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I am on paternity leave, actually my second of 2 staggered Paternity leaves. I am about 1 week into my second leave, hanging out with little Theo. I have some time off to bond with my kid, but more importantly my wife has some time to go back to work and stay focused knowing, I’ve got this.

Men’s Paternity Promotes Gender Equity

My wife started sharing a bunch of information about paternity leave when we started discussing having a child. The choices men make to be more involved with the kid can help women who choose to work to avoid some of the associated career setbacks that often come with becoming a mother. There is some interesting research going on here, it seems to impact both work and home life. Increasing men’s participation in chores and playing with children. I suspect that has something to do with the empathy gained, spending time at home alone with the kiddo.

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Gotta make that dollar…

A mother’s future earnings increased 7% for every month that her partner took parental leave.
Could Paternity Leave Policies Close The Wage Gap?

USA, get it together ;)

79: Number of countries that have laws requiring paternity leave
Paternity Leave By The Numbers

Tech industry is leading the way (change.org most generous leave in tech), keep pushing it forward.

  • this year alone, Amazon, Netflix, and Microsoft have all announced extended parental leave. This is of particular importance because for the first time, we’re seeing a move towards expanded leave for fathers as well as for mothers.
  • found that men increased their time spent on household chores by 23% after taking paternity leave.
  • Another study by the Columbia University School of Social Work found that men who took more than two weeks of leave were more likely to handle childcare tasks like diapering, feeding, and playing, and were more likely to contribute to household chores.
    Women Benefit Most When Men Take Paternity Leave

behavior-modification, how scientific ;)

  • a behavior-modification tool that has been shown to boost male participation in the household, enhance female participation in the labor force, and promote gender equity in both domains.
  • Among labor economists, overly long maternity leaves are now recognized as creating a barrier to pay equity. At home, meanwhile, long leaves result in women doing most of the housework and child care. (referencing that it is better to have some leave for mom and dad opposed to long mom only leave)
  • policy makers decided to make men an offer they would feel ashamed to refuse
  • study suggests that paternity leave might give men a new mind-set, prompting them to trade more money for more time at home, more flexibility, or both.
    Daddy Track: The Case for Paternity Leave

It’s good for for Father / Child Relationships

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It helps you bond with your baby, and it has been showm to increase the interest and time a father spends with his kids through out life. Ever hear about men jealous of the relationship between kids and their mothers? It is easy to see why kids could be closer to their moms, but taking paternity leave helps you to develop your own bond.

Daddy Paternity Leave Activities

What do we spend our days doing?

  • Bi-lingual song & story time at the library
  • Visiting Daycares trying to get a spot locked down (the good times can’t go on forever).
  • Long walks to parks
  • Running errands, Theo enjoys looking around shops
  • Gardening, while I haven’t yet got him to pull weeds, he does seem to love watching me do it.
  • Baby Dance party
  • Crying and refusing to calm down (OK this part isn’t very fun)
  • Teaching the kid about Operation Ivy, and other Punk Rock.
  • Writing code and blog posts, the kid has to sleep sometime.
  • Visit a museum, kiddo loves being carried around to look at new things

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Paternity Leave Stigma

96 percent of men are back at work after two weeks, while 13 percent do not take a single day off.
Boston College Research

While there still is some stigma and even well intentioned folks unintentionally may throw a few jokes your way. It is getting better, and the best way to help keep the progress going is normalize dad’s taking of as much time as mom’s do.

I say, “Be the change, you want to see.”

I can tell you people are extremely nice to me, when I am out as a dad ‘alone’ with out baby. Random folks hold doors, elevators, make nice comments, etc. I am not even kidding that earlier today an old woman pulled her car over to the side of the road and shouted out the open window, “It is so nice to see dad’s taking their kids for a walk too.” So while it is shifting this way, it is still rare enough to see a man caring for a baby that folks are surprised to see it.

So if you can again, take some time, Share the “burden.” Enjoy some time with your kid, while they like you.

Dude, Check Your Privilege!

Yep, I hear that.

Taking maternity or paternity leave in the US at all means you are pretty privileged. Only 12% of Americans have access to paid parental leave and the US is one of only three countries left in the world that do not guarantee paid maternity leave.

As with most of my posts and life, I understand my ability to take leave, work from home, and live with reduced income from my wife and I taking leave is lucky. As is the flexibility of my career / current job to support staggered paternity leave (split between baby’s birth and Mom returning to work). As are many other things, the key point is if Paternity leave is available and viable to you as a mother or father, take it.

Also, it is fine if a Mom chooses not go back to work, a father taking paternity leave is still a good thing that lets you bond with your child and promotes all people’s choices.

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Dan Mayer Profile Pic
Welcome to Dan Mayer's development blog. I primary write about Ruby development, distributed teams, and dev/PM process. The archives go back to my first CS classes during college when I was first learning programming. I contribute to a few OSS projects and often work on my own projects, You can find my code on github.

Twitter @danmayer

Github @danmayer