As a new father, I wrestled with the decision to take paternity leave. Since my son’s homecoming, the demands of growing my start-up have piled up alongside the responsibilities of fatherhood. Although Davila Kafe doesn’t, yet, meet the standards for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), I decided to take 3 months of paternity leave. Why? Because parental leave is not a “women’s issue” or a side issue. It’s a human issue that deserves all of our attention, regardless of gender. The good news is, with women making up 46.6% of the overall workforce, our generation has an opportunity to frame paid parental leave as a crucial economic and household priority.
Earlier this year Davila Kafe introduced the Xavi espresso, named after my newborn son Xavier. He’s a remarkable little boy who has his mother’s smile. He’s perfect, but nothing could have prepared me (or her!) for his arrival. Pregnancies and babies are like fingerprints, each one unique, and 2-6 weeks off of work isn’t sufficient for new parents to properly adjust to their new reality, no matter how perfect their child may be. Everything you used to do, how you lived--it all changes with the arrival of a baby. Time off to be with my wife and son wasn’t just essential for them but also for me as a father, husband, and professional.
Since Xavier’s birth, I’ve learned that I get to be as involved in his life as I choose. Paternity leave allowed me time to bond with my son outside of changing an occasional diaper. Having more time with Xavier meant that I was also able to support his mom and be on the frontline every moment during the first three months of his life. All this wouldn’t have been possible if I was at work all day. Could my wife have done it without me? Absolutely. But, why would I want her to? Pausing and being fully present brought us closer, staved off postpartum depression, and I know the bond I’ve established with Xavier will continue throughout his life. He won’t see his Father as absent or distant because he’ll know that from day one, his parents established a healthy foundation for co-parenting.