Let’s Not Make Meternity Leave a Thing

Let's Not Make Meternity Leave a Thing - Diary of a New Mommy

Last week I saw a headline to an article regarding “meternity” leave. Something about some woman who thinks childless women should get some “me” time, too. Is that really a thing?  Though, I found the term itself quite annoying, I had zero desire to read about it. So I didn’t.

I saw the word again a few more times but still felt no inclination to find anything more about it until I saw someone in a blogging group I am in post a defense of meternity leave.

Clearly, I wasn’t the only one annoyed by the concept.

Surely, this blogger had seen enough backlash that she decided to state her defense. I must say, I give this girl credit for having the bravery to write a post in defense of meternity. Essentially opening herself up to an angry virtual mob of mamas.

So, at last, I read about this meternity.

And, once again, I was annoyed.

While I thought the woman defending meternity made some valid points (as does Meghann Foye the woman who started this all with a New York Post article promoting her novel, Meternity), no amount of truth could make up for the fact that the word itself, meternity, is offensive. 

Let's Not Make Meternity Leave a Thing - Diary of a New Mommy

The blog post I read defending meternity suggested that women that are upset over this are merely jealous.

I’m sorry… what?!?!

Although, I do believe that there are moms who get jealous of childless women and their freedom (and by “freedom” I mean their ability to go to the bathroom without someone watching) I absolutely do not believe that the backlash over meternity has anything to do with jealousy.

At all.

It has to do with the fact that there are actually women like Ms. Foye who somehow think that maternity leave is a “break” or in her words, “a socially mandated time for self-reflection”. (I could hardly think straight for the first two to three months after having my son. By this time, most women are already back at work.)

Intended or not, this viewpoint minimizes what is actually going on when a woman takes maternity leave. To suggest that childless women are entitled to a “break” as well is not only ludicrous but it is insulting.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that women without children do not deserve a break. They absolutely do. I was 35 years old when I had my first child, which means I was in the workforce for many years… without a family. I worked as a children’s minister for almost my entire adult life. Though, church ministry is an extremely fulfilling profession it can also be extremely demanding. After 13 years, I had become burned out. So, at the end of 2013 I took a break.

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Not a meternity. A break.

It was a time where I could just lay low. It was a much needed me time. Never in a million years, though, would I have thought of calling it a “meternity”. Also, at no point in my working life did I envy women who got a maternity leave. And not once did I ever think I deserved time off like women having babies did, for “self-reflection”.

I am completely sympathetic to the fact that women without kids can lack work-life balance just as much as any other woman. (For many years, I was one of them.) And I wholeheartedly believe that all women should take care of themselves. However, let’s not be mistaken… maternity leave is not a time to take care of me. Ok, yes, there is a recovery time but, even then, any woman who has had a baby can tell you it is next to impossible to take care of yourself when you have this tiny human that depends on you for everything.

And I mean, everything.

Ms. Foye suggests in the original NY Post article that women who have children “learn how to self-advocate”. Now, I’ve only been a mom for 11 months so maybe this lesson is taught later down the road  but the closest  I’ve gotten to self-advocating is when I purchased an Easter dress for myself because I “deserved” it. The dress cost me $10 (thank you, Costco) and I later felt so guilty that I planned to take it back. My mom talked me into keeping it.

Did you catch that? My mom.

She advocated for me, her child. She too has issues treating herself to new things or focusing on herself.

Self-advocation is a challenge for most moms because we are constantly advocating for our children – thinking about them, their needs and their wants. 

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Ok, so, I realize that all off these passionate feelings are the result of a book and a fictitious character but the statements made by Meghann Foye are very real. And she is receiving very real support. I really wouldn’t be surprised if it did become an actual thing, by that I don’t mean a “socially mandated time for self-reflection” but I can’t say I’d be shocked if women started posting pictures on Instagram of them on the beach somewhere exotic, #meternity.

Again, I believe the message of taking a break is a good one. Self-reflection? Self advocation? Wonderful!

If you need some time off, take some time off. Even if you don’t need it. If you can afford it, do it – there may come a day when you won’t be able to because of the tiny people that depend on you.

Take care of yourselves, ladies, please. But whatever you do, let’s not allow ourselves to diminish maternity leave by accepting this “cutesy” play on words.

Let’s advocate not just for ourselves but for one another. Let’s fight for better maternity leave laws, encourage friends to take much needed “breaks” or whatever else we might deem necessary.

But, please, let’s not make meternity leave a thing.

Linked up at #mommatime & Everything Kids

18 thoughts on “Let’s Not Make Meternity Leave a Thing

  1. Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard May 5, 2016 / 8:41 am

    One more way to be selfish and petulant – great! What is our world coming to? Maternity leave is for survival not rest and relaxation. I didn’t even give birth and it was HARD. Not restful. I will add that Americans work too much, play too little, and don’t rest enough. Other countries take months of vacation time a year. We could learn a lot about recharging from them.

    • inezbayardo May 5, 2016 / 10:06 pm

      Yes, you are right, we really do need learn how to prioritize time off. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! But yeah feeling entitled to a meternity, that’s just ridiculous. haha. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  2. Sophia May 5, 2016 / 8:54 am

    I agree. I have a child and when I took leave it would about recovering from my C-section, changing diapers, and adjusting to a crying new born. It was far from a break in which I just chilled out and did nothing. If someone get two weeks off for a major sugary. I am not going to say “well its not fair, I need two weeks off just because” I mean lets get real.

  3. Sophia May 5, 2016 / 8:56 am

    I agree. I have a child and when I took leave it would about recovering from my C-section, changing diapers, and adjusting to a crying new born. It was far from a break in which I just chilled out and did nothing. If someone get two weeks off for a major sugary. I am not going to say “well its not fair, I need two weeks off just because” I mean lets get real.

    • inezbayardo May 5, 2016 / 12:35 pm

      I hadn’t thought of that comparison, that’s perfect! Thanks for reading. 🙂

  4. Motherly Adventures May 5, 2016 / 8:56 am

    Great post!

    I think it’s difficult for women with no kids to actually understand how demanding it is to be a parent, hence the meternity saga.

    It’s too bad…

    • inezbayardo May 5, 2016 / 9:34 am

      I agree that there is really no way to know exactly how demanding it is until you become a mom. I never understood why it was so hard for my friends to return text messages in a timely manner. Now I know. haha. But to be jealous of maternity leave, to me, is on a whole different level. It’s a sad indication to me of just how entitled we have become.

  5. Bryce Rae May 5, 2016 / 11:06 am

    I agree. It was in the news here ( New Zealand ) yesterday. It’s a ridiculous idea. No one understands having children…until they do it.

    • inezbayardo May 5, 2016 / 10:01 pm

      You are so right, Bryce! There really is no way to understand it until you’re living it. Maybe I should have more grace for these ridiculous ideas then. haha. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  6. Kristen May 5, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    Yes I get that people need to start taking time off for themselves, but maternity leave is just like sick leave or bereavement! It’s to heal! You’re body just went through one of the hardest things it will ever do, you need time to heal after that! Not to mention, you are taking care a baby who NEEDS you to survive! Thank you so much for sharing this, I agree with every word. Thanks for joining us for some #mommatime!

  7. Matilda Togiai May 5, 2016 / 3:58 pm

    OMG…I was so heated when I read about Meternity. I don’t think I would have been as good as you were in writing a discussion piece on it. It is completely ridiculous to say the least to even coin such a word and concept. I commend you for taking a stand against all of that (I don’t even know what to call it anymore) and set the record straight. Go you!!!

  8. Katelin May 5, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    Hmm. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic! I don’t have kids yet, but hope to someday. I agree with that points that you’re making here, however. The purpose of maternity leave isn’t a break for momma, but a period of adjustment to the physical care needs of a new baby. If someone needs a break, they need to plan accordingly and take one, just as you did from your ministry work.

    • inezbayardo May 5, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Thanks for reading, Katelin! I totally agree. Nothing wrong with a break but maternity leave is NOT that. 🙂

  9. Jennifer May 6, 2016 / 4:20 am

    Meternity leave is basically asking for a vacation. That is fine to ask for time off, but actual maternity leave is not a vacation. Taking care of children is not a vacation. Thats sort of like saying all that SAHM do is sit home watch TV and eat bon, bons, Sock it to them sister. 🙂

    • inezbayardo May 6, 2016 / 9:42 pm

      Yes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a vacation. In fact, most of us could be better at that. But comparing time off to self-reflect to maternity leave is just not right. Thanks for reading!

  10. Hil May 15, 2016 / 7:17 am

    Grrrr I’d be so annoyed!! I had to quit my job as I could not handle it and my kids. Please tell me how that is considered me time!! (But you can bet my husband sure thinks it is!). I am not sure I could be polite if someone tells me about needing a me-ternity leave.

    Thanks for stopping by #everythingkids this week! Don’t forget to come back tonight and link up a this weeks party!

    • inezbayardo May 15, 2016 / 5:15 pm

      Thanks for the reminder! And thanks for reading. Yeah, it is annoying. But, oh well. I guess no one will ever really know until/unless they take an actual maternity leave.

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