And the award for the UKs shortest maternity leave goes to… Me!
This is not something to be proud of even if I’m making it sound that way with a fictitious award! Ted is two months old on Friday and I went back to work last Saturday. I have not yet found anybody that understands me so if you’re insecure or judgemental I suggest you click away now.
A lot of people will argue that I chose to go back to work and leave my newborn but the reality of it is, I had no choice. I’ve done the maths and there was no choice.
I have been working in pub management for 10 years and the pay is pretty good, when I was an assistant manager at 21 I earned more than the average graduate salary at the time. By the time I was GM, I was on £24k aged 23 and I had a pay rise every year (one big pay rise but that’s a story for another day). So after 8 years as a GM I earn more than £500 odd per month which is the current maternity pay in the U.K.
I feel like I’ve been betrayed by my working career. I’ve worked hard my whole life and ended up worse off in terms of maternity pay. If I worked as a part time bar maid I’d get better maternity pay!
The reason I’ve been robbed of a decent maternity leave is because exactly one year ago I was made redundant (this is another story for another day!) and to cut a long story short I lost my 12 years service and started again. So I’m still a manager but I’ve been in this job for less than a year so I’m not entitled to statutory and I’m not entitled to company pay as I don’t have the service. I really do think ‘the system’ is a joke.
Since I was 16 years old I’ve spent a grand total of 3 months unemployed. I had a part time job at 16, new part time job at 17 which I literally started the day after I left my first job then when I got my bar maid job I worked both jobs for a month to serve my notice and I stayed in bars for 12 years. Then got made redundant and only had 3 months off because I was getting married and had a months holiday booked anyway.
But I’m not eligible for decent maternity pay. I can claim allowance but then it’s classed as benefits and I keep joking that the paperwork isn’t worth the cost of a stamp as I literally need to send of loads of forms and proof to get less than a weeks wages.
And because I work full time I have to pay for Ollie’s nursery fees but if I claim this pay aren’t I on benefits so it’s free? No because I have a full time job. But I’m not getting paid. Just forget it I’ll pay.
Don’t even argue why does he need nursery if you’re not at work because then there’s no need to ever have free places. If you don’t work, look after your kids.
So yeh. This system is corrupt and I’m going back to work.
I’m not shallow or materialistic as some muppets like to judge. I’m not selfish or abandoning my boys. It’s the opposite actually, if I were selfish I’d love to sit around all day but that wouldn’t be thinking of my family long term. We set our mortgage up based on mine and Daves salary so for me to take a 75% pay cut and expect to still be able to pay our bills would just be stupid.
We don’t live an extravagant lifestyle but we do live comfortably and losing a massive chunk of income would make us very uncomfortable financially. Just about doable but I wouldn’t be happy.
I like being able to go on adventures and do activities. I like the thought of being mortgage free when Ted is 7! SEVEN! Long term, me working is good for my family.
A lot of people judge me for that and say the best place is with their mom and I do agree to an extent but I also think there’s a lot to be said for security. And also a lot to be said for quality time. When I’m with my boys I truly value my time, me and Ollie do activities and have lots of cuddles and we have a gadget ban.
We all have little naps together and Ollie and Ted have a lovely bond already and they both have a lovely bond with me.
Realistically and honestly being at home 24/7 isn’t all quality time. I won’t expand on that comment because that would lead to a ‘full time yummy mummy’ rant so just interpret that as you will.
No I don’t want to leave him. Yes I sometimes cry when I leave him. My boobs ache for him haha, it’s weird but true. They tingle when he’s hungry and I text Dave to say get his milk ready.
I hate leaving Ollie too, his little face waving at the window.
I do not like leaving them but I do like looking after them and working as a team with Dave. We’re a partnership and we work together. They’re our kids and we are both caring for them and providing for them.
I have to remind myself that I am leaving them with their Dad! I’m not fobbing them off to an evil babysitter or something! They’re with their Dad, it’s good for them to have a bond with him too.
I went back to work when Ollie was 2 months too, I got 12 weeks full pay then and would’ve taken a massive pay cut if I had longer. It was easy with Ollie though because I ran a nightclub. It would’ve made no sense to take a pay cut because I never really left Ollie. Mondays he spent with my mom, Tuesdays he came to work with me and then Friday and Saturday nights he was with Dave but I used to put him to bed on Fridays before I went to work, I only missed Saturday bedtime!
With Ted it’s different because I run a pub now that’s open all day and Ted is breastfed so I need to make sure I pump enough for when I’m out!
So far it hasn’t been too bad. The bright side is I do actually like my job so once I’m there I don’t resent it or anything. When I left on Saturday and Sunday they were both asleep so I didn’t feel guilty leaving. Then on Monday Ollie is in nursery so he didn’t know I was gone and Ted was with Dave.
Luckily I write my own rota and I have a good team so I’m going to do lots of little shifts. It will be easier for pumping and working around Daves job. I’ll go and open, do breakfast then come back later and close! That way I’ll still have time with my boys and still work enough hours.
I wouldn’t say it’s easy but I wouldn’t say it’s hard either. I won’t sleep much but I haven’t sleep much for months! I worked until I was almost 39 weeks and had really bad heartburn so on weekend shifts I’d get in about 1am, be up drinking gaviscon all night and then go back for the next morning.
Being pregnant and being a parent is not a disability! I’m gonna MommaBoss it…
I’d love to know if anyone has had a micro Maternity Leave and what your reasons were!