There Is Nothing 'Lazy' About Maternity Leave

One of my favorite parts of being a mother is that even though we moms fight and debate and can be very mean to one another online (and elsewhere), there is a certain level of camaraderie that comes from both being in the same boat. No matter how different your philosophies of child rearing, in the end, moms stick up for one another.

But Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones is no comrade. In her latest column, she rails against maternity leave. "I just don't understand the lack of work ethic in young women today," she says after learning a woman she worked with will be on a long maternity leave.

Um, hello? Since when does taking a maternity leave to have a baby mean a woman lacks "work ethic"?

Advertisement

I am aware that Jones may have been click baiting with this particular piece of garbage column. If people get angry and riled up, more people read your story. And in the end, Jones is probably most concerned with her bottom line and making her editors happy. She may not even believe what she wrote. I'd like to think that is true. Still, it's wrong.

Because women have a hard enough time getting respect, especially when they are of childbearing age. Jones is in the UK, but here in the US, maternity leave is abysmal. There is no guarantee of any paid time off and the Family Medical Lave Act (FMLA) only guarantees an abysmal three months unpaid. It's not good. Women need all the support they can get.

Maybe if Jones had children herself (she doesn't), she would understand that maternity leave isn't merely "playing house" (as she said in another column), nor is it easy. Anyone who has ever taken a maternity leave (mine stretched into three years) knows that being home with kids is much more difficult than being in an office.

Even if you don't believe that, there are huge adjustments. For many women, there is the physical adjustment. Unless you adopted, your body is pretty much blown out. Most would be unable to work for at least a few weeks even if they wanted to. There is also the emotional aspect. The body goes through insane emotional adjustments after pregnancy, and if the office wants to avoid bringing a weeping, leaking woman into her cubicle, maternity leave is the way to go.

But that's not all. Combine that with the incredible sleep deprivation and huge life upheaval of being solely responsible for another human life and you get a whole lot of hard work. What office really would want a woman that divided? Come back to work when you have had some time to adjust and find some semblance of balance, please!

A man would be excoriated for saying such a thing. But Jones, because she has a vagina, thinks she can. Well, she can't. Most of the time I roll my eyes at the things she says and ignore her, but now she is just being ridiculous.

Do I detect some bitterness at the things she missed in life? It would explain a lot.

Do you think maternity leave is lazy?

 

Read More >