In Australia, if you are working full time you accumulate four weeks of annual leave per year. If you have a partner and they also work full time they also accumulate four weeks of annual leave per year. If you don’t take any holidays together that equals eight weeks of annual leave per year.
If you have school aged children they amass around 11 weeks of holidays over a 12 month period.
Best case scenario you are three weeks short and that doesn’t take into consideration that you may be forced to take leave at periodic times of the year (Christmas shutdown anyone?) which may coincide with your partner reducing your total household annual leave even further.
So what are we to do? How do we juggle this?
The maths is solid, if both parents work, we don’t have enough time in the year to look after our children. It is a battle for everyone involved, but to help with figuring out a solution, here are some tips that may assist;
- Use your village
Your village is important. Whether that is family who can come over and watch the kids for a few days, perhaps your neighbours or friends – even other school mums who may be home. All of them can help, so reach out and get assistance from your village – just remember to return the favour.
- Work from home
If your workplace is flexible, then working from home is a good option. Not always ideal, especially if you have active kids who need your attention often. However you can usually get a jump on work early, spend some time with the kids during the day then finish of your work hours later in the day.
- Take your child to work
Some workplaces offer support to working parents by way of areas designed for kids to enjoy. A small room set up with games, colouring, a TV and other such activities mean that you can get to work and do what you need to while your kids are only a few steps away.
- Leave without pay
Depending on your workplace policies, taking leave without pay may be an option for some people – although not ideal. It may be something that your workplace is happy to offer and you are happy to take and if it works for you then grab it and go!
- Vacation Care
Many schools now offer before school care, after school care and also vacation care programs. Whilst they come at a cost, they are professionally run on school grounds, by skilled educators who organise a range of fun activities and keeps them occupied for the holidays. A great option which kids actually really love.
No matter what your situation, the maths doesn’t lie and school holidays can be tricky for everyone. Choose the right option for you and your family and don’t look back. If you are happy and healthy and your kids are happy and healthy – that really is the main thing. Don’t worry mama – you’ve got this!