Be aware Mr Clegg!

SO….a BRILLIANT and inspired stroke of genius by our beloved coalition government-new fathers are now going to be allowed to take ‘maternity’ leave when they have a baby.
Nick Clegg has outlined plans to press ahead in April with changes to allow couples to share maternity leave.
The new scheme, first proposed by the last government, will let a father take up any remaining unpaid leave if their partner goes back to work early.
And quite right too! I am sure there are many new Dads who would welcome this move to allow them to spend extra time with their new little bundle of joy and its hormonal, grumpy, tired, lactating mother!
Get real! Yes dads have rights too and why shouldn’t they be allowed to have more time off than the current few days, but really-up to SIX months off?! I know there are many house husbands out there who will want me hung, drawn and quartered but I know very few men who really, truly WANT to spend every waking hour with their children (if I am honest I know quite a few mothers who aren’t THAT keen on the idea!). Of course, men SHOULD want to spend time with their families, and it’s very good for their children when they do, but talking the talk is all well and good, I would like to know how many will actually want to walk the walk when the time comes.
In these days of role reversal and economic austerity, many couples are in the situation where the mother is the main breadwinner and consequently the father takes a more flexible approach to his career for a while to keep the family finances on the straight and narrow. There is no right or wrong way to juggle the demands of family and work-we all just do our best. I reckon that if we are all still alive by 4pm then things have gone pretty well-if there is dinner on the table and clean school uniform for the morning then pour me a gin and tonic!
But…and it’s a big but…although his heart is in the right place, Nick Clegg needs to be aware that this new legislation may well end up putting new Dads under a lot of pressure to take time off, when they really can’t for financial reasons, or really just don’t want to. Sure, men can bring up kids as well as any woman, we know this to be true, and there are no excuses for them not doing their bit, but do they really WANT to?
I admire your commitment to the family cause Mr Clegg, but don’t put men under pressure to stay at home if they don’t want to-or really can’t because that will not make for a happy home.

Published by Sarah Adams

I am the author of The Life Edit, an eight step personal development coaching programme that harnesses the power of journalling and writing to help people make transformational changes to their lives. I am also journalist and writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines, TV and online for the last 35 years, and an accredited personal development practitioner. I have written books, appeared on TV and radio and have worked in the world of corporate communications as a senior manager. I launched and ran The Community Media Group for ten years-this is a social enterprise that exists to produce professional, community newspapers in socially challenging areas as well as providing free training.

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