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Thread: Meternity leave... Really???

  1. #11
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    I was lucky,had sick leave,4 weeks vacation before I retired,and good health coverage. I thought that everyone had those bennys,but It was California,and the company was good with the benefits. Also California had a VERY strong labor code to protect the workers. Calif. also has it very own OSHA above the federal one.
    One Governor tried to kill the labor board and labor code as he was running for a second term. That was Wilson...that stance got him bounced as Governor,and also killed his trying to run for POTUS.
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  2. #12
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    If this woman thinks that women with kids are RELAXING during their maternity leave... I know enough new mothers to know that's just not true.

    In Australia we get paid me-ternity leave... it's called '4 weeks annual leave' and '2 weeks sick/carers leave'. And if you stay at a job for ten years you then get '13 weeks long service leave'. Mothers get to spend their own sick leave looking after children with the sniffles who aren't allowed to go to daycare that day... then when they run out of sick days they get to take unpaid sick leave in order to look after the kid.

    I do get frustrated when people with kids are given shift preferences, but I hate when non-parents start whining about how parents get it so much easier at work. My coworker worked at a $15 loss every week because of childcare costs. My sister can't take sick days for herself because she's used them all on the kids and her single mother budget is so tight that an unpaid day of puts her tooshort that week.

    I think people like that woman need to check their privelege and look at what the real issue here is.

  3. #13
    Supporter Hawkfeathers's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    ^^^ Every place I worked started off with 1 week a year vacation, and 3 or 4 sick days. After 3 years you got 2 weeks/5 days. One place had 10 sick days but you didn't dare use them. So, this is the problem in the USA - imagine how fast those days got used up? Getting cable tv put in? Moving? Plumber, etc.? Most Dr.'s who don't have night hours? Car breakdown? There went your vacation time. People are beyond burnt out.

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    Quote Originally Posted by HAWKFEATHERS View Post
    ^^^ Every place I worked started off with 1 week a year vacation, and 3 or 4 sick days. After 3 years you got 2 weeks/5 days. One place had 10 sick days but you didn't dare use them. So, this is the problem in the USA - imagine how fast those days got used up? Getting cable tv put in? Moving? Plumber, etc.? Most Dr.'s who don't have night hours? Car breakdown? There went your vacation time. People are beyond burnt out.
    Which is what I think the real issue is. Workers' (non)rights in the US boggles my brain. So why is this woman attcking parents who need to be at home with their newborn baby? Does she expect a new mother to pop one out and go back to work the next day.

    Yes, workers need me-time, but attcking new parents' right to their baby-time is not the way to go about it.

    (And "self-advocacy for the good of your family"? Since when did sacrificing your paycheck to look after a screaming sick child become self-advocacy? Does she think mothers LIKE taking their kids to the doctor when the appointment is now costing more than she earned that day?)

  5. #15
    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    There is no way taking 'Me-ternity leave' could ever achieve what having a child does. This lady doesn't even know what she's talking about. Becoming a parent (especially a mother) tested me to my physical, emotional and spiritual limits. My whole identity was first stripped away as I no longer had 'Me-time' to do the things I once enjoyed and therein lies the idiocy of the comparison. I found my grip on reality loosen significantly as I questioned everything I once thought I was. It was as though I teetered right on the edge of sanity from mental and physical exhaustion. I was tested to my absolute limit and, fortunately , I adapted. There is no way the pressures of new parenthood could ever be replicated in any self-directed soul-searching retreat or whatever meaningful thing she's advocating you do with 'meternity leave' mainly because when such a change is self-directed, you can rarely push yourself so far past limitations in such a short space of time.

    She is right about a couple of things:
    But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first
    . This is absolutely true, but it's because you have a little dependent person who doesn't have the ability or insight to speak for itself, not because of some realisation you've had about your own ambitions or self-worth.

    Work-life balance is tough for everyone, and it happens most when parents and nonparents support and don’t judge each other.
    My boss is/was an absolute biatch about this one. When I first returned to work, she was extremely unwelcoming and attempted to undermine the support that I knew I had from my all-female, all mothers work group when I had to ring in to take days off. It utterly destroyed all trust and any kind of respect I could ever build for her. From her point of view, she wanted a team she could rely on to give highly consistent results to make herself look good. From my point of view, giving the best I could to my little dependent human who was basically in programming mode was WAY more important. I called her out on it and she thanked me and apologised, but as far as I'm concerned, I know her now. I can't respect the point of view that work productivity over-rides family relationships. At the end of my days, hopefully it's my family that's going to be there with me, not likely my work mates thanking me for coming in even though my son needed me at home one time!

    So, here's the focal point and the end result that author wants to achieve:
    ...my "meternity" taught me to live on my own terms and advocate what works for me.
    Self-awareness and self-advocacy go hand in hand. I think what she is really promoting is a chance to develop that self-awareness. I agree with many of the others here who have pointed out that most people work ridiculous hours. I really feel that many people are under the illusion of freedom. I loved this image: Yoddler_359_MEDIUM.jpg Sometimes I feel like a slave to a huge money machine that I can never see or get a share in. It takes a total change in lifestyle and an act of bravery to quit feeling like that. I feel like I've got one foot partly in the water, but have a ways to go yet!

    And as I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves. One friend made the decision to leave her corporate career to create her own business; another decided to switch industries. From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives.
    What the author is witnessing here is part of the loss and renewal of identity I was talking about earlier and there's a few parts to it. One factor is that your understanding of your limitations change as well as your understanding of the value of time. One of my previous bosses mused that she felt so busy before she had kids but remembered taking naps. The other factor that definitely, a break away from something that seems larger than life can break its power. For example, my year away from attending church meetings five times a week gave me the break I needed to honestly consider all I was taught and measure it against my own values and life experience. When you go into something and it's all you think about, it's all you think about! A hiatus can certainly help to put things into perspective.

    So, I do think she's onto something, but comparing it to maternity leave is just plain silly. The same thing she's talking about could be achieved through a gap year or a backpacking holiday or whatever. I agree with her sentiments, I think she's just worded it all very poorly. Maybe she's simply trying to advertise her new novel.

  6. #16
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    There were days while I was riding the BART(Bay area rapid transit) where I flashed on a scene from "metropolis" the old silent movie.


    This scene.
    MAGIC is MAGIC,black OR white or even blood RED

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  7. #17
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    I have always felt that most people work far too long. Everyone would probably be much more productive with more breaks and more holidays. It would even out in the end.
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  8. #18
    Sr. Member faye_cat's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    At first I thought I was going to hate the author, but I can see where she's coming from. I just don't like some of the correlations she drew.

    Ultimately, what I learned from my own “meternity” leave is that any pressure I felt to stay late at the office wasn’t coming from the parents on staff. It was coming from myself. Coming back to a new position, I realized I didn’t need an “excuse” to leave on time. And that’s what I would love the take-away for my book to be: Work-life balance is tough for everyone, and it happens most when parents and nonparents support and don’t judge each other.
    This is it exactly. Reading the article, it sounds like another take on the "Take a year between college and high school to find yourself" discussion.

    As others have said, most jobs in the US (and possibly other countries but I can only reference the US) do not provide very much support for workers, regardless of their home life. I think that if they did, more people would be less resentful of parents. However, as Azvanna noted, even with maternity leave you don't get any "me time"--you in fact get less time to soul search than ever. Most parents either sink or swim when it comes to parenting and juggling a job, and there's no time to grapple with your self doubt--parents I know who have to balance have more self doubt than most single/non parents who have a job and home life!

    One friend made the decision to leave her corporate career to create her own business; another decided to switch industries.
    The author seems to say that these are moves made by being more comfortable in their lives or more confident in their abilities, but doesn't provide evidence to back it up. It could also be a matter of necessity: Their current jobs are causing them stress and they are unable to keep up so they find another way to balance it.

    The author isn't even taking into consideration the physical aspect. Most maternity leave is only 12 weeks (unpaid), but it can take the body a year (give or take) to fully bounce back after an average pregnancy and labor. My current employer lumps the maternity leave in with short term disability, which is how I got (reduced) paid checks during my leave.

    Also, you know why women are usually the ones who leave work "early" to pick up the kid? Because they get paid less than their partner (usually). I'm not trying to start a debate about the wage gap, but simply the jobs they work. Most women I know end up, because of the fact that they are physically the ones who have the baby, through a combination of their own desires, what works with the partner, societal expectations, and their own abilities end up with a more flexible, lesser paying job. I think Kalyn above also mentioned in the restaurant industry that women (or is it parents in general?) end up getting less good paying jobs after having children, regardless of their abilities. It could be a whole other debate, but if they got paid better wages, they wouldn't have to leave to pick up the kids because they could afford to pay more childcare costs.

    tl;dr: I can't fault what the author says about "meternity" because I feel like employers treat their employees like crap and need to change that, but I do disagree with how she romanticizes mothers and their maternity leave.
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    Supporter Hawkfeathers's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    If I remember correctly, people who adopted had to fight to get equal leave. So it used to be only about physical recovery, not bonding with the baby.

    Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

  10. #20
    Sr. Member faye_cat's Avatar
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    Re: Meternity leave... Really???

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkfeathers View Post
    If I remember correctly, people who adopted had to fight to get equal leave. So it used to be only about physical recovery, not bonding with the baby.
    True, I didn't even consider that.
    Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, first passed in 1993, unpaid leave is available for adoptive families. FMLA allows individuals, working for qualified employers, to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work. Although this time is unpaid, you will receive benefits and will not jeopardize your employment.
    Source

    Maternity and paternity leave (which is sadly even harder to obtain) is vital to the well being of the parents and the child. Meternity is something that should be discussed, I definitely believe the economy pushes workers too hard, but it is not the same as maternity/paternity leave and needs to be discussed separately.
    “I am Cat and I walk alone and all ways are the same to me.” ~Rudyard Kipling, The Cat Who Walks By Himself

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