14.2.18

Maternity, Paternity and Modernity - A post from Tom!

It's been 6 months since Tom left his job and I wanted to share some feelings on the process. I always get very mixed reactions when I tell people about our family dynamic. I'm always conscious that this was such a big life goal for us and that for many it might not currently be a possibility. That being said a few people have also said that their husband or their dynamic would not work well at all doing the same. Each family and relationship is different so whilst it might not everyone's cup of tea it is working so well for us. I'm so thankful Tom gets to see the kids as much as he does when they are so small. Who knows what the future might bring but we're enjoying this time in our lives for now!



Before Wilf was born, Fritha and I both worked full time, Fritha in a job that she didn’t greatly enjoy. So she was glad to go off on maternity leave and was pretty sure that she wouldn’t return if she could help it. She started blogging when we moved into our first flat. While she was pregnant the blog developed into being more about her life and experiences and the beginnings of our family. She was able to make a small amount of money relating to blogging and along with some other social media related work she was able to become self employed (and more importantly not return to her old job).


When Wilf was approaching three years old a part-time member of my team at work was retiring and so we would be hiring a new person. By this time Fritha was earning more money from blogging, so after crunching some numbers asked I to drop down to four days a week. This was one of the best decisions I/we have ever made. I got to spend a whole day a week doing things with Wilf. For anyone considering working 4 days a week or some for of flexible working I would say go for it. You won’t regret it.

When Mabli was going to be born we discussed how we would arrange our time/childcare, especially as Fritha was now self employed and if she stopped so did her business. We had semi joked before that Fritha had been at home with Wilf so I would do the next one. But with the change in legislation meaning that I could share Fritha’s maternity leave it just made more and more sense. So Fritha took two weeks maternity leave and I took six month paternity. Fortunately working for a University meant that there was good maternity pay and after a few discussions with HR and payroll they agreed that I was entitled to it (I don’t think anyone had ever taken extended paternity leave in this way before and there was a lot of head scratching and saying hypothetically I guess you should have the same rights as a woman :))


This was a great opportunity for Mabli and I to bond, but also allowed  for me to spend much more time with Wilf before he started school. And as it turned out it was a bit of a trial run for what was to come..

Fast forward a year from going back to work and our part time child care for Mabli was coming to an end. By now Fritha was drowning in work and Wilf was about to finish his first year of school. So as the summer holidays approached I decided to man up (the real type of manning up) and become a stay at home dad!

I'd love to know your thoughts on our decision and if you have any questions then do drop them below! x

9 comments:

Sarah Rooftops said...

I'm very jealous of you having that option. When we were expecting our first, we talked about each working part-time and dividing the childcare more or less equally - unfortunately, my partner's work stopped offering part-time hours or flexible working before we ever had the chance to try it. I LOVE being a stay at home parent and was quite relieved not to go back to work, but it irks me that we didn't have any other choice - it doesn't seem fair that I get to stay at home but my partner can't (or, sometimes, that my partner gets to spend two hours a day reading grown up books on the bus, unlike me!).

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

Ah Sarah! You are right it really isn’t fair at all is it. I’m so thankful we were able to dip our toes in flexible working before we made this leap, Toms Work were really good about it but mine (old job) wouldn’t have been flexible at all I don’t think as I was a P.A (feels like a lifetime ago!) xx

BavarianSojourn said...

I love that you have done this. I wish it was more the norm in this country, I really do. I lived in Copenhagen for a couple of years where it was normal for parents to share parental leave, or for the dad to stay at home if it worked out that way. Then we moved to Bavaria where I had our youngest baby, and although not as relaxed as Scandinavia, it's so much better than the UK...

Charli B said...

I absolutely adore that you have done this! My dad was my sole carer and although he worked I was with him all the time, I also think the dynamics of the world have changed now and it's completely and utterly fine for a dad to be a stay at home dad x

Bethany Naismith said...

I love the fact that you were entitled to such a long paternity leave. So often, fathers are expected to go right back to work. I think it's great that you are able to have more bonding time with your children. Parental leave entitlements in the UK are definitely more in favour of the mother - whilst I think it should be shared!

Whitney Harries said...

I think it is so wonderful that you have had the opportunity to do this! I think it is so important for both parents to be active equally in their childs/children's lives! x

Sarah-Louise Bailey said...

oh my goodness what an amazing thing for you to have been able to do. I bet it is wonderful getting to spend time with your children more and why shouldn't father's stay at home if they have the opportunity to.

Rhian Westbury said...

Every family dynamic is different and you have to do what feels right for you, and I think it's great that more places are offering good paternity packages as well as maternity ones x

Shoshana Sue said...

What you have done is really amazing and I wish I had had such an opportunity with my girls' dad ages ago. I wish more and more companies will get to offer paternity packages.

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