Last week, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee announced they’d be taking four weeks off radio.
While Blake joked that the break was a reward for Lee after the unprecedented success of his ‘surprise’ celebrity fragrance, it soon became clear the reason was far more significant.
Blake, 35, and his wife, 36-year-old author and cosmetics entrepreneur Zoe Foster Blake, are expecting their second child any day now. So Hamish and Andy, the highest-rating radio series in Australian history, will be on hiatus while one of its hosts takes paternity leave.
Listen: How Hamish Blake is changing the perception of fatherhood. Post continues after audio.
While in the context of the show listeners aren’t surprised by the fairly substantial break, it remains a fairly unusual move for men. Just one in 50 men take parental leave in Australia, and when they do, they’re entitled to up to two weeks of pay – anything longer is up to the specific workplace.
It goes without saying that women are overwhelmingly the ones who take substantial leave after a baby is born – a fact that often holds them back financially, socially and in the workplace. Women, by and large, are the ones who are made to put their families first, and staying home to look after children isn’t something we tend to praise them for – it’s an expectation.
But if we want this to change, we need to see a shift in the way men participate as parents, too.
Hamish Blake taking substantial paternity leave is far from the first way he’s challenged norms when it comes to parenting.
The Blakes already have a three-year-old, Sonny, who, as a side note, may very well be the most widely adored toddler in Australia. Unlike countless men in the workplace or in the media, who have children you never, ever hear about, Blake has a highly visible relationship with Sonny. His social media accounts are filled with photos and stories showcasing the ridiculous things Sonny does, and his son frequently comes up in conversation on radio.