We’ve seen a lot of coverage about the recent studies conducted by A Better Balance, Boston College Center for Work & Family, and the Families & Work Institute that all come to the same conclusion: fathers are feeling conflicted by their desire to be serious about their work and their desire to be nurturing, competent, and active fathers. The members of the NYC Dads Group certainly don’t need studies to come to this conclusion, but it’s nice to have some credible research to point to as we stand up and say that our role as father is evolving.
We were proud to be included in the latest article written on the topic, written by Tina Vasquez for The Glass Hammer, Working Fathers Struggle to Balance it All: What that Means for Women. The article points out the recent research and the lack of working fathers support groups. It even looks back at a 2008 blog entry written for The Juggle blog on WSJ.com, Why Working Dads Don’t Need Support Groups. This article quotes Rebeldad blogger, Brian Reid, saying that “Dads don’t always seek support for the simple reason they don’t feel the same parenting pressure as moms. While moms may feel a societal push to be perfect, dads often are praised for whatever they do.”
First, I’ll say that I don’t know the context of Brian’s quote when he was interviewed. That being said, I don’t agree with the premise that a “societal push” is the crux of the stress that parents are feeling. Moms and Dads are stressed about keeping their jobs in a tough economy. Moms and Dads are stressed about being available for their children when they need us. Moms and Dads are stressed about getting the laundry done, about getting the kids to doctors appointments, about what their kids are doing online, about college application s– the list is endless.
For all these reasons, men and women, mothers and fathers, need to support each other to create the homes and the workplaces that will help us to resolve these conflicts and alleviate the stress. As I said in the Glass Hammer article, “I hope that our group can demonstrate what is possible for fathers, so we can build a reality that matches our desire. Studies show that fathers want to be involved, we want to be nurturing, and we want to be competent.”
The article suggests that there are no working fathers support groups — well, let me introduce you to the NYC Dads Group — a group of over 400 at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and dads working outside the home, supporting each other to be the best we can be.