I know almost every dad is entitled to paternity leave, but I know many don’t take it. A Department of Labor report said nine out of ten dads took time off to bond with their child, but seven out of ten took ten days or less. Whether they don’t think they can actually take time from their job or for other reasons, not nearly enough dads take advantage of this great time to bond with their child(ren). I see it as an amazing opportunity to watch our girls grow and develop for three weeks. In addition, that same report shows stronger family life for those where the dad takes more time to bond with their kids.
In addition to bonding with the girls, this leave is giving me a glimpse into Mary’s life the past sixteen weeks since the girls were born. She was able to create routines and patterns that have given the girls the structure they need to grow, rest, and play. My job is to keep the train moving, and have some fun along the way. For all you moms out there, those first few weeks seem like they are so hectic, but you all handle it with such poise.
Things I am learning on paternity leave:
- The girls sound different. Before my leave, I couldn’t tell them apart when they cried in another room. Now I can.
- Pretty much every chore in the house can be done with one hand while holding a baby in the other. But it doesn’t hurt to plan to do as many chores as possible during naps.
- The dogs are totally in tune with the girls. They follow us around, sniff them, and stand next to them when they are crying.
My leave is only three weeks because we didn’t want to use time without pay, but I know they will be the three most important weeks of the year for me (aside from their births).
To all you dads-to-be, try and figure out how to spend some quality time with your kids during their early stages. It’s amazing.