Out of all of the totally ridiculous reasons to get pregnant (such as to force your man to commit or be able to pig out anytime you want), conceiving for the sole purpose of being able to miss work for an entire year has got to be at the top of the list.
But surprisingly, more and more women in Britain are starting to do just that. After being really sick and tired of the daily grind, they are choosing to have babies simply to take advantage of the standard 52-week maternity leave offered in the U.K. Huh. At first glance, I guess it doesn't seem like an entirely bad idea. Who wouldn't love to take time off from work -- and still have a guaranteed job to come back to an entire year later? Sounds kinda cush -- right?
But if the only reason these women are having babies is because they really want a nice long break from work -- they've got a huge surprise awaiting them. Because taking care of a baby and adjusting to being a mother is pretty much the hardest job there is. And in most cases, it's a hell of a lot more work than anyone expects.
I remember how excited I was not only about having my son, but also about not having to get up early and go into work every day to deal with meetings, phone calls, and being bored most of the time while sitting in my cubicle staring at the computer screen. I figured my son and I would cuddle up on the couch in the mornings while I sipped my coffee, then we'd take a nice walk around the neighborhood, watch some talk shows over lunch, make a trip to Target in the afternoon, and then he'd sit in his bouncy seat and coo while I made a four-course dinner for my husband and me to enjoy in the evening (or something to that effect).
But my fantasy of leaving my job to enjoy a life of endless snuggles, naps, and relaxing moments was quickly squashed when I found myself getting up at 4 a.m. every morning, doing endless loads of laundry, feeding, burping, and changing the baby a million times throughout the course of the day, barely having 10 minutes to squeeze in a shower, and being too exhausted to lift a finger and clean up my messy, cluttered house by the time bedtime rolled around. My time off from "work" was definitely not a vacation.
I can only hope that these women look at the big picture before planning a pregnancy based solely on getting a hall pass from having to go to work every day. The job of raising a child is extremely rewarding, but also incredibly tough. But it's a whole lot easier if you do it because you want to experience unconditional love and incomparable joy -- not because you can't stand your 9 to 5 schedule.
Would the decision to have a baby seem even more appealing if we had a lengthier maternity leave policy in the U.S.?
Image via olga.palma/Flickr