I turned 31 in March, which seems to be the precise age people’s vernacular shifts from, “Are you going to have kids? Oh, you should!” to “Are you pregnant yet? Start trying. NOW. You don’t want to leave it too late!” Gentle rebuttals that I’m happy child-free and not entirely sure I ever want kids, certainly not right now, are met with fervoured adamance that my feelings don’t matter. Reproduction is expected and if I’m not already with child, I ought to be.
Of course, at 31, whether I choose to have children of my own or not, a lot of people around me are. Baby-making and child-rearing are hot topics. I have friends at all stages of the parenthood journey, be it pregnant, trying to be pregnant, trying and struggling; awake 24/7 with three under 5, navigating tweens, wrangling teens, and a rare, precious few (okay, one) who is on the same page as me. And then of course my very adult friends who have properly adult children, and have taught me that nobody ever really grows up.
One experience they all share is parental leave, and then eventually the juggle of work and kids. The journey from “whoa, I’m pregnant” to going on leave has been highlighted most in my last two roles, working closely alongside one special lady after she’d conceived by IVF in her late thirties, having frozen her eggs earlier on, and now alongside the wonderful Anastasia. Both have provided fascinating insights, not just to the journey of pregnancy itself, but to that of parental leave. NZ actually stacks up pretty well compared to the rest of the world but there is still vast room for improvement, in my oh-so humble opinion. I’ve found myself Googling parental leave and all of its various iterations, depending where you work, and find it equal parts inspiring and depressing what is on offer at some workplaces vs. others. The divide between big and small business is large and real.
I’m about to enjoy an all-new firsthand insight to parental leave as our hilariously opinionated, staunchly feminist, soft-hearted, hormonal little love-bug takes off to have a love-bug of her own. Today marks Stasia’s last spin at the wheel as our beloved Community Manager before she takes off to manage her own little community. We’ll miss her desperately, but are so, so excited for her (and selfishly, can’t wait for those delicious baby schnugs.)
All the very best to the one of the warmest, kindest, most genuine souls I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside – see you in six months!
What’s parental leave like where you work? Government-standard? Better? Celebrated? Frowned upon? Talked about at all?