Working During Maternity Leave Is Not Okay

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maternity leaveAhhh, maternity leave. Those months (weeks? days?) where you simply stay home and care for your baby and, hopefully, yourself. If you are lucky enough to get it and are a mom in the U.S., it's not going to last very long, so you really want to take advantage of every second. But sometimes reality sets in, and your maternity leave becomes more about those other obligations that aren't cute and tiny. Not cool, but it happens.

One mom over at Blogging Away Debt describes what is fairly common in today's world of being completely plugged in at all times. She's on maternity leave, but her workplace is still bombarding her with phone calls, emails, text messages. I'm willing to bet this has happened to most working moms. But what this brave new mom did is not what most of us would have. And while I applaud her, I also fear she won't have a job to go back to when her leave is up.

As the calls grew more frequent, this mom grew more exhausted, until ...

I went to my first pediatric appointment and couldn't remember my zip code (of the home I've lived in for 4 years) and didn't feel strong enough to carry my newborn from the overwhelming fatigue.

I emailed my employer and told him not to contact me again unless the building was on fire.

This is where we all applaud. But I'm feeling panicky. Good for her, but I hope she has an employer who realizes her worth and doesn't decide that a mom is not the type of employee he wants around. As we all try to balance being parents, spouses, and employees, something has to give. And rarely is it the job. After all, that's where your cash flow comes from, you know, the one you need in order to feed and clothe your babies. So her hard line did not come easy.

It's very simple to say, "I'd never take crap from my job while I'm with my baby!" But when you're in the middle of a major life change and worried about how you're going to pay for all those diapers and wipes, it's scary to put your job in jeopardy. We shouldn't have to, and she certainly shouldn't have since she wasn't even getting paid for that work. Unfortunately, this scenario is increasingly common in today's competitive world and sad economy.

What would you do if this happened to you?



back-to-work, maternity leave, newborns