Hi Wollies, looking for other mums' experiences here.
I'm expecting our first baby in March 2015, I am self employed with one big client. They have said they'll be happy to have me back on board after the baby is born (phew, was worried I'd be unemployed). Work is thin on the ground where I live so this news was a huge relief.
But I was told to figure out the arrangements now in order to give them plenty of notice, and I just don't know what arrangement would be optimal for both me & them. It was not stipulated but they would want me back sooner rather than later.
I'd love to take a minimum of 6 months, then return maybe 1 day a week, or 2 mornings a week. I can afford to do this, we have savings set aside if need be.
However the boss would prefer if I went back sooner, well it was heavily implied. Would it be naive to think I'd be OK with leaving a newborn after just 3 or 4 months, for a day or two a week, to go back to work? Have any self employed Wollies returned to work quickly after the birth?
Thanks for the votes coming in, please note you can vote on 2 options, so one vote for the time frame and another vote for either part time or full time.
I meant to say I'd intend to go back part time for a while & build up to full time again, if work is happy with that.
Would love to hear your stories, reasons & how did it work out balancing a v young baby with return to the job.
with DS I went back one day a week when he was 7 weeks old, stayed like that for a few months, got busy when he was around 7 months and was back full time for a while and then went back to part time.
with DD due to the time of year she was born I was able to take 4 months off (well checking emails etc from the day after she was born but didn't have to leave her).
no.3 is due early next year and I don't know yet how it will work out, I could be back in work within a few weeks, although part time. will have to play it by ear.
it's a very tricky one. we are lucky in that if I have to go back when the babies are tiny my husband can take time off or failing that, my mum is a great help. I don't have the luxury of maternity leave so just have to get on with it. the hardest part is breastfeeding, didn't work out great with DS, I fed him for 6 weeks and then at night for another 2 months but it wasn't easy. although I feel more prepared third time around so am hoping to feed for a few months and then keep up night feeds til 6 months, even if I have to leave for the odd day here and there and give bottles those days.
if you have good childcare you would be fine leaving the baby at 3 months for one or two days a week and then gradually increasing. remember in the states most people get no more than 6 weeks off and they manage, it's just that everyone here gets so long that we consider that the norm. a gradual return is also easier in my opinion than the wrench of 6-9 months off and then back full time (although I often want to kill women who complain about going back after having all that time off, not even having to think about work!!!).
finally, you may not want to work 5 days a week after LO is born and if you keep your client sweet by returning a little earlier, being available for the odd phone call/email from very early on and showing you are flexible you will be in a better position to work no more than a 4 day week further down the line.
Thanks for the response princesselm, you've given me lots to think about.
Wow back after 7 weeks fair play to you, I guess we have to do what we have to do. That's just it, most of my friends are in permanent jobs so the contract terms are laid out in advance, and the maternity leave is generous. They can be off for nearly a year on paid leave #jealous. I will feel short changed going back earlier than 6 months but you make an excellent point about potentially not resuming a 5 day week in the end, I hadn't even thought of that. Hmmm...
Re. childcare; we are in a rural location & MIL has said she would have no problem doing a day a week or two half days but she is not able for full-time childcare. We would have to search for a childminder ultimately, I do not like the idea of leaving a tiny baby into a creche until they're older & hardier.
Not sure if I will breastfeed or not but yes it's another factor to consider. Head is melted!
Like you say, in the States people just get on with short mat leave. Best of luck with your arrival early next year!