‘Today Show’s’ Craig Melvin Talks About Life on Paternity Leave

Craig Melvin of the Today Show has a hectic schedule as a co-host of the morning news program while also managing a full family life with his wife and two young children, Delano (or ‘Del,’ as they call him), 6, and Sybil, 3.

When Melvin took some time off from Today for paternity leave when Sybil was born in 2016, the journalist blogged about some of his stay-at-home dad moments.

Craig Melvin of the “Today Show” | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Keeping ‘Today’ in the background

Melvin and his wife, sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak, welcomed daughter Sybil “Sibby” Ann on Nov. 5, 2016. The news man described waiting for his baby girl’s arrival while having to see his wife deal with the ups and downs of labor.

“Aside from it being one of the best days of my life, something else I’ll always recall about my daughter’s birth will be standing there helplessly while my wife Lindsay masterfully employed those breathing techniques and we both gazed at the Today show on the television that Saturday,” Melvin wrote, according to People

The Today star had given his colleagues a heads-up upon their trip to the delivery room and even tuned in to the show while waiting for ‘Sibby’ to arrive.

“I’d called to let [the Today news team] know because of a water break, I wouldn’t be on the desk that morning,” Melvin shared. “Now, America’s favorite news program had been reduced to background noise and a soundtrack of sorts for the labor.”

Melvin was ok with missing the 2016 election

With the 2016 election just days away, the seasoned journalist acknowledged that it was tempting to be plugged in to the story of the century, though he promised to give his full attention to his family. 

“Sitting out one of the biggest stories of our lifetime hasn’t been easy, and not just because I’m a news junkie who’s been obsessed with politics since the second Reagan administration,” Melvin admitted in his blog. “Like most in our business, breaking news gives us the kind of adrenaline rush few people outside our industry can get their heads around.” 

Yet apparently even a monumental election can’t hold a candle to daddy’s little girl. “But covering the twists and turns of an impending Trump presidency pales in comparison to holding the most adorable angel you’ve likely ever seen,” Melvin wrote. “I’m competitive and don’t like getting beaten on the big story… but the bond paternity leave creates between father and child is far more important than any news story will ever be.”

Staying present was Melvin’s priority

In his account of his paternity time, Melvin noted the difference between taking a little more than two weeks off when Del joined the family to taking a full leave with his daughter. 

“When my son was born in 2014, I took the two weeks of paid leave Comcast provides and tacked on some additional vacation time,” he shared. “I was able to be there for the earliest of memories and learn how to change diapers, burp and feed, but was also able to tag out my wife who, despite superhuman powers, still likes the occasional nap or shower.”

“This time around, it’s been a blessing of a different sort,” Melvin continued. “I spend a lot of my time making sure our son knows there’s enough love in this house for two children. Sure I haven’t changed as many diapers this time around or helped with as many newborn feeds, but I’ve discovered I’m valuable in a whole new way.”

Running errands and helping to keep his son entertained, the Today star was happy to pinch hit wherever he was needed. “I can piece together a Thomas the Tank Engine puzzle with my eyes closed, rush to the grocery store,” he wrote, “negotiate nap times or night-nights and run a shuttle service for a 2-year-old whose playdate and school schedule rivals a cable and network news anchor’s work day.”

The veteran journalist acknowledged the amount of work that’s required when it comes to childcare. “On more than 14 occasions, I’ve thought, ‘Man, this is exponentially harder than my hardest day at 30 Rock,’” Melvin said.

Above all else, Melvin made sure his time with his family was free of distractions despite today’s constant news cycle. “One of life’s greatest challenges for me has become unplugging from the noise that consumes so much of our lives,” he shared. “Resisting the urge to check a timeline, news feed, clever tweet or email… has been difficult, but I’ve actually been proud of my ability to stay present.”