I have to say, you Americans have a completely retarded system when it comes to maternity leave etc., and I don't just mean what the government decides.
"We Americans" don't have a system for maternity leave. If you look carefully in our Constitution, you won't find one of the powers of government to be "give every woman who wants to have a baby paid time off". It isn't a disease that needs mandatory time off or sick leave. In other words, the government has no business deciding.
It's been 3 awesome months.
I'm sure it has been. Does your government pay you for taking time off for everything that is "awesome"? Can you get them to pay for a trip to Disneyland, for example?
What I don't get is: even when you don't have paid maternity/paternity leave (which is your society's fault),
why can't you as the man take (20-40%) of the time staying at home (before kindergarden), and then your wife takes the rest?
Well, the woman is pregnant all nine months. Does your government manage to get that job swapped off to the husband so he needs time off? Wouldn't that be awesome, a system like you ask about, where I can get my wife pregnant, take five months off with pay, and then she gets the next four to deal with being pregnant. Wham, bam, thank you Ma'am I'm going to Orlando for five months!
But seriously, some companies do give paid paternity leave, so your question is moot.
I mean, she has after all carried the baby and given birth to it, so surely she deserves more than 50%?
How magnanimous of you. I'm sure your wife thinks you are the salt of the earth. She deserves more than 50% of the maternity leave time for herself. You'll be happy with 49%.
Is your employer really going to deny you a total of (1-3)x3 months of unpaid leave,
You're talking about paid leave to start with, and now it's unpaid. The FMLA means our employers cannot deny us 3 months of unpaid leave for maternity or paternity. So, this question is also moot.
when seen against your entire working life of 50+ years
And you think Norway has a good system? You have to work 50+ years over there? Our standard retirement age is around 62 to 65 or so. We don't really enter the workforce, for the most part, until long after 12. We'd call them sweatshops, I think.
and all the benefits that come from a closer connection to your children?
Exactly what are the benefits to your employer during your 40th through 50th years of employment from your closer connection to your children? 30-40? 20-30?