Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let Parents Be Parents

Even though juggling the care of kids is by far the hardest thing couples do today, it's rare to see stories about new parents and stay-at-home dads in the mainstream media. So when I saw this headline in the Daily Mail (I admit I sometimes read the Daily Mail), I was at full attention.

"Ostracized from mom circles and cautiously eyed in the playground: One man reveals the discrimination he faced as a stay-at-home dad"

As I read, I was surprised at this man's unwelcoming "reception" by the mothers he came across in his childcare hours. Where did they live? My neighborhood is not like that. I've come across more dads taking the home role recently and they're not "ostracized" in any way I see. Hmmm...I kept reading.

Then I was annoyed to learn that this stable professional couple, got a kick in their paternal butts from their employers at Google and Facebook. The husband is the product manager for Facebook, and the wife is the director of product management at Google. Swell jobs at swell companies. You'd think they'd get them swell salaries and swell benefits. But, no. Unfortunately, even America's biggest corporations won't propose a fair and reasonable parental leave for their employees. While the US remains one of the only countries in the world that doesn't mandate any paid maternity leave, our '"rival" Venezuela, on the other hand, mandates 26 weeks - that's 6 months, folks- with 100% pay. Good on Snowden if he ends up there. We've got our priorities screwed up here.

Anyway, this father's perspective surprised me because I'm a home mother and I certainly don't treat dads I see on the playgrounds the way he describes. On the contrary, I'm full of praise when I run into them.

Then reading halfway down the article the husband admits: "It probably didn't help that I tried to lighten the mood the first time by saying, "Don't worry, I'm not going to nab your kid, I already got this one."

Bad move, baba. Not that funny for the gals. But kudos to you for not being discouraged and trying the stay-at-home dad thing. I respect you, and I'm not alone.

Well it all ends well. He says now that he's back at work, he misses being with his daughter and despite encountering some negativity along the way, on the whole, the four months of being a stay-at-home dad were 'amazing'.

And amazing it is, that first year of being with your child. It is so unfortunate that our serfdom in the US makes it so hard for most parents to experience this amazing bond with our children. This is nothing short of criminal. It's an international embarrassment that the US requires employers to give ZERO paid days to parents to be with their newborns. Where is the outrage? 

We have to stop following the media-doll "strong" women like the pathetic examples of Hillary Clinton, Condelleeza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, and Marissa Mayer. It's time that American women rise up and take our children back from the war-mongering institutions. We urgently need to give our children back their birthrights of being with their parents, as civilized nations do all around the world!

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