Jason Abrams, husband to a family attorney, and father of two in New Jersey, is the Lead Dad of the Week!
A senior PR manager at Amtrak, Jason spoke to us during his 10 weeks of paid paternity leave for his newborn daughter, Bryce who is 5 months old. (She was sleeping off-camera!) Amtrak allows him to stagger his leave, taking a week of PTO when she was first born and now taking his full paternity leave after his wife Carly took her 16 weeks.
It’s not his first parental leave. Amtrak gave him 6 weeks when his older daughter Madden, now 4, was born.
“It’s 100 percent totally respected,” Jason said. “Before I went out, I created a 90-row spreadsheet and sent it to people so they would know who to contact. I feel like I set people up pretty well.”
The time off has been great. He’s been able to spend time with his newborn and drop off and pick up his older daughter at pre-school. It’s also given him and his wife time to plan for the juggle when he returns to work at the end of October.
But one thing that’s bothered him is the reception he gets when he takes his girls to run errands. “Their mom goes to the store with the kids and its crickets,” he said. “Then I went to the store, and it was like OMG you’re the best dad ever!”
“I don’t feel I deserve a medal. I’m just going to the store with them. I also let Madden paint my toenails. We’ll play Just Dance together. And people say you’re the best Girl Dad ever. I’d do it if I had sons.”
Jason, you’re a model Lead Dad and an ally to Working Moms. Fathers need to take their parental leave, engage fully with their children – boys or girls – and push back against the well-meaning stupidity of people who praise fathers for just being there.
Welcome to The Company of Dads!