Lifestyle · Motherhood

Paternity Leave, The Big Debate

So Sunday eve, Lee was on the Xbox and I decided to watch a few ‘This Morning’ debates, (not the best idea). The debate was between Vanessa Feltz and Ally Einstein and it was about paternity leave, apparently there are people in this world who think dad’s shouldn’t have any time off work when their new bundle of joy is here. Crazy right….

Their wives or girlfriends have just been through the most life changing ordeal of their lives, she’s carried and cared for this tiny little human inside her belly for 9 months, had to then push this baby out which is the size of a watermelon and dad doesn’t have time off work to help out and bond with baby. He must go straight back to work to pay the mortgage, (even though you get paid for paternity leave). Mom has to do it all by her self with no support and no help from dad.

Is it just me that thinks this is crazy?

I needed my husband more than ever when we got home from hospital with Oscar, (apparently according to the Ally this means you’re too needy). I had a 3rd degree tear and I struggled to walk about and sit down, I would not have been able to do this alone. Some people have the most horrific labours, my cousin’s wife’s labour lasted over 30 hours, she had to be cut and had 3 blood transfusions and was in hospital for 6 days. She was extremely poorly after and her husband was with her every step of the way, not just helping out with baby but helping out with her. He was extremely supportive to them both, she literally was so poorly, there’s no way he would have just got up, abandoned them and went back to work.

Apparently Ally Einstein thinks that a newborn baby needs those 2 weeks to bond with mom, apparently mom needs to step up. I completely agree with Vanessa Feltz in saying that you both create this baby so you both put the time in together and raise this baby together. It’s such an old fashioned view in saying that women should stay at home with the baby and be able to do everything on their own. Women work too, women help with bills, women pay their way towards their family, they don’t just stay at home anymore and be this domestic goddess who cooks, cleans, single handedly parents, does the shopping etc. Some mums have no choice but to stay at home and some mums or dads are in the position to be stay at home parents which is fantastic.

When Lee was off work for those 2 weeks, we shared feeds. I would do one night, Lee would do the next and we alternated until he went back to work at which I did the feeds. Then he would do weekend feeds, and I would do weekday feeds. It worked perfect for us because we created this little boy so we put the time and effort in together to bring this little boy up. Granted a lie in would have been fantastic but I would have taken snuggling our awake and alert little baby at 5am over a lie in any day.

I think it’s absolutely ridiculous and downright ignorant in this day and age to say the other parent should go back to work as soon as baby is born. Ally Einstein expressed in this clip how we shouldn’t expect to be waited on hand and foot by dad’s as soon as this new baby is here, I didn’t expect Lee to wait hand and foot on me, he did it because he cares for his family and because we are a family unit, not because I expected it from him. Lee is the most incredible dad to Oscar and I feel so blessed that they have the best bond. Oscar absolutely dotes on his daddy, he literally is his best friend, they are 2 peas in a pod.

In my honest opinion I don’t think 2 weeks is enough. Apparently mom’s are superhero’s and can do it all by themselves, I take my hat off to single mums! They have no choice but to lone parent and I have the utter most respect for them, but when you have the choice, take the help! Moms can’t do it by themselves, I couldn’t have done it by myself and I’m not ashamed to say that I needed Lee’s help and I needed Lee there for the entire 2 weeks if not more.

The point Ally makes in the clip about the amount of support new parents get is absurd, where was my support? All these groups she’s listing that help new parents, I had none of those but thankfully we had family as our support. I needed the support from my husband and I’m blessed that I got it. For the part of the clip where she explains women should do it by themselves and slowly introduce the man in is absolutely ludicrous. He’s the dad for goodness sake, this is his child, he has as much right to parent his child as mom does.

I’m absolutely gobsmacked that this lady is airing these ridiculous, damaging views to parents. “To force a man to have paternity leave” has to be the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. You are entitled to this leave, you don’t have to take it, but any caring, loving new father who wants to bond with his child would take this leave, right? You’ve created this child together so why would you not want to spend these 2 weeks bonding and spending this precious time with your new little baby.

It’s so lovely that mom and dad can start this beautiful journey together, the fact that people think that dad’s will just get in the way and it’s mom who should be doing everything is illogical. Having Lee around when Oscar was newborn was incredible, we both had no idea what to do as first time parents but we worked it out together and took things in turn and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I honestly can’t even begin to understand how anyone can say that dad should have minimal input in the first few weeks of baby’s life. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Lee and the help of our families to show us the ropes. I’m incredibly lucky I have such a wonderful husband and Oscar has the best daddy.

Thank you for reading, you can find the clip on youtube.

Hayley x

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