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AURA & ELIAS
In Finland it is possible to have so called ”paternity leave”, which means that both parents have an equal right to stay home with kids. This means that instead of the mother staying at home for a longer period of time taking care of kids, also father can stay with kids after mom’s maternity leave. This system is enabled in Finland due to the allowance paid by the Finnish social system. Paternity leave can last 54 days at maximum and it needs to be taken before the child turns 2 years.
I saved my paternity leave just till the end and combined with my summer vacation to extend my precious time with Iris.
Until now, while I’ve been working as a flute teacher and doing music Aura has been at home taking care of Iris, cooking, cleaning and washing up the dishes and so on. I thought that being a real “house daddy” wouldn’t be that hard compared to my work but during this summer I’m taking care of almost all the housework and looking after our little girl since Aura is going to finish her studies at university. Now it’s my turn to put Iris to sleep and take care of everything inside the house. After these weeks I feel very exhausted and it seems to be a real job with all bits and pieces to manage. Let me warn you daddies, it is definitely harder than you might think!
We’ve spent our days by doing the usual stuff such as strolling around, playing in parks, having lunch, taking naps and preparing dinners for my family. Most evenings we play with Iris’ toys or read some books before I go to wash her up. Then I try to get her asleep.
The time we spent together wasn't always so "rosy”. I recognize that with children there are certain things which seem to be simple are not that simple at all, haha.
For example, I didn't know that this age could be so unpredictable – sometimes she just got upset and had sudden outbursts of rage in the middle of public places. I can say that at first, it made me very embarrassed and anxious especially without Aura, but after a couple of times, having no choice than dealing with the situation by my self, I learned that parenting requires absolute calmness and organized actions even during these unpredictable situations. And luckily in Finland, I'm not the only dad dealing with these kinds of tricky situations so I feel that people around are rather understanding and sympathizing. :)
Despite of the challenges, I warmly recommend this experience to any father who has a possibility to spend a longer period at home. The fact is that you will probably never spend so much time at once with a kid after that. And before I realize Iris starts going to a daycare...
Last week we visited Korkeasaari, which is a famous Zoo in Helsinki. That was a fantastic day!
During my paternity leave I've gained many new experiences, including the challenges and because of them I have now much more confidence as a father. Now or never I feel like an equal parent!
Aura & Elias
A father, a mother and a daughter, Iris, born in July 2015. Like many little girls, Iris loves to take care of her dolls and play with her toys.
Father, Elias, is a classical musician. He plays the flute and teaches flute playing. He dreams about extending his professional skills to the field of instrument repairing. Mother Aura has finished her studies at the University of Helsinki and at the moment she takes care of Iris at home.
Together we love to travel, enjoy cultural events and eat tasty food. We appreciate clean, healthy and ecological lifestyle even though we live in the middle of Helsinki. In our blog you’ll find stories about our urban life as a Finnish family.