My final day of paternity leave

Monash's Chief Marketing Officer Fabian Marrone reflects on his time during paternity leave. 

As I sat on the couch, cuddling my 8 week old baby girl Frankie, my final day of paternity leave coming to an end, I felt thankful.

When I approached the leadership @monash_uni and told them my husband and I were having a child via surrogacy in the US, my boss responded with: "How can we help?" I said I needed time to deal with the uncertainty of the timeline in the US, and also some time when I returned to settle in with the new family. It was a non-issue.

I can’t help but think how lucky I am that my workplace is accepting of family – whatever form – and how motivating it is that they’ve created a level of flexibility to accommodate our family unit.

Those who know the journey of international surrogacy – or of any addition to a family – know of the associated stresses. To have a supportive work environment and leadership has not only eased that process, but allowed me the time to bond and build a foundation with my family. It's something I’ll forever appreciate, and I hope more organisations build it into their policies.

As a leader, I always tell my team that family or home comes first, because if home's sorted, we’re all more "present" when we’re at work.

But home, family and life are different today – more openly so – than the past, and policies, procedures, systems and processes only cater for so much variation. So, we need leaders to be flexible, and we need employees to be thoughtful in their requests. Understanding.

And, more importantly, we need to realise that square pegs in round holes are now the norm. We probably shouldn't be too fussed when a policy doesn’t include our situation (although ideally they would and will in the future), but should expect that our circumstances be treated fairly – considered on their merit, compassion and understanding shown and given the same support and opportunities as those who find themselves round pegs in round holes. Just as Monash has done for me and others.

Because, at the end of the day, love is love, and family is family – regardless of its composition. Thank you, @monash_uni

Read Fabian Marrone's article on LinkedIn.