Saturday, October 14, 2006

work for health

I love teaching. I truly do. I have also read reviews of my teaching - that I am tough, have high expectations, yet help students reach them. Most students actually appreciate my style and finish the classes with better critical thinking skills and stronger design skills. I guess this is all good.

So, why do I say "work for health?" It is because on Monday I go back to the classroom. In spite of my love of teaching I would rather be at home with my children. I would rather take a few months after giving birth. Alas, we need health care insurance. I am only working for our health. Well, because we need income as well. Fortunately, I only teach 3-4 hours a day, 4 days a week.

Jonathan is no longer in a residency program. He is currently moonlighting. We decided that general surgery was not a fair career for him or for our family. If he had loved it, then we would have sacrificed, however, he did not. Knowing that he would be working 16-18 hour days for the rest of his life was also not worth it. So, we decided that he would apply for a program in emergency medicine. It is much more him. In the meantime, he is without steady work. He is moonlighting - which means that he will cover the ER in rural hospitals overnight or for a weekend, or whenever needed. He does make money - as much in a weekend as I do in two weeks. However, his work is not steady (he may work 1-2 weekends a month) and he does not have health insurance. So, I work.

It is very sad that the only reason I am working at this time is that we need health insurance. Oh, I could take a leave, and pay for it out of pocket, but that would eat away all of his income (I would be without income). I often dream of other countries where parents can take 12 months off and where there is unviersal health insurance.

One week after giving birth and I am returning to work. How sad is that.


Anonymous said...

It is a very sad commentary on our American way of life. I wish you were able to be at home full-time for at least 3 months. However, since I can tell from your blog you are a very caring, devoted mother you will 'do no harm' and your children will blossom.

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BurdockBoy said...

I'm really sorry you must return to work so soon.

Things like these really make me ashamed of the US. Not only are we one of the only industrialized nations not to have universal healthcare, along with Australia, we are the only industrialized nations not to have paid maternity leave. It's disgraceful how we treat new families. I haven't had healthcare in years so I'm in the Pray I Don't Get Sick insurance plan myself. My co-payments are to my savings account (with the benefit of having enough saved to move to Canada next year).

Erin said...

It is sad. While we were in Colombia, the Scandinavians talked a lot about how great the one-year off was for their families.

And now, we need universal healthcare more than ever.

Anonymous said...

Hello, from Alberta, Canada.
I feel for you, that is ridiculous returning to work so soon.
There is a large movement here to move towards USA-style health care, and its shocking how many people believe it is far better.
Currently for Mat. leave you receive 6 months of time covered, @ 55% of your gross income.

In Recovery said...

That really really sucks. Whoever had the bright idea to tie health insurance to work was nuts!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

What I think is interesting (ie, sad, and I could rant about this for hours) is how many politicians use "family values" to drive their campaigns--but if they really believed in families, they would figure out ways to support families with new-borns, adoptees, aging parents, etc. "Family values" is just a rhetorical device when it's used to demonize gay people.

Liz said...

I'm so sorry for this... it's really a shame that you aren't able to take some time off with your new baby. But on the bright side, it's truly amazing that you get health insurance for teaching 16 hours a week! (this is coming from someone who hasn't had health insurance in years because we just can't justify the cost and you can't get it working part-time around here. Like Burdock Boy, we pay our own "health assurance" but trying to put money aside for the unforseen problem).

Emme said...

Liz - for clarification, yes I only do teach inthe classroom 16 hours a week (or so). However, on top of all of htat is advising, class prep time, grading, etc. So, there is a lot on top of "in the classroom."

I do know too many people without health insurance - and they do the same thing as you - "health assurance." Really shouldn't be like this!

Evan said...

We own a small business and I'm a stay at home mom. We pay our own health insurance for coverage for my husband, myself and our daughter. I've considered going back to work to get insurance. We pay almost 5K a year and we have a large deductible. I wouldn't be without it, but I don't enjoy making that payment.