Using his personal experience as a jumping-off point, journalist and “dad columnist” Levs examines the need for more paternity leave in the United States.
When his third child was born, the author wanted time off to be with his family. However, he quickly discovered he would only receive two weeks, unlike others, such as adoptive parents, same-sex partners, and mothers, who would receive 10 weeks. Levs filed a lawsuit and began a serious investigation into the discrepancies between maternal and paternal paid leave. Since an increasing number of fathers are becoming involved in the day-to-day raising of their children, it makes sense that they want to be there during the first critical months of a child’s life. But as Lev points out after conducting over “150 hours of interviews” with male workers, the amount of paid leave is far from fair for the new fathers. The author’s interviewees “divulge their struggles to find balance, and their thoughts on all the issues that play into the fight for gender equality: work, home life, money, ‘male privilege,’ ‘female gatekeeping,’ and a lot more.” Through his straightforward analysis, Levs shows how the male-female dynamics at home have changed significantly over the past 50 years, while those same forces have not changed in the workplace. Fathers are expected to continue working while new mothers must handle all crises at home on their own, and men who place family before work are often punished and even fired. Levs also considers the issues surrounding absentee fathers, the lack of intimacy for new parents, and finding the mental and spiritual balance needed to continue parenting well during times of extreme emotional and physical stress. His scrutiny and evaluation of paid paternity leave leaves no doubt that the entire infrastructure needs a serious renovation.
Well-documented and easy-to-comprehend data on why men need more paid time off to be with their newborn children.