Sure, Mr. Mom was once a fairy tale. But that was back in 1983. Today, there may still be way fewer stay-at-home dads than full-time moms. But make no mistake: today’s working fathers are not all business. Politicians aren’t the only dads balancing career decisions with family choices.
No longer content with the ’50s sitcom version, today’s fathers are changing the definition of what’s dadly. And the age of the enlightened dad promises rewards or costs to employers depending on whether or not they’re paying attention.
Need proof? Here are five things that might surprise you about working dads:
Their #1 Worry is Not Career
Managers in the Modern Family Index presumed that dads were mostly worried about promotions. Not so. What were they really worried about? More than half of dads told us it was work/life balance.
Lack of Family Time is Burning Them Out
What’s sapping dad’s energy? It isn’t business travel or tough clients. While hardly any managers chalked up dad burnout to lack of time with the kids, dads themselves cited absence of family time as the most frequent cause for running out of steam.
Quality of Life Matters
Why would a dad walk away? Slow career progression is one reason. But an equal number of dads said they’d leave a job because it didn’t balance with their families – a surprise to managers who often peg working dads as staunchly career-first.
They Stress About Pickup and Drop-Off
Think only moms who are doing the child care cha-cha? Think again. Last year, nearly the same amount of working dads as moms told us a regular stress in their day was the complicated nature of their child’s care.
Flexibility is On Their Wish List, Too
With child care and family time tugging at their sleeves, flex time is on dad’s mind as well as mom’s. A similar number of women and men told us a modified work schedule would be a life saver.
There’s a sixth point… the reason you don’t know these things about working dads: They’re not telling you. Even in the modern era, when heavy-hitting politicians feel perfectly at ease making their wishes known, and when high-powered dads are making news for literally walking away from their careers for their families, the average working dad told us he’s afraid to speak up. And what that means for the boss is that if they’re not wise, the first they’ll know of these challenges is when their valuable employees give their notice and walk out the door.
Given the current wars for talent, and the high price of replacing employees, that’s a costly chance to take.