Expert Perspectives: The Truth About Fathers from the Founders of the NYC Dads’ Group

The founders of the NYC Dads’ Group reflect on what they’ve learned from their members. Powerful stuff.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I am a huge fan of the NYC Dads’ Group, a network of about 900 dads in and around NYC. The group hosts “new dad boot camps” and frequent social activities- providing many opportunities for dads to support and learn from each other.

Founders Matt Scheider and Lance Sommerfield recently wrote a great piece in NY Parent magazine reflecting on five things they learned about dads through their involvement with the group. Click on the picture below for the full story.

A screencap of Matt Schneider and Lance Sommerfield's article in NY Family magazine
A screencap of Matt Schneider and Lance Sommerfield’s article in NY Family magazine

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Welcome NPR “Radio Times” Listeners

I hope you enjoyed Radio Times today. I know I did.

Nick and I welcome you to Fathers, Work and Family
Nick and I welcome you to Fathers, Work and Family

For those of you who are visiting Fathers, Work and Family for the first time, feel free to have a look around. More information of paternity leave here, a link to my “Greatest Hits” here, links to my work at HBR, Good Men Project and HuffPo up at the top of the page, category listings along the right-hand side, and of course, buttons you can use to follow Fathers, Work and Family via email, twitter or Facebook.

Here’s the audio:

Welcome! I hope you find this blog to be a valuable resource and that you come back soon.

 

Old Dads, New Dads and Super Dads: Which Are You?

Sociologist Gayle Kaufman recently wrote a great book examining the lives of men balancing work and family, and describes three general categories of dads- Old Dads, New Dads and Super Dads. Here’s a discussion of each. Which are you?

"Superdads" by Gayle Kaufman
“Superdads” by Gayle Kaufman

Superdads: How Fathers Balance Work and Family in the 21st Century,” by Gayle Kaufman, is an excellent sociological study of the changing nature of fatherhood. The book is based on extensive interviews with a wide range of fathers–about their lives, relationships, parenting styles and work-family concerns. Kaufman finds that today’s generation of dads is more involved and more conscious of work-family demands and tradeoffs. In her analysis, Kaufman sees today’s dad as falling into one of three broad categories:

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A Fatherhood Lesson from Sam and Frodo

What can a Hobbit teach us about fatherhood? Here’s a quick lesson from my son’s favorite movie- The Lord of the Rings.

“I can’t carry it for you, Mr. Frodo. But I can carry you”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_NmCh42hZM&w=420&h=315]

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Workplace Flexibility: The Key to Work-Family Balance?

Workplace flexibility is a key for working parents trying to balance work and family. Here are some questions that can help us assess the flexibility we have at work, and some ideas about how to leverage them.

a screencap of my recent HBR article
A screencap of my recent HBR article aimed at supervisors. What are its implications for us working dads? Keep reading to find out!

Last week, I wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review blog in which I advised well-intentioned supervisors on how to be more “family-friendly” while upholding performance standards. My advice was:

  1. Focus on What, Not How or When

  2. Get Better at Measuring Performance

  3. Delegate, Coach, and Let Your People Earn Trust

  4. Serve as a Work-Family Balance Role Model

The common thread for the first three items is allowing employees more flexibility in how, where and when they perform their jobs, while still maintaining high standards for what. Overall, I think it is sound advice for managers, and the piece was very well-received.

However, I largely write this blog to help my fellow working dads navigate work and family issues. So, what are the implications of this article for the working father?

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My Latest at GMP: “How Drivel Like Hanna Rosin’s ‘Men Are Obsolete’ Harms Both Men and Women

Like most societal challenges, the effort to promote work-family balance will only succeed when both men and women work together. A recent article in Time.com sets progress back by denigrating men as obsolete. Here’s my recent article at Good Men Project in which I explain why such unserious journalism undermines what should be a dual-gender effort for more equality, opportunity and choice for all (please click on the picture for the full article).

A screencap of my recent Good Men Project article refuting Hanna Rosin's absurd claim that "Men Are Obsolete"
A screencap of my recent Good Men Project article refuting Hanna Rosin’s absurd claim that “Men Are Obsolete”

What do you think about arguments like “The End of Men”? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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Expert Perspectives: Erin Rehel on Fatherhood, Masculinity and Paternity Leave

Sociologist Erin Rehel conducted a fascinating research study on paternity leave and changing perceptions of masculinity. Here’s a Q&A with Dr. Rehel about her research and its implications for working dads.

Dr. Erin Rehel recently conducted a fascinating study about fatherhood, paternity leave and masculinity
Dr. Erin Rehel recently conducted a fascinating study about fatherhood, paternity leave and masculinity
  •  Tell us a bit about your study

My research examines the connection between fatherhood, work, social policy, and shifting ideals of masculinity in the United States and Canada. I conducted 85 interviews with fathers and their partners. I find that fathers today draw think differently about masculinity and fatherhood, but there are societal and workplace barriers that force many dads to fall back into less involved parenting roles.

In this particular study, “When Dad Stays Home Too: Paternity Leave, Gender, and Parenting,” (forthcoming in Gender & Society), I argue that when fathers experience the transition to parenthood in ways similar to mothers, through formal or informal paternity leave, they come to think about and do parenting in ways that are similar to mothers.

Paternity leave provides the space necessary for fathers to develop the parenting skills and sense of responsibility that allows them to be active co-parents rather than helpers to their female partners. This shift from a manager-helper dynamic to that of co-parenting creates opportunities for a more gender-equitable division of labor.

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