Saturday 28 March 2015

Sharing is caring

My funny family 

This morning I had one of those experiences of shared parenting that reminded me how unequal it really can be at times. I came back from my early swim and we had a small window of time for me to get ready then take the boy to pre-school while Hubbie did some attic stuff at home. I got home and Hubbie assured me that the boy was ready to go. I asked if he would make sure that the boy had shoes and a coat on while I did a few things.

So, in the following 20 minutes I:
  • Put the kettle on for a cup of green tea and cracked eggs into a bowl for scrambled egg
  • While the kettle boiled I put out the recycling into three separate bins
  • Hung up my wet swimming kit 
  • Went upstairs to sort out some washing - realised the trousers I was wearing needed a wash 
  • Tried on three different pairs of jeans before deciding on the ones to wear
  • Came back downstairs, put on the washing machine, stirred scrambled egg 
  • Put washing into machine, followed by washing liquid, conditioner and water softener tablet
  • Ate the egg and poured tea into hot mug to take with me as I didn't have time to drink it 
What did the boys get done in this time ?:
  • I asked if the boy had socks on - he did not
I mention this because sometimes however much you want to share parenting it's unequal. Up until now the arrangements for parental leave to care for children has been unequal. When our boy was born I was entitled to a year off work, but Hubbie was only entitled to two weeks. With annual leave he was able to take long weekends to be with us for the first few months, but that was exceptional compared with most of our friends. The leave allowances for families have been pretty unevenly weighed in favour of one partner, usually the mother. I don't even know how this works for same sex couples with families, but I guess one partner would take the full leave allowance and the other would get the same two weeks as my Hubbie had. What it meant was that Hubbie was not there when he wanted to be as his work did not allow for him to spend as much time with our new son as he would have liked.

All that is about to change as parents will now have greater flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth. New regulations regarding Shared Parental Leave (SPL) will come into force from April 2015, when parents will have greater choice over how they share time off work to care for their child. Shared Parental Leave allows working couples to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay in a way that suits their work and family needs. This would have meant that me and Hubbie could have shared the leave between us instead of it being only one of us who was allowed to take it. The new regulations mean that parents can take time off together or they can tag team, stopping and starting leave and returning to work in between if they wish. It also applies to adoption leave which is great news. 

Having the option to spend time with your children should not be only given to one parent. Not everyone has the Brad and Angelina option of taking their kids along with them wherever in the world they are working. It also helps that they have the resources to hire a gaggle of nannies and private tutors too. Most of us have to rely on family or childminders and nurseries to support our parenting. We genuinely co-parent and have from the very beginning. We don't have any family nearby and had to do all the work ourselves. These changes will hopefully enable parents to share the time and enjoy that first year when so many exciting things happen in our children's lives.

Marking a milestone with my boy 

1 comment:

  1. I am pleased you had a father who wants to be involved. I think society does not realise just how many families carry out sometimes struggling without a big support system in place and that parenting is way easier if you do have relatives and friends to call upon.