Men are just as worried about balancing work and family life as women.
Traditional roles can make men uncomfortable when trying to prioritize family life over their work.
Speaking to your partner or friend can help them better manage their work life balance.
Learning to be flexible, bonding with the kids, and accepting that getting the balance is tough can make a world of difference.
People speak a lot about how difficult it can be for women to raise a family and work full time. And they’re right, it is unbelievably hard. For men, it’s often just as difficult though in very different ways.
Studies suggest that men find it as challenging as women when it comes to balancing work and family life, and 50% of fathers say it’s difficult for them. So it’s possible that men just aren’t talking about it, and we really think guys need to talk to each other more. If we’re not having the conversation, it’s no wonder that many men are at a loss with how to handle this tricky balancing act.
As a society we’re still trying to unpack the traditional roles handed down to us by our fathers, which they got from their fathers, who got them from...well you get the idea. There can sometimes still be this notion that Dad should be the breadwinner — hard at work, only seeing his kids for a few minutes before bed. It’s pretty clear that this can put a lot of pressure on guys and often isn’t the type of life, or relationship with their kids, that men want.
And there are perceived disadvantages to prioritizing family over work. For example, a lot of guys think that requesting flexible working hours so they can pick up kids from school will be met with resistance, or demonstrate that they’re not dedicated workers.
On top of all of that, there’s been a complete shake up in how everyone works — thanks, COVID-19.
This global shift towards working from home has meant that both men and women have had to blur the lines between work and home life. (Think streaking toddlers in the background of Zoom meetings.) While this can be fantastic, for example we enjoy less time commuting and more time with the kids, some find it difficult to separate work from home life. And then the opposite problem is true as well. For essential workers or those on the frontline, the pandemic has made it incredibly difficult to make time for family.
It all means that now more than ever we need to rethink how men balance work and their family life.
The idea that you have to spend most of your time at work to be productive is pretty out of date. Many workplaces are learning that people need time to rest and recharge so they can be more productive, switched on and efficient at their jobs.
And the benefits of spending time at home are huge.
Men with kids benefit a lot from being at home more. And it's probably not surprising that so do their kids. Children who spend plenty of time with their dads are more likely to have healthy relationships and good overall health and wellbeing.
Being around for special family moments is what life is about. A recent study found that 61% of dads spent more time involved in their kids’ learning and schoolwork during COVID-19 lockdowns. And 34% reported spending more time having meaningful conversations. That sort of thing doesn’t happen when you’re in an office or behind a computer until 8pm.
Less time spent at work means more time to engage in self-care activities like exercise, socializing with friends, enjoying hobbies, attending those medical appointments that always put off, and performing important grooming activities like maintaining the perfect Mo.
Being more flexible with work allows a man’s other half to have more time to succeed themselves. By sharing the workload — both in the home and outside it — couples can help each other succeed and create healthier, happier families.
If your friend or partner feels burnt out and trapped in an endless cycle of working too much and being stressed out at home, ask them what they could do to (*gasp*) change things. Lots of workplaces are open to discussions about flexible arrangements — it’s just about getting out of that nine to five, Monday-Friday mindset and accepting that things can be done differently. Seriously. They can.
You could even offer some suggestions like:
If you know a man struggling with their work life balance, reach out to them. Remind them that everyone is trying to figure this out. Find ways to help them prioritise their family and their health. By checking in with each other and discussing these issues together, we can all create a world where men can work hard, stay healthy and enjoy time with their family.
If you know a man struggling with their work life balance, reach out to them. Remind them that everyone is trying to figure this out. Find ways to help them prioritize their family and their health. By checking in with each other and discussing these issues together, we can all create a world where men can work hard, stay healthy and enjoy time with their family.