Schedule changes and maternity leave

Ever since I’ve known him, my husband’s full-time work schedule has been 4 – 10 hour days with every Monday off. This schedule actually gave him many perks like 4 day weekends every time there is a statutory holiday and enabled him to take less time off work to farm on the side.  He has 4 weeks of vacation time each year, most of which is used for farming. Occasionally, he is stuck taking time without pay. We are most likely leaving the farm business after this season (still to be discussed with his family). I have been looking forward to a schedule that gives him 3 day weekends with the baby and I, and the opportunity to actually take family vacation.

His workplace recently decided to go back to a traditional 5 day work week.  I feel like the timing couldn’t be worse!

A few weeks back, my employer asked if I would consider returning back to work earlier than the 1 year leave. I said I wouldn’t be ready to make that decision until my child was at least 6 months, but that the idea was enticing.

The Employment Insurance payments that we receive in Canada are nothing compared to my regular salary. I’ve been preparing myself for cutting back, but I know it’s still going to be a budget crunch (and potentially debt incurring) for us to make it through a full year with me earning less than 1/3 of my regular salary.

When my employer originally asked me to return earlier on a flexible schedule, I thought we could swing it especially since my husband would be home 1 day a week. If I could start out returning to work 2 days a week, we’d only have to find a sitter for one additional day. Now that he has to work a 5 day work week, I’m not sure what the plan is.

My options are:

  • Take a full year off
  • Return to work part-time or gradually phase back in at a timeline that I determine
  • Convince my husband to split paternity leave with me

My husband is encouraging me to take the full year. I’d prefer to go back a bit early, or split the leave with him. Since he earns less income than me, I think the paternity leave split makes the most sense. I feel like he is not open to it as he would be the only guy at his workplace who has ever taken it. I remind him that he is entitled to it as a benefit and his employer has to grant it. If he isn’t willing to budge, I need to sit down and run some financials to see if it even makes sense for me to return part-time, plus pay a babysitter. Plus, there’s always the issue of FINDING a sitter!

There’s a lot of change happening for us.

It threw me off this morning to find my husband still asleep when my alarm went off. Our kitty cat is not impressed that he will no longer be fed at 4:30 am and will have to wait til 7am. On top of that, we are about to throw a baby into the mix.

I don’t have an answer for my work yet. I need to put some serious thought into it.

I’m just going with the flow with my husband’s schedule change. There’s not much I can do about it, but accept it. It is disappointing though.

Overall, I’m glad his schedule change is happening BEFORE baby comes. If we stop farming, we still have an opportunity to vacation next year and I’m not obligated to return to work earlier. I’d really like to see if I can wait to commit to a timeline with work until the new year. I don’t know how baby will be and I don’t want to lose the opportunity to enjoy his first year with him if that’s what I desire in the end.

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20 thoughts on “Schedule changes and maternity leave

  1. Isn’t there an old saying about the best laid plans? Somehow I feel this is fitting for you right now.
    I do want to share that I’ve been really stressed about child-care for our yet to be determined when will happen adoption. As I’m self-employed I don’t have much choice, I get no leave and my clients wouldn’t tolerate me taking a year off without coverage anyways. So, we need to find almost immediate part-time care. Since I work from home (like you), we’ve made a clear decision that it has to be IN our home – I am not dropping a 4 week old infant off at a daycare. I want to be here if I need to be. But, I have no idea how to find someone without an anticipated date. I’ve started talking to mom’s about this and they’ve all told me not to worry too much about it since I’m not looking for traditional care. I’m told there are lots of nanny shares that we might be able to find someone to come in one or two days a week with a nanny who works the other days of the week with a different family. Apparently it’s not as cheap as traditional daycare, but we know that my income will be higher then what we will pay a sitter, so that helps. And, since we lived for almost a year without me making any income we know we can do it. Anyways, I’m just thinking it might be worth looking into for you.

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    • Yes, I’ve really thought that would be the best plan for us too. I need to look into the options more in our area. My husband just called and he is more open to potentially taking a leave. He typically takes August-September off for farming, so I don’t think it would affect his employer much if he’s on pat leave at that time next year. Might give me an option to return full-time a few months early and I could phase in gradually part-time gradually over the Spring/early Summer. That being said, if we could secure a good nanny, he wouldn’t need to take leave. BTW, that couple you met through us with the adoptive kids also used a nanny share in your city before!

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  2. Ugh, I’m stressed finding part time childcare as well. I was going to quit work all together but I may end up going back just three days a week. But that is after she is merely 3 months old. Man, the US is so far behind. I would kill for a year maternity leave. Best laid plans indeed. best of luck in finding what works for your family!

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  3. Sorry that so much is changing at once right now. It’s so hard to juggle this kind of thing, and figure out what will work best. I hope that you guys can figure things out, and come to an agreement on everything. Good luck!

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  4. That’s definitely a lot to think about for sure. I too thought I’d go back a bit early but one other factor throw into the mix is the mommy hormones/instincts/whatever you want to call it. It’s kicked in for me and I don’t want to go back early now. I don’t really care about the financial side at the moment, I just want to soak up all that I can with the babies because it’s flying by. I’m definitely going back after my year but I honestly have no idea how our neighbors to the south do it. For me, unexpectedly, I’m not ready To go back early. If you’re still able to make a decision after a few months of being home with your babe, that would be my suggestion.

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  5. It sucks when these things happen unexpectedly. My husband is in finance and works 60-80 hour work weeks so this has been a huge concern for me. Our hope is that he can come home early then work later in the evenings. I will take the full year even though it means I will get only 1/5 of what I usually make through EI…so a big change but I feel it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stay home for a year with my baby. Who knows if we will have more than one in the end. I do have to admit though that it’s a bit of an easier decision given my husband’s salary.

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    • Definitely makes sense. I make more than my husband so that puts us in a tricky position. I think we’ve agreed he will take last 2 months of mat leave and I’ll go back a bit early but no part time before that.

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  6. Ugh I feel for you. It’s so hard! I ended up getting 13 months off by using vacation time but it was certainly no picnic in the financial department. I considered going back early and asking my husband to take some pat leave (I also make more than he does) but in the end I really wanted that time with my daughter so for me it made sense to figure out the financial side. (I hope that didn’t come off wrong – I mean that we were able to figure it out so it was the best choice for our family. Not that it’s the best choice for everyone.)

    How does your work at home situation work? I think if I’d had access to my daughter during the day rather than being gone for 9+ hours I might been willing to go back to work! Even seeing her for a bit at lunchtime would have held me over! 🙂

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    • Yes I originally thought working from home would make going back early easier. After looking into part time child care costs, it would be almost as much as full time! (hourly versus flat rate unfortunately) I can’t bare to send him somewhere full time too early. I’m going to make some calls tomorrow and validate my part time child care estimates, but it’s not looking like it will be a good option. If we are only breaking even, I might as well stay off!

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  7. So funny that we’re in an opposite situation- I want to extend my leave (without pay) lol. I feel like the right decision will present itself to you soon. Talking it out, and hearing other people’s opinions on here will help lots too. It’s too bad you can’t decide later- once you know what it’ll be like with baby boy.

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    • I really want to try to hold my work off as long as I can. I had originally asked to make that decision in the new year, but they are asking due to lack of resources. I think right now we are leaning towards me taking 10 months and my husband taking 2. I’d feel better returning a bit early knowing we are technically all at home together.

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  8. Sorry I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if someone else suggested this already or not…but, I’ve got a random suggestion for you 🙂 Have you considered buying a cat food dispenser that operates on a timer? You can set it to go off at 4:30am (or whatever time) and your cat won’t be looking for food from you guys! Just an idea that may help, esp. with baby on the way.

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  9. I work for the government (City of Toronto) and we have had 3 or 4 guys take the pat leave (or at least half of it) and they loved it! In fact one is having another baby this year and he plans on taking the whole pat leave – last time he took 3 months. It would be a great opportunity for your hubby to bond with the little guy. Hope he reconsiders!

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  10. Pingback: Maternity leave decision made | Awaiting Autumn

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