People with kids are so entitled

My friend (used to be a real life friend – now fb friend since she cancelled dinner on me the day she found out she was pregnant… I haven’t seen her physically ever again and she’s now on baby #2) just posted on fb advocating a reduced hours working week. The video was all about not being able to get back family time and see kids grow up and so on and so forth. It said that the average worker works 47 hours a week and it was advocating a 30 hour week… whilst playing pictures of kids and babies and men talking about how they wanted to spend more time with their families.

It kinda made me see red.

Maybe it’s the context: She’s one of those people who “accidentally on purpose” got pregnant to trap the boyfriend. (It was a success.) I used to go out on the town with her and she was intelligent, thoughtful, fun and we’d have interesting conversations IRL about corporate life and 30-something social stuff. She now has only one topic of fb posts: babies. I recently had a miscarriage after 15 years of “unexplained” infertility. On my last project whilst going through the emotional and physical drain of IVF (only to lose the pregnancy at 9 weeks), I was working 80-90 hour weeks with the majority away from home. She has spent 2 of the last 2.5 years whiling away her time on maternity leave posting daily pictures of her kids.

I’m feeling kinda sensitive.

My point is: Why do parents feel like they have some sort of monopoly on having a work life balance?

I’m sorry, but I’m a human and therefore if you think that normal people deserve a work life balance, that should extend to all people and not just parents. Don’t keep giving me this rhetoric about how you want to spend more time with your children… Maybe I want to spend more time with my dog/partner/family. Maybe I have hobbies and interests outside of work that I don’t get to do because of work.

Your free time is not more precious than mine.

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43 comments

  1. countyourselfunlucky

    I agree – good work life balance should be for everyone.
    I liked your cute dog you made and your recent trip away sounded really good for you – you definitely need more stuff like that and less sucky job type stuff. It’s such a shame that employers vary so differently in their attitudes towards staff. I think that having a happy workforce makes far more sense than working people into the ground. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Courtney

    I respectfully disagree with you on this post. Work life balance is about the entire family, not just the parent. Children need more of their parents time and focus. It’s not about your spouse, our your pet, or your friends, etc. It’s about the children’s needs. “work life balance” is a terrible term. We ALL need work life balance, with or without spouses, kids, etc. The person I know with the absolute best work life balance has no children or spouse. She’s living the life and doesn’t qualify it with a spouse or kids. She certainly doesn’t need reduced hours to live her awesome life! If she wants a break from work, she takes it, UNPAID.

    In the US, we don’t get enough time off work with our babies. I don’t think the government should decide this for us, I wish employers would figure it out themselves. I don’t think parents should just get reduced work weeks, but I’d like to see more employers supportive of reduced schedules if parents want them and are open to being paid less then for less work. I also think non -parents should ask for reduced schedules if that’s what they want. It’s not entitlement, it’s reason. But I am going to say right here that children DO need more of their parents time.

    As for your friend, parenting is where she is right now. It happens to the best of us, especially those who stay home with their kids (losing my mind this week!). No one wants to lose themselves to parenting, but it happens a lot. Cut her some slack in that regard. I promise you, she’s not thrilled with what has happened to her identity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      What is it you disagree with? The concept that all people should have more time outside of work / a “work life balance” or whatever you want to call it?

      You said “Work life balance is about the entire family, not just the parent.” My belief is that everyone should have a decent balance and not just people who have children. I absolutely agree that children need their parents’ (note the plural, it’s not just mothers) time and focus… But my point is that every article and video and opinion piece I see tries to justify this based on children.

      There is more to life than children. Sometimes you wouldn’t think it because in the infertility community everyone is trying to have children. But the idea that my life is somehow less valid or useful or I shouldn’t be entitled to a balance just because I don have children is insulting.

      All the people I know with the worst work life balance are those who don’t have children. In the UK at any rate it’s mainly parents who feel that they can push back over long hours. At my company you can ask for flexible working based on the fact that you have children. It’s enshrined in UK law. If you don’t have children you aren’t entitled to ask by law and it certainly wouldn’t be entertained if I wanted to work 3 days a week “just because”.

      People lead valuable and worthwhile lives without having children. As someone who’s suffered long term infertility and miscarriage I feel like posts and opinions that place more value on parents than people are massively missing the point and are insulting to everyone.

      Also for my friend… She either really is thrilled about what has happened to her identity, or she has a funny way of showing dissatisfaction.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Courtney

        Your use of entitlement is what I disagree with, and the assumption that all parents feel entitled. They don’t.

        From your response, and others, I’m seeing that a different perspective is not welcome here. Lots of bitter comments here, which is not necessary.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        Okay. I was genuinely trying to understand what you meant, as I didn’t think that we were necessarily disagreeing. It sounds like you are!

        My view was solely that I feel – personally – that people I know (not all people – I don’t know all people!) who are campaigning for a greater work life balance are predicating that “entitlement”/aspiration based on the fact that their parents.

        For clarity:
        My feelings are that they are not any more entitled to ask for a greater work life balance / quality of life than non-parents. We should all be “entitled” to this as human beings.

        Secondly in my experience in the UK, parents have greater “entitlements” to have a work life balance than non-parents. As I explained below the ability to ask for flexible working is enshrined in law so parents can come back from parental leave and ask for reduced hours.

        I understand that this isn’t the case in the US where you are. I don’t live in the US; I live in the UK where they’ve recently changed the rules to allow both mother and father to share parental leave.

        Re my friend, I am possibly jealous of her as she had two children very easily and now her life doesn’t bear any resemblance to mine. Her post touched a nerve for me because it feels like she already has so much and she has rights as a parent that I don’t have – and I think that EVERYONE should be treated with respect, not just parents.

        I am happy to read different perspectives and you are absolutely welcome to air them here. My questions in my previous response were to try and understand where you were coming from, because you seemed to interpret it differently to how I thought I meant it. I don’t think there are “lots of bitter comments”. I am interested in all views on my blog and not just people who have exactly the same view as me. Personally I don’t have an issue with being challenged or being challenging, and I don’t want to censor comments. I think discussion is healthy.

        I hope I clarified my views above. I am only ever basing what I write on MY experiences and feelings. The point of a personal blog is to give an individual view. I don’t speak for all people and I only speak for myself; this should go without saying and is the same assumption I use when reading others’ blogs.

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  3. ourgreatestdesire

    I’m not exactly sure what Courtney was disagreeing with you on but I have to agree with you. I actually have to disagree with Courtney on that it should be up to the employers. I definitely think more maternity leave should be a federal law in the US so it’s equal for everyone, not a state law or up to the employer so that it varies. I tell you, if we get another damn Republican President…I’m seriously going to have to consider moving to Canada, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Well… I agree with you on that idea! 🙂 In the UK they’re trying to advance the idea of parental leave rather than maternity leave. However statutory entitlements (from the government / in law) are usually less than any employer I have worked for. Usually most corporates will add on some discretionary allowance and now that shared parental leave has become law they are slowly adapting to that idea – so this year for the first time in the UK, a mum and a dad can share leave. It’s heading towards the Scandinavian model (eg in Sweden men often take a year off for paternity) but we are still a long way off. Until recently most companies just gave statutory paternity leave which was 2 weeks. It makes it much more difficult for men and women to be considered equally in the workplace, whereas now we are hopefully moving towards greater equality.

      This is all a good thing. I feel like everyone not spending all their time at work is a good thing. The reason for my vent/rant was that I always feel like it’s quite insulting to say that the only reason people should take time away from work is for kids. People are often caregivers even if they’re not parents. Some people care for their elderly parents or for relatives with special needs. Those people also need balance. People who have hobbies even if they aren’t sporting Olympians or world famous entertainers are also entitled to have balance.

      In my opinion every human is valid and deserves respect and a right to a life outside work. Whatever they decide is how they want to spend their time away from work, they are all equally entitled to a quality of life. You don’t suddenly get rights because you become a parent. You should have rights as a human.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Courtney

      Whoa, calm down people! Jealous? Ummm…. No. Proud of her? Absolutely! Envious that she figured out how to put herself first before her employer? You bet! I wish we all could figure that out!

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  4. My Perfect Breakdown

    Before I thought about having kinds I often perceived people with kids to feel more entitled to their personal life over the working life. But I do have to admit, after our 2nd or 3 miscarriage I started to really change my tune, and during our 4th loss I actually quit my 60-80 hour a week job.
    I realized that kids or not I had to make a choice about what type of life I wanted for me and my husband. Yes, it was a luxury that we could afford all our bills on one income (not that it was easy, but we made smart decisions earlier in life to ensure we could if we had to and we cut out essentially everything we could to cut our bills). The reality was that we decided we wanted to have a bit of balance in our life – we wanted to see each other and we wanted to be healthy. With everything we were going through, we made a conscious decision to back away from the corporate demands. (I do realize I’m oversimplifying, there was a lot going on from a physical and mental health perspective that played into our decision for me to quit, but that’s not the point right now).
    Anyways, I think I’m rambling, but I think what I’m trying to say is that some people have the perception that those without kids will work longer and harder hours. And I did this to myself for years. But, now I realize that I didn’t have to hold that perception if I didn’t want to. Yes, it will change my career trajectory, I firmly believe that. But my husband and I made that choice that with or without kids our priority is not to line the pocket books of corporations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Courtney

      A real life example right here! MPB, you and my IRL friend are anomalies and great examples of how to put YOU first! I only did that when my niece almost died at the age of 1 and I was needed to take care of my 3 year old nephew. After that, work always came second to my family and me, and that was before I ever met my husband. I wish it hadn’t taken a tragedy to learn that work is just…. Work.

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    • Nara

      For sure, and I respect that and I respect other people who have done the same in order to have their family and gain work life balance. I would say, respectfully, that is a “luxury” for many people. I know very few people who can reduce their hours / change their career for their own wellbeing – eg one of my friends’ wife quit her job because they wanted to have children and she was having difficulty conceiving and had a high stress job. They’ve since had two children.

      I genuinely don’t think it is as easy as saying downsize or quit your job. I don’t live in luxury *at all* – we live in a studio flat in a very dodgy area because that’s what we can afford and we do that on a joint salary. T lost his job last year and we limped on just on my salary for six months, and those six months were extremely stressful and included borrowing a large amount of money we haven’t yet paid back. Due to previous circumstances (my separation) I have large financial commitments towards my ex which mean I cannot afford to earn less. I would love to quit my job and do something with fewer hours and less stress, but for our financial needs that would be difficult. We have paid down a lot over this year so we can finally afford to have a proper holiday (extravagant for us but not very “luxury” at all – we are staying cheaply and partly with friends).

      I guess what I’m saying is that it is of course a better thing for people’s balance and quality of life that they take less challenging jobs and spend less time at work. But in many cases it would cause more stress to remove a source of income. Pretty much all my female friends (with the exception of one who’s retired) work challenging hours and couldn’t afford long term to make that break. The UK (or maybe London) is definitely set up for households with dual incomes and accommodation/shelter is almost impossible to afford as a single.

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      • Courtney

        Herein lies the problem – the need for dual incomes to support a family of 2 or more. And you’re right, this is not possible for the VAST majority of people, and I’d guess upwards of 90+%. I’d like to see more being done about the inflation rates that have caused society to NEED two incomes to support a family. Until that happens, there will be minimal work life balance for everyone because very few of us can afford to work fewer hours or find a job that actually pays for our hourly time versus a salary (are you paid hourly in the UK?). The “salary” is the worst thing that happened to American workers, and moving off of the gold standard, in my opinion.

        The debate over work life balance detracts us from the real problem, and that is that it takes two people to support a family today when in the 50’s, it took one. Our incomes have not gone up at the same rate as the price of milk, which is dragging us down and working us harder and harder every year.

        As you can see, this topic infuriates me. We all work harder, yet get further behind, leading us to not have any balance at all because the bills will always need to come first.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        Exactly!!! We are in agreement! 🙂

        My parents’ first home (in their early 20s) cost less than a car does now and it had three bedrooms! Most of my friends can’t afford a home unless they cohabit. Single people can rarely afford even to rent in London as it’s so expensive – I know 30-somethings who share with flatmates. It’s pretty much only possible if you have a very high earning salary, or if you go dual income, or if your parents give you money towards a deposit. The stupid thing is in London that you are trapped by high rents (no rent control), high demand for limited supply, and it is actually cheaper in most cases to buy a house and pay a mortgage than it is to rent… But with the high rents, most people can’t save up a deposit (typically minimum £50k, more than the average annual salary).

        I absolutely wish sometimes that we could go back to times like the 50s where I could be a homemaker and as a female I’m not expected to earn a salary, even if I don’t have kids!!! But then I’m glad of opportunities in gender equality that have enabled me not to have to be financially reliant on anyone else. It’s a double edged sword, and it’s been damaging for everyone, but especially I think for women and their ability to have families – eg the average age in the UK for females getting married is something like 29-30 but for my folks it was early 20s. It means we are simply not in the best position to have children, not just from the point of view of being financially stable and ready, but from physical opportunity and mental health/stress. We don’t have time for leisurely lovemaking and trying for a baby every day when we are working 10+ hours a day!

        I really think it’s a bad thing for everyone when we don’t allow people the time just to be human rather than cogs in the machine.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. thegreatpuddingclubhunt

    As a Brit living in the US I can safely say that there is definitely a stronger bias towards parents of children in the UK workplace compared to here in the US. It’s engrained into their work culture here. Although I did recently discover my old company in the UK just introduced ‘peternity’ leave for those with newly adopted pets. Cool.
    Anyway, I certainly have faced bias in the workplace by not being a parent. I don’t help the situation when I hear myself saying the words “it’s ok, I understand, you have children to look after, I’ll go travel to X for a week instead”.
    I promise myself I will not be that one parent who constantly pulls out of meetings because of child related issues. I know this will be impossible and an unrealistic stance! But at least I can say it now and believe I will try hard.
    Infertility has given me new perspectives and new understanding towards respecting other people’s feelings and stories. Maybe I’ve grown softer and I’m going to get walked all over! But everyone has a different private and personal story and work is just that, work irrespective of that personal story… and most of the time involves team work, give and take is key, everything in moderation. We all sign up to it! It sounds so easy, so why doesn’t it happen?????!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I love this: “Infertility has given me new perspectives and new understanding towards respecting other people’s feelings and stories.”

      I need to work on that… I think it’s natural when you’ve suffered from infertility to feel angry and rant (as I have been doing, or “venting”) but I really don’t mean it to be personal towards anyone. I’m sorry if it comes across that way… It’s just pretty raw right now. (I still would like to be friends and closer with my friend, but I think we both know that won’t happen if we both remain in our current situations, as we would never see each other.) I don’t think parents are bad people and it’s not me vs them. It’s more a rant against the system for me… A system that values parental needs for time away from work over the needs of people who are not parents. It’s not something I blame parents for – I think we should all strive for balance!

      I’m definitely as guilty as you for trying to pick up slack for people on my team – if I know they have kids then I try and make sure they can leave earlier and not work through the night. So even if I do have a vent every now and then, I’m very concerned about making sure that babies see their dads! (I work with mainly men!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • thegreatpuddingclubhunt

        I think you are allowed to have any kind of extreme emotion you like here! It doesn’t mean it’s permanent either. debating and airing our feelings is an important way to help deal with infertility too! (Well I think it helps anyway!)

        I found something where research shows positive discrimination in the workplace for parents requesting flexible hours compared to those who needed it for other things such as an endurance race! ….http://www.womanthology.co.uk/combating-flexibility-bias-women-men-workplace-christin-l-munsch-assistant-professor-furman-university-sociology-faculty/
        It’s interesting!!
        Thanks for the blog post, my hubby and I had a great debate over it!

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      • Nara

        Thanks for the link! That’s really interesting. At our place when flexible return to work first came in, they used to say it wasn’t possible to do that in our industry. Now they have to by law and there’s a big campaign about flexible working, but I would still say it is largely based on people being able to pick up their kids from school, read them a bedtime story etc. Nobody on the publicity materials says “I decided to move to a 4 day week because I like to relax at the weekend”. Interestingly I think my work allows more WFH (work from home) than T’s work, but that’s because he has fewer and more regular hours overall and when I WFH this is only so I can finish up at 1am and roll into bed!

        Oh and thanks for being understanding about the vent! 🙂 I do think if you can’t vent on your own blog then where can you?! And as I mentioned above, I feel like I make a pretty big effort to look after people in my team, and try and make sure everyone has days where they can leave early and spend time out of work! I feel a responsibility if they are working for me that I always take the brunt of the long hours etc. It would be great if we could move towards a more Scandi model where men and women are equal and the importance of quality time outside of work is recognised.

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  6. andthewindscreamsmary

    Amen sister. This kind of stuff bothers me so much. For instance, where I work we have a “flexible work schedule” policy. Basically what it boils down to is you can modify your core hours slightly, or even work from home as part of your regular schedule, in some situations. It’s entirely frowned upon by the higher ups, and getting approval is extremely tedious (you have to write up a whole big proposal providing information on several factors for consideration) and it needs to go through all of your management hierarchy and HR. It seems to me, and many others,that the only people who get these flexible schedules approved are those with young children. In fact I brought this up in a “town hall” meeting with our HR Department. It’s frustrating and insulting. The rest of us without children would like flexibility and to work from home too!!!! Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Yup, that’s exactly what happens at ours. They have to give the ability to ask (by law) and “have your request considered”… but everyone knows the only acceptable reason is child related. And they can get kind of narky about that too, but they have to accept it, whereas “just wanting to finish work before 1am one day a week” would not be considered a good reason!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. babyyesno

    Wow! This has opened a can of worms! But I know what you mean! This year we had a busy week at work and we needed to get a lot of work delivered in 1 week. Both my team members with children left around 5-6pm each day whilst I was left to pick up the unfinished work afterwards and complete it. This week happens every year and they know they are required to stay late for it. Just cause I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I don’t want to go home!
    I had to write a performance review for someone that works 3 days a week ( parental leave). Due to sickness and holidays I have seen her on average 1 day a week. Of course I have to cover her work for the year and then objectively do her review based on the 1 day she is here. Sorry that is a total rant but I see this everywhere I work and I think it’s unfair!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Well I absolutely worked by **** off this year, 16-18hr days. The earliest I was in the office was before 6am and the latest was 02:30. I had previously received a bad review due to some strange reasons to do with my company (unfair but I couldn’t change it) so I felt like I had to prove them wrong. I was relieved to find out I moved from underperforming to being considered strong (I got the average, which most people get).

      I then found out that my friend who’s just back from a year mat leave automatically got the same rating! I really don’t feel that reflects the effort or contribution. She should have just got some sort of “absent” rating. I know this isn’t her fault and I don’t blame her but it seems totally unfair!

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  8. babyyesno

    Agreed! I had to give the girl the average rating for coming in 1 day a week. This is what I received and the others in my team received. Even though we covered her work and we actually tried to get a good rating! Our reviews do not go toward a bonus so I am actually thankful for this, otherwise I would be really angry at the rating system.

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    • Nara

      …Ours *do* contribute, so in theory this means that she’ll get a (small) pay rise and bonus for being off all year. I mean she literally just came back before year end! (To clarify again: I really like her and I don’t blame her… I blame the system! And the fact that you can get an average rating for almost killing yourself working and you’re supposed to be happy with that.) Tbh our industry is pretty cut throat and apparently during EOY they expressed surprise I hadn’t left after the previous bad rating. I said I would never want to leave on a low and wanted to prove them wrong! But feel that the difference between what I’ve done and what she’s done (a year off!!!) should not reflect the same remuneration.

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  9. waitingbetweenthelines

    In my opinion there are two separate issues here. The one is work/life balance which everyone is entitled to, the other is childcare and the needs of children (not parents). If an individual does not have work life balance then they need to ask why? Is it an organisational issue… Perhaps the organisation is under staffed? Management not effective? etc or is it personal… Are you not good at delegating or setting up appropriate boundaries, are you a perfectionist? etc etc. Whatever the cause, it needs to be addressed and if it cannot be addressed then decisions need to be made. This is something that every adult, parent or non-parent is entitled to and has to take responsibility for.

    The other issue is childcare. It is children, not parents who are entitled to parental care, attention and support. So, in an organisation where overtime needs to be done and there are two adults who can do it, one a parent and one a non-payment then it is my opinion that it is definitely the non-parent who should take the fall. Not because the parent is entitled to an easy life, but because the children are entitled to parental care. And ultimately we want our children to be well taken care of and to have their needs met because it is good for them and they will grow up into well adjusted adults… Which is ultimately in the best interests of society.

    I would also suggest that it is important not to idealise the
    time spent with children. Individuals who work less and spend more time involved in childcare are not relaxing and this time cannot be compared to time spent with adult partner, pets or reading a book. Some of the most exhausted, overwhelmed people I meet are stay at home moms or moms who work part time. Childcare is work, not play.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Courtney

      This is perfectly said. This is what I was trying to say from the very beginning… It’s not about the adults needs or desires, it’s about the kids.

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    • Nara

      I agree it is two different issues. And I also agree that “It is children, not parents who are entitled to parental care, attention and support.”

      However I don’t agree with this: “So, in an organisation where overtime needs to be done and there are two adults who can do it, one a parent and one a non-payment then it is my opinion that it is definitely the non-parent who should take the fall.” Even if this is what happens in practice – which it has in every organisation I’ve worked in, parents take priority for holidays and flex time etc – I do not think that “the non-parent should take the fall”. I absolutely agree when you say that children need care and that is good for society, but if we are valuing that then we should not simultaneously be de-valuing the lives of those who don’t have children.

      In my opinion it is down to the organisation, supported by the government to support the needs of parents if these are different to the needs of non-parents. For example – in the UK this means that the government pays the organisation compensation for parental leave, so the theory is that the organisation (and the people in it, parents and non-parents) do not suffer when one of their employees is on maternity leave or paternity leave. The organisation can backfill their role at no/reduced additional cost because their salary cost whilst they’re absent is covered. I don’t think it is for the non-parents to suffer just for the reason that they don’t have children.

      I don’t think I idealise what it is to look after children as a SAHM… I understand it’s 24/7. But I do think generally there is more enjoyment / fulfilment to be had from spending the majority of time with family members (your kids) than colleagues. I mean, I love my family members and I don’t feel the same way about my colleagues – although I like some of them very much, I would not look after them without being paid to do so.

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    • Nara

      The other point to note that I referred to elsewhere is that it is different in the UK and US, so we are coming from different types of experience. I don’t know about the US but it sounds like it is much more variable whereas in the UK we have laws to protect parental leave – originally mainly maternity but as of this year, shared parental leave. This is different to anything discretionary that a company might wish to provide on top of the statutory entitlement from the government.

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      • waitingbetweenthelines

        I’m in South Africa so things are completely different here too. Of course ideally, in a perfect world, things would be absolutely fair… We’re in agreement there. I guess I was just saying that ultimately the needs of children need to be prioritised. Also, there are many mothers who would choose to spend time at work over family time … Childcare is relentless, demanding and for many women, monotonous… so it really doesn’t go without saying that women would choose to spend family time rather than time at home. Perhaps this is where we just need to be mindful of making generalisations. Anyway, I’m sorry you find yourself in a situation where you feel devalued and used… That’s not great for anyone and I hope somehow you can find a way to navigate that on a personal level, given that changing how society functions is an uphill battle.

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    • andthewindscreamsmary

      I don’t think I should be “taking the fall” for people that have kids just because the impression is that their time is more valuable than mine. I agree, children are entitled to care – so if the parents need to work, go out and pay for child care or have a family member watch your child. Don’t rely on me to pick up your slack and then expect the same salary and promotions. So, you want to take care of your kids on your time off – fine. Maybe I want to go shopping and to a spa and take care of myself. Why is child care more important than self care?

      Liked by 1 person

      • waitingbetweenthelines

        I’m really not saying that us non-parents should be used and abused. I also think you are generalising… Most working mothers pay for childcare and rely on family members for support but there are always going to be emergencies or exceptions where a child’s needs will have to be prioritised over work, and someone will have to pick up the slack. Not all mothers expect other people to pick up their slack and still get the same promotions etc… And that’s also not what happens in real life. I read an article which also had a whole load of statistics just the other day about how motherhood is basically a hand brake when it comes to careers, that companies generally treat mothers differently and they get fewer pay rises and fewer promotions. This is a whole other debate anyway.

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      • Nara

        (Caveat: I promise I am not trying to be argumentative… I find this discussion very interesting, and insert your own disclaimer here about how I value debate and differences of opinion.)

        Waitingbetweenthelines: You say that I’m/she’s generalising, but what we wrote was only in response to your comment above saying this: “So, in an organisation where overtime needs to be done and there are two adults who can do it, one a parent and one a non-payment then it is my opinion that it is definitely the non-parent who should take the fall.”

        Andthewindscreamsmary and I were both just disagreeing with that part (that non-parents should “take the fall” compared with parents) – not the part that says that looking after children is important.

        We all agree children are important. Most of us are here to blog or read blogs about our experiences with infertility and our struggle to have children – we wouldn’t be doing that if we thought children were bad or something!

        I think what Mary and I are saying is that we think *everyone* should be equally valued. Parents, “non-parents”, men, women… HUMANS.

        I don’t think my desires, hopes, dreams, aspirations take precedence over anyone else’s, and in a civilised society we should be treating EVERYONE with respect, regardless of their parental status, gender, sexual orientation, colour… etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. theskyandback

    I think everybody on the planet should only have to work 30 hours a week. We all spend so much time at work and it makes me sad. I think everyone would be so much happier this way. It’s annoying that the video was only about families.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. waitingbetweenthelines

    Ps. In South Africa you are legally obliged to 4 months maternity leave but your company is not obliged to pay you. Fathers get 3 days. I work for myself so will get zero and we have spent all our savings on trying to have a baby in the first place… I think we need to immigrate!

    Like

    • Nara

      Eek. That’s bad. In the UK it was a big difference previously (men only had 2 weeks) but they’ve just introduced shared parental leave. Organisations are still trying to work out the logistics though, and it is a cultural change. Most guys I know (I work with mainly men) still only take a couple of weeks. At least now both parents can be off at the same time.

      Move to the UK! 🙂 Or Sweden!

      Like

      • Nara

        I never thought it would improve here tbh. The statutory is very low (a % of your salary but at least you are entitled to take the time off) but the “done thing” is that most companies supplement this with what’s called enhanced maternity pay. So statutory is an actual amount (low) but for most people if you’ve been at the company long enough (1-2yrs) you get enhanced pay on the time off. I was really surprised that they changed to shared parental leave. It’s definitely a step in the right direction – even if it will take a while for the cultural change to take place so men feel comfortable taking the time off.

        Like

  12. babyyesno

    In Australia you get 4 months paid maternity leave and the company must legally hold your job for 1 year. Therefore you can get another 8 months unpaid leave. Here in the Netherlands it is the same; 4 months paid and 8 months unpaid, however the 8 months is measured by hours and you can take that as you wish. For example you can work 4 days a week and take the 5th as parental leave until your kids are nearly old enough for school. (age 4 here)
    In The Netherlands it is generally accepted that anyone can work part time, with, or without kids. I worked part time for a year whilst I was going in and out of hospitals and clinics. My request was accepted without questions. However, I’m not sure if the Netherlands is progressive or backwards as most women work part time (about 70-80%) and it is very normal.
    When/if I have kids, will I take advantage of the system and take all parental leave and sick days to look after my kids? ABSOLUTELY ! (Well, just so long as I’m not taking the piss and using my colleagues ‘to take the fall’)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I’m so with you on that! Oh and I actually have experience of NL…! I think they’re progressive in many ways (cycling infrastructure and culture, liberalism, being able to treat kids as if they’re trusted rather than stupid…) but in other ways maybe a bit challenged. 🙂 The social care / state support is pretty good as far as I can see – but it’s funded by high taxation!

      Like

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