Friday, October 1, 2010

Work

When Rhian and I were on Grouse Mountain a couple of weeks back we saw a woman with two young children about 3 and 1.  They were having the best time there, and were heading outside when the youngest spotted Rhian and I.  They came over and we chatted for a while.  And the woman was sooooo very great with the children.  And I was feeling seriously jealous that it was the middle of the week and she was there with her pre-school kids, enjoying the day with them and capitalizing on all of the teachable moments.  They were all having so much fun.   I wanted to be her in that moment.  I wanted to be able to stay home and have all of those moments with Rhian and not let a nanny or daycare have those moments.  And it made me sad.


For a minute.


Turns out, she wasn't their mother.  She was the nanny.

I go back to work a month from today.  And I've been spending my time trying to talk myself into being happy about it.  Its sort of working.  After all, I will have had a full 9 months of maternity leave, and practically speaking the savings are running out.  If I hold off returning to work too much longer it will all be gone, gone, gone.  And that won't be a good thing.

But I can't help but feel a bit ripped off.  I can legally take a year, and the government does provide me with about $1600 per month (based on a percentage of my salary - that is the most anyone gets).  It barely covers my rent.  For the first time I really feel like I'm missing out because I'm a SMC.  I know - I'm making the BIG assumption that my husband/boyfriend would be making enough to support a family on one salary so that I could stay home with Rhian longer.  And its a big assumption.  But its there, and I can't help but feel a bit sorry for us.  Don't worry, I won't wallow for long. 

(BTW, I can't even fathom my American friends who only get 6 weeks or so - with no pay.  Seriously??!!  Aren't you all the land of family values? But that is a different post.)


So, I've been thinking of all the positive things about going back to work (in no particular order):

*Money

*I'm heading into a new area of law that I'm really excited about.  So it will be challenging and exciting to be there

*My new position offers more opportunity for court work again (something I was missing in my last job)

*Money

*Rhian will grow up seeing her Mama be successful at work, and hopefully I'll be a great role model for her

*I am still working for a non-profit that really does great work in the community - its good to work for a place you are proud to be a part of

*This contract will end June 1/11 - so if I'm not happy I have the opportunity to move on and take a sizable pension with me.  If I am happy, and if there is space for me (always, always up in the air with non-profits) then I will no longer be on contract and will have a secure position

*Money

*It is about a 5 minute walk from home, and a 10 minute walk from Rhian's daycare

*I have some really good friends who work there

*Money

*I will have the opportunity to meet lots of new people in this job (in my last job I was surrounded by 20 something law students)

*If the contract ends, and I don't stay on, I might be able to swing taking the summer off to be with  Rhian and look for permanent work in the fall (or prepare to open shop on my own)

*And I'm sure there is more - I'll keep thinking of them

13 comments:

  1. Yeah, the American system really sucks. I have been scrimping and saving every hour of vacation time I have for the past 6 years in the hopes that I can take close to 4 months off when/if I get pregnant. There is something called the Family Leave Act which basically says you can take up to 16 weeks off, but it's without pay and the government doesn't provide any assistance. Gee, thanks.

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  2. to continue on my above post... I believe some states will pay some disability of 6 weeks for natural delivery and 8 weeks for c-section. I work for the federal government, so I don't get any state benefits at all (yet I pay out the ass in state taxes. Just paid an $854 car tax to Virginia, asshats.)

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  3. I was so lucky that my employer topped off my mat leave so I got my full pay for a year. Some days I hate leaving L and other days I skip to the day care because I need a break. I'd love to work because I want to not cause I have to, but so far 6/49 hasn't come in for me.

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  4. Sorry you are feeling sad about going back to work. What a fantastic leave policy you have in canada! I am jealous... by the way, funny story about the nanny.

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  5. We definitely have a great system here in Canada but trying to swing leave on 60% of our salary is tough! It sounds as though you have a great job with lots of potential & options & you're an excellent role model for Rhian.

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  6. It's going to be tough. Really tough. Exactly as tough as you think. But remember, it's what you have to do, and it's that simple. The alternative was no baby, and that wasn't the answer. So keep it together those first few rough weeks and tell yourself it will get better, Baby is perfectly fine, you'll get into a routine and really, I promise it will be ok.
    And yes, love your comment about Baby seeing her strong, happy working mama! :-)

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  7. Hope that the going back to work goes ok. Yes, you do have a great system in Canada for maternity leave.

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  8. It's hard to go back. But, honestly, it's the best thing for our family. I did drop to part time and it's proven to be the best! We aren't broke and I still get time with the kids! It's seriously the best of both worlds!!

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  9. I took 6 months without pay here in the states. With my second child, I did the same thing. I was so, so broke by the 7th or 8th week that time. I had very mixed feelings about going back but of course, I like to eat :)

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  10. Sometimes I don't know how I'm going to do it but I just keep saying to myself, "it will all work out."
    I definitely envy the system you have in Canada!

    ps: I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!

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  11. Reading this post brought back lots of my own memories about the endless "work conflict". Canada does seem much more enlightened than the US ... sad to say.

    I looked in vain for your contact email. Wanted to let you know that you're a featured blog on our post today about choice moms. Do drop by. And, if you're on Twitter, we'd love to follow you. Please let us know your Twitter ID.

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  12. I especially like the reason of Rhian seeing a great role model as a working mother. I am going to try to remember that when I have to go back to work very soon! (haven't determined when yet - hoping to stay home 4 months but with no pay for 2 of those months it will be difficult.)

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  13. It has always been my dream to be a stay at home mom. I just always assumed that hubby would make enough that I could stay home with my five kids ;) But now I know that I would have to work, but would love to just get to be a mom. I'm also thinking about how little time I will get at home with them in the beginning (in the ol' usa), but am hoping my sister or mom will be able to watch my kiddo(s) so it will be the next best thing to me. It must be so hard to go back and I really feel for you :(

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