Several years ago (before Dom was born), I was offered a job at a company that is ranked as one of the best to work for in the state of Utah. I knew their culture was outstanding. Plus, they told me that they were really excited about the prospect of adding me to their team. Everybody wants to feel wanted.
I mulled over the job offer for a few days and eventually, I turned it down.
One of the deciding factors? No paid maternity leave.
I didn’t know at the time, but 10 months after turning down the job offer, Dom would be born and I would take my first maternity leave. I was still with the same company that I had worked with for 7 years and thankfully, they had a policy where I could accrue “long term sick” and take paid maternity for as many hours as were in my bank.
I had a full, 3-month paid maternity.
In the United States.
And then, do you know what happened when I went back to work? I had a Dependent Care Account to help offset the cost of daycare. They provided me with equipment to hook up to the hospital-grade pumps which they had in a few of the Mothers’ Rooms in the buildings. They granted me access through my employee badge to these rooms. My employer allowed me to block off several times each day, so that I could pump, for nine entire months. Eventually, we made it to the top of the waiting list and got in to the onsite daycare, which is subsidized so we saved money (on top of the DCA tax savings).
I grumble and complain about things at work, but I have to applaud my company for their support of working moms. It really is unheard of in this state and in this country.
The United States is the ONLY democratic nation on the planet that doesn’t have any paid parental leave.
A few states have passed laws requiring it and guess what? Those businesses that comply (such as in California), have stated that it doesn’t add to their costs. It actually lowers their costs because women are more likely to return, saving them recruitment and training costs.
I look around at my current company and do you know what I see? A lot of working women. I have met some of my women heroes here. They’ve become my heroes because they’re smart, hard-working, driven, but also kind. I’ve tried to emulate them.
Over the last two and a half years of being a working mom, these are the amazing things that have happened to me:
- Worked for a company that supported my decision to have children
- Supported Nathan as he put in excessive hours to earn his Master’s degree
- Celebrated when he got the administrator’s job
- Sold our condo
- Lived in a rental with an amazing yard
- Bought our first house together
- I found a writer’s group
- Celebrated my 10-year anniversary at work
- I began the transition to calling myself an actual writer
- I have made progress on writing my memoir
- I have through another nauseated pregnancy
- We planted a garden
By the way: only 13% of employers in the U.S. offer paid family leave.