Parenthood is the hardest thing I have ever done. It brings me so much joy and laughter, but with it so much utter insecurity and frustration. I’m snuggling and giggling with my daughter one minute, and negotiating a new bedtime story contract via an arbitrator the next. As if dealing with estrogen wasn’t already a pain in the ass, now I get to ride the ups and downs of child-rearing too.
And while all this is true for most parents, there are things in our lives that actually make the business of parenthood a lot easier. We Canadian parents in particular have it a lot better than we might realize on a day-to-day basis. We take these things for granted, while we’re trying to ignore the judgemental stares of the general public as our toddler throws an earth-shattering tantrum in the cereal isle.
So just as a way of touching base this Canadian Thanksgiving, while we wrangle our children to the kids table so they can eat half their turkey dinner and leave the other half on the floor, here are a few things us Canadian parents can be thankful for.
- Maternity Leave: Canadian moms get a total of 50 weeks of paid maternity leave. That’s right, 50. And 35 of those can be taken by our rockstar dads if they choose to. It blows my mind to hear of the struggles mothers across the border are having with this. It varies from state to state, but basically a mom can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave. Unpaid. It’s atrocious, and I am a spoiled-rotten mother in comparison.
- 24 Hour Tim Horton’s Coffee: I can’t tell you where I’d be if it weren’t for my daily Timmies coffee. It’s my life-blood. It’s what keeps me awake, sane and coherent when I’m up in the middle of the night with the kids. The delicious, creamy taste of a large double-double just makes my mornings. But the classic Canadian beverage company isn’t just good for a cup of joe when you’ve been up all night with a newborn. If you’re ever running late with a feed, pull up to a Tim Horton’s drive thru and ask for a cup of hot water to warm the bottle up on your way home. It’s free and you’ll be able to feed right away when you walk in the door, instead of waiting for a bottle warmer or a pot of water to boil. And don’t underestimate the awesome power of a Timbit to subdue your fussy toddler. Just a couple of tricks of the trade, from me to you. 🙂
- Child Tax Credit: Recently, our government decided to both combine and raise the provincial and federal child tax credits paid to families with children in select income brackets, and thank God they finally did. While I’ve no doubt it was a hard pill to swallow for those it affected, I must extend my sincere virtual thanks on behalf of parents who will use that money every month to cover ever-rising day care expenses, stacks of diapers, towers of baby wipes and gallons of coffee (see above).
- Home Day Care Providers: Not exclusive to Canada, I know, but where would I be without home day care providers? Flat broke, that’s where. While I’d love to be able to afford a licensed care provider, it’s just not in the budget. Additionally, there seems to be a gaping hole between the time a Canadian parent finishes parental leave and the time a licensed provider will agree to care for your kid, to the tune of 3-6 months. Exactly what is a working mo do to in the meantime? Hello, home day care. Cheaper, smaller, and is able to care for the kid the day you go back to work. Topped off with excellent references, it was a no-brainer for me.
- A Prime Minister Who Gives a Shit: I’m a Trudeau fan and proud of it. He’s a young father of a young family. His values and policies make it clear that he’s positioning our country to pass on something wonderful to our kids, while ensuring Canadian families are equipped to help them carry the torch when the time comes. Putting the child tax credit and the fact that he’s a young parent himself aside, I still think he’s doing a good job for everyone, and I like the man. He’s not hard to look at either. 😉
And so, with my turkey ordered, the family invited, my daughter starting to read, and my son now climbing the stairs, I can’t help but be thankful for the little things that have made and will continue to make all the difference in my life as a Canadian mom.
Now if someone could hook me up with the secret to getting my kid to eat turnip, I’d be set.
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