Saturday, February 11, 2012

My big fear...back to work...coming too soon!

Who wants to go back to work after 50 weeks of Mat Leave? Not me! Unlike many people, I despise our society when it comes to family values! Maybe it's because of some bad experiences at work, or because my own values changed drastically when my son was born, but looking at some statistics found online (See the Work and Family Foundation of Canada), I don't think I am the only one.

My view on certain issues regarding working and raising a family took a drastic change when my first Maternity Leave came to an end. Connor was 10 months old, and that very Monday in October, he had kept us up all night with Croup Cough, been to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario the day before, and had to go back that same evening. All my colleagues were either sick or on vacation and I had to do literally everything at the office, by myself, on my first day after being gone for 50 weeks. And not to mention I was 6 weeks pregnant with Deirdre. It didn't start very well! And that entire week was hell, with Connor sick, and little chances of taking time off. I burned myself out right then and there.

 My department advertises itself as offering flexible work schedules...but in my case, I had to fight to move my shift from 9 to 5, down to 8 to 4...and even that was not working for me. Never would my manager have allowed me to do some Telework, but some of his favourite little puppets were allowed.

My situation is far from being that isolated. Many people face similar issues when working whilst having to care for pre-school age children. I hear sometimes of countries where parental leave is 5 years! If that is paid decently, that should be the case EVERYWHERE!  How I wish Canada was one of those countries. Or at least, that a mother coming back to work be given a gradual return, telework opportunities, reduced hours, real flexible schedules, more family related leave to care for kids too ill to go to daycare...and even better, you should have a real good subvention to be a stay at home parent.

I believe in this day an age, there should be more options in terms of work schedules. Why would 40 hours a week be suitable for every one? Its not suitable for me! Ideally, I would not start work before 9:00 am and would be back home by 4:00 pm. And that, Monday to Thursday. Two day weekends when you miss your kids is not long enough.

Also, I would make it so working while pregnant would be only by personal choice, not by financial necessity. I worked up till I was 33 weeks pregnant and had to start Mat Leave due to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion...and guess what, I got myself a nice little "postpartum depression" afterwards. Thanks Society, I really needed that!

I calculated for one day, how a normal work day is divided in North America:
8 hours of sleep
8 hours at work with strangers not related to you.
2 hours to commute from home to work and vice versa (including dropping kids off at daycare)
1 hour for errands and other chores
2 hours for eating meals
1 hour for preparing meals
2 hours for personal time (that means to play with your kids and to relax yourself...)

And than you wonder why people sacrifice hours of sleep to have more time for themselves...and sacrifice meal time, meal preparation, chores, to spend more time with kids.
And then you wonder why people are sleep deprived, suffer from burn outs, chronic fatigue...

Really, where is our society going you think?


Lupie said...

Thank you for following my blog. Now that I am taking care of two grand babies 3 months and 16 months I don't post much on it but hope to start again soon. My daughter both had to go back to work after a short leave and I went back to work 6 weeks after each daughter. Being a working mom is the hardest job in the world. I do what I can to make it easier for my girls but at 60 it is hard for me just to get through the day. I wish you the bet going back to work.

C&D's Maman said...

Thank you so much! I love knitting and try to make time for it but it's hard. Going back to work will make it even harder! Congrats on the grandchildren! And thanks for following my blog!