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WWYD if you had the choice

(34 Posts)
Neoflex Sun 13-Aug-17 08:56:23

First baby on the way. Instead of me taking 1 year maternity leave, dh and i have decided to split. Both will be part time, so 8 weeks after birth I will go to work 2.5 days a week.
Money isn't an issue. It's just that being equal in our relationship is really important to us. So we decided this was the best way to keep the healthy balance in our lives. Dh is over the moon, says he always wanted to be a hands on dad. I trust him 100 percent to be an excellent parent.

But if you could go back and do it all again, and had the luxury of choice, what would you do? Do you wish you had hung on to your career? Or do you wish you had spent more time with your babies when they were young?

Some people say I'm being naiive about how I'm going to feel. I don't really want to get into this discussion with other people I know cause they will probably end up feeling attacked. E.g. i say I want my dh to have a fair chance to be involved and bond, friend A feels criticised because her dh works away all weekend and never sees child.

But I would like to really get some opinions and maybe it really is better from strangers after fishing out trolls

Am I being realistic?
How hard is it really?
If you could go back and do it all again, what would you choose?

(Please be honest but kind, I didn't post in aibu. And this isn't a breastfeeding thread).

Neoflex Sun 13-Aug-17 09:43:19

No one?

Cranb0rne Sun 13-Aug-17 10:05:36

My hubby and I had similar plans, but when DS1 arrived, there was no way I could leave him with anyone at 8 weeks. I had this terrible anxiety when someone so much as took him for a walk for half an hour. My husband also realised that looking after a baby full time is really really hard work and quickly lost his desire to take parental leave. I went back to work after 10 months with both of my kids, no regrets, love working 4 days a week. I was ready to go back after 10 months.

Neoflex Sun 13-Aug-17 13:21:44

Thanks Cranborne. It is the anxiety everyone warns me about. I have two months worth of holiday banked. Was it any better after 4 months?

DoubleCarrick Sun 13-Aug-17 13:24:27

I would happily have gone back and split leave with dh.

I guess if you decide to bf that'll be a consideration though

rollonthesummer Sun 13-Aug-17 13:27:09

I went back p/t when my eldest was 4 months, my next one was 6 months and my youngest was 10 months. 4 months was a struggle to be honest-I spent my whole ML worrying about leaving DC-8 weeks is pretty early!

KarateKitten Sun 13-Aug-17 13:29:17

I think I would love your situation. As women we are told that our baby bond is more special and only we can 'mother' a child but I see women every day who are more relaxed about handing baby over to others and don't feel too special about it all (despite loving their children just as much). People like me. And I'd love my DH to get to experience the intensity and the joy of sole parenting of a newborn. My DHs job means that not possible unfortunately. But I'm certain he could do just as good a job as me from day 1.

KarateKitten Sun 13-Aug-17 13:32:26

Just to share my situation I work 9-5 at home and go back to work at 4-6 weeks. So I hand the new baby over to our fab nanny. I'm on hand all day where needed but I do work. For the first few months I bf a few times in the working day and then switch day feeds to bottle but I am perfectly happy with my nanny minding the baby and would be even happier if it was the babies father doing that role as I worked.

HamNJam Sun 13-Aug-17 13:34:55

We had twins, my DH earnt significantly more than I did, childcare would have taken all of my salary and more - we chose to have me at home for a year or so.

Twins are now teens and I'm still at home. Do I regret not having a career? Sometimes. Do I regret the time, attention and care that I've given my children? Never apart from sulky teenage-ness

If you feel happy about the division of childcare and earnings, then go for it. Try it and see how it actually works for your family. But remember to be try and be flexible and adaptable, you may think life with Baby will be like x, but actually you or your DH may feel differently after six months so then you try plan B. Good luck.

FlappyRose Sun 13-Aug-17 13:38:57

I think that sounds like a great idea, I'm pretty sure I would have loved it. My DH is an excellent parent and I would have had no concerns about leaving DS with him.

Having said all that, I had a very traumatic birth and I'm not sure I would have been recovered sufficiently to return to work at 8 weeks.

Orangebird69 Sun 13-Aug-17 13:40:37

Blimey, I couldn't have left my ds at 8 weeks... Not to say that you'll be the same or there's anything wrong with it but I would definitely suggest that you wait and see how you feel. Before I had ds I used to scoff to myself about parents not wanting to leave their pfbs at such a young age. Then I turned into one of those parents I scoffed at. There's lots of factors to consider. You said this isn't a bfing thread which is fine. If you plan to FF you'll find the logistics of going back to work so early but if you're planning to bf it might be a little more difficult. Best of luck.

thehousethatjillbuilt Sun 13-Aug-17 13:41:20

I couldn't have done it. I couldn't have left my DS1 at 8 weeks even if it was with DH.

Given my time over I probably would have done the same again. I went back to work part time after 8 months. And my son went to my mum and MILs on the full days I worked.

I could've done a 50/50 split with DH at that point but his employer wouldn't consider it. They did let him drop to 4.5 days so my 2.5 days were covered 1 each by mum and MIL and 0.5 by DH.

RandomMess Sun 13-Aug-17 13:43:34

I had to leave my eldest at six weeks (no mat leave back those days!) and it was fine tbh.

With my youngest 3 I had 6 years off - utterly loved every minute of it however in hindsight I regret the impact on my career massively!

RelaxMax Sun 13-Aug-17 13:43:36

8 weeks is very early, just be aware of you have a difficult birth you might not be fully up and about by then. Also if you're hoping to breastfeed you may not be fully established by then.

4 months is probably more realistic.

If you can both be part time and share parenting I think that's great.

Agoddessonamountaintop Sun 13-Aug-17 13:47:17

8 weeks would have been far too soon for me. DS had a few health issues which meant we had a couple of week-long hospital stays - not much at all in the scheme of things but I was still very much floundering about trying to get the hang of things by that stage. Plus that was when the milk supply was only just established and I wouldn't have wanted to disrupt that.
But I'm now going for the medal as the longest-serving SAHM after 2 decades and I think if DH had been able to do this at a later stage - say, six months plus - I'd have jumped at it. Easy to say in retrospect though.

Cantseethewoods Sun 13-Aug-17 13:48:03

I basically did just that ( 3 days from 10 weeks) as I live in a country with short mat leave. It was actually ok. I quite enjoyed 'the time to myself'. The downsides were that dd was a poor sleeper so I was quite tired, but in a way I felt better on my work days than at home, and also the pumping was time consuming and a PITA. However that was exacerbated by Dd's dairy allergy which meant that I couldn't run out of BM. I couldn't work consecutive days or my supply dropped. I know you didn't want to make this a Bf thread but tbh that was the most significant factor so if you're going to ff maybe just say as that would make it a more realistic option.

RandomMess Sun 13-Aug-17 13:49:14

Actually with DC2 I had weekly hospital appointments taking me away for at least 3 hours from her being 10 days old, again it was fine because it was just the norm for us.

DC2 return to work at 4 months because again in those days that was the only mat leave you got, DC3 it was 6 months by then... Again DC4 I started mat leave early and was back (very part time) when she was 3 months old... (this was a part time retail job during my career break).

I struggled to express enough milk after mine were 6ish weeks old but combination feeding worked fine.

rachrach2 Sun 13-Aug-17 13:59:03

That sounds like a lovely idea but I wouldn't have felt anywhere near ready at 8 weeks. I'm assuming you're not intending to breastfeed, but if you are, I'd find fitting in expressing so much and dealing with the nights even harder if I had to get up for work.

I'd consider starting that arrangement a little later, maybe 4 or 5 months?

EllieQ Sun 13-Aug-17 14:05:28

We did something similar using shared parental leave, so I went back at seven months and DH had two months at home. This worked very well in terms of sharing care and DH understanding how hard it can be to look after a baby all day.

However, I do think 8 weeks is too early. You will probably still be recovering, depending on the type of birth you had - I had forceps and needed stitches, and was still a bit sore at that point, so sitting at a desk for several hours would have been painful.

Your hormones affect how you feel about leaving the baby - I knew I was being irrational, but it was hard to leave her even with DH for a few hours at that point. I didn't breastfeed, but from what I understand there is a lot of frequent feeding at that age. I would suggesting planning to return to work a bit later - after four months perhaps.

I'm back at work doing four days a week, which is unusual compared to the other mothers I know - most do three days a week and there are more SAHMs than I'd expected (most of my family and friends went back to work). My husband does compressed hours so has one day a fortnight at home with DD. I know a couple of other dads who have one day of childcare (one does Tues-Sat while his wife does Mon-Wed, another also does compressed hours). I've noticed that out of all of my 'mum friends', we have the most equal relationship and he does far more of the day to day stuff.

The more men do it, the more normal it becomes, so I hope your husband enjoys it!

tribpot Sun 13-Aug-17 14:12:07

My DH is a SAHD so that effectively meant we were both off for my maternity leave. Then I returned to work at 4 months, first part-time and then full-time fairly quickly after that. No choice - I was the breadwinner.

Sharing the burden of early parenting is a very good idea. Indeed in Sweden it's the norm (fathers are required to take at least 3 months of the parental leave. My friends tend to grumble about it as - surprise! - it's not always convenient to have to take a block of leave in the middle of your projects, but they do it). Being back at work after 8 weeks could be physically tough but equally you will have someone else to share the night work. How much commuting will you have to do?

Bluntness100 Sun 13-Aug-17 14:16:36

I went back at four months. I was ready to. I guess I was a bit neurotic, as in " did you warm her milk enough" but overall I was fine with it...

Childminder was fab, older woman who loved the bones of her and still writes to her to this day and she's twenty. She was the only kid she looked after and had a young teenage daughter.

user1499786242 Sun 13-Aug-17 14:20:44

I still had problems down below 8 weeks after giving birth, a few friends of mine were still struggling with c section scar infections etc
No one had warned me that was even a possibility, there's no way I would have been able to go back to work
Don't wanna be negative or doom and gloom as I'm sure you will heal well etc but you just never know what's going to happen
I also have separation anxiety and was breastfeeding which made being apart from my baby extremely difficult, I did plan on going back to work but I just couldn't do it
Luckily we could afford for me to stay home but I don't actually know what we would of done if I had to go back!
Even now he's 2 and I still can't leave him for more than an hour
And I NEVER ever thought I would have this issue, I didn't want an 'attached' child etc
What I'm saying is... you don't know how you're ganna feel until they are born!
Good luck with whatever you decide

PolkaDotFlamingo Sun 13-Aug-17 14:21:45

I'm expecting #2 and love the idea of this and would like to share leave with my DH but practically I know that at 8 weeks it just won't work. I naively expected myself to sail through the early months and leave her to do my own thing a bit but by that point I was still only getting a few hours of sleep, breastfeeding was still not established and I couldn't express anywhere near enough to leave her, I was still recovering from the birth and mentally I couldn't be away from her. It might work for you but, if possible, I'd save the decision until they're here and you know a bit more about how you will feel not how you think you will feel.

Neoflex Sun 13-Aug-17 15:08:07

Thanks, so many things to think about. If I don't heal or have medical issues I definitely won't go back. I have the two months holiday and I have the option to work from home if I want to. I just think I will be too tempted to play with baby if I'm at home.
We have a breast feeding room at work. I am planning to express from birth, switching between boob and bottle. I have bought a super reviewed and expensive double electric pump that I can take to work and use in the room. It has a fridge where I can leave filled bottles. But maybe I can't bf at all. It will be how it is, I can't put my body under pressure to fit a time line so i am not ruling out formula.

My employer is super flexible and supportive. I trust my dh. I just doubt my own self confidence right now. I'm really sure I know myself and what I want but when everyone tells me what a nervous wreck I will be once she is born i do doubt my plan.
I will try to leave things as open as possible.
Plus there is a sexist pig hunting for my job, which might be influencing my decision very slightly. I know if I go back around his contract renewal I don't have to resign him. But that is another thread.

hopeful31yrs Sun 13-Aug-17 15:59:46

I did exactly that and went back to work full time after 8 weeks. Dad did another 2.5 months and we started DD in nursery from 4.5 months. Best thing we ever did. DH understood my frustrations staying at home and I could continue training without repeating any time. Don't regret it however- for number 2 I took 10 months. Enjoyed the time with my family more.

Do what you need to. Don't make people tel you you should be entitled to it so take the extra time or make you feel guilty about going to work.

Practically I hadn't lost weight so found it difficult to dress for the first period of time back. Also, my joints weren't back to normal so standing all day etc was still hard.

Good luck.

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