As parents across the country fight for paid parental leave, writer Meghann Foye’s humorous new book called “Meternity” paints a picture of childless women who need more me-time. Foye decided to write the book after becoming jealous of all the women in her corporate office that were taking off 3 months for maternity leave and going home earlier than her to care for their new children.
Foye recently spoke with the NY Post about her new book and how she feels every woman whether they have children or not deserves some time away from work to reflect on themselves. The now 38 year old writer describes how back in 2009 she was working long hours as a magazine editor and came up with the idea for her book. She says, “...after 10 years of working in a job where I was always on deadline, I couldn’t help but feel envious when parents on staff left the office at 6 p.m. to tend to their children, while it was assumed co-workers without kids would stay behind to pick up the slack. ‘You know, I need a maternity leave!’ I told one of my pregnant friends. She laughed, and we spent the afternoon plotting my escape from my 10-hour days, fake baby bump and all.”
Though Foye doesn’t actually fake a pregnancy in order to take a “me-ternity leave”, the character in her book does just this. In real life Foye says that she ended up quitting her job as editor to take her “meternity leave”. She explains how the year and a half off from work led her down a path that eventually ended in her writing this book. Foye explains about her time away, “I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self-doubt for the year and a half that I spent away from the corporate world. And I grieved the loss of my dad, who had just died after a long illness. But a “meternity” done right should be challenging. It should be about digging into your whole life and emerging from it more confident in who you are.”
She also believes that both women with kids and those without would benefit from some time away from the daily grind of work. She says, “Bottom line: Women are bad at putting ourselves first. But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first. A well-crafted “meternity” can give you the same skills — and taking one shouldn’t disqualify you from taking maternity leave later.”
What do you think of Meghann Foye’s idea about “meternity leave”?
Do you think women who don’t have kids should be allowed the same time off from work as new moms?