How We Maintained Work-Family Balance During a Spike in Work Demands

About two months ago, I wrote about my wife’s new show, and how her work hours would spike for several weeks. I discussed our family’s plan for handling this time period, considering my work commitments and increased duties at home. The show is over, so now it’s time to see how we did, and what lessons we learned.

My wife's career as a stage actress has led to lots of cool experiences, funny costumes, and work-family juggling
My wife’s career as a stage actress has led to lots of cool experiences, funny costumes, and work-family juggling

(On Monday, I’ll be commenting on this week’s Pew Study’s findings on breadwinning moms and dual-career couples- SB)

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that my incredible wife Amy is a musical theater actress, and, depending on the project, her work schedule is often demanding, haphazard, inconvenient and inflexible.

About two months ago, Amy began work on an excellent new play, “The English Bride”. The play was very well-received (see this review!), so much so that it will run at the 59 E59 Theater off-Broadway, NYC in the Fall.

Read more

For Busy Dads, Reading (with our kids) is Fundamental

Reading with our kids is important for their development- and, with some creativity we can also use reading as a way to stay connected with our kids even when busy or when traveling for work. Here’s expert Chris Cottrell’s evidence and advice 

Guest blogger Chris Cottrell who founded a NFP to encourage reading as a way to strengthen the bond between dads and their kids
Guest blogger Chris Cottrell who founded a “Daddy Read A Book”, a NFP that encourages reading as a way to strengthen the bond between dads and their kids

I’m writing this post from the perspective of a son, looking back on great things my dad did. When I was very young, my dad had to be away from the family for almost nine months, practically a lifetime for me at that age. To help keep us connected during that time, he filmed himself reading my favorite children’s books out loud and gave me that video to watch while he was away. Reading out loud together became common at home and it is a very fond memory of my childhood.

Why Is Reading Out Loud So Important?

Reading aloud helps your children grow their imaginations, learn words and languages, think critically and succeed in school.

Here’s the evidence:

Read more

MLB Paternity Leave Update: Cleveland Indians Outfielder Nick Swisher

Cleveland Indians outfielder Nick Swisher and his wife welcomed their first child on Tuesday (and as Yahoo! Sports notes, knowing Swish’s fun-loving style, he’s probably REALLY REALLY REALLY excited). He returns from a three-day paternity leave tomorrow.

New dad, Indians OF Nick Swisher, returns from paternity leave today (he can hit a little, too!)
New dad, Indians OF Nick Swisher, returns from paternity leave tomorrow (he can hit a little, too!)

Read more

Workplace Flexibility and Flexible Careers: Expert Q&A with Jeremy Anderson of Flexjobs.com

Jeremy Anderson works fully from home for FlexJobs.com, a website that matches job seekers looking for telework opportunities with flexible employers. He was nice enough to talk with me about his career, the benefits of working from home, and the state of telework in the US.  

Jeremy Anderson is an expert on telework, and was nice enough to be interviewed for Fathers, Work and Family
Jeremy Anderson is an expert on telework, and was nice enough to be interviewed for Fathers, Work and Family

Can you briefly describe what FlexJobs.com does and how the company operates?

FlexJobs is a professional jobs service to help candidates find the best flexible jobs available, safely and easily. We find flexible jobs (jobs that offer telecommuting, flexible hours, flex schedules, FT, PT, freelance and contract), screen the jobs and companies, and then only post legitimate positions. FlexJobs itself is a purely virtual company. We have staff members from California to Colorado to Florida. We even have one FlexJobs staff member living in Germany!

So, seeing as you have an entirely virtual company with all work-from-homers distributed around the country, how does the company manage and coordinate itself?

Read more

Making Memes: Staying Connected To My Son While Away On Business Travel

Little things mean a lot. Here’s a small silly thing I did to stay connected with my son while away on business travel.

meme2
Making memes is a silly little thing Nick and I do together, so I made him some memes while I was away on business

Last week, Jason Swann wrote a guest post here with some great advice about staying connected with your kids while traveling for work. (see here for his fun blog)

After describing the rhythms of his household before and during his travel, Jason provided some great advice:

The point is, dads, we are missed. A lot. A WHOLE lot. I read on a post recently that a dad has four girls that make him feel like a member of the Beatles when he gets home. We’re all rock stars to our children, and we can take care of our “fans” by taking a bit of care with how we leave them for our work trips. It will pay dividends in the end to pay attention to how we deal with being gone, as our little ones are dealing with us being gone. So I’ve looked around the web, read, asked, cajoled, and uncovered to find what we can do when we have to be away. The list is organic, so use or don’t, add to or take away.

Read more

Huggies Have “Come A Long Way, Baby” in Depicting Fathers

In one year, Huggies’ advertising went from depicting dads as incompetent boobs to depicting them as capable involved parents. Here’s a brief analysis of how and why they made the change.

What a difference a year makes!

That was then:

ABC News' coverage of Huggies March 2012 ads that depicted dads as "hapless and hopeless in caring for their babies"
ABC News’ coverage of Huggies’ March 2012 ads that depicted dads as “hapless and hopeless in caring for their babies” (click on the picture to watch the piece)

Way back in the Stone Age of March 2012, Huggies ran some ads to show that their diapers could stand up to the “toughest test”- incompetent bumbling dads who don’t know the first thing about caring for kids or changing diapers- after all, they are too busy watching sports and being dumb to be competent. They also built a facebook campaign around getting women to test out Huggies with their incompetent husbands for 5 days and share their stories.

Read more

Happy Mothers Day!!!! (The Collective Mother’s Day Card from Dad Bloggers)

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is love their mother” – Theodore Hesburgh

This quote gave me the idea for a collective Mother’s day card from a great group of Dad Bloggers , of which I am proud to be a part, to the moms in our lives. So here are our collected mother’s day wishes:

Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful wife, Amy!!!
Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful wife, Amy!!!

Scott Behson. Fathers, Work and Family blog. www.fathersworkandfamily.com

You know how revved up Nick gets on nights you come home late and he gets out of bed, hides/jumps out to surprise you, runs around like a loony, and can’t get enough of cuddling and laughing with you? I feel that way too.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best wife and mom I could imagine. You have given me the gifts of true love, the amazing life we’re building together, and of fatherhood. I can never repay what you have given me. But I’ll spend every day trying.

Read more

Staying Connected with Your Kids When Traveling for Work

Traveling for work is often a necessary evil for busy working dads. Here’s one dad’s experience and advice for staying connected with family while on business trips.

Guest blogger, Jason Swann with his kids
Guest blogger Jason Swann with his kids

Staying Connected When Traveling for Work

A Guest Post by Jason Swann, who blogs as The Cheeky Daddy

It begins with dinner, moves to bath and jammy time, eases into books and stories, then ends with hugs and kisses. Simple, yes?

NO!

I’ve seen cowboys break a mustang before and THAT looked easier than building our homestead customs. People, our children have let us know that they need routine, stability, and for heaven’s sake, DON’T forget that story! It runs like clockwork and I say again, one tilt in the balance of our family ecosystem and we’re either up throughout the night with little ones, or it all ends in tears.

So when I announce that there’s a trip of any significant length coming up, the groans begin. First, The Wife expresses her reservations, then her fears, then her acceptance. Once the kids get wind of it, there’s even more complaint, but in the form of a sweet siren’s song of “daddy, don’t go.” Heart strings are pulled, emotions run high, and I begin to wonder if I might be able to support my family as a man of leisure. You know, a man’s man, or man about town. No? Bah,…worth a try. It still begs the question: How does our family get by when daddy has to travel?

Read more