The Balancing Act – 5 work-life tips for working dads

Fathers increasingly see themselves as actively involved in childcare, and will make career sacrifices accordingly… Fathers are more likely (47 per cent) to want to downshift into a less stressful job and 38 per cent would be willing to take a pay cut to achieve a better work-life balance. – The Modern Families Index.

Returning to work after becoming a parent can feel like walking a tightrope – juggling between professional and personal life. And often, this burden is perceived to fall on mums alone. However, a new study, titled The Modern Families Index, highlights that dads are no longer keen on climbing the corporate ladder at the cost of missing out on their family life. Like mums, they too are struggling to achieve the ideal work-life balance.

The Modern Families Index 2017 report

Working Families, a UK-based charity, surveyed 2,750 parents who were in paid employment or were self-employed and had a dependent child aged 13 or under. The survey included an equal number of respondents by gender and had no selection criteria based on relationship status – whether a couple or a single parent household.

“For many fathers the workplace is unsupportive of their aspirations for a better work-life fit. It runs the risk of creating a “fatherhood penalty”, where fathers are willing to follow a career that is below their skill set and reduce their earnings.”

As traditional household dynamics shift to reflect our more modern lifestyles, there is proof that you can, in fact, truly have it all!

If you are a dad who struggles to find the perfect work-life balance, here are five tips to help juggle work and family with ease:

Define the work-life goals you want to achieve

Yes, you want to achieve a proper work-life balance, but what is it that you want to succeed at? Being there for your children’s every recital? Coaching them for their favourite sport? Spending time with them every evening? Or being responsible for them and their activities every weekend?

Balancing your work and personal lives can be difficult if you haven’t yet defined your goals. It’s important to remember that it may not always be possible to give equal amounts of attention to both your work and your family – this doesn’t mean you are a bad parent! A lot of parents attempt to be superheroes and eventually suffer from burn out. Instead of putting unnecessary pressure on yourself, define your goals and decide what is more important at any given time. Perfecting this balancing act takes time and practice.

Consider having ‘no screen’ evenings and weekends

It can be tempting to check your smart phone or laptop for work related updates, and, in the process, miss out on moments when your child aced that surprise test, or hearing about that minor argument they had with their best friend or how their day was in general.

However, when you make it a habit to spend less time looking at screens each day, you get the opportunity to spend quality time with your kids and participate in important memories.

Family and work dates – do they overlap?

Your calendar may be filled with work appointments, meetings or trips you need to attend but have you marked your family activities on it? It is surprisingly easy for work commitments to get in the way of your family time. An important meeting with a client on a Friday evening? But wait, you had a Lego date with your children!

Add calendar specific time with your family so that the date is blocked out and you don’t end up scheduling a meeting. Set your priorities and guard them with police tape if need be. This will let your family know that they are important enough to get your undivided attention and time.

Don’t beat yourself up

It can be tempting to beat yourself up when you fail to meet your goals for the week – late nights at work, missing play dates with your children, and so on. However, give yourself the benefit of the doubt and learn to strike a balance.

Reflect each week whether you were successful in your goals at work and at home. Discuss with your family what you all did right and what needs to be improved. Learn from your mistakes, recognise the hurdles, and develop strategies to be more successful going forward.

Think outside the box – be your own boss

Do all dads have to work a typical 48-hour work week and spend their precious time on commuting? Of course not. There are multiple options for dads to strike a better balance between work and quality family time and one such option is building your own work from home business.

This is where Arise steps in, by offering exciting work from home opportunities for small business owners. Arise provides a virtual platform to connect work-at-home service professionals to Fortune 500 and other large companies. Get in touch with us today to master your balancing act!