Skip to main content

Crossposted at Everyday Mom

In The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars I wrote about how the US is one of five nations world-wide that do not supply paid family leave to parents of new babies. We're in the doghouse, it turns out, with Leshotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. Here's a nice link to a recent article in USA Today. It's based on a recent Harvard report, and has a link to the report itself.

In New Jersey, the Labor Committee of the State Senate has voted 3-1 on a new bill on Paid Family Leave. There's still a long way from here to there. At our house, we've been delving into the Schoolhouse Rock DVD, and singing along with "It's a Bill" (our favorite, right up there with "Figure Eight"). We're constantly humming its catchy lyric--"I used to be just an idea, but now I'm a bill, and maybe, maybe one day I'll be a law.... Passing Committee is only one early stage in a long process. According to the article, in the ten years (say that five, no, fifty time.... TEN YEARS) since the bill was introduced, this is the farthest the bill has gone. An interesting piece of information in the article is the bill's opponents are small business owners--this is not the surprise, and in a way, understandable--but that the small business owners who are quoted are all women. Talk about the complexities of being female in our society, and the way that women are pitted against each other.

Another interesting piece here, and it was true when I researched the current state of paid family leave bills in my home state of Pennsylvania, is that although paid FMLA bills will help both new parents and older children taking care of their parents, it's usually pressure from the second group, as well as the emotional and symbolic impact of taking care of our parents that seems more powerful. It's as if we still tell each other that raising our own children is a personal choice, but we've gotten around to feeling that our parents' care is foist upon us, is something we can't control, and thus, something our governments should help us with. Help for new parents, thus, is riding the tails of our concern with eldercare. In terms of political strategy, that's intriguing to think about.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!