People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Me-Ternity Leave IS NOT the Same as Maternity Leave

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Me-Ternity Leave IS NOT the Same as Maternity Leave


This article came to my attention this week and at first I wanted to ignore it, because I'm SOOOOOOO tired of the fucking mommy wars. I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tired of working moms vs. stay at home moms, breastfeeding vs. bottle, co-sleeping vs. crib, all of it. I'm at a point now where I don't care if you swaddle your baby or let him ride a tricycle without a helmet. I don't care if you feed him GMOs or only bathe him once a week. I don't care if you eat your placenta or chew up your baby's food and spit it into her mouth. (Actually, that's not true. That still kind of grosses me out if I think about it for too long, so if you do that, just keep that shit to yourself.)

In case you know nothing, Jon Snow, I'll tell you what this article is about. It's about this woman Meghann Foye who wrote a book and claimed that she needs a me-ternity leave. It's like a maternity leave for childless women. 

EXCEPT IT'S NOT. 

What she's proposing is taking 12 weeks to find herself. Because women can spend that time detached from their office jobs and can be in deep reflection and really figure out what the hell they want. 

It's not hard Meghann, I can tell you exactly what they want. They want to PEE ALONE!

You see, Meghann has this fucked up idea that maternity leave is a time when we all sit around singing Kumbaya and contemplating the bigger questions in our lives. This is a time when we pamper ourselves and really focus on our needs and what we really want and need to fulfill ourselves.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry, I was choking from laughing so hard. Meghann, are you that dumb??? Are you???? 

Let me tell you what maternity leave is really like. Actually, I don't know what maternity leave is like because I've NEVER HAD IT.

You see, when I had my children, I was self-employed. My first was born a month early and plunged us into a world of fear and uncertainty we'd never even thought of. When you're pregnant you don't think of spending a lot of time in the NICU or recovering from emergency surgery or trying to figure out how your DD boobs can't breastfeed properly (what else are they good for if not breastfeeding!!!!!????). I was just trying to keep my baby alive, I didn't have time to get a deep tissue massage or meet with my astrologer to find out when the planets were going to align for me so I could change careers effectively. I had a commission-based job. So that meant no paid maternity leave. If I wanted to make money, I needed to get back in the car and start selling some houses as soon as possible. Only I couldn't because I had an ice pack shoved up my vagina, cabbage leaves stuck in my bra, and someone else's vomit in my hair. I couldn't stop crying and I was so exhausted I was hallucinating.

My second baby came weeks after my husband had been down-sized and was out of work. My commission-based job had suddenly become a CAREER and I was the breadwinner. Still couldn't make any money, because ice packs, cabbage leaves, vomit, and now a toddler demanding food, diaper changes, and attention. 

I guess the good news was that I now had someone to help me take care of my toddler, but not really, because my husband needed to be out finding a job because no one wants to see a house with a lady with an ice pack shoved in her mesh drawers.

Maternity leave isn't AT ALL about the mother's needs. It's all about the CHILDREN'S needs. Whether you have one or sixteen, those children and their needs all come first before the mother's. And that's OK, that's how we like it. We signed up for the job and we're happy (most of the time) to sacrifice things like showering and bras and root touch-ups in order to focus on our kids. But don't for a second think that we're somehow relaxing or having a great vacation. 

I remember being the single, childless woman in an office and kind of thinking, "Hey! Why does she get to go home early?" I get it. I do. And then one day my co-worker was packing up her stuff. She'd just announced she needed to leave early and I would have to stay late to pick up her slack. It was only her first day back from her awesome maternity leave and I was perturbed, because was this going to become a thing?? I had nothing to go home to except a new episode of "Law & Order," but still, I was pissed. "What's going on?" I grumbled. "Why do you get to leave early?"

She turned on me like the devil himself. "GET TO? GET TO??" she kept repeating like a lunatic in an insane asylum. "I don't GET TO leave early. I HAVE TO leave early. My baby's daycare--that I pay $700 a month for by the way. How's your new car? Does it smell good? What are new cars like? I wouldn't know since I pay $700 a month for childcare--just called to tell me that he projectile vomited on her and he's running a fever of 104 degrees and I have to rush him to the emergency room so he won't die. ANNNND if he doesn't die, then I have to stop somewhere at some point and pick up donuts for the snacks tonight at pee-wee soccer ANNNND I have to help my daughter create a full-size bust of George Washington out of papier mache that's due on Friday, but do you know how long papier mache takes to dry? I do. DAYS. You have to start that shit days before it's due. And she's seven, so it's not like she can do it herself, so she'll go to bed and I'll still be up covered in floury paste trying to make perfect hair for George's head. Yeah, you have to stay late tonight. You'll stay two hours and get out of here by seven. You'll go home and eat a quiet meal--whatever you want, not dinosaur chicken nuggets--and probably have a drink and then go to bed ALONE and sleep all night uninterrupted. So fuck you." 

You would think that her speech might have scared me off from having kids. It did delay me by a few years, that's for sure. But it didn't scare me. It was the truth I needed to hear. And it's the truth that Meghann needs to hear. If Meghann thinks that motherhood ISN'T like that a lot of the time, then she has no business having kids. Ever. 

Here's my advice for Meghann. If she thinks maternity leave is all about resting and finding ones' self, she needs to get an episiotomy, learn to breastfeed at 2 AM and then get up again at 5 AM to do it again, pee her pants each time she sneezes, go to the store with someone's throw up in her hair, download a howler monkey app on her phone and listen to it with headphones endlessly, and then have her husband ask what's for dinner all before she can book her appointment at the spa. What a fucking moron.

What you're looking for, Meghann, is a paid vacation from your soul-sucking job. And believe me, we're ALL looking for that!

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3 comments:

Heather said...

One hundred million percent.

S said...

I saw this on Facebook yesterday and had many thoughts about it. I completely agree with you that there is no comparison between maternity leave and ME-ternity leave, and like you, I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been the single, childless worker and the mother-without-paid-leave paying $1600+/month for childcare. (BTW, $700/month for daycare? Either that was a long time ago or daycare is a lot cheaper where you live.)

I think what Meghann fails to grasp is that maternity leave is necessary for women who have just given birth and are caring for newborns. It is by NO means a break. It is just a biological fact that takes time for a woman's body to heal after giving birth, and unless she has a very involved and supportive "village" to help her, taking care of a new baby is a full-time (plus) job.

Supporting maternity leave is supporting families and children, not just a benefit to mothers. Maybe Meghann doesn't care about that, but our society should.

PackagedGore said...

Wow, your coworker was a huge fucking bitch