Family travel

Shared parental leave – why it’s not for us

I love my job and have worked really hard to be good at what I do. That’s why I think the new shared parental leave regulations coming in from 5 April 2015 are a step in the right direction for modern families, acknowledging that mums want to pursue careers and don’t have to be the main caregiver.

Tin Box Traveller holding Tin Box Baby

The rules, which allow parents to split up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of maternity pay, mean mums can return to work sooner while their partner stays at home with their baby. Or they can share the time off together.

In theory, with Tin Box Baby 2 due at the end of April, we are among the families that could take advantage of the new shared parental leave regulations.

However, while I think it’s a great idea and new parents/adopters should seriously consider it, there are a few reasons shared parental leave is not for us:

The money side

Mr TB is the main breadwinner so if he took shared parental leave we would be financially worse off.

It hasn’t always been that way. In fact, before Tin Box Tot arrived I brought home more money than Mr TB. That changed when I was made redundant early on in my first period of maternity leave.

When TBT was nine months old I was offered a great job with a really flexible company that gives me the work-life balance I want. However, the money is less and would not cover our mortgage and other outgoings if Mr TB took part of my parental leave this time round.

I can afford a career break

I didn’t have Tin Box Tot until my early 30s so I had already been working for more than 10 years. In that time I had gained a huge amount of experience in my industry, so I feel that I can afford a few short breaks in my career while I have children.

Other women who are still working their way up the career ladder might want to keep their foot on the accelerator and shared parental leave allows them to do that.

Being at home is my choice

Call me selfish, but I’m quite looking forward to nine months or so off watching our new baby enjoy hundreds of first experiences. Yes, I wish Mr TB could be part of more of them but we can’t have everything.

I know that when I get to the end of my 37 weeks of paid maternity leave I’ll be ready to head back to work and continue with my career. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying every moment with our new addition to the Tin Box family.

Find out if you are eligible for shared parental leave and what it would mean for you and your partner.

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Note: This post has been written for the Mumsnet shared parental leave linky. Find out what other parent bloggers think.