Dads for a change...
Parental leave has been one of the important topics that I have been dealing with during one year of campaigning for more and better childcare in
All fathers should see parental leave as a chance and by considering it as one of the most intense and important periods of their lives! This should help them to argument in front of their probably a little frustrated and "women-afraid colleagues" who should try to harass or ridicule them when taking parental leave. Men should try to imagine all the possible changes that would occur in their formerly very gender oriented vision of parenthood once they would agree to take their part of the active parent job as from the start on:
- Their partner would feel less isolated, less tired, less stressed, less only-mother and more-woman-like...I don't know if you can imagine what positive changes in the daily couple-life this will induce, but I can tell you, especially for the last argument it has been a terribly intense and funny period for us ;-)
- Giving birth certainly is a reserved women's domain, rising and educating children from birth on is certainly not a matter of gender, but much more a matter of discovering that both men and women can give and receive a lot when taking care of a young child.
- Building up a strong and “life-long-learning relationship” with your child is something that one should invest in from the very beginning on, as I am convinced this will make the most qualitatively high difference in the relationship with your child for the rest of your life.
- Acting and not reacting in the framework of "modern" fatherhood will be your very contribution to the achieving of gender balance and will allow you to be n positively constructing actor and not a victim of modern times, which will certainly help you to cope with this new situation without having the impression to loose your virility...
So fathers, if you don’t want to be harassed change your view on the basic things of life…we can discuss all the difficulties and traps being induced by the fact that only women take parental leave, and though the solution lies on the side of men…at least for half of it. So if you don’t want to do it for the sake of the person you chose to have children with, do it for your child and even for yourself...and never forget that women can be our strongest allies and our best enemies at the same time ;-)
Out of my personal experience I can only tell you that I have been missing hugs and a kind of special relationship with my father, which until the end of my teenage life was based on a very cold and patriarchal way of looking at the things of life…I don’t know that if he had taken parental leave it would have completely changed his way of dealing with it’s kids and wife, but at least he would have given me the chance to also influence his life of young father…it is all a matter of give and take…like with nearly all essential things in life!
So yes, the PES should push men to take their parental leave, because politics is all about changing society for the better - I am sure there could not be a better start for change than this!