The Challenges and Opportunities of Fathers, Work and Family, All in One Awesome Graphic

Fathers are more involved than ever. Fathers continue to face intense work pressures, inflexible workplace expectations- and are now feeling increased work-family imbalance and stress. A fantastic graphic from the NYC Dads Group and What to Expect shows the challenges men face today. The graphic illustrates why I am so passionate about fathers’ work-family challenges and the work we all need to do.

Welcome Thursday with Thirdpath Callers!

The guys at NYC Dads Group do incredible work. They have over 700 members throughout New York City- dads helping dads through peer support, new dad boot camps, meet-ups, podcasts, a great blog, and- nearest and dearest to my heart- information and resources for dads all over the country to start and grow their own dads groups (although I would rebrand them as BEER FIRES!)

NYC Dads Group recently partnered up with What to Expect, did some research on factors affecting fathers today (using valid data sources like Boston College’s “New Dads” study, Pew Surveys, and the Families and Work Institute), and presented the issues in one stunningly brilliant infographic. Here it is:

Please click "read more" to see this entire great infographic
Please click “read more” to see this entire great infographic

(full picture after the jump)

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The Pew Research Report, Breadwinner Moms, Misleading Headlines and the Challenges of Dual-Income Households

The recent Pew Research Report focuses on “The Rise of Breadwinner Moms“. However, if you look beyond the headline into the data, the real take-away should be that the clear majority of households are “dual-earner/shared-care”– why don’t employers and our society realize this and start adapting for long-term success?

The Pew Study documents the frequency of different types of dual-income households
The Pew Study tracks the changes in household earnings over 50 years

The headline of the new Pew Study (released May 29th) is “Breadwinner Moms“- as their research shows that 40% of US households with kids either have a single mother as sole provider or have a dual-income arrangement in which the wife out-earns the husband (this caused the oldwhiteguys at FoxNews to wig out!)

Like most headlines, this is somewhat misleading. They only get to the 40% number by cobbling together the 11% never-married single mother households, the 14% single-mother-divorced households and the 15% of dual-parent households with female breadwinners. These are kinda three separate groups, no?

If you really dive into the data, what you find is that only 15% of two-parent families and 22.5% of dual-income families have the wife as the primary earner. While this is notable, and represents larger percentages than in the past, the fact is the vast, vast majority of families and dual-income families rely on the husbands for the larger share of the income.

The real take-away from the Pew Study should be that dual-income couples are the norm, and have been for some time.

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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.

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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.

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Fathers, Work and Family Spring Cleaning: My Non-Work-Family Writing

It is a BEAUTIFUL Spring day here in New York, a perfect day for Spring cleaning! Please indulge me as I air out some of my non work-family related writing for you this weekend.

I'm not just a work-family writer. Good Men Project has given me the opportunity to branch out
I’m no longer just a work-family writer. Good Men Project has given me the opportunity to branch out

One of the things I am very grateful for is the chance that the great online men’s magazine Good Men Project took on this humble unproven blogger. They have given me a forum to write about work-family issues to a wider audience, but have also pushed me to stretch my writing muscles and write on a few other topics- LOVE, HUMOR, and SPORTS.

I’d like to share some of these with you today. So with gratitude to editors Justin Cascio, Robert Duffer, Gint Aras (check out his excellent novel), Liam Day and publisher Lisa Hickey (read her incredible first-hand account of the Boston Marathon bombings, shrapnel and all), here are a few pieces.

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My Interview with “Daddy Blogger” on Work-Family Balance for Dads

Ricky Shetty of Daddy Blogger recently interviewed me for his blog and youtube channel. The interview is about 17 minutes long, and we cover a range of topics: General advice for dads The different joys and challenges kids of different ages present for dads Advice for new, first-time and expectant dads Enjoying your kids Light-saber … Read more

Taking A Break From Parenting Benefits Everyone (or, In Praise of “Me” Time For Dads)

X-2 hours a week of effective, involved parenting > X hours of distracted or stressed-out parenting

If we never get away, they’ll never get the chance to miss us. If we never put ourselves first, they’ll take for granted we’re always there. If we don’t put on our oxygen masks on first, we can’t help them with theirs.

Sometimes it has to be all about you
Sometimes it has to be all about you

When you criticize guys for playing golf and fantasy football, you are bound to get some brushback. I totally understand that, even if those articles were written more as humor pieces than serious dad advice.

If you’ve been following the blog, you may have seen my articles about “Time Sucks to Avoid.” Leisure time is crucial- but IMO, golf and fantasy football are two activities that take up too much time away from work or family relative to their psychological and social benefits. I recommended that dads find other outlets that don’t take up so much valuable time.

When the anti-golf piece was reprinted at the Good Men Project online men’s magazine, I was struck by an incredibly insightful comment:

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Expert Perspectives: The Dual-Career Mojo that Makes Couples Thrive

To make dual careers work, a couple needs to be on the same page regarding their career and life goals and how they will support each other in achieving them. Here are four strategies from Dr. Monique Valcour for developing and maintaining an effective dual-career partnership.

A consistent theme on this blog (see here, here, and here) is the need for couples to work together to set their priorities about their family life as well as their own individual work and life goals. Then, couples need to constantly communicate and support each other. No matter what arrangement couples decide on, the key is to see that the kids’ needs are met and the couple supports each other.

My friend and colleague Dr. Monique Valcour is a leading expert in work-life issues, and she was kind enough to let me repost an amazing piece she recently wrote on her blog at Harvard Business Review (I also highly recommend her twitter feed). Her article pulls together a lot of what I’ve written about and packs it into one amazing piece.

Friend and Work-Life Expert Monique Valcour has some great advice for dual-career couples
Friend and Work-Life Expert Monique Valcour has some great advice for dual-career couples

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