Taking care of baby Finns and still managing to bring bread and butter to the table. Is that really possible? Here in Finland it is. We make sure, that even though you have a baby and raise a family, you can work and provide for your family, so you don’t have to depend on your spouse, or the Finnish government (which will help you in many ways if you need the help, from maternity benefits to other financial aid).

So how can it be done then? There is only a limited amount of hours in a day, how do you suppose I take care of a baby or a child and work? Let’s start with a baby since they come first.

Earlier we talked about maternity leave (here if you missed it), and the fact that even when you have a baby you still get to keep your job. But we can also work during our parental leave, if we choose to, and the baby can stay home full time with their dad or grandma or someone else you trust enough to take care of the baby. Depending on the age of the baby you get a little or a little more money from the government to help here too.

If you are not a stay at home mom at all, your spouse can take the parental leave from when the baby is around three months old to when they are old enough to drive. Just kidding, to when they are around nine months old. And after this you can take your baby to daycare, there’s daycare centers where there’s more babies and toddlers and children, and there’s “family daycare”, where usually one person takes care for other peoples, and sometimes their own babies, at their own home as their job. In this situation it’s not tens of babies all together for one person to look after, it’s usually 3-4 children per home. Or the baby can stay at home, where someone takes care of them there and gets paid a little for that job. You can go to work if your baby is at home, as long as someone is there with the baby.

Daycare can be full time, or just part time, like our jobs can be too. Employers are very flexible in Finland when it comes to working mothers. You can work full time and let the other qualified people take care or your children, or you can work part time. You could take care of your baby during the day and when the baby daddy comes home from work, they can take control of the whole home situation and you can go off to work for the night. Or you can work from home with the baby. Doesn’t that sound relaxing?

Or you could mix it up. Let daddy take care of the baby on Monday at home. Then come Tuesday grandma comes over to watch the baby. Wednesday you take the child to daycare for the morning and pick them up after lunch after you worked for half a day yourself. Thursday you can just work from home all day, since staying home with a baby is like a holiday, right? For the serious people, maybe you work during naps and after daddy gets home, still working from home but not with the baby. And on Friday you send the baby to work in your place, dress them up in a little suit and give them a little briefcase and homemade lunch and kiss them goodbye at the door and go take a nap.

Photo by Charles Koh.

— Editors

The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.

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