Inspired by comments about a WSJ article on Parental Leaves
An article in the Wall Street Journal called "As More New Dads Get Paternity Leave, Companies Push Them to Take It" recently caught my eye. But what really got my attention was the number of men who commented (after reading the article) that they wouldn't feel comfortable taking a parental leave. A number of concerns were listed and most of them were related to fears that taking the leave would be perceived as a lack of commitment to their careers which might negatively influence their career growth and earnings potential.
Wow, did that leave me feeling lucky. My husband took a 4-week unpaid leave back in 1990 before it was a thing. Back when they, no joke, told him that he could do it, but they would need to demote him if he did. Why did he do it? There were two significant reasons.
Fast forward 28 years and I can think of two more significant reasons it was the right thing to do.
Parents, when considering your own parental leave options, think big. Think beyond your short-term fears and concerns. Think about what you want to be able to say many years from now when your child asks, "Did you take a break from work when I was born?" (And keep in mind that your kids are likely to judge the answer to that question differently than you might.) Think about how a leave will support your child's start in life, your spouse's career, and others who may look up to you (or at least at you) in the workplace.
Let's think more about the kinds of families we want to nurture and the kinds of companies we want to work for than an incredibly small piece of our income and a fear that advancement opportunities will be limited. In my experience, the cream tends to rise to the top. Even after a parental leave.