This Father’s Day I was reflecting on conversations I have had with fathers of all ages. Many of them have told me “I regret not spending more time with my children when they were younger”. For the baby boomer generation, this is not surprising. Despite changing social norms, boomers were generally subject to traditional gender divisions in the home. Even working mothers took on the majority of the childcare responsibilities (and rewards).
Fast forward to 2021 and the COVID pandemic. Women struggled to manage careers, families, and homes during the pandemic and many have left the workforce. Happily, many women are speaking up about their needs and frustrations (see Randi Braun’s passionate Dear Boss letter).
But what about fathers? I believe that many Gen X and Millenial fathers want to be more present with their families, and they are willing (and sometimes happy) to take on more home/school/child management. However, societal norms and structures do not support fathers. Did you know that 91% of fathers aren’t given paid paternity leave? that 95% of new fathers took 2 weeks or less off when they welcomed a new child to the family?
If you want to support meaningful, structural changes to support fathers, mothers, and all caregivers, check out PL+US, and support family and medical leave for EVERYBODY. Thank you to Molly Day and her team for their ongoing advocacy to make national paid leave a reality!