I must admit, I recently canceled our Netflix account. With two energizer bunnies running around, I just couldn’t justify paying for a service we don’t really have time to use anymore, especially when we have cable on top of it.
Buuut….with this recent news about its groundbreaking unlimited paid parental leave for the first year after childbirth/adoption, and the ability to come back to work part-time if you so choose, I might just be renewing my account.
I remember the angst I felt when my husband and I were trying to get pregnant and I was still working full-time. My job was extremely hectic and chaotic in nature. It paid well, but it had me constantly on my feet, running from one end of the building to the other, from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. It offered the standard three month maternity leave. I worried about what that would feel like to me personally; I know it’s different for everyone. But I knew in my heart as I got closer to planning for a family, that I would have a really hard time dropping a three-month-old baby off at daycare when he/she was still entirely dependent on me, and unable to communicate his/her needs or problems, pains, and concerns. This is what makes Netflix’ new policy so gratifying for me. The issue of communication and dependence–and their variance between the age of 3 months (what’s currently standard) and 1 year (Netflix’ new offering).
Now after having gone through the first two years with my babies, I know for a fact I would have worried all day long about dropping my colicky, acid reflux-prone, preemie babies off for a full day of daycare at 3 months. But I believe I would have felt confident leaving them for a full day at 1 year old. By that point they were almost walking and were able to do some sign language and communicate certain needs, and they made it clear when something was hurting them. It would have been a huge relief and most certainly would have made me more likely to lean-in at work, as Sheryl Sandberg would advise me to do. Nevertheless, my husband took a job in Dallas and maintaining my job post-pregnancy wasn’t an option anyway. His new job allowed me to stay at home with the kids, and I am grateful for that. And although my personal opinion is that with my husband’s job being as demanding as it is, it would be very difficult for me to also have a demanding full-time job and for us to properly meet the needs of our two children–I do sometimes wish I had a consistent part-time job to keep one foot in the workplace. Good part-time professional positions are hard to come by; having the ability to design a flexible, be it full-time or part-time, schedule is a huge benefit for working moms.
But I do wonder…if this parental policy had already been the norm…maybe my and many other women’s career trajectory’s would be saved from the speed bump (and setback) that having children often causes.