I received an email this afternoon asking me how long I intend to stay home after the baby is born. The honest answer is that I’m not quite sure. My employer will provide me with a severance package that is set to begin right around the time the baby is born. (That’s one nice thing about having my termination date and due date being so close together.)
My severance will be be taxed like a bonus, which means I’ll probably see less than half of it after the tax man takes his share, but we should receive much of that back after filing our taxes in April. I also plan to save up as much of my accrued vacation as possible. I still plan to take my summer vacation, but otherwise I’m going to hold onto those days so I can cash them out when I leave the company. Depending on when the baby arrives I may also qualify for a few weeks of short term disability, but this isn’t guaranteed.
Between my savings, my cashed out vacation and my short term disability I imagine I can stay home anywhere from nine months to a year without significant impact to our overall finances, but this doesn’t really answer the question of how long I intend to stay home.
Rather than setting a specific goal for myself to return to work I’ve decided to see how things go. Some of my friends and coworkers said they couldn’t wait to return to the working world, while others have said years at home wouldn’t have been enough for them.
Since I’ve never stayed at home with a newborn I don’t know if I’ll be happy or find myself going a little stir crazy. It’s nice to have the option of staying home for awhile if things go well and if they don’t there is always the possibility of finding a part time job or even a volunteer opportunity. I figure that would get me out of the house for just a little while without forcing me to start a full time job within that first year.
Of course, I’m not ruling out the possibility of looking for full time work sooner either. I plan to keep my eye on job postings and if the right opportunity falls into my lap and I’m ready to go back before the year is over than I’m not opposed to moving in that direction either.
I really want to try my best to take things as they come. I tend to be a worrier and a planner, but I don’t want to try to dictate the next year of my life. This is a very unique opportunity, (not everyone gets the chance to stay home with a little one), and I want to make certain that I savor the moments without expecting too much of them.