A recent study conducted by Working Families found that over half of the surveyed fathers thought work affected their ability to spend time with their children. And with over 60% of dads working beyond their contracted hours to manage their workloads, it can be difficult to strike a balance between work and family life.
In this blog we'll explore a few changes you can make in your approach to daily life that may help to achieve the desired work-life balance.
During lockdown, fathers have nearly doubled the time they spend on childcare. On average, fathers are now performing childcare duties during 8 hours of the day, compared with 4 hours in 2014/15. With school closures sending many children home to study, the increasing demand on parents to juggle their work with home-schooling can be be a source of great tension for many families.
Having a conversation with your employer about flexible working hours could be what is needed to gain some balance between work and family commitments. If you've just welcomed a new baby into the family, see if you are entitled to Shared Parental Leave and pay as a new father.
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 cope with life's challenges, such as dentist appointments or children's homework deadlines. This can also include preparing lunches for the week ahead and prioritising high-importance tasks.
Part of your life admin may include looking to the future and investing in extra security that you may not have considered before your children came along, such as life insurance. It's a security measure that 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 of working could be a way to ensure that you prioritise family activities, such as going for a walk, 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 stresses of life and may have positive effects on mental health - making you feel happier, relaxed and even more confident.
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. The Working Families Index asked parents whether they thought technology increased their working hours - 48% agreed with this statement, and fathers were more at risk at 55%. Parents distracted by technology, so-called 'technoferance', can have detrimental effects on children.
A study conducted in the US in 2017 researching the impact of technoference on children showed potential negative effects on child behaviour. These effects can be seen through children internalising problems by sulking or whining, and also children externalising, with temper tantrums and hyperactivity.
As a dad, having a partner to rely on may make it easier to juggle work time and home commitments. An honest conversation about the work that is needed and how it can be divided up can help couples manage their busy family lives.
While a 50/50 split of duties may seem like the fairest division, it may not always be possible if one parent works much longer hours. 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 the children, 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 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. Being a parent is tough and no one is perfect, so try and focus on enjoying parenthood and not on chasing perfection.
Enjoying time with the family as a dad is important, and can bring lots of happiness into the home.
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