Satirical baby books criticise US federal paid leave policy

Created by Mother LA, the books use dark humour to imagine what life is like for a newborn without parents around to care for it

Image shows four mock baby books titled 'Get your sh*t together, baby' on a blue background

Paid Leave for All is the national campaign of organisations fighting to win paid family and medical leave for all working people in the US. Currently, one in four American women are required to return to work within two weeks of giving birth.

To challenge this antiquated system, Paid Leave for All has released a new set of baby books that satirises the absurdity of the issue. Made in collaboration with online women’s magazine Glamour and the LA arm of global creative agency Mother, the series of four books, titled Get Your Sh*t Together, Baby, teaches newborns how to survive in the forced absence of their parents.

From instructions on how to boil water for their own bottle to guidance on going into debt to pay for their own care, the books highlight the ridiculousness of the country’s inadequate federal paid leave policy.

“You need to eat every three hours, but your parents won’t be home for another seven to feed you, so you’ll have to figure out this whole ‘eating’ thing,” reads a page in one of the books.

“Wow, taking care of the house is a full-time unpaid job! But your parents can’t afford to quit, so neither can you,” reads another.

Alongside promotion through digital display, video, audio, print ads, and an out-of-home takeover in Times Square, New York, live readings of the books will also be taking place online by noteworthy figures, including actors Jenna Dewan and Kelly McCreary, and Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown.

The campaign aims to encourage people in the US to “turn their anger into action” by signing the petition hosted on the website and ushering in a much-needed and long-desired updated policy.

“Every one of us will need to give or receive care in our lives, and paid leave is one of the most impactful and popular policies in the country,” says Paid Leave for All director Dawn Huckelbridge. “The fact that we still don’t have it in the United States is not funny, it’s tragic. But we want to break through the noise of Washington with comedy, with storytelling, with anger, and with optimism.”