My favorite part of writing The Working Dad’s Survival Guidewas speaking with a wide variety of dads about their lives, and then sharing their work-family stories.
Today, I’d like to share some of the excellent work of my fellow dad bloggers who recently wrote about how work-family balance plays out in their lives. These writers demonstrate that we all share the challenge of career success and involved fatherhood. Enjoy this round-up:
“Be present. Enjoy your life. Enjoy the time you have with those you love. Every day is a gift.”
I never met Oren Miller, but I consider him a friend. When I started blogging, Oren stumbled upon me on the internet and invited me to join a new Facebook group he created for dad bloggers.
This group has become an important part of my life. I often describe Dad Bloggers as one third frat house, one third writing seminar, and one third safe haven for peer support. I am a better writer and have a fuller life both online and in real life thanks to this group.
Believe it or not, I’m not the only one writing about fathers’ work-family concerns. Today, I’d like to share three really smart and well-written first-person accounts of work-family struggles by some of my fellow dad bloggers. Enjoy
“The Third Row” by Larry Bernstein, “Daddy Lives Work” by Aaron Yavelberg, and “Dads Don’t Want to Leave Home Either” by Alan Kerchinik. See below:
Absolutely, hands down, the best part of telecommuting is the freedom. I can come to work in whatever I want, work whenever I want (mostly), play whatever music I want, you get the drift. However, for many, the freedom can be a killer when it comes to productivity.
One of my goals in starting this blog was to build a community of busy, involved working dads who could share their experiences, insights, challenges and triumphs. In this way, we’d know that we are not alone in our work-family juggles, and that we could be sources of emotional and tangible support for each other.
I can’t tell you how many people have asked me that recently. I know they probably don’t mean anything by it and I’m certain they gave very little thought to their words, but it still irks me something fierce. Because if you’ve ever done it, you’d know that paternity leave is most assuredly NOT a vacation.
I took two weeks of paternity leave after Sam was born. Luckily for me, they were two PAID weeks. I’m one of the fortunate few who works for a company that actually offers new dads two weeks of fully paid paternity leave. But even if my company didn’t offer the two weeks, I would’ve taken time anyway — either via vacation time or unpaid FMLA. Because I think it’s very important — hell, I’ll go so far as to say it should be mandatory — for both moms and dads to be home with the baby in the weeks following birth.
Mainly because those weeks are 1) really important and 2) really f^%&ing difficult.
The use of paternity leave is still rare in the US, as taking time off work for family reasons is still frowned upon by many workplaces. Here is the story of one father from the UK, where fathers are legally entitled to a two-week paternity leave, who wrote about his experiences during leave and when he returned to work.
A guest post by Jonathan Ervine. This article originally appeared at his great blog “Dads the way I like it” (uh-huh uh-huh I like it)
Here are three thoughts based on my own experiences of paternity leave:
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.
What one stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) and his family are doing to create a better long-term work-family balance, with all the trade-offs and sacrifices this entails.
A few months ago, Oren Miller wrote the following on his excellent blog, A Father and a Blogger. He was nice enough to let me repost it here, and even provided a short follow up to the article. He’s a great writer, and a good fellow-dad-blogger friend. Enjoy:
Escaping the Middle-Class Parenting Trap
Our family is going through some difficult changes now.
To escape our ironic lifestyle, to be able to see her kids more than a tired hour per day, my wife has found a new job. This job will allow her to work from home a lot, which is the good part. The bad part is that there will probably be a lot of travel, too. And the worst part is that now, because it’s a new job, she must leave home and travel to the end of the world (Seattle), and stay there for a couple of weeks (then return to Baltimore for a week, then again to Seattle for even longer).
It’s not going to be easy for me, it’s not going to be easy for the kids, and it’s definitely not going to be easy for my wife, who will have to settle for Skype to see her kids.
How one man found purpose and better work-life balance when he discovered the importance of charitable giving. Here’s how we can make charity part of our work and our lives.
Sharing Experiences is a series of articles written by dads about their work-life experiences. These are shared in the hopes of generating conversation, sparking ideas, and letting dads know they are not alone in their work-family struggles. For more of these stories, click on the category link on the right-hand side of your screen.
A guest post by Noble McIntyre
Why Charitable Giving is Important
As we mature and develop our careers, the one resource we never seem to have enough of is time. As a personal injury attorney with a wife and three daughters, my days are frequently packed. Between commuting, handling clients, and attending my daughters’ various extracurricular activities, I have just enough time for my work and often just enough for my family — with very little left over.
A few years ago, I began to feel something was missing. My line of work frequently puts me in a position to help people who are injured and suffering, but taking law cases is not the same as giving selflessly to others. But with my work and family life already occupying so much of my time, how could I make more room for charitable giving? Organizing (or even attending) charity events would take time I simply didn’t have.
It begins with dinner, moves to bath and jammy time, eases into books and stories, then ends with hugs and kisses. Simple, yes?
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?
Carter Gaddis had his (and every baseball fan’s) dream job as the beat reporter for the Tampa Bay Rays. He gave it up to be a more present father. Here’s his story.
“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.