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Machismo and maternity leave are contradictory!

October 1, 2011

Let me share with you my current tirade–maternity leave and how to look like a super career woman when you don’t use it. This is going to start out a little bit angry and that is because I kind of am and then again I am trying to stick to my philosophy of do what works for you and your family and let the rest of it go.

I really enjoy my job and I have talked about that before. It makes me happy, I provide a valuable service, it provides us the lifestyle that we enjoy. I really appreciate the company that employs me. They place a high value on family and community and put their wallet where their mission statement is. I dig that. They have great maternity benefits. Above and beyond maternity benefits. I appreciate that and intend to use all of the benefits available to me–that includes paid time off for the duration of the Tennessee State Law of 16 weeks–bragging rights, no? Great job, recognize the importance of being home, establishing bonds and routine, etc…I have gotten two very distinct reactions from mother’s who ask me how long I am taking off for maternity leave–mostly “you go, girl”s and some “what a great opportunities” but then there are some women who feel the need to emphasize how little time they took off. THey trot out their early return to work like the red badge of courage. Okay. You were ready to come back to work before your uterus returned to its normal size. I am okay with that, but don’t fault me for taking all of the time that is offered to me. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate my job or recognize the generosity of the benefit. It is more that women in the workplace have to be competitive about everything.

Here is the other thing that gets my goat–and probably the part I should be most concerned about–it gets my goat! Why do I let other people influence my opinion of myself or question my decisions about my family? I said it before, I will say it again. Make the decisions that are best for you and your family and let the rest go! But my own competitive streak takes over and I want to play the how long did you stay home before your career was knocking on your door game. Anything you can do, I can do better…I can bond with that baby in four weeks. No, I can bond with that baby and establish a routine, and get myself recovered in three weeks. No, just let me plug the laptop in at the hospital. All that time off is not billable! Then I take a deep breath and think about all the women who have babies and no maternity benefits and are back at work because they have no paid time off and all those women dropping babies in the rice paddies of the world and my focus is restored, almost completely.

I am blessed by the career I have chosen, by the employer that I have, and by the family that I chose nad the family I was given. I am taking every stinking ady of my 16 weeks and I am holding my head high! That is what works for me and my family.

Now, let’s talk about the looks I get when I tell people that Chris is taking another month off when this one comes…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle M. permalink
    October 1, 2011 5:52 pm

    Tennessee’s policy (and your company’s) are outstanding! Like every other aspect of parenting, it would be lovely if all parents had the blessing of choice AND would stop judging each other for choosing differently. That’s awesome that Chris is taking off, too. It’ll give you both beautiful memories of Tenzing’s first weeks.

  2. October 1, 2011 6:13 pm

    Love you, love it, and love them babies!

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