Dads are starting to whisper more loudly than ever about struggling to strike a balance between work and family obligations that mothers have been talking about for years. We know this because as we are meeting up each week with groups of dads in our community – juggling career, family, and personal time – is a frequent topic of discussion. In fact, work-life balance is a common concern with most expectant fathers that participate in our weekly Boot Camp for New Dad Workshops. These expectant dads are asking important questions: Do other dads move to a more flexible schedule when they have children? What are some best practices that other dads use to carve out time with their little ones during the work-week? I plan to take two weeks off when the baby is born, is that enough time? How much time should I be taking off from work for my first child? What do other dads do about reducing travel when they start a family?
Not surprising, increased numbers of research studies (mentioned below) are focusing on family and career struggles as well as a microscope on dads as they fit into the equation. We try to highlight some of the current research on this site, but continually reference The Families and Work Institute national study. Some interesting findings:
- The Families and Work Institute did a national study of the workforce in 2008 and found that for the first time in history, more men reported experiencing work-life conflict than women–60 percent versus 47 percent.
- fathers average three more hours of work per week than their childless male counterparts!
- Men with working wives felt more stress than those with a stay-at-home partner.
Christopher Helman, a 38-year-old journalist from Houston, works from home, divides up parenting tasks with his wife–and clears time for fun: “Some days I’ll drop everything to play or ride bikes, and I’ll get back on my laptop after they go to bed. I remember exactly zero times that my dad or stepdad played with me on a weekday afternoon, and I think I’m closer to my kids because of that.”