Tuesday, November 17, 2015

maternity leave woes

When I went back to work after I had Teddy, I knew it would be hard to leave him.  I almost wanted to pay for daycare just so I could bring him to work with me and visit on my lunch break.  It would have been silly though since he had a wonderful grandmother that would watch him for me, and having raised five kids of her own, I knew he couldn't be in better hands.  I didn't last long full-time, however.  I missed Teddy and mostly I was TIRED.  It made me sad that I wished for him to nap as soon as we got home so I could rest after work.  I only had a precious few hours with him during the week and I wished some of it away so I could rest?  How selfish was that?

I was able to go part-time shortly after I had returned full time.  I purchased a ridiculously high (although I've seen higher) private health care plan for me and Teddy so I could stay home with him more.  For other reasons that I won't go into here, I left my job a couple months after that.  My thoughts were that I could stay home for a while and look for a job closer to home, maybe part-time, and my commute wouldn't be so long, eating into my already short time with him.  Then I got pregnant again and all that went out the window.

Now I feel stuck.  I enjoy being home with the boys, but I would like to earn some money to contribute and help us get out of the debt that our healthcare costs put us in this year.  Keeping a young toddler and newborn is hard work that I wouldn't ask anyone to do for free, not even family!  Daycare for a part-timer is not very financially feasible.  So what to do?

This is leading me into the main reason for my post.

If our country had better maternity leave options, I might be in a better position.  If we'd had a year or six months of paid leave (or even partially paid leave) like many other countries in the developed world, including most countries in Europe, I would have retained my health insurance and not be in the financial position I am now.  Finland mandates 167 weeks of paid maternity leave (this boggles my mind), England 39 weeks, France 42, Italy 47, Germany 57.  Our Canadian neighbors receive 50 weeks paid leave.  Heck, even Mexico gets 12! ***

(Aside: I must state that getting pregnant again so soon would not have helped my cause.  I couldn't in good conscience return to work knowing that in nine months I'd be leaving again!)

I read this heartbreaking blog post in the NY Times parenting blog and must include that the author is in no way placing blame on the daycare in question, nor her company specifically, but on our flawed system.


***Source: Buzzfeed http://www.buzzfeed.com/laraparker/this-is-what-paid-maternity-leave-looks-like-around-the-worl#.piZlDPzYp)

Monday, November 16, 2015

things I ponder/say through the course of my day

Is that a real cry or is he faking me out again?  It's midnight and if I make a bottle and he goes back to sleep, then I have to put it in the fridge and heat it up later, which is kind of a pain...

Please, please stop feeding your waffles to the animals.  The dog is allergic to everything and those waffles could cause her to chew her feet off.  Not to mention YOU won't be eating them which I do care about.

Crap! The hall door is open!  Which deathtrap room did he go into?

How much of that food is in your hair?

Are you dancing to the sound of the baby's cries?  Because there is no music...

Why does this stinking monitor say it's out of range when we're inSIDE the house?

Where did you get my phone?

I can't believe the amount of liquid that just came out of this baby.  I should have named him Vesuvius.  Nickname?

You're reading my Kindle upside down.  Also give me that.

Was that a fart or is there actually something in there?

I thought newborn poo wasn't supposed to smell as bad...

If I can tolerate the baby's "feed-me-instantly" cries for three more minutes I can get Teddy's lunch ready and put him in his high chair so he can feed the dog, while simultaneously making a bottle and then feed baby as well...

Is there someone I can hire to potty train my toddler?  This should be a service.

Do NOT whack the kitty on the head with my brush.

How can you tell if a cat has a concussion?

Can you give me a burp?  That was the wrong end.

Would it be wrong to tape the pacifier to the baby's face or maybe fashion something out of elastic?

These are but a few of the myriad of things that run through my head on any given day...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

when do you feel like you're a parent?

I feel like I'm 16, getting my license, going out with my friends, having a little freedom.  I feel like I'm 18 starting college and living away from home for the first time.  I feel like I'm 22 and starting my first job.  I feel like I'm 24 and moving to Alaska where I know no one.  I feel like I'm 29 and getting married.  I don't feel like a parent.

To kids, parents are omniscient and almost God-like, unless they're telling you you can't drive to your friend's house in a snow storm.  They're the ones who take you to the doctor and make you eat your vegetables.  They come to your swim meets and soccer games.  They keep you clothed and fed and teach you good morals.

Now that's me.  I keep my kids clothed and fed.  Make sure he eats his vegetables (or drinks his formula, as is the case for the newborn).  I take them to the doctor and when they're old enough, I'll go to their soccer games and swim meets.  I take them to church and try to instill good morals.

But I still feel like me.  I don't feel like a parent.  I feel like I'm 16 or 18 or 24.  When do you start feeling like an adult?  When do you start feeling like a parent?  I worry.  Does that make me a parent?  I take them to the doctor when they're sick.  Does that make me a parent?  I hold them when they fall and hurt themselves or slam their fingers in a drawer.  Does that make me a parent?  I read stories to them and play with them.  Does that make me a parent?  Simply having kids doesn't make you a parent.

A home health nurse visited my house after my second was born.  She asked me, "How did you learn how to be a parent?"  I replied, "I just did it."  The baby came.  I had to be a parent.  The truth is, I am a parent.  Now I'm just waiting to feel like it.