Friday, April 29, 2016

Family Friday: Take your "MEternity Leave" and Shove It

I really should delete Facebook off my phone. I do once in a while simply to refocus on what's REALLY important- my family. But because I generate a fair amount of work from the social hell-hole that is Facebook. I added it back recently. What a day to add it back.

Hey look, a selfish prat. 

Yesterday, some 38 year old magazine editor has declared to the world that she deserves "MEternity leave"- which is selfish person speak for "me time" in a vain attempt to equate it to motherhood. Her logic behind this is that she was "envious when parents on staff left the office at 6 p.m. to tend to their children, while it was assumed co-workers without kids would stay behind to pick up the slack."

What. The Holy. F?

First of all, your co-workers do not leave you to pick up the slack. You, according to your own bio on your own website, you were a SENIOR EDITOR. I'm not sure if you read your job description in its entirety, but I would bet the words "responsibility" and "X hours a week" were included. 

Cry me a river.

If you really need "MEternity", take your little sabbatical. The modern word for this is "vacation".  I'm sure that since you are such a put upon person in your high stress job, your boss would be happy for you to do so. I bet your place of business has another set of words for it though: personal time off, more commonly referred to as PTO. If you're very lucky, your industry offers these things. Most do not. 

Me, recovering from my surgery in our tiny one bedroom
while the alien dog watches over me.
There is a disconnect between folks who have children and those who don't. Neither is wrong, each person has made life choices that suit their own personal mantra and needs. I applaud people who haven't had children, and I applaud people who have. 

The disconnect, however, needs to be cleared up a bit. Childbirth is probably only comparable to someone who has undergone major traumatic surgery. Maternity leave can only compare to someone that experiences a long painful recovery time from that surgery. I speak from experience because I had a major surgery a year before my daughter was born.  It that took me nearly 4 months to fully recover from the surgery and do things like walk without assistance. The tendon's in my hip still pop from it. 

"Maternity leave" is not "me time".  The purpose of maternity leave is so that the mother can both recover from delivery and bond with their new child- a thing that numerous doctors and scientific studies have said is critical for early childhood development. Keep in mind that the adorable bundle of joy is supposed to grow into a responsible citizen one day who contributes to society and takes their garbage out. These benign every day adult tasks are set up in child hood, and have nothing to do with a parent taking "me time".

Day 1: take the kiddo home.
Let's establish what exactly happens during maternity leave for the average woman- IF you're lucky enough to HAVE maternity leave because we live in American damn it! You take care of yourself! Just look at how it's changed from when our parents had maternity leave and how it looks now.

I was lucky enough to have maternity leave. Boy did I need EVERY minute of it.

You go through delivery. This can take as little as a few hours if you're lucky. If you're like me, it takes 18 hours of the most painful pushing you've ever experienced in your life. If you're like my friend in Arizona, it's a scheduled C section that is several hours of surgery followed by several DAYS in the hospital for recovery- before you ever get to be a "mom". If you're like my daughters God mama, it takes over 30 hours that ends in an emergency C-Section because of complications. Then add the extra days in the hospital for recovery. Then go home and "be a mom."

Now you're home, where the real fun begins. Every 2-4 hours that tiny precious human has a need. This need ranges from being fed, to being cleaned, to being consoled, to what ever they might need. Nine times out of ten- because they don't speak real words yet- you get to GUESS what they need. If you're lucky, you get enough time with them to start to understand their signs and get a little better at guessing.

All of this is subjective to a child who is born with absolutely no complications.

That was not my experience.

I have written extensively on what it's like to spend your maternity leave in tears because your child has special needs, and no matter how much help you have from friends and family, at the end of the day it's still you. Their medical needs, combined with their infant needs means that what would normally be a small respite of "me time" is now transformed into preparing for medical needs- in addition to all the little other things they need.

Phew! We made it. We made a baby and got through our maternity leave! Now we can get back to the day job. Forget that 62% of workers report that their company does not offer maternity leave at all. Welcome back to the real world you slacker!

So when you, in your high paid job- you have the audacity to claim you "deserve" MEternity leave, you can seriously get in line. Get in line behind the thousands of woman in this country every year who get NOTHING, but are still expected to show up while taking care of their child. Get in line behind the stay at home mom who has three kids and does everything from house cleaning to teaching to cooking. She could really use a little MEternity leave, a lot more than you.

Don't give me that crap about "well she chose to have a child" because you chose not to. Again, neither choice is wrong, but you want special treatment because you're a unique selfish snowflake who wants to "shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs." 


Maternity leave is not about shifting your focus, revitalizing your strength or finding your inner voice. 

Maternity leave is about taking care of another human life. 

It is most certainly not about ME time.

No comments:

Post a Comment