Additional paternity leave/sharing maternity leave with DH

(27 Posts)
genine83 Thu 27-Sep-12 15:06:41

Anyone actually shared their paternity leave with their other half?

I will be returning to work in about 4 weeks time when DD will be 26 weeks and my husband will be taking 3 months additional paternity leave to care for her. I am actually looking forward to going back to work but not sure i'll actually be able to let go and let my hubby actually take control!

Would love to hear from anyone who has actually done this!

CheshireSplat Sat 29-Sep-12 23:59:14

Can't share my experience quite yet, but will be able to in a week. I'll have had 8 1/2 months and my DH will have 3 1/2 months. I'm not looking forward to going back - primarily because I'm annoyed with work for not promoting me! - but I know that I will have one less thing to worry about with DD being with DH, rather than me worrying about her settling at nursery, having to take time off when she's ill etc. Then when I'm settled at work (hopefully) in January she'll start nursery.

How are you feeling about it? How have other people been? Everyone I know has been so enthusiastic about it except my mum disappointingly who after making snide comments for months (don't you think it's odd, doesn't he want a career etc) finally admitted she "old-fashioned"...

sleepyhead Sun 30-Sep-12 00:10:43

We're planning on doing this. I was going to start a thread asking about people's experiences so I'll join yours instead!

It's early days, baby not due until April, but having the opportunity for dh to take some APL will mean the difference between me going back to work at 6 months and the baby going to nursery, or me going back to work at 6 months and the baby staying at home with dh for another 3 months at least, hopefully 6. I'm so grateful we've got the opportunity to split it.

I think with more and more women being the higher earner in families it'll be much more common, but up until now I don't know anyone IRL who's done it.

We havent done it for DD but it is something we are discussing doing for DC2 whenever we decide to start TTC. I was desperate to go back at 6 months but waited til 9mo for a slot with my chosen CM. DH gets summer holidays off so got to spend a good chunk of time with DD and often says "i'll stay off with the next one" grin

genine83 Mon 01-Oct-12 16:24:24

Thanks for the responses.

I'm finding it really difficult finding anyone who's actually done this already but speaking to people generally they all think its a nice idea for dads to get some bonding time with their little ones. I have come across some people who give me disapproving looks for going back to work when DD will only be 6 months but as she will be with her dad I can't really see their point!

We have a four week handover period planned when we'll both be off work and I plan to use that time to make sure DH knows the routine inside out! We're also hoping to go away somewhere for about a week so we can have some quality family time before I rejoin the rat race.

funchum8am Mon 01-Oct-12 16:34:32

We are also about to do this (DC1 being induced tomorrow as 12 days overdue). I will go back full time when baby will be about 5 months and DH will have 5 months off (then we are both off for summer hols). Everyone has been very positive about the idea save a few female friends predicting that I will find it hard to go back so early, but as said upthread, I think leaving baby with DH rather than CM or nursery should soften the blow. And I love my job! Some male friends have said they'd love to have done this but they earn way more than their wives so it didn't make sense. I feel very lucky that DH and I earn similar amounts, are not in debt (save mortgage) and are both keen to do this. I hope the reality turns out as good as the theory looks, for all of is embarking on this.

kernowmissvyghen Tue 02-Oct-12 20:26:22

Yes, we did it- I took the first 8 months and DP took 4. One advantage we found was that the additional paternity leave period can run up until the baby's first birthday regardless of when the maternity leave started, so we ended up with nearly 13 months between us. It worked really well, and the bond that has developed between DP and DS is really lovely to see- it's made me so proud of DP to see what an amazing job he did as a full-time parent!

We now both work part time- DP 4 days a week, me 3 days- and I think the paternity leave did make DP's employers realise that they couldn't deny him the same flexible working that female colleagues would get. Don't think his application for flexible working would have been agreed without it.

It worked really well for us- I would highly recommend it!

sleepyhead Tue 02-Oct-12 22:10:48

Kernow, that's really useful to know.

I'll probably have to take more mat leave before the birth than ideally I'd like (depending on how I feel) as I won't have annual leave to use up like I did last time. I will however accrue leave while off for 6 months so we could add some of that to my six months and then have dh take six months and not have to put dc into nursery until he/she turns 1.

Interesting to hear that it changed your dp's employer's perceptions. We definitely find dh's employer currently less family-friendly to male employees which creates an unfair burden (imo) on my employer. It's something to think about that dh could maybe request ongoing reduced hours and further cut the time we need to find childcare.

CheshireSplat Wed 03-Oct-12 07:40:45

It's really interesting to hear from someone who has done this, thanks Kernow.

My DP's work were being really awkward about his flexible working request - he works in a female-dominated environment where lots of people are part-time so we were disappointed. However, he's got himself a new job doing 3 days grin

Genuine, you mentioned a 4 week handover. We're in the middle of a 3 week handover and I'd thoroughly recommend it. We went to France for a fortnight, just the three of us which was great, now we're having a week where DH is "in charge" and I'm following him around imparting helpful advice wink. It's a good chance for me to say goodbye to various baby things , lets DH know where to go and also gives me the chance to do various things like get my haircut and make the most of free dental care before DD is 1!

kernowmissvyghen Wed 03-Oct-12 19:53:28

Happy to help!

Sleepyhead, I may be wrong but I think the maternal/ paternal leave needs to be continuous, so you'd be able to use your leave as a handover period when you were both off, but not as a break before your dh started paternity leave... If that makes any sense! 6 months each sounds very fair- hope it works as well for you as it did for us.

I've been surprised at the extent to which men have to put up with a lot of sexist attitudes around childcare responsibilities etc - I really hope the new rules make everyone take their role in child rearing a bit more seriously.

sleepyhead Wed 03-Oct-12 20:24:56

Oh, I see. Well I guess I could save the leave and take it when dh eventually went back to work.

I don't really see us needing a handover as such - dh is completely hands on as a father, and I work 3 days a week anyway so we'll have time together as a family throughout dh's leave.

Actually, will that make a difference that I work pt and dh works full time?

kernowmissvyghen Fri 05-Oct-12 10:17:45

No, the part time / full time thing won't make any difference. Your dh will get a form from his employer which you sign to confirm that you are returning to work and assigning your right to additional leave to him - that's all, there don't seem to be any other restrictions or complications. It really is a simple process! Since we were in the first cohort of people eligible for it, we got all our information from the direct gov website.

For once it seems the government have actually managed to bring in a change that is simple, straightforward and actually helpful to people's lives - let's see how long it takes for some moronic politician to mess it all up... I did hear a Tory on the radio saying they were consulting businesses on whether to scrap the additional paternity leave because of the "pressure on businesses". Seems to me that's code for "we hate maternity leave but al least we can get around that by not recruiting too many female staff of childbearing age- if men are legally entitled to take parental leave, we won't be able to discriminate any more, how will we c

kernowmissvyghen Fri 05-Oct-12 10:22:07

Cope?"

Sorry, managed to press delete and post simultaneously...Apols for the rant but I feel quite strongly about this! Will be gutted if the system is changed before we have our next DC and so will my DP.

sleepyhead Fri 05-Oct-12 13:02:25

Thanks kernow!

I agree, it'd be such a backwards step to scrap it, particularly as it doesn't seem to be a very well known option at the moment.

It does sound incredibly simple and will make a huge difference to us - and sends a fantastically clear message that baby/child care is for both parents.

CheshireSplat Tue 09-Oct-12 08:22:11

My thoughts after day one....

Knowing that DD was with DH made my first day so so much easier. I rang him a couple of times and "talked" to DD on the phone and found out they'd had a lovely time swimming etc... I left pretty much on time but didn't need to worry about getting back for nursery. Got home at 6.45, gave DD a bath and bottle and put her to bed. She smiled very sweetly at me when I got home which was lovely (she hadn't forgotten me wink) but I think DH might become her favourite sad (repeat "it's not a competition", "it's not a competition").

And then she was very very sick in bed twice (poor lil thing) and up at 3. So DH got her back to bed at about 4. So this morning I'm relatively rested, on way to work whereas if DH was at work too I'd be tired from nighttime waking and having to tell work I can't go in today because the nursery won't have DD because she's been sick. I know this will all happen in January but being able to start back knowing I only have to worry about myself and that DD is fine makes things so so much easier. I can re-establish myself at work and then start being awkward with time off for a poorly baby in January.

Delighted we've done it this way.

sleepyhead Tue 09-Oct-12 23:17:09

Hurrah! That sounds really positive CheshireSplat. I hope it keeps on going well for you smile

I'm watching this thread with interest, as DP and I are planning to do this. Our baby is due in January and I want to take at least the first 6 months because I will (hopefully) be breastfeeding. So we plan to transfer four or five months' leave to him. I earn slightly more than him, but it would mostly be so that we can share the childcare role and hopefully pave the way for us to both request part time hours in future.

That's really interesting about being able to take a total of 13 months' leave kernowmissvyghen. I read the maternity action leaflet and saw that it said that the man can take his leave up to the baby's first birthday, but it hadn't clicked that it would mean a longer period of leave in total!

I thought the ideal situation would be for me to take my annual leave at the end of my maternity leave, to have a couple of weeks' 'handover' period with DP. However I got the impression that I won't be able to do that if I am still receiving SMP, as you have to physically go back to work in order to transfer the SMP to your partner? Is that true and if so how did you get around it?

CheshireSplat Sun 14-Oct-12 11:27:36

We did what I think you want to do. My mat leave finished on 17 Sep when my DH took over. I took 3 weeks' annual leave before returning to the office on 8 Oct so we had a 3 week handover. Does that make sense?

TheAngelshavetheOod Sun 14-Oct-12 11:58:52

We would do it this time round but dh isn't entitled to paternity leave sad

Cheshire that sounds like exactly what we'd like to do.

Could I ask anyone who has done this how their DP / DH found being at home with the baby? Did he find it easy to fit in with 'mum' and baby groups?

TheAngelshavetheOod Sun 14-Oct-12 17:06:42

Dh doesn't go to toddler groups but takes dd out usually to garden centres and goes to the park lots.
Quite a few Dads at the group I go to though

Murtette Sun 14-Oct-12 21:35:35

We didn't do this but, when I went back to work when DD was 13mo, DP was completely in charge of getting her up, getting her dressed, giving her some milk, dropping her off at nursery, picking her up, giving her a snack & putting her to bed on two of the days as I left for work before DD was up and, by the time I got home, she was in bed. At first, I used to leave out clothes for her to wear to nursery, leave out snacks and, most control freakish of all, stories (the latter to ensure that, over the course of the week, she had a wide range of books!) before realising after a few weeks that DP could decide these things perfectly well by himself, knew what a healthy, filling snack was, that my way wasn't necessarily the best way and, that if it was, then it was better for DP to realise that having tried his ways. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, when you do the handover period, don't be too rigid in what your DP/DH "must" & "mustn't" do with your DC as they'll figure out their own way of doing things. I loved seeing the bond develop with DP and DD and the things he did with her that really made her laugh and which hadn't occurred to me to do. I was less keen on some of the clothing combinations he chose but it really didn't matter!

caeleth Wed 17-Oct-12 14:11:44

Ooh, watching this with interest. I'm going back to work 50% in a month and dh will have the other 50%. Rather worried about it atm since every time i leave them alone for a few hours ds will scream the place down... any of you have similar or did dh and dc get alng with no problems? And how do you work the feeding if you've bf?

CheshireSplat Wed 14-Nov-12 22:04:46

Hey Genuine83. How is the shared mat/pat leave going? I've been back about 6 weeks and it's working really well. Enjoying work and loving being able to leave the house in the morning without worrying about DD.

kernowmissvyghen Thu 15-Nov-12 20:29:09

Caeleth, I was still breastfeeding when DP took over the leave- it was fine, much easier than I expected. I intended to express at work, but never actually did, and only left expressed milk for DS for the first day or 2. He drank water while I wasn't there (from a cup, as he was a bottle refuser) and I fed first thing in the morning, as soon as I walked in the door after work, bedtime and during the night. Was v uncomfortable by 4pm initially but my supply adapted pretty fast.

Re. the question of dads and baby groups: my DP hung out with the grannies and older mums when he went to the village baby group - apparently they were more welcoming than the 20-something mums! But he mainly went to the park and the swimming pool rather than baby groups.

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