Three Types of Working Dads: Which Are You?

New research shows there are three types of working dads. Which are you?
New research shows there are three types of working dads. Which are you?

According to new research from Boston College’s Center for Work and Family, there are three types of working dads.

In this post, I’ll describe these three categories, how BCCWF developed them, and share some quick thoughts. I’ll even have a poll to see which category you fall into, and a request to share your story.

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Value Your Time

If you value your time, you are more likely to make choices consistent with your priorities.

If you value your time, you'll make the most out of it.
If you value your time, you’ll make the most out of it. (flickr/creative commons)

They say time is money. I think it is more accurate to say that time is value. But unlike most things of value, time is the one resource that we can never get back. Which means we should all be very judicious in choosing what we do with our time. If we do this, so much falls into place, and we can make choices that are consistent with our priorities.

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How to Turn Valentine’s Day Into 5 Date Nights

What's better than one Valentine's Day? Five!
What’s better than one Valentine’s Day? Five! (photo credit: Pixaby.com)

I’m a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I’m a romantic at heart, but I also think that Valentine’s Day is an important time to reinforce  the romantic side of our relationships. Between work, home and co-parenting, it’s deceptively easy to let romance slide. We can use Valentine’s Day to reconnect.

But, you know, Valentine’s Day is just one day. Is there a way we can leverage it to open up the opportunity for multiple date nights?

Yes there is. Here’s how:

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There Are 168 Hours in a Week: How Are You Using Yours?

A few weeks ago, Harvard Business Review Online published my latest article, “Relax, You Have 168 Hours This Week.” This is my eighth article for them (click here to see a list of them all), and one I am particularly proud of. In the piece, I use time management techniques to illustrate how we, as busy working parents can find enough time for career, family and life. Please click on the picture below or here to go to the full article, or see below for an excerpt.

Click here to read the full "168 Hours" article at HBR online
Click here to read the full “168 Hours” article at HBR online

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Catch These Moments While We Can (on the end of “Nicky, the Skunk and the Dinosaur”)

…but then it occurred to me that never again would he be seven years, one month, and six days old, so we had better catch these moments while we can. -Bill Bryson

I'll miss fun times like these while Nick is little...
I’ll miss fun times like these while Nick is little…

My wife Amy was recently in a play in which her character’s family was, after many years, selling their family farm. In one scene, she’s reflecting with her teenaged son about the memories they shared in the house, and she dreamily reminisces about the bedtime stories she had made up for him when he was a young boy. She ends this scene with the line, “I don’t remember the last time I told you one of those stories.”

On this day, as Nick enters fourth grade, I found this line particularly profound. My son is growing up, and there are lots of things I “used to do” with him that he’s now grown out of. But, just like Amy’s character, I don’t remember the last time I did those particular things with him.

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CEO Steps Down To Be A More Involved Dad

Yesterday, Max Schireson stepped down as CEO of MongoDB, a successful and growing software company, in order to be a more involved father. He used this opportunity to give voice to the work-family struggles of today’s fathers. Why his work-family role modeling is so important.

I hope that me telling this story in my position will help others feel more comfortable in making similar choices and help people in senior leadership roles be more public about it. – Max Schireson

Max Schireson downshifted from his CEO role to be more present with his family
Max Schireson downshifted from his CEO role to be more present with his family

In his own words:

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7 Things I Learned from Reading “Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte

Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time” by Brigid Schulte is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It examines why so many of us feel so stressed and time-pressured and, more importantly, what we can do about it. Here are seven lessons I took from “Overwhelmed.”

"Overwhelmed" by Brigid Schulte expertly examines our hurried and conflicted lives and provides hard-won advice for us all
“Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte expertly examines our hurried and conflicted lives and provides hard-won advice for us all

Disclaimer: Schulte is a friend of mine, and we were both participants at recent White House Summit events. However, this article represents only my honest opinion; I received no compensation (never have, never will)- not even a free book!

With that, here are seven personal lessons that can help us feel less overwhelmed (The book also contains an analysis on how US culture, public policy, gender norms and corporate culture all contribute to “the Overwhelm,” but for now, let’s focus on things we can control):

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Building Father-Child Memories That Last

If we want to be remembered as good dads, we have to both put in the hard work of being a good father and also carve out time for fun, memorable shared experiences with our kids. Here are some ideas on how to maximize the latter.

Star Wars is one of our family traditions
Star Wars is one of our family traditions

Flying in an airplane is much safer than covering the same distance riding in a car. Yet, most people are more afraid of flying than driving. One of the main reasons why is “Availability Bias,” in which things that are easier to call to mind (like the rare plane crash that is all over the news) are given greater weight than things that are less memorable (like the thousands of car crashes a day).

Most of the time, the availability bias is a problem that leads us to make faulty decisions regarding risk (at the beach, we may be more concerned with shark attacks than skin cancer; after watching Law & Order SVU, we vastly overestimate the incidence of child abduction, etc.). But we can also use this quirk of human memory to our advantage.

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The Best Way to Think About Work-Family Balance (Balanced Diet, Not a See-Saw)

The Benefits of Thinking About “Work-Family Balance” as a “Balanced Diet” instead of a “Balance Beam.”

Balance, as in a balanced diet... (photo: flickr, labeled for noncommercial reuse)
Balance, as in a balanced diet… (all photos: flickr, labeled for noncommercial reuse)

A balanced diet means that we eat enough of different types of food without eating too much of certain categories. Similarly, a full life means that we must tend to various parts of our lives (family, work, health, relationships, friends, hobbies, exercise, etc.), all of which are important parts of a whole.

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High Performance and Time for Family? Be Like Darrell Green*

Darrell Green was an all-time great football player. While his teammates and coaches worked killer hours, Green kept “normal hours” to be with his family. His coaches and teammates didn’t mind. Here’s what we can learn from Green’s story.

Darrell Green hugs his son, Jared, 13, during a ceremony before his last game in 2002. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Darrell Green hugs his son, Jared, 13, during a ceremony before his last game in 2002. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

“I just lived a normal life”

I was reading this interesting ESPN.com article about how pro football players transition back into family life after the season ends. One of the recurring patterns of these athletes is that they work such incredibly long hours during training camp, pre-season and the season, often living apart from their families, and then suddenly find themselves home. Encouragingly, most rededicate themselves to being involved fathers as a way to make up for lost time.

But one anecdote stuck out to me:

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Former MLB Player Gabe Kapler on Being a Good Father (and Not Taking PEDs)

With Spring Training in full swing, I want to highlight a baseball-related fatherhood story–how one MLB player chose being a role model to his kids over the temptation of using PEDs.

I figured that ultimately I would be in a position in which I’d be forced to impart one of two lessons: “don’t do it like dad” or “follow in my footsteps.” I chose the latter. – Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler at Fenway Park
Gabe Kapler’s decision to eschew PEDs was made, in part, based on his concerns about being a good father and role model to his children (Photo: Wikipedia, creative commons license)

Gabe Kapler was a major league baseball player for 12 years. He was never a star, but was a frontline player for several years before becoming a role-player. In a recent article at Baseball Prospectus, Kapler wrote a fantastic, nuanced article about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball and his decision to eschew them. In his own words:

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From Father to Son- Passing Along Life Lessons

I learned many life lessons from my father, and I sure hope I’m passing these along to my son.

Last week, the fun lifestyle website DailyPlatofCrazy.com ran a feature for articles about men looking back at their childhoods with their fathers. Please click on the screencap below for my contribution to the series. It’s about baseball, Star Wars, and the values I learned from my dad and am trying to model for Nick.

My contribution to the Fathers & Sons series at DailyPlateofCrazy.com
My contribution to the Fathers & Sons series at DailyPlateofCrazy.com

What memories do you have as a kid that you are now sharing with your kids? What lessons are you trying to impart? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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