There’s another outbreak of babies in the office. And I have a rule, as you, know, that anyone who works for me gets a baby cardigan knitted for their new arrival.
This is Ella Funt. Because colourwork elephants are awesome. The pattern is by Pamela Wynne, and I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino from stash. Apart from the teal and the grey for the elephants, the remaining colours came from bits of leftovers from other projects. The buttons were in stash, and probably from Textile Garden.
What’s interesting about this year’s crop of new fathers is that both of them have chosen to take Shared Parental Leave, as it’s the right thing for their families. And I cannot be more excited to have two such trailblazing men working for me.
They’ve both been really thoughtful about their reasons for taking Shared Parental Leave, and the impact it has had on them personally. The recipient of this cardigan has been open about how hard he has found it to do in the face of gendered social expectations and anxieties about the impact on his future career. He hasn’t even felt able to tell his parents yet that he’s taking 5 months off to look after his son. He explicitly mentioned that it isn’t lost on him that these are the choices and consequences that have historically faced women in the workplace. The other expectant father in my team has said that one of the reasons he is taking Shared Parental Leave is to challenge assumptions about fatherhood, for the sake of his daughters. He is frustrated by the teasing he gets for the time he already spends looking after his daughters, which devalues his role, and that of his wife.
I firmly believe one of the best ways we can smash the patriarchy is by changing these assumptions that damage people of all genders. It brought a tear to my angry feminist eye talking to them both, but I feel more optimistic about the future.