OPINION: Why I returned to work after 2mths maternity leave

I WENT back to work when both my children were eight weeks old.

Now it wasn't because I wanted to. Don't get me wrong I do love my job but I would have taken more time off - at least six months - if I could have.

It was because we couldn't afford for me to.

In the lead up to my son being born I looked at all my options: government paid maternity leave, maternity leave without pay or annual leave.

Unfortunately the government paid maternity leave was a pittance. I sat down and worked out we would actually be going backwards if I took it for the 18 weeks I would have to take it for.

Maternity leave without pay - same boat. Even though my husband made good money, with a mortgage, car loan, cost of living etc. we couldn't afford to live on his wage alone.

So that left annual leave.

It took three years of IVF for us to conceive our son. So I had more than ample time to save up my annual leave.

But when it came to it I only had eight weeks accrued so that's what I took.

By the time it came for me to return to work we had a reasonable routine in place. And it wasn't like my son was going into day care. My husband worked nights so he looked after him during the day and I am very fortunate in that I work remotely so I still saw him during the day.

I do feel for women who have to put their children in full time child care to return to work. But I can appreciate that many just don't have the choice. I am just so thankful that my situation meant that we didn't have to do that with our son.

He's now three and a half and we have another beautiful IVF baby, a little girl. And it was the same process. Eight weeks off with her and then back to work. But again, my husband looks after the kids during the day and I'm finished come 2pm.

At the end of the day, you just have to do what works for you and your situation. While eight weeks doesn't sound much, I had this very workable situation to return to that made up for the short maternity leave.

Alexia Purcell is APN Australian Regional Media's social media editor.

Connect with Alexia on Twitter or on Facebook.



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