If you don’t already know anecdotally, cursory Googling will show how working parents in the U.S. face a bleak picture for parental leave. While new mothers generally don’t get enough time off, new fathers get even less so, if any. When my son was born last year most of my family and friends had essentially identical reactions of pleasant surprise that I was being given time off. Paternity leave in the private sector for smaller businesses is quite rare. I enjoyed about 6 weeks away from the office to gel with my new family.
Staying at home those first weeks wasn’t only crucial for bonding with my son and getting used to a brand new routine. It was equally as important that I be there for my wife so she didn’t have to handle those challenges alone. My wife is a naturally amazing mother but even so it made a world of difference that she didn’t have to spend the majority of those first few weeks alone. Bonding and getting to know each other as new parents was as important as bonding with our son. Additionally, by the time we both had returned to work we were much better prepared for the work/life balance than had I not been given that valuable time off in those critical initial weeks.
By Randall Enlow,
Attorney and new father