Gone are the days when fathers were expected to take the backseat in managing the household and raising children. Family culture has progressed significantly in modern times. More women have joined the labor force, and dads are increasingly responsible for domestic duties. With the pressure to uphold a great home life while also putting food on the table, these modern-day dads definitely have their plates full. How, then, is it possible for them to maintain a healthy balance between work and fatherhood?
The first rule of thumb is to know how to compromise. Recent studies show that 50 percent of working dads are challenged by balancing their responsibilities at home and at their workplace. It is indeed difficult to reach higher positions in the workforce while still finding time to care for the children. This is especially true for fathers working in corporate settings. Time management is key for being more involved in the child’s life. For instance, fathers can allot days for picking up their children after work and days for overtime. If necessary, some dads may have to sacrifice work hours to attend to their children and their household.
For some dads, making sacrifices for their children goes beyond reducing work hours. For dads who work a 9-5 job, it may be necessary to make big changes in order to be present for their children’s formative stages. Taking paternity leave or working from home are viable options for those privileged enough to make such choices. There is no shame in making use of company benefits if need be.
Education never gets old! Even as a working father, continuously learning and growing as a parent is essential to a child’s wellbeing. It is important to understand that being a modern-day father is a huge cultural shift. With that in mind, dads must reframe their mindsets and rethink passed-on beliefs about traditional fatherhood. Rather than spending 2 hours a week taking care of the children, as was the norm in the past, a balanced parent must find a way to be hands-on. Imparting brief moments of wisdom and life lessons over a quick meal is no longer the gold standard of fatherhood. Engaging in conversation with other dads is a good way to explore different techniques in areas such as discipline, school, and scheduling.
Avoid taking work home. Most parents take being in the moment for granted. When you arrive home, forgo distractions like social media and texting! There are times when this can’t be avoided, but neglecting your children can damage their self-esteem. Do you want to sit back and unwind to a Netflix show? It takes very little effort to find a movie that you and your children can enjoy together over pizza! Home early for the weekend? Have your child accompany you on a jog, or take out some board games! Simple initiatives go a long way when building a strong father-child relationship.
Lastly, set limits! Fathers may be tempted to give in to their children at all times. It does not make you any less of a father to say no occasionally. Is your child taking part in too many sports and going out to parties despite struggling with academics? It may be necessary to talk with your child about compromises and rules. Is your daughter asking for a cellphone that is a little above your spending budget? Explain to her the value of money and instill values like hard work in the household. In this aspect of fatherhood, communication is essential!
Throughout this balancing act, working fathers might occasionally feel burned out or anxious. Trying to succeed in the workforce while raising children can cause a great deal of stress due to expectations and obligations. As a result, fathers may constantly be “on edge” or even develop mental issues in severe cases. It is therefore also a must for these fathers to allocate enough time for themselves. Fathers are human beings too, and they have individual needs! With this in mind, it is important to find time for rest and leisure. Exercising and investing in hobbies are necessary for keeping dads in great shape mentally, emotionally, and physically. Taking a hike or a vacation every now and then should be uplifting as well!
Balancing a career and fatherhood is a challenging yet rewarding journey! In this modern age, fathers must work hard and stay strong in order to be successful in these important aspects of their lives. It is therefore necessary for them to adjust, educate themselves, and find time for their children. Moreover, they must also enforce boundaries and safeguard their personal health. Though it seems like an impossible task, there is no challenge that cannot be overcome with a positive and diligent mindset!