Back in February, before my daughter was born, my husband and I made the difficult decision that I would give up my income and be a stay at home mom as I have always wanted. My husband is finishing up his dissertation for his Ph.D., so the income he could bring in would be from temporary sources and would not include insurance.

We looked at a variety of insurance plans and were overwhelmed by the price. So, I decided to ask for another leave of absence at my job instead of just quitting; that way I could keep my insurance benefits while paying out of pocket a smaller expense than getting private insurance for our family.

I wasn’t sure what the response to my request would be because, at the time I asked, I had just come off a leave of absence with my second child nine months ago and because I was asking for a 16 month leave. (My first leave of absence for my second child was 10 months long.)

While investigating my leave, I was informed that I could use some of the sick time I had accrued during my 10 years on the job to get at least a partially paid leave of absence. (I had not even known this was an option; my first leave of absence was entirely unpaid.)

To my surprise and delight, my full 16 month leave of absence was approved. Five months of that leave will be at my full rate of pay. During that time I will not have to pay extra for insurance benefits and my retirement will continue to be funded. After that, my leave will be unpaid and I will have to pay out of pocket for my insurance benefits.

What a wonderful gift we have been given! Between my full time salary for the first five months and the fact that my husband can now work instead of watching our kids while I work, we should be able to set up quite a nice emergency fund to last us through the unpaid leave of absence. I am so grateful for this. Now the only loose string is my husband’s degree. He has to graduate before the 16 month leave is over.

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