My colleague’s story illustrates the negative ripple effects that a non-supportive employer has, not just on working dads, but also on their spouses, kids, and their own bottom line.
The other day, I was chatting with a new colleague. She had just returned from the workforce after having opted out of her career due to family demands. Her two young children had health problems, meaning that she and her husband needed some family support from their employers- but never received it.
My employer, Fairleigh Dickinson University, runs a video series which highlights the research and professional work of selected faculty members. A short while ago, they asked if I would be part of their program and would discuss my work on work-family issues for fathers. I think the interview went very well, and it really captures my work here at Fathers Work and Family. Enjoy.
Here’s the video of my interview (about 5 minutes long):
Here’s a helpful tool that can help us discuss our work and family priorities and develop strategies to reach our goals.
A while ago, I gave a presentation at the Academy of Management conference as part of a panel symposium on new areas of work-family research and practice. One of my co-presenters was Trisha Harp, who skyped into the symposium as it took place just a few days before the due date of her baby (Baby has arrived, and mom, baby and family are all doing fine!).
This morning, the Today Show ran a segment on fathers’ work-family issues. Along with other recent major media attention (Esquire, BusinessWeek), this high-profile segment is just another indication that society may be starting to grapple with these issues in a serious way. Yay!
The Today Show’s Matt Lauer Discusses Work-Family Balance for Dads
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?
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.
Our job as fathers is to equip our children to have productive, happy and meaningful lives. In my opinion, the best way to do so is by role-modeling the values, priorities and actions to which we hope they will aspire.
One day, I hope Nick will get married, and I want him to value not just his own career, but also the career of his life partner. This is not a lesson that is taught effectively through words. I hope that, by seeing how supportive I am of my wife Amy (and she is of me), he will seek out a supportive spouse and that he will value his spouse’s career as much as his own.
First off, if you haven’t already, please read Part 1, which I posted on Monday. This article picks up where that one left off.