How Working Dads Can Support Working Moms To Build A Closer, Stronger Family

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How Working Dads Can Support Working Moms To Build A Closer, Stronger Family

How Working Dads Can Support Working Moms

“If you think being a mom is a full-time job, try being a working mom.”

Family life can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. However, with the changing times, the roles fathers and mothers play in the family have changed drastically.

With the growing number of mothers becoming a crucial part of the U.S. workforce, both parents now need to care for their families while working full-time jobs.

However, at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, mothers seem to be doing most of the heavy loading when it comes to taking care of the family.

Being a mother, that too with a full-time job is never easy. It never was. Being a responsible mother, a doting wife and a dedicated employee can be exceptionally challenging, to say the least.

Perhaps this is why working dads need to step us and make sure their working spouse is not doing all the heavy lifting by themselves.

It is only by supporting your working spouse reach their full potential in their career and helping them build a happy family, can a working father show how much he truly cares for his family.

Helping working mothers

“A wife is a gift bestowed upon man to reconcile him to the loss of paradise.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers due to childcare.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

Read 6 Signs To Look For In Your Relationship To Know If It Is Truly Genuine

An issue of work culture

“Behind every working woman is an enormous pile of unwashed laundry.” – Barbara Dale

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

A need for focusing on inequity

“Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you.” – Walter Winchell

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving the untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Read When Your Spouse Is Also Your Coworker – The Ups and The Downs

5 Ways to help your working wife

“The man who loves his wife above all else on earth gains the freedom and power to pursue other noble, but lesser, loves.”- David Jeremiah

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

Read 4 Ways Parents Can Balance Couple Time and Family Time

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

Open up about responsibilities

“Nothing is respectfully amazing than a man who finds no shame to tell the world how grateful he is for all the love and sacrifices his woman made.” – Himmilicious

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities are tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” need to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Family comes first

“The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together.” – Saint John Chrysostom

At the end of the day, both parents need to share the load equally and support each other in not only their respective careers but also in building a stronger and closer family. However, working dads should also know it is not enough to support your wife as a mother and a working professional. You need to give attention to the marriage itself. Show your wife how much you love her and share adequately ‘we time’ by taking her out on dates. Romancing your working wife is part of the support that she needs and expects from you. 

With mutual love, respect, and support, you can build a happy family and have a lifestyle that you and your family enjoy. The secret to a happy life for working dads with working moms is making time to nurture your marriage and prioritizing your family.

Read Build Strong Family Connections by Speaking Love Languages

Here’s an interesting video on how to build a happy marriage:

Reference:

[1] Pew Research Center: Modern Parenthood
[2] Pew Research Center: Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load


Written By Robert Glazer
Originally Appeared On Lifehack

How Working Dads Can Support Working Moms To Build A Stronger Family
How Working Dads Can Support Working Moms To Build A Stronger Family
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