Serving My Country The Only Way I Know How. With My Vagina.

What all pregnant women looked like, pre-1980's. THANKS, SCIENCE.

So I thought that being pregnant was going to be the hootiest hoot to ever hit this town. I thought I was going to take being pregnant, mix it with being awesome, and smack you guys daily with some funny ass shit.

Ya. That didn’t happen. Turns out, being pregnant is rather boring. Not too much funny shit happens. That’s not to say it’s not INTERESTING. It is. But I don’t really write about interesting stuff. I write about funny stuff. If you want to drill down even further, I write about drunken funny stuff. Or, drunkenly write about funny stuff. Either way.

You don’t really drink when you’re pregnant. I mean you can, but the medical community frowns upon it. Our generation got fucked in this regard. Go ask your parents about drinking during pregnancy. I bet you $100 it will go something like this:

“Mom. Do you think it’s bad to drink when you’re pregnant?”

“Oh. Well. When I was pregnant with you, we didn’t know any better. I drank quite a bit with you. And look at you. You turned out just fine.”

They always say this, too. You turned out JUST FINE. Really? Because my feet are way too big for my body, and I am 100% positive I have adult ADD. Define ‘fine’.

Anyhoodle, our parents were drinking/smoking/having weed/taking crank/snorting blow/getting gangbanged, and we all turned out JUST FINE. But then the medical community had to step in, and now, god forbid if you see a pregnant woman with a glass of wine or three, you feel like you can judge. Judgers McJudgerstiens.

But I’m digressing. I took to my blog today to rant about U.S. Maternity Leave.

I work for a Canadian company. My Toronto coworkers who get in the family way get a year off. Paid. Here in the good ol’ U.S of A? I get 12 weeks at 80% of my pay. And that’s GENEROUS.

For those of you who have never had the joy of shooting a baby human out of your whisker biscuit while holding a job, let me enlighten you. U.S. maternity leave is actually covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). And technically, the only requirements for a company is that they hold your job for you for six weeks. And this is only if the company you work for falls under FMLA. If you work for a smaller company, they have a different type of leave. It’s called, Sorry, Perhaps You Should Have Gone To Work At FedEx Or Something.

I have heard from so, so many people who only get 6 weeks. Who get NO pay while they are off. Who work for companies that aren’t bound to FMLA. Honestly, it’s criminal how American companies are allowed to treat new parents.

Dear Women, please just have your baby and shut up. Thanks! XOXO, America.

So then I am reading through my HR polices, and I see that you can take 26 weeks off to care for an injured service member. Wait. Okay. I firmly believe that ANYONE who is married to a service member, a partner of a service member, who has a parent that is a service member, they absolutely should get 26 weeks off to care for them if they are injured while serving our country.

I come from a long line of service people. My dad fought in Vietnam, my step dad, Korea and Panama Canal. Both of my grandfathers are WW II Vets. I have a cousin who served in Iraq and another who is as we speak heading to the Gulf of Mexico with his Coast Guard unit to clean up BP’s mess. I basically piss red, white and blue.

BUT. I find it odd that taking care of a service member ranks HIGHER than taking care of say, a helpless newborn. What is a newborn if not a POTENTIAL service member? Do we not need to breed little future soldiers to continue to protect and serve our country? Is my service to my country, in the form of giving you two fabulous boys to possibly recruit someday, not a valid service? That’s two more boys than you would have had if I had chosen to NOT have children.

I am serving my country the best way I know how, with my vagina, and yet I get HALF the time off of work? Why not at least make them equal? Why not acknowledge that caring for a brand new life is as important as nursing a service member back to health? I just don’t understand the disparity.

My heart honestly bleeds for my fellow moms who only get six weeks, or NO weeks, or no pay, or have no job to go back to. When your choices consist of suck or suckier, one of the happiest times of your life can become a bleak, stressful race to get back to work so you can survive.

Maybe one day, the U.S. Government will pull their heads out of their asses and realize something that almost every other industrialized nation has realized: children are our most precious resource. And you know how you GET children? From our VAGINAS. So how about a little bit of respect and some fair benefits? You sure do love our children when they’re fighting for you. Why don’t you spread that around some?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Serving My Country The Only Way I Know How. With My Vagina.

  1. It’s only been in the last forty years or so that women came back to work after their pregancy. Up until the 60s and 70s, it was assumed that pregnant women would quit their jobs and stay home and become Donna Reed or Florence Henderson. Back in the 60s, my father worked and my mom quit her job at the American Dairy Assoc. and did the mom thing. But our house only cost $20k. Today, thanks to our wonderful frigging economy, few families can afford the luxury of being able to get by on one salary.

    But I’m afraid there’s little hope for your dream. We barely want to pay to help uninsured children with cancer to be able to afford coverage. Good luck prying money out of Washington for moms to stay home for a year. They’ll just say, “Back on the rivet line, Rosie! And don’t breast feed in public, either!”

    Otherwise, I agree. They should definitely have a national holiday to honor your “whisker biscuit.”

  2. With both of my girls, I worked right up until the blessed event, all round and puffy and gross, so I wouldn’t use any of my precious maternity leave BEFORE they came. Not fun to haul my fat ass around the office, be stressed out that my sub wouldn’t be available at the right time, and to still give a crap about what was even happening at work when something so life-changing was about to happen to me. Then I was given 12 weeks off, 6 of them full base-only pay (I get additional commissions, which dried up in the first few weeks of the time off), and 6 weeks of 1/2 base-only pay. In other words, get your still fat ass back to work in 6 weeks or you won’t be able to feed your new baby.

    And like you, I was told how GENEROUS this deal was. My company is a smaller one, but my boss worked for Shell Oil earlier in his career so he adopted their HR maternity leave rules (thank God, because we probably weren’t bound by FMLA).

    If I had a husband at the time who had a job that could’ve carried me through that long on such low pay, I would’ve quit and stayed home with the babies for good. But no, I made better money between us, so of course I had to go back or risk not being able to afford diapers and formula. I managed to stay home the 12 weeks with my first one, out of sheer ignorance as to how much she would be costing me. Breast-feeding stopped after 10 weeks with her, since going back to work at week 12 was not conducive to pumping or stopping to go feed her, and it stopped after 5 weeks with the second baby because I went back at week 6.

    Duh, now I had two extra mouths to feed so…as you said, get back on the line Rosie…

  3. Amen.

    And don’t even get me started that many people have to do the “disability” thing to get paid during maternity leave. Having kids doesn’t make you disabled until the kid is big enough to walk and talk and cause severe brain damage to the parental units.

  4. If men had babies, time off for delivering would have been written into the Constitution, along with the right to birth control.

    Solution: Gotta elect more chicks.

  5. Yup, I’ve worked for companies with Canadian offices and European offices, so I’ve seen some pretty darn generous leave policies. Unfortunately, never in the U.S. Although I have to say with my first son I worked for a much smaller company and they offered me 6 wks paid leave as a manager. I ended up taking 3 more for a health complication and they were very supportive.

    This time around in order to receive paid leave, I had to apply for Short Term Disability (aka STD, charmingly). Like Burgh Baby says, having a baby is not a disability. Plus, six weeks? You’re lucky to have dissolved your stitches by then.

    • Mindbling

      I totally forgot about the whole STD thing. Ya gotta love a country that considers child birth a disability. Does this mean I am now eligible for SSI?

      I know you’re on the final countdown, lady. (Que Europe song….) May the Shwartz be with you.

  6. Oh, honey.

    1. I love you.

    2. “whisker biscuit” is hilarious.

    I love when certain companies or periodicals talk up “family-friendly” workplaces in the U.S. It’s all a load of crap. Maternity leave should be paid time off for one year. Family-friendly should mean flex time, telecommuting, daycare credits (or how about on site daycare!)… I could go on.

    A big reason (I think) that we moms don’t get this stuff (and, dads, I guess): because not everyone is choosing to have children. And my child-free co-worker doesn’t get to go on paid vacation for a year! (Because taking care of a child is such a break.)

    I lost a job because it wasn’t an FMLA employer, and my daycare didn’t take 6-week olds. (That was with Kate.) My current employer has the usual FMLA plan outlined here, and I am dreading next March already. My current daycare? Doesn’t take babies until they are 6 months old, although the director know someone who can help me out with my infant.

    Yay.

    Anyway, I’m going to really start ranting if I don’t sign off. (and, also, what @burghbaby said about ‘disability’.)

  7. Hee Hee- good stuff! Thanks Carla for turning me onto it.

    Bill

  8. All I can say is if you are serving your country with your vsgina it better be a short&tiny war……Judy

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