As a Business Development Representative at Cleo, I’m on the front lines spreading the word about how Cleo can support growing families. So when I found out my wife Rachael was expecting a baby girl, in many ways I felt more prepared than your average father. But being on the other end also forced me to think about things from a personal level and consider what we needed to do to be successful during the pregnancy and beyond.
To start, my wife had some unexpected healthcare challenges during her pregnancy and so we relied on a combination of our primary care doctor, OB/GYN and Cleo to get through it. Without the combination of all three, it would have been extremely challenging and overwhelming. While I spend everyday talking about the Cleo product and how it can impact lives, seeing it work for your own family is a completely different experience and it gave me a newfound appreciation for the work we’re doing.
The next thing I needed to consider was paternity leave. With our first child, I was not yet working at Cleo and so I didn’t spend nearly as much time considering this topic. I had made the choice to not take any leave. It’s always hard for me to get away from work — I consider myself a workaholic.
This time around, I decided parental leave was the right decision for me. I had recently received a promotion at Cleo and was encouraged by my colleagues, which includes many fellow parents, to take the time that I needed. It turned out to be an amazing decision that I’d recommend to any father. The time away from the office will give you a new sense of energy both at home and also in your career. It’s also a great way to adjust to the new family dynamic that comes with the addition of a baby!
My other piece of advice is to take time off in a way that makes sense for you. Not every family looks or operates in the same way, so parental leave wont look the same for each family either. I decided to start with two weeks away, and then will be breaking up the remainder of my leave (an additional ten weeks off, plus four weeks of “flex time” where I’ll work a four day week) over the next six months. After discussing with my wife, we felt that this was what worked best for our family. I like the idea of being able to weave extra time with my family over the course of the next several months.
I returned to work last week, and the transition back has been going well. Because I was only gone for two weeks, I recognize that I may have had a smoother transition than some parents do. I’m excited to be back in my role, helping spread the word about Cleo so that other families can feel supported and cared for as they start a family and balance a career.