Shared Parental Leave | The End

Shared Parental Leave | The End

I can’t quite believe it but our shared parental leave adventure has now come to an end. This morning my husband returned to work after seven weeks of shared parental leave {SPL}. To say the house is empty is an understatement. It was all very odd when the alarm went off. I swear that Bump has even noticed that Daddy is not around. If you have just found my little blog {hello, welcome!}, or if you have missed some of my previous shared parental leave updates, then please click here to read about our journey from the start.

 

What an experience

Regular readers will know that when my husband, W, first floated the idea of shared parental leave I was not impressed. Rather embarrassingly, I was a tiny bit selfish. I didn’t want to share my maternity leave at all.

What was I thinking?

For a starter, just because I gave birth to Bump, why does that give me the right to believe I should have exclusivity in looking after Bump on a daily basis for the first year? Why did I think it was appropriate for me to deny W the opportunity to bond with our son and help out in raising him? In an age of equality, my “no way kiddo” approach to the idea of shared parental leave, was rather outdated.

I appreciate that shared parental leave won’t work for everyone but, boy, I am so glad that we took the plunge. The last seven weeks have given my little family some amazing moments and experiences. More importantly {as we mentioned here}, shared parental leave has given W the opportunity to properly bond with Bump. By his own admission, W says he now fully appreciates the role that the stay at home mum plays.

There have been so many highlights. However, it has been the little moments that I have treasured the most. The way Bump looks at W as he reads him a bedtime story. The fits of giggles I have heard as Bump and W have been playing together. The chance for W to be there on the day that Bump finally rolled from his back to his tummy. It is those little moments that I will treasure the most. Although, it has been lovely having an extra pair of hands around the home!

I am going to ask W to return to blog about his feelings having undertaking shared parental leave. I hope we can get something up in the next week or so.

 

Thinking about shared parental leave?

If you are pregnant and are thinking about shared parental leave I have one bit of advice. In the words of that great American sportswear company “JUST DO IT”. I promise that you will not regret the decision.

Yes I have had to forgo part of my maternity leave but boy am I glad that I did. There is no doubt in my mind, that mine and W’s relationship has become a lot stronger as a result of SPL. Our parenting style has matured and W and Bump have had the chance to properly bond. W has also had the opportunity to experience lots of those baby firsts. Without SPL, W would not have been at home to experience those first. If we have another baby, I would be more than willing to give W even more shared parental leave.

We are fortunate that W’s employer offers an enhanced shared parental leave policy. In fact, since W went on shared parental leave, his employer has introduced a further enhanced policy which now sees equality between maternity and paternity leave!

I have banged on enough {even on national TV} about the need for more employers to offer enhanced shared parental leave policies so I won’t really hammer the point again {much}. What I will say though is this. If you are sat reading this thinking you would love to do the SPL thing but your partner’s work only offer the statutory SPL policy then get your partner to question it. It is only by getting employers talking about SPL are we going to see a change in SPL policies and a move towards equality around paternity/maternity leave. If we achieve equality then it will, hopefully, lead to better protection of mum’s when they return to work. This graph {from Denmark} will, hopefully, become a thing of the past. I am sure we can all agree that it is wrong, that because a woman has a baby, her career is directly affected as a result.

 

What Next

W will be back with a post reflecting on his shared parental leave experience in a couple of weeks. We are also going to try and keep raising awareness of shared parental leave. I am not quite sure how we are going to do that but I am sure we will work something out. If you have any ideas do let us know!

I still have a couple of months of maternity leave. My first full week back at work, W is going to be taking a weeks holiday in order to look after Bump before he starts at nursery. Talking of nursery, what a minefield that is. I am in the middle of drafting a nursery selection post as I thought my experience may be of interest.

Please feel free my lovelies to comment and ask questions about shared parental leave below. If you haven’t read any of my other shared parental leave posts, then please do by clicking here. If you have enjoyed the shared parental leave posts, please do stick around. I suggest that you subscribe to our weekly Birth of a Mummy newsletter. That way you get a little bit of BOAM loveliness into your inbox each week without having to remember to visit the blog.

Penny x

 

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