Goin’ on Paternity Leave?

One of the things I really admire about Automattic (the company I work for – we’re hiring) is that we truly value our employees. More than just a good salary and benefits, Automattic entrusts us with a great deal of autonomy to make decisions for each of our unique work and family needs. With my 2nd son coming in only a few short weeks days, I am presently grateful for our paternity leave policy:

Our maternity and paternity policy is similar to our time off policy: take the time off that you need.

(emphasis mine)

As you can see, there is no specific time frame. I get to be present during such a special time for my family…as a father. What’s even more remarkable is that if I have worked for the company for at least 12 consecutive months, my leave is paid 100%.

  • Now, when did I start at Automattic? February 17, 2014
  • Now, when is my second son due? February 17, 2015

“Wait..did the Dibbles plan all of this or something?” Uhhh..no? 😉

Cleaning the toys in anticipation of our new arrival!

Cleaning the toys in anticipation of our new arrival!

I’ve decided to take February 17th thru May 17th off to be with Lacey, Jordan, and the new one. As I told my team lead, the ability to be there for my new child and wife during the first three months of the baby’s life is invaluable in my eyes. How many working fathers can say that they were totally available for their kid the first 3 months of their life? At least here in the U.S. – not many. (If you’re curious, here is how the U.S. compares to other countries around the world in regards to protected and paid leave…I’m tempted to move to Estonia!). As Automattic becomes more and more of a global company, it makes sense that we have open policies that don’t necessarily infringe on any one country’s own personal policy.

Also, there is a chance Lacey will need another c-section and will be physically limited the first few weeks (Jordan was 10 lbs 12 oz and this one is on track to be a similar size..aye). I felt horrible after the first pregnancy because I only had a week of unpaid leave with the company I was working for at the time..after being with them for 18 months. She had to do almost everything herself while I was at work (thankfully, our church friends cooked the occasional meal for us which was a significant help). Now, if c-section is the route we have to go, she can sit back, relax, and recover while I am there to assist around the house.

Now, 3 months is the plan but if I become stir crazy, I could go back to work as soon as I would like. I really cannot imagine going 90 days without doing work that I completely enjoy and am getting better at on the daily, but I’ll manage 🙂 (shoutout to my fellow ToSsers.. keep the place clean while I’m away!) I’m planning on writing up a post about the work I do this week – stay tuned).

Team Justitia/Terms of Service Team in Park City Utah during our Grand Meetup

Team Justitia/Terms of Service Team in Park City Utah during our Grand Meetup

To keep me busy during my (assumed) seldom occurrences of free time, I’ve decided to tackle a few projects. They are not complete or fail projects. A baby is too unpredictable, so I didn’t want to set anything measurable that would potentially distract me away from what’s most important – my family. However, it’s not often that I will have 40-50 hours of my life back, so I wanted to dedicate those hours toward something productive. Based off of my 2015 goals I want to:

  • Hold down the fort at home (cook, clean, run errands, etc.)
  • Re-engage fellowship thru joining a Bible Study
  • WE’RE FINALLY MOVING. Aye! If anyone has suggestions for a nice townhome/condo/apartment anywhere in Austin (Pflugerville, Round Rock, Leander, Hutto, Georgetown, Cedar Park, kyle, Buda…really, anywhere) that has four bedrooms (or 3 bedrooms and a loft), please let me know. We’re not ready for a home quite yet, but there are very few places in the Austin area that accommodates this type of space. Since Lacey and I both work from home, we would ideally want a dedicated office space. It’s not a necessity, but it would greatly benefit our work/life balance.
  • Help Lacey market Studio924Photography – this should be a big year for her business 🙂
  • Complete some Team Treehouse courses to develop my coding skills
  • Take piano lessons through School of Rock (Lacey purchased lessons for me as a Christmas gift
  • Workout 5-6 times a week – Planet Fitness Baby! (blog post coming soon!)
  • Read – maybe start A Song of Fire and Ice Series?
  • Do some arranging for Carpe Sono
  • Probably blog more…
  • Oh yeah, go to both The Netherlands and New York for work…haven’t decided yet.

It’s a bit ambitious admittedly, but again the goal is not to necessarily complete tasks as much as engage in activities that are life giving for both me and my family during a rare 3 month stretch in our lives.

Lacey will go back to work in early March because Spring is a hot time for photographers – I now have the flexibility to provide primary care of the baby while she is at work (as opposed to a babysitter). I am so glad that I can do that.

Because of the nature of our jobs (we both work from home) it’s not uncommon for us to be up at 4:00am, so adjusting to a new baby shouldn’t be too bad. I have a few new books, video games, and Netflix series that I can binge on during the late night hours. I’m pretty excited about it, really.

I’m grateful for this opportunity and will do everything I can do make the most of it. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. 🙂

Update: My fellow co-worker and friend from Austin, Brandon Kraft, just wrote a great post about his experience with paternity leave (with twins!) Be sure to check it out!

One thought on “Goin’ on Paternity Leave?

  1. Pingback: Automattic's Paternity Leave Policy is Awesome

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