We might be able to get it down to $2,000/month if my mom will watch the littlest one twice a week, but there's no getting around the fact day care is a fortune. I can understand how if you were in a job just to pay the bills, rather than a career you enjoyed and worked hard for, the decision to stay home would seem like a no-brainer. I also think women in the States who are forced to choose between going back at 6 weeks or quitting are facing a rather barbaric choice. Six weeks is awfully early to take a mom from her baby for 8 hours a day. There's no way to talk about this subject without sounding defensive and offending 50% of the audience, but that's the story of my life, so oh well.
We get a year's maternity leave in Canada - NOT fully paid unless you work in the public sector and get a top-up that the rest of us unlucky schmucks fund through our taxes - you're welcome (damn, I said I wouldn't be rude in this post!!). The government allows you to collect a miniscule amount of unemployment insurance, which resulted in a 3-hour crying fit for me six years ago when I discovered EI wasn't 55% of your actual salary, but was capped at a level so low that I'd be receiving approximately 30% of my normal paycheque.
This bumped our plans for kids back several years and was one of the few times I've been angry that I make double my husband's salary. I kept thinking if we had traditional gender roles, none of this would be an issue. I felt irrationally like the government was punishing me as a woman for being financially successful (really I don't make that much - this sounds like I'm Ivanka Trump or something), and it was a shock for a late 70's baby who takes male/female equality for granted.
I will not digress into a tirade about our wretched chauvinistic prime minister who wants us all barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, and continues to enact policies to make this happen and undo much of the progress that had been made (goodbye national day care...maybe if no day care is available, all the women will get out of their offices and go back home where they belong). Oh Barack, Canada needs you too! Suffice it to say, the accountant in me doesn't understand how the same household income for two ordinary middle-class families can receive such drastically different treatment when kids enter the picture, depending on whether the woman or man makes more money.
So money played a role in my decision to take only six months of the year's leave I could have taken. However, the main issue was that I'm not mentally capable of caring for a small child for extended periods of time. By month five I was so miserable I regularly considered asking work if they would let me come back early. The first eight weeks were a horrifying blur of post-partum depression during which I essentially disassociated from myself in order to cope with daily life. My medical assistance was increased and that helped, but Beaming Blissful Baby Mama I am not.
And that's OK. Parenthood doesn't consist of just the first year, and not enjoying 24/7 infant care doesn't mean you don't love your baby or that you're a bad mother. Some would disagree, and all I can say to that is: Welcome to Fawk You Friday.