Tom Stocky works at Facebook, where new fathers get up to four months of paternity leave. He took his, and then went back to work on Monday.
So, Sunday night he did what people who work at Facebook (and millions who don’t) often do -- he wrote about his life event on the site, a long essay about what he learned from being home full-time with his daughter.
A lot, it turns out. That it was harder, physically, than he thought it would be. That with practice he got darn good at it. That he missed his old job ... but didn’t. And that our society treats men who are home with babies very differently than it treats women.
“What I never got used to,” he wrote, “... was the double-standard for fathers when it comes to childcare. I experienced it predominantly in three forms: (1) low expectations for fathers, (2) negative perceptions of working mothers, and (3) negative perceptions of 'non-working' fathers."
His experience -- being looked at suspiciously at the playground, being excluded from clubs like “Mothers Offer Mothers Support” (MOMS) -- is not likely to change, he says, until fathers are no longer just four percent of stay-at-home parents. And that’s not likely to change until more companies offer men parental leave that is the same as that offered to women -- and until men actually take that leave.
Among the first to comment on Stoky’s post was the COO of his company -- whose book, Lean In, Stoky read while he was on leave. “This is so important for all of us -- fathers and mothers to understand,” wrote Sheryl Sandberg. “You have done a great service to the world -- both by caring for your daughter and by sharing this experience.”
You can watch Stocky tell "Good Morning America" about what he learned above. And use the comments to discuss how the decision to take parental leave is different for men and women.