I thought I should wait until after the holiday to say that I’m happy that it increasingly seems as though Dad’s today are struggling to manage their work and family commitments.
The reality is that as long as work -life balance and alternative work options are considered “woman’s issues” no real cultural change will happen. So the fact that fathers are now worried about parenthood, ambition and managing careers as an involved father - can only be a good thing.
In one recent article examining whether being a good Dad ruins your career, Mike a father of three commented that, “Men are now in the position that women were in 10 years ago, torn between home and office.”
Boston College’s Center for Work and Family, recently released a report based on a poll of nearly 1,000 professional fathers from Fortune 500 companies called, “The New Dad: Caring, Committed and Conflicted,” which concluded that, “Today’s dads associate being a good father just as much with the role of effective caregiver as the traditional role of ‘breadwinner’,” and that “These men want to be engaged parents and successful professionals, yet find conflicts as they try to achieve both objectives.”
And so, we have reached the milestone where, as a result of work life balance issues, working fathers are now almost as stressed as their wives. (Although I have to point out that, unlike mothers who face a financial penalty for having children, employers tend to view dads as being more committed and as a result, they tend to earn on average $6000 more than equally qualified men without children.)
So where to from here? Well of course, two equally stressed parents isn’t an improvement. It’s worse.
But my hope is that the rise in fathers feeling frustrated by narrow work arrangements and limited choices will become the tipping point for a genuine broader cultural change that allows both men and women to enjoy more work and family options and without facing a career penalty for doing so.