If you read our blog frequently, you know that we are pro-paternity leave and all solutions for that matter, that lead to better work-life balance. For this reason, it was inspiring to read Real Men Know How to Take Paternty Leave by Allison Stevens on Womensenews.Org.
The writer, Allison Stevens knows all about the guy who puts in long hours at the office. He’s her husband. But he’s also the same man who recently took paternity leave–and had the best time of his life….But my husband was the greater beneficiary. He has often said since that those two months (he tacked on a couple weeks of unpaid leave) were the best of his life. He lost two weeks pay and ignored warnings about the risk to his career, but he came out ahead, way ahead.
Sporting a beard, a baby carrier, and his version of a gender-neutral diaper bag (a black backpack) spilling over with diapers, wipes, my pumped breast milk and all manner of other infant accoutrements, John headed out–often with the dog in tow, too–every morning to the park, the museum, the playground, wherever, to spend some quality time with his kids.
All too often, we are reminded through the media or conversations with friends that the paternity leave that goes on in this country is basically non-existent and significantly behind our peers abroad. Maybe if we keep publicizing these facts and talking about it more frequently, we will slowly make some progress on the paternity leave front.
Well, that is what Stevens suggests in the article and I certainly agree.
Men may be seen as less macho in the work force if they alter their schedule for their children, and perhaps they’ll pay a price in the same way that women do if they attempt to find that precarious balance between work and family…But the discussion alone can yield incalculable rewards. Talking about ways fathers can spend more time with their children could open up more options for dads and will push the work-family movement forward–and it may just make a few more overworked fathers well up with tears of joy.
These days, I am much more closely tuned into work/family/life balance as I enter month #2 of being back (on a part-time basis) in the work force…and I look for every excuse to get home quickly to maximize my time with my family. I imagine there are millions of parents in the same boat.