I have been lucky enough to have a years maternity leave from my job, it is something that is available to all new mothers here in England and I am truly grateful. I know that many women in the US don't have the option to be stay at home moms for financial reasons and most must return to work about 12 weeks after their child is born. I know personally I wouldn't have been ready, I would have been a nervous wreck. While I have not been earning my full salary while on maternity leave I did receive 90% for the first six weeks followed by £125 a week up until 9 months and the last three months are unpaid. It has been amazing to spend the first year with Madame as we are both finding our feet in the new world we belong to.
My maternity leave ends a month from today and after a lot of discussion and looking into child care options I have decided that returning to my role in London is not the best option for our family. Due to my commute and the long hours that Philip works as a chef Madame would spend 12 hours a day five days a week in child care of some sort and I would only bring home a few hundred pounds a month after train fares and child care. Not only am I not thrilled by the prospect of Madame spending 60 hours a week in child care but the monetary benefits don't seem to justify it.
In some ways it was a very easy decision to make as I knew I didn't want Madame in child care that long but in another sense I loved my job and loved being part of the working masses. It also kind of feels like the last door closing on my Pre-Madame life.
While I won't be returning to my role in London not working at all would leave our finances stretch just too tight and leave absolutely no money for any fun things like holidays, and activities for Madame. What started out as a weight loss journey with Weight Watchers has opened the door to me becoming a Leader in the Weight Watchers organization. A couple of months ago as I was getting closer to my healthy BMI and also struggling to make decisions about returning to work or taking a part time job closer to home I made enquiries into becoming a leader. I truly believe in the Weight Watchers program and have been so lucky to have an amazing leader who has helped me so much over the last 9 1/2 months and I thought it would be amazing to have the chance to help other reach their weight loss goals. I have now made it through the interview process and start the training to become a leader in a few weeks. I am so thankful that while I am leaving one job that I really loved that I am able to start another that I feel really passionate about.
I am nervous about learning to juggle motherhood and work at the same time but Weight Watches offers me a position that can grow and evolve as I am ready. For the moment once I finish training I will only take on 1-2 meetings a week but as both I and my manager feel ready for me to take on more and if it works with my role as a mother I can look into taking on more meetings. It exciting to think that as Madame grows and starts things like nursery and school that I have the option of taking on more hours.
Closing the door on my Pre-Madame work life does not seem so hard when there is such an exciting door for Post-Madame work life to open.
Thursday, 9 June 2011
As Madame is growing I am getting excited to start having family days out with her that are more based on things she will enjoy than just having her tag along with Philip and I on our adventures. The Friday before late May Bank Holiday we got our first experience with this when we took Madame to Colchester Zoo. I have to admit that I knew she was probably too young to really appreciate it but was not wrong when I expected her to just enjoy a change of scenery and a day of being dotted on by Mum and Dad.
I did learn a really important lesson, in a move uncharacteristic of me I forgot to pack either of our slings and arriving at the zoo realized that Madame's push chair was too low to see into many of the enclosures so we spent a lot of time getting in and out of the pushchair. In the future I will definitely remember to at least throw the ring sling in with our stuff.
Madame loved the African exhibit where most of the animals were in large enclosures roaming around. I think as most of these animals were also larger and in more open areas it was easier for her to see them. I think we will probably wait a year or so before doing it again but we all had a great time!