Dear President Obama,
Isn't that nice? Someone called you "President Obama" istead of the super-casual "Obama" which has become quid pro quo. Anyway... In light of the events this week surrounding Ann Romney and Hilary Rosen, I wish to give my opinion and to ask a question.
I appreciate your addition to the media discussion by adding that you know what Michelle has gone through as a mother and that it is very hard work indeed. I also appreciate Michelle's tweets that every mother works hard and that every woman deserves respect. Through the fiery emotions Hilary Rosen's statement invoked, I have found every publicly expressed opinion from your family full of grace.
So I stated my opinion, now I shall pose my question. But first, a fact and some background information: PaidFamilyLeave.org reports,
"...the U.S. is one of four nations that do not guarantee paid time-off to new mothers; the other countries that similarly provide no guarantee are Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave from employment for major life events..."FMLA is all well and fine, but if you can't afford not to work, this is not a "benefit" per se. Sure, an individual could save up money in anticipation of taking time off, but lower-pay workers may already be living paycheck-to-paycheck and barely have enough to live off of, let alone to save up any "extra." I feel that as a country so eager to reach out an help others that we now need to look inward and help ourselves as a nation to address this serious issue.
While being a mother is a hard job and it's very difficult work, there is no one handing you a paycheck on Fridays for raising your child. Individuals with the opinion that a job is work for which you are paid may express nescient statements, like "a stay-at-home mom never works a day in her life." Not only is this a farce but it contributes to the attitude in America that moms don't work, don't work hard, and that they do not deserve mandated paid maternity leave with which to heal themselves and to bond with their new children whom they grew inside their own bodies. I'm not asking for a "Mom Allowance" for stay-at-home moms, nor am I asking for a special flavor of unemployment...
I am asking, President Obama, for Federally Mandated Maternity Leave.
This is what we are asking for when we say we want better health care. This is a direct request from constituents. In a country as advanced as ours, when all other nations save for four in the world offer leave, it is time. Now is the time.