I saw the Mother’s Day clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and it was such a great reminder of how good we have it in Canada as moms. Sure we still get puked on, woken up countless times and get hit and yelled at over the simplest things. But we are able to stay at home with our babies, spend that precious time with them and form a special bond without losing our job or having no income when we’ve just added another member to our family to feed and clothe.
When I search for a list of maternity leaves, I struggle to find consistent information. Huffington Post puts Canada in the top 5 and from my experience, I think they’re pretty accurate.
Huffington Post writes:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 55 per cent at 17 weeks for maternity leave, and the additional 35 weeks can be taken by either parent. Wages also depend on province.
In Canada, you get 55% of your income (which gets capped for really high incomes) for a year and if your company is large enough, your position is held for you. If you work for a large, supportive company, they often top your salary off and pay the 45% so you get your full salary for a year if you definitely return to the company after your year is up. So if you have a good job at a large company, with a good employer, you can enjoy your regular income while taking in the first year of motherhood hands on! Canada is also great for giving fathers options to take paid leave to stay at home with a newborn. That’s awesome!
I am so grateful for this, although I never went back to work outside of our home, I can’t imagine, as a new mom, having to go back to work within a few weeks of giving birth. First of all, ouch! No matter how you deliver, you need time to heal. You’re figuring out how to breastfeed, which took me over a month to master with my little guy! You’re exhausted from getting up during the night for feedings. Instead of sleeping when baby sleeps, you’re off making a living! In most cases, you will have to send your infant to a childcare facility. Before becoming a parent, before meeting your child, you have to decide the right place where your child is going to spend probably 50 hours a week, with a stranger. You’ll have less time to prepare homemade baby food or organize healthy meals. You’ll probably be less likely to continue breastfeeding as pumping at work isn’t always convenient!
When my husband and I took a prenatal class, I remember the nurse teaching the course said that Canada gives 1 year of leave to encourage mother’s to breastfeed for the first year of baby’s life because breastmilk and all the other benefits of a parent being at home for that first year is so important for the baby’s health that it’s worth the government giving us a year, just based on the money they save on healthcare.
We are so blessed to see the rapid changes a baby goes through in the first year, the first sounds they babble, the first words they blurt out. We have the privilege to be there when they roll over, crawl for the first time and take their first steps. That’s such an amazing gift!
If you live in a country that provides paid leave, try to enjoy every moment. When you’re at your wits end and feel like you’re going to go crazy from spending so much time with your little one (we’ve all been there!) try to think of how fortunate we still are to have this time, even if it is exhausting. Being a mother is the most exhausting and fulfilling job I’ve ever done and I’m so thankful that I live in a country that has allowed me to do it full-time, without having to juggle a second job.
If you’re a mom living in a country that doesn’t provide paid leave, my heart goes out to you when you have to leave your infant so soon. My hat goes off to you for juggling a newborn and a career. You are a superstar and an awesome mom! I hope you were spoilt this past Sunday!