Here I am, just nine weeks away from returning to work after maternity leave.
Nine weeks! I cannot believe how quickly it has come round.
Deciding on Returning to Work
There was no question about it. It was something that was just a given.
I was going to take my maternity leave until I was no longer entitled to the statutory pay and then I would be returning to work.
I needed to contribute to the household. Not only that but I want to contribute, financially, to the household.
It is important to me to work, I am not cut out to be a stay at home mum.
I love my children dearly but you have to be made of tougher stuff than me to do that, not much adult contact in the day. It can feel quite lonely. And so there was no thinking about it.
I had already made the decision that part time work was best for me when I returned after having Reuben. I was planning on returning to work on my previous work pattern of Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. Perfect.
Arranging Nursery and Preschool
Reuben already has a preschool place and as they have a nursery Jessica would be going to the same setting.
I had advised them of the hours we would be needing, giving an extra thirty minutes at the start and finish of the day to accommodate the rest of my commute and traffic. So the children were going to be in the nursery for thirty-five hours a week. More than I would like really but needs must.
I am a spreadsheet lover, I plan everything on spreadsheets but it works.
When we confirmed our hours I then started planning our monthly outgoings. Always a difficult one as each month has different days that the children would be in nursery. Add to the fact that Reuben gets fifteen hours funded at nursery for term time only. So my view was to go worst case scenario, five weeks in a month. Anything less would be a bonus.
I only took into consideration the weeks that Reuben had funding to begin with, after all I had budgeted for five weeks each month and so could be saving for when he didn’t get funding. Sounds peachy right? Wrong!
Shock, Horror! How the [email protected]@k does anyone do it?
Nope. Not peachy.
It was at this point that I saw it, black and white. My wages were not enough.
I have a decent paid job working in insurance but my entire monthly salary was less than the nursery fees for me to be able to go to work!
And that was on a month where Reuben had funding every week. If he had a week of no funding, or the whole month like August, well it was hopeless!
Sam and I just sat in complete shock.
Considering the Reality of ‘I might be better not returning to work’
Even as I write I cannot believe that this could even be a possibility.
How is it possible that we could be better a position with me not returning to work?
There is something seriously wrong here!
Working Things Out
Luckily for us I was able to work things out.
My employer was very accommodating in changing my hours which allowed me to arrange for my Mum to collect the children on a couple of days. I could then work longer those days to give myself a day off in the week. It was the only way.
But some people are not that lucky. Some people don’t live close to their families. So how do they do it?
You wouldn’t believe the relief that this has been sorted.
Come September, Reuben’s funded hours will go up to thirty hours a week for term time, we will then be able to put money away to cover the holiday time that we cannot get off work and so things may be a bit easier for us.
We are waiting for the tax-free childcare to come into effect, which has just been announced as April 2017, as we will be in a much better position.
As I speak to people about this it appears to happen a lot.
I have a good friend who runs a nursery and I spoke to her about it and she was shocked by it to some degree. But at the same time she knows how difficult it is for childcare from both sides.
The extra funded hours are great for us, it will be a big help, but will the nurseries get the correct funding or are they going to be left short? I would guess they will be left short and so what does that mean for us? Increases in prices for younger children to compensate, or worse, nursery closures? You can read more on that here.
It seems to be becoming more difficult to have families and work. It seems that for a lot of families you pick children and you have to give up work and that is just not fair.
I would love to hear your stories. Did you make the decision to stay home with the children because of your childcare costs? Did you want to go to work? Do you work in a nursery and it happening all the time?