Mark Zuckerberg is becoming one of those parents–you know the ones–who share A LOT of photos on Facebook of their kids. Personally, I like witnessing the changes and developments my friends’ kids make, but it definitely is ironic considering Zuckerberg is the founder of social media as we know it.
Recently, he shared a photo on Facebook of his daughter Max’s first swim lesson. Besides the photo being absolutely adorable–her serene expression as she gazes up into her father’s eyes–it’s also incredibly Jewish. In the Talmud (Kiddushin 29a), there is a list of things that parents are responsible for doing for their child after birth, with swimming being one of them. So in many ways, he’s just being a good Jewish dad.
Then, just today, after a two-month paternity leave, Zuckerberg shared another photo of his wardrobe with the caption, “First day back after paternity leave. What should I wear?” On the surface, the post is funny, because his wardrobe basically just consists of uniform gray t-shirts and hoodies (kind of like the Nickelodeon 90s TV show “Doug“). However, there’s another subtle, yet extremely important, message going on here besides the dad jokes: the difficulties of going back to work after parental leave.
Of course, Zuckerberg is privileged enough to have an extended parental leave (as many working parents don’t), but that doesn’t necessarily make transitioning back to work any easier. It also brings to light the idea that parental leave is NOT a vacation. Let me repeat that: Parental leave is not vacation. And choosing what to wear on his first day back, while comical, illustrates this transition.
Having a public figure, like Zuckerberg, chronicle his ups and downs with new parenthood is refreshing and informative because it gives us a glimpse into someone else’s journey, illustrating that money, fame, and power don’t always make life easier. It also allows us to connect our own stories and struggles through honesty and humor, allowing us to feel less alone–which is what social media is all about.