Women have long been shouting at the top of their lungs about the terrific burden they face trying to juggle the demands of raising children while excelling in the work force. Finding work-life balance is a huge problem for women. But since we have been at this game since after the second World War, we are experienced veterans.
Millennial men, on the other hand, are a new generation of super-pumped dads who really want to be engaged fathers -- unlike any generation before.
So they're relative newbies at the juggling act between home and work. Well, welcome to the party! (After all, misery loves company.)
As gender roles change and society inches towards greater equality, it seems fathers are the ones who are conflicted about how to have it all now.
In research reported earlier this year by the Boston Center for Work and Family, dads report the same or even more unhappiness than working moms about the conflict they experience between fulfilling their desires at both work and home.
Interestingly, the research broke out the types of millennial dads into three categories based on their own personal attitudes and behaviours with respect to gender equality.
Keep in mind that all dads were happier than their single counterparts, so kids do bring joy!
The happiest dads were the ones who fully believed in gender equality in the home and who share the responsibility of child rearing and domestic chores most equitable.
The second most happiest were dads who self identified as traditional. They believe men should work and women should care for the home and were happy living in this arrangement. Yup, they were happy, but the study didn’t score how happy their wives and kids were.
The faction of millennial dads who were the most torn apart and unhappy about their work-life balance were the dads who embraced gender equality and a desire to be more equitable in their participation in family life, but who were not living up to their own ideal.
So what can we do with this new information?
1. Celebrate progress. The happiest men and women have meaningful lives in some form in and out of the home. Gender equality is the right path, even if it’s slow.
2. Employers should address their male employees desire to “have time with family” as being their most important employment concern, only topped in significance by career growth and benefits.
3. Encourage dads to “lean in” to parenting and domesticity the way women have to lean in at the work place.
4. Invite women to make space and opportunities for dads to show up more in family life. Moms can be such powerful leaders in the family that they create a kind of glass ceiling for dads.
5. Continue to change the work culture for men. Progressive companies like Deloitte has “Deloitte Dads” as a workplace wellness group that addresses their unique challenges.
6. Petition for longer family leave and paternity leave.
7. Be sure stay-at-home dads feel included in mom or nanny groups instead of isolated.
8. Be cautious of your company's work culture that may send implicit messages of expectancy to work long hours, to work additionally from home and during personal hours.
9. Push for flexibility in hours to help assist in child-care duties. Men report an improvement from 2011 to 2016, so such requests have resulted in more companies being flexible. Keep paving the way!
10. Kiss a dad today. They don’t get enough appreciation, recognition, blogs, books, research, attention and support. (#guilty)