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.