First off, I am Canadian where most employed folks get a full year of maternity leave benefits. However, as a midwife in my province I am considered "self-employed" and therefore am not entitled to any and am required to fund my own mat leave.
I don't mean to offend any mamas who only get 6-12 weeks as I know is often the case in the US! The demands and "schedule" of my job are so demanding and sometimes draining so that factors in. And my DH has been a SAHD after our two previous children were born (when I was a midwife/on call) which made it easier for me to go back at 4 and 8 months, respectively. Now he works FT, mostly from home with flexible hours (and is happy to participate in child-wrangling when available) but there is some requirement for quiet and travel.
We really want 1-2 more children. Our youngest is 5 so we feel that the time is now. However, all we could swing financially if we were to conceive now is a 5-6 month mat leave. I am by far the primary bread earner and our family would really struggle if I took longer than that. Then our plan would be to hire a live-out nanny a little less than FT (perhaps 25-30 hrs/week) to give DH ample time to work since although my job means I have to be available at the drop of a hat I am often home just watching my pager.
I am slightly heartbroken at the thought of someone else looking after my 5-6 mo baby, since it has always been DH when it wasn't me, but I am comforted by the fact that he/she would be at home, I would be home lots of the time, and dh would be available a lot of the time if the s*** was hitting the fan.
So my questions are:
Would only being able to afford such a short mat leave with this type of job make you reconsider having more babes even if you felt your family wasn't yet complete?
Does anyone else have unconventional or unpredictable work schedules (for both parents in our case) and what child care options have worked the best financially and logistically?