Meghann Foye, author of Meternity has something to say:
"I want all the perks of maternity leave -- without having any kids."
She is advocating a "meternity" leave ("meternity" as in "me me me") to balance out the apparent unfairness of women leaving the office to take advantage of that "socially mandated time and space for self-reflection" we call "maternity leave."
Hahahahaha! This is a joke, right? Really, it must be. Because, let's clear up a few things. The "perks" of maternity leave are as follows:
*Not having the extra burden of clocking in at the office added to the ten thousand other responsibilities you now have
Now for the non-perks:
*A human being making an excruciating exit of your body in one of two graceful ways: bulldozing its way out of your nether regions with all the tenderness of a mack truck, or being yanked unceremoniously through your sliced-in-half abdominal muscles. Take your pick.
*The painful aftermath and recovery from said excruciating childbirth
*A squalling, helpless infant who is completely dependent on you for EVERYTHING at every hour of the day
*Minimal and constantly interrupted sleep
*Bodily fluids everywhere (yours and the baby's)
Honestly, time for self-reflection is pretty hard to come by when you have a human piranha attached to your nipples 20 hours a day and when you are dealing with what looks and feels like the aftermath of Shark Week in your hospital-issue mesh panties.
You want this to be fair, do you, Ms. Foye? In that case you are going to need to set aside a significant amount of time in your "meternity" leave to get intimately acquainted with the following: Bleeding, swelling, stitches, hemorrhoids, stool softeners, bleeding, cracked nipples, hormonal upheaval, night sweats, more bleeding, mastitis, poop, vomit, and colic. You are not allowed to sleep more than two hours at a time, you still have to manage basic household tasks, and you must host family members and friends who want to see the Cute Little Sabbatical, even if you are not up for it.
Sounds like a vacation to me.
Look, I have no problem with Ms. Foye's argument that everyone can use an extended break from work now and then. What I have a problem with is her assumption that she is owed this break because women who have just grown and delivered new human beings to Planet Earth are getting an unfair perk by having time off to adjust and recover. Growing, birthing, and caring for a newborn is not the same as sitting by a pool enjoying introspective chill time as you contemplate your place in the universe. If you want a sabbatical, fine, but no one owes you one.
Least of all new mothers who already have enough to do.