I still can not believe that this is a real news report. But this man defines ambition as having 22 children (that he can not financially and likely emotionally support) by 13 women!
Just because fatherhood is totally sexy!
Those perfect moments when your child exists in joy and peace!
The Life and Style section of the Wall Street Journal had that most intriguing and refreshing article on an issue that is very much ignored by US companies, paternity-leave. Something often dismissed and treated as a dirty expletive by work-life unbalanced fathers, mothers and employers alike. The aforementioned article questioned whether the current Swedish policy of two months of paternity leave is in fact adequate. Sweden’s paternity benefits are the most generous in the world; with 2 months being the standard and some able to take as many as 240 days paid-leave.
Sweden’s paternity-leave policy began in 1974 as a means to encourage women to join a depleted workforce and is now instrumental in gender equality and home stability. The government will pay 80% of a parent’s salary up to $65,000 for 13 months. One parent can give the other all but the mandated two months required to receive benefits. Statistics show, that unlike the United States, a majority of fathers take off the minimum of two months and 72% of working-age women in the country are employed at least part-time.
This does come at a significant cost to the country, around $3.7 Billion in 2007 alone. With that said, public officials believe the minimum for paternity should be increased to 3 months. With one leading Swedish official commenting: “The fathers of today are not cavemen with clubs in their hand, but men that take an ever increasing responsibility for home and family.”
With this current structure it is actually more beneficial for mothers to work outside the home in some capacity. Considering the cost of child care for a child less than a year old in the United States, I don’t know how my family would have survived had we not had family provided child-care as an option.
With our first child, my husband was downsized at work and for 5 months, learned first hand how laborious being a primary care taker really is. Most days I would return home from work and he would be passed out with the baby napping and a pile of half completed laundry nearby. My husband cherished those moments of bonding with our daughter. With our 2 nd child, I worked from home and my husband took the measly 2 weeks allotted by his company and we experienced the stress of having multiple children in diapers, even with my sister and mother nearby to help.
This expected trend of men being paternal and emotionally responsible fathers is fairly new in mainstream cultures around the world. I recall and incident at church in which our baby was inconsolable, so my husband took him out to waiting area. After service, an elderly woman patted us on the shoulder, smiled, and commented how refreshing it was to see a father taking on roles at home that were expected to be solely a woman’s responsibility.
Happy Father’s Day to my husband and all the other loving, caring and attentive Dads out there.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve come to face some harsh realities about my mothering skills. Piglet has grown and changed a great deal, her needs have changed and I have not changed with those needs. A couple of weeks ago (after 14 months of doing so) I stopped breastfeeding and stopped knowing how to comfort my daughter.
My husband has always had to work a great deal harder at bonding with and comforting our daughter. He did not have the miracle of milk producing breasts and everything required more finesse. He is good, in fact he is great with her. He can lay her down for naps with ease and soothing her is second nature. I, on the other hand struggle. I realize that my dependence on breastfeeding for all things baby soothing has made me a lazy and ineffective mother in more ways than one.
When I walk in from work in the evening, Piglet’s eyes light up and she is team Mommy! She wants to cuddle and play but my first thought is dinner and 10 minutes of cuddling is not enough for her. These days my evening meals (when Hubs does not cook) have to allow for baby to be able to rest on my hip while preparing. Easier said than done. But as soon as the honeymoon cuddle phase subsides, she fusses and I immediately look to her father to comfort her.
I am feeling so disappointed in myself. My daughter’s wants and needs are changing but I am not adapting with these changes, mostly because I use my husband as a the crutch my milk ducts once were. He is the more effective parent and he is so stressed by it. He does not have a moment to himself because he is constantly watching, caring, and soothing her. He is in essence a single father.
I’ve made a decision to consciously work on my mothering and marital partnering skills. They are definitely areas of growth in my life.