So you aren’t pregnant, and you don’t plan on having a baby anytime soon, but you’d really like an extended vacation from work so you can, you know, get back in touch with yourself. Why not take some meternity leave?
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You may think this is a joke, as I did when I saw it. In fact, I went so far as to check the date on the press release, just to make sure it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. It isn’t. This could damage the cause for equal rights.
Author Meghann Foye has penned a page turner. Her novel, “Meternity,” is all about a heroine who has simply had too much of the daily grind. She needs to find a way to reconnect, so she take meternity leave.
“It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility,” Foye recently told The New York Post’s Anna Davies. “There’s something about saying ‘I need to go pick up my child’ as a reason to leave the office on time that has far more gravitas than, say, ‘My best friend just got ghosted by her OkCupid date and needs a margarita’ — but both sides are valid.”
Both sides are valid?
Let’s diesct this, gently–because Foye is obviously a delicate flower. What she is saying is that “I need to go pick up my child” = “My best friend just got ghosted by her OkCupid date and needs a margarita.”
This is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long, long time. And it could only be written by someone who has no kids, and no clue. In fact, I wonder it Foye really understands the concept of kids, or dependents in general. As she equates the health and safety of a human incapable of looking after itself with the disappointment her bestie feels when her date, which was arranged via computer (or worse–some sort of mobile device), and the ability of a cliche Mexican cocktail to alleviate her dilemma, I can guarantee she has no clue about parenting.
But it is the being there part that Foye’s emphasizing. Both reasons are legitimate, she claims, because she needs to be there for the margarita just like she would need to be there to pick up a four year old from day care. Both of these events REQUIRE Foye’s hypothetical presence.
And as I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves. One friend made the decision to leave her corporate career to create her own business; another decided to switch industries. From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives.
Right. And this “new lens” had everything to do with the fact that these women just took some time off, and nothign to do with the creation of life. With the new child.
“From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives.” This just cracks my ass up.
As you may have surmised by my vitriolic tone, I’m a parent. I’m not a mother. I didn’t get any maternity leave when my son was born. I didn’t get any paternity leave, either. I got no time off of work. My wife did, and I’m happy to report that she spent the entire time sitting around in her lazy maternity rocker, sampling various blends of exotic teas while decoding the mysteries of her own life.
Actually, no. Our son has intense food allergies. He had colic for more than 10 months. During that time, the longest he slept–ever–was 45 minutes. It was more than a year before either my wife or I slept for 8 uninterrupted hours, and then we had to take turns, trading off the night time responsibilities.
But Foye? She did take a meternity leave. And she wrote the novel (see the video below). How was her time off? “I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self doubt.”
Self doubt. Wow. I’m glad she grappled with that. Wouldn’t want that spreading.
By now, you may be wondering if men deserve a meternity leave, too. Foye thinks they do, but not as much as the fragile women of the world.
While both men and women would benefit from a “meternity” leave after a decade or so in the workforce, the concept is one that would be especially advantageous for women. Burnout syndrome is well-documented in both sexes, but recent research suggests that women may experience it at greater rates; researchers postulate that it’s because women (moms and non-moms alike) feel overloaded by the roles they have to take on at work and at home.
Right. Because women, more than half the world’s population, can be so easily pigeonholed.
Bottom line: Women are bad at putting ourselves first. But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first. A well-crafted “meternity” can give you the same skills — and taking one shouldn’t disqualify you from taking maternity leave later.
“When you have a child,” Foye guesses, “you learn how to…put the needs of your family first.” And taking some time off to gaze deeply at you own navel and grapple with some crushing self doubt can do the same thing. Except the family part. You don’t really get that.
At the end of this, I’ve come to this conclusion. Women are fighting for equal rights. I completely believe that a woman should get the same pay as a man for the same work. I also believe in family leave, and paternity leave.
I also believe that this type of idiotic drivel is damaging to the cause of women and fathers. If Foye’s “meternity” concept gains steam, it will make childless women everywhere seem selfish and woefully out of touch. And it will belittle the contributions made by actual mothers.
Need proof of this statement? It is subtle, but here in this final passage from Foye’s interview.
I want kids in the future, and I might still take a traditional maternity leave. I might not. But either way, I’m happy my “meternity” taught me to live on my own terms and advocate what works for me.
She might take maternity leave. She might not. Hard to tell. If she doesn’t have any pressing self-doubt to grapple with during that time, she just might keep working. You know, because babies can damn-well take care of themselves.