What’s a Working Dad to Do? (republished from HBR Blog)

On Wednesday August 21st, I published my first article at the Harvard Business Review Blog. The response to the piece has been great, and for quite a while it was one of the most read pieces at their site!

A screenshot of my HBR Blog article
A screenshot of my HBR Blog article

For those who haven’t seen the article yet, here’s the beginning, plus a link to the full article:

I was on a radio show last Father’s Day to discuss the struggles men face in trying to balance work and family demands.

During the interview, the co-host, John, told a quick anecdote about a run-in he had when he was a rising corporate lawyer at a prestigious NYC firm. He was divorced and his ex-wife and his kids lived in London, so he flew there to see his kids every other weekend. After two monster weeks of work, he was heading out of the office to go to JFK one late Thursday afternoon when a more senior partner confronted him. “Where are you going?”

John explained that he’d bulked up the past two weeks to finish his work for his very satisfied client and that he was catching his flight to Heathrow to see his kids. The partner angrily responded, “Bullshit. You see your kids more than I do, and I live with mine. Besides I need you here tonight — and over the weekend.” John pushed back and caught his flight, but shortly thereafter decided to give up his career as a lawyer. Life was just too short.

This is an extreme example, but many working fathers face similar pressures to conform to a traditional gender role that insists they be “all in” for work, regardless of achievement level and regardless of family responsibilities. And this is the case despite the facts that:

  • Dual-income, shared-care families are far more the norm than families with a single-earner and an at-home spouse.

  • Today’s fathers spend three times as much time with their children and twice as much time on housework than dads did a generation ago, and

  • Men aspire to be even more involved in their families than they are.

To read the rest, click here.

A a Cornelliam, I HATE Harvard Hockey, but I love the HBR Blog Network!
A a Cornelliam, I HATE Harvard Hockey, but I love the HBR Blog Network!

What do you think about work-family issues for dads? “Flexibility stigma”? What men can do to help lead the change? Let’s discuss in the comments section (or head over to the HBR article’s comments section!)

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