Every once in a while (alright more often than I would like it to happen) a family member or friend will give me the “well you should more back to the US” comment.
This usually happens when I am at home diving head first into my favorite wings, or when I am complaining about the weather in Ireland…so it’s a pretty fair to expect certain loved ones to seize the opportunity to remind me it’s not to late too come back.
…as if Syracuse gets more sun than Cork!
Besides talking about the weather is a cultural pastime for the Irish.
I know it all comes from a good place but I like to think of it as bullying tactics…sure bullying is the buzz word these days, right?!?
Anyway, I often feel the need to remind them of one of the million reasons I choose every day to stay in Ireland (& there are a million) but today it is this……
6 months PAID maternity leave!!!!! You heard me….6 MONTHS PAID!!
Starting today I am on a 6 month paid holiday (because surely baby number 2 will be a breeze right?!)
Before I go any further I have to explain that while I am incredibly fortunate that my work “tops up” what the government Maternity Benefit gives me weekly, there are certainly a lot of Irish women who don’t actually get their full salary while on maternity leave.
But like I said I am incredibly fortunate.
A lot of Irish and Europeans feel maternity benefits could be much improved across the board.
However, coming from one of only FIVE countries in the world that still have ZERO national paid maternity leave benefit for new moms I am pretty damn happy.
So surely, maternity benefit alone is reason enough for me to remain on the island throughout my childbearing years don’t you think?
But in all honesty it’s just one example of the far better work/life balance I find over here.
And that is really one of the biggest (of the million) reasons I love living in Ireland.
** apologies if this post causes any undue upset to my American friends who are facing much less (non-existent maternity leave) I don’t mean to gloat. OK maybe I do…..no really, I don’t.