Paternity Leave: Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie on How It Changes Everything

by Genevieve Field

Most men don’t (and many can’t), but Toms founder Blake Mycoskie did—and it changed everything.


Mycoskie with his six-month-old son, Summit

Earlier this year I took 12 weeks’ leave from my company, Toms Shoes, to help my wife, Heather, care for our newborn son, Summit. It’s an experience I wish every new dad could have, but I realize how lucky I am. As the company founder, I’ve been able to establish 12 weeks’ paid leave for all our new parents. Sadly, though, we’re an exception: Only 12 percent of all American workers have access to formal paid parental leave, and the vast majority of men take off less than a week when their children are born. In fact, when I announced I’d be taking leave, some of my CEO peers were mystified. Responses ranged from “You’re going to get real bored, real quick” to “How are you supposed to lead a company while changing diapers?” I must admit they played on my psyche, but Toms colleagues who’d taken leave were inspiring. Our building operations manager, Travis, had gone on a family road trip during his paternity leave and returned with a renewed sense of purpose—for work, for life, for everything. His attitude was infectious, and I wanted to set the same example for other guys at Toms. Little did I know just how much I’d grow—as a dad, a husband, and an executive—in those three short months. Here are a few of the lessons I learned:

Lesson #1: The truly dedicated dare to unplug.
After 36 hours of labor, Heather had a C-section, so when the baby emerged, they handed him to me. I was holding Summit for the first 30 minutes of his life, looking straight into his eyes, and wham! I was his. Over the next few days, I adjusted to my new reality: Nonstop meetings were replaced by a Groundhog Day loop of diaper changings, feedings, and “baby TV” (that’s what Heather and I called the hours we stared endlessly at Summit). And baby TV was about as high-tech as it got: I had uninstalled my email service from my laptop and phone so I wouldn’t be tempted to check it. It was difficult at first. I realized I constantly looked at my phone for “important messages”—they validated that I was important. But I soon found that the best validation came from Heather, who kept commenting on how present I was. Going off the grid made it clear: Being fully unplugged is really the greatest offering we can make to the people we care about.

Lesson #2: Gratitude is a miracle tool.
Becoming a new parent is hard—especially the first time around, when you’re not used to sharing your partner’s love and attention with another human. The moment Summit came into our world, I knew I’d be second fiddle to him in Heather’s eyes. Coming in second can make you feel uneasy, but I discovered that starting each day with a quiet moment of gratitude—almost like meditation—was the best antidote. It worked so well during paternity leave that, now that I’m back at work, I’ve learned to take simple pauses during the day to count my blessings; it’s a great guard against the chronic stress executives, and all workers, experience. If we spent half as much mental energy on why we love our jobs as we do on why they stress us out, who knows what we could achieve?

Lesson #3: You can choose to see the best in people.
The hardest part about taking leave was dealing with Heather’s postpartum blues. It sounds like a cliché story, but one morning I left out the milk and she came down hard on me, which isn’t like her at all. I’m not the type of person who sits back and takes it, so I was like, “You’re crazy!” and instantly I regretted my words. No matter how many hours of sleep I’d lost, I hadn’t given birth and nursed around the clock for the past 17 days. So the next time Heather started to go off on me for something small, I took a deep breath and pictured her at her best: smiling and sun-speckled from a day in the surf. And just like that, my anger evaporated. Sometimes the best defense is to have no defense at all.

Lesson #4: To take good care of others, first take good care of yourself.
About four weeks into my leave, I realized I hadn’t worn anything but sweats since Summit was born. I had to remind myself that taking paternity leave wasn’t only for Heather and the baby; it was something I was doing for me. So I bought some basic exercise equipment on Amazon. Whenever the baby was napping, I’d head outside to work up a sweat or read a book instead of dozing on the couch. The result? I felt more sane, focused, and up to doing the little acts of service that made a big difference to Heather—foot rubs, grocery shopping, and cooking!

Lesson #5: Need a creative boost? Fall in love.
What surprised me most about paternity leave? It’s actually very romantic. And Heather and I know romantic: We’ve traveled to 23 countries together, lived on a sailboat, and kissed under I don’t know how many sunsets. But none of that compares to how ridiculously connected we felt during my leave. On one of the last afternoons before I went back to work, we went hiking in the canyon behind our home. We’d both been feeling a bit down about my time off ending (she would still be at home, where she works running the Toms Animal Initiative), but as we walked—with the dogs ahead, our tiny son snug on my chest, and Heather’s hand in mine—my mind began to swirl with new ideas for Toms. Suddenly I wasn’t sad about going back to work; I was inspired, and I knew I’d return better than when I’d left. Shouldn’t all companies get to benefit from that kind of creative boost?

Frankly, it’s nuts that more companies haven’t figured out what a win-win paid family leave is. The Family and Medical Leave Act requires companies with more than 50 employees to give new parents up to 12 weeks off—but that’s without pay, and plenty of families can’t afford to miss a single paycheck. Dads especially, who are still the primary breadwinners in 60 percent of households, miss out on an incredible opportunity to bond with their kids. That’s a loss for families and also for companies. I have a hugely talented friend who could afford to take only one week off when his son was born; he was so upset that he left for a new job. What a loss to that company! So my pitch to bosses everywhere is this: Support family leave. If your employees don’t return to work more creative and productive than before, I’ll be so shocked I’ll send you a Toms bag.*

Blake Mycoskie is the founder and “chief shoe giver” of Toms.

*Seriously, if you’re a CEO who implemented paid parental leave and haven’t seen it benefit your company, write me at and I’ll send you our newest One for One bag, which supports guess what: maternal health.

Husband rants online that his stay-at-home wife is too costly for him – You’ve got to read this!

Courtesy of theChive


Memorial Day Sale Starts NOW! Click for coupon code + gift with purchase!

Memorial Day SALE coupon code!
Memorial Day SALE coupon code!

Memorial day and the memories that we can make now.

This Memorial Day weekend turned out to be one that we are just going to stay home with the kids instead of trek anywhere. After all, we do reside in Northern California where there is endless hiking, biking, sightseeing picturesqu bridge-to-bridge views and even just a short trip to Tahoe. But we have decided to just to kick-back and make it a fun, stay-at-home weekend. We have a 1 year old in the mix now, (along with a 4 yr old…going on 10) and to be honest, Mama needs some down-time. A 3 hour car ride with these little nuggets may be anything but that!

I research some fun activities that we could do as a family to celebrate, and I stumbled across Family Education blog. Many of you already know this site -hence their 52K fans on Facebook- . So here’s to a memorable weekend, to celebrate the fallen defenders of life, liberty and justice and so that we could have this family time together. We solute all of the outstanding men and women who have sacrificed to serve this country, and ultimately every citizen in it.

Click the links to each design for directions and free printable!

Patriotic Craft Activities for Kids

5 of 10


Star Design

Create a picture using the stars and stripes as basic elements.

Print out the directions for the Star Design.

Patriotic Craft Activities for Kids

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Patriotic Mobile

Your kids will have fun creating this mobile of patriotic symbols.

Print out the directions for the Patriotic Mobile.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed Memorial Day, from our Foxy Family to yours.

xo, Foxy

Jamie King is one cool MOM!

We LOVE the latest interview with Jamie King on Who What Wear! Check out how this foxy mama navigates and flows through her pregnancy while reaping the endless rewards of LOVE.

Exclusive: Jaime King Puts a Fresh Spin on Maternity Dressing

Exclusive: Jaime King Puts a Fresh Spin on Maternity Dressing

It was Mrs. George in Mean Girls—the hilarious Amy Poehler—who said, “I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.” Jaime King is too, a cool mom. If not for her ability to stylishly navigate a growing baby bump, then for her refreshingly modern approach to parenting. We spent the day on set with King, now pregnant with her second child, to talk about her maternity trips and tricks, designing baby clothes, and more. Keep reading for our exclusive interview. 

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    Jaime King Maternity Feature

    PHOTO: Kat Borchart

    Who What Wear: First things first, you looked amazing at the Met Ball!
    Jaime King: Thank you so much, I appreciate it! It was very modern, very elegant, and very simple, which was really nice. I think it’s so easy to go crazy with the Met Ball theme that it gets a little interesting. I really loved Jason Wu’s vision of just keeping everything very clean and clear and having Nicola [Peltz] in white, myself in red, and Edie [Campbell] in black. It had a nod and a wink to it without being overboard.

    WWW: We want to know: What’s your secret for dressing around a growing baby bump?
    JK: You know, for me, getting pregnant is such a celebration of femininity and a celebration of your growing body. In a way, it’s the only time you don’t have to suck in and the only time that it doesn’t matter really how big you are or what your body looks like. You can wear formfitting clothes, and you can wear things that show off how your body has changed. Your breasts and everything get bigger, and I think that’s a beautiful sign of fertility and something that should be, again, accentuated and celebrated. What I decided when I got pregnant is that if anything, I’m going to have more fun with my fashion, because I love dressing, I love taking risks, and why not show the world that it’s okay, you can really go there? Just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you can’t be cool and fashionable. It doesn’t mean you can’t have your own sense of individuality and creativity. You can still have all that and more, because it’s the ultimate creativity, having a baby.

    On Jaime: Joe’s Denim Shirt ($168); Stella McCartney Tessa Skirt With Clouds Applique Embroidery ($2420, 212.255.1556); Auden AXL Ear Cuff Earrings ($168) Made with Swarovski Crystal Elements, Gold Plated with Brass Finish; Jennifer Meyer Cross Bar Bracelet ($475) in 18k Yellow Gold and Circle-by-the-Inch Bracelet ($625) in 18k Yellow Gold.

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    Jaime King Maternity Feature

    PHOTO: Kat Borchart

    WWW: What’s your advice for staying comfortable yet still stylish while pregnant?
    JK: You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your style for comfort. My look today is a really great pair of maternity jeans I got from A Pea in the Pod—they are ASOS. And then I’m wearing Barbara Bui loafers and a sweater and a white hat and a red Tory Burch clutch, and I feel like for me that is a way to be comfortable. You can wear a really fun sweater that makes you feel chic and beautiful and that’s cozy with jeans that are comfortable yet stylish. Pea in the Pod does the best collaborations with people, and I find that Hatch is a really great line. It’s definitely a bit more pricey, but if you’re pregnant, I think it’s important to splurge on a few staple pieces. Get a great pair of jeans that you love and a great dress. You can go onto ASOS and buy a couple of really beautiful dresses that are great to transition from day to night, so you can buy a dress that looks great with sandals or flats for a hot summer or day, or you can use that same dress and put it with a great pair of high boots that are flat with no heel.

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    Jaime King Maternity Feature

    PHOTO: Kat Borchart

    WWW: Is there anything you steer clear of?
    JK: I’m not into wearing high heels when pregnant. I think it’s dangerous and avoid it as much as possible. I think I’ve worn high heels two or three times since I’ve been pregnant. As much as they make us feel more sexy, the one thing to understand is that the way that your hormones and the chemicals in your body change when you are pregnant really affect your balance. Your body produces something called relaxin, and this starts to open your muscles, hips, and body in preparing for birth, and what that does is cause instability in your body and causes you to get off-balance more easily. And so when I see someone like Kim Kardashian, who looks amazing and wears high heels pregnant, because I care about her, I want to take off her heels and give her a foot rub. I’m like, “I just want to see you in a chic pair of Lanvin flats, because I don’t want to see you get hurt; I don’t want you to suffer for fashion.” But I know she loves heels and that’s what makes her feel beautiful, so everybody has the choice, but that is one thing I won’t do. So find a really great pair of flats, whether it be a pair of loafers or some really great sneakers, that you love and can wear through your entire pregnancy.

    WWW: What’s your go-to styling trick?
    JK: The key is finding out where to put a belt, because belts are going to be your best friend in pregnancy. There is nothing chicer than getting a great scarf and a great belt and putting it over that flowy maxi dress. Literally just wrap a scarf like a big U around your neck, and then tie a belt around the highest part of your belly over the scarf essentially where your waist is, and then you have a beautiful layered look. [Example here.] It’s so much more refined and beautiful. And not only with a maxi dress. This is my tip for any maternity dressing whatsoever. I’ve always been obsessed with scarves and tying them and belting them. You can do the same thing with a button-down shirt and maternity jeans.

    On Jaime: GIAMBA Knit Top ($975); Hatch The Sash Pants ($188) in Navy; Auden AXL Ear Cuff Earrings ($168) Made with Swarovski Crystal Elements, Gold Plated with Brass Finish; Jessica Biales Buckle Cuff Bracelet ($2400) in 18k Gold; Tory Burch Bi-Color Woven Flats ($295) in Black-Ivory/Black.

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    Jaime King Maternity Feature

    PHOTO: Kat Borchart

    WWW: What’s your best tip for new moms?
    JK: Even when you are exhausted and you’re working and you’re going on three hours of sleep and feel like a zombie, part of alleviating that feeling is doing something that makes you feel beautiful. If you are exhausted, give yourself a manicure or go get your hair colored. If you have 10-15 minutes to yourself, that makes all the difference. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, you have to find a way to keep remembering who you are and that you are still sensual and sexy and beautiful and strong—you’ve just done one of the strongest things you could possibly do, which is to create life. After I’ve been filming or working for six hours and I have to pick up groceries or baby food or diapers, I will literally go to the grocery store and grab a coffee or tea and pull over on the side of the road and get out of my car and walk for 10 minutes. And that 10 minutes is my time. I leave the phone in the car and nobody knows. It’s time to reflect and take care of myself and just to have a moment for me.

    WWW: What’s the best advice you learned from your mom?
    JK: Honestly, the best advice I learned from my mom was really just taking care of your skin and your body. Drinking a lot of water, staying out of the sun, only getting a little bit of sun. She was so conscious of that during a time when people were not. And I feel that was one thing that really contributed to my style in a way, was the idea of respecting yourself and making sure that you aren’t doing things that are going to be hurting your body in the future. She was a seamstress, too, so she really inspired me in regards to everything with fashion. We didn’t grow up with a lot of money, so when we liked something, she would find or make the pattern, and we would make the piece. That was really influential to me, because I learned everything about the construction of clothing from my mom. If you don’t come from a lot, you can still make something beautiful. It just takes creativity and a sewing machine. And the cool thing now is there are so many YouTube videos and great how-tos that we never had growing up.

    On James Knight: Jaime King for Sapling Galaxy Bear Yellow Long Sleeve Bodysuit (available August)

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    Jaime King Maternity Feature

    PHOTO: Kat Borchart

    WWW: What has been the most rewarding part of being a mother?
    JK: The most rewarding part is the depths of love. And seeing this tiny human being that was in your belly grow and what they gravitate towards and giving them the freedom to express and be who they are. My son is obsessed with makeup, so I got him a makeup kit. Every time a makeup artist comes over, they donate a brush or something to his kit. Yet at the same time, he’s playing soccer and really loves to swim. To me, it’s about nurturing every aspect of your child’s personality. When you really allow someone that kind of freedom creatively, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally yet keep the structure of discipline in regards to sleeping, eating, and taking care of them, those are the key components of a really great parent, and those are the best moments of it.

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    Jaime King Maternity Feature

    PHOTO: Kat Borchart

    WWW: You designed a collection of baby clothes for Sapling, which is coming out in August. How did that collaboration come about?
    JK: I met the co-founder Peta [Stinson] online on Twitter and Instagram, and I loved what she was doing and the idea of a nontoxic, sustainable line that I could really be hands-on with. I spent so much time, my whole heart dedicated to designing this collection. There are so many people now who do a “collection,” but it’s not really theirs; they are not actually doing it. And every single sketch, every single color palette, every single thing that you see came from me and my heart, and so that’s something that was really important. I wasn’t willing to collaborate with anybody that wasn’t going to allow me to really express something that was authentic to me.

    WWW: The prints are adorable! Where did the inspiration come from?
    JK: The prints are a mix of me being inspired from Nebraska, the big open skies and the constellations and what caused me to dream and imagine and really push my creativity, so that’s where the galaxy prints came from. And there was a lot of Japanese inspiration, because I noticed my friend was gravitating to anything that was Japanese, so for me I wanted to create something for him. And that’s where all of the peonies and the lotus came in. In regards to the T-shirts, I really wanted to create affirmation prints because I felt like it was important that the message a child wears is also for the parents. Every time a parent looks at the T-shirt, they will be reminded of the same sentiment as the child, and that’s something I thought was really cool.

    On Jaime: Cotton Citizen Marbella Crew Tee ($80) in Bone; Burberry Prorsum Tier Printed Silk Skirt ($2095); Auden AXL Ear Cuff Earrings ($168) Made with Swarovski Crystal Elements, Gold Plated with Brass Finish; Azlee Triple Burst Ring + Diamonds ($1375) and Lone Burst Open Ring 18K Yellow Gold + Diamonds ($595). On James Knight: Jaime King for Sapling Galaxy Bear Blue Long Sleeve Bodysuit (available August). 

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    Jaime King Maternity Feature

    PHOTO: Kat Borchart
    WWW: What do you look for when shopping for baby clothes?
    JK: Something that my son [James Knight Newman] won’t grow out of in two days and anything that gives him a sense of individual style. I know now that I am making baby clothes that people still want pink for girls and blue for boys, but for me, I just like him to be a individual. He loves picking out his own clothes.

    WWW: How are you planning on spending Mother’s Day this year?
    JK: I have no plans. I could literally just be watching Frozen for the five-billionth time, and it would be the perfect day.

    Photographer: Kat Borchart
    Hair: Sascha Breuer
    Makeup: Kara Bua
    Market Editor: Nicole Akhtarzad

Foxy Vida Is About Celebrating & Supporting Mom’s – Shop With Me Mama

Best Diaper Bag

Foxy Vida Is About Celebrating & Supporting Mom’s (Giveaway)

Kim from Shop With Me Mama say’s our Privé Diaper Bag in Navy Stripe “doesn’t look like a diaper bag which is refreshing” and “I get compliments on it constantly whenever I’m out and about”. Enough said? No way! Read her review here:

foxy vida logo swmmFoxy Vida culture is about celebrating and supporting all that we Mom’s do. So what a perfect time of the year, for me to tell you all about Foxy Vida! With Mother’s Day less than a week away, Foxy Vida has some perfect gift ideas for that mama on your list!

One of my product reviewers just had a baby boy and really needed a good diaper bag for all of his baby things. She chose the Prive diaper bag in Navy stripe to review.

PRIVÉ DIAPER BAG IN NAVY STRIPEIt arrived rather quickly she said and she could not have been more happy with it! Please read her review, below!

PRIVÉ DIAPER BAG  NAVY STRIPEI’ve been using my Foxy Vida

 bag for a week now and this is a very cool bag. I get compliments on it constantly whenever I’m out and about.First off, it’s super stylish and it doesn’t look like a diaper bag which is refreshing. A lot (or most) bags all have some silly print. I wanted something more suited for me. I like that it has a nice big opening so I can actually see into it, then I can grab what I need.

baby changing padIt has just the right amount of pockets. The changing pad is super nice and I like that you can be consistent with which side is up/down, but I do wish it was a little bigger is size. Besides that, I love this bag and I’m going to get one for my friend who is expecting, it would be a great baby shower gift! Another great plus is my husband takes the baby’s  bag and doesn’t put up a fuss that it looks too “girly“.


As you can see, my reviewer is really pleased with the Prive Diaper Bag in Navy Stripe from Foxy Vida!


The Foxy Vida Bags are currently available in Nordstrom,, Babies R Us, The Baby Cubby, Amazon

 and a slew of other amazing stores worldwide! The Prive Diaper Bag in Navy Stripe retails for $122.Win

One person can choose from any of Foxy Vida’s New Prive line of Diaper bags (the striped ones).


Easy! Just use the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck to everyone who enters!


Contest is open to US 18+. Giveaway will end on May 24, 2015 at 12 am PST. Winner will have 48 hours to confirm their win, after I email them, or a new winner will be chosen. Sponsor is responsible for sending out prizes. I am not responsible for lost or stolen mail.

*My Product Reviewer Received A Diaper Bag. Opinions Are Her Own. This post includes my affiliate links.