Not that I want these guys to get much more attention, but this is worthy of a mention and possibly a view (see video below). I mean it isn’t every day that we’re teed up to talk about fatherhood. Motherhood, sure, we’re constantly fed information about the elusive “balance” we all seek, but fatherhood and the incredible gifts/mentorship men bring to children’s lives, that seems only to be a sexy topic when it has to do with a sports star [read: I’m guilty of the bait here]. Or it’s Father’s Day.
Enter a new hero.
Earlier this week Daniel Murphy became an accidental hero for child and maternal health. His actions speak far louder than any words (or the words of others). His heroism and moment in time for children’s health is all thanks to these jokers on the radio. Now we get to make note of the incredible decisions parents make every day.
The story is this: a man with a career (he happens to play baseball) took time to support his family. He was at his partner’s side during the birth of his child and stayed there to bear witness, provide support, and be a father. He used time provided to him by his employer (that happens to be federally protected) for paternity leave.
But because Murphy is a real deal professional athlete with an opening season game to be played and because people like to talk on the radio there are numerous reminders for parents everywhere thanks to this story:
- Paternity leave is a federally protected right. In California, Washington, and New Jersey, there are even laws for paid paternity leave.
- Elective C-sections for convenience increase health risks to mom and baby. C-section deliveries require major surgery for mom and can put infants at risk for respiratory problems. A 2013 statement from ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) outlines the scientifically-backed opinion against these elective surgeries. The suggestion from the radio host is rubbish.
- Paid parental leave is an area where Americans just don’t do so well; the below example a quirky reminder. Protected parental leave is clearly a place the US pales on the world’s stage (see this infographic on global parental leave).
- Dads everywhere provide everyday, exceptional value for their children, Murphy’s decision is just one example. Parenting is hard work. The national focus on parenting centers on the work of mothers while fathers play roles of equal impact. All parents, of course, have vital roles in shaping earnest opportunity and health for children. Let it be clear that Murphy says it best, “that’s the awesome part about being blessed, about being a parent, is you get that choice. My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay.”
Ora M. Roberts says
Good for him! A man who isn’t afraid to be a man, best friend to his wife, husband, a and new (great) dad. Not just a sperm donor. Imagine that. It usually takes two to make a baby, and two make parenting easier (not that it’s e-v-e-r easy) than only one.
Wow, I can not fathom a baseball game being more important that your family. I’m really proud of Murphy for spending time with his baby and I wish people were more understanding…
The family is a major factor in society. Men and women need to take responsibility for the children.
Margaret L says
I am so pleased to have seen such a generally supportive response to this father’s decision to prioritize parenting. Our society has a long way to go in balancing parenting but this story and the attention it has received is a hopeful sign. Too many fathers are discouraged from full participation in the parenting process through public and workplace policies, societal stereotypes, low expectations, and even mothers and families themselves. Father’s are often left out through the language we use. For instance, I was going to recommend that Dr. Swanson might consider changing the name of this blog to something like “parent doc”. How often do you see a service or agency directed at parents with young children using the male pronoun? Almost never. It is time for those who work with and for children to reframe attitudes and language in terms that reflect who is raising those children.