Fabian is a new father living in Norway who is sharing his experiences during his 5-month parental leave.
When I first moved to Norway, I noticed a rather high number of men pushing prams in the streets – in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. I soon learned that Norway has one of the best parental leave policies in the world and from the moment my wife and I decided to start a family, I knew that I definitely wanted to be one of those pram-pushing dads!!!
A little bit about myself first: My name is Fabian, I have been married to my wife Peekje for almost three years and we have a seven-month-old daughter called Elin. My wife and I both work for Equinor, a Norwegian energy company. Before becoming a father, I was also coaching the Norwegian National Baseball Team and working as an instructor in a local gym.
The reasons why I decided to take time off are very easy:
- I want to spend quality time with my daughter;
- I want to bond with her; and
- I want to be actively involved in caring for her instead of just covering the timeslot before bed-time.
I'm looking forward my parental leave, which is an opportunity not only to learn more about my daughter, but also about myself. In the process, I hope to become a better dad and also a better husband.
I am so incredibly proud of my wife for how she has taken care of Elin for the last seven months and by taking the time to stay at home with the little one for the next five months, I already know that I will learn to appreciate all my wife’s efforts even more. Which leads to my last point.
I want to contribute to breaking down gender-stereotypes. Many people essentially still place the mother in the position of primary caregiver, while the father is supposed to be the family’s breadwinner. A mom’s sacrifice when she stays home to care for a baby is largely taken for granted. Meanwhile, many men are still hesitant to take parental leave due to social stigmas or fear of being penalized at work.
I truly believe that if more men see other men taking parental leave, the more it will become the norm and the new norm will help us men contribute to greater family equality. It will also reveal that parental leave is hard work and is not only idyllic time you spend with your newborn child, drinking coffee all day long. It will thus hopefully also contribute to acknowledging moms for what they do and the vital role they play in family life.