While moms are asked about work life balance, working fathers are excluded from the conversation. Here’s why we need to ask dads about work life balance.
Moms, think back to some recent times someone asked you about work life balance. Maybe you shared how you juggle caring for kids while working a full time job. Or maybe you explained how you had left the working field to be with the kids.
Now, think about the last time someone asked your partner how he balances work and life.
If you’re like most families, the answer to that last one is probably zero.
We expect moms to discuss whether they’ll stay home and be with their kids or go back to work, but we don’t do the same with dads and work life balance.
Why we need to ask dads about work life balance
Fathers struggle with work life balance just as as much as moms. Strange to think, but if you consider the stigma men face in the work place, it makes sense.
For instance, I still don’t know any dad other than my husband who took the full allotted paternity leave. It’s difficult for dads, especially those in higher positions, to take six weeks off to be with their newborn. Their coworkers might brand them as not committed to their work.
But unlike the olden days, modern dads don’t want to be the distant father either. The one who hands all child care to mom and earns the income in return. Dads want to be committed to their families as well. And so they struggle with showing up at work and showing up at home.
Case in point: I know a woman who holds a director position. At a casual meeting, someone praised her for being a ‘super mom.’ She was doing a lot: juggling a career, driving a long commute, and parenting two children.
But what caught my attention was that no one paid the same compliments to a fellow father. He too held the same position as the woman, also drove a long commute, and coincidentally also had two kids. Yet no one gave him a high-five for being a ‘super dad.’
Both parents deserve compliments, but we assume the mother is doing more than the other. That may be the case, and if so, we need to change that as well.
More poignantly, it seems like we praise working moms in executive positions for the ability to balance work and home. But really, we praise them for being able to perform a challenging job position despite being a mother.
Think about it: men in executive positions aren’t seen as exceptional if they’re also fathers. Male CEOs with children are pretty common. But we’re still surprised and in awe when mothers hold those same positions.
We need to stop singling moms out for being ‘super moms’ unless we plan to shower the same praise to our ‘super dads’ as well.
My husband and I roughly earn the same salaries and hold the same positions at work. We both pitch in at home, from cleaning to child care. He even has a worse commute than me.
Despite all that, no one has ever complicated my husband on his work life balance or asked him how he “does it all.” Instead, people usually praise his wife for holding it down.
Let’s shift the work life balance conversation away from only a mom issue. Working dads are juggling it just as much as we are.
Read more articles:
- Do You and Your Partner Share Parenting Duties?
- Dad Bashing: Why It Needs to Stop
- “Are Dads the New Moms?”: The Generation of the Hands On Father
- Should Dad Wake Up with Baby Even if He Has to Work?
- Moms vs Dads: The Double Standard of Missing Out on Kids’ Childhood
Your turn: What are your thoughts on dads and work life balance?
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