What made you decide to go for shared parental leave? I wanted to spend some more quality time with my daughter Elsa (and now also my son Leo) so I could have a better bond with them. I believe that the amount of time “off” dads get is really not enough. 2 weeks at the birth of a child is nothing compared to the months mothers get. I think all dads should do shared parental leave as it really helped me to realise what Moms go through day to day whilst on maternity leave. How hard things can get and how low the morale can be due to being at home all the time. It’s certainly not a holiday it is sometimes being portrayed as.
Did you have any worries? My only worries were that I would not be able to cope with all the mundane tasks and take care of a living human being for more than a few hours at a time. Having spent a few days on my own with 3 week old Elsa (whilst my wife was in hospital) helped put me at ease though. I coped well then and I coped well when she was a lot bigger.
What was the best thing about shared parental leave? It is the quality 1:1 time spend with your child. That’s irreplaceable. The bond between us grew stronger by the day. Also being able to Substitute with my wife and give her some grown up time in the “real” world. It can get really stressful when you are home alone with a needy child 24/7 🙂
What surprised you about being on shared parental leave? The amount of “jobs” that needed to be done on daily basis. Also the most surprising thing was that I have enjoyed it all very much. Every moment of it. I wouldn’t change it. That is why I will be doing this again with my son Leo. I am really looking forward to our time together and it will be interesting to compare the experience with my daughter when she was small.
What was your return to work like? Return to work was not really any different than what it is after a long holiday/time away from work. I was able to quickly get back into the rhythm of being back at work and talking to adults. With my son I will be going back to work part time – 4 days so that I can stay 1 extra day home with him. I am looking forward to that. It will be like a continued parental leave for the foreseeable future.