Maternity leave decision made

Yesterday, I went on a rant about my husband’s work schedule change and how it was affecting my decision for the length of my maternity leave.

Ironically enough, this morning I had a to-do flagged in my calendar to update my wait list position at a few local daycares. When I first called to get myself on the wait lists, they asked me to call back every 6 months to confirm.

I asked the YMCA what the likelihood of having a part-time infant spot open up would be and they told me they don’t even do part-time! I pulled up a list of other licensed/non-licensed home daycares to see who in my area offers infant care. The list was very limited. I also contacted another very reputable licensed daycare that told me they don’t accept children til 18 months.

As I kept going, I felt myself having what I think was the start of a panic attack. My chest and back felt tight. I had a hard time breathing. I took off my belly band and loosened my sweater. I walked away from the computer and took a few deep breaths.

I see this as a sign. If I am reacting this strongly, then I need to stand up for myself right now. At 35 weeks pregnant, I don’t need to be making decisions about returning to work when my baby hasn’t even arrived yet!

I crunched some numbers last night and determined that returning to work a few months early for 20 hours a week wouldn’t even be worth it due to the hourly rate of part-time childcare. I might as well stay off.

I don’t need any added stress right now and this topic clearly stresses me out! It’s hard to be a working woman in today’s society. Business is business driven. Maternity leave is an inconvenience for businesses. I feel pressure to give my employer an answer I’m not ready to provide.

In the end, my husband and I have come to the conclusion that:

  • I can not commit to returning early without knowing how the baby will be and having secured childcare.
  • I will return to work after 10 months (mid-August 2016).
  • My husband will take the last 2 months as parental leave (mid-August to mid-October 2016)
  • Childcare will present itself when the timing is right. We will look into a variety of options towards the end of maternity leave (i.e. part-time nanny, full-time nanny, daycare).

*deep breath*

It will all work out.

For other working moms out there, thought you might find this funny: The awkward realities of working and breastfeeding

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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.