Paternity Leave and the Babies Who Need Their Fathers

“How much time do you have off?”  It’s a question I ask new families as I help them in the first few crucial weeks of life.  The answers typically range from a few days to a few weeks for the father.  I am still surprised when I hear of men who are able to take off 3 months or more to be with their growing family.  The reason I am surprised is the American culture.  We expect Dads to be working soon after their children are born.  It’s been this way for decades, but that does not make it right.  We need to change our attitude when it comes to paternity leaves, our babies, and their mothers depend on it.

“No matter how much a couple plans to share the workload, the first few weeks of a baby’s life reshape everything. If the mother is breast-feeding, she already has primary responsibility for the child, and months of solo diaper-changing and baby-soothing duty during maternity leave set lifelong patterns.” Claire Cain Miller

In many European countries paternity leaves and maternity leaves are much longer than ours.  And it would seem that in those countries, businesses still thrive.  Is it because people feel more valued because of their time with their family?  Is it because mothers are more likely to breastfeed and they do not have the burden of sick children to take care of?  I realize this is making a presumption, but it is worth some consideration.

The numbers of two parent working families continues to rise largely due to cost of living increases.  We need to create policies to help support this reality.  It does take a village to raise a child.

For additional information see Claire Can Miller’s article in the New York Times.


Trust Yourself, You Never Know What Can Happen

I am a minority.  I am part of the 13 percent of people who actually like their job.  I am lucky.  I have taken my love for children and travelled down many different paths.  I had to trust myself to make choices for me, and more recently my family.

My latest path is Joyeux Parenting, my independent consulting business designed to help families.  I have combined my knowledge of child development, my passion for supporting families, and my desire to stay up to date on new research.  I read articles that I find interesting and offer my thoughts on them.  For the past two months I have been sharing these thoughts on my Joyeux Parenting Facebook page and people actually like it!

A friend and colleague told me I need to start blogging and tweeting because social media is key.  I don’t understand twitter, yet I am going to be tweeting-ahh!  This is my first blog post.  I am going to tweet.  I am going to trust myself that this is a path worth pursuing.   The reason why is simple- I love my job, I am passionate about working with families, and I think people value my insight.

As I reflect on the topics I find most intriguing-breastfeeding, adjusting to parenthood, healthy eating, sleep, early literacy, and school success I ask you to join me.  Read along with me and share your observations.  If you have questions ask them.  If you think your friends and family would like it please share it.  And if you think I can help you specifically, call me or send me an email.  I do home visits!

My home visits are designed to answer the questions that arise as part of the daily challenges of parenting.  I offer support in the most comfortable, familiar place, your home.  I will sit and observe.  I will problem solve and create a plan for you.  I will help you look through a new lens to see what is happening and create a new path.

After years of dreaming about Joyeux Parenting I trusted myself to make it a reality.  I am so excited about this new path.  Thanks for being a part of it!

little man