Each day for the past two months, I have tried to scrape food off of the same spot of floor under my 9-month-old son’s high chair. I’ve tried knives, scissors, chisels, scrapers, and I’m even working on a solution that includes fire. (Don’t do this at home.)
I do dishes. Wash clothes, then fold them. I wake my daughter up for breakfast. Next I wake my son up, change his diaper, and make him breakfast. I get them dressed and out the door. I take my daughter Olivia to daycare and then I have five “free hours” until I pick her up. Oh, and one day a week, I have both of the kids. Their ages are 3 and 9 months.
I could go on, but I don’t care to bore you. What is this post about, you wonder?
A Swedish daddy revolution
Along with 85% of the Swedish fathers who take paid paternity leave, I am a revolutionary daddy. Daddies in Sweden are redefining fatherhood, masculinity, their relationships, and, ultimately, I believe, society as a whole.
Over the course of the next month, I will interview a number of these revolutionary Swedish daddies. How do they feel about their stay-at-home status? Are they happy? What challenges do they face? What advice can they offer? How have their relationships with their children and spouses been affected? What do their colleagues say? And their bosses?
With this project, I hope to demolish some of the stereotypes around fatherhood, masculinity, and child rearing. Maybe it will inspire fathers in other parts of the world. Perhaps they will want to share their stories as well.
I don’t want to romanticize paternity leave on this project. Believe me it’s tough; it can be painfully monotonous and non-stop work. But it’s also the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I have relished the opportunity, for months on end, to build lasting bonds with my kids, and found places in my heart, that I never even knew existed.