It is not unheard of for a husband/father/spouse to take parental leave, in fact I have known a few individuals who have taken the full allowable time off of work to help with the first year of their child’s life as their spouse either was not working or was not eligible for time off. I’m not entirely sure about the rest of the world, but here in Canada, BC more specific, the mother first takes 16 weeks of Maternity leave and then has up to 35 additional weeks of Parental leave. This works out to be about a full-year worth of leave to where one spouse can be with their newly born child. Each parent, I believe, can take Parental leave but the total amount of time taken cannot exceed those 35 weeks.
In my case, my wife was on LTD (Long Term Disability) for the beginning of her Maternity leave which dug into her Parental leave. This left 10 weeks that she could not take herself but I was eligible for. It is the first time and most likely the last time that I would be given the opportunity to take leave for this amount of time. It would also help with our childcare situation as well; 10 weeks where I could be at home while my wife jumps straight back into her 12-hour shifts.
What To Do?
Our situation is a bit different because of my wife’s shift work as she will be only working every second weekend and for three 12-hour night shifts in a row. This means we will be together a fair amount during this 10 week time so it shouldn’t be as scary as it seemed to me at first.
So what does one do on Parental leave? Well for starters, we wanted to potty train our son, as it’s about time. So we’ve been working on that and while my wife has been at work, I haven’t left the sanctuary of our home! To not drive me insane, I’ve tried to set up the backyard as best I can during these hot summer days.
It may not be a glamorous looking backyard, in fact a wee bit messy. We have one of those Broadstone portable gazebos, the kind that folds up and can be moved about. We bought it for when my wife and I went camping in Jasper and Banff. I thought it be a good way to provided some shade as our backyard has none so I’ve recently set it up. I also went out and bought a $20 6′ diameter kiddie pool so we could cool off when needed. Our neighbour has a in-ground pool but when I’m alone with the two kids, I don’t feel safe enough to take both of them swimming. So what better way to help beat the heat than a small little pool! My siblings and I usually had one of these while we grew up.
So with 10 weeks of Parental leave, what other things can we expect to do? Well I hope to do some day trips to places we normally cannot get to because of me being at work 5-days a week. Places I’d like to go to are places like, Othello Tunnels, Alexandra Bridge, we’re planning on hitting Slash Down Park before it closes for good. I’d like to hit up the local lakes like Buntzen, or Hayward or my wife has suggested Chilliwack Lake. We will also perhaps look at going camping with the kids for the first time. Perhaps for a night or two.
Even though I have 10 weeks, I bet it will go by really fast so I hope to make the most out of it!