It is almost a year since my maternity leave was about to end and I had been given four weeks redundancy notice from my employer.
F*ck! …I mean, fiddlesticks!
What horrible timing. I had been mentally preparing myself for a life of full time work and massive nursery bills and I was OK with that. We had just taken on a house which needed a lot of money spent on it, so I always knew I would have to return to work. I liked my job; managing a luxury gift/lifestyle shop with what turned out to be a very good friend, whats not to like?! And We needed the money so, other than not seeing as much of my baby as I would like (like most working parents, I’m sure), all was good in the world. I never considered finding a different job, or perhaps something part-time because we didn’t think we could afford for me to work less and therefore earn less.
When I was given news of my redunancy I started applying for jobs and had a couple of interviews. Some of the interviews I never heard back from, some politely said no and some had a job start date that was way into the future and so was no use for me. I needed something that started within a few weeks! I had a couple of meetings with recruitment consultants and considered tempting, which wasn’t much use because all of the jobs were at short notice and the hours were inconsistent so I would never have been able to plan my childcare.Everything seemed hopeless! Im not one to panic at all, I don’t see the point in worrying about anything because it doesnt change anything BUT I was starting to worry! I just sat down with a pen and paper and I did what I do best and MADE A LIST!
1. Monthly outgoing costs
2. Monthy income based on my other half’s earnings
3. What options for help may be available from Government (working tax credits etc using their online calculator) I found that our income was over most thresholds for help, but I didn’t realise that Child Benefit is universal and thats a little something to help buy formula, clothes, nappies etc!
4. A list of days/times when my other half was available to look after the little one and asked any family that I thought might be willing to watch him and that gave me a rough idea of when I was available to work.
5. I then looked at how much money I felt I needed to bring in each month in order for us to be comfortable. I then divided this by the amount of hours I thought I would be available and it gave me an idea on how much £ I needed to earn per hour.
6. I then worked out hypothetically if I worked so many part-time hours a week, and got paid so much an hour (a very realistic low figure, worst case scenario), would we manage as the nursery fees would be less? and the answer was a big fat Yes!
In fact we would only be worse off by a fairly minimal amount and we would still have all bills etc covered, which was the important part AND it meant I would be able to see a lot more of the littleone. From there I worked out
The hard part.
Finding that job that paid so much an hour, that offered me enough, but not too many hours. Preferrably doing something I would be interested in without a long commute! To be honest I did find quite a lot of admin based things in town that would have been fine, but by chance I happened to see something being advertised in the window of a local business just down the road from my house and they were pretty flexible and able to work around my availability. I got pretty lucky! Now the little one gets a few days with me, one day with his dad, one and a half days with grandparents/close friends and a day at a Nursery. What a relief.
I imagine there is a lot of people out there with similar thinking to what I had. You need the money so part time isn’t even a consideration. Its amazing what you can do with a realiable network or friends and family around you, normaly you just have to ask! Yes we have slightly less money at the end of the month, but from how I live now I cannot imagine working 40 hours a week, coming home & making tea, getting the washing done, continuing the work on the house.. it wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be very stressfull and miserable. I wouldnt have time to fart!
If you are looking at returning to work or changing your hours to work around children, stay positive, there is always a way.