It Starts With Paternity Leave

A crazy thing happened during the pandemic, women (or one partner) took on the majority of responsibility for the kids’ childcare in the house. That includes laundry, school, meals, playtime, and the list goes on. The onus skyrocketed. It is 2021, and we still aren’t sharing the full responsibilities of raising a family inside our homes.

As everyone begins to rethink their lives in the post-pandemic world, we need to refocus on equality for women. What has changed dramatically since the 60’s when most women had few job options besides teacher and secretary, is now women can do anything. They can start a company, become Vice President of the United States (President one day), be the CEO of a publicly traded company, in essence, be anything they want to be.

It is time for companies to foist paternity leave on men in their companies. No choices. I still see men returning to work a few weeks later, if not sooner when the woman stays home for months bonding and growing into motherhood. If men did that, they would have a very different understanding and commitment to the family unit.

There is no doubt that couples fall into a cadence after years together. One does the laundry; one walks the dog, gets the groceries, cooks the meals, and cleans up. People fall into what they are happy to do. In a perfect world, everyone finds their happy responsibilities without much animosity.

If everyone got six months to be home with their newborns, we would begin to see more equality in the home and the workplace. Promotions will still happen, career growth will still take place. But, it is up to the people at the top of every company to embrace this. Happy families tend to create happy people, and companies that put families first will find better productivity and loyalty. It is just common sense.

In addition, the paragraph below is from an opinion piece in the NYTimes from Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) is a journalist and lawyer who focuses on gender and politics. She is the author of “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind” and “The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.” I completely agree with her.

We should spend less time worrying about birthrates, and more time developing policies to support families of all kinds — because it’s simply the right thing to do. We should couple that with an intentional shift in culture that doesn’t require women to cede so much of themselves (and give up so much of their potential and so many of their other wants) when they have children. That might not result in a baby boom, but it would serve a more worthy goal: healthier families and happier citizens, each a little freer to decide for themselves what makes a good life.