Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Feeling Thankful: Maternity Leave

One of the things i have been thinking about as of late is my maternity leave.
Team Pancakes is definitely not in the position, financially,
 for me to take a full year off to become a full time mommy,
therefore we will have to become creative. 
I truly believe that the maternity leave laws through
the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a complete joke!
It is absolutely inhumane!
There are no other countries in the world with such oppressive laws toward mothers. 
For a Society that values families, this law is not family all!!!

 The mother/child bond is so crucial that the expectation
that a woman who just gave birth should return to work six weeks
 or less after going through such intense surgical procedure is very unfortunate.
Who came up with these laws?
 And why has it been acceptable all this time?
As a society, do we really value the workplace
and productivity over the mother/child relationship?
Do we value work over family?

Coming from Canada, i am of course very jaded about the laws in this part of the world. 
 In Canada, if you were unaware,
women are entitled to a year of maternity leave
and fathers are entitled to six weeks (i believe). 
 This time is allotted so that one can take stay home with the new baby. 
And how beautiful is that? 
That parents have the opportunity to spend
the year with their child, to bond, take care
and for the mother to heal (properly) before returning to work.

I have never wanted to be a stay at (full time) home mother
 but i would love the opportunity to spend a year with my child, just taking care of him.  
There are so many moments that occur in a child's life
in the first year/the first fews months and the fact that
 many mothers miss these moments because they have to return to work saddens me. 

Since we are not in Canada (wish i had planned it better!!),
Team Pancakes decided as a couple that we wanted me to take
 three months off so that i can be home with Baby Pancakes. 
 Three months is not qutie enough but given the laws (and the economy),
it will have to be enough.
  Lucky for me, i work in a flexible,
easygoing environment with supportive team members,
so even after i return to work, i will be able to work from home sometimes.
And Mr. Pancakes will switch his schedule around
so Baby Pancakes does not have to go into daycare right away. 
So we are definitely one of the lucky ones.

There are too many parents that don't get this opportunity and that is not fair,
 justified or in my humble opinion democratic.

The maternity leave laws in this country are definitely stuck in archaic times.
There are many things that can be changed about it.
And while i write a letter to my local Congress woman and man...
I just want to say that tonight,
 i am Thankful that at least i have a choice to take three months off.

Question of the Day:
How were you able to be creative with your maternity leave?



YUMMommy said...

I agree that the maternity leave in this country sucks. More of us moms and dads have to start speaking up. I think that even six months would be better compared to six weeks. Not only does your body have to heal but you and baby have to bond, get a schedule down and for those moms going back to work you have line up child care. Six weeks just isn't enough time to do all of that.

I'm blessed that my blog and freelancing has allowed me to be able to stay at home with my kids. Also, the cost of living is much cheaper here and we can survive off my husband's salary alone if we needed to. I'm definitely going to be writing letters to my local representatives and making more noise about this though.

Nylse said...

When I had my first child 22 years ago there was no FMLA; by baby #3 is was finally law and you would've thought it was the 2nd coming of christ. Once i got down to the nitty gritty of the law,i thought it stupid. How does it benefit a mother to have 12 weeks off guaranteed by FMLA but with no pay,unless you got creative and use other time you had stored????

in any event i had a job where i could always take 3 months off. Even though my deliveries were easy - the first 6 weeks is when i was getting used to all the newness. and the 2nd 6 weeks went so quickly because i had to start thinking about childcare, and all the logistics that's involved with going back to work.

Parenthood forces you to become creative - its one of those things you pick up super quick.

Natalie said...

I am a SAHM so I didn't have to be creative with maternity leave, but 3 months is wonderful! You will feel much better physically and mentally and hopefully baby will be sleeping better.

Tinu said...

omg!! where have i been. You're pregos!! I need to catch up. sigh

A Haute Mommy said...

I thought it was important to stay home for the first year as well. With my first child I had her during Christmas break my senior year of college. I had one semester left to finish but instead I stayed home with my baby and then a year later finished that semester to graduate. Luckily I have great support that allows me to be a stay at home mom because even after a year I wasn't ready to return to work. It's been hard and I had to change my lifestyle but it was worth it.

Asha said...

You are very blessed for being able to take off 3 months! I agree that the law is absolutely ridiculous! It must have been written by a man who had no understanding of how much goes into delivering a child, haha! I'm glad to hear that your are writing a letter to Congress and I pray that it will aid in making this change for future working mothers :)

Angela K said...

The law is really surprising and frustrating. In CA, you can apply for "baby bonding" time that gives you another six weeks after the disability runs out. One of my coworkers said that you can extend your disability for reasons like not having healed properly after giving birth, not feeling physically up to going back to work, feeling depressed, etc, and doctors are usually very helpful with that. Not that I'm saying cheat the system, but in reality your body WON'T feel ready to go back to work after six weeks. It's not a stretch of the imagination by any means. See if you can do that and get your disability extended for at least a couple weeks. I plan to take 3 or 4 months off after our baby girl arrives later this year. And that's because I'll be supplementing the money I get weekly from disabiility with half of my vacation time from work each week. Good thing I saved up my vacation time! Wish I could take more, but right now that's just not conceivable for us. I dread the thought of finding someone to take care of baby girl during the day while working. :/

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I feel your pain. I know moms who go back in a month because they are on a promotion track and want to prove that they prioritize their jobs. how twisted. Anyways, enjoy your mat leave and forget about work during your time off.

Heather said...

I too am disgusted by the maternity laws in this country. I can only hope they'll someday change, but since we as a nation don't always take active steps to better the health and well-being of our citizens, I sadly doubt they will anytime soon.

Splendor said...

I was blessed to stay home 2-3 years with each of my children b/c of my husband's income but many women purchase disability insurance before their pregnancy and it pays out afterwards. I believe a company like AFLAC offers something. It isn't a lot of money but many use it to extend their time off. Thankfully you and hubby's schedule will allow a parent to be home at all times with baby in the beginning so that's peace of mind.

Barbara said...

I am so very fortunate to be an American working and living in France so my maternity leave was 16 weeks minimum. Even after four months, I still didn't feel like it was enough time, but I was so thankful to not be back in the US with their crappy 6 week system. I'm hoping to have one more child before leaving and take advantage of the 6 month leave.

Harlem Green said...

A man probably made these laws... lol. i hope you get the time you need!

Faith said...

My sister saved up vacation time that way she could have more than six weeks as well. I completely agree that it is a joke.

toi said...

i totally agree that "The maternity leave laws in this country [USA] are definitely stuck in archaic times". i don't live in the States but i feel awful for those mother who have to return to work soon after baby is born, it is inhumane!

Jenni said...

I had three months of maternity leave when I had my son. I had to use ALL sick and vacation time I had left before the maternity leave pay kicked in. Thankfully, I had my son in November 2010, so when I went back to work in February I to start accruing sick time, but I had my 2011 vacation time. Anyway, most of my leave I was paid 100%, but for the last 3 or weeks it was only 60%. I worked 2nd shift and my husband worked an 8to5. I was able to cut my hours from 40 to 35 a week and Hubby went in early so he could get off early. I would meet him at his job, give him the baby and I'd go to work and they would go home. This way we avoided daycare for 8 months, until I switched jobs and careers in August 2011.
I now work for a non-profit. The maternity leave policy is 2 months unpaid leave. We will think long and hard and plan well before our next child.