Case study: Damian Sherwood-Johnson.

Damian Sherwood-Johnson

Damian and Fiona Sherwood-Johnson live in Tillicoultry with their two-year-old son, Samuel. The couple both took time off through the Shared Parental Leave scheme to look after Samuel as a baby.

Fiona returned to her fulltime lecturing role at Stirling University when Samuel was eight months old, when Damian picked up the childcare reins. This summer (2016) Damian started a new job on a part-time basis as a volunteer development coordinator for charity Sistema Scotland.

Damian, 40, said: "It's made sense for us a family for me to play a bigger role in looking after Samuel in the week. To begin with, we were living in Perth and my job was in Edinburgh. I used to leave at 6.15am and not get home till 7pm or 8pm so I never got to see Samuel. I was less clear about what I wanted to do career-wise than Fiona. And, Fiona earns more than I do, so some of the decision was about cold hard cash.

"I took about five months of shared parental leave and then stayed at home with Samuel for about another 10 months. I've loved having the opportunity to spend so much time with him.

"So when I looked for a new job I knew I wanted something part-time so I could still spend time with Samuel too.

"We also moved to Tillicoultry, which cuts down on our commute, and together with my part-time job means we have a much better work-life balance as a family. Things are less stressful. That 'crunch' time at the end of the day when you're rushing to get home, get Samuel's dinner, bath and bedtime sorted is much more enjoyable. We're stretching out the time we have together to be a family.

"I find I'm more productive at work too. Knowing I'm only in three days a week focuses my mind and I don't feel so drained and exhausted at the end of my week. I even find I'm chomping at the bit to get back to work the following week because I've got so much more energy.

"I've spoken to a few dads and prospective dads about how we've managed things and I'm pleased that our culture is changing to make parenting more equal and flexbility at work more of the norm.

"The time I get with Samuel is time I will never regret. And who knows, if we have another child, we may both work part-time to get the best of both worlds.

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