Don't think new motherhood is tough enough? Get ready. A group of uber-moms (or uber-idiots ... you decide) has thrown another log on the fire. They're taking what they call a "power maternity leave."
So how does that differ from the regular old weeks of trying to bond with this little person who is constantly crying or pooping or sleeping? Well, honey, these ladies don't just use that time off from work to do a silly little thing like learning to be a mom. They learn a new language! They start a new business! They do something, anything, that will boost them up the corporate ladder.
Just check out this explanation of what "power maternity leave" consists of from UK site Stylist:
We’re so used to managing multiple projects -- buying a new house while planning a wedding and restructuring our work team -- that sitting around watching daytime TV while your baby sleeps is anathema to our hard-wired work ethic. Those precious months, as well as allowing you time to nurture your baby, give you the chance to take a step back and really think about your career prospects and whether your current job is fulfilling you in the way you’d like.
Did you catch the part about how we're all just sitting around taking in the soaps? How about the part where it's "anathema to our hard-wired work ethic"?
Because, y'know, figuring out how to actually feed a human being from our boobs isn't hard. Just ask the more than 50 percent of women who plan to exclusively breastfeed for at least three months who don't make their goal. And absolutely anyone could handle not getting a good night's sleep for weeks on end. That's why they used sleep deprivation as torture in Gitmo ... oh, wait.
Let's just say it: motherhood is hard work. If it wasn't, working moms and dads wouldn't have to pay someone to step in and care for our kids when we went to work; we'd be able to just strap the kid on our back and go. There's no need to get into another stay-at-home moms vs. working moms debate here.
What does need to be discussed is this ridiculous notion that maternity leave should become a contest for women, as though there's a test at the end: how many new computer programs did YOU learn between diaper changes?
I won't deny that taking time off from work to care for our kids puts women at a disadvantage in the workplace. But women are already incredibly limited in the time they can spend at home postpartum. We don't need to add more challenges on top of recuperating from giving birth, learning a whole new job (yes, motherhood IS a job), and giving baby that "best start" they so desperately need.
That mothers are looking at maternity leave as something they need to take advantage of to improve things at work says a lot about the way women are valued in the workplace. We shouldn't have to come back "better" than we were before we left. Where we were should be enough, what we're doing should be enough.
We are not taking time off so we can vacation in the Caribbean with a bevy of sexy waiters serving us cocktails. We are taking time so we can help the next generation of people get a good start in life. Isn't that enough? For employers and for women?
The system, as it is, sucks. But that shouldn't give women leave to screw their babies -- and frankly themselves -- by trying to climb the corporate ladder when they should be doing the hard work of being a new mom. Those women don't come off as good employees or good mothers. They come off, quite simply, as selfish.
Our kids need us. That's the point of maternity leave. Not to learn a new language or get a new job.
Shouldn't we, the mothers, value ourselves enough to realize this? Shouldn't we be fighting for the right to make sure maternity leave is valued?
If we moms don't fight for the right to have a regular old maternity leave, who will?
Did you do a "power" maternity leave? What do you think of this trend?
Image via emilywjones/Flickr