Why Don’t More Men Walk The Talk on Work-Family?

When surveyed, dads overwhelmingly say that they would prefer to share childcare and housework relatively equally with their spouses, and would prefer to use flexibility and parental leave to better balance work and family. However, the data show that while men have made significant progress on both fronts, our actions do not match our intentions–leaving us more “locked into” work and less involved at home than we’d like.

I was lucky that my  career, "paternity leave" experience and family dynamics were conducive to my being a very involved dad.
I was lucky that my career, employer flexibility and family dynamics were conducive to my being a very involved dad.

There are a few reasons for this mismatch. While corporate cultures and lack of societal support are major problems, it is also true that we sometimes get in our own way. Here’s a quick rundown of the barriers today’s dads face, including some advice on how we may be able to change our situations (future posts will dive more deeply into each topic).

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Work-Family News Roundup, October 2014

Did you know that October is National Work and Family Month? What better time for another roundup of my favorite work-family-related news and analysis from the past two months.

MSNBC and NPR this sumer, Fox News this fall. Fatherhood must be bipartisan
MSNBC and NPR this summer, Fox News this fall. Fatherhood must be bipartisan

First, here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to lately:

And now, on to the best of the rest:

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Three Dads, Three Work-Life Balance Stories

Believe it or not, I’m not the only one writing about fathers’ work-family concerns. Today, I’d like to share three really smart and well-written first-person accounts of work-family struggles by some of my fellow dad bloggers. Enjoy

I'm sharing some other dad's work-family stories today. I'll be back next week with news about/links to my recent media appearances.
Today, I’m sharing three work-family stories from some of my favorite writers. I’ll be back next week with news about/links to my recent media appearances.

“The Third Row” by Larry Bernstein, “Daddy Lives Work” by Aaron Yavelberg, and “Dads Don’t Want to Leave Home Either” by Alan Kerchinik. See below:

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New Dads Zack Britton and Greg Holland Square Off in the American League Championship Series

Zach Britton and Greg Holland, the closers for the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals, who face off against each other in the American League Championship Series starting tomorrow, became dads this past week. Congrats to the new dads, and a reminder of how employer and societal attitudes are shifting.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know that two of the great loves of my life are fatherhood and baseball (Amy’s the other). Well, October means the playoffs and World Series, but for two players, October also means new fatherhood.

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Further Thoughts on the “CEO Dads”: Schireson and El-Erian

Change is more likely to happen when the new generation of men in positions of corporate leadership see work-family not as a theoretical issue or one that only effects women but rather as something they see as a real challenge in their own lives

* Quick programming note. I’ll be part of a parent panel for Fox and Friends tomorrow (10/4) morning at around 9:20am. And next week, I’ll be featured both in an article and in a video interview with the Globe and Mail (Canada’s newspaper of record). Stay tuned for details.

Over the past few weeks, two CEOs, PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian and MongoDB’s Max Schireson, made headlines by stepping down in order to be more involved fathers. I reported on both, and even interviewed Schireson for the Wall Street Journal. Thanks to reader feedback here and at WSJ, I have some further thoughts on the relative importance of their actions.

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Another CEO Chooses Fatherhood: PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian

When PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian was confronted by his daughter with a list of milestones and important family events he missed, he reconsidered his life and career goals and decided to step down. Here’s his story, and why it represents another indicator that work-family balance is a dads’ issue, too.

Former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian prioritized family over career
Former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian prioritized family over career (creative commons: Flickr)

Hopefully, as companies give more attention to the importance of work-life balance, more and more people will be in a better position to decide and act more holistically on what’s important to them -Mohamed El-Erian

About a month ago, Max Schireson stepped down as CEO of booming internet database company MongoDB. CEOs step aside for a variety of reasons, but Schireson’s was noteworthy- he publicly declared his decision as one he made so he could be a more involved father, and he also used this opportunity to speak to the larger issue of the work-family challenges faced by dads. I reported on this story when it broke and also interviewed him for the Wall Street Journal about his reflections on the decision a few weeks afterwards.

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My Wall Street Journal Interview with Max Schireson on Prioritizing Family and Career

Last month, Max Shireson gave up his job running a billion-dollar startup to spend more time with his family. And he couldn’t be happier about it.

My WSJ article in which I interview Max Schireson
My WSJ article in which I interview Max Schireson

Schireson’s departure from Internet database company MongoDB Inc., which he announced in a blog post that quickly went viral, became a catalyst for a discussion that rarely takes place in the national media: the challenges faced by fathers as they attempt to balance work and family.I was thrilled by that. As a scholar, advocate and consultant in the area, Schireson’s story resonated with me. And the more we acknowledge the importance of these issues, the better off both families and businesses will be.

A month later, with the media scrum dying down, Schireson agreed to talk with me about his decision, the aftermath and the challenges faces by working fathers. Click here, or on the picture above, to go to my Wall Street Journal Q&A with Schireson.

For those of you who are visiting Fathers, Work and Family for the first time, thank you and feel free to have a look around. Here’s a link to my “Greatest Hits.” Here are links to my work at HBR, Time, Wall Street Journal, Good Men Project, Huffington Post, and other publications. Here are links to my various media appearances and information about my participation at recent White House Working Families Summit events. There are category listings along the right-hand side of the page, and of course, buttons you can use to follow Fathers, Work and Family via email, twitter or Facebook.I strongly recommend reading this post which describes how my paternity leave made me a better husband and father, and why I feel it is so important to encourage employers to provide paternity leave. Thank you!

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