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Should I take paternity leave?

Was released on 10.11.2017

Should I take paternity leave?

Should I take paternity leave?

In Finland, we are celebrating Father's Day on 12th November. We have over a million fathers in Finland, which is about a fifth of Finland's population! To celebrate all the dads, here is a story of an everyday Warrior, who decided to spend time with his daughter and left his work for paternity leave.

In Finland, fathers are allowed to have a 9 weeks paternity leave. Most fathers stay away from work only for four weeks. A fifth of the fathers do not spend any time on paternity leave to be with their newborn. 

Jukka is a 35-year-old nurse, who made the decision to stay home with his little daughter. Read the story of this Super-Daddy: 

I Am a Warrior

My days are mostly filled with activities with my daughter as I’m on paternity leave from my work until the end of the year. Our days go by quickly. My daughter likes to spend time outside and enjoy nature. We often pack some snacks and coffee in our backpack or on our cargo bike and go to eat nearby the forest or by the sea. The possibility of spending more time with my daughter was the biggest reason for me to take paternity leave from work and stay at home with my little girl.

Warrior Coffee

It has been amazing to follow the growth and development of a small child and notice how the time spent together impacts the relationship between a father and a daughter.

When I was still working, I wished there was more time to spend with my child than one to two hours a day. Now that we spend more time together, there has been a clear change in our relationship. Nowadays when something happens to her and she hurts herself or gets disappointed, my girl calms herself down in father’s arms, which is something new. Also taking naps goes more easily as she falls asleep in my arms or next to me in bed with a storybook. These small things help me to notice the value of time spent together. It has been amazing to follow the growth and development of a small child and notice how the time spent together impacts the father-daughter relationship.

Everyday challenges on paternity leave

On these days, I have really been content with the decision to spend my days with my daughter - instead of working. I thought: I'm still going to work for many years or even decades, but a child is small only once. Of course, economically we had to think about the expenses when only one parent is working. However, in Finland, the systems support is quite good and the employers give a possibility for the parental leaves. We are in a lucky place in Finland, as fathers. 

There has been difficult days when my daughter is sick or something upsets her. On those days even I, as a very calm person, have been a nervous wreck. But I have found a perfect cure for that: a cup of good coffee gives a good boost, gets me in a good mood and gets me over the most difficult phase.

Aeropress Warrior Coffee

Coffee has been my hobby and my interest for years. During the last years I have familiarized myself with different places of origin, preparation methods, small roasting companies and in the cultivation of coffee. 

My morning routine includes preparation of coffee. This means essentially grinding the beans and even our tent trips and trips to nature don’t make an exception. I have heard (many times) my wife wondering, why to load a coffee grinder and other extra load in the backpack, which is already very fully packed. Good coffee and the preparation of it is an everyday luxury for me and a moment when I can fully engage myself in a matter that really interests me.

Biking Warrior

I have always been active and loved nature. Outdoor activities, with my child, have always been very pleasing to me. Of course moving outside, at the pace of a small child, is very different to what I'm used to. I have always been an active biker. I love biking through rough terrain and being on the road. I have also been running the forest paths and spent time hunting. After the birth of my child, parenting has turned into my main priority. Therefore there isn’t that much time for active sports. My body, however, has a request for daily sweating. I often go out jogging after my daughter's bedtime.

A beneficial form of everyday exercise

I work with sick children. I think that biking is the best way to get a pause for my thoughts after hard days at work. I often take a long road back home. That's how I'm able to reset my thoughts and it's an easy way to get some exercise. During the first year, when our daughter was born, I took part in the charity cycling event called: Team Rynkeby. The year culminated with a bike trip from Helsinki to Paris in July 2016. (Team Rynkeby is a Nordic event, where the teams cycle through Europe to collect charity money for children with cancer). This project lasted for one year. It took so much time that I decided to concentrate to the most important thing in my life: my child.

Nature Warrior

Our family without a car is now doing the shopping trips with our cargo bike. Our daughter enjoys to travel in it. It has been in a very active use, since I started my paternity leave.

I can really warmly recommend every father, of a small child, to do this. It might be the best decision that you'll ever make during your lifetime! I’m really waiting to see what kind of nature and coffee enthusiastic our daughter will be. 

At least now it looks promising!

Happy Father's Day!

- Jukka, Warrior



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