Post # 1
I’m looking for some advice on how to split my husband’s and my parental leave after we have our first baby. We are both very fortunate to get 12 weeks paid parental leave. I also have the option to take additional weeks as disability leave, where I get paid only about half of my salary (still probably twice as much as daycare costs).
I would like to spread out our leave so that we have some time with us both on leave together when the baby is first born, and then take some leave separately to maximize the time before we have to put him in daycare (and also to give us both time to bond separately with the baby and get confident taking care of him alone).
For those of you who’ve had children, how much time would you recommend we take together? I’m thinking maybe 4-6 weeks? Of course I have no idea how delivery will go. Then I’m thinking I would take the rest of my leave, and then my husband take the rest of his, so that we have a total of 18-20 weeks before we are both back at work.
Based on your experience (and I know everyone is different!): is it enough time together before I’m on my own? Should I take those first 4-6 weeks as disability so we can further extend our total time off? Will I want to take all my leave at once, or should I also go back in the middle (would mean I get less far behind/out of touch at work)? We will have some flexibility to change things once we’re in the thick of it, but we need to at least have a plan both for our jobs and for signing up for daycare.
Believe me, I am very grateful that we are fortunate enough to have these questions in the first place! Parental leave in the US sucks, but luckily our industries are much better than average.
Post # 2
I would take only the first two weeks together and then have your husband go back to work while you finish out your leave to maximize the time before you put the little one into daycare. I initially planned to take off only 12 weeks but ended up taking off almost five months because he was still so demanding and little and I wasn’t ready to leave him. If you can take more than 12 weeks I would do it and have your husband finish his leave whenever you are ready to go back to work.
Post # 3
Mrs.N : If it is at all feasible, I would definitely take as much disability time as possible. And I would do it differently than PP. I would do at least 4 weeks together (so, 4-6 weeks while you’re on disability leave), then do your paid 12 weeks while he goes back to work, then let him finish out his remaining 6-8 weeks. Have you confirmed that he’ll be able to split his and there’s no requirement that it be taken immediately after the birth?
Post # 4
Mrs.N : we took the first 3 weeks together (the plan was 2 but she came early and over a holiday so it just worked out that way) and I was home for 5 months. At the end of my leave we overlapped another 2 weeks and then he was home and on his own for another 8 weeks or so. Best. Decision. Ever. It extended the time so she wasn’t in daycare until just over 6 months old AND you really get appreciative of what the other spouse’s experience is being at home vs being at the office.
Post # 5
I’d go with 2-3 together, then have your husband go back and you do the rest of your leave, then he does his remaining leave when yours is up.
The first couple of weeks is definitely rough and it will be good to have him around while you both get accustomed to feeding, sleeping etc. I’d say by 3 weeks I had a good handle on things and was ok while my husband was at work. Unless he has some really wild work hours like he’ll be gone 16 hours a day, he can still help when he’s home so you can shower, eat, etc alone while he takes over baby duty (or does some cleaning if baby is sleeping!)
Post # 6
I had ~7 months of leave and dh took ~6 and we did them concurrently. We considered tag teaming it but LO wasn’t an easy baby and we both just really wanted the other’s help (and company!). But if we really had to switch off, I would’ve at least wanted the first 2 months together. But like I said, LO was pretty difficult to handle, barely napped, and had thrush—I imagine less time would be doable with an easier baby.
Post # 7
My husband and I each had 3 months of leave, his paid and mine was the stipend offered by the state (so unpaid by my work). My husband took a little under 2 weeks off when our daughter was born. At 12 weeks I went back part time for a month then transitioned to fulltime. My husband started watching our daughter part time when I went back, then finished up his leave fulltime. Even at just under 6 months I didn’t want to put her in daycare, so we got a nanny. I know that’s not an option for everyone, but it made things a lot easier on all of us.
For me the most important thing was to push childcare out until she was as old as possible. Being home alone with her at two weeks old was really not that bad. All newborns do is eat, sleep and poop. My husband handled 90% of housework until she was a bit older and I could get some things besides a load of laundry done during the day. We also ate a lot of takeaway in the beginning.
Post # 8
- Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre
I have 12 months maternity leave and my husband has 35 weeks. He took 4 weeks and has decided to take time off as needed
Post # 9
I’d do two weeks together (maybe three of its your first baby), then have him go back, and then when your leave is up, have him take his. Especially if you’re breastfeeding- it’s a lot easier for you to be home for the first couple of months. Congratulations!
Post # 10
I think this is very person and baby dependent. I had 18 weeks fully paid. I took 12 weeks, then used my last 6 weeks to work part time (3 days per week) for several months. This was actually my boss’s idea, as he knew I was struggling on leave. I was lonely and bored (I’m a lawyer and as much as a loved my daughter, I need more mental stimulation). And my daughter was super colicky and never napped. It was pretty brutal. Using the rest of my leave to be part time was amazing – I got back to work, but I also got time with my daughter when she was older and way more fun. I’m pregnant now and plan to do the same thing again.
My husband, also a lawyer, technically had 12-16 weeks off paid (I don’t remember exactly), but he was trying to make partner at the time and didn’t want to take more than 2 weeks off. If he had taken more time it would have been WAY better for me because like I said, I was lonely and bored.
I’d say keep your options open (for both of you) as you much as possible, since you’ll never know how you guys will feel.
And congratulations! Also, if you struggle during the newborn / infant stage, don’t worry: it gets SO much better. I kind of hated having a little baby, but my 18 month old is the best thing on the planet. She is SO fun!
Post # 11
I had 12 weeks paid (well, with sick days), and Darling Husband was able to take four weeks (also paid). So we were home together the first four weeks, then I was alone for the remaining eight. I loved having that time together just the three of us. And it was so helpful.
So if your Darling Husband is able to split his leave, I’d do 2-4 weeks home together, have him go back to work, then use the remainder of his leave when yours is up.
Post # 12
I’m taking 16 weeks of leave total. My husband is taking 2 weeks with me when baby is first born and then taking another 6 weeks after I go back to work. We wanted baby out of daycare as long as possible. We do live close to my parents and my Mom is retired so if I need help during the day after he goes back she can come over and help me out.
Post # 13
You have to take that disability pay when you’re actually disabled. Like your doctor will need to sign off on it or the company won’t cover it.
So yes I would take that immediately and then take your regular paid leave after that ends.
I would also double check that your company is okay with you taking more than the 12 weeks. If you are covered by FMLA, that’s only good for 12 weeks and the rest is up to your employer’s discretion.
Ideally I’d take 4 weeks off together. You take disability pay for the first 6-8 weeks (depends on vaginal or csection). Then take your 12 weeks of paid leave. Then have your husband take his remaining 8 weeks after that.
Post # 14
I’ve got 12 months paid leave (canada) but my husband works for himself so he had no insurable hours thus no option for parental leave (which sucks). But if we had the option I would’ve done the first six months and let him take the last six.
Hubby did however take the maximum he could (two weeks) when she was first born to be with us because it’s hard for him to play catch up when he’s not working.
I don’t recommend taking disability leave if you aren’t disabled as you may encounter a time in the future when you need it if something happens and you really are disabled ie. a car accidental, mental breakdown etc.