Amid all the talk about women “leaning in” (learn more about it HERE) and achieving their career goals, the other part of the message hasn’t got nearly as much publicity – many modern men feel left out of their family life!

Paternity leave

The paternity leave is something that I’m very emotional about and something that I have had a very close experience with.

As a society, we’ve made massive progress in providing women with access to parental leave after the birth of a child, but there’s still much work to be done for fathers. Children’s Chances, the most comprehensive study to date on global laws and policies that affect children and families, found that out of 193 countries surveyed, 180 provide some form of paid leave for mothers and 81 guarantee similar rights to fathers. The United States is not one of them.

For the last 10 years, my career had always been my #1 priority. My wife’s pregnancy did wonders with me. 7.5 weeks ago, when MJ was in labor and we were driving to the hospital, I couldn’t have imagined anything work related that would have caused me not to be there for MJ and for our (then unborn) baby-girl.

At the time, I was excited and passionate about our new life and being an involved father. With that being said, I had many doubts and fears, like:

Will I be good enough dad?
How do these new responsibilities affect us as a couple?
How do our finances play out?
Challenges at work with co-workers and boss with me taking time off.

Although I had quite a few doubts, I wanted to believe that eventually we will figure them out.

And we did. I did something a lot of men in the United States only dream of – I stayed home with my wife and our baby! I’d arranged a full month of leave after her birth. It definitely wasn’t welcomed, but in the end agreed upon.

By the time our daughter arrived, I was a changed man – all I could think about was how I wouldn’t want to miss a beat: her doctor’s visits, her first smile, her first bath, even changing her diaper. I wanted to be a part of it.

Staying home the first four weeks of our baby’s life was the best thing I could have imagined.

Were these four weeks a breeze? Absolutely not!

Would I do it again if I was in the same situation? In a heartbeat!

In fact, I don’t think one month leave was nearly enough to get the full benefit from it. When most western countries have two week paternity leave, I feel that the real parenting starts after that.