Maternity leave vs meternity leave

By now you’ve read the infamous article about Meghann Foye’s “meternity leave,” or at least the outraged responses populating social media. Her jealousy over “co-workers clocking out for maternity leave” inspired the ire of parents who have taken family leave—and who bristle at the idea they simply checked out to drink mimosas on a weekday, reflect on their life path and admire a sweetly cooing infant. 

(Riiiiiiiight. I want that kind of maternity leave, too.)

A dear friend, who is a high school English teacher, was one of these angry mothers. But she was surprised when that anger turned into something completely different. These are her words. 

Maternity Leave Meternity Leave runningI read an article today about Meghann Foye’s desire for a “meternity leave” and I almost lost my shit. And by almost, I mean that I was near tears and had to call a friend. I said the dreaded words out loud—that I was losing control today. I was slipping closer to the void, getting closer to that dark, murky water where I wonder why I ever thought it was a good idea to have a child at all.

The first half of the title alone was enough to push me to the brink of exasperation: “I want all the perks of maternity leave…” What perks? Had I missed the perks?

Meghann describes a desire to reflect on her life, and to have time to grieve her losses—her “meternity leave”. The irony was so laughable I almost cried.

Yes, Meghann, I would like those things, too. Like you, I would like some quiet space and time, preferably weeks, to just sit around and wonder aloud to myself how the hell I got here. I would like time to grieve—truly GRIEVE my losses. You know, put on Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You,” imbibe in some fruit-flavored wine and cookie dough ice cream in cheerleading shorts, turn off all the lights, and lay on the floor and bawl-my-eyes-out GRIEVE until I feel better. I would like to grieve a list of the following things:

  • my empty bank account and my payment plan with the hospital after my daughter’s stay in the NICU
  • my previously unstained couch, carpet, seats of my car, and undergarments
  • the stretch marks on my breasts from having my milk come in so quickly after the birth of my daughter
  • the fact that life-affirming sex with my husband has been hard to come by since my daughter was conceived
  • my inability to find a fucking shirt that fits

I could go on. You get the point. That is, you do if you’re a mother, but Meghann is not. She does. not. get. this. Meghann, there is no time to grieve losses on maternity leave. There is only time to rack them up. Read more