Society Debate:Is paternity leave necessary?

I can’t see why!?! Some men are great fathers while others just are not. But one thing men have in common is the assumption that women are the only ones capable of relaxing an agitated baby hence, their non-involvement every time the child starts its business.
Rachel Garuka
Rachel Garuka

I can’t see why!?!

Some men are great fathers while others just are not. But one thing men have in common is the assumption that women are the only ones capable of relaxing an agitated baby hence, their non-involvement every time the child starts its business.

Okay, maybe it is not complete non-involvement but they do always look at the mother the second the child cries. Sure the baby is probably hungry and needs to be fed or have its diaper changed but, where is it written that only women are supposed to do that?

‘Do you not hear the baby crying?’ they always ask. This makes any sane person wonder what kind of special power they have that enables them to hear the cry but not act. I mean you both helped in creating the baby so, it would be nice to let the mother take a rest; why not try to get the baby back to sleep?

Paternity leave just seems like a holiday for men regardless of how brief it is. This is more than I can say for the mothers because their maternity leave is anything but enough! Most men use that time to catch up on their missed soccer matches, trips to their local bar or undying love for sleep.

I am not saying men are not capable of looking after babies, however some have a tendency of acting like big babies from time to time, when around newborns. There is nothing much they can do other than watch the beauty of his child being fed and then dot on how wonderful parenthood is.

Most men even go so far as to claim they are scared of handling a newborn child because they are so fragile and therefore wouldn’t want to risk dropping it or anything. Seriously, how hard is it to carry a baby in your arms? Have a seat, take a deep breath and hold out your arms. It’s as easy as breathing.

We all love our sleep but men take it to another level. No man will immediately jump out of his bed to go tend to a wailing baby when the mother is lying right next to him. At such deathly hours, somehow it is the woman’s sworn duty to jump out of bed and handle the baby. Men always assume the baby is hungry so there is only one person who can sort that out and it’s not him, obviously.

Do they ever stop to think that maybe the baby just got startled by a noise and all it needs is to be rocked right back to sleep. Is that so hard for a man to do? He then asks how he is supposed to know that as if the woman is any more skilled in baby language than he is. That’s why men have to jump out of bed and see what the fuss is about. If everything else has been tried out, and still the baby insists on crying, then sign out. At least you tried.

In all sincerity, those first tough months are the woman’s responsibility. The only thing men are good at (at this time) is taking in all the glory of becoming a dad and using his baby’s picture as his screen saver. Other than that, when he’s back home, he wants nothing to do with the baby unless it is sound asleep!

You’d think that he could handle the baby just long enough for a woman to take a shower but no. At the first cry he will hand the baby over even with shampoo in her eyes as if Al Qaeda had declared war!  Try asking him to check the baby’s diaper then watch him look at you as though you spoke caveman language!

Paternity leave is therefore, a luxury for men if a woman does not benefit from his presence at home. On the contrary, it gives them one more thing to worry about because the man is home and he is hungry and he needs to take a bath and all that stuff that men can do for themselves but just will not.

rachelgaruka@yahoo.co.uk