by Thu Trang
My family held a birthday party for my twin daughters' last week. There was a lot of joy. Seeing the four-year-olds smile happily as their cake lit up with twinkling candles, I could not help recalling the day they were born in hospital.
Having two new-borns at the same time meant double the hard work - and my husband could spend only a little time helping as he was too busy teaching at school. Although my mother and mother-in-law took turns to stay with me at the hospital, I looked forward to my husband's presence. It was really meaningful to me.
The recent news that the draft Law on Social Insurance produced by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs would allow husbands to be absent from work for a week when their wives have babies is excellent.
"If only the regulation had been approved when I had my babies. Mothers now are so lucky," I said to myself.
However, to my surprise, some people cannot care less about the new regulation. Vu Thu Ha, who lives in Hai Ba Trung District, said that her husband was useless at home and that a week at home would be a waste of time.
"He is awkward when doing anything and he always makes me angry when he tries to do some simple housework," she said.
Although Ha wants her husband's concern and care when she has a baby, she feels it would be better that he stay at work. "If he can leave work for a week, I guess he would spend all of it at bars with his friends," said Ha.
Nguyen Thanh Tuan, an employee of a state agency in Dong Da District, said the new regulation was laughable. "If a man cares about his wife and children, he will take the time off from work whether the regulation is approved or not," said Tuan.
I do not agree. I think the new regulations are reasonable and practical. The husband's time off will create a warm atmosphere in each family. Although some husbands are hopeless at housework, the wives will still have a shoulder to lean on. This will multiply the love between a husband and his wife, the father and the new-born.
I am so happy that most mothers agree with me, which augurs well for the new regulation. Nguyen Thi Yen, a psychology lecturer at the Ha Noi University of Education, said that the employment systems in many countries, such as Germany and Sweden, provided time for husbands to be with their families - sometime for months!
The husband's days off will be more meaningful in a family which cannot hire anyone to help take care of the mother and new-born.
"Most women are anxious, even frightened before, during and after their delivery. If they have their husbands besides them, they will be more secure and feel they are respected and loved by their husbands," said Yen.
Yen said that some people did not realise the importance of a father's responsibility and presence in the family, especially when a new member arrived.
"The new regulation will help such people find out that the father is the most important person when his wife gives birth, not his mother or mother-in-law. Taking care of the mother and the new-born is a father's first duty," said Yen.
Nguyen Duc Hung, an employee at a bank in Thanh Xuan District, said that the new regulation was necessary and reasonable.
"Grandparents from both sides can only support and help, they cannot replace the father's role. Husband and wife are close to each other and can understand each other more easier than grandparents," he said.
Time off for dads is a good policy. It will turn on a green light for more practical policies in the future. I, and many other women, certainly look forward to the new regulation being approved. — VNS