31 March 2009

No maternity leave is the new maternity leave

F*%cking fashion magazines.

According to W, the uber-hip style mag for women who wear clothing sizes smaller than their show sizes, maternity leave is sooooo 5 minutes ago and returning to work in 2 weeks or less is the new sine qua non of power mum status.

"In an era when France’s justice minister recently gave birth on a Friday and attended a cabinet meeting the following Wednesday—and when, more famously, Sarah Palin took just three days off from her Alaskan gubernatorial duties after the birth of her fifth child—an increasing number of women are making childbirth look, if not like magic, certainly a lot easier than it was for their mothers by taking mere weeks, not months, off from work."

Women in the story describe feeling torn between work and home, pressured to by their employers to go back to work in record time, fear of financial insolvency and pumping their breasts in their corner offices while, as one gal remembered “The UPS man [at my office] saw more boob in the last couple years than in his teenage heyday." Rather than thinking about these mums as superwomen for juggling home and work, you feel like this is a remarkably sad state of affairs that only reaffirms what most working mothers have been complaining about for decades.

I find it interesting that the women who went back to work fairly soon after giving birth, justify their decisions by suggesting that their children are more well-adjusted as a result. One woman, however, hired a nanny to look after her child while she worked and this clearly changes the terms of the game. As most women can't even conceive of affording a private nanny, it's sort of like, 'Duh' of course the transition back to work was easier. Realising she had more time for herself, this woman says:

“When Coco was born, I would never even have a babysitter on the weekend. I was really moral about it. And as joyous as those moments were, part of it was slightly miserable,” she admits. “I was being too much of a martyr to the mom world.”

Yikes. I'm all for women's choices, working or not, whatever. I don't know about you, but I sort of cringe at this woman's surprise at feeling like a martyr to her children. Isn't parenthood (and not just mothers are involved in this) about sacrificing most of yourself to your child for the formative years of their early life? I mean isn't that what parents do?

Read more: Born Yesterday

1 comment:

nova mama said...

I so agree with you! Since when being a mom became a chore? last time i checked being a mom was the most natural, fulfilling, satisfying and rewarding job a woman could do..

i had a mother (who returned back to work after 2 weeks) tell me once that babies are like a tube: things go in one end and come out the other.

go figure!

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