There’s a woman in America causing a bit of a stir. Meghann Foye has written a book titled “Meternity” where she argues every working woman should get paid maternity leave even if she doesn’t have kids.
Apparently when Meghann was childless professional in her early thirties she got a bit jealous of all the mums clocking off to time with their families. Meghann argues everyone should get a slice of the action.
“The more I thought about it, the more I came to believe in the value of a ‘meternity’ leave — which is, to me, a sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs,” she told the New York Post.
Now the reaction has been pretty vitirolic
Meghann Foye hands down winner of most clueless and ignorant author ever to suggest maternity leave is ‘me’ time. Cringe worthy. #meternity
— D Gray (@antipodesgarden) April 29, 2016
— Jenica Rogers (@jenica26) April 29, 2016
This bitch. Are you serious?? Take your #meternity time and shove it.
— Katie Ambrose (@kambrose1338) May 1, 2016
— Angelica Louis (@angelica__louis) May 1, 2016
So, let’s think this through. Paid maternity leave is still a dream for many. The thinking behind it for the politicians that do support it isn’t about letting women find themselves, it’s purely economic. If fifty per cent of your workforce pack up and go home never to return to their jobs you lose a hell of a lot of productivity.
The reality is you kinda need people to continue to have babies because sometime in the future those babies are going to be the workers whose taxes will keep the country running.
Having children ain’t no hobby, or if it is it’s a bloody expensive, time consuming one. There is no doubt raising these little workers-of-the-future takes sacrifice, fortitude and a bit of a your sanity along the way.
Your life juggling work and children is difficult. Babies aren’t puppies who can be left alone at home for the day with a bowl of water and a few doggie biscuits. You do have to dash out at the end of the day to get to daycare, you do have to take time off when they get sick.
But rather than arguing that everyone deserves paid leave I think the discussion should be about better flexibility for all staff. I think job share arrangements, better leave provisions, the chance to take leave-without-pay but retain your job and the opportunity to work part-time but keep on a career track should be available for parents (mums and dads) and anyone who needs some time to study, care for elderly parents, travel Europe, write a novel or gaze at their belly button.
I think work should be just one part of a rich, rewarding life, it shouldn’t be the only focus of your existence.
I think Meghann Foye has certainly caused a stir, but perhaps the discussion should be broader than just giving everyone a paid sabbatical, ’cause trust me the ten years I spent at home with my kids was no sabbatical.