Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Health Controversy: Growing Number of Women Want to Become Moms to Get Out of Work

Apparently pregnancy is looking more and more appealing to British woman, who, according to a new survey, are more likely to want to get pregnant these days so they can score the 52 weeks of maternity leave that is standard in England. Yes, you read that right: Women want to have babies to avoid working for a year.
Well, there are two possibilities here. 1- They're crazy or 2-They're not crazy.

Let's talk about 1 first. If motherhood is universally harder and more stressful than work, they're nuts. This could well be because first time mothers underestimate how difficult it will be to have a baby. They have friends with "easy babies" who sleep through the night and nap all day and assume they'll have the same luck. They focus on the positives, picturing designer strollers and cutesy baby clothes, shown off during a leisurely afternoon at Starbucks, and don't think about dirty diapers, the need for constant attention, and the fact that mums in the UK have so little free time and energy that they wear pajamas to the supermarket.

This could also be a function of the duality of public motherhood, which ends every rant about how much hard work it is with a sunny proclamation that it is "the best job ever" and "totally worth it." The inability of mothers to simply describe the difficulty without attaching one of these to the end could leave some with poor listening skills focused on the bright, shiny aspects of it all. This is especially true if their parent friends have "Kodak moment" syndrome, and focus on the most pleasant aspects of parenthood on their Facebook pages and coffee klatch tales.

Well then, what about 2? How could they be sane? Well, for all the hard, messy, disgusting, non-stop work of motherhood, there are perks. For one, you don't have a boss. It's a formidable job for those who internalize the impossible task of raising a human being correctly. HOWEVER, the failures are long-term, the pressure comes mainly from within, and the penalties for long-term mistakes are fairly abstract. You don't have someone looking over your shoulder scolding you when you mess up. You can't be fired. If you're not one of the aforementioned people who internalizes the importance of the task, I can understand how parenting would seem a more appealing prospect than a job.

If you feel like plopping the kid in front of Spongebob and playing online Scrabble, that is your choice. If the kid is taking an afternoon nap, you can take an afternoon nap. When you're in your cubicle doing tedious paperwork, or manning the register at a retail store, these may sound like much better ways to spend your day. I would guess that the kind of women who would have a baby to get out of work would be the very short-term oriented, cut-corners, lack-of-internal-pressure kind of folks for whom parenting (at least on paper) would be easier and less stressful.
Technorati Tag:


Anonymous said...

I think a lot of women exploit this generous thing. It's irritating. I'm definitely not one of the childfree people who thinks maternity/paternity leave should be banned, let me state that outright. Women should just not exploit that.

I've heard a lot of stories from frustrated people who said they knew women who landed a job specifically because they wanted to have kids and mooch a bit. Obviously, that's just wrong.

I also think that women are still having to shake of the notion that landing a husband and having kids is a viable career move. Society is still pretty cool with the idea of a woman being dependent, so this will take a while to die off.

I honestly couldn't imagine having kids just to get out of going to work, though. That seems a tad ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm Isn´t that easier to just put some effort in saving money and taking a very long vacation somewhere else?
Probably cheaper, more fun and, in my opinion, more realistic - since it really means stop working. I did that for six months with my husband.
I tell you: works muuuch better!
PS - also, the chances of having better times for making love and cuddle.