Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Maternity Leave

We've been extremely blessed to have had William in June: both my husband and I have been off all summer since I'm a teacher and he's a grad student! But now with back-to-school looming (I start Friday and the kids start Monday!), I have a few thoughts on going back to work. 

First, this:

Shocking, isn't it? I mean, c'mon... Pakistan?!? 

My school district doesn't give any paid maternity leave. If you want to stay home with your baby, you'd better have a lot of sick days and personal days stored up. So I'm grateful that I had 2 months to stay at home, worry free. 

That said, my husband and I want to avoid daycare at all cost (and we have no family around to watch the baby). Max can work from home three days a week, and I'll be taking an "intermittent maternity leave" the other two days a week. I have some sick/personal days in my bank, but not enough to cover the whole year. But I think the pay cut will be worth it, though!

You know how some mamas are really excited to go back to work? I think I understand that. But I don't feel that way.... maybe if my job involved actual adult interaction instead of managing a class of second graders. Right now it just seems ridiculous to me to leave my baby to go take care of some other people's babies!

So in a way, I'm blessed that I'll only have to go in three days a week (I'll be planning for a long term sub for the other two days). I have some worries - mainly about pumping and messing with my milk supply - but I hope everything will work out!

Do any of you working mamas have tips about pumping? I'd be grateful to hear your advice!


  1. Such statistics always surprise me, not always in a good way. OK, I'm not a Mom, but if I were about to have a baby I'd be living in the right spot (which would be Austria).
    We get paid maternity leave - eight weeks prior to the birth date plus eight weeks afterwards (longer it it was a C-section). And once you've notified your employer about your pregnancy they a) cannot fire you and b) must offer you your job back even if you take extended maternity leave of up to two years. Those two years of maternity leave can also be split between parents which I find pretty neat. You can apply for a maternity related subsidy during that time, and additionally you will receive so called family subsidy for your child until it reaches its 18th birthday.

    And I agree, taking care of other people's babies instead of your own ... well, that stinks! Of course I'm sure you love your job, but I totally understand how you'd rather be with little William right now! :-)

  2. It is really sad the the US doesn't provide paid maternity leave. I have a lot of family in Canada and my cousin's wife just went back to work after their son was over a year old! Insane!

  3. I am a high school teacher and will be having my first baby in October then going back to work in February. I am also worried about pumping and milk supply going down due to my schedule and lack of time to pump at work.

  4. Wow! That's crazy looking at that chart. I grew up in Canada where there was plenty given. When I had my kids many years ago, I was a stay at home mama so I didn't have to worry about that - thank goodness!

    We have a teacher at our school that when she came back (her mom watched her little guy) she would have him brought to school on her lunch break and nurse him - we all loved getting to say hi to him! :-)

  5. Ugh! I've seen this before and it's so crazy how the US ignores this deal. I've often wondered if it was better to high tail it out of here an come back once my kids were in school...only kidding! But I'm glad to hear you have a plan an can work out a part-time work schedule.

  6. That's unbelievable! Didn't know you don't have paid maternity leave in the States.
    I can totally relate to your feelings.
    I initially took 6 months off, than when the time came, my work place wanted me back full time. I was really angry and I just couldn't do it. Finally I decided to quit and stayed home for the whole first year. Eventually I have to say that I should maybe thank them as I felt much better staying at home than going back and they made the decision somewhat easier.
    That was a big decision for us and changed a lot of our life due to the financial restrictions we had to put down. It was and still is hard and frustrating at times, but if I had to do it again, I would do the same thing.
    It's good that you can work only 3 days a week! Plus you will have the school holidays right?
    And it's excellent that Max can stay to work from home! I'm sure you guys will work it out for the best.

    As for pumping tips - the thing that was the most dominent for me was to find a good and FAST pump. The small one I had was so noisy and slow, I got headaches from using it (seriously).
    I then was told that you can rent a bigger one, like they have at hospitals, and that made it all possible.
    Try to set yourself a routine when you pump at regular hours (for me the best was very very early morning when I was still half a sleep and wouldn't mind it that much, it might sound odd but I found it better). Spoil yourself with nice cup of tea and a good book while you're pumping and with some nice chocolate afterwards :) you deserve it!

  7. Whoa. I would've never guessed some of those areas would have so many weeks. Also, I worked at a place that offered paid leave, so I didn't realize that most of the US didn't offer it.

  8. And this is why I am so insanely happy to live in Canada. My daughter turns a year next month, and I only have to go back to work the following week. It's so amazing.
    I have no pumping tips though. I did it exclusively for a month, but never had to do it while working.

  9. I believe it...and I think in some countries, they have paternity leave, so you can have each parent stay home in turn. I hope to stay home and take care of two other children to bring in some income. As a teacher, I agree, it makes no sense to leave your child while you can for other people's children, especially if your daycare options are not good.

  10. You know I've never pumped before, but my sister in law says to pump in a routine: always at the same time each day so that your body produces milk at the right time and expects to let down at the same time. Makes sense to me! Hope you can figure out how to do the electric one soon.

  11. Yes, I have seen this chart before, and it makes me sick. The lack of support in this country for mothers is horrible, and that is why we have a not so great breastfeeding rate here. The book, Working Mother, Nursing Mother is very good. And as a La Leche League leader, of course I recommend finding a LLL group near you and going so you get some support. There will be other moms there in the same boat and you will get lots of tips and tricks. It's also nice just to be around other moms! :)

  12. In Brazil, the law requires companies give you at least 4 months. A lot of them give you 6, and most schools will give you the whole semester. Sorry to hear that is not your case. Definetely take the pay cut, I'm sure it will be worth it in the long run!