It’s Not Just Moms — Working Dads Struggle with Work-Life Balance Too

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My solution as a working parent has been to clone myself.

The only way to achieve true work-life balance is to have one me to focus on my career and another me to attend fully to raising my growing toddler.

But wait — cloning’s not actually a thing, so scratch that. I guess I’ll just resign myself among the ranks of working parents who are trying to sort that work-life balance thing out.

And it’s not just working moms who battle with this. Working dads experience a similar struggle just as well.

Dads Want Work-Life Balance Too

Boston College’s Center for Work and Family recently released a study titled “The New Dad: The Career-Caregiving Conflict.” Researchers collected responses from more than 850 fathers and found more than two-thirds wished they were an equal parenting partner but less than one-third actually felt like they were achieving that.

“It was clear from our research that many of today’s fathers are indeed caring and committed to their roles in the workplace and at home, but are also highly conflicted,” the report said. “They want to climb the corporate ladder but at the same time want to spend more time with their children.”

Only 32% of those studied were traditional fathers, in the sense that they expected the mother to play the dominant caregiver role. But even amongst the men in that group, 75% of them responded they would like more time with their children.

Conflicted dads who wish they were more of a hands-on parent felt the least on-the-job satisfaction when compared with traditional fathers or egalitarian fathers (defined as those who took on an equal parenting role with their spouse).

Interestingly enough, men who spent more time with their children reported lower income levels. Traditional fathers took home more income (between $130K and $150K) compared to conflicted dads (between $100K and $120K) and egalitarian dads (between $70K and $90K).

Steps In the Right Direction

Researchers from “The New Dad” study suggested the following could help working fathers better achieve work-life balance.

  1. Engage in Dads’ Groups: City Dads Groups helps fathers connect with each other via meetups scheduled all throughout the country. “The New Dad” researchers said talking with other dads allows fathers to share common struggles and come up with solutions.
  1. Consider Flexible Work Options: Flexible work can allow fathers the opportunity to attend to their parenting commitments. Keep an eye on The Penny Hoarder’s Make Money section for information on companies hiring remote workers or side gigs where you can create your own schedule. Like The Penny Hoarder Jobs on Facebook to stay in the loop.
  1. Take Advantage of Parental Leave: New dads may not be taking the same amount of time off as new moms, but that bonding time is crucial. This post explains why paternity leave is important, and this one lists 13 companies that offer paid leave for dads.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is waiting to be cloned.

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