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How bad for your career is a baby?

(14 Posts)
PinkaColada Wed 13-May-15 12:51:06

I got pregnant a little quicker than planned, but nothing much. This baby is very much wanted and will be so loved.

However, just before I found out I was temporal given a promotion. Several weeks later I got the job on a permanent basis. Was thrilled. It's an excellent job, totally the way I want my career to go. More responsibility than I thought and will give me great prospects in the future. I am a little gutted that I won't be able to do it for long before ML and that I will have to defer a qualification associated with it for a year. My boss is great about the whole thing. It will all be there waiting for me. I'm just scared I won't be good at my job anymore and I'll be torn about getting a closer commute to home. I feel thwarted and frustrated. I really don't want to feel like this. I know I am lucky to have a baby and a supportive workplace. Any stories/advice?!

BeforeIChangeMyMind Wed 13-May-15 13:06:41

I understand where you are coming from. At the same time, remember that there is A LOT that is going to happen between now and the time at which you go back to work. Try not to worry (I know it isn't easy) - in a way, it's better to get the promotion before the baby comes than to have to try and get there afterwards, while perhaps working reduced hours.

I would advise you to take this one stage at a time. So focus on getting to understand the demands of your new job and feeling like you have 'found your feet' before the baby comes.

Then, when you are on mat leave, focus on that - enjoy your lovely baby. Do take some time to find childcare that you're really happy with, as this made all the difference between my being happy to return to work and being uncertain.

Then, when you do go back, give yourself time to find your feet again (i.e. don't assume that you "won't be good at your job anymore" if the first month or so is a bit wobbly. It does come back, often quicker than you can imagine - after a year off with DS, I felt like I'd been away for about three weeks!

You were promoted, plus your work is being supportive. This means that they want you there for the long term. You will still be you, but with a baby. See this as temporary and don't forget to enjoy it. Congratulations Pinka flowers.

CityDweller Wed 13-May-15 13:36:48

It took me a while to find my feet after mat leave (I took 8.5 months) probably had a 4-6 month period where I floundered a bit and struggled with the life/work balance. Now (DC is 2) I feel like I'm flying and am v motivated and doing good stuff at work and am making the progress I'd like. I'd say having a kid probably delayed my career progression by about 9-12 months. So, what you'd expect really.

I'm lucky that My career takes priority over DH's. In fact when I go back to work after DC2 (due in 6 months) DH will probably become a SAHD or go v part-time. I think it's hard to balance two successful careers plus kids (unless you get a nanny and don't see your kids much)

Librarina Wed 13-May-15 13:55:05

I took a year with my first baby, and will do so again for this baby. Until I became pregnant I had a career which I very much enjoyed, which I put a lot of extra time and effort into, but which didn't pay particularly well.

We decided that for the next few years, what would work best for our family would be for me to work part time (I do 4 days, one of those being a short Saturday). The difference for me now is that I don't do extra hours (unpaid) like I used to, and I don't do regular evening events like I used to.

I felt very mixed about going back to work after my first bout of Mat leave, this was partly because I felt less engaged and partly because I felt sad about leaving my LO. I've been back a year now and don't feel at all sad about leaving my LO but I'm really really looking forward to going off on Mat Leave again.

I will come back to my role in mid 2016 and this time I'll be prepared for a period of settling in, but I'll also make sure I grab the initial enthusiasm and hang on to it, to make it worth being away from my babies, and not just about the money.

willnotbetamed Wed 13-May-15 14:46:42

I was doing an MA when my first DC was born and was really worried I would lose interest and become some sort of hyper-fulfilled earth-mothery type of person. It was a relief when I didn't - I loved the time with my son, but I was also really happy to get back to my books. Fast-forward 21 months and I had graduated and got a fantastic new job that I was really excited about...and almost in the same breath, discovered I was pregnant with DC2. I had a wonderful boss and a difficult pregnancy that meant I was on leave from 26 weeks gestation. It was a really hard time. But it worked out fine - I went back to work as soon as I could, part-time with a baby under one arm, and then full-time when my DH was able to take a few months leave. Of course I had to make some sacrifices - I couldn't travel much or work evenings until my youngest was a couple of years old - and it was hell when the kids were ill or childcare broke down. But I made it clear to my boss that I was keen to work as hard as I could, and prepared to be as flexible as I possibly could be under the circumstances (DH was brilliant here too) and I ended up being promoted and with some really exciting projects. I'm now expecting DC3...! Babies definitely don't have to kill your career, especially not if you're enthusiastic about it, but it helps to have good support (supportive partner, family members, good childcare, understanding boss and colleagues) around you and to keep positive about what you want to achieve long-term.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 13-May-15 14:50:29

Depends how hard your pregnancy is. Depends whether your baby sleeps and is healthy once you're back at work. Depends whether your apparently supportive workplace still turns out to be supportive once you're a mother - sorry to say, many who talk the talk beforehand turn out not to be.

All you can do is do your best and cross your fingers for everything else. Good luck.

LadyBlaBlah Wed 13-May-15 14:52:55

It can be catastrophic

Unless you plan carefully.

Foxeym Wed 13-May-15 15:24:22

It can work really well, it's totally down to how you feel after you have your baby. I'm the main wage earner so after all 3 DCs I have returned to work and my partner is a SAHD. I'm lucky in that he does everything, ferrying kids about cooking and cleaning etc. without that I wouldn't be able to do my job so I am grateful as childcare is out of reach for us and we have no close family but there are some great nurseries etc out there if you afford it so your career doesn't have to suffer

InterOuta Wed 13-May-15 15:28:31

It probably depends on each individual.

For me I am a lot more focused and much more efficient. But I have excellent childcare (nanny that I know personally and trust). I'm not sure I would feel the same if I didn't feel 100% confident about the childcare.

It also depends very much on when you go back and more importantly what type of a baby you have. If you have a baby who wakes up every hour at night, you will seriously struggle. If you have one that sleeps through, you'll be fine. You just don't know and there's nothing you can do.

Just go with the flow and hope for the best smile

museumum Wed 13-May-15 15:29:11

I love my work and have been very successful in the time since my mat leave (my Ds is 18mo). I am a bit concerned though about you mentioning a commute - do you live very far from work? Do you really have to? Living quite near work for both dh and I has really helped us manage life as working parents.

PinkaColada Wed 13-May-15 20:30:09

Thank you all!

The commute is negotiable. It's currently between 35 and 50 mins or 20 slow miles. I'm a teacher. Many schools are nearer, but I am paid well (London) and the development is better than other places. My colleagues are fab and very supportive. I would be gutted to leave. I think the option to go is almost more difficult than having no choice. I guess I will really have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

Roseotto Wed 13-May-15 21:13:03

You can't generalise, it depends on you, how you feel once you are a mother and how much you feel able to give to your career after that. If you lose the will and drive then of course it will affect your career. If you don't and go back refreshed and ready for a new challenge, you can do just as well as you would child free.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 13-May-15 21:33:02

Be very careful about colleagues. I know you say they are great but a lot of women think that until they get shafted (and then feel even more betrayed). Work defensively: always make sure to cover your back, keep paper trails, follow procedures to the letter even if no-one else does.

CityDweller Thu 14-May-15 17:58:28

Just to add - commute isn't necessarily a problem if your DP works closer to home (or your DC goes to childcare near one of your work). I have a 80-90 min commute (each way), but DH works 15 mins from home and childminder is on his way - so he does drop offs and pick ups.

Agree that good childcare is crucial. Our childminder is amazing and so lovely with DD, so no qualms about leaving her. Not so with the first, short-lived childminder we had.

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