Working Out a Balance

A recent survey by CareerBuilder confirms the challenge among working dads to navigate the demands of work and family life. According to the survey, 38 percent of working dads, if given the choice, would take a pay cut to spend more time with their kids.

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Nearly one in four working dads (24 percent) feel work is negatively impacting their relationship with their children. Forty-eight percent have missed a significant event in their child's life due to work at least once in the last year, and nearly one in five (18 percent) have missed four or more.

Thirty-six percent of working dads say their company does not offer family-friendly work arrangements such as flexible schedules, telecommuting, job sharing and more.

More than one in four working dads (27 percent) say they spend more than 50 hours a week on work and nearly one in 10 (8 percent) spend more than 60 hours. One in four working dads (25 percent) spend less than one hour with their kids each day. Forty-two percent spend less than two hours each day. Clearly, it's up to each of us to deal with these challenges in light of our own schedules and opportunities (at work and at home), our families' financial needs, and our goals and desires as fathers.

Take a sober look at how you're doing. Remember, the things that matter most in life, the things that truly last - are the relationships you invest in. Don't get caught in the "quality time" trap. After all, what time with your child is not quality time? Your kids need lots of your time–structured and unstructured. Make the most of your opportunities to connect with them whether you're on a fishing trip, riding in the car, playing laser tag, or doing dishes together.

Action Points

• Do you schedule work projects and responsibilities on your calendar? Take the same approach when it comes to spending time with your children.

• This weekend, take an everyday activity or household task and try to make it a great time with your child.

• Notice and affirm another dad at your workplace who makes his family a high priority.

• While at work, make a quick call home or send a text message in between meetings or projects just to let your children know you're thinking about them.

• If possible, take your child on a business trip or appointment to give her a better idea what you do for a living.

This article is reprinted from the National Center for Fathering.

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