When we became parents, dads were allowed up to two weeks of leave after the birth and then can use the remainder of the mother's quota once she returns to work. Of course people are clamoring for more equality, but before the government is likely to go further, more dads need to actually use paternity leave. It seems strange to admit that the government is ahead of society in its provision of parental leave considering the abuse it gets and the fact that it is still way behind the Netherlands and Scandinavia, but it is true that the next change needs to come from working people's perception of the leave. I am lucky enough to work for a company whose employees comprise mostly family-starting-aged people and perhaps that is why I haven't encountered any friction from them. Others probably aren't so lucky and would find it difficult to take more than the initial two weeks off.
It might also be the case that many dads are a bit daunted by the prospect of looking after a small person all day, so I hope my experiences might help to allay fears and perhaps encourage dads to go for it. Yes, we may find slightly different ways of doing things to the mums, but that doesn't mean they're wrong! It's important for dads to be trend setters here and it will also help children to associate more with their fathers as they grow older
At the very least, babies are entertaining, so I hope you find some of the pictures amusing - don't forget to hover over the pictures for additional comments. And most thanks has to go to Hamish/Elodie for being the star of most of them!
I spent August and September on paternity leave to look after Hamish (then 8 months old). This was still a relatively unusual thing for dads to do and it was interesting to see the different reactions I got from people on the subject. I thought it might be worthwhile (and perhaps even of interest to some people) to record some of my thoughts as I went along.View Diary
With Elodie, I spent two weeks less on paternity leave, but planned to try and fit a bit more in. It ran from mid July to early September. Of course, I was a little less organised, so the entries are weekly rather than daily, but hopefully there's enough there to get an idea.View Diary