This is it folks. It’s my last blog, written from home while on parental leave. (The blog will keep going, but I’ll be back in the office as of next week). 24 weeks of parental leave fully complete. The nanny is lined-up and ready to go, and I return to my regular office duties on Tuesday.
It’s pretty great that we live in a country with parental leave benefits that can be used by either parent. But the allocation of this benefit is a bit odd. People don’t realize that when women take 52 weeks off work with EI payments, they are actually taking two different kinds of leave. Maternity leave is 17 weeks and is only given to people who produce a baby from their body. Parental leave is 35 weeks and can be taken by any new parent. This means that any Dads can take up to 35 weeks, but the remaining 17 weeks have to be taken by Mom. It means that same-sex Dads can only take 35 weeks total to be shared amongst them. It means that adopted parents can only take 35 weeks total to be shared amongst them. The maternity leave 17 weeks would go to the woman who had the baby. So in our case, our awesome surrogate could have chosen to take 17 weeks off work with EI payments. She didn’t, but those weeks don’t transfer over to us.
So 35 weeks have come and gone. Orrin took the first 11 and I took 24. Time flies. Our kids are 8 months old (yesterday) and the amount of time that they get to spend with their parents will now diminish a bit.
So how do I feel?
I’m torn. On one hand, I am ready to get back to work. Craigslist is open. Falsettos starts rehearsals soon. I’m knee-deep in plans for 2013-2014 and a crazy amount of grant writing, and it will be nice to go into an office and keep regular hours again. On the other hand, it’s been a wonderful opportunity to be with the kids on a day to day basis, to have play dates with other new parents, and to be the primary care giver. It just won’t be the same to only see them in the evenings before bed and on the weekends.
How have you other parents coped with the return to work?