The idea behind maternity leave is pretty simple. A new life requires a lot of attention, and new mothers are usually exhausted — in part from that new life keeping them running and in part because pushing a human being out of one’s body is not for the faint of heart.
However, one woman feels that she should have the time off like a new mother, but she doesn’t want to have any of those pesky annoyances…like kids.
Meghann Foye, 38, was jealous of co-workers clocking out for maternity leave, and decided she needed a break of her own. Here, the author of the novel “Meternity” (Mira, out now), tells The Post’s Anna Davies why she believes every woman deserves mandated “me time.”
I was 31 years old in 2009, and I loved my career. As an editor at a popular magazine, I got to work on big stories, attend cool events, and meet famous celebs all the time.
And yet, after 10 years of working in a job where I was always on deadline, 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.
(Editor: A fake baby bump? Really?)
Of course, that didn’t happen. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to believe in the value of a “maternity” 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.
Oh, but there’s more. Go read it. However, try not to punch anything. It won’t be easy.
Foye’s issue here is a failure to comprehend what parenthood actually is. We see this when she says:
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.
First, it’s debatable if “both sides are valid” or not. However, it is important to point out that “I need to go pick up my child” is about a responsibility, something that one is required to do for some reason. While a good friend may try to be there for their best friend, it’s not a responsibility. Nothing actually requires you to be there. A parent who fails to pick up their kid is a horrible human being who has damaged another person’s psyche so significantly that the child may grow up to be an axe murderer…or worse, Mylie Cyrus!
Meanwhile, a friend whose best friend can’t get away from work no matter how hard she tries?That’s just life.
The two situations aren’t remotely comparable. Yet Foye seems to think they are.
Sabbatical where you can focus on non-work stuff? It’s called a vacation.
She wants a sabbatical where she can focus on non-work stuff? They’re called vacations. However, if she thinks the equivalent of maternity leave for non-parents would amount to anything other than a vacation, she’s deluded. Maybe an unpaid vacation, but it would still be a time to do whatever she wants. Maternity leave? Well, if anyone actually enjoys changing diapers a dozen times or so per day, feeding every couple of hours, waking up every two hours during the night to take care of a baby that doesn’t comprehend day and night, then maybe maternity leave is a vacation too.
For most people, it’s almost a relief when they can go back to work…except they then worry about their child the whole time they’re at work, then worried about work the whole time they’re at home.
Foye thinks she’s on to something. More likely, she’s just on something.