Today work, tommorow paternity leave. I’m on the edge of the precipice. The next major stage of this interesting life. Five months home with my 7-month-old Herman.
It’s a strange feeling to know you’ll be on pappaledighet, which means free from work, but home as pappa. This is the second time I’ll be taking paternity leave and I’m not confused about the challenges and joys I will face.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way right now. It ain’t being free. Paternity leave is hard work. But it’s different than your normal work. For one thing, you trade in your real boss for a smaller one that is cuter and that you actually love, and would jump in front of a car for. That’s a plus.
Sweden is unparalleled in the world for the benefits it affords to fathers who stay home with their children. I’ll basically get 90 percent of my pay to be home. For our family that means no financial worries to raise your kids. It’s also nice to know that I am reaping the benefits of the high Swedish taxes I pay.
So with no financial worries and no real boss, my thoughts move to how to best take advantage of the time I’ll have with my kids. It’s a future, just one day away, that is completely up in the air.
That’s both exciting and scary.
Now, for all of you fathers who have had the incredible opportunity to be on paternity leave, please share the best and worst thing about it. And then the funniest anecdote.
Here’s one of my favorite memories. Watch the video. It’s called goats and snot.
I talked to my brother yesterday on the phone. “I’m jealous of you man,” he said. “I can’t figure out how you’ve had three weeks of vacation. Then you’re going to take three more in the states and be away from work on father leave for six months. What does your boss say?”
That’s Sweden, I told him. You have the right to vacation and bosses don’t mess with you because they are on vacation too. There’s no fear of taking time off like in some countries. In Sweden, the boss encourages it.
There is good and bad about any country. In Sweden, one of the goods is if you have a full-time job, you start with 25 paid vacation days. Those days are required by law, and don’t include public holidays.
In fact, in most industrialized nations, vacation is required by law. Unfortunately, not in the US.
When my wife and I talk about moving to the United States, we know one of the hardest adjustments will be lack of vacation time.
Aren’t there any people fighting to increase the amount of vacation Americans get?
Those are the words out of my three-year-old’s mouth. Yup, blood pudding, you heard right. One of the fun things about living in Sweden is exposing your kids to things they never, ever would have tasted if they were only in the United States. Here you have it. Blood pudding for lunch.