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)