It’s been all over the news today that UK dads are wanting less stressful jobs so they can have a better work-life balance and spend more time with their kids.
The study that has been released, covers some key points:
- Nearly half of working fathers would like a less stressful job so they can spend more time caring for their children.
- About a third would take a pay cut to achieve a better work-life balance, the charity Working Families said.
- Employers are not doing enough to help dads take a more active role in childcare, it added.
- A third of fathers said they regularly felt burnt out, and one in five were working extra hours, according to the Modern Families Index report.
Employers’ organisation, the Institute of Directors (IoD), agreed with the study, saying bosses should design jobs that let both men and women work flexibly and others followed suit, with other’s saying that in light of Shared Parental Leave being taken up by such a tiny percentage of eligible families, the government have clearly got it wrong and something needs to change.
The number of stay at home dads has doubled since the mid-1990’s, and more and more dads are coming disgruntled with their employers lack of flexibility. I wonder at what point society and culture are going to start recognising, not just the importance of dads spending more time with their children, but also that more and more fathers are wanting to spend more time with their families and less time at work.
As a country, we need to find a way to hold family life and work life in balance.
As you can imagine, this has been a big topic of discussion from within The Dad Network today, so we thought it important to share what the real dads of our society have to say.
Even as a ‘part time dad’ working 50+ and then seeing my kids, it’s bloody exhausting. It’s just a never ending battle
Happy to answer any questions you have. I am my own employer, spend some time out consulting at other offices, and some time working from home. Work from home sounds like a great idea, but can be very difficult to concentrate with distractions around the house.
Thursday/Friday last week I at short notice had to look after our 2 children when mother in law was too ill to take them. On thursday luckily the older one was in Pre-school for most of the day, and I took my younger son to one of the offices I work at, had a quick meeting with key members of the team and then came home and worked 8 billable hrs across about 18hrs of real time. Friday’s work ended up being split 4hrs/4hrs saturday/sunday morning. I couldn’t have done that without a flexible job and understanding clients.
Posted this myself, I did struggle with work/life balance when my daughter was born! My wife and myself work and want to further our careers. Work does not always make it easy.
In my experience there is no work life balance for Dads. It is impossible to have done enough. You work as hard as possible to earn as much as possible to give your kids and wife as good a life as possible. This is at the expense of spending time as a Dad and enjoying that time with your family! I spend my life in a perpetual state of knackered. The truth is, you can have time or money, but rarely both at the same time unless you are very very lucky.
I find this hard with working shifts. Lates are horrible as by the time I get in. Zach is in bed. And I only get a couple of hours in the morning.
I’m doing something about this- cutting down to 3 days a week and getting 2 full days with our son – so excited and can’t wait, but also nervous about what that will look like as I try to build something from home.
I’m fortunate that my employer is allowing me to do this and can totally understand how some dad’s would feel “stuck” at work and burnt out!
In a moment of apparent madness that screamed of midlife crisis, I quit my secure, well paid job so that my wife and I could spend the first year of our babies life together as a family. Kind of like a baby fuelled sabbatical. Best decision I’ve ever made.
Long term I don’t know what the answer is but for the equality part we should look to Iceland. There mum’s and dad’s get 3 months each plus 3 months to share at 80 percent salary.
For me I’m really fortunate in that most days I can take my daughter to work with me. I can also work some time from home so tend to do anything needing a lot of focus in the evenings. I love my work so I do stress at times that I’m not doing as much as I can but for the most part I have a happy balance
I work split shifts so I can help with the school run/feeding the babies etc. It does mean I miss most bed times though. That’s a kick in the teeth.
As a stay at home it’s difficult for me to really answer. However, I am currently looking for work. The problem I’ve come across so far is a lack of flexibility in working hours to match an ability to drop my child off at nursery and travel to a place of work. For example, a half day at nursery is either 8-1 or 1-6. Employers are wanting me to work 8-12 or 12-5. Alternatively, it’ll be half past as a start time or finish time which would, with rush hour being how it is these days, tough to make it in on time.
I’ve had to change my working pattern so I put in a little more time each day so I can have every other Friday off. Just so I can have some time with the boys that isn’t a Saturday or Sunday which are normally taken up by other things.
Such a hot topic. I’m sharing this… I want to change my hours/job all sorts… I want family time. That’s my priority. But then you lose income… it’s hard.
I ultimately ended up turning down the supervisor job I was talking about in a different post because they expected 50 hour weeks, mandatory weekends, no flex time benefit, and they refused to negotiate pay.
Not worth it.
I read the BBC piece this morning and thought it could be a big discussion point in here. I have to say I’m fairly lucky at work as they have always been helpful in allowing them off, starting late or finishing early when needed. But there is a guilt as I would like to do more and spend more time with the kids, but I work a 40 hour week with a two hour daily commute. It is a stressful job and they certainly don’t get the best of me. I would love to work shorter hours, but money is the driving factor. Like most people we struggle to make ends meet on a monthly basis. I know my dad worked two jobs when I was young and our relationship is distant at best. And the thought of my kids feeling the same way about me in 30 years is not good.
If only we didn’t need money!
I had to change jobs to earn a little more when our second was born to allow my wife to go part time and for us to be able to afford the live this improved my career prospects but affected my work life balance as I now commute an hour each way to work on fixed hours getting home a lot later than my previous role which was flexi time and fantastic for work life balance with our first if I could afford to I would go family time over work every time unfortunately in the modern age its just not doable in my opinion
It’s hard, and it doesn’t get discussed enough. There were not such high expectations of dads in previous generations. I do my best as a dad and employee but I often feel like I’m not doing either as well as I’d like, which is entirely due to time constraints.
I changed my job to work a split shift. 6-10 the 2-6. This gives me a 4 hour block each day for my kids. Best move ever
I work from 35 – 45 hours per week including 12 hour shifts and I don’t get weekends off either which means I don’t get to see my Mrs unless it’s on a night or I have holidays put in. I also only earn £8.20 an hour. Which means the pay cut would be impossible. I don’t think there is a balance. I think no matter what I was to ever do this is how’s it going to have to be because without me working as much as possible and my Mrs working 5 days a week we couldn’t afford to survive. I’ve genuinely had days where I have nearly cried thinking of the time I’m missing out on. But if it wasn’t for the working I do he couldn’t have a warm house or anything he has.
I believe it’s very difficult to get a good mix for both parents one of them tends to miss out more than the other. That happens to be my wife in our case. I’m about to go back to full time work and will have to get used to seeing my daughter briefly in the mornings, evening and weekends. We need the money so something has to give in the end. Things can change when she goes to school when we don’t have nursery fees to pay.
I took a 50% pay cut to work 20hours instead of 40. It means I have to get up at 5:30 and work another job in the evenings to make extra money but I get the whole day to care for my daughter. I missed a lot the first year (would have loved some paternity share but I don’t think it was available then), the wife needed a break and I desperately wanted to spend more time with the kid. We’ve been very lucky as my job changed at work just in time for this all to be feasible, if I’d been doing my old role I’ve no doubt the company would never had signed my part time off.
My thoughts – I’m divorced and have a girl and a boy (9 and 11). I work in a demanding job and have the kids from Friday evening to Sunday evening every weekend with only the odd exception. I also have the kids occasionally for a night in the week. My employer which is, shall we say, a female oriented organisation with a female chair of trustees, female CEO and female Director of my Dept, does not seem to regard flexible working as a priority. I find this shocking as it would probably help women more than men generally. It would certainly help me. Whilst I can only give my side of the story and I maintain a good relationship with my ex I think I have a considerably harder time and put in a lot more effort than she does. I often feel exhausted and wired through stress and find it very difficult to relax.
I find in my job I do a lot of over time or have to come in early but if I need something in return I don’t get it. Which stress me out as I don’t get the time I should with my children as I’m busy at work. I think as time are changing companies need to realise that we are parents to and what to see our children just as much as our other halfs
I had to be Very clear right from the start if my current post that I will not routinely work extra hours-despite this being the culture. This caused some problems until they realised that when I’m at work I work hard and often achieve just as much as those who stay late anyway. It does make life hard because I’m often knackered by the end of the day/week and have to go home to start my evening/weekend with the kids. It often feels like there is no respite or down time but that’s the price I pay for wanting/needing to be an active part of their lives.
It’s bloody tough, I switched roles when my son was 1 as I was working long hours and totally stressed from work and sleep deprivation stress and baby related.
6 months on and whilst I was less stressed I’d still not really bonded with my son and that progressed into depression for me. I’m out of the house 12 hours a day, 5 days a week with the odd drop off / pickup at nursery. I’ve since had counselling and slowly things have got better thankfully.
If I was to have my time again is do shared parental leave, 2-3 months at the end of my wives maternity leave.
When we had our son I took a job with less hours but much more flexibility. My wife is a teacher and earns way more than me but I’m able to work from home some days and spend a lot more time with my boy.
If we were to have another baby we could not sustain these roles, I would either have to try and find a new job with more pay/longer hours or if the finances could take it be a stay at home dad (my preferred option).
As it stands my work is manageable but increased volume in service users now means I find it had to stop.
I’m with a lot of other dads on this thread seemingly, no work/life balance. I’m separated and have my 3 children half the time. When I don’t have the kids, I work as I run my own business. So most weeks it’s 6 days and some weeks 7. So very little time to do my own thing. My ex wife has a much better deal as she works 2 days a week! How is this possible? Because the system is set up in such a way that she is entitled to all the various tax credits and benefits and I’m entitled to nothing. I don’t mind getting nothing, they’re my children so I happily pay for their lifestyle, but I would love a little more time of my own.
Was working 0845 – 1800 locally. They want me to move 30 minutes away to do the same hours/ pay. Not sure how much of an argument I’m going to have before they can shove it up their hole. I’m very happy at home with my boys instead of stressed at work just to pay for someone else to have the fun of raising them.
I tetanus stuck to my 169 hours a month but this is difficult due to the care sector am in, as long as I get my 2 days off and home most evenings then it is fine, but in run up to Christmas I worked a lot of extra hours as wife was on maternity leave and we needed the money, having a work home life balance us important but not always easy as sometimes shit happens and bills or broken items need replaced so no choice but to work more, I do have a flexible working agreement so from April I will never work a Tuesday which saves on child care costs and I get it protected day during the week with my boys but means not having many full weekend off, it is all a constant balancing act
I gave up work for a whole year as OH was struggling with PND. Going back to work was her saviour. I had an amazing experience as a SAHD. Financially, it was a strain so having flexible in my job is a key point. Before I take any job, I make them fully aware that. Both me and OH work full time and that I require an early finish because I do the school pick up, and mrs does the morning run due to starting later. This has been a huge sticking point in interviews.