Maternity leave

(14 Posts)
Swimgirl83 Wed 28-Oct-20 17:06:41

Hope everyone is doing well!

So I am already thinking a out maternity leave as I'm a planner so like to have a plan even though I am only 8ish weeks and haven't actually told my work yet!

Has anyone taken shorter than normal maternity leave? Is so what was your employers reaction?

With my first i was planning on taking a year, but unfortunately was made redundant whilst on mat leave and found another job after 7 months so had to cut my mat leave short. Looking back it was actually for the best!

I'm now in a job I absolutely love, and my mental health struggled when I was off last time (severe post natal anxiety, which wasn't diagnosed until I returned to work)

Through counselling its become very evident that I need a routine for my mental health to be in a good place, so I am thinking of only taking a short period off. I also have a significant amount of leave being carried over to next year so was thinking I could use some of this to shorten my weeks etc (pending employer approval!)

Just interested in other people's thoughts and opinions smile

OP’s posts: |
Amelia49 Wed 28-Oct-20 17:19:08

Congrats! I'm 18 weeks and still trying to decide when I'd like to finish up, it's my first baby so no clue how I'll recover but I know I don't want to be off too long. I'm the same as you, I need a routine so taking a year off just wouldn't suit me or my job tbh.

I'm thinking of taking 25 weeks off and then using some annual leave if I need more time.

Dollywilde Wed 28-Oct-20 17:24:22

I’m currently 3 months in to mat leave and DH and I are sharing it so I’m doing 8 months and he’s doing 4 - works out quite neatly for his job which has seasonal elements plus he’s wanting to and I earn more! I’d just say be prepared to not be taken seriously when you say it pre baby - I talked about it and got a lot of ‘oh you’ll change your mind once baby is here / wait and see what DH makes of it once baby arrives’... well she’s here and we’re even more entrenched. Frankly if we could afford to go down to one salary he’d be the much better SAHP, both regarding temprement and also salary!

Hopefully as you’re not a FTM they’ll take you more seriously but I just got a lot or ‘yeah sure’. I can’t imagine they’d complain about you coming back sooner smile

DollyParton2 Wed 28-Oct-20 17:25:39

All I know is with my first I took 7 months and this was way way too short for me, I was in tears on way to train station. DC2 I took 11 months and still flew by. This time I'll definitely be taking 1 year- but sounds like we are pretty different as my mental health suffers if I'm too stressed with the juggling act of too much work/still seeing kids/getting everything they/we/house needs so I really valued having that time to just cocoon at home with baby. You've already had 1 OP so you'll know what you need based on last time.

Swimgirl83 Wed 28-Oct-20 18:06:29

Thank you for the replies smile

@Amelia49 that is similar to what I am thinking. It is looking like I will have 35 - 40 days annual leave next year (worked throughout lockdown and now no availability to take all my leave) so was thinking of doing some shorter weeks, and a couple of weeks off maybe.

@Dollywilde - I think that is what I'm worried about - not being taken seriously. Should have also said dh is looking into some shared parental leave but when I mentioned something in passing to someone at work (before this dc was even a consideration) I was laughed at and told I was being ridiculous.

@DollyParton2 last time 7 months definitely felt about right, I didn't realise how much I missed a routine etc until I went back. But could be very different with 2 I guess grin

OP’s posts: |
Dollywilde Wed 28-Oct-20 18:10:53

@Swimgirl83 I just turned around to all the women (and weirdly it was always women) and pointed out how good it was having a DH who wanted to look after his DC and pointed out how good it was for women/feminism that we were doing equal parenting, they usually shut up after that grin

Don’t get me wrong, I adore DD and I’m loving being at home at the moment, but it’s right for us as a family (emotionally, financially) so they can all naff off tbh wink

Itsalwayssunnyupnorth Wed 28-Oct-20 18:19:56

OP I felt the same as you with my first mat leave! I had bad PND and going back to work at 8 months massively improved things for me it gave me adult time and routine back which was great for my MH. I am currently off after having number 2 and I will be going back when baby is around 8 months again. I’m a frontline nurse and got sent off from work early at 28 weeks due to working in a covid area. I really struggled mentally between 28 and 36 weeks (when I was planning to go off). I have accrued all my annual leave too so I’m planning on turning it into a phased return and having 1 or 2 days off per week (I usually work 4)until my accrued leave is used up. I also plan to start little one in nursery a day a week about a month before returning to help establish routine between me and DP. My manager is really supportive but equally has said if I change my mind and want to take the extra I’m entitled to when the time comes nearer as long as she has the required 6 weeks notices that’s fine too. Iv started doing an online qualification while off which sounds nuts but my DP is very supportive and I need my mind to be occupied and a little bit of study a couple of times a week gives me a loose routine in my head!


LemonRizzle Thu 29-Oct-20 20:16:26

I'm glad I'm not the only one! I'm only 9 weeks and already worrying about this. I was planning on taking the bare minimum (like 2-3 months) and then OH taking the rest as I earn more so we'd struggle financially if I stayed off. However, this is my first so needing to work out savings, annual leave etc to see how much I can get away with. Has anyone else gone back so quickly?

Swimgirl83 Fri 30-Oct-20 08:29:23

I'm glad I am not the only one thinking of taking a shorter than normal time off. Whenever I have mentioned it before in conversation I am always made to feel like I should be taking a year, but I know that will play with my mental health!

Meant to add we will also be looking at nursery from about 6 months, possibly not full time but dd1 went from 7.5 months old and it was the best thing for her so will look to do similar with this one as well smile

OP’s posts: |
Ilovethewild Fri 30-Oct-20 08:34:38

Op, I did mat leave cover for someone taking 4 months only, no one cared, her choice. Colleague taking 5 months plus 1 month AL, each to their own.
Do what is right for you and family

loobyloo1234 Fri 30-Oct-20 12:53:12

I'm just over 20 weeks with my first OP. There's no way we could afford for me to take a whole year as much as i'd like to. We're saving to cover around 6 months worth of bills then i'll either wing it for another 3 months or go back to work. It's a bit shit but as i'm on more money than DP it makes sense. Do what's right for you smile

FudgeSundae Fri 30-Oct-20 13:22:26

Yes, I took 9 weeks with my first. I’m the breadwinner and my job only offered statutory pay so I did the 6 weeks’ full pay and 2 weeks’ holiday, then 1 SMP (unplanned, I was induced early). I’m now in a new job and pregnant again and they offer 12 weeks’ full pay so I will be taking that.

Part of the motivation was financial as I’m the breadwinner, and I also felt like I would rather use our savings on a holiday instead of extra leave.

However, partly I just didn’t want a long leave. I know most mums are desperate to stay home with their babies but I felt depressed and like I was losing touch with my old self. Going back to work was so good for me, I was able to enjoy being me again and really look forward to getting home to seeing my DD.

Even now (she’s 15 months) I find days and days alone with her really hard as she needs so much attention - not her fault of course! My job is easier. I get coffee and loo breaks!

In terms of reaction, everyone gasped and said “oh, don’t you want longer?” I became expert at smiling and saying in a steely way: “this is what works for me.” Some went further and said “can’t your husband support you?” Those people got a Paddington bear stare.

Once we got past the silly comments, my employer was fine with it. Bear in mind you need to give 8 weeks’ notice to return to work - so I gave my notice to return as I left pretty much!

My DH is used to a more traditional family set up with a SAHM, but he knows me well by now so he wasn’t surprised and was supportive. We have a nanny for DD (which we wouldn’t be able to afford without me working full time) and it’s wonderful - she cooks all her meals and freezes extras for me at the weekend and takes her to baby groups and they have a lovely bond. DD is a very non clingy, chilled, happy baby.

Hope that helps. Short mat leaves can work if it suits you. smile

FudgeSundae Fri 30-Oct-20 13:24:53

Oh and to add - my DH works weekends so he has responsibility DD two days a week. This has been amazing for our relationship because he knows how hard it is and really takes an active role in her care. So DD has me at weekends, DH 2 days, nanny 3 days. So far it’s working for us!

Superscientist Fri 30-Oct-20 13:54:37

I'm intending on taking about 9 months off I'm 3 months in at the moment.
With my company they assume 12 months but provide I give the 8 weeks notice I can go back whenever I want during the 12 months

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