Meghan Markle Gave A Shout-Out To The Sizzler Buffet In A Letter Supporting Paid Parental Leave

October 21, 2021 / Posted by:

If you’re a big fan of the buffet experience, then surely September 21st, 2020 holds a sad place in your heart, for it was the day Sizzler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. COVID-19 really did a number on the you-serve-yourself excessive dining industry, and Sizzler was no exception. But hark, an angel has been sent from Heaven (or Montecito, CA), to preach the good word about Sizzler’s reputation as a reliable n’ economical culinary treat for working families, and that person is Meghan Markle. Okay, Meghan hasn’t exactly launched a campaign to pull Sizzler back from the brink of financial insolvency. But she did use Sizzler as a reference in a letter about the necessity of paid parental leave.

In honor of Meghan’s 40th birthday on August 4th, she launched the 40×40 initiative, which is basically to commit to dedicating 40 minutes of service to something important. Meghan’s specific suggestion was to spend 40 minutes a day trying to figure out how to support women going back to work or re-entering the workforce in a post-COVID world. Statistics show that tons of women left the workforce during the pandemic, mostly due to a lack of childcare options. For example, a kid gets sick, and the parent has to stay home with them. That parent might not have paid sick leave, which means a tough choice between taking care of a sick child or paying the bills. Meghan wants that to change but also wants the conversation around post-birth parental leave as well. Meghan wrote an open letter addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and published by Paid Leave for All, saying that she and her husband, Prince Harry, are in a very privileged position when it comes to parenting, but that she knows all too well that families can struggle hard and be forced to make shitty decisions when money is involved. via People magazine:

“I’m writing to you on behalf of millions of American families who are using their voices to say that comprehensive paid leave should not be a place to compromise or negotiate. The families you represent need your strong leadership,” she urges Speaker Pelosi, 81, and Leader Schumer, 70. “Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option.”

“Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities. At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.

In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child. Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. Like fewer parents, we weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work.”

Both Meghan and Harry took 20 weeks of parental leave after Lilibet Diana was born (the Archewell Foundation grants new parents 20 weeks of paternity leave after birth). Meghan and Harry own Archewell and they’re rich enough to take another 20 should they so choose. But Meghan wasn’t always an actress-turned-Duchess-turned-insanely famous rich person. To illustrate that point, she writes:

“I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler – it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember) – but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky.”

It would have been a retro Before They Were Famous moment had Meghan also name dropped her part-time job at Humphrey Yogart.

Meghan knew how hard her parents worked (hell, even into retirement, her father is still working hard for the money). I’m sure you don’t bite into a hot, crispy mouthful of Sizzler cheese toast without at least a fleeting feeling that your parents probably busted their ass to afford such a treat. But I think we can all agree that this letter was only written and signed by Meghan herself. It would be a lot tougher of a sell if Prince Harry was trying to advocate for paid parental leave by using examples from his childhood. “Goodness, I am terribly aware of the struggle of a double-working parent household. One time my parents were called home to cut a ribbon at an event, and we were forced to cut a family yacht holiday in the Mediterranean down from 14 days to 12!


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