I recently watched an article on this morning about a lady who had written a fictional book in which it appeared she was saying that women should be allowed some “me” time from their employers and change this the name “meternity” . Covered widely in UK press as seen here in the mirror Mirror coverage
Personally I thought it sounded ridiculous to start with and wouldn’t normally give oxygen to such stories but then I listened and whilst I still think it’s a crazy concept some of the points she raised resonated with me and conversations I’ve had down the years with colleagues. I’m sure some of my former colleagues will remember these well.
Before I had kids I remember being involved in several conversations about colleagues with kids and how they always seemed to get an unfair advantage in regards time away from work, avoiding the shifts no one likes such as late nights and always leaving on time. I would also like to think that I was sensible enough to recognise that these people were usually shattered from lack of sleep, stressed with having children at home and not really living the high life with these perceived unfair advantages. Even on taking my shared paternal leave I had several people say to me that I was only taking it to get some time away from work, but as it’s actually harder work most days this is nonsense but shows the perception some people have of parenting and how I was seen as having some sort of unfair advantage. Going back to work raises some questions and issues too My back to work faux pas
On the surface and considering most of those involved in these conversations were paid the same (roughly) it would be hard to argue that those without kids were being harshly treated? No?
But let’s roll it all back to the beginning and why do we have maternity/paternity leave and why do employers have favourable conditions for parents of thing children? Well in my mind it’s because we as parents are contributing to society by raising children the best we can so they can then keep society going in future years. I know that sounds basic but that’s my view and from that I can logically see why it is imperative that parents are given some room to manoeuvre when they need it, after all children aren’t robots and their needs will be constantly changing.
So let’s think about this fantasy meternity scheme. So many questions which I’m afraid make it as ridiculous as it’s name suggests,
Who pays for your time off? The employer or government? Why would either pay, what are they getting back?
Can men do it too, surely they need me time too?
How often could we do it?
Can you do it even if you have children?
I could go on….. But it just gets silly..
So in summary this scheme would give people time off to do nothing whilst they wouldn’t have to endure 9 months of pregnancy, no sleepless nights, no constant crying and no poop to deal with! If that’s to become a real scheme sign me up right now… Or hold on NO!!, I’d rather forego all of those things to have the giggles in the morning, the laughter when feeding and the running around exploring and learning with my kids. That’s because I’m not selfish.
It’s all about choices in life and if you’ve made bad choices then change things including your employer if you don’t feel supported to take time off either paid off unpaid. Spend a few weeks being a parent and you’ll soon realise that the maternity leave and flexible writing policies aren’t a nice add on for parents, they are essential as it’s tough, it’s really tough. But the rewards are priceless..as you can see from Sarah on her 2nd birthday morning..