I had a horrible dream the other night that I was pregnant again.
Why so horrible? After all I had a pretty easy pregnancy (all things considered) and hope there’s time in my biological clock to have another. The problem is the FMLA, aka the Family Medical Leave Act, that enables women to take time off (unpaid) to have their baby for up to 12 weeks and have their job guaranteed. FMLA really should stand for: Federal Men Lack Awareness, Frustrated Mothers Lose Atrociously, or Fetus Might Live Alone… you get the point.
Here’s the problem. The FMLA only allows you to take advantage of leave every 12 months on a rolling basis. So my recent maternity leave ended July 1, 2013, I would not be allowed to start another leave until July 2, 2013. If my dream were to be accurate (and it’s not), I would be due in April 2014, 3 months before I would be permitted to take another leave of absence. So it would be up to my employer to decide whether or not I was valuable enough to keep on board for another maternity absence and I would have no federal protection for my employment.
This stuff makes me a little crazy. Where is the Religious Right when I need them? For all they go on about “Family Values” we don’t have many safeguards in place to protect mothers, or aspiring-mothers, in the work place. Even the crappy pay you get on maternity leave (if anything at all) is called ‘short term disability’. Hello? I was not disabled, I had a BABY.
Our elected leaders on both sides of the aisle need to wake up and realize that many mothers do actually have to work outside of the home and we need to protect these mothers so they can find the balance they need to raise their children, be a valuable employee and pay their bills. We all can’t be [insert wealthy white politician’s wife name here]. Plenty of families in this country depend on the paycheck mommies bring home, and more and more frequently that paycheck is more than daddy’s. You don’t want us to have abortions but you don’t want mothers to be able to actually provide for our families either. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways, Misters.
Can’t we do better? Looks like I am about to send another donation to Emily’s List. In the meantime, my dream better not come true.