Almost 50% of working dads say that it’s hard to find the right balance between their job and family life. In the same study from Pew Research Center, 48% of working dads said that they don’t spend enough time with their kids compared to 23% of working moms who feel the same way.
In the study, “The New Dad: A Work (and life) in Progress” conducted by the Boston College, it reported that 86% of dads agreed or strongly agreed that their children are their number one priority. This resolve adds to the tension that most fathers experience of wanting to be with their families more while making sure that they don’t neglect the providing part.
Dads, we hear your silent pleas behind those unwrinkled, pristine long sleeves. We know you want to be with your family as much as you can. To help you with that, here are some work-life balance tips for you!
1. Guard family time fiercely
Block off your schedule. Be intentional with after-work and weekend activities with your family. Try not to use your gadgets during family bonding time, whether it’s a dinner date with your wife or movie marathon with your kids. Spending leisure time with them increases the emotional bond within your family. Investing time with them has a positive effect on your child’s behavior, academics, and overall growth. Never undermine the impact you’re making as a father!
2. Negotiate a flexible schedule
Today’s global workforce is more dynamic than ever with technology providing the means for anyone to work remotely. Ask your boss if there are certain days when you can work from home. Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of Flexjobs.com, suggested that working dads can consider finding an employer who will be amenable to a flexible schedule.
3. Evaluate your current and future career goals
Your fast-paced career may have worked well during your single years but can cause problems now that you have a family. If there’s another career opportunity that can help you achieve more work-life balance then discuss this with your wife and see if you’re on the same page.
Weigh the pros and cons as this decision could possibly involve salary cutbacks, job title concerns, and other significant changes. Other dads have found a healthy compromise by slowing down, turning down career opportunities and promotions just so they can spend more time with their family.
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4. Consume those leaves
Even if unused leaves can be convertible to cash, choose to use your leaves. Spending time with your family is an investment that yields huge returns both for you and your children. Scott Behson, a professor in Farleigh Dickinson University, said that fathers deserve to experience paternity leaves – which is not the law here, but your leaves can make up for it. Dr. Jennifer Baxter, Senior Research Fellow from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, said that children of fathers who take long leaves after they’re born result in better cognitive development.
5. Hang out with your friends
Connect with your buddies for game night or any leisure activity you like to do. It’s important for dads to hang out with fellow dads. Think of it as having a cool version of a support group. Sometimes just sharing a good laugh or parenting experiences with other fathers can take the load off your shoulders.
6. Make time for what you enjoy
Hobbies can relieve your stress and tension. Doing something you love gives you an outlet and a reservoir at the same time. It fills you up with renewed vigor while flushing out unnecessary stress. They say that you can’t give what you don’t have. If your hobby refuels you, do it regularly. This in turn will give you the energy and enthusiasm to bond with your family!
So take some time off, dads! As much as you want to provide a great life for your family we also want you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Work-life balance is a journey not a destination. There are good days and bad ones. Know that your family will always be there to support you in every decision you make.
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