I can’t pretend otherwise, it took me a long time to come around to the idea of both International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day. I found them to be slightly vague concepts and at times the debates they have created have been off-putting.
There’s no doubt in my mind the UK’s Shared Parental Leave (SPL) system could be improved. Nonetheless, for some couples it works very well. Earlier this summer I published this article, written by dad Hamish Reid. He had taken SPL previously and with his wife expecting another child, was gearing up to go on leave
I sometimes look at my life and have to remind myself my experience of fatherhood is very different to many other menfolk. Put bluntly, my existence has gone off in a completely different direction compared to my male peers who work full-time.
Dad has a job and is the main earner for the family. Dad’s industry becomes ever more competitive and he has to make a greater effort to earn the same amount of money, while also balancing this with fatherhood. After a while, it becomes a bit much. What does he do?
Trying to balance caring responsibilities with employment is never easy. Going back several years, I had a part time job that I left when my eldest daughter started school. I tried to make it work for several months but my stress levels became worryingly high, despite my employer being very understanding.