Well currently I pay the mortgage and all bills for my 2 bed cottage by myself, so we should manage to continue to pay it between us even if I was only on statory maternity. This is helped by the fact that we both have a little savings that could be pooled in a couple of yrs. We have looked at the finances and technically we could manage up to a year if we needed to. I would want to return to work before then i imagine though. My partners mother is 50, and goes to the gym even more than me! This could all change, but currently her health would not hinder her ability to help out a couple of times a week hopefully. I take on your point about full time childcare. As for the career side of things, I have been a HOD etc and so am in no rush to move up the ladder as I went up it very quickly already! Thanks for taking the time to write such a lengthy reply, it is appreciated!