Working Dads Crave A Break

Posted on: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Posted in: Work/Life Hacking, Blog | Leave a comment

The job world keeps getting more co-ed with every passing year.  Oh sure, some fields are still a Boys Club—politics, money, more.  But others are becoming Girls Clubs.  And many employers prefer hiring women over men, if only to meet quotas.  Women are making great gains in the workplace, yet are still free to opt out and stay home.  Why can’t men enjoy such equality?

As this survey points out, nearly one-third of working men would make significant sacrifices to quit working or spend more time with their kids.

Survey Sez: 

  • 31%. Percentage of working dads who said they would leave their jobs if their spouse or significant other’s income could comfortably support the entire familly. 
  • 30%.  Despite a tough economy, percentage of working dads who said they are willing to take a pay cut to spend more time with their children.  

Those stats are sad, really, because the child-raising phase of one’s life is short.  Since kids are largely independent by, say, 12, most families only “need” ongoing parenting for 15 years or so.  That’s about one-fifth of a typical lifetime.  What a bummer to miss most of those sweet years, slaving away instead—especially if he would prefer not to. 

So then, why are home-dads still such a rare breed?  Here are some of my best guesses…

  • Stigma.  Society still fails to embrace the notion. 
  • Dishonor.  Many men fear society’s judgement—and a possible loss of pride. 
  • Income.  Men still make more, on average (though that’s changing fast). 
  • Double income.  Many families think they can’t make it without two revenue streams. 
  • Divorce.  If you’re a single dad, staying home with your kids may be impossible. 
  • Re-entry.  Leaving a career is risky business, and can result in countless compromises. 
  • Training.  Unfortunately, women still do more housework—and have learned how.
  • Mom Power.  If both parents wish to be home more, the woman usually wins. 

This is serious stuff.  After all, it’s an ageless American legend:  Dad didn’t get to spend enough time with his kids—he realizes at age 55.  He regrets it.  He realizes his career was relatively meaningless, and that he is dispensable.  Even his own kids may feel that way. 

But it’s too late to do anything about it.  So…what?  He lives out his final years with a sense of disappointment and failure?  He tries to bond with his kids in their adulthood?  He vows to be a great grand-dad?  Or he just accepts it and moves on—with any luck. 

Please pardon my predictable conclusion:  BreakAways are not just for the rich and self-actualized.  They’re also for dads who simply want to change diapers, cook healthy food for their family, and above all:  Hug their kids.  Any time, on any day. 

What’s wrong with that? 

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