No one questions the fact that working mothers face significant challenges, often shouldering the bulk of the household and childcare burdens in addition to competing in the workplace. But what about working fathers?
Plenty of men want to be active, involved fathers, yet find themselves working longer hours than ever. In addition, they may fear that making family responsibilities a priority will hurt their careers. While there is no simple solution to this dilemma, there are several steps that dads can take to stay involved at home:
- Give your kids’ events top billing. Write them in your calendar or organizer so you’ll remember.
- Visit their school. Whether it's a special event (e.g., open house, school play) or just a simple afterschool pickup, seeing your kids' school, teachers, and classmates will help you connect.
- Set aside regular time–whatever you can manage. It will mean a lot to your kids (and you) to look forward to a familiar activity, whether it's a nightly bedtime story or a weekly bike ride.
- Spend time with your kids one-on-one. Family outings can be great fun, but be sure to do things with them individually as well.
- Turn off the TV. You may be surprised to find that there's suddenly more time available for a walk or a chat after dinner.
- Help out around the house. Although you may feel overburdened as it is, there's a good chance your partner does, too. Find out how you can help. If your kids are old enough to do the chores together with you, it may provide another opportunity to connect.
- Take time to play. Play is not only fun for kids, it is also a crucial part of their development. When the chores are done, it's time for fun!
- Take care of yourself, too. Sufficient sleep, healthy eating, and exercise will set a good example for your kids and give you more energy to do the things you enjoy doing together.