months or will have to repay part of my maternity pay so might give it a 3 month trial.

The fact that i am not particularly enamoured by my job doesnt help matters... hmm

CurlyhairedAssassin Sun 23-Aug-09 00:54:50

I stayed at home totally until DS1 was 3 and DS2 was 11 months and then I worked one day a week on a Sunday and DH looked after the kids that day.

I felt the same as you when DS1 was tiny which was why I didn't go back. It was a struggle dfinancially, yes, but to be honest, the hardest thing was keeping my sanity when DS2 came along. Being a SAHM is vastly different when you've got a toddler of 2 and a unbelievably demanding newborn and you don't have ANY time to yourself any more whatsoever.

The nice parts of staying at home that I'd enjoyed wiht just DS1 up until then, like walks in the park, disappeared. DS2 was a baby that cried almost constantly throughout the day until he was quite old and I found being at home not so nice and fulfilling anymore! So eventually for my own sanity I got the Sunday job.

Now, at 3.5, DS2 is a lot easier and much more pleasant, but he has only got one more year at pre-school and then he will be in school, and DS1 has been in school a year already. So really there is no need for me to stay at home full-time anymore. At this point I feel I've also done my Mary Poppins bit and I just don't want to do it anymore. Plus, most importantly, the damn credit crunch means that I NEED to earn some more dosh. So I have been looking for a job that fits around school hours, and was very lucky to get something that is perfect for that. DS2 will do a bit of extra time at pre-school till he starts school while I'm working.

"go self employed and work from home and care for my son myself". You surely don't mean both at the same time, do you? I'd imagine that would be very difficult......I'm assuming you mean you'd do your self-employed work in the evenings when your DP looks after your child?

CurlyhairedAssassin Sun 23-Aug-09 00:58:54

I think you DO have to consider the future i.e. what happens when your child is older. I wasn't in a well-paid job when I had my first child, and hated it, so didn't have much to lose really. Now, whilst I have plenty of relevant experience in my line of work, I feel I've missed the boat with regarding climbing the career ladder really. Whereas my sister stayed in her job but reduced her hours and so has kept her hand in, kept a high profile, and when her children are both at school she will be able to increase her hours again without having lost anything, including being able to go for promotion etc.

shell96 Sun 23-Aug-09 01:07:07

Well the working from home option would be childminding which would be caring for my baby while i work. Downside of this would be that it is less well paid than my current job so i would have to work more hours (and would lose all the perks of my local government job) and also my son would have to 'share' my attention with the other kids i would care for.

The benefit of me returning to work is that i think they would be quite flexible with me returning part time which would probably allow the option of returning to full time work in the future when my son is at school.

shell96 Sun 23-Aug-09 01:08:48

I am grateful that i do have so many options - i know many people just dont have a choice but at the moment just cant decide what will be best for us all <frustrated emoticon>

CurlyhairedAssassin Sun 23-Aug-09 01:13:28

OOh you are brave to consider child-minding! It's not something I could do. Any day you or your child are feeling off-colour you can't just sit with your LO having a cuddle and a read of a book - you've got the other kids to consider, and school and nursery runs etc. I think childminders deserve a medal, I really do!

But that's me. Going off what you tell me, if I were in your position, I would go back part-time to your current job. Then you've got the best of both worlds - you get the lovely time with your son, but also get your "you" time at work where you're known as you and not "mummy". But make sure you are happy with whatever childcare you've got in place for when you are at work.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sun 23-Aug-09 01:15:31

ooh and you're right that you are lucky to have these options. I know so many people who are just starting to think about having kids but have huge mortgages and there is absolutely no way they can afford to even go part-time never mind staying at home fulltime.

I am very grateful for what I've been able to do whilst my two have been little.

You will find a solution that everyone is happy with, don't worry!

bellabelly Sun 23-Aug-09 01:17:19

One couple I know decided to both go part-time - 3 days a week - so the mum was home Mon&Tues, childminder or nursery (not sure!) for their baby on the Weds and the dad was home Thurs-Fri. They were both earning a similar salary though so made good financial sense. Maybe something similar would work for you?

shell96 Sun 23-Aug-09 01:17:47

well the problem with trying to get childcare we are happy with is that my mum is a childminder. She has been doing it for 16 years, is great at it and very well respected in her job. Unfortunately she lives an hour away from us otherwise i would be happy to engage her services grin Also unfortunately she sets a VERY high standard for any childminder we might want to employ...

Salme101 Sun 23-Aug-09 01:47:29

I earn more than DH, so he is taking a 3-year career break to care for DS. It's not always easy managing on one salary, but we are doing ok, DS is really thriving on it and DH loves it and is brilliant at full-time parenting - better than I would be, tbh.

Ideally, I would love for us both to work part-time so we both have that variety and DS gets more time with both of us, but I fear it wouldn't be financially viable and my employer would probably not agree.

Time away from your baby is hard even if you are enjoying your job, so if you aren't, perhaps you should consider binning it or cutting back on your hours as far as you possibly can. You will probably find that the material sacrifices are well worth it, and you won't miss the trimmings as much as you fear.

OrangeFish Sun 23-Aug-09 02:05:14

Go back part-time but keep on working (I'm not so sure of self employed, unless you are very disciplined, you may end up working more than full time).

shell96 Sun 23-Aug-09 11:17:40

well both of us working part time would be the ideal solution but although my employer would probably be ok with it i dont think my DPs would. He is a tradesperson so could maybe go self employed so he could choose his own hours but with current recession this is not really a good idea. Maybe by the time i go back to work this situation might be more stable.

mummy2isla Sun 23-Aug-09 23:01:15

I felt exactly like you did and I would say, give yourself a bit more time to think about it!

I was going to go back after 6 months, 4 days a week, ended up going back after 11 months, 3 days a week. It was quite hard the first few weeks but we're 5 months in now and I don't regret it .. I still get 4 days per week with my dd and she does really enjoy nursery. Just think about it a bit more. It is lovely having time with them but it is lovely to keep your hand in and use your brain a bit and do (and talk about!) non-baby stuff.

Good luck with whatever you decide, you'll figure out what's right for you!

Orissiah Mon 24-Aug-09 12:34:22

I agree with others here - go part time to keep your hand in. Your baby will really benefit time being looked after by other people and also will really benefit spending time with other babies.

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