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I recently read an article about the top 5 regrets of the dying. In it, a palliative nurse says that every single dying man she cared for admitted he wished he’d spent less time in the office. For those who had children this would surely have meant wishing they had spent less time working and more time with their young family.
Aviva are an example of a large organisation which allow similar levels of maternity and paternity leave. However, given an opportunity like this we wondered how many couples would split the leave?
We are fans of the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand (also the world’s youngest female leader) who plans to hand over power to her deputy and take 6 weeks maternity leave. She then plans to share the childcare with her partner, Clarke Gayford, who intends to be a stay at home dad. So, not only is she taking a sensible amount of time to recover and enjoy her baby she is setting a wonderful example to other women.
We wondered if their decision to share the childcare and to set such a balanced example of modern parenting was because they are slightly older, financial stable and Clarke can possibly continue to work within the broadcasting industry. However, we still suspect there are lots of men who wouldn’t make this decision even if they were in the same situation.
We all know we don’t get those years with our young children back, so why are so many men anchored to their desks? If you had the opportunity to take 3 months paternity leave, would you do it?
There is also another dynamic which can throw the dad’s intentions to the wind, and that is if the Mum doesn’t want to share the leave! We have seen women who appear to assume because they gave birth the baby belongs to them and the dad is an incompetent entity who couldn’t possibly share the early years.
In modern Britain there must be so many dads who earn the same as their partners and would love to take paternity leave. Maybe that’s reason enough for the Government to consider legislating to give all dads 12 weeks leave.
Surely this would create greater understanding and respect between parents, improve bonds between dads and their children and by virtue of that lead to a better work / life balance.
How many mums would love their partners to come home from work and appreciate how difficult their day really was and why they haven’t managed to ‘do anything!’
It would be great to hear from some dads who weren’t given the opportunity to take paternity leave and perhaps some who shared the childcare and how it affected them.
For the first two dads willing to share their experiences with us by way of a guest blog we will send them their very own adult size Snuggle Sac. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch on Instagram or Facebook if you would like to take part.