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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where did my vacation go?

Check out the chart. Us and Australia are the only countries without significant paid parental leave. The developing world’s parents have it better than we do. The “value voters” (or any voters) don’t really take on this issue from what I can tell, but it would make sense. More sense than some other issues they champion. I mean, more time with your kids and family-wouldn’t that translate to well- or better-adjusted kids? Stronger families? Oh, but it conflicts with the almighty market system, so mothers, pop that baby out and back to work! Pronto!
I look forward to the day when I can quit and take care of the kids. Only problem is, that is more likely to occur by the time they’re in college. Then what’s the point? At that point, we need to work to have something to do with ourselves. We need the year or so off when they are young and they need us most (and we need it most), but no one can afford to do that. Except the very fortunate. It’s so backwards.

As it is now, we get 3 months to take, provided we have the vacation time to do it and your boss doesn’t pressure you to return. Mine didn’t, but it happens. By law, you can’t lose your job. If it disappears, they have to provide an equal one or something like that. From the point of view of mothers, though, 3 months is nothing. You spend most of it hormonal, fat, hair falling out, in pain, and trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and caring for a being that totally depends on you. On my first leave, I was in pain and uncomfortable the entire time-the first half from the c-section and the second from the surgery to fix the breast abcess I had gotten after the antibiotics didn’t work on the mastitis. Having the year off would send women back to work who actually had their minds on their work, instead of worrying about the 6 week old or 3 month old they left behind, trying to stay awake every day on 3 hours of sleep, trying to find time and place to pump every few hours, etc.

Anyway, look at the chart. Sad.

The End of Summer Vacation

We don’t get as much vacation time as other nations. Surprise! Surprise! We would much rather drop dead of a heart attack that take a few weeks off of work to enjoy ourselves and our family. The American dream. Thanks again market economy! You work so you can have more money, then you have no time to enjoy it. If you take the time off, you won’t have the money.
A week or less at Christmas, a few days at Thanksgiving, several days for child care issues and… POOF! No vacation left. People have asked me what I’m doing for summer vacation. I’d love to say we’re going to the Bahamas or even the beach 3 hours away, but no. Summer vacations ended in high school really.

It is also said that Americans don't take the time they have off anyway. Maybe that's why it's disappearing. I saved my leave so I could take a "decent" (by American standards) maternity leave. Some may feel like they can't take off because they'll lose customers or look like a slacker to their boss. Mine accumulates (within a certain limit), so I'm constantly saving it so I can take more than a day off to see family, etc.
U.S. 14
Canada 17
Great Britain 26
Germany 27
France 31
Spain 37
Netherlands 28
Austria 28

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