Having children is a life choice. Some people choose to do it. Others don’t. Some people choose to do it well. And others well…they choose to carry on living recklessly with a few screaming brats in tow and see what society will do to save them.
Theoretically the decision to have a child is not really that different from the other choices we make such as whether to adopt a puppy, whether to go on a epic around the world trip or start meditating as way of finding inner peace. However, it does seem to me that having kids is one choice which receives far more support from society than any of the other aforementioned things.
We often see countries which offer their citizens generous parental leave benefits (it’s no longer PC to say maternity) as advanced. But are policies that favour one life path (marriage, kids) over the alternatives really something we should be supporting and promoting?
Look I am not a hater of little people. Maybe one day I’ll meet some bloke as equally fabulous as myself and we’ll choose to procreate but for today I want to highlight how all these advancements with regards to parental leave policies fail to consider a very important group, namely those childless singletons.
I once had a colleague who struggled after adopting a puppy. Everyday the puppy would cry for its mummy when it was left at home alone so each day the girl received calls at work to say the pup was distressed and she needed to drop everything and run home to tend to her ‘baby’. Let’s just say in this situation HR were rolling their eyes. However, if it were a human baby I’m sure they’d be a lot more empathetic. But why? Should pet-owners be able to take ‘Paw-ternity’ leave to help their new puppy adjust to life in this big, scary world?
Meghann Foye, an American magazine editor recently caused quite a stir by suggesting that all women be allowed to take ‘ME-ternity leave’ – time out from the world of work to do something life-enhancing. Lots of people came down on her pretty hard but seriously think about it. Why should the men and woman who choose not have kids be forced to suffer and pick up the slack in the office while others just continue to reap the benefits as they go on to have their 2nd, 3rd and 10th child? Why shouldn’t my reasons for taking a career break not receive the same support from the company/government as another chick’s decision to spread her legs?
I don’t see why if it was done fairly and applied to everyone (including the guys) the whole concept of ME-ternity leave couldn’t work. Furthermore, if limits were added, say everyone was given just one stint of extended leave to do with as the which and any subsequent career breaks would need to be funded by the individual themselves, such a policy may even go some way in tackling some the many social issues caused by all the unwanted progeny in the world.
So Rinsers, it’s time for you to have your say. Do you think that parental leave benefits favour those that choose to make babies over others who love using contraception? Should single people also be entitled to benefits from a company/government that support them in making alternative life choices? Do you think this idea of ME-ternity leave has any value? Answers in the comments below…