Dads are typically known to be the sole person who brings home the bacon. In mainstream media, they are often portrayed as someone who has no idea how to care for a child but is extremely successful in their career.
However, modern parenting dynamics have shifted and the mainstream portrayal of Dads is far from reality. Dads are now reporting that they are more concerned about attaining work-life balance. A research made by Pew Research Center shows that 49% of dads feel that they don’t get enough time with their kids.
Modern-day dads are involved, hands-on, and can play an active role in taking care of their children. Just like mothers from decades ago, these Dads are finding out that juggling their work and home life can be frustrating, but rewarding when done right.
As a working Dad myself, I also find myself continually chasing that elusive balance between work and personal life. Here are six simple things I try to do to ensure that I don’t compromise my career goals, and still have enough time with my family.
- Plan ahead
I’m a serial planner. My partner knows this about me, and I try to plan out everything that I do even to the last bit. Planning means that you don’t want things falling through the cracks — schedule and block out time for family and work.
For instance, you can block out every other Fridays for date nights with your partner, every Thursday night for game nights, or no screen time in your home after 8 PM (that includes parents). Planning and scheduling is one part of the solution; the next part is securing and protecting your schedule.
- Have that difficult conversation
Finding balance will only be frustrating when you don’t know how you can help. Most Dads I know are eager to help inside the house but are clueless about how they can do it. If you’re someone like that then maybe you need to be talking to your partner on how you can help out and which tasks you would like to take charge of. Another difficult conversation you should be doing is with your boss, which brings me to my next tip.
- Work out flexible work options with your employer.
Let’s face it, traffic is horrible in the city, and some people spend more time in their commute more than they’d like to. When you’ve built enough credibility at work, have that conversation with your employer and ask for flexible work options. You’d be surprised to know what can happen when you just simply ask.
Just recently, the Telecommuting Act or the work-from-home law has been passed by Congress. This law empowers more employees to take control of their schedule and promote their welfare. While work-from-home may not apply to all industries, you can try and ask for other work options like a compressed work week, so you have longer off days.
- Eat meals together.
In our family, my partner and I make it a point to eat meals together, especially during dinners. According to research, children who participate in family dinners experience greater self-confidence, are more resilient, and puts them at a lower risk of developing depression later on in life.
Meals shared together increases the natural bond of the family, improves the quality of the parent-child relationship and leads to healthier food choices. Find a way to get home before dinner time and enjoy meals together as a family.
- Turn off work-mode when at home.
Needless to say, when you’re at home, your priority should always be how you can spend quality time with your kids and your partner. But, we’re all guilty of taking work out of the office and into our home which sometimes even extends to our mobile phone. I’m occasionally guilty of this, which is why I try my best to be more mindful of my phone use.
Turn off technology when you get home or if you really can’t turn off your phone, you can try removing unnecessary notifications and reserve phone alerts for emergency cases. Additionally, when you really need to bring work at home, try doing it when your kids are asleep or early in the morning. You’ve already spent over 8 hours outside your home, so when you get home, your focus should be your family.
Achieving work-life balance is challenging and requires constant practice. If you follow these five simple tips, you’ll surely be on your way to achieving that goal. You have to remember that fathers aren’t just there to provide for the family, but also to take an active and involved role in raising his children.