20 December 2020

You can still have a career after having twins, triplets or quads, writes triplet mum Hayfa Mohdzaini, but it helps to see it as an investment.

“Are you returning to work after maternity leave?” I was asked while still pregnant with triplets.

Taken aback, I confirmed, “Yes”. It made financial sense for me to return to work at least temporarily because my employer’s maternity pay was more generous than the minimum. Plus, I only needed to work for three months after maternity leave.

Hayfa Mohdzaini's triplets

But I also loved my job and believed I could fit it around family life. Until Covid-19 happened, all my salary went towards childcare but I saw it as an investment and not a cost. I was learning, gaining experience and building my pension pot. My investment paid off – I moved to a more exciting and better paid job when my children turned three. (I use “job” here as shorthand for paid work; parenting is also a job but it isn’t paid employment!)

If you really like your job, my advice would be to treat it like a family investment. That means if you’re a two-parent household, both you and your partner’s jobs, income and savings need to be included in your decision as to whether you can afford to return to work.

If you want to stay in work, think about what the ideal balance is between your career and family life.

It might be helpful to ask these questions:

  • How easy would it be for you to get another job with similar pay and working conditions if you left this one?
  • What are your career development prospects if you stay?
  • What training and on-the-job learning are available to you?
  • Are the pension, holidays, staff discounts and other benefits good?
  • How supportive are your colleagues?
  • What flexible working options are available?
  • Can you work from home, compress your working week, work flexitime or work part-time?

There are ways to make childcare more affordable too. Here are some worth looking at:

  • Government subsidies.
  • Free childcare from family. 
  • Staggering your partner’s and your working hours so you take turns to look after the children while the other works.
  • Changing your family’s lifestyle to save money.
  • Two of my friends work part-time while their husbands look after the children at home. They have family nearby for support.
  • A triplet mummy friend took a year’s career break following her maternity leave before returning to work part-time. Her husband works full-time. When they’re both working, either her in-laws or nursery look after their children.
  • Another triplet mummy I know is preparing for a career change by studying while looking after her children. Her husband works full-time.

These approaches may not work for everyone, but if you want to stay in work, think about what the ideal balance is between your career and family life, and consider all your household finances and childcare options. Childcare costs will fall once your children qualify for three-year-old free childcare funding, which start the term after their third birthday; some children will qualify at the age of two. Norland College is one of Twins Trust’s many discounters available to members.