Couples who don’t get maternity leave plan how to work with a newborn

  • I work 60 hours a week to make enough money to pay the bills.
  • I’m eight months pregnant and as a freelancer I don’t get parental leave.
  • My husband and I set a schedule that allows us both to work while we have the baby at home.

When I thought about getting pregnant and having my first child, I imagined my life would be in a different place than it is now. I figured I would own a home, be financially stable as a successful entrepreneur, and be able to take a few months or even a year off work to be a parent to a newborn.

I am currently eight months pregnant and none of this has come true. Instead, I live in a 50-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment, am an entrepreneur, and work 60 hours a week to make enough money to pay my share of the bills, and neither my partner nor I have parental leave to rely on when the baby comes

While this isn’t our ideal situation, it is the reality that we’ve spent the last eight months planning. We both want and need to continue working after the birth. So, in order to earn our income and raise our newborn, we plan to share the responsibilities of having a baby equally.

Set a work schedule for the week

As a full-time entrepreneur, my schedule for the week is quite varied. Some weeks I have dozens of phone calls, other weeks I have none and spend my hours on the computer. My husband, who has a full-time job in marketing, has a more predictable weekly schedule.

In order to break up the working days as evenly as possible, we have decided that we will get together every Sunday and create a schedule for the week and include the weekends as days when one of us can work if needed. If I take Monday, Wednesday and Friday off to take care of the newborn, he takes care of the baby on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday so that I can work.

On days when we can both work, one of us will take the early baby care shift and the other the afternoon shift.

Divide the hours of the day

One of the best tips a friend of mine with three kids gave me is that she and her partner split their non-working hours in a way that’s as equal as possible.

One of us plans to take care of the baby from 4am to 9am while the other sleeps, works or uses the time for other purposes, and then the other takes the after-work shift from 6am to 11pm while the other person does that hours at will.

Dividing the day like this allows both of us to establish a routine and have equal amounts of free time before or after work. As we want to remain flexible, we are also planning a version of this where we create shorter shifts so that everyone can use a morning and an evening break.

assign tasks

When it comes to chores, my partner and I have a good system where we are each responsible for our own chores and chores depending on what we like to do or are better at. I manage the apartment cleaning on Sunday afternoons and the preparation of lunch for the week. My partner is responsible for the laundry and dinner preparation for the week.

Because each of us knows what’s on our to-do list, we can do the chores ourselves without arguments or the feeling that one person is doing more than the other.

We plan to do the same with a newborn. Once the baby is here and we can decide how to divide the chores evenly, we make a list of who does what (bathing, feeding, changing diapers, etc.).

It is important to note that while each person knows what they are responsible for, the other person will often step in and help when needed or when they have free time.

Hire temporary workers

To be realistic about the time commitment, endless chores, and sleep deprivation that accompany the birth of a newborn, we also set aside a budget for hiring temporary workers, to which we both contributed equally.

While the cost of a night nurse or postpartum doula can be high, we’ve saved money to afford this two or three times a month and plan to step up during times when our two work schedules conflict to shore up this aid or we just need a break.

Jens Glantz is founder of Bridesmaid for hireA nonfiction authorand the creator of afraid of being a mother And The Monday pick-me-up Newsletter. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @Jeglanz

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