‘Meternity’ leave: A paid sabbatical for working women without kids?

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‘Meternity’ leave: A paid sabbatical for working women without kids?
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Meghann Foye, 38, has no children, but she still thinks she is entitled to some of the same perks as women who benefit from maternity leave.

Foye believes hard-working, childless women should receive a ‘meternity’ leave.

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‘Meternity’ leave: Maternity leave for people without kids

‘I was 31 years old in 2009, and I loved my career,’ Foye told the New York Post. ‘As an editor at a popular magazine, I got to work on big stories, attend cool events and meet famous celebs all the time. And yet, 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.’

According to Foye, ‘meternity’ leave is ‘a sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.’ 

‘For women who follow a ‘traditional’ path, this pause often naturally comes in your late 20s or early 30s, when a wedding, pregnancy and babies means that your personal life takes center stage,’ she said. ‘But for those who end up on the ‘other’ path, that socially mandated time and space for self-reflection may never come.’

Thus, meternity leave should be earned after ‘a decade or so’ in the workforce to avoid ‘Burnout syndrome,’ Foye said. And, ‘it should be about digging into your whole life and emerging from it more confident in who you are.’

Foye, who feels it’s unfair for employees to ditch the office early, saying ‘I need to go pick up my child,’ eventually took a meternity leave of her own, quitting her job and leaving the corporate world for a year and a half.

During that time, she wrote ‘Meternity,’ a novel about a woman who fakes being pregnant to enjoy the benefits of the paid time off.

Foye said maternity leave and her own meternity leave develop confidence, allow for a shift in focus from an overwhelming amount of professional obligations and give ‘a whole new lens through which to see (life,) but many critics disagree with her idea and argue that maternity leave is a well-intentioned, well-deserved break for new mothers who go through the process of having a raising a child.

Read more: 25 best jobs for work-life balance

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