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“I would love to go on paternity leave, but the sad fact is that I am just too busy…”

I hear that a lot.

I am sure that is true that these men are busy, but are they more busy than Mark Zuckerberg?

Well, Mark Zuckerberg just announced (on Facebook – where else?) that he is going to take two months paternity leave when his child is born.

Hearing his decision to prioritise his child over his “other baby”(Facebook) for 8 weeks made me very happy.

But not surprised.

For two reasons.

  1. Mark seems very determined. Not only around how he has grown Facebook to such an amazing company so fast and at such a young age, but also, for example, how he decided to learn Mandarin on his spare time.  Not so long ago he gave a 20-minute speech in (beginner) Mandarin to Chinese students about the history of Facebook.
  2. He is young, obviously good at seeing new trends and picking up on changes in society.

Hearing how (arguably) one of the most admired business leaders and entrepreneurs in the world has decided to spend 60 days at home when his child is born is inspiring on so many levels. (I just hope that he decides to save some of the off days for later in his child’s life too.)

It shows that something is changing in the world of business.

It should, hopefully, also inspire change way outside the Zuckerberg family.

When Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg did a TED-talk and wrote a book (Lean in) about her views on how to empower women to reach their goals (and make it in the business world)  it created a huge, positive momentum to push for more women in higher positions in business.

Hopefully Mark’s decision to go on paternity leave can create a similar huge, positive momentum in another direction – to push more men to take a (temporary) step back from business to connect on a deeper level with their kids.

As one of the most famous people on earth, as one of the richest, and probably also one of the more connected Mark Zuckerberg can more or less choose what he wants to focus on. He has now chosen to focus on his family, his wife and his (soon to be born) child.

That says a lot about him as a person.

If he can choose paternity over work for two months, then – surely – could many, many of the men who say they do not have the time?

I will go out on a limb here and say: If Mark can do it – then so can you.


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Fredrik Haren

A blog about the magic of fatherhood and paternity leave. Written by Fredrik Haren, professional speaker and author who is now on semi-paternity leave with his three children.

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