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Working after pregnancy

(36 Posts)
CRZ1988 Thu 08-Feb-18 10:49:41

Hi ladies,

I'm in a bit of a predicament. I'm in fairly early pregnancy but having to look at my maternity leave choices and back to work information to try and get my head around things before I leave it too late and don't understand anything.

Basically, I'm after some advice. I currently work in the Civil Service as admin support alongside the military for a large number of Officers. I've done this job for about 4 years now and I really love it. Don't get me wrong, there's some days when its so dull and there's nothing going on and it bores me to tears but the good outweighs the bad vastly.

I always thought I'd want to quit work when I had children. My main reasoning for this is, the way I was raised with a mother who went back to work fairly early on, and the way my husband was raised with a mother who stayed off work til he went to secondary school and his sister was established in primary school. They are all so so close and I love it. My parents and I really aren't that close and I don't blame my mother for it, my dad made her go back to work, he couldn't stand her being at home all day.

I'm by no means a career woman, I've done this sort of work for 10 years and its never really fulfilled me (I'm a crafty kind of girl, sitting behind a desk doesn't work for me....) I know I'm contradicting myself....

I have the option to resign upon taking maternity leave if I want to, it's just a tick in a box....

Anyway. What did you do? Were you happy with your choice? If not, why not.

TheSleeperandTheSpindle Thu 08-Feb-18 10:55:47

I went back to teaching part time (3 days a week) when DS was 9 months old and for me, it felt like the perfect balance. I’m now expecting DS2 and at the moment I feel exactly the same. I’ll enjoy my time at home but I will look forward to getting back to work too.

My DM went back to work when I was 6 weeks old. She had no choice as maternity packages weren’t available to her 33 years old. She also went back when my DB was a few months old. We are such a close family and my DM and I are the best of friends. Similarly my DH had a DM who worked when he was a baby and they are very close too.

I don’t believe that Mums going back to work had any effect on the relationships they have with their children.

TheSleeperandTheSpindle Thu 08-Feb-18 10:58:05

Oh dear, I really should proof read grin

*33 years ago

Upsidedownandinsideout Thu 08-Feb-18 10:58:45

Unless you hate it AND are 100% sure that you'll be financially sound once your maternity pay runs out, I'd keep your options open.
So much can change, you don't know how you'll feel (some people love being home with the kids 24/7 and some need a few days of headspace, some would love to be home but unfortunately need the few days of pay - I'm one of the latter!).
What does your partner think? I think the SAHM model needs both people to be very happy with their roles as a team.

Anyway - I'd always suggest that women keep their options open. A lot can change in the 18 months before you'd be due back from leave...

Catra Thu 08-Feb-18 11:03:01

I'm currently pregnant with my first and it looks likely that I will be a SAHM for a couple of years at least - my mum stayed at home with me and we had a such a strong bond that I wish to replicate with my little girl. However, my current role is only temporary so the choice in that sense has been made for me – if I wanted to go back to work I would have to search for something from scratch and I'm under no illusion that this will be harder for me than it l would be if I was childless. If I was in your position, I would consider keeping the door open with your job - you might love staying at home with you child full time, or you might find it incredibly tedious and want to go back to work for a couple of days a week at least - is there the option for you to go back part time? Can you afford not to work?

CoffeeAndCupcakes85 Thu 08-Feb-18 11:04:29

I would keep your options open. As lovely as babies/toddlers/children are, you may find there is a lot about working that you really miss (e.g. Speaking to other adults, sense of identity beyond "mum" etc). I would make the right noises/plan that you're probably going to return, but then when you're on maternity leave you can resign if you're 100% sure that's what you want.

Eeeeek2 Thu 08-Feb-18 11:15:15

I’d keep you options open, but be aware of what is in your contract as many companies that offer extra maternity pay require you to repay it if you leave before a set time period after maternity leave.

I am a fairly new stay at home mum and we decided on this because of the impossible childcare options for the long and varying hours I did. Plus they are little for so little time that I wanted to enjoy him. Am I happy? Yes generally, it’s more difficult than I imagined, you get little break and work was a breeze compared to it. I will have a part time seasonal job that will give us some luxuries that we couldn’t otherwise afford but it’ll mean very little time with dh for the summer.

mindutopia Thu 08-Feb-18 11:24:37

I would wait until you finish your maternity leave and then decide what you want to do, possibly after a trial of working part-time if you think that would suit you. Me personally, I took off a years maternity leave and then went back part-time until my dd was 2.5 and then full-time after that. I'm pregnant with my 2nd now (my dd is 5, so have been back to work full-time for 2.5 years). I'm taking another year or so of maternity leave (slightly uncertain as my contract actually ends and there is at present no job for me to return to, so depends when more work becomes available). Then I aim to go back part-time for at least 6 months to a year tops probably and then full-time before my 2nd is 2.

For us, really we need two incomes because we're looking to buy a house and a business premise soon and we need our combined incomes for the mortgage, plus just to live a comfortable life, so financially it's not an opinion for either of us to be a SAHP for any length of time. But beyond that, I really love my career and I found it was such a breathe of fresh air to go back to work after mat leave. I love my dd and I'm grateful I had a full year with her and that we still had days together while I worked part-time, but by about 10 months, I was starting to lose my mind being at home full-time. For me, having the balance of both has been the best possible arrangement and I have no regrets at all about returning to full-time work. We had a lovely experience in nursery and made some wonderful friendships and close bonds with her teachers there and that was great for her. But it's done nothing but strengthen our relationship too as I (and my dh) are both better, happier parents for getting to pursue our own passions too.

For what it's worth, my mum went back to work at 3 months (she too had no choice) and we've always had a wonderful relationship. So being a working parent should have no impact on your bond with your children. It's much more about quality over quantity. But I really would wait and see how you feel once you've had the experience of being home full-time with a baby/toddler before you decide for sure. That way you have all your options still available to you and can work out what works best for all of you when the time comes.

idontlikealdi Thu 08-Feb-18 11:25:38

Can you afford not to work is the main thing?

CRZ1988 Thu 08-Feb-18 11:33:18

Thanks for your replies.

My maternity package states I need to do one month on return to work and then I don't have to pay it back (I think that's right anyway)

We're in a really lucky situation, we've got quite a lot of savings (we had a bad car crash 7 years ago and I got a fair amount of compensation which we've saved and then had another accident in the same car where we got quite a bit of money from the garage when they wrote it off) so we can live comfortably, plus DH is in a very well paid job and I only contribute around £1000 a month from my wage.

I think I'll see how I go, in the job I'm in unfortunately I don't have the opportunity to go part time as it can be a very demanding job. I have quite a lot of friends who are on maternity now and a very close friends who is only 9 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy so I will have adult interaction.

I think my main issue is missing things that will happen with our child, and I really want to be able to do drop offs and collections, I was always put in after school clubs and holiday school clubs as my parents worked and I really hated it. I don't think I'd want to put my kids through that unless they wanted to.

Girlwiththearabstrap Thu 08-Feb-18 11:44:07

Workplaces have to consider flexible working and provide justification as to why they can't provide it if you're refused so there's nothing to lose by asking.

I'd hold off making such a huge decision until you've had the baby and done a decent stint at home.

I dont think being a working parent automatically makes you not close with your child (interesting that it's only working mums that get blamed for that one though...). I went back full time into teaching after my daughter was born and we are very close. I plan to Do the same this time. My mum stayed at home with me and I wouldn't say that her being at home during a period of time that I only have vague memories of has really affected our bond! There are pros and cons to both decisions but I don't think there's any need to rush the decision.

Oysterbabe Thu 08-Feb-18 12:39:33

Working mums can have a relationship that's just as close as SAHMs. It's more about personalities and quality time than the number of hours together.

I work part-time because if I'd quit I would find it very, very difficult to get back into a similar role once the kids are older. Also my job will let me change my hours to school hours when my children start school because I've worked there for years, they know I'm good and want to keep me. Going into a new company in my field there would be zero chance of them agreeing school hours.

I would be wary of giving up your job, you don't know what the future holds.

Doublegloucester Thu 08-Feb-18 12:51:40

My maternity package states I need to do one month on return to work and then I don't have to pay it back (I think that's right anyway)

You should be able to take this month as the annual leave you will accrue during a year of maternity leave - check with HR/shared services.

For this reason, I would always initially tick the box saying you are coming back to work - you can always 'work' your notice by using that annual leave.

Kilo3 Thu 08-Feb-18 13:04:36

It's a tough choice but at least you don't need to decide now. I know mums who stayed at home, some who returned part-time, and some who came back full-time. Those who didn't go back to work say they miss it and those who work say they wished they could be a SAHM!

I have a similar predicament - I had to forego training due to being pregnant which I can do when I get back of mat leave, but it's full time only, so I don't have much option unless I decide not to upskill and remain as I am (which is low-paid and limited on options). I cant be flexible working unless I move to a different area, which is difficult as I live 25 miles away from my closest premises as it is! DH earns a lot more than I do but is pretty established in his career and could easily go part time but that would mean a huge decrease in income unless I'm able to upgrade and earn a more decent wage. We don't have any family who can provide childcare either, so I think it will require a lot of compromising and self-sacrifice to make things work, but that's the situation for many women I fear...

halfwitpicker Thu 08-Feb-18 13:08:22

Er, no, don't quit yet!

CRZ1988 Thu 08-Feb-18 13:24:00

@halfwitpicker I didn't say I was quitting now....

TimesNewRoman Thu 08-Feb-18 13:33:39

I went back part time - 3 days a week after 1 year off. Works well for me. Was more than ready to get a few days "to myself" after a year with DC but don't think i would have been after 6 or 9 months. I also think my DC benefits from the time away from me too.
My DM did not work after she had me and my siblings and we are not very close with her. My DH mum worked part time and they all have a great relationship.
Personally I would NOT resign. If it was me I would plan to at least do the one month and then can always pack it in if you want to at that point. If you have a job you enjoy and get to do it part time, i think that's magic.

TimesNewRoman Thu 08-Feb-18 13:34:28

Ah sorry OP just saw you cant do part time, sorry.

feral Thu 08-Feb-18 13:52:25

Sounds like you're saying working mums don't have strong bonds with their children. Not true.

CRZ1988 Thu 08-Feb-18 14:47:27

@feral I never said that, I said I dont have a strong bond with my working mother. Lets not pick arguments here.

Girlwiththearabstrap Thu 08-Feb-18 15:25:13

In fairness the post did strongly imply that working mothers struggle to bond whereas mothers who stay at home are close. No mention of working dads as usual...

pastabest Thu 08-Feb-18 15:33:51

I don't think you can let your personal experience from your own parents influence you into making a choice you may otherwise not be completely happy with.

Your bond with your parents isn't the way it is because they worked. Some families are just closer/have different personalities than others.

Both my parents worked. I have a really close relationship with both of them. My DPs DM was a SAHM and he's not particularly close to her, neither is his sister, they get on okay but I think they always felt a bit smothered and MIL definitely feels some resentment at never having worked. Equally I have friends and family where the opposites are true.

You just have to do what is right for you and your family at that point in time.

CRZ1988 Thu 08-Feb-18 15:34:58

@girlwiththearabstrap My dad worked throughout my whole childhood, we barely saw him. Even on evenings and weekends he was working too but from home.

I have a pretty shit relationship with him as well. He wanted a boy. He got two daughters. He spoke to us like boys, treated us like boys and was pretty much a difficult and non friendly person.

I make no mention of working dads because my husband will be going back to work after his paternity. He loves his job and is more than happy to be the 'breadwinner'.

I'm very much an egalitarian and believe in equality for all so please don't mistake my non-mentioning of something, to be that you know what sort of background I come from or that I'm man or woman bashing. I didn't mention working dads because I am/will be, the mother.
The question was for me. Not my husband.

CRZ1988 Thu 08-Feb-18 15:40:04

@pastabest thank you. We were both unplanned. DM fell pregnant at 22 and has openly resented having kids young which has probably lead to her feelings.

DMIL desperately wanted children and tried for 6 years before DH came along. I think that makes a difference.

I want this baby.

QueenAravisOfArchenland Thu 08-Feb-18 17:15:04

those who work say they wished they could be a SAHM!

This really isn't always true, FWIW. I have never wished it and I wished it even less after experiencing the reality of being at home full-time with a baby. I suspect that a lot of people (not all) say this because it's the socially acceptable thing to say. "Good" mothers aren't expected to say things like "dear God I'd rather claw my own ears off and eat them than stay at home full-time", even if it's true.

I think this is a decision not to even think about until you're on maternity leave. Financially you need to leave the assumption that you're coming back to get SMP and enhanced mat pay, and the reality of being at home with kids is often less fluffy than the idea. I think you need to have a particular personality to really enjoy being a SAHM, tbh, and the people you are relying on who are on maternity now may well be back to work or about to go back to work by the time you are off. Plus the long-term financial consequences, and the consequences for your relationship, are significant (pension, long term earning potential, power in the household, split of domestic tasks, etc).

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