I know nothing about Australian Politics but I do know this….

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My two reasons for EVERYTHING I do.

I’ve been on Maternity Leave since just before Christmas last year. It has been the most amazing, eye-opening experience. And that’s just the being a stay-at-home-mum part. I gave birth in February to my beautiful daughter and have been the primary carer for my two piplings ever since {my son is 5 next month}. While my husband works full time, I care for the kids, do kinder and childcare runs and all the “mundane” mum tasks. I, however, am relishing the experience because I never got this stay-at-home experience with my first child. It’s been too perfect for words to just be focusing on my new baby and making sure my son feels like he is {more than ever} my world.

Such a brilliant part of my leave, and one that has put my mind at ease and reduced stress levels is the fact that I was fortunate enough to be able to receive employer-funded maternity leave, as well as paid parental leave via the Government. It has meant that as well as taking up my new role as Mum of Two, I have also been able to still contribute in the same way financially to our household, which means a lot for my confidence, my identity and for my goals in life. I am woman, hear me roar!!!!

Thanks to the Government, my husband was lucky enough to receive the two weeks paid paternity leave to spend with us at home. It was time where he bonded with his new girl, spent time just being with his son {when he otherwise would’ve been hard at work} and giving me the much needed support in those early days with a newborn.

The hunt for our new PM will come to a head shortly and for Mums and parents everywhere, the Paid Parental Leave and Maternity Leave Schemes could be a deciding factor in where many votes lie on September 7th.

What has this paid leave meant to me? Everything. Most importantly, I have felt I have been able to combine my role as primary carer for my children with secondary income earner. Many families, for example those in a single income situation or for single mothers, may not have this opportunity. This precious time getting to know and bond with my new daughter has been a time I will remember for the rest of my days. And even with the 18 week scheme currently offered by our Government {it will grow to 26 weeks, if Abbott gets in}, I felt extremely lucky.

I can’t imagine that many couples who are considering starting a family or adding to their brood would look past Tony Abbott’s 26 Week Paid Parental Leave Scheme. You can read more about his plans for this scheme here. Some may not like him as Leader of our great country, but to me, family is my priority and if this scheme was to come into action, it would get my vote. Simple.

I put my family first and believe that it is such a fantastic opportunity for women to receive paid leave whilst caring for their young children. As well as providing much needed income at the time, the benefits include: having more time to secure a child care place/sort out childcare programs for when and if your child needs to enter care, women are less stressed upon re-entry into the workforce, women are more inclined to return to the same type of work they took leave from in the first place ({great for employers who want experienced employees} and apparently is much better for women financially when it comes to superannuation, retirement planning and time out of the workforce over the course of their careers.

According to Mr Abbott and his Gang,

“Of the more than 30 countries in the OECD offering a paid parental leave scheme, Australia is one of only two nations that fail to pay parental leave based on a replacement wage”

(Liberal Party, July 2013)

And under this scheme, a mother’s wage will be fully replaced, superannuation and all. Sounds good to me! Let’s hope the promises are delivered upon for all those hopeful parents with their fingers and toes crossed. It’s hard enough to create a baby for most couples, it’s seriously hard work to grow a baby then give birth. So then the ACTUAL hard yacka of raising and nurturing the child with full payment is something I would smile upon.

For me, it has meant stress-free time. I can have those nights where I get no sleep and we have the chance to catch up the next day, at home, where we are comfortable and all I need to do is catch the kids up on sleep, rather than leave them to go off to work in that foggy sleep-deprived state. All you parents out there know that fog, it take so long to lift after a new baby has arrived! It has given me the greatest opportunity to form a strong bond with my daughter. I feel I know her more than I knew my son when he was the same age because she hasn’t really had to leave my side yet.

I know nothing about Australian Politics but I know that this is something I’d seriously consider in my voting plan on September 7th. Anything that help parents gets a stamp of approval in my book.

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My precious bookworm

How do you feel about Paid Parental Leave and Maternity Leave? What do you think could be improved? How would these schemes change your life?

LEJ

1 Comment

  1. I’m a little embarrassed that in the “out of 30 countries” section, I live in country 31+. It’s a great thing that I wish we had here. I know nothing about what it is in Australia, but it’d be really cool if there were the same benefits offered for both parents or, at least, the parents get to choose who takes the short time and who takes the long time.

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