I just need to sit down and type all this out.  Who knows if I’ll post it.  I try to stay away from these controversial types of posts, but I just can’t NOT say the things about this topic that I want to say.  I don’t even have any pictures – just words.

My heart is sad.

It has been all week.

My sister went back to work on Monday.  Doing so meant that she had to leave her 4-month old daughter (the exact same age as Porter) with a sitter.  (The sitter is family which makes the whole situation WAY easier – no doubt that the sweet girl is being well taken care of while Katy works.)  Katy is still nursing so she’s having to pump at work.  That’s hard.  The logistics of getting an infant fed, dressed, packed and out the door for a day away – it’s something I wish my sister didn’t have to even think about.  We’ve seen each other every.single.day for the past 4 months.  We’ve swapped stories, we’ve nursed together….we’ve changed together.  We’re different people now than we were before and our relationship is SO much stronger.  And it makes me want to scream because it’s all shifting.  It’s not fair that she has to go back to work.  It’s just not.

I’m not writing to piss the working moms off. 

I’m not writing to make the stay-at-home moms pat themselves on the back (or play the martyr – I’ve seen both happen – heck I’ve played both myself).

I’m writing today because I feel angry at our culture.  At this country and it’s policies on maternity leave.  And the fact that it’s ok, expected even, for moms to have to leave their babies and go back to work after only a few short weeks together.  In my opinion, it shouldn’t even be an option.

[And yes I know that women have fought long and hard for the opportunity to leave the house.  That some women prefer to get back out there and work.  And yes I know that some mamas don’t even have the option to stay at home because of finances.  I understand that to make a blanket statement means that I’ll get a few (or a lot) of “BUT’s”.  Hear me out.  Hear my heart.]

In other countries (namely European), it would be unheard of for a woman to take a mere six weeks off to stay at home with her newborn (think more like six or twelve MONTHS!) and yet that’s expected here in the US.  After I sat down to start writing this post, I did some research.  Did you know that the United States is one of two of the 185 countries or territories in the world surveyed by the United Nation’s International Labor Organization that does not mandate some form of paid maternity leave for its citizens?!? (source)  We need to catch on to the BENEFITS of offering more paid time off for our mothers.

Here are just a few benefits that came to my mind (I’m sure there are way more!)

  • Increased mother/infant bonding time
  • Increased likelihood that breastfeeding can continue into the first year of life (and further!)
  • Decrease in separation anxiety for mother and child
  • Increased appreciation for the role of motherhood (<-which is far undervalued)
  • Decrease in depression for the mother

I think this problem goes much deeper than just finances and picketing for increased paid time off.  Our culture has a problem with how we view women, mothers.  It’s such a deep problem that I’m not even sure where to begin.  A powerful women’s rights movement, the desire for more recognition in the workplace, a class system (why is it ok for another woman to stay at home and watch your child, but it’s not ok for you to want to do that?!?) and so many other pieces to this very messed up puzzle.  It’s even gotten to the point where working mothers feel condemned by stay-at-home mothers and vice versa.  Like we’re on two separate teams, fighting it out to see who is the best at doing their job.  It shouldn’t be that way.

I’m not trying to keep women out of the workplace.  We are needed, this much I know.  I’m saying that six weeks, even twelve weeks, is too short a time.  That the pressures of home life during this critical bonding time are more than enough – adding job stress is just far too much.

Point blank – it is best for baby to be near its mother.

It is best for mother to be near her baby without fear of job loss or other negative repercussions.

It’s as though there’s this race to get back out of the home to do important work, a race towards retirement….when the most important work is right inside, right now, in these fleeting early years.

And also, I miss my sister.

QUESTION:  How can policy change promote that idea?  Would this happen on a national level?  Company-owner level?  That’s what I’d like to get a discussion going about.

splendid…lindsay

  1. Marie-Sophie says:

    I live in Germany and here it is exactly like you write – we get maternity leave (fully paid) for six weeks before birth and eight weeks after – and then you can take up to three years of parental leave (and your employer has to take you back after that!). Up to one year of this is paid, though not in full (you get around 2/3 of your former income if you’re employed). I know that we are very lucky and I have friends that currently are working in the US for two years and they just know that they will wait with kids until they’re back in Germany!! Not only because of maternity and parental leave but also because most of the medical bills are paid by the insurances here.

  2. Neil says:

    Hmmm. As a male, father, spouse, provider and business owner I always feel lost on this issue when discussing it with anybody on the “maternity leave” side of the child rearing argument.

    You so eloquently illustrate the need for mammas and babys to spend more quality time together. I full-heartedly agree. Where I get confused is the AMOUNT of time.

    My confusion stems from this question: Is 6 months maternity leave any better than 6 weeks? At what age is it developmentally fine for mamma to leave the picture for 8-10 hours per day – every day? I’m the father of 3. I can say with surety that my children needed their mom at 12 months just as much as they did when they were infants. In fact, I’m convinced my wife’s role became MORE important to our children’s development as they progressed through early childhood. The thought of my wife leaving our 18 month olds for 8-10 hours per day – every day – was no more appealing than the thought of her leaving our infants. So, how would 1 year of maternity leave be any better? For baby’s best interest (mom’s, dad’s & society’s too) shouldn’t maternity leave last until the child is away at school for most of the day? So, like, 6 years?

    In our case, we felt there were other spirits meant to come to earth and bless our lives. Turns out we were right because we had 3. My youngest is 6 now. She’s just going into the 1st grade (this coming Monday). My wife has therefore been on “maternity leave” for 11 years. Is it reasonable to expect her employer of 11 years ago to still be paying her? Or to hire her back and dislodge the dutiful employee who took her place? My wife only worked there for 18 months prior to “maternity leave.” The lady who took her place has been there the full 11.

    I argue that if 1 year is best for baby and mamma, 6 years would be equally so. Maybe more. If we are going to force employers to pay for 1 year of maternity leave on grounds that its best for children, parents, families and society then wouldn’t we be hypocrites to accept it?

  3. KaraHadley says:

    I absolutely agree with Tara above — it really is a bottom line issue. I work at a small company where lots of women have been getting pregnant and taking maternity leave, which is paid for us only because our CEO has 5 kids and is more generous than is fiscally responsible. Until it is mandated by the government that companies have to give women paid maternity leave and/or longer leave, it won’t happen because it costs too much money. And I don’t think that will happen until people also recognize the necessity of paternity leave.

    I would LOVE to see some statistics on paternity leave, because I’m sure it’s even more dismal. Maternity leave has very concrete benefits — giving the woman time to recover from birth, allowing for easy breastfeeding, etc — but having both parents around during those first crucial weeks and months to bond with the child and develop a strong family dynamic is just as important. And I honestly believe that we won’t see improvements on one until we recognize the importance of both.

  4. Maria says:

    Thank you for writing about this. Even though I’m not a mother, I plan (God willing) to be one someday and I worry about how my husband and I will manage being 3,000 miles away from our families AND both holding jobs that require us to work most of our waking hours. It’s something that weighs heavily on our decision when to have children.

    We are lucky though in that both of our companies are very pro-family. His company, in fact, offers 6 MONTHS of paid paternity leave that he can take anytime during the baby’s first year. My company offers flex working hours (though we do work a lot), flex spending for daycare costs and $6,000 matching on 529 plans…yet only allow 3 months of maternity leave. So my husband could be home longer with our newborn than I would, which already breaks my heart and I’m not even close to that being our reality yet! That being said, things are heading in the right direction from where we stand, but I know we are the exception and not the general rule.

    My coworker is training to be a doula and told me that within her research and education, some women are still HEALING at 3 months and today’s culture is doing nothing but applauding the ones that return to work quickly, shed the pounds quickly and is off running marathons 4 months postpartum. Of course, every woman is different and heals at different rates, but to me, that doesn’t sound natural…maybe because it isn’t.

  5. Lindsay says:

    I’m self employed and was literally back in my office 3 weeks to the day after both of my children were born. So while this may sound callous, people should be grateful if they get any time off.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I agree. We are so privileged in this country, and we get so many opportunities. I think that we sometimes forget what it took to make those opportunities and privileges available.

  6. Kathy says:

    LOVE THIS! I live in Canada and am pregnant with my first child and know I am lucky to look forward to 12 months off with my little man. I think its crazy that the US has these standards and cannot image how hard it is to go back to work after 6 weeks!!! I applaud you for taking a stand on this issue and putting your thought out there! The US needs to change this – babies are best with their moms!

  7. Mollie @ Sprinkles of Life says:

    I definitely don’t disagree with all you said (and obviously all situations are different) but I am one of those situations where I HAD to go back to work. Being single from the get go, financially I had to go back to work. But I also still would have chosen that. My now boyfriend and I would make it easily on his income alone, but I LOVE my job, love my additional purpose of life other than caring for kids and keeping up the home. Me being the person I am could not thrive and be fulfilled on just that alone. I like the interaction and success of my life outside our home. I also think there are many many benefits of children being at a daycare center. Maybe not a 6 week old newborn but a toddler learns a huge amount interacting with other kids and learning from other teachers. I could not have taught her as much if she was solely at home with me compared to the experiences and lessons they covered at her daycare center.

    I know the point of your post was different than what I am talking about as my own experience and thoughts so I’ll stop there and say that I agree- it would be GREAT if we as a country were offered longer paid time off work after a birth. I would have gladly snuggled longer with my newborn and maybe will next time (as long as I don’t go stir crazy from lack of interactions outside of home- which if we’ere being honest, stir crazy would probably happen, lol).

  8. Chelsey says:

    I 100% agree. Maternity leave in the US is a joke. As a tenured teacher, I had the option of staying home up to a full year. However, my contract states that after 12 weeks, I would have to pay my insurance premium in full for the rest of my time off. Since I am the insurance holder in our family, that would have been close to $2000 a month!!!! There’s no way we could have swung that. I would love to be at home with the girls if I could, but I am also glad to have a career that is ideal for a working mom. Summers off, major holidays off, and an understanding principal who knows that family absolutely comes first.

  9. lindsay says:

    i think they need 2 years off.. but then again, i think women are best at home(or at least one spouse). Wish the gov. would realize that. ugh. praying for sister!

  10. Annette@FitnessPerks says:

    Amen, amen! I think it’s ridic how our country treats women post pregnancy (and how our culture views women in general). Women who want/need to go back to work should have a longer time with their babies. I think at least 6 months if not more!

    I decided to quit working full-time because I just couldn’t do it. It was the hardest thing (both going back and quitting) I’ve ever done! We’ve lived without many things but it’s been really fulfilling for us as a family. I ache for those who have to work (and don’t really want to) & leave their darling little ones! the US needs to change their policy. stat!

  11. Katie @ Run Now, Wine Later says:

    Such an interesting debate and there are so many different sides and things to consider (like going back to work for necessity vs out of personal choice!).

    I don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t already been said, but I wanted to bring up that in California, new fathers are actually given paternity leave. I have a friend who works for the state and he got to take 6 weeks off to adjust to life after the birth of him and his wife’s first son. I thought that was pretty awesome (and obviously so did he!!).

  12. Jade says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, but coming from a country (Canada) that typically has a year mat leave for almost everybody, I do not qualify for it as I own my own business. This means that I get no paid leave and I do return back to work at 6 weeks. It’s the profession I chose, it’s the life I chose, yes I would love it to be differently as the first time around sucked major butt but I had no other option. So even though it would be lovely for a large universal mat leave, even in the countries where it exists it’s not perfect either.

  13. Jolene says:

    completely 1000% agree with you. Maternity leave in the US is a joke. I think a year at home – at least 6 months – is ideal for mother and baby, honestly. My sister Jen was able to do that with my niece and I truly think it makes all the difference. well written and amen to that.

  14. ErikaMC says:

    If it weren’t for the cost of health insurance I would stay home but since we need insurance that’s somewhat affordable I have to work. I got 12 weeks maternity leave but it wasn’t all paid – I had to use any PTO (personal time off) time that I had earned and it wasn’t nearly enough. Once I was back to work and pumping at work I had to punch out and pump off the clock which I also think is wrong. A year off would be so wonderful for so many different reasons but mainly for that time I could have with my son.

  15. Christin S says:

    As a new first time mom I couldn’t agree more. I had to go back to work when Bethany was just 3 1/2 months old (she’s almost 7 months now) and the first few weeks were more painful to me than anything else I have ever experienced, including her birth and those first few weeks of her life that were such a difficult adjustment! I still cry at work, still get up 2 hours early to pump and come home exhausted. My husband works nights and I work days so that she can be home with one of us as least, and he drives her to my work at lunch so I can see her and feed her midday. My husband and I barely see each other, but it’s so worth it because we cannot afford daycare, nor would we want to send Bethany there. And I know I am very blessed for that reason. But it’s also absolutely exhausting and no mother should feel like this. Fortunately for my family (and believe me, this is fortunate!)My company is moving to a different state and I will no longer have my job in a few months. I have no idea how we will be able to afford to live where we live but the Lord provides and there is NO WAY I will work another 40 hour a week job at least until she is in school. But what wouldn’t I give to have had the option to stay home, paid for 12 months? or even 6? I would take 6.

  16. Mandy says:

    I’m on the fence about this issue. On one hand, I understand mothers wanting more time with their newborns and how much easier it would be for pumping, feeding, etc. On the other hand, I don’t think it should be a company’s responsibility to pay a person for no work result. If I came to my job and didn’t produce anything, I would be fired. Not sure what type of compromise could be established to make both sides happy.

    • Mares says:

      I totally agree. It comes down to cost – who is going to pay for it? The people who decide to work and not have kids? Should they pay for others to have extra leave by not getting raises as often or working more hours? That isn’t fair. I think it comes down to choice. You can choose to work or you can choose to be a parent. We shouldn’t try to be everything and have everything – one or the other will suffer.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    As much as company-paid maternity/paternity leave would be awesome, why not start the change with something we can actually control? Most of us aren’t in a position to make government/industry policy decisions. A call for change is nice, but we can change things for our own homes on our own. It is financially possible for almost everyone, with very careful planning, so stay home for the first two years of a child’s life. We, as a society, don’t do this, because we tend to treat pregnancy as a happy (I hope) accident, instead of an intentional choice. Can you imagine the benefits if we encouraged families to plan their finances out so that they had enough in the bank to make sure this happened, without taking government assistance? I think it would be amazing.

    • ErikaMC says:

      If people waited until the could “afford” having a child than most of wouldn’t ever have them – or is that what you want?

      • Elizabeth says:

        Which situation is preferable? Would it be such a terrible thing for every child alive to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he or she was desired?

        • ErikaMC says:

          I don’t disagree with that but that doesn’t mean you can’t want a child even if you can’t afford it. So just because I may not have all the money right now to afford everything about having a child doesn’t mean I can’t or shouldn’t have one if I choose to do so.

          • Elizabeth says:

            We have a policy in my family. We don’t buy things we can’t afford, which includes pretty much any acquisition of debt. We chose to extend that to having children, because that follows our priorities and our philosophy. Just because we decided that it was right for us doesn’t mean that something else isn’t right for others.

  18. Tori says:

    Linds, I’ve deleted my comments over and over already.
    I’ll leave this short(er) and sweet.

    Thank you for being a voice for moms everywhere.

    Katy has been a friend to me more than I could have ever hoped for.
    She’s a true role model in my life.
    She’s a Godly-woman.
    She’s a mother at heart more than anything and I have felt sad for her this week.

    I know she loves her job but no one could prepare us for the love of our job as mothers.
    God planted that love in our hearts long before we had babies and it’s a shame that we must suppress not the love itself, but the magnitude of our love for them while we work away from home. (if we didn’t, talk about the distraction if we baby-talked and sang “skinna marinky dinky dink; skinna marinky doooo” all day long at work)
    Thankfully, we do get to come home to our children and shower them with our built up affection but the suppression builds depression and resentment in my eyes. It’s not fair that we have children only to be forced to have someone else raise them essentially. Those of us that are fortunate enough to have family around to keep our children are luckier but it’s still not fair in my book.

    Katy, if you read this, I love you.
    You’re a good momma.
    Charlie Ruth is so lucky to have you and I’m sorry you have to be away from your precious girl.
    I wish things were different in our country but they are not.

    Linds, you are a spectacular momma, wife, role model and sister; I’m 100% sure of it!
    I love being around you and Katy when I can.
    Keep being a voice of compassion.
    love.

  19. Molly says:

    I am so glad you wrote this post. I could not agree more. I am currently pregnant with my first child and I’m lucky enough right now to be able to work from home, but it would KILL me to have the usual 6-8 weeks off to be with baby and then just head back to work as if nothing in my life had changed. Thank you so much for your words!

  20. Melissa @ Treats With a Twist says:

    Ugh this breaks my heart too. I feel like if we don’t value the importance of motherhood and that first year of bonding, then how can we raise a society that values people? It just doesn’t make sense to put so much pressure on our society to be hard working and superior, yet we totally negate the importance of MAKING our society. These little kiddos are our future. And their relationships with their parents 100% shape who they are going to be.
    I used to get eye-rolls and disgusted looks by other women when they’d ask what I wanted to do with my life, and I’d say I want to be a mom. “Annnddd?” was usually the response I’d get. No “and.” That’s it! That’s the most important job, and if we feel like we were meant to do it, then why do we have to feel the pressure to go do something else?! It’s not ok.

  21. Kristina says:

    AMEN! We definitely need a change here- paid maternity (and paternity!) leave, the option to extend your maternity leave for much longer than 12 weeks, etc. It is shocking that as a generally forward-thinking country we are so behind the rest of the world on this basic human need and right.

    My first baby is due in October and luckily I have the option (and a 100% on-board husband) to stay home with our baby. I have dear friends who can’t afford to do so and it breaks my heart to watch them struggle with the seperation.

  22. Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy says:

    I agree. I just read an article about this on Facebook, touching on things that people did above (most companies make you go through FMLA, treating pregnancy as a “sickness,” rather than what it actually is). I can’t believe that as advanced as our country is, things haven’t changed yet. Sometimes I hate how the United States is so “go, go go,” “work, work, work.”

    I’ve always dreamed of being a stay at home mom, and I hope that my husband and I can make it happen someday. I feel like I have an interesting perspective, because I worked 50-60 hours a week this summer as a nanny. After doing it, I just can’t imagine leaving my kids with someone else for that long. It is a looonng day for everyone, and it makes me sad that I woke the kids up and was with them through breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  23. Linz @ Itz Linz says:

    YES YES YES!! My heart hurts everyday as I leave my little man! So not fair we have to leave so soon and I had a few months like your sister since I’m a teacher – I can’t even imagine going back after six weeks – 12 was hard enough!

  24. Joanna @Makingmine says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s an incredible stressor for moms to have so little time before heading back to work. I’ve chosen to completely put my career on hold until all my children (I only have 1 so far) are in school. For my husband and I, it’s just not worth trying to navigate employer expectations at this point in our lives

  25. Lance R. says:

    No doubt about it, Mom staying with baby is the best possible scenario for all involved. “How can policy change promote that idea? Would this happen on a national level? Company-owner level?” I think that forcing companies (and people) to do the right thing can backfire and spill over into so many other areas of life where people would have no business dictating. In this case, what’s best is evident, and I think that the more effective approach here would be to attack the root of the problem, awareness. People control our culture, so for there to be a change there, you have to deal with heart change issues. Without that, trying to force policy on a people that goes against their culture doesn’t sound like something that would remain in place for long, even if it is the right thing. If we can (for the most part) all reach a place where we feel it is best for mothers to have a year (I’m like, hey, let’s go for 4 years), then we can sway policy with our almighty dollar (look how long it took Cracker Barrel to feel the impact of the informal Duck Dynasty Boycott and react.. days?). Once you have the majority PASSIONATE about this, and businesses come on board, the only thing left would be govt. HOW to go about doing such things, no idea.

  26. Alex says:

    Kevin turned 8 months old last week and I’ve been working 6 days a week since March. I’m lucky to see him at all on the weekends. Our society makes it impossible to spend time with your child if you have to work. And it comes with the most spirit crushing guilt.

  27. Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family says:

    I agree with you. As a “working mom” I left Bryn to start PA school when she was 5 weeks old. Did you know that there are no laws requiring universities to supply an area for nursing students but DO for faculty? I had to argue with my school to get me a place to pump. MY faculty had my back but the Dean of Students didn’t. Thank goodness I am in a medical program that understands the importance of breastfeeding!

    I would love the option to stay home longer if/when we have a 3rd. Luckily being a PA offers quite a bit of flexibility, fulfills my dreams, and offers our family a great quality of life. I think the US needs to get on the ball in a a lot of areas :)

  28. Julie says:

    I am still blown away an appalled that a country as “rich” as yours does not do better to take care of it’s people. I am Canadian and when I had my kids our maternity leave was 6months at 55% pay. It was changed close to 15 years ago to 1year and believe me it makes a difference.

  29. char eats greens says:

    I really am shocked at how early moms have to go back to work in the US. I just have to say that I don’t think I could do it. I live in Canada, and we get 12 months off (although I didn’t experience this because I was a student throughout my pregnancy, but luckily my husband’s work has allowed me to go to school and then stay home with our daughter – who is now 21 months old), and I know of other new moms who even struggle with that, and that’s about 4x what you get in the states. I think this was really well written, Lindsay! I really hope that time can get extended for time off in the US because no new mother (whether your first or fifth kid!) should have to leave their baby that young. It’s not fair for anyone!

  30. jaclyn.jackson827@gmail.com says:

    I’ve seen the heartache going back to work causes in both of my sisters’ lives. I feel very fortunate to get to stay home with our soon-to-arrive little one, but neither of them had that option. If most other countries have mandated maternity leave, then I’d think this needs to start in government. However, I could also see the impact it could have if some companies started implementing better policies, then maybe others and the government would take notice.

  31. Nicole says:

    I agree 100% with your post. I am 26 and pregnant with my first child. I work at a great business but unfortunately only get 6 weeks paid and I can take 12 but will have to use pto, we don’t have sick time so out of the 17 days I have of pto i have to use one week at the beginning of leave and if I want to get paid any after the 6 weeks I have to use pto. The big kicker is once I put my new born 8 week (that’s how long I’m taking off bc it’s not feasible for me to do 12) old baby in a daycare if I have to leave work because they are sick I could get wrote up if I have no pto left. The system is very flawed and I believe that’s why professional working women having babies has declined drastically over the years. Thank you for this post and hopefully one day we will see a change.

  32. Carly @ Createlive says:

    I don’t have any children yet, but I totally agree with you. I think you are totally right that kids need their moms, but the culture today seems to frown on women placing an emphasis on that. Currently, I work from home writing. I made that career change so that hopefully, by the time I HAVE kids, I will have cultivated a strong enough writing career that I can continue to earn and do what I love, but I will be able to do so from home (i.e. I won’t have to leave them all day with regularity). Most people seem to think that is silly and that I am somehow giving something up. I just don’t understand American culture as it relates to women in the work place. I think the movement there has veered off course and is starting to hurt rather than help women.
    *steps off soapbox*

  33. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says:

    I love this. I have friend that wanted (and did) go back to work after just 2 weeks, and those that needed more time. Companies are in different positions too – some have a harder time doing without the extra hands on deck than others, and the some roles are more key to daily operations than others.

    I work for a small organizations and it would cripple us to go without a person… BUT we could be flexible and let a new mamma work from home or even bring the baby in part time. It would be great if this was something the mom and company could talk about and work through on a person-by-person basis rather than all the corporate red tape and government regulation. One size does not fit all. Everyone is a snowflake. Dammit.

  34. Katie H. says:

    I think it needs to be mandated at a state or federal level. Did you know there was an act introduced to Congress in December about this very topic?? We all need to jump on board and support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. Here’s an article that explains it really well. (Sorry to dump a link in your comments–it’s a good one, I promise!)

    http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/11/new-act-proposes-national-paid-family-leave-policy/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

  35. Lee says:

    I agree with you for the most part. I do think that as a country, our maternity leave policies somewhat ridiculous. In Canada, mothers get a year. That said, I don’t think going back to work after a short amount of time shouldn’t be an option. Aside from this divide between SAHMs and WMs, I feel like there’s a general feeling that most working moms work because they have to. Not because they want to. And that’s not always true. I like (except when I’m tired!!) being a working mom. I like having a large chunk of my day that’s not devoted to being a mother. Say what you will about that, but I think it makes me a better mother when I am with my son. (I actually have been thinking about doing a blog post about this!) But yeah, I do agree with you that maternity leave policies in this country suck.

  36. clare @ fitting it all in says:

    I am not at that point in my life but I know I’m getting into a career that makes it REALLY difficult to be a working mother — I can only imagine how hard it will be to have to leave a new baby. I agree – why is the US so different than ALL the other countries?? Heck – PATERNITY leave!

  37. Tara Newman says:

    As a Director of Human Resources, I will tell you it has to happen on a national, governmental level. Sadly, most companies are only concerned with their bottom line. Even if the leave is they give is unpaid it comes with a cost of missed work days. Most employers in the US are only required to pay you for the hours you work and pay for your disability pay. THey don’t have to offer any additional benefits or days off.

    The government currently gives maternity leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. An act that is a catch all for most illnesses or injury to you or an immediate family member. I think the country has to separate the two and have a formal set of guidelines for maternity. This way they can grant an extended period of time for maternity – or just maybe have an amendment just for maternity. Leave time under FMLA is unpaid and not even available to everyone. It depends on how long you have been working at a company and the size of the company. It also doesn’t take into account any complications that arise during pregnancy. So, if you have been on bed rest for 12 weeks prior to giving birth, you are technically due back to work after those 12 weeks. The other issues is when women eventually do have to return to work, there is no assistance with child care cost. The maximum you can claim on your taxes is $5,000 total. They haven’t raised the amount of dependent care in YEARS. When both my kids were in daycare it cost me over $2,000 per month (in NY). France. France is a good place to have babies :-) I think Judith Warner talks about this in her book Perfect Madness. I read it a long time ago.

    • Tara Newman says:

      and in case you couldn’t tell…I agree. Went back after 3 months for both of my kids. Wasn’t ready. And I can tell you I am still paying for that decision, physically, 6 years later.

  38. Sarah@creatingbettertomorrow says:

    LOVE THIS!!! I think it has to start at organization/company level then as it spreads the government will start to take notice..however very tough for company’s to do financially (#1 reason I think it hasn’t happened)…but as a new mom I couldn’t agree more with you – best for baby and mom to be together!

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