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Is One Hour of Maternity Leave Enough?

Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave?

In these days of iPhones, Twitter, Facebook, and other technological advances, I often gripe that we no longer have the ability to turn off work. This is even true in the delivery room, where some women Tweet as they’re in labor.

Now it seems that a true maternity leave may be a thing of the past as post-partum women jump right back into sending e-mails and networking on Twitter before they even leave the hospital.

Many women “feel guilty about taking time off for a maternity leave because they are career-obsessed and want to get ahead, no matter the cost,” writes Rosemary Black in The New York Daily News.

I take offense at the tone of the article which presents these “career-obessed” women as putting their jobs ahead of their newborns. I can’t imagine a similar article which criticizes new dads for getting right back to work after a new baby. The difficult truth is that in this tough economy when many moms are working from home and freelancing, they often don’t have the ability to take maternity leave.

If they take time off, not only are they jeopardizing their careers, but they will be losing income.

Black’s article features British mom Zoe Brown who e-mailed clients just one hour after her 1-year-old was born. As the founder and managing director of her own business, she said she can’t afford to take time off.

In an ideal world, both mothers and fathers would have paid maternity and paternity leave to spend important bonding time with their new baby. But in the world we live in, that’s not always possible. On the upside: new technology is enabling new parents to get work done at home in between nursing and changing diapers.

I was so bleary-eyed and dazed after giving birth that I can’t imagine getting right back to work. I wanted time to bond with my baby and adjust to being a mom. But if I had no other option, I’m sure I would have figured out a way to get work done in between changing diapers and nursing.

What do you think? Is one hour maternity leave shorting the mother or the baby or both? Could you do it?

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Photo: flickr/jordawesome

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