You know that Saturday Night Live sketch about the guy who orders lobster from a low-end NYC diner? Paid paternity leave is starting to feel a bit like that, because even though it may be absolutely great in the moment, dads are still leery of its longer-term effects.
When Working Mother launched its second annual Best Companies For Dads list, the array of parenting benefits was impressive. Fifty-seven percent offer fully paid gender-neutral parental leave, for an average of 10 weeks! Phase-back programs! Extra considerations for childcare, telecommuting, and flex schedules!
These are all welcome and vital offerings that help us integrate our jobs and our nonjobs. But as we’ve read, in 2013 and 2014 and 2015 and 2018 and last spring and last week, dads aren’t using them—mostly because the company culture is out of sync. Fatherly had the right idea last year when it lauded its top employer, American Express, for “actively lobbying” its employees to take the time off. That’s a great message, but we don’t know how many dads believed it.
The next Best Companies list needs a deeper data dive, on a par with those college guides that compile insights from thousands of student surveys. Is the policy too complex? Does the money add up? Will taking leave damage your work standing or lower your earning potential? Will the boss walk the walk or break your balls? Are there dudes who, due to some unfathomably bizarre character flaw, brag about taking as little leave as possible?
We’re excited by every attempt (such as next week’s Dads’ Day of Action, described below) to establish paid parental leave as a normal expectation for all new fathers. But any definitive assessment of modern workplaces should gauge the reality behind the rewards. Having lobster on the menu doesn’t mean a whole lot if nobody eats it.
IN THE NEWS
Raising a kid costs around $230,000, not including college — but families are entitled to tax benefits to cushion the blow. The trick is taking full advantage of them.
Daylight Saving Time (which starts Nov. 2) is just another dumb thing that disrupts households with younger kids. Here’s how to minimize its impact.
Ford Britain is hosting paternity workshops that educate fathers-to-be about the importance of mental health and support new fathers who are dealing with postnatal depression.
Congratulations to Nationals reliever Daniel Hudson for his new daughter Millie, and for recognizing that taking time during the NLCS to be home was “a no-brainer.” (And for more detail about Daniel’s birth experience, see below.)
If you’ve ever been on your own with kids, even just temporarily, you respect those heroic parents who do it full time. This Lifehacker thread shares some indispensable tips.
Is your child really struggling to stay afloat in school? Treat it like any other illness and talk to your pediatrician.
If you smoke pot more than 2-3 times a week, your partner will have an increased risk of miscarriage.
“I find myself forced to confront the fact that the privilege that has always kept me exponentially safer than 90% of the rest of the people on Earth does not extend to my family.” — Ryan Nehring, I Hate Guns — But I Might Buy One
“’This is the third time you described me as ‘simmering with rage,’ she wrote in the margin, along with a little drawing of herself, in a pot, simmering ragefully.” — Dan Kois, Great Draft, Dad. I Have Some Notes.
“I remember thinking, ‘I’ve definitely been given more than I can handle,’ as I drove to work one morning after sleeping a total of 3 hours. Unbeknownst to me, this was only the beginning.” — Steve Tate, I’m Sorry I Can’t Take This Away
‘GRAM OF THE WEEK
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