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Are South African moms ready for "Latté Dads"?
Elizabeth Okes defines what a latté dad looks and sounds like... while checking in with a few South African moms on their thoughts on paternal leave.
Are South African moms ready to hand over the kids to the dads while they get back into work? (iStock)
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South African dads are now legally able to take up to two weeks of paternity leave for the birth of a child, a welcome increase from the previous three days allowance, but still far short of the mother’s legal right to four months of maternity leave.  

While South Africa ranks well globally for generous parental leave allowances, we’re nowhere near the likes of Sweden, where each parent is entitled to 240 days of paid parental leave. 

And Swedish dads are strongly encouraged to use this time, with most making use of this opportunity to care for their kids while mothers head back into the workforce. As such, there are so many dads to be found out and about, sharing coffees with other dads while the kids play together, that they’ve been nicknamed "latté dads". 

A downside is that Swedes pay as much as 61% of their earnings in tax, but this is offset by paid parental leave, free schooling and heavily subsidised medical costs. It’s extremely unlikely that South African parents will be in the same position any time soon, but we thought it was worth asking if South Africa moms were ready to hand over the kids to the dads while they get back into work. 

This is what they shared with us!

Jeandie: “Absolutely! My husband has periodically been looking after our son on his own since he was 3 months old.” 

Anik: “I love this and I am 100% in and ready! Our family already functions as close as possible to this within the current gender inequitable status quo here.”

Somila: “He’s an awesome dad. I would totally be for it!” 

Sadiyaa: “My husband worked from home and took care of our girls. He did a better job with them than I could have.” 

Anna shared that her husband “is far better with the kids than me. We share having to take days off when childcare falls through, depending on what we have on at work that day. It really annoys me when a father looking after a child is referred to as babysitting. It is PARENTING.”


Would you be okay with being a breadwinner while your husband stays home with the children? Are you already doing this? Tell us by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  


While many are enthusiastic, some have small reservations about sharing the mental load, certain decisions and household responsibilities

Margie: “My husband spends loads of time with baby alone already and is passionate about the need for more paternity leave. We each have different strong points though, so I fear the doctors’ visits and school forms would stay on my to do list.”

Lize: “My husband works from home, while I leave early and get home late from work, so he definitely handles more of the childcare requirements, although I'm the main decision maker.”

Zeenat: “While my husband is well suited to caring for the kids while I’m at work, I’d still have to do the majority of the planning, organising, decision making and household maintenance such as grocery shopping, medical appointments and the children’s admin. If I didn’t prepare a well-balanced lunch, for example, they would just eat toast every day!”

A few moms were not taken by the idea at all

Ann shared that her husband wouldn’t enjoy spending that much time tending to small kids. “And I would still have to arrange playdates for them, as well as doctors’ visits, cleaning and meals, and then I’d worry that he would forget.”  

Zanele said that she would be uncomfortable with this arrangement. “The woman is supposed to look after the kids. He wouldn’t do a good job and I would feel bad,” she told us. 

Atisha said, “My husband would insist we still hire a nanny, and then take a long, paid holiday! He’d see the kids more, but he wouldn’t do much more in the way of child care.”  

It seems while some mothers are ready for dad to take on more, others feel they would still have to do the majority of the work

Regardless, there is a “significant body of evidence showing the positive effect of the presence and active involvement of a father in a child’s life chances”, according to a report released by the Sonke Gender Justice Human Sciences Research Council called the State of South Africa’s Fathers 2018. 

The report also notes that father absence is indicated as one of a myriad of societal forces seen to threaten the ability of the family “to play its critical roles of socialisation, nurturing, care and protection effectively.”

So, having dad around more is good for the kids, even if mom will still carry much of the mental load. 

Would you be okay with being a breadwinner while your husband stays home with the children? Are you already doing this? Tell us by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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