stepping up to the plate…

If you ask my brother what his favorite sport is, he will tell you Baseball.  I doubt my brother would hold as great a love for the game if it were not for my father. It was a bond they shared, that even in death, can’t be broken.

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I am not a sports fan. I don’t have a favorite sport, a favorite team, or a favorite player. Sometimes I watch sports, even might go to a game, but would willingly give you my ticket if you wanted.

I am not oblivious to sports, just not a follower.


Yet, today I have a favorite player.

Congratulations Daniel Murphy on the birth of your son and kudos to you for already stepping up to the plate of fatherhood.

There are no strikes against you in my book for taking two days away from baseball to spend with your newborn baby. In fact, I am impressed how quickly you got back in the game.

I am reading and hearing all the backlash from sports fanatics and sports reporters. Really, Boomer Esiason? Did you seriously suggest they should have scheduled a C-section because it interfered with opening day? Yes, I know you have since apologized, as you should have, even better would have been to think before you spoke.

Paternity leave? What is paternity leave? Exactly. A better question would be: Why does the United States not have a universal paid parental leave plan established? That would include maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not mandate a paid leave for mothers and newborns. As for paternity leave, well forget it.

Family first. That first few days with a baby is precious bonding time for both parents and baby. One sportscaster even said that Murphy is not breastfeeding so get back to the game? Does a father not have the right to be a part of these special moments, regardless of where their role stems?

When I had my children, I know I was fortunate to take time off to be with each of them. My first child I was able to take 8 weeks paid through my employment, and then I took an additional 6 weeks through the Family Medical Leave Act, which was unpaid. My second two I did the same, except it was all unpaid as I had switched employment. I was lucky to be able to have that time and that I had a husband who was able to support us financially during my unpaid time. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Some woman have to make a decision between caring for their baby or bringing home a paycheck. This should never be a choice.

I am a bi-product of an American and a Swede. I know the countries are different, and I am more American than Swedish, yet I think Sweden has a better approach. In Sweden, parents are given a total of 480 days per child and they can share these days between parents, however 60 of those days are designated specifically for fathers. They may use these days any time until the child is 8 years old and they are entitled to receive at least 80 percent of their wages.

Wow! Imagine that in the United States. I am not even going to mention the child allowance that Swedes get for their children till the age of 16.

Imagine a United States where parents had their babies and were able to actually stay home and raise them, not just 6 weeks, 8 weeks, or 12 weeks, but during fundamental years, still got paid and had a job to return to.  Imagine dads getting to stay home during those early days of infancy, helping the moms, bonding with baby.

While you are imagining that, think of the benefits that this time could have. This early bonding period sets up a precedence for long-term healthy living and overall well-being. Maybe the evening news would not have as many horror stories of things going wrong in society.

We live in a sad society where we complain about someone missing a day of work, whatever the profession, because they opted to put family first.

I know my blog is usually for fun, but my blog is usually centered around my family. The comments that I have heard made about Murphy missing two games because he chose to be at the birth of his child, well, it makes my blood boil.

I think it is time that the United States changes its views on the family unit. We should be working to get back to that idyllic image of what a family is all about. Throw away the stereotypes of what a mother and a father “should” do, and start moving forward as to what a mother and a father together “could” do.

Baseball might have strengthened the bond between my father and brother, but that bond could never have been created if my father was not there for his children, at any time in our lives.

Daniel Murphy, in my eyes you really hit the ball out of the park.






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