The “Year of Family” Plan:
Starting on July 1st I will be at home on maternity leave with my husband, my son and our baby (due July 4th). I will be on maternity leave for 14 months (one entire school year). This is a very new concept for me. This will the longest I will go without going to some form of “job” (where I go to a place that pays me) since I was seventeen. I will be co-parenting with my husband in a way that neither of us has really done up until now. We will be living on a budget that is similar to what we lived on when I started teaching and my husband was in grad school – except we now have a mortgage and two children. It’s an exciting time, an amazing opportunity, and a challenge that we look forward to taking on!
Why are you doing this?
When I tell people my plan to take a year of maternity leave, many are surprised, but then they realize that it could make sense. I have an entire year to be with my baby. I won’t have to pump at work to keep nursing. It is also more common for people to take extended maternity leave for their second child. The natural follow-up question people have is “so, is the G-man (my husband) going back to work?” The answer is no, and that seems to blow their minds. I will be paid for a few months until I use up my sick leave, but then we will be living very cheaply off our savings, and that is the part that people seem most surprised by.
It is true that we will need to adjust our lifestyle significantly for these next 14 months in order to make this “Year of Family” work. However, we are not just doing this so that I can take care of a baby, or take a “break” from work. In fact, as anyone with a baby knows “taking a break” while taking care of a baby is a complete oxymoron! So, why did we chose to spend these next 14 months living on the cheap with all of us home? It is because we had the opportunity to be a family together in a way that we will probably never get again. Most people I know don’t get to be home with their spouse (let alone their kids) for this much time until they are retired, and at that point the kids are usually out of the house. We are lucky to be in a position where we have the financial means, the job situation and a due date that make it reasonable and possible for us to have this time as a true family of four, where the most important thing we have to think about for this time is each other. It is truly a unique opportunity, and I feel incredibly excited to be able to take advantage of it.
What this means for us:
As mentioned above, we are going to make some serious changes in our family lifestyle in order to make these next 14 months really work. A large part of this involves us living incredibly cheaply, and going without some of the luxuries that we have become accustomed to. However, since this is a relatively temporary situation, I see this as a chance to learn how to live more creatively, to explore what we are capable of when we need to make things for ourselves, to develop a new appreciation for the simpler things in life, and to learn to be “homemakers” in a new way.
I hope you follow us along our journey! I will be posting every day of these 14 months (starting in June to get warmed up) and keeping you updated on what delicious vegan meals we are eating, and what money we are spending (and also saving!) Every day I will also include some family updates, tips for vegan living (and cheap living) or my thoughts on parenting, veganism and more! You can also follow along on my Money Details page to see how our budget is working overall, and what adjustments we make along the way.
Enjoy watching and reading as the Year of Family unfolds!!