Returning to work
How do you know when you are ready?
, Jul 31 2012 01:52 PM
8 replies to this topic
Posted 31 July 2012 - 01:52 PM
I know a lot of people have no choice in this, & im lucky to have such a minor problem, but interested in opinions from those who have done it, how do you know when is the right time to go back to work (assuming you have a choice). A lot of people have warned me about returning too soon, & not coping, but I don't know what to look for before I go to know if I'm ready.
As background, my dd is 4 months old. Dd takes a bottle, sleeps well, will start solids soon, is very easygoing & placid baby, so hopefully would adjust easily. I love being home with her, but my MIL lives with us & is driving me a bit crazy. I had originally planned to go back in November, but am now reconsidering this after a phone call from work "encouraging" me to start sooner (start of September) possibly at a higher level than I was on before.
My considerations areChildcare- sorted- 2 days cc, 2 days with dh, one day working from home. Financial- my ppl will not finish till mid October, so although I'd be better off at work, I'd be losing about $3000 of ppl, I'd be better off at work, but have to work for it (iykwim), I earn approx double what dh does, so it makes sense for me to work more, we'd like to take advantage of the drop in house prices & buy somewhere closer to the city, In an ideal world, I'd love to just work 2-3 day per week, but thats not possible in my role. also, it makes sense for me to go back full time now & make some money before we have no 2. (when childcare will be harder/ more $$)Emotional- although dd will be with dh a couple of days per week, I kind of feel like I'll be missing out on all the mummy stuff (playgroup, swimming, lunch dates with other mums), I am worried that it will be too soon & I might regret it later & feel that I'm missing out. On the other hand, I have a chance to go back to a great job, possible promotion, where I have lots of support & can be around adults again. Also I will be to spend more time out of the house, away from MIL.
In a nutshell, should I take the extra month or so, enjoy my gorgeous baby & stick to the original plan, or should I go back early, forget about the ppl, & enjoy work & more money until we start trying for no. 2? DH is very supportive, whatever my choice, but think he's pro staying at home a bit longer, but that's not helping me make the choice. I have to give a months notice to either extend or return, and once I decide to go back I couldn't go back on leave again. Thanks in advance for any help/advice!
Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:15 PM
Fow what my thoughts are worth - I went back to work and my DS went into childcare when he was 11 months old. I felt that was a good age because he was mobile and could express himself and had started to enjoy the world outside of mummy. However, I think bubs around 6 months seemed pretty happy there too.
I went back 3 days a week. Initially I had thought my job (also senior) wouldn't work on a part-time basis but it has so don't rule this out if that's what you want.
In terms of mummy stuff - when I was at home full time, most of the stuff I did was not for my child it was for me - coffees, mummy "playdates" etc - generally motivated by my desperation to get out of the house. Now that I work, DS and I do things that are just about quality time for the two of us - we do art projects, go to movies together, do swimming and library etc - and we still do swimming on Sundays!
Also, when you work you become more efficient - I use my wages for a cleaner and get groceries delivered weekly and cook simple meals so I can devote my time to my DS instead of multi-tasking all the time, doing laundry every single day and generally pretending that housekeeping is a full time job LOL!
The truth is, provided you've got GOOD QUALITY care I don't think it matters to your DD whether or not you go back full time or how early. It might matter to you though so I think you should try and push it out as far as you can.
And I try to remember (for those days when the mummy guilt kicks in): the job of a parent is not just the fun mummy stuff and caring - it's also the reality of putting clothes on your child's back and food in their tummy and you should think of your time at work as part of your parenting as a mum, not separate to it.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:23 PM
Thanks CNE, that was the kind of info I was after, although still no closer to a decision, dh as just come home to tell me he has arranged his roster for September to look after dd, so looks like its a step closer to happening, or at least being possible.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:41 PM
It is such a personal decision and a hard one to advise when I don't know you but FWIW I would take a little longer with your baby if it's not going to affect your prospects at work. A full time job is pretty full on, I would think differently if it was part time.
I have 2 children and only work part time and I am always sad that I can't take DS to play group or DD to the ballet class she wants ( the days clash with my work days).
I must admit I have taken a demotion since returning to work and am not particularly ambitious, also DH is main breadwinner so I am looking at it from my point of view.
Your baby may not miss you but in hindsight I can now see many months that I wasted worrying and stressing about routines etc ( not the same as returning to work but hopefully you get my meaning). I often wish I had just enjoyed those early days a bit more.
Good luck with your difficult decision, one thing I have tried to remember along this journey is that no decision is set in concrete.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:25 PM
Each person will be different in their needs and wants. For me I wasnt ready for work until the kids were a bit older and even then I could only deal with a small amount of work before I felt like my work/life balance was off. Other parents I know have gone back to work earlier. I think maybe look ahead and try to look back - do you think its more likely you will regret not going back to work earlier or regret not taking that extra month with your child?
Edited by meagum, 31 July 2012 - 07:27 PM.
Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:43 PM
You do know if you return to work full time your DH can take the remainder of your PPL? So he can get paid from the September to the October, as long as he can negotiate time off with work. That way you're not 'losing' out on money if you're earning double what he is...
Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:11 AM
Every one is different & it is such a personal choice. I myself though wasn't ready to return to work until my DD was 4 years old.
Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:52 PM
Everyone can give you advice and give you details on how going back to work has or hasn't worked for them, but it is so individual. I've been lucky in that I have always kept a foot in the door as far as employment goes, but I've never needed to rely on Childcare.
You will know what is right for you and your family, go with your gut instinct, it's nearly always right
Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:27 PM
Your situation is very like my own. I took on a new job when DD was turning 1. She had been in child care 3 days a week from 6 months to 1 year, and then 5 days from there on. All it took was good organisation after DD went to bed at night and the first few weeks are the worst. We then developed a great routine. You are lucky to have family able to step in and help so child care is not full time. DD is now a happy 20 month old, and the difference from 3 days to 5 days did not have a huge impact except in extra $$$ from working. I'm now due with our second bub in November and by having made the jump back to full time work, have the dollars behind us to have a happy a carefree maternity leave for bub #2. With DD it was leave without pay and no PPL back then and it was a huge struggle. I organise work so that I can be home at 3.30pm with plenty of time for a bit of fun before dinner. My view is take the opportunity and if it doesn't work out, let DH go back to full time work and use the extra money generated to support a little time at home. Consider purchasing extra leave so that you can make the most of special times. Good luck.
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