The Woman Card & Meternity Leave

Today was…another tough day of being a woman in the United States, and I read three posts that illustrated it perfectly.

First, I read How to Negotiate a Raise (if you’re a woman) and laughed uncomfortably because it is true. 

Then, minutes later, I stumbled upon an article about Trump’s comments about Hillary and the supposed woman card. Great article. Yeah, all those advantages that come with having a “woman card.”

A few hours later, this terrible post about a woman needing Meternity Leave without having children surfaced. Um what? 

I don’t think I have anything clever to say about the weird synergy of the three posts other than that yes, being a woman is still very much a liability in most circumstances. Even when we are acknowledged in the workplace, apparently it is to be envied for the nirvana and self-actualization we realize during a too-short, often unpaid maternity leave when the reality is sleep deprivation, vomit, pee, poo and no chance to think about anything else. I loved those rare days I got lunch during my 12 weeks. Or, we are viewed as liabilities because the children must be picked up at certain hours and have appointments, yet not being at your desk 8-5 can be interpreted as not pulling your weight.

Yeah, that woman card is great. We clearly have all the influence.

And PS: can we stop using the primary rationale for maternity leave as a time to recover from the physical demands of labor and childbirth? Because that excludes a lot of women who became mothers through adoption or surrogacy and don’t have the physical experience. It seems like the connotation is maybe we don’t deserve leave at all because we aren’t “mom enough.” 

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7 comments

  1. That Meternity piece took an idea with real merit (that people need breaks from work to step back and re-evaluate their life) and just went straight off the rails into crazytown with her parent-bashing and ridiculous assumptions about what maternity leave is. What she wanted was a sabbatical—which is NOT the same thing as maternity leave. Plus, she wants to have kids and have her own maternity leave—so why spend the whole article talking about how terrible/lazy/selfish other mothers are?
    I’m feeling too angry right now to read the other articles, will need to take a break before I’m ready for more inanity.

  2. Ooh, that meternity article made me furious! I want to go to that woman’s house and scream every 2 hours, all night long, during her sabbatical.

    Maternity leave helps women learn to put themselves first? Last night, I took the kids to Dunkin Donuts and ordered nothing for myself. Then I went home, made them dinner, and ate what was left standing up while I did dishes and folded laundry. But yeah, it was all a convenient excuse to leave work early. Grrr.

  3. Well, the primary rationale of the maternity leave I got with my first child (which was none, but if I hadn’t given birth a week before classes and we hadn’t had a freak snowstorm the first week of class, would have been exactly two weeks) was actually time to recover from the physical demands of childbirth. It takes a while to stop bleeding and to be able to pee without regular use of a sitz bath. I think if I’d had a c-section I would have been able to have 3 weeks since that’s the leave we get for having a surgery. So some physical recovery time is necessary just like with any temporary disability (which is what childbirth is coded as by HR).

    Now we have “alternate duties” which means people have to work from home but don’t have to come to teach, and that covers new mothers, fathers, adoptive or biological.

    1. I am not disputing the physical recovery of childbirth; I worry it sets a dangerous precedent for our expectations of what maternity leave is for if we focus only on the physical aspects. If that is the point, mothers should be back at work in a few weeks and who cares about the needs of babies and children?

  4. What a great post! I think motherhood, no matter how it transpires, should have the same value across the board when it comes to time away from work! It should be a requirement that you take time to raise your children!! Right?

    When I was in my final trimester of pregnancy, the job I was at didn’t allow me paid maternity leave because I had been working there for under a year. I took my unpaid maternity leave because the stress of working was too much for me at that time. My boyfriend/father of my daughter, was only given 5 days off after our daughter was born….and he had to keep working because I was not getting paid and he was our only source of income…it was one of the most difficult times of my life…I was stressed out, depressed, and overwhelmed. My most recent post on my blog site LADYHOOD, https://aladyhoodjourney.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/maternity-leave-in-america-the-story-of-the-struggling-mother/ speaks about this concern. I would love your feedback! Great post!

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