I’m not even going to touch on American moms returning to work. We know the situation is pretty bad for most of them – ranging from 6 weeks government-covered leave, up to maybe a year. But more likely about 12 weeks for most moms.
Here in Canada, we get a year. Yep, that’s right. 52 weeks. That’s 12 weeks of maternity leave that the mother gets pretty much no matter what. And 38 weeks of parental leave, which can be split between mom and dad to whatever degree they’d like. And 2 weeks is just an unpaid waiting period to start getting your EI payments. The pay is a maximum of 55% of your earnings (we won’t get into the nitty gritty details of working out how much you get). Unless you were self-employed. In that case you get squat.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a full year entitled to me, and since I was working a pretty decent job for the year before I got pregnant, it works out that I get about $1400 a month (no I’m not scared to say what I get – the government can’t fire me for breaching their confidence). That’s not a huge hardship to us, and I actually find I spend less money now than when I was working. OK, that’s not completely true – you darn Etsy shop owners and your cute diapers! Now I can go for days without even leaving the house, where before I ate out usually at least once a day.
So if I have it so good and I enjoy my time at home with Penny, why on earth am I job hunting?
Nevermind the idea of leaving her – we’re moving to the other end of the city at the end of November. How would childcare work if I found a job now? Would I look for something close to where we are now that I could use for 2 or 3 months? Or do I look for something permanent close to our new home and have to drive there EVERY morning until we move?
Returning to work is an issue that I haven’t wanted to touch with a 50 foot pole AND a hazmat suit. I don’t know what I want to do. First of all, I don’t have a job to go back to. I left my secure job when I was 5 months pregnant, and worked a temporary contract job for 4 months. I could go back to the same industry, but when we’re talking about an industry like newspapers, there’s only so many places you can go in any given city. I thought about starting my own business doing marketing products, mostly for real estate agents to advertise their listings and services. But I don’t have any money saved for that (and have I mentioned we’re building a new house?) and I don’t know how to go about getting funding. I thought about just doing my graphics work (see the links in my right hand bar for that), but I can’t see myself doing $1400 worth of graphics work every month, and we need AT LEAST that to be able to survive in our new house. So that leaves a job. Like a leave-the-house, someone-else-takes-care-of-Penny kind of job. So, do I look for a ‘real’ job where I make the kind of money I was before I got pregnant, generally a 9 to 5 kind of office-y job? Or I thought about a part time job where I’d have some flexibility in my scheduling. But if I go that route, chances are I’d be making like $10 an hour. I even considered childcare or house cleaning. But honestly, if I can’t be bothered to keep my own house clean, who in their right mind would pay me to clean theirs? As for childcare, it’s a possibility, but not a very strong one. I could see myself looking after one other child. But I don’t have any sort of accreditation or training. In this day and age, people just don’t willy-nilly hand over their kid to someone with no experience.
Well, out of all of that, I found a job posting last night. It’s the best of all worlds – partly the graphics I want to do, partly dealing with real estate. So I applied. I redid my resume, I wrote a whole new cover letter. I’m enthusiastic about the job and what it entails. I’m thrilled that the employer will consider somewhat of a flexible schedule – after all, real estate is not a 9 to 5 industry. I got advice from you, my friends. And I applied. It sounds like the money would be good. I think the employer would be great – as befitting a top realtor in the city.
I’m not going to think about the childcare issue until I get an interview and get offered the job. Same thing – I’m not going to think about the breastfeeding thing until I know either. I would feel comfortable weaning Penny during the day and still nursing in the morning, evening and overnight. But does she need to be given formula with her meals during the day then? I don’t want to give her formula, so then I’d need to look at renting a pump again. Then I’d have to deal with the pumping at work thing. So I’m just not sure about some things.
But in the end, I am really hopeful about this job. It would be a wonderful opportunity for me, and I can totally do everything they’re asking. So cross your fingers, wish me luck, and of course – leave me any childcare or pumping at work advice!