My lady’s taking paid maternity leave for the next three and a half months. When I learned this, my first thoughts, understandably, were: What about the Gross Domestic Product?! What about worker productivity?! The U.S., along with Swaziland, has no national law mandating paid maternity leave, so, to me, three and a half months seems excessive. My lady pointed out that we live in Colombia, a land of large, close-knit extended families, where, the morning you learn you’re expecting, word spreads so fast that your third cousin stops by to congratulate you before lunch. Here, maternity leave is required by law.
I mentioned that, “With the U.S. at #1 compared to Colombia’s #31 in worldwide GDP rankings, maybe priorities should be reconsidered.”
She retorted, “With Colombia ranking #3 and the U.S. #105 in the 2012 Happy Planet Index, I couldn’t agree more.” Pregnancy makes some women irrational.
Wearing the Pants
I, on the other hand, understand priorities. There’s no point in removing the proverbial suit and tie and taking a holiday. There are paintings to paint, posts to write, schedules to maintain, productivity to be product-ed! Besides, our family will have the next eighteen years to sit around and stare at each other. So, I’ve been busy making plans and designing well-timed schemes, intending to work as I normally would, intending to have this painting finished before my lovely lady here delivered, right on schedule. But, suddenly (two weeks early!), there’s this other little lady in my life who, like her mother, reminds me that some girls have their own ideas, make their own plans, and put in an appearance whenever they damn well please. And instead of working, I’m changing diapers, taking naps, and spending most of my time sitting around staring at the most precious thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. Love at first sight has a way of turning a boy’s priorities on their head.
I’m taking a temporary hiatus – some call it Paternal Reeducation Through Sleep Deprivation – until I’ve learned my lesson. I’m not saying that it’ll be three and a half months, but I’m not promising that it won’t, either. Something wonderful has come up and it needs my attention. I’m just hoping that after spending some time with my ladies, when I finally figure out how I fit into these papa pants and make my way back here, you’ll still be around.