Is your family life in a rut? Read this article on striking balance becoming a better working dad then check out Beyond the Rut for more advice on making your own path.
by Guest Blogger Leslie Campos, Wellparents.com
Dads today are more involved than ever. They’re spending time with the kids, pitching in on household chores, and learning the joys of fatherly love. While a father’s role in the home is shifting, life outside of it hasn’t changed much. Men still feel immense pressure to provide and be financially successful. The result? Dads who feel like no matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to strike a balance between work and family.
Why dads should spend more time with their kids
Being a better working dad is about more than keeping food on the table. Children with involved fathers grow up with higher self-esteem, social skills, and academic readiness. These benefits last into the teenage years, leading to improved educational outcomes and fewer teen pregnancies.
What does it mean to be an involved father?
- Participate in parenting decisions.
- Enforce fair and consistent boundaries.
- Communicate with their children.
- Engage in childcare, education, and play.
- Attend games, recitals, and special events.
- Teach life skills and prepare children for the real world.
- Serve as a positive role model.
How to become a better working dad and make more time for your kids
That’s a tall order when you’re working full-time (or more). What’s a man to do when there aren’t enough hours in the day to earn a living, be a good dad, and take care of yourself?
Avoid artificial urgency
Do you really need to answer that email at 8 p.m. or take business calls at the dinner table? Firm boundaries around your workday prevent work from bleeding into family time.
Rework your work schedule
Flexible work makes it easier to attend parent-teacher conferences, drive kids to doctor appointments, and otherwise be an involved parent. Yet asking for flexible work arrangements feels stigmatizing for many men. There’s a longstanding expectation to commit to your career first and family second. Don’t fear being a trailblazer. You might be the first father in your company to request flex work, but you certainly won’t be the last.
Rethink your career
If you’ve tried these tips and aren’t getting anywhere, it may be time to consider a different career. Jobs in the tech sector consistently rank as the best for working dads thanks to high pay, low stress, and plenty of job flexibility. Not to mention, computer science is among the best degrees to earn online. Other highly-rated careers for family men include consultants, analysts, and actuaries.
Focus on quality over quantity
Even with a great job and an understanding boss, there are only so many hours in the day. Instead of wishing you had more time, focus on making the time you do have count. Turn off the TV and read a book, play a game, or learn something new together. Schedule one-on-one time with each child and give them your complete attention. Even inviting kids to join as you work on a project is an opportunity to connect.
How to make more time for yourself
Quality time doesn’t just fill your kids’ cup. It fills yours too. Involved fathers discover purpose and a stronger sense of self, along with an ample dose of oxytocin, when they connect with their kids.
Yet even the most dedicated dads need time to themselves. Recharging helps you stay present when it matters most. Self-care for working dads includes tending to physical needs like sleep and exercise, connecting with your spouse, and practicing mindfulness.
Me-time is hard for parents to come by. When sneaking in self-care while the kids sleep isn’t cutting it, find creative ways to involve kids in self-care. That may mean getting active as a family outdoors, cooking a healthy meal together, and giving kids age-appropriate responsibilities to lighten your own load.
Fatherhood is a juggling act, but if you’re constantly dropping balls, it’s a sign something needs to change. Whether that’s your work schedule, your employer, or your career itself, take the necessary steps today to be a better working dad tomorrow. It’s not easy getting ‘Beyond the Rut’ but it’s always worthwhile.
Leslie Campos hopes to provide relief and tips for other busy parents through her site Wellparents.com. Parents can find a variety of information from stress-busters to exercise ideas to healthy eating tips.
You may also like these Beyond the Rut episodes related to fatherhood.