43 thoughts on “Which parent has the better deal?

  1. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    My best friend is fighting the adoption thing right now. I could write a novel on this subject, whether it be research through my business contacts or the works she has done. But basically, she is getting fucked by a HOSPITAL she has worked for for 17 years.

    Oh, and as for the “better deal?” I know people are going to through shoes at me, but I ABSOLUTELY know that *I* have the better deal. Bryan does the heavy lifting in almost every way.

  2. Danabug

    I haven’t watched the video (super slow DSL today), but under the Family Medical Leave Act either parent can be eligible for leave when they adopt for baby bonding, but it isn’t paid leave (in Ohio anyway) – & not all companies have to abide by FMLA.

  3. Stephanie

    I haven’t watched this yet, because Sean and Jasper are sleeping right by me, but I know for a fact that I have the better deal. I might be dealing with a 9 weeker who had a cold and ate every 1 1/2 hours, thus reducing me to zombie state, and now we’re dealing with hyperlactation, but my husband has been working 60+ hours at two jobs, and he’s not particularly fond of either. We’re all pretty tired, but his brand of tired is more than physical.

  4. Ed

    Adoptive moms can get partial paid leave for six weeks in California, but it’s not necessarily job-protected leave unless the employer is also subject to the FMLA. And California is definitely the exception among states.

  5. christine

    Division of labor along gender lines seems to be the subtext here. I think it would be interesting to hear from some queer moms on this topic as well.

  6. Nicole

    Let me put it to you this way: my husband just stepped in a sticky place on the floor – the apple juice spill I opted NOT to clean, it being the third of the afternoon – and while wiping actually said, “What am I? Mr.Mom?” Nice.

  7. Joe

    When we adopted our son 10 years ago, I stopped by the HR office at the small company I worked for to inform them I would be taking some leave time. The company had a policy that allowed you to take a few weeks of paid leave (either parent) after the birth of a child.

    I assumed that this would apply for adopting one as well. Silly me. The HR director told me that it didn’t apply to adoptions. My response? I told her that I had misspoke. We were having a baby. Prove me wrong. Nothing in the policy required evidence of birth a child related to you.

    It got bumped to the president. I told him the whole story. I got my leave!

  8. Lauren From Texas

    That is TOTAL crap. Ridiculous. Might Girl, who do we talk to in order to solve such things?? Seriously though, I loved your idea in the video. Like I said over on The Mommy Blog, I don’t have kids, but yours is one of the “Mommy blogs” I do enjoy. :) Good preparation, right?? If only I would take notes instead of just giggling. Keep up the great work.

  9. Jill

    I’m just wondering what’s keeping you from making butterscotch from scratch? It’s on your list of 100 things to do just below staying in the church made entirely of bones. Whoops- I mean visit.

    Here- maybe this will help..while you scratch the thoughts of a bone bed from your head and fill it full of sugar.


  10. Ina

    So take unpaid leave. Not every action in your life needs to sanctioned by the federal government. Or take vacation days. Get over the whole “I’m Special” thing, okay?

  11. laila

    Leave is not standardized at all. In CA, you can use family leave for maternity leave or for other family-related reasons. Whether it’s paid or not depends on the employer. Women who give birth are eligible for disability which may pay up to 40% of your wages for 6 weeks (or more depending on whether you remain disabled), but whether your employer makes up the difference is also dependent on who you work for. And lets not get started on how bad it can be if you work for yourself or are a 1099 employee.

  12. Megan

    I love the primary caregiver chart and will keep that in my head for when that day comes (if it does). I’ll be all over that sharing of the poop patrol.

  13. Patty

    I must watch this again, because I thought you said that you would let your child sit in a dirty diaper while you flipped through a magazine if it wasnt your day to be the “primary parent”. Surely that’s not the case and you’d change him if he needed it rather than let him sit in filth while you waited for someone else to do it, right?

  14. Lawyerish

    Lots of employers are catching on that paid parental leave should be granted regardless of how the child arrives in the home, with policies that apply equally to birth, adoption and foster care. The reason many employers don’t cover adoption and foster care is that post-birth leave is paid for by their disability insurance, as during the post-partum period a mother is categorized as “disabled” for FMLA purposes. The Dave Thomas Foundation actually does a lot of work in trying to encourage parental leave policies that apply to adoption as well.

  15. JenH

    I am constantly amazed by the lack of support given to new families and mothers specifically in the US – I know mat leave is state by state. I work for an American consulting firm but I live in Canada. My colleague from NY went on mat leave months after I did and was back at work before I was – 12 weeks of maternity.

    My taxes are worth every penny for the 52 shared weeks of parental leave (parents can divvy it up between them). Could you imagine what mothers could do with enough time to adjust to motherhood!

    The revolution would not be televised!!!

    oh. maybe that’s my answer…

  16. smallstatic

    Oh man, I love the way you say “hon-nay, i think someone has a poopy di-aper”. Resolved to use that tone more with my SO on similar issues stat. Also, great idea on the parenting chart!!

  17. Maureen

    My husband absolutely does half the childcare and housework. It may not split 50-50 every day or even every week – sometimes he does more, sometimes I do. But overall, it comes out even. We have *never* had that conversation. (PS – In Canada we get a full year of job protected parental leave with employment insurance benefits – to be split between the parents however they wish. Adoptive parents, too, I believe – minus six weeks which is there for the medical issues involved in giving birth.)

  18. Allison

    Maternity leave policies were originally put into place to allow a woman’s body to heal after a major medical procedure, e.g., giving birth. It’s not about caring for a child, newborn or otherwise, but about allowing a woman’s body to heal properly in the six weeks after birth. Just like budgeting for all other childcare costs, having children is a choice — whether giving birth, adopting, or fostering — so it’s up to parents to figure out what they can and can’t afford when it comes to taking time off.

  19. melanie

    In Canada (as previously mentioned) we get 52 weeks of paid maternity leave – as long as you don’t own your own business or aren’t a contractor or fall under one of many stipulations. As a freelancer/contract worker I didn’t get any maternity leave but I took a year off anyway b/c it is the norm in this country. And believe me – it isn’t like we didn’t need the money since my husband was unemployed for a long stretch of my pregnancy and we are pretty poor anyway. However, it was important to us that someone be home for the first year and so we made due.

  20. Sheri Bheri

    Here’s the scoop for Ontario. If you are covered by Employment Insurance, you get paid at 55% of your salary for: 17 weeks Pregnancy Leave, and each parent gets 17 weeks of Parental Leave. But the Dad can ‘give’ his weeks to the Mom, allowing her to stay home a whole year. The Parental Leave applies to Adoption too, but not the Pregnancy Leave.

    However, the Labour Act states that your job is protected for 37 weeks of unpaid (by your employer) Parental Leave (EACH parent). This applies to Adoption too.

    Sweet, eh?

  21. Melissa

    There is only national standard in the U.S.: FMLA. It guarantees 12 weeks UNPAID leave to an employee for the birth or adoption of a child. However, you must have worked full-time for a year to take advantage of the leave, your employer has to have at least 50 employees, etc.

    CA is the only state with a paid leave program, which pays via a system somewhat like workers’ comp. A couple of other states mandate pay under temporary disability if a physician declares the pregnancy a disability.

    Countries that don’t offer paid maternity leave? Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, Liberia…and the US.

    I write for MOMocrats from time to time, covering this sort of issue. Encourage you to go over there to keep on Congress’ (paltry) efforts.

  22. Rhonda

    I am a queer mama in Canada. My partner and I equally share the load and have done so from the start.

    I got 9 months parental leave when we adopted our kids at 3 months old (twins)and she was a student.

    Perhaps it was the fact that we spent all of that time together gelling as a family at the beginning that has made things work so equitably for us (not to mention having twins and having to set up structure/routine in order to survive!)

    I work full time and when I get home from the office I take over as primary care giver. I am also “weekend mama” again acting as primary care giver.

    It’s funny, because my partner spends a lot of time listening to straight friends talk about the imbalance in parenting that they experience.

  23. latenac

    I’ve never worked anywhere that offered paid maternity leave and I’ve worked in 5 states. FMLA is available for birth, adoption, needing to care for a sick family member, etc.
    1 place I worked had short term disability where you could get paid for part of maternity leave depending on how long you’d worked there. And I don’t think it kicked in until the 3rd or 4th week.

    My last place of employment despite giving I think about 3 weeks sick leave per year that could be accrued you couldn’t actually use it for maternity leave so you could take FMLA and get paid for it by taking any vacation time you had actually accrued but other than that no paid maternity leave.

    So it’s not just adoption that gets screwed. Although I think they could get screwed more since adopting isn’t a medical condition like pregnancy and thus might not be covered by short term disability.

  24. Blythe

    I feel lucky that we split the parenting stuff pretty equally. We got off to a good start because we lived in Germany when my son was born and my husband was able to take almost 3 months’ paternity leave during my son’s first year. I hadn’t really put it all together in my mind until I read Rhonda’s comment above, but being at home together as a family for a long period of time really cemented our cooperative routine, and allowed us both to feel confident taking care of our little guy.

  25. val

    I think it also depends on the company you work for. I live and work in SoCal and my company offers maternity/paterinity leave for the birth or adoption of a child. But then, my company is awesome. :)

  26. Lyz

    I don’t think a kid is going to be seriously injured by sitting in a poopy diaper for even a couple of minutes! I know I’ve ignored one (or more…) so that my husband could change it instead. No big whoop around here.

    That husband, by the way, is fantastic. Yes, I do most of the childcare, household upkeep and shopping, but he does the BIG jobs – home improvement, yard work, vehicles – and still pitches in with the kids on a very regular basis. Yes, those jobs tend to follow gender lines, but we’re totally happy with that!

    Also: I would think that a truly socially aware company would offer leave to adoptive parents simply in order to encourage adoptions, when there are so many kids in need of a loving home.

  27. marge

    I would like to add very tangentially, that I work for a company that may seem progressive (Whole Foods), but does not have paid leave. And if your empoyees make very little money that makes taking maternity leave, which is granted, at least in California really hard to do.

    On the other hand, I do know that they grant maternity and paternity leave for adoption situations. At least in California

  28. Samantha

    We have twins and I have to say, My husband got up for EVERY SINGLE FEEDING when they were babies, even after he went back to work. Granted, I could barely walk from my c-section and I couldn’t manage to tandem feed on my own without someone placing mouth to boob, but I still feel pretty lucky for that support. A lot of twin moms are on their own.
    That said, Maggie, your chart is genius. Twins are now three and although there are no longer poopy diapers, there certainly is a lot of butt wiping going on in our house. I’m making a chart.

  29. Sarah

    I think it depends. Where I work, the leave for adopting a child is the same as the leave for birthing one. Neither are paid, though. I think the FMLA law says that you need to hold the person’s job, NOT that you need to pay them for the time.

  30. Corey

    My husband worked for his father when we had our daughter. He only got the day I gave birth off and that’s because I was in labor for the full 24 hours. His father bitched when he left work early five days later to pick us up from the hospital!!
    His father has since passed and in most ways a wonderful man, but it still boils my blood thinking about that! BTW, they were a small company not covered by FMLA.

  31. Barb

    Shoot, looks like others beat me to the punch. Dave Thomas Foundation puts together a list of the best workplaces for adoptive parents.

  32. Kate

    Great momversation. You strike me as one of the coolest people ever, Maggie. I genuinely like you.

    …not in a creepy internet stalker way. You just seem like a really wonderful human being.

  33. Ariel

    I have to pipe in on the adoption/maternity leave thing … the company I work for (an enormous international software company often referred to as “evil”) offers not only full maternity and paternity leaves for adoptive parents, but also $5000 worth of adoption assistance. As Barb’s link points out, there are companies that offer even more than that … but I was pleasantly surprised to learn how well adoptive parents are treated at my workplace.

  34. gs

    I don’t know much about parenting, but…

    …doesn’t the radio-wave green pattern on the chair behind you drive you crazy?

    Just asking….

  35. agh

    While I’m pretty sure my husband gets the better deal, I’m REALLY sure that it sucks that some people are deprived of maternity leave. The school system I work for gives maternity leave for adoptions but the maternity leave process in general is a piece of crap. But when I hear about people who don’t get maternity leave at all I just feel lucky. And should I really feel “lucky” because I get six measly weeks with my newborn while I spend most of that healing? Hmmm…

    Totally unrelated but your hair looks fab in this video, I love it.

  36. anyg

    I agree with the commenter above about your hair Maggie, I’m jealous. :)

    I’m amazed at the differences between maternity benefits in Canada, the US and here in the UK. Currently in my department there are three women on maternity leave. This means that they are away from work, with their jobs protected, for a year. 12 months. During that 12 months they are entitled to full pay for the first six months and then half pay (which we call “statutory maternity pay” because it comes from the government). Just today, in the middle of a meeting about restruturing, during which it was discussed that some people may be made redundant, it came out that the three women on maternity leave would not be considered for redundancy. They will not have to worry about losing their jobs. Talk about being looked after! (Also, the company I work for makes no distinction between adoption leave and maternity leave…)

    All that said, in a private conversation I had with one of the men I work with, it sounds like some men I work with resent this “preferential” treatment and think it’s “playing” the system to have a family. Ah well.

  37. L

    I’ve brought this up before on other clips, but the Momversation crew completely ignores single parents. There are lots of us out there – statistics show we are responsible for raising a quarter of children under 18 today. Was that a marketing decision on their behalf?

    I can’t help but ask, mainly because topics like this one just fill me with snark. Handing off the baby to someone because you’re “done”? Ha ha ha! That must be fantastic. Rotating primary parents with a chart? Also quite awesome.

    To reply, though, to the question at hand: Who gets the better deal? I am a full-time single mother, I have been so since my son was two months old. My son has not seen his father in over a year. Hands-down, without question, I got the better end of this bargain.

    And yeah, great hair. But we knew that. :)

  38. Maggeh Post author

    Hi L,

    There are a couple of single moms on the crew, but this topic wouldn’t have made much sense for them so they cast folks from two-parent situations.

    Handing the kid off? It is fantastic. But in your situation, mama, you’re right that you have the better deal by far. Good work raising that kid of yours.


  39. Ina

    Not everything in life needs to be a Federal law. I don’t need the government nor it’s minions in my life. If you have a job that pays maternity leave, great. IF not, take unpaid leave, use your vacation days, or work it out. I’m self-employed, so if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

    If you work for a mega-corporation, the benefits usually go along with that. If you work with a small company, can they afford to pay you to take time off?

  40. L

    Wow, thanks for the reply.

    I’ve watched maybe 10 or 12 Momversation clips, and never once seen a single mom, hence the comment. However, you know that scene far better than me, so it must be just the luck of the draw (agreed that it makes little sense for this topic, of course… although I think a single parent’s commentary here could be highly amusing).

    At any rate, glad to know it wasn’t a Momversation-wide decision. I think that would have been a poor business choice. :)

  41. Anne

    Wow, I’m glad to work in the UK, for an organisation where adoptive parents have the same rights to leave as those who physically give birth. I think it applies to paternity leave, but I’m not sure.

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