Sunday, November 9, 2014

Paternity Leave

The article Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma posted in the New York Times on November 7th could have been written about MY husband.  
  • Maximum amount of paternity leave while Mom goes back to work?  Check.  
  • System for freezing and thawing breast milk?  Check.  
  • Traveling to wife's workplace at lunchtime so baby could nurse?  Check.  
  • Washing breastpump parts and re-packing in the morning? Check.  
  • Career track being negatively affected?  Well, maybe it was temporarily but he seems to have recovered from that now.
When I was pregnant with Beezus, Mr. Quimby approached his employer (an industry trade association) and said that when his wife returned to work, he wanted to use his accrued sick leave as a paternity leave.  He had been with his employer for several years, was well respected and known as a hard worker.  It was sort of anti-climatic in a way - there wasn't any big discussion, they just said yes.  He wound up taking off for 2 weeks after she was born, 6 weeks when I first went back to work, and then another 6 weeks of working part-time.  He didn't take off quite as long with Ramona, but I do remember it was several weeks.  The thing is, even if his career did take a hit, albeit temporarily, it was worth it.  The bonding that he did with the babies and the way that he learned how to care for them, on his own, without any notes or instructions from me continues to this day.  All that work travel I've started doing?  I never leave a note - details about activities are in the family google calendar and I make sure after-school babysitters are booked and that's it.

Perhaps it would have worked out that way even if he hadn't taken paternity leave, but I definitely think it set the stage.

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