The great thing about living in Australia is that our Federal Government can pay the primary caregiver of a new baby (born or adopted) up to 18 weeks Paid Parental Leave (PPL) at the national minimum wage rate to allow them to be home with and spend time with their new little one. What a blessing.
The problem though, is navigating the MINEFIELD of paperwork and questions and forms and links, tucks and half-pikes with a double twist required to submit your application! So I had a little vent on Facebook (as you do) about equally needing and loathing applying for PPL. Paperwork and I hate each other, but I'm the only one who ends up in tears! It's a dysfunctional relationship.
So how very dare one childless Facebook 'friend' judge me for applying for the government's PPL! A man who has no idea what it's like to have a mortgage and raise a family and make ends meet! A man who doesn't think twice about money! How very dare he look down his nose at me for applying for government assistance so I can spend more time with my new baby!
I sure do envy those women who either have a big fat savings account and don't need PPL, or who have a partner who earns enough money that they don't need it. We, however, need it! We need it so badly that if the government didn't offer such a great deal, I would have to go back to work very shortly after baby's birth just to afford our modest mortgage, rates and insurance bills. And I don't want that!
I want to be home with my new baby for as long as I possibly can so I can bond with them, love on them, get to know them, encourage them, and spend time with them while I have the chance - for them and for me. I want that block of time to be as big as financially possible. And as stressful and anxiety-causing as this financial position may be, I wouldn't change having our baby for the world. The Lord knows we wanted them!
Yes, it's my choice to have a baby. Yes it's my choice to have a mortgage now instead of rent because I grew sick of the uncertainty, instability and hoop-jumping of renting. And yes it's my choice to take advantage of our Federal Government's Paid Parental Leave scheme to help me stay with our new baby for 18 weeks longer than I would normally have been able to, because I want to be a good mum, which to me equals time. Before I turn around twice bub will be cared for by someone else three days a week so I can go back to work to keep paying off our worst-house-in-the-best-street, in-need-of-renovation house, full-of-love, warm and cosy little house that I hope to grow old in. And I'm blessed that I can choose to go back only part-time, even though it means our life in simple and not extravegant.
The mean and nasty side of me hopes Mr Judgey McJudge, who took a dig at anyone who needs any government assistance, one day finds himself standing in line at Centrelink in need of help, advice or guidance like me, and he can see with his own eyes that he's no different to anyone else there. But the kinder part of me... shoot, she hasn't shown up yet! But I'm sure it's something along the lines of I hope this man is blessed enough that he can continue living life to the level he's become accustomed, and that he never knows what it is to be in lack. I hope that when he's one one of his international holidays and sees people in need and expresses compassion for them, he realises tha tthey're just like some people in his own country who are also in need, but are blessed with a governmental system who can help them.
Don't ever judge another's journey unless you've been there too. Hec, even then! Don't ever judge someone if you're not willing to talk to them and find out their story. And certainly, don't you dare look down on anyone, unless you're helping them up! WORD!
(Note: Yes, I do know there are people who rorte the system and that's not fair and I disagree with that too. But for the purposes of this post, I am referring to people who are genuine.)