Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More paternity leave

It's great to get letters. I'd like to reply to this letter, attached to the previous post on the Fall season starting:

Anonymous said...
"Sir, I've been paying attention to your blog as an unemployed father making the most of your time w/ your daughter. I have a 1 year old and I've been home w/ him for 5 months now since being laid off. I enjoy almost every moment w/ my son, but realistically I need to get back to work. I'm not too fond of going back into corporate finance, but the bills must be paid. I hope you enjoy your time at home while you can."

Thanks for the kind thoughts. Yes, I'm enjoying the time with Emma, now 4, and do all I can to savor it. When she was 6 months old, I took about five months off from work for paternity leave, and had a great time, although it was very stressful. Not as much stress as I'm experiencing now while looking for full-time work, but being a new dad was a lot of work. I've been out of work for almost three months, which is difficult after working 22 consecutive years with the paternity leave and vacation as my only time off during those years.

The knot in my gut about paying bills, the frustrating job search and interviews that don't progress -- these slowly go away for a few hours while I take care of my daughter. And she seems to be taking it in stride, reminding me that I have a "little job" when I tell her I have to leave to go do some part-time work for United Reporting. It's a few hours a week and money I'm happy to have come into the household. And my search for more part-time work continues.

Someday I'll have to write about the great need for family leave and how America has much more catching up to do in this area with Europe. My wife recently went from working part-time to full-time so we can pay the bills during my unemployment, and when I was fully employed and she was working part-time, I thought she had the much harder job because she was home taking care of the kid all day. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job that should pay much more in America, or at least as much as it does in Europe. I guess being laid off has turned into an unintended stint of paternity leave.

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