When my partner and I discussed having a child, it always seemed the natural and equitable choice for us to each take a year out of work to look after our child says Ella Curnow

When we had our daughter in 2020 and put this into practice, it became clear that fathers taking an equal share of the incomparable wonders, worries, exhaustion and elation of caring for babies and toddlers is still a sadly rare reality. For us, sharing the care of our child in her first two years has been challenging but hugely rewarding. We believe it has helped to shape and strengthen our family and our daughter.

How my partner and I balanced childcare

Our daughter, Elliot was born in September 2020; luckily between lockdowns but still within the peak of the pandemic chaos of the last few years. My visions of spending my maternity leave drinking coffee with my new breastfeeding friends soon faded as further lockdowns were announced and playgroups and support groups closed up or retreated into online-only spaces or awkward outdoor gatherings under umbrellas.

Using our savings I was able to look after our daughter full time for just under eleven months. At that point she was just starting to walk and eat some solid food alongside breastfeeding.

As I headed back to the office for four and a half days a week, my partner became a full-time stay at home father for the next 12 months.