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Wish list: for all dads to get Mark Zuckerberg’s paternity leave

The new dad of two is sending an important message to policy-makers with his own actions.

Wish list: for all dads to get Mark Zuckerberg’s paternity leave

He may run the world’s biggest social media network, but family still comes first for Mark Zuckerberg: The new father-of-two announced last weekend that he’s taking the rest of December off for some paternity leave bonding time with his daughters, which is still less than the 17 paid weeks of paternity leave Facebook offers employees.


“I'm going on parental leave for December to be with August and Max, so you'll hear from me a little less,” the 33-year-old Facebook CEO shared on Saturday as the caption of a sweet picture of him walking with 2-year-old Max. “We have a couple more Facebook and philanthropy announcements this year and then I'll see you all in 2018!”

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on

Zuckerberg’s actions speak volumes about the importance that should be placed on family bonding time after a new baby joins the fold. Not only are there precious snuggles to be had, but parental leave has also been shown to lessen the rates of postpartum depression, boost employee morale and even promote the baby’s brain development.

It’s a win-win scenario. And, yet, we aren’t all Mark Zuckerberg.

Across the United States, the average father takes just one week of paternity leave. Considering only 12% of private sector workers have paid parental leave options, that isn’t surprising. (Adding a child to the family is expensive and someone has to pay the bills.) But that doesn’t mean we should just be content with it, especially as short paternity leaves breed resentment in relationships.

For Zuckerberg and other influencers like him to advocate for better parental leave policies is a major step in the right direction, but it’s going to take more than that. We need to tell our policy-makers. We need to tell our employers. We need to tell others in our generation and those younger than us: Paternity leave shouldn’t be a privilege.

That’s a message it would be great to see more of on our favorite social networks.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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