Recently in Canada a father took to the courts to petition for extra paternity leave to help with his twins. His argument was that if the children had been born separately he and his wife would qualify for two leaves. Plus, caring for newborn twins is extremely difficult for one person and so both parents should have the option to take full 35 weeks. While it was a great idea, he was denied benefits.
As for me, I am now halfway through my year maternity leave. I get almost a year off at 55% of of my salary (to a maximum of $42000) so that I can raise my babies. This breaks down into 17 weeks of maternity leave and 35 weeks of parental leave. The 17 weeks have to be taken by mom but the 35 weeks can be taken by either parent concurrently or simultaneously.
When Sawyer was born things at my work were really changing. That combined with the fact that I wasn’t enjoying maternity leave that much led me to decide to go back to work when Sawyer was eight months old. I felt he was old enough at that time to wean from nursing so I went back to work and Jeff took the rest of the leave. This also gave Jeff time to spend with Sawyer, which we both felt was important.
With the girls I plan on taking the full leave myself. This time, it doesn’t feel like long enough. But while it feels short, it is much longer than my fellow American mommies get. I can’t imagine going back to work so soon after having a baby. No wonder so many American moms bottle feed. Breastfeeding and working do not go hand in hand.
Apparently there is no consistency when it comes to maternity leaves world wide.
I am not sure what the ideal length of time is, but I think that countries should make it possible for a women to have children and not have to sacrifice her career to do so. Even with maternity leave, obviously having a family does affect your career. Moreover, your job is not always safe when the leave is over, but, at least it provides women with some time.
Tomorrow’s post will be from a fellow twin mom, Heather from Magical Chaos. After hearing that I was pondering maternity leaves she offered to provide her perspective as an American mom, and it is definitely a thought provoking read.
If I only got six weeks of leave I am not sure I would be able to be a working mom since I cannot imagine leaving six week old twins with someone else. Plus, the cost to care for them would be so high, I’d be working to pay for daycare and still losing money. In my city the average for daycare is $1500 per month, per child. Plus, giving women reasonable leaves doesn’t just benefit them, it benefits their children as well, and they are our future aren’t they?
So what do you think? How long should women get for maternity leave? How did it affect you?
- Planning a successful maternity leave (brighterlife.ca)
- Shared Parental Leave – how will it impact you? (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- Left holding the baby: maternity leave without a strategy (projecteve.com)
- Maternity leave – a ‘holiday’ or hard work? (metro.co.uk)