Strong, Liberated Women Don't Need Paid Maternity Leave

officeProcreating in the United States is a right, but paid maternity leave is not. That is, if you want a baby, by golly, you can have a baby. You don’t have to pass any tests, you don’t have to be married, heck, you don’t even have to get pregnant thanks to surrogates or good old-fashioned adoption. Want to be a parent? Awesome. Go do that.

But it’s not your right to ask other people to support you while you fulfill your baby dreams.

There. Now that we have the tough love portion out of the way, let’s talk about why a federal law requiring paid maternity or paternity leave is a bad idea for the United States: Because we’re different.

America is nation founded on personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. It takes nine months to make a baby, surely that’s enough time to save some dough to take time off when the little one arrives. Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act, if your company has 50 or more employees, your employer has to hold your job for you for twelve weeks.

Moms that work for smaller companies shouldn’t despair; employers put a lot of training into you, and if you work hard and are good at your job, they’ll be happy to welcome you back after a few months of baby-bonding. Many companies nowadays even offer flexible schedules that include some work-at-home time.

More from The Stir: American Women Deserve Paid Maternity Leave

Sure, other nations have laws requiring paid maternity leave. Jody Heymann, author of Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone, points out that, “The U.S. is the only high-income nation not to have paid maternity leave, while almost all middle- and low-income countries offer it, too.”

Time to put two and two together, sweetheart. Why do you think it is that the United States is a high-income nation? Because employers get to pay their employees the money they’re not paying to others to take time off. The more businesses have to shell out for paid leave, taxes, etc., the less they can pay the people actually producing work for them. When you make doing business cost-prohibitive, people will stop doing business.

I thought we were supposed to be strong, liberated women. Now we’re demanding that other people take care of us? What’s that about? Motherhood is a wonderful, beautiful, certainly strange thing, and the decision to take it on is monumental -- but it’s unfair to ask others to pay for your life choices.


Image via ilamont/Flickr

feminism, law, politics, maternity leave


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.


I couldn't agree more.

qrex912 qrex912

I agree wholeheartedly!

Sammy... SammyMama

Are you kidding me???  Or are you high?  Seriously?  Yes, women are capable of being strong and independent, but we as a country are shooting ourselves in the foot in SO many ways by the extreme lack of support for pregnant/new/working/nursing mothers.  There is no reason why women should be asked to choose between a career and spending, say, the first year of motherhood with their babies - surely the bare minimum that Nature intended.  It's not asking other people to take care of us - it's supporting the next generation of US citizens!  The lack of support is so far reaching - look at our country's birth and breastfeeding rates, look at all the issues mothers forced to go back to work face with finding a decent childcare situation for their children, look at the fact that some women (even the ones who saved for 9 months!) would be forced to choose between going back to work or staying at home but with no health insurance.

Ugh.  I could go on all night.  I can't even believe I just wasted that much time typing as I know this author is ridiculously backwards - but this notion borders on anti-woman.  Feminism does not mean things should be as difficult as possible for new mothers to have to overcome!

three... threeforme157

Well said, I totally agree.  Women fight so hard to be equal with men in the workplace but still expect to get special treatment when they choose to have a baby, to me women can't have both.  

Flori... Floridamom96

Go on all night if you want, SammyMama, but it won't make you right. Jenny Erikson is completely correct. Demanding that others pay for your choices is wrong and totally unfair.

hotrd... hotrdumommy

SammyMama-I wouldn't waste my time pointing out how wrong Jenny is. Besides her minions will be swarming in here in a few minutes to tear anyone who disagrees with her apart. I'll just kick back with my Newports and wait for the shots to be fired.

SoJaided SoJaided

Definitely do NOT agree

Sammy... SammyMama

LOL hotrdumommy, thanks for the reminder.  I normally don't even read Jenny's articles; I just slipped up tonight!  Off to find some quality socialist reading now.  (kidding, kidding, people!)

nonmember avatar Lilianne

I agree with you SammyMama! :)

1-10 of 216 comments 12345 Last