Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?
*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?
“So how will you continue with your work?” – “Will you still be travelling as much?” – “Are you actually on maternity leave?” – “You know, you should really write a blog post about it, Elena!” Well, eventually I did, and here it is. Kudos to a new situation that is sometimes keeping me and my partner up at night, discussing what might seem dry at first, but is actually highly entertaining to us at present:
A good question, and one I chose to address right away together with my first medical exams at the doctor. As everywhere I guess, women entrepreneurs here in Austria have different models and options to choose from right before the birth of the child. Step by step, let me tell you what we did.
It may be part of our culture (many international friendships, business projects and relationships with partners from other countries have told me so), but it’s true: We, that is I, love having a plan. And a plan is what you need, according to my view, when expecting a child: As an entrepreneur, I went back and forth inside my triangle of pregnancy, social security plans, and tax advisors for choosing the best option for me personally as well as my business.
Here is what I’ve come up with, regarding our situation here in Austria:
So, to put it in a nutshell: As I receive (quite high) monthly social security payments, I should really “not be minding my own business”, i.e. not earn anything on top really.
And this change in mindset is what honestly disturbs me as an entrepreneur in this model, however great it may be and however much money we may get in Austria. Because I can’t really shelve my professional network, which I have built up over almost ten years, just like that. From an economic point of view, however, this is exactly what is required if you don’t want to fear a late additional claim from the social security system: as few projects as possible, as little income as possible, hardly any profit during that time, because the fear of possible repayment if you exceed the additional earning limit is high, given the many thousands of euros you receive.
It’s a little crazy, really. We live in an affluent society, do not need to fear for our lives or those of our children when we step out the door, enjoy entrepreneurial freedom, as well as the promotion of women in business, the promotion of young entrepreneurs, and much more. But as soon as a child appears, everything goes back to “the way it was”: Georg works in the construction industry, where paternity leaves are either unheard of, or certainly not desired. As a woman, you have to shoulder everything, including the consideration of how things will continue after the end of childcare benefits. Alternative models, such as those discussed among friends and business partners, are almost always based on a good family network (which is simply necessary for a working work-life-balance), men’s willingness and ability to take over childcare, and individual solutions or cutbacks, very often made by women.
My mum recently retired. Liam’s great-grandparents live a few minutes away, fit and full of joy about the little one. Georg is very willing to contribute something, anything, he really wants to go on leave and stay with our son. I can manage much of my entrepreneurial projects from home, can work hours before or after work. Georg supports me wherever he can. We can travel, keep appointments, combine work and travel as best as we can.
All considerations given, it is an adventure in life that I, as the mother of three-month-old Liam, would not want to miss for anything in the world anymore.
What’s your point of view on all of this? I am curious to hear from you!