Hours at work after mat leave

I don't plan to go back until probably august but I have been thinking about my hours when I return. I need to go back near enough full time but we will be fine for me to drop a few hours to either

1. Work 4 longer days and have a day off each week. This would probably mean leaving just before 7am and getting home about 6/6:30 Or

2. Work 5 shorter days so leave just before 8am (get the train an hour later) and get home for probably 5:30pm.

For those of you back at work, is a day off better than having an extra 2 hours with your LO each work day? I worry about not seeing him very much if I do the longer days, I likely wouldn't see him in the morning and he would probably be going for a bath and bed about 8ish so would only see him for maybe an hour and a half when I got home, although would this be 'offset' by the day off? Such a hard decision! I would appreciate any views/advice from anyone who's been through it x



  • I think id prefer the whole day off. That way you can have actual quality whole days wiyh times for groups and outings together etc.

  • This is such a hard call. I was speaking to a colleague about this a couple of weeks ago and she does 5 days and prefers to have the time each day with her LO and have the option to build flexi to still take 1-2 days off a month - is flexi/TOIL an option for you?  With the length of your commute and pressures of your job I'm wondering how easy it'll be for you to get out the door on time with working shorter hours whereas you will be able to protect your day off each week. As you can see I have no constructive advice but what AR says is true and having that full day together will be lovely. Can't believe you are thinking about work already!! Depressing!!

  • Thanks AR. That's another thing, I don't go to any groups or anything. I have no idea where there are any and I don't have any friends with small babies, they're all at school now. I do nothing 'socially' with O, were going to start swimming after his 2nd imms but I'm planning to go at a weekend with H as he's really looking forward to taking him swimming.

    Oh SP, flex, at my work, you must be kidding! I can work all the toil I want just don't expect to get any time off for it! I've been thinking about this since before I had O, I just don't know what's best. If I was doing the 5 days I would be clear with work that I had to finish at my finish time, I'm actually going to tell them that I'm picking M up from work so if I don't leave he's stuck at work and neither of us get back for O (which is lies but it's my reason to leave on time). Infact I'll be using that story to get finished at my set time regardless of what I choose!

  • I know what suits me personally. I would rather have a free day, where we can not get dressed, play in the house, chill and make food together etc. I have worked full-time most of my son's life and at times I missed him so much it physically hurt. But I found it easier, mentally, to compartmentalise - I guess like they say men do.

    A work day was a work day, with that routine and expectation, but I lived for the non-work days.

    I am going to try to drop to 4 days. If I worked 5 I'd struggle to get out of the office on time, or it would feel 'awkward' to do so. If I do 4 longer days but one total day off I think people's perception is a bit more positive. Not that it should matter, but for me it kinda does. I'll be working Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri for 3 months in the autumn, and only have to do 2 days at a time, no matter how tough it is, really appeals to me. But we all do this stuff differently and something else may suit you so much better .  

  • With a baby or toddler I would do 4 longer days. However, once they are at school I would prefer the shorter days.

  • I would prefer a day off but looking at your hours what childcare arrangements do you have? It's just they are very long days. Most nurseries are 7.30-6. Working those hours you may end up hardly seeing LO all week
  • I would definitely prefer the full day off xx

  • It's a tough call....if you do 4 longer days you have that once baby is settled into a good sleeping pattern you're v unlikely to see him on work days. Also as WHo says, childcare may be more awkward unless H or family can drop later/ pick him up earlier?

    I see the benefits/disadvantages to both, big as section4 says it may be favorable to take the full day off now and amend when at school? X

  • Thanks ladies, I work 35miles away so have a 20min drive then a 40min train journey. Childcare wise my mum is watching O rather than a nursery and my H works local so will leave at half 8 and be home for half 5 or 6pm at the latest.

    My finish time was worrying me. What time do your LO's go to bed for the evening? Do you mind me asking if any of your H's work hours like this? I'm our main earner so it's not an option for me to cut down to 3 days or anything.

    I'm feeling so [email protected] about this already, I don't want to never see him x

  • I'd def go for the 4 day option and have a full day off, in theory you might have reasons to leave on time. Reality might be different. At least a day off is a day off.

    My H doesn't work such long hours, he does 7:30-5:00 Mon-Thu, then 7:30-1:00 on a Friday. He only works ten minutes from home though so although he sometimes doesn't see M in the morning he picks her up from nursery and does her bath/bed routine with her, he sees that as their time. Then he does things with her at the weekend just the two of them, even if it's just an hour at the park.

    Is there no chance of finding a similar job closer to home? X

  • My H used to leave home at 6.30 and get home about 6.15ish.. He v rarely saw O in the morning but would get about an hour in the evenings so he did bath/bed to spend that time with him. O was a 7-7.30 bedtime (his natural time) and still is now! He has since changes his job and it's given us more time as a family but as it's nights it's less sociable :'(

  • I would do the 5 shorter days without a doubt. My H works full time, 9am to 5pm but we live quite close by. The hours mean he sees A for 30mins every morning... he gets him up, changes his nappy and gives him breakfast. After work he comes home, on my non-work days he plays with A while I make dinner, on my work days he picks A up from nursery and brings him home. We all have dinner together at 6-6.30pm, then H gives A his bath, takes him upstairs for some nappy-off time and play time. I usually come upstairs around 7.30pm and we put his night nappy and pyjamas on and then I put him to bed (as he feeds to sleep). So plenty of time together.

    If he was working 4 longer days then yes he'd have a day a week with A but he'd NEVER see him on the other days. At least this way there's constant contact rather than them not seeing each other at all for 4 whole days. Personally I think that's a long time in the life of a baby.

  • Thanks weekender. I stay in fife and work in edinburgh and there's no jobs doing what I do round here. Even if I looked for another job it would still end up being in edin and I would have to travel. I don't know what to do now, it's quite upsetting but I can't be the only person that had to go back to work full time or long hours :(

    How are you doing?

  • Oh sorry for some reason I thought with the longer hours you'd get home at 7.30. Well I guess it depends on your baby, A is usually asleep by 8pm but other babies I know are asleep by 6pm. It might be a case of waiting to see what pattern O falls into?

  • Looking at your hours I'd go for 5 short days, but could you do it slightly differently to what you've said and start at the same time but be home for half 4/5? It's just that by August your little one is likely to be going to bed more like 7pm. Z is now 7 months and is asleep by 7, she stopped going to bed at 8/830 at about 4 months. I just think you'd get more time in the evenings with him that way. And don't feel bad about it, I'm the main earner and going back full time in May, n
  • We have to do what's best for our families, and what we decide is best is best. Xxx
  • Sorry ladies, missed you there. Thanks for the advice, I'll have to sit down and see if there's anything else I can do.

  • Porkchop, do you mean start early and finish earlier? I know it's crazy early and O's pattern will change before then but at the moment he has his last feed about 8:30 then goes down around 10pm/10:30pm and he has a quick feed around 3am and then wakes around 7:30am.

    I wish I could win the lottery and this all just go away!

  • porkchop
    Looking at your hours I'd go for 5 short days, but could you do it slightly differently to what you've said and start at the same time but be home for half 4/5? It's just that by August your little one is likely to be going to bed more like 7pm. Z is now 7 months and is asleep by 7, she stopped going to bed at 8/830 at about 4 months. I just think you'd get more time in the evenings with him that way. And don't feel bad about it, I'm the main earner and going back full time in May, n

    This could be a workable idea too. It depends, some babies are very lively and happy in the morning and you might prefer extra time with him then. But A is usually SO cheerful during dinner, bath and post-bath nappy-off time, it's a real delight and I wouldn't miss it to spend more time with the grumpasaurus that wakes up in the morning!

  • Yes, so start same time as now and finish earlier but lose hours pay, or just move your whole day forward so you get home earlier. I'd be very surprised if O doesn't seriously move his bedtime earlier by August so more time at the end of the day will be more precious. I'll do 8-4 with half hour lunch so I can get Z from nursery early and have a few hours before bed.
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