In the gender equality times we live in these days paternity leave is becoming more commonplace than it has been in days past. In Europe it is much more common than in the United States, in fact most countries in the European Union require paternity leave. In the US it is only starting to become available and some companies, states and cities are offering paid paternity leave.
Men don’t always take advantage of paternity leave though as often times men can be discouraged or retaliated against by their employer for taking the leave and sometimes even when paternity leave is permitted it isn’t paid for so it puts a financial burden on the family. The fear of jeopardizing their careers, losing out on promotions, possibly even getting a demotion are all valid concerns as the implementation of paternity leave as a standard thing has a long way to go.
For the men who do decide to take paternity leave here are a few tips that can help make the most of it.
Take time off for real. If you are going to be there then really be there. Be present and do not spend the time working from home while trying to take care of and bond with your new baby. The adjusting to and caring for a new baby is going to be exhausting enough without trying to add a work load on top of it. But planning is essential. You may need to put in some extra hours at the office and make a lot of arrangements ahead of time to cover your work while youre gone.
Make the most of your time off by not starting your paternity leave until the mother is actually in labor. Due dates are essentially guestimates. Babies can arrive early or late and you will need to maximize your time off so don’t start the clock pre-maturely and squander precious time off just sitting around waiting for the baby to come.
Consider breaking up your paternity leave instead of using it consecutively. Many men stagger their leave according to what the mother’s schedule is to return back to work. They will spend a few weeks when the baby is born then use the remaining time when it’s time for the mother to transition back to work.
However you decide to use your time just remember your family should come first and you never get these days and moments back so use your time to be the dad you should be.