Childless author Meghann Foye has come under fire. The reason: She believes that maternity leave is, in her words, a “time and space for self-reflection.”
The magazine editor — whose new novel, Meternity is about a woman who fakes her pregnancy— explained how the book came about in a controversial essay for the New York Post. “After 10 years of working in a job where I was always on deadline, I couldn’t help but feel envious when parents on staff left the office at 6 p.m. to tend to their children, where it was assumed co-workers without kids would stay behind to pick up the slack,” wrote Foye.
That’s when the 38-year-old dreamed up the term “Meternity,” which she describes as “a sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.”
The New Jersey-based writer also feels that parents have an advantage in the work place. While working a desk job, “It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility,” she explained. “There’s something about saying ‘I need to go pick up my child,’ as a reason to leave the office on time that has far more gravitas than, say, ‘My best friend just got ghosted by her OKCupid date and needs a margarita’ — but both sides are valid.”
In a harsh rebuttal, the NY Post’s Kyle Smith called Foye “childless/childish.”
“Have you recently had your body split open by a screaming, red, nightmare-lump of writhing humanity? Or taken on the hair-raising responsibility of parenting a little one with less ability to manage for him- or herself than a newborn kitten?” Smith wrote “Then, sorry. You don’t qualify for maternity leave.”
The father of two continued: “Wanting to order a case of chardonnay and settle in to binge-watch the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt isn’t in the same category. If you’ve got a case of the sads, or sudden-onset reflectivitis, that’s just a personality problem — not a reason to take off work.”
Foye’s book Meternity is out now.