Almost six months ago, I became a father for the second time. My son, Matteo, has brought newfound joy and light into our home, along with a healthy dose of parental humility.
Intellectually, I knew that our second child would not be a replica of our firstborn. But it has been frustrating to see my best parenting tips and tricks smashed to bits during a middle-of-the-night newborn cryfest.
That is why I’m taking parental leave. I’m taking the time to care for my son. I’m taking the time to appreciate how he is different from his big sister. I’m taking the time to teach myself how to nurture him differently than her. I’m taking the time to show my daughter that papa still loves her even when he’s holding the baby. I’m taking the time so my partner can step back into her career comforted by the knowledge that her little boy is safe in the arms of his father. I’m taking the time so my male colleagues have a precedent to follow.
I have six weeks of parental leave planned. Today was the first day. Here are the highs and lows.
5 dirty diapers changed. Hooray! At least one transferable parenting skill! Although the new wiping mantra is “lift-and-clean” rather than “front to back”.
4 naps taken. All long enough for him to recharge, but all too short for me to accomplish anything productive. #DitchTheToDoListDad
3 music sessions to soothe his little tears. Turns out he’s more into Drake than Raffi.
2 times I checked my work email. It’s hard to disconnect. No shame in admitting that.
1 smile of wonder as he tasted an apple for the first time.
0 regrets about taking the time to be there.
I’ll be writing a few short posts per week while I’m at home. Of course, you’ll hear about some of our day-to-day adventures. But I’ll also share details of the challenges – financial, professional and personal – that I’ve overcome to make this parental leave happen. By practicing what I preach, I hope to inspire a few more fathers to take the time.
More to come! ~Alex