Millennial Dads Should Know About This

Did you know that moms who work in Switzerland are given up to 480 days of paid maternity leave? Dads are given 60 days. That is two months of paid leave for fathers, and this is given per child. Do you know how many days of paid leave the United States mandates for parents? Zero. No, that is not a typo. Moms and dads receive zero days. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized nation to not require any paid maternity leave.

Children are born in the United States every day. Parents are continually being faced with tough decisions regarding work, quality of life, and child care. Parents often have to sacrifice time with their children in those most critical months to work in order to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. What about childcare? This becomes an issue almost immediately. Will someone stay at home? Do we hire a nanny? We cannot afford a nanny. Do we put them in daycare? Wait. There are lists, and we did not make it on the list, and daycare is about half my salary. So, do I leave my child with a complete stranger because I need to go back to work to buy food for the baby and pay my bills? All of these questions and more infiltrate the mind and create unnecessary tension between mom and dad before their child takes his/her first breath. Think of how difficult this must be for single parents. So what can we do about it?

Create Awareness

In 2013 there was a White House petition requesting that paid maternity leave be mandated, but the petition did not pass legislation and was archived because it did not meet the signature requirements. I’ll be honest. I didn’t even know this was important until my wife became pregnant. I just thought moms stayed with their kids until they could go back to work. I honestly had no idea. I was ignorant. We need to speak up. You can share this knowledge with your Human Resources Department. Create awareness on your blog or social sites. Let people know.

Draft A Letter

This is one of the most intentional things we can do. Draft a letter to your state representative or senator. Do not be negative, but promote the benefits. Promote family. Promote companies that are doing this well. For example, The NewYork Times reports that Google now offers five months of paid maternity leave to mothers, and this has increased their retention of female employees by fifty percent. Research more amazing examples like this and share in your letter the positives of paid maternity leave.

Invitation to Lead by Example

If you are a business owner or friends with business owners, invite them to lead by example. It may be that some businesses just cannot afford the overhead, and that’s okay. However, there may be smaller things they could do to communicate value to working parents. Some examples may be to offer subsidized childcare for employees, allow parents to telecommute a couple of days a week, or offer flexible hours for parents because children will need to go to the doctor. Certainly, if we are all intentional and working together we can figure something out for our families.

Help Our Moms Out

Laws do not change quickly. In the mean time there are things dads can do to help eliminate stress on moms. Whether a mom is a stay-at-home mom or working mom, we should intentionally look for opportunities to serve her. This is a true quality of leadership. We can help with the dishes, get the groceries, do laundry. No, I am not assuming anything here. You may already do these things. If so, find some other ways you can help out mom. Maybe you can plan a day for her to go hang with the girls. It may also mean that we dads make the choice to sacrifice our career for a time while mom continues to focus on her career. This may be the easier choice if mom brings home more income. Nevertheless, you are a dad. You play a huge part in this. You will make sacrifices too. If you are planning on becoming a father and having a family one day, talk to your spouse about this. Are you willing to make such a sacrifice?

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3 thoughts on “Millennial Dads Should Know About This

  1. I really enjoyed your passion in this post. I would be curious to see if a government mandate for paid paternity leave solved more problems than they caused. I would fear that employers would be less inclined to hire younger people who are about to start a family, to avoid the costs of paying for an employee who is producing nothing for 3-6 months. This could potentially harm an already struggling demographic who are unemployed or under-employeed.
    Companies will navigate the mandate to benefit the company. The mandate might even cause companies to scale their workforce back to cover the cost/risk of potential paid paternity leaves. Then what? More mandates? More problems? Then more mandates? A vicious cycle, it would seem.

    I guess the biggest question is; how would this temporary relief for parents, solve the long term issue of the low wages that cause the inaffordability of child rearing?

    I think it’s a big hearted idea, but it may not solve the core issue. I think a thriving economy with a plethora of job opportunities will drive employers to be more competitive with their compensation packages, in order to aquire top talent. A great economy will also drive competition for services, which in turn drives the cost of living down. Then raising a family will be more affordable and it would allow more options in the soon to be parents decision making process.
    Again, I love your passion, and you write effortlessly well, but I cannot see how this truly helps in the grand scheme of things. Sorry for such a long comment, it wasn’t my attention. Also, I hope you don’t take it as an attack, but rather an open discussion on finding the right solutions. Great post.


    1. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement regarding my writing, and thank you for your comments. You offer great perspective. My intent was to raise awareness and offer insight that many young couples having children may not even consider. I do think if we work together we can make progress toward some kind of solution for working adults who are parents or hope to become parents.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You definitely achieved your intent with me, as I agree whole heartedly on bringing awareness to issues like this. Awareness is the first step on the path to solutions. My wife and I struggled mightily with the affordability of raising our baby girl. She was a nurse making a respectable income. Yet, we decided together that daycare costs were too high to sacrifice the time with our daughter when looking at the marginalized monetary gains that we would have by her continuing to work. The result, our daughter has the most loving caregiver imaginable, which is her mom. Yet, we are really struggling financially. So, from my standpoint this issue needs awareness. I would have loved more than anything to have a month, or 2 months home with my family. It killed me to be at work with our new bundle of joy at home.
        Also, you are absolutely right in the advice you gave about serving our wives. Again, thanks and great post.


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