THE 5 BARRIERS THAT PREVENT DADS FROM TAKING PARENTAL LEAVE (AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM)
Congratulations – a baby is on the way! While most people agree that it’s important for fathers to spend time with their newborns, truth is that most men don’t take paternity leave due to a number of social barriers holding them back. As you think on what’s best for you and your family, here’s a rundown of the common stigmas and ideas on how to overcome them.
WORKPLACE CULTURE AND CAREER ADVANCEMENT
Many men worry that taking paternity leave will hurt their reputation at work with colleagues and risk the chance at a promotion. A survey by Dove Men+Care found that 51 per cent of Canadian men worry that taking paternity leave will negatively impact their relationship with their managers.
TIP: Learn from the experiences of other men in your network who’ve taken paternity leave already. Book time with your HR reps to go over policies so you have all the information and know what you’re entitled to. What employers and colleagues must understand is that in this day and age it isn’t just good policy, but good business, for companies to support all parents, including dads.
LOSS OF INCOME
Income loss is a common concern for many men thinking about paternity leave. Even with Canada’s new “use-it-or-lose-it” parental leave policy, most families will have to make tough budgetary decisions to prepare for the time away from work.
TIP: It’s a personal choice with many factors – finances is just one of them. Have the discussion in your household to find out what’s right for your family unit
Despite changes in our culture, many still think of men as the ‘strong and silent’ type. It can be hard to reconcile that with changing a diaper or rocking a baby to sleep. Some men don’t take paternity leave for fear of challenging status quo of traditional masculinity.
TIP: The trick is to realize the ‘real man’ is a myth. There are countless ways to be a good dad and a good role model to your children, but a great start is taking the time to care.
FAMILY AND CULTURAL PRESSURES
Research shows that when caring for their baby, more support from the father can increase the mother’s well-being – plus they’re less likely to experience depression after the birth. “The most important thing I learned during my paternity leave was to give the mother time to rest, sleep and be herself for periods of time,” teacher Carnell told us. Many of the fathers in The New Dad: Take Your Leave report agreed, believing that taking paternity leave is the best way to support your partner during their emotional and physical recovery.
Can I hack it?” “Will I be a good dad?” “How will I know what to do?” Many men doubt their ability to care before the child arrives.
TIP: You’re not in this alone. Ask your partner, family and friends with children for help. Sign up for a parenting class or support group. There are more for dads all the time! Accept some things will be hard and you’ll make mistakes. Know that taking the time to care is worth it. The online survey was conducted through the Legerweb online panel.
The study was in field between May 22-25, 2018, and surveyed n=1,530 Canadian men aged 25-54 years old.