(Closed) How do US bees do it?

posted 3 years ago in Babies
Post # 16
Member
4910 posts
Honey bee

Twizbe :  Full disclosure I’m not a mom but I’ve witnessed mom’s in action. In short our system sucks and we don’t properly care for mom’s in the US. That’s the blunt truth. The only reason the mom’s here can do it is because they have to. 

I’ve seen mom’s of newborns quit after coming back. One worked her ass off but HR complained about her being late and all so she quit too. I’ve seen mom’s bring the milk and put it in the work fridge then drive to daycare to feed. I’ve seen high level women come in quietly kick ass at work. No clue how she did it. I’ve seen a boss come in with baby puke on his shirt. 

I’m impressed by all of them. No sleep no extra pay or no pay at all sometimes. You can get paid leave (disability) for part of your pay. The system needs to change here but it can be done, I’ve seen it. I’m terrified for when we have kids. I don’t know what I’m going to do. 

Post # 18
Member
1183 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

You just do it. We don’t have much of an option. When I had my daughter, I was planning to go back to work at 3 months. That just so happened to be when the economic downturn occurred and my industry was hit HARD. I ended up getting laid off while ON maternity leave (welcome to no FMLA protection when you work for a company with fewer than 50 employees). This was a blessing in disguise, as my daughter had severe health issues and I couldn’t have worked after she was diagnosed. We survived, barely paying the bills, with my ex-husband’s income and unemployment. I went back to work when my daughter was 18 months old.

I know plenty of new moms who have quit working after trying to go back. Unfortunately, most families need dual incomes today, so not all have that luxury. There are requirements now that employers provide a private place for moms to pump for breast feeding. It’s usually a small room with a lounge chair and mini fridge. We have several moms at my workplace who are using it right now.

In the Seattle area, where I live, more and more employers are adopting more European-like policies. I know of one company that now offers new parents 1 year of maternity leave, paid. Others are extending the amount of leave offered and even others are offerinng 3 months of paternity leave – previously completely unheard of except for the few weeks Microsoft gives their new dad employees. Given that my company is an east coast based company, I don’t see the one year of paid leave happening for me any time in the near future, but I can dream!

I’ve been pondering this in my mind, given that Fiance and I are talking about TTC immediately after we get married and I’m a bit at a loss of how we’ll approach it. We need to see how our finances settle out and the best course of action, but it may mean a less demanding career for me. I’m not sure yet.

Post # 19
Member
4910 posts
Honey bee

mamadingdong :  Your post makes me feel better. Thank you.

 

ETA I meant that there’s options that seem to work well. 

Post # 20
Member
460 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2006

I agree with pp who said it’s really sad the way we don’t take care of our moms. Not only is 6 weeks a short time for baby, it’s a short time for mom and her body. I don’t know many babies who sleep through the night at that age so I can’t imagine going to work after night time feedings. My husband and I literally cut our income in half, got rid of our car that had payments, deferred student loans and got rid of cable etc so I could stay home with our babies. Yes it was hard to make the sacrifices we made but it was worth it to me. We now want a third baby and the number one reason we are hesitating is that I have to go back to work after and I know myself well enough to know that I will struggle with that especially at 6 weeks postpartum 😐. I have no choice but to work now since I’ve acquired student loans of my own. If I had 6 months of maternity leave afterward I wouldn’t hesitate to TTC. 

Post # 21
Member
1607 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

cloverdemeter :  in Canada, mat leave and parental leave is a type of EI. So everyone pays into EI as part of their taxes and your leave comes out of that pot, same as someone would who was laid off or on disability leave. (It’s a legitimate type of EI, parents aren’t scamming the system or anything). It’s not entirely accurate when people say it’s “paid”. Yes, you are paid the EI amounts, but only up to a certain percentage of your previous wage (approx 55%) and even then only up to a maximum. Obviously it’s better than nothing, but it’s not the same as if you were working. Some people go back to work before the year is up because their EI amount isn’t enough to live off of. 

Some companies offer a top up for a portion of your time off to help bring you closer to 100% but that would depend on the company. 

Legally, companies are required to hold your position, or one of similar rank and pay, for you when you come back. Because of this, it’s very common for people to be hired for one year mat leaves to fill in for parents. So you can’t be fired or anything while you are gone, unless the company is going through lay offs and your position becomes redundant anyways. But theoretically you can’t be penalized for taking mat leave. 

*using mat leave and parental leave interchangeably above. Mat leave is actually approx 3 months and just for moms who’ve given birth. Parental leaves is the remaining approx nine months and can be used by either parent, or in the case of adoptions. 

Post # 22
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper

I too have thought how tough and unsupportive the system is in America. 

I have to say though that it’s not a totally rosy picture in the uk as may be portrayed here. 

Yes by law your employer has to keep your job open for a year and some good private companies have nice maternity pay packages BUT the majority of employers just offer the basic they have to by law. 

Despite 16 years unblemished full time employment with my employers in a senior management role it’s just the basic. 

So 90% for 6 weeks then just statutory at around £500/m. 

So for me it’s a drop in monthly take home income by over £1500. 

Even on lower wages many can’t afford the drop in income so return to work sooner.

in our case we have to have thousands saved up to live off while I take time off to be with the new baby. 

When im in grumpy old woman mode I get pissed off that hard work is not rewarded and if I was unmarried and on benefits I’d get paid for each child I had plus housing paid for and other benefits. The families who claim benefits for life can be stay at home parents and often have lots of kids, where as working people have to seriously consider if they can afford a child or two. 

Post # 23
Member
409 posts
Helper bee

Twizbe :  My thoughts exactly. I moved here from the UK at my husband’s insistence and have been appalled by the system (or lack thereof) here. When I heard about maternity and also the cost of healthcare, I thought ‘wtf??!!! Who the heck would want to live here?!’. But now I know. For many women this is possible, because their husbands get paid well enough to support a family. Of course that’s not everybody, but it is a lot of people. Maybe this system lies on the old 50-s and onwards era when the economy was fantastic. It definitely needs a major change now. 

Regarding husband’s pay, whenever mine was applying for jobs here, he was always asked if he has a wife/family or children /plans for baby. When answering yes, his offer of pay was bumped up significantly. Maybe we were just lucky,  but so far I’ve seen the same with all his friends, colleagues and family members. 

I’d still rather live in Europe, though, where I know the state has my back no matter what. Funny, but my home country Bulgaria was topping the charts as one of the best places to have a baby. Knowing the economy there that really gave me pause. But it’s true that women get a wonderful, lengthy time off work with good percentage pay. I miss that comfort and peace of mind, and especially the amazing network of friends/family to help you through all hardships. …sigh

here is an interesting list of the top maternity policies-https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/countries-with-best-parental-leave-2016-11 

Post # 24
Member
2123 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - DD born 2015 DS born 2017

I don’t know how new US mothers don’t have a mental breakdown, the system is an entire social failiure. It’s not conducive to mental, physical or emotional health of babies or mothers, both of which are ESSENTIAL to a healthy society. I just don’t understand. I live in Japan where you hear about men being overworked (even to death) and work is more important than family and private life BUT mothers are still entitled to a year of paid leave (if they qualify). I didn’t qualify and ended up quitting and I’m going back to work next month when my daughter will be 18 months. I was able to EBF and had no PPD or baby blues, I felt supported by society.

Post # 25
Member
2168 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Honestly, it sucks but you just learn how to make it work. I was on a schedule within 3 weeks of bringing my daughter home and stuck to it. I didn’t stay in PJs all day and I was up and doing my thing at a reasonable hour. 

I prep everything we need the night before. I didn’t have to consider breastfeeding because that didn’t work out for us, she’s been formula fed since 3.5 weeks old. I definitely feel exhausted at the end of the work week but we’re working towards me being a Stay-At-Home Mom. My husband works close to 70 hours a week and we don’t have the same days off so something’s gotta give. I’m very jealous of the ladies that get to take a full year of leave, I definitely wouldn of loved more time but I knew what I was getting into and that 11 weeks after my daughter was born I would be back to work. 

Post # 26
Member
741 posts
Busy bee

mamadingdong :  I don’t think it’s condescending to say “I can’t imagine”.  

I am in the UK so we do get maternity leave, paternity or split parental leave, and i’m aware it’s not a choice that US bees make to go back to work at 6/8 weeks post partum.  For me it’s not ‘I can’t imagine’ how you could leave your child or anything like that, and more ‘I can’t imagine’ living in a society with an elected government that doesn’t value that particular social issue. I also ‘can’t imagine’ the arguments against maternity leave more than anything. 

I absolutely think daycare is beneficial for children, for a number of different reasons, but I don’t think it’s a benefit (I’m not saying it’s a negative) from when the child is basically a newborn.

Post # 27
Member
1034 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

It’s the worst. I was lucky enough (I guess) to not go back until my son was 14 weeks old but even that was devastating. He was in daycare 2 days a week for 9 months until my dad retired. My husband and I don’t have any days off together so that one of us is almost always with DS. We don’t have as much time together as a family as we’d like, but I go in early and leave work early on the days my husband is home so we have more time together. 

As for getting ready, on the days my husband is off, obviously its easy to get ready since he’s on baby duty. (Note: DS is now 18 months and sleeps 12+ hours a night so life is much easier now!)

On the days we both work, Darling Husband gets up before me, showers, wakes me up, and waits to leave for work until I’m ready just in case our son wakes up. My dad now comes to the house to watch our son, but this is also how we used to handle the days when I had to take my son to daycare. I’d get ready while my husband was still home, then go get my son ready.

It’s hard and it sucks but we have no choice. I hope and pray maternity leave will get better before we eventually have another kid, but I doubt it will.

Post # 28
Member
6660 posts
Bee Keeper

My children are teens now and the early years are a bit of a blur (to be honest, they were a bit of a blur while I was living them as well.) I’ve always worked for small businesses with barely a vacation let alone maternity leave. I was back part-time with my first at two weeks old, taking him with me. It seems crazy now but we do what we have to do. When you really don’t have a choice you find a way.

I Boyfriend or Best Friend my first for nine months, my second for seven and my third for only six, pumping at work and pumping/dumping while traveling on business to keep my supply up. There is a huge “Mommy Tax” in the US. 

Post # 29
Member
574 posts
Busy bee

In Ireland & here the government pays a certain amount, I think it’s approx. €800 per month for 6 months. In my case this will be paid to my employer and they will pay the balance of my salary. After the 6 months there’s an option of 6 further months unpaid, no contribution from government or employer so that’s optional. Additionally you can take your unused annual leave and public holidays which is paid. In my case I get 25 annual leave days then 10 public holiday days so even if you only take the minimum 6 months, you still can have additional 7 weeks paid so a baby tends to be approx. 8months before heading into crèche. Although a lot of places over here won’t take babies till they’re a year! So it’s a catch 22. 

Post # 30
Member
9435 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I agree the whole “I can’t imagine / OMG how do you do it” lines feel condescending. Sorry. I mean would you say that to someone living in poverty while you lived in a nice upper class house? It just sounds shitty IMO.

We do it because we have to. There is no other choice if you want to have your job back.

Darling Husband and I waited until we were financially stable with good solid jobs before we had dd. He’s an amazing support person. I don’t think we’ve been more than 5 minutes late to work since she was born, it just becomes routine. We try to both shower before she gets up but otherwise we just rotate who is doing what.

Dd is 19 months and I still nurse her twice a day. I went to daycare on my lunch hour when she was younger to nurse as well (very lucky that I work close by).

We don’t plan on having another until she is close to going into pre-K so we don’t have to pay 2x daycare costs.

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