Most of us have heard of maternity leave, but "meternity leave?"
That's what author Meghann Foye has proposed in her new book, Meternity, which tells the story of a woman who faked a pregnancy in order to be allowed maternity leave, which she used as "me" time.
In a recent article for the New York Times, Foye wrote that she got the idea after becoming envious of mothers who took that time off work to care for their newborns and finding herself wanting a similarly long respite from her career.
"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, while it was assumed co-workers without kids would stay behind to pick up the slack," Foye wrote.
"'You know, I need a maternity leave!' I told one of my pregnant friends. She laughed, and we spent the afternoon plotting my escape from my 10-hour days, fake baby bump and all," she continued.
She then went on to say that women who follow a "traditional path" usually take this "pause" from work in their late 20s or early 30s, but women who do not choose to have a child never get to go on maternity leave. Foye wrote that in her own experience, she noticed that women who took maternity leave came back with a new attitude they didn't have before, which Foye credits to the time of self reflection she believes maternity leave allowed them.
"As I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves," she wrote. "From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives."
Foye immediately began receiving backlash for her idea, with women taking to social media to share their views the subject. Some wrote that maternity leave is actually hard work and not relaxing at all, while others shared that paid time off and vacation time are there for "me" time, not a childless maternity leave.
@TODAYshow Isn't that PTO/vacation? Maternity leave is NOT a vacation, and sometimes isn't even paid.— Brittany (@britt_whit) April 28, 2016
Foye feels that the whole thing is a misunderstanding, and shared her belief that the two ideas are different concepts.
"I actually think they're very different," she told TODAY. "I think that a maternity leave is a time when you're fully focused on a new human being. I think a meternity leave is when it's really just for you. It's a time to take a step back."