One Dad's Two-Month Paternity Leave

This dad spent two months at home with baby and learned what parenting is all about.

A Fairness Issue

Two months at home -- just me and my 6-month-old daughter, Audrey. Not many men these days take paternity leave, but to me, it seemed like a fairness issue. My wife, Kirsten, took time off to care for Audrey, and it was my responsibility to do the same.

Then, as I watched Kirsten and little Audrey bond, I started to get excited -- why should moms have all the fun? I dreamed of long, idle days in the park, reading the paper, my faithful companion snoozing at my side in her stroller. But as Kirsten's leave came to an end and mine began, I became scared to death. Would I become an exhausted wreck -- or closer to my brand-new daughter than I had ever imagined?

The answer was yes... and yes. Fellas, I'm here to tell you: Being at home with your baby is even harder than it looks. My back aches, my calves are scorching, and my nerves are shot. Sitting behind a desk has nothing on the emotional stakes of stay-at-home parenting, the recognition that you alone are responsible for a little life.

But when I started witnessing Audrey's milestones -- sitting up, eating her first solid foods -- I learned to stop groaning about the housework and start appreciating what was in front of me. (Did I mention that Audrey learned to say "Dada"?) Guys, trust me. It's worth it. Just remember to lift with your knees, not your back.

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