Let’s hear it for working dads

Hello everyone, how have you been? Are you having a good week? Where did you go on your summer holiday? Actually, don’t answer any of those questions, because I have something to say about working dads.

Working dads?! Why on Earth have you decided to start banging on about working dads? I’ll tell you why. It’s because, after 16-18 months of working from home and building my schedule around the Bubster’s nursery days, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks commuting to and from an office.

Life as a working dad

It’s an exciting, and tiring, change of pace that has re-opened my eyes to the stresses and strains experienced by a group of dads who don’t get a lot of air time on parenting blogs and websites. I’m talking, of course, about the men who leave the house just after their kids have woken up and get home after they go to bed. The blokes who go into town to do the dirty work that pays for the nursery fees, the baby classes and the birthday presents. The guys who don’t know what Olivia from nursery’s parents look like, let alone what they’re called or do for a living.

These working dads have taken on the role of sole or joint provider, and what do they get in return? A break from the kids, a ready-made social life, a big, fat salary and dinner on the table as soon as they get home? Ha, I’m sure some do, but, in my experience, they are also subjected to huge amounts of guilt, regret and worry.

Guilt that they are not at home to support their partner when she or he is having a tough day. Regret that they only got to see the first time their son or daughter did X, Y and Z on video. Worry that the human race views them as a bad dad because, let’s face it, when people are asked to describe what makes someone a good dad they rarely reply: world class Excel skills and putting in 56 hours a week to cover the mortgage.

Worrying research

Still, at least their actual work doesn’t stress them out. Um, yeah, about that. According to The Millennial Dad at Work report conducted by Daddilife in association with Deloitte, 37% of working dads believe that their mental health has been negatively affected by trying to juggle work and parental responsibilities, 45% of working dads experience guilt with their colleagues and a third of working dads experience tension when they try to leave work on time.

Add all this up and what do you get? The answer is a group of shattered gentlemen, who are constantly being pulled in different directions and deserve far more credit from loads of people, including dad bloggers like me. Thus, I would like to end this article with an attempt to right this wrong.

Respect from Father Hood

Working dads, you are incredible. You sacrifice time with your family to earn the money you need to ensure your children can lead the life you want them to lead. And, although I don’t write it often enough, I really respect you for this.

Got that? Good. Now, try and be a little quicker in the M&S food queue next week. Some of us only get 60 minutes for lunch and these blogs don’t write themselves.

Until next time…

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4 comments

  • Well said! As you know, this is my world too now and it’s taking a bit of getting used to. I seem to have landed on my feet with working hours and nice colleagues but the guilt associated with being away from my family for most of the week is strong.

    • Thanks for commenting, Tom. Totally agree on the hours away from home and the guilt. It’s funny. When you work from home you never quite realise the sheer length of time it takes to commute, work and then commute home again.

  • Oh yes, I think working dads and working dad guilt is a huge issue. Times have changed and working dads are expected to do their share at home as well as earn money. Alas, all working dads seem to do is attract criticism and I think that’s very sad.

    • Yeah, it seems like the online world is a bit of an echo chamber where the only way you can be a good parent is by spending time with your family. Obviously, this is part of it, but, particularly in and around cities, families have huge financial pressures that can mean a dad simply has to work. It’s not their fault, it is just the way it is (although hopefully times are beginning to change as businesses begin to understand and appreciate the pressures on working fathers).

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