The power maternity leave is a new trend amongst working mothers who don’t want to lose their place in the career ladder. It is estimated that women who take a total time of 2 years off during the expanse of their career will lose out on 18% of their earning power. To combat this, many new mothers are taking their maternity leave into their own hands by using their time off not just to care for their child but also to improve their prospects in the workplace.
Some mothers simply use the break from work to improve on existing skills, start a new hobby which is relevant to their career or read up on research and new findings in their field. However, other parents are taking it a step further by working as consultant, changing careers or starting a new business of their own.
Taking a power maternity leave certainly has its supporters; there are more women than ever in the workplace now and maternity leave can be detrimental to those who have spent many years working their way up the career ladder. It’s no surprise then that these strong women in positions of power and responsibility want to keep what they’ve worked so hard for whilst raising a new-born. Others simply want to run their own business so that they can spend more time with their children, work from home or have more flexible working hours.
However, despite having a wealth of women who are in agreement that the power maternity leave is a good thing many others see it as a controversial move. Those with more traditional sensibilities can feel that a woman’s right to maternity leave is based purely on allowing a woman to take care of her new born baby. By working on new skills or becoming self-employed whilst on this break, it can be seen as taking advantage of the system. Some opposition of the power maternity leave have even argued that maternity leave is in place to raise a child in a loving and nurturing environment, and by pursuing other interests the bond between a mother and her child won’t establish itself.
While the power maternity leave may well be suited to some working mothers, for others it may not be feasible. Looking after children and bringing them up in a happy, loving home can feel like a full time job in itself. The notion of ‘having it all’ was once used to empower women but in recent years it has been seen as a source of constant pressure; women can feel as though they are expected to have the high flying career, raise the perfectly polite children, bake fresh bread every week and maintain the perfect bikini body. Where once taking maternity leave was solely dedicated to getting to grips with parenthood and juggling nappy changes and regular feeds on just a few hours sleep, it is now expected to be an opportunity for women to also improve their career skills, become ‘mumtrepeneurs’ or learn a new language.
Is the power maternity leave a good thing? That can only be up to you. If you want time off to do nothing but gaze lovingly into your new baby’s eyes, then you’ve earned that right. Conversely, if you want to squeeze in a course in html or start selling beauty products from your kitchen table, then don’t let anyone else hold you back. What’s your opinion on the power maternity leave trend?