You know the most revolutionary thing about paternity leave in Sweden, what I call life in Daddyland?
It seems normal.
It does not seem the least bit strange to see hordes of men pushing strollers or dudes singing nursery rhymes or four guys in a circle talking baby sleep.
And it all comes at no social cost. These guys are not making a stand. They are just taking their three, six, nine months of leave.
They will not lose their jobs (or their promotions). They are not wounding their macho self esteem, and likely helping their marriages. It is remarkable how unremarkable it has become, companies just planning on a dad taking off about a year after the child is born, the same as they plan for mothers taking off the first year of a baby’s life.
The father leaves then returns, maybe not to the same job, but to the same type of job, maybe ready after months in the sandbox to engage in the office, with a better appreciation of adult society and the ability to take a few precious moments in front of the computer or to go to the bathroom all by yourself.
It is hard to write about Daddyland because I am not taking a huge leap, not like in 2007, when I quit a job, moved to Sweden and sold a bat-infested, lead paint filled house in a gritty city in the New York City exurbs.
That is dramatic. That is change.
To contrast, today I will dress two small children, walk to daycare, nap the baby, clean, head to an open preschool, walk back to daycare and so on.
Think about the time too. Leaving your job for nine months is not dramatic. It seems the great leap, but, really, nine months?
Soon enough I will be back at the desk, facing decades of work, my paternity leave a blip in time.
Yet revolutionary too.