A Blog Dedicated to Supporting Work-Family Balance for Fathers. By Scott Behson, PhD
Scott Behson is a Professor of Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a busy involved dad, an author, blogger, advocate, speaker and consultant. He wrote the best-selling book, The Working Dad's Survival Guide, and runs the www.FathersWorkandFamily.com blog dedicated to helping fathers better balance work and family and encouraging more supportive workplaces. He lives in Nyack, NY with his lovely wife, Amy, and awesome son, Nick. His work has appeared in Time, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post and much more, and he has spoken on work-family issues at the White House and the UN, as well as on MSNBC, NPR, Fox News, CBS and Bloomberg radio. Contact him @ScottBehson on twitter or Behson@fdu.edu.
How a conversation about my son’s favorite singer- Elvis Presley- helped me teach him a valuable lesson about drugs (and honest communication, and rock and roll…)
Resisting Pop Culture
In general I resist pop culture as it pushes our kids to grow up too damned fast. I do my best to shield my 8 year old, Nick, from the coarsening effects of pop culture, and I suspect you do as well. But it is really hard to do.
Paul Mifsud, Senior Counsel, Labor Relations for Major League Baseball was nice enough to speak with me about their paternity leave policy. One of Paul’s primary responsibilities is working with teams and the players on rules changes within the game of baseball, ranging from drug programs to instant replay to paternity leave. He’s also a busy working father of three. I greatly appreciate his time.
For the past few months, I’ve been reporting on players who use Major League Baseball’s Paternity Leave Policy and have repeatedly praised MLB for their high-profile support of working dads. Could you summarize Major League Baseball’s paternity leave policy?
Prior to the 2011 season, when Major League Baseball first implemented the Paternity List, most Clubs allowed players several days of paid leave upon the birth and adoption of a child, but were required to play short when the player was absent. The establishment of the Paternity List enables Clubs to replace players who are granted leave for a maximum of three days, while continuing to pay the players and maintain a full roster of active players during the leave period.
How do you explain to a 5 year old boy that you can’t afford what his friends have because you’ve prioritized family time over financial rewards? Here’s one dad’s story. This is a guest post by Aaron Gouveia that originally appeared at his blog,DaddyFiles.com on July 8th, 2013.
What good is a fancy car if you only drive it to the office and back? What’s the point of buying your kids all the best toys if you’re not there to play along with them? And what good is that huge house if you’re never home to dance with your wife in the kitchen or chase the kids around that gargantuan playroom?
“Dad, are we poor?”
The question itself doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s an honest and insightful question that comes from a place of innocence and genuine curiosity often inhabited by 5-year-olds. It was the anxiety-riddled expression he wore on his face, and the hint of fear buried just below the inflection in his voice that did me in.
Many corporate cultures make it hard for dads to balance work and family. Let’s not compound the problem by also trapping ourselves. Here are 4 ways to avoid exacerbating our work-family struggles.
A Harvard Debate
I recently wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review Blog Network*. In it, I discuss men’s flexibility stigma– that is, men who make use of workplace flexibility for family reasons often face negative perceptions and tangible repercussions, even moreso than women.
I then call for working dads who have job security and credibility to start to chip away at rigid company cultures so that it becomes more normal to talk about fathers’ work-family issues. This is a first step, I believe, in a long-term process of making more employers more amenable to work-family concerns.
Overall, the article was very well-received- tons of shares, tweets and comments, almost all of which were complimentary. Many said the piece resonated with them and thanked me for raising this important but under-publicized issue. But there was some debate as well. One commenter:
You’re serious about spending 20 hours a week on a non-work, non-family activity that causes stress and borderline psychotic behavior? Just say NO! With football season fast approaching, it’s time to revisit the dangers of “The Fantasy Football Time Suck”
Time Suck– (n) Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children. (from UrbanDictionary.com)
Sharpening the Saw
The greatest challenge we face in being both a good provider an a present father is that there never seems to be enough time in a day. Our jobs and careers demand our time; our kids need a lot of us, too.
It is also hard to find the energy necessary to be a great dad. Stress and time demands rob us of energy and prevent us from being relaxed and present.
Job-seeking parents need to consider more than just pay and advancement opportunities when considering career opportunities. Here are 4 less obvious factors to keep in mind.
When considering a potential job offer, we are often acutely aware of such factors as pay, opportunities for advancement and benefits like health insurance. These are important, but sometimes the less-obvious features of a job/employer can be the difference between a difficult situation and a job situation that suits you and your family.
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Most of us don’t want to opt-out of a rewarding, successful career. Most of us don’t want to opt-out of being a present, involved parent. Hopefully our generation can find a more balanced, integrated path.
The NYTimes Sunday Magazine’s fascinating cover story, “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In” by Judith Warner, paints a complex picture of the dynamics of work and family. While it focuses on high-earning women who gave up their careers to be stay-at-home moms, it has very interesting things to say about how men’s and women’s progress towards work-family balance are inextricably tied.
Minnesota Twins superstar catcher Joe Mauer is among the latest ballplayers to avail themselves of Major League Baseball’s paternity leave policy- the first of its kind in major US sports. Congrats to the Mauers on their twins, and kudos to MLB for sending an important signal about the importance of fatherhood.
(Thursday July 25, 2013) In Minnesota there’s a different Royal Baby watch going on. Joe Mauer was a last-minute scratch from last night’s lineup, leaving the Twins in California and flying back home to Minnesota because his wife went into labor with twins.