I have just over five months to go until the alien being inside me pops out to greet the world. I’m still hoping that perhaps we can come to some sort of arrangement where he’ll be just like my gorgeous hen, Jim (because who says a girl can’t be named Jim?) – pop out and get straight to life with nothing to stand in his way.
While I’m aware that this is a lovely little daydream of mine – at least my daydreams are more normal than my night dreams at the moment – I really can’t help wishing that would be the case, because I’ve received the maternity pack from work and oooooooooooh boy, do I need to rob a bank!
Let’s not take away from the fact that I work for a fantastic company that’s caring and looks after its staff. The moment I unveiled this three-page document, I could feel my posture becoming similar to an amoeba’s.
I understand that it’s the company’s job to want you to keep your job. And I really do want to keep my job. I love my job. Aside from a couple of elements which make me want to turn green, rip my shirt off and start smashing things, the only way I would be happier is if this company was either in the falconry or publishing industry. IT’s still not my thing and I can’t bring myself to even feign interest in what I’m selling, but I really enjoy the company, my colleagues and my work.
Here’s how I’m reading the maternity pack: The company wants me back in work after either 26 or 52 weeks, but the government wants me back to work even sooner. The government wants me to get by on £145.18 per week. As awesome as that is, per month, that doesn’t cover my rent and bills. In contrast, if I go straight back to work – something I’m presuming is a stupid idea when you have a new-born in tow – I’m looking at over £6k per year for part-time childcare or over £12k for full-time. On my current wages, that means that just over one-quarter of my annual wages after tax are spent on rent, bills and childcare. That’s leaving very little per month to pay for… whatever it is that a family needs to survive, factoring in a child which I’m hoping won’t be raised to swing from trees dressed in loin cloths. Though who knows, maybe that’s likely to happen since for me to be able to look after our child, I need to work, which basically means not seeing my kid. I will become an absent parent. He might start swinging from trees just because he doesn’t have the faintest idea who the heck I am.
I’m being overdramatic, I know this. The Irrational Female side of me is definitely showing, and I can’t really say I’m proud of that, however I’m definitely thinking in Worst Case Scenarioisms since Travis was binned off by the recruitment farm he worked for. Don’t get me wrong, since he’s been out of there he’s been raking in the interviews while studying his PRINCE2 (which brings me onto a whole new rant in itself – why do companies tell candidates who have actually gotten through first and second interviews “We’ll let you know either way either today or tomorrow” and then just not bother?) so I don’t really think I have anything to worry about with him.
But there’s still that damn elephant in the room stomping on my toes – 90% of my salary is fine for the first six weeks, what with the fact I won’t have to pay for petrol, but after that I’m actually screwed. How can I become a mother when I can’t even be with my baby? I may well just waive my right to maternity and drop it at my desk to make a point. (Not really, honest.)
Still, I suppose a miracle could happen, I could finish my novel and get the world’s quickest turnaround with publication, or maybe I could sell off my short stories for a huge profit and make a mind that way.
Or I can keep panicking because it won’t be OK, it won’t be OK, it won’t be OK. Except it will be and I’m overreacting. Or am I?
I’d love to know if these are normal concerns. Anyone’s experience is so very welcome right now!