Why do you hate parents?
So I’ve mentioned before that I travel for work. I get to see all the glorious places that most will only see in post cards, and I get to eat all the glorious food that you only see on Food Network. I get to experience traditions and customs that you only see on the travel channel, but there is one thing I will never get to experience…
Other countries’ benefits.
That’s right Americans, we may be home of the free and proud and stuff, but we are definitely paying a price for that. And please don’t get me wrong… I didn’t serve 10 years in the Marine Corps so I could bash on the good ol’ U S of A in a blog post. This is specifically about child care.
Once I found out about my wife being pregnant, I immediately started asking all the relevant questions… specifically those that pertain to work…
1) How does the insurance cover this birth?
2) If my wife has her own insurance, whose gets used for the hospital care?
3) Which insurance would the baby fall under?
4) Will I need paperwork from the job site in order to start the process?
but most importantly,
5) How does the paternity leave work? (that link goes to a more credible source aka Huffington Post, if you don’t want to take my word for it)
So here’s a real quick breakdown. What you need to understand is that 1) it varies from state to state and 2) uniquely varies by your specific company. I think I fall into the category that I can utilize the full benefits of my state which are;
12 weeks of “baby bonding” time
The first 6 of the 12 are at 55% of your salary
The last 6 of the 12 are at 0% of your salary.
Before Day 1 of “baby bonding” time starts, you must first exhaust all of your Paid Time Off (PTO or vacation/sick time)
Well guess what… I’ve got bills to pay.
Our Canadian friends can enjoy close to a year of baby bonding time, while getting paid approximately the same as they would if they were at work, but for both parents. Our Swedish friends get 16 months at anywhere from 80-90% of their pay. The French give more money to a family the more kids they have, as well as significant time off from work AND decreased child care AND a government furnished nanny (at extreme discount prices). Even Viet Fucking Nam gets 4-6 months at 100% of their pay (Forrest Gump Reference? Check).
We do get job security (as in, we can’t get fired for not being there), which is nice… but so does everyone else that receives some much needed-bonding time.
The unfortunate problem is apparently in America, at least big cities in America, we move too fast to slow down. We need to continue to work to pay the bills and that shapes the problem that creates lack of bonding time, because once we have kids we have to immediately pass them off to somebody else to raise them. There is no staying home and getting to bond with your child, or get into a routine, or enjoy the little moments… not without a huge monetary sacrifice… and to think I “SHOULD CONSIDER MYSELF LUCKY!!!!” because there’s only 6 states that even fork over any type of help for taking time off to be with your newborn.
So with that said… here’s my two cents.
It is because of the lack of time we spend with our children in the beginning stages of life as working parents, that have our youth as effed up as they are now. Mommy and Daddy can’t establish rules if they’re not at home. Kids can’t learn what undivided attention to family or love is if we’re waking up solely to feed, and then get the baby ready for day care (which is a whole different type of robbery) so we can work our 8-12 hour jobs and come home to try to bond with your baby then. You want to know why our youth is out in the street punching people in the face for fun and putting it on YouTube, snorting bath salts, smoking the marijuana cigarettes, or shooting up their schools? It’s because there wasn’t sufficient bonding time in the families during the child’s initial years….
Just my thoughts.
But it’s not exactly our fault as parents. We’re subjected to the farm system, where we must bust our butts to make the little scrap we can, to take care of our sub-average lifestyles, pushing all the money from our wallets into something other than our banks. Also, our free time isn’t spent correctly. Instead of teaching morals and love, we teach rules and regulations, schedules and habit, uninterest and disconnect.
This is where we fail America.
Other countries aren’t going through this. Other countries get to bond with their babies. Other countries look at us like we’ve lost our damn minds… (*True Story* I know Canadians who judge us via Maury Provivch, Jerry Springer, and Judge Joe Brown.)
This is obviously not geared towards all parents and households. There are many people doing their thing right now, successfully raising future positive contributors of America. And there are those who are lucky enough to have flexibility in their schedules or have ‘Stay At Home’ status, who are likely to not have those problems.
America may be a “super power” but we’re backwards and very far behind the curve of priorities.
Unfortunately I have to work. Unfortunately, I cannot enjoy my baby’s complete upbringing and provide all the extremely important initial time I’d like to. I may miss the first walk and talk… and I may miss huge gaps of months. My wife may have to be overwhelmed with the workload of a single parent, but not because I’ve chosen to leave her… but because it’s what is required of me immediately after this baby comes into the world since I have to go back to work– and all to get bills paid.
We need to reflect as a society on the importance of the first years and how important those years are in child development. I think only then will we begin to fix America.
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Posted in Did He Really Just Say That?, Dissapointment, Fear, Getting Ready, Parenthood, Those Odd moments...with 32 comments.