Monday, March 17, 2014

Your Thoughts On 'Paternity Leave'?

Michael Roston, a social media editor at The New York Times posted an article today, which happens to be March 17th, or better know as St. Patricks Day. I loved his plea for help, and think his daughter is lucky to have him as a caring dad. He asks the question, How Do I Make the Most from My Paternity leave?.

"Your eyebrows are really bushy, dad"
He will be taking six weeks off beginning next week, and is hoping for some father to father advice. He has a 4 month old girl. And Michael was home the first two weeks of his daughter's life with his wife, but now it is different. His wife is returning to her career, so it will be father & daughter - home alone together.

Please, click on the direct link (above) to Michael's article asking for "daddy wisdom" on the good, bad, ugly and saintly things you did, and wished you had done while on paternity leave.

This was my response:

The idea of getting out with your newborn is excellent. Take the child, literally, on you as you go for interesting walks outside in good weather or to the mall or any indoor place where there is the bustle of life for your child to absorb. Of course, a little rain on the two of you would be a good time to sing!

I'm glad I bonded with my child early on. "Bonding' with your baby/infant is for both of you. Father bonds with the child while they bond with you. All this means is spending quality time together. When the child is sleeping, you catch up on your other life needs like fb, twitter or college basketball's 'March madness'! But, when baby is awake, it
Time for a nap for pops, too!
is all about being in the moment. Having conversations, reading, talking about what you are seeing, thinking... look into their eyes... smile... laugh...kiss.

Having a baby is like having a dog or cat (do I have your attention now?)! They are the best listeners. The difference with a child is that your words not only are therapeutic for you, but they are having a deeply positive developmental, if not profound effect on your child's brain and psyche. This is why you take paternity leave when they are newborns.

No regrets except not doing more of the above. No babysitters, please! Also, not a time to work on that long time project in the garage (unless baby is snuggled safely on your back). 

Actually, forget social media during paternity leave, when they are napping is a good time to lay down with them for a 'cat nap' together. Yes! You can bond while sleeping too! 

As the article points out, "only about 15% of companies offer paid leave for fathers. And even when paternity leave is available, some fathers don't take it, fearing they'll lose out in competitive workplaces by taking time off". 'Times are a changing' and good dads & progressive companies like Michael Roston & the NY Times are helping make a positive difference.

Yes! indeed, fatherhood is life changing and fatherhood is changing, for the better. But there'll always be enough time to check a little March madness B-ball action...

To a lucky future, Papa Green Bean