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Why don’t we get paternity leaves?

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

I remember spending an entire night being awake when my elder one was born. I just kept staring at him, my precious child, couldn’t stop admiring this small bundle of joy. This moment is close to my heart, sort of stays with me at all times. I did this for five straight days, and then life took over, work called and I just got sucked into the roller coaster ride of “work-life”. It was a very hard decision to leave someone so important and get back to work (since my wife was with her parents) after he was born.

In a few months, I noticed that my elder one knew when I had reached home, he would just pounce on me like a puppy, it washed away all my stress of my workplace. I remember asking myself“Can I not have these moments a little longer? “I love my job, but love my child as well. It was much later, I got to know the concept of paternity leave, I had only heard of women getting leaves after childbirth.

The importance of bonding

I felt a pinch of jealousy and wondering, why is it that I don’t get to spend time with my children? Is this the reason why generally men have been less attached to their kids as mostly they are out for the whole day working? While there are a lot of dads who make this special effort to keep the connection alive throughout their lives, it is a task that needs to be worked on.

And it isn’t easy to balance both work and the relationship with each of your family members. Working together as a team, my wife and I had developed a great bond through her pregnancy. It would have been beautiful as well as practical (in terms of helping her) if I had the paternity leave. Spending quality time with the kid post-birth is surely something that I wish it to change at least by the time my children grow up enough to be parents.

Paternity leave across the world

On researching further, I found many countries do offer paternity leave to fathers. Countries like Slovenia, Norway and Sweden offer about 10-12 weeks of paternity leave. Imagine days together when we have nothing but to cuddle with our newborn. Sounds bliss!

Many of these countries I understand do offer more leaves with a slight cut in pay and also an option to switch leaves with their wives. While I keep hearing people talk about flexibility in work for women, I think flexibility should be offered to new parents irrespective of gender. It takes months for a child to adjust to life outside of the uterus, and in an increasingly gender-neutral world, it is but natural to expect flexibility.

In the recent past, I remember reading about Zomato offering six months paternity leave to its employees, a welcome and much-needed move. While they have pioneered this initiative, I would like to see more companies do the same, best would be if the government made it mandatory as it did for women. It not only helps us men bond with the children but also helps new moms in managing the child and house, eases them back into work much better and above all if fathers bond better with children, it just seems like a nice society to live in.

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