We’ve read so many articles about how mums need to balance work and family life. I agree that mums just have way too many things on their plates. I am one. Given what great super powers we have, I am all for some deserving time-out sanity breaks.
But what I want to raise awareness about today is that poor old dads also need a break. Fathers of today would love to be more involved with family life, raising their kids, and seeing them grow up. A work-life balance would also allow them to spend more time with their wives and be better husbands.
Search for balance
A study released by the Boston College Center for Work and Family reveals that first-time fathers want to experience hands-on fatherhood, a concept that eluded many fathers of older generations.
The study also showed that they appreciate if the company they’re working for provides flexibility to balance work and personal life.
A similar study conducted by A Better Balance, a group that promotes for better work-life balance shows that seven out of 10 dads would like to have flexible work arrangements. “A supportive manager and workplace” would allow them to be better fathers.
In the same study, 85 percent of the respondents say that they would take advantage of family-friendly work policies if these are set in place.
Not yet fully accepted?
The same study, however, revealed that while more and more fathers are seeking work-life balance, there is still some who disapprove of this choice. A “significant minority” says they felt the disapproval of co-workers when they leave the office for family responsibilities.
A survey conducted by Career Builder in the US also indicates that many fathers feel the pressure of being more hands-on with their families. While dads want to be more involved, 34 percent admitted that they have missed a couple of family events because of work pressures.
So what can fathers do?
Despite the obstacles and pressures that many dads face, it’s still best if they exert some effort to be more involved in family affairs. Here are just some ways to help you manage your life:
1. Set boundaries. I’ve said before that mums should impose a ‘no-work zone.’ The moment you arrive at home, this should be time for your family only—no work calls, no checking of office emails, etc. If you need to catch up on work, do it when the kids and the wife are sleeping. But then again, if you learn to manage your time at work, there’s no need to do more at home
2. Explore work possibilities. More and more companies are implementing flexible work arrangements like telecommuting. If you are qualified, then take advantage of this to have more time to spend with the family. Other companies also provide daycare facilities and you can use this to bring your kids to work.
3. Talk to your wife. A happy family life involves two-way communication. If you find yourself swamped with work, ask your wife to pitch in. Or you can work out a schedule with your wife to ensure that all family events are noted in your calendar to avoid missing them.
Mums don’t have it easy and dads don’t, either. It takes a lot of effort, patience and a little teamwork