Bessie HATES it when I leave for work in the morning. As soon as I start packing my bag she starts barking her little head off. If the coffee hasn’t woken us up yet, she definitely will.
Luckily for all of us though, she won’t need to bark like that again for a long, long time.
Today was my last day of working at Ericsson for the year. Really weird to say that (considering its JUNE), but it’s true. For the next six months, I am on what the Swedes call “pappaledighet”, and what we Americans would call “long-term paternity leave” or, more accurately, “absolutely insane for even suggesting”.
|lis was the first one to really understand how the swedish system could work for us|
When we first heard about this Lis was right when she said that if I didn’t take the maximum amount of time that it would be an insult to the kids, to her and to all the folks back home who don’t have the opportunity to take such a long parental leave. It seems like every week there is a new mom saying that she has to go back to work after having a baby 6 weeks ago, and for us (as the FATHER) to be in such a unique situation out here is insane. I can’t describe how blessed we are to have this opportunity.
|don't want to miss out on flying masked crusaders!|
The way it works (simplified version) is that, for each child you have, Sweden gives both parents something like 18 months’ worth of paid parental leave. The trick is that no one parent can take more than 12 of those months. They try to make sure that both parents share equally in child care as well as making sure that not only women take time away from their careers to spend time with children.
|it's important for dads to help out too!|
Ericsson also helps out with this a lot because while the Swedish system is very generous, it does not get very close to fully replacing a salary, which would be a major issue obviously. So Ericsson “tops up” the salary to a certain level – assuming the days are all used by the time the child is 18 months old. Lis and I spent a few days last year trying to figure out how much our income would drop if I did this, but because we don’t have advanced degrees in theoretical calculus, we ended up having no idea at all. So what we did was to a “test run” at the end of last year where I took 6 weeks of parental leave. When we didn’t end up destitute, we decided to go through with this for real.
|my new boss|
Considering that I felt bad taking 5 days of when Calvin was born, telling my manager that I would be gone for 6 months went way better than I would have expected. No one here looks at me funny, primarily because most of the dads did something very similar – sometimes even longer (9+ months), and they just make jokes (they are jokes right?) about how much more work I’ll actually be doing, giving me tips or telling me stories of when they were on their leaves.
So here we are – I’ve been busy wrapping up all my projects, transitioning anything that still needs to be handled and making sure all my paperwork is filed appropriately. Now it’s my last day and after this afternoon I get 6 MONTHS STRAIGHT of strolling through the woods with Calvin, watching Lucy progress from beginning to crawl (any day now!) to taking her first steps, traveling with Lis (and probably REALLY getting on her nerves), and having a blast. It’s something that I NEVER would have expected or even thought of doing years ago, and I can’t believe I get this opportunity.
|going to be a LOT of fun!|
Now it’s time to get my new job started!!