Put Down the Smartphone During Parenting Time!

Smartphones- Time Suck to Avoid #3 (or, I’m Going To Texting From DisneyLand!!!)

While checking work emails on my phone, I almost missed out on this!
While checking work emails on my phone, I almost missed out on this!

My family and I flew down to Disney World the first week of January. We’re a Disney family and love being in the happiest place on Earth.

The first week in January is a very slow work time for me- it is just after the holidays and still two weeks from the beginning of the spring semester. I am filling in for our department chair this semester (she’s on a well-deserved sabbatical) so I did have things to get done, but there was nothing super-pressing for me to finish until I got back from Florida and back on campus.

However, while waiting in lines with Amy and Nick, I found myself checking for work emails on my ancient Blackberry (seriously, I think I’m the last Blackberry customer still out there- 2% market share of new phone sales!!!). Well, that’s not so bad, I’m just waiting in line.

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Why Women (nope) Men (nope) NO ONE Can “Have It All”

It is not surprising to me that “women still can’t have it all” and “men can’t have it all either.” The simple fact is  Women Men No One Can Have It All

Over the past generation or so, we’ve seen a huge shift in expectations and opportunities for women. While much progress has been made (and we are all the better for it), women still face stereotypes and discrimination as they “try to have it all” and move beyond traditional role expectations.

The current difficulties for women in the workplace and women trying to balance work and family were covered brilliantly by Anne-Marie Slaughter in a recent Atlantic cover story (and far more stupidly superficially by Ann Friedman in NY Magazine). Slaughter’s article deservedly received accolades and huge amounts of media attention, and I know I’m very late to the party in commenting on it. (And to her immense credit, Slaughter also wrote a great follow-up piece on men, work and family)

In short, Slaughter makes the case that women still face significant obstacles and difficulties as they try to remain heavily involved in their traditional roles (parenting, caretaking) while also expanding their involvement in traditional men’s roles (providing, working outside the home).

There is increasing evidence that the converse is increasingly true for men. Men now face significant obstacles and difficulties as they try to remain heavily involved in their traditional roles (providing, working outside the home) while also expanding their involvement in traditional women’s roles (parenting, caretaking).

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How Starting My Own Business Helped Me Balance Work and Family

“Sharing Experiences” is a series of posts in which a variety of dads, all in different work-family situations, share their experiences. I hope this series can forward the important conversations we have here, and spark ideas we can apply to our own lives. 

Making the Career Change at 40

A guest post by Brian Shields

Our guest blogger, Bian Shields, recently became an entrepreneur to better balance work and family
Our guest blogger, Bian Shields, recently became an entrepreneur to better balance work and family

Last year was a big year for me. I finally made the leap, I started my own full-time business.

I actually tried this 1 year earlier, but things didn’t go so well.  After a few months, I was offered a good job with a solid company near my home.  So I took the job, only to leave 10 months later.

So Why Did I Leave the Corporate World?

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How To Buy More Time With Your Family

I realize this doesn’t apply to everyone (and is absolutely a first-world problem), but I suspect many of the busy career-oriented dads reading this blog have more money than time at their disposal. Luckily the one can be traded for the other- there are many ways to buy yourself time. This time can then be better spent on being a great dad than on housely tasks that sap your (and/or your wife’s) energy. Here are a few examples of things we can do to buy time. Your mileage may vary, and I’d love to get your ideas in the comments section.

If you can afford it, you can spend $ to free up more time to spend with the family
If you can afford it, you can spend $ to free up more time to spend with the family

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Fatherhood vs. Work Related Stress

This is a guest post written by Theron Bostic, and it originally appeared on his excellent blog Active Duty Dad. Theron is active-duty US military and an involved father of three.

Our guest bogger, Theron Bostic, runs the great Active Duty Dads bog and is one of America's heroes.
Our guest bogger, Theron Bostic, runs the great Active Duty Dad blog and is one of America’s heroes.

FWF is focused on helping fathers balance work and family, but I can’t imagine a tougher challenge to achieving this than being in our armed services. Between long deployments, forced moves, intense training, stressful work, a workplace culture of duty and an employer to whom one can’t legally say no- this is an enormous challenge. I salute Theron both for his service and for his efforts in balancing work and family. Theron’s blog offers a great perspective and reminds us that military dads sacrifice far more than most, and are true heroes.

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Being a Father Makes You Better at Your Job

A few years ago, I was in a big, fat stinking hurry for some thing that I am sure I thought was important at the time. Nick was just old enough to get his coat, hat, gloves and shoes on by himself, and I needed him to do so quickly or else we’d be late for the thing that was soooo super-important that now I can’t even remember what it was.

Thanks to Nick struggling to put on his winter coat, I learned a valuable lesson that helped me be a better father- and be more effective at work
Thanks to Nick struggling to put on his winter coat, I learned a valuable lesson that helped me be a better father- and be more effective at work

So, of course I see Nick presumably fooling around and taking his sweet time getting his jacket on. We’re running late. This thing is very important. We need to get going. So, I snap at him about his jacket.

He’s a great kid and I hardly ever raise my voice to him, so he is struck by my tone, and he sheepishly says that he can’t get his sleeve on. “Of course you can,” I bark at him as I start to shove his sleeve onto his arm. But his arm won’t go through- something was blocking the sleeve. That’s when I realized I had put his hat and gloves in his sleeve earlier that day.

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Fathers, Work and Family Issues in Super Bowl Ads: Expedia’s “Find Your Perspective” Ad

I love this commercial!

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7wo5/expedia-spinning-teacups
(sorry, I can’t embed video from this site, please follow the link)

The Disney teacup ride helped the dad in this great Expedia commercial think through his work-family priorities.

Expedia just started airing a fantastic ad, focusing on a father who was clearly struggling with work-family balance, and who (of course with the help of Expedia- it is an ad, after all) was able to have a moment of joy and clarity (on the Disney teacup ride) to help him realize his work-family priorities.

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What is Work-Family Balance, Anyway?

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name” – Confucius

After a vacation week at Disney, FWF blog is back for 2013
After a vacation week at Disney, FWF blog is back for 2013

Since starting this blog, I’ve been writing 2000 words a week on the general theme of work-family balance.  Before that, I published several academic journal articles and a dissertation about work-family balance (my cv here). You would think this would make the concept of work-family balance very clear to me. However, “balance” is exquisitely difficult to precisely define.

It is easier to define what work-family balance is not. I can confidently say it is not:

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