16 Men Experienced Firsthand That Parental Leave and Vacation Are Not the Same Thing
Being on maternity leave, raising children, changing diapers, and taking them to classes — some people think that these are things only women do. That’s simply because “men work and they have a lot of other stuff to do.” But there are some men that have experienced those crazy times after their children were born, including all the sleepless nights and the attempts to work and be a parent at the same time.
We at Bright Side decided to dive deep into the stories of men that found out firsthand what it means to be a parent 24/7.
- In our family, I spent all my free time with the baby. This is what it was like: In the morning, I needed to feed him, then I went to work. After work, I had to bathe the baby and put him to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night. On weekends, my wife could go somewhere and I stayed with the child. The hardest time was when the baby was teething. I didn’t sleep until 5 a.m., and I had to get up at 7 to get to work on time. © Giltias1 / Pikabu
- It’s really hard to be a dad. Not the type of dad that made a child and then walks with them twice a week. But the type of dad that cooks, cleans, changes diapers, feeds, bathes, plays, teaches, and buys clothes. I can’t understand how my mom raised 5 kids. © ego_trickster / Twitter
- I always stay with my daughter when she’s sick because her mom is just too busy. And my daughter loves me more. © monsterizbolota / Pikabu
- I get the boys up for school at 6:45 a.m. and make them breakfast. When they come home from school, I’m there to welcome them. I make lunch. I play with them. I work when they sleep. During summer, there is no school so they are home the whole day. And yeah, when everyone finally goes to sleep, I’m up for hours into the night writing or consulting. © Ken Miyamoto / Quora
- When I went on paternal leave, I was planning to babysit and work remotely at the same time. But it’s impossible. It’s too hard. When you clean everything up, there’s a person following you and breaking everything around. And there’s no way to explain to him that it’s wrong. There are days when I wish I worked days and nights. © TUT.BY / YouTube
- I work as an engineer in a factory full of loud machines, and I don’t have any problem hearing the sound of these things all day long, but when my baby keeps crying for almost the whole day, I often find myself screaming at my son at the end of the day. I feel really bad and I want to know how to gain control and not lose it over continuous crying. © abdelrahmanhfayek / Reddit
- My husband hated that there were hardly ever any baby changing units in men’s bathrooms. It was alright when I was there too and could go into the ladies’ room instead, but it was really hard when he took the baby out on his own. It’s like they think men don’t also need to change diapers. He either had to use the handicap stall (and potentially keep someone else with mobility issues waiting) or shout into the ladies’ room and hope no one came in before he had finished. © InsomniacEnglish / Reddit
- If you take your baby in public without their mom, you will get looks and possibly people confronting you. Society has normalized assuming that men either have no clue what they’re doing or are stealing children. Nobody assumes that you’re a good father. © 819phoenix / Reddit
- Everyone thought I was crazy when I went on a walk with my baby. When I wanted to be there with my wife when she was giving birth, people thought I was insane. Some people said I was supposed to be at a bar with my friends. I remember I took my son for a vaccination. My son cried a bit and the nurse said, “Oh, it’s okay, darling. Your mom will comfort you.” Then, what am I here for? © Tom Laurence / AdMe
- I was experiencing discrimination firsthand. Despite me being the primary caretaker and explicitly telling kindergarten teachers, doctors, and others about this, they’d still reflexively call my wife whenever they wanted to contact us as parents. She’d then have to ask them to talk to me about it. Repeatedly. Several people attempted to praise me by telling me how nice it is that I am “helping my wife with the kids.” It’s not praise. It’s insulting. I’m a father, I’m not an “assistant.” And it’s not my wife’s kids, it’s our shared kids, I’m taking care of them because they’re my kids, not because I’m “helping” with a task that “really” belongs to her. © Eivind Kjørstad / Quora
- When my son was 10 months old, I needed to get surgery. And even though it hurt afterward, I was really happy. I was like a villain because my husband had to stay with our child for 3 days. Even though he didn’t cook or clean, he still changed so much when we had another child, and he helped me all the time to give me time to rest. He picks the kids up from school, gives me time to sleep, and so much more. © Darenaya / AdMe
- My wife and I have agreed on our schedules. We spend 2 days with the child, and then we rest 2 days at work. We lived like this for a year. Then my wife found a job with a great salary and I was on a full paternal leave. The hardest part is that there’s no manual for children. © MEDIASPACE / YouTube
In a home with 3 female redheads, I get very little in terms of gratitude or even respect. It’s not my lady’s fault, it’s my own. Until I got sick, I had the energy and determination to do all, be all. Now though, getting the girls ready for school is such a chore, I could go to bed for the remainder of the day. Instead, I spend 3 hours on transit to get them to school, come home, and choose to either clean, eat, or nap in the 1 to 1.5 hours I have before I have to spend another 3 to 4 hours trying to get back to the school to get them and bring them home. © Nicholas Cobb / Quora
I took 5 months of parental leave for my firstborn when she was 14 months old. The single hardest thing to adjust to was having no breaks. Never. To illustrate this a little better: In the last month, I spent one day a week at the office to help with re-transitioning into my old role and get back up to speed. Those were my days of vacation! All of a sudden, I had adult conversations. When I needed a break, I would pour myself a cup of coffee and just flip through a magazine. There’d be other people, but they’d never yell into my ear when they needed something from me. In fact, there was surprisingly little that people needed from me that was more than my thoughts on certain topics. When I’d tell people, “No, I can’t do that,” they’d accept it. When I told them something would be done by “next week,” they’d be okay with it. When I wanted to think something through, I’d go to another room and just stare at the whiteboard and my notes for an hour. I would go to the bathroom by myself. With the door closed. © Markus Finster / Quora
In your opinion, what’s more difficult — raising children or working?