When I travel with work or catch up with an old friend through Facebook I always get asked “How was it moving to Sweden?” I moved here nearly 14 years ago, 16 February 2001. I made a few friends and learned the language by April 2002. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2005 that I finally could appreciate the Swedish system. That summer Lily was born. Total cost of the pregnancy check-ups and delivery, ZERO!! Yeah, you read that correctly. From conception to birth having a baby in Sweden was 100% free. Lily is almost 10 yrs old and we’ve only had to pay for a few prescription meds. It’s been the same for all three girls.
On top of that we got 460 days paid time off (80%) from work for each of them. My wife took most of the days with Lily. I took a long summer vacation but working away from home made it hard for me to stay home longer. But technically it was just in my head. The American mentality of having to be the man of the house. For the final 2-3 months I took Friday’s off.
When Iris arrived we decided that Jeanette would be home 8-9 months then we worked 50/50 for another 8 months. Again my mindset was work, work, work. So my four hour days turned into 6-12 shifts and a few return trips in the evenings.
By the time Viola was born, I think I finally accepted that it was ok to be home. So after Viola was 8 months I was a stay at home dad for nearly 8 months. No connection to work what so ever. Well minus the 10% salary/month for three months. The paid leave is only 80%, so some jobs payout an additional 10%.
Those months home alone with Viola with Lily and Iris only away from 8-12 really got me thinking about family priorities and equality. Since Jeanette works with appointments and I work with tasks, it seemed to be an easy decision to stay home when ever I could when the girls are sick. Until kids turn 11 or 12 parents get paid time off to stay at home. It’s 80% of some national average, so for me I lose money if I report it to the insurance company. So when it’s not been a day or two I work at home a few hours and use my bank time to cover the rest.
Last week and this week I’ve been home with Iris, four days total including tomorrow. And as long as I don’t have a meeting that can not be moved or done over a video call I’ll be the one who stays at home 😉
Last Sunday was the start of a 28 day squat challenge. Today was 65 air squats. I’m hoping I remember to do the, every day 😉
I even cut sugar out of my diet, again. I’m hoping to go down 5kg/month until June.
Swimming last night was relaxing, crossfit four days in a row now. Tonight, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Swimming Sunday will be a welcomed change.