How much paternity leave should I take

Mr Bean

100+ Posts
Our first kid is on the way. I also happen to work for a European company where equality for all reigns.

Which of course means that there is a gender-neutral "parental leave" policy that means a guy gets as much time as a female after welcoming a new child into their life.

I have to declare how long I am going to take off before the child arrives. I get six weeks of full pay. Should I take all six weeks?

I think it's "unofficially" frowned upon for a guy to take that long....and frankly I don't think (this could change) that I'll really need six weeks. Any thoughts or recommendations?
When our first child was born earlier this year I took the full 2 weeks that my company allowed for paternity leave. If I could have taken 6 I would have.
Take as much as they will give and you feel you can handle personally. Unless you are in sales, this is not likely to have any affect on your career and I would not lose a minute of sleep worrying about it.
I've known three different guys that took paternity leave at my old company. We got 6 weeks for it. Not a single one was gone more than 2 weeks, and it wasn't because they had work to do.
I've interviewed almost a hundred of high level employees, including company owners on the same or similar subject.. NOT ONE, has said he wished he worked more than the time spent with his newborn son/daughter.

It's not even close.

Can you make more money in your life? Can you get back the time lost with your child?

For instance, my wife breast fed our kids. My only hope to spend equal time was giving them their shower. Any time the shower goes on, my kids run to me.

Moreover, since I'm not a woman that gently pours water softly over my kids heads, they spent considerable time under the showerhead learning to hold their own breath.

My daughter swam alone at 10 months, my son followed suit at 1 1/2. Both can swim the length of an olympic swimming pool and my older son is not even 4.

People are amazed. Mother's always talk about how THEY wish the father played a bigger part in their kid's life at an earlier age.

Who knows.
Take as much time as they'll give you. I'm more involved with my 3 kids than any other dad that I know and I still wish it could be more. You can NEVER do too much.
My company only pays for 3 days of FMLA for paternity leave. I called in sick and used vacation to take about 5 weeks off. It was well worth it.

My wife is due with #2 any day now. We thought it was coming yesterday, so I called in sick. But still no baby and now everyday I stay home waiting for her labor it is one less day I'll have with it after the birth. It's pissing me off.
Interesting thoughts. My inclination has been that I'd take three of the six weeks. What about the thought "if they can live without me for six weeks, then they could probably live without me for a lot longer than that?"

I've still got a while to decide.
I'll be the bad father here and say I took two weeks and during that two I stayed fairly in touch with the office. I know it's hip and modern and PC for fathers to take as much time as mothers but the truth is that fathers don't have half the role that mothers do.
Other than providing the milk, my wife's role was no bigger than mine. Feeding him a bottle of breast milk at 3:00am and cleaning up his **** later felt anything but hip.

I did it that way because there are specific benefits to bonding with fathers from a very early age and because I love my wife and felt like there was no valid reason for her to get any less sleep nor do any more work than me.

It worked for me because I got a lot of time off, but understandably it doesn't work for every father. If I had had to go back to work sooner I wouldn't have lost sleep over it. Pun intended.
Take the six weeks. You only have your first child one time and trust me, when it gets here, you'll wish you had six months off.
After three weeks, you're going to want to go back to work.

The first week with your first baby, all you can think about is all the houseplants you killed over the years. You discover that you do in fact have the listening bandwidth of a bat...capable of hearing your baby make any noise no matter how far away you are or if you're sleeping.

After three weeks you will be the swami of the swaddle. That's when you know you need to get back to the office.
My son just turned 4 years old today. At 4 am I scooted over to him and smiled, whispered in his ear that "Daddy's favorite Joshua is now 4". He smiled in his sleep and reached over and hugged me and went back to sleep. We had a great party at Peter Pan Golf and he received lots of presents and a large turnout. After opening each of his gifts he was thanking everyone for bringing them.

He's smart, well-adjusted, confident and very happy. This is the way I envision childhood, yet many kids just don't receive this kind of attention.

Whether a person takes 4 days, 3 weeks or six isn't the issue. I guess what matters is what steps you are willing to INVEST IN YOUR CHILD AND FATHERHOOD. If one is willing to start investing the most they can now, it may set precedence later in life.

There are many days that I wish I had learned different. I yell at my son for being a kid and after the crushed look on his face goes away, he seems to innocently forgive me and LOVE ME FOR MY FAULTS AND ALL. It's a gift and a testament to the time spent with him and his sister.

I will never be a Great father, or a perfect man. I make too many mistakes and become way too impatient with a child who invests his whole Life Concept & Understanding in my voice. I will give what I have, and if it is 3 weeks, 6 weeks, time in the shower, time after work or time after dinner....I know it has all been worth it.
I took off about 3 days for my first and 1-2 for my second and third. Where I worked there was no such thing as paternity leave. I would take as much as you can, without upsetting your supervisors. Even if you are technically allowed to take it you should make sure it isn't going to be perceived negatively.
The company I worked for just extended the time off from 2 days to 2 weeks. I also have about 2 and will have 3 weeks of vacation +6 personal days saved up by then too.

I'm thinking a week off, week on, week off till it is gone? I have no idea what I should do either.

A lot of big projects are scheduled to hit the fan right in there though.
Man, you guys are crazy. I took 3 days off for each of my 4 kids. Then again, I had either my parents or the in-laws at our house helping for 2-3 weeks. Often, I swung by the office to get 2 hours of work in between visits at the hospital. I slept every night in the hospital though. The first 6 months in a baby’s life is a long slog of feeding, pooping, crying and sleeping. Work made things interesting.

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