Better Maternity Leave in the United States

Tonight I’m revealing one of my true life passions: better maternity leave options in the United States. Most people would think my passions lie with breastfeeding because of the popularity of my Mama’s MilkBox but while I personally enjoy and promote breastfeeding (when it’s an option), my real purpose (outside this fun I’m having with Maternity Girl and Mama’s MilkBox) is to leave the United States (ie, when I die; sorry for being morose) in a better state so that my daughter, her friends and my son’s wife feel like they have better options.

I have done some reading (I would like to do more) on Canada and how/when their 1 year maternity leave came to fruition. Surely we can do the same here in the United States, yes? But in the little research I’ve done, I’ve realized the key concept is something called their “EI” – Employment Insurance. I haven’t come across such thing in the United States but it’s fascinating and with all the insurance and politics we have here, I’m wondering, “Why not?” and “Could we?”

EI is something you buy in to according to what I’m reading here. I’m thinking it’s almost like a savings plan – and I kind of like that. It might also be like an insurance that is half paid by the employer and half paid by the employee. But before I think about it further, I’m also thinking about misconceptions we might have here in the United States based on what we hear about Canada. For example, I have heard (and previously thought), “Canada will pay 1 year full salary and guarantee your job after you have a baby.” Like all things I hear, I want to read it/find it for myself and since I’m realizing we might want to stop comparing *exactly* as we do (with potential misinformation because I haven’t exactly found that), I’m wondering of United States Moms:

1. Would you buy into Employment Insurance if you could have a year at home with your baby (with potentially reduced income, but income nonetheless) and

2. How do you think we make it happen?

I have talked to (almost/maybe) 1000 Moms and the one thing I am certain of is that most Moms are ready to return to work after 12 months (myself included). After my first child, I felt I had given him as much as he needed and quite frankly he was so independent that I felt bored/useless at times. But I do think babies need us the most during their first year of life and if I can make that happen, well then hey, I’m in. I love my babies and I love being their Mom but I’m really into helping too and making my community/world a better place. So help me. What do you think of my 2 questions above? Let’s get the party started …

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One thought on “Better Maternity Leave in the United States

  1. This something I struggle with every day as I am expecting my first baby in July! Fortunately I am able to take 12 weeks with part of that partially paid but I just feel that’s not enough time. The following is purely based on my opinion and research and is not intended to offend anyone. The United States is one of only a couple developed contries that doesn’t offer a paid leave program. We grow up dreaming of going to college, getting married, buying a house and starting a family (or some version of those things). But the country we live in is not condusive to raising that family. It seems we have somehow lost the value in being the ones to raise our family. This is like the views held by some (of course not everyone) over breastfeeding especially in public. As one of the most natural things a mom can do, one has to worry about stares, covering up, sneaking to car or bathroom rather than providing the nutrition your baby needs when are where needed without judgement. With the anticipation and struggles a new parent faces to begin with, we also have to worry about the time we’ll even get to transition with the biggest change of our lives. It’s hard for mom and dad both to get time off let alone significant time to spend in the early months of your child’s life. By going to college and owning a home, having only one salary or taking unpaid leave is nearly impossible after baby arrives. I have done a lot of pre-planning and saving to make it through the 12 weeks financially but I wish I wasn’t so limited on time. It seems like someone is saying “oo well that’s long enough..time to come back to work and find other means to care and raise your child”. If the US had any programs or support, I would be on board in a heart beat. I have even started my own photography business to #1 follow my passion and equally #1 to be a mom first and foremost and not an employee anymore. I strongly support women who have been successful as entrepreneurs and love to meet them. It’s incredibly empowering!

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