First I want to say thank you for seeing me through the many highly productive, wine-fueled television marathons I’ve come to cherish over the past few years. Thanks for catching me up on The Walking Dead when the rest of the world wouldn’t shut up about it. Thanks for introducing me to underappreciated gems like The United States of Tara and Raising Hope. Thanks for being my patch when I was weaning off The Office but couldn’t get Jim and Pam off the brain. Thanks for the parental control options that give me a reason to feel slightly less crappy about the kids binge-watching on their tablets while I get work done. Thanks for filling many a late-night hour with old rom-coms I’d almost forgotten and new ones I won’t publicly admit I’ve watched.
Basically, Netflix, you’re awesome.
You were awesome long before August 4, 2015. But a few days ago, when you announced that you’d be allowing your employees up to a year of unlimited maternity and paternity leave, you brought “awesome” to an unsurpassable level of fucking fantastic-ness.
A year of maternity and paternity leave. A year! Unheard of.
For me, this is a majorly sensitive subject. When I got pregnant with my son unexpectedly at the tender age of 25, just months after getting my first huge promotion, I promptly learned I was ineligible for paid maternity leave from the MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION where I worked simply because I hadn’t signed up for short-term disability (because a baby is totally a disability, right?). My story gets uglier, but I won’t get into it. Let’s just say I don’t work there anymore.
My story aside, I’m writing today to simply say a heartfelt thank you, Netflix. And I think I speak for moms and dads everywhere in my praise….
Thank you from the mom who is forced to leave her child in the care of another, merely weeks after giving birth, because she can’t afford not to work.
Thank you from the moms who can’t afford to go back to work at all because child care is so damn expensive.
Thank you from the exhausted parent who often stumbles blearily into work on two hours of sleep after being up all night with a crying infant.
Thank you from the parent who is tired of missing milestone after milestone.
Thank you from the parent who wears guilt everyday like a pair of tired mom jeans.
Thank you from the parent who spends too many extra hours just commuting to work, wasting away precious time that should be spent with family.
Thank you from the parents who have opposite schedules, causing stress on their marriage because they never see each other.
Thank you from the mom who contemplates quitting every morning as she leaves for work.
Thank you from the parent who fights the urge to wake her sleeping children when she comes home at night, just to spend some time together.
Thank you from the mom who wonders how the bills will get paid if she is fired for taking yet another day off to care for her child.
You see, Netflix, although you can’t employ every parent in the nation, we thank you for leading by example. We thank you for setting a precedent, one that should have been in place for decades. We thank you for doing the one thing that other countries around the world already see as a no-brainer.
We thank you for proving what most other companies don’t have the balls, the decency, and the common sense to admit: there is NOTHING more important than family.
One Grateful Mama