Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Economy forcing women to cut short--or involuntarily extend--maternity leave

The Wall Street Journal reports today that some women who wanted to take extended maternity leave are being forced to go back to work much sooner than they had planned.

That is an unfortunate development; one would hope that mothers--and fathers--could stay home as long as they wanted to, or for as long as they felt their children needed them. But we don't have that luxury. And we didn't have it before the downturn.

The story does not address the fact that these women have the option to go back to work--that they can actually find jobs, when more than half a million jobs are disappearing every month.

What about moms who can't afford to take maternity leave and can't find work? Are they as important as AIG, Citibank, or the automakers? Where is the moms' bailout?

The AP took note of this problem in its story yesterday, Some laid-off women now stay-at-home moms.

From the story:

"Lucas and other laid-off women like her are involuntarily experiencing the life of a stay-at-home mom, and they are getting to know a lot more about the details of their children's daily existence. They are also discovering some of the things they have been missing..."

That sounds nice. But what if the income they're losing was necessary to pay the mortgage? I look forward to the follow-up story: Laid-off moms discover the joys of motherhood as they move out of their foreclosed homes!

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