But after that six month mark the dramatic drop in my salary became more and more difficult. Super scrimping from with still two weeks to go till pay day led to some creative meals. More lentil curry anyone? Then of course we started house hunting as a two bed flat with a patio is not ideal for a bubba. As anyone who has ever bought a house knows this is an expensive business. So the savings that were going to supplement our in income from months 9-12 (when in teaching you get nothing) were now needed for deposit, solicitors fees etc. So I had some decisions to make.
Do I go back after nine months?
Do I go back before or after the Easter holidays?
Do I go back full time or part time?
Not going back to work at all was never really an option. I wonder if I was married to a doctor or a lawyer and had the option would I return to work still? A lot of my friends are stay at home mums and they love it. I have really enjoyed my maternity leave and have plenty of hobbies and friends so that I never got bored. But I do enjoy my job. At least I love teaching. I love the banter with the kids. I love helping them to achieve their targets and dreams. I also enjoy the interaction with other adults. Oh and cake Fridays. Except Friday will now be my day off - fail!
So we decided I would go back part time on three days and then there was the issue of childcare. I can justify three days in my minds as I still have two whole days at home with my baby and then the weekend as a family.
Its so difficult to know when was the right time to go back. I went with working one day before the Easter holidays (cheeky huh?!) and so Monday will be my first 'proper' day. The Belgian still had one paternity day left and so he stayed home with The Baby and so it didn't really seem too bad.
Do we go with a nursery or child minder? It seems that most of my friends have free childcare with family members and clearly this is ideal, but as I have mentioned before we are very far from both of our families. Day care across the channel isn't really a sensible option is it?
So we visited some nurseries.
What I liked about nurseries:
- lots of variety
- activities are targetted to the babies ages and the early years education they provide prepares them for school
- good equipment
- professional and good hours
- hot meals included
- good feedback
- lots of messy play and sensory activities
- being confined to the baby room
- only small and limited outdoor play areas
- very young nursery nurses who do not have children of their own
- less personal
- you have to pay for one day a week in the holidays
- limited hours - you pay for the whole day even though we'd be able to pick him up at four
- not many trips for babies
- more variety as they can go on errands and play dates with the babies
- more personal
- most are mother's themselves
- more flexible on hours
- can offer term time only contracts
- will be able to socialise with a mix of other children
- more loving and individual care
- the feeling of leaving your child with a relative stranger.
- some child minders can look after lots of older children and perhaps not cater as much for babies as a nursery would
- not as many children for The Baby to interact with
So after visiting a few nurseries and making some enquiries about childminders we decided to go with a childminder in the village where we work. She is the mum of one of the student's I taught and so I felt like I knew her already. Plus her son is a 'nice lad' (as they say in these parts) and so I felt like she was a good choice. She loves the outdoors and has a really impressive garden with great facilities, she does lots of messy and sensory play with them and takes them on lots of walks and play dates.
Seems too good to be true right?
Well he's had a few settling in sessions and the first one was going well until he fell and banged his head and then he obviously wanted a mummy cuddle. He refused his milk and his nap and was quite distressed when I arrived. He was then really needy all day which is quite unlike him. The other two he fell asleep in the car on the way there and so woke disorientated and although he seemed to be okay he'd clearly been crying.
I know he will be fine as he isn't shy or clingy and loves the other little lads she minds, but I know Monday morning will be hard. It is the end of a really perfect nine months. The end of an 'era.' Now I will be pulled this way and that and my mind will be filled with data, target grades and success criteria that I will not be able to dedicate as much time to the little lad.
I am also wondering how division of labour will go in our house. I have somehow ended up doing the lion's share when we used to be fairly equal about things like cooking and cleaning. I keep
Have you had similar concerns or struggles with going back to work?