Are Women Using Pregnancy to ‘Jump Ship’ on Their Jobs?

Libby Kane
Posted

Today’s question: Was new motherhood easier or harder than your day job?

New data from the United Kingdom found that out of 2,000 women surveyed, almost half of them were “considering having a baby to get a year off work.”

Three quick points:

  • The survey was reported on by The Daily Mail, a notoriously sensationalist British publication known in some internet circles as “The Daily Fail.” Take this sentence from their piece as an example: “After all, using pregnancy to jump ship and leave others to shoulder your responsibilities hardly bolsters the female cause.”
  • This sounds an awful lot like “piranha women,” who theoretically get pregnant to wheedle money out of wealthy men. Both ideas are from The Daily Mail …
  • This data could never apply to the United States because our maternity leave pales in comparison to the partially paid 52 weeks offered by the United Kingdom. (More on that here. And here.)

Popular mom sites have seized on the implied idea that having a child is easier than going to work. Over at The Stir they write that motherhood is the hardest job there is and certainly isn’t a break, and on Babble’s Stroller Derby they make the opposite assertion: While harder than expected, motherhood doesn’t necessarily trump out-of-home work as the hardest pursuit.

So now we’ve heard from two sides. What do you think? Is it a trend that women are having children to take advantage of maternity policies … and is “taking advantage” necessarily a bad thing?

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