Working Dads Who Spend More Time With Their Kids Are Happier
Hey, working dads. Yeah, you! Do you want greater job satisfaction, a happier household, less bickering with your wife, and praise from your co-workers? Seem too good to be true? Well, a couple of new studies show that you actually can have your cake and eat it, too – you just have to spend more time with the kiddos. Read on to see what we mean.
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A recent study of approximately 1,000 working fathers conducted by researchers from Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts, and Boston College found that the more time that working fathers spend with their children, the happier they were.
“More involved fathers experience greater job satisfaction and work-family enrichment, and less work-family conflict; and they are less likely to think about quitting their jobs,” the researchers wrote. (Read about one male CEO who actually quit his job to spend more time with his wife and kids, here.)
However Forbes reports a different reality for working mothers: “[T]he more time they devote to their children, the more conflicted they feel about the time they spend at work.”
“Men get high-fives when they leave early [from work to pick up their kids] — people say, ‘Oh, he’s such a good dad.’ With mothers, that’s expected, or even looked down upon — co-workers may think, ‘She’s leaving early again to pick up her kids,'” says Jamie Ladge, one of the study’s head authors from Northeastern University, in an interview with The Boston Globe.
The reality is that the stigma that exists for both genders (but especially working mothers) runs so deeply in the veins of society and corporate America that it often goes unnoticed, or worse, overlooked. Fathers typically take on the role of the household’s breadwinner and they dive headfirst into their careers to provide for their families, because their wives are usually the ones having to rush home to tend to the kids and household responsibilities.
The dilemma now is that working fathers get less and less time with their families because they’re locked into their careers, while working mothers are left feeling short-changed because they are sacrificing their careers to accommodate the needs of the family – but, in the same breath, these women would most likely feel tremendously guilty for choosing work over their families. The ideal, then, would be for families to be able to split both childcare and professional commitments.
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg touched on this very issue in Lean In: “When woman work outside the home and share breadwinning duties, couples are more likely to stay together. In fact, the risk of divorce reduces by about half when a wife earns half the income and a husband does half the housework.”
However, it’s not just working mothers and fathers who should be called out to fix the problem, it’s every single employer who refuses to acknowledge the necessity of sufficient paternal leave for employees who are working parents. Something as simple as a more flexible schedule or the option of working from home would make a world of difference for employees. Ultimately, the end goal is for every working professional to attain a satisfying level of work-life balance and meaning, regardless of whether they’re male, female, parent, or not.
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