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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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?