Op-Ed: Paid Family Leave should be a right, not a luxury

East Bay Times
August 14, 2019

As our Oregon neighbors stand poised to pass the most progressive paid family leave law in the nation, I’ve been reflecting on how important parental leave was to my own family not long ago.

It was shortly after my son was born that my wife and I had our first “this is real” moment of parenting. A cold dunking of new routines — diaper changings, nursing, sleepless nights, third and fourth cups of coffee — helped us quickly realize that our infant was the one regulating everything.

It was in the sleep-deprived days after his birth that the three of us came to know each other. No matter how tired we were, whenever David reached some new development or milestone, my wife and I would turn to each other with awe. It was incredible to watch his immediate and drastic growth — a daily reminder of the monumental task of infancy.

I returned to work after only two weeks in order to balance the loss and extend our ability for one of us to stay home with David. When it was time for Ashleigh to return to work (barely after her stitches had healed), I took an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave offered to me through a combination of employer, county and state compensation.

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