When I am interviewed about paternity leave, my book, and other “working dad” issues, I always get the question about why, even in companies that provide paid paternity leave, many dads don’t feel they can actually take an extended leave without significant career consequences. My typical answer goes something like this:
Here’s a roundup of the guest posts featured at Fathers, Work and Family over the past year. Enjoy this incredible collection of fathers’ voices discussing work-family issues.
One of my goals in starting this blog was to build a community of busy, involved working dads who could share their experiences, insights, challenges and triumphs. In this way, we’d know that we are not alone in our work-family juggles, and that we could be sources of emotional and tangible support for each other.
One man’s experience taking a two-week paternity leave, and a call for more employers to offer it. A guest post by Aaron Gouveia of DaddyFiles.
(This article originally appeared at Aaron’s great blog, The Daddy Files, on August 21st, 2013)
I can’t tell you how many people have asked me that recently. I know they probably don’t mean anything by it and I’m certain they gave very little thought to their words, but it still irks me something fierce. Because if you’ve ever done it, you’d know that paternity leave is most assuredly NOT a vacation.
I took two weeks of paternity leave after Sam was born. Luckily for me, they were two PAID weeks. I’m one of the fortunate few who works for a company that actually offers new dads two weeks of fully paid paternity leave. But even if my company didn’t offer the two weeks, I would’ve taken time anyway — either via vacation time or unpaid FMLA. Because I think it’s very important — hell, I’ll go so far as to say it should be mandatory — for both moms and dads to be home with the baby in the weeks following birth.
Mainly because those weeks are 1) really important and 2) really f^%&ing difficult.
How do you explain to a 5 year old boy that you can’t afford what his friends have because you’ve prioritized family time over financial rewards? Here’s one dad’s story. This is a guest post by Aaron Gouveia that originally appeared at his blog, DaddyFiles.com on July 8th, 2013.
What good is a fancy car if you only drive it to the office and back? What’s the point of buying your kids all the best toys if you’re not there to play along with them? And what good is that huge house if you’re never home to dance with your wife in the kitchen or chase the kids around that gargantuan playroom?
“Dad, are we poor?”
The question itself doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s an honest and insightful question that comes from a place of innocence and genuine curiosity often inhabited by 5-year-olds. It was the anxiety-riddled expression he wore on his face, and the hint of fear buried just below the inflection in his voice that did me in.
I should’ve seen this coming.