Do you find it difficult to balance your work and family responsibilities? Have you ever asked yourself questions like, “What can I do, my daughter’s basketball game is at the same time as a meeting?” Or, “My wife is out of town for work, how am I going to get the kids up and out of the house and be on time for work?” More and more, dads wrestle with these types of questions, and are almost as likely as working moms to struggle with finding a work-life balance. (Pew Research).
In a 2015 US study, 48% of men who work full-time reported that job demands interfered with family life “sometimes” or “often.” Recently, parental leave has been in the news as large tech firms like Netflix, Google and Twitter have instituted liberal leave policies by American standards. The United States is the only industrialized country — and one of only four of any country — to offer no paid parental leave to anyone.
While it can be difficult, here are some things dads need to give up to help tilt the work-life scale back in their favor:
Their Pride About Asking for Help — It takes a whole village to raise a child. Doing it by yourself just isn’t realistic. Get help from family and friends; trade after school carpool duty this week for morning duties so you can stay late to finish that work project.
The Belief That They Need to Split Their Time Equally — The image of a 50:50 split between work and family 100% of the time is not representative of reality. The imagery is more like a seesaw, as one side goes up one side will come down; it is dynamic and dependent upon the changing demands of each side.
The Idea That They Have to Neglect Themselves — Taking care of yourself and your marriage builds a stronger family and creates healthy bonds. Your relationships, health, mental and physical wellbeing are all a part of your most basic needs. Neglecting those needs won’t help you be your best self.
The Desire To Always Make Their Kids Happy — Keep your eyes on the goal of parenthood: to raise responsible, contributing members of society. Being best friends or giving them everything they desire at any cost is not constructive to that goal.
The Guilt They Experience About Working — Feeling guilty about not being able to spend more time with your kids is not going to improve the time you share with them. Put in quality time with your children, and put down the devices and enjoy their company. As the saying goes, “they’re only young once.”
Finding work-life balance is difficult, but it is possible when we focus on what truly matters.