Mindful Return Working Dad Course

Even as a father of two who had returned to work six months before taking the course, I found it valuable to reflect on what I had done well and I what I could have done differently (which helped me prepare for my annual review), as well as what guidance I would offer male and female colleagues for future reference. I was also exposed to paternity policies at other fathers’ employers, which has led me to initiate discussion at my office about updating our parental leave policies.  – Josh Ellis, dad of two

Take the Mindful Return Working Dad Course to structure your ideal paternity leave and learn to navigate life as a working father

What is the Mindful Return Working Dad Course?  Curriculum + Peer Mentoring Community All in One

Read the Washington Post’s feature on Mindful Return here.

The parental leave landscape is changing, and paternity leave has become reality for an increasing number of employees.  Of course this is great news, because today’s dads want to be involved right from the beginning.  A trend which is showing powerful results years down the road.  This change has has led to courses for fathers on swaddling, feeding, baby care, infant CPR, and even baby massage.

But what about a course that helps you plan your paternity leave, ease your concerns and fears about negative career impacts so that you can focus on your baby and family, and navigate the transition to working fatherhood?

Mindful Return fills this much-needed gap. This 4-week online e-course will allow you to:

  • Approach and set-up your leave tactically, demonstrating leadership and ensuring your leave helps rather than hinders your career;
  • Get into the right mindset to have a calm, peaceful returning to work experience;
  • Brainstorm practical solutions to all those worrisome logistics;
  • Turn your paternity leave into a leadership opportunity at work; and
  • Enter a supportive community of new dads from all over, who are entering the ranks of working fatherhood around the same time you are.

How does the Mindful Return Working Dad Course Work?

  • You take Part 1 of the course whenever you want.  This part lasts one week and will help you determine how much leave to take and how to get your head around this whole paternity leave thing (if you haven’t taken it yet).
  • You take Part 2 of the course anytime after baby arrives.  This part lasts three weeks, and you’ll be in a cohort with other new dads who are all figuring out this working dad thing around the same time.
  • Your 4 week course will be moderated by Jeremy Smith, creator of Paternity Leave Pioneer and father to two incredible kids.

Choose your session here:

Click here to register for Part I of the course.  You will later be prompted to select your Part II session.

March 2018


July 2018

May 2018


September 2018

Rate for individuals is $99/person through February 28, 2018.  (Note that the course rate will increase to $129/person beginning March 1, 2018).  Yes, that’s less than a 1-hour massage…but infinitely more effective at reducing your stress and anxiety.  Better yet, ask your employer to cover the cost – many do.  (Employers, please click here if you are considering offering the Mindful Return e-course as an employee benefit.)

Note: Registration for the Mindful Return Working Dad course entitles you to a $25 coupon for your partner to either the Mindful Return Maternity Leave Course (for moms) or the Mindful Return Working dad Course (for dads) .  

If you know the course would help you, but you have a financial hardship, contact Jeremy at jeremy@mindfulreturn.com to discuss financial assistance options.

Register now!


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the “Mindful Return Working Dad Course”?

A: “Mindful Return” is a four-week, online course.  The mom version was born from the lessons Lori learned learned returning to a full-time job twice after maternity leave.  The dad version was developed based on Jeremy’s experience with two extended paternity leaves and his own transition to working fatherhood. He discovered a lack of good information for new dads on what it’s really like to take paternity leave, and how to transition smoothly back to work. This course will empower you to plan a thoughtful, peaceful, and successful paternity leave and will connect you with other new working dads who are going through this life transition at the same time you are.

Q: When should I take this course? Before baby arrives? On leave? After baby is born?

A: The first (optional) part of this course is designed to be taken before baby arrives, to help you plan your leave.  This first, week-long module (Part One) is all about how to approach and set up your leave.  No need to take this part, though, if your baby has already arrived.  The second part of this course is a three-week session (Part Two), which you should take at any point after baby arrives.  If you’ll be on an extended paternity leave, great – you can take it then.  If not, take it anytime you’re looking to get your bearings in working fatherhood.

That said, anytime is a great time to dive in. The course helps dads prepare, and it helps dads who are already back at work to keep their heads above water.  When in doubt, sign up for the earliest session you think makes sense, and you may always take a later session at no additional cost.

If you are considering leave, learning and getting ready now will help you plan ahead and give you a support network to make everything less daunting. If you are already on paternity leave – but perhaps trying to avoid thinking about going back – now is the time to get some reassurance that you can do this in an effective way. And if you’re already back, you could probably use some extra positive voices helping you get through the day. This course is for all of you.

Q: What if I’ve already read my company’s paternity leave guide?  Will I still get anything out of the course?

A: Yes! This course goes far beyond the nuts and bolts of taking paternity leave.  We aren’t just focused on making the decision to take leave or how to facilitate it.  While those are important aspects we cover, the course is designed to help you step up and become the father you know you can be.  This course provides specific tactics for setting up and returning from leave, so that you can ensure your career continues on an upward path, helping to provide for your growing family.  It also digs into optimizing your leave, adjusting to fatherhood, providing real support for your partner, and using your leave as an opportunity to improve leadership and advance your career.
Key features of the online course are: (1) guest lessons from experts in the fields of parenting, family dynamics, meditation, and mindfulness; (2) writing and discussion prompts at the end of each lesson, to encourage you to dig deep into the material; and (3) the amazingly supportive community of other new working dads whom you will meet during the course.

Q: Does it matter how long my paternity leave is/was (or even if I took one)?

A: No. The lessons in this course will be helpful, whether you took off 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or a year.

Q: This isn’t my first child. Will I still get anything out of this course?

A: Absolutely. Every return is different, and perhaps there are things that could go better for you the second time around. After my first leave, my return was relatively smooth; however, after a promotion with additional responsibility, my second leave left me far more stressed and anxious. Combining that with a walking, talking toddler, and it felt like I was drowning.

My successes and failures during both paternity leaves, spread across a total of 6 months, inspired me to create this course. If this isn’t your first paternity leave, I also invite you to join the community as a voice of experience – you will have great tips to add to those in the lessons.

Q: What is the curriculum?

A: Here’s what we’ll cover during the 4 weeks (with one or two short, blog-length lessons each week day):

Week # Theme Lessons On
1 (optional) Structuring Your Paternity Leave Confidence, owning your leave, overcoming your fears, how to approach leave at work, deciding how long to take, setting up and preparing for your leave
2 Optimizing Your Leave and Adjusting to Fatherhood Adapting to your new role, bolstering relationships, overcoming guilt at home and at work, cultivating gratitude, gaining perspective, and meditation
3 Handling the Logistics and Creating a Community Coping with overwhelm, handling anxiety, building good relationships with your child care provider, negotiating work flexibility, growing your team, sick days, snow days, and handling the unexpected
4 Turning Leave Into Leadership Using leave as a leadership opportunity, getting credit for this work, focusing on your new skills, setting an example, improving your mindset, and a great tool called “capitalization.”

Q: How much time should I plan to spend per day on the course?

A: Once the course starts, our recommendation is that you spend about 15-30 minutes a day reviewing the course material and answering the prompts. You can easily spend more time reading your fellow dads responses and responding to their comments, but about 20 minutes will ground you in the material. That said, this course is for you – to do at your own pace, and work as you are able. The more you put into the course, the more you get out.

Q: Is there a particular time of day I need to log in to the course? And can I participate from a mobile device?

A: Any time of day is a good time to log in, read the lessons, and see what other dads are writing. And yes, the private and secure online platform I use for the course (Ruzuku) is accessible via mobile devices. Whether you log in during your commute at the beginning of the day, while your newborn is napping, or while you’re feeding your little one in a rocking chair at 3 a.m., chances are, another dad will be following along with you, posting comments at the same time!

Q: Who is the author of the course content?

A: Jeremy Smith, father of two, and creator of Paternity Leave Pioneer, penned the majority of the course and serves as moderator throughout. He has successfully taken two extended paternity leaves during his time at work in the financial services industry, where he continues today. His course design is modeled after the maternity leave course Lori Mihalich-Levin created, which has helped hundreds of moms since 2015.  You will also have the great opportunity throughout the course to hear from some fantastic guest teachers, who bring decades of expertise.

The following inspiring individuals graciously share their writing and advice in the course:

Q: My schedule is so unpredictable – what if I fall behind with the lessons?

A: No problem at all if you fall behind. Just pick up where you left off and go at your own pace. The weekends are always good times to get caught up, too, because there are no new lessons on weekends.

Q: Will I have access to the course materials after the course is over?

A: Yes! You will have indefinite access to the course material, on the course’s private Ruzuku page. There will also be an opportunity to stay in touch with your fellow returning dads after the course is over.

Q: How much does the course cost, and what methods of payment do you accept?

A: Joining one of the scheduled sessions of the 4-week, 20-lesson course costs $99 through Feb. 28, 2018.  After that the course price will be $129. All major credit cards are accepted for payment through the Ruzuku course website using Stripe (like PayPal, only easier to use!).

If you know the course would help you, but you have a financial hardship, contact me at jeremy@mindfulreturn.com to discuss financial assistance options.

More questions I haven’t answered here? E-mail Jeremy at jeremy@mindfulreturn.com or Lori at lori@mindfulreturn.com

Register now!


Saturday Secrets

Be a calmer working mama.

Join the thriving Mindful Return community to receive our beloved, short, weekly newsletter.

We're here to help you feel empowered to trade your mama guilt for meaningful connection.

Thanks! Check your e-mail for more information.