You’re probably tired of hearing how abysmal the paid parental leave offerings are for the vast majority of Americans, despite the promising trend in some professional circles (and even major cities) to make leave a right instead of an unexpected perk. Just to recap — America is the ONLY industrialized nation in the entire world without paid parental leave which means that parents often have to return to work before they feel physically or emotionally ready. We were intrigued to discover that enterprising parents-to-be are turning to crowdfunding sites to provide financial support so that they can temporarily stay at home with their bundle of joy. For the millions of adults in this country who are self-employed, freelance, or part-time workers, paid parental leave is almost definitely NOT an option — and it’s not guaranteed even if you are a full-time employee at most companies. Jennifer Warren-Baker, a piano teacher and pianist for weddings and special events, set up a page on GoFundMe to raise over $3,300 to help her family be able to stay home for almost eight weeks after her fourth child was born in January. Using crowd funding sites like GoFundMe or Kickstarter is actually a natural fit in several ways since people, typically friends and family, can donate any amount, and the process is less direct than asking your second cousin or next door neighbor on the spot if he or she wants to help out. They say it takes a village to raise a child and crowdfunding provides a way to let your village support you and your growing family.
But honestly, the need for this approach is also just depressing, and we hope to see the day where every parent can take time off (and gasp — is even encouraged to do so by the powers that be) to nurture the newest member of their family without being financially penalized. If almost 7,000 people are willing to donate over $55,000 for a guy to make potato salad, shouldn’t there be some support for parents who want to simply spend time and bond with their little ones?
Image via Screenshot from Jennifer Warren-Baker’s GoFundMe page