Week 17 – Day 5

Thank the heavens, there is some hope in this world. In the midst of worry that I will have abandon my child at 6 months, Dave came home with some wonderful news! Seems the world of academia is more progressive after all, and he gets up to 26 weeks leave where he only has to work two days a week, but still gets 80% pay! That means that our previous savings goals where we only live off one salary for 2.5 months is totally doable, and we can be home with Justin until his 1st birthday!

On another note, I enter month number 5 tomorrow, so not long before we start counting down rather than up!

Week 17 – Day 4

We had our first daycare visit today, as our midwife recommended that we start and sign up early to make sure we get a place where we want. Before I walked in we’d talked about timing and things like that and agreed that at 6 months I’d start going back to work and we’d do maybe two days a week of childcare. It’s so expensive here so just two days would cost us around 600 euros per month! Anyway, after seeing the place today and talking to the staff I feel like I never want to leave my child in the care of others.

I don’t know why, but looking at the little babies in there it just felt wrong to the core that they were not with one of their parents. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that for some people there is no choice financially, and it’s not like parental leave here is generous… that’s a whole issue on it’s own. Also, there was nothing actually wrong with the place itself. Plenty of staff that are well trained, small separated groups and it felt safe and all that… but something about it just really hit me in the wrong way.

When a child is still that young doesn’t it need the immediate physical closeness to an adult who is not distracted by other things? Doesn’t it need an actual parent who loves it and care for it, and give it their attention…? We both walked out of there just feeling like “no” not for us. But then we’re stuck in the situation of, can we actually survive on one salary for 6-9 months? How much would we need in savings to live? How would it work with our employers, considering most mothers are back in work in 3 months, and most fathers don’t take any leave at all… and then we turn around and say we want 6 months each..? How forgiving and flexible would they be?

Much to think about, but it still feels like all other things like career and jobs are less important then the welfare of your own child.