Thursday, September 27, 2007

On stay at home moms

Yesterday I went to lunch and shopping with a few other stay at home mothers in my area. I had the realization, not for the first time, that the US has to be the worst industrialized country in the world for mothers. The woman I spent most of the day talking to is an attorney who litigated foster card and adoption cases. Now she's a stay at home mom. I have my master's degree and now I'm a stay at home mom.

Believe me when I say that it's the toughest job I've had so far, but I also think it's a shame that there aren't more options for mothers who want to work part time or go back after a year or two. Canadians have a year of paid maternity leave, during which time their job is secure. In the US we have 12 weeks of unpaid leave, after which your job is no longer secure. Instead of going back to work, an increasing number of highly educated women are opting to stay home with their children. Indeed, in many cases they are the only ones who can make the choice to stay home. Too many other mothers must return to work to support their families.

I can only think this contributes to the general brain drain occurring from the retirement of baby boomers. I could go on about the general lack of work-life balance the US supports (2 weeks of vacation vs. 4 minimum in most countries), but I won't. I just wonder if and when this country is going to realize that there is more to life than work.

1 comment:

Strange and Charm said...

Actually, I think the US is the ONLY developed country that doesn't have paid maternity leave. You're right, there's an enormous amount of untapped talent in the pool of stay at home moms who want to work, but not full-time.

 
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