I’m a Republican. I’m a New Daddy. And I Support Paid Family Leave Now
Three weeks ago, I became a father to a beautiful baby boy. He is my complete world. It still doesn’t feel real that he is here. When my wife and I stare at him, asleep and swaddled, we admire what we created and the gift God gave us (she likes to remind me she did all the work and that I just wrote my name on the class project, which is fair).
It does feel very real that he is here in this world at four in the morning when we are scrambling to soothe his crying, change diapers, or get the little man fed – running on zero hours sleep. This is a two person job. There’s no way around it. It’s something I never really thought about until I became a father and received only given 10 days of paternity leave.
Those ten days flew by. It takes months to get a child into a rhythm, it takes weeks before my wife is able to drive, weeks for her to heal, and there seem to be frequent doctors appointments. Ten days just isn’t enough. It certainly isn’t enough time to sleep a complete six hours.
Something must be done. And that is why, as the party of pro-life and pro-family, I’m proposing we join the fight for paid family leave.
This isn’t another entitlement – it’s a chance to put our money where our mouth is. Being pro-life, as Governor Chris Christie once said, should not stop at birth. It goes past the womb. If you are pro-life, you should have a vocal hand in shaping a more pro-life society by providing educational opportunities and support to young parents in a Commonwealth where each child can grow and thrive. A society where a scared sixteen year old kid should not even have to make the most horrible choice.
In a society that is rapidly changing and becoming more and more self centered, family has to be incentivized and fatherhood needs to be promoted and encouraged. Parents have to take responsibility, and should have the means to do so, no matter where they come from.
When I tell those I work with that 10 days was not enough to be with my son and wife and that it’s an outrage maternity leave is not always paid, older female coworkers just seem used to it and almost accepting of the way things are because they went through it. They say that they did all the work, they let their husbands sleep, or peers tell me their parents stayed with them for weeks.
The average working person does not have these luxuries. And these mothers should not have had to brave it alone and get worse postpartum depression because the only option the husbands had was work. We must do better. This isn’t socialism. That’s an intellectually lazy counterargument. This is about believing in the American family, a belief at the core of the conservative movement.
Offering paid family leave will promote family. It will invest in every newborn’s future so that they have a solid foundation in homes built on love and partnership, or at least the chance of that. This will actually do more for the life movement than standing outside Planned Parenthood.
No one should parent alone. If we do not build a better society, a pro-life society, and advocate for that everyday as conservatives, then what the hell does our position mean anyway? Let’s put real policy behind the red meat rhetoric and actually solve this issue in this nation.