A dad-friend told me this week that he’s “been failing miserably in (his) work/life balance goals.” Instead of ribbing him about it, I commended him for even establishing a set of goals for handling the challenging juggle between career and family. Consequently, lots of dads are starting to express their desire to be serious about their careers while also striving to be the fathers they want to be. Recently, we have had several informal lunch conversations with dads focusing on work/life balance, it’s a topic we often write about here on the blog, and it’s a hot topic of discussion for many dads in our New Dad Boot Camp workshops.
Picture this: six working dads brown bagging it at the lunch table and having a casual conversation about juggling career and family and what the 21st century workplace should look like. Sound unusual? Groundbreaking? the New Normal? Well, this is basically what happened a few weeks ago & we want to publicly share with everyone what we talked about. Discussing questions like: How do you balance career and family? Can you excel in your career and be the parent you want to be? Has becoming a parent changed your career aspirations?
The team of six dads involved:
- Scott Heiferman: Founder and CEO of Meetup; father of an 18-month-old girl.
- Rob Candelino: VP Marketing at Unilever; father of an 11-month-old boy.
- Dr. Brad Harrington: Executive Director of the Boston College Center for Work & Family; Research specialist on working fathers and work/life balance.
- Eric Messinger: Editor of New York Family magazine; father of 12-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy.
- Lance Somerfeld: Co-organizer of NYC Dads Group; father of a 4-year old boy.
- Matt Schneider: Co-organizer of NYC Dads Group; father of a 4-year old and a 7-year old boy.
- “added expectations (for dads these days): caregiver, diaper changer, dinner maker, all that.” – Rob Candelino
- “I could stay all night (at work), but there are times now when I can’t take that 5:30 or 6PM call—I need to go to feed my son or give my wife a break.” – Rob Candelino
- “As the boss of bosses, you don’t have people to answer to decide whether you are going to a music class. By your actions, are you hoping to send the message to employees that it’s okay for them to make family a priority as long as they find other ways to get the work done?” – Eric Messinger
- “We introduced a one-month paternity leave, which many dads are taking advantage of. Policies are important, but I just sort of model it…. Modeling a culture that is healthy and is sustainable long-term is what I’m paying attention to. ” – Scott Heiferman
- Statistics: “The average woman takes 12-14 weeks of maternity leave, fathers: 16% took no time off, 76% a week or less, 96% 2 weeks or less. Women are taking a month off for every day that these men are.” – Dr. Brad Harrington
- “My wife and I made the choice that was best for our family. Me, being a public school teacher, I was able to take an unpaid leave, and come back to employment, and my wife is in a faster career track” – Lance Somerfeld
- “we want to ask working dads the tough questions that working moms have always been asked. We’re seeing that working moms and dads have many of the same concerns, and we have an opportunity to join together in to recreate 21st Century workplaces that fit the lives of 21st Century families.” – Matt Schneider