I am currently looking after my baby full time whilst looking for and setting up freelance work to ensure we have some money coming in when my maternity allowance is up. I’m absolutely exhausted. As the higher earner it would be so much better if my partner could claim the maternity benefit from here on so I could start working.
I am desperate to take time off when my son is born – I took not one day off when my daughter was born three years ago, because I am self-employed, and it has hurt ever since. We are successfully supporting a family of four as freelance artists, and we shouldn’t be punished for that huge accomplishment or the great example to our kids. My wife is entitled to her career, and my kids are entitled to spend time with both of their mothers, not just one.
As a self employed mother-to-be I feel it is unfair and unjust that my husband (also self employed) is in no way eligible for any kind of paternity support, therefore the decision as to who will be the primary child carer is taken out of our hands and has to be purely financial. There is no sense of equality in this decision.
As a self employed mother shared parental pay would have been a Godsend. Being out of the loop for so long meant it was incredibly hard for me to get back in but we needed the security that maternity pay gave. If my husband could have shared this it would not have been so difficult to get back into work. Two and a half years later I am just getting back on track!
As a self employed mother my business has all but disappeared as childcare has been solely down to me 6 days a week since my daughter was born. If we had had shared parental leave we both would have been able to maintain our careers and my daughter and husband would have greatly benefitted from having more time together and we would have had a balanced life rather than one akin to the 1950s.
I have been self-employed for 5 years. When it came to planning a family my husband and I felt that children shouldn’t exclusively come at the cost of my career. I have spent 10 years working extremely hard to position myself in a small and highly competitive industry. I had reached a position where, although free-lance, I felt fairly secure in my employment. I was earning well, had increasingly high profile repeat clients and had never enjoyed my work more.
Upon letting them know I was pregnant the first response, before “congratulations” was “you have no rights, you can’t have maternity pay”.