I go face, this will not be a perfect column. I’m not asking for indulgence, just acceptance. It is what it is. I write it while my in-laws are holding my four-month-old baby and the three-year-old sleeping. So I’ll get to the point, don’t expect thoughtful reflections. The fact is that the 16 weeks (four months) of our maternity and paternity leave respectively have already flown by. [Antes de seguir, va disclaimer para ávidos puntualizadores: soy autónoma, no puedo pillar un “extra” por vacaciones y lactancia, como pareja hemos decidido disfrutar los dos de las 16 semanas juntos (no es deseable, por no decir imposible, pasar un puerperio inmediato sola), y, no, tampoco tengo ahorros para excedencias voluntarias. [Pasan unicornios a lo lejos]. My partner joined his job on Tuesday. I joined mine: call it a trench, call it a computer on the kitchen table. The vertigo of raising in solitude in shifts begins to be able to work both, pull grandparents, think about seeing if we can hire someone for hours, pray that the waiting list for the little public school runs … With this column I will also do something that costs us women and mothers a lot in relation to work: make it easy for me. I will not want to demonstrate my excellence. I will not do sophisticated discursive pirouettes or expose data to support my position. I go from the guts, in a ranch style, with my pajamas full of licks and drool. “I’m on my way to madness and although everything tortures me, I know how to love …“I claim my right to mediocrity. Why not?
If this is the week of the post-holiday slump or the enthusiast rentrée, my return and that of many mothers who gave birth this spring have specific nuances. Specifically, boobs about to explode at some point in each day. Others will have a hovel assigned in the company’s premises to use the breast pump and continue to increase the bank generated in these four months (I hear the rumble of that machine and it makes my hair stand on end). Others, and others, simply a very great shame for leaving a puppy in the care of someone other than them. Someone else will feel relieved, if working is tiring, as the poet said, raising a baby will not tell you anything. Because as Martirio said: “I go to work to laugh and rest“In any case, I would like this reinstatement to have a specific name, so at least everyone would know what we are talking about when we talk about going back to work after obviously insufficient leave. I propose the week” with a withered forehead ” .
I keep writing over a drunk coffee (having breakfast would waste precious time). To return is to face the unicorn conciliation (spoiler: it does not exist). The bed and the nights fill up again, in each waking up to breastfeed or give the baby, unanswered emails, unsent bills, project writing, anxiety about not meeting deadlines, calls. And above all, I am a privileged person who can return little by little, with a lot of flexibility and who has grandparents and grandmothers willing to throw a cable. But above all I am because I have enjoyed the leave: I am more and more convinced that foster income should not be subject to employment status. What about unemployed mothers without benefits? They should be universal.
I well remember my days back to work after giving birth to my first child. It made me hard to concentrate, to change the caring head for the productive head, the rises of the milk reminded me at all times where my baby was, and therefore, a part of my own body. These processes are documented by neuroscience: already during pregnancy a synaptic pruning occurs that favors upbringing, the jet of love that a child needs to generate its neural connections, the formation of the bond, in short, its survival. But, of course, airing this in the bills or in the boards of directors, would it be an aberration in the face of egalitarian hiring? MMM. But deny it too. Shouldn’t this process be contemplated in some way in reinstatements? Or, no, should it be denied in the name of essentialism to protect us from mistrust of our performances? We reached a dead end. Actually, the million dollar questions are others: how is care socialized? How do you get into the public conversation without putting him down? How could it enter with priority in the annual public budgets?
Last but not least, let’s think about all this logistical, economic, work and emotional mess from the baby’s point of view. Sixteen weeks to live and lose your reference figures. Smells, touches, voices, disposition and familiar presences. It is cruel. And, definitely, going back to work with a 16-week-old baby is a poisoned utopia. An absurd social pact. A new suit of the emperor like a house. I keep singing so that it hurts less: “You were very right, I listen to my heart and I’m dying to come back.” Oh, my eldest wakes up, I have to leave you.