Time has come when equal opportunity employers are giving leaves to fathers as well labelling it as parental leaves. There are times when couples announce to family and friends that they could be sharing parental leave after the birth of their child and the decision is met with responses which are a mix of support, confusion and disbelief.
“That’s wonderful! It’ll be good for you to have your own bonding time,” would be said by some. There are some who may say “I don’t get it. It’s strange the father is going to stay home while mother goes back to work?” “You’re going to take time off? You’re actually going to let your husband steal your time?” is something that some other people may quote. And there are still others who may say to father taking a leave, “Oh, seems you’re not enjoying motherhood, are you?”
There are some people who will not even bat an eyelid. Others will act as if there has been some major storm that has affected the planet. Nevertheless, at times mothers may head back to office say after seven months of maternity leave, while the husband takes care of daily affairs back home.
Having access to a few months of parental leave is something that the husband may find interesting to avail and be a help to the wife. It is important as it helps him to be at home and get time to bond with Baby, which eventually will turn out to be a beneficial for the family as a whole.
The rarity of seeing men in a caregiver role leads to foot-in-mouth comments from well-intentioned people. Comments can shed light on just how close-minded our society can be. Directly and indirectly, stereotypical gender image of masculinity, womanhood and motherhood are questioned, with unfair expectations heaped on the mother and limited expectations placed on the father. The couple usually face a fair share of this, with people actually being surprised as to how could a father decipher the cries of the baby and change a diaper, while there are still others who may assume that the mother is not fond of the baby.
There are instances when people get to know of the parental leave and responsibility of a baby being handled by the father, an action that may make people to change their viewpoint and be more judicious in approach.
Watching how the three of the family move as a unit will show the people that bonding is what is expected amongst the family members and giving parental leave is of benefit.
It is the wish of married folks that the partner helps out more while taking care of kids. Aside from dealing with the commentary, questions and assumptions of others, the couple may also have to deal with the working mom going back to work and figuring out how to thrive with a new routine. It will definitely get better with time. Soon, the mother will be happy managing the work and taking care of the baby and displaying the cute snaps of the infant to the colleagues at place of work, while the father takes care of the child back home. This would indeed be a victory for the feminine community. There may be a chance that the new role as a mother may add another dimension to ideas of happiness, success and balance.
Things will surely shift again once the husband goes back to work and the infant grows old enough to head to the day care. Until then, it’s comforting to know for the wife that while she is at work, the two most special people in her life are learning from each other, laughing with each other, and loving each other. It will indeed be a great feeling to know that the couple is together doing this parenting thing in their way, and in doing so, their dreams may have come true.