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City stories : You sung-gi

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You Sung-gi, Dad on paternity leave(Mangwon-dong)

Why did you decide to take paternity leave?
Ever since the kids were very young, my wife and I both worked. We left the kids nearby with their grandmother, but one day, I realized my kids need somebody to be there when they get home, and that’s when I knew I had to take paternity leave as it had been lingering in my mind.

What did people say when you told them you were going on paternity leave?
My kids are 7 and 8 so, many asked why I was taking leave when my kids were all grown up and whether I was just using my kids as an excuse to not work.

Still, it must be nice to have lots of time with the kids.
I love it, but it doesn’t come easy. Compared to my set schedule at work, I have to divide up my day differently every day to match the kids’ needs, but I love spending time with them. A few days ago, my child started to run toward me with the biggest smile shouting “Dad!” It was the best feeling.

What’s a word of advice you can give to other dads who are considering paternity leave?
It’s difficult to give up work advancements and benefits, especially when there’s a serious lack of systematic support for dads wanting to go on paternity leave. However, doing the chores, making breakfast for the kids and giving them baths is as good for the dad as well as the kids. I learn every day at my job. -Sihwa Kim

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