It’s time for the second installment of Mommy Rules! This story will be told in part by gifs featuring the character of Jess, from New Girl, because they’re hilarious and remind me of Belle for lots of reasons. Like:
Other than a lack of bangs, Belle resembles Zooey’s character closely. Trust me.
Ok, once upon a time… or on a dark and stormy night… or, to begin at the beginning…
This is a phone call regarding maternity leave. Belle needs to figure this out. And apparently she needs to figure this out right now in this exact moment even though she’s less than halfway through gestation…
Quick detour! Did you know that the US is almost the only developed nations in the world without paid maternity and/or family leave?
So that’s 8 countries total, in the whole wide world, with absolutely no guaranteed paid maternity/family leave. Not just the developed world. We are 1 of only 8 on the whole effing globe. Pretty pathetic, huh?
Belle’s maternity leave is unpaid. Given that our country has no legislation mandating paid leave, she is not surprised. She does have the option to use up her sick leave, which is paid, in place of maternity leave. Not logical. What is even more upsetting, is that during the course of her call, the representative she spoke with referred to her leave as ‘sick leave’, made it clear that paperwork would need to be submitted as soon as possible to ensure it would be approved, and ended saying ‘the procedure is the same regardless of the illness you are taking leave for.’
Eeemmmm k. A few things to remember:
1) Being pregnant is not the same thing as being ill. Pregnancy is not a dsyfunction. In fact, one might argue that it is the ULTIMATE FUNCTION. Biologically speaking, we must procreate so the species survives. It is obviously cool that we’ve evolved to the point where we can choose whether or not we want to be parents. Awesome. But for mother nature/human animals/ species surviving purposes, the biological function of reproduction is a big deal and super cool and a sign of one’s body working. It’s not the same thing as a cold or the flu or cancer. Treating it this way will likely result in reactions like this:
2) Things like maternity leave should be available to employees everywhere. The information regarding these leaves should be easily found and communicated. There shouldn’t be a need for approval, although I understand the need to inform one’s employer for scheduling/temporary replacement reasons. But why, in this moment, when so much is changing in a women’s life and body, should she have to be worried about a leave of absence almost 1/2 a year away?
Because, damnit, it’s hard enough growing another human inside your body until that creature can exist on its own. Now she has to deal with paperwork and insensitive HR personnel?!
I dream of a day when Moms everywhere can take off to care for their newborns without worrying how that will work or how they’ll survive or if they’ll still have jobs.
And maybe even how about not just Moms but also DADS CAUSE THEY ARE IN FACT ALSO PARENTS GASP OMG DREAM BIG!