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O/T My Work Offered Me a Great Deal to Go Back After Baby... WWYD?

sunshinex's picture

I had my baby 3.5 months ago and i'm loving every second of it. I'm in Canada so we have 1 year off paid leave wherein we get 55% of our pay UP TO a certain amount. Here's the facts... I make significantly more than my husband and only get 55% of my pay up to a certain amount, so I'm actually only getting like 30% or so of my pay for the year I'm off. My husband makes less than the threshold so he would get the actual 55% of his pay if HE were the one taking time off. But we're doing okay financially with me off and could continue to do okay financially with me off if I took the whole year. He's happy to let me have the whole year despite being the higher earner.

I really, really love being home with my baby. I lean heavily towards attachment parenting and feel like he needs me, especially when he's so little, because I was all he knew for 9 months. BUT my work really, really wants me back. So much so that they've offered to let me work from home with my baby for half of the day, than go into the office the other half (they want me to manage/run the canadian office so they do need me in sometimes). They even said if it's a particularly good day for baby, I could bring him in. (If he wasn't disruptive IE if he's napping already or something).

So essentially I'd still be home with my baby most of the day. I'd only be gone 4 hours and at that, he'd be with me sometimes. And we'd have A LOT more money with this setup. So I'm really not sure what to do here. My heart says stay home because we're fine without all that extra money and I love focusing solely on my baby, but I know it'd be great to take the offer and put money away for the future. It'd also be great for my career advancement, of course, as I'd be running the office.

What would you do? I know at the end of the day, I have to do what's right for me, but I'm really not sure what that is. I love my job but obviously I love my baby a whole lot more.

hereiam's picture

It sounds like a good compromise, best of both worlds. You still get to spend plenty of time with the baby AND get to make more money than if you stayed home full time.

If, for some reason, it didn't work out, could you go back on leave?

secret's picture

I would do it. Let dad be home on parental leave - half days is great... especially if you can bring baby to work. Worse case, you go back on mat leave.

Or, negotiate - agree to go back half days, with the agreement that they top up your pay to 100% from the 55% you get on EI.

sunshinex's picture

Dad can take the remainder of the year off, but as far as I know, we can't switch back again after he takes the remainder. It's a decision that, if I regret it, I'm kind of stuck. That's why it's so difficult. But nice to hear other opinions.

secret's picture

Ok, then stay on EI, get topped up, and deduct from EI. If it doesn't work out, stop going in, you're still on EI.

You're entitled to work while on mat leave, you just need to provide EI with the earnings so they can deduct.

Evil3's picture

I'm in Canada and I know how awful finding daycare for babies is. But, it doesn't sound like that would be an issue for you, so I would go for it. My mum was a career woman and some of my best times were going to work with her. Also, I remember the damned if you do, damned if you don't feeling of parenting my DD17 when she was a newborn. I think it's normal to feel guilt no matter what you do. I had DD the last year that we got only 7 months of mat leave in Canada and I went back to work doing shift work. I felt guilty for going back to work, but would have felt guilty extending my leave, because I wouldn't be getting any money to contribute to the household. Guilt, guilt, guilt. You could always ease your guilt and use some of the extra money to start an RESP for your baby. I did that and my baby is 17 and off to uni in September. You'll have advanced in your career and when your baby is 18, he'll have the money to go to university. You will also feel more fulfilled if you go back to work and that makes a better mum. I say, go for it!

Teas83's picture

I'm in Canada as well. My husband and I split my first maternity leave because I wanted to go back early. I didn't regret it at all. It gave my husband a chance to see what it was really like being at home with a baby every day (so he was able to recognize that it's not as easy as he thought) and he got to bond with her more than he would have otherwise. Being on EI only gave me about 20%-25% of my normal salary and it was only about 15%-20% of my husband's normal salary, so it really didn't make a big difference financially as to who took the time off.

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

In terms of this, I would look at flexibility: half day tends to produce "creep". The hours become longer and before you know it is full day. In this instance I discuss flexibility with your company. How about two full days at the office and then flexible hours on other days at home where you don't go in at all? Is this an option?

As to the offer. I wouldn't do it. The first year of your child's life is very important - and my personal preference would be to be home for that. (Or if you can split your leave with your husband consider that, but I would not look at putting my child in day if it can be avoided.) If you are so essential to the daily operations, you will continue to be so in 9 months time. Fact!
They could consider a temp or someone in acting capacity? You have proved your worth and they are prepared to deal: see how flexible they are.

I was off for 18 months with my son after he was born - I didn't work at all for his first 18 months. (Busy with a baby but so very boring!!) I worked half day when he was 18-24 months. I will not trade that special time for anything and I am glad I was off. (My husband was off for a month. His employer also bitched and moaned but they managed without him during that time.)

Iamwoman's picture

I agree with this comment. My first thought when reading your post was that "flex time" usually winds up being more beneficial to the company than to the employer. Yes, they will slowly start to ask "can't you stay here just 5 more minutes today?" which will eventually turn into "we need you to stay here the whole day today - this is not a question." These flex time offers nearly always go sour.

Definitely see if you can turn it into the 2 whole day at work and 3 whole days at home as suggested. This draws hard lines regarding where you should be at any given moment. Also, you need to get whatever arrangement you agree to in writing. I am currently at a job where the job itself changed shortly after I was hired, and because the job description was verbal in the interview, I was basically screwed as I had no way to prove exactly what I was actually offered as a job...

However, I live in the USA and never once got a chance to stay home with my DD when she was an infant. Her dad was/is a deadbeat ($18,200 behind in CS and a narcissistic sociopath) who deceived me, and I have been a working mother since the day she was born. My biggest regret is not choosing a better man to have a baby with - one who would have allowed me to fulfill my dream of being a stay at home mom until kiddo goes to kindergarten - someone exactly like my current husband...

My choice? I would stay home.

futurobrillante99's picture

In your situation, I would be tempted to ask for 3 days totally working from home and only coming into the office 1/2 or all day for 2 days. I'd have your husband take off from his job to get the EI and he's stays with baby while you're working.

It could be fun!

moeilijk's picture

If I was facing your choice, I'd arrange to work 2 full days and have the rest off. But I'm not you. In Canada, there are lots of activities available to do with your baby where you can participate in your community, but where I am.... not so much. I also had a very difficult time the first 18-24 months, and would have loved to have gotten out of my head (and away from the constant advice about how to be a parent!) and spent some time being successful and interacting with adults. And not talk about or clean up poop for a while.

It's a balance - you're still a woman, you're still a creative and dynamic employee who loves her work. And now you're someone's mom too. The big things that changed for me is the size of my purse and the sheer volume of things I carry with me everywhere. The planning for meals and potty-breaks when out of the house. The amount of time between decision and accomplishment when it's time to leave the house. And my patience with people who do things I don't understand and then cry about it when I ask.

Icansorelate's picture

my advice is do not ever give up your career and become dependent on a man. Your baby will be fine especially since your office is bending over backwards to accommodate you. The cost of daycare is an investment in YOUR future. If you remain employed you move up, gain skills and your pay increases.

Maxwell09's picture

Ask them if you can work Tuesday-Thursday and have Monday and Friday off. That will still give them their three days (you can bring baby) and then you’ll have Friday-Monday home with the baby. My grandpas work does this with him to keep him from flat out retiring on them.

Thumper's picture

Babies need their parents Critical bonding going on and SHE does depend on you and dh.

A stranger aka daycare will never treat your baby the way way you or dh will. NOT even Granparents. They don't mean to 'be' different it is just the way it is. Like Step life, we cant treat or love our step kids the way their bio parents can.

Can you work from home. IF available it is a great option. Now typing and BF at the same time was a hoot but hey, I found what ever worked, worked Wink

Best wishes and enjoy every single moment with her. Awwwwwww babies are wonderful Smile

lieutenant_dad's picture

I personally think women need to do all they can to become self-sufficient and maintain that self-sufficiency. Spouses are not a guarantee, and neither is their income, so I am always a proponent of do what is best financially that gives a good work -life balance.

I know Canada is much nicer than where I live in Anti-Canada, but here, this offer would RARELY be made, and if it were declined, flexibility would never be offered again. Plus, your DH needs equal bonding time with his son, so "trading off" so that he can spend some one-on-one time with his kids (both son and daughter) would be good.

I think you need to look at what is best for your family. What would be best for your family is for you to have a stable, high-paying job with flexibility and where you ha e more time away from SD and where your DH and his kids get to bond with him while he flexes his dad muscle. Unless your DH is adamantly opposed to staying home, I think the fair thing to do is go back to work and let him take parental leave, even if only for half time.

I also agree with others about negotiating 3 home/2 office days, or 2/3. That will provide you with actual balance, and you won't feel like you are missing nearly as much.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Please don't underestimate the sudden curves that life can spring on you. Right now you can get by without going back to work - how much is that impacting how much you can save for unforeseen events? What happens if you or your husband become unable to work, or (heaven forbid) what happens if you split up? I hate to see you turn down the opportunity to put money away for future necessities. I agree with the up thread comment that if possible, all women should be self sufficient enough to support themselves and their children.

The offer from your company does seem to give you what is almost the best of both worlds - I think it is worth seriously considering.

Acratopotes's picture

I would grab the opportunity with both hands..

Remember that sweet little baby will grow up and he will go to college and you will have to pay for it.... Start saving now for his education and your retirement.

ndc's picture

I'm in the US, so I'm not at all familiar with how maternity leave and job protection works in Canada. However, my thinking is that if your employer needs you so much that they've offered the deal they have (which sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me), your turning it down and remaining on maternity leave could have serious repercussions for your long term career with that company. How much that matters to you, and what your opportunities are elsewhere, I don't know, but it's something to keep in mind. As nice as it would be to have a year at home with your baby, I think it's important for a woman to be able to support herself and her kids. With the ridiculously high failure rate of 2nd marriages with stepkids, I think it's even more crucial. So the care and feeding of one's career is important. In your circumstance, I'd go back to work (half at home/half at the office) and let my husband take leave and care for the kids. That would have the added benefit of letting him deal with your SD, which it sounds like you're not enjoying these days. I would most certainly get the work at home/only in the office half time deal in writing and be pretty firm about sticking to that. Some flexibility is always required, but don't let them take advantage.

My mom was one of the lucky ones who got paid maternity leave here in the US. She said that she loved being home with her babies for that 3-4 month period, but she was glad to get back to work after that. She thought work was much easier.

New_to_this's picture

I'm so jealous. I wish I lived in Canada. If I were you, I'd take the job. It seems like they are giving you a lot of leeway and you love the job.

I live in the US. I had enough leave to take 3 months off, then I took another 2 months off unpaid, which my work had to give me due to FMLA. I went back to work, but realized that I wanted to spend more time with my baby. I worked there for over 10 years, but they didn't offer me part-time, nor did they allow me to take extended leave unpaid, so I made the choice to quit. It was fairly easy, since I liked the people I worked with, but in no way loved the job. I really miss the social atmosphere at work as well as the mental stimulation. If I had the opportunity to take 18 months off, I would have done it in a heartbeat. If I loved my work, I would have continued to work,especially given the opportunity to stay home half the time.