February 2012 Moms

Is 6 weeks long enough?

I know it's all a matter of personal preference and how much time your employer gives you, but some comments I've been getting lately have made me doubt my decision to take 6 weeks of maternity leave. I have to use my accumulated sick leave and vacation, and I have close to 12 weeks saved up right now. People around work keep saying things like "oh pretty soon we won't be seeing your for 3 months!" and they're shocked when I say "oh no I'm taking 6 weeks" and many of them tell me I will regret not taking longer and I won't be ready to come back.

First of all, I know I won't be ready to come back to work regardless of how much time I take off. It's reality that it will be hard to leave my baby, but I'm going to have to do it. Also, I chose to take 6 weeks because I don't want to deplete all of my time in case something would happen (my H doesn't have SL so I will be the one taking off if baby is sick, etc). However, I suppose I could take a couple more weeks because my vacation and sick time continues to accrue even when I'm on leave. So sorry this is so long, but just looking for some opinions, especially from those that have experience with previous maternity leave! Thanks!

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Re: Is 6 weeks long enough?

  • For me, 6 weeks would not have been long enough.  I was extremely fortunate to be home on maternity leave for close to 7 months with DS and even then it wasn't enough time. 

    That being said, it's a very individual decision.  I don't think it's a bad idea to leave to option open for taking a few more weeks should you feel that you need them once your LO is here.

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  • in my opinion no it's not. I was NOT ready to return to work 6 weeks after having my daughter and i had a easy and uncomplicated delievery. You're still trying to adjust and sleep and function. Another thing to consider is are you going to breastfeed. If not then you don't have to worry but if you are you need as much time as possible to develope that and to work on your supply and stash.

    I was getting stur crazy and had to make trips to Target, etc but NO i would not have been okay with returning to work then... up to you though.

  • I would think even 8 weeks would be better.  That would still you leave 4 weeks + (since you'll still be accruing).  6 weeks really is a quick turnaround (some women still have lochia at that point), and I think you and your LO will be better off at 8 weeks.  But that's just my two cents!

    A woman I work with ran into the same problem as you -s he was taking 6, and everyone was shocked that she wasn't taking 3.  After talking to her OB and pediatrician, both of them rec. 8, and she was happy that she extended it for 2 weeks.

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  • I only had 63 weeks approved last time. I was only employed about 7 months when I had DD. I don't feel like it was long enough. We had barely fell into a routine and were just getting comfortable. She was finally starting to act like a baby and not just a newborn. I am the type I know I could never SAHM so I feel like I would've been ok coming back if I had a few more weeks. I am taking 9 weeks this time.
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  • I agree that it will always be hard to leave your LO and go back to work, no matter how much time you take off.  However, for me, as much as the separation was hard, I was very anxious to get back to work... to be social and productive (not that staying at home is unproductive, but I wanted to do my work).  I would keep the 6 weeks, but make sure you have the option of adding more if you find that you'd rather spend the extra time at home.
  • I would think it has a ton to do with how well your baby sleeps at night. 

    I think if you were waking up for 2+ 30-60 minute feedings every night you won't be in good shape to return to work.  

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  • My employer gives me 6 weeks then I get 6 more from the state...and the more I think about it the more I don't want to return to work at all.  I wouldn't mind being a SAHM for a while, but then to try and get back into the job market would be a little tough.  I am going to keep my options open while I am on leave and if something better comes along that doesnt require me to drive 100 miles a day and is still good pay I may not return to my current job...I like to keep my options open. 

    I think the time you have off is all in personal preference...take as little or as much as you think you need/want!!

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  • I get 6-8 weeks depending on if I have a c-section from my employer, and then an additional 12 weeks from the state (6 weeks unpaid). I'm then going to take an additional 2 weeks of vacation time after this, so altogether I will have 20 - 22 weeks off.

    I think expecting a woman to go back to work after 6 weeks is insane. I'm glad at least my state gives us a little extra time...

  • image PhysChic7685:
    I agree that it will always be hard to leave your LO and go back to work, no matter how much time you take off.  However, for me, as much as the separation was hard, I was very anxious to get back to work... to be social and productive (not that staying at home is unproductive, but I wanted to do my work).  I would keep the 6 weeks, but make sure you have the option of adding more if you find that you'd rather spend the extra time at home.

    I agree 100%.  I only took 6 with DS b/c that's all that was paid and I didn't have enough PTO to take more.  yes, it was hard but it's certainly doable.  He was always a good sleeper and we had a good pumping/feeding routine established. 

    This time I'm taking 8 but that's just b/c I'm having a c/s.  I can't afford to take more than what's paid.  I also don't accrue any vacation while on leave so that's a major factor.

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  • I wish I had the option to take longer than 6 weeks. I am taking 6 weeks, because I dont get paid maternity leave and my company will only allow me to take 2 weeks of my PTO, so 4 weeks is unpaid. Without my income it cuts our household income in half. We saved enough to last us a month, but we cant afford for me not be getting paid after that.

    I know it will be hard to leave LO at 6 weeks, but you have to do what you have to do. I wont get any new PTO time until next January...so anytime off for the rest of the year is unpaid.



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  • I've got a very generous maternity leave policy, to where I could take up to 6 months paid with a combination of vacation, sick time, maternity leave and disability (3 months would be full pay and 3 months partial pay).

    I made the decision to take 8 weeks off completely, with a caveat that I will add more time if I feel it's necessary. My boss is completely okay with that. What I'll probably do is sprinkle extra days off here and there, since after my full leave, I'll still have 4 weeks of vacation, 5 personal days, and 5 sick days remaining.

    I also WAH, though, and have flexible hours. So I'll still be able to breastfeed, etc. even when I'm back at work (I'm hiring a nanny to come over to my house so I can work, but I'll feed instead of pump most of the time).

    If I had to get up and dressed and physically go into an office, I'd take more time, probably 12 weeks.

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  • I wanted more than six weeks.  I am allowed to apply accrued sick time to the first six weeks of my leave (making it, in a sense, "paid" leave, but I'll be taking an additional six weeks of unpaid FMLA leave for a total of twelve.  Even though I have additional sick time in the bank, because my "period of disability" is only the initial six weeks, I'm not allowed to use it.  As a teacher, we don't have PTO-- just sick time.  

    I've had a portion of my pay withheld since the beginning of the school year so that we'll never need to go completely without my check.  It's a sacrifice, and many don't make the same choice, but it feels right to me.  I'll go back for reading week and exams (the last two weeks of the school year) before we're out for the entire summer.  It's such an individual decision, I'd never criticize anyone for her choice.

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  • I took 6 weeks last time and I'll be taking it again this time...

    As you said, it's never easy to leave LO.. But after just 6 weeks i was having a hard time remembering some things about my job (as weird as that seems!), so had i been out even longer i can imagine i would be even more stressed trying to get back into the groove of work AND having to leave baby. It will be hard no matter what, but you will get adjusted and into a new routine. Just do what you feel most comfortable with, but i am personally okay with taking 6! :) 

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  • "However, I suppose I could take a couple more weeks because my vacation and sick time continues to accrue even when I'm on leave."

    I would save some of this time for later in the year if it's a possibility. My sons came down with colds, stomach viruses, and one even had a horrific diaper rash that I just did not want to leave him over. I was glad that I still had some time to fall back on for sick leave the following fall so that I could take care of him. Just looking back at your post and it looks like you already thought of that, but yes, I totally agree with you that you should save some time up for later in the year. GL! 

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