In a recent study of 2,750 people conducted by Working Families, approximately half of the surveyed fathers stated that balancing both family and work was an increasing source of stress. While the 'motherhood penalty' has been studied, the Working Families report indicates that a 'fatherhood penalty' could be at risk of emerging. While men still receive a better pay, there is an increasing number who believe that chasing a career could affect family life.
A third of the surveyed men said they felt burned out, and one in five said how they did extra work hours in the evening or weekends to ensure they could spend time with their children while they were awake. Millennial fathers' outlook on having children also differs from previous generations, with an increased desire to be more involved in their children's lives.
Balancing work and life as a new dad may seem difficult, but a few changes in the approach to daily life may help to provide the desired equilibrium.
Having a conversation with the workplace about setting new goals and priorities could be what is needed to gain some flexibility and more time to spend with your new baby. You may even be entitled to Shared Parental Leave and pay as a new father.
Early last year, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, said: "Many fathers want to take a more active role in caring for their children, and our committee's inquiry into the gender pay gap last year found that sharing caring responsibilities equally between mothers and fathers is the key to reducing the gender pay gap."
A step that can be taken towards balancing work-life, is to be as organised as possible. Organising family life between both partners could make the workweek easier, as bills can be paid together, budgets confirmed, and the week planned.
A coordinated calendar allows couples to know they are on the same page and to prepare for any eventualities, such as when one parent may be away from home for several days. This can also include preparing lunches for work in advance and prioritising high-importance tasks that must be completed within the week.
Part of your life admin may include looking to the future and investing in extra security that you may not have considered before your bundle of joy came along, such as life insurance. It's a security measure that new parents sometimes consider as it could help to look after the family financially in the unfortunate event of the passing of a parent.
Family relationships should be cherished, and setting time aside just for the family after a busy day at work could be a way to ensure that you proritise family activities, such as going for walks, telling bedtime stories or even slobbing out in front of the telly together.
Enjoying the nature found outdoors can be a good way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, bike rides, hike up a mountain, enjoy a picnic with the kids, or simply spend time relaxing in the garden with the family. There are several health benefits associated with spending time outdoors, and new dads might find that it can spur more outdoor activities in the future.
With today's increasingly connected world, it can be easy to bring work home outside of office hours, as technology blurs the line between work life and family life. A recent study depicting the impact of having a parent distracted by technology showed potential long-term detrimental effects on child behaviour. These effects can be seen through children internalising problems, with anxiety and depression, and also children externalising, with disruptive behaviour and hyperactivity.
As a new dad, having a partner to rely on may make it easier to juggle work time and feeding time. An honest conversation about the work that is needed and how it can be divided up can help couples to integrate a new baby into their lives.
While a 50/50 split of duties may seem like the fairest division, it may not always be possible. Dividing tasks and time is personal to every couple and situation, and the example of a 60/40 division may be fairer in some cases.
Be realistic about what you can achieve at home, whether it's doing odd jobs, working from home, or devoting time to spend with baby, it could make you feel more on top of things. Have a pre-planned schedule to help tick off completed tasks, and don't over work yourself!
If working at night provides more time during the day for family and it proves to be doable, this may be the solution for you.
Striving for perfection can be natural, however, it can cause unnecessary pressure in day-to-day life. Parents can feel guilty about a wide variety of factors every day, such as having to go to work, not playing with their children enough, and giving in to demands. Pressure can lead to stress and anxiety, which has a negative impact on our mental and physical health. Having a baby is a joyous occasion and as such, the emphasis should be on enjoying parenthood and not on chasing perfection.
Enjoying time with the family as a new dad is important, and can bring lots of happiness into the home.
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