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How long are you (planning) to take off for maternity leave?

(40 Posts)
TwitchyTail Fri 15-Feb-13 10:13:09

I have planned 9 months, but am increasingly tempted to go for the full 12. We can manage financially and job is secure - I'm more worried about losing confidence at going back to work afterwards after being out of touch for so long...

What are you planning to do, or did you do with previous children?

BonaDea Fri 15-Feb-13 10:20:16

This is my first and I'm taking 12 months, without hesitation. Luckily we can manage financially, so I have the luxury of choice like you.

Those friends I asked about it said I would never EVER regret taking some extra time off with my baby, whereas I might regret going back earlier than I have to. Many people mentioned to me that it is really at around the 6 month stage that LO will become quite a bit more interactive, you'll be able to do a lot more, go to classes, get out and about. Of course you can do that with a smaller baby, but it is perhaps more hard work with less reward! So, am expecting the second 6 months to be in some ways the more enjoyable.

Sounds daft because I haven't even started mat leave, but I'm already dreading having to go back to work!!

badguider Fri 15-Feb-13 10:24:14

I'm self employed and am intending to only take 3months off completely to keep my business going so that I can work 1say a week from 3-6mnths with DH doing childcare (I will be at home or nearby Starbucks so can still bf).
This sounds tough but if I can make it work I can continue to work only a couple of days a week mostly from home throughout my child's preschool years and still make a decent wage.

ZuleikaD Fri 15-Feb-13 10:30:53

I'm self-employed too, and as this is no 3 have only got enough savings to take about 5 months off.

Rache1S Fri 15-Feb-13 10:35:09

The full 12 months for me without any hesitation!

I appreciate that many women aren't, but I don't understand anyone who is in a financial position to do it choosing to go back earlier.

My job is important to me but I fully anticipate that my priorities will all change in favor of spending every last second with my new baby.

wanderingalbatross Fri 15-Feb-13 10:40:55

I took the full 12 months off with DD and found the last few quite boring - DD was hard work and very frustrated in the almost-mobile stage, and a lot of the other mums I knew went back sooner so I didn't have as much to do.

This time I am pregnant and planning to return when DC is 9mo. I'd try for a bit earlier if it weren't for the fact that DD didn't sleep well before then and I don't think I could do my job well on lack of sleep, plus I'd like to breastfeed and would be easier to leave new baby in the day once weaning is well established (I had real trouble expressing).

badguider Fri 15-Feb-13 10:43:07

I'm happy to go back earlier to spend more time with my child in the long term. I find the idea of staying at home for 12 months then going back to work for 4/5 days a week odd.
I've chosen to work 1/2 days a week from 3months onwards up to school age.

Eletheomel Fri 15-Feb-13 10:44:29

I'm also taking the full twelve months (which actually works out closer to 14 months by the time you add on annual leave). Financially, things will be tight, but we have enough to get by and they're only little once.

I did the same when I had my DS and I have to say I really didn't want to go back to work, however when I did, I really enjoyed it (more so than I did before I think). I only went back part time (mornings only) and found myself so much more motivated when I went back, despite the continual tiredness from lack of sleep.

I was really focused and got through my work much faster than I had previously. I think I really enjoyed work for the 'me time' it gave me. After a year of looking after my son, I had 5 hours a day where I only had to worry about me - it was really quite liberating :-) And of course, I got to spend my afternoons with my son, so that was great.

I'd try not to worry right now about how you'll feel when you go back, I'd forgotten loads and had to re-learn stuff again, but you do it and your employers should make allowances for your 12 month absence and give you some time to get back up to speed.

SeriousStuff Fri 15-Feb-13 10:47:40

I don't know what to do. If I was an employee I would take the 12, no messing. But I run my own business so as I'm self-employed I'm only eligible for £134 a week. I would make more money if I worked one day a week. So I'm thinking about taking maternity for 6 weeks (and my husband taking a few months now the rules have changed) so then I can work maybe 1.5 days a week which will leave us better off financially. I can work from home so hoping I'd be able to juggle this!

BonaDea Fri 15-Feb-13 10:49:54

badguider - That sounds like a good solution for you and your family. But for many people it simply isn't possible to continue doing a job on 1 or 2 days per week. I could never do that. So, my choice is whether to have the time off now, when I have the opportunity to take the time, or go back sooner and then return 4 or 5 days anyway. It's a no brainer for me...

louschmoo Fri 15-Feb-13 10:53:25

With DS I went back when he was 6.5 months old, but I went back 3 days per week. I'm planning on doing the same with DC2 (due in 5 weeks!). I was really happy with my decision as it felt like I got the best of both worlds and I quite missed my job once I'd got over the shock of life with a baby. I think it depends on circumstances though. DS was pretty much sleeping through by 6 months - if he'd still been waking several times a night I might have felt differently about working. Also if my work had insisted on me going back full time I would have had a much harder decision on my hands and would definitely have taken a year off if not quit altogether.

Bluemonkeyspots Fri 15-Feb-13 10:57:09

I'm self employed and will be taking the full time I get maternity allowance (roughly 9 months I think)

Will be a big drop in income but I'm prepared to have 9 months being skint rather than pushing myself.

badguider Fri 15-Feb-13 10:58:42

Seriousstuff - you can bill 10 KIT days while claiming MA so I intend to do that for my second three months.

Jeggie Fri 15-Feb-13 11:09:04

Go for the full time you can. I did and am sooooo glad. You will soon get back into it, 3 months more is not going to make a difference except to you and your baby.

You don't have to decide now, your employer should assume the full time even if you tell them less as you are entitled to change your mind later on.

SeriousStuff Fri 15-Feb-13 11:12:47

Thanks badguider I'll look into it!

rainand Fri 15-Feb-13 11:13:09

I'll probably take 12 months but considering going back earlier.

Is it easier for the baby to adjust if you go back earlier/later?

Eletheomel Fri 15-Feb-13 11:17:00

My DS was fine when I went back (he was 12 1/2 months) the month beforehand I would leave him with my childminder for an hour or so, twice a week, then I did an afternoon before I went back, and while he was a bit upset for the first few drop offs in the morning, by the end of that week he was fine. I think getting him introduced to childminder for a month beforehand made a big difference.

I can't comment on going back earlier, but I know that some babies go through a clingy phase at 9 months or so, so it's possible that might coincide with a return to work which might get them a bit upset.

Although I have to say, my son didn't have any separation anxiety at 9 months so I think he'd have been fine if I'd left him then (but I wouldn't have been :-)

BraveLilBear Fri 15-Feb-13 11:42:18

This is a real tough one. I'm the main earner, and I can just about manage 6 months off (works out at nearly full pay with SMP top ups for last 18 weeks). After that, I'll have a bit of holiday to take, and may be able to eke out another month if I can save up a bit.

I would love to have the full year - or even stop working altogether - but it's a financial impossibility at the moment unless OH gets decent payrise. Coming back reduced hours doesn't seem like a possibility - the person who had my job before me was forced into a different role when she came back from maternity and wanted to do 3days a week as my role 'demands' a full time post.

The precendent has been set, so it will have to be a full time return. Trying not to think about it as it makes me quite upset tbh sad

FoofFighter Fri 15-Feb-13 11:42:20

The 39 weeks as that's all I'll get with MA I think.

plannedshock Fri 15-Feb-13 13:22:24

I'm self employed so will be having 7mths off, 1mth before due date and just over 6mths after due date then going back to work 3days a wk, childminder for 2days and with daddy for 1day. I feel this is right for me and am lucky for the flexibility in my job.

TwitchyTail Fri 15-Feb-13 13:27:41

Thanks everyone. Lots of things to think about. Jeggie, you're right, my employer assumes the full 12 months and only needs 1 month's notice to change, but childcare is a different story - the good nurseries are so over-subscribed around here that I need to give them a ridiculous amount of notice if I'm changing the start date unfortunately.

BonaDea, I also technically haven't started my maternity leave yet (am off work but it's still annual leave) and am also dreading having to go back already grin

Dexidoo Fri 15-Feb-13 13:44:14

I'm self employed too and the main wage earner. Think we will take 20 weeks maximum, not definite exactly how much yet.

BonaDea Fri 15-Feb-13 13:44:44

bravelilbear - just bear in mind it might be at least worth having the conversation about reduced days. Your employer is not entitled to say "we just don't do that" and just because it didn't work for one person's role doesn't mean it can't work for yours! There are also other options not just part time working. For example, you could maybe look at a compressed working week where you do the same number of hours in fewer days, or you change your start or finish time. They have to let you apply for what you want and they have to consider it - if you don't ask you don't get. Yes, they might say no, and they may be perfectly entitled to refuse you, but then again, things might have changed or there may be different considerations!

BraveLilBear Fri 15-Feb-13 14:18:27

Thanks Bonadea - I know they have to consider it, and the management has changed since then, but I know they're very negative towards compressed hours and homeworking as a rule.

I also thought cost would be an issue, but have just done some quick sums and I/we could afford a four-day week, although not a three-day one (accounting for childcare costs as well), so maybe I could see if they would consider something.

AmayaBuzzbee Fri 15-Feb-13 19:14:46

Planned to take 9 months with DD, but extended it to 12 during the leave. i just wasn't ready to go back whilst DD was so small. Will soon be going on maternity leave with baby #2, and this time I am going for 12 months straight off (plus holidays, so it'll actually be 13 months or more).

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