It has been on my mind for quite a while. I have not been able to formulate the words I feel, yet I know there are articles and blogs out there that state the facts, opinions, and emotions of countless mothers, soon-to-be mothers, and of course fathers out there that have experienced or will soon experience what it is like to bring a child into this world. I think about it in relation to when my sister had my niece, when my friends have had their babies, and when my colleagues (both men and women) have had to come back to work so quickly, either because of financial or work related reasons. What am I ranting about?
Parental leave in the United States.
A few days ago I read an article on The Huffington Post titled: “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President” that brought tears to my eyes for its authenticity, rawness, and the poignant reality to parents and families in the United States. Over time I for some reason have collected articles and personal blogs about parental leave because I am stunned and aghast that a country that is as progressive, modern, and futuristic as the US that we treat our mothers and babies as though it is 1770. How can we have pride for a country that keeps its eyes closed about this issue?
A Wikipedia search for “Parental Leave” shares a chart of all the countries in the world. Only two countries list “0” days. Papua New Guinea and the United States. How is that possible? How is it that every other country in the world has some type of paid parental leave policy and all we have is a law that means we will not lose our job (FMLA of course). What does that say about our countries support for families and the bonding that is necessary at the beginning of a child’s life? Some of the countries on the list not only give you time off before you have the baby, but an extensive amount of time after the child is born. Note: the District of Columbia does require employers to give paid time off. So does that mean that all of our politicians are covered, but regular American citizens are not? Can you believe Sweden gets 16 months off for maternity leave? What does this mean for parents and families that cannot afford to take any time off? Who is taking care of those babies in the immediate days after birth?
A search on Change.org resulted in many petitions all of which are closed. This is an issue that deserves our attention. How can we be in LAST PLACE? Read “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President.” It is time to speak up.
Last week I showed Charlie’s crazy giggle video to a few co-workers, and one of my colleagues said: “Do your ovaries hurt?” I laughed. A good joke for someone who is utterly addicted to her niece and someone thinking about starting a family. I have always loved children so it is not anything new to me that I would be addicted to babies. I worked in the day care on my college campus during all four years, and I worked specifically in the baby room, where they were allowed to start coming at 6 weeks. Babies were my favorite. No talking back. Ah…
A friend posted a great video on Facebook over the weekend it cracked me up. Since I do not have kids, at the moment I have absolutely NO interest in “Frozen.” What did peek my interest was this dad and his engagement with the song and his interest in getting his daughter to sing along. It made my day. After watching it Sunday morning (me at my desk and Chris in the other part of the office at his), I said to him: “Did that make your sperm hurt?” It goes both ways, right? I continued to pry and ask if he could see himself driving the car and trying (and egging) his daughter or son on to sing along, and he said: “Definitely.” Ah, I love that man.
It has been a strange week. I have felt like there is a cord loose in my brain. This crud that is going around, has made the wiring inside me be off, and yesterday I think I started to feel more like myself (2 weeks later). Let’s hope that it stays, as I am pining to get back on my run schedule, and if it is up to Chris he would hide my running shoes until he knows I am 100% again. Good hubby. Good thing I have a few pairs of running shoes I can lace up and go. Here is hoping I have the energy.
my favorite lit tree with snow
Yesterday, Portland was coated with a fairly deep layer of snow. Yes, snow in Portland! Such a fun and beautiful surprise. However, we are supposed to have snow later today and tomorrow, so for Portland that means mass mayhem, chaos, and well staying in. Us Portlanders are not used to snow, and even though I am a transplant, my blood has thinned gradually over the last ten years. I spent a good part of my life in the midwest, a chunk of years in Boston, and now Portland has weakened the heartiness to shoveling snow and cold enough temperatures to have snow grace our world. Call me a wuss, but I am done with snow.
Being done with the crud, a bit of snow, and a little time yesterday with a colleague’s twin babies, has mellowed my outlook, and given me a few moments to slow down. I had a few frustrating moments yesterday, and the moment I had a 10 month old in my arms, all my thoughts melted away. I no longer cared about what was bugging me, I just wanted to make them laugh and smile, and nothing else really mattered. Ah, what unconditional love can do to let go of things that do not really matter.
Amazing what a little snow, two babies, and no more crud can do to your outlook on life. Happy Friday!