I appreciate that the word "mandatory" is off-putting, but the benefits that come with mandatory paternity leave are an incredible web of interwoven and reinforcing benefits -- in terms of improved gender equality, child's health, the valuing of care, as well as greater life happiness and deeper relationships.
When a woman is pregnant, she's constantly reminded to cherish her sleeping hours while she can. My wife Noelle was told of what seemed like endurance experiments involving no sleep combined with non-stop feeding, diaper changes, constant laundry and hosting visits from well-meaning friends and relatives.
I was trying to recall a day when I was a fantastic mom all day, where I managed to stay patient, positive and in the zone. More often than not, I flop back and forth between extremes like a fish out of water, I'm a fantastic mom, wait, nope I'm a shitty mom. It's incredible how quickly I can go from nailing it to absolutely shitting the bed.
Because my baby girl, you come from a proud line of loving, nurturing, loud laughing, often giggling, deeply feeling and wonderful women with curves who have been wounded by other people's aesthetic expectations and cheated by their own understanding of perfection. I want you to see me love myself for all the gorgeous, nurturing mamas that came before me.
"Careful" is a helicopter parent's mantra. These kids have grown up in the shadows of fear, always too afraid to take risks, too cautious to make sound decisions alone and too callous to stand up for themselves as they have never had to. In their childhood their parents made all their decisions and as young adults they have no clue how to fend for themselves.
It's an interesting phenomenon among parents, this "just wait." What will happen if all I ever do is look out for the perils that lie ahead? I'll wait and wait and wait and then these precious years will be over. And in waiting in fear of what's next, I'll have missed the process of actually getting there.