Money or Parenting? How the Government Makes People Choose.

I found this video to be quite alarming and informative. I could not believe the limited amount of time off mothers receive in our country and the reasons behind legislation to help families is not being passed. We are one of two countries in the world who do not give mothers the day off for mothers day. If mothers would like to take the day off it is close to impossible, it has to be unpaid, and pass loads of restrictions. Mothers are not only losing mothers day but time off after giving birth. In a world that pressures women to have it all, balancing being a mother and working, mothers are not getting enough unpaid or paid leave off. This puts their job and financial security at risk or the time needed to tend for a newborn.

I also found it interesting and relevant that they spoke of the mostly nonexistent time fathers get off after having a child born. Showing that we still live in a society that only views women staying home to tend for the child. Paternal leave is important because they are both parents, and many families have nontraditional parenting or a household where both parents work. Almost all leave taken by parents after their child is born is unpaid time off, putting a financial compromise on themselves. What was really shocking was the reasoning behind lobbyists and legislators keeping these restrictions and lack of benefits on new parents.

What do you all think? Do you find this opinion just? Or do you agree with how things are now? Has this affected your parents or someone you know? Why is our culture unhelpful to new parents compared to other cultures?


7 thoughts on “Money or Parenting? How the Government Makes People Choose.

  1. Over the past few weeks of taking Gender Comm, I’ve come to realize that this issue is quite large. I guess I never really thought about the topic until Dr. Naomi asked us how much time we think women and men get for maternity leave. It’s surprising to me that a lot of countries around the world give leave for both the father and the mother, while the U.S. mainly focuses on the mother. I agree with you that the government is basically choosing our careers and salaries ahead of our families. There should be more legislation on the subject, specifically for paid leave, both parents getting time off, and exactly how much time off. I don’t think we realize how much of an issue this is until it’s our time to have children. Glad to hear you have a strong stance on the matter. I find this topic interesting and hope to research it further over the course of the semester.

  2. Hi Sophie,

    This video really opened my eyes to something I haven’t even thought about to be honest. Its so alarming to me that America and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world to not offer paid maternity leave. You would like America would about so much effort into mothers being with their children during this time. During the new born period is the most important and hardest time of a mothers life. I would have thought the government would give mothers more respect and time with their children. Having a child and trying to balance paying the bills as well is very stressful. I feel like people don’t understand fully what mothers actually have to go through being a mother to a new born. People think it is so easy and that everyone does it so it doesn’t make them special but its so ridiculous how people say that because those are probably the people who haven’t gone through it.

    Seeing this actor basically make fun of Mother’s Day is very insulting. Mother’s Day is the day that people appreciate their mothers and let them know that they are loved. I know we should do that everyday but thats the one day out of the year that they feel extra special. Overall, I think we need to appreciate our mothers more and for that they do. They deserve the most important time of their child’s life and same with the father. Both parents should be their for this not just the mother. I do think it the mothers natural instinct to be the care taker but lets actually give them the time they want and need for the child.

  3. Hey Sophie!

    I am so glad you wrote about this! I have been hearing more and more about this issue in todays media, (which is good!) and it is just so sad that this is the reality for so many women in America. We are supposed to be the leaders in today’s world and to set the precedent of rights and freedoms that we are supposed to have. I think it is awful that a mother has to be so strategic about having a baby. Having to be worried that a mother will not have enough time with her newborn is so sad. This is something that needs to be discussed and I am glad it is gaining more momentum. As a women who with be joining the workforce soon, this is one of the things I will be looking at when I am looking for a company to join. I also think this conversation could be beneficial for the gay/lesbian couples as well. Thinking about a gay or lesbian couple trying to receive benefits for a baby they adopted or a surrogate mother birthed for them must be so hard. In my Gender and Communication we are talking about learning how to look at others and there sexuality differently and more openly, and I think opening up the conversation to not just birth mothers but to others that have adopted or are not “traditional” would be interesting and educational as well.

  4. Hi Sophie,

    I completely agree with you, I constantly think when I have worked with Pregnant women and they get their maternity leave that when they come back after 6 weeks, what do you do with your baby? Childcare is expensive. And who wants to trust anyone with your new born baby? I think it is so incredibly shocking that America.. of all countries does not have more maternity leave.. In England where I was born, they give 6 months to a year of PAID leave. The mother gets to choose how much they want. The father also gets paid leave, but less. My step mother and father had my baby brother and she got to spend the whole year raising him paid, then was allowed to transition back into work part-time then full time. Raising a child should be a priority in America and the government should put mothers, fathers and their children first.

  5. I could not agree more there needs to be more time for mothers to be able to stay home after they give birth to their child and make sure everything is ok and they have time to care for them. I think their needs to be a change for American businesses. They need to allow parents more time of the birth of their child to allow them time to get to bond and know their child.

  6. I agree that there needs to be more time for parents to see their children and especially soon after a child is born. Because of all of the difficulties with getting maternity leave my mom quit her job when she had my sister and then when she found out she was expecting me she quit the job she was doing at the time. She was only able to resume her career when I was older and I went to school for longer hours. I think it is unfortunate that most new mothers still have to deal with the second shift even a month after giving birth. I understand that many families need to have two incomes but I do wish there was a way for it to be worked out so new borns do not have to be in day care at such an early age.
    One of my friends mothers was back in work two weeks after having her. What a trooper! One thing I have learned in a previous class is that men also can ask for leave from work when their child is born. I talked to my dad about this and he said that he was unable to do that either time my mom gave birth. I think that when a couple has a newborn baby they should be able to split the responsibilities and time with the baby instead of putting all on the mother. I know many women love being the main caretaker for a child but I also think it is good bonding for a couple to share the raising of their child.

  7. Hi Sophie, I had no idea there was so much red tape for mother’s to get through to have maternity leave. I think a lot of the points that were brought up in that video were really disturbing, such as America and Papua New Guinea being the only two countries in the world to not offer paid maternity leave. I think it’s interesting that our culture places such a huge emphasis and importance on mother’s being in the home, but our government doesn’t respect their needs right after birthing a newborn.
    I was also really sad to hear those sports radio broadcasters making fun of the baseball player for taking three days off to be with his family after his wife had a baby. Our culture puts such an emphasis on what we do; when we ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up, they always say a profession like firefighter or ballerina. The older people get, the more society expects them to focus in on what they want to do with their lives professionally. How come when people are asked what they want to do or who they want to be, the answer is never, “I want to be a better friend. I want to be a really great spouse. I want to listen better.” The answer is always work related instead of personally related. Maybe if we focused on being better people instead of better professionals, it wouldn’t be as hard for parents to actually be parents.

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