Why Don’t More Men Walk The Talk on Work-Family?

When surveyed, dads overwhelmingly say that they would prefer to share childcare and housework relatively equally with their spouses, and would prefer to use flexibility and parental leave to better balance work and family. However, the data show that while men have made significant progress on both fronts, our actions do not match our intentions–leaving us more “locked into” work and less involved at home than we’d like.

I was lucky that my  career, "paternity leave" experience and family dynamics were conducive to my being a very involved dad.
I was lucky that my career, employer flexibility and family dynamics were conducive to my being a very involved dad.

There are a few reasons for this mismatch. While corporate cultures and lack of societal support are major problems, it is also true that we sometimes get in our own way. Here’s a quick rundown of the barriers today’s dads face, including some advice on how we may be able to change our situations (future posts will dive more deeply into each topic).

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Three Dads, Three Work-Life Balance Stories

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

I'm sharing some other dad's work-family stories today. I'll be back next week with news about/links to my recent media appearances.
Today, I’m sharing three work-family stories from some of my favorite writers. I’ll be back next week with news about/links to my recent media appearances.

“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:

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Another CEO Chooses Fatherhood: PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian

When PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian was confronted by his daughter with a list of milestones and important family events he missed, he reconsidered his life and career goals and decided to step down. Here’s his story, and why it represents another indicator that work-family balance is a dads’ issue, too.

Former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian prioritized family over career
Former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian prioritized family over career (creative commons: Flickr)

Hopefully, as companies give more attention to the importance of work-life balance, more and more people will be in a better position to decide and act more holistically on what’s important to them -Mohamed El-Erian

About a month ago, Max Schireson stepped down as CEO of booming internet database company MongoDB. CEOs step aside for a variety of reasons, but Schireson’s was noteworthy- he publicly declared his decision as one he made so he could be a more involved father, and he also used this opportunity to speak to the larger issue of the work-family challenges faced by dads. I reported on this story when it broke and also interviewed him for the Wall Street Journal about his reflections on the decision a few weeks afterwards.

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Leading By Example: EY’s CEO Mark Weinberger on Work and Family

At the recent White House Summit on Working Families, Ernst & Young’s CEO Mark Weinberger told an anecdote that, to me, represents our best hope that corporate leadership is finally recognizing the importance of work-family balance and will begin to sincerely address this issue.

EY's CEO Mark Weinberger (center) spoke about his personal work-family balance priorities at the White House Summit on Working Families
EY’s CEO Mark Weinberger (center) spoke about work-family balance at the White House Summit on Working Families

The White House Summit was a glitzy affair- The President, Vice President, the First Lady, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Robin Roberts and other bigwigs all spoke about the importance of supporting working families.

However, for me, one of the standouts of the Summit was the understated CEO of EY, Mark Weinberger. He spoke during the first panel discussion (along with Economist Claudia Goldin, entrepreneur Makini Howell, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, and moderator Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic) about how supporting family is also good for business.

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The Challenges Faced By Working Dads, All In One Awesome Infographic!

This infographic with statistics compiled by the White House for the Working Fathers Summit, makes a compelling case of the importance of working dads' issues. (click to see full graphic)
This infographic with statistics compiled by the White House for the Working Fathers Summit, makes a compelling case of the importance of working dads’ issues. (click to see full graphic)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Even moreso for this awesome infographic that the White House issued as a lead-up to the recent Summit on Working Fathers and Summit on Working Families (I am proud to be a participant in both of these efforts). To me, this graphic reinforces three important messages:

  1. To Working Dads– You are not alone. Many share the same challenges that you do.
  2. To Employers– Why you can and should be part of the solution, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is good business to do so
  3. To Everyone– This graphic makes it clear that working fathers’ concerns are really important for company and public policy. The fact that the White House and so many employers are giving them increased attention is a sure sign of progress.

See below for the full infographic (or click here):

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The Smartest Things I Heard at the White House Summit on Working Fathers

Programming note. Today, I am at the main event of the White House Summit on Working Families in DC. Obama, Biden and a host of bigwigs in government and business are here. I will report out to you soon.

Dads are the greatest untapped resources in the lives of American kids- Kyle Pruitt

We live in a “Modern Family” society, but our policies are stuck in “Leave It To Beaver” mentality- Thomas Perez

On June 9th, I was honored to participate in the first ever White House Summit on Working Fathers. It was an amazing event, with so much great information and so many inspiring speakers. Here’s a short compilation of the most memorable quotes and ideas I heard during the event.

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Welcome Bloomberg Radio Listeners and HBR Readers!

If you’re a dad who works, this is a good time to celebrate. Not only because it’s Fathers’ Day, but because caring about fathers and their needs is no longer a touchy-feely, Phil Donahue kind of thing. Businesses, researchers, the media, and all manner of celebrities have been throwing the spotlight on men who enjoy … Read more

Reflections on the NYC Regional White House Summit on Working Families: Recognizing the Importance of Supporting Fathers

Last week, I was a featured panelist at the NYC Regional White House Summit on Working Families. It was an amazing day filled with star power, inspiring speeches and a refreshing emphasis on the importance of supporting fatherhood. Here are some of my reflections on the day.

My panel at the NYC Regional White House Summit on Working Families
My panel at the NYC Regional White House Summit on Working Families

The concerns of fathers are sometimes under-represented in conversations about work and family. However, despite the fact that the Summit was organized by the Women’s Bureau of the US Department of Labor, I was very encouraged to see this was not the case- the concerns of fathers was front and center. Here are a few indicators:

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