I've become so much more aware of 'parental' type issues since becoming a parent and it's actually shocking to me how completely clueless I was about so many things before my son was born.

Having a child, whether natural or through adoption, is a beautiful and life altering thing, something that those who've never experienced it are unable to fully comprehend.

It definitely feels to me as though modern media has made it their mission to pressure men into taking time off of work when their baby is born but doing so isn't always as easy as it's portrayed to be. Sometimes the option isn't there because of finances, and sometimes because of the workplace. It feels to me like men are unfairly backed up against the wall in a situation where its impossible to please everyone.

Men who take paternity time are thought of as heroes while those who go back to work right after the birth of their child are thought of as insensitive. Is this fair and does it make any sense? I don't think so. Some fathers are able to afford taking time off, and others aren't. Additionally, some men work for companies that simply don't have enough employees or hours for the Family Medical Leave Act to kick in.

On the other hand, critics will tell you that all a new baby does is sleep, eat, and poo and that when it comes to eating and sleeping, dads don’t really need to contribute anything. I think they're way off base.  My husband and son have a bond unlike any other father-son bond I've ever seen and it's because Jay has been consistently hands on with John from the moment he was born.

The topic of paternity leave was something that regularly came up in my home while I was pregnant and my husband found a nice answer, one that worked for us. Jay was entitled to take off up to 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act, but the beautiful thing was that he didn't have to take his 12 weeks (unpaid) off in one lump of time. The Act allowed Jay to spread out those 84 or so days out over the course of the year following the birth of our boy.

I can't speak for others, but I can say that for our family, paternity leave was such a good thing. It was good because it helped my husband and son develop a special bond, and it was good for me because it allowed me an extra set of hands when I needed them most.

How did you handle paternity leave, or did you?

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