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Katy Tur Hammers Home The Importance Of Paid Family Leave

Upon her return from maternity leave, the MSNBC anchor had a lot to appreciate about her paid time off, and a lot to say about the fact that most U.S. citizens DON'T have that luxury when they have a child.

Katy Tur resumed her position as anchor of the 2 o'clock EST hour at MSNBC today, and she had some wisdom and perspective to share about her new reality.

Today is my first day back from maternity leave, which is either my first day back to work, or my first day OFF from that other job that I've been doing for the last five months, caring for my newborn.

How much do we love the frank and non-judgemental way she frames the fact that yes, caring for a baby is work, and for many people — WOMEN, even, some of them! — look forward to going back to their jobs as a day OFF from caring for that same newborn that is nonetheless the center of their universe and holder of their heart. She gave us real talk about the difficulty of the delivery (an unplanned c-section, incision infection, and the need to constantly breastfeed an underweight baby) and the state of near delirium it induced.

At one point in the hospital I was so tired, I started to live a kind of waking dream. I thought my mother-in-law was hiding under the bed. I thought a tall man was standing over me speaking German, I was sure of it! I told the nurses, thinking that they'd understand, maybe even chuckle. Instead they sent in a full psychiatric team to evaluate me. Spoiler alert: I was and still am sane.

(Well, I mean, who among us HASN'T been convinced their mother-in-law was hiding under the bed at some point or another? But I digress.)

Tur continued on about how frightened she was to come home from the hospital, and how much help her husband was for the first month. See, he was off for an entire month. Paid. And she was off for another four months. Paid. And THAT was the main focus of her segment.

And no, nothing about this story is exceptional! Except that I got a lot more paid time off to figure it out than the majority of new moms in this country. Tony took more time than at least 70% of new fathers out there. And that. is. insane. It is insane that 25% of women go back to work after two weeks. TWO WEEKS! And I think it's insane that seven out of ten men go back after ten days or less. Not because they want to go back....Because they are forced to go back, either because they can't afford to stay home, or they feel societal or professional pressure to prove that they are serious about their job.
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Parents need time with their babies. Babies need time with their parents. And moms need support. And if that support is coming from a partner, that partner should get equal time off. PAID time off. Emphasis on "paid." Family leave supports babies, which supports us all.

She ended the segment asking the people in Congress why they haven't managed to make paid family leave the law of the land in this country. She invited any of them on to her show to discuss it, and even threw in an invite for the First Daughter-Wife, Ivanka.

It is absolutely shameful. The United States is one of only FIVE countries that does not mandate paid parental leave as a national law. The others are Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. Is it any wonder maternal mortality rates are increasing rather than decreasing?

We missed you, Katy Tur. Welcome back to work.

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