Brannon: So, having done this a couple of times, I will say that having the flexibility to work remotely in the weeks leading up to your due date is really important for the person who is physically giving birth. Even just commuting can take a serious physical toll. Of course everyone is different, so supporting those physical needs, whatever they are, is important.
In terms of the actual amount of time off given to new parents, I’d say a minimum of three months leave, ideally more. From my experience at a previous job, I was physically able to come into work after three months, but the fact is, my baby wasn’t sleeping through the night so my brain was not operating anywhere close to the level I needed to be at in my role. At Square Roots, we give four months to primary caregivers, which is great, especially for an early-stage startup. And then flexibility upon returning is really important too. Maybe you want to come back part time or work remotely at first. That transition from being with a newborn 24 hours a day to putting them in someone else's care for nine or ten hours a day can be really stark.
Lastly, spouses and non-childbearing partners should absolutely get an extended leave as well. Otherwise, you are automatically setting up a relationship where one person is the default parent and the other person can end up not knowing how to do most things. That dynamic can end up staying true over time and can hurt women’s abilities to move forward in their careers.
Tyler: For me, I was really lucky when I had my son because I was running my own business at the time, so I got to spend a lot of time with him and my wife when he was first born. That time was really important in forging the relationship I have with him. I know a guy who had his daughter on a Thursday, and he was back at work on Monday. I just can’t imagine that, you know? Because your partner’s not sleeping, the baby’s not sleeping, and you’re just trying to figure everything out, and you’re not sure if you’re doing it right. It really just takes the whole family together to be able to get through that time.