This month, I took family leave. It is wonderful. It’s a blessing. And everyone should have it. It is great for financial security, but the other benefits are much more important.
I have been happy and able to engage with my kids and wife in a way that wasn’t possible when I took just a week or so off work when our first son was born. Especially with our second child, with the collective the work load is so much more significant, this time away from the job has made me a much better father and husband because I’ve been able to focus and get some of the rest we all need during these periods of high stress.
But don’t take my word for it. Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen’s experience as reported in The Nation, brings it home. “I truly believe that paid leave was the difference between life and death for me,” she explained after outlining the postpartum physical and emotional illnesses that impacted her life.
I could quote this story until I’m blue in the face but I won’t. You should read it. Internalize it. And remember it when we go to the polls this year. In short, we must shift our thinking to see paid family leave is an investment in our collective future rather than just a benefit for a single family.
Or put more rabbinically, as Cohen does, “If we don’t make that shift, then we’re just screwing ourselves over in the long term.”