Platform Engineering

Sivapalan Sasindran

Through a Fathers Eye - A Deloitte Dad Poem

Posted by Sivapalan Sasindran on 25 June 2019

mental health, wellbeing, work life balance, career break, return to work, people & culture, life at deloitte, Parental Leave

The Wake-Up Call

"Dha! Dha! Dha! Dha!" a cheeky smile and her beautiful eyes - This is my wake-up call.

I gaze across and I never imagined how much joy it could bring. 

Her gorgeous miniature self. No alarms. No morning meeting rushes.

Notifications silenced.

My baby girl. This is my wake-up call.

We trade faces, high fives, pinches and cuddles, and before long it is time for breakfast.

And coffee. Oh coffee!

Ready to start the day, Iggle Piggle, bags packed full. Shoes, snacks, sunnies and all.

Then a mad rush out the door. Oh my, oh my that seemed so simple before.

The sun shines, her toothless smile gleams, off we are to start our day.

My baby girl. This is my wake-up call.

The Bond

She grasps my hand, or rather a finger, I watch her take a step or two.

Her excitement! My excitement!

She lets go...tumbling back to earth clapping in a frenzy.

She goes again. And again. And again.

Each attempt, each step, learning, growing and becoming.

The "father-daughter" bond. I think this is what they meant.

Stomachs grumble time to stuff our faces.

For lunch; Spaghetti Bolognese! I should not have worn white. 

Her sauce covered mouth and spaghetti fingers. I really should not have worn white.

A clean-up and a quick change with an extra hug. Why not!

The "father-daughter" bond. I think this is what they meant.

Her fist clenched, eyes weary and body passive, it's time to rest.

With a cuddle, her bunny and blanket.

We part for now with a kiss on the cheek, it's off to sleep.

The "father-daughter" bond. This is what they meant.

The Purpose

All this joy, all this happiness, cannot be without sacrifice.

They say when you find someone - you compromise.

And when you bring someone to the world - you sacrifice.

The sacrifice of our time. The sacrifice of our luxuries.

The most sacrificed by a mother.

My mistakes. A hundred mistakes. Not knowing a mother's sacrifice.

A Mother's Love - Unbounded. Unbent. Unbroken.

I see the love of my life and our child, and I cannot help but feel...a purpose.

Like never before - a feeling overcomes me. 

I have a family. My very own family.

The most sacrificed by a mother.

My mistakes. A hundred mistakes. Not knowing a mother's sacrifice.

The Purpose. 

The Purpose to be.

The Purpose to do.

The Purpose to become.

I have a family. My. Very. Own. Family.

The Pledge

One cannot explain this feeling.

How something so small can have an immense change within us.

Among others is a feeling to do whatever you can. Everything you can.

A pledge.

To grow them, show them, and teach them. A pledge.

To lift them, hold them, and guide them. A pledge.

To back them, protect them and love them. A pledge.

How something so small can have an immense change within us.

One cannot explain this feeling.

 

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Our Story

When I found out that my wife and I were expecting our first child, needless to say I had a mixed bag of emotions. Not knowing what to expect, the eventual responsibility of raising another human, the excitement for a new person in our lives. And the endless Googling of how to get through it all.

Following the tough first few months in the trenches looking after our little one, we began to consider our future working arrangements. How we could still have that precious time together with our daughter, while still growing in our careers.

Finding some sort of balance.

I knew I had to take on a more active role in raising our daughter. And truthfully, I was excited. Parental Leave was almost a foreign concept to us. My parents never had it, and neither did my wife's. We were about to enter uncharted territory.

Parental Leave @ Deloitte

When I first read about the inner workings of the Parental Leave @ Deloitte - I was genuinely blown away. Not just by the policy itself, but the variety of individuals and advocates for it.

Here are just a few of the policy offerings (as of March 2019):

1. 18 weeks fully paid parental leave with a variety of options on how this can be split

2. Flexibility to co-parent

3. Can be taken up-to 3 years from the birth of your child

So, for me this was a no-brainer.

This policy gives me that opportunity to form an incredible bond with my daughter, especially during her early stages. I have experienced many "firsts" with her, and I'm sure they won't be the last.

 

Paul Tyler

The Impact

One thing which is not immediately obvious is the positive impact a policy can have on those around you.

For my peers at Deloitte Platform Engineering, they have been especially open and accepting of such a change; there was no stigma here.

To my wife, it supported and encouraged her.

Don't get me wrong - my wife is a lion - but this policy backed her in the decision to return to what she wants to do. She was able to reconnect with her peers and actually channel her energy back into her career.

And, to be frank, it made her all the more a loving mother.

I cannot believe just how much it has allowed our family to become closer in so many ways, and I feel extremely privileged to have had such an opportunity.

 

Chris_FB_LN

Let's do better

The privilege to have this opportunity to raise my baby girl, however, is something a lot of fathers/partners around Australia - and the world - just do not have access to.

Here are some facts:

According to the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) in 2017, 1 in every 20 dads take (Primary) Parental Leave. The Parental Leave offered in Australia does not give flexibility to parents in areas such as splitting by parent (i.e. allowing both parents access to a shared pool of leave) or by time (i.e. taking out a block of the entitled leave this year and another the following year).

At a minimum, Australia offers just 2 weeks paid leave which can be taken specifically by fathers/partners. If we compare this to Korea which grants fathers/partners up to 53 weeks of paid Parental Leave (source: OECD - Policy Brief). With numbers like these it's no wonder fathers/partners in Australia find it difficult to spend quality time with their children during their early years.

Every parent should be given the opportunity to bond with their child and experience parenthood on their terms. While it may not always be possible, policies like Parental Leave @ Deloitte have made it even more accessible to parents to take the time out from their day-to-day work responsibilities to enjoy with their next generation.

 

Tim_Noad_FB_LN

 

Deloitte's policies in this regard are something I believe all companies should emulate.To do this, I believe the keys are to:

  • Start the conversations
  • Break the stereotypes
  • Challenge the norms
  • Back parents with accessible and flexible policies

I think there is a lot that can be learnt from Parental Leave @ Deloitte.

So, let's all do better!

 

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