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When it happens, it happens with breakneck intensity. Harper lashes out, pinching and pulling, her strength unmeasured. Sometimes it catches me off-guard. Her flame-colored tongue is a fire with angry echolalia, and I try to cool her down, anchor her to the floor with proprioceptive pressure, but it feels as though water is rushing up my nose.


My vision blurs. My head spins. I lose my breath, and my heart sinks. And then, moments later, through a veil of tears, the screaming subsides. Harper is quiet again.

How do flamingoes sleep?

During her meltdowns, Harper has the sharp beak and beautiful wings of an exotic bird. She cranes her neck and retreats into a tuft of colorful feathers when it’s all over. I can’t help but feel as if I’ve lost her, and it’s a struggle to lure her out – a feature Ron Suskind once wrote, “is the crushing pain of autism, of not being able to know your own child, to share love and laughter with him, to comfort him, to answer his questions.”

 

In those moments, I pray for her to finally voice words like birdsong, all the while feeling like an onlooker in the dark, who both appreciates and laments Harper’s seismic nature.

I’ve been taught to predict her behavior by identifying the antecedents. The idea is to give the outbursts some context. Harper’s tears are predictable, meaningful, if I just look hard enough. And since her diagnosis in 2012, I’ve done just that. My energy has been spent on weaving with a bird’s-eye view the complex network of her sensory diet. Deep tissue massaging and picture books with the spines pecked away have become part of my everyday routine.

I don’t know what it’s like to raise a neurotypical child. Walking around a box store, taking in exhibits at the zoo, I feel uneasy around children who don’t have their vocabularies printed on cards and attached to Velcro strips in a colorful binder. I’ve heard many children recite their hopes and fears. Loud sounds and bright lights don’t seem to bother them. They follow the social rules we all inherently know, and their eerie stillness while standing in a line will set my heart aflutter.

When I respond to those kids with a quizzical look, the same way many adults respond to Harper, I realize that I’m sometimes unfit to be her parent. With the right combination of kicks and tears, my temper can fly away, too. I’ll clip Harper’s nails a bit too close. I’ll tug on her arm a bit too hard. I’ll scream when I simply meant to speak.

If her world often feels like a sea of white noise, mine resembles a straight line that I try to straddle in between meltdowns and therapy sessions, cooking and cleaning, my full-time and part-time jobs, targeted playtime and just simply brushing her bottom teeth.

I miss many of the ticks marking the trajectory of waking up and eventually, frantically, catching some sleep. I don’t always spot the antecedents building to my eventual meltdown. Regardless of how I do or don’t cope, how much I do or don’t understand, Harper’s ability to someday build a nest of her own hangs in the balance.

 

The thought of Harper’s independence will stay with me throughout my day. It builds into a wriggling worm of anxiety that I have to choke down. Recently, on a cold weekend, I took her to the Children’s Museum. I tried to keep any anxious feelings to myself. Harper showed a skittish curiosity at the Doc McStuffins exhibit as we flew to the top floor. She cocked her head and furrowed her brow in a familiar way – something she does whenever anything is new or intriguing.

Doc is one of those cartoons she will only watch on occasion. Fascinated with music the show mostly lacks, she’s snared by song and dance. It was a struggle to keep her interested in the different checkup stations – cribs with baby dolls and a plethora of plastic medical baubles. All the different sights, smells, and sounds were beginning to snowball.

When the overwhelming input wore her out, Harper’s response was to play with the medical tools, maneuvering them between her fingers with expert precision, like a drummer or baton-twirler. She hummed rhythmically to the back-and-forth movement. This is a kind of sedentary play she uses to help throw cold water on a meltdown, one that the other children bandaging baby dolls in the museum didn’t quite grasp.

I watched them happily share their experiences with one another. While Harper was in a trance, I decided those other kids possessed a kind of sympathy response that is lacking in too many adults, including myself. Like Disney’s child doctor, they felt an innate need to treat the inanimate babies like one of their own, a tendency that doesn’t always surface in Harper. These children were confused by her need to grasp at the baby limbs in recognition of what they actually were—plastic, rubber, lifeless. That’s not how it’s done, I saw written in their faces.

Possibly harming a doll didn’t seem apparent to Harper. But the children actually wanted to share this knowledge with her, not cast doubtful glances. They tried to make eye contact. They recited their names, ages, favorite colors. They treated Harper like their dolls, and it was apparent to me that the human drive to empathize only diminishes as we grow up.

 The harshness of the world ensnares us. Differences become uncanny. We learn to be wary of them. That fear has the potential to make us lock up, seize our hearts and minds, and unlike a lot of kids, Harper soars without fear of heights. 

I’ve read that babies are born able to react to another infant’s cry. Early empathy responses in children eventually mature into real sympathy, into a natural need to nurse someone else’s distress. Even apes are known to display what’s called “theory of mind.” In order to navigate the complex schema of our world, we must be able to read the thoughts etched right into other people’s faces. We have to feel their emotions in order to anticipate their actions.

Autism, in many cases, either stunts or arrests this ability. I felt this a few months before the museum visit when I received a phone call from my ex-wife. She said that Harper had killed her pet fish.

“I didn’t even know she had a fish,” I responded.

As much as I still hate myself for it, when she said the fish’s guts were missing, my first instinct was to assume Harper ate them. She’s been known to stick things in her mouth – an incessant habit that feeds my anxiety. I told my ex-wife that I was afraid of Harper growing up to be some powerful invalid, like Steinbeck’s Lennie Small or Shelley’s Frankenstein, some kind of tragic, circumstantial creature that can’t even recognize its own strength.

I don’t think I’d ever voiced that concern to anyone except God, nor have I repeated it since.

It was then apparent to both of us that Harper is likely to grow and exceed six feet. She’s built with an athletic inclination I’ve always lacked. Once, I dreamed she was a giant towering over me. We were in one of those box stores, except this place looked different. The people were all faceless, murmuring something not quite like words. Harper had a meltdown both radiant and large that caused a cataclysm, taking the roof off of the place. I tried to pin down the impressive wingspan of her arms, but I was powerless to stop her as the indiscriminate crowds ducked for cover.

 

There are days I feel like I’m going to break, and I wish I could be suspended in air.

Several years ago, when Harper’s mother and I were still together, we grappled with the idea that the temper tantrums were something else, that Harper wasn’t going to be like normal kids. On one of the first few family excursions after her diagnosis, we watched Harper jump freely and without reproach on a bounce house. The thought that the inflatable might once have been a padded cell not even 30 years ago filled me with sadness.

I remember Harper taking a break from the reverie to hold her hands to her ears, and at the time, I didn’t realize she was trying to restore balance to a world rocked by sound and smell and swirling color. We thought she just had another ear infection.

I attributed that pain to the way she interacted with a little girl who was pulling at her arm, motioning for play. Smiling, the little girl tried to initiate a game that must have felt like an assault. Harper returned the sentiment by smiling and screaming and scaring the girl away. I felt a visceral valley dividing our daughter’s social interactions.

When I was a kid, bridging that gap in making friends felt impossibly wide. I often wanted to retreat – and I was lucky enough to have the power of speech. Harper has since been braving the world without it.

We grow up learning to fly low and color our worlds between the lines, keeping our emotions in check and smothering any behavior that might seem odd. Social norms culminate into a complex game with dire consequences if not played correctly. In this sense, humanity is its own worst enemy.

I’m painfully aware of the fact we live in a world where overwhelmed parents will sometimes smother their babies. News articles are written about far-off places like Bucharest where autistic people are plucked from their homes and placed in state institutions. Their heads are shaven. They’re beaten, sedated, and tied at the wrist, allowed to molt, to eat from trashcans and piss their beds. They’re not given sympathy or understanding. They’re caged, and it takes everything the overwhelmed staff can muster to help alleviate their patients’ horrendous autistic afflictions.

You might have heard that the intellectually disabled in places like Tokyo have been victims of mass stabbing attacks. Or you might have read Neurotribes from the writer Steve Silberman, who recently shed light on a disturbing facet of Nazi genocide – that the eugenics movement in America encouraged the forced sterilization of autistic adults and helped launch the beginnings of the Holocaust.

That was in Germany, but Geraldo Rivera showed the world in 1972 that the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island operated as a “warehouse for broken children.” The kids deemed “mentally retarded” were sexually assaulted, forgotten in dark rooms where they might have once sought refuge from the confusing sensory input of the outside world.

Why would we, as caring, sympathetic human beings, let young adults like 24-year-old Andrew Parles detach his own retinas through self-injurious behavior when we can do it for them? Staten Island is not-so-far-off. Unlike Bucharest, it has a name we can pronounce in a country where people are supposed to understand and protect Harper.

The first time I filled out a sensory profile for Harper was in preparation for preschool. The questionnaire comes from The Psychological Corporation. Widely used as an assessment tool for speech, occupational, and developmental therapists, it’s a 125-question, eight-page-long test of a parent’s patience, printed in a pleasing palate of purple and teal. Caregivers rate their child’s sensory processing, modulation, and emotional responses on a scale of “always” to “never.”

For example, how often does Harper hold her hands over her ears? Frequently. Is she easily distracted? Always. Is she happy to be in the dark? Is she distressed by car rides? Occasionally, I think. Does Harper enjoy falling? Rate how much she twirls and spins, gets messy, avoids wearing shoes, mouths every damn object, moves stiffly, makes eye contact. Does she cry, Dad? Is she sensitive? Does she even have a sense of humor or express human emotion at all?

Tick marks mark the trajectory of Harper’s school year. Tick. Tick.

According to the questionnaire, I also am often stubborn and uncooperative. My writing is illegible, too. I avoid splashing water and find it difficult to change my routine. I sometimes find refuge in the dark. I get tired easily and have trouble lifting heavy objects. Who doesn’t? I’ve hurt others for the sake of it, and I might do so again if the urge ever overcomes me.

The question that still sticks me in the gut time and time again is whether or not she ever expresses feelings of failure. I can’t say I really know. The questionnaire doesn’t ask me if it’s my biggest fear. It doesn’t recognize the aching despair a stranger’s eyes give me when Harper and I walk downtown. There’s no essay section to express my desire to ask Harper how she’s treated in school, if she has any friends, if I’m being the father she wants or needs.

Well-meaning professionals have never wanted to know that Harper is a piece of me. She’s a reflection of both what I am and what I could be if I just tried harder. Unlike me, she doesn’t treat the world like a cynical affair. She doesn’t question the very essence of God that flows through us all, the love that directs us not to hate or do unto others what we ourselves could never stand to bear.

 Her meltdowns are merely a reaction to a confusing world that doesn’t follow the rules she already knows. They’re rules I’m just now beginning to understand: The sky is beautiful and squishy sand is ecstasy. 

I’ve learned to identify the antecedents. They are the instances I’ve disappointed Harper – any time I’ve misunderstood her intentions or moments in which I didn’t stop and take the time to speak her language. The antecedents are my impatience. My temperament. My anxiety. My never-ending need to craft an illusion of perfection that forgoes true happiness in favor of a fear that Harper won’t be another puzzle piece.

You see, many autistic markers are just the traits of being human. They’re the small quirks and pleasures we forget to enjoy as we grow into adulthood. We’re all flocks of individuals on a continuum, and Harper is worth more than many sparrows to me. She is a whole, harmonious personality that cannot be quantified.

The real, crushing pain of autism is not a child’s retreat. Harper has never retreated. She’s been right in front of me the whole time, and unfortunately for her, it’s taken me too long to learn how to speak in whistles and chirps.

How do flamingoes sleep? They sleep like the rest of us.

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While breastfeeding might seem like a simple task, there are so many pieces to the puzzle aside from your breasts and baby. From securing a good latch, boosting your milk supply and navigating pumping at work or feeding throughout the night, there's a lot that mama has to go through—and a number of products she needs.

No matter how long your nursing journey may be, it can be hard to figure out what items you really need to add to your cart. So we asked our team at Motherly to share items they simply couldn't live without while breastfeeding. You know, those ones that are a total game-changer.

Here are the best 13 products that they recommend—and you can get them all from Walmart.com:

1. Medela Nursing Sleep Bra

"This fuss-free nursing bra was perfect for all the times that I was too tired to fumble with a clasp. It's also so comfy that, I have to admit, I still keep it in rotation despite the fact that my nursing days are behind me (shh!)." —Mary S.

Price: $15.99

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2. Dr. Brown's Baby First Year Transition Bottles

"My daughter easily transitioned back and forth between breastfeeding and these bottles." —Elizabeth

Price: $24.98

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3. Multi-Use Nursing Cover

"When I was breastfeeding, it was important to me to feel like a part of things, to be around people, entertain guests, etc. Especially since so much of being a new mom can feel isolating. So having the ability to cover up but still breastfeed out in the open, instead of disappearing into a room somewhere for long stretches alone to feed, made me feel better."—Renata

Price: $11.99

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4. Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack

"I suffered from extreme engorgement during the first weeks after delivery with both of my children. I wouldn't have survived had it not been for these packs that provided cold therapy for engorgement and hot therapy for clogged milk ducts." —Deena

Price: $10.25

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5. Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump Wipes

"Being a working and pumping mama, these quick clean wipes made pumping at the office so much easier, and quicker. I could give everything a quick wipe down between pumping sessions. And did not need a set of spare parts for the office." —Ashley

Price: $19.99

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6. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter

"This nipple butter is everything, you don't need to wash it off before baby feeds/you pump. I even put some on my lips at the hospital and it saved me from chapped lips and nips." —Conz

Price: $12.95

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7. Medela Double Electric Pump

"I had latch issues and terrible postpartum anxiety, and was always worried my son wasn't getting enough milk. So I relied heavily on my breast pump so that I could feed him bottles and know exactly how much he was drinking. This Medela pump and I were best friends for almost an entire year" —Karell

Price: $199.99 Receive a $50 gift card with purchase at walmart.com

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8. Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads

"I overproduced in the first couple weeks (and my milk would come in pretty much every time my baby LOOKED at my boobs), so Lansinoh disposable nursing pads saved me from many awkward leak situations!" —Justine

Price: $9.79

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9. Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump

"This has been a huge help in saving the extra milk from the letdown during breastfeeding and preventing leaks on my clothes!" —Rachel

Price: $12.99

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10. Medela Harmony Breast Pump

"Because I didn't plan to breastfeed I didn't buy a pump before birth. When I decided to try, I needed a pump so my husband ran out and bought this. It was easy to use, easy to wash and more convenient than our borrowed electric pump." —Heather

Price: $26.99

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11. Milkies Fenugreek

"I struggled with supply for my first and adding this to my regimen really helped with increasing milk." —Mary N.

Price: $14.95

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12. Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags

"I exclusively pumped for a year with my first and these are hands down the best storage bags. All others always managed to crack eventually. These can hold a great amount and I haven't had a leak! And I have used over 300-400 of these!" —Carla

Price: $13.19

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13. Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding Starter Kit

"The Kiinde system made pumping and storing breastmilk so easy. It was awesome to be able pump directly into the storage bags, and then use the same bags in the bottle to feed my baby." —Diana

Price: $21.99

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

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Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks is pregnant and frustrated. The actress took to Instagram this week to lament the lack of plus-sized options for pregnant people.

"It's so hard to find some clothes to wear today....Although I get to pregnant I still can't find no clothes. It's so hard to find some clothes when you're pregnant," she sings in a lighthearted yet serious video.

"It's so hard to find cute plus size maternity fashion while pregnant, but ima push through," she captioned the clip.

Brooks has been talking a lot this week about the issues people who wear plus size clothing face not just when trying to find clothes but in simply moving through a world that does not support them.

"I feel like the world has built these invisible bullets to bully us in telling us who we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to look like. And I've always had this desire to prove people wrong—to say that this body that I'm in is enough," she told SHAPE (she's on the new cover).

"Now that I'm about to be a mother, it means even more—to make sure that this human being I'm going to bring into the world knows that they are enough," she said.

Danielle Brooks is the body-positive hero we need right now. Now can someone make her some cute maternity clothes, please?

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In prior decades, body image issues usually didn't hit the scene until kids reached adolescence. But thanks to social media, and our culture's relentless pursuit of thinness, we now have to find creative ways to teach young children how to develop healthy body images.

Before I dive into some practical tips to help kids improve body image, I want to first diminish any shame that you might be feeling if you have body issues of your own. It's so important to remember that you downloaded every internal message from somewhere else. Of course, it's critical to work on your own issues, but it's also important to know it is not your fault that you developed them in the first place!

So, whether you are struggling with your own body image, or you love your body, here are some tools to help your child feel better about the precious body he or she lives in:

1. Break the spell

How do you know if your child has a bad body image? Perhaps they've begun making negative comments about their size or shape. Maybe they are comparing their body to others. Maybe they are avoiding foods or activities they once enjoyed because they feel uncomfortable about their body.

Often the most common response a parent has is to reassure their child that they are “fine," or “beautiful" or “perfect." And while there is certainly nothing wrong with some reassurance, it simply may not be enough to overpower the cultural messages kids are surrounded by. Reassure them that they are perfect just the way they are.

2. Unkind mind, kind mind and quiet mind

This little menu of options encourages kids to identify and differentiate between three different thinking states within themselves. I refer to them as “mind moods." Try teaching your child about these three states of mind and brainstorming examples of each. For example, unkind mind = “I hate my thighs." Kind mind = “I love singing." Quiet mind = Peacefully resting or playing.

This will raise their awareness of their thoughts and help them to choose their mind moods more consciously. As they learn to turn up the volume of their kind minds and spend more time in their quiet minds, they begin to feel more present and peaceful.

Once you have helped your child identify their unkind mind as a distinct voice, they can then try on some different responses and see which ones help bring them some relief. Try asking them to write or say all the messages their unkind mind is saying and practicing using strong, soft, silly or silent responses. Kids can learn that their unkind mind is not all of who they are, and that it doesn't have to run the show.

3. Get to the root

This concept helps kids discover what triggers their body dissatisfaction. You can help your child by asking questions or taking guesses about what might have started their bad body image. For example, I helped one 7-year old get to the root of her body obsession by noticing it started when there was a death in her family. Right around that time, her best friend started talking about dieting, so she latched onto food obsession as a distracting coping tool.

Once we uncovered this, she was able to learn about healthy grieving and truly healthy eating (as opposed to what the diet culture deems as healthy—which can actually be unhealthy).

4. Mind movies vs. really real

Try asking your child to show you some things around them that are real (i.e. things they can see, touch or hear). Then ask them if they can show you one single thought in their minds. You can playfully challenge them to take a thought out of their head and show it to you or fold it up and put it in their pocket. This tool teaches kids how to be more present.

Of course, they might use their imagination to do this, but with some finesse, you can teach your child to distinguish between the mind movies that cause them stress and the really real things around them. This is an immensely helpful tool that will not only help them with body image (since body image is one long mind movie) but will also improve the quality of their lives in general.

5. Dog talk and cat chat

Many kids cannot relate to the concept of being kind to themselves but ask a child how they feel about their favorite pet, and a doorway to their compassion, kindness and unconditional acceptance opens. For non-pet lovers, you can ask your child to imagine how they would speak to a baby or their best friend.

Dog talk and cat chat can help teach youngsters how to take the loving words and tones they use toward a beloved pet, and direct these sentiments toward themselves and their bodies.

6. Do an internal upgrade

In addition to helping your child combat the messages they receive out in the world, you can also work on the messages they get in your home. Again, if you struggle with body image, it is not your fault, but you can work on healing—and not only will you feel more peace, but your child will benefit as well.

To the best of your ability, refrain from talking about foods as “good" or “bad." Refrain from making negative comments about your (or anyone else's) weight or looks. Refrain from praising someone (or yourself) for weight loss.

Practice welcoming your child's tears and anger without trying to change their feelings before they are ready. Practice eating all food groups in moderation. Foster a positive, grateful attitude about your body.

May you and your child feel comfortable in your bodies, eat all foods in moderation, move and rest in ways that feel good, and find abundant sweetness and fulfillment in life.

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Learn + Play

After a long day of doing seemingly everything, when our partners get home it kind of becomes a habit to ask, "How was your day?" In between prepping dinner, handing off the kids, finishing your own work, we don't exactly get much value from this question. Sure, it may open up the opportunity to complain about that awful thing that happened or excitedly share that presentation you killed at work—but it usually stops there.

I could do a better job of really talking in my relationship. After 12 years and two kids, sometimes all we can come up with post bedtime routine is, "You good? I'm good. Fire up the Netflix."

Here are 21 questions to dig deeper into your marriage after a long day—see where they take you!

  1. Did you listen to anything interesting today?
  2. If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?
  3. How much coffee did you drink today?
  4. Will you remember any specific part of today a year from now? Five years?
  5. Did you take any photos today? What did you photograph?
  6. What app did you open most today?
  7. How can I make your day easier in five minutes?
  8. If we were leaving for vacation tonight, where do you wish we would be heading?
  9. If you won $500 and had to spend it on yourself today, what would you buy?
  10. If your day was turned into a movie, who would you cast?
  11. What did you say today that you could have never expected to come out of your mouth?
  12. What did you do to take care of yourself today?
  13. When did you feel appreciated today?
  14. If you could guarantee one thing for tomorrow what would it be?
  15. If we traded places tomorrow what advice would you give me for the day?
  16. What made you laugh today?
  17. Imagine committing the next year to learning one thing in your spare time. What would it be?
  18. Did you give anyone side-eye today? Why?
  19. What do you wish you did more of today?
  20. What do you wish you did less of today?
  21. Are you even listening to me right now?

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Love + Village

Alexis Ohanian has made a lot of important decisions in his life. The decision to co-found Reddit is a pretty big one. So was marrying Serena Williams. But right up there with changing internet culture and making a commitment to his partner, the venture capitalist lists taking time off after his daughter's birth as a significant, life-changing choice.

"Before Olympia was born, I had never thought much about paternity leave and, to be honest, Reddit's company policy was not my idea. Our vice president of people and culture, Katelin Holloway, brought it up to me in a meeting and it sounded O.K., so why not?" Ohanian writes in an op-ed for New York Times Parenting.

He continues: "Then came Olympia, after near-fatal complications forced my wife, Serena, to undergo an emergency C-section. Serena spent days in recovery fighting for her life against pulmonary embolisms. When we came home with our baby girl, Serena had a hole in her abdomen that needed bandage changes daily. She was on medication. She couldn't walk."

The experience changed the way Ohanian viewed paternity leave. It was no longer something that just sounded like a good thing, it was a necessary thing for his family. It was crucial that he take it and now he is advocating for more fathers to be able to. In his piece for the NYT Ohanian points out something that Motherly has previously reported on: It is hard for fathers to take paternity leave even when their government or employer offers it.

A report from Dove Men+Care and Promundo (a global organization dedicated to gender equality) found 85% of dads surveyed in the United States, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands would do anything to be very involved in the early weeks and months after their child's birth or adoption, but less than 50% of fathers take as much time as they are entitled to.

Dads need paid leave, but even when they have it social pressures and unrealistic cultural expectations keep them from taking it and they choose not to take all the time they can. Ohanian wants lawmakers and business leaders to make sure that dads can take leave and he wants to help fathers choose to actually take it.

"I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I've made," Ohanian previously wrote in an essay for Glamour.

Ohanian recognizes that he is privileged in a way most parents aren't.

"It helped that I was a founder and didn't have to worry about what people might say about my 'commitment' to the company, but it was incredible to be able to spend quality time with Olympia. And it was perhaps even more meaningful to be there for my wife and to adjust to this new life we created together—especially after all the complications she had during and after the birth," he wrote for Glamour.

In his NYT piece, Ohanian goes further: "I get that not every father has the flexibility to take leave without the fear that doing so could negatively impact his career. But my message to these guys is simple: Taking leave pays off, and it's continued to pay dividends for me two years later. It should be no surprise that I also encourage all of our employees to take their full leave at Initialized Capital, where I am managing partner; we recently had three dads on paid paternity leave at the same time."

The GOAT's husband is making the same points that we at Motherly make all the time. Research supports paid leave for all parents. It benefits the baby and the parents and that benefits society.

By first taking his leave and then speaking out about the ways in which it benefited his family, Ohanian is using his privileged position to de-stigmatize fathers taking leave, and advocate for more robust parental leave policies for all parents, and his influence doesn't end there. He's trying to show the world that parents shouldn't have to cut off the parent part of themselves in order to be successful in their careers.

He says that when his parental leave finished he transitioned from being a full-time dad to a "business dad."

"I'm fortunate to be my own boss, which comes with the freedoms of doing things like bringing my daughter into the office, or working remotely from virtually anywhere Serena competes. My partners at Initialized are used to seeing Olympia jump on camera—along with her doll Qai Qai—or hearing her babbling on a call. I tell them with pride, 'Olympia's at work today!' And I'll post some photos on Instagram or Twitter so my followers can see it too," Ohanian explains.

"The more we normalize this, on social media and in real life, the better, because I know this kind of dynamic makes a lot of men uncomfortable (and selfishly I want Olympia to hear me talking about start-ups!)," he says.

This is the future of family-friendly work culture. Take it from a guy who created an entire internet culture.

[A version of this post was originally published February 19, 2019. It has been updated.]

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