This time, I am talking about parental leave. It is sparked by this article on Lifehacker exhorting fathers to take the full parental leave available to them:
"A lot happens in those early weeks and months. You’re frantically figuring out how to rebuild your family with this brand new person in it. Routines and responsibilities are created and solidified. If the mother is the only one on leave, she automatically shoulders the bulk of the mental load...
However, when both partners take parental leave at the same time, they 'struggle and succeed right alongside one another,' Brody adds. And that’s a huge, important process. 'You set yourselves up for a real partnership that pays off for years as your children and your careers grow,' she says. 'Having made it through those early crazy days, each of you knows that the other is capable and loving, and you’re much more likely to trust one another.'"
I have watched a lot of friends have babies, and there is one thing I have consistently observed: the mother's ability to retain some semblance of her identity and humanity is directly linked to how much time the father takes off work immediately following the birth. So there's that, too.
(Obviously, it's not always mothers staying home and fathers working, or even mothers and fathers in one family, that is simply what I have had around me thus far.)
There are many reasons why it's not that simple, most of which boil down to money. But for those of us lucky enough to have the option, thanks to our jobs or the countries we live in, it seems like a good idea to take it.
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