Personal experience

"I have not been on maternity leave"

Maternity leave, which many people call maternity out of habit, appeared in the USSR in 1956: it was then that another three months were added to 56 plus 56 days of maternity leave. By the end of the 60s, this period was increased to one year, and now mothers (as well as dads or other relatives) can stay with a child up to three years - and this is one of the longest maternity leave in the world. However, according to some studies, 28% of women return to work when the child is one and a half years old. There are also those who - most often for financial reasons - were not on maternity leave for a day. Life around talked with four mothers who did not go on maternity leave about why they made such a choice, how everyone managed and if they were not disappointed in their decision.

Anna Ershova

editor, four children

I have four children, and I was not on the decree with just the youngest. At that moment I worked as the chief editor of the magazine: I got a job relatively recently, and I did not want to let the employer down. It so happened that after the first three decrees I did not return to the old place: the first decree fell on my studies at the university, after the second I changed my sphere of activity, and during the third I was replaced by another person, and I could not return. The husband said: "Then, for the fourth time, start all over again? Let us help you."

The publication in which I worked is associated with the Orthodox Church, so this was my decision in the editorial office with joy. During pregnancy, I worked in advance: I wrote articles for the future, collected invoices for new materials - in general, I prepared for the fact that for the first couple of months I could not fully engage in the editorial mode. And so it happened: a month after the birth I did not work at all (The magazine is not published every month. - Ed.), another month I used materials that I managed to do in advance, and then gradually went back to the previous rhythm. I worked while walking: I printed texts for editing and a list of whom, where and why you need to call. While rolling the stroller, she called and talked, when my daughter fell asleep - she stopped and edited. She worked at home while she was sleeping - it was possible to carve out a little more time, day or night. Sometimes a husband or an older child could be with her in the evening, and I went into another room and worked again.

When my daughter was about five months old, we found a nanny for a couple of days a week. Given my earnings, the nanny was profitable: for her services I gave no more than a quarter of my salary. Later we also had an au pair. I think you can safely pay for such support - depending on the income of your family - from a quarter to a third of your salary. Someone, I know, gives half: I think that if a lot depends on work, then this is normal. But, in my opinion, if you see that the child is suffering, and everything is collapsing at home, such work is not needed.

During motherhood, I succeeded in time management: I learned how to correctly allocate time and have time to redo a lot of things as a result. True, there are two main points that are not suitable for everyone. Firstly, I practically do not rest. The best rest for me is a change of activity: if I was sitting at the computer and tired, then I get up and cook dinner. Secondly, I tracked that I can’t edit articles for more than an hour and a half: if more, then I start to hang in social networks, respond to some old letters. Therefore, I divide the work into pieces: I do the text for an hour and a half, then get up and do something else (call, play with the child), then sit down again for editing. This cyclicity helps to first relieve the brain. Moms usually have a lot of tasks in their head — work and no tasks: write a text, call, collect one child on a field trip, donate money for a second, help third in math.

Most importantly, I regretted that I did not go on maternity leave. Now I understand what an important and cool period this is - up to a year. It is unique, one might say sacred: the only time in life when a person needs you as you are. A child changes every day during these months, but this time just flew by me - I regret that I could not fix the moment.


works in the management of the theater, two children

I was not on maternity leave with both daughters. This was my decision, which had nothing to do with career or money: I could easily leave for a few months, but I wanted my children and I to be interested in life, so that I would not become a person who is engaged only in household and household activities. I work in the theater management, and when the employers found out about my pregnancy, they supported me - maybe this also influenced my decision: I did not want to let them down or shift work to others.

After the birth of both one and the second daughter, I was at home exactly one week. Then I went to work for half a month for two months. Then she began to leave from 11 am to six in the evening: at this time, walk, sleep and games were on the nanny and grandmother. On weekdays, when I came home from work, we read and played with the girls. When they grew up, they began to go swimming and painting together on weekends. At the same time, I did not wait in the pool while they were exercising - I swam myself. This is my principled position: I should not sacrifice anything.

When my daughters were sick, I usually waited for the doctor — he came around nine in the morning — gave the girls medicines and went to the theater. Of course, in such periods, I returned from work early. I took only one hospital for all this time - when we got to the hospital. In general, life passed me, and it turned out that the children did not connect me with him: for them, mother is always exhibitions, concerts, trips. At the same time, I saw everything: how they first rocked on a swing, how they took the first step, how they said the first words.

I have no regrets because I did not go on maternity leave. Only gratitude that my daughters allowed me to live a normal life. I can’t make a claim to them that I gave “my best years” because I did not give anything. On the contrary, I enjoyed it - without them, I would just sit at home, would not do the same swimming and drawing.


consultant trainer, studying at the magistracy, two children

The first time I became pregnant at the age of 19: then I studied at the university and worked informally. Then, for health reasons, I had to leave work, but I did not quit studying. That is, I didn’t have a decree as such, but I didn’t have to work sweat, so everything went smoothly and comfortably. I studied, studied my daughter, we walked a lot - in general, I devoted time to myself and my family.

The second time I became pregnant after five years. At that time, I worked in a private school, but a few months before my maternity leave, the school went bankrupt, and staff fell under reduction. Of course, I was paid everything that was due by law, but my husband had problems at work just at that time. I had to work hard both in the ninth month and after childbirth, because I needed money: I wrote diplomas to order and term papers for students.

Five months later, I realized that I could no longer live in this mode, and slowed down a little. In the afternoon I was busy with children: I took the eldest to the garden, and I myself stayed at home with the baby. When everyone fell asleep, I sat down for term papers: I worked until about three or four in the morning, but if the projects were burning, then all night. When the children played together during the day, she also sat and wrote. The fact that the children were sometimes sick did not really bother me: I was attached not to the schedule, but to the deadlines.

My children are now seven and 13 years old. And only recently I realized that in principle it is unpleasant for me to talk about pregnancy: apparently, because I myself did not have this happy period. Although I worked at home, unfortunately, I did not succeed in enjoying this period: the only thing I dreamed about then was to relax. It was difficult for me to combine work and caring for the baby, and there was no place to wait for help: when the youngest was a year old, my husband and I separated. Now I believe that the decree is the decree and that: the mother should be with the child - healthy, happy, relaxed and happy with herself. She can work at this time, but only for her pleasure and certainly not to the detriment of the child.


non-profit organization coordinator, five children

With none of my children - and I have five of them - I did not go on maternity leave. When my first daughter was born, I worked as a correspondent. Grandmother and husband sat with her - he did not work then. From the second, I was in the hospital for three months because of problems with her health. At that time, I was engaged in advertising in another publication, and I had a free schedule. I worked first in the hospital, and then from home: I went for a walk with a stroller - I called, I put me to bed - I called. At about two years old, I began to leave her full time with the nannies, who came in turn.

With the youngest child, who is now a year and nine months old, the nanny was from birth. I work in a non-profit organization that helps children, and just at that moment I moved to a new position. My girlfriend became a nanny - I would not be able to entrust the baby to another person. She practically lived with me until my mother arrived. Now my schedule looks like this: in the morning I leave for the office, and if there is not much to do, then I return home in the afternoon. That is, I can adjust my work to a doctor or some kind of event with a child. At the same time, I can have from two to six business trips per month.

Only with my fifth child did I realize that I needed to be able to dose work. Still, mothers who work need a psychologist: to understand whether they are on the right path or not. I regret that I did not go on maternity leave, but I can not do otherwise. Each person chooses for himself: family or work. I’m just such a mother who likes to work, to learn something new for herself, to be useful to people, to prepare new projects. Many women who are similar to me in character, do not know how to say to themselves: "On weekends, I take care of my family and do not answer a single letter about work."

Children say that I’m an example for them - how to achieve goals, how to realize themselves. But elders sometimes recall: "Remember, I had competitions, but you didn’t come?" When the older children were young, we lived in a completely different time - then, in the 90s, it was impossible not to work, because otherwise it was possible not to survive. So after discussing this issue with a psychologist, I reply to them: "How would I feed you?" But now there are more opportunities and life is completely different - it seems to me that I just need to stop in time and learn how to clearly allocate time for work and family.

Watch the video: Ryan Reynolds & Jake Gyllenhaal Answer the Web's Most Searched Questions. WIRED (December 2019).

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