Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I'm so lucky and it pisses me off

Today I was hesitantly folding up the Rock and play that has been parked next to our bed since Miranda joined us. I did this quietly and unceremoniously so as not to jinx the progress that my sweet pea is making. I was thanking goodness she is starting to get into a sleep pattern and thinking thinking how grateful I am that I am still on leave and hadn't been back at work when she was up so often or while she was sick and I was basically a zombie. I feel so grateful and lucky for that. 
But it is crap that I should have to. How are things still so messed up that my case- taking four months with no salary and only the non binding agreement that I'll have a job afterward- falls in the extremely lucky category of maternity leave. 
It sucks that it's like that. I find myself reflexively defensive when people say how lucky I am to have such a long leave. I yammer for second about it being unpaid and a choice/sacrifice that we decided to make for our family. Then my internal voice slaps my face to remind me that not only don't I need to justify our choice but it's a pretty bizarro world we live in where families have a million obstacles it in front of them and that is just status quo ( health insurance tied to work, the outrageous cost of daycare and the problem of undervaluing daycare workers, the poor and inconsistent maternity leave policies). 

34 years ago my mom had to leave her 8 week old after a cesarean section because that's when her disability ran out. That's still the same policy and not every state has disability. Plus while policies such as fmla would have been open to her as an employee of a large hospital it still would have left her family without pay and while being without pay is an option for my family now fmla is so limited that it doesn't even apply to me. 

We've gone nowhere toward making things work for families and the impact that still has on women is immense yet ignored. 

So I get it that I'm lucky. I've been reminded of it by almost everyone I've talked to in the past few months. But I still think we are in a giant hole when it comes to creating a reasonable environment for families. 

But hey- now that I am a little more rested I get to enjoy these two goobers.
"What now, you're going back where?"
Andrew picking up a few extra duties for when we're back to work. 


Alicia said...

Right on. You are lucky to be smart enough to have made yourself a wonderful family ;)
Keep it all up, you are rocking it!

Kathy said...

Yes, yes, and yes. How can we place so little value on families and on our littlest citizens (and those who care for them)? Family leave should be paid, a full year, and offered to ALL parents. Sigh. Four months is hardly enough, and the fact that it isn't paid and that you have no real job security is ridiculous. Grumble, grumble, grumble.