Me-ternity. Rage-fodder garbage, or inalienable right?
To be honest, in my opinion, the entire concept is stupid. Yes. We’re mothers. We know it’s not easy. It’s fantastic a lot of the time, horrible a good chunk of the time, but nobody said it was easy. It’s like having a really difficult job that takes all your money instead of paying you, but has some really good perks.
Now, I haven’t read her book, so my opinion is entirely based on reviews and this article in the NY Post, which may or may not cast this lady in the best light. I read a few reviews on the book, (Sorry lady, I’m not throwing $10 at you for insulting mothers all over the world.) So the book itself is a work of fiction, so let’s discuss the concept of “Me-ternity”. To do that, let’s pick apart some direct quotes from the article and author herself.
It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility. 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.
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, being a parent has granted me SOME flexibility. For instance, I never thought I could survive 3 days in a row without taking a shower. I’ve become much more flexible on that. Oh, and I work from home now. That means I had to be flexible about having a job at all – meaning I had to quit and go full freelance, and of course, my pay was cut to about 40% of what it was. That’s made my budget super flexible. By “flexible budget” – I mean I have to stretch it as far as it can go to keep food in the house and gas in the car. So there’s flexibility there.
On a side note…if you think leaving early for your kids or having kids at all doesn’t effect your career, you’re insane. I’ve applied for jobs post-baby that I would have picked up in a snap before I had kids. I guarantee they’re finding my facebook photo with my smiling face next to my crying baby face and saying, “Nope.” – If any HR people want to chime in on this please feel free to disagree with me.
I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves.
I’m sorry, lady, but it’s not being away from your desk that makes you more sure of yourself. It’s having been through the trenches. It’s finding out you can survive on 1.5 hours of sleep at a time. It’s discovering that you can endure the worst pain you’ve ever felt. It’s pooping in front of professional doctors, friends and relatives and being so embarrassed that nothing will ever embarrass you ever again. It’s being a mom that makes you strong, not taking 3 months “off.”
As for me, I did eventually give notice at my job and take a “meternity” of my own. I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self-doubt for the year and a half that I spent away from the corporate world.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry her dad died (which she mentions after this) and I’m sorry that she’s dealing with self-doubt. But damn. I want to take a year and a half off to do whatever I want. Awesome baby or no awesome baby, how the hell did this woman take off for a year and a half? Oh, I know…SHE’S RICH. This me-ternity (which I have finally labeled as garbage,) garbage is just another form of “affluenza” or people with money complaining because they have nothing better to do. This last part struck a sour note with me, living paycheck to missing paycheck, struggling to make ends wave to each other from afar if not meet…sure, she might not be a billionaire, but anyone with the money to take a year and a half off of work to “grapple with self doubt” is doing just fine.
Okay, my rant is done. I started off this post as a lighthearted scoffing, and it’s turned into a bitter, jealous tirade. I’m not jealous of her, I’m jealous of the time she can take to herself, which I would gladly spend on my kid and my awesome Man Biscuit.
In conclusion, take a vacation or a sabbatical if you can. Just please don’t pooh-pooh all the efforts of some tired moms who if living in the USA, probably didn’t even get maternity leave.