It’s common, when talking about work-life balance, to focus on the needs of working moms, and for a very good reason: women are still likely to suffer from delayed promotions, increased stress, and a sense of not being able to fulfill any role to their satisfaction. But in an era when more fathers are determined to be part- or full-time caregivers, should we be worrying about their work-life balance, as well?
In short: probably. Lauren Stiller Rikleen at Harvard Business Review looks at a series of studies on fathers and work, and concluded that the issues facing moms and dads in the workplace are increasingly similar.
“Contrary to more recent provocative media coverage, the changing roles of women at work and men at home do not signal the rise of the former at the expense of the latter,” Stiller Rikleen writes. “The trends are far more nuanced. The couples in these studies seemed to be trying to divide bread-winner and caregiver duties between them, moving well beyond the norms of past decades. Indeed, fathers and mothers now face many of the same struggles at work and at home.”
Those problems include bosses who don’t consider employees’ personal commitments before asking them to travel or take late meetings, lack of advancement at work after starting a family, and balancing domestic labor.
The good news is that the men surveyed in these studies seem eager to participate fully in their children’s care. Now it’s up to employers to help make that possible.
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