I’ve written a few times now about my job before children, a job I absolutely loved. I was a Nanny for many years. Caring for other people’s children in their own homes while they went off to work.
It was, for me, the most satisfying job in the world and one I never disliked for a moment in all those 14 years, not once did I have that Monday morning feeling of not wanting to go in, well except for the fact I had to leave my house at 6.30am 4 days a week to get there – give me an extra 2 hours in bed and it really would have been the best job in the world.
It’s a job which I worked in right up until leaving on maternity leave to have Emmy, only finishing a little earlier than planned as I could no longer fit behind the steering wheel to drive there anymore (I had the largest bump and being only short needed to have the seat all the way forward) and a job I happily returned to only 12 weeks after having Emmy.
For me, there was no point in sitting at home with my newborn baby worrying about how I would manage on my maternity pay, when I could do my job just as well with Emmy in tow, she came back to work with me for 2 days a week and for the other 2 my wonderful Mother-in-Law looked after her. As a Nanny I would get the children ready for school, do homework with them, make breakfast and drive them to school. For the youngest there was nursery, swimming lessons and playgroups – all of this was just as easy to do with Emmy there too. The children loved it, they wanted a younger brother or sister so this was the next best thing, and I got to spend lots of time with Emmy while still earning my wages.
With my Mother-in-Law caring for her 2 days a week, it meant I could do things with the children I looked after which weren’t possible with a baby around – theme parks, longer playdates and trips into London to the Museums etc. It really was the best of both worlds for me.
I had worried about coping on my maternity pay. Bills still need to be paid and of course babies aren’t cheap, and just as with most jobs I was entitled to maternity leave and pay.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. You get:
- 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks
- £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks
SMP is paid in the same way as your wages (eg monthly or weekly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.
Although it wouldn’t have been a huge difference in pay, any differences need to be adjusted for and preparation is needed as I was used to that wage by then, and adding a new baby into the equation meant Nappies, clothes and all the other everyday items which to now become the norm, without factoring in car seats, cots and buggies etc.
There is actually lots of information around about maternity pay, how much you get, how long you can get off and your rights as an employee. They are definitely worth reading before it’s time to take your leave.
Here are a few things I found helpful during my maternity leave, and helped to ensure I saved money while I was off:
- Walking – I wasn’t commuting to work any more. I would spend 5 and a half hours a week driving to and from work knocking up 190 miles per week just driving to work and home again. As time was my own I would walk to the supermarket instead of driving, walk to the doctors/health visitors and walk into town – Emmy loved it, my purse did and I was getting fitter too.
- Shop in the sales – I would spend less by buying sale items whenever possible
- No more online grocery shopping – as I would be out of the house at 6.30am and not home again until almost 8pm I found online food shopping easier – but it certainly bumps up the food bill
- Batch cooking – being home now meant I had time to cook in bulk, so if I made a Bolognese I’d make 2 so I could freeze one. It helps when there are days you don’t want to cook and would otherwise call a take away.
I am glad I had a few months off with Emmy, however I don’t feel I missed out by returning to work early as she was with me still.
Do you have any tips for saving money for maternity leave?