Feb 17 2014
I used to fumble my words when someone asked me what I do for a living. Having a baby and being laid off while on maternity leave will do that to you.
My self worth bailed right along with my sanity. I was set to return to work 12 weeks postpartum as a counselor working with patients and families dealing with a terminal illness. I loved my job. As depressing as the population I worked with sounds, it was one of the most humbling and gratifying jobs I have ever held. Then, about four weeks into my maternity leave, I received notice that the company I worked for was restructuring and I was out.
The true story is that they tried to get me to quit so that I would not be eligible for unemployment. I held my own and finally got a statement from the new COO (who I never met as she started while I was out), conceding to the fact that they were indeed laying me off. I could have been over the moon to be laid off while on maternity leave, approved for unemployment, but instead I found myself deflated and defeated. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 4 2014
There is almost nothing more beautiful than my baby when she’s sleeping. She raises her hands above her head like she’s celebrating a Patriots touchdown and gets a dreamy look on her tiny, gorgeous face. When she’s awake, she gives me an amazing smile if I beep her nose or stroke her chin.
This time tomorrow, I won’t be sitting midday and nursing her as long as she wants. I won’t be rubbing her little tummy. I’ll be back at work–voluntarily.
I’m the sort of woman who leans in. During my eight-week maternity leave, I dropped in to work with the baby four or five times for one reason or another. On Monday, a co-worker said to me about my impending return to work, “Isn’t it so hard for you to leave her? It was always so hard for me to leave my kids.”
The answer to her question is no, and I won’t feel guilty about it. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 19 2013
Chinese ancients may have something on us modern Westerners. An old Chinese acupuncturist told my husband that back in the old country, women were made to stay in bed and fed soup for two solid months after giving birth.
Old-style Yiddish mamas have a special name for the postpartum woman: she’s a kimpeturin and is chided for lifting a finger to help with housework.
Modern-day America doesn’t seem to have the same respect for the recuperation needs of postpartum women (which explains why so many of them never heal properly from the experience of hosting a live baby in their wombs and then ejecting said baby in a miraculous but painful process that puts their bodies through extreme stress and acrobatics). Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 25 2013
It’s the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. I’m not sure if I’m speaking for all of us in saying this, but I haven’t even read it: I live it.
Friday morning, I shut the door in the face of my crying child who was yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! No go!” with guilt-inducing gusto. I was leaving her in order to go into New York to tape a television show which discussed, in part, feminism and work-life balance. Ah, irony: you’re so subtle.
It’s not just me, of course. The discussion on women in the workplace was kick started on the national scale this week.
On the one hand, prominent consulting group McKinsey has started quietly reaching out to female former employees who left to start families to see if they are now ready to come back to work. Goldman Sachs also runs a “returnship” program: paid short-term jobs for professionals who’ve been out of the workforce for a few years. In a 2010 report, the Wall Street Journal noted, “female senior executives cited the ‘double burden syndrome’ of balancing motherhood and work as the main obstacle to women attaining more top roles in companies.” Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 14 2013
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
- Some parents whose kids have yoga programs at school are pulling their kids out of those classes because they don’t want their children to become Hindus. (NPR)
- You’ve probably been told not to bribe your kid, but you probably do it anyway. Is creative bribery the answer? (NY Times)
- Jessica Grose offers a new plan for maternity leave. Give more of it (duh) and allow parents to take it anytime during the first year of the child’s life. (Slate)
- A surprising number of families are trying complementary and alternative medicine on their kids’ medical conditions before taking the children to a doctor, and many aren’t telling the doctors about the other treatments they’re trying. Not shockingly, this is not a good way of doing things. (TIME)
Dec 21 2012
Well, I knew it would have to happen. I knew the date was rapidly approaching. But I didn’t expect it to feel like such a shock…
Yes, I have gone back to work. Noooooo!
While I was not working, especially in the first few weeks when Charly wasn’t doing much other than sleeping, eating, and pooping, I really couldn’t see how anyone could be a stay-at-home Mom. It seemed so boring and lackluster. But I was really being shortsighted. Now, I totally get it. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 3 2012
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
- The Duchess of Cambridge is totally knocked up! And apparently has really bad morning sickness. We’re hoping she recovers quickly and we cannot wait to add her exploits to the Kid-Dish! (Remember how she might be Jewish?). (Washington Post).
- If we go over the fiscal cliff, guess who will be most adversely effected? Women and children living in poverty. Oy. (New York Times)
- Yahoo! CEO Marisa Mayer had her baby, didn’t take maternity leave, and is now saying her baby is “easy.” Some moms aren’t happy with that, but another asks why we can’t just accept that she’s an outlier. (Slate DoubleX)
- There’s a new prenatal test that can detect genetic issues, is way less invasive than an amnio, and can be done earlier in the pregnancy. The catch? The tests aren’t regulated by the FDA and are very expensive. (Washington Post)
Sep 4 2012
No one wants to consider pregnancy and birth as “illnesses” and yet maternity leave is, for working women, the equivalent of prolonged sick leave. I have a problem with that. Although women do need to recuperate from birth, and need time to bond with their infants, I think that maternity leave penalizes those other workers who do not have babies during the time they are on the job. It gives new mothers a “perk” that others do not enjoy and forces co-workers to assume more of a burden by expecting them to do their own work, and that of their absent colleague.
And apparently, I’m not the only one who feels so. This Sunday (two days after I wrote this piece) the NY Times ran an article on this very same issue. “Parents are a special class, and they get special treatment,” the article quotes.
Please, Kveller readers, do not verbally lynch me. I am on your side. I realize I am expressing a very non-PC point of view, one at odds with current thinking and existing policy in many countries. But, truthfully, maternity leave just does not seem like equitable treatment in the work place. In the broader context of “work,” it does not seem fair, and may actually hurt women by making women of child-bearing age less attractive to employers because of the anticipated time off. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 19 2012
What do Marissa Mayer and I have in common? Yes, she’s going to be Yahoo’s new CEO, and I’m not, so that’s one small way in which we are different. But we are both seven months pregnant–her with her first child, and me with my fourth. Mayer’s new job–and the timing overlap with her pregnancy/imminent maternity–has set talking heads’ tongues wagging.
Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 18 2012
By now we all know that Marissa Mayer was just hired as the new CEO of Yahoo!. I had never heard of Ms. Mayer, and I barely remembered what Yahoo! was, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing about either of them, except for one thing.
Ms. Mayer is knocked up. And Yahoo! knew about it when they hired her.
Mothers around the world rejoice whenever a preggo gets hired, and I’m happy to march in that parade. But that’s not what interests me about this story. No, what actually brought me back to the keyboard was a post I recently read about Ms. Mayer’s plans for her maternity leave. According to the author, “She’s planning on taking a mere few weeks, and she’s been vocal about the fact that she plans to work much of the time.” Read the rest of this entry →