Being a woman is a challenge. Often women are targets of social stereotypes, discrimination at work, and crime. What's more, today’s society has placed professional success on a pedestal, and moms are forced to juggle work, motherhood, and love life.
Of course, work is a vital aspect of society. For instance, it’s believed that the tool-use in humans has fostered human evolution. Being able to work - and get paid - is one of the greatest achievements in history, a result of the brave fight for human rights. On top of that, work helps people’s physical and cognitive well-being. In the end, we all need to work to pay our bills.
But should work come before children? All babies need love and support. Parents not only provide for their kids but nourish their spiritual and intellectual development.
So, why in of the most developed countries in the world, mothers do not get any social and financial support? Surprisingly, some employees and employers are openly against covering maternity. Data shows that many American moms are not offered even one day off after birth. In fact, 1 in 4 new moms goes back to work... only 10 days after giving birth. Imagine going to work bleeding, exhausted, and stressed!
While some women can get a few weeks off without being fired, maternity leave is often unpaid. Actually, paid family leave policies have been integrated into various large companies, but the amount families get is ridiculous compared to the money the companies make. Walmart, for instance, has no full paid leave policy.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US is the only country that does not offer support for new mothers and fathers. For instance, in Norway moms get up to 91 weeks. Still, the best policies are in Eastern Europe. In fact, Bulgaria comes first - with almost 60 weeks of paid leave, followed by Greece. In the UK, moms also can get a whole year.
Read how American moms feel about the unfair policies imposed by corporations and politicians!
20 I’m American
This confession is heartbreaking. This mom reveals the brutal but honest truth about being a mother in the US. New moms do not get enough time off… and the little time they get is often unpaid. It's not a secret that raising a child is expensive. Therefore, many women, including women who want to be stay-at-home moms, find themselves forced to go back to work. Only to make some money to survive...
What’s more, statistics show that discrimination at work is not a myth: 14% of women who take maternity leave, which is around 340,000 women a year, find their jobs under threat. And this is happening everywhere: new moms worldwide are often judged by employers as less reliable and productive. At the same time, their loved ones may impose harsh demands on their new role as a working mom.
19 No More
Reproduction is the most fundamental aspect of life. Animals, people, and plants exist because of reproducing. Of course, society offers much more, and for people, especially young couples, reproduction is not the sole purpose of life. Art, career, spiritual development, pleasure, and so much more, often come before children. On the other hand, some women may suffer from tokophobia, which is the fear of pregnancy and giving birth. In the end, many would understand that - motherhood is one of the most emotional and challenging experiences for one's body and mind.
However, this confession shows that families who want kids cannot always afford to have a big family because of… work. Although six weeks is not enough for many women, some cannot even enjoy this precious time - all that due to financial worries.
18 Enough Notice
This confession is really sick. Although many people have a birth plan, nobody can predict this precious moment. It’s so personal and unique. For instance, although my doctor suggested a C-section because of my placenta, my baby girl surprised us all and arrived ten days earlier (and luckily, it took only several hours to say Hello). Asking to "hold it in" is not only ignorant but insensitive.
When documents and dates come before employees, that shows that employers do not respect their staff. People are individuals - not only paychecks, so not showing support reveals materialistic views and a company that lacks core values. Many people can’t relate to pregnant women and get annoyed that they have to arrange cover for maternity leave. Well, soon or later, this cruel boss would understand that their business world cannot offer love and happiness, and money doesn’t mean a thing in the vast maze of loneliness.
17 Go Home
Building a home is wonderful. Expectant mothers love arranging small details, decorating their house and making sure their little one would have the best nursery ever. However, home prices are getting more and more ridiculous. For instance, some European capitals like London have high levels of homelessness because people cannot afford to pay rent. The housing market has led to the devastating fact that people work... but don’t own anything.
While it’s illegal to evict a pregnant woman, poor families are not protected by the law. In fact, discrimination still exists (and papers try to erase double standards only on paper). Landlords, sadly enough, can evict a tenant for issues, such as non-payment or serious damages. Unfortunately, the moral side of evicting a family, especially a single mom with a newborn, has been completely forgotten.
16 Goodbye, Family
Going back to work is stressful. New people, new tasks, new appearance… While many employers, especially without families, think that mothers are weak, women prove that they can do much more. In fact, birth can teach women that they are capable of almost anything. Women often try to prove that they are better workers after giving birth. They manage to juggle childhood illnesses and crazy shifts. On top of that, they manage to fight discrimination at work. Often, women work extra hours to accomplish their goals.
However, as this confession reveals, that comes at a cost. Women have to put up with a lot of stuff. For instance, they are often forced to take shifts that are not convenient for mothers. Not being able to see your family because of work is devastating.
Parenthood can change people’s views about life. Often, going back to work can be accompanied by high levels of social anxiety. Before birth, all mothers have to say Goodbye to friends at work, and often, when a new mom goes back, she meets strangers who do not care about her health or family.
In fact, it’s not only mothers that find work environment stressful. Psychologists reveal that this type of environment is really challenging. People often perceive their workplace as a dangerous arena, literally: people are forced to speak in public, make phone calls, and the worst part ever – socialize. Few are the lucky ones that find true friends at work. As a quote from The Office goes, "all you've got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for 8 hours a day."
14 The Day Before
This confession is also devastating. It shows that the pure excitement and joy that come with motherhood can be crushed in a second. Instead of letting herself enjoy life and her little one, this mother received the terrible news that her contract wasn’t renewed – and that happened just a day before the start of her maternity leave.
Working for people who are not emotionally concerned about their own employees is really sad. Employers cannot expect from their personnel to be loyal when they do not show any respect or support. Businesses can fail, and employers must understand that it’s the staff that makes their fortune spin. In fact, when it comes to pregnancy, experts say that legally, expectant women do not have to tell until the 15th week before their due date.
13 Grandma Or Nanny?
The mother-baby bond is one of the most special and powerful emotional connections that can ever exist. All little ones need love to survive and become emotionally stable individuals. In fact, for working moms, it’s quite common to worry if their little ones will remember them. But hey, your baby will always remember and love you. Your baby can develop a secure attachment style, which means that the love within the family is strong.
When it comes to grandparents, they may criticize you but it’s actually very helpful to have loving grandparents who are willing to help with the baby. True, they can argue with you and spoil the little one, but in the end, they do love their grandchild. Psychologists claim that it’s healthy for kids to spend time with their grandparents to grasp a concept of the family as a unit.
12 Painful Time
This mom is more than right: three months of maternity leave is not enough to get used to the new member of the family. We should admit that many things get better with time: healthy babies slowly become more and more independent. Which means that parents will be able to get more sleep and even enjoy their intimate life again. However, we should also admit that work is not the main priority soon after giving birth.
It's not only about recovery but emotions. Some moms want to be around their little ones 24/7. And although recent studies show that our maternal instinct is just a myth (and people seek pleasure), we all can relate to this confession. Parents do miss their children and their cute smiles. What about you?
11 Not Entitled
Loyalty is an important factor for companies to succeed. Unfortunately, companies, especially big conglomerates, do not value their staff. Studies and HR experts reveal that instead of firing and hiring new people, companies should invest in their staff and things, such as training and team building activities. In fact, this approach is more cost-effective, which is good for many employers who seek power and wealth.
Working for a company for three years is long enough because, according to data, today’s employees change jobs often. Imagine your boss telling you that you’re not entitled to a maternity leave! All women have rights to seek maternity leave as long as they follow the right legal procedures and notify their HR department in advance, so they’ll have time to fill the position. Women should not be ashamed of their pregnancy.
10 Goodbye. Sent.
Firing someone who’s on their maternity leave is surprising and cruel. Unfortunately, employers can legally fire someone who’s on maternity or paternity leave. While there are many laws that protect people based on parental status (such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act), employers can fire someone on maternity leave. Only if the company states a legitimate reason, which is not based on family discrimination. It’s a fact: while many companies promote equality, there are unwritten standards that also apply. From race to age, discrimination at work exists. In fact, women suffer the most. And why? Often because of the wonderful miracle called motherhood.
The worst part of this story is that her boss was a coward and sent an email instead of doing that inhumane act in person. The Internet unites people, but at the same time, it divides us.
9 Available?... Not Anymore!
Companies must value and cherish their employees. A gift card for Christmas is not enough to show that people are human beings, not machines in a factory. Work is not a one-way street: employees need to respect their managers and vice versa. Therefore, misleading of staff is morally wrong. How can someone say to a new mother that there are no available positions?
Unfortunately, many employers can legally fire mothers by coming up with a legitimate reason, which in fact is based on a discriminatory reason (such as pregnancy, birth, and maternity leave). An expert says, "One common way of showing that the employer's stated reason is just a cover for its true, discriminatory motive is if similarly situated employees are treated differently." So, go you, mom, and sue these cowards!
8 Welfare Leech
People need to work to survive but work is not the meaning of life. For mothers who need to go back to work, the situation is really difficult because they need to juggle exhaustion, stress, emotions, and productivity at work. In fact, many studies show that women (especially in their 30s) report being exhausted due to all the demands work and family life impose on them. Unfortunately, 40% of women in America who take unpaid leave struggle.
This woman does want to stay with her kid because her family means more to her but can’t afford it. On the other hand, her story shows that people are judgmental, and if she could stay at home with her baby, some would call her welfare leech. Sadly enough, many people have a negative attitude towards poor and homeless individuals.
7 How To Survive
Not having enough time with your little one is terrifying. However, not having enough money to provide for your baby and family is stressful. As this mom says, she is insecure about her role as a mom. Data provided by the Department of Agriculture reveals that the estimated cost of raising a baby is around $14,000 a year. Note that this cost is increasing every year and it is significantly higher for urban areas (when compared to rural areas).
What’s more, often these figures do not include emergency situations or leisure activities. Having enough to survive is vital, but children should be able to explore the world and enjoy life. Also, parents need to be able to save for their own hobbies and needs... because they are also individuals with dreams.
6 A Whooping $130
Some big companies in America provide paid family leave, but the truth is that this is rare and often money is not enough. Reports that help parents budget better are scary. One needs to be able to cover bills, transportation, food, education, and much more. Credits, loans, and mortgages are something that many people cannot escape from. Sadly enough, experts admit that the truth: "The people who most need paid family leave are the least likely to have it."
For many employers and politicians, maternity and paternity leave is not an issue because they do not have to plan their meals in advance or explain to their kid that they can’t go to Disneyland... simply because they can’t afford it. What would you do if you had only $130 left in your account?
5 No Self-Esteem
It’s quite common for moms to be judged by the whole of society. Often men find women weak, employers pay less, and so on and on. Employers are hesitant about hiring women, and as a matter of fact, unfair questions, such as "Do you plan to have kids?" are real. While interviews are stressful, moms should be confident. Women should not apologize for having kids or deciding to be stay-at-home moms. Moms must be confident because being able to balance family life and career is more meaningful than someone’s pompous title.
There are various tips that can help people get a job. From researching the company to emphasizing their own positive qualities, moms should present themselves as strong individuals. Let’s admit it: if a mom can handle a baby, she can deal with a recruiter.
4 The Chills
Motherhood is stressful, but in the end, seeing your little one smile pays off. However, work is also a part of life. The only solution for parents who don’t have a nanny or grandparents to help is daycare. Many people are nervous about leaving their kids at daycare, and money is also an issue. They may feel that their kids do not get enough attention and love there. Sadly, fatal cases are also real.
On the other hand, many mothers fear daycare centers simply because of all the emotions involved in their decisions. From sadness to guilt, moms struggle with letting go. However, kids need to socialize in order to become stable individuals. It’s normal to be anxious, and we all can relate to this mom. But in the end, being a mother means facing fears every day.
3 The Hypocrisy Of It All
Being a mother is the hardest job ever. It’s not only about pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding – it’s the emotional bond and responsibility you have for life. Unfortunately, people often judge moms. Many millennials perceive mothers as old-fashioned. On the other hand, young and old moms are being judged by other moms. On top of that, companies discriminate women, and some men put too much pressure on their stay-at-home wives.
As this mom says, society is hypocritical. People judge you for taking too much time off, even though one year is normal in many countries. At the same time, people judge you for going back to work. Often family members and friends are the worst because they think that they have the right to give useless advice. As a work-at-home mom with a 15-month-old girl, I love when people ask me "What do you do all day?"
2 Don't Go
This confession is also something many moms can relate to. Many people don’t get enough time to enjoy their maternity or paternity leave. Moms need time to recover and enjoy the special mother-baby bond. So, there’s nothing wrong with one’s wish to stay at home and spend time with their bundle of joy.
While some women want to go back to work, which is totally fine, other women worry that they’ll be judged by their families and strangers. Many stay-at-home moms are accused of being lazy or disorganized. However, these are words that come from people that do not understand that being with a little human being 24/7 is a huge responsibility and sacrifice. Unfortunately, family members are often the worst source of criticism and advice. But mom, it’s your own life!
1 I Just Can't
Let’s be honest: going back to work is terrifying. Things have changed: new colleagues, new shifts, new tasks. Exhaustion, worries, financial problems. This mom is not alone. Work can be stressful and bosses can be demanding. As explained above, moms might become targets of discrimination or criticism. Actually, data provided by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Michigan, reveals that two-thirds of moms feel judged for their parenting decisions.
What’s more, this mom doesn’t want to leave her kids to go to work. Thus, she will have to force herself to lead a daily life she wouldn’t enjoy. However, all moms should be confident and reveal the potential they have.
One thing is for sure: a janitor or a CEO, every mom is powerful. And the best promotion we all can ever get is love.
References: businessinsider.com, independent.co.uk monster.com, nypost.com, nytimes.com, parents.com, usatoday.com, washingtonpost.com