Harvard researchers say this is the ideal parental leave policy

Let’s get rid of this “primary parent” notion from the get-go. ?

Harvard researchers say this is the ideal parental leave policy

When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, companies are hoping redesigned parental leave policies will help Millennials see a future on the corporate ladder. But, according to the Harvard Business Review, many leave policies are too stuck in the past to appeal to young people planning families. Rather, if corporations want Millennials to apply for and stay in jobs while having kids, an ideal leave policy would grant parental leave to all employees welcoming a child—regardless of gender and without forcing them to declare themselves the “primary” parent.

It seems many major employers are aware there is progress to be made on the parental leave front: During the last two years nearly 80 major companies have issued press releases after reworking theirs. Still, many policies remain mired in language that assumes one parent (most likely mom) will be staying home while the other works.

Companies need to delete the phrase “primary-caregiver” from their policies, because it’s basically a code word for “mother.” Its use ignores the possibility that equitably co-parenting couples can even exist.

According to the Harvard Business Review, of 75 updated parental leave policies profiled in a recent report by The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Partnership for Women and Families, more than 34 percent required employees to label themselves as the primary caregiver in order to maximize leave benefits.

What’s more, some of the policies don’t even attempt to give fathers a chance at equal leave. One expressly states pregnant women are assumed to be the primary caregiver, and another says only the biological mother (or “primary caregiver” in cases of adoption) can maximize leave benefits.

In a world where 86 percent of American employees still have no access to paid parental leave, it can seem like having any leave policy at all is forward thinking. But when companies force parents to declare themselves a baby’s “primary caregiver” in order to access leave, they’re denying the modern reality of co-parenting.

We know fathers want to take on an equal share in parenting duties. So, when employers see them as a secondary parent, they can’t take the time they need and families are worse off for it.

As the Harvard Business Review notes, studies prove the more parental leave a dad has, the more likely mom is to go back to work full-time. Plus, moms who get paid leave are more likely to come back to work than those who don’t.

An ideal leave policy would therefore offer disability leave for women physically impacted by pregnancy or childbirth and parental leave for all employees, regardless of gender or caregiver status.

The stats show most Millennial couples are dual career families and Millennials will account for three-quarters of the American workforce within the next 10 years. Maybe a decade from now the leave policies will be rewritten by a generation that understands the importance of paid leave for all parents—although some more progress in the meantime would be nice, too.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

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Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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