When I was seventeen weeks pregnant I visited friends in Greece for two weeks. And when I came home Kirsty cooked me a very nice dinner and then sheepishly told me that whilst I was away, the nursery that she had been working in had been shut down by Ofsted and she no longer had a job.
How did I react? I laughed. And then I ate dessert.
It had come at a rather inconvenient time as we planning to move from one side of London to the other just two months later, so she couldn’t find a replacement job before the move. And then we intended for her to stay at home to prepare the house for the babies and to prepare herself for being a stay-at-home mother.
I’m sure that our neighbours found it terribly odd, watching me at nine months pregnant – with twins, no less – get myself up and trudge into work every morning which Kirsty stayed home. But it worked for us. And then the babies were born and we enjoyed a glorious three months of all of us at home, together.
Truth be told I could have had my caesarean section and then trudged into the office the next day – I’m one of those lucky bunnies who took Ibuprofen for a few days then was back to normal – but three months at home with my family was a glorious thing. It gave ample opportunity for supporting my partner in her role as stay-at-home mum, for fetching shopping and helping with the logistics whilst she wrangled the infants. It let me get up in the nights without fretting at having to be up at the crack of dawn in order to go into work. Those three months were precious to me.
For us, it seemed fair from the beginning that if Kirsty were to relinquish a biological claim over her children, she should be the one to stay at home and raise them. We are fortunate to be able to cope – just – on one salary.
I feel strongly that the better stay-at-home parent should be able to stay at home with their babies, regardless of who birthed them.
Citrix GoToMeeting provided me with the following infographic that illustrates how shared parental leave will work. Although it’s aimed toward heterosexual couples it applies to all families where both parents are legally recognised as such.
This is a collaborative post.