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Paternity Leave

9 replies

ucd90 · 06/11/2020 12:02

How long did you all (or your partner's) take for paternity leave? A friend of mine wrote this piece and it made me a little angry about what we get here in the UK and how I wish I could've been around more for wife and daughter at the beginning.

What do you think is the "right" length of time to take off?

OP posts:
lunalulu · 10/11/2020 04:57

It's a pity it can't be something like 8 weeks then a return to work but with two days off a week, for up to say six months. The maternity leave is I guess based on also physical recovery, and primary physical care with feeding, but that is outdated I feel. 8 weeks is a watershed development point and one feed is usually dropped, so I think both parents should feel free to focus on their new job for at least that time 🙂

SkedaddIe · 10/11/2020 12:35

Maternity leave and paternity leave aren't comparable.

Maternity leave isn't just about the parenting bit which men and women both should share, it's also about the physical burden and the physical recovery, which we don't share.

Statutory adoption pay and leave is as generous as SMP and is available to men afaik. And there's shared parental leave which isn't generous financially but it is flexible and as equal as you want to make it. Occupational parental pay varies wildly but generally ime it is more generous for birth mothers.

I agree that paternity pay and leave should be more because fathers are important and financial incentives will encourage us and generally benefit society. Happy children = happy future. But I don't think it's an equality issue because we don't face an equal burden before and shortly after birth.

anth85 · 18/11/2020 20:02

I’m lucky, I get 4 weeks off at full pay. Im wife is due in April so I’m hoping to be working from home part of the week after that.

FatherFather · 15/01/2021 14:53

It is a silly thing that for eternity there will floods of mummy pictures with babies and we do our quiet parenting work with quiet satisfaction but still being invisible.

We equate women's success with motherhood and men's with careers, as a society, even if we like to cloak it in all sorts of words that try to cover up for the fact that women who are not mothers or men who do not live for work are pariahs and have very little imagery in media or in health settings to represent them.

We are a minority - men who are parents first and workers second - therefore we have very little voice for change... The assumption is that because men's history has exchanged the lack of biological parenting with more financial firepower (through expending more energy in career building) ALL men should be happy with the status quo. What if a man is not interested in earning more than the rest or being career-driven... and just wants to be quietly parenting away? Do we really still need to fall over ourselves when we see men 'not working' as they take care of a baby regularly and not just because, you know, mummy cannot be there.

We should totally shout about the harm this does to women and men (in different ways) because boxing people into roles according to their genitals - sorry to be blunt - is insane. This shows the lie that cultural progression is an ever-ascending slope, where in fact we may have progressed in some areas but we are near-primitive in others. Yes, male violence cares little for how many centuries we add to our calendar, and the expectation that men work and women mother is also stuck in a time-warp.

I am one of those who left my job when we knew we were going to become parents and built a very easy self-employed activity that would give me 100% space for being a dad. I attended all pre-natal appointments, saw my child being born, took her home, and she and I have a bond that some fathers have been denied - because they are rewarded more for working away from their families.

As long as you are forced into staying at home with your baby 100% or being away for work 100% then you do not live in a society that values parenting equally for both genders: women who want to work while parenting are still obsessively asked 'how do you cope?' and men who want to parent rather than being absent fathers are still seen as oddities.

It will never change.

I am just sticking two fingers up at this caged version of men and women because I can tell myself that I was there for my daughter every hour of the day and that means that in my mind if I ever ended up partnerless I would not struggle to look after my little one. A lot of dads are not given agency to be competent carers because women are given the time to become experienced at looking after a baby: there is nothing INHERENTLY female about caring for a baby. Dads can do everything... if they are given time to learn. New mums have no innate confidence or idea about what to do with their first baby... they learn. Dads can learn too, if they are not kept away for doing other stuff.

If you want to be a stay-at-home mum or a stay-at-office dad then that should absolutely be a free choice... and if you want to be half-home and half-office then that should be free too...

The fact that we all ASSUME mummy will stay at home while daddy works (like looking after a baby is not work... hah) then shines a light on neverending attitudes to parenting that will no sooner disappear than the sun will rise in the East and set in the West.

I am so done with all this.

All I know is that there are fathers who would have given an arm and a leg to have the kind of experience that dads like me have had, seeing your child growing every day and being a part of it, with all the gruesomeness of thousands of nappies and soiled bedlinen washed with their own hands and the thousands of meals prepared and the thousands of toys put away. Parenting is bloody hard work but once you get through the first difficult years and your child comes out of toddler tantrums you have earned those moments when your child starts talking about present and past events, understands more than the here and now, and you can tell him/her about all the things you did for him/her when they were a baby in your arms... How can you ever tell them that if you were pushed out to work away from home, because nobody gave you a break?

I hope many fathers have the good fortune that I had and experience every day of their child(ren) growing up before their eyes, as tiring and hard as it may seem some days. I would do it all over again if I could.

Keep the faith... xx

Lazypuppy · 15/01/2021 14:58

My dp took 4 weeks and we were ready for him to go back by then 😂

My friends dp got 6 months off at the same time as her, they said it was good overall but a bit much spending so much time all together.

FatherFather · 15/01/2021 16:52


My dp took 4 weeks and we were ready for him to go back by then 😂

My friends dp got 6 months off at the same time as her, they said it was good overall but a bit much spending so much time all together.

... You know, the nice thing I found about the baby stage is that you do not need to spend a lot of time together,,, babies are so transportable and sleep so much... at least mine did, but that is pot luck.,, I went to cafes with the pram and the background noise of people talking would keep her sleeping away.... and I would enjoy a break from home.

So it depends how you want to play it.

That was before lockdown...

Now your 'it was ... a bit much spending so much time all together' may no longer be the exception for most :(
Lazypuppy · 15/01/2021 19:41

@FatherFather the first 2 weeks we had no idea what day it was, just muddling through.

The 2nd 2 weeks were better, but not like dp could take baby far as i was breastfeeding, so both of us stuck in a small 2 bed house where you are still trying to figure out what you are doing.

To us it felt weird and ee wanted to get back to some sort of normal routine, with him at work so i could sort a routine for me and the baby.

Tbf, i couldn't wait to go back to work after maternity leave, i'm definitely not a SAHP type of person and neither is my dp.

SimonJT · 15/01/2021 19:50

My employer offers six weeks on full pay, this can be taken in one block or split up as long as its taken within 9 months of the birth.

Lone parent so I took a year of adoption leave and tagged my annual leave on the end.

daddynew · 23/01/2021 23:23

I get four weeks through work too as well as annual leave that I'm saving up. What do you think you'll do in the end?

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