You want to know what is AMAZING? Paternity leave. Yes, a mother’s time off is first and foremost when it comes to importance on the postpartum scale, but there is something to be said for having dad home for an extended period of time after a baby arrives. My husband’s work recently changed their policy on paternity leave and when we welcomed out third little man a few months ago, my husband was able to spend twelve wonderful weeks with his family. And because you get to read my writing all the time, I thought I would give you a chance to learn more about this experience from his perspective…..without further ado, I give you my husband, Mark.
Twelve weeks of paternity leave is pretty unheard of and my family and I are so grateful that my employer has allowed us to spend this important time together. I’d like to thank Godaddy.com for being one of the most progressive companies in the U.S. for both maternity and paternity leave. I’ve learned a lot over these last three months, like that being a stay-at-home-parent is so much more work than I ever thought. Most importantly though, I realized how important paternity leave is and why all companies should offer this benefit to the fathers of families so they can be there to fully support their significant other and family.
- I washed dishes, did laundry, cooked meals and swept under the dining room table more times than I can count. I can’t imagine how my wife did these chores on her own the first two times around when I had to go back to work right away. She was already sore, tired and emotional from having a baby, I’m glad I was there to ensure she had time to comfortably get back to feeling normal and rest.
- Newborns don’t necessarily care about their dad the first few weeks, even one who says lots of hilarious things. In our family’s case, our baby solely relied on my wife for food so he basically wanted to be with her 24/7. But having the long paternity leave allowed me to still be around when my son hit the 7-8 week mark, I got to be present for the moments he started smiling, making eye contact and “talking.”
- My older boys loved every minute of having their dad home. I was able to keep them busy and take them out on adventures we wouldn’t have had otherwise. This gave my wife some time at home alone with the baby to bond and rest without the chaos that comes with a 4 year old and 3 year old.
- Twelve weeks of paternity leave has been amazing for my relationship with my wife. I feel like it has given me an opportunity to see and appreciate what she goes through every day and realize that a mess on the floor or some dirty dishes will never define what type of day my family had. I was able to help her get back to feeling normal by taking a lot of the family load off her shoulders.
I wish every parent got to experience this uninterrupted time with their newborn and I hope that more companies move in this direction in the future. It’s not all glamorous, I got spit up on five times a day and changed more diapers than I can count. I did not golf, go to the gym, or hang out with friends like I thought I would. Some of the best days did not result in a perfectly maintained house, but were spent watching movies and holding my newborn. I realized that my employer gave me this time to take care of my newborn, wife, and other children and after I return to work, her workload increases and mine stays the same as before our baby was born. I am so grateful for these last twelve weeks. I got to see my son’s first smile and drop my older boys off at preschool every day. All dads deserve this.