3 Best Reasons Dads Should Take Parental Leave in 2024 (Maternity Leave)

Austin Please
Updated on
December 20, 2023

There is a common misconception that dads don’t get maternity leave, which is partially correct but not in the way you are thinking. Maternity leave is traditionally associated with mothers, and it refers to the period of time women take off work when they give birth or adopt a child. But what about dads?

In fact, fathers have options for parental leave that are just as valuable and important. Parental Leave is available to dads who want to care for their children and build a strong relationship with them during their first few months of life. While Maternity Leave can be beneficial for mothers, Parental Leave gives dads the opportunity to bond and understand their newborns better.

It’s no secret that fathers have traditionally been viewed as “the breadwinners” in the family and are not often considered primary caregivers. But studies show that taking parental leave has a positive effect on families, especially those headed by gay dads.  Taking this time away from work allows fathers to have more quality time with their children and share in the responsibility of caregiving.

During this period, it can be incredibly beneficial for dads to learn about their newborns’ individual needs and preferences. For instance, some children may prefer a certain type of food or activity over another. By taking parental leave, gay dads are able to bond with their children on a deeper level as they discover the baby’s traits and learn how to respond in different scenarios.

Parental Leave also helps to bridge the gap between gender roles in parenting. By taking advantage of this time, gay dads can show that caregiving is not just a female responsibility but something that fathers can also take part in. This will help to transform our society’s perception of what caring and nurturing looks like from a father’s point of view.

In Canada parents (including dads) are eligible for up to 18 months of parental leave and it can be split between parents however they choose.

My husband took leave for 9 months and then once that is up, I took leave for the remaining 9 months.  I was thankful for the extra time we spent together and it really gave us more freedom to stay connected with our baby.

At the end of the day, parental leave is about providing dads with an opportunity to be an active participant in their child’s life from day one. It gives them a chance to build strong relationships with their newborns and that is something every dad deserves.

By taking parental leave, gay dads are making a strong statement that they value their children’s wellbeing as much as anyone else’s. They are helping to redefine our understanding of caregiving and break down the gender barriers associated with it.  For me, this has

We are so fortunate to have this time to develop a strong early bond with our daughter.

There are also several added benefits associated with taking parental leave,

1. Dad Understanding Your Newborn

At first, you’re not going to know what your newborn wants, you aren’t going to be able to decipher between a sleepy cry and a hungry cry, but don’t worry, you’ll get there. Taking parental leave will give you the opportunity to spend time with your baby and get to know them better, understand their likes and dislikes and also learn how best to respond in different situations.

The more time you spend with your newborn the more attuned you become with their body language. They will show you how they want to connect with you, and in time it will strengthen the bond between you.

Parental Leave is a special and invaluable time for dads, gay or otherwise, to connect with their newborns. During this period, fathers can learn the different ways in which their babies communicate with them and have a deeper understanding of how to respond to their needs. This helps build an intimate relationship between parent and child, as dads have more of an opportunity to observe their baby’s behaviors and reactions.

For example, some babies may react differently to certain types of music or food. Fathers can take the time during parental leave to learn what responds best to their child. This can help them understand how they prefer to be consoled, and the types of activities that can help soothe their baby.

2. Dad Building a Strong Relationship with your Baby

Bonding isn’t something that happens overnight, it will take some time. For many parents, bonding is a byproduct of everyday caregiving.

Parental leave really gives you the opportunity to continually strengthen the bond between you and your child. If you are fortunate enough to have the option of parental leave, take it.

It’s the best time to develop that early connection. Having the time to be with your newborn, care for them and respond to their needs, while also building a relationship built on trust, is invaluable.

It will also give you an opportunity to take part in activities that can help build up that bond. These activities can include playing music, singing children’s songs or reading books together.

The shared experiences you have will help create lasting memories and also establishes a strong connection that can last for years to come.

Parental leave offers gay dads the chance to become an integral part of their child’s life from day one. It allows them to build a bond with their baby, understand them better and ultimately, become a better parent.  

3. Dad Transforming the Perception that Caregiving is a Female Responsibility

Parenting is a joint responsibility. It’s not gender specific.

It doesn’t matter if you are two dads, two moms, one dad, one grandma, three guardians, etc, etc, etc, caregiving comes in many different shapes and sizes.

The time spent during parental leave can be used to help bridge gender roles in parenting, and demonstrate that fathers are just as capable of providing the same level of care and attention as mothers. It’s an opportunity to show that dads can take on the responsibility of being a loving, supportive parent too.

Gender role theory is real and upholding it only generates more societal pressure for individuals that don’t fit that mold.

It’s time for us to shift our way of thinking.

Final Thoughts on Parental Leave

Parental leave is such an awesome opportunity and I’m so fortunate to live in a country that recognizes it, regardless of gender.  

Maternity leave and parental leave are important benefits for both mothers and fathers. For gay dads, it is especially crucial as it provides an opportunity to build a strong relationship with their baby from day one. This time can be used to learn the different ways in which their babies communicate with them and have a deeper understanding of how to respond to their needs.

Additionally, taking advantage of parental leaves helps bridge gender roles in parenting by demonstrating that fathers can provide just as much care and attention as mothers do. Ultimately, we must shift our way of thinking about gender roles so that everyone has equal access to these essential benefits.

Most importantly, it helps shift our perception of parental roles and demonstrates that caregiving is not limited by gender.   Every parent should be given the chance to take part in the joys of parenthood, regardless of their gender identity.  This is something that all parents should strive for and parental leave is one of the many steps that can help us get there.

Last Updated on
December 20, 2023
Austin Please

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Austin Please
I’m a gay dad, a happy husband, and recently my own boss. But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, i’m still striving to grow a mustache to achieve ultimate dadness.
Austin Please
I’m a gay dad, a happy husband, and recently my own boss. But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, i’m still striving to grow a mustache to achieve ultimate dadness.
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