Why Dads Should Take Paternity Leave

by pregnancy journalist
One of our favourite places to relax is the beach!

As much as we love being gay dads, we face some unique challenges as a same-sex couple due to people’s’ expectations around gender roles. It’s why we’re so excited to partner with Dove Men+Care, which champions paternity leave for all types of dads, across the country and around the world. When men have an expanded opportunity to care, there is a positive impact on them and society overall.

The first day we brought Milo home from the hospital, our neighbour
asked, “So who will do the mom stuff!” We were both taken aback, but we tried
to laugh it off.

We didn’t really talk about whose “job” it was to prepare Milo’s
bottles, or who would change his diapers. It came organically and we shared the
responsibilities, and still do. In some ways it can be easier being a two-dad
family. Without the expectations of traditional male-female roles, there’s less
pressure on either one of us to do the dishes, take care of laundry or fix
things around the house. Regardless of gender, in any household these duties
just need to get done!

We’re often faced with questions about who takes paternity leave. “Are
you both entitled to it?” “Who will take it?” “Is his biological father the
only one allowed?” Oh, we have heard it all! People are curious and that’s ok.
Luckily, we don’t get offended easily and people ask questions because,
hopefully, they are genuinely interested in our family. Perhaps they may even
take inspiration from the way we’ve done it!

When thinking back to my own childhood, I remember my dad was always
working and my mom stayed at home as the primary caregiver. This is going back
almost forty years now. (Yikes I’m getting old!)

It was a different time and society’s view of families was different.
Gender roles were defined in such a way that men were expected to be the
breadwinner and women were expected to stay home and take care of the family.
However, despite all the changes in the world, for some people gender roles are
still narrowly defined. As a two-dad family, we challenge stereotypes and
stigmas, and demonstrate through our everyday life that men can in fact be the
primary caregivers for their kids.

When Milo was a baby, we would attend baby groups for parents, and be
some of the only dads in the room. There were a number of places in our area
that actually called these playgroups “Mommy Groups”. Needless to say, I would
call and ask them to change the names, or we wouldn’t attend. It’s important we
recognize all types of parents.

Despite Canada’s progressive policies, most fathers still don’t take
paternity leave. Why is this? Is it because of traditional stereotypes of
masculinity? Is it because of society’s pressure on women and the expectation
that moms should be the stay at home parent? Maybe their jobs didn’t allow
them? This is a conversation we should have.

Speaking as a dad, I want to spend as much time with my son as possible!
Kids are only young once and we both wanted to make sure that when we became
dads that we would be there as much as we could for Milo. I try my best to be
present and play with Milo as much as I can. Afterall I am his favourite dad!
(Shh! Don’t tell Frank!)

As gay men and fathers, we encourage fathers all around the world to
celebrate each other and challenge the stigma that may hold them back from
taking the time to spend with their children. Believe us, the time with them is
worth it!

Photo cred: @sansscriptphotography

This content was originally published here.

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