Yesterday I said an independent woman was organized. Then I went on to say she'd have a great career! Hmmmm am I setting myself up for failure? Do I have a great career? I think I have a career...a great one?
When I first started working it was to support my acting career. I was an artist first. When I booked a commercial it was more about the fact that I got to act than the money. I gave it up when I felt I had done what I'd set out to do. I had started writing too and even sold a script so I decided I would continue to write. Indeed something creative in this world or I would just shrivel up and die (there's the dramatic actress coming back!) As I got older though, money making became more important. I was thinking about my future.
When I met hubby I was working as an apartment manager (still writing), presiding over a 90 unit building in the Hollywood hills. It took it's toll, and when hubby said to quit and write full time I was ecstatic. At first.
I soon realized I was a little scared. Suddenly it wasn't my money. he was making money and I was living off his money. Don't get me wrong, hubby and I merged money when we were dating! It was always our money, but that was when I was contributing. I didn't feel I was doing that anymore! He reassured me, but it still bugged me. Even though I started trying for a baby and then battled fertility, I was still wishing I had kept some kind of job. How the hell I could have worked through that time beats me...but still.
When I got pregnant I became focused on the nursery, planning and writing was on the back burner. I was going to be Mom! Maybe I didn't care about making money?
Unfortunately Landons birth did not go smoothly and He spent 52 days in the hospital NICU. That became my full time job. When I finally caught my breath I was exhausted. I just allowed myself to enjoy motherhood and writing.
Now that I'm working part time I really realize how much I missed it. There is something about making your own money and being known as more than Landons Mother that makes me feel amazing. Hey I'm an independent woman now right? Hold on.
As women and mothers we have an insane burden. If you have a child and work you are judged as being not a good mother and selfish. If you stay home, you can be judged as being boring and all about motherhood. Who can win? There are sacrifices on both sides. For me, when I work I miss some adorable Landon moments and have to let someone else be with him. When I'm home I can sometimes get so bored! Sometimes the quiet is too much. Other times Landon is testing me and I am pulling my hair out.
I think things are set up wrong. We don't support each other and the system doesn't support us either. Where are the breast feeding rooms at work? Daycare that's good and affordable? Awesome part time jobs? Where is the maternity leave that actually lasts more than three seconds?
Check this out. This will get you fired up!
* France is the most generous with parental leave: All women workers get a fully paid, job-protected, mandatory maternity leave six weeks before and ten weeks after birth (with increasing amounts of time for twins and multiple births). After this period, paid leave is available to either parent until the child's third birthday, or as long as at least two children at home need care.
* Germany provides mothers with a 14-week job-protected maternity leave, paid at 100 percent of the worker's net earnings. After this initial maternity leave, paid parental leave is available to both parents until the child's third birthday.
* In Italy, after a five-month period of maternity leave paid at 80 percent of the mother's wage, parents can take leave together or separately for ten-month periods at 30 percent of their earnings up until the child's eighth birthday.
By comparison in the US it is unusual to have maternity leave at all!!! Some enlightened companies do offer new parents paid time off, up to six weeks in some cases.
Most likely, you'll use a combination of short-term disability (STD), sick leave, vacation, personal days, and unpaid family leave during your time away from work.
Things did improve in 1993 with the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles most workers to up to 12 weeks of job-protected medical leave for birth or adoption. However, the FMLA doesn't cover those who work for smaller companies and guarantees only unpaid leaves.
Pissed yet? This independent woman stuff is starting to piss me off!
If your kids are dying to have a "sleep over" but are too young, try having a pretend one. Invite the friend over and leave the kids with a baby sitter while you and the parents go out for dinner. Let the kids have their sleeping bags and PJ's and go to sleep. When they wake up in the morning asking where their friend is, say they just left!