Paternity Leave


I’m not a big sports fan.  I watch the Olympics, but not with any regularity.  I tune into the World Series, maybe every other year.  And the only reason I know that the World Cup is held every 4 years is because I danced for the 2010 WC game kickoff in Seattle.  That being said, although I may not know a lot about sports, I do know the cultural importance of them.  And I’d have to live under a rock not to know how these professional players can impact the lives of our children.  They have the opportunity to be positive role models or the opposite.

So why am I blogging about sports when I really know nothing about them? 

Last week as I sat down to dinner with my family I overheard a story on the nightly news.  It went like this:

2 sports show hosts blasted Mets pro-baseball player Daniel Murphy for taking paternity leave, who consequently missed opening day and one other game, to not only be with his wife during the birth of their child, but also spend time with her after the baby was born.


And by blasted here is a sprinkling of what they said:

  1. “It’s one thing to miss a day for the birth of your child.  But assuming the birth went well, assuming your wife is fine, assuming the baby is fine, 24 hours….you have a good support system for mom and the baby, you get you’re a** back out to your team and you play baseball”
  2. “There’s nothing you can do anyway.  You’re not breastfeeding the kid.”
  3. “Quite frankly I would have said c-section before the season starts.  I’d need to be there for opening day.”
  4. “I would have said, this is how we make our money, this is how we’re going to live our life, this is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life, I’ll be able to afford any college because I’m a baseball player.”

To say that this enraged me is an understatement but let’s try to break this down in a more civil fashion.

  1.  Does everything go back to normal 24 hours post birth?  Hmmm, let’s see…  Before birth there were 2 of you and now there are 3, and let’s be real, that 3rd one is pretty needy.  I’m also quite sure that my who-ha didn’t go back to normal 24 hours post birth either.  And for some of us we didn’t even give birth in the span of 24 hours.  But it’s ok for these 2 guys to intimate that Murphy should have helped his wife push and then get out and play?!
  2. Are Dads really that useless?  Obviously a man can’t breastfeed, we’re not idiots!  If I were a father I would be downright p***ed that this radio host thinks that a man’s worth is more valuable in the workplace than at home.  Ladies, you don’t need me to tell you how much you depend on your partner in the days and weeks following your delivery, whether it’s your first or your 4th.  Just because he can’t breastfeed doesn’t render him worthless.
  3. What does this speak to our kids?  Our kids look up to these players.  They study them, watch them, pick their favorites, and I hate to say it, but they idolize them.  The message that these 2 radio hosts communicated to our youth is that being a Dad is ok but not when it interferes with your work (because really that’s all this guy was missing was work).  That your responsibility to work trumps your responsibility to your family.
  4. What does this say about our priorities?  Clearly, according to these guys, Murphy’s priorities should have been work, money, family…in that order.  Are we so naïve as to believe that Murphy’s lifestyle was going to suffer any by missing 2 games?  Money does not trump the miracle of bringing a brand new life into this world.  It’s just a game guys!!!  And let’s be real, just because you have money doesn’t mean your kid is going to be any more successful than mine.

I don’t know about you but this is not ok with me!

Here’s what I have to say.  Bravo Daniel Murphy!  Good for you for loving your wife enough to take the time to be there with her during some excruciatingly painful and joy-filled hours.  Thank you for taking some extra time off from your job to support her in her transition from wife to mother.  And thank you for setting a good example for my sons by showing them with your actions that work is good but family is best.

Dads have come a long way, at least in this country in the last 50 years.  It wasn’t so long ago that Dads were required to wait in the “waiting room” to be told that their baby was born.  Now we have Dads in the delivery room, coaching their wives through labor, and sleeping in the same room until they go home as a family.  Not only that but they are also covered under the FMLA and can get paternity leave for up to 12 weeks (not paid but at least they can get it).  The majority of the world does not have these luxuries.

My husband at the birth of our first son!

With the birth of my first son my husband didn’t take enough time off, something he and I both regret.  We had no idea how difficult the transition into parenthood was going to be.  But with number 2 we allowed ourselves more time to adjust to having another in the mix.  And that was ok…no it was more than ok…it was an expression of love and service and humility on behalf of my husband.

I think Murphy did the right thing and I hope more pro-athletes follow suit.  What do you think?


  1. Thank you for sharing this! I mean really those things were said?? It’s only a few times in life that you have those moments with a newborn. You can’t go back and relive them. Missing a few baseball games (and let’s not forget they have a LONG season with tons of game) isn’t going to make or break your career. Kudos to him for doing what is right for his family. B/c his wife and new baby needed him!

  2. Well said, Shannon! I so agree! Those comments from the hosts make them sound like they are from the Stone Age! A planned C-section before the season started?? Seriously? Hmm…let’s see, I think I’ll just tell my wife to have major surgery before the baby is full term so that I don’t miss any games. Wow. Ignorance at it’s best if you ask me. Thanks for speaking up.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here