Parenting

Three Dads Took Paternity Leave and Boy Did It Open Their Eyes!

Imagine swapping the boardroom for the nursery and deadlines for lullabies. For many dads, paternity leave feels like stepping onto a different planet. By the end, they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
 
These 3 dads did just that. Their paternity leave gave them an eye-opening journey, revealing the joys and challenges of parenting in ways they never expected. A crash course in Dad 101, every moment was a mix of awe, exhaustion and pure love.
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Source: Bigstock

Walking a mile in her shoes.

An old adage but an apt one. It’s no secret that the best way to understand someone is to ‘walk in their shoes’. Some dads are taking advantage of their paternity leave and seeing their partners with different eyes.

What is paternity leave?

It’s basically the same thing as maternity leave. Paid time away from work for new parents. While maternity leave is expected in most workplaces, paternal leave is something new. It strays from the old mindsets of women who stay at home and raise babies while men bring home the bacon.

What are the benefits of paternity leave for Dads?

Dads taking paternal leave get to be present for baby milestones they might have missed had they been at work. Their child’s first smile, first tooth, the first time they roll over. It also gives them an opportunity to see how hard their partners work to maintain the house and kids. A new perspective, if you may.


1. Caleb’s story

Caleb Remington, from the popular TikTok channel @ustheremingtons took advantage of paternity leave when his second child was born. He says the time off changed his entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use. During his viral video, he is seen doing household chores as he talks about the revelations he’s had since being on paternity leave.

“I honestly hated how much we fought, how much I felt misunderstood, and how much I misunderstood her…so now as second-time parents, I feel like we’re a little bit more prepared. Prepared in how we talk to each other, prepared in how I balance work, life, and personal life, and prepared to just let things go,” he says.

Remington acknowledges falling short in fulfilling his fair share of domestic labour initially. However, after dedicating seven weeks to assuming additional responsibilities, he came to the realization that his previous idea of accomplishing a “fair share” was, in fact, merely meeting the bare minimum.

Being at home to work with his wife as they went from a one-baby family to two highlighted how he and his wife needed to learn to communicate better.

@ustheremingtons I (caleb) am getting ready to go back into work and i am not ready. Grateful for my four weeks plus 3 weeks of PTO, but i feel like we were just getting into a groove and i was finally getting to have some 1 on 1 time with my son. Picking up the house today because we all function better with a clean space and we haven’t had time to do much of it while surviving these past 7 weeks. I do work from home and find that I have a little more flexibility in helping out here and there but i am also pretty glued and have to be zoned in during work hours. I do however have some pretty awesome and understanding coworkers and company!Shout out to @SAMBAZON Açaí 👊 Tiff is an all star: working and stay at home mom. I am dedicated in doing better to help balance more of the domestic responsibilities. #paternityleave #dadtok #dadsover30 #dadlife #fyp #foryoupage #ditl #ditlvlog #maternityleave #newbornlife #newbornbaby #secondbaby #2under2 #toddlerlife ♬ original sound – Tiffany + Caleb


2. Isaac’s story

Journalist Isaac Nowroozi took four months off to learn how to become a father to Ezra. He says this time has opened his eyes to some challenges facing fathers who want to be primary caregivers and strengthened his relationship. He talks about his experience in an article for ABC.

In conversations with his wife, Abby, about childcare after Ezra’s birth, he says his career was going well. He was afraid he would become invisible and opportunities would pass him by.

“That’s the same anxiety so many women feel when they step out of the workforce,” his wife said.

Feeling apprehensive about balancing caring for children with a career is something men are less familiar with. Isaac says he didn’t properly understand it until he’d experienced it himself.

Ezra and Isaac kept busy with playgroups, swimming classes, outings to the zoo and play dates with generous mums who let us tag along. That said, it sometimes felt weird, like he was encroaching on women’s spaces when he and Ezra attended playgroups.

Not only did he admit to feeling lonely at times, leading to feelings of guilt for not enjoying every second with his son, but he also found himself clock-watching – counting down the time until Abbey came home from work so he would have another adult to talk to.

As the first man in his family and friendship circle to take extended leave, he knew many people wouldn’t understand. Thankfully Abbey did.

And for the first time, he could truly appreciate the emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows she had experienced on maternity leave.

Isaac mentions older men talking about going back to work only days after their babies were born as badges of honour and feels sad for them. He says times are changing, and as much as he loves his job and colleagues, he misses the daily grind of him and Ezra growing together.


3. Dean’s story

When his employer changed their parental policy, New Zealand dad Dean Wharewera jumped at the chance to take 12 weeks’ leave. His partner, Gina, was equally excited to return to the workforce.

Even though he gave his employer six months’ notice, Dean, a Culture and Change leader at his company, says he felt like he was leaving his team in the lurch.

Despite initial misgivings, Dean says he loved his time at home, adding it created a strong bond between him and his kids. He says he thinks more men would love to take the leave to be with their kids, but stereotypes around men and parenting might make them hesitate.

With companies around the world changing their policies around paternity leave, more fathers are getting the opportunity to be at home with their children. Both children and their parents benefit when both parents can be present for their children. Relationships between parents are strengthened when they work as a team as parents and as housemates.

father-and-newborn-fist-pumping
Source: Bigstock

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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