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Maternity leave

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

How much time are you guys taking for maternity leave?

 

In Canada it is typical to get 1 full year of maternity leave, which sounds really nice!  I am working on a PhD right now though, so the more time I take off, the longer it will take me to finish since my work is lab based and can't be done from home.  The University offers grad students 4 months of paid maternity leave, after which you can take a regular unpaid leave.  Initially I figured I would just take 4 months off, but now I am really struggling with the idea of leaving my 4 month old child in daycare full time.  Any thought from those who have done this before?

post #2 of 26

yeah.  in the states we don't typically get paid maternity leave, and we only qualify for family medical leave act job protection for 3 months, which means they cannot fire you for being gone that long, but financially, you're on your own.  you also have to work somewhere with a particular number of employees and for at least a year to even get that. 

that being said, i'll take the full 3 months, and dh is home with the babes. 

 

are you married, atomicrocket?  doesn't CA provide family leave for your dh too?  would having him take equal time work out for you?  i have some friends here that did that (both parents qualify for the unpaid FMLA time)...

 

what's your field of study (i am being nosy... i already had to threadjack to ask parsley!)?  you're a sciences person, hence the labs, right?

post #3 of 26

I'll get off for the semester in which I give birth so I'll have paid leave starting in January and will be home with the baby.  I don't start teaching again until late August but will have to be working on my research during the summer.  My goal is to take about three months actually off and then work from home part-time through the summer. 

 

DH works from home so that gives us lots of flexibility and last time he took off the first academic year completely to care for DD as I started a tenure track job.  This time I've put the baby on lots of lists for day care but am not sure if we'll go that route for an infant or if we'll find a nanny/babysitter and work out a schedule that includes me, DH and the babysitter.  

 

Do you have to decide now?  I usually advise my students to give themselves the maximum time since it will be harder to get time once they finish their degree.  But also, are you up against any time pressures for your Phd?  Is there a limit to how many years you can get?  Does maternity leave put a year on your time-out clock (if you have one?).  Is there someone in your department you can talk to confidentially about all this?

 

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

yeah.  in the states we don't typically get paid maternity leave, and we only qualify for family medical leave act job protection for 3 months, which means they cannot fire you for being gone that long, but financially, you're on your own.  you also have to work somewhere with a particular number of employees and for at least a year to even get that. 

that being said, i'll take the full 3 months, and dh is home with the babes. 

 

are you married, atomicrocket?  doesn't CA provide family leave for your dh too?  would having him take equal time work out for you?  i have some friends here that did that (both parents qualify for the unpaid FMLA time)...

 

what's your field of study (i am being nosy... i already had to threadjack to ask parsley!)?  you're a sciences person, hence the labs, right?

 

I hope I don't sound like I am whining about 4 months off with (some) pay, but I guess I just worry about leaving such a young child in daycare full time. 

 

I'm not married (yet) but DP and I have had common law status for almost 6 years, so we get the same spousal privileges that married couples get.  Our original plan before I began grad school was to split parental leave 50/50 between the two of us, but one of DPs coworkers got laid off while on paternity leave when the company was downsizing, so we're hesitant to do that now since DPs job is very much tied to the economy.  I think job security is more important right now.

 

I am in the sciences :)  Without divulging to much, I get to play with lasers all day.  I love it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by parsley View Post

I'll get off for the semester in which I give birth so I'll have paid leave starting in January and will be home with the baby.  I don't start teaching again until late August but will have to be working on my research during the summer.  My goal is to take about three months actually off and then work from home part-time through the summer. 

 

DH works from home so that gives us lots of flexibility and last time he took off the first academic year completely to care for DD as I started a tenure track job.  This time I've put the baby on lots of lists for day care but am not sure if we'll go that route for an infant or if we'll find a nanny/babysitter and work out a schedule that includes me, DH and the babysitter.  

 

Do you have to decide now?  I usually advise my students to give themselves the maximum time since it will be harder to get time once they finish their degree.  But also, are you up against any time pressures for your Phd?  Is there a limit to how many years you can get?  Does maternity leave put a year on your time-out clock (if you have one?).  Is there someone in your department you can talk to confidentially about all this?

 

I need to decide now because of waiting lists for childcare.  I need to give them a firm date for when childcare would need to start.  There are no time pressures for my PhD right now, as all I have left (besides research and thesis/defense) is an oral exam which I will do before I go on leave.  I get paid from scholarships though, and they only pay for 4 years so ideally I would like to finish on time so I have full funding throughout.  If it took an extra year, it wouldn't be a big deal though, it would just mean less pay.  If I take a year leave, everything is considered to be on hold, so there are no issues there.  The other thing to consider is that I would like to stay in academia, so I need to keep publishing and I think a full year off is a bad idea.

 

My other option is to do part-time daycare (Mon/Wed/Fri) and then work three days during the week + Saturday and Sunday when DP can stay home with the child.  It would mean that we have very little "family time" though and while we're not really keen on that, it is still an option that I am considering.

 

I have a very good relationship with my supervisor, so I will discuss some things with him when I am ready to share the news.  He has kids and is very understanding so I don't think there will be any issues there. 
 

I guess I am just worried about not having enough bonding time with my child during the early stages, so I am considering taking a few extra months of leave and wondering about what others' experiences have been.

post #5 of 26

if you CAN take the extra time, then you should are going to probably find yourself really wanting to do so when the baby's here, but that's just my opinion.  Can't you do some publishing while you're on leave, if that's the important thing?  Or is it that your field less research-y based and more lab-experiment based (such professional terms, yes?) Maybe your supervisor will come up with some good ideas you haven't thought of, too. 

 

and no way is it whining, i think ALL parents should get paid leave, like Sweden, where folks get 16 months.  The US is so anti family in so many ways. 

 

 

post #6 of 26

For my first, I went back to work when she was 3 months (I am super type A so I was ready), then I had in home care (grandma and a family friend) until she was 6.5 months, then I put her in daycare. I remember by that time she was ready, interested in new faces and new people. Our babies are born at the perfect time to get into daycare because usually spots open in June and September (at least in my town). Go on the lists now, you can always change your mind later :-D

post #7 of 26

I should clarify, I went to work 25 hours a week, so not full time. It really worked for us :-)

post #8 of 26

I will get 6 weeks of maternity leave.  I have saved up enough sick time to cover those 30 days with pay.  To foster my breast feeding relationship, I am opting to take the remainder of the school year off (teacher).  Luckily, they will hold a job for me-it's in our contract.  I will return to work the following school year, babe will be 6 months, so I'll feel slightly better about returning to work.  I'd love to be a SAHM, but it's just not possible.   

 

I don't know exactly how we will make my extended leave work.   I am the primary source of income and also hold the insurance.  I can opt to pay 100% of insurance costs to my employer to maintain my coverage...but ouch! My husband lost his good paying job and now works at minimum wage, so he won't bring enough income to cover all of our bills or insurance .  After my 6 weeks are up, we will be in a very rough situation.  I do feel, however, that establishing breast feeding and bonding with the baby is far outweighs this problem...and somehow things will work out. 

post #9 of 26

Get on the waiting list for childcare now (you can certainly take yourself off of it), and know that you don't have to decide until the baby is born.

With our dd, when we brought her home, I planned on taking the 6 weeks paid leave that our company offered, and then the additional 6 weeks unpaid leave.  I was toying around with the idea of being a SAHM, but I wasn't decided on anything.  I even chose a daycare, and filled out daycare stuff to register her for daycare when I went back to work.

I ended up never going back to work.  In my 5th week home, we decided I had zero interest in returning.

 

You never know what you're going to decide.  I also have a friend who "decided" she was going to be a SAHM, but 2 months in, she realized she wanted to go back to work when her leave was up.

post #10 of 26

I get 3 months paid with the option to take 2 extra months unpaid, for a total of 5 months. That doesn't affect my vacation or sick time, so I could add a few weeks on too. My DH gets 1 month paid that doesn't affect his vacation or sick time. I'll take the 3 months paid, then not come back. We're underwater with our house and pay way too much on our mortgage so we're working on modifying our loan and if that doesn't work out,we'll short sale. Once we get our mortgage/rent to an average amount, then we can totally afford for me to stay home. We're also looking into moving somewhere sunnier. I'm also starting school part-time in the fall and will continue taking online classes, probably taking winter quarter off (Jan-March). I'll also be able to start my doula business, which will be exciting and bring in a little income and pay for school (Seattle area doulas actually make a decent amount)!

post #11 of 26

I will get 6 weeks paid through the college. Those 6 weeks are smack dab in the middle of the semester so it is going to be hard for me to stay away I imagine. I had my 2 other kidlets during grad school and I was back to teaching as a fellow 5 days after having them because we didn't get any time off at all. So, we'll see. I think I will love having the 6 weeks just to hang out with this new one. I'm quite excited.

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

if you CAN take the extra time, then you should are going to probably find yourself really wanting to do so when the baby's here, but that's just my opinion.  Can't you do some publishing while you're on leave, if that's the important thing?  Or is it that your field less research-y based and more lab-experiment based (such professional terms, yes?) Maybe your supervisor will come up with some good ideas you haven't thought of, too. 

 

and no way is it whining, i think ALL parents should get paid leave, like Sweden, where folks get 16 months.  The US is so anti family in so many ways. 

 

 

 

Yeah, I think I will probably end up taking a few extra months.  DP thinks I should take at least 6 months, and 6 months seems like a nice amount of time. 

The way things are going, I should have enough data to write up a few papers while on leave, which is nice.  The problem is that each paper takes a huge amount of laboratory work, so there would be a gap in publications after I return, not necessarily while I am away.  At the same time, I guess it is less of a big deal for that to happen in grad school as compared to after, so maybe I should just relax about it (ha!).


 

 

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonitaw View Post

 Go on the lists now, you can always change your mind later :-D

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd5294 View Post

Get on the waiting list for childcare now (you can certainly take yourself off of it), and know that you don't have to decide until the baby is born.


 

That is what I decided to do.  I think that makes the most sense.

The tough thing about childcare here is that since most women take 12 months off, most places don't offer care to children under 1 year so my options are really limited.

 

 

post #14 of 26

I am in similar shoes as the original poster.... I am a postdoc in the sciences, funded by external fellowships, so my situation is also very strange.  I get 3 months, paid, according to the rules of the University and the fellowship, but then I can also take unpaid leave, and get a no cost extension on my fellowship at the end (maybe?)  But because of the job cycle in academia and the research cycle, anytime I have a gap in my publication record can hurt me.  

 

We're hoping my husband's mother can come to stay for a bit so we don't have to put a three month old in daycare, but getting on lists now wasn't even something I had thought of!  Off to go start research, eek!

post #15 of 26

I'm going to be taking 4-6 (preferably 6) weeks of unpaid maternity leave. DH gets 2 weeks paid vacation annually, and will be using I imagine a week and a few days of that to be home with me. But my job is unique. I work for the WIC program, I am a certified lactation counselor. Most WIC offices throughout the US have a breastfeeding policy that if you are nursing your newborn, you can bring them to work with you for 6 months as part of promoting and protecting breastfeeding. So I plan on being home 4-6 weeks, then bringing babe with me until he/she is 6 months old. DH and I currently work seperate shifts so we don't have the kids in daycare (I work about 20 hrs in office, 10-15 hrs from home). After 6 months, I would have some really great hospital grade pumps to use while I am working from our program and space to pump in my office, so I'm not too worried about my return. I plan on keeping baby in a sling and working throughout the day, and having a small bassinet/play pen type thing in my office. 

post #16 of 26

The whole Maternity Leave ordeal is stressing me out. I bring home the majority of our finances which is so odd for me because with DS I didn't work.

Being full time, I qualify for 6 weeks leave (partially paid) and then I have two weeks of vacation/sick time to tack on to the FMLA leave. Financially we're covered for about 8 weeks. Beyond that I'm stuck.  I'm NOT comfortable with an 8 week old being in daycare. Paying for both the baby and my 3 year old to be in daycare will literally put us in a hole. We have no family close enough to watch the kiddos, and DH doesn't make enough to support us if I don't return to work. 

I don't want to return to work.

I want to stay home, but I can't.

Add breastfeeding to the mix and I'm a wreck! I had so many problems the first three months with DS and I wasn't working......I'm really freaking out about all of this. I'm  more worried/anxious/concerned about all of this then actual childbirth.

There doesn't seem to be a solution either so that doesn't help.

 

I guess I'm just venting, but maybe also looking for someone to tell me what to do.....

 

Ugh.

post #17 of 26

Rin!  That sounds incredibly stressful.  Balancing work and family is tough even in ideal circumstances.  I can't imagine how stressed you must be.  hug2.gif

 

I'm wondering what can give in your situation?  Where can you find some flexibility to make it all work?  I hear that you are going to be off for 8 weeks.  After that, can you bring the baby to work sometimes?  Or all the time?  I've heard of lots of people making that work.  But it obviously depends on your job (and your baby)!  Can you shift some of your hours so you can work from home?  Can your DH work from home?  If you can all find a little flexibility, maybe you can pay for a childcare part time and then you and your DH can work from home or flexible hours to cover the remaining time?   For example, my plan come the summer is for DH and I to each work 35 hours, baby to be in care 12-15 hours, and DH and I splitting the rest between us.  We slowly increase to 30 hours of day care for babe as she gets older. 

 

Another possibility: are there any family members with flexible schedules who you could invite to live with you for awhile?  I'm sure that would make tight quarters and some other sources of stress but that might give you the space you need. 

 

I hear you saying you don't want to return to work-- are there any conditions in which you'd want to return to work?  Could you negotiate with your work to go part time for awhile and then back to full when the baby is older?  Do you have savings you could use to supplement your income for a while?  Do you have family that could give you money? 

 

 

post #18 of 26

with my first, i went back to work at 2 months b/c i took her with me for most of my time.  i was finishing my research project at a big university and shared an office with a professor who worked from home a lot when she wasn't teaching/holding office hours.  So, my daughter slept or nursed in a sling when she was so young while I did paperwork, analyzed data, etc...  She also slept at the facility when I did my research in a different area than where interviews took place- it was a homeless shelter for men in addiction recovery and she's nap on the Detox bed while I sat at the table beside her!  Yep, I am one of few women who has nursed my babe in a men's homeless shelter on a regular basis!  Haha We had some great pics of her wee self with a sling wrapped around her sleeping on those cots. 

 

When i had to go in to interview clients, my hubby would meet me to take her to dinner one to two nights a week close by the facility where I did interviews so it was only 2 hours that we were apart at a time. He'd meet a buddy those nights for dinner and it worked out really great for every one.  Precious times.  I, too had grant money and a timeline to finish research but I was not employed by the university so things were a bit more flexible for me.  i was employed by them while I was pregnant and worked from home and at the university then- they were so flexible and great.  We were creative and flexible.  i finished my project and then became a doula when she was 14 months old. 

 

with my second, i was a doula and a student midwife so i left her with my hubby and pumped EMB for the first time.  i so totally remember calling about how she was doing and having mixed feeling about my babe taking a bottle of breastmilk when my first had never taken one b/c we weren't ever separated that long.  DH would work from home when I went to births.  In bali, we live with a family and they help us with childcare when I am at the clinic.  When my babes were young and I was not in the middle of a birth/hands on, someone would bring them to me so we could nurse and connect.  My oldest actually went to a lot of births with me when I was a doula here b/c she'd just nurse, read books or sleep on the extra bed!  At 6, she loves to go to all things mamababy related and is sad to miss births now b/c she recalls going to so many before she turned 2 years old here!  She comes in with me on slow days and does lots of post-partum visits with me both here and in the States if it is okay with the families or we know them personally.  She has been dubbed 'the littlest baby whisperer' for how she holds and soothes babes while the parents and I do their check-up.  I am sooooooooo thankful for this flexibility.  It is balanced by having to live an on-call life or missing important days where my girls are doing something super fun and I am working.  I really do love working with mamababies, though and it fills my cup, energizes me while letting me be with my family a lot of the time.  I do prenatals and postpartums in the evenings or on weekends usually in the States.  I have an AMAZING neighbor that watches my girls at the drop of a hat and she's right next door!  I had a friend come two days a week for in-home care when I was studying like crazy over the summer or needing to drive for pre-natals and posts during the mornings.  I drive 1.5 hours for them so it's a lot to take the kids and if they need me, it's really hard so I don't take them both usually unless we know the family and then they can play with their friends. 

 

we've had to be really creative and flexible but i am so glad we've done what works for our family.  it's been really important to keep us together and that has been possible.  i am extremely thankful for this and realize i have compromised on my career outside of motherhood for it but wouldn't want it any other way.  and, i could not do it without the amazing support I have in place.  i hope it's encouraging to read that families can find a way to get everyone's needs met!

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by parsley View Post

Rin!  That sounds incredibly stressful.  Balancing work and family is tough even in ideal circumstances.  I can't imagine how stressed you must be.  hug2.gif

 

I'm wondering what can give in your situation?  Where can you find some flexibility to make it all work?  I hear that you are going to be off for 8 weeks.  After that, can you bring the baby to work sometimes?  Or all the time?  I've heard of lots of people making that work.  But it obviously depends on your job (and your baby)!  Can you shift some of your hours so you can work from home? 

 



Thanks, I appreciate that. :)  I am absolutely stressed right now. I'm doing my best to roll with the punches.  I'm so thankful that this has been a relatively easy pregnancy but now as the third trimester is starting well, all the stress is starting to weigh on me.

 

Unfortunately I don't see anything "giving" in this situation.  I work as a manager of a health food and supplements section of a local grocery store so, due to food safety standards, and other rules and regulations regarding minors in the work place (liability issues) I can't take the babe to work with me and there isn't anything I can do from home. It's strictly a full time position with lots of responsibilty and I carry all of our insurance and benefits. 

 

DH is a chef and he works three part time jobs at very crappy pay. He is looking for something full time with better pay (and benefits). The nearest family is 3 hours away and they too have very inflexible schedules.  We've used most of our savings over the last months paying for childcare and unexpected car repairs. 

 

My ideal situation would be me staying home and doing some distance learning to become a Midwife. DH is absolutely on nboard with this and is working himself to death in order for this to happen, but well.......it isn't happening fast enough for our family. I'm just going to have to go back to work.....and hope that we can figure out how to make ends meet.  :(

   

 

post #20 of 26

sooooo... my boss (director) just emailed me and asked about leave forms for upcoming holiday stupid days they're making us close but still use our personal leave for....

and then said that the VP asked when i was returning after maternity leave and she told her 6 weeks. 

why is this making me have a panic attack?  i explained as well as i could that FMLA provides 12 weeks of leave time/ year and most people negotiate returning part time around the 8th-10th week but now i am extremely anxious. 

my boss is nice but child-free and a bit clueless.  the VP is just scary. 

somebody make me feel better?

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