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BY Fairygodboss

Of Maternity and Me-ternity Leaves

Cover of Meternity Book

Photo credit: Women's Health Magazine

TAGS: Maternity leave, Work-life balance, Sabbatical, Working moms

Last week, author Meghann Foye caused an uproar when she wrote in the New York Post about her belief that every woman deserves sabbatical time. Sounds pretty innocuous on it’s face until you learn that her new novel is called “Meternity” and was inspired by her envy of working moms who took time off work during maternity leave to care for their newborn children. The main character in her new book fakes her own pregnancy in order to get the “me-time” she craves.

Ms. Foye wrote: “I couldn’t help but feel envious when parents on staff left the office at 6 p.m. to tend to their children, while it was assumed co-workers without kids would stay behind to pick up the slack. ‘You know, I need a maternity leave!’ I told one of my pregnant friends. She laughed and we spent the afternoon plotting my escape from my 10-hour days, fake baby bump and all….Of course, that didn’t happen. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to believe in the value of a ‘meternity’ leave — which is, to me, a sabbatical-like break that allows women, and to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.”

In her piece for the Post, Ms. Foye compares non-moms’ need for personal time to new moms’ need for their maternity leaves….unleashing an outpouring of attack and criticism via social media. Mothers took to the internet to respond the fact that their maternity leaves were hard work, with nothing “sabbatical-like” or “me”-focused in any way. Ms. Foye ultimately pulled out of two scheduled interviews on TV as a result of all the negative attention.

Ms. Foye’s argument is that when a woman has a child, a break to focus on other aspects of life comes naturally. However, for those women who remain single and/or childless, that time never comes — at least in a socially acceptable way.

While some of her words were unfortunately chosen, we suspect that Ms. Foye was mostly looking for a clever title and controversial spin to her book so that she and “Meternity” could stand out. However, in making some of her comparisons she unfortunately pitted mothers against non-mothers. Of course all people need to figure out work-life balance, and it can be challenging for men, women, non-mothers and mothers alike. Most of us, at some point in our careers need to take time to examine the other areas of our life besides work to make sure we are taking care of ourselves, and working towards something that still makes sense to us.

Ultimately, in a statement issued through her publisher, Ms. Foye wrote “I have tremendous respect for women who take time away from building their careers to raise their children…And I totally get it when moms who return to work need to leave by 6: they have a second job waiting for them when they get home after working all day. My concept of ‘meternity’ is designed to introduce and support the notion that all women deserve the opportunity to take stock and re-examine their goals in order to birth a life that works for them. Moms need it, and so do the rest of us who are trying to figure out the work/life balance. More than anything, all women — moms and those who aren’t — need to support each other.”

We couldn’t agree more. Women face enough challenging issues in the workplace and world, without wasting energy on attacking each other.

Fairygodboss

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Related Community Discussions

  • I recently got engaged, will be married October 2017. My fiance and I want to start a family right away. My job does not have paid maternity leave. Would it be premature for me to advocate for paid leave? My initial thought process was to figure this out as soon as possible. Maybe I should start looking for another job; researching other companies I noticed that most (all the one's that I saw) require employees to have been employed for a year before being offered paid maternity leave.

    If I could have my way I would stay where I am at and get paid leave.

    I have a positive relationship with my boss and can talk about this with him, however; he isn't the one who ultimately makes this decision, corporate does.

  • My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but it was designed in a way that the majority of the room is fogged glass - except one strip that runs right at sitting level that was left as transparent glass. I don't think it was done intentionally (men designed the room) but I now have to put up sheets of paper to cover the transparent strip of glass. Any idea on how to address this with my (all male) management team?

  • I recently had a child and worked out an arrangement with my manager to work from home 1-2 days/week. I'm the only female on my team and none of the co-workers have a similar arrangement. There have been discreet comments made about my schedule (mostly in a joking way) but it still feels uncomfortable. Has anyone else ran into this?

  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

    Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I legally take the 4 weeks off, and still have a job to return back to? Given that I had to take so much time off, do I still qualify for job protection and benefits?

    Thank you for any an all help.

  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

    Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I legally take the 4 weeks off, and still have a job to return back to? Given that I had to take so much time off, do I still qualify for job protection and benefits?

    Thank you for any an all help.

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Of Maternity and Me-ternity Leaves

Of Maternity and Me-ternity Leaves

Last week, author Meghann Foye caused an uproar when she wrote in the New York Post about her belief that every woman deserves sabbatical time. Sounds...

Last week, author Meghann Foye caused an uproar when she wrote in the New York Post about her belief that every woman deserves sabbatical time. Sounds pretty innocuous on it’s face until you learn that her new novel is called “Meternity” and was inspired by her envy of working moms who took time off work during maternity leave to care for their newborn children. The main character in her new book fakes her own pregnancy in order to get the “me-time” she craves.

Ms. Foye wrote: “I couldn’t help but feel envious when parents on staff left the office at 6 p.m. to tend to their children, while it was assumed co-workers without kids would stay behind to pick up the slack. ‘You know, I need a maternity leave!’ I told one of my pregnant friends. She laughed and we spent the afternoon plotting my escape from my 10-hour days, fake baby bump and all….Of course, that didn’t happen. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to believe in the value of a ‘meternity’ leave — which is, to me, a sabbatical-like break that allows women, and to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.”

In her piece for the Post, Ms. Foye compares non-moms’ need for personal time to new moms’ need for their maternity leaves….unleashing an outpouring of attack and criticism via social media. Mothers took to the internet to respond the fact that their maternity leaves were hard work, with nothing “sabbatical-like” or “me”-focused in any way. Ms. Foye ultimately pulled out of two scheduled interviews on TV as a result of all the negative attention.

Ms. Foye’s argument is that when a woman has a child, a break to focus on other aspects of life comes naturally. However, for those women who remain single and/or childless, that time never comes — at least in a socially acceptable way.

While some of her words were unfortunately chosen, we suspect that Ms. Foye was mostly looking for a clever title and controversial spin to her book so that she and “Meternity” could stand out. However, in making some of her comparisons she unfortunately pitted mothers against non-mothers. Of course all people need to figure out work-life balance, and it can be challenging for men, women, non-mothers and mothers alike. Most of us, at some point in our careers need to take time to examine the other areas of our life besides work to make sure we are taking care of ourselves, and working towards something that still makes sense to us.

Ultimately, in a statement issued through her publisher, Ms. Foye wrote “I have tremendous respect for women who take time away from building their careers to raise their children…And I totally get it when moms who return to work need to leave by 6: they have a second job waiting for them when they get home after working all day. My concept of ‘meternity’ is designed to introduce and support the notion that all women deserve the opportunity to take stock and re-examine their goals in order to birth a life that works for them. Moms need it, and so do the rest of us who are trying to figure out the work/life balance. More than anything, all women — moms and those who aren’t — need to support each other.”

We couldn’t agree more. Women face enough challenging issues in the workplace and world, without wasting energy on attacking each other.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!
 

 

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