Dad's 7-Week Paternity Leave For His Second Child Made Him Realize How Many 'Small Moments' He Was Missing Out On

His honest admission proves how important it is for fathers to be active participants in their children's lives.

Caleb @ustheremingtons / TikTok

According to research from a Ball State University sociology professor named Richard Petts, it was found that only 5% of new dads take at least two weeks of parental leave. Much of the hesitation comes from the fact that like women, men aren't often allowed to take too many days off from work for paternity leave, but also because of the stigma that mothers should be the only ones taking leave.

However, one father named Caleb informed viewers why he was glad to have taken several weeks off following the birth of his second child, a decision that greatly impacted how he now views both his family and the values of his marriage to his wife Tiffany.


He said that taking a 7-week paternity leave for his second child made him realize how many moments he had missed out on.

“It's, unfortunately, the end of my maternity — ahem — paternity leave,” Caleb jokingly quipped at the start of his video, showing himself cleaning various surfaces around his and his wife's home. “I only joke because my wife is truly the man of the house. And call me what you want, but I am totally okay with that.”

Caleb acknowledged the privilege that he has for being able to say that, explaining that for him and his wife's first child, he wasn't able to take any paternity leave, but this time around, he was granted four weeks and took an additional three weeks of PTO to be home and help with caring for their second baby.




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"I do work from home and find that I have a little more flexibility in helping out here and there but I am also pretty glued and have to be zoned in during work hours," he wrote in the caption of his video. Caleb pointed out that he felt rather "guilty" for not taking off for the birth of his first child after realizing how much family time he missed out on that first time around.

"Part of me feels guilty that I didn't do that with our first. Being present with the kids and literally finding ourselves lost in time, watching ants cross the sidewalk made me realize how many of these small moments I missed out with our first," Caleb candidly stated. "But I'm moving past that guilt [and am] grateful that I had some time to make it up."


It's actually fairly common for fathers to feel this sense of loss.

According to research by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, nearly 32% of fathers admitted to regretting not taking paternity leave. The survey also found that 21% of dads said they regretted not being as present as they would have liked during the first year of their child's life due to being at work all of the time. 69% of dads said they missed a key milestone in their child's life, while only 11% of mothers felt the same.

dad admits that taking a 7-week paternity leave for his second child made him realize how many moments he'd missed out onPhoto: Anna Kraynova / Shutterstock

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It doesn't help that there's a societal expectation that places greater emphasis on mothers having to be the primary caregivers, which only further prohibits fathers from being able to create these special memories during the first few weeks of their newborn's lives.

Of course, we can't talk about parental leave without acknowledging that the United States is one of the only countries that doesn't allow new parents the flexibility of having enough time off to spend with their newborns, along with mothers specifically being allowed to recuperate and heal from giving birth before being thrust back into the workforce.

There are ways for men to get around the lack of adequate paternity leave, and the feeling of guilt they may have for not taking it by using their free time, including weekends, evenings after work, and vacations, to actively engage with their babies.

Caleb also admitted that during his paternity leave, he realized he wasn't putting in enough effort for household responsibilities.

In the rest of his TikTok video, Caleb acknowledged that his wife has been incredibly stressed after birthing their second child, and so to help, he's been doing what he can to clean up the messes around their home and care for their two children.


He revealed that his one mistake after the birth of their first child was the lack of household responsibilities that he took on compared to his wife.

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household is actually [run]. 110% of this is because of my wife and for the longest time I thought I was doing enough of my fair share but realistically it was the bare minimum," Caleb said.

He continued, saying that he and his wife have had multiple conversations that are still ongoing about how he can "master" the responsibility of taking on more of the mental load when it comes to raising their children, growing their marriage, and taking care of their household.

"We both knew how hard bringing children into the world was but I definitely think we were naive when it came to how much it would impact our relationship," he added. 


Caleb's honest admission about the lack of communication that happened between him and his wife during the post-birth of their first child, and how much he's trying to change following the birth of their second highlights the importance that shared responsibility actually means for couples, especially those who have become new parents.

His willingness proves the importance of fathers being involved in their children's lives, both during parental leave and beyond, and by breaking free from the traditional gender norms, couples can easily create a more balanced and fulfilling family life for themselves and their kids.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.