Hi Boss! I'm Pregnant - Again!

Welcome to the "On Balance" guest blog. Every Tuesday (or on days like today when Leslie is on vacation), "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Melissa Weber

Telling my boss I was pregnant the first time was easy. Everyone I knew, including my boss, expected to hear the news at some point. I had been married for 12 years, I was in my mid-30's, and you could hear my biological clock ticking from the next room. When I finished the first trimester, I happily walked into her office to announce our good fortune. She smiled, we hugged, and we prepared for my maternity leave. With hard work and careful planning, everything went well, work-wise and baby-wise.

Eighteen months later, I stood once again outside her office door -- only this time I was chewing my fingernails. My first maternity leave had cost the company valuable resources including money, suspended goals, and of course, my brain. No one ever said to me, "You're only allowed one child." But that's how I felt. Like I was pushing my luck with two. I felt guilty for the inevitable impact this would have on my workplace.

I had spent a great deal of time planning for my first maternity leave. I outlined my duties with instructions and graphics. I trained my replacement. I concentrated on projects I could complete within the time I had left and postponed larger projects until I returned.

Returning from maternity leave wasn't easy either. During my 12-week absence, I became somewhat disconnected from my coworkers. I had to reestablish those relationships while being more tired than humanly comprehensible. I needed to re-start overdue projects while barely able to form coherent thoughts. I tried to maintain a professional demeanor while taking breaks to pump breast-milk in the back seat of my car.

There was no doubt about it: Another pregnancy would not be easy for myself, my boss or the company. Inside her office, I took a deep breath and revealed the good news. Was she going to say anything? Was she going to keep nodding in that stunned way forever?

"Isn't this great?" I encouraged. "We did it before, we can do it again, right?"

She smiled and nodded ... and kept nodding.

What I didn't know at the time was that having two children eventually transformed me into a better, more efficient worker. Caring for a newborn is like surviving boot camp. There is no time for laziness; no room for inefficiency. For mothers, reveille sounds at midnight, 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. We coordinate feedings, plan meals, wash laundry, shop for groceries, change diapers, attend to colds, survive our own colds, visit the doctor and chart our baby's weight. Not to mention, we do all of this while holding our 6 to 15 pound bundle of joy. If it's our second child, we do all of this while the first one hangs onto our legs.

Motherhood also teaches us to be leaders. We learn to dictate orders (put the date on the bottle, hand me another towel, don't put that in your sister's mouth...) We learn to organize (diapers go here, Dora undies go there, marbles go in the box on the top shelf of my closet...) We learn how to be flexible ("Sorry, but I can't go to the movies tonight because my baby threw up in my shoes...") We learn to function using the tiny portion of our brains left to us from lack of sleep.

Most important, we learn not to squander time. We work hard when we have the opportunity. As we all know, when our babies sleep, we use that time to get things done. After raising a couple of newborns, mothers can tackle just about anything. Work? Piece of cake.

My boss, who is a smart woman, probably knew this already. She didn't hit the roof or chastise me for procreating. She didn't insinuate that I was a poor employee or that I should look for a job somewhere else. Instead, she smiled and stopped nodding -- even if she was still a bit stunned.

Whether it was guilt, mommy boot camp or a combination of both, I'm proud of my work performance, post-delivery. I've never worked so hard or so well in my entire life. While my maternity leave may cost resources, my boss recognizes that I, too, am a valuable resource. She knows that babies don't destroy employees and that indeed, sometimes employees get better. After all, she has a child of her own.

But how would I feel if I had a third kid -- honestly? Well, I'm biting my nails again just thinking about it.

What was your experience telling your boss you were pregnant? What were your concerns? How did it go?


Melissa Weber lives in San Diego with her family and works as a Web site designer and freelance writer. Her last Guest Blog was Two Navels At Work. To read more of her observations on domestic life, visit her blog: Domestic Irritation.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  July 16, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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I agree with you whole heartedly.

Posted by: dg | July 16, 2007 7:12 AM

It is obviously hard for a woman to deal with leave issues and pregnancy...but one that is not addressed is men and leave. The expectation for women is that they will take 12 weeks ( a time I think is too short). But men are looked at even more skeptically when they want anything more than a couple weeks after the birth of a child. I took 5-6 weeks after each of my kids and was looked at as quite the renaissance man!! I would have taken 12 if I had enough leave and could ever take a day off again! Unfortunately the idea of paid parental leave for men is mostly unheard of. That is something I would like to see change.

Posted by: HappyDad | July 16, 2007 7:50 AM

Second, dammit!

Posted by: Jack Bauer | July 16, 2007 7:51 AM

What is your point? You had low/mediocre expectations of yourself and when you've exceeded those expectations, you're looking for a medal and a parade. Weird.

Posted by: Guns 'n Roses | July 16, 2007 7:55 AM

Am glad you figured out your own balance, but a rather ordinary and boring story. New topic suggestions, anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 7:58 AM

Motherhood is a higher calling than work. The problem comes in when there is an expectation that she can/should have it all. The expectation is that we all need to have a fabulous career with promotions and pay levels that are the same as those who do not interupt their work. It may be old fashion, but I believe we need to elevate respect for women, and men, who put raising a family on a higher plain than work. Once the kids are grown they can then put their primary emphasis on work.

Posted by: Curt | July 16, 2007 7:58 AM

Curt

"It may be old fashion, but I believe we need to elevate respect for women, and men, who put raising a family on a higher plain than work."

How?

Posted by: Top Gun | July 16, 2007 8:03 AM

Maybe this blog won't resonate with everybody, but I thought it was great. Granted, this blog could have been written by myself it is so pertinent to how I felt when I told my work that I was pregnant a second time.

I got pregnant with baby #2 when DS was only 15 months. Part of me felt like I had just HAD a baby and what would they say when I announced that I was pregnant again? Ironically, well into pregnancy #2, I'm by far the most productive (well, at least if you measure by billable hours, which my work does) attorney in this office! I sometimes think I need to work that much harder than everybody else now to justify being out for 4 months. In any case, I really liked this blog today. It raises a point we haven't touched too much upon here in "OnBalance" land.

Posted by: londonmom | July 16, 2007 8:06 AM

Curt: If we elevate respect for men and women who put raising a family on a higher "plain" than work what does that mean for those of without kids? Are you saying society should treat us with less respect? Are we second class citizens?

Posted by: No kids here | July 16, 2007 8:11 AM

Great guest blog, Melissa. I imagine it is nerve-wracking to tell your boss you're pregnant again so quickly after having your first. Sounds like you handled it really well.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | July 16, 2007 8:17 AM

HappyDad - Every man I've known who took paternity leave (less than six in my 20+ year career) was looked at as a Renaissance Man! Especially if his wife was a SAHM...people couldn't figure out what he was doing at home. Pathetic. I too look forward to the day when it is normal for men to take paternity leave to bond with their babies, take care of their older children, and help their wives during the early, nutty days of an infant's life.

And I agree this is a great Guest Blog. At some workplaces, one kid is looked on as great, but more than one and people start looking at you like you are a pain. And they start wondering -- is she coming back? But if your work performance stays strong or gets better, usually they pipe down.

Posted by: Leslie | July 16, 2007 8:23 AM

As a working mom pregnant with her 2nd child (first less than two years ago also), I was really surprised by the author's approach in this guest blog. While I can understand trepidation about telling the boss that you are pregnant -- especially if you have reason to think the boss may not be receptive -- I really don't understand how the author seemed to agree that she should feel guilty for deciding to have a second child. The bottom line is that unless you're of the school of thought that thinks women shouldn't be in the workplace at all, this is going to happen and businesses need to work around it to retain valued employees. In the author's case, she doesn't seem to have even asked for anything exceptional -- i.e. longer than the FMLA 3 months of leave, a flexible schedule, or, yeesh, somewhere to pump other than the backseat of her car. I don't mean this post as a mean spirited attack on the author -- it's just that I would like for women to feel that we have a basis to stand up for ourselves, rather than apologizing for dealing with the basic realities of combining work and reproduction.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 8:25 AM

I can totally understand how parents, especially moms, work extra hard when they get back from maternity leave. I feel like I have to put in more hours and work harder when I get back from a week-long vacation. I can imagine wanting to live at the office if I've been gone for 3 months!

But I am totally amazed that parents of newborns can function in the office because they are so sleep deprived. On rare occasions when I don't get enough sleep before work, I am like a zombie. I have to admit that I am not a good worker when I'm tired. It's very hard to concentrate and easier to miss things.

And, not to take away from the opinion of the guest blogger, I think that many life changes make people better workers. For example, when I got married, I really buckled down at work because I had spent a lot of time planning and organizing the wedding and I needed to redirect that energy and focus. After we bought our first house and started budgeting better, I took work more seriously because I saw how important my contribution was to our finances.

Posted by: Meesh | July 16, 2007 8:27 AM

"For example, when I got married, I really buckled down at work because I had spent a lot of time planning and organizing the wedding and I needed to redirect that energy and focus."

Wha every boss wants to hear...planning a wedding on the job.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 8:32 AM

I also found it was more work to organize to be gone (on vacation, on maternity leave, and eventually when I quit to move with my family) than to stay put and do the job.

I was very nervous to tell my male, childless -by-choice boss that I was going to be out on maternity leave. I was equally nervous to tell my two male, childless (one married and childless by choice, the other single) coworkers, realizing that they likely would be the ones to pick up the slack while I was out (in the end, they weren't - they borrowed someone from another department to fill in).

In the end, everyone was incredibly supportive - my one coworker (married, no children) actually photographed my growing belly throughout my pregnancy as a "gift" for me.

Don't fret about those posters today who are pooh-poohing your blog - these are real issues and not easy to deal with. Sounds like you've done a great job!

Posted by: Vienna Mom | July 16, 2007 8:33 AM

I like the blog -- brings back all of that emotional angst, and the satisfaction of figuring out how to make it all work.

I didn't worry so much about telling my boss about no. 2 -- the firm has been so loyal to me over the years that I really had no reason to be concerned. I was mostly worthless through my pregnancy -- knew it, stressed about it, but never heard one word about it from them.

I second HappyDad's comment about paternity leave for men. My husband's boss thought he was being hugely generous by offering three whole days -- which actually was generous by his company standards, because most people just had to use vacation days. But still. Yes, he didn't have to deal with physical recovery like I did. But there's still sleep deprivation, constant feedings (and I do mean constant -- boy want freaking insatiable), etc. I think it would have been better all around if we could have shared that more equally. But I wasn't about to make him get up at midnight and 2 and 3:30 and 5 AM when he had to get up for work at 6 anyway.

I will say, once you get through that initial exhaustion and figure out a routine, having kids definitely made me a better worker. I tend to be deadline-motivated, and not so efficient when I don't have to be. When I was single, there was no real need to get out early -- what, I was going to get home to watch the early news instead of the late news? Yee-haw. Now, I need to leave to get the kids from daycare/school -- and even if I didn't have to, I WANT to get out to go see them, which helps me kick it into gear.

And speaking of kicking it into gear, off to it.

Posted by: Laura | July 16, 2007 8:38 AM

I wonder how many single women in the office had to pick up the slack for your choices.
Had to finish your projects. Had to work longer hours because you weren't there. Had to do extra work that was beyond their job description.

You see, there is another side to this -- it's the OTHER WOMEN in the office who have chosen not to have kids, but yet, we are expected to go along with this charade.

After you have kids, when little Jimmy has a cold, you get to leave -- no questions asked. You get first dibs at Christmas vacations because, well, let's be honest -- why do we single people want to celebrate christmas anyway? We don't have kids! After being up all night nursing and changing little Jane, you get to come in late -- no questions asked. Yet, we single women with no kids are expected to come in on time, do the work, WORK LATE because we don't have kids, and never question when you want to leave.

Where is my 12 week leave? Oh, I forget. I don't get one. I just get to work extra hours during everyone else's.

There is a growing discontent amongst the ever expanding pool of women who are choosing not to have kids -- I know it because I'm one of them and I've stood around the water cooler listening to the complaining. We're tired of picking up the slack for women who do. It's getting old.

Posted by: Another Woman | July 16, 2007 8:40 AM

"There is a growing discontent amongst the ever expanding pool of women who are choosing not to have kids -- I know it because I'm one of them and I've stood around the water cooler listening to the complaining. We're tired of picking up the slack for women who do. It's getting old."

So when do you gather arms, rise up, and start the revolution? FREEDOM!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 8:44 AM

"I second HappyDad's comment about paternity leave for men. My husband's boss thought he was being hugely generous by offering three whole days -- which actually was generous by his company standards, because most people just had to use vacation days."

About 3 years ago I ran a large engineering group. I had a young, just out-of-the-military engineer move from the West coast to join our DC-based operations while his wife due with their first child 'any minute'. Because he was a new employee, he had no significant leave saved up [and what little he had was taken up during their move] -- and as a company we had no mechanism to enable him to take time off -- our hands were somewhat tied.

The day after she delivered he reported to the office. I handed him one of the text books I had sitting behind my desk and told him that I would like him to take some training on it -- and that I anticipated it taking at least a week -- and that it didn't require him to be in the office during that time. He asked if there was anything specific he should focus on -- I just raised my eyebrows -- he finally caught on, thanked me, and took off the rest of the week.

Sometimes you have to make due with what you have.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 8:47 AM

Almost everybody needs some time off from work due to family emergencies. I was just out for over two weeks and I received nothing but support from my co-workers. Time off isn't just for child-related issues. If you are the one always complaining then others may not be so interested in helping you when you need to be out.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 16, 2007 8:48 AM

Your boss was not legally allowed to in any way, shape, or form admonish or criticize you for having another child. Or, to suggest you look for work elsewhere. That would be illegal.

And people have multiple children while working all the time.

Posted by: kattoo | July 16, 2007 8:48 AM

Taking "leave" to care for a newborn or a sick child is quite the oppposite of rest and relaxation. Where do you get that impression? Are you the type of worker who uses sick leave because you "just need a day off?"

Posted by: To Another Woman: | July 16, 2007 8:50 AM

"[It is] just that I would like for women to feel that we have a basis to stand up for ourselves, rather than apologizing for dealing with the basic realities of combining work and reproduction."

I definitely agree with this sentiment, but this one falls in the category of "easier said than done". Perhaps it depends a bit on the industry and who you work with, but for many of us, it is hard not to feel somewhat guilty about taking maternity leave (especially paid ML). Perhaps "guilty" isn't the right word - it is more a feeling of anxiety about how ML and motherhood will affect our careers and the perceptions of our co-workers. I've worked really hard to get to where I am and have built a great reputation for a hard-working, smart, dependable attorney. And once you are pregnant, you start hearing comments like - "won't it be nice to get a paid 4 month vacation!" or "what a nice break it will be for you". These aren't meant to be mean-spirited comments, but it does make you feel like your co-workers think that you spend your maternity leave on a beach or something, working on your tan.

And when you have two kids back-to-back, the comments seem to increase in frequency.

Do I wish my otherwise nice colleagues would get a clue? Of course! But in the meantime, one can't help but feel a bit anxious about "having to prove yourself" all over again. And the reality is that - in this day and age - you DO have to prove yourself again when you have kids, because many many people think that you will be a worse employee b/c of it!

Posted by: londonmom | July 16, 2007 8:50 AM

Where is my 12 week leave? Oh, I forget. I don't get one. I just get to work extra hours during everyone else's.

Ask if you can take a sabatical.

Posted by: TO Another Woman | July 16, 2007 8:51 AM

"For example, when I got married, I really buckled down at work because I had spent a lot of time planning and organizing the wedding and I needed to redirect that energy and focus."
"Wha every boss wants to hear...planning a wedding on the job."

Well, I guess that could be misconstrued. Let me try again. Planning and organizing a wedding after work and on the weekends left me frazzled at work. After the wedding, I felt like I had so much energy because of the free time, so I could work harder while at work. I also learned some valuable organizational skill, which I put to work.

Not that I feel the need to defend planning a wedding at work. The few phone calls I made at work and the one Excel spreadsheet I created and updated probably equal the amount of time smokers stand ourside on breaks or lactating moms spend pumping. What's that word again... balance?

Posted by: Meesh | July 16, 2007 8:55 AM

Melissa you are making me feel like a slacker! You only took off a few months-- I took off YEARS before coming back to my job! Imagine the trepidation I felt informing the boss of my second pregnancy after that! I'm planning to not stop working this time (husband has paid paternity leave for 2 months-- wow!) so hopefully I'll make it up to my employer for all the time I spent off with my first.

On the other hand, maybe I did the right thing for my employer by taking all that time off-- they didn't have to pay for a sleep deprived, mommy in the workforce back with my first as they most likely will this time around.

Posted by: Jen S. | July 16, 2007 8:56 AM

People take off all the time. They take off for maternity leaves, operations, caring for sick elderly parents, etc. That's why there's the Family and Medical Leave Act. Having to accomodate for these times that people are off the job is just part of doing business. People aren't machines (although, interestingly, machines do have "down time" too). People are human beings with lives. And having them do the work of running the company means that you have to plan for "downtime."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 8:58 AM

It's funny how each choice brings a whole new set of fears and balancing act issues. I liked the blog; thanks.

For people who are complaining yet again that they have to pick up the slack - complain to your manager or director or whatever. Sure, in a small shop that will happen - for everyone, whether it's food poisoning or mat leave or a dying parent.

But in a larger organization if people cannot plan for a 12 week absence that they know about MONTHS in advance - there is likely a serious management problem. Part of this comes from companies who consistently under-resource things (have worked in them) so that everyone is stretched to the max all the time.

That's not good business overall - it helps the bottom line in the short run, but when a bad pasta salad at the monthly staff meeting can take your organization down because everything is urgent and everyone is at full capacity, you've made a mistake. (BDTD, lost the contract.)

Posted by: Shandra | July 16, 2007 8:59 AM

I was one of those women who didn't have kids and wondered if the ones who did have kids got special treatment. I had the same attitude as "Another Women". But, at age 42 I adopted my daughter and did not get the FMLA time off. I brought my daughter home on a Friday, and went back to work on Monday and placed my daughter in daycare. No, I didn't have any birth recovery time, but it would've been nice to have been able to stay home to bond with my daughter. Now I can see what I thought before was special treatment to mothers (parents), but this is really just life for those of us who want to be parents who also need to work, and the people who do not have children are also part of this society which needs to provide support to those who will be the raising the furture of our society.

Posted by: to Another Woman | July 16, 2007 9:00 AM

To Another Women: I hope that nothing ever happens to you or to your spouse/parent/etc. where you will need to take some time off. Would you have the same angry attitude to a woman who found out she had breast cancer and had to take off 4 months for chemo?

Maybe it is because I'm a mom (or just a decent human being) that I wouldn't for a second get annoyed for picking up the slack a little.

And - you know what - I'm a much better employee than MANY of my single colleagues. I know this because I'm TOLD as much by other attorneys and my clients. So - except for those 4 little months I'm gone, I'm probably picking up the slack for people like you who - though single - may not be as good as employees.

Honestly - you just sound bitter about "choosing" to be childless.

Posted by: londonmom | July 16, 2007 9:00 AM

I probably should mention that all the time I took off with my first was unpaid. bu ti knew i had a job waiting for me when I was ready to return.

Posted by: Jen S. | July 16, 2007 9:01 AM

A manager friend recently hired someone who within 10 minutes of the first day of work announced they were 4 months pregnant. That means in 4-5 months that person will be out on leave. Discrimination acts protect the woman from losing her job; nothing protects the employer who now will spend this time period training someone who will be going out on leave in 4-5 months leaving them short for 3 months minimum and wondering if she'll be coming back. Manager friend was upset she didn't disclose pregnancy during interview; however, it was noted that she most likely would not get hired most places (even though protected by law) if she had announced her pregnancy. This is a situation where as a women you need to be very sensitive to your employer and realize their point of view. The womens point of view is generally they need a paycheck to keep a roof over their head or medical insurance. The employers point of view is they need an available employee to do a specific job and that is why they are hiring for the position that you are taking; but will be leaving vacant for a couple months leaving the employer in a lurge again.

In other cases; if you have been an employee for a while and you get sick/maternity leave benefits as an employee - why feel guilty? That is probably one of the perks that helped make your decision to take that job. Work with your employer to arrange coverage while you are on leave and things will work out one way or the other. It is all about mutual respect between employee and employer.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 9:03 AM

My boss, who is a smart woman, probably knew this already. She didn't hit the roof or chastise me for procreating. She didn't insinuate that I was a poor employee or that I should look for a job somewhere else. Instead, she smiled and stopped nodding -- even if she was still a bit stunned.

_____________

Who knows what she was thinking. But saying anything illegal to you, would have caused her to lose her job. Y'know, she doesn't live at work...she lives at home. Your maternity leave probably makes things tougher at the office. But that's just part of working. Did it really bother her personally--no! Did she really think about what you were going through personally, or how motherhood would affect you--no! Did she know she had to legally let you take maternity leave. Figure out how to handle the work while you were gone. And then, expect that you would pick up your work load when you got back--yes! It's business. That's business. Does she really truly care about your personal life--NO!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 9:05 AM

Said it before, will say it again: childless employees who get angry at employEES with kids should be angry instead at employERS who do not handle maternity/paternity leave adequately. It is legal to have children. It is ILLEGAL to discriminate against people because they do or don't have children.

You are NOT picking up any slack for your co-workers. You are picking up slack for the company. Big difference.

If you direct your frustration in the proper direction and talk to your bosses, HR and top executives about the problem, constructive change might happen at your workplace. Otherwise, you are doomed to eternally complaining by the watercooler. Because your co-workers are NOT going to stop having kids. But your employer CAN make things more fair for you at work by compensating YOU for picking up the so-called slack.

Posted by: Leslie | July 16, 2007 9:08 AM

I think this is a great post and addresses some very real feelings. It is too bad that we feel guilty about having an impact on the workplace when we take maternity leave, but its natural. I know I have also felt my share of guilt for having to ask co-workers to pick up the slack, or to ask for time off from my boss. However, I have come to the conclusion that if you are effective, people will value your work and overlook the time off, etc. I totally agree that having children has made me a better, more focused and efficient worker.

Posted by: MDmom | July 16, 2007 9:12 AM

Twelve weeks?? I returned to work after 6 weeks(8 weeks for C-sect) for all three of my children. Must be nice to have such generous leavetime.

Posted by: Cheryl | July 16, 2007 9:14 AM

I have an 8 mo old and my boss seems terrified I'm going to come in and say I'm having another child. We have an office of 6 people, so I know it's hard, but with a staff of young women, it's got to be expected. It's so frustrating that the boss has 2 kids, but implies that it's not ok for the rest of the crew because it's such a burden on the agency.

Posted by: smlofficeworker | July 16, 2007 9:15 AM

I wonder how many single women in the office had to pick up the slack for your choices.
Had to finish your projects. Had to work longer hours because you weren't there. Had to do extra work that was beyond their job description.

You see, there is another side to this -- it's the OTHER WOMEN in the office who have chosen not to have kids, but yet, we are expected to go along with this charade.

After you have kids, when little Jimmy has a cold, you get to leave -- no questions asked. You get first dibs at Christmas vacations because, well, let's be honest -- why do we single people want to celebrate christmas anyway? We don't have kids! After being up all night nursing and changing little Jane, you get to come in late -- no questions asked. Yet, we single women with no kids are expected to come in on time, do the work, WORK LATE because we don't have kids, and never question when you want to leave.

Where is my 12 week leave? Oh, I forget. I don't get one. I just get to work extra hours during everyone else's.

There is a growing discontent amongst the ever expanding pool of women who are choosing not to have kids -- I know it because I'm one of them and I've stood around the water cooler listening to the complaining. We're tired of picking up the slack for women who do. It's getting old.

Posted by: Another Woman | July 16, 2007 08:40 AM

You know what's getting OLD? This crap!

I am a mother and I ALSO pick up the slack for OTHER MOTHERS!! Isn't that a shock?!

It's called living in a SOCIETY and being a feeling NORMAL human being! How cold can all of you bitter single childless women get???

I never took maternity leave - I quit to be a SAHM for 3 years, but now that I'm back at work, I make it a point to help out new moms because I know that I would've needed help!!!

You know who I pick the slack up for more than any other mom in the office?? THe executives! They are on vacation CONSTANTLY. The play golf constantly.
The President of my compsny is so rarely in the office. And he's not doing something as important as RAISING A CHILD. He's slacking off because he thinks he deserves it. Why does he deserve it?

A child deserves its parents more than executives need 4 week European vacations, in myopinion! A child deserves better. It has nothing to do with YOU or the MOM. It's about the child.

I finally got the Mommy Wars book. And I have to say, I am firmly in the camp of parttime/flextime schedules or staying at home. It is in no interest of any child to have a mom working 60-80 hrs/week. the reasons for it are selfish.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 9:17 AM

I had a different boss the first time I was pregnant. I told him I was pregnant as soon as I found out because I was having problems. He told everyone in a staff meeting that I was pregnant. I could care less what he thought about it because of his lack of respect for my privacy.

This time, I have a great boss who also had problem pregnacies. I am working from home and have had an easier time. Where I work, employees have anywhere from three weeks leave to almost two months, so I cover for people who are out all the time and I don't whine about it.

People have children, their spouses get cancer, their mothers and fathers get sick. If you can't deal with it, maybe you shouldn't be working at all another women.

Posted by: scarry | July 16, 2007 9:18 AM

9:17 AM said "A child deserves its parents more than executives need 4 week European vacations, in myopinion! A child deserves better. It has nothing to do with YOU or the MOM. It's about the child."

I agree, a child needs its parents more than executives need 4 week vacation. But if it's really about the child, as you profess, why did you go back to work?

Posted by: All about the child | July 16, 2007 9:23 AM

I'm really getting tired of the constant refrain from the poor, beleaguered single and childless folk. Most of us who are now married and parents have been there too - do you think we were born married with children?

I don't recall having to do extra work for women with children and now I manage a group that is made up of (mostly)young, single childless folk, a couple of older people with grown children, and some 30-ish childless by choice. The only other one with a child is the supervisor who reports to me. Guess which have used up their sick leave already this year or are near to it? Neither of us with children. Two single, childless ones have none left (one took care of her sick mother; the other had scattered personal illnesses).

My group has 12 people in it. I know we are not representative of the world at large, but what I've seen in my nearly 25 years at work does not reflect this whinging attitude that some of the singles and childless bring to this board. And no, I don't agree with everything the parent/married set says either - I'm just addressing an annoying repeated refrain that I'm especially fed up with.

With that - back to work.

Posted by: MaryB | July 16, 2007 9:26 AM

Leslie, that is a very important distinction. It's not the fault of the worker that the other employees are picking up the slack; it is the fault of inefficient management. Talk to your boss if you feel slighted. That's the only way things are going to change.

BTW, it's not just childless people who pick up the slack and complain. Everybody in the office, childless or not, picks up the slack when anyone, childless or not, is out of the office.

Posted by: Meesh | July 16, 2007 9:26 AM

"The President of my compsny is so rarely in the office. And he's not doing something as important as RAISING A CHILD. He's slacking off because he thinks he deserves it. Why does he deserve it?"

Duh! Cause he's worth a lot more to the company than you are?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 9:29 AM

I did this. I was interviewing while in my first trimester. You wouldn't have known I was pregnant just by looking at me. I told the HR director once a job offer was made to me. I wanted my future boss to know what he was getting into before I took the job. I had six months on the job before I left on maternity leave.

The way we worked it out was to get a temp to do the day to day recurring stuff. I planned to come in for a week each month that I was out to do the detailed work. Well on paper it was a great plan except that my son arrived two weeks early. So I went to work when my son was two weeks old because there were things that I was responsible for handling that a temp couldn't do. In the end it all worked but having the baby early sure did throw us all off.

Posted by: To 9:03am | July 16, 2007 9:33 AM

9:17 AM said "A child deserves its parents more than executives need 4 week European vacations, in myopinion! A child deserves better. It has nothing to do with YOU or the MOM. It's about the child."

I agree, a child needs its parents more than executives need 4 week vacation. But if it's really about the child, as you profess, why did you go back to work?

Posted by: All about the child | July 16, 2007 09:23 AM

that was me at 9:17, forgot to fill in the name.

I financially had to go back to work. We had blown through all of our savings, and then some, in those 3 years. It was tough for me, and it still is some days, but we flex our schedules so she's in preschool as little as possible. I'm hoping that once a coworker comes back from maternity leave that I can do a 7-3 schedule. We'll see. But I'm not plannig on having another child ofr quite a few years since I wouldn't be able to stay home again.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | July 16, 2007 9:34 AM

Jesus, what is it with these people who want a cookie for spreading their legs and getting knocked up. WHO CARES?

We give women all these choices, and they still whine and gripe about it.

I think we all can agree life was much simpler when women who wanted kids stayed home.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 9:35 AM

I was once interviewing while I was 2 months pregnant...and I was very open about it with employers. I was offered several jobs, too!

Posted by: Kattoo | July 16, 2007 9:35 AM

Jesus, what is it with these people who want a cookie for spreading their legs and getting knocked up. WHO CARES?

We give women all these choices, and they still whine and gripe about it.

I think we all can agree life was much simpler when women who wanted kids stayed home.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 09:35 AM

_____________

LOLOLOLOL! Dumb post...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 9:37 AM

A woman being interviewed can disclose that she is pregnant, but the interviewer cannot even ask if she has children or if she wants to have a family, much less if she's pregnant, or risk a discrimination charge.

Now, if she mentions she's pregnant, then the interviewer can ask follow up questions since she volunteered the information.

Posted by: John L | July 16, 2007 9:40 AM

We give women all these choices, and they still whine and gripe about it.
______________

Who is "giving" women these choices????? Men? Should we little women be grateful to these men for these choices? But, as your post insinuates, we should really just stay at home. And you use "Jesus" name in vain, too. You're just charming.

Posted by: kattoo | July 16, 2007 9:40 AM

Jesus, what is it with these people who want a cookie for spreading their legs and getting knocked up. WHO CARES?

God, yes, please give me a cookie. I am pregnant and hungry!

Posted by: scarry | July 16, 2007 9:49 AM

"My first maternity leave had cost the company valuable resources including money, suspended goals,"

And don't forget the effect on the replacement - hired for a short time and then let go.


I wonder how many single women in the office had to pick up the slack for your choices.
Had to finish your projects. Had to work longer hours because you weren't there. Had to do extra work that was beyond their job description. Posted by: Another Woman | July 16, 2007 08:40 AM

Don't be sexist. Single men had to work longer and harder too in order to cover for her. Married men without children had to work more too. Maybe even married men with children had to cover for her also while their wives whined about them not having a "work/life" balance.
Over 30 years when I was a young lawyer, another woman lawyer hired on the same day announced she was preggers and going to take maternity leave. Shortly thereafter I had over ½ HER cases dumped on my desk. I promptly scooped up the files, marched down to the head of the office and dumped them on his desk. I informed him that I was already pulling 60-70 hour weeks and I was damned if I would do her work on top of mine - she had chosen to get pregnant, to stay pregnant and do the leave-return thing so she could just bloody well do her OWN work. He took the files.
And for the sanctimonious whining that a "large" organization should be able to plan, that WAS a large organization.
No business, large or small, has excess staff sitting around drinking coffee to pick up the slack. Someone else HAS to do the work. Question how much all of the others get stuck with.
"Would you have the same angry attitude to a woman who found out she had breast cancer and had to take off 4 months for chemo? Posted by: londonmom | July 16, 2007 09:00 AM "
No one CHOOSES to have cancer or a heart attack. Pregnancy is a CHOICE. Big difference.

"Your boss was not legally allowed to in any way, shape, or form admonish or criticize you for having another child. Or, to suggest you look for work elsewhere. That would be illegal Posted by: kattoo | July 16, 2007 08:48 AM
And in the REAL world, any competent labor/employment counsel can show an employer how to keep a paper-trail that will justify firing ANYONE. It is easy. There are all kinds of ways to get rid of any employee and make it stick. I practiced labor law for decades. Give me six months and I could get rid of any employee even if they had previously been fired, reinstated by the order of a US Court of Appeals and were trying to be the 'perfect' employee.
You don't refuse to hire, fire or do anything else based upon the person's race, age, sex or other no-nos. You get rid of them for "not being a good fit" or "due to a structural reorganization."
Face facts. It does not matter WHAT your job is, no one is so valuable that they can not be replaced. PERIOD.
"But, at age 42 I adopted my daughter and did not get the FMLA time off. I brought my daughter home on a Friday,"

FMLA does not apply to adoptions. The M in FMLA stands for MEDICAL!!!!
By the way, there is NO legal requirement for maternity leave. It is only mandated IF the employer allows medical leaves for things such as heart attacks, cancer or broken legs.
Work for an employer that does not have a leave policy if you have a heart attack? Dorry, no leave for pregnancy.


Posted by: Ann | July 16, 2007 9:50 AM

I work at a family-friendly company in Ohio (workweek: 35 hours, full-time). Women are periodically dropping in and out of maternity leaves, brief stints of part-time (one of our VPs as well), etc. Unfortunately, the men do not take paternity leave beyond a few days, but overall, our office exhibits a lot of "flex-time" for everyone, and men do take advantage (as well as a lot of single people -- play golf, etc).

When I was pregnant, I planned a full maternity leave of 3 months. My company contacted me early on and asked if I would be willing to come back part-time for 2 hours a day, then 4 -- and extend my leave accordingly until I was full-time again. This worked wonderfully, starting at about 6 weeks from the beginning of my leave. Luckily, I had a wonderful birth (no c-section thanks to my midwife, but that's another story) and was able to enter a situation that I felt was beneficial to both my company and myself. I plan to do it again with #2 if all goes well.

One caveat: I have a home office and DH was home to watch baby #1 during my work hours. But I still believe this situation is a good one, even if you must commute. Babies can often be brought to work at this young (and generally quiet age).

Posted by: Rebecca | July 16, 2007 9:52 AM

ann glad you are not my lawyer.

FMLA-http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs28.htm

LEAVE ENTITLEMENT
A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 9:58 AM

The F in FMLA stands for FAMILY!

Posted by: to Ann | July 16, 2007 10:00 AM

To Another Woman:
"We're tired of picking up the slack for women who do. It's getting old."
So what do you expect will change? Will women stop having babies to placate you?

Posted by: Liz | July 16, 2007 10:02 AM

Kattoo

"I was once interviewing while I was 2 months pregnant...and I was very open about it with employers. I was offered several jobs, too!"

You are probably a lot better looking than me.....

Posted by: Magnum Force | July 16, 2007 10:02 AM

This post demonstrates the importance of having a history in your workplace before and during your childbearing years. I always advise younger women thinking about kids that they should stay put in one job (or company) and develop their relationships with their coworkers and bosses. It is a lot easier to have kids and take leave when people know you well and trust that you will get your work done, and/or if you've covered for others in the past and now they can return the favor. I worked my socks off at my job for 6 years, and when I had my kids, everyone was wholly supportive because I had really paid my dues, and had a long history of having come through on the job. And guess what, some of those young childless people who covered for me back then are pregnant now, and I'll be covering for them.

Posted by: mamasan | July 16, 2007 10:03 AM

"The F in FMLA stands for FAMILY!"

F stands for family?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:04 AM

mamasan

Yes, your post is correct and dead on.

Posted by: scarry | July 16, 2007 10:09 AM

Leslie

Every man I've known who took paternity leave (less than six

FEWER, not less.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:09 AM

Great point, mamasan. That is very true, in my experience.

Posted by: mamasan | July 16, 2007 10:09 AM

"It is in no interest of any child to have a mom working 60-80 hrs/week. the reasons for it are selfish."

Well, then I'm damned if I do (selfish if I work 60 hour weeks) and damned if I don't (slough off work on my coworkers just because I'm a mom). And people wonder why moms feel guilty!*

* Except for me. I don't give a damn what any of you whiners think.

Posted by: Arlmom | July 16, 2007 10:13 AM

Yes, pregnancy is a choice, but what do you propose, Ann, that we all stop procreating so that poor single workers don't feel like they have been treated unfairly?

Since I'm in a feisty mood (must be those pregnancy hormones), I could argue that people do in fact make choices that often lead to heart attacks, cancer, etc. Smokers? Unhealthy eaters? I'm not saying they CHOOSE to have a heart attack in the same way that people choose to have children, but come on! Our (being working moms) choice to have children BENFITS society. It isn't a relatively huge cost to society even WITH paid maternity and paternity benefits. And the cost is FAR FAR less than the cost of even just one illness - diabetes.

Countries with dwindling populations, like France, encourage people to have children for a reason! Who do you think is going to take care of us when we are all retired?

Posted by: londonmom | July 16, 2007 10:15 AM

"Who do you think is going to take care of us when we are all retired?"

Comments like these irritate me greatly. There is no guarantee that having a child means you will have someome to take care of you later in life. It's a dangerous, selfish reason to have a child!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:19 AM

I meant "us" as in "society". Did not mean to imply that I expected my children to take care of me personally when I get old. I have significant savings and retirement and insurance for that.

It was more the general point of - who do you think is going to be paying for social security in the future? For medicare/medicaid? For social benefits generally? The future generations, duh!!

Posted by: londonmom | July 16, 2007 10:29 AM

"Who do you think is going to take care of us when we are all retired?"

I think they mean as a nation.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:29 AM

KLB wrote at 08:48 AM: "Almost everybody needs some time off from work due to family emergencies. I was just out for over two weeks and I received nothing but support from my co-workers. Time off isn't just for child-related issues. If you are the one always complaining then others may not be so interested in helping you when you."

*clap, clap, clap*

Posted by: catlady | July 16, 2007 10:32 AM

Congratulations on your second child. No person should plan the size of their family based on job requirements. We need to build a more family friendly world. I like the Swedish model where mothers are given a one-year paid maternity leave.

Posted by: MN USA | July 16, 2007 10:32 AM

We do not have a problem with declining population in the U.S; If you really want a child, why not adopt one who needs it?

Or if you really want to have a child, understand that it's your decision (presumably) and you should not be given the same rewards as someone who decided to work those 4 months instead. You may think the little human you create is God's gift to the world, but that doesn't mean everyone else has to agree.

If companies give a reasonable amount of flex time to all sexes, with or without families, then this wouldn't be an issue; however, few companies can afford to give out such generous benefits to everyone. While I understand that mothers (or fathers) of newborns are not vacationing in Maui, they are still not working because of a decision they made about priorities. And as to the examples of lung cancer, etc, this is why some companies have moved very strongly to stop employees from smoking- to prevent them from getting sick and losing the organization money.

Posted by: epthorn | July 16, 2007 10:34 AM

"Who do you think is going to take care of us when we are all retired?"

Comments like these irritate me greatly. There is no guarantee that having a child means you will have someome to take care of you later in life. It's a dangerous, selfish reason to have a child!

Man, people really are as stupid as they want to be!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:39 AM

Wow it must be Monday morning! I am a young worker without children and I don't understand the attitudes some have on this blog. I've been a nanny so maybe I have more sympathy but it doesn't bother me if parents take off to care for their children. I promise, work will not come to a screeching halt because a parent is gone to care for a sick child. So much paid work is meaningless anyway. I only become annoyed at the smokers constantly taking a break or the people endlessly on the phone discussing their personal lives. Other than that, c'est la vie! Work is not the only thing in most people's lives. It certaintly isn't in mine.

Posted by: Florida Chick | July 16, 2007 10:42 AM

"Man, people really are as stupid as they want to be!"

How is that stupid? The initial post didn't really clarify society as a whole, not individuals.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:45 AM

"Who do you think is going to take care of us when we are all retired?"

Why? Is their a global population shortage?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:47 AM

Another Woman,
My question to you, "Who the heck do you think is going to be managing your retirement fund, staffing your doctors office, and changing your adult diapers when you are no longer able to do so yourself?" My friend, it is the children of these coworkers of yours. For at least the first several months they are managing on a few hours of sleep to do in a day what you probably take three to accomplish. You just don't get my sympathy. Anybody with a brain should understand that bringing up a new generation, and bringing them up well, is probably more important than anything else going on. So you work a few extra hours to make up for somebody on maternity leave, as far as I'm concerned that's part of your investment in the future, you should pat yourself on the back for being a good citizen and stop your *&$(tching.

Posted by: rumicat | July 16, 2007 10:49 AM

Who do you think is going to take care of us when we are all retired?"

Why? Is their a global population shortage?

We live in America, not the whole damn world. So, yes, if people stop having kids here there will be a shortage.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:50 AM

I just want to share a comment from a poster on Judith Warner's NY Times blog. The topic is guilt over not being able to attend children's school functions.

"Finally, somebody speaks up about the unreasonable expectations our society has for parents. At work we are supposed to work as if we have no families, and at school, we are to pretend we have no jobs."

Posted by: lurker2 | July 16, 2007 10:54 AM

I also felt weird telling my boss I was pregnant this last go round. It was less than 2 years after the previous time. This was my second pregnancy at this job but my third child. It went just fine. I wonder if part of me expected negativity in part due to what seems like a loud anti-child bias in society. You know, one child, okay. Two children, if you must. But three, are you crazy, why would you do that, you're using up all the earth's resources, etc.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | July 16, 2007 10:54 AM

"Man, people really are as stupid as they want to be!"

How is that stupid? The initial post didn't really clarify society as a whole, not individuals.

If that needed to be spelled out for you, then sorry, you are kind of stupid.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:55 AM

"How is that stupid? The initial post didn't really clarify society as a whole, not individuals. "

A common issue in blogs is that posts are often somewhat ambiguous. As a result, you can typically take one of two approaches:

(1) Assume the poster is an intelligent person with something worthwhile to say, attempt to read the post in that light, and politely ask clarifying questions.

(2) Assume the poster is an idiot, read their response as such, and insult them based on your misinterpretation.

Your choice of approach probably speaks more to your substance than their ambiguity speaks to theirs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:56 AM

What really needs to happen is very tough, enforceable law that makes it very expensive to discriminate against pregnant workers and protects their jobs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:57 AM

"If that needed to be spelled out for you, then sorry, you are kind of stupid."

Well. Maybe squirting out a loaf or two or ten like you probably have will make me smarter! Thanks for imparting your gracious wisdom.

Go make us another of your pwecious loaves, will you? Do something productive.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 10:57 AM

MY wife, too is pregnant, again when the little one was only 15 months. While I am excited I am extremely worried because she just started a new job. I was like WTF are you doing?? I would have never told her to not take it, since I want her to follow her carrer whereever it takes her. I was just worried that somthing terrible might wrong.

She's been there for a month now and hasn't told them yet. She says she will tell them once she starts sticking out in her scrubs (she's already sticking out when naked. I just hope that her job will be supportive of her.....

Posted by: 4th Floor | July 16, 2007 10:59 AM

Melissa, great blog and I am right there with you! First time is easy; the second time you already know what can/will go wrong while you are away from work, even with a supportive boss and a replacement. I just found out I am pregnant with #2 and will be telling my boss in another month or so -- seeing all these comments is really helpful for perspective.

Posted by: WOHM | July 16, 2007 11:01 AM

"Who do you think is going to take care of us when we are all retired?"

"Why? Is their a global population shortage?"

"We live in America, not the whole damn world. So, yes, if people stop having kids here there will be a shortage."

Right Einstein and Irving Berlin should have stayed where they were born! Duh!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:02 AM

I finally got the Mommy Wars book. And I have to say, I am firmly in the camp of parttime/flextime schedules or staying at home. It is in no interest of any child to have a mom working 60-80 hrs/week. the reasons for it are selfish.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 09:17 AM

Right. Because selfless would be letting the bank foreclose on our house, signing up for food stamps, and not having health insurance for any family members.

Selfless would be kicking my husband out of the house and off my health insurance policy after he was laid off because I can't support him AND our children on the part-time job I'd like to get.

Selfless would be compounding our problems by either dumping on my colleagues (according to you, their lives are less important than mine, so I'll work 40 hours - they can pick up the slack and work 90 - 100) or getting myself fired, since my employer is part of an industry that, in order to be competitive, operates with the expectation that employees are salaried and will do whatever needs to be done in order to keep the work here and not in India.

My great-grandmother worked her butt off as a peddlar in order to scrape a few pennies together so that her children, grand-children and great-grandchildren would have an opportunity for a better life. I've got doubts that she propped her heels up on a tree stump after X hours because she was seeking balance. She was seeking 600 sq. feet with indoor plumbing. Three generations later, with no "inheritances" other than wits and work ethic, we're doing our best to get by and our family shares to meet emergency needs. Last year, one family member was ininsured and developed a terminal illness. We're not all part of the landed gentry, you know. We do the best we can with the opportunities we're provided and you can keep your assumptions and wagging finger to yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:03 AM

"We do the best we can with the opportunities we're provided and you can keep your assumptions and wagging finger to yourself."

Ah, but there's the rub. What else do these sharpefaced harpies have to do, but wag their fingers and cluck their tongues?

Posted by: Magnum Force | July 16, 2007 11:07 AM

I think we all can agree life was much simpler when women who wanted kids stayed home.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 09:35 AM

Except for the Queen of England and old money Yankees, for centuries, in American and elsewhere, most women have had to return to work soon after giving birth, whether they were maids, slaves, working in a mill or factory, cleaning homes, janitorial services, seamstresses, waiters or flight attendants. Get your head out of your rear end and read some history, lad.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:11 AM

"(2) Assume the poster is an idiot, read their response as such, and insult them based on your misinterpretation."

Isn't that what ON BALANCE is all about?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:11 AM

Scarry -
Would one virtual choco chip cookie help? Or maybe a walnut cookie? Just one though... My rule is wait 15 minutes after one cookie before allowing myself to think about having another. Usually something pops up and takes my mind away from the cookies!

Posted by: dotted | July 16, 2007 11:23 AM

Right Einstein and Irving Berlin should have stayed where they were born! Duh!

Doesn't seem like those are the types of people who are now coming to our country, but keep up the wishful thinking.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:25 AM

When my mother had cancer and was hospitalized for 6 months, plus follow-up chemo and rehabilitation, I used my vacation time to go home and take care of the house for her and Dad. Cooked meals, cleaned house, did laundry while she was an invalid. Where was FMLA then?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:25 AM

FMLA is not given in lieu of vacation. It allows you to use your vacation/leave time without penalty or denial for family emergencies.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 16, 2007 11:31 AM

"so I'll work 40 hours - they can pick up the slack and work 90 - 100) or getting myself fired, since my employer is part of an industry that, in order to be competitive, operates with the expectation that employees are salaried and will do whatever needs to be done in order to keep the work here and not in India."

This is what I see as the biggest obstacle to achieving balance. Why do we consider 40 hours per week to be slacking rather than working full time? Why do we continue to aspire to careers that put such demands on the time of the employees? Maybe we are fighting the wrong battles. In addition to worrying about maternity and paternity leave and BF pumping rooms, we should worry about reasonable full time schedules for all, and reasonable family leave policies for everyone whether it be for maternity, paternity, elder care, illness or personal fulfillment such as a break for educational enrichment or volunteerism (helping Katrina victims, Habitat for humanity, etc).

Posted by: same old argument | July 16, 2007 11:31 AM

"Right Einstein and Irving Berlin should have stayed where they were born! Duh!"

"Doesn't seem like those are the types of people who are now coming to our country, but keep up the wishful thinking."

How can you tell?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:32 AM

I can sympathize with Melissa and others who have had this situation. My two kids were 14 months apart, and you can do the math. I had only been back to work for six months when I announced my second pregnancy. I wrestled with how to handle the situation for weeks before finally spilling my guts when my wardrobe endured a "makeover" (and I knew people would start talking). It wasn't easy, and I experienced similar feelings of guilt and anxiety, but in the end it worked out. Sure, some other people had to chip in while I was on leave, but I have been returning those favors when other people are out on 2-week vacations, out tending to sick relatives, and the like. Do I also realize what a terrific benefit paid maternity leave is? Definitely. But is it all glory? No. For instance, I know that I won't get the "credit" for time served as if I was there for those 2 maternity leave periods. Someone else will get promoted first because I haven't put in as much time as they have. Is that fair? Of course.

Posted by: Anon for this | July 16, 2007 11:35 AM

to 11:25: if the law was in place, you most definitely could have used FMLA. You have to ask, though - no employer's going to offer.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:35 AM

Great guest blog, Melissa!

Those criticizing employers have to appreciate that there are a wide variety of jobs and industries and some workers are more fungible than others. Their criticisms might me true for some workplaces, e.g., if your colleagues are being dumped on, that's an employer problem, but are not true for other workplaces, or for all roles in other organizations.

Our workplace is, for the most part, well-managed. Like most large organizations, we are divided into small specialized teams. Nonetheless, we have no business need for multiple specialists in certain/many areas though, or to restate, there is not enough work in certain specialties to support more than one person doing that work. On top of that, each of us has client-specific background and history. If you combine these two issues, when some of us goes out, for whatever reason, colleagues are left to address the needs of clients with whom they have no relationship and outside their area of expertise. The net is that when we step into each other's shoes, there is a drop-off in the quality of client service, a drop-off in efficiency, and an increase in stress for the colleague.

For the naysayers, before anyone takes planned time off, she or he meets with colleagues and does a brain-dump of client-background and status info. but we simply are not fungible. If one of us left, a new hire would be made. If one of us is out and returning, everyone just has to deal. Generally, no one has a problem with this, understanding that what goes around, comes around, but we are each keenly aware that our time-off comes at the expense of everyone else's balance and some client discomfort.

and as for what my boss said when I told him I was pregnant with our daughter? He dropped the f-bomb, which was so inappropriate we both burst out laughing.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 16, 2007 11:36 AM

Last time I checked, public corporations were in business to provide returns to shareholders. So unless women can offset the loss to shareholders when they get pregnant and cost the corporation money with higher efficiency than men at other times, they should not be hired. It's that simple. GOD BLESS CAPITALISM!!!!

Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 11:43 AM

"When my mother had cancer and was hospitalized for 6 months, plus follow-up chemo and rehabilitation, I used my vacation time to go home and take care of the house for her and Dad. Cooked meals, cleaned house, did laundry while she was an invalid. Where was FMLA then?"

No offense but thank God the government did not force your employer to pay you during this voluntary time off. It's sad about your mother, but no way should your employer or I - as a taxpayer -- have to pay for this. Sometimes life sucks. Well, get over it.

Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 11:47 AM

"Where is my 12 week leave? Oh, I forget. I don't get one. I just get to work extra hours during everyone else's."

Quit whining. Are you really eager to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave? Whee!
If you need unpaid leave to care for a family member, you get it just the same as everyone else. I'm SOOO tired of hearing people without kids whining because they are treated unfairly, as if that's somehow the fault of parents. If there are benefits you want but are not getting, take it up with your management!

Posted by: va | July 16, 2007 11:47 AM

MN - sometimes I wish I worked for your boss. He may something inappropriate, but at least he has a sense of humour!

Posted by: dotted | July 16, 2007 11:48 AM

I just took a positive home pregnancy test Friday. I'm terrified to tell my boss.

I was on lots of bedrest for much of my last pregnancy. My boss still expresses hostility toward me for it. I know she'll be angry when I tell her.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:48 AM

No offense but thank God the government did not force your employer to pay you during this voluntary time off. It's sad about your mother, but no way should your employer or I - as a taxpayer -- have to pay for this. Sometimes life sucks. Well, get over it.

You're an a**hole.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:49 AM

Right Einstein and Irving Berlin should have stayed where they were born! Duh!

Doesn't seem like those are the types of people who are now coming to our country, but keep up the wishful thinking.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 11:25 AM

Nominee for today's Stupid Award.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:49 AM

"I just took a positive home pregnancy test Friday. I'm terrified to tell my boss.
I was on lots of bedrest for much of my last pregnancy. My boss still expresses hostility toward me for it. I know she'll be angry when I tell her."

As well she should. If your last pregnancy cost your company money, then it is perfectly acceptable for her to detest this latest irresponsible act on your part. She cares about her company. You clearly care about no one but yourself. You sicken me. I hope you are fired, lose your health insurance, and are forced to have your child by yourself. That will teach you.

Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 11:53 AM

Let me clarify -- I was not off from work for 6 months. I took long weekends and used vacation days throughout that time period for travel home and return, and helping out at home. I used vacation time because I can't afford to take leave without pay.

Posted by: 10:34 | July 16, 2007 11:54 AM

dotted, it hasn't been the same without you!

*high fives*

is everything okay, e.g., are you merely lolling around the pool and away from the computer this summer?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | July 16, 2007 11:55 AM

Make the choice--motherhood or career. Don't be so selfish. It's not fair to your colleagues to make them take on an extra load every time you want to feel like Wonderwoman. If having a second career in the family so you can drive a Lexus and own a big house are more important to you than raising your children yourself, then maybe you shouldn't be a parent. Children are not a status symbol that you pass off to a nanny for 18 years.

Posted by: FatherTheresa | July 16, 2007 11:58 AM

"I just took a positive home pregnancy test Friday. I'm terrified to tell my boss.
I was on lots of bedrest for much of my last pregnancy. My boss still expresses hostility toward me for it. I know she'll be angry when I tell her."

As well she should. If your last pregnancy cost your company money, then it is perfectly acceptable for her to detest this latest irresponsible act on your part. She cares about her company. You clearly care about no one but yourself. You sicken me. I hope you are fired, lose your health insurance, and are forced to have your child by yourself. That will teach you.


Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 11:53 AM

You have got to be kidding me. One line and you're calling this woman "irresponsible" for getting pregnant. Does that mean you are only "responsible" if you never have kids and can spend all of your time working for the good of the company because that is all that matters? Get real!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:58 AM

"No offense but thank God the government did not force your employer to pay you during this voluntary time off. It's sad about your mother, but no way should your employer or I - as a taxpayer -- have to pay for this. Sometimes life sucks. Well, get over it.

You're an a**hole."

Ahhh, boo hoo. Were your little feelings hurt??? Then move to Sweden you Communist pig. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!! GOD BLESS CAPITALISM!!!! GOD BLESS GEORGE W. BUSH. And to you, you pathetic little worm, what are you, Al-Qaeda???? Stop helping the terrorists, you pathetic excuse for a human.

Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 12:00 PM

Make the choice--motherhood or career. Don't be so selfish. It's not fair to your colleagues to make them take on an extra load every time you want to feel like Wonderwoman. If having a second career in the family so you can drive a Lexus and own a big house are more important to you than raising your children yourself, then maybe you shouldn't be a parent. Children are not a status symbol that you pass off to a nanny for 18 years.

Posted by: FatherTheresa | July 16, 2007 11:58 AM

Another deep critical thinker. Between this one and Obvious, either we have Sybil the Troll to thank or we have a bunch of immature newbies on our hands.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:01 PM

No offense but thank God the government did not force your employer to pay you during this voluntary time off. It's sad about your mother, but no way should your employer or I - as a taxpayer -- have to pay for this. Sometimes life sucks. Well, get over it.

You're an a**hole.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 11:49 AM

Nice attitude. Family in FMLA means more than just children. It includes close relatives like spouse, parents.

Guess you won't mind if your kids don't take any time off to help care for you when you're seriously ill (physically or mentally), because the message you're sending them is that job comes first.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:01 PM

I was doing a clerkship for a federal judge. When I told him about the first pregnancy, he was pleased for me and accomodated me (though none of his clerks had put him through this before). I got bedrested, and ended up being out around 8 weeks (exhausting my leave). It was a two year clerkship, and six months after the first birth, I had to go in and tell him that I was pregnant again. I was terrified. He just stared at me, and said "You do know how this happens, don't you?" I didn't hesitate, responding "Yes, and we've put an end to that I can assure you." After that, we both laughed, and it went just fine. I don't know that I've ever been so nervous as I was going into his office that day, though.

Posted by: bad mommy | July 16, 2007 12:02 PM

Will the WaPo PLEASE follow their own rules and either ban or require anonymous posters to provide a name? For all anyone else knows, every one of the anonymous comments (polite and vicious) could be coming from the same person.

BTW, FMLA only applies for businesses with a certain number of employees; my wife will not be able to take advantage of it when she has our child (no, not yet) since she works for a small business.

Posted by: John L | July 16, 2007 12:04 PM

"... job comes first."

Thank God someone finally gets it. That's what separates us from the rest of the world. Go shop in Wal-Mart, in Target, and in Safeway. And if you complain about it, then go to Iraq. GOD BLESS YOU GEORGE W. BUSH. GOD BLESS YOU DICK CHENEY!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU CONDI RICE!!!!!

Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 12:05 PM

I know this has been said before, but just to clarify - isn't FMLA unpaid leave? I work for a small company, so I know it wouldn't apply to me.

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 12:06 PM

FatherTheresa

"Children are not a status symbol that you pass off to a nanny for 18 years."

Why not? I did it with both of my kids.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:06 PM

To John L:

It is so sad that you do not believe in free speech. Would you be willing to go back in time and live in the U.S.S.R. under Andropov. It would make all of us so much happier.

Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 12:08 PM

Why is it stupid to be able to see that most of the illegal immigrants have no skills or education? Sure, it was a stupid post to a liberal.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:09 PM

John L

"Will the WaPo PLEASE follow their own rules and either ban or require anonymous posters to provide a name? For all anyone else knows, every one of the anonymous comments (polite and vicious) could be coming from the same person."

How will that change anything?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:10 PM

Regarding the childless and other employees picking up the slack - Those of you exhorting us to blame the employer have a point for longer, planned leaves like maternity leave, but I wonder what world you're living in when it comes to the sick leave/snow days/etc. that are incidental to having a child. PErsonally, up to a point, I don't blame the employer or the employee for the problems stemming from the latter. It's just part of life. But when a parent is taking off AT LEAST one day a week, I blame both. The employee for not planning better or accepting a job with less responsibility in exchange for having to work less time, and the employer for not dealing the chronic absenteeism. And before anyone invokes the sick/disabled child defense, it still shouldn't be my problem or my employer's that an employee can't be there reliably and we shouldn't have to "deal" with it, except to the extent that the employer can fire or demote.

By far the biggest problem that I have with certain parents are their delusions about their own talents and availability. Most parents are no better or worse as employees, bosses, or coworkers than anyone else. A few, however, refuse to acknowledge that they don't have the time or the ability to do their demanding job while raising their children. This creates scheduling problems, logjams, and a lot of blame-shifting, since New Mom refuses to accept that her spending less time at work has any negative effect on her job or anyone else's. THe worst parts of the whole situation are usually that (a)New Mom had amassed a lot of responsibility before having children, so she can cause a lot of damage, and (b) most of the problems could be averted if New Mom would just be honest with herself about her capabilities and PLAN accordingly.

I have no idea whether the guest blogger actually developped better organizational abilities after having children. Maybe she did. In my experience, most people retain the same qualities they had before childbirth. As for the improved ability to "give direction", I've had people speak to me in the manner she described. It usually ends with me and the offending person having a little talk about appropriate adult communication. Your coworkers aren't your kids and, unless you're in the military, you shouldn't be giving them "commands" as described, no matter where you stand on the totem pole.

Posted by: NotAMom | July 16, 2007 12:10 PM

THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:10 PM

You were built to have babies so HAVE THEM BABIES! Get you some, and get them babies!

You life is more than just a job. My wife quit a job she truly loved for a job that she loves ever more. And, this job -- our son and daughter -- love her back.

Eventually, she'll probably return to work, but right now, she enjoys being a mother.

Posted by: FRANK | July 16, 2007 12:11 PM

Go visit William Kristol's online chat for an hour. You'll feel right at home there, with folks who think just like you:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/07/13/DI2007071301490.html

Posted by: To Obvious | July 16, 2007 12:12 PM

"Why is it stupid to be able to see that most of the illegal immigrants have no skills or education? Sure, it was a stupid post to a liberal."

Einstein & Irving Berlin weren't illegal immigrants, schmuck!

Posted by: Born Free | July 16, 2007 12:13 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Say hello to our favorite hall monitor from high school. We respect you so much. But does your career as a call center representative allow you this ability to post while at your all-important job???

Posted by: Obvious | July 16, 2007 12:13 PM

Einstein & Irving Berlin weren't illegal immigrants, schmuck!

But most of the immigrants who are here now are, a-hole.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:14 PM

"I know this has been said before, but just to clarify - isn't FMLA unpaid leave?"

Yes, this is correct. All that larger companies are required to do is save your job for you if you have a family medical emergency for a maximum of 12 weeks. They do not have to pay you (most don't). My understanding is that a company only has to give the 12 weeks unpaid leave if they are over 50 people and if the employee has worked for 12 months+. FMLA leave can be claimed in order to care for yourself, your child, your parent, your spouse, and a few others based on if they live with you and dependent they are upon you. Just one of the reasons you might take FMLA is for having a child.

Posted by: DCResident00 | July 16, 2007 12:15 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

"THERE ARE MANY POSTS ON THE BOARD TODAY THAT VIOLATE YOUR POLICIES. DO YOUR JOB, PLEASE, AND *******REMOVE THEM**********"

Posted by: TO: THE WASHINGTON POST | July 16, 2007 12:17 PM

To Another Woman:

Actually, not all of us childless women are as bitter as you and your friends are. I have worked late to cover for other women. However, I do come in late after spendng a liesurely morning with the husband or having a long work-out. My working additional hours has gotten me promotions and good bonuses throughout the years. Now, if I have a family I can have a lot of choices because of my hard work and saving. If we don't have children, I'll retire early.

So, not all of us childless women are complaining. I'll leave that to you while I get ahead.

Posted by: Thought | July 16, 2007 12:18 PM

MN - I wish I was lolling around the pool! Temporary family crisis involving my husband's mother (she has early/mid dementia) sent me off the computer for a while.....we went down to Sunset Beach over the weekend to recuperate. I'm ready to tackle yet another week!

Posted by: dotted | July 16, 2007 12:18 PM

What's really obvious is that you need to be spending more time working, instead of posting hate messages on the Internet on your boss's time. Don't want to lose that job, now do ya?

Posted by: To Obvious | July 16, 2007 12:19 PM

I hate to even sort of agree with any of the trolls, but....usually maternity leave is planned for ahead of time, so generally it's not a problem for the rest of us. It's the aftermath - never being able to count on a mother to be at the office! It seems something comes up at least once a week. Especially these days, when it seems every other kid is diagnosed with some sort of disorder (what is up with that, anyway?). I know it's a part of life, but I hate it when parents pretend it doesn't exist, or downplay it.
Just my 2 cents...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:20 PM

Eventually, she'll probably return to work, but right now, she enjoys being a mother.

Posted by: FRANK | July 16, 2007 12:11 PM

How sad that you anticipate that she might not enjoy being a mother any more if she returns to paid employment.

Signed,

A working mom loving motherhood for the long haul, not the short-term

Posted by: MN | July 16, 2007 12:20 PM

FatherTheresa and everyone else who thinks the same - On behalf of all men and women who've worked their butts off through college, graduate school, and career - BITE US! We and our spouses did not work hard and struggle so we could live paycheck to paycheck for the sake of trying to achieve some model of childrearing that a significant percentage of the population only enjoyed for a few decades in the middle of the last century. I don't need a Lexus or a McMansion, but I do want a nice house. I want to send my kids to good schools and make sure they can take advantage of enrichment oppotunities, like study abroad, sports, music lessons, and unpaid/underpaid internships. I want to be able to help them when they're starting out in life. I want to be able to retire when I'm still young enough to travel and do things. If my husband and I have to continue our careers after having children to accomplish that, I might regret having less time with my children, but I certainly won't feel guilty about my choices.

Posted by: NotAMom | July 16, 2007 12:21 PM

Technologically it'd be very easy for the Washington Post to trace the computer you're posting from, then take appropriate legal measures against you. If you're posting from your job, you could even get fired.

Posted by: To today's trolls | July 16, 2007 12:24 PM

So it's not as if only childbearing women get to take this free 12 week paid vacation - they are making a choice, if they are able, to sacrifice up to 12 weeks of pay in order to care for their (new) family member. Other people make this choice to take care of their aging parents, incidentally.

These pregnant women, however, have to realize that they are sending a message to their companies that their personal lives come first, which is fine, but that that message could hold them back from promotions/raises/projects that come in the future. If I am an employer, I am happy to provide various benefits that allow my workers to balance their lives as they see fit. But when I'm looking at who to promote, I look for who has done the best job and is the most dedicated - which probably won't be the woman who took off for 12 weeks. Women who get pregnant and take leave make that choice.

So if you are choosing not to have children, maybe see other women on maternity leave as a way to really prove your dedication by taking on projects that you may otherwise not have had. You will most likely be the one getting promoted or being given bonuses/raises. We all make choices in life, and each has it's benefits and downsides.

Posted by: DCResident00 | July 16, 2007 12:25 PM

"Especially these days, when it seems every other kid is diagnosed with some sort of disorder (what is up with that, anyway?)."

Old sperm & old eggs & DNA.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:26 PM

I have a difficult and busy day scheduled but I'm glad I took a few minutes to read this blog. It reminded me that we humans can usually handle a lot more than we think we can initially, and maybe even come out of a difficult experience with better skills and a sparkling fresh perspective. Well said, Ms. Weber! Now I gotta go......

Posted by: BeenThere | July 16, 2007 12:28 PM

"Why is it stupid to be able to see that most of the illegal immigrants have no skills or education? Sure, it was a stupid post to a liberal."

Nah. I'm a card-carrying fan of the Elephant. Your post is stupid because, first, Berlin had a third-grade education and the only reason we know he had talent is -- duh -- because we have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. You say, Irving Berlin, I say Marc Anthony. So what? Second, your post is stupid because neither you nor anyone else can possibly assess the skills or talent-base of thousands of immigrants each year. It's funny how the grandchildren of Italians, Jews, and Poles somehow think this group of immigrants is so much less skilled than their ancestors were -- cobblers, butchers, entertainers and seamstresses.

Chances are you simply prefer to see Jews and other light-skinned, primarily English-speaking persons emigrate rather than Latinos? It's a good thing you don't represent the Republican party.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:28 PM

I loved the guest blog today! I got pregnant a very short time after transferring to a new boss/division. My boss was cool about it. For #2, though, I am taking off way more than the standard 8 weeks, it was rough coming back that soon.

Posted by: Millie | July 16, 2007 12:29 PM

DCResident,

I'm fairly sure that awarding (or not) promotions based on whether someone has children or not is discriminatory. Certainly there are ways to game the situation such that there's another reason for a promotion (or not), but using "you are here all the time and she is not because she is pregnant/a parent" as a promotional reason will get a business sued every time.

Posted by: John L | July 16, 2007 12:31 PM

Technologically it'd be very easy for the Washington Post to trace the computer you're posting from, then take appropriate legal measures against you. If you're posting from your job, you could even get fired.

Posted by: To today's trolls | July 16, 2007 12:24 PM

Oh, gimme a break. I hate anon posts as much as the next guy, but this is bovine detritus. What legal measures? No one's damaged by anonymous posts and posting on a blog isn't a violation of any workplace policy I've ever seen.

Go be a bully somewhere else. You only harm the cause of righteousness when you threaten people with hokum.

Posted by: MN | July 16, 2007 12:31 PM

You shouldn't feel guilty at all having children and putting focus and energy into raising them. If our country and culture better supported parenthood (whether moms or dads) with maternity/paternity leave and other policies, such as the support available in Scandinavian countries, nobody would need to feel guilty. Other people, even those without kids, often need to ask for time off for other reasons, such as caring for an elderly or sick relative, or getting their lives back in order after some misfortune. Our work culture must let go of antiquated views of childbearing and family life and make it so that policies to support it are routine and unquestioned. Progressive societies correctly view children as everyone's future, important not just to the futures of those who have them, and accordingly put great resources into supporting parents so they can raise them well. Your coworker's child may someday be your doctor, your lawyer, or the person who builds a bridge in your town. You don't want to shortchange the generation that will provide for you in the future. So get over the guilty feelings and enjoy your work, but realize that raising those kids is the most important job you will ever have. Or move to a workplace that doesn't make you feel guilty -- there are many out there, believe it or not. My office has supported three maternity leaves and numerous part-time schedules on my part. And they also have a "mother's room" for expressing milk, stocked with pumps (your bring your own equipment to hook up to them), refrigerators for storage, and stalls with privacy curtains. In return for so much accomodation, my workplace has my utmost loyalty, and I give them a strong, flexible, and committed work ethic.
These sorts of workplaces are becoming increasingly common, and you should find one. These environments go a long way to ease your stress and guilt feelings.

Posted by: MomOf3 | July 16, 2007 12:33 PM

DCResident,

I'm fairly sure that awarding (or not) promotions based on whether someone has children or not is discriminatory. Certainly there are ways to game the situation such that there's another reason for a promotion (or not), but using "you are here all the time and she is not because she is pregnant/a parent" as a promotional reason will get a business sued every time.

Posted by: John L | July 16, 2007 12:31 PM

One would assume (or hope) that a manager wouldn't put it in quite those words!

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 12:33 PM

"Technologically it'd be very easy for the Washington Post to trace the computer you're posting from, then take appropriate legal measures against you."

Like what? Does the WaPo want to risk a massive lawsuit? Do you even read the other WaPo blogs?

Please get laid, pronto!!

Posted by: Brain Free | July 16, 2007 12:34 PM

I think the second child is much easier to deal with work-wise. Most likely you've got daycare arrangements worked out, so you can commit to returning with more enthusiasm. You've done it before and while it isn't easy you know you can do it.

I had different contracting officers with my two children, so there wasn't any eye-rolling over having ANOTHER one. I was actually surprised how accommodating they were.

I have sympathy for women who have bad pregnancies and end up in bed. Then you really know the next one will be hard.

The issue I had with my second child was that once I returned to work he was sick a lot more than the first so I was always taking off to minister to him. The good news is that was 15 years ago and like most things it passed.

Mothers do not get enough credit for all they do. Any employer worth working for should be happy to have a Mom on-board as they are the people who will get things done!

Posted by: RoseG | July 16, 2007 12:35 PM

posting on a blog isn't a violation of any workplace policy I've ever seen.

Really? In other workplaces it's viewed as not doing one's assigned job.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:35 PM

DCResident,

I'm fairly sure that awarding (or not) promotions based on whether someone has children or not is discriminatory. Certainly there are ways to game the situation such that there's another reason for a promotion (or not), but using "you are here all the time and she is not because she is pregnant/a parent" as a promotional reason will get a business sued every time.

Posted by: John L | July 16, 2007 12:31 PM

John,

I hate to say this, but I think taling about lawsuits in this context is being a teensy bit naive. It's not gaming the system to acknowledge that someone who misses 12 weeks isn't going to have the performance of someone who doesn't miss that 12 weeks. Productivity is an objective standard. There's no basis for a lawsuit because the most productive person is promoted ahead of someone who took 12 weeks off in 2 out of the most recent 3 fiscal years -- whether those absences related to childbirth, illness, or a mental health respite. In fact, the only way to make a productivity measure take pregnancy out of the equation is to game the system by giving the person who took maternity leave some form of pro-rated amount of production for each week she was absent, in essence, fudging the numbers and her business impact. I can't imagine that's very good for morale, unless you're biased in favor of whatever makes the pregnant women look good on paper. Everyone on the team knows the truth, though.

Posted by: MN | July 16, 2007 12:38 PM

"I'm fairly sure that awarding (or not) promotions based on whether someone has children or not is discriminatory."

Oh, I definitely didn't mean that employers should only promote those without children. What I mean is that, as an employer, I'm going to want to promote the most dedicated, hard-working individuals - no? That means that the slacker guy who comes in late and spends most of his days playing solitaire isn't going to be it. It means that the childless woman who comes in, just does her job and never goes above and beyond isn't it. It means that the woman who took 12 weeks off from work to care for her child, and then wants to work part-time for a few months or takes a number of days off to care for her sick child isn't going to be promoted either. All of these people make a conscious choice that their jobs aren't #1 in their lives - a totally fine choice, just not one that is going to lead to lots of promotions and high-paying jobs.

Not sure if it matters, but I'm leaving on an 8-week maternity leave this month. I made the choice that having a family is more important to me than my job is right now. I am working as hard as I can at my job, and plan to return to work as hard as I can, but I recognize that I am definitely going to be missing out in those 8 weeks that I'm gone. 8 weeks that my coworkers could really shine and be promoted over me. But that's ok with me, because that's the choice I've made.

Posted by: DCResident00 | July 16, 2007 12:39 PM

Does the WaPo want to risk a massive lawsuit? Do you even read the other WaPo blogs?

Please get laid, pronto!!

Posted by: Brain Free | July 16, 2007 12:34 PM

How'd that $54 million pants suit of yours go?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:40 PM

Really? In other workplaces it's viewed as not doing one's assigned job.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 12:35 PM

Really? In other workplaces, people have a job description and assigned tasks, and guess what? it's lunch time on the East Coast.

unless your view is that one is not permitted to breathe, call home, or eat a sandwich, either. Fortunately, most employers don't share your view.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:43 PM

Here's a different way to look at this:

"I've made a choice that will cause me to miss more work due to medical appointments, then I will be out for 12 weeks while I spend time with the results of my choice. After that, I will be working again, but I'll have to attend more medical appointments, as well as dash home by 4 to go take care of daycare, not to mention the last minute needs to leave the office with my child. So basically, you hired me to be full time, but I'll be sort of full time unless my child needs me. You don't have any choice in this matter either, since I've done it on my schedule.

Oh, and I've chosen to do this again."


Extreme? Maybe, but, so are the demands that many parents make against their employers. Walk in their shoes too before considering how "important" motherhood is.

Posted by: Choice | July 16, 2007 12:43 PM

I really liked this blog. It gives me hope. I am engaged now and I often wonder how on earth I could ever manage having children. It seems I have a hard enough time balancing my life and work without bringing babies into the mix! Reading this blog and seeing that for at least this blogger, it made her more efficient gives me hope. I think people do rise to the occasion.

Of course, working 12 hour days will have to stop when the babies come, so there will be a slow down of my career when the children arrive. I will "Mommie Track" myself at that time. (Why have kids if I am never home to see them or raise them?) But, until then, I will work my a$$ off to get as far and as high as I can get so that I am in the best position possible financially and hierarchly before I am Mommie Tracked and have to work less hours.

But, it is good to know that at least once the kids come, I have a chance at becoming more efficient and surviving the sleep deprivation.

Posted by: Elizabeth | July 16, 2007 12:46 PM

Extreme? Maybe, but, so are the demands that many parents make against their employers. Walk in their shoes too before considering how "important" motherhood is.

Posted by: Choice | July 16, 2007 12:43 PM

Choice, your taking a contrarian position just for amusement. Come back when you have put a little more sophistication into your public policy arguments.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 12:46 PM

"Right. Because selfless would be letting the bank foreclose on our house, signing up for food stamps, and not having health insurance for any family members.

Selfless would be kicking my husband out of the house and off my health insurance policy after he was laid off because I can't support him AND our children on the part-time job I'd like to get.

Selfless would be compounding our problems by either dumping on my colleagues (according to you, their lives are less important than mine, so I'll work 40 hours - they can pick up the slack and work 90 - 100) or getting myself fired, since my employer is part of an industry that, in order to be competitive, operates with the expectation that employees are salaried and will do whatever needs to be done in order to keep the work here and not in India.

My great-grandmother worked her butt off as a peddlar in order to scrape a few pennies together so that her children, grand-children and great-grandchildren would have an opportunity for a better life. I've got doubts that she propped her heels up on a tree stump after X hours because she was seeking balance. She was seeking 600 sq. feet with indoor plumbing. Three generations later, with no "inheritances" other than wits and work ethic, we're doing our best to get by and our family shares to meet emergency needs. Last year, one family member was ininsured and developed a terminal illness. We're not all part of the landed gentry, you know. We do the best we can with the opportunities we're provided and you can keep your assumptions and wagging finger to yourself."

There is a very very big middle ground in between these examples.

Posted by: to 11:03 AM | July 16, 2007 12:50 PM

I actually agree with Choice on some level - I think maternity leave really puts employers in a bad position. Given the choice, if I had two candidates, one pregnant woman and one woman with no children, of course I'd rather hire the childless woman. As an employer, it doesn't really matter (on a business level) to me that my employee's child is well taken care of over her first 12 weeks of life. What matters to me is my bottom line and having the best, most dedicated workers in my positions.

However, I do think that having women really adds to the workplace in many ways - if you are not hiring any women, you are missing out on a lot of perspectives and a lot of dedicated, hardworking individuals (not all women, obviously, just like not all men are great workers - but you're missing out on the ones who are). Given that women have babies, however, and that they require recovery time post-birth, employers in the US have made the choice that having these women in the workplace is worth it enough to risk some of them leaving for long periods of time.

Also, presumably *every* worker has family, be it parents, spouses, or other dependents - *any* of these workers could claim FMLA leave - it's not just for births.

Posted by: DCResident00 | July 16, 2007 12:54 PM

"I'm looking at who to promote, I look for who has done the best job and is the most dedicated - which probably won't be the woman who took off for 12 weeks. Women who get pregnant and take leave make that choice."

You are pretty narrow-minded and short-sided if you think that the person who does the "best job" and is the "most dedicated" isn't the mom who decided to take time off to raise her newborn child. There are a lot of single people out there who - though childless - are much less productive and will be worse managers. I have a feeling that the only people who actually think this are childless people.

Let me put it to you guys pretty clearly...

FACE TIME DOES NOT EQUAL PRODUCTIVE TIME (unless we are talking retail or really admin jobs, but I don't think we are).

Maybe it is easy for me to know this, becuase I worked a number years pre-children and have worked a couple of years post-children at a big law firm, where every hour is counted . I actually bill MORE - not less - than I did pre-children. The difference is that I don't usually screw around all day, playing on the Internet, catching the latest sports news, etc. (Admittedly, today is an exception, but it is the first in about 4 months).

Also, when a working parent - and especially a working mom - isn't in the office or calls in sick, it is noticed a lot more than when a single colleague is gone. Mostly b/c of jerks like you who always point it out...

Posted by: londonmom | July 16, 2007 12:56 PM

.
.
.

To the poster of July 16, 2007 12:50 PM: As part of the TRUE landed gentry (Jamestown settlement, 1615), I feel for you and stump-propping great grandma. Really, I do. As someone who inherited loads of money and promptly bought (and paid cash) a new 4 bed, 3 bath house and a new car, I feel for you. Really, I do.

Wahhhhh. Wahhhh.

Women must be allowed to feel like they can take time off to have children. What message are we sending when discourage people from doing the most important job on earth?

UP WITH MOTHERHOOD!!!

.
.
.

Posted by: Landed Gentry Rich Guy | July 16, 2007 12:59 PM

But, it is good to know that at least once the kids come, I have a chance at becoming more efficient and surviving the sleep deprivation.

-------------
Good luck with that! Oh and SAHMs are so skilled they are the CEOs of the home. Adding distractions and obligations to your life does not make you a better worker anymore than being available to work makes you a better worker. Being smart and skilled and dedicated makes a good worker period.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 1:00 PM

"You are pretty narrow-minded and short-sided if you think that the person who does the "best job" and is the "most dedicated" isn't the mom who decided to take time off to raise her newborn child."

Londonmom - Please read my second post from 12:39pm egarding this - I think it clarifies my point a little. it seems that some people on this comment page think that pregnant women just get 12 weeks off and then slack off after the return and that there are no consequences for that while everyone else works their butts off to cover and gets no rewards. What I'm trying to say is that there very well may be consequences to not dedicating yourself as fully to your job as might someone else, like being passed over for promotions, for example.

I certainly don't mean that all women with children aren't dedicated or that they are inferior workers.

Posted by: DCResident00 | July 16, 2007 1:03 PM

"But when a parent is taking off AT LEAST one day a week, I blame both. The employee for not planning better or accepting a job with less responsibility in exchange for having to work less time, and the employer for not dealing the chronic absenteeism."

This is a good point. Parents should be proactive in finding backup plans for the care of their children. At the same time, the reality is that some things can't be handled by a back-up. When my children were sick and/or had appointments, I used vacation time in order to care for them. This may have caused some scrambling for others in the office, but it also meant that I was working in the summer. I didn't take off any more than anyone else, I just did it on a different schedule.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 1:04 PM

londonmom

"Also, when a working parent - and especially a working mom - isn't in the office or calls in sick, it is noticed a lot more than when a single colleague is gone. Mostly b/c of jerks like you who always point it out..."

No. It's noticed when a working mom isn't in the office because the office is a lot quieter. More work is getting done when the office gossip/busy body isn't wasting everyone's time!

Posted by: Norma | July 16, 2007 1:05 PM

To: Another Woman; "Where is my 12 week leave? Oh, I forget. I don't get one. I just get to work extra hours during everyone else's."

If you were to have an injury or illness, you would be entitled to 12 weeks off WITHOUT PAY just like the new mothers. As the breadwinner in my household, I know that I will have to have savings to compensate for the short term disability pay that I recieve. It will only equal 60% of what I make working full time. Part-time work is not an option for me, nor is relying on other staff members to pick up my slack. I run the department. Deciding to have a child is a grave and strongly impactful responsibility. Not every new mother comes with an at-work support network, begrudging though it may be. It is a shame when the "what's in it for me?" outlook is employed with such a narrow focus.


Posted by: redheaddarling | July 16, 2007 1:08 PM

"...isn't in the office or calls in sick, it is noticed a lot more than when a single colleague is gone. Mostly b/c of jerks like you who always point it out..."

Oh :( Londonmom, please do read my later posts - I didn't mean to sound like a jerk. I feel for both sides...it would be tough to be an employer and lose an employee for 12 weeks. But I also think it's important to have that time with your child if that's the choice you've made. And I've said this earlier, but I'm two weeks away from having my first child and I'm planning on taking 8 weeks off. I plan to do my best at work and not slack off, but I recognize that the choice I've made to be a parent means that I might have priorities other than my job at times. Sorry if I've offended you.

Posted by: DCResident00 | July 16, 2007 1:08 PM

Just received notice that a male co-worker is back in the hospital and things are looking very grave. We're trying to put together a leave donation, not complaining about who is picking up the slack.

Posted by: food for thought | July 16, 2007 1:10 PM

Has anyone here looked into secondary insurance? (think Aflac). Just a thought...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 1:11 PM

Just received notice that a male co-worker is back in the hospital and things are looking very grave. We're trying to put together a leave donation, not complaining about who is picking up the slack.

Posted by: food for thought | July 16, 2007 01:10 PM

Sorry to hear that. Thanks for putting a little perspective into the discussion.

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 1:12 PM

"I didn't take off any more than anyone else, I just did it on a different schedule."

Great point - someone earlier brought up that pregnant women take off a bunch of time during their pregnancies for their own doctors appointments, and then after their leave for child's appointments. I've been using my alloted days off for these appointments, and didn't take a vacation this year because of it so I could save up my days. So like this poster said, it's not like I'm taking off more than anyone else, it's just that I'm taking it differently. Perhaps it's more noticeable that I'm taking off about a day a month than an employee who is taking off a week at a time for vacation, but I think it's still "fair."

Posted by: DCResident00 | July 16, 2007 1:13 PM

The trolls have been slayed.

Posted by: Leslie's intern | July 16, 2007 1:15 PM

I have plenty of leave saved up, just no $$ to go on vacation. *sigh*

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 1:16 PM

"I have plenty of leave saved up, just no $$ to go on vacation. *sigh*"

Take some "mental health" days if you can! Those are as good as a vacation somtimes. I know I'll probably get lambasted for suggesting that, but seriously - you earned those days! Stay at home on a random Wednesday with some good movies or a book or go walk around your city. You only live once. And it might even make you more productive at work since you'll have something to look forward to and you'll be relaxed.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 1:21 PM

I really appreciated this blog. I have a 15-month-old son now who was an IVF baby. Anyone who's gone through that knows how tough it can be to do while also working with all of the monitoring and last-minute doctor's appointments. And now I would like to try for a second child. I completely understand what the author is saying about the guilt. I am imagining what's ahead and already feel guilty about it. But I am a good and conscientious employee and I think even better since I've had a child. We give up an awful lot sometimes for our employers these days carrying around Blackberries and being available all the time. I don't think we should feel guilty about having the family we want. I could be fired tomorrow on a whim for something completely out of my control. A job can be very temporary; a family is a permanent, lifetime commitment. As long as I am respectful of my employer and my employer is respectful of me, having another child shouldn't be an issue. This is life.

Posted by: Hobbes | July 16, 2007 1:24 PM

Me,

Thanks. He's really a good guy and we're all pulling for him.

Posted by: food for thought | July 16, 2007 1:26 PM

"To the poster of July 16, 2007 12:50 PM: As part of the TRUE landed gentry (Jamestown settlement, 1615), I feel for you and stump-propping great grandma."

Unless you run a bunch of DNA test, you can't REALLY be sure who you are related to...

Wah, wah, wah!

Posted by: Norman Bates | July 16, 2007 1:29 PM

I'm interested in the perspective of those who came out in favor of thinking of your boss/employer before having a child. Would you decline to take a different job if someone offered you a good one, just because that would inconvenience your current boss/employer?

Posted by: clever moniker | July 16, 2007 1:32 PM

Did you trace them and block them from leaving future messages on this blog?

Posted by: To Leslie's intern | July 16, 2007 1:35 PM

To Leslie's intern

"Did you trace them and block them from leaving future messages on this blog?"

Oh, my God! What a tighta$s hall monitor!!

Posted by: Gestapo | July 16, 2007 1:37 PM

"I have plenty of leave saved up, just no $$ to go on vacation. *sigh*"

No one's REQUIRED to travel to someplace else in order to take vacation time. If you're in DC why not do the tourist thing here, as lots of the biggest attractions on the Mall are free!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 1:38 PM

I have plenty of leave saved up, just no $$ to go on vacation. *sigh*"

No one's REQUIRED to travel to someplace else in order to take vacation time. If you're in DC why not do the tourist thing here, as lots of the biggest attractions on the Mall are free!

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 01:38 PM

Good point...guess I should quite whining and do that! :-) I do live a couple metro stops from D.C.

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 1:41 PM

"I have plenty of leave saved up, just no $$ to go on vacation. *sigh*"

No one's REQUIRED to travel to someplace else in order to take vacation time. If you're in DC why not do the tourist thing here, as lots of the biggest attractions on the Mall are free!

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 01:38 PM

Porchville, next best place to Margaritaville!!!

Posted by: No place like home | July 16, 2007 1:41 PM

Good point...guess I should quite whining and do that! :-) I do live a couple metro stops from D.C.

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 01:41 PM

Some people pay good money to come to DC on vacation. Bet they'd envy you, because you already know your way around town.

Posted by: No place like home | July 16, 2007 1:45 PM

Any suggestions for inexpensive, D.C. area day trips???

Thanks!

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 1:46 PM

Any suggestions for inexpensive, D.C. area day trips???

Preferably where you don't get murdered I assume.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 1:49 PM

I'm also childless by choice, and am in no way bitter or angry at parents. Not all things in life are fair or equal, and at some point, I've picked up the slack for coworkers. Guess what? They've done the same for me, when I've had to leave to care for a family member with a terminal illness. It comes down to a basic understanding that sometimes life doesn't always work perfectly and that a little understanding goes a long way.

It irks me when people complain about benefits. Those benefits are provided to all employees, how you use them is up to you. I used FLMA to care for my relative. My coworker used it for the baby. Both of us worked equally hard to earn those benefits, why shouldn't he be entitled to use them?

Sure, having a child is a choice, most of the time. But that child can't take care of itself, it needs its parents, and there's no law in the book that says work is the be all and end all of life. I've noticed that people who have taken parental leave, for the most part, do their best to minimize the impact they have on the rest of us. I also know that if it came down to it, those people will help me if I need to take FLMA for any reason. And I'd much rather work with a parent who is willing to do their job, even if they're gone for 12 weeks, than work with someone who slacks off all the time and does less work on a regular basis than the parent.

So yes, although I am not having any children of my own, I understand that sometimes balancing life can be difficult. It makes it a lot easier if your coworkers show a measure of understanding and patience, because someday, it may be one of them who needs help, for whatever reason. The idea that work must take priority over caring for a family member who needs you- whether it's a baby or anyone else- isn't valid.

Posted by: Sitka | July 16, 2007 1:56 PM

"Porchville, next best place to Margaritaville!!!"

Fred, where are you? Is there a category for quote of the month?

Posted by: anon | July 16, 2007 1:57 PM

Mall, including Smithsonian Museums.
Capitol Hill.
White House.
National Arboretum.
National Zoo (see the pandas).
Great Falls.
Arlington National Cemetery (Tomb of the Unknowns).
Textile Museum.

Posted by: To Me | July 16, 2007 1:59 PM

Porchville, a blender, and a good book. That's all the vacation I want right now!

Posted by: Sitka | July 16, 2007 2:00 PM

I'm a few hours late for this....but for those grouchy no child-ers, I think I speak for many people when I say it stinks to have to cover for anyone else at work without getting properly compensated, but take it up with your boss or your HR department. And maybe I even speak for one or two other people when I say maybe if you weren't so mean and biiter, someone would want to procreate with YOU!!!! But as it stands, I'm glad you aren't bringing your mean-spiritedness to bear on a poor and defenseless child.

Posted by: Hehehehe | July 16, 2007 2:02 PM

Mothers do not get enough credit for all they do. Any employer worth working for should be happy to have a Mom on-board as they are the people who will get things done!

Posted by: RoseG | July 16, 2007 12:35 PM

How come no one call mothers on their prejudice?

You are bascally saying moms are better than everyone else.

try this: "Men do not get enough credit for all they do. Any employer worth working for should be happy to have a Man on-board as they are the people who will get things done!"

Sounds great doesn't it?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:05 PM

"Men do not get enough credit for all they do. Any employer worth working for should be happy to have a Man on-board as they are the people who will get things done!"

How about inserting "single woman living in own home" for Men/Man?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 16, 2007 2:08 PM

"Mothers do not get enough credit for all they do. Any employer worth working for should be happy to have a Mom on-board as they are the people who will get things done!:"

Yep. The Moms got a lot done after Hurricane Katrina!

Do you have any scientific evidence to support these statements?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:09 PM

What is upsetting to the "trolls" is I think, the sense of entitlement of many of the posters. Maternity leave is a benefit that employers provide to their employees. Generally once a benefit is extended people being to feel entitled whether it is maternity leave or free popcorn or coffee. While you certainly have a right to procreate the time that you get is a benefit for which you should be grateful. Therefore, a little guilt in recognizing that you are imposing costs both financial and workload wise on your company and fellow employees is certainly the mark of someone who recognizes the difference between entitlement and benefit. Trying to rationalize that it somehow makes you better is a specious arguement at best.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:11 PM

To hehehehe: of course - and while you're 'covering' for someone else - you can show the people you work with who you are, what you can get done, and how hard you work - leading to a raise/promotion.

how horrible is that?

Posted by: atlmom | July 16, 2007 2:12 PM

Try this: "CAPABLE PEOPLE do not get enough credit for all they do. Any employer worth working for should be happy to have CAPABLE PEOPLE on-board as they are the people who will get things done!"

Sounds better yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:14 PM

"Men do not get enough credit for all they do. Any employer worth working for should be happy to have a Man on-board as they are the people who will get things done!"

How about inserting "single woman living in own home" for Men/Man?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 16, 2007 02:08 PM

Too many words ;)

Serioiusly, it works for anyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:14 PM

Free popcorn??? you get free popcorn??? no fair!! WWWAAAAAHHHH

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 2:15 PM

"A manager friend recently hired someone who within 10 minutes of the first day of work announced they were 4 months pregnant. That means in 4-5 months that person will be out on leave. Discrimination acts protect the woman from losing her job; nothing protects the employer who now will spend this time period training someone who will be going out on leave in 4-5 months leaving them short for 3 months minimum and wondering if she'll be coming back."

The FMLA doesn't apply if the employee has been with the company for less than a year. So the manager was under no obligation to allow the woman to take 3 months off. The manager could require her to be back at work as soon as she was medically able.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:16 PM

It absolutely works for anyone.
The blog even went here once - are parents better employees?
Good employee before being a parent will most likely be a good employee after becomming a parent and vice versa.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 16, 2007 2:17 PM

The FMLA doesn't apply if the employee has been with the company for less than a year. So the manager was under no obligation to allow the woman to take 3 months off. The manager could require her to be back at work as soon as she was medically able.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 02:16 PM

And I believe most insurance companies would consider this a 'preexisting condition".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:18 PM

Maybe you could ask the peanuts on the travel chat suggest good DC area day trips for your vacation. Online till 3 today:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/07/11/DI2007071101179.html

Posted by: To Me | July 16, 2007 2:18 PM

I don't know about anyone else... but, speaking as a single working woman with no kids, who usually has to take up the slack for the repeat mommies in the office (with no extra pay and no thank yous, I might add), by the time a co-worker announces she's preggers for the 3rd time, I feel like giving them a box of condoms as a baby shower present.

Posted by: Donna | July 16, 2007 2:21 PM

Thanks for this blog--I'm getting ready to have my first baby and go on maternity leave, and just last night I spiraled into a panic of "How am I going to come back to work and do what I do now when I have a kid?!?" It was calming to read the experience of someone who returned from leave a better, more focused, worker--from now on, I'll be reminding myself of this when I go into panic spirals!

The comments on this blog are also a good introduction for parents-to-be of some of the "mommy wars" raging in our country. My opinion is that people are always picking up the slack for other people--either because they have personal problems, health problems, family issues, or are just plain lazy. This is an inevitable part of working with other people, and if it's going to drive you insane, you best go into business for yourself.

Posted by: First Time Pregnant | July 16, 2007 2:21 PM

Therefore, a little guilt in recognizing that you are imposing costs both financial and workload wise on your company and fellow employees is certainly the mark of someone who recognizes the difference between entitlement and benefit.

I will feel less entitled and realize the costs when the CEO stops making 70 million a year, has a jet, has the company pay his taxes, buys his house,inserts change of control options which reward HIM/HER millions if they sell out the company. Until then, DAMN right I feel entitled to use the benefits that the company "gave " me.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:22 PM

Any suggestions for inexpensive, D.C. area day trips???

Thanks!

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 01:46 PM


Philly
Baltimore
the Chesapeake area
Blue Ridge Mountains
Mt Vernon
Wiliamsburg
Lancaster, PA
Harper's Ferry
MD/DE beaches

There is so much to do in this area.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:22 PM

"And I believe most insurance companies would consider this a 'preexisting condition"."

Most women do not need 3 months of medical recovery time after giving birth. Most women are physically capable of returning to work within a couple of weeks.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:24 PM

Thanks...think I will head to Harpers Ferry soon, I have been there a couple times and really enjoyed myself.

First Time Pregnant - good luck with your baby! Enjoy!

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 2:25 PM

Any suggestions for inexpensive, D.C. area day trips???

Thanks!

Posted by: Me | July 16, 2007 01:46 PM


Philly
Baltimore
the Chesapeake area
Blue Ridge Mountains
Mt Vernon
Wiliamsburg
Lancaster, PA
Harper's Ferry
MD/DE beaches

There is so much to do in this area.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 02:22 PM

There are also a number of decent wineries in the area that do tastings.

Google "day trips around Washington dc"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:25 PM

To the poster above who accused a single woman of being "mean spirited" for resenting having to take up slack for serial moms:

Give me a break. The cold hard fact of life is that even after the women's lib movement, a mother will ALWAYS take social precedence over a single woman. Single women are seen as intrinsically of less worth, having less rights. No wonder these women are having oodles of children (more than they can afford, sometimes) - it solidifies their social status.

The cost of the Family and Medical Leave Act just gets fobbed off onto the lower status women. That's why you can't just walk into your boss's office and demand extra compensation.

Posted by: Donna | July 16, 2007 2:25 PM

Actually, pregnancy is *not* a pre-existing condition. If you're in a group policy such as in a company - the insurance company is required to cover it like any other pregnant lady.

Posted by: atlmom | July 16, 2007 2:26 PM

"The comments on this blog are also a good introduction for parents-to-be of some of the "mommy wars" raging in our country."

I haven't seen the 'mommy wars' anywhere but on this blog. Maybe in real life people are more civil to each other.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:27 PM

Actually, pregnancy is *not* a pre-existing condition. If you're in a group policy such as in a company - the insurance company is required to cover it like any other pregnant lady.

Posted by: atlmom | July 16, 2007 02:26 PM

So if a woman is pregnant when she signs up for a group policy, she will be covered? Just curious, not sure how that works...they should be covered, insurance cos. certainly charge enough in premiums.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:28 PM

Donna:

I'm with you. And it's funny because these are usually the first people who pass judgment on my choices for NOT wanting kids.

Posted by: No Kidz | July 16, 2007 2:28 PM

What would happen if starting today people would work normal hours again

Imagine you come in to work at 8:30 you take a half hour for lunch and you leave at 5. You come home you don't check your email.

Thats my life everyday folks and I laugh at all of you. Balance is what you make of it. No one is forcing you to work 10 hours each day. The only people laughing harder are your bosses who are reaping the benefits of your labor.

Posted by: Some advice | July 16, 2007 2:29 PM

From what I understand, 2:28, yes. We almost had this issue when I was pregnant and my SIL works in HR and indicated the law was such that they couldn't drop me from coverage (or not cover it).

Posted by: atlmom | July 16, 2007 2:30 PM

I will feel less entitled and realize the costs when the CEO stops making 70 million a year, has a jet, has the company pay his taxes, buys his house,inserts change of control options which reward HIM/HER millions if they sell out the company. Until then, DAMN right I feel entitled to use the benefits that the company "gave " me.

_________________________________

Bitter much. Maybe if you were able to take the company to the places that the CEO does, work the hours that the CEO does and realize the revenue that the CEO does then you would be paid more and less concerned over a couple of grand and a few weeks off. What you don't see is taht when the CEO is on vacation, he works every day. Packages arrive, calls are made. The CEO does not just walk out of the office for two weeks and check back in later. Maybe if you weren't so far from the executive suite, you might know that. If they can pay the CEO 70 million that you should feel comfortable that you have a job with a stable organization that can extend benefits to you. You sound like you are 13.

Socially speaking women who have children are of greater benefit to society in that without children the species would die out. So it is pretty important that someone do it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:34 PM

2:34 says:Socially speaking women who have children are of greater benefit to society in that without children the species would die out. So it is pretty important that someone do it.

Tell that to Mother Teresa.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:36 PM

Insurance coverage of pregnancy has nothing to do with FMLA leave. They are totally separate issues. A woman who has been at her job for less than a year will have her pregnancy covered by insurance, but that does not mean she is entitled to take 3 months of leave. Her employer can require her to return to work as soon as she is cleared by her doctor.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:36 PM

Why should you not feel entitled to your benefits package? It is part of your compensation. Don't you feel entitled to your salary? When you take a job, you are offered a certain set of salary and benefits. Many people choose between jobs based on the combination of salary and benefits. If you are entitled to your salary (which I think you are if you do your job), you are also entitled to whatever benefits you were offered or negotiated when you took your job. It's part of your compensation plan, not some "gift" from your employer.

Posted by: Kathrina | July 16, 2007 2:37 PM

to 2:36: what if her doctor tells her that she isn't fit until she's 12 weeks along?

Wouldn't it be that, since FMLA doesn't apply, that the employer can fire the woman?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:38 PM

THE BLONDE AND THE LORD


A blonde wanted to go ice fishing. She'd seen many books on the subject and finally getting all the necessary tools together, she made for the ice. After positioning her comfy footstool, she started to make a circular cut in the ice. Suddenly, from the sky, a voice boomed,

"THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE."

Startled, the blonde moved further down the ice, poured a thermos of cappuccino, and began to cut yet another hole. Again from the heavens the voice bellowed,

"THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE."
The blonde, now worried, moved away, clear down to the opposite end of the ice. She set up her stool once more and tried again to cut her hole. The voice came once more,

"THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE."


She stopped, looked skyward, and said,

IS THAT YOU LORD?"

The voice replied,

"NO, THIS IS THE MANAGER OF THE HOCKEY RINK!

Posted by: Joke Time (from Fred) | July 16, 2007 2:39 PM

Actually, 2:36, the employer can require her to return to work or fire her for taking unauthorized leave on exactly the same basis as he could any other worker. Outside FMLA, you're not entitled to sick leave in this country and it's perfectly legal to fire someone who gets sick and can't come to work, whether its for one week or one day.

Posted by: NotAMom | July 16, 2007 2:40 PM

"Chances are you simply prefer to see Jews and other light-skinned, primarily English-speaking persons emigrate rather than Latinos? It's a good thing you don't represent the Republican party."

Nope, I just believe in legal immigration. I said nothing about jews either, so why did you bring them up? Do you have an issue with them or something?

You are also deluding yourself if you think that most republicans agree with you. This has nothing to do with race, it has to do with breaking the law. Go write another stupid post that is laced with the insuination of racism because for people like you, that is the only argument you have.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:41 PM

"2:34 says:Socially speaking women who have children are of greater benefit to society in that without children the species would die out. So it is pretty important that someone do it."

Someone doesn't mean everyone.

And quite frankly, this puts undue pressure on women who want children, but can't have them. So because they can't reproduce makes them less viable and valuable as a person?

Thanks, but I'm going to continue believing that I have a lot more to offer than what my ovaries and uterus can do. If that makes me less of a human being, then so be it. I'd rather have lived my life the way I wanted (as so many others seem to do) than chosen a life that I know I would've regretted.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:42 PM

Actually, 2:37, many people *just* look at the compensation and not the benefits, and end up taking the highest offer. It's interesting to see that.

Of course, there are some benefits that the employer has or doesn't have that the employee values, that the employer has no control over (people's preferences, i.e., location, for the most part).

Posted by: atlmom | July 16, 2007 2:42 PM

"Fred, where are you? Is there a category for quote of the month?"
Posted by: anon | July 16, 2007 01:57 PM

Fred has been busy and does not think there will be a quote of the month.

But Fred will be in the D.C. area next week on vacation!

Posted by: Fred | July 16, 2007 2:43 PM

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 02:34 PM

Not bitter just truthful. People like you make excuses for CEOS all the time. What job can you have that your friends decide your pay, cause the share price to fall, get fired and walk away with 50 million. That is the line of BS that has been fed to workers to justify ridiculous salaries while benefits are cut. I am a white collar worker too not a union pipefitter or something. Management is laughing all the way to the bank. The Blackstone president makes about 300 million a year, 300 million! Just pure greed

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:46 PM

Fred

"THE BLONDE AND THE LORD"

This is highly offensive to my religious beliefs!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:46 PM

This is highly offensive to my religious beliefs!

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 02:46 PM

Why? Are you a blonde?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:50 PM

Anyody else having trouble posting today? I have tried to post three or four times today, with nothing showing up.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 2:51 PM

If you want to be a mother, stay home and let someone else more deserving have the job.

Posted by: John Paul | July 16, 2007 2:52 PM

"Go write another stupid post that is laced with the insuination of racism because for people like you, that is the only argument you have."

Gladly, baby, if you will learn how to spell!

Posted by: Sammy Davis Jr. | July 16, 2007 2:52 PM

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 02:46 PM

By the way, I forgot. The Blackstone president only pays 15% income tax on that thanks to pass through rules on private equity income. That means that his assistant pays more than him or possibly his maid or towel boy.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:52 PM

Anyody else having trouble posting today? I have tried to post three or four times today, with nothing showing up.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 02:51 PM

Why? Are you blonde?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:54 PM

"Anyody else having trouble posting today? I have tried to post three or four times today, with nothing showing up."

Why? Are you the Lord?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 2:57 PM

2:34 said "Socially speaking women who have children are of greater benefit to society in that without children the species would die out. So it is pretty important that someone do it"

Believe me, humans are in absolutely NO danger of dying out. According to the Census Bureau, the current population is over 6 billion. In approximately 40 years, we'll be up to 9 billion. Obviously, a LOT of someones are doing it!

Posted by: Important that somebody do it | July 16, 2007 2:57 PM

My problem is not with the CEO making money that they deserve, it's when they run a company into the ground and still make $300 million.
I could run a co. into the ground - and I'd do it for half that.

So part of the problem is that there is no risk on behalf of the CEO - they do great or they do poorly, they get gobs of money. There should be some consequences to them not doing so well.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:01 PM

Gladly, baby, if you will learn how to spell!

Oh no, it's a typo.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:02 PM

Fred

"THE BLONDE AND THE LORD"

This is highly offensive to my religious beliefs!

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 02:46 PM

Frieda, is that you? Did you learn to use the computer? Nan, could not be, you have never been blonde!

Posted by: Fred | July 16, 2007 3:03 PM

"Believe me, humans are in absolutely NO danger of dying out. According to the Census Bureau, the current population is over 6 billion. In approximately 40 years, we'll be up to 9 billion. Obviously, a LOT of someones are doing it!"

Right. But will these humans be good enough to wipe my a$s when I'm in the old folks home?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:07 PM

Gladly, baby, if you will learn how to spell!

Oh no, it's a typo.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 03:02 PM

Why? Are you a blonde?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:09 PM

"Gladly, baby, if you will learn how to spell!"

"Oh no, it's a typo."

What's the difference?


Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:10 PM

Most people need to start their own businesses.

It's seems the author was rationalizing why it was better for her employer to lose an employee for 8 months in a 3 year period.

Now what would the author say if her male coworkers mad more because they had accomplished more in the last 3 years?

Would that be discriminatory or just plain true.

Posted by: Richard | July 16, 2007 3:10 PM

Why are you counting on somebody else to take care of you in your old age? I'm certainly not. I'll never be able to afford an old folks home, and when it gets to the point when I can't wipe my own butt, it's time for me to exit this world.

Posted by: Good enough to wipe your.... | July 16, 2007 3:12 PM

It's seems the author was rationalizing why it was better for her employer to lose an employee for 8 months in a 3 year period.

Now what would the author say if her male coworkers mad more because they had accomplished more in the last 3 years?

Would that be discriminatory or just plain true.

Posted by: Richard | July 16, 2007 03:10 PM

Seems to me that if it were that much of a problem for her employer, she would have broomed to the door for other reasons. It's not impossible to fire someone who isn't a good employee.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:15 PM

when it gets to the point when I can't wipe my own butt

Before you lace your tea with arsenic, check out the latest in bidets.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:16 PM

Wow- it is amazing the level of bitterness coming from both sides of the argument here. But I'm hopeful when I read responses from persons like "Sitka" (childless by choice) who sum it up perfectly for me (a mother of 1 trying to get pregnant w/#2.) I think that no matter the marital or familial status, we all must balance our lives accordingly. If you have a good manager, an employee's time off (maternity leave, surgery, tending to sick parents, etc)can be seamless because team members cover each other. At least that has been my experience so far and I'm very grateful for that. I'm also grateful to have the best husband in the world! Often enough you do not hear about dads taking time off for sick kids or helping out with sick parents. I'm very fortunate that my husband makes a concerted effort to take our son in for regular doctor's visits or help w/my sick mother just as much as I do.

Posted by: plamar1031 | July 16, 2007 3:17 PM

when it gets to the point when I can't wipe my own butt

Sometimes people recover. So don't call Dr. Kevorkian yet.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:19 PM

Hi, boss, I'm pregnant again. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

Hi, boss, my drug habit has relapsed. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

What's the difference?

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 3:24 PM

Hey Meth, it's me, Scoot. Can we get a bidet? :-)

Posted by: Bidet | July 16, 2007 3:29 PM

My problem is not with the CEO making money that they deserve, it's when they run a company into the ground and still make $300 million.
I could run a co. into the ground - and I'd do it for half that.

-------------------------------
Well maybe the CEO IS smarter than you in that he/she figured out how to get the opportunity to run it into the ground and you clearly haven't.

Thanks, but I'm going to continue believing that I have a lot more to offer than what my ovaries and uterus can do. If that makes me less of a human being, then so be it. I'd rather have lived my life the way I wanted (as so many others seem to do) than chosen a life that I know I would've regretted.
_____________________________
You are so sensitive that you are clearly unable to understand an anthropologic topic from a personal one. I'm sure you are fabulous.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:29 PM

From a male "breeder" perspective --
At my previous work, there was an unofficial policy of three days of "work at home" credit with a fourth day for one's choice of well baby visit or a day to sleep and get over the impact of sleep deprivation. At my current work, I was allowed to take a week of vacation that was not specifically planned in advance. Pretty much the water broke at 3:30 pm on Friday and I was out the next week.

Did people have to cover for me for the week I was out? Yes. The same way they would have had to cover if I had been on vacation or at a professional conference. I received a lot of &$#%$ from single coworkers who had to cover for me, citing the unfairness of the situation. I left my desk essentially clear with two packages to be distributed when they arrived from Friday's work.

I still get flak when I take a planned day off (like -- 6 months ahead planned) for the first or last day of school. I traded my turn getting time off at Christmas to cover for my wife's travel to see her sister this year.

I thanked the people who covered for me. I did not receive thanks when I covered for them when they took multi-week vacations during our busy time of the year.

Bitterness is bitterness. I am begrudged the times I leave 30 minutes early to attend my children's events at school. Sorry, but I'm trying to raise good citizens and once in a blue moon one of my colleagues gets a request that they have to cover. I get a lot of the calls in the early morning before the colleagues realize that the business world exists. I just don't kvetch that life is unfair.

Posted by: Dave not in DC | July 16, 2007 3:29 PM

"You are so sensitive that you are clearly unable to understand an anthropologic topic from a personal one. I'm sure you are fabulous"

Not get laid enough this weekend? Oh, that's right! You have kids! HA!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:31 PM

"You are so sensitive that you are clearly unable to understand an anthropologic topic from a personal one. I'm sure you are fabulous"

Not get laid enough this weekend? Oh, that's right! You have kids! HA!

__________________________

Wow, that is a mind blowing come back - are you going to follow with something about the Jerk store? I'm devastated. Brava

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:34 PM

Hi, boss, I'm pregnant again. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

Hi, boss, my drug habit has relapsed. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

What's the difference?

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 03:24 PM

Why? Are you a blond?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:35 PM

From a male "breeder" perspective --
At my previous work, there was an unofficial policy of three days of "work at home" credit with a fourth day for one's choice of well baby visit or a day to sleep and get over the impact of sleep deprivation. At my current work, I was allowed to take a week of vacation that was not specifically planned in advance. Pretty much the water broke at 3:30 pm on Friday and I was out the next week.

-Dave...

When we had our child, my boss told me to take a week (on top of the two weeks of vacation time I had) and charge it to "sick time". Next year, come review time, I get less than the usual 4% because "I used too much sick time". Nice.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 3:39 PM

"Hi, boss, I'm pregnant again. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

Hi, boss, my drug habit has relapsed. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

What's the difference?"

The preggers one will never shut up about her baby.

The druggie will never shut up about the twelve steps.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:40 PM

Hi, boss, I'm pregnant again. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

Hi, boss, my drug habit has relapsed. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

What's the difference?

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 03:24 PM

The drug habit is cheaper?

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 3:42 PM

"Hi, boss, I'm pregnant again. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

Hi, boss, my drug habit has relapsed. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

What's the difference?"


You get fat from being preggers?


Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:44 PM

"Hi, boss, I'm pregnant again. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

"Hi, boss, my drug habit has relapsed. I'll be taking 12 weeks off.

"What's the difference?"

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 03:24 PM

The difference between Good and Bad, that's the difference.

Someone who is pregnant has undertaken the difficult, time-consuming project of bearing and raising the next generation. As several people have already posted today, this is an absolutely essential project. Even from the corporate view, it is essential. Without new workers, investors, managers and customers, how will the corporation keep going after the current work force, stockholder body, management and customer base get old and pass from this world? Pregnancy is tough -- that's why we give up our seats on the bus to expectant mothers. But overall, pregnancy is both a private and a public Good.

Someone with a drug habit is taking time off for pure pleasure. Unless his drug of choice is one of those that are ratified by Western culture (alcohol, caffeine, tobacco), he is also breaking the law in pursuit of pure pleasure. We have holidays for that purpose, such as the Christmas day where Scrooge has to pay Bob Cratchit a day's wages for no work. Some outfits also give personal vacation time, when the worker can drink as much whiskey and beer as the Cratchits do on Christmas Day, or toke hash to his heart's content. But if his habit requires more time than holidays and vacation, then the boss has two choices. One choice is to let him come to work stoned. We had a fellow like that once. We put him to mindless work, processing data lines each of which began with the four letters "YBAT." That worked for a while, but unfortunately the fellow eventually drank himself to death. The other choice is to fire him, and fill his position with someone who recognizes that the Company comes before pure, illegal physical pleasure. Dope addiction -- especially to such Third World drugs as opiates, cocaine and cannabis -- is a private and public Bad because it represents an irruption into Western society of the South Asian village where the men sit under palm trees smoking their narghiles while poor, hungry children, covered with flies, stumble around in muddy streams polluted by raw sewage because the menfolk are satisified getting high rather than work to make a civilization for their wives and children.

Every one of us is some mother's son or daughter. It is an insult to our mothers to compare them with dope addicts.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 16, 2007 3:48 PM

I really loved this guest entry! The topic was good, real life and didn't have all the whining about whether to be an SAHM or not, which is all the usual author of the column ever seems to think about.

Posted by: workingmom of 3 | July 16, 2007 3:51 PM

Matt in Aberdeen says "It is an insult to our mothers to compare them with dope addicts."

Some people become mothers as a result of alcohol or drugs.

Posted by: Not necessarily an insult..... | July 16, 2007 3:51 PM

I'm a woman who is also childless by choice. I can't help but read all the attacks on "Another Woman" calling her bitter.

It's interesting that people always assume that childless people are bitter, no? My husband and I chose not to have children.
And we are as happy as can be. I think my marriage with my husband is healthier than most of my friends with kids (and recent studies prove that we are the norm).

What drew me to this forum today is my suspicion that people with children feel their needs are a) more important and b) view their actions as parents as a "right." And reading comments on this post, I would still say that my suspicion remains true. No, maternity leave is not a cake walk -- I've had a front row seat to my sisters and friends. But what it IS -- no matter how you spin it -- is a choice. And that choice has an impact on other people. Most employers do not offer a three month carte blanche leave to ANYONE. My previous employer only offered five sick days, but a generous maternity leave. When I had surgery I got five days. New mothers got months. How is that fair?

There ARE inequalities for many employees who are childless and I beg to differ with many on this thread who are dismissing that. We end up working longer hours (I supervised two women with children and would often get stuck doing their work on snow days, chil sickness, etc.) I had absolutely no legal grounds to complain about this.

The anger out there is real. Single or childless women get taken advantage of in workplaces across the country -- both by their coworkers and the companies themselves. Have an honest conversation with a single woman or a woman who is childless and see what she says.

I can only speak for myself, in this instance. But I got so tired of picking up the slack for my employees that I left. I'm now lucky enough to work for a company that is smart enough to give benefits to all their employees.

But do not dismiss the complaints. And for many of you, stop acting like you are more important in society because you have kids, or your needs are more important because you have a family. We ALL have a place. This perpetuates a feeling that single or childless people have no value. Just because I don't have children doesn't mean I don't have as much to give OR have less of an effect. I mentor and tutor at risk children and have for years. Clearly, "parenting" isn't a green light for making the world a better place. I've seen the evidence of that far to much over the years.

Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 3:53 PM

I think it is an insult to refer to drug addiction or alcoholism as a "disease". My father and sister both died of cancer - THAT is a disease. Don't lump them together with drunks and druggies.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:53 PM

Some people become mothers as a result of alcohol or drugs.

Posted by: Not necessarily an insult..... | July 16, 2007 03:51 PM

Sounds like you've got a case of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:54 PM

I think it is an insult to refer to drug addiction or alcoholism as a "disease". My father and sister both died of cancer - THAT is a disease. Don't lump them together with drunks and druggies.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 03:53 PM

Read the recent cover story in TIME re the nature of addictions. Has to do with brain chemistry, definitely falls under the category of disease.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:55 PM

Matt in Aberdeen says "It is an insult to our mothers to compare them with dope addicts."

"Some people become mothers as a result of alcohol or drugs."

And some people become fathers as a result of alcohol or drugs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:56 PM

Read the recent cover story in TIME re the nature of addictions. Has to do with brain chemistry, definitely falls under the category of disease.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 03:55 PM

Whatever. My father and sister couldn't enter rehab or a 12 step program and be cured of their disease. Sorry, not the same thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 3:57 PM

3:53 says, "Don't lump them together with drunks and druggies."

I must agree with you. Drug addiction is not a disease. People CHOOSE to smoke, snort, or inject drugs. It is a CHOICE - exactly like pregnancy is a CHOICE. So like Mr. Methane said, what's the difference?

Posted by: Making choices | July 16, 2007 3:58 PM

So...what's the difference between asking the boss for 12 weeks off for childbirth, and asking the boss for 12 weeks off to treat an addiction relapse?

Answer: The relapsed person doesn't have to worry about opening a 529 plan to send their monkey to college.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 3:59 PM

Many people make lifestyle choices that give them cancer. Smoking, eating red meat, exposing themselves to chemicals etc... What's the difference between that and drug addiction?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:00 PM

like Mr. Methane said

No, AS Mr. Methane said

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:01 PM

I'm a woman who is also childless by choice. I can't help but read all the attacks on "Another Woman" calling her bitter.
Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 03:53 PM

Well see, we don't know you in real life, so you are what you post. If you post nothing but bitternees, you will be called a bitter person. You probably won't be because your post was more than just bitter envy.

Are you the original "Childless by Choice"? Because if you are not, be prepared for all the comments that will be directed your way.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 4:02 PM

"It is an insult to our mothers to compare them with dope addicts."

Mea culpa. I apologize to relapsed addicts everywhere.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 4:03 PM

Whatever. My father and sister couldn't enter rehab or a 12 step program and be cured of their disease. Sorry, not the same thing.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 03:57 PM

So, if it is curable, it is not a disease? I understand your point, and kind of agree with it, but your arguement stinks.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 4:05 PM

"It is an insult to our mothers to compare them with dope addicts."

Mea culpa. I apologize to relapsed addicts everywhere.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 04:03 PM

What about addicts and alcoholics who are keeping clean and sober, one day at a time?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:06 PM

4:00 said "Smoking, eating red meat, exposing themselves to chemicals etc... What's the difference between that and drug addiction?"

Excellent point. I want 12 weeks off because I have high cholesterol. And while I'm not a smoker, why not give smokers 12 weeks off to complete a quitting program?

Posted by: More choices...... | July 16, 2007 4:07 PM

What's the difference between a terminal cancer patient and a heroin addict?

Answer: The terminal cancer patient can get all the opiates they want. And if they're lucky, health insurance will pay for their drugs!

Thank you, thank you vurry much.
I'll be here all week.

Posted by: Elvis | July 16, 2007 4:07 PM

Its also important to note that many addicts began their habits when they were teens and unable to truly understand and anticipate the consequences of their poor choices. Additionally, many of these people are the products of abusive verbal and sexually homes - is that their fault too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:08 PM

So, if it is curable, it is not a disease? I understand your point, and kind of agree with it, but your arguement stinks.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 04:05 PM

That was quite a leap of "logic". Tough to explain what I mean - I guess my point is my family members did not "give themselves" their disease by drinking heavily or taking drugs - both are choices made my individuals - and announce that they had a "disease". Which could then be "cured" by rehab or whatever.
grrrr...if someone could explain this better, please help!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:09 PM

Thank you, thank you vurry much.
I'll be here all week.

Posted by: Elvis | July 16, 2007 04:07 PM

Unless you OD first while sitting on the crapper.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:10 PM

Are you the original "Childless by Choice"? Because if you are not, be prepared for all the comments that will be directed your way.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 04:02 PM

As I can tell, there are quite a few people who have contributed today who are "Childless By Choice." It's a common term used by thousands around the country (in fact, my husband and I belong to a "Childless By Choice" meet up group). But for the "original" on this thread? No, I am not. I'm just a woman who feels that there are several points of view and felt the need to contribute mine.

Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 4:11 PM

"What about addicts and alcoholics who are keeping clean and sober, one day at a time?"

They are some of the strongest people out there...unless you include SonofaBush.

And, unlike pregant women, they won't let you pat their bellies.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 4:12 PM

"What about addicts and alcoholics who are keeping clean and sober, one day at a time?"

They are some of the strongest people out there...unless you include SonofaBush.

And, unlike pregnant women, they won't let you pat their bellies.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 4:12 PM

The difference between a two week vacation and a mom who takes off whenever the kids are sick is that the vacation is planned. People know in advance and can anticipate the absence. People running out in the middle of the day or with no notice can have a significant impact on the workplace. No one chooses for their family member to get sick, but most people these days choose to have their children. Would the maternity leave gang give equal support to someone who wanted leave for cosmetic surgery?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:13 PM

"Unless you OD first while sitting on the crapper."

Not to worry. When I decided to get pregnant, I got clean and sober.

Thank you. Thank yew vurry much.

Posted by: Elvis | July 16, 2007 4:14 PM

But for the "original" on this thread? No, I am not. I'm just a woman who feels that there are several points of view and felt the need to contribute mine.

Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 04:11 PM

Just a warning, the original was real nasty person and your point of view may be lost because of it.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 4:15 PM

in fact, my husband and I belong to a "Childless By Choice" meet up group

___________________________________
That's weird. That you are so hung up on this childless thing that you choose to meet people on that premise alone? How about an art group? What do you guys do, just complain about people with kids? Really really odd.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:15 PM

My husband and I chose not to have children.
And we are as happy as can be. I think my marriage with my husband is healthier than most of my friends with kids (and recent studies prove that we are the norm).

Great news! Childless by Choice has finally broke up her lovers marriage and is now on the up and up. Either that or she is lying about being married to cover up her nasty self.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:16 PM

I'm starting a petless by choice group. If you are interested in joining, please email me @ weirdnwacky.com - I will also be forming a splinter group for those who distain dairy.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:17 PM

""It is an insult to our mothers to compare them with dope addicts."

Mea culpa. I apologize to relapsed addicts everywhere.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 04:03 PM "

Only here would someone say this.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:19 PM

Is cancer still a disease if it was caused by smoking?

Posted by: just checking | July 16, 2007 4:23 PM

"Only here would someone say this."

How does my comment differ from this blog's average garbage quotient of 250 useless, irrelevant, condescending, ignorant, selfish comments?

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 16, 2007 4:23 PM

in fact, my husband and I belong to a "Childless By Choice" meet up group).

Otherwise known as the "I hate children group and working mothers group."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:26 PM

Just a warning, the original was real nasty person and your point of view may be lost because of it.


Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 04:15 PM

Just a warning that Matt from Aberdeen uses 10,000 words when 100 would suffice. Look up the word "succinct" please!

Posted by: Just another troll | July 16, 2007 4:26 PM

Is cancer still a disease if it was caused by smoking?

Posted by: just checking | July 16, 2007 04:23 PM

Only if you have health insurance

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:26 PM

Great news! Childless by Choice has finally broke up her lovers marriage and is now on the up and up. Either that or she is lying about being married to cover up her nasty self.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 04:16 PM

I'm sorry that my happy marriage offends you and that it is inconceivable that someone who is childless could have a happy marriage to begin with. Going on strong for three years, in fact, with just us, the dog and the cat. Also, The Washington Post actually covered a story last Sunday about how studies reveal that childless couples are happier in the long term. So if you don't believe me, I encourage you to read the story.

And for the snarky poster -- why did we join a "Childless By Choice" meet up group? First of all, we don't complain about people with kids. I know this may come as a surprise, but we don't talk about you at all. And there are all kinds of couples -- gay and straight in the group. There are certain lifestyle factors for people who are childless and your interests do change once you have kids. For example, we travel quite a bit. My friends and sisters who have kids basically stopped travelling.

Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 4:26 PM

The difference between a two week vacation and a mom who takes off whenever the kids are sick is that the vacation is planned. People know in advance and can anticipate the absence. People running out in the middle of the day or with no notice can have a significant impact on the workplace. No one chooses for their family member to get sick, but most people these days choose to have their children. Would the maternity leave gang give equal support to someone who wanted leave for cosmetic surgery?

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 04:13 PM

What is the difference, to you, between the mom/dad being sick and their child being sick?

Better yet, what is the difference between you being sick and your coworkers kid being sick?

When you go on a two week vacation, who covers your work? Do they hire a temp? And what does vacation have to do with maternity leave (which can usually be planned for at least a couple of months in advance)?

Sick time is sick time, usually unplanned and often hard to cover for. What was that commercial a while ago "Hi boss, next week I plan on undercooking the chicken on Wednesday and as a result will be out until Monday"

You know, no matter how we try, there will never be anything equally important to the human species as childbirth.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 4:29 PM

To Another Woman

I have a daughter and work just as hard as anyone in this office. You, your bitter and hopefully forever childless friends will never make me feel guilty for choosing to be a working mother. I'll never feel guilty for taking time off to take her to the doctor or go on a class field trip. And trust me, I pick up the slack when my coworker goes to court because she just HAD to divorce her husband. I pick up the slack when she can't do her job. I pick up the slack when my boss goes on vacation for a week. I pick up the slack for the childless employees who decide to pack up and go on vacation at the last minute. I don't gripe, I roll up my sleeves and make sure my boss knows I put in extra time. Thats what happens when you work outside the home, or in your case, outside your cave. You actually have to DEAL with whatever life throws your way. And if life is so difficult at your current job Another Woman, maybe you should SHUT UP and find another job. Thats what grownups do. You're absolutely pathetic. You and everyone else who dares to make a woman feel guilty for having the gall to have a child and expect their coworkers to act like human beings with compassion.

Posted by: Working Mom and Proud of It | July 16, 2007 4:32 PM

I could care less about your marriage. I thought you were the other childless by choice poster, sorry.

As for the group you attend, please, don't even try to say the word "breeders" has never come up or that you and your friends have not complained. If it is just a group of friends who like to travel why is the word child even in the title?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:32 PM

"And for the snarky poster -- why did we join a "Childless By Choice" meet up group?

For example, we travel quite a bit."

Yes after the meeting, they caravan over to a preschool and shout insults at the 3 year olds and then meet up at applebees's for dessert. Her favorite is the key lime pie. Nothing like a good key lime pie after shouting at 3 year olds. That's good eatin!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:34 PM

Isn't a Childless By Choice group discrimination against parents?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:38 PM

Great news! Childless by Choice has finally broke up her lovers marriage and is now on the up and up. Either that or she is lying about being married to cover up her nasty self.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 04:16 PM

I'm sorry that my happy marriage offends you and that it is inconceivable that someone who is childless could have a happy marriage to begin with. Going on strong for three years, in fact, with just us, the dog and the cat. Also, The Washington Post actually covered a story last Sunday about how studies reveal that childless couples are happier in the long term. So if you don't believe me, I encourage you to read the story.

-Childless by Chioce

This is what I was talking about. The "original" CbC was sleeping with a married man and saw nothing wrong with it. You will be tarred with the brush intended for her if you use her moniker.

Re: your response. There are lies, dam* lies, and statistics. Self reporting happiness studies are really pretty useless in describing real individuals.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 4:38 PM

As for the group you attend, please, don't even try to say the word "breeders" has never come up or that you and your friends have not complained. If it is just a group of friends who like to travel why is the word child even in the title?

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 04:32 PM

quite simple: because couples with children have different priorities. Period. Just like how you "don't care" when I talk my marriage... I really "don't care" about your kids. So fair enough. I think we can agree to disagree.

But I must point out: I don't see you attacking Mothers and parents who join groups -- yet, you attack mine, or insinuate that my choice is wrong. Are you in a group? I don't see your choice to join one odd at all.

Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 4:39 PM

Wow-living in Canada I realize how lucky we are that between mother and father, we are able to take a cumulative 12 months for each child that is born. If you adopt a child, you also get the 12 months. Your job is guaranteed to exist when you return, and your company can choose to top up your salary above what you receive through unemployment. It would suck to have a baby in the states and have to go back to work after 2 months.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:40 PM

"The anger out there is real. Single or childless women get taken advantage of in workplaces across the country -- both by their coworkers and the companies themselves. Have an honest conversation with a single woman or a woman who is childless and see what she says."

Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 03:53 PM

Elinor Burkett wrote a whole book on this subject. The book is now available in paperback: "The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless" (New York: Free Press, 2002),

I read "The Baby Boon" when it first came out in hardback. Elinor Burkett makes some good points. The pro-natalists on the other side also have good arguments. What would libertarians say? Let each enterprise decide for itself how many "special rights" to grant to expectant parents and parents? Read the book.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 16, 2007 4:42 PM

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 04:38 PM

Thank you. I will change my name tag (see above). Thanks for pointing that out.

Posted by: Childless By Choice (2) | July 16, 2007 4:42 PM

As an employer and a mom, I've dealt with both sides of the issue. As an employer, I currently have an employee who is pregnant for the 3rd time in as many years. She has tried to prepare the office for each pregnancy but her work product slips with each new child due to the sleepless nights and generalized exhaustion. I've got to be honest, it's getting old...."I'm pregnant again and need another 12 weeks off....aren't you happy for me?" Not really because while you are having your sleepless nights because of baby, I'm having sleepless nights during your job for another 3 months!

Posted by: kwil1969 | July 16, 2007 4:43 PM

Nope, I am not a joiner, I just find it odd that people label groups "childless by choice." You know there are people who have children who do things after they are grown.

And when I said I didn't care, I said that because I thought you were someone else, but it's nice to know that you really don't like children.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:43 PM

"The anger out there is real. Single or childless women get taken advantage of in workplaces across the country -- both by their coworkers and the companies themselves. Have an honest conversation with a single woman or a woman who is childless and see what she says."

Posted by: Childless By Choice | July 16, 2007 03:53 PM

What about childless single men? Do they count at all? Are there books written about them? They get taken advantage of the same a the single women, but no one cares.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:45 PM

And when I said I didn't care, I said that because I thought you were someone else, but it's nice to know that you really don't like children.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 04:43 PM

So...if you don't want or have children, you automatically don't like them? Nice logic!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:46 PM

You know there are people who have children who do things after they are grown.

Some parents economize on other stuff so they can travel the world and even take their children along. It's a family value.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:47 PM

And when I said I didn't care, I said that because I thought you were someone else, but it's nice to know that you really don't like children.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 04:43 PM

Actually I mentor and help kids and have had a front row seat to the wonderful parenting in our society today. So you're wrong on that front. I like kids. I just don't want to have them.

I hope you never have to look in the mirror and evaluate what kind of parent you are. So why don't you pass your judgements on others on this thread.

Posted by: Childless By Choice (2) | July 16, 2007 4:48 PM

Some parents economize on other stuff so they can travel the world and even take their children along. It's a family value.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 04:47 PM

Isn't it pretty tough to travel with small children? Don't know how my parents did it...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:49 PM

I've got to be honest, it's getting old...."I'm pregnant again and need another 12 weeks off....aren't you happy for me?" Not really because while you are having your sleepless nights because of baby, I'm having sleepless nights during your job for another 3 months!

Funny how the feminist unity is thrown out the window when the shoe is on the other fit. All of a sudden guaranteed jobs and pay don't seem as great.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:53 PM

Isn't it pretty tough to travel with small children?

Yes, a lot of things in life are challenges, but you do them if it's important to you that your kids get to see other places, hear other languages and meet other cultures.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 4:54 PM

Childless by Choice --
Kudos for not reflecting bitterness. I suspect the bitterness comes from other people. I also suspect you aren't one of my coworkers that I was using as examples.

Devil's Advocate -- Part of my bonus involves not taking sick leave days. I was voted out of the office my the folks in my department when I came in with kidney stones. I was credited for the hours above the minimum that I had already worked in the week.

In one job interview with a major university, a candid potential supervisor said "I don't want to have to deal with breeders and all the days off they take." The only unplanned day out of the office that I had taken in the previous three years, I pointed out, was to come to their location for the interview. His boss was then given the task of getting me to withdraw my application without causing a stir.

I pay the price for coworkers-- single, married, childless, with children. My kids have been to Disney twice. Both times my vacation was cancelled because of others in the department having urgent schedule deviations and my wife and kids continued on vacation.

If one is bitter because a coworker gets an advantage over you sometimes and there is no reciprocity, it's a choice. The choice is yours whether to stay in the situation or to move on.

Posted by: Dave not in DC | July 16, 2007 4:57 PM

Two stories: A friend of ours who was a very high-ranking exec at a telcom company told us that his heart sank everytime a good employee announced her pregnancy. He started to not trust hiring very capable women if they looked like they might start a family on "his" time! He himself had come from a large family and had 3 kids of his own but he still apparently did not "get it".

My own experience was that I was very excited about my first pregnancy and somewhat dismayed by the way-less-than-glad reaction shown by my boss and co-workers when I gently shared the big news. Even MY OWN LOVING MOTHER was disappointed - she said "I thought you wanted a career!"

Posted by: boomerette | July 16, 2007 4:59 PM

My kids have been to Disney twice. Both times my vacation was cancelled because of others in the department having urgent schedule deviations and my wife and kids continued on vacation.

I don't see any balance here between work and family life.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:00 PM

Dave not in DC

My kids have been to Disney twice. Both times my vacation was cancelled because of others in the department having urgent schedule deviations and my wife and kids continued on vacation.

Grow a pair and stand up to your boss.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:03 PM

Only an idiot would choose a job over family in this day and age.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:06 PM

My kids have been to Disney twice. Both times my vacation was cancelled because of others in the department having urgent schedule deviations and my wife and kids continued on vacation.

Your boss has no schedule problems, knows no ball dave is always on call.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:09 PM

Only an idiot would choose a job over family in this day and age.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 05:06 PM

Does anyone else remember the time Leslie's husband went on family vacation but slept outside so he could field 3 AM business phone calls without waking them?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:10 PM

"Devil's Advocate -- Part of my bonus involves not taking sick leave days. I was voted out of the office my the folks in my department when I came in with kidney stones. I was credited for the hours above the minimum that I had already worked in the week."

Posted by: Dave not in DC | July 16, 2007 04:57 PM


Thats great! My benefit package (and I assume you coworkers) includes sick leave, whether I/they use it or not is none of your business. If management can't handle the benefits they provide, they shouldn't provide them, and I will work somewhere that does. (see, choice)

In one job interview with a major university, a candid potential supervisor said "I don't want to have to deal with breeders and all the days off they take." The only unplanned day out of the office that I had taken in the previous three years, I pointed out, was to come to their location for the interview. His boss was then given the task of getting me to withdraw my application without causing a stir.

I pay the price for coworkers-- single, married, childless, with children. My kids have been to Disney twice. Both times my vacation was cancelled because of others in the department having urgent schedule deviations and my wife and kids continued on vacation.

If one is bitter because a coworker gets an advantage over you sometimes and there is no reciprocity, it's a choice. The choice is yours whether to stay in the situation or to move on.

Posted by: Dave not in DC | July 16, 2007 04:57 PM

Dave, you sound really bitter about he choices you have made.

1. You choose to base you bonus on no sick time. I hope no one in your office get sick when you go to work with a contagiuos disease, just to make your bonus.

2. You are an effin idiot to cancel you vacation so someone else can have theirs.

Either you are managament and have chosen to give up your life to make the money, you are workaholic or you are an idiot. I would guess the first with a little of the second thrown in.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:13 PM

My friends and sisters who have kids basically stopped travelling.

___________________________

Why don't you join say - A TRAVEL GROUP. You are a total dodo. The difference between having a play group and a group that is childless by choice is that you are gathering under the premise of the absence of something. You are defnining yourself in reference to something somebody else has. Just as people who are childless by choice are a variety of races, have different interests and income levels so are people with children. Why not join a not blonde by choice group? It is laughable that this exists.

secondly, generally adults take fewer sick days than children. Adults don't suck on things and hang out in a room full of other sick people all day with their hands in their mouths. The issue is the frequency with which parents take off for kids. I can't remember the last time my husband or I took a sick day.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:15 PM

"What about childless single men? Do they count at all? Are there books written about them? They get taken advantage of the same a the single women, but no one cares."

Of course not! What do you expect? Men have to be a) minorities, b) disabled, or c) seniors to fall into that most valuable of situations, a "protected class." Women, of any race, creed, color, religious affiliation or sexual orientation automatically do - and will for every minute of their lives.

It's remarkable how often efforts to advance egalitarianism do it by using the tools of "some animals are more equal than others."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:16 PM

Either you are managament and have chosen to give up your life to make the money, you are workaholic or you are an idiot. I would guess the first with a little of the second thrown in.

Actually, this is called company man syndrome. Which I call bend over and take it so you might be considered for some other job. Do anything to my life and family, just please let me be the assistant to the regional director. get a life

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:19 PM

"A friend of ours who was a very high-ranking exec at a telcom company told us that his heart sank everytime a good employee announced her pregnancy. He started to not trust hiring very capable women if they looked like they might start a family on "his" time! He himself had come from a large family and had 3 kids of his own but he still apparently did not "get it"."

Didn't "get" what? That if they became pregnant he would be absolutely certain of a significant absence from work, significant costs to the medical benefits plan, and a not-insignificant chance that they're never come back? There's a real cost here. In a perfect world, perhaps he and his organization should be happy to pay it as a pro bono benefit to the community. But all the happy talk in the world won't make the reality of the cost go away. (And yes, other things like coronary artery disease can have similar costs - we have similar tensions there, with employers being perfectly aware of the costs, while society insists that employers pick up the tab).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:22 PM

"Why don't you join say - A TRAVEL GROUP. You are a total dodo. The difference between having a play group and a group that is childless by choice is that you are gathering under the premise of the absence of something."

You are seeing things from your perspective. There are moms groups, why can't there be childless by choice groups? I have kids, so I am not looking from a childless perspective. I enjoy talking about my kids, parenting, schools and other subjects that are a part of my life. Childless by choice people may not want to hear about those things or about infertility problems and treatments that might be discussed by people who are childless but not by choice.

People tend to socialize with others with similiar interests. Not to say they never talk about things that interest parents. A travel group would include people who like to travel, but families of small children probably travel differently than childless people. For instance, childless people really don't care what is available for children while they are on a trip because they don't need services and activities for children.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:24 PM

If a daycare worker gets pregnant, she should take off three months and all the other workers should just suck it up and take up the slack. Parents, (the bosses) should not be the least bit upset and should just 'get it'. Parents should not be upset if they hire a new day care provider who tells them 10 minutes after hiring that she is pregnant.


I am a woman who believes that there should be job protection for pregnant women and sufficient time off for maternity (not necessarily paid, but allowed). I also understand that this affects the workplace differently than hiring people who will not be having children.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 5:30 PM

If a daycare worker gets pregnant, she should take off three months and all the other workers should just suck it up and take up the slack. Parents, (the bosses) should not be the least bit upset and should just 'get it'.

-anon

In this case, unless you are talking about a home daycare or nanny, the company should hire a replacement. As a parent, one of the reasons I would choose a center is based on the worker/child ratio. If anything happens to change that, I would expect mangement to fix it, or I will go elsewhere. The states also tend to have worker/child minimums and if these are violated, the center can lose its license.

Posted by: devils advocate | July 16, 2007 5:44 PM

People tend to socialize with others with similiar interests. Not to say they never talk about things that interest parents. A travel group would include people who like to travel, but families of small children probably travel differently than childless people. For instance, childless people really don't care what is available for children while they are on a trip because they don't need services and activities for children.

______________________________
What you don't see and the reason you are a dodo is that you are defnining yourself by what you don't have and assuming that others who don't have this one thing have similiar intersts can only mean that you may be one of the most narrow people in the world if that's all you have to have in common with someone to consider it some sort of group activiity. Geeze, God forbid you might actually have to listen to a single thing that didn't interest you. Sometimes that's what makes life interesting, is having friends of all different kinds. If I only hung out with people with kids or people who like Entourage or travel then I may as well spend time by myself. That's not interesting there's nothing to learn from people who are exactly like you. I stand by my original statement, you and your group are a bunch of dodo birds.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 6:15 PM

Yeah, 6:15, because sharing one or two interests means people never have OTHER, different interests that they might talk about. I think people in the Society for Creative Anachronism are weird, but I don't go around criticizing them or calling them "dodos" because they socialize in a way I don't understand or appreciate. Get a life.

Posted by: NotAMom | July 16, 2007 6:57 PM

Interesting comments by you all. As someone who has been in a few workplaces, I'd have to say that while parents do get a lot of breaks that single or "childless" folks don't get, the single or childless people who complain usually have forgotten about the liberties they have taken. Like the time they spend blogging about how miserable it is to be in the same office with parents. Or the time they spend at the gym in the morning, or at lunch. Or the Monday mornings when they aren't very productive because they spent the weekend partying with their friends. For that matter, many of them aren't much use on Friday afternoons, and lately, Friday mornings have gone south, as Thursday night has emerged as a big drinking night with a lot of people.

So there are plenty of parents who pick up the slack for these zombies. Not all of the single or childless people are zombies, but of course not all parents take an excessive amount of time away from work to be parents. Also, many of the parents (as well as many of the non-parents) are "hyper-responsible" types who take their work home or work doubly hard the next day, or who generally know what it takes and give 100% in the end. A parent who takes too much time and leans too heavily on others is dead weight, and most parents know that -- it's not a good way to add value, advance, or even stick around.

I don't know if it evens out completely, but if you are keeping track, then I feel sorry for you because life is too short. Get back to work stop complaining.

Posted by: Harry Bosch | July 16, 2007 7:21 PM

Posted by: Harry Bosch | July 16, 2007 07:21 PM

Yes == as opposed to self centered, narcisstic parents who think that the world revolves totally around them. Yes, you are totally unique. No other person in all the world has done what you are doing.

And I love how free time for the childless is considered a mindless "liberty." As usual. Another parent who thinks that both childless or single men or women have virtually no place in society and no value. Maybe it's me, but I never thought that workers, or people for that matter, should be valued by their sperm count.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 8:15 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day
(Lazy Summertime Division)

Goes to No Place Like Home

Porchville, next best place to Margaritaville!!!

Fred was not going to name this as the FQOTD but was overruled by Frieda.

The Creepy Van (tm) had hauled much repair materials for the porch (we have a 8" X 34" screened in porch)and can always make a booze run!

Posted by: Fred | July 16, 2007 8:51 PM

Obviously Frieda is a lady of unsurpassed taste and elegance.

Posted by: No place like home | July 16, 2007 8:58 PM

Quite obvious about Frieda...she married Fred!

We did some porch sitting ourselves on this fine fine evening.

Posted by: dotted | July 16, 2007 10:01 PM

Great story but i cannot believe you had to pump milk in the back of your car?!? Where do you work - at a prison? Companies should really start taking to heart that if they want to capture and keep the best female minds they have to make the office a place where working mothers will want to work. This includes a designated space for pumping mommies. I cannot believe you did not make a big deal of this! Wow... some private secotr places really do take their human capital for granted...

Posted by: Winter | July 16, 2007 10:56 PM

Great story but i cannot believe you had to pump milk in the back of your car?!? Where do you work - at a prison? Companies should really start taking to heart that if they want to capture and keep the best female minds they have to make the office a place where working mothers will want to work. This includes a designated space for pumping mommies. I cannot believe you did not make a big deal of this! Wow... some private secotr places really do take their human capital for granted...

Posted by: Winter | July 16, 2007 10:57 PM

I hope you never have to look in the mirror and evaluate what kind of parent you are. So why don't you pass your judgements on others on this thread.

You are the one judging all mothers, dodo.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2007 9:02 AM

Yes == as opposed to self centered, narcisstic parents who think that the world revolves totally around them. Yes, you are totally unique. No other person in all the world has done what you are doing.

And I love how free time for the childless is considered a mindless "liberty." As usual. Another parent who thinks that both childless or single men or women have virtually no place in society and no value. Maybe it's me, but I never thought that workers, or people for that matter, should be valued by their sperm count.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 08:15 PM


You proved my point, you sad puppy you. Your liberties are no more or less mindless than mine. We allg et them and we all cover for each other, at least at every place I've worked. That chip on your shoulder is so big it is weighing you down, like a millstone. Have a nice life -- I know I will.

Posted by: Harry Bosch | July 17, 2007 11:06 AM

Another perspective from yet another "another woman". I have kids now but did not for the first 15 years of my working life. I probably had to pick up the work left by women (and men) who went on maternity leave, took sick kids to the doctor, etc. I am saying probably because I did not notice and I certainly don't remember standing around water cooler or the coffee machine complaining about it. In fact, I used this time to take on more challenging projects and to show off to my bosses. If anything, those pregnant women should hate me for trying to steal their jobs (just kidding). When I went on two maternity leaves, my work was picked up by two women, one a young woman with a masters degree, another a mid level gov't professional. Both of them managed to use this experience to advance their careers.

On today's blog itself: very similar experience; first pregnancy -- congrats all around and when I returned encouraging comments on "how I manage to keep it all together". Second pregnancy -- cold shower and gross violations of FMLA upon my return. I did not feel guilty about having the second child but the same group of people must have felt that having two (and wanting to be an involved parent to them) was asking too much.

Posted by: another "another woman" | July 17, 2007 12:28 PM

"Leslie's intern" said

"The trolls have been slayed"

As has free speech. I enjoy this blog; it's easy to skip over the troll-like posts or not skip over them, I like having the choice. I don't like the fact that the WaPo might make that choice for me.

Posted by: Freedom | July 17, 2007 1:32 PM

Only an idiot would choose a job over family in this day and age.

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 05:06 PM

Does anyone else remember the time Leslie's husband went on family vacation but slept outside so he could field 3 AM business phone calls without waking them?

Posted by: | July 16, 2007 05:10 PM

Yes. He clearly found a way to relax with his families while still taking care of business. That's about as balanced an expression of family-first as there is.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2007 10:15 PM

Just read "Another Woman"'s rant about single women picking up the slack for pregnant women/women on maternity leave/mothers in general.

I will admit that I didn't much like the fact that a former co-worker of mine always got Christmas off when the rest of us in the pool had to divvy up holidays - she was the oldest among us and the only mom (a single mom, at that) and made no bones about the fact that she always got Christmas off "to be with her kids". And we grumbled and she always got to take Christmas off.

When I had my daughter, I realized that my job was going to be picked up by someone else. At first I was concerned that my male, childless co-workers were going to have to pick up my slack (and that they would resent me for it) but in the end someone else was completely reassigned to do my job for the time I was on maternity leave. It's true someone did my job for me for that time, but it's also true that I did it for my co-workers when they went on vacations, when they were sick, and so on. It was a two-way street.

I never asked any favors. I didn't think my maternity leave was a "vacation" - in fact I thought the opposite. It was much harder than my job and I was thrilled to go back to work after 12 weeks.

After her birth, we continued to rotate holidays the way we always had - nobody got both Thanksgiving and Christmas off. It was fine - we just dealt with it.

I think if "Another Woman" and other single women have problems with the policies at their places of employment, they need to take it up with their supervisors and HR. I don't think anyone who is truly a working professional wants to take advantage of or create inequality with their colleagues.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2007 8:42 AM

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