Oh hey girl heeeeey.
So, you wrote an article for the NY Post promoting your book aaaaaaand that didn't go over quite like you intended it to, did it? I immediately looked up your page after reading the article, fully convinced it had to be satirical. I was wrong. And then I was super salty. And then I was like, meh, it's click bait. And then I was livid that the article opened the door for tons of non-parents to talk about how selfish we parents are for expecting y'all to do our work for us. And that enraged me. Your article allowed for that collective mentality to have a voice and forum, and let me tell you something: as parents, we already get enough shit from being judged about breastmilk versus formula, to what kind of baby carrier we're using, and the LAST fucking thing we need is some asshole to weep sad tears of jealousy over our "flexible" vacation-like lives, and put us on blast.
So, I read about the premise of your book, after reading the abysmal click bait of an article you wrote. And look, I get it. You wrote a fictional book about soul searching and the silly and cutesy idea of achieving said soul searching by taking up the ruse of a pregnant woman. It's meant to be lighthearted, fun, yadda yadda. I ain't mad at ya for it. It's not the worst concept for a book I've heard of. I'm sure it might even be a fantastic airplane read. I might have even found it absolutely adorable if I hadn't first read the epic pile of shit you wrote for the NY Post in promotion of said book.
For starters, I'm a mom. So yup, I'm one of the gals you wrote about who has apparently counted on you to pick up the slack for me while I gleefully and selfishly leave the office at 6:00pm to get my child. I'm sorry it prevented you from being able to get a margarita and listen to your girl friend's latest break-up story, BUT I'm not the one you should be blaming. I certainly don't want you to feel like you're working harder or more unfairly, because of me. Nor do I think that's fair!
Honey. If your boss is overworking you without fair compensation or not according to the job description you signed up for, that's a conversation for your boss and Human Resources. Pregnant women and parents are not your scapegoat for a flawed work environment. Nor are they your scapegoat for not being able to do the soul searching you're so desperate to do. And you know, it's a real shame that in your attempts at humor, you tossed your fellow sisters under the fucking bus. Like shit, what did we ever do to you?
Considering that you're not a mother, it's possible you have no idea of the current battle that is maternity leave. This vacation you speak of, that is rarely covered in full, or even at half cost, is a medical necessity. You do realize that birthing a child is a real thing, right? I know as children, we were all convinced the stork dropped off babies on our front porches, but get ready for a mind-fuck. The babies actually come out of our own fucking bodies. Straight up. Shut the front door, right?!?!?!?! So, that's where this whole crazy maternity leave concept entered the picture. It's pretty wild.
And you're right. I totally soul searched while on maternity leave. I soul searched the fuck out of wondering why I didn't read every book under the stars about how many ounces of milk my baby should be having at each feed based on her weight; and why I didn't research every sleep-training method known to mankind BEFORE popping out the child. I certainly soul searched at 2AM, when I got up to pump breastmilk, to have a stash ready for when I returned to work. I soul searched about why I put on a cute, new blouse right before feeding my baby, only to be covered in spit-up minutes later. I soul searched about what is was like to take a shower without blood or milk leaking out of me. I soul searched about why I didn't fit back into my size 6 jeans immediately after giving birth. I soul searched about how I was going to be a working mom, and make it. You're right. I've never soul searched so fucking much in my life. You should be totally jealous.
And as I made it rain with my disability money (1/2 my paycheck which us Californians are lucky to receive) I totes manically laughed at you poor suckers who were working full time, and obviously doing all of my work on top of it. I mean, it's what I had always dreamed about... getting the one over on you by having a kid. Why hasn't anyone thought about this brilliant idea before!?!?!?!? Six weeks off, or a bonus additional two for c-sections! Well shit! SIGN ME UP FOR 18+ YEARS OF FULL-TIME PARENTING. This is genius. These eight weeks will be the most maaaaaagical in all the land. Maybe I'll travel the world! Maybe I'll come up with an entire new business plan. Maybe I'll discover MEEEEEEEEEE. Wait. Waitaminute. Are you telling me I have to have the kid with me during maternity leave?! Well that's pretty fucked up if you ask me. How am I supposed to sip pina coladas and work on my tan if I've got a crying kid to care for? Why didn't anyone tell me about this?!
So, before I go further, let's address the elephant in the room. You're right. It was my choice to have a child. So, without a doubt, I signed up for this. I knew I was going to have to be a working parent. I knew RIP bank account was coming. One may argue that having kids is something vain, selfish people do. "They want mini-mes!" EVEN if that were true, EVEN if I just wanted to bathe in the benefits of producing the cutest child known to mankind, I am still helping raise the next generation. Yah, there's kind of that whole thing. You know, the generation AFTER us, cuz it ain't always about just us? So, how about you throw us a damn bone. You have to catch the tail-end of happy hour while we're cleaning up our kids' shit-filled diapers? THANKS for your sacrifice.
We get it. You didn't sign up to have kids. So let's make a deal: I won't ask you to come clean baby vomit up out of the carpet if you'll let me leave work on time to do it myself. I don't want you to do extra work for me, or because of me. I want us to compromise. It can be teamwork. I'm taking the responsibility that comes with contributing to the next generation so you don't have to, so bear with me here. That's not a jab by the way, it's just the truth. I've accepted this role so there's no shade. You can revel in kid-free "Sunday-fundays." You can travel at a moment's notice. You can even use those vacation hours for your soul searching time! I'll save up mine, for every time I have a sick kid that can't get dropped off at daycare. We'll each do our part. You can stay a little late at the office to help cover a deadline and then hit the bars. For my part, after I've picked up my child from daycare, changed her diaper, prepared and fed her dinner, changed her diaper, given her a bath and read her a book, given her a bottle, and put her down for bed, I'll whip back out my Macbook, as I often do every work night, and make up the extra work time until it's bedtime. But, I won't make a big deal out of this. I'm just as dedicated to doing my job and being a value member of the workforce as much as the next person.
We each have our roles in society. That's cool. Why undercut parents for the path you've taken, and to garner a few "easy" laughs? But more than undercut, why belittle and so trivialize what it actually means to be a parent and our importance in society? This doesn't need to be an "us versus them" conversation. There's no pretense of superiority here. We each have our merits that contribute to society in different ways and each have value. In fact, you may be far more valuable to a company than us working parents because you can be available. You don't have to go home to care for a sick child. Or stay up all night with a teething baby. You're not rushing your kid to after-hours Urgent Care with an ear infection. You're not figuring out what to make for the school potluck tomorrow. As someone who doesn't have children, you have immense value to the success of your company. You'll probably be promoted before we will be. You'll probably make more money than we'll make. And you'll probably receive even more vacation benefits with your title promotion. I could go on, but I imagine you get the picture.
There were so many other ways you could have promoted your book, because I don't think your book is really the problem. Your content promotion is. It's devaluing and targeting and insulting to a very large group of people just doing their best to raise the best kids possible, to be our next scientists, and doctors, and caregivers, and CEOs, and writers, and leaders. And you should want to support us in that. Instead, you've now forced us to have to defend ourselves against the notion that we're lazy fucks, leeching off the system, depriving you of your much needed soul searching. And dude, that sucks. The thing is, I want you to have your happy hours. Go find yourself! Go and do what you need to do to find your own happiness. We're not at odds with you. I totally support those who don't want to be parents or have children. It's not for everyone. And that's not to say there isn't a place for discussion regarding the grievances you aired -- it's the way in which you aired them that is the issue. It's perfectly acceptable to have that conversation (even though that's not really the point of the book you're promoting) but how about next time we don't demoralize an entire group of women (and parents) while doing it, mmmmkay?
So, is it important that we be there to pick up our kid at 6:00pm? You're damn right it is.