WHAT?!??! Yeah I know, men don’t need to fight for more equality in most places, let alone the workplace, but hear me out.
We need to continue the fight for better maternity leave policies in America because most companies don’t have a great policy and some have no leave at all. However, I think a lot of the fight for better family leave policies and more flexibility in the workplace once we become parents would actually be more successful if it came from men.
I think if men pushed harder and made a fight for paternity leave, not only would more companies actually have paternity leave but I think maternity policies would improve as well. I also think that what happens after you go back to work is just as important, if not more important, because it’s a longer period of time than when you first have the baby.
A lot of women make adjustments, given their job allows for it, once they become moms. Maybe they have to leave work earlier to get their child from daycare or school. They have to take days off when their kids are sick or school is closed. They need to get to parent teacher conferences during the workday, get to events and games, and doctor appointments. Perhaps they travel less and have less dinner meetings because they need to or want to be home with their kids. (School and work just don’t mix, incase you haven’t come to that realization yet.) What I am not seeing happen, and I don’t understand this, is a lot of men don’t appear to be changing their workplace schedules or habits at all when they have kids. It is just business as usual. Yes I will stay late for a meeting, yes I will travel, I have to work 60 hours this week, I have to miss parent teacher conferences for this important call, etc. Why would a father feel any differently about life after kids than a mother would?
Is it the gender pay gap, where often times the men make more money so they feel like they can’t make any adjustments at work since they have to provide for their family? Do men and women just feel differently about their attachments to their children? Are there more expectation on women to be caretakers and even if they have a job they take off each for things their kids need? Why? It’s 2019. Shouldn’t parents be pulling equal parental weight? If both parents work, why should only one make adjustments to their work life while the other does not?
I think if men asked about paternity leave when talking to a potential employer about employee benefits, things would improve for both maternity and paternity policies in this country. I think if men said I have to leave at this time everyday to pick up my son, or don’t schedule a meeting on Thursday because I have parent teacher conferences, or I have to travel less now that I have kids…employers might start to shift towards a better work life balance. Yes it totally sucks that I think men have to take the lead here in order for change to happen for everyone, but I think that may just be reality.
Everyone is afraid of getting passed up on the next raise or promotion. That’s hard to deal with, but what if we just all stood our ground and put our families first? Would things change?
I could have a fancier title, make more money, work for some Silicon Valley company, climb the ladder, blah blah blah. But I don’t want to. I make a good living. I like my company and my coworkers. I choose my family and my work/life balance. I know this is a luxury, but how many people have this luxury but choose not to use it?
It would be nice to have it all, but I’m not sure we can. You want to be a high level executive in the working world or just own your own company, you probably have to put in a lot of hours, be on email and phone all the time, travel, etc. I’m not sure how that ties in nicely with being a parent. It’s really a shame because everyone wants to achieve their goals in their career AND be a great parent. Has anyone figured out how to do both?
What do you think?