Monday, July 14, 2008

I didn’t get to see my newest grandson much this week. That’s because nine-month-old Luke has been with his daddy Mike every day. And believe it or not, Mike got paid for staying home to be with Luke. In fact, this is the third time Mike has been paid to be with his baby. He also got four weeks right after Luke was born and another week when Luke was about six months.

It’s all part of a relatively new law called Paid Family Leave (PFL). Unfortunately, lots of dads don’t know about this law, and that’s a shame. Luckily, Mike learned about it from his boss, who had recently had her own baby.

“At first,” Mike said, “I didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to use it. I didn’t think it would pay me enough. But I finally checked it out, looked at the website to see how it worked, and thought it was great.”
Paid Family Leave enabled Mike to be with his wife—a new mother—and his new son during those precious early weeks. He was there to help Rebecca with new baby chores, and bond with little Luke. “I couldn’t believe I could take all that time to be with him and even get paid for it.” Mike said. “Any time I can spend with Luke, I’ll take it. Of course, I found out fast it’s harder work taking care of a baby than what I do at my job. But it’s also more rewarding.”

My daughter Rebecca grinned at Mike’s confession that parenting is hard work. “Now he knows what I do all day.” But he also knows that when he’s at his regular job, he’s missing some important milestones with his son. “When I go to work, I don’t see him in the morning, when he wakes up so happy. By the time I get home, he’s tired, cranky, and ready for bed soon. But during the leave, I not only got to see him laughing and talking in the morning like Becca does, but I also got to feed him breakfast, take him for a walk or to the hardware store, join him for his swimming lessons. I even saw him really crawl for the first time. When I go back at work, I miss him. I email or call Becca and say, “What’s he doing now? Send me a photo!”

I wish they’d had Paid Family Leave when I’d had my kids. I could have used the help and support of my husband during that exciting but frightening time. Dads today are so lucky. Thanks to the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD), people can take time off work to bond with a new baby for up to six weeks within a twelve-month period. As for Mike and Luke, they seem bonded for life. I see evidence of that bond in the way Mike looks at his son, the way he holds him, cares for him, and plays with him. And I can see it in Luke when his face lights up just at the sight of his father.

“Becca has this great bond with him and I’m just around at the end of the day, and two days a week,” Mike added. “So this has definitely made a different in our relationship. Luke is only going to be this young for so long and I don’t want to miss a thing.”



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Warner-
I just came across your blog when I was looking on things on Nancy Drew. I am planning on getting your book soon. In the meantime, I had a similar experience with Nancy as you did which I blogged about last week:
and I mention her here as well:

July 18, 2008 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

Thanks, Jennifer.
I'll check out your blogs!

May 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM  

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