Smith believes she might have succumbed to post-partum depression without her husband's presence at home. With him around, she could take naps during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night, catching up on much-needed sleep to recover from childbirth. Not having to wake up and go to work in the morning made it easier on both of them.
"It was a wonderful time for our new family to bond and spend time together, build connections and connect over the new life we had," she said.
"Paid leave for parents to stay home with a newborn has been made into a privilege when it should be a basic right," he said. "We need comprehensive policy reform to address how we as a nation care for our families. Everyone has the right to experience the bliss of staying home and being fully present for those first months. It's an issue of fairness."
In contrast, parents in Iceland each get three months of paid parental leave plus an additional three months that either can use. Icelandic parents can take their leave any time before the child turns 2.
Tumi Ferrer, a head waiter at Reykjavík's Dill restaurant, took his paternity leave from May to July 2012, when his son, Kolbeinn was almost 1 year old.
Like Schroeder, he took pleasure in the mundane tasks of staying home, doing dishes, cooking and bonding with his son.
"Those were the best things about parental leave, taking care of nothing else but him and the home; at peace," said Ferrer, 25.
"I couldn't imagine how difficult it would be not to have that experience because in my opinion, (even) three to six months for each parent is way too little."