Wins and Woes is our community newsletter — a place for your stories and questions, where you can connect directly with other ParentData readers. A new issue is sent out every Saturday through the ParentData newsletter. To join the conversation, please sign up for a free subscription to ParentData.
We’re back with three of your stories and a question about staying in a job with a horrible family-leave policy.
Before we begin, it’s Pride Month, and to celebrate, we’d like to hear from our LGBTQIA+ community members who are parenting, trying to conceive, or navigating big family decisions. We want to hear your wins, woes, and questions! Send an email to email@example.com — with a photo, if you’re comfortable — and we’ll share some responses in a future community newsletter.
After-work drinks with my toddler
Yesterday, when I picked up my almost-4-year-old from day care, she asked if we could go to the cider restaurant (this is her term for our local hard-cider taphouse that also has a coffee shop). It had been a long workday, but I said yes. We spent the next hour with her coloring while eating some cookies and I got to enjoy an adult beverage and read. It was a turning-point moment when I realized I can do happy hour with my child and it is a relaxing experience, rather than complete chaos. Here’s hoping we can make this a weekly occurrence.
My mother-in-law excessively touches and kisses my under-one-month-old baby. I specifically stated I wanted hands washed if going to touch the baby and absolutely no kissing. Not sure if my husband actually relayed this message clearly prior to her arrival, but it doesn’t really matter because she has a history of not respecting boundaries, and I am angry with myself for not advocating for and speaking up to her myself. I did finally say something as I was taking the baby in for the night. I have a hard time sticking firmly to my boundaries and it’s something I am trying to work on, but I feel like I suck at it still.
Hide and seek
My 2- and 4-year-old boys have recently discovered hide and seek. The other day after dinner, things were feeling a tad chaotic and my patience was wearing thin, when they asked me to lock them in the front closet “to hide.” I got five minutes of total silence and a chance to pee alone!
This week’s reader question
I’m 35 and finally in a place in life where we can have a baby, logistically and financially. But my job has a horrible family-leave policy. They only offer two weeks of paid leave, and while you can use some short-term disability if you’re the birthing parent, it’s not all fully paid, which will be hard for me since I’m the primary wage earner. Some people at my job are pushing for a better leave policy, but that’s very uncertain. I’ve also heard many women have negotiated under-the-table deals.
I am so stressed about this. I have started banking vacation time, but that means I won’t be able to take a day off for more than a year, and then I won’t accrue any more days while I’m on leave. That’s more than two years with no days off. I knew about this terrible policy before I took this new job, but for a host of other reasons, I needed to take this opportunity.
What do people suggest I do? Get pregnant and risk negotiating a deal? I don’t want to do that — I want a policy every employee can use. Look for a new job asap? I like this job for many other reasons. Wait to get pregnant? I’ve already waited as long as I can, it feels like. My boss claims to be pro-family-leave, but I can’t talk to her about this because I worry it could impact my getting a promotion. This is such classic America. Please help.