burning up the calculator on parental leave in Sweden

There is a lot of math in Daddyland.

You get 480 days of parental leave per child.  But some of those days are “low pay” days.  Some are based on a salary figure, which is similar to, but not the same as, the salary figure used to compute your sick leave.

You can protect that salary figure while you work, even if you work reduced hours, by taking partial parental leave – as low as 1/4th of a day.  There are daddy days, and there are rules on how many days you can or cannot take per week once the child is a certain age.

Then you have to make your budget work, with this rather random collection of numbers.

I do none of this math.  E does it all.

But we have bigger calculations too.  Because while the Swedish state takes good care of us, it doesn’t take that good care of us.  We are still living in a 450-square-foot apartment with two children after a long, long winter  – one so hard that we still haven’t been to our summer cottage, which is supposed to be the release valve.

We have done the math and decided that time with our family is worth giving up the freedom of the bigger paychecks and, the harder point, the bigger apartment.

It’s hard math though.

To compensate, we talk and talk and talk about moving.  And then decide not to.  So this spring we will embark on yet another campaign of making our small space sustainable.

Last year, it was the summer cottage, new paint and new shelves.

This year, closets?  A better-organized kitchen?  A rental truck to haul things to the dump?

Let me get out the calculator.

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