Should non-parents get paid maternity leave to get a ‘break’ from their career?

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  • Meghann Foye believes everyone should be entitled to paid maternity leave – not just mums.

    The 38-year-old American author has recently released her book titled ‘Me Meternity’ which sees a career-focused woman pretend to be pregnant so she can have time off work to figure out her life.

    Despite the book being fictional, it is loosely biographical and now Meghann has spoken out saying that she believes everyone should be allowed to take a paid sabbatical-style break from work.

    However, Meghann’s claims have angered many parents who say that she is perpetuating the myth that maternity leave is just a relaxing holiday.

    The argument for ‘Meternity’: You should be able to have the perks of maternity leave but without the kids

    In an interview with the New York Post, Meghann said; ‘After 10 years of working in a job where I was always on deadline, I couldn’t help but feel 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.

    ‘It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility. There’s something about saying “I need to go pick up my child” as a reason to leave the office on time that has far more gravitas than, say, “My best friend just got ghosted by her OkCupid date and needs a margarita” – but both sides are valid.

    ‘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.

    ‘As for me, I did eventually give notice at my job and take a “meternity” of my own. I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self-doubt for the year and a half that I spent away from the corporate world.’

    The argument against ‘Meternity’: Maternity leave is as far from a relaxing holiday as you can possibly imagine and books such as Meghann’s perpetuate the myth that maternity leave is a breeze

    Some Mumsnet users had a lot to say about the idea of ‘meternity’ leave!

    KnitsBakesAndReads says; ‘I kind of object to the idea that maternity leave gives women “me time”. My experience of it so far is that caring for a newborn leaves very little opportunity for “me time”. I’m not complaining, it’s lovely to be able to stay home and care for my little one and I’m very grateful to be able to do. But although it’s an amazing experience it is also pretty hard work and doesn’t leave you an awful lot of free time.’

    ThisWasCrownJewel said; ‘I would echo that there’s no such thing as “me time” on maternity leave. I have a 19 month old and a 7 week old, am due back at work full time in 4 weeks time and if I’m honest I’m looking forward to going back to work for a bit of “me time”!’

    Fourormore said; ‘If someone offered me “me time” where I was being woken up every 45-90 minutes for 9 months, I’d rather just work to be honest.’

    BoffinMum said; ‘Do they realise it’s hard to find time even to have a shower… I think they have fundamentally misunderstood the impact of childbirth on the human body… it’s actually pretty insulting and devalues the contribution to the human species made by people who are procreating on behalf of everyone else.

    ‘Much better to make arrangements for everyone to be able to have sabbaticals, if we can afford that as a nation, and this incidentally should include people who have given birth otherwise they will be deprived of reflection and personal development time simply on the grounds that they gave birth – pretty sexist when you think about it.’


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