Why dads need time with baby
Arnt Maaso, Ole Morten Knudsen, and Vegar Pettersen
Nothing gets Norwegians squawking like a change to the family leave plan, said Arnt Maaso, Ole Morten Knudsen, and Vegar Pettersen. The government wants to rejigger the 46 weeks of paid time off new parents are allowed. Currently, a dad can choose to take 10 of those weeks; the mom then gets the rest. But the new system would give 15 weeks of paid leave each to the mother and father, and the couple can divvy up the remaining 16 weeks as they see fit. Predictably, women are complaining that their own leave would be reduced. But as dads, we believe that giving fathers more time off would help “children, family, and society.” During our leaves, we bonded with our infants and gained confidence in caring for them properly. Years later, we were much closer to being equal parenting partners than our colleagues who ceded their leave to their wives. We were often the parents who were called to pick up a sick child from kindergarten, and we felt no hardship looking after the kids when mom had to work late. If women are going to have equal career opportunities, it’s essential that “these burdens—and joys—are shared with fathers.” Most importantly, we are modeling the kind of egalitarian society we want our sons and daughters to see as normal.