So the time is nearing, one month left until I have to leave my baby to go back to work full-time. I’m currently a mix of emotions, I don’t know how to feel. It feels like it’s only been a couple of months since I left for mat leave but it’s in fact been 10 months! Mom guilt is starting to kick in and I’m already starting to feel separation anxiety and I haven’t even started yet.
Mat leave has had its ups and downs, I’ve not really enjoyed it as much as I thought I would, mainly due to the fact my grandad passed away quite unexpectedly when Oscar was 7 weeks old. I say unexpectedly, we knew about his condition 5 weeks prior to my dear grandad passing. I left work on December 24th 2017 and my maternity leave officially started January 14th 2018, my beautiful little pudding was born 8th February 2018. From day dot I always said I wanted the whole 12 months off, 9 months paid and the extra 3 months unpaid, but it was never financially possible.
I have waves of emotions running through me, sadness, failure, worry, upset and separation anxiety is already kicking in. Thankfully for us Lee’s mum & nan are willing to look after Oscar 3 days a week whilst myself and Lee are at work and I can’t thank them enough. I work 3 twelve and a half hour shifts and Lee works Monday to Friday nine till five. We financially can not afford to drop our hours, I’ve already had to drop from 37.5 hours to 33.5 hours a week and that’s the minimum I can manage. I work for the NHS in a local emergency department and Lee is an online development and marketing manager for a company in a city near by.
We are so lucky to have our parents who live nearby to look after Oscar when we’re at work! We couldn’t possibly afford childcare, I was having a conversation with other mums a few weeks ago regarding work and they felt the same way. We are only entitled to £20 a week child benefit because apparently we earn too much, how am I meant to pay childcare with £20 a week and expected to return to work full time.
We have a mortgage, a car, food shopping, baby necessities, bills and a wedding to pay for, there is no way we would be able to afford childcare. It’s so expensive! When Oscar was born I was absolutely sure we would be entitled to a little more help financially from the government, as we do pay all of our taxes and national insurance but no, we weren’t entitled to anything other than £20 a week. I already feel as though my baby is already missing out because I don’t drive or because I can’t take him to places because of not being able to get there, but even thinking about it I wouldn’t be able to run a car let alone afford to put fuel in every week.
£20 a week on top of my £600 a month statutory maternity pay, once I’ve paid all my bills and all of my essentials I’m left with around £10-£20 left in my bank. Thankfully Lee helps out financially if myself and Oscar ever need anything. If we didn’t have our parents and grandparents who are helping out with childcare I honestly don’t know what situation we’d end up in. I just wish that parents who worked would get more help and support from the government.
Work have been brilliant I must say, they’ve given me the rest of my annual leave entitlement after my maternity so I get to spend an extra few weeks with Oscar and then I’ve left a few weeks spare for next year.
It kills me knowing that I’m going to miss milestones and a few first moments, I never thought I’d feel this anxious about returning to work. I know that many other parents around the world are in the same position they have no choice but to return to work and they too have to leave their little ones. But the thought of not being there of a morning and coming home when he is asleep breaks my heart, I want to be the one who rocks Oscar to sleep of a night, not the one who comes in from work and he’s fast asleep so I just kiss his forehead. I want those warm cuddles on the sofa of a morning before breakfast everyday.
I think parents who work and aren’t in a highly paid job should be given more help and support from the government. I remember once I was at a baby sensory class and in the reception there was a poster advertising “free baby first aid class” but you could only attend if you claimed certain benefits. I was baffled that I was expected to pay for a essential first aid class for babies when I was standing outside with my own baby, on my current £600 a month that barely covers the bills and essentials just because I work. I’m paying my taxes and NI to gain absolutely no help and support when I need it the most!
I’m not in any shape or form bashing stay at home parents, I’m not, I understand how hard it is. I understand some parents don’t have their families around them to help out or they are financially better off to stay at home. I’m just extremely pissed at how our system works and how you have to fit certain criteria’s to be entitled to certain support. It’s been nice to have the 9 months off with Oscar but is it really long enough? One thing that does really get to me is when you see people who will fully admit they don’t want to work because they get more money in benefits, and we end up paying for their child support! Where’s my child support when I’m out working from 7am till 8.30pm missing out on my baby growing up? Where is my help?
I’ll be updating this post when I return to work to talk out how I’ve been finding it and how I’ve settled in. I’ll say it again I’m not bashing parents who stay at home, I’m bashing the ones who are cheating the system and they are fully aware of it!
I can look forward to spending my rest days and annual leave making the most of it with Oscar and making memories.
Thanks for reading, please feel free to check out my other posts.