Arguments about maternity leave have been raging on for years.
But there’s a new debate gaining speed over one woman’s struggle for “meternity” leave – and it’s not pretty.
Author Meghann Foye has argued that childfree women should be given time off work to pursue their personal goals, saying expectant mothers get an unfair advantage.
In a NY Post piece entitled “I want all the perks of maternity leave – without having any kids,” Foye writes that new mothers enjoy a “socially mandated time and space for self-reflection”that non-mothers may never experience.
"It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility," she writes, reflecting on her experiences as a busy magazine editor.
"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."
She therefore proposes that "women and, to a lesser degree, men" should be allowed "meternity," which she defines as "a sabbatical-like break... to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Foye has faced severe criticism from parents, who are quick to point out that maternity leave is not a luxury holiday or a journey of self-discovery.
"This is LUDICROUS! Maternity leave is not a time of self reflection and "me" time. It is the exact opposite of that," one commenter wrote.
"This article is insulting to every working parent," another weighed in.
"Leaving work on time because you have a human being dependent on you for their continued survival, and leaving work on time because your friend is kind of sad and wants to party are most definitely not equally valid," yet another said.
A few brave readers defended Foye.
"I pity my co-workers who don't have kids... when they have to pick up the slack--and let's be brutally honest here, they absolutely do--at work when the rest of us 'just have to get home to the kids'," one wrote. "The sour grapes in this thread seem to come from people who want to be treated like deities because they made the very self-centered decision to perpetuate their genetic lines."