Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I was asked about support I'd have while doing this as a single parent. Here goes.

My family doesn't live close but that's okay. I'm sure they will come to visit sometime after the kids are born. Since I'm having twins, the due date is also very fluid and I don't think they can plan in advance when to travel. So I'm recommending they wait until after the birth. Honestly, with twins, I also want to get them onto their own cycles/schedules before people start to come visit. I'm going to look to a local twin expert for help. It's not that I don't love my family, it's just not practical.

I do have a great group of friends locally, some of the best that a person could ask for. Most are childless (by choice), although there are some parents of grown children and even some with grandchildren. I also have two friends with young infants who have already offered anything and everything that can be offered, including calls at any time of the day or night. Follow that with some amazing coworkers and round it out with a fabulous community building. I live in a condo complex that is a bit unlike many others. We are friends. We hang out. We won an award for the building that best exemplifies community. I am the 4th woman to get pregnant in the building this year. Some of my neighbors who know have already committed to walking my dogs should I be too stressed or if I have to go on bed rest.

I know from others 'who've been there, done that' that the nature of some my friendships will change. I wont be able to just drop everything and go hang out or come to the rescue or go out of town. I cant go drinking and dancing without advance planning for childcare. My life will change focus on the babies. Most of my friends wont care or change towards me but some will stop calling.

I know I'll also make new friends. There are many parent groups around. The local libraries all have baby days (and there are two within walking distance to me). There are theatres that do the mom and me screenings during the day. The community centers all have drop in and regular groups. I wont be alone.

Because I have such great and loving people around me all the time, emotional support is not my concern. Financial is a bit of a worry.

In Canada, we get maternity and paternity benefits up to a maximum of 50 weeks, plus a 2 week waiting period for a total of 12 months. I will do everything possible to take this full 12 months off to spend with the babies. This sounds great until you get into the amount that they will pay you and how much a person actually needs to live. The amount went up a tiny bit, has a small formula that says you can earn up to 55% of you income up to a MAXIMUM of $435 a week. Yup, that adds up to 1740 a month or 21,750 for the 50 weeks you get paid (and 2 unpaid). Uh yeah. Oh, and this is taxable income and if they decide, they can tax me at my regular salary rate which at the highest tax bracket and would give me less than nothing to live on.

The city I live in is not cheap. My salary is normally good enough to make up for it. This benefit is not enough. My mortgage, property taxes, condo fees, insurance and hydro come to just under 1,900 a month. So with this, I'm already in the hole. I'm going to assume that I'll want food now and again, the animals might want to eat, along with maybe a phone and oh, lets say the occasional other expense thrown in too. This means, to be able to stay home for the full 12 months, I'm going to need to have a minimum of 12,000 in savings first, or 1000 a month more than they are giving me. Plus I'm going to need to have enough left over at the end to prepay my first month of daycare/childcare/nanny etc. Okay, so maybe 12,000 is not enough. Crap. I am committed to spending the full 12 months at home. If I have to, I'll dig into my retirement savings (hopefully mutual funds will be in better shape by then). I would have more savings now but I've paid for 2 DE attempts this year, sucking my savings dry.

Oh, after the mat leave period, for the later part of my leave, the 35 week parental part, I am allowed to earn up to $50/week (woohoo). Of course, I'd have to be able to earn that while still caring for the babies myself since babysitting costs for twins would easily suck up that $50 or more.

So as you can see, emotional support I have aplenty. Financial support will be significantly harder. Maybe I can win the lottery. Of course to do that, I have to buy a ticket first.


Anonymous said...

I know all of this must be a lot to process and even be a little scary. we already know how much financial strain the ttc part causes us. I know you are a smart lady and you will find the best solution for you and the babies. I know it's easy for me to say but I think sometimes having the emotional support far out weighs the financial!! you will have the love and support of your friends and family to comfort you while you make important financial decisions. Just knowing that you can count on them will help you make the best decisions for your family based on what you want and not what you are forced to settle for!!

Whatever you decisions you make are the right decisions for you and your family!!!! I wish you all the best and I know you'll be just fine!!!


R said...

Thank you. I appreciate you putting it out there so boldly and just discussing it. It gives me hope that it can be done, single or partnered. So I thank you for that hope. I would totally help if you weren't in Canada! LOL!!
I think you got this!! Sounds like you are on the ball and moving strong. Good for you!!!

Anonymous said...

You know that me and the boy will do whatever we can to help from babysitting to lots of invites over for dinner (free meals) and if possible $$ help -maybe not the traditional way but where there is a will there is a way. While I may not be a parent - you know the other things I have on the go so not to worry life will not change for us by much. The whole gang is there for you!