Work-Life Balance is Just as Hard for Dads

Over the past 40 years, there has been a steady increase in the number of women participating in the workforce in North America. In response to the demographic change, work-life balance has typically been viewed through a female lens. But Cameron Phillips, founder and president of Bettermen Solutions, firmly believes that companies must consider fathers in the work-life balance equation. Presently, most HR policies for parents speak to “mommy overload.” However, as revealed in the 2011 Family and Work Institute study, The New Male Mystique, in dual-income families more men than women are struggling to meet expectations both at home and in the workplace. Worklife conflict leaves men more susceptible to burnout. Moreover, when men are unable to pull their weight at home, their wives’ careers suffer. Phillips asserts that there will not be true equality in the workplace until we recognize that work-life balance issues affect both men and women.

A 2010 study by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood Within a Career Context, found that each of the 33 men interviewed would like flexibility after having a child but post-child expectations did not take into account their new status as a parent of a newborn. Phillips states that because men are viewed as workers first and fathers second, there exists tension between a father’s responsibilities to his family and the workplace, a spouse’s expectations and what he can deliver, and his own career aspirations and being an ideal parent. He continues, “Until we create a workplace where a man can take the daddy track without being stigmatized, the glass ceiling [for women] will never be smashed.”

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