In this blog post, Esa Lähteenmäki, who works as a project manager for Etteplan MORE, talks about his experiences on paternity leave and the arrangements he had to make beforehand.
Encouraging attitudes towards taking paternity leave
I started my paternity leave on the day my wife returned to her own job. At that point, I hadn’t used any of my paternity leave days, which meant that I was looking forward to 9 weeks of quality time with a 9-month-old rapscallion. My wife and I had decided early on that I would take some time off to stay at home with our boy, Eero. This allowed me to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that come spring, the project I was working on wouldn’t prevent me from staying out of the office for a total of 13 weeks (9 weeks + 4 weeks of summer vacation). It was wonderful to see how positive and encouraging everyone at work was about my decision. Even our client was happy with the arrangement. While I was away, my project team handled matters with flying colors, which made it easier for me to stay at home.
Before I started my paternal leave, I thought that it would be a challenging but somehow relaxed period, and I could work on personal projects and keep myself in the loop while taking care of my son. It soon became apparent that I would have very little time left over from keeping him entertained, cooking and keeping our home somewhat livable. When Eero would have his 0.5- to 1.5-hour nap, that gave me time to have lunch, quickly browse through my personal e-mails and take care of small things like that. Otherwise, my days were spent pushing the stroller or playing with my son indoors. One thing that I found slightly surprising was that at around three in the afternoon, I would usually start getting antsy and waiting for my wife to come home. Had I known this would happen, I wouldn’t have been quite as irritated when she was on maternity leave and grilled me about when I was coming home.
A positive thing about spending such a long time away from work was that I had the opportunity to reflect on our current ways of working and identify development areas. Additionally, not spending the entire day in front of a screen improved my health. Generally speaking, I found my paternity leave to be a wonderful period, allowing me to get to know my child better by sharing simple everyday things with him. If I have another opportunity to take paternity leave in the future, I most definitely will use it. Next time, however, I’ll arrange my leave into shorter periods, covering the different stages of my child’s development. Now that Eero is a bit older (1 year and 3 months), he has become much more active. Our interaction has also become more diverse and rewarding than it was half a year ago.
Project Manager Esa has returned from his paternity leave and is working on various projects.
Etteplan more is a family-friendly workplace
Etteplan MORE has a flexible attitude towards different life situations. We are a family-friendly workplace, and part of that means encouraging our employees to take their parental leave. Our working hours also flex according to the situation: our employees have praised our flexible working hours, and several of them take advantage of the remote working opportunities we offer.
Etteplan MORE was the first company to take on the Dad Challenge, an initiative to promote a healthy work/family balance for fathers: www.isahaaste.fi
Visit the It’s Daddy Time initiative page to read how Markku, a member of the Etteplan MORE management team, managed to combine work and family life. www.isäaikaa.fi
Would you like to read more about how our employees have managed to combine their work with their family lives? Find more blogs below!