He describes it as the best time of his life.
Melbourne dad Will McCann took three months paid parental leave to care for his two young sons, Eddie and Leo, when his wife Mel returned to work.
The time was a gift. Each morning Mr McCann would give Eddie, then 11 months, breakfast while chatting to toddler Leo. Then they might go to the park, or for a coffee.
There was no rush. None of the usual morning bedlam; juggling baby socks and nappy bags while rushing for the Williamstown train to the city, where Mr McCann works in policy at ANZ.
But in Australia, stories like Mr McCann's are rare.
Just one in 50 Australian men takes parental leave, according to a new research paper from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that looks at the issue across member countries.
Australia's result compares with 40 per cent or more of men taking parental leave in some Nordic countries, and also Portugal.
It's important to distinguish between father or partner leave - leave a father or same-sex partner takes when a newborn arrives - with parental leave; a longer period of job-protected leave
In Australia, dads or partners caring for a newborn can take up to two weeks of government-funded pay, at the minimum wage. But access to longer parental leave will depend on their workplace.
Most Australian workplaces remain deeply traditional in their approach to gender and family, says La Trobe University's Dr Amanda Cooklin, who studies contemporary parenthood.
"Fatherhood is still synonymous with being the breadwinner. Many individual men really want to change this, but our workplaces haven't shifted to accommodate that," says Ms Cooklin.
And research from overseas (there is still a lack of Australian data) shows fathers face stigma when they ask for more flexible work arrangements, with measurable effects on income and earnings over time.
Professor Beth Gaze, an expert on employment law at University of Melbourne says this makes men less likely to ask for leave, a phenomenon called "discrimination avoidance".
"Unless the employer is very supportive and makes clear there will be no professional repercussions, men become unwilling to ask," she says.
In Australia, men earn about 18 per cent more than women, based on average weekly earnings.
So for many young families in the midst of establishing careers, or paying off a mortgage, having the higher earner return to work is a practical decision, says Ms Cooklin.
Fathers, or partners, who care for their kids are more likely to stay engaged in that relationship as their children grow, the OECD research shows.
And children with dads who participate more in family life also have better emotional outcomes and mental health.
Dads benefit too: they have greater satisfaction with their lives, and better physical and mental health.
And parental leave also allows women to return to work and gain a greater measure of economic independence.
In countries like Sweden, which is introducing a third year of a generous paid parental leave, two months are set aside only for dads (who are called "latte pappas").
This is an example of "daddy quotas" - portions of parental leave available only to fathers or partners on a "use it or lose it" basis.
In countries where this has been introduced, like Iceland and Sweden, this has led to an increase in leave taken by men, the research paper finds.
Mr McCann was a contractor when his first son was born and only had access to two weeks of paternity leave.
But when his wife was ready to return to work after having Eddie they could find no childcare. So Mr McCann (by now a permanent employee) decided to ask for leave from ANZ, with the blessing of a supportive manager.
"I had reasonable understanding of what was involved before [in caring for children], but this really gave me an idea of what it's like to do it day in and day out, one-on-one."
- The Age