Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The State of America

Being a 30-something, married woman, it's been hard for me to not ignore how our country treats families. Check out this statistic:

"Out of 173 countries, only four have no paid leave for new mothers -- Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia and the United States"

Nice, huh. Everyone though the Family Medical Leave Act was a good thing. It requires a company to hold a woman's job and her benefits for 12 weeks while she is out on maternity leave. There's no pay included. And if a company has 50 or LESS employees, they don't even have to give you that. There are so many other countries that give financial support to a mother at home, as well as allowing paternity leave for the father, too.

I am caught at a crossroads here. I am 33, my career pays well, but is nothing to write home about. I am coming to the end of my breeding years. But how do you pull it off? How do you take a house like ours and suddenly cut our income in HALF (yes, Larry and I get paid the same) and then afford a child? I feel like I am stuck - that I have to save up for a measily 3 months off work, and then I have to race back to work, sticking a baby into daycare, just so we can actually afford the kids. I feel like I have no options. And I work in a company small enough that they don't even have to hold my job for me. It's ridiculous. It's frustrating. This country does not support mothers. I almost feel like I'd rather skip the whole thing in general than try to make it work. And it's not like I have another 5 years to plan this whole deal. I know people make it work, but why should it be such a struggle? Why should I get dropped for doing the right thing and wanting to be home with my kid for more than 3 months. Sigh, ok, just whining. (OH, and BTW, there is a report that ranks all the states in the US and where they fit for benefits, Colorado is ranked a D, I think only Wyoming came in lower than Colorado. Fabulous)