Previous Months' Topics

Balancing Work and Home Life

5 Steps to Better Balance

1. Family dinner is mandatory.
2. Turn off cell phone and other technology during family time.
3. Attend as many school and sports activities as possible.
4. Keep romance in your marriage.
5. God comes first.

Randy Hain made the tough decision to place family needs before a successful career. He outlines five basic principles to strike a balance in home life and workplace.

Listen to the podcast with Randy Hain (9:23).

 

 

 


Work - Home Balance

by Brian Caulfield, FFG Editor

You’re a man. A husband and father. A protector and provider.

You want to excel at work and earn more to support your family in comfort, and you also want to be there for your wife and children because you love them and want them to know you care.

Yet there are conflicts, and you’re often torn. To get ahead at work means longer hours, travel and commitments that take you outside of the home. As a man, you are expected to give whatever it takes to make your company or small business move forward and succeed – and although your boss says it’s OK to take time off for family demands, the underlying message is that it may hurt your chances for a promotion. The unwritten rules are that flex time and family leave are for female employees – and guys are expected to pick up the slack.

Surveys show that the work-home life balance is the #1 concern for men in today’s difficult and competitive economy. As a man dealing with many competing demands on your time and attention, how do you handle the balance? Your success and happiness – and the peace and happiness of your family and home life – depend very much on how you resolve the conflicts and find the right balance.

Blazing New Ground
 
Wade into the web to find information on work-family life balance and you will notice that much of it is for women. Indeed a majority of the focus and angst over home and workplace conflicts has revolved around the working women – the stress and anxieties of supermom, who works full-time and still gets dinner on the table and the kids to bed.

And women do face unique challenges in this area, with the expectation that they should perform most of the child care and domestic duties, and they alone bear the unique joys and burdens of pregnancy and childbirth. Although there is such a thing as “maternity leave” for men, it’s generally thought to be for wimps or wheat-grass guys who say things like “we’re pregnant.”

Thanks to a persistent push by women in the workplace, and the sympathetic treatment by government, news media, women’s magazines and movies, great advances for female employees have been made, and the pressure on supermom has eased.

But what about the guys? Fathers want workplace-family life balance too. But often the attitude of employers is: Be a man, suck it up, and get back to work. We’ve got a job to do.

You don’t see many articles, even in men’s magazines, about this issue. Men tend to suffer in silence (it’s a guy thing) and are usually afraid to even raise the issue of family conflicts with their boss. Just the hint that a man is not totally devoted and dedicated to his 9-to-5 (and more!) existence is treated – often subtly – as evidence that he’s not quite up to the job.

Am I right, guys? You know it.

The issue is so taboo among men that it took a feminist, the founding editor of Ms. Magazine to break open the can of worms and get some honest talk from guys on work-family balance. Suzanne Braun Levine’s book is called Father Courage: What Happens When Men Put Family First. She documents all the conflicts and fears men have – and the actual professional harm they have suffered – when they try to take time for their families.

The online Amazon review states: “Father Courage is both about and for these fathers, ‘who are discovering the pleasures of a dynamic relationship with their families’ and who are ‘beginning to suspect that there are more men like themselves, although most are too busy putting one foot in front of the other to speak up.’"

The book was published in the year 2000. You would think it would have started a movement or be a regular topic for media discussion. But, no. So, as we take up this subject, we are continuing to blaze new ground.

Starting the Discussion – Your Input

Fathers for Good will make the issue of work-family balance a regular feature on this website. We invite your input and feedback. Use the comments section below to voice your viewpoint.

  • To start the discussion, we have a podcast interview with Randy Hain, who stepped back from an all-consuming job to make more time for his family.
  • We also have an interview with Robert Conrad, a federal judge, who talks about planning a regular fun activity with your kids (he used a Saturday breakfast at a cheap restaurant) to keep lines of communication open.
  • You can read comments from members of the Fathers for Good Facebook group.