7 Feb 2007, Comments Off on We need Parental leave. And we need it now.

We need Parental leave. And we need it now.

Author: Helen

This is why.

Pain is not seeing your bear all day. In the morning she’s feeding as soon as you get up, and resting between feeds as you leave. You get home, it’s evening, she’s feeding. After, she’s asleep. Then she wakes after a good sleep. Sleep is good. You change her, you hold her to comfort her. She looks at you like ‘you’re the guy who used to be around all the time but isn’t any more’ then wriggles and cries until mum takes her off you. You go to bed. You get up in the morning, she’s feeding, you pull on an iron-free business shirt, button the cuffs, understand why people buy lottery tickets…

…The pain is like having an oxy-torch going inside your intestines.

Comments (0)

  • Armagnac Esq says:

    I concur, gracius dear castiron.

    My dream role has now become a permanent part time position, 3-4 days a week…. somewhere not too far down the track I hope!

  • zoot says:

    Yes yes yes yes yes!

  • GotA says:

    It’s true, true, true. Even for mum if the role is reversed. While my partner stayed at home, I made the mistake of going back to work when my bubby was six months old and I was still breastfeeding (he was two-and-a-half when I stopped). I didn’t want to do it, but felt obligated. The pain was unbearable. My relationship with Little One became clingy and he wasn’t as secure. Feeding became a problem, sleep was disrupted. My partner, who was staying at home, relished his time with Little One, but I missed out, and I long for that time back. I soon downgraded to part-time, which was a lot better, but still.

    My partner feels sorry for men who, out of choice or necessity, get back into the grind of full-time work and miss out on that time.

  • We need more than just parental leave. We need a radical change in attitude towards work. Whether you have children or not, others have to care for siblings or older parents while others need to have time to fulfil their responsibilities to their friends and community.

    Parental Leave is too limiting.

    We also need to value parenthood more as a whole and respect the work of raising children belongs to both men and women.

    The 5-day working week, male-bread winner model is not helpful, not is the one full-time, one-part-time job model.

    We need legislation that allows people to choose to job share roles. We need a 32 hour working week, spread across 3 to 7 days depending on the needs of the employee.

    We need to find ways to enjoy the affluence of the western world and realise this is a time of prosperity – and it may not last…and then we will have to put our nose to the grindstone, not to affod the flat screen tV, but to put food on the table.

    Keep an eye on Saturday’s Age for a more detailed version of this post.

    BTW – really enjoy this blog.

  • magistra says:

    Time off for fathers is certainly a good move, but things don’t have to be like this even for fathers who work full-time. My husband has been working full-time all the while since we had our child. (Disclosure: he does have longer holidays than you get in the US, he has a relatively short commute time and he doesn’t often have to work more than his official hours). But he’s been able to build up a close relationship with our daughter partly because I’ve given him the time to. If the mother takes a baby away from the father when he cries, then the father never learns how to comfort the baby. My husband has regularly been the one who baths our daughter, once she was old enough to have a routine. It is one of their special times together. It’s harder with a very small baby, but it can still be done.

  • Helen says:

    I like Armaniac’s idea of 3-4 days PPT. If both parents did it it would work really well for the children. I read on Crooked Timber that in the NL many people do work a 4 day week but I don’t know if that’s true.

  • kate says:

    Incidentally, magistra we’re in Australia.

    My brother used to take his son in the shower with him. Now that the kid is a toddler, he tends to get into his parents showers fully clothed and uninvited if they make the mistake of leaving the bathroom door ajar. The Bloke takes plenty of turns holding our insomniac newborn, changes most of the nappies and chats away to him showing him his toys when he’s happy. He works for himself, at home so his time is more flexible than most people’s, but still he has to work and earn us a living, which takes time, and I’m not earning anything, so he does miss out on the all day interaction. For as long as I stay home full-time (spending most of the day feeding) then the Bloke has to work longer hours. When I get back to earning some of the rent money, the balance of childcare will shift.

  • Sean says:

    Armagnac Esq,

    late to this discussion but: Do that. I too am a law talkin’ guy. Though my former firm has, let us say, occasionally made itself famous in the work life balance stakes for all the wrong reasons, they were surprisingly supportive.

    Get one of those backpacks what you can put a baby in (aka “dad saddle”). I could tell you about my altruism in putting my career second, the loads of washing I did, the wood able to be chopped mid-week so that we weren’t going cold by Thu night, numerous trips to the GP for innoculations, old ladies giving me evils at the supermarket, other tales of martyrdom. What I really remember, though, is after 20 years in the F/T workforce, walking down a particularly sunny spring road with Boofhead in the saddle, laughingly informing him that there were people in offices that day, feeling like a kid wagging school who for some reason knows he’s gonna get away with it. We had many of those days.

    That, too, did pass, but I’ll die gratefull.

  • Helen says:

    Oh yes.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.