My Wife’s Water Broke 2 Weeks Early
My wife’s water broke an hour after the email I wrote to one of my favorite clients. In the email, I mentioned that two weeks from now there was a possibility that I would take some time off for paternity leave. Little did I know, the entire rest of my Friday morning, next few weeks, and life would be completely changed.
Paternity Leave – A Great Question
“What’s Nativa’s paternity leave policy?” This is the question my client posed inquisitively in the response I read later late that night after my baby was born. Great question! Nativa, as I imagine many small companies are, doesn’t have maternity or paternity leave policies until somebody that works there gets pregnant. A few weeks earlier, when I still believed time was on my side, I had chatted casually with my business partner Natasha Pongonis and we decided that two weeks was pretty fair for a father to take off with paid leave. Remembering this, from the hospital recovery room, I responded confidently to the client that I would be back in two weeks and that everything would be covered by our team.
Managing Paternity Leave with Well-Trained Employees
I have found it unexpectedly easy to manage my day-to-day and am pleasantly impressed by the effectiveness of the replacements on my team. I’m very happy that I have found myself entirely replaceable during the last few weeks of my paternity leave. I have resisted the persistent urge to check my email and instead only occasionally open up my Slack phone app to see what projects may need my assistance. Typically, there are only a few things to confirm every other day as most conversations have steered away from me. Most Slack messages that do reach me note that they will move on without my feedback if I do not respond in time. Of course, this is what we at Nativa want so as not to delay our clients’ goals and strategies.
People are Just People
One key lesson I’ve learned throughout this parenting experience is that whether employees or clients, people are just people. What I mean is that, if something really important happens to you, such as a baby coming into the world, they will understand. Many of my colleagues have been through childbirth before and know exactly what it means to have a child. The ones that have not had a baby also turn out to be more compassionate than I would ever have imagined. I was worried about how my business partner, team, and clients would react to me taking time off; but everybody has been extremely empathetic. In fact, many of the nicest responses I received are from clients and agency partners that I have never even met before. I wasn’t expecting that and was blown away by their understanding.
Paternity Leave – A Policy to Stay
Overall, paternity leave has been a blessing. With the time off, I have been able to support my wife, who bore the brunt of responsibility over the past 10 months now. Being able to relieve her so she can sleep has been something that I am ever-grateful for. The mornings I have been able to spend, baby in arm, are something I will treasure forever and will want other fathers to be able to experience as well. Easy to say that the paternity leave policy has earned its keep here with Nativa.