Here is a non-technical piece of advice for all soon to be dads from my own experience. Last month my daughter was born and what a revelation it was. My pre-baby life seems miles away but in a positive manner. I decided to take a baby holiday after the birth of my daughter. I'd like to share my experience and hope that it inspires you!
A couple of months ago, my wife and I started discussing our options for the time after the birth. Research from UNICEF shows that two third of men in the world doesn’t have the right to paid paternity leave at all. In the Netherlands, with only 2 days of paid leave, we also have a long way to go. Currently, there are debates about a wider range of (partly paid) paternity leave. I welcome these changes, but until the time is there, us fathers should do better. For example, by taking a baby holiday.
My wife and I thought about different scenario’s and I chose to take 4 weeks off after the birth of my daughter. At VI Company we have five days of paternity leave instead of the statutory two. The five days is fully paid leave, so I’m very lucky. With an additional three weeks of holiday, I was able to spend a baby holiday of 4 weeks with my wife and new-born daughter.
Since babies don’t stick to schedules very well, my holiday had to be flexible around the birth. This was no problem, just of matter of keeping my work well informed. On the 30th of May when I was at work, my wife messaged that she felt light contractions. I talked to Renske from HR and we decided that vacation would start. Little did I know that within twelve hours my daughter was born. We call it just-in-time delivery 😉.
● Enjoy the first days and weeks with each other. Take pictures, invite guests (not too many). Just be there, instead of hearing stories in the evening from your wife about your kid.
● Full focus on your newborn, no stress dividing time between work and family.
● Get into the baby rhythm and take naps and eat when you feel like.
● Learn from the first weeks and get to know each other.
● Be there for your wife! Support her and care for her, she already did a lot.
● Babies generally sleep 16 hours per day, in the meantime; up your (development) skills. I improved my F# skills, backed a crack-pie, read a book or two and did some running.
And all though we didn’t do a babymoon (a holiday a few months before the birth which is supposed to be relaxing), I didn’t miss it. We would have to cram something into our busy schedule before the birth and that is no fun. By skipping the baby-moon, we both saved time and money (which we could now spend on cool baby gadgets).
There you have it. My experience with my baby holiday. Before your little bundle of joy is born, it seems like a sacrifice to plan a baby holiday and you might want to spend your vacation at some resort far away. But trust me when your offspring is born, you can enjoy the little things in life and just take pleasure of your own home and family.