Supported Dads are Supportive Dads

by Natalie McBride

Supported Dads are Supportive Dads

There is a milestone that men in America experience with bias, and it’s becoming a dad.

Ever heard of the “fatherhood bonus”? It’s a real thing and certainly contributes to gender inequality and other inequities of workplace culture. (But that is another topic in itself.) Perhaps it’s also why many working dads do not take the full benefit of their paid time off. There is a common concern that they will get too far behind or miss out on their next opportunity or promotion if they are out of the office for “too long”.

I’d also argue that it doesn’t come easily to most couples adjusting to a new family dynamic. Learning to keep a tiny human alive is exhausting, even if you are (eventually) sleeping through the night (but that certainly helps). Couples are learning a whole new set of skills at home, together, which can bring about a new set of stress and strain. At times, it can be easier to withdraw from the new lifestyle rather than endure it together. We withdraw in different ways – mentally, physically or by returning to work. I’m not suggesting returning to work is always a withdrawal, but rather that it can become one way.

Finding Your Footing

Moms and, perhaps especially, dads are asking “Where do I fit into this new puzzle at home? Should I help with this or that? Am I even thinking clearly?” New parents need more time than they are afforded to find their parenting footing. They need time to heal {together} from however the birth played out. They need time to learn their new-found strengths and how they can contribute to the family responsibilities of raising a baby and caring for each other. They need time to create a reliable, steady relationship with their newborn, commonly called “bonding”. Overlooking the biological importance of this is reckless.

Many working dads are returning to work before their partners are physically or emotionally ready, before their babies have learned their dad’s scent, voice and closeness. How does this set up American families to be at their best? Without the comfort of knowing your job is secure during your leave, your paycheck is still depositing and you’ll be respected upon return to work, this is yet another pressure working families are experiencing.

Paternity Leave Leaders

These fifteen companies are leading the way in honoring the sacred contributions of dads by offering anywhere from 4 weeks to one year of paid time off to adjust to life as a growing family.

  • Bank of America
  • Bloomberg
  • CA Technologies
  • Coca-Cola
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Facebook
  • Fannie Mae
  • Genentech
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • McKinsey & Co.
  • Netflix
  • Patagonia
  • SAP
  • State Street
  • WellStar Health System

Where are the other American-based companies? What does their lack of paid paternity leave say about their belief in the good that comes from a strong family? For some, these may be tough questions. One simply cannot deny that offering support to growing families is ever a bad investment. One might say they’re best positioned to invest in their employees in such a way as this, or one could argue that they are succeeding in the market because they are investing in their employees.

How can we truly honor American dads? Can we speak up about paid paternity leave when discussing the benefits of a new job? What can each of us do to ensure we are supporting men in a facet of life where they typically have less confidence and certainly as little experience as moms – talk about an equal playing field – that’s the parenting arena. #babyboldly

Today’s Bold Momma

Natalie is co-founder of Baby Boldly, wife to James and mom to Abigail (4 years) and Mabel (1 year). Her passion (alongside pizza and chocolate) is with new moms and dads, striving to empower them for improved birth and postpartum experiences and changing the way society relates to new moms’ and dads’ unique needs.

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