Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
My husband is currently employed by a very generous company. His paternity leave package is better than anything I was offered as a working mother, and we are very grateful that we are able to be able to accept secured time off for him. The company policy, outside of FMLA regulations, allows my husband 8 weeks paternity leave at half-pay. In the United States, it’s unheard of. I’m thrilled! His bosses? Not as excited.
My husband thought he would take a week, maybe more if needed. He was quickly corrected by me, who informed him that he would be taking at least 2 weeks paternity leave, if not more. To me, two weeks is perfectly reasonable. Not only does it give me a bit of time to recover (all things going well), but it gives him valuable time to bond with his newborn. Especially since, we have a toddler, it’s really important that he be around for his family.
If I have a c-section, I can imagine my husband taking a third or fourth week. Heaven forbid we have a baby in the NICU, and he needs the full 8 weeks. We will get by with credit cards if we have to, but honestly, both of us would prefer he only take two weeks. Half-pay is better than nothing, but it is still a significant cut to our finances.
Now here I am, thinking I’m being perfectly reasonable.
His workplace was shocked that he was considering even more than a week. Don’t most dads just go back to work as soon as baby is out of the hospital? Yeah, they do. But it’s bullshit.
My husband is allowed the time stated by company policy. Don’t give me that nonsense about workplace etiquette. They need my husband at work? Well, he’s needed more at home. Sucks to suck. The man deserves to be with his family. And I deserve a little bit of reprieve from pushing a human out of my freaking vagina. I need my husband, and my kids need their father.
I should not be held solely responsible for caring for a newborn and a toddler. I will lose my mind. I remember how exhausted I was with our firstborn and juggling that with a toddler is going to be interesting. My mental health will be in the dumpster, and my ability to regulate my emotions is not going to be awesome either. I will need help, and that help should come from my husband.
Our maternity and paternity policies are shit in the United States, and that’s unfortunate. But if you’re giving me the option? Hell yeah, we’re taking it. So my husband will be cashing in on some paternity leave, and I’m not going to feel bad about it.