How not to write about parental leave

I read this piece today in the Atlantic. It’s in the business section, and it’s called “The Economic Case for Paternity Leave.”

Head hurts at having read such a wrong-headed analysis. I agree with her ultimate conclusions (Sweden, of course Sweden is the gold standard), but the framing is soooooooooooo off. 

Here’s how you frame a piece on parental leave:

1) What is good for babies?

2) What is good for parents?

3) What is good for society as a whole?


1) What is good for the economy?

2) What is good for the labour market?

Literally no mention throughout of what babies and children need. Choice quotes such as “Another common worry about “family-friendly” European policies is that they encourage women to settle for part-time work and for mommy-track career paths.” How terrible, in Europe, women spend less time working and more time with their children. And the final sentence “In the long run, countries that make sure parents, regardless of their gender, can wring the greatest possible value from their time and skills will be those whose economies and families thrive.” Wait, thriving means wringing the greatest possible value from time and skills? I thought thriving meant enjoying life. Oops, looks like I’ve picked up a soft attitude that’s going to hold me back in my career.