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What Paternity Leave Actually Looks Like

Sweden is sort of accepted as the gold standard for all things family — in particular, its generous leave policies for parents with a new baby. Swedish couples get a total of 480 days, 60 of which are meant exclusively for fathers.

Generous government policies around family are this Scandinavian country's attempt at gender equality, which benefits society overall.

The thing is, although the leave policies are there and generous, men still aren't taking full advantage of them. It probably sounds nuts to U.S. readers, who aren't even guaranteed paid time off for the flu, much less for recovering from birth or, you know, caring for a totally dependent living thing. While most Swedish fathers do take some time off, few than half go the full 60 days. Only 12 percent split the 480 days down the middle with their partners.

Photographer Johan Bävman wanted to highlight the guys who are taking more time off than their fellow dads. He wanted to know what drove them to be home with their kids more than they had to be, more than their society hoped they would be. He wanted to know what they thought they could learn from being home with the babes.

The result is series of photos that answer the questions moms who stay home with their kids are all too familiar with: What do you do all day?

Images by Johan Bävman

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