Maternity leave - just a holiday isn’t it? Perfect time to put up our feet & work out our goals in life… “Meternity” author ruffles some feathers.

By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

Want to hear something funny?
There’s a lady suggesting maternity leave is the perfect opportunity for women to spend time on THEMSELVES and, though she doesn’t have kids/ isn’t pregnant, she wanted some of this ‘maternity leave’ action too.

A thirty-something magazine editor - plagued by stress and deadlines (cry me a river, been there, done that) became sick of pregnant colleagues 'taking it easy at work', according to the Mirror, so she decided to have a 'meternity' - with all the perks of pregnancy without the hassle of child birth.

"Yes, I had always dreamed of marriage and motherhood, but I still wasn’t ready.
"I wanted - needed - some time off to figure out exactly what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life.
"A moment to breathe and create, rather than continue on the burnout track."

In desperation, according to MSN, this woman turned to her best friend, who said: “You know what you need? You need a me-ternity leave.” 
The result: a book.

About her own experience, the author told the New York Post: "It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility.”

Erm… How about having a chat with your boss or take some annual leave? 

You know what’s not cool, missing out on your kids’ school awards/events because of the LACK OF flexibility in the workplace, coupled with missing out on Friday drinks at work, AND the promotion you deserved, because you were busy picking up the kids from long daycare/ not around to put yourself forward for opportunities that may further your career?

According to the author: "There’s something about saying 'I need to go pick up my child' as a reason to leave the office on time that has far more gravitas than, say, 'My best friend just got ghosted by her OkCupid date and needs a margarita' - but both sides are valid."

While I totally get your friend’s ‘major life issue’ tops your list at this stage in life, I think attending to your child – our actual responsibility and people we love with all of our heart and soul – would be the top of most parents’ list.
Your friend’s ‘issue’ can wait. Whereas a child, or their carers (who are also waiting to get home to their friends or families), can’t.

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May have 4 little people to feed, dress, clean, educate & entertain. But hey... let's take this 'time off work' to focus on MEEEE? ;-)

Parents have to bust their ass at work – and are notably super-efficient – because we know we HAVE to complete our work within our work hours so we can get out on time to pick up these little people (who rely on us to, you know, SURVIVE) – without being judged.
It goes both ways.

If you ask me, the whole thing is ridiculously immature and mocks those of us with the serious responsibility of raising children (and, for many of us, also trying to juggle career demands AS WELL).

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Maternity leave. Clearly so much free time just to focus on ME!

Mums (and Dads) feel huge pressure – more often than not - when asking to leave work ON TIME to collect kids - before they’re charged $30 a minute they are late - or when heavily pregnant, taking a couple extra loo breaks each day when they have, you know, a HUMAN resting on their bladder.

Whilst pregnant, and when I returned to work after having each of my children, I was still expected to perform. 
If anything, mums go above and beyond to prove their worth in case they don’t have a job waiting for them when your mat leave is up - or find your position has gone to some intern happy to do the job for less the pay.
I’m all for having annual leave/ personal leave days and some time out for you - but to refer to it as ‘maternity’ where you’re focusing on yourself is a bit far-fetched.

I know when I was child-free, despite the everyday concerns such as paying the mortgage and working long hours/ meeting deadlines, my down time was the commute to work, coffee/ too many wines with friends, attending to their ‘major events’ such as break ups and eating/peeing in peace.

Now as a mother – and proud career woman striving to successfully juggle both – I, along with many other mothers, are here like ‘hey we’re just dealing with REAL issues such as raising humans AND, in many cases, juggling work and the guilt that comes with it’ as we try to please everyone.

Aaah maternity leave. It sure does look relaxing, don’t you think?

The issues don’t disappear when you have kids/ that continues as well as the pressures and responsibility of raising children and keeping a roof over their head. 
And while we’re trying to keep our heads above water, let’s also try to maintain romantic connection with the husband, when it feels like you're ships passing in the night, or co-owners of a childcare centre when the only chance you get to discuss things involves topics like, ‘What was the consistency of his poo today?’, ‘What time did she have her antibiotics?’

ME time? What is that? When we get the luxury of going to grocery store on our own in peace?

Myself, and many other mothers I’m sure, are in desperate need of some ME time and this holiday/ time to focus on myself and reflect on life, that you speak of (without dealing with sleep deprivation, stitches in my perineum, haemorrhoids, or milk squirting from my breasts). 
Sign. Me. Up.

As a parent, our sick days, as an employee, are no longer banked for us to use when we’re sick, but to use when our children are sick. When a parent is sick? Well we just HAVE to soldier on. There is no down time.

Sorry lady, come back to us when you’ve pushed a human out of your vagina/had MAJOR abdominal surgery (and the associated recovery time) to safely bring a bub into the world, and whilst recovering (WHOOPS, SORRY, I mean, 'enjoying' this 'time off work'), then had to keep another human ALIVE – and had said baby human on your lap at the same time as trying to hold an ice pack on your swollen and sore nether regions whilst also trying to remember the last time you ate something that wasn’t just pre-packaged as you walked through the kitchen with screaming human over your shoulder.

It’s all rainbows and butterflies isn’t it! ;-)

Maternity leave. Perfect chance to focus on ME!?

I dream of my 12 hour days in the office – it was paradise!
But I certainly wouldn’t trade it for the 24/7 role I’m now in, as the payment – LOVE – is worth far more than I could ever have imaged! <3 

What are YOUR thoughts?

About: Gold Coast Mum editor is a mum of 4 in 3 years (including twins), who were all breastfed 15+ months (after beating various obstacles such as tongue ties/ mastitis/ silent reflux/ colic and more), AND, amazingly, she now juggles her young family AND work demands as a permanent part time worker and freelancer, following more than a decade working full time as an award-winning journalist/ magazine editor/ magazine news editor and communications professional.

Still waiting for some ME time, but I guess that’ll happen when the kids are 18, won’t it? Hey, a trip to the loo counts as a holiday these days. ;-)

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT :-)


  1. I was gob smacked reading about this too! Maternity leave is not about resting and finding yourself!

  2. Maternity leave a holiday? This woman clearly has no grasp on reality. I can imagine she's received a fair amount of backlash.

  3. Work never ends at home and therein not holiday pay, sick pay or even pay for that matter.

  4. Lauren? Is this you? Alix here from Text Pacific. Looks like you are keeping yourself busy. Having kids sounds hard! I've got no intention of having kids but would love to take 6 months off and come back to my job. Not saying that the 2 experiences are remotely similiar but after 20+ years of working full time a non-work period would be nice. I think my long-service leave is calling me. I certainly won't be writing a self-indulgent book about it though!! I'm blogging at but can't work out how to change this google sign in (yep, I'm still a luddite).

  5. I tell ya what, when I went back to work part-time after having my first baby going to the office was my "me" time! It was the only time I got when I didn't have an 8 month old baby hanging off me demanding the world and then some! I think what the author of the meternity article also fails to realise is that the reason why women so often don't return to work and turn to pursuing a self-employment is because workplaces are so inflexible. And in working for themselves they end up working way harder than they would in an office, the only difference being that the work is done in the dead of night when the children are sleeping because it's the only time they get to do it.

    Maternity leave is anything but me time, and only people who don't have children would ever think it came close to being me time. We're still working round the clock during out maternity leave, it's just that our bosses are tiny humans who don't take no for an answer and we can't walk out the door at the end of the day and go home to rest!


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